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Them vs. You vs. Me
Topic Started: Mar 6 2008, 01:38 AM (5,765 Views)
I'm a Cactus
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do you want to go to war, balakay?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Continued from Yes It Is))

We left and as soon as we did I knew
There was a bad taste in our mouths
Awareness didn't come too soon
But you finally tasted it too


For the first time in a very long while, Adam Dodd wasn't exactly sure what to think. Things'd moved so damn fast back at the bridge, and while he'd managed to get his pack back; along with his weapons and supplies within, he'd also been a party to a death (however incidental or accidental that it had ended up being), and had been shot twice in the chest with a BB gun. He'd been held at gunpoint by a girl who proclaimed herself to be playing, and when he'd verbally abused her to the point of where she was unsure of herself and her position, he'd taken advantage of the situation and tried to be the hero - yet again.

So here he was, running at half-speed, his hand firmly gripping that of Julie Mikan; the aformentioned pistol-wielding 'player', who had indeed managed to kill someone in front of him. The issue was - like Adam when he'd killed for the first time, Julie was now in what he could only assume was a combination of shock and guilt, unable to cope with the fact that actually killing someone and living with it was a little more difficult than just saying that you were going to do it.

How had he picked up a straggler and chosen to protect the person who moments before had been wielding a pistol aimed squarely at his forehead? Adam couldn't really put his finger on why. His only thoughts as he'd run off had been to bolt in the direction that was opposite to that of the Asian with the BB gun, and to ensure that he didn't take any more shots to the chest, neck, head, ass, or wherever he managed to be exposed as he fled. Julie hadn't said much at all as Adam had pulled her through the jungle, even when she'd fallen a few times, tripping over branches, logs, and uneven ground, and when Adam'd stopped to forcefully pick her up, she was basically dead weight. He couldn't help but feel bad for the girl. She'd been so determined in what she was going to do. She was going to fight through everyone, if she had to, and was the personfication of resolve. Problem was? He'd verbally abused the hell out of her in the hopes that her guard would drop, she'd fuck up, and he'd be able to escape, or at least overpower her. Instead? He'd messed her up enough that she lost her resolve, and then mixed with the fact that she'd accidentally killed the wrong kid when trying to help Adam save someone? It was enough to shatter someone's reality, at least for the time being. He'd achieved what he'd set out to do, but as he ran - now in possession of the pistol that she'd been holding?

He felt really fuckin' guilty.

It's just another case of fucking up
A perfectly good afternoon
Every manner that I forgot
Could have helped me out of acting cruel


While it was basically the truth that in trying to save the smaller kid, Adam had held off the inevitable for a couple of seconds, he couldn't take any solace in that fact. Instead of the kid dying at the hands of the angry Asian, he'd died at the hands of Julie, and to a lesser extent, Adam. It was actually a little weird that instead of feeling distraught and remorseful over the kid's actual death, Adam only felt a little bummed out that he'd made the mistake of not actually pointing out which kid needed saving. Now the kid was dead, and Adam was stuck with an emotional disaster.

Which, of course, he then realized that the phrase 'emotional disaster' could certainly refer to himself, as well. It was him who'd had the breakdown when he'd realized what exactly was going on, and it was him who had all kinds of fun mental disorders now. Things like clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and night terrors. So knowing all of that, Adam thought it very odd that wading through the jungle, using his switchblade as a machete to cut through the thick underbrush, he actually didn't feel all that bad. Gone was the self-doubt that'd plagued him through his year at Southridge. He'd not socialized with virtually anybody because he was still angry. Angry at himself, for letting down his friends. Angry at himself for killing twelve people. Angry at himself for not killing Danya when he had the chance. And throughtout all of the anger, he'd turned into a bitter, cynical shell of who he'd once been, back at Barry Coleson.

While it was true that meeting Izzy Cheung and getting to know her had been a near-miraculous step in the other direction for him, Adam still hadn't felt comfortable around his peers, and when Izzy wasn't around, he'd felt himself reverting back to his prior self - withdrawn and angry. It was disappointing that when he'd let himself be signed up for the trip, he'd felt the anger finally starting to slip away...and then, it had happened all over again, and the anger had rushed back in full force.

I've been ranting nearly an entire day, and I've probably got the record for saying 'fuck' the most in the history of broadcast television...

As he stepped out of the jungle and into a clearing, Adam's eyes widened a little. He felt Julie gently bump into his back, the girl obviously operating solely on motor reflexes, likely still freaking out over what she'd done. In front of him stood what had used to be a military barracks, with several different buildings and places to hide all around them. This would definitely help out; it'd allow them a place to stay while Adam made sure that his chest wasn't bleeding, and more importantly, while he tried to talk Julie out of her near catatonic shock.

But I wasn't in the least distraught
Though my jokes were bombing
I got to feeling like my timing was off
But baby that's just not me


But rushing in, with the both of them? That wouldn't be too bright at all. There were buildings all around the place, and who knew if there were already people lurking within, waiting for someone to come waltzing in unawares, walking right into the ambush of a player. They certainly had a habit of being innovative, and there was no way to tell what kind of crazy shit a mind that had snapped could possibly dream up.

Well, I don't know about me. Maybe I'm just not that creative when it comes to random implements of destruction. Though I DID find some crazy-cool lightbulbs to toss at people! ...yeah, that's on the short fuckin' end of the spectrum for sure.

Stopping and listening closely to try and hear any telltale sounds of movement or conversation, Adam was somewhat relieved to not hear anything. The group at the church had been a unique experience, and while he was sure that the guys meant well, he didn't know how grouping with them would have worked out. Adam knew that the likelihood of running into them again was high, and he hoped that when they did, Izzy was with them.

Izzy...fuck, I haven't thought of you nearly as much as I probably should be, have I? You're the only person here who I give a damn about living or dying. Goddamnit...

As the thought passed through his head, Adam grimaced and frowned, knowing exactly what the proceeding thought would have been. If Izzy hadn't been here, Adam would have no reason to be amicable towards his fellow students. He wouldn't necessarily consider himself a player, but an opportunist? That'd likely be a better word for how he'd react. He'd play to survive, again. On his own, picking up weapons where he could, killing if he had to.

Of course, if Izzy hadn't been here, I probably wouldn't have come. No, I DEFINITELY wouldn't have come...

Sighing, Adam let go of Julie's hand, and slowly sat her down on a stump that was a few feet away from where he'd stopped. If he was going to check out the barracks, he'd keep her here, in the jungle, where she couldn't be seen. She'd only slow him down in a fight, and now that Adam had her pistol on his person, and not pointed at his head, he felt a whole hell of a lot more in-control of his own destiny than he had before. As he sat her down, he grasped both of her shoulders, and looked into her eyes - still with that faraway look. He hadn't a clue if she would even hear him, but he had to ensure that she knew he wasn't leaving her alone, anyways.

"I'll be right back, okay? Gotta make sure this place isn't crawlin' with assholes."

So as far as anyone can see
They'd be helpless not to agree
They're driving miles between us three
It was them versus you versus me


It hadn't taken him long to get to the main building of the barracks. Maybe five minutes, from where he'd left Julie at the jungle's edge. On his approach, he hadn't seen any kind of movement at all, any kind of sound coming from the buildings. The place was dead, and Adam meant that in a very literal fashion. In Survival of the Fittest, things didn't seem to stay alive for all that long, and those that did tended to be quite warped and weathered. Those were both good adjectives to describe the first building that Adam made his way into, gun raised, ready to fire. As he pushed open the door and quickly sidestepped his way into the room, he aimed it feverishly around, hoping to catch some unsuspecting predator lurking within his sights. The fact that he wasn't hearing anything at all made him extremely uneasy, and the klaxons in his head were going off seemingly from every direction.

Or maybe that's just a fuckin' headache...

Satisfied of the security of the room, Adam put the gun down on a desk just inside of the room and shut the door. He'd been doing his best to ignore the throbbing pain in his chest, but now it was at the point where it was taking just a little bit too much energy to do so; and Adam knew that he could use all of the energy that he could get. Quickly peeling off both his hoody and t-shirt at the same time, Adam stepped into the light from one of the windows and looked down at his chest. As he did, he grimaced. There were two round, circular welts on his chest, one about an inch away from his right nipple, the other just underneath his rib cage on the left side. Lightly touching the one near his ribs, he winced as the pain rushed through his body, reminding him of what he could very clearly see.

Grumbling, he grabbed his pack from where he'd set it down (not even remembering having done so) and opened one of the smaller pockets on the side. There was one other item that he'd neglected to mention to Julie when she'd been forcing him to reveal the contents of his pack, and that was his large bottle of Advil. He'd always suffered from migraines from time-to-time, and they'd only increased in frequency and intensity since his experience in SOTF v1. As such, he always brought along Advil, as it seemed to work a hell of a lot better than any other drug, especially Tylenoyl, which Adam often claimed was simply 'just a fuckin' placebo'. Popping an Advil, and washing it down with some of the water from his pack, he sighed softly.

And as soon as we drove right through
30 seconds without a word
It was then that I knew for sure
I wasn't gonna hear a word from you


As he did so, he became suddenly aware that he was not alone in the area, and heard what he thought was a noise coming from immediately outside of the building he stood in. Mentally cursing himself for letting his guard down, Adam quickly threw his clothes back on and picked up the gun, quickly sliding his pack back around his shoulders. Mentally reminding himself that Julie WAS still out there, and was unarmed, Adam frowned, and took a chance.

"Hello? Anyone out there?"

Nothing. No response, and yet Adam still KNEW that he heard someone rustling around outside.

"Julie? Issat you?"

Still nothing. Scowling, Adam knew that if the person wasn't responding, the likely situation was that it was someone who didn't WANT to respond.

No use waitin' around in here anymore, I suppose. I won't let this guy play any mind-games or any of that crap...

Slowly grabbing the door-handle, Adam took a deep breath, and threw the door open, rushing out into the exterior of the building, pistol pointed at the shape that he now saw was indeed standing outside of the building. As his eyes adjusted from the dark interior of the building to the light, Adam finally saw who he was confronting with his pistol.

Madelaine Shirohara was there, standing in front of him. It had been more than a year, but she was as Adam remembered: there were times when she smiled gently and offered understanding and kindness. Then there were times when she was stoic and serious, a side that heavily contrasted her ordinarily gentle demeanor, and oftentimes appeared when she was somewhat irked with a particular matter.

She was wearing the latter sort of expression on her face as she strode up to Adam, in the same manner she had done after his morphine-induced mouthing-off of Nanami Nishida.

As his mouth fell in a confused shock, Madelaine took a step towards Adam, so that she was looking him right in the face. Raising a hand, she struck him sharply along the side of his face. Recoiling and still absolutely flabberghasted, Adam just dropped the pistol, his hand flying to his face as his cheek flashed in pain.

"...Shame on you, Adam Dodd. Is this the sort of level you’ve sunk to? Is this the kind of person you’ve become?” She stepped back and gave him a piercing look. “…Or are you really the Adam Dodd who looked after everyone in our group and kept us together? The Adam Dodd who kept hope from falling to madness with his words and ideals? The same person who saved Hawley Faust from himself? The person who loved and protected Amanda Jones? The person who said so himself and told everyone that the rules were made to be broken?

And the road became the radio
And we scowled at the beautiful trees
I was thinking of what went wrong
I thought baby it's not just me.


Mouth still agape, Adam couldn't believe what he was seeing. Crazy things happened in Survival of the Fittest - fate worked in mysterious ways. A lot of the time, the improbable became reality. But this? This was downright impossible! Hearing her words loud and clear, Adam couldn't respond to any of it, aside from a stammer that sounded not at all like his demeanour up until now.

"I...but...you can't be...this...Madelaine? I...? You..."

Her eyes lowered slightly. “Well, you look like him…more or less. Whether you ARE him? That’s up to debate. All I see is… this coward who’s resorted to playing by the rules because he thinks it’s too hard to do otherwise. In this game, the rules are to kill everyone and trust no one. By playing the rules, you sacrifice your integrity, your sense of self and the person that you are, and become someone… well, much less admirable. Much less of this person I used to know, named Adam Dodd.”

Her words stung him enough to snap him out of the daze that seeing his deceased (he'd thought) friend in front of him. Rubbing his cheek, Adam's expression turned somber.

"C...coward? Madelaine, I...I don't know what to say. I...I can't trust anyone again. It just can't...look what happened? I let you guys down, I fucked up! You all died, and it was my goddamn fault! If I hadn't let us splinter up, if I'd kept us together instead of selfishly taking time for myself? You guys wouldn't have died...how you did...the rules that I try and follow? I follow those so that I don't lead anymore poor bastards to their deaths...I won, Madelaine...I should know how to survive this thing."

Adam frowned, feeling as though he were under attack - and from a ghost? An apparition? Her slap had felt real, but that meant nothing. As she shook her head, Adam said nothing more and just listened.

“It’s fine if you want to make the conventions of this game into a personal dogma to live by. Just keep on believing that finding others to trust and stay loyal to will only lead to your downfall. But if I recall correctly…isn’t it because we were together that everyone survived as long as they did? Isn’t that the reason you found the will and drive to just keep on surviving? Because we were able to trust eachother and grow close?”

Her expression softened only slightly.

“I know it’s hard. The way I am right now? I don’t think I can even begin to imagine. But you’re not the only one who’s struggling. Everyone’s fighting their own battle. Hope is probably the only thing keeping some of them afloat in this game, so don’t go killing it for them. If their deaths are inevitable…well, better they died with their integrity and hope intact instead of otherwise. Lord knows they need it, because it’ll only get harder from here on. For you, and for everyone.”

As she spoke, Adam's hard expression melted. Her words rang true, far truer than he'd cared to admit. She was right. He'd become a bitter, non-feeling, rigid asshole. He was far too concerned with following the rules and making himself still feel like shit to actually live, actually play the game that he'd played it the last time. Because he HAD, actually played it last time. However, he'd played it totally for other people, either protecting them, or avenging them. His earlier statements, to Julie, to Sean and Andy? They'd been way off. They'd been downright wrong. Getting a group wasn't the way to your downfall. FInding a group that you trusted, a group of friends? That was the only way that was possible to actually manage to live. Madelaine had always felt that, she'd been what had held them all together. Hawley, Amanda, David, Marcus...all of them had banded around Madelaine, as he had. And while none of them had managed to survive as long as he had, all of them had died feeling that they were part of something important, something special. Adam had too, but that...that part of him had seemingly been left behind when he'd left the island - either that or it'd died with Madelaine. So it was only fitting that now it'd be ressurrected (along with her?)

I guess it's easy for her to say...she's dead, she doesn't have to worry about having to through any of this shit again...

Madelaine Shirohara assumed her stern disposition again.

“…And don’t you DARE assume that we got off lucky or have it easier than you do, just because we’re dead. Pull yourself together already.”

Adam's eyes widened, as the thought had only JUST gone through his mind. Obviously, the expression on his face betrayed him. Madelaine noticed, and her expression softened a touch. Though she was smiling a bit now, there was a trace of bitterness and envy in that smile.

“At least you’ve still your life, which is more than the lot of us can say. If you’re going to die anyways, you might as well live it trying your hardest to be someone you yourself can stand to like.”

She fell silent suddenly. Then, after a moment, all seriousness shattered, and she laughed a bit, suddenly looking a bit embarrassed. “Who knows… Maybe when all is said and done, they’ll name a day after you too. We’ll see.”

The words rang far truer than Adam had ever figured words could. She was completely right, of course. And that was how Madelaine Shirohara had always been. Right about things that pertained to how people felt, and how they interacted. She'd been an astute judge of character, and she'd always known the right thing to say to fire someone up, or make them feel better. And here she was, doing it again for him, in the most unlikeliest of situations. Adam himself couldn't help but smile and shake his head. He even laughed a little.

"You're right. You always have been right about that kind of thing. I...I've become a real asshole, haven't I? I've been so worried about playing the grizzled old fool that I've basically forgotten what it meant to be a human being, living my life as someone...god...you're right. I WOULD really dislike me right now, wouldn't I?"

Madelaine only smiled and nodded.

"I guess...I guess I can't go around like a fuckin' tool for however long I've got left in my life. That's what it's for, right? Live your life to the fullest, because you never know when some fat, cigar-smoking, Christopher-Walken-imitating psychopathic little bastard's gonna take it away from you, yeah?"

Adam smiled, and shook his head, feeling almost as though his eyes'd been opened, a'la Malcom McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange'. He felt like an idiot. And it'd only taken one of his closest friends having to come back from beyond the grave to snap some sense into him.

So as far as anyone can see
They'd be helpless not to agree
They're driving miles between us three
It was them versus you versus me


"Madelaine...before...you head back to...wherever you are...I have to say one thing. One thing I don't know if I got to say before...you were the one person whose death really hit me the hardest. They ask 'why do bad things happen to good people'? I don't know, and I don't think I want to. What I do know is that...I visited your parents, and your sister. I'm sure they probably hate me, for all that I represent, but I just want you to know...they're always thinking of you, they are. You have a really incredible family, and while I'm sure they'll never forget you, I can understand how you became the way that you are."

Adam looked down at the ground, and looked back up at the girl standing in front of him.

"Because of you, I might actually have the chance to die like a human fuckin' being - and I think that might be the most important thing of all. I mean...they don't give you a day if you aren't important...and you're really important...most especially to me."

Madelaine only smiled, blushing a bit more at Adam's kind words. Glancing off into the jungle, she only said one thing more.

"Don't you have somebody that you need to look after? That girl needs your help, Adam. She's counting on you..."

Adam nodded, and waved at the girl standing in front of him.

"Goodbye, Madelaine. I'm sure I'll be seein' ya...probably a lot sooner than I figured."

Turning around, Adam purposefully jogged over to the tree line, feeling a whole hell of a lot better about himself. Madelaine was right. Julie needed his help, and in a way that Hawley had needed his help a way back. She needed him like Amanda had needed him, like David and Marcus, and even poor old Gilbert Archambault. Like River Garraty, and even like Sidney Crosby. She needed him to be the Adam Dodd of old, who was more concerned with helping people than with killing them. That guy - that old guy who seemed so far gone? He might not come back, but Adam figured that he'd be damned if he didn't at least give it a shot. He'd moped around in a depressive haze for long enough, and now it was time to start being proactive with the time he had left.

Time to get my shit together, find Izzy, help Julie, and maybe try and figure out some way to do something that I didn't manage to do before - GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!

It was them versus you versus me

Adam finally came back up to where Julie was still sitting, still obviously not over the shock of what she'd done. Adam knew that feeling, and he knew it well. But he also knew that with a few friendly faces and some words of encouragement, she would probably snap out of it. That was quite possibly the only positive thing about Danya's disturbing little game. It forced people to rely upon the kindness of near-strangers, and allowed people to form bonds that; barring death, would never be broken. Taking her hand in his again, Adam slowly stood her up from the log that he'd sat her down on. Looking her in the eyes again, Adam smiled at her. It was somewhat forced, but Adam knew that trying to reverse the emotional damage he'd suffered wouldn't be an overnight process. He'd have to force it to start with, but the more he did that - the less difficult it would be, until it became who he was, again. As he began to lead her towards the building, he started to speak in a low tone of voice, different than the harsh one he'd used before.

"Come on, Julie. We're going to be okay. The place is deserted. We can rest up, alright?"

Adam paused, and slowly nodded his head as he realized that for the first time in a long time, he truly believed the words that came out of his mouth.

"We're going to be okay."

It was them versus you versus me
It was them versus you versus me
It was them versus you versus me
It was them versus you versus me
---
The Future

The Past

Meanwhile...
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[ *  *  * ]
((Continued from The Swinging Bridge))

Still overcome with the shock of killing one Owen Fontaine, albeit unintentionally, Julie’s mind was a clouded haze as she subconsciously allowed herself to be pulled along by the arm through the jungle by Adam Dodd. No other than the very person she had just held at gunpoint was trying his hardest to help her, though Julie only realized this in the vaguest sense while in the trancelike state that she had fallen into.

He’s dead. I killed him. The reality of her crime seemed to haunt her with a cold, droning voice. He’s dead. And I killed him.

He didn’t deserve it. He only wanted to protect himself. He was the one who needed help. He deserved better than that.

What had she done…? This she wondered to herself, feeling faint. She had only wanted to help. She had never wanted to kill anybody. To her, to take a life was a monstrosity beyond her own comprehension, one that she would soon learn to loathe herself for. Even if she had sworn not to die. Even if she had resolved to see him again, no matter how many lives it would cost, she had never meant to take an innocent life so wastefully and meaninglessly.

And if she came to think of it…where was her resolve now?

Her body felt numb, and her mind was detached from reality as she clumsily made her way through the jungle, following Adam in an unresponsive, mechanical manner. It was almost as though she were wandering blind. And in a way? She was. The colour of red, and the sight of that boy’s destroyed head and lifeless body was all she could see right now. She tripped and fell to the ground at several intervals, barely noticing as Adam stopped to pull her up to her feet, and only continuing to move when he pulled at her arm again. Right now? Julie wasn’t exactly living in the present.

Her friends at home…and her family. …Would they think her an evil criminal now?

That person. If he knew…if he was watching her right now. …Would he hate her?

Still buried within the recesses of her mind, blinded by her distress, Julie felt a loose stone rolling against the sole of her feet. Losing her balance, she slipped, stumbled over the ground in her clumsiness…

---


…and fell towards the ice-covered ground. With a yelp she tumbled into the snowy bank by the sidewalk, landing on her knees and gloved hands, a look of utter indignation forming on her face. That…that man! That jerk! He just came out of nowhere like that, running out of that alleyway onto the street. Was he not looking where he was going before crashing into her like that? She turned her face upwards, meaning to glare at him irritably, only to see a calloused hand, bare and ungloved in the wintry air, outstretched before her.

“I’m sorry!” Sounding not very young, yet not old at all, his voice was low and quiet, with traces of a rough, vague accent that she couldn’t quite name.

Blinking in surprise, Julie looked up towards the man that was offering a hand up.

“It’s my fault. I was in a hurry,” He explained to her, looking towards her attentively. From the tone of his voice, it seemed as though he really was in some sort of hurry, yet still patient and concerned with her. Besides the lack of gloves, he appeared to be dressed much more thickly than she was for the cold weather, a dark hat concealed his face slightly.

…Silently, in a somewhat cautious manner, she took his hand. Before she could pull herself up though, he had already done it for her, grasping her hand firmly yet gently and lifting her upwards until she was standing on her feet. Shyly, she looked towards the hand she was holding…before her eyes drifted with tentative curiousity towards the one who owned it.

Their eyes met…and for the longest time, they stared at each other in what Julie thought later to be a somewhat clumsy silence.

Just as the late-afternoon sky was changing from a frosty blue to a warm, rose-coloured hue above them, shouts broke the silence.

“He’s not here!”

“Let’s go this way! He can’t have gone far, not after you nailed him in the leg.”

Julie’s eyes widened in surprise as the man looked away anxiously, as though desperately searching for something, a way out of the situation he’d fallen into. She stared after him as he broke away…and stumbled slightly. Walking stiffly, he clumsily made his way towards a park fence near a thick cluster of trees and climbed over it. He grunted quietly, as though in pain. Julie watched him in concern…he was limping on one leg, she realized.

Her eyes fell towards the ground…red droplets had fallen into the whiteness where the man had been, leaving a trail.

Men in police uniforms, it seemed, were approaching. Heart racing, Julie kept her eyes downcast, uncomfortably deliberating on what to do. Discreetly, she kept dead silent, shifted a foot…and buried the redness underneath a layer of early-morning snow.



---

With a start, Julie awoke from her reverie to find herself sitting on a stump, heavily obscured by the growth of the jungle floor and the overhanging vegetation. Adam was gone. Julie shook her head slightly, traces of that memory still left in her conscious mind.

How long has it been? Only little more than a year and a half? It feels like longer…

Looking around, blinking dazedly, she wondered faintly…where was she? The bridge was far behind by now, and she had no idea where Adam was now, or when exactly he’d left her. Her mind was still in a thick mist of disorientation and shock, and though it was gradually starting to clear up, she was having a bit of trouble thinking clearly… For a while she just sat there passively, wondering what in the world to do now. Her pack lay beside her, but her gun was missing…she faintly remembered Adam prying it out of her hands. Come to think of it, she somewhat remembered him telling her that he’d be back for her…

Actually, there he was now, once again there to take her hand and pull her up to her feet…

Her eyes drifted towards his, once for a moment, before lowering slightly, it was hard to tell from the expression on her face whether she was feeling wistful or in pain. At his words, his attempt to comfort the both of them, himself included, she only nodded mutely while biting her lip together. A solemn expression had befallen her face as she looked towards the ground. His expression had changed, she noticed. It had changed completely. His demeanor, his tone of voice…and the sudden conviction that had appeared in his words. She couldn’t help but notice that.

They were going to be okay? She couldn’t help but WANT to believe him…

In that instant, she snapped back to the present, and so did her eyes, snapping back to make eye contact with him. Regaining her usual demeanor, cold and composed, she swiftly pulled her hand back forcefully out of his grasp, stepping back a bit. Nearly falling over backwards as she bumped into the log behind her, she regained her balance and drew herself up. Looking directly at Adam, she narrowed her eyes.

“…WHY are you helping me? It’s like you’re a different person now, or something. And are you going to keep my gun now that you have it, or something?” The tone in her voice was almost defensive, as though she were trying to put up a front. “You didn’t have to help me you know. If it means I owe you something for that, you’re wrong. Wronger still if you think this means we’re allies now.”

It was probably against one’s better judgment to put up this kind of attitude in front of someone holding a gun. Julie, despite what she was feeling right now, couldn’t help but think wryly, God in Heaven, how the tables have turned….

“Weren’t you listening back then? I TOLD you that I was playing the game! Helping out a person like me is probably the worst thing you could have done. You think I would’ve done the same for you? Don’t misunderstand me, because I wouldn’t have. You saw what happened! That boy, I shot him. It’s because of ME that he’s dead, I killed-“

Her throat locked as she inadvertently reminded herself of the very thing that she was struggling to come to terms with. Everything flooded upwards at once... her wistfulness for the past, her yearning to see that man again, the year she'd spent searching for him, the resent she held towards Danya and all of SOTF....the days that were spent in hatred and the nights when she crumbled in despair...the shock of her crime. Suddenly at a loss of words, she opened her mouth to continue…no sound came out.

The hardness in Julie’s expression faded slightly, and in place came a more subdued one. Slowly, her eyes went downcast to stare at the ground as she shifted her balance uncomfortably. Shoulders sinking, her proud demeanor and confident facade was visibly melting away, falling apart.

“...Sorry.”
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MATSUDAAAAAAAAAAAA~

Lady's Lineup:

Alive: Julie Mikan(at the Marsh), Alice Jones(at the Jailhouse)

Dead: Luke Rowan, Nadine Willowbrook, Galen Neilson

v4: Mina "Yulin" Bathory, Gwynnes "Gwyn" Whitaker
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To say that Adam hadn't seen her instant reversion back into the cold, commanding Julie Mikan coming would have been a bold-faced lie. The girl was obviously suffering and in a tremendous world of hurt right now, though not from a physical standpoint. At her sudden attempt to regain control of the situation, Adam only smiled at her, knowing full well that the cold and icy tone of her voice probably wouldn't last.

It's too fucking hot out to be an ice-bitch for too long, anyhow.

At her words, Adam continued to look at her, more of a bemused look on his face than anything. This, of course, was deceptive. To say that his mood had improved would not have been accurate. He was still frustrated and angry at his situation. That had not changed. It was his outlook, however, that differed now. Instead of acting as though it was him against the world, and he'd been wronged? Now it was time for Adam Dodd to take a step back through time, and start acting like he actually wanted to live the life that he'd fought so hard for in the first Survival of the Fittest. As she ranted a bit, Adam simply listened and said nothing, letting her icy resolve break down under its own stress, as she referenced the very event that was causing her such trauma. As she finally stopped speaking and lowered her head in what he could only interpret as shame, Adam just continued to look bemused by the situation, obviously finding the irony that just moments earlier, they'd been in positions that were entirely opposite to what they were now.

"Why am I helping you? S'a good question, I guess. We'll call it 'Adam's Good Deed of the Day'. I was feeling generous, and you just happened to be the first person around for me to foist my generousity on."

Sighing slightly, Adam's smirk turned to a full fledged grin, though his eyes moved to the ground and he shook his head.

"One thing that all of you people from Southridge High kind of missed about me is that once you get past all of the scary 'former winner' bullshit, I'm actually a half-decent guy. Why would I help you? That's easy. I helped you because I was in a position to help you out, and you needed it. Just so that you're all caught up on current events? You've been dead to the world for the twenty-five minutes that we've been running from the bridge. You fell down a few times, seemed lost, and I don't think you'd have been in any shape to make it on your own after what happened."

Adam paused, and then looked at the pistol in his right hand. He looked up at Julie, and shrugged.

"Sure, you can have it back, provided you aren't thinking about shooting me with it. Though...something tells me that for the time being I should probably hold on to the loaded projectile weapon."

Adam took a step forward towards the girl, obviously trying not to appear as though he were threatening her. He did realize, however, that most any movement would be construed as a threatening one. Thanks to this, Adam tried to keep a placid expression on his face, and stuffed the pistol into the pocket of his pants prior to making the move. He gently reached his left hand up and let it rest on the shoulder of the girl in front of him. He knew she wouldn't like it, but frankly, he didn't care. Maybe she'd misinterpret things, who knew? The fact was that she was visibly shaken by what had happened, and she needed a comforting presence. Adam hadn't done that in quite some time for anyone, but something told him that trusting himself enough to be there for someone else was something he'd need to do in order to start feeling like himself again.

"Oh...and you're the one who's wrong. Not about the fact that you probably wouldn't have helped me. I know you wouldn't have helped me if the same thing had happened to me. You don't exactly strike me as the touchy-feely-caring type. No offense, or anything. But no, you're wrong about one thing. Right now? We ARE allies. We're in this mess together, and that's something that you can't escape from, or deny, no matter how much you'd want to."

Adam gestured towards the barracks.

"Look, Julie. I know you came in here thinking that things were going to be a certain way, and that you'd be able to handle anything that got tossed at you in the process? Probably resolved yourself to how you were going to do things? Unfortunately for us, that's not how things work here in Danya-ville. What is it that they say? Best-laid plans, and all that?"

He shook his head a bit, knowing full well that what he was saying probably sounded like meaningless fluff. But he did have somewhat of a point that he was trying to make.

"You're right. You did, you killed that kid. Nothing that you do or say can ever change that. But you know what? It was a mistake. You didn't shoot him because you saw him and decided to pull the trigger to eliminate the competition. You shot him because you, yourself saw someone in need, and you didn't hesitate to come to their aid. Sometimes, Julie? Sometimes the best intentions will go astray. As sad as it is to say, you can't save everyone. But you didn't mean to kill him, you did because someone else was in danger, and you acted. It's obvious to me that you're not a bad person, nor are you someone that's so morally bankrupt that they'd actually be able to handle playing the game as Cocksucker intends it to be played."

Adam looked at Julie right in the eyes now, seeing the confusion and the conflicted vortex of emotions that bubbled just below the surface.

"But when the time came, Julie? You tried to help someone. And it was ME, of all people. You tried to help a guy who'd just spent five minutes swearing at you and trying to make you feel like shit so that you'd stop pointing a gun at his head. Actions can sometimes yell a whole hell of a lot louder than I can, and your actions said a whole lot to me. It says that no matter what you may outwardly say? I can trust you. Which, believe me - is really fucking difficult for me to do. Aside from one person, everyone I've ever trusted is dead. It makes it hard for me to believe in other people. You acted without thinking, and that showed your true colours. You helped me, Julie."

Adam then turned to face her and gently grabbed her by the other shoulder, so that the two were mere inches apart.

"Now let me help you. I've got some experience with this kind of thing. Let me try and repay the kindness that others showed me when I was in a very similar situation to the one that you find yourself in now. I'll leave the choice to you. Come with me to the barracks. I want to take a look at your knee, you took a pretty nasty fall coming over here. And let me try and help you deal with all the shitty feelings that I can see you feeling inside. I can help. If you choose to trust me. Otherwise? I'll give you back your gun, and let you be on your way."

Adam shrugged as he took a small step back from her, having said all that he had to say for the time being.

"It's your call."
---
The Future

The Past

Meanwhile...
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Though she looked more subdued and self-doubting at this point, Julie could not do anything to hide the confused frown on her face as Adam smiled bemusedly at her. To be honest? She was having trouble discerning whether he was being sincere or just his same old sarcastic self. Julie, as much as she’d heard about him yet never directly encountered him even in classes until now, probably didn’t know him near well as enough to do so.

Nor did she trust him that much.

Just the fact that he was helping her like this, offering his assistance and making sure she was alright? It was more than enough to set her suspicions on edge. Call her ungrateful, but it wasn’t as though Julie could look into Adam’s head and get an idea of the mindset he possessed right now. Who knew what he could he thinking, or planning to do right now? Julie, for one, sure as hell did not. There was a reason for the distrust right there.

…Well, there was that. Then there was the fact that she hated relying on other people…

…And THEN there was the fact that he was holding her gun. =_=

She glared at him suspiciously as he took a step forward and placed a hand on her shoulder. Oh, now he thought she needed comfort? Nevertheless, she didn’t back off, or pry at his hands. Right now? Her heart just wasn’t in it…

Julie maintained a reserved, uncommunicative front as best she could, but to her surprise? Her eyes widened slightly as she now stared back at him, eye to eye, mere inches apart. Adam’s words felt as though they pierced into her. For one thing? He was right in what he said. He was right in all of it. He was right about her, and Julie never would have thought that anyone could read her so well. Not while she took such painstaking care to guard her thoughts and emotions.

It was true. The moment she had opened her eyes... no, the moment she saw Danya, of all people, in front of her and the class, she knew exactly what was about to happen to her. She’d known everything from the start, the circumstances she would be placed into…she’d known exactly what to do and how to handle anything that came her way.

…or so she’d thought. She’d prepared herself for the worst, and resolved to kill if it meant reaching her goals. She had told herself that it was what she HAD to do, and that it would have to happen sooner or later. She knew she had to do it to survive. That mindset she’d equipped herself with was the shield of resolve that she thought would protect her from the shock…when the time came for her to take a life.

She thought she was ready for it. She could not have been more wrong when she shot that boy, and broke down.

And here Adam was, offering alliance and assistance to her. A killer, of all people.

You’re not a bad person. That was what he was telling her right now. Julie wished she could believe it as much as Adam did. She’d always lived by her sense of morals. But the day she’d met that man? She found herself following her emotions as well. For now, both her morality and emotions were on the same wavelength…but once the two were in conflict, which of the two paths would she choose in the end? Julie couldn’t trust herself to make the right decision.

She might have helped Adam just now. But there may soon be a time when she would have to kill him, too.

What would her actions say about her character then?

Julie just couldn’t maintain eye contact as Adam offered his help to her now. She just had to look away. Her eyes were narrowed, lips bit together, as though she were set adrift in a whirl of confusion and inner conflict. He had told her too much, like he trusted her. And she didn’t even trust him, as much as she wanted to.

…No. That wasn’t the reason, was it? That person had told her about Adam, so she had an idea of the sincerity of his character, how he always looked out for his friends and thought of them until the very end. Maybe…just maybe…despite all that had happened. Despite all that he’d been through. Maybe that part of him didn’t change at all?

Actually, to be honest? The one she couldn’t trust was herself. How could she accept his help, knowing that she was already set towards her own goals, knowing that she’ll probably be his enemy in the end?

She was silent for a while, still looking away with an expression of inner discord, holding one arm with the other.

“…I don’t know if I can do that,” She told him finally. Her voice betrayed resignation to this fact. “I just...I just don’t know. You say I’m a good person, because I tried to help you. But really? I don’t know about that. In all honesty, I’m just a selfish person…”

Selfish, because she wanted to play this game to reach a simple goal in mind. To see him again. She wondered faintly, if she told Adam everything, would he understand?

“And I don’t know about being allies either. I know it means that we’ll survive longer than most, if we work together. I know that it’ll help in more ways than just simply surviving. Still, I don’t know if I can.” She looked at him directly now. “Actually? It’s not that I can’t trust you. I just can’t let you trust me. That’s the reason. …It’s complicated...I’m probably not making any sense, am I?”

Everyone here just wants to survive. My selfishness runs deeper than that… She thought, ashamed of herself.

She then lifted her face a bit to look at him. She wasn’t…used to it, but she tried to smile a bit. “Nevertheless…resting for now sounds like a good idea. Maybe I just need some time to think about it…what you said about helping me, and all of that. Oh and….” She looked in surprise towards her knee. Come to think of it, she did feel a bit of a dull ache there that she hadn’t noticed before, and the fabric of the slacks she wore was somewhat torn at the knee.

“I guess I need to look at that too.”

Julie looked towards Adam attentively as she turned towards the barracks not far off.

A rest sounds good…and I’m a bit hungry to be honest.” Though she wasn’t too optimistic about the provisions they were assigned…Speaking of which, she curiously took the tin of crackers out of her pack, opened it, and looked at the contents with a certain amount of suspicion on her face.

“I hope these fucking crackers are vegan.”
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MATSUDAAAAAAAAAAAA~

Lady's Lineup:

Alive: Julie Mikan(at the Marsh), Alice Jones(at the Jailhouse)

Dead: Luke Rowan, Nadine Willowbrook, Galen Neilson

v4: Mina "Yulin" Bathory, Gwynnes "Gwyn" Whitaker
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Vegan? Is she...serious?

Adam Dodd laughed out loud. It was a strange sound, especially coming from such a traumatized person as himself, and it was a sound that he hadn't heard in quite some time. At least, coming naturally. Julie's response to what Adam had said had been relatively expected. Naturally, she was in a really bad place right now - having just killed someone, and not knowing how to react? She was freaking out. But he'd succeeded in doing what he knew that he had to, which was calm her down enough to see reason. As they walked, mostly in silence, towards the barracks, Adam took this as an opportunity to sort his own mess of thoughts and feelings out.

One moment, he'd been mad at the world, cursing like a sailor and being as angry as anyone could possibly be. His words were his venom, his rhetoric was his acid, and he was spraying it all over anyone who'd listen.

And then Madelaine showed up, and Adam had had a Truman Show-esque epiphany.

Maybe that was what was really going on. Maybe it WAS just one big reality show, and Adam was the star. That'd certainly be the biggest practical joke in the history of ...well, ever. The problem was, reality show or not, it'd fucked him up something fierce. But Madelaine's appearance? As much as he couldn't explain it (ghosts? hallucinations? miraculous returns from the dead?), he felt a little better thanks to her words.

I have to act like someone I'd get along with, not someone who I'd punch in the face. Unless it's absolutely necessary. Got it. So no being an asshole unless somebody shoots at me, or some shit like that. Check.

His situation had gotten a little bit better since his last evaluation of it. He was in a bit of a better mindset, and had now at least temporary possession of a gun. He had someone who professed not to be his ally, but Adam saw that in her eyes, when she'd said that, she was someone who probably didn't want to be alone at the moment, and thanks to that, she stayed around.

It wasn't long before they arrived at the barracks, the same building that Adam had been at before. Popping his head inside and taking a look in, he saw that it was still as empty as it had been before. Looking back outside to Julie, he motioned to the door.

"After you. There should be a cot that you can sit down on, we'll take a look at that knee, alright?"
---
The Future

The Past

Meanwhile...
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It was a bit strange, but somehow Julie had felt herself calming down for the while that she and Adam were perfectly able to converse without having to shoot eachother or point a gun at anybody. She was still rather shaken from her latest...first kill, not to mention the fact that she was still absolutely wracked with guilt over the whole thing.

But perhaps it was because someone was with her, someone who had a very good idea of what she was going through, that Julie was able to keep going without breaking down completely.

Mm. And she supposed laughter helped a bit, even if SHE was the one being laughed at it seemed. >.> .... Speaking of which though, she was used being teased, people poking fun at her Veganism, something she'd sworn to since the age of fourteen. It wasn't a problem, she was used to it.

...Being laughed at though? That was kind of a different story. -_-

Looking towards Adam as he motioned towards the door of one of the dorm units of barracks, she nodded. "Thanks." Promptly, she strode inside with her bag and made a beeline for the nearest bed, looking about cautiously as she did so. Dropping her pack on the ground and throwing off her trenchcoat, she sat on one of the cots, pulling off the leg of her black pants up and over the knee she'd fallen on earlier.

....Well, she'd received worse injuries in track practice, overrunning a sprint, missing a hurdle... Having survived having her shin broken in two places a few years back, a bruise and a few openly bleeding cuts were nothing on her!

...That wasn't to say they weren't serious though, and they did start to hurt as the cloth peeled back from the wound and were hit by the open air. Wincing a bit, she reached for her pack, pulling out the first aid kit and flipping the lid open, sorting one-handed through the gauze and bandages.

She looked towards Adam as she fished around for the disinfectant. "...So anyways..." She started, a bit awkwardly. Julie supposed that now they had called a truce of sorts for now, she might as well be a little bit talkative for once. "...I've been listening to the announcements. Something seems...odd with them. The way Danya worded the kills? I understand that killing is a very neccessary part of the game but I can't believe that anyone could be as merciless and full of bloodlust as Danya implied them to be. It's like he's making up stories that's only half-truth of what really happened...like he wants us to believe that everyone out there is a merciless killer..."

Julie frowned in thought. "And...who the hell is this Nathanial Harris, anyways? Danya was praising him for the so-called 'best kill' of the day, when I don't even know who the guy is, anyways... Do you think he could be one of the players?"

She noted the look on Adam's face, something she'd been doing for the while after he'd returned. "...By the way, are you alright? You look as though...well, you've seen a ghost."
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MATSUDAAAAAAAAAAAA~

Lady's Lineup:

Alive: Julie Mikan(at the Marsh), Alice Jones(at the Jailhouse)

Dead: Luke Rowan, Nadine Willowbrook, Galen Neilson

v4: Mina "Yulin" Bathory, Gwynnes "Gwyn" Whitaker
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
As Julie entered the building and began to attend to her wound, Adam quickly entered through the door after her, closing it as he came through. The windows in the small barracks building weren't large, but they'd be useful enough to tell if anyone was coming. And while it was all well and good that Julie was no longer trying to kill him, that didn't mean that they were out of danger. Far from it. In fact, they wouldn't be out of danger for the rest of their time on the island, from the time they'd got here to the time that they either won or died.

It's a hell of a grim thought, and something I don't really want to think about, but...fuck, could I really pull this fuckin' thing off again?

As he glimpsed out the window, looking into the distance, he shook his head to himself. That possibility in itself was insanely doubtful. Insane in that he'd have to be crazy to even believe a bit that he'd be able to do it again. Getting through Survival of the Fittest once had been essentially a miracle, and had been something that almost completely destroyed him. To try and go through it again? Adam couldn't even begin to fathom what he'd be like after coming out the second time around.

Though...fuck, it's not like I'm just gonna lie down and die...that'd be completely against my nature...

As Julie broke the uneasy silence, Adam sat down on one of the beds that was close to the window, so that in case anyone came into the area, he'd be able to see them. As she spoke, Adam noticed a tension that seemed to come across her, almost as though she wasn't sure how to react, how to act. This, of course, was yet another thing about the situation which didn't surprise him. It was beginning to become repeditive, really. The whole 'murder' thing really put one's head through the ringer, and not to mention the fact that Adam was supposed to be this deranged, antisocial lunatic (at least, to most of the populace of Southridge). Her conversation sounded slightly forced, but reminded him a bit of his own forced conversation back at the cottage, when he'd noticed that both Hawley and Alan were running on the same wavelength, something that he felt threatened by. He'd forced up the topic of who they'd kill if they could - and as wrong as it felt to ask the question then, he knew that if he hadn't, he probably would have ended up in a ditch somewhere once he'd outlived his usefulness.

I can't blame her, but at least she's trying to talk. I mean, it could be worse, she could be aiming something at my head.

As he listened to her speak, Adam found that she had a few good questions and some better points. Of course, Danya's sarcastic humour and distortion of facts was nothing new to him, so at the very least, he could belay some of the paranoia that she likely felt about the whole thing.

"That's not unusual for Danya. He likes to play silly little games all the time. Odds are that a lot of those kills were either self-defense or a lot more circumstantial than Danya made them sound. The problem is, his announcements are basically the only way that we have any kind of an idea of who's playing, and who isn't."

Adam looked out the window again, deciding that for as long as they stayed, he'd need to do this every few minutes.

"I can tell you this for sure. That Asian kid from back at the bridge? That guy's playing. Gabriel...that big tall kid who's got the limp or whatever? Scary looking kind of guy? He's playing. Uhh...Paul Smith, I think is his name? Rock star dude? That guy's basically playing too. I ran into him in this storehouse, talked some shit to him, and he attacked me. Which, isn't to say that he wasn't ready to shoot me anyways."

Adam grinned a bit as he shook his head in what could only be described as chagrinned disbelief.

"In case you haven't noticed, that's basically my defense mechanism for everything. I get pissed? I start talking shit. I get angry? Same deal. Fuck, when I'm happy I still swear like it's going out of style. And somehow, I've found that when people're pointing guns at me, I tend to talk a whole lot of shit to them, and it always somehow manages to get me out of it...as you well know..."

Pausing a bit, the smile disappeared.

"...uh, sorry about that, by the way. I, ahh...I know a lot of what I said was really meanspirited and probably...wasn't the nicest bunch of things a person could've said to you. I was doing real well on not becoming a bitter little bastard, but this whole thing kinda set me back a little. So, uh...sorry."

At the awkward apology, Adam knew that he really didn't owe the girl anything of the sort. She'd pointed a gun at his head, and what else could he have done? He did what he had to and managed not to get shot...by her. At this he was suddenly reminded of his slightly aching chest, the bruises a reminder of how things didn't always come up as well as he'd hope they could. At her question about Nathanial Harris, Adam just shrugged.

"Him? I don't have a fuckin' clue. But...I mean, really. How many people in the school do I actually chum around with? I probably know the names of like...maybe ten people, if you exclude the members of the hockey team. So...I wouldn't know him to see him, really. Fact, I'm really just guessing on the fact that your name is Julie. It...it is, right? Be a little embarrassing if it wasn't."

Adam grinned again, hoping to break some of the tension that held over them still. A lot of it was an act, and Adam knew that he was as transparent as she was, but the effort was there, and this was socially as well as he'd been doing in terms with interacting with different people since he'd started hanging around with Izzy.

God, I hope she's okay. I hope she's either keeping a low profile, or got herself with a good group of people who'll keep her safe. I fuckin' refuse to believe that she started playing, and attacked that guy. There's no way in hell. If she's with that Keith Jackson guy...if that's who I think it is, then when I find her, it might be a bit of a problem. That guy's not exactly my biggest fan, but fuck...who cares. I won't be tryin' to shoot at 'em, so what'll it matter?

Adam blinked.

...well, unless they shoot at me first.

At the ghost comment, Adam couldn't help but blink in surprise, and stare at Julie as though she'd grown a third nose.

"A ghost?" Adam sighed slightly and looked at the ground. "Maybe. That's the thing about Survival of the Fittest. You're bound to find all kinds of stuff here. Love, loss...friendship and comraderie, pain and suffering...joy and despair. Death, and destruction. So have I seen a ghost?"

Adam paused, and considered it himself for a moment.

"Maybe. On this island? Fuck, anything's possible. Time'll tell, I suppose."

Snapping himself out of his cryptic state of mind, he looked at Julie bandaging her knee, and figured that it couldn't hurt to ask her what he'd been wondering about since they'd gotten here.

"Oh, right...I've got a question for you. Do you know who Izzy Cheung is? And if so, have you seen her, or run into her? She's one of the few people in this school that I actually cared to know, so...um. Yeah. I may have mentioned her before, but like...things were slightly more heated."

Glancing back at her knee, Adam gestured to it.

"Knee okay? You took one especially nasty fall into a stump, I was, uh...kinda worried that you might have sprained something."
---
The Future

The Past

Meanwhile...
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Julie sat on the bed with her knee up, wincing slightly from the sting of antiseptic as she gingerly dabbed at the cuts on her knee. It didn't seem too bad. It wasn't as though she couldn't walk, or run even, just that it would be somewhat uncomfortable. She frowned a bit now as she listened to Adam.

To be honest though, making small conversation for the sake of making small conversation was only part of the reason, as there was a bit of intentionality behind Julie bringing up these subjects as well. Julie right now was intent on learning everything she could about this game, and how to best survive it...and what better way than to learn from someone who'd been there and had survived?

She might as well accept the fact that she and Adam, for now that is, were allies...whether she liked it or not. It wasn't exactly what she had intended or planned at the beginning, but really, in a game like this, did anything ever went according to plan? To be honest though, she wasn't sure if she was one hundred percent comfortable with this alliance. For one thing, though they were occasional classmates, Julie hardly knew him. For another? He'd killed more people than she could remember. And even besides that? They could not stay enemies. The very nature of the game simply wouldn't allow it.

Still, she was compliant for the time being, as uncomfortable as she was. But really, she might as well make the most of the information he was providing her, right? That and a bit of company, someone to talk to. At a time like this, Julie wasn't sure if she wanted to be alone. Just going along with the flow of things now sounded like the better idea for the time being.

That and he appeared as though he meant well... that much Julie could appreciate.

Still, there was a bit of a psychological barrier she'd set up between them both as they conversed. Similar one that she tended to put in front of her when conversing with most people, this one was just a bit stronger than most.

"I see...Danya does seem like the kind of bastard who would try to twist the truth."

The problem is, his announcements are basically the only way that we have any kind of an idea of who's playing, and who isn't.

She blinked slightly at this comment, then replied with a bit of grim humour. "You mean...besides bumping into one and ending up getting killed ourselves?"

Julie smiled a bit darkly...then frowned in concentration as Adam suddenly listed a number of people whom he believed to be playing. This was something she needed to know. More importantly, it was something she needed to remember. "Sorry, can you run that by me again?" In the split-second that followed, she had pulled a worn, heavily-used and nearly full notebook from her pack and opened it, writing furiously.

Gabriel... Paul... that kid, I believe his name was Harry, or something like that... This she thought to herself as she scribbled the names down. There were other names on that page, ones she'd recorded while listening to the announcements. And then she realized... Gabriel's name, among others, were listed under a heading that indicated what Julie believed to be possible killers, judging from the announcement.

Gabriel Theobaldt... He was a player, at least two sources confirmed that. Bitting her lip, she circled the name heavily in ink, so that it was burned in memory. She knew him by his height, and with luck, she'd probably be able to see him from a mile away should she encounter him.

Kill on sight... This extra note was added grimly.

Julie looked up towards Adam when she was done. She blinked in surprise at his apology, and promptly shook her head.

"It's fine. I WAS pointing a gun at you after all. What else can you do, in a situation like this? And in any case, I've heard from...well I've heard that you have something of a mouth on you, even more so depending on the situation." She smiled a bit. "Though really, if someone is pointing a gun at you, isn't it wiser to try and get on their good side? To be honest though, as long as you weren't going to attack me or anything...I honest to God wasn't going to shoot you in the first place. At all."

Julie looked at him directly with a serious expression. Unbeknownst to her, the barrier she'd set up had already fallen.

Knee bandaged, she put her feet up on the bed, sitting up in something of a curled up, crouching position "Yeah, well...it's actually Juliet Mikan. But I tell everyone to call me Julie. You probably don't know me, I took a year off from school and only got back a few months ago. Weren't you also doing track though?"

She frowned abit though at the reply to her ghost remark...to say that Adam looked as though he'd seen a ghost was really just a figure of speech to describe the way he looked, Julie hadn't expected Adam to directly answer that question. Julie for one didn't believe in ghosts... She couldn't help but wonder about his rather enigmatic answer though.

Julie looked towards her knee. "...I'm fine. I must've been really out of it there, but it's fine, just a few cuts and a nasty bruise is all, but I've been through plenty worse." She shook her head regretfully. "And no...I'm afraid I don't know who that is, nor have I run into her as of yet." She frowned abit. "...Though she WAS on the announcements, wasn't she? I'm not trying to say that she's a killer, but...."

...but anything's possible. Was what she wanted to say, but to hell if that wasn't tactful.

"If I see her, I'll let you know you're looking for her, or try to tell you...something like that. If you know her well, then she probably can't be someone who'd try to kill anyone, right? I think I can take your word for that."

She paused for a moment, then looked towards the gun that Adam was holding. A thought suddenly came to her. "....By the way, you know how to use that, don't you? I've never used a gun before...before now that is, but I've read up on it." Julie was up on her feet, and she was handing him the instruction manual to him now, as well as the stock accessory she'd kept. "This thing here? You mount it to the handle. The switch here allows for automatic burst-fire of three rounds when you pull the trigger. Handy, huh?" She shrugged as she handed them both to him. "You probably know how to use it better than I do."

Julie looked towards him, suddenly regarding him calmly but seriously this time. "You say we're allies for now, right? That I can accept, but you're not going to leave me without a weapon are you? Give me your knife."
Posted Image
MATSUDAAAAAAAAAAAA~

Lady's Lineup:

Alive: Julie Mikan(at the Marsh), Alice Jones(at the Jailhouse)

Dead: Luke Rowan, Nadine Willowbrook, Galen Neilson

v4: Mina "Yulin" Bathory, Gwynnes "Gwyn" Whitaker
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
As Julie handed him the stock accessory and showed him how to use it, it didn't quite occur to him that she was giving him her gun...for keeps. Though, the more her words hung in the air, the more they made sense to him. He had experience with firearms, he'd most certainly shot them, and at people a lot more than Julie had. His knife would be much more useful in the hands of ...well, of anyone else. Adam hated relinquishing a weapon, but the fact of the matter was that out of any type of weapon, he least preferred small knives. To have a knife was to be involved in close-quarters combat, and that was something that Adam ordinarily tried to avoid.

Fact is, if I manage to survive at all in this game again, I'm going to have to try and find more than just a gun, or a knife, or a bunch of lightbulbs. It's going to have to be the same trick as last time. Pick up whatever shit that I can and hope to god that it comes in handy at some point...

Reaching down into his pack, he unzipped the inner pocket and extracted the switchblade. He'd barely had to use it at this point - really just using it to defend himself from Paul Smith, and he felt far more comfortable with a gun. A gun was a projectile weapon, with multiple uses. A knife? Sure, you could use it as a projectile weapon. Problem was, you only got one shot, and unless you got real lucky, it probably wasn't going to do any damage. Silently, Adam handed over the knife, the look on his face betraying his surprise at the gesture. Moments before, she'd been vehemently against the concept of allying with him...and now?

Well, you've done it, Adam. You've managed to turn someone who wanted to blow your fool head off into someone who, for the time being, seems to have become your new travelling companion. Seems like you missed your calling as a Jehovah's Witness...

"Yeah...I suppose that you could say that...not like I learned, but it's been more of a 'trial by fire' kind of deal with that. "

Checking the stock attachment, he quickly experimented with attaching and detaching it. Nodding in approval, he stuffed it into his pack, opting to leave it off for the time being. Ammunition wasn't exactly at a premium, and he didn't want to waste it all now, especially not so early in the game.

At Julie's earlier comment about running into a killer being one way to figure out who they were, he'd smirked, and now brought the line of conversation back towards that.

"I s'pose that's the fun little thing about this whole situation. You don't really have much of an idea of who's planning to shoot you in the face until the bullets're whizzing your way. I've been shot at more times than I'd care to remember, but it still scares the hell out of me every time it happens. You've got to realize that though. Anybody could be a psychopath out there. Any friends, boyfriends, whatever. They could all have lost their minds and fallen to the game. You've got to realize that."

Adam's lips formed into a grim frown.

"...I have to realize that."

At this, of course, he was referring to Izzy. Danya's announcements were unreliable, of course, but regardless, there was always truth within them. She'd been there when someone had died, that much was true. Hopefully she hadn't fallen into the sick game, that she'd simply been protecting herself...

...but what do I know about that guy she's supposedly with; Jackson? Some jocky kind of guy, my locker's next to him, I think. If I'm even thinking of the right guy. If that guy's playing, and has a shotgun...shit...but I've been over all of this before, rehashing it won't make my situation any better.

Looking down at the ground, Adam sighed and jumped up on one of the cots, opposite to where Julie was. Letting his head rest up against the wall, he shut his eyes for a moment and sighed. Dark was beginning to set down upon them, and Adam had to admit that he was exhausted. His fatigue seemed more intense than last time.

"Fuck...I'm beat. It's weird, too. Last time, I went...I maybe slept all of four hours in the first three days, and then when my group died, I think I slept twice - once in which I passed out for a bit, and one time where I locked myself in a crashed chopper. And in the whole ten days, I was fucked - pretty sure that I was seein' shit at the end of it all, but...wow.."

Adam grimaced, and shook his head.

"It's getting late, night's starting to fall, and no matter what my beliefs are on the subject, I think we should stay here for the night. I'm fucked right now. Though...I guess that the heat probably has something to do with it...that and the fact that I've been in three big fights already."

Pausing for a minute, Adam yawned.

"What d'you think?"

((Sorry for the lack of posting frequency, I'm getting slammed. Also sorry that the end of this post is shitty, I'm passing out as I'm writing it. This might be my last one for about a week though.))



---
The Future

The Past

Meanwhile...
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[ *  *  * ]
Julie smiled with a sort of grim, morbid humour. "Oh yeah, I do realize that. Don't think that I haven't. Who knows. Maybe in the end, I might be the one who ends up betraying you," Her smile faded somewhat as she took the knife, unsheathing it, resheathing it, again and again to get a feel for wielding it.

"Then again, you're the one with the gun now, so that might not be the wisest of ideas at the moment." Seeing Adam hop into one of the cots, Julie sat back down on the one she was at, bringing her feet up and crossing them together. She hugged her knees a bit, looking at the knife in her hand.

"Sleep...will probably do better for our sanity, I think," she looked outside towards the darkening sky. Julie herself wasn't all too sure if she could sleep easily tonight. How many people in the world could sleep soundly knowing that they'd killed someone earlier in the day? Only one completely devoid of emotion, and Julie knew that she wasn't that type of person.

Maybe I'd be stronger if I didn't feel so much, she thought. To her surprise, she began to yawn, eyes beginning to cloud over as exhaustion and the day's end started to have an effect. ...Then again, my emotions are what lead me, enabling me to follow him even this far. Maybe my emotions are what keep me alive, as well.

Her body soon started to feel numb as sleep took over. Dropping her head against her knees, she leaned against the wall and drifted off.

...

Daylight was just beginning to break in the murky sky as Julie lifted her head, blearily opening her eyes. The knife was still in her hand when she awoke.

Regardless of the trauma that had resulted from the murder she had committed, she had a mercifully dreamless sleep.

She was too anxious to dream.

Julie blinked somewhat, running her hands through her coppery hair as she sat up on the cot where she had fallen asleep. Looking off towards Adam, she smiled somewhat sheepishly.

"...I dozed off, didn't I?"

Her sleepy, half-dazed expression suddenly sharpened and became alert as a familiar sound resonated across the island at the breaking of dawn. Wide-awake, she stood up, hand suddenly tightening against the folded switchblade in her hand as that all-too-familiar voice filled her ears, feeding the hatred and anger that for a while had been dormant inside her. Now it rekindled again, and seethed.

That Danya... "The second announcement..." She murmured, with a cold hiss, falling into a hush as that hideously cheerful voice seemed to fill the air outside.

As she listened, Julie's eyes widened.

"....Twenty dead...."

She nearly dropped the knife. So many...so many were dead, all within the span of a mere day. Julie fell into a stunned silence, nearly forgetting herself before she snapped back to reality, and grabbed the notebook that lay on the cot beside her.

Julie continued her list of names...not of the dead, but of the killers, underlying those she had already written. Gabriel Theobaldt was one of them. Nathanial Harris was another.

And she...Julie's own name was there, the tale of her crime told to all the world. She closed her eyes and bit her lip, trying to block out the sound of Danya's mocking voice. All the while, her fury stirred.

Laugh now, you bastard. Unlike Owen, killing you won't be a mistake.

Some of the same names were repeated over and over again. Gabriel Theobaldt...and Nathanial Harris. Julie's frown deepened into a severe expression. As a slight bead of sweat rolled down her face, she bit her thumb and concentrated in deep thought. Who the hell was this "Nathanial Harris"?! He was clearly a killer with more than just borderline sadistic intent, yet why had Julie never heard that name in school, ever?! This person... Julie was on the verge of just going out there to hunt him down and put an end to it. Whoever he was, he was simply a worthless, inhumane beast who deserved nothing more than to be put down like an animal.

She shook her head as the rest of the names were called out, lowering the pen.

"....Twenty of them..." She said simply. "That's enough to fill a classroom...enough to fill a classroom with people I know, people I talk to from time to time. Even the people who I never talk to but still see every day, while walking through the hallways to get to my class..."

It felt somehow surreal, looking at the death of twenty people from that sort of perspective...

Julie fell out of her state of numb shock, surprised as her name was mentioned yet again...

That casual remark that came from Danya as he made mention of her was enough to agitate her loathing to a new level. Her grey-green eyes turned as cold as lead as they sharpened suddenly towards a camera hanging above the door, the lens zooming in and out, following their every movements. Her hands whipped towards a steel floor-sweeper hanging by the door.

Find yourself some different material to keep up your freakish masturbation, you bastard. Julie thought to herself as she swung the metal shaft of the sweeper towards the camera, felling it in a single swoop. It fell in a crash against the floor, zoom lens shattering, shell bursting apart and wires crackling slightly where the camera had been ripped away from the wall.

Still clutching the sweeper, Julie breathed in heavily, staring at the ruined camera lying on the floor.

After a while, her breathing slowed... and she calmed down completely.

Tossing the sweeper to the side, where it fell with a clatter, she ran her fingers though her hair again, brushing away a bit of the sweat on her face as she did so. Reaching to her bag and uncapping a bottle of water, she gulped down its contents, and sighed contentedly when she was finished.

Looking towards Adam with a cool, neutral expression on her face, she remarked calmly, "You know something? I feel quite better now."

The plastic bottle crumpled in her hand, she tossed into the wastebasket sitting at the corner. Striding back over to the cot, she took her trenchcoat and her bag, tying the former around her waist and slinging the latter over her shoulder.

"Well, I'm off to pick up the present that the fucker left for me... I don't suppose you'll want to follow me into a danger zone, huh? I'll be back though..." She took the knife in her hand, turning her back and starting to leave.

She stopped part way through the door, though not quite looking back.

"So what do you think of me now after that little relevation?" She asked him. Her expression was indiscernable from this position. "I don't care what you think, because it'll probably be far from the actual truth. Then again, you should know by now that the true story is a bit more complicated than whatever hints that bastard dropped in that announcement."
Posted Image
MATSUDAAAAAAAAAAAA~

Lady's Lineup:

Alive: Julie Mikan(at the Marsh), Alice Jones(at the Jailhouse)

Dead: Luke Rowan, Nadine Willowbrook, Galen Neilson

v4: Mina "Yulin" Bathory, Gwynnes "Gwyn" Whitaker
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do you want to go to war, balakay?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Adam's eyes shot back from outside the window as Julie's voice blearily observed that she'd fallen asleep. Smirking at the girl, he nodded.

"Yeah, well...it's not every day you're running for your life and trying not to get killed. It takes a lot out of a person, you know."

Glancing once more out the window, he smirked as a thought came to mind, and his eyes moved back to his ally.

"...not every day...I guess that pretty much applies to everyone, except me. I'm beginning to get used to this, as disturbing as that might sound."

Sighing, Adam cracked his neck and yawned a little. While Julie had slept, Adam had stayed awake, keeping watch for any players or others that might come their way. Somewhat surprisingly, they'd managed to stay without company. As he pondered asking Julie if she wouldn't mind sticking around here for a few more hours so Adam himself could get some sleep, he was disturbed by the crackling noise of the speakers that Danya had seemingly placed everywhere, yet nowhere visible. The noise was loud and sudden, and he almost jumped before his tired mind reminded him as to what it was.

Fucker always seems to jump in at the worst possible times, too. Wouldn't wanna let me get any sleep or anything, oh no.

As he listened, his eyes raised in surprise as he listened to the mass amount of people who had died. Oddly enough, it seemed as though many seemed to die accidentally. While some of the names rang a faint bell, he was overjoyed to know that Izzy was not amongst the ranks of the dead - at least, not yet, and Adam held out hope. What scared him though, was the fact that he knew that she was with Keith Jackson, and while Danya had said something about him shooting someone on the last announcement, it seemed that Keith Jackson had killed someone this time. If Keith, Izzy, and their group had decided to play the game, Adam himself would undoubtedly be one of the more appealing targets for them, and while he wouldn't hesitate shooting Keith or any of the others, Izzy would present a bit of a problem for him.

God, I really hope that it doesn't come down to that...that'd be as bad as losing Hawley again. Or Amanda. Andrew, Madelaine...I don't wanna have to go through that again. Especially if it's by my own hand.

As he listened to the rest of the announcement, his eyebrows raised at the repeated mention of Julie Mikan. The description of Owen's death caused him a tinge of regret, though when Danya referred to Julie having been previously involved with one of his own men. This was a tinge of new information, something she hadn't previously disclosed. Though, it made sense. The questions from before, the probing questions she'd pointedly asked when she had a gun to his head...

Intriguing...this'll be somethin' to pick her brain about, for sure.

Finally, his eyes widened as Danya announced that she had managed to earn a prize for her kill of Owen. This was something new. In Adam's version of SOTF, there'd never been any kind of prizes given out. Granted, he never would have wanted to win any kind of horrible prize, but if it were a better weapon, that could have helped immensely. As the announcement ended, Adam simply turned to look at Julie, but (also somewhat surprisingly; he was losing his touch), Julie had the first word in about it. Of course, Julie's first words sounded more like relentless destruction of Danya property, in the form of a camera.

A language that Adam knew he himself was quite fluent in. Saying nothing but watching, almost amusedly, as Julie destroyed the camera with a floor-sweeper, ran her fingers through her hair, and took a big drink of water. As she turned to Adam after composing herself, and said in that neutral, robotic tone of voice "You know something? I feel quite better now", his mouth dropped agape for a moment. For a moment, there was silence, and then Adam began to laugh. And he couldn't stop. He laughed hard, for about thirty-five seconds, and then, gasping to breathe, wiped the tears of laughter away from his eyes.

"J..Jul...heh...Julie. Wow. That? That was tremendous."

Breathing normally now, but still chuckling a little, Adam nodded as Julie went to grab her coat and her pack. Informing him of her intentions to go grab her new weapon, Adam nodded at her, but didn't have much of a chance to do otherwise as she started to leave. Something stopped her though, and Adam raised an eyebrow as she turned around and asked him what he thought about her, after Danya's little revelation. Scratching his face and feeling the two-day-old stubble, Adam had to admit that the revelation had the same effect on him as episodes of Lost had on the general populace. While some of his questions had been answered, ten new ones had popped up in their place, leaving Adam frustrated, confused and wanting more. But her worrying about him judging her? Adam had a strong opinion on that, and he smirked a little as he gave it.

"Julie...you do know who I am, right? You know what my name is, yeah? Adam. Dodd? Ring a bell? You don't care what I think of you? That's fine, but honestly...there aren't a whole hell of a lot of people wandering about on this jolly little island of ours that'll understand how it feels to have secrets that're better left in the past."

The smirk fell off of his face. leaving an odd expression on his face, almost as though he were making an excuse for himself.

"You have things about you that'll get out, that you're afraid you'll be judged for? Okay, that's fair, who doesn't have a dirty little secret. But if you're worrying about being judged for your past, you're talking to the right guy. The guy who nobody'll talk to because he killed twelve people trying to save his own ass. The guy who everyone thinks is some sort of psychopath just because I survived what can only be described as a massacre. That's me, and I've been sardonically bitter about it for most of the year, when I'm not trying to leave it behind. It keeps following me around, like a dirty old man in a public pool, and I've been trying to escape it for what seems like eternity. But like creepy old Mr. Clifford, it keeps popping up when I least expect it, at the most inconvienient of times. If I were to judge you about your past, I'd be no better than the people who judged me for mine."

Adam shrugged, the strange metaphor hanging in the air but making his point loud and clear.

"You're right, you should go and get that weapon from wherever they put it. If...if you're planning to come back and keep chumming around with that creepy guy with a silver tongue and PTSD on the mind, by all means. I'd...I guess I'd started to get used to hanging around with you. Someone who has more secrets than I do. I won't lie. I'm curious, I'm real curious. But if you're not ready to tell - and I'm sure it's no short story...that's fine. I'm cool with that. Just...if you're not going to come back, let me know, so I don't sit around making myself "target of the year"."

Adam stood up, stretching his legs out, both knees popping somewhat loudly. At this, he grimaced, and stretched his shoulders, one of which made the same sound.

"Yeesh. I guess I'll stick around for a bit anyway, see if I can salvage anything here, pick up supplies, and try and rest a bit. I'll wait for you, kay? Can't promise I won't bolt if baddies come flyin' around, but if you want to keep...keep keeping me company; how's that for a tongue twister...I'd appreciate it."

Adam turned to where his pack was, and fished through it for one of the cracker tins, when he suddenly stopped and looked back up at Julie.

"Oh, and Julie?"

He grinned.

"You really won that 'gun' for 'knife' trade, eh?"
---
The Future

The Past

Meanwhile...
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Julie simply stood there, pausing by the doorway as Adam spoke. She listened in silence, taking in his words while still not quite looking back at him. Looking more preoccupied than ever, Julie bit her lip somewhat, adjusting the grip on her daypack.

He was right. Everyone had their secrets. But to be honest, Julie didn't care if she was being judged for her past or not. She wasn't afraid of that. In reality, what she was most afraid of was telling her story, all of it, and not being understood when there was nothing left to be said.

To be honest, it was something Julie had been deliberating on for a while. Telling Adam everything, that is. If she told him, would he understand? How could he? That was what she had been thinking at first. But time and time again, he was always there to remind her that he was a survivor of events best left forgotten, someone who had seen more than most. Experience tended to give a person a special insight on various things, and Julie knew Adam had experienced more than she had ever done.

Maybe she had judged him too soon? Too quickly?

Slowly, her head turned to look towards him. She stepped back from the door way a bit to face him fully, tilting her head to the side a bit, a thoughtful expression on her face. As she looked at him, a clumsy silence stretched out...

And then she shrugged, smiling a bit. "Well, for all your self-declared 'creepiness', I can't imagine that you're worse company than say...some freak of a guy who shoves lit firecrackers down other people's throats." She looked away with a somewhat awkward smile as she rubbed the back of her head. "Well, I don't mind us sticking by eachother, it's a lot better than having to neck it out alone, I think. And you're not creepy. Disturbed? Probably. Bitter and snarky? Absolutely. But creepy?"

She shrugged and shook her head, smiling fully this time, something she couldn't remember doing before. "Nah. Not at all."

Julie's smile faded somewhat as she looked away, reminded of the secret that she had been deliberating on telling him. "Well..." Her voice grew quiet. "...I suppose you ought to know, if we ARE to team up like this. I know you're probably curious, but I don't know just yet. It's complicated. I...I suppose I could tell you everything....but later, not now."

She placed her hand against the doorway as she turned to leave again. "But yeah, I'm coming back, don't worry. I won't be long, and I'll be just fine. Honest. And I'd appreciate it if you're willing to wait for me, too..."

At surprise towards his latter comment, she looked towards the knife he'd given her, and smiled somewhat. "Heh, well. I try. Honest to God I do. But I'll be back with that present waiting for me and then we'll see who got the better end of the deal."

She gazed towards the outside, taking a deep breath. She ought to move quickly, for Adam's sake and her own.

"Well...I'm taking off now. Wish me safe travels."

It was a bit overcast, and chilly to be honest. Draping her trenchcoat over her shoulders, she gave Adam one last wave before heading out onto the road that lead away from the barracks, retracing the steps she and Adam had taken to get here, through the jungle, back towards the swinging bridge.

((Continued at The Swinging Bridge))
Posted Image
MATSUDAAAAAAAAAAAA~

Lady's Lineup:

Alive: Julie Mikan(at the Marsh), Alice Jones(at the Jailhouse)

Dead: Luke Rowan, Nadine Willowbrook, Galen Neilson

v4: Mina "Yulin" Bathory, Gwynnes "Gwyn" Whitaker
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Continued from Mending))

((Don't mind any spelling errors or typos in this post, I'm at my mom's and her keyboard is ghetto.))

Unbenowst to Adam Dodd, he was being watched.

After leaving the clearing in the jungle, Ivye Dewley had hightailed it out of the area, not so much as stopping to admire her own handiwork. She was confident that she had made quite the mess of the group that had been gathered there. Even if she hadn't killed them all, she had probably inflicted some lasting damage, at the least. If nothing else, she got satisfaction from that fact.

She had ran as fast as she could across the island. Of course, that wasn't saying much, considering she was a little on the chunky side, but still, she had finally come across what seemed to be adequate enough shelter in the barracks... and none too soon, either. It was overcast and cool outside, but it didn't make the light any less painful.

After all, you burn the most on overcast days.

Instead of barging directly into one of the barracks like she had originally planned and taking shelter for the remainder of the day, the sound of voices coming from the interior of one of the barracks had stopped her. Curious as to who her newest toys were, she casually waited outside, hiding in the bushes until a girl emerged.

She was quite obviously not alone, as Ivye could hear her speaking to a man that seemed to be remaining inside of the barracks. It was simply too perfect to ignore. She would wait until the girl left, attack and kill the boy inside the barracks, and when the girl came back, probably traumatized over the loss of her companion, Ivye would strike once again and kill her too.

The girl vanished into the bushes, and Ivye smiled,quietly sneaking up to the front door of the barracks. Her eyebrows raised dramatically as she identified the target within. Ivye hadn't been a very social person back in school. She was shunned by her peers for being a "freak"... the fact was, they simply didn't understand that she was a higher being than them. But that person... everyone knew him.

Adam Dodd.

Talk about one hell of a target. If I kill him, Danya might even see fit to get me out of this place... or at least give me another weapon to destroy these fools with! And... talk about your notoriety. I'd be known as the student that killed Adam Dodd. The Adam Dodd. I'd be a legend... maybe then they'd come to understand me for what I really am... and these pitiful terrans will learn to fear me as they should!

Ivye smiled widely, her eyes gleaming with malicious intent as she removed a grenade from her daypack and pulled the pin before rolling it quietly through the door.

Say goodnight.
Misa Achtland

Ayako Okogamine

Kevin De la Torre

Melissa Angelicchio

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IDDQD
[ *  *  *  * ]
((Continued from Say Goodbye, Hollywood))

It was hard to believe such a giant of a man could move as quietly as he did, and considering his past exploits on the island, stealth was not exactly his strong suit. And as he quickly realized, neither was deliberate intimidation. His strength was his physical and emotional finesse as it were. You had a near-seven foot tall, compassionless sociopath with an aptitude for murder, and what more could one ask for in a game like this? He was, granted, a large target, but with this coat of his, he could blend easily in the dark jungle. Exactly what he did now.

There's only so much you can do with a sword.

Well, he did know one thing he needed -

A soul perhaps?

I was thinking of a weapon...

Ah, that nagging little voice in the back of his head. What some called a concience, he called a yammering little cunt who always broke into dialouge at the most inopportune times. Really, though, it was a half-assed concience on it's own. Never really pushing him to do good, never caring exactly what he did with someone's body parts... it almost seemed to encourage him with the sheer amount of annoyance it gave Gabriel. He tried to shut it out. He didn't know what IT was, but it was putting up a fight.

---
"Gab- Shane, could you pass the salt?"

"Sure."

"What?"

"Gabriel, I didn't ask you anything."

"Yeah, right."


Dinner at the Theobaldt household were becoming increasingly uncomfortable. The root of the problem sat, across from his brother and brooded. Ever since he'd seemed to 'snap' out of his depression, he'd become... different. Different than he'd ever been before. And not in a good way. People killed on the news, he'd laugh. A guy gets killed across the street, and it would bring a smile to his face. Before, Gabriel had been... well, he'd been in a perpetual state of depression... he barely ever smiled, and But, like this... he seemed to listen. He seemed to care for other people. Shane and Gabriel... they were close. Gabriel had helped him through so much in his life. From petty little gangs to homework, Gabriel was always there. When Shane had came out to his parents, Gabriel guarded him from his Father's seemingly endless rage. The screams of "Faggot" were rebuked by Gabriel's own brand of rage, and unlike Gabriel, Shane had not inherited his mother's family trait of being, quite, quite tall. He was nearly a foot taller than his father. As it seemed, that Mr. Theobaldt had subdued. As it seemed.

As Gabriel turned to sit his mortified brother down on the couch in their living room, his crazed father, rambling incoherently at this point, brandished a kitchen knife towards Shane. Were it not for his mother's frightened shreak, Gabriel might've lost his brother. He physically subdued his father this time, but not before his father left him with a scar across his face, and across his soul. Gabriel's father, almost killing both of his sons, just because one didn't like girls? How could he have considered someone that... evil... to be such a great guy before?


That... that was long ago. Gabriel had changed. That sad guardian angel, shattered by the betrayal of his best friend, and later, his father... that man was gone.

"So, you're going on a trip tommorow?" Mrs. Theobaldt asked, trying to stir up what little conversation she could in the disturbed household.

"Are you that eager to get rid of me, Mom?" He replied, smiling, an ingenuine, sarcastic smile.

"Truthfully? Yes."

---

Taking the place of him was the Gabriel Theobaldt those on this island knew, well enough from Danya's announcements - The murderer, the embodiment of sheer demonic rage; he cared no more for human life than he did for the twigs that would crush under his feet as he strode through the jungle, searching for his next victim. They weren't his friends or his peers, but obstacles. Nothing more. Were Shane here, he would have cut him down without a second thought.

No.

He arrived at the barracks, quietly walking out of the jungle behind him. He recognized Ivye Dewley, the goth gril that he'd ran into a few times in the school's library. Most people labeled her as a freak, and as hypocritical as it seemed even to him, he agreed. Quietly he reached into his coat and drew the arming sword from his belt. Given the precarious nature of the situation, Gabriel would need to make this quick. He didn't know who she was throwing the grenade at, but he didn't care to ponder. If Ivye fell quickly, and noiselessly, perhaps that grenade she threw would do the rest of the work for him and eliminate those inside as well. They might even have a gun (or two?), which was something Gabriel coveted greatly but thusfar had no luck coming across.

Quickly, quietly, wordlessly. I don't have the luxury of enjoying this one.

On that thought, Gabriel gripped the sword's hilt with both hands, and swung it in a downwards arc, towards Ivye's neck. With any luck (and given his reach and the very little distance between them) he would decapitate her with ease, and she wouldn't even have time to scream.
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As Julie walked out the door, Adam mumbled a wish of good luck after her. She would undoubtedly need it - if his calculations were correct, most people who heard the announcement who were playing the game would try and intercept her. If she was dead, and the allotted time expired, then the danger zone would be open to whomever would want to go and pick up whatever wonderful weapon or prize she'd managed to earn. Scowling at the thought, Adam turned around and began to poke through the remnants of the barracks building. There wasn't a whole hell of a lot left over from when the place had been populated by whatever military had once been here, but it wasn't any harm to try.

Who knows, I might find something fun in amongst all of this crap. Like a first-aid kit, a weapon of sorts...maybe a knife, a gun...hell, I'd go for a sharp stick at this point, really. The more, the merrier, right?

As he was checking in the small containers that seemed to be beside each bed, Adam heard the noise of something bouncing, like a hard ball, off the floor near to the door. Perplexed, he turned around, pistol in one hand, pack in the other, about to bend over to grab what looked to be a first aid kit out of one of the boxes. As he saw the object bounce and land a foot in front of him, the blood drained from his face, and the voice inisde of his head started to scream at him, really loud.

It was a grenade, and it had seemed to misplace it's pin.

Eyes widening, Adam's instincts and former experience in SOTF were likely the only things that saved him. Surprised enough to let out a startled exclaimation, Adam didn't consciously act, but rather let his body do all of the moving.

"AHHHH! SAVE ME, JEEBUS!"

While a Simpsons quote was likely the strangest thing to come out of his mouth in the last little while and also probably the most unexpected, as soon as he said it, he was bouncing back towards the back window, which was his only way out now. He might not even make that, but he knew that no matter what, he had to try.

Gotta be like Steven-motherfuckin'-Segal; Hard to Kill!

Not even wasting any time, as he neared the last cot that was beside the back window, Adam jumped up on the cot, and, clutching both pack and pistol close to his chest, he sent himself hurtling towards the window, hoping to hell that he didn't miss. If he missed, he was dead.

Of course, luck (once again) seemed to be on his side, and Adam shut his eyes and threw his hands up to protect his face as he felt the glass shatter as the force of his weight sent him through the old window. Feeling the broken glass cutting into his side and arms, Adam ducked down and tried to land in a roll as he sent himself through the window. This, of course, was unsuccessful, and he ended up falling right on his hands and head, whacking his face against the ground.

This was followed seconds later (or even seconds before) by an explosion inside of the building. As he felt the heat blast through the open window, and the loud bang essentially cutting off much of his hearing, he was knocked silly by the concussive force of the explosion, getting thrown back to the ground as he tried to drag himself up. For a moment, he blacked out.

Uungh...motherfuck...

Forcing himself back into his body, Adam groaned and tried to pull himself up, feeling the heat from the scorching building. All that he could hear was a loud ringing in his ears, and his vision was blurry. Leaving his pack on the ground, Adam tried to stagger to his feet, only half-successfully, as he checked that he still had his pistol. He did, and for this, he was eternally thankful. Without it, or with that knife, he'd have been a sitting duck. Shaking his head again, Adam rubbed his eyes, trying to force away the blurriness of what was very possibly a concussion. Things came into a slightly better focus, and Adam knew that it was all he was probably going to get.

"Son of a bitch..."

He managed to spit out the explitive in a raspy voice, feeling the blood coming from his one good ear, and running down his neck. It only made him more aware to the fact that life or death had returned, and this time it was out for blood.

Only time for so much deux ex machina this time around, Doddy...

Taking the pistol in his hand, Adam unthumbed the safety and peeked around the corner of the building. He saw one, or was it two figures, one standing; likely the one who'd tossed the grenade, and the other...

Hey, it's that fuckin' Gabriel kid, who I pushed off the ravine. I'd bet he's REAL happy to see me. Well, fuck these guys. I don't plan on dying so easily!

In a crouch with his ears still ringing, Adam aimed his pistol in the direction of his two attackers, and squeezed the trigger. They were virtually lined up, Gabriel coming up from behind the other, but that didn't really matter to Adam. Right here, right now? Everyone was a threat, and he'd shoot whatever was moving. Body shifting into survival mode, he fired two shots to where the girl was standing, and then shifted slightly and fired two more shots, hoping to hit Gabriel.

Best case scenario? I take 'em both down and get the HELL outta here!

"C'mon...y...y'don't fuck with the Jedi Master, bitches..."

Adam was woozy, and he hoped that whatever confrontation would be had here would end sooner, rather than later - he didn't know how long he could keep himself going. Mentally, he was fine...but if his body shut down on him, he didn't have much choice in the matter, now did he?

((That's it for the night, guys. I'm essaying now. Also I'd appreciate if not everyone rushed in at once too, being as I'm gonna be away))
---
The Future

The Past

Meanwhile...
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