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Welcome to Survival of the Fittest, a RPing board loosely based off of Koshun Takami's Battle Royale, with its own unique plot and spin on the 'deadly game'. We've been around quite a while, and are now in our thirteenth year, so don't worry about us going anywhere any time soon!

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Topic Started: May 7 2008, 03:31 PM (3,133 Views)
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[[ Izzy continued from Torpor ]]

Izzy wasn’t quite sure just how long she had been moving, but it was becoming harder and harder to keep up with the pace she had set for herself. After leaving the brook, she had started walking heading in the direction of the mess hall, soon that walk had became a jog, and then that became a run. Wanting nothing more than to hope she’d get there in time to catch up with Adam, but of course she had to come to the facts that she might have already missed her chance—and if that was the case, then damn it she’d just keep looking. In the past day she had lost a friend, and someone she had learned to call a friend in this horrid place.

And with barely a second thought, both of those people where gone now. Saddened and hurt by this, knowing that this was just some dream… no longer did she believe there was some chance that she was going to wake up, and still be on the bus on the way to the camping trip. Swallowing somewhat at the thought, glancing around the location she had found herself in, this being as close to the mess hall as she could actually get without entering the danger zone and losing her neck, so that why she currently wound herself rounding the corner of a building that the map told her where the showers.

Pausing in her limped steps and pressing a hand against one of the building’s walls with a slow intake of air, taking a shaking glance down to her injured leg and noting how in thanks to all that running she had been doing had her bandages she had placed to completely soak through, leaving a trail of blood spanning down her leg and being soaked up into her into her sock. Shuddering somewhat at the sight and trying to ignore it because she had more pressing matters at the moment, though each step forward was causing her more and more pain that she just felt like she was going to give out at any minute, coupled with only maybe two hours of sleep in going into four days was starting to get to her.

Even in the shade she continued seemed to get rid of the feverish heat that was starting to slow her down, having given up even wearing her glasses as they seemed little to no help in the haze that had taken over her senses and leaving her stumbling, the only thing keeping her going was the want to make sure that Adam would be okay. Hearing his name on the announcements that he had killed two people, had left her at least thankful that he was alive even though she was hearing his name in a way she never wanted to, but she was also sure in that he would never do something to that nature unless he had too.

She remembered vividly the night she allowed herself to slip up and ask about his past experience with Survival of the Fittest. The wounds he had gained, and the friends he had lost, most importantly though was about the kills… she unable to believe it all really, that a person only about a year older than her could be able to do such at thing. But at the same time, but she learned that they all had to be done—because if they hadn’t… well then she wouldn’t have been sitting there and talking with him about it she supposed. Shaking her head though, she sluggishly unzipped the daypack hanging from her shoulder, trying to remove her map from inside once more.

Unfolding it and looking it over, trying to judge what would be the best place to get a good view of the mess hall and where she would have good coverage from anyone else that might come along. Focused on the map, she hardly noticed the large chunk of concrete fallen sometime from the building until her foot came in contact with it. Wounded leg quickly giving out under the sudden addition to weight that had been added, causing a sharp cry to leave her as she crashed to the ground, sending the contents of her daypack spilling out onto the ground and more pain racing through her when her shoulder hit the ground.

Gasping out breaths of air to keep from making to much noise as tears once again sprang to her eyes. Trying to control this, get herself together as she struggled to push herself up even though her body seemed to enjoy the idea of keeping her floored. Shakily starting to move against the ground on her good hand and knees, nursing her rather useless arm near her as she began gathering items, eyeing the sight of her DS—unsure why she still even had the damn thing on her—and where it had landed out into the open from the wall she was currently against.

Struggling for another moment as she reached from behind corner she was currently around to grab at the damn thing.
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((Continued from One Man Revolution))

I woke the same as any other day
Except a voice was in my head
It said seize the day, pull the trigger, drop the blade
And watch the rolling heads

The more he thought about it, the more ridiculous that it was that he was listening to his IPod at a time like this. But music was something that he'd always found solace in, something that had always calmed him down when very little else could. For Adam, it was nearly a crime that he'd not had an IPod with him during SOTF version one, because he might not have gone as crazy and as ragged as he had. Of course, the fact still remained that it was a distraction for staying alive. At this point, though, the hope that he'd actually be able to live a full and worthwhile life was rapidly waning. Twice. It had happened...twice. He'd been the victim of a ridiculous plot to terrorize the United States of America, and they'd picked schools that existed all over the country, and he'd managed to be unlucky twice.

It's a hell of a way to go out, too.

Things had been difficult for Adam once he'd returned from Survival of the Fittest. He'd had the unenviable task of erasing the paranoia that came with surviving such an ordeal, the horrible memories to try and futiley surpress deep within his psyche, hoping that they'd never rise the surface again. He'd struggled with it; things hadn't been easy by any stretch of the imagination. His parents had tried to do their best, but they couldn't know what he'd gone through, they wouldn't be able to help him cope completely. The doctors had tried drugs, and they'd tried many different kinds of therapy, all of which had varying degrees of success. Sometimes he felt better, other times he felt worse. After all, it wasn't as though he were an officer in any sort of military or anything, he couldn't be expected to surpress that kind of thing easily.

He'd been a sixteen year old kid, and nobody knew quite how to deal with it.

The day I tried to live
I stole a thousand beggar's change
And gave it to the rich
The day I tried to win
I dangled from the power lines
And let the martyrs stretch


Adam wasn't a complete idiot, though. He'd known enough to take a headphone out of one ear, trying to keep his senses as acute as possible. Drowning away his pain, his sorrow...it hadn't been easy, and as it stood it may have been a complete exercise in futility. Nobody could have predicted that Adam Dodd, of all people, would be targeted again. The experts had assumed that Danya and his terrorists would strike again, but even Adam hadn't anticipated ever being kidnapped again. It had happened, of course, as he'd just started to let his guard down, to finally let his old wounds (mental, of course) heal, and three years after the fact, things had really started to get back to normal. If nobody'd known who he was in California, they would have figured that he was a quiet kid with a few skeletons in his closet.

A few...? That's...generous, to say the least.

He'd always liked Soundgarden; really stemming back to his love of the band Audioslave. He'd been a casual fan of Soundgarden, and a big fan of Rage Against the Machine, and when the two groups had broken up and eventually formed a 'supergroup' by the name of Audioslave, Adam had been ecstatic. It was the kind of music that he always enjoyed - rock music, anyway, and it got his blood pumping, sounded catchy, and relaxed him. While Rage was more heavy-metal and bombastic, Soundgarden had more of a mellow vibe to them. Audioslave had been; to Adam, at least, the best of both worlds when it came to the bands. It was fitting now, of course, that Soundgarden was the next song coming through his IPod, through his left ear, and into his brain. Adam felt mellow; at least, that was the best way to describe it.

One more time around
Might do it
One more time around
Might make it
One more time around
Might do it
One more time around
The day I tried to live

As soon as he'd woken up, he'd gone through an emotional gamut. That, of course, was natural. At least, that's how he figured it. He'd felt angry, horrified, guilty, depressed, furious, bitter, sarcastic and a tad nostalgic. That, and so much more had all mixed into an almost numb feeling that he wandered around with now. He was right in to the thick of things again, and it was day four now, with so many dead and many more still alive. The game, if one could call it that, was probably going to go longer than either of the other two games, and for that, Adam didn't like his chances. Not a second time. The expression said that 'lightning doesn't strike twice', and Adam couldn't help but believe it. The lightning had been him getting lucky enough to win, and doing it a second time? Not bloody likely, in his view.

Knowing that he wouldn't win left Adam with a bit of a problem, however. He knew that he wouldn't win. Last time, he'd demanded it of himself, but this time, he knew it to be impossible. So if that were the case, then what was it that he was trying to accomplish? Adam wasn't a fan of giving up on anything - that much should have been obvious to any viewers of SOTF v1, but if he weren't necessarily trying to survive, then what was it? Unlike the first go-round, Adam hadn't really any friends to find, any friends to try and protect. There was really...Julie, who he'd; much like Hawley, Madelaine, and Marcus from the prior game, met within Survival of the Fittest, and of course, there was also Izzy.

At least I know she isn't dead yet...which is a plus...

Adam thought about his friends often. He dreampt about them, thought about how things would have been if life hadn't shat Danya and his minions upon them, and where they might be if not for their unncessary deaths. Out of them all, he thought the most about Amanda and Andrew, for he'd seen both of them die, and their deaths seemed most real to him. The fact that Adam had known both prior to Survival of the Fittest hurt that much more. That wasn't to say that Hawley, Madelaine, David, or Marcus weren't important, but they were part of that whole experience. He'd treasure their memories, but he wouldn't necessarily look back upon the times fondly.

There's another understatement of the fuckin' year, for sure. Fondly? How about not. How about...worst fucking nine days of my life? Does that about sum that shit up?

He'd failed his friends. It was inevitable, and he should have known it, but it was something he'd never really been able to overcome. He'd let his group get ahead of themselves, they'd failed to stick together, and they'd all died. Since, he'd never let anyone get close to him ever again. Not a single person...save one.

Words you say never seem
To live up to the ones
Inside your head
The lives we make
Never seem to ever get us anywhere
But dead

Adam wasn't quite sure what it was about Izzy that had intrigued him so. The first time they'd met, it had been somewhat of a surprise, as he'd been using her knapsack as a pillow underneath the bleachers. From there, he'd spoken to her again, and again. As for why? He couldn't be certain. There had been something about the girl that had drawn him in, had made him want to know more. Perhaps it was the slight mocking sense of humour that she had, or the kindness that she exuded from her being. Hell, Adam had sometimes wondered if it had been because Izzy reminded him of Amanda, what with the coloured hair, but whatever it had been...she'd been the only person that he'd really been able to open himself up to that didn't hold a medical degree and try and prescribe him pills.

It's a good thing, too, because those doctory-types really weren't doing it for me...

Things had progressed into a friendship, or at least, what Adam considered a loose one. Izzy had never asked about his past, never pried, and best of all, had never judged him for what he'd done in his past. Unlike so many teachers, students, and even parents who saw him in the hall, she'd never gave him the look of "I know what you've done, and I can't believe they're letting you walk around". She'd never really asked anything until that one night, in her basement, and that night, everything had changed...

...and even to this day, Adam didn't really know where they stood. It had been a weird week or so afterwards - hell, it'd really only been about a couple weeks since it'd happened to the present time, but Adam had wondered how she would react to him once he found her.

If he found her.

The day I tried to live
I wallowed in the blood and mud with
All the other pigs

Adam'd been walking for some time now, and as he paused on that though, a conclusion hit him in the face, impacting similarly to the paint cans tossed at Daniel Stern in Home Alone. It was something he'd realized quite a few times before in his life, and it was somethingt hat always seemed to happen to him when he least expected it.

Adam was lost, again.

"This fuckin' jungle all looks the same..."

Since picking up his M1 submachine gun, Adam had felt a tad more confident. It was a far cry from wandering around hitting people with fluorescent light tubes, and it meant that if one of the bigger game motivators came along and tried to dispose of him, he'd been a position to try and do something about it. Of course, that point was almost moot, as he'd ALREADY dispatched two of the bigger motivators in the game. That girl; Ivye Dewley, her name had ended up being, had obviously not been looking for friends and Kool-Aid, but rather for wanton death and destruction via grenade. Gabriel Theobaldt was a player, plain and simple. Another messed-up kid who idolized his late cousin, who had been messed up himself, and had perished in the second Survival of the Fittest. He'd perished, as had two of Adam's best friends from back in Canada, Andrew and Adam.

It's no wonder that I have issues about feeling alone...everyone I fucking know is like...dead.

Glancing at his map before stuffing it back into his pocket, Adam looked around as the path he was walking on seemed to emerge into a small clearing that was highlighted by a small building in the center of the area. The building looked to be in a state of disarray, but was still standing, at least. The stench of death seemed to waft over the area - something that Adam noticed but (disturbingly enough) was almost used to by now. Holding the M1 in front of him, nearly clutching onto it as though it were a lifeline, Adam softly stepped into the area, and glanced around. There didn`t seem to be any life in the immediate viscinity, and Adam couldn't really hear much of anything at all - except for Chris Cornell and Soundgarden, in his left ear.

That all changed suddenly, however, when he heard a loud thud from the far side of the building, and a loud cry. In the distance, he saw what looked like a few small items come into view, resting upon the ground beside the structure. With caution, Adam moved forward, trying not to make a sound and managing fairly well as he moved towards the building. As he got closer, Adam noticed that it seemed to resemble one of those comfort stations that campgrounds had scattered throughout them. Inching towards it, Adam strained to hear any more sounds, as it sounded as though someone had been hurt just behind the comfort station.

I woke the same as any other day you know
I should have stayed in bed
The day I tried to live
I wallowed in the blood and mud with
All the other pigs

"One more time around..."

Mumbling to himself as he approached the noise behind the building, Adam wasn't quite certain what he was liable to find. A dead body? A player? Who knew. Regardless, he knew that whatever he found, odds were it would be a tense situation.

Armed to the teeth and two kills to my name...THIS TIME...fuck, yeah, that'll be tense...

As a hand shot out from behind the corner of the building, reaching for something that had fallen from behind the other side, Adam raised his M1 (Tommy Gun, he almost refused to call it that out of the fear that he'd sound ridiculous) and finally called out to the hand that was behind the building.

"Hey! Whoever's back there, stop what you're doing! I'm out here, and I'm..."

Adam trailed off, as a part of him laughed internally at the words that were about to come out of his mouth.

"Not playing"? Was Adam truly about to claim that he was "not playing"? It was almost hilarious, in a way. Adam Dodd, who had killed more people than anyone else on this island, was about to claim that he was not playing. He'd killed two people only hours prior, and years before had murdered twelve people. That's fourteen in total, and you could add a charge of attempted murder for what he'd done to Danya's face. Of course, for that, he had always figured they should have given him a medal. But for him to claim that he wasn't playing? While he was against the game and everything that it stood for, and wasn't looking to go around killing people...did that mean that he wasn't playing? He'd kill if necessary - had done it already - as the action had really lost a lot of it's emotional impact for him. So instead of claiming that he wasn't playing, he changed it to something with a lot more of a kick to it.

"...I'm armed! Now, I'm going to come around the corner, and don't make any sudden movements, especially if you've got a weapon!"

Stepping towards the hand, which had quickly snaked back behind the building as he'd spoke, Adam quickly lunged behind the building and overtop of the small black item lying on the ground, aiming his M1 directly at the person behind the building.


Adam cut himself off as quickly as he'd started, for he recognized the person behind the building. He recognized them quickly, and while she looked like hell, he knew exactly who he was now staring at, and quickly let the barrel of his gun drop to the ground. Mouth agape, Adam could do nothing but give the girl a surprised stare, and blurt out her name, his tone of voice with more questions than the single word that he said. As he said it, all of his fiery resolve, all of his self doubt began to ease its way out of his mind, and in Adam's opinion, none to soon, either.


And I learned that I was a liar
Just like you
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The Past

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Izzy’s fingers had barely even brushed against the device when the voice called out, her whole body locking up as her pulse began to pick up with the fear that this was it. That she wasn’t going to be able to find Adam, and someone was about to make this the end of her—that she was going to die on this island, everything she had worked for in life vanishing in the blink of an eye, through whatever way whoever this was seemed fit. And in her fear-driven state, she didn’t even allow herself to really listen to the voice yelling out at her… all of it sounding the same in her ears, that the same thing was going to happen to her like what happened to Trey. Swallowing hard as she drew her hand back in a shaky manner, glancing off to the jungle that surrounded the area… wondering maybe if she forced herself, she could push herself to run.

But could she make it? She could barely stand, yet alone managing to do more than limp her ass out of this situation. In the time it would take to take two steps, whoever this was could already be around the corner and shooting at her… or whatever method they saw fit with whatever weapon they had. Listening the statement and almost chuckling concerning her weapon, like it posed that much of a threat unless she wanted to toss the damn thing at him. But at the same all of this was racing through her mind, she found herself almost… being well, familiar with the voice, and in all truth that really shouldn’t be no surprise seeing as she had spent so-and-so amount of time with the people that very well could be friends one minute and her killer the next.

Something about this voice though… it wasn’t one she had heard yell before, and it was gruffer, somewhat more tried sounding but familiar in a way that she almost felt relief for the first time in four days. Which in a way was surprising, because after all that had happened she really didn’t think someone (apparently armed) and telling her not to make any sudden movements—least she get killed on the spot more than likely—was causing some relief for her. Breath hitched and heart racing as she caught sight of the shadow coming toward corner that would lead right to her… noting what appeared to be the outline of a gun, and seriously considering using the last of her strength to just take off and run, and pray that they wouldn’t shoot her in the back.

Closing her eyes finally with just a small sound, listening as the footsteps halted and the voice started again but just as quickly stopped. And this caused Izzy’s thoughts to halt all together, because now that the voice was right on top of her, she knew who this was. But just the thought of it was so great, she almost didn’t want to open her eyes in fear that if she did it really wouldn’t be the person that she had been worried about this whole time, and with all that had happened… she wouldn’t be surprised if her mind was playing tricks on her. But at the sound of her name, she almost felt like tearing up again. Blue eyes reopening and focusing on the person standing above her, breathing in a shaky breath of air and trying to find her voice because she couldn’t just sit here like an idiot when the person she had been looking for was standing right there.


And before Izzy could really think, or the pain could kick in she found that she was moving. Using the wall to support herself as she slowly worked her way onto shaky feet, rubbing tiredly at her eyes as she gave a slow smile. Trying to not let her emotions get the best of her, but damn if it wasn’t hard at that moment…

“Damn it, you stupid jerk! I’ve been worried sick about you!”

Alright probably not the best way to greet someone…

“I-I… four days, four days I’ve been looking f-for you. I just…” Wonderful there Izzy, you’re getting so worked up you can’t even complete a whole sentence. Sniffing somewhat as she rubbed uselessly at her eyes again, taking in small breath of air. Shaking her head somewhat, she managed to get a laugh out as her hand moved to press against her bandaged shoulder instead, “I’m sorry, I—I was, hell I am really scared. Andy and Trey… they—I was scared that something bad would happen to you too.”
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Andy Walker...that's right, they were friends, weren't they...and Trey? She must have been friends with him too...

Adam wasn't sure what to think. He simply stood there, gun hanging limply from one hand, barrel almost onto the ground, one headphone hanging from his shoulder, having fallen off at some point as he'd jumped around the corner. But around that corner, the last person that he'd expected to find was Izzy...

It'd been essentially the one person who Adam had wanted to find that he'd almost half-expected not to find, as luck probably wouldn't afford him that chance. But here she was, looking as though she'd been through the gamut, having dragged herself to a standing position and being in an obviously large amount of pain. As she half-jokingly chastised him for not being easily found, and then came very close to breaking down, Adam snapped himself out of his shock. Izzy had obviously been through an ordeal, and like most who became victims of Danya, she was probably through riding the emotional rollercoaster.

Interesting that she was looking for you, though...

Ignoring the little voice in the back of his head, Adam took a step forwards towards Izzy and, clicking the safety on for his machine gun and strapping the weapon around his chest (it was certainly handy that most of the larger weapons had straps for easy carrying), Adam took the place of the wall, slipping his arm around her midsection and allowing himself to take on her weight. The poor girl looked like she'd been through hell. An obvious bandage was on her shoulder where her hand covered, and looked to be large enough to be a stab or bullet wound. Glancing down at the rest of her, he saw what looked to be a fairly large gash in her leg. It didn't look tremendously deep, but likely hurt like hell. The blood ran down her leg and stained her sock and shoe.

Jesus, I hope that isn't serious...

As he lowered the girl back to the ground into a sitting position against the wall, Adam found himself sitting as well, and as soon as she was laid against the wall, he let his head roll back and lightly hit the wall itself. Four days, and everything had lead up to this...so to speak. As he sat, arm still around her; having either forgot or neglected to take it away, Adam looked at the injured and fatigued girl sitting next to him and finally spoke out loud.

"You...you're a sight for sore eyes, y'know that? I...I've, uh, I've been looking for you, too. I was really worried about you! This is a big island, and the announcements, they worried me...especially the first one. Something about you getting shot, and killing someone..."

Adam looked at the ground, and sighed a little. His own fatigue was starting to catch up with him.

"Jesus, Izzy. You're the only person in this whole school that...well, that I could give a damn about, and not being able to find you, and running into all these fuckin' noobs who wanted to come with me or kill me...you're ...you're pretty much the only one that I really trust, here. And, uh...I'm really glad that you're still alive."

Pulling his pack over from beside him, Adam rummaged around inside, and dragged out his medical kit. It was about time that Danya and his group of bastards had given them medical supplies. Pulling the kit out, he set it on the ground in front of him.

"Izzy, your leg...now, I've seen a whole hell of a lot of different kinds of wounds in my time, and I don't want you dying on me of an infection or something, so...I want to clean your wound for you."

Oh, that's great, Adam. You find the girl you've been worried about for four days, and the first thing you say is that you want to bandage her wounds? How about - how're you doing? What've you been through? Can I be there for you? Christ, you're a bitter old fuck.

Mentally smacking himself, he looked back at Izzy, and the display of emotion and fear that she wore upon her face. The wound could wait, it wouldn't be immediately fatal.

"I, uh...I'm really glad that I finally found you. It's been, a, uh...rough few days. And, um...I was, uhm, worried. About you, I mean. And, uh...yeah. It's, um...good to see you. How, uh...how've you been doing? I mean, considering the circumstances. And...yeah..."

Adam punctuated his awkward ramble by shrugging at least three times in really inappropriate spots. His nervousness was obvious, though he didn't really know why. He'd found his friend, and all was well, right? Was that it? Was that truly all? Adam wasn't sure. What he did know was that Izzy, who was a fairly perceptive one at that, would see his awkwardness and could hopefully tell Adam what the hell was going on.

That sort of thing sometimes become necessary when you try and make yourself numb to your own emotions.
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At the arm working about her midsection, Izzy almost felt the need to just collapse. Letting her head roll forward to rest against the Adam’s shoulder without lot a whole lot of thought to it, just closing her eyes and for the first time in four days she just let herself to relax. She was in terrible pain, barely able to stand, and her emotions where sifting faster than she could keep up but for some odd, little awkward reason… with Adam here it felt a little easier to deal with. Sifting a little to try and take some of the weight off her leg, and just try to just let and let off some of the pressure that had been building up in these days.

Sifting once again to help get back into a comfortable position on the ground, fixing her wounded leg out before her with a small flinch and a shudder of air as she moved her arm to rest across her waist. Relaxing back against the wall, and leaning her head back to look up toward the sky… the wind continuing to blow rather harshly, but it was nice, helping somewhat with the heat and with her apparent fever. Tilting her head somewhat as Adam moved to sit down as well, smiling in a slow manner as she just let her head to fall against his shoulder once again.

Looking up somewhat with a curious look as Adam began to speak, listening to the words with a small sound and chuckling lightly. Watching lightly as Adam brought his own bag closer, and brought out his first aid kit—nodding lightly to the words concerning her leg, glancing to it again and deciding it would probably be in her best interest even though she had bandaged it only a few hours ago. Then again, anything was better than getting an infection or something… with everything already piled on her, getting sick wasn’t something she needed too.

Blinking though she tilted her gaze up toward Adam as he spoke again, smiling faintly and finding herself giggling and shaking her head somewhat with a sigh and just allowing herself to relax against him somewhat and shrugging lightly. “Adam Dodd… stuttering, not something I expected it’s actually rather surprising. But well—where too start…” She began lightly, picking somewhat at the fabric of her shorts as she chewed lightly against her bottom lip. “I trusted someone I shouldn’t have, but at that point I was still having a hard time just believing what was happening. Well—she, Madison I think her name was, well she shot me… then after that, well that’s where the whole ‘killing’ thing comes into play, which… was um, this body came in and just started—swinging a golf club around.”

Izzy sighed somewhat at this point, closing her eyes with shake of her head. “Keith shot him, but he just kept coming so I hit him over the head with the weapon I got.” She said, kicking at her abandoned bag with her good leg, sighing at the sight of the weapon. “Then Keith shot him again, and well at that point is when that crazy bitch with the grenades came by… that point Keith, Trey and I left and ended up in the jungle. We needed up staying there for awhile, and when we actually decided to leave it was every damn body started showing up. The first guy actually tried… well he actually managed to attack Keith.” She said thoughtfully, rubbing at her arm somewhat.

“And you probably heard that Keith killed him, then more people showed up… and that bitch with the grenades showed up again, that’s how I got the gash in my leg. Then-then I went to the brook for a little while, but when I heard the announcement, and heard you had won that… best kill thing, and had to go to the mess hall. Well I got the idea, maybe if I got close enough but stayed out of the danger zone I might be able to see you…” Izzy said lightly, glancing up and chuckling again.

“But it seems the opposite actually happened, either way I—I’m happy.”

She smiled at that point, glancing off after a moment before allowing herself to speak again.

“I was really worried… for that reason—that people would try to come after you or something. I was really worried that… that I—well that I wouldn’t get to see you again before something happened to you… or me.”
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
As he listened to Izzy's story, Adam found himself feeling concern for the girl sitting beside him. Even though the story was of events that had come and gone, he couldn't help it. Izzy had been through a slice of hell in her four days within Survival of the Fittest, and while she'd been hurt, she'd still managed to last up until this point. As she recounted both of her injuries, and meeting up with Keith Jackson - someone who he'd never really cared much for, and had actually thought about earlier on, now finding out that the boy wasn't necessarily playing, Adam felt rejuvinated. Information was as powerful a tool as any within this deadly game, and if you had enough information, good enough weapons and managed to remain relatively unscathed, chances were you fared better than most.

As Izzy finished her story and again related her concern that people might come after Adam; that she wouldn't be able to see him again before something happened to either one of them, his eyebrow raised slightly but then his face darkened and his soft expression hardened a little bit. As he looked at the ground, Adam knew that Izzy hadn't had the best of times, running into players nearly everywhere she went. But Adam...his own experiences couldn't be undervalued. He'd had a pretty hellacious time himself.

"Yeah, Izzy. I'm really glad we ran into each other, too. I mean...really. You're the only person, that, I, um, that I wanted to find."

Remembering her earlier comment in jest about his stammering, Adam's small smile came back again, but faded after a moment.

"Yeah, um, sorry about that. I'm just...I guess, I'm really happy that I found you. Like...y'know. Really happy, and all. There...there hasn't really been a whole hell of a lot to be happy about over the last few days, either..."

Trailing off, Adam looked up into the morning sky. It was overcast, and the temperature had gone down a tad, making the air that much more bearable. Nonetheless, Adam was sweating up a storm, having never taken off his hoody at any point thusfar. Ignoring that little tidbit, he looked back at Izzy and smiled a sad smile.

"I wish that I could tell you things've been easy for me. I really wish that I could tell you that I wandered around without finding anyone for four days, but...but it wouldn't be true. I woke up and kind of freaked out, to be honest. This isn't anything but my worst nightmare having come true. Especially to find out that it was happening all over again! But...I dunno, something...something caused me to pull myself together. I don't really know what it was..."

Adam stretched out his arm and surveyed the cuts that raced up his arms, courtesy of having flung himself through a window. Sighing a bit, he continued.

"Anyway...I had a switchblade, and felt that I should find something better to protect myself with. Wandered into a big warehouse kind of thing, and ran into that rock-star asshole, Paul Smith. He attacked me, and I just kind of ran off. Came to a ravine, where Gabe Theobaldt...you know that big tall fucker? He was menacing people with a big sword, and they were all just kind of standing around like...not doin' a thing. So I did the only thing I could think of, and I tackled him off the ravine. We had a little fight, and I again ran off."

Adam chuckled sadly. It was true, most of his four days had been him getting attacked, and running off. Thank God he'd joined the track team.

"I...I then found myself in a church, and people started pouring out of the walls, it seemed. I, uh...I think your friend Andy was there...and some others; his boyfriend, Sean, some creepy photographer kid, and one of those high and mighty girls, who was looking for your buddy Keith. Anyway, Sean, Andy and I kind of had a tentative little...group thing goin' on...and then the place became a danger zone, and everyone booked it. I ended up at a bridge, and got myself taken at gunpoint by a girl named Julie Mikan. But, uh...thanks to my charming way of swearing and cursing and being an absolute prick, I made her see the error of her ways, and went to help some kid, who got killed by accident by Julie. Uh, yeah...she like froze up and all, and then in the interests of not getting shot any more times by a kid with a BB gun, I just kind of grabbed her and we booked it."

Yawning a little, Adam shook his head a bit to liven himself up. Four days with only a minimal amount of sleep was taking its toll.

"We got to the barracks, where we holed up for a bit and patched up our wounds. She won the best kill prize, or whatever, and went to get it; gave me her gun for my knife. I thought it odd at the time, but then...uh, your 'grenade bitch' paid me a visit and tossed a grenade into the building I was standing in. I had to jump face-first out of a window; which I can tell you isn't as fun as it might look or sound. The building blew up, which knocked me loopy, but I had enough sense to wander around and shoot at her a few times. I guess she was getting ready to toss another one, because I hit her in the face, she died, dropped a grenade, and killed Gabe Theobaldt, who was behind her or something. Then I passed out, woke up in another building - thanks to Julie, and then heard the announcement and came got my prize, which was that machine gun."

Having been staring at the ground, Adam looked at Izzy, directly in her blue eyes, and for the first time, noticed the pasty colour that her skin had taken on. Concern running across his face, Adam raised his hand and placed it gently on her face, feeling her cheek and then her forehead, slightly alarmed at the temperature that she seemed to have.

"Shit, Izzy...you're burning up. You haven't taken anything, have you?"

Grabbing his pack again, Adam rummaged around inside of it and withdrew a large bottle of Advil. He'd been surprised that Danya hadn't taken it away, but it was his own personal headache medication. Ibuprofen was supposedly good for a number of pain-related ailments, and while he didn't know if a fever was one of them, he assumed that it wouldn't do her too much harm.

"Take some of these, please. I'm not losing someone else to an infection, or something stupid like that. Not again."

As he handed the bottle to Izzy, he sighed a little bit, and pulled her close, giving the smaller girl a hug, noting that it felt better to do so. Releasing her (and taking care not to squeeze too hard), Adam shook his head a bit.

"I...I've wandered around all over the fuckin' place for days. Y'know, I said...I said like, I didn't know why. And I don't know if I really do. But I have a feeling that I might. I mean...aside from the fact that it's not smart to glue yourself to one spot, I...I was kind of looking, the whole time. Wherever I went, I...I was, um...y'know. Like...looking, asking around. People who were friendly, I asked around. And, uh...I'm kind of thinking that the whole thing motivating me to move, and not go all emo-teen-girl on my wrists might have, um...might have been you. Finding...you, that is."

Inwardly, Adam cursed himself for the awkwardness that he presented. As the world had seemingly slowed back down to a normal pace for the time being, Adam was beginning to get a sense of what was going on inside of him. This girl was his friend, that was true. She was his only friend, that was also true. Was he really ready to admit to himself that maybe it went deeper than that?

It took me a long time to try and get over Amanda, and I think the only reason that I was able to might have been because of how she died. Everything was taken away in one fell swoop, Hawley, David, Madelaine, Amanda...all gone, just like that. So in getting over the whole thing, I've had to...get over her. Will I always love her, and cherish her memory? Of course...but...is this really what I'm feeling, here? It's been so fucking long, I can't even remember...

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It felt odd Izzy found… to listen to Adam say how he had been looking for her as well, and how happy he was to have done so. It made her stomach all twisty—though she simply played it off as the fact she hadn’t ate much of anything expect one or two of the crackers and a bit of bread, yeah that was it. Almost rolling her eyes to her own excuses, she simply allowed herself to listen with a bit of a smile, nodding in agreement to the words being spoken. “Yeah—Today… today really hasn’t been such a good day, I didn’t think I was going to be able to push myself after hearing what happened to Andy and Trey.”

Sighing again at this point and closing her eyes for a moment, as she thought over these past four days . “But I’m happy; well about as happy as a person can be in this place…” Izzy muttered in an off-handed manner as she glanced over once more. “That, um, we ran into each other. Wanting to see—err, find you really has been one of the few things that have kept me moving, ‘ya know? Made things a little more…um, easier to deal with…”

At this point she almost felt the need to smack herself or something for turning into such an idiot that could barely talk, swallowing still and listening as he began to speak concerning his own four days here on the island. Feeling her stomach twist up again, but it was for a completely different reason… it was because of the guilt she had been harboring for these past few days. Guilt over seeing the reason for Adam even being on the stupid trip was because of her, and though she told herself there was no fucking way she could have known that something like this would have happened… it was still there eating away at her.

But she pushed the self-hate away in favor of listening to Adam, blinking somewhat at the admission to how he had freaked out when he had first woken up, unable to blame him and understanding as she had turned into a sobbing mess within five minutes of waking up. Shaking her head a little and glancing over as he stretched out his arm and seemed to look over the cuts that where present, glancing over them herself and mostly thankful that none of them seemed too bad or too deep either. Continuing to listen on, unsure how sure she felt about Adam actually tackling someone into a ravine, but held her tongue and tried to not appear to much like she was worrying out of her mind listening to what he had been through.

She almost jumped though at the hand against her cheek and then against her forehead, blinking somewhat at the statement and making a stuttered sound before shaking her head and looking off somewhat. “Un, no… I guess—I guess with all that’s happening it really wasn’t something I took the time to think about.”

Watching as he grabbed at his pack again and dug around, Izzy looking a bit curious at the large bottle produced, listening to the words with a nod of her head. Feeling bad as she shakily took the bottle into her good hand and tried to work the other into working with her for the moment to get the thing open, popping the top open with a bit of a sigh and trying to get some into her hand though ended up overshooting two by like twenty it and spilling a lot more than she had intended into her hand when the hug came. Making another surprised sound, blinking wildly because she wasn’t just too sure what to do beside sit there a bit shocked with a handful Advil in her hands.

Continuing to blink as Adam pulled away, and working all the extra pills back into the bottle and putting the cap back on and placing it aside, pushing herself to reach for her bag and grab at one of her water bottles. Unscrewing the cap and popping the two pills into her mouth, taking a swallow of the water and sighing a little as she glanced toward Adam with a small look as he spoke. Finding herself a bit confused at just what he was talking about at first, unable to help flushing a bit—but blaming it on her fever—as he finished. Brushing a strand of dyed hair behind her ear as she reached down, trying to get her mind to focus on something so she wouldn’t start stuttering again.

Rubbing away at some of the dried blood that had trailed down her leg, Izzy wasn’t to terribly sure how to respond with anything besides what she had already said. And sitting there, she really couldn’t say that there wasn’t… well something there, with her at least, besides friendship. Because after all, when you’re friends you just don’t go and kiss them for no apparent reason. Focusing on rubbing away the blood with her index finger for a moment more before looking up with a small sigh, smiling lightly as she reached her good hand up and brush away some of that mess that Adam called hair away from his forehead.

Using her thumb in a similar manner to rub away some dry blood from a nick she could only wonder where he got, smiling still. Speaking to him but her eyes where focused on the little job she had set herself to do, “I under—understand, I kept telling Trey and Keith how much I wanted to find you… but they seemed a little, well they seemed against the idea. Never gave up though, be-because it’s what kept me going.”
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As she reached up and wiped away something off of his forehead, Adam shivered a little bit. Most of the human contact he'd had followed inordinate amounts of pain as people stitched him up from his various injuries, but unless Izzy had suddenly grown needles on the ends of her fingers, he wasn't feeling it.

Following a bit of an awkward silence (which was to be expected, judging by the nature of the circumstances), Adam listened to Izzy as she stated how her friends hadn't been too keen on her searching for Adam. Smirking a little bit, he nodded slightly, understanding.

"Yeah, well...I can't say that I blame 'em. I'm basically the only one who has any sort of kill-count that isn't new to this whole kind of thing, and half the school figures me for some kind of psychopath anyway. I mean, except you. Keith and Trey? Those guys never gave me the time of day, y'know?"

Adam sighed a little bit.

"I never asked for this; all of this. I really didn't. All I ever wanted was to just...do the usual teenager shit, go to school, slack off, not give a damn. Instead, basically everyone I know is dead...everyone. All my friends from New York, from Toronto...they're all dead."

He felt distraught, that much was obvious. It was hitting him, just how alone he was. If not for his indelible sense of self-preservation, it would have been a shock that he'd even wanted to last as long as he had. As Izzy brushed something else away from his forehead, he reached up and took her hand in his, looking her right in the eyes.

"Look...I know that all of this is sounding all cliched, and like something out of a sitcom, or a movie, or whatever...but this is how it is. This ... this thing has taken over my life. Everyone that I know or care about is dead, and I've let them down. But...but I've had time to learn from my mistakes. I've been able...I've thought about things a lot. Everyone's gone, yeah. Everyone I care about...except you. And...I don't know how this really works anymore...I don't really know what the hell I'm feeling, either. I mean...I just..."

Adam trailed off. He'd always had a hard time being forthright with others, and this was no exception. How could he possibly be forthright when he didn't even know how he himself was feeling? He didn't know, but he'd have to force his words out, because who knew what dangers were lurking for the future?

"Look, Izzy...you...you're the only person who's given me the time of day. You're like...the only person who's actually made me feel normal, made me feel like I could get out of that huge hole that I was in. That I put myself in. And, uh...for that, like...thanks. But here we are again...some ridiculous luck, sure. But before...before anything happens, before we go forward and try and...do whatever we have to do...I have to say something to you..."

Adam trailed off, and shook his head a little bit. There were so many things he could say. There was something that he thought he wanted to say, but...but could he really admit it to himself, to her? It would be hard, but...

"...I'm sorry."

...that wasn't it. However, it was a conclusion that Adam had been building towards for some time, and he saw no other real way to describe how he'd been dealt such a shitty hand twice in his otherwise unsubstantial life.

"...this whole time, I haven't been able to help thinking...jeez, what the hell did I do to deserve this again? How did this happen? I must be the unluckiest son of a bitch alive. But...but I've been thinking about it, and...Izzy, this...this is my fault!"

Adam's admission surprised even himself a ltitle bit, nonetheless, he continued trying to verbalize the myriad of things swirling through his head.

"I...I can't really think of what else it could be...why else would Danya and his bastards target this school, of any? It's not like there are any incredibly important political leaders whose children attend this school. Like...Arnold-freakin'-Schwarzenegger's the governor here. Last time I checked, like...you weren't the governator's daughter or anything. It...it's my fault. It's...because I'm here, that he targeted you guys. It has to be...and...and I'm so sorry. I...the last...the last thing that I did to Danya...the man responsible for...all my pain, and all this misery...I attacked him. Somehow, he let me go...which I didn't...I didn't think too...unusual, but...but is this how he repays my actions?"

Adam was feeling emotional, though he tried not to show it. Still stammering a bit, and still unsure of how to proceed, he was basically pouring his heart out to this girl, this...'friend', who he was beginning to realize maybe was more than that to him. This, of course, was something that only made him sadder.

"I...I never wanted any of this to happen, not at all. There's too many good people in the world to have shit like this happen to them...especially...even, um...especially you. You are the last person this should have happened to, and I feel so damn responsible..."

But you've got to pull together, Adam. You alone may be the only one who knows the game enough to discover where its weaknesses lie. You're here for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. Right?

Looking up from the ground, still holding Izzy's hand in his, he reached up to his face and wiped his eye.

"Look...here's...here's the thing. I, um...I feel responsible. And...um, even if I'm not really responsible, I'm probably going to keep feeling that way. But...but I'm not going to give up. I...I almost did last time. If I hadn't...well, if I hadn't been so...caught up in the game, I would have probably given up...but, uh...how do I...uhm..."

Sighing a bit, Adam shook his head once, trying to clear his thoughts, and his jitters away. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation, perhaps the fact he was hungry, he couldn't tell.

"...but I will not give up. This time, it's not about vengeance, for me. This time, it's...it's been about finding someone...someone who I, uh...I care really, um, a lot for...and y'know...amazingly enough, I kind of stumbled upon her just now...so um...yeah, in case you hadn't...picked it up...that's you...and, uh..."

Adam shrugged a bit. Now or never, Dodd.

"...yeah, um...that night, in your basement...you know, I uh...I don't regret that...I was, well...confused, so to speak, but I don't regret it. Sometimes I wonder if there's a big plan for us all, if there's a storyline set to play out. Maybe this was supposed to happen, maybe there's plans for us yet. All I can really say is that I'm glad that I found you, and...um, I think if I didn't, it might have hurt more than if I'd lost just another friend, if you, uh...understand. What I'm trying to say, is, uh..."

Adam trailed off a little, unsure of really what else he could say, almost unable to say the simple words that would explain everything. He'd spent days trying to stay alive, trying to make sure he didn't end up dead, and now...having this kind of teenaged-emotional problem? It was...refreshing, to say the least...

...because as awkward as he felt, it also made him feel as though he were waking up, from a very, very long nap.
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Izzy tried to busy herself by rubbing away at the dried blood—which by this point was long gone—on Adam’s forehead so at least their would be no more… well terrible awkwardness. Glancing down briefly to his words concerning Trey and Keith, nodding somewhat as he chewed somewhat at her bottom lip at the statement—tilting her head somewhat at the sigh before she caught herself staring for a bit to long and returning to her job at rubbing away blood that was no longer there anymore. Letting her attention float down as Adam spoke concerning his friends from New York, and then in Toronto and letting her fingers come to a pause, retreating into her thoughts and just unsure about what she could possibly say to that, she had never lost anyone—had never lost a large amount of friends in the span of two years.

Moving to pull her hand away when it was suddenly taken into Adam’s own, managing to swallow a surprised sound as she stared back toward Adam with a confused expression as she found herself unable to do much of anything but listen to what was being said. Unable to help flushing lightly and glancing off for a moment at the whole ‘care about’ comment for some reason, cursing herself in his head and taking a small breath to try and settle herself and her nerves that where causing her hand to shake within the other’s grasp. Perking up at the sound of her name, and listening on as Adam went on to explain the apparent place she had made in his life…

And even in the current sensation she wouldn’t help smiling faintly over the words, because hell if playing Guitar Hero and being chased by seagulls on the beach was a normal life then she’d really give anything for it right now. Sifting her bad leg a little at the muttered thanks, Izzy couldn’t help blinking again with a small look and smiling a slight bit more. Managing to mumble a soft ‘you’re welcome’ under her voice as he spoke, but that smile left as Adam went on speaking, mentioning having to say something and grabbing her attention as she stared unsure as to just what it was that he had to say, fingers moving to curl and lightly return the hold that he had on her hand as he admitted to being sorry—

Wait… what?

He was… s-sorry?


That single word more or less summed up everything going through her mind at the moment, which was a lot compared as she wasn’t too terribly sure what was going on. Here she had been ready to break down and apologize at any moment and now it had suddenly switched up and Adam was the one doing the apologizing and for what at that? But at the admission that he believed that what was happening was his fault, Izzy made a movement—a sound to perhaps get Adam to stop talking because she really did not want to hear her… her friend blame himself like this when that was anything but the case, listening and suddenly feeling like a bundle of emotions as she listened to Adam go on speaking on how there seemed to be no other way this would have happened, but because he had been here…

By the time Adam had finished, Izzy focus was on the ground they where sitting on hardly able to glance up at Adam at the moment in fear she’d get all emotional and do something stupid… like cry or something, when that was really the last thing that was needed. But at his voice admitting he wasn’t going to give up, she couldn’t help glancing up as he spoke, finding herself blushing once more at the words concerning her and opening her mouth to perhaps say something to all that rather unsure if it was possible to even do so. But instead of managing to say anything, she just found herself staring a bit wide-eyed and unsure (meaning you look like a damn fool Izzy) as Adam went on to mention well… that night where she had thought it a great idea to just kiss someone she considered a good friend.

But for some reason, his words where putting her at ease… perhaps because he was saying he didn’t regret what had happened that night between them, something up until now she had been afraid of happening since it had happened. Biting her lip once more as he seemed to trail off, causing Izzy to sigh in a small manner as she gripped back at his hand and allowing herself to smile as she finally allowed herself to look back at Adam, and not have to glance off after a few moments in embarrassment as she gave a small nod. “I-I think I understand…” She began lightly, giggling after a moment. “Well at least I hope I do, else what I’m about to say is going to make me look like a bigger fool than I am already.”

Come on Izzy, no use beating around this stupid bush anymore…

“Be-because while we're on the subject, it's like what you said I-I have something to say too before something might happen… now when I’m not scared and trying to dance around the thought anymore.” She said a bit quickly, and stumble filled but somehow managed it as she sifted a little against the ground. “I care about you too Adam, that’s why I was so determined to find you… you—in this time we’ve gotten to know one another you’ve become someone very important to be in a lot of w-ways. You weren’t just another of my guy friends that seemed to like, ‘Oh yeah, Izzy’s the chick that does the freaky hand-wavy things every morning’. It was like I could actually open up to you and not be bothered being laughed at when I said I was scared of seagulls, or actually want my parents to meet you even though my dad is a psychopath... even if I was having the worst day, or the worst time like now you could still make me smile without a whole lot of work.”

She giggled lightly at this point, taking in a small breath of air as she glanced up to the sky which seemed to be showing more and more signs of an oncoming storm, looking back down with another smile and trying to keep her voice steady as she spoke.

“I like you Adam… and I really don’t know what else I could possibly say besides that, I like you and I have for a awhile. Though that kiss probably blew my cover already…” She said, musing again and sighing a bit loudly. “Your the most amazing person I know, and—and yeah, I think that’s about it with the whole spilling my heart to you.” Izzy said with a nervous laugh, glancing away again.
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Awkwardness seemed to abound through the conversation that Adam and Izzy had been having up until this point. Perhaps it was the blood loss, the exhaustion, or perhaps it was the pent-up set of feelings that each seemed to be withholding and refusing to let go, but the normally confident students seemed to be having quite a bit of trouble spitting out what they had to say. This was especially odd in that Adam Dodd, a person who usually said what was on his mind and had very little reason to restrain himself anymore, seemed tongue-tied.

Things might've stayed this way for a bit, until Izzy did something that men everywhere probably wished that women would do a little more often; and just spit it out, blurting out what she was thinking and feeling instead of waiting for Adam to stumble it out himself. At the revelation, Adam couldn't help but smile. Like with most times that two people realize they have feelings towards one another, he felt a sense of surprise, of relief, and of giddy anticipation for the future. Of course, in this moment, Adam also felt sadness. That feeling of giddy anticipation, of looking towards the future; the good times?

The sole fact that within the next week the likelihood of both of them being dead put a bit of a damper upon that.

At Izzy's nervous laugh, Adam snapped himself back into the real world. Things had been awkward between them - more so now than prior to the trip, but now it seemed as though the reason for that was incredibly clear. Crystal, even. As the realizations came spilling into his head, Adam became suddenly aware that there was a silence that hung for a moment after Izzy stopped speaking, obviously looking to gauge if she'd been right at her stab in the dark; at what Adam was trying to get across.

As far as Adam was concerned, she has hit the proverbial nail upon the head.

"Wow, I..."

Adam stopped, and smiled, shaking his head a little bit as he sighed quietly.

"Yeah, the, uh...the kiss thing was certainly a bit of a hint. And, um..."

Laughing again, he shook his head, momentarily forgetting the situation at hand.

"...I'm sorry, Izzy. I'm horrible with this kind of thing. I always have been, probably always will be. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what to think, you know? It's been...difficult, to say the least, sort of getting back so that I can trust people again, and...well...I can honestly say that I didn't figure that I'd fall for the very first person I decided to trust again. But when I look at you, I'm...I'm not surprised, really. I mean, think about it...you're the kind of person who's independant, strong...you're smart, and you know how to take care of yourself. I'd...I'd really have been a fool not to realize what kind of person you are."

Smiling, Adam sighed a little bit yet again. He silently noted that in the past few years he'd done a whole lot of that - sighing.

"Yeah, Izzy...it, it kind of took me a little while to figure it out, but yeah, I like you too. You've become really important to me also. I mean, you're...pretty much the only person that I feel normal with. It...it sounds really corny, but you really make me feel like a real human being again, and not just some scarred war veteran who's had his personality and feelings stripped away and put back in different places."

The sky continued to darken, a storm obviously on the way, and yet Adam paid it no attention. He wasn't great at conveying his feelings to girls, especially ones he liked, but he seemed to be getting into a bit of a rhythm.

"You...you really don't need to say anything else about it. I mean...the fact that you think I'm amazing, is...well, it makes me feel really awesome...and you should know, the feeling is completely...mutual. I just...I guess I'm kind of upset that I didn't say anything sooner."

Upset, however, was the last thing he was feeling right now. Instead, Adam began to feel as though his strength was returning to him.

Is this...what I'm supposed to be doing? Not wandering around being bitter and shit, but protecting...getting it right, what I didn't the first time?

"But you know what? We have so much time ahead of us to explore this, to see where it takes us..."

At the confused glance that Adam knew Izzy would shoot him, he had a ready smile. But this smile, instead of being the goofy 'wow, I can't believe this' smile, it was a determined smile. The glow had come back into Adam's eyes, and he felt energized.

He had finally found his fucking purpose.

"I know, we're in Survival of the Fittest, we're apparently all supposed to die, and all that. But you know what, Izzy? I'm tired of death, I'm tired of dying. This entire time, aside from looking for you? I was racing into situations, a part of me hoping that for once, they'd get the upper hand and slice my damn head off, just to end it, to let myself finally get some rest. I was essentially just moping around, waiting to die, chastising people for trying to live - which is what I'd spent nine days trying to do a couple years ago. When I...when I played the first time, and I met up with my group, we vowed to protect each other, and we failed - we fucked up. We always planned on trying to get out, trying to mount some sort of escape, but nobody ever gets that far."

Adam looked Izzy right in the eyes, smiling a warm and yet viciously determined smile.

"I don't know if it's possible, or if any of us can even dream of getting past Danya and his little spider-monkeys or not, but you know what? Nobody's even thought of trying. Everyone thinks about it and then gets seperated and killed off quicker than...than something that dies really fast."

Shrugging at his failure to come up with a metaphor, he still maintained his sudden air of confidence.

"Izzy, I'm not going to let you die. I've already seen too many friends die, too many people that were near and dear to my heart. I meant it when I said I would protect them, but it's not really possible. I can't protect everyone. I tried to protect a group, and in doing so, I lost them all. But Izzy...this time? This time, it's different. This time, I'm going to put my heart and soul into protecting the one person who means something to me - you."

Adam put his arm around Izzy's shoulder again, and shook his head a little.

"They say that God has a plan for all of us, whether we want to accept it or not. I've...I've always had a hard time with that, for a number of reasons. How can 'God' let things like this happen to good people? For what purpose? It doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense, but ... things are starting to get a little clearer. If there's a cosmic plan in place for us, then someone up there meant for me to do something other than die in Survival of the Fittest. I survived it once, and I couldn't believe it. Then I end up here AGAIN? It doesn't make sense. Unless I'm here, not to die, and not to win...but for some greater purpose. Maybe...with what I know about how this program works, with what I saw when I left the island on his ships..."

Adam smiled at her.

"I don't know about you, but I was never much for fate. I think I'm going to control my own destiny, and I've decided - fuck fate, fuck Mother Nature, and fuck Mr. Danya, I'm getting you out the hell out of here."

Adam paused for a second, and then leaned in closer, expression softening. Reaching up, he put his hand on her cheek, and lightly stroked her chin with his thumb. He felt electrified, and whether it was his newfound resolve or his newfound love, he couldn't tell. He was fully aware that much of what he said sounded corny, but Adam was shooting from the heart - and his damaged internal feelings were coming out; half as a rant, half as a heartfelt confession. To Izzy, it would likely be strange, but what wasn't in this bizarre situation that they found themselves in?

This time, Izzy...this time I'm going to do it right. You're never leaving my side, and I'm not letting Cody Jenson get to you ever again...

A genuinely happy smile on his face, Adam whispered his next words, as simple as they were, he knew that he would make them happen or die trying.

"I promise."

With that, and feeling as though he had a favour to return, Adam leaned in and softly kissed her on the lips.
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Izzy kept her attention focused on the ground, still a bit unsure if what she had just done had been the right thing to say at that moment… because after all—what was the point when at any minute someone could rush from behind one of the corners and fill them full of lead. Though she shook that type of thinking away, at least for the moment and slowly allowed her attention to flicker upward as Adam spoke… well kind of spoke anyway.

Swallowing a little and chewing carefully against her chapped bottom lip, watching and noting the smile—because a smile was a good thing wasn’t it?—blinking lightly and instead focusing herself to listen instead as Adam began to speak. The laugh helped a little bit in the spiral of nervousness and almost embarrassment she had found herself in, somehow managing a small smile as she once against pushed herself to listen and not run… well limp away.

Glancing down somewhat and glancing over the fact that she was still somehow managing to do this whole hand-holding thing without freaking out; which in turn she couldn’t understand why she’d freak out in the first place. She had grabbed Adam’s hand a number of times, and held it for whatever length of time, so why was the very though almost amazing in a sense of the word? It was awkward at best, but then again what about the two of them wasn’t awkward right now?

It was like some heavy weight had been lifted off her chest, but at the same time that weight was still hanging over her because even though she had stupidly managed to get out didn’t mean Adam… felt the same way. But trying to figure out Adam and how he felt sometimes was like trying to read a mixture of Chinese, Japanese and Russian upside-down and sideways with little to know chance of fully understanding just what was happening.

But he was babbling again, babbling was good wasn’t it? Catching the smile, though tilted her head a little at the sigh—but that wasn’t a big deal, Adam sighed about a lot of things. Why the hell was she being so critical about everything? In the midst of her inner argument with herself she almost missed as Adam went on to continue speaking, and very well almost missing what she had been waiting to hear said in turn.

Though she couldn’t help the moment of blinking, before out right smiling because she didn’t think she could do much without looking like a fool at the moment and instead tried to just focus and not… well, do something that would bring her intelligence into question. Smiling once more as Adam continued, it was weird though… like she was watching something change about the boy.

The look of confusion of course did spread across her face at the ‘so much time ahead of us’ because technically that really wasn’t the fact of the matter. Though the smile on Adam’s face told her something on a different side of the spectrum… because Adam now seemed so different from how he had been just moments before.

Speaking once again, she found herself listening to what was being said and for some reason felt that piece of her that had deemed herself dead before the weeks’ end growing smaller and smaller the longer she spent in the other’s presence. Unable to help flushing a shade of red as he glanced at her with that smile that not only made her feel safe but it brought up a sense of determination she thought she had lost when she had first woken up in this place.

Tensing up a little at his words, feeling as though her whole was flipping upside down because it was… she didn’t even know where to start to explain how she felt sitting her listening to someone say that they put so much into protecting someone like her. Sighing lightly as she allowed herself to collapse lightly against the other’s shoulder, feeling light-headed but having no clue if it was from the blood loss or the over whelming feeling that was making it feel as though her stomach as doing back flips.

Listening to the words because they were so like Adam, but at the same time there was something different that she hadn’t had the chance to see very often. Allowing herself to relax even though this really wasn’t the time, chuckling lightly to his words but would her voice locking up in her throat at the fingers against her cheek and sensation of his thumb stroking along her chin.

Quite strange indeed…

She didn’t say anything though—but that came back to not knowing what to say anymore—but at the sight of the smile on the other’s face… was it weird that she too felt overly happy? That nothing could go wrong? It was wishful thinking at best, but that was how she felt, unable to do nothing at the moment but smile at the whispered words and try not to get over-emotional by them, but even in the pain and with the blood she felt safe and sure that nothing would happen to her.

Izzy found herself taken aback by the sudden pressure against her lips by the kiss, but sifting somewhat against the ground to press back and not wanting last time to repeat itself—though it hardly seemed as if luck wanted to be on her side for very long. Her movement to get closer ended with her putting pressure on her wounded shoulder when it pressed against his own shoulder, breaking away with an annoyed sound as she rose her hand to press it to the bandages.

“S-sorry.” She muttered a bit mad at the damn thing now, huffing lightly as she glanced up and seemed thoughtful for a moment before smiling.

“I… I really don’t know what to say to all of that besides that… well I’m going to make sure I get you out of here. I may only have technically one arm and one leg, but if I leave well you’re leaving with me… no matter what. You said it yourself, we got a lot of time ahead of us and I want to see what’s going to happen.”
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Adam smiled, his sense of vigor and renewal was a refreshing change from the dark cloud which had hung over him for the past several years. It was as though there were a figuretive light in the tunnel, and now, instead of shambling along in the dark, he finally - after many months of soul-searching, had found something to guide him forward. He had goals, and this time, there would be no fudging them up.

Escape was now, officially, priority number one.

"Well, if you're all for getting me out, and I'm all for getting you out, then we should be okay, right? I mean, in principle. We'll have to figure out a plan, and...as much as it pains me to admit it, we won't be able to do this alone - if we're going to do it at all. Our first and most important priority should be getting these fucking death-chokers off, and if we can manage that, there's no way in hell they can catch us."

Pulling himself to his feet, he grimaced as his joints ached with the sudden movement. He'd been sitting for awhile, and the wind looked like it was starting to pick up a little bit. Usually that meant that a storm was coming, though Adam couldn't help but recall one of those old 'literary devices' which teachers had gone through such lengths to educate them about.

What did they call it? A...a pathetic fallacy? Where the weather within a story reflects the twists and turns that the reader's about to uncover? Well, hopefully that ominous shit isn't looking towards bad things for me...

Extending his hand to Izzy, he glanced up at the swirling trees and his smile turned serious. The energy that he'd found may have been rejuvinating, but he still knew the dangers of letting one's guard down in Survival of the Fittest. It was time to get moving, as staying in one place for too long would undoubtedly have negative results for them.

"We need to get going, find something that we can use to try and get the collars off. Something like a computer might be absolutely ideal. There was a guy in the last game...well, my last game, but this guy, Jack. He found a laptop or something and managed to hack his way into Danya's systems, fucked his power up something fierce. Now, I'm not saying we'd be able to do that again, but there's got to be some sort of information on the collars in his big computer database. If we can get even a smidge of information on how to deactivate these fuckin' things, then we're laughing. Anything else - any other havoc we can do would be a fuckin' bonus, yeah?"

Adam glanced around again, sighing and shaking his head a little bit.

"It looks like it's going to rain soon, so we'd best get moving before it starts opening up on us. I know...someone who might be able to help us, she saved my ass before and I was wandering around with her before I ran into you here...she's all about getting out of here too, and I think that she's got some sort of history with Survival of the Fittest, so that might be of some help. Last time I checked, she was at the barracks, so we may want to head over that way."

Quickly grabbing his pack from the ground, he slung it around his back, and kept his hand extended to help Izzy up. Adam knew that the likelihood that Julie would still be at the barracks might be slim, but she was well-armed, so with any luck, she'd still be alive and they could figure out just how to escape their own personal hell.

It's a big IF, but I'm done sitting around and waiting for it. If I'm gonna die, then I'm gonna die tryin' to escape. Go out with a bang, and all that shit...
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((Continued from Point of Collapse))

After a hot, sweaty, harsh trek through arguably the Jungle's most thorny segment, the wide form of Bill Ritch bounded out of the green mass of leaves. Red streaks were covering his face and there was very little of him that wasn't covered in Dirt or stains from the leaves. There was some kind of foul-smelling liquid that had leaked onto Bill's shirt from a tree he passed by, and he didn't take any time to look up and see what it was. Nor did he want to. The whole ordeal was.... disgusting!

Bill didn't go outside much. His frame and pale, pasty skin were evidence of that. To be stuck in the jungle, it was..

"Epic Fail."

The large boy stumbled into an old, abandoned shower room to the site of two, naked, mangled bodies. One had a large bullet wound and was mutilated and scarred beyond recognition. The other... some animals must've gotten to it. Yeah, animals. He hoped. No one would be that desperate for food. Bill was a big guy, and he was really hungry, but... yeeesh. Probably animals.

Suddenly the announcements came on. Again. He'd heard the one before, and it looked like Barkley was at it again. That's what he'd decided to call the other guy who was doing the announcements. Stutted and trembled, reminded him of one of the recurring characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The guy would always stutter and tremble and could never ever manage to speak clearly to the other characters, but on some occasions ended up saving them all. The final episodes of one other spinoff, Star Trek: Voyager, he managed to help the crew of the ship by almost obsessively seeking to establish communications with them, and did eventually. He had to say he didn't like this Barkley nearly as much, what with him being a terrorist and all.

Reminiscing aside, Bill turned over and looked, outside the showers to his left. A almost familiar looking, red headed boy standed with his back turned to him. Instinctively he spoke up.

"Hey... hey dude! Are you... can you help me?"

No, NO! Don't speak up! He could be a killer! A player! Way to go An Hero, you cockgobbler!

His heart raced. The boxcutter was still in his pocket. There was no way he could get it out, or even attempt to beat this guy down. He was in much better shape, and was probably more well armed. It started to rain. He panted with exhaustion and fright. Bill was at his mercy.

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Izzy couldn’t help smiling at the words, nodding her head in agreement with the words concerning getting the collars off—because after that, well it would probably be smooth sailing for the most part. What she figured anyway, there was still the whole actually getting off of the island itself but without the collars sending signals for Danya and his gaggle of terrorists to follow they would know were the look for them so that would give them the time so needed to do something like this. Of course this all rounded back to square one in actually trying to get the collars off, reaching her hand down to brush against the metal encircled about her collar.

She didn’t give herself any time to think about it, because thinking would just take up more of that precious time that they had so little of, watching as Adam moved to stand and happily reaching out to take his hand so she could pull herself up from her uncomfortable position on the ground, bending slightly as she got onto her feet and pressed a hand above the area of bandage surrounding where the stray piece of metal had lodged into her calf. Breathing out a small sigh as she righted herself and walk a few steps in front of the boy and glanced around, really not looking forward to going back into that jungle… but she glanced back, listening to what Adam was saying with a small nod.

Because that’s really all she really could do at the moment, blinking though at the mention of trying to secure a laptop or a computer of any sort… was that even possible? But Izzy continued to listen as he mentioned someone that had helped him out, smiling lightly and figuring that she would be a good person to start with namely if she was trustworthy and apparently had connections of some sort with the game. Bending once more to grasp at her day pack and pull it onto her good shoulder, glancing up toward the sky with a heavy frown because she was hardly interested in roaming around in a hot, humid and easy-to-get-lost in jungle but the rain just added onto the unneeded-ness of it all.

Though before they had much of a chance to do anything she found herself pausing and then sighing lightly to the sound of the voice coming on over the intercom system, after all Danya kind of struck a sense of fear and uneasiness whoever this was just made things… well it was awkward at best by the sounds of it for the guy. Shaking her head, it seemed almost just as when the announcement went off the rain kicked in, frowning toward the sky and glancing toward Adam with a small look. “Anyway, like you said we should get going.” She said, though glanced off toward the little black object now being rained on and looking over the sight.

Carrying around the little game machine really wasn’t something needed but… she couldn’t help limping toward where it had fallen against the ground earlier and reaching to pick it up. But as she grasped it and began to pull up and unfamiliar voice filled her ears, pulling up quickly staring toward the large boy that suddenly didn’t want to be seen… swallowing somewhat and watching toward the boy through the rain before finding her feet quickly moving to back up and away from the person. Izzy hadn’t seen a weapon, but she was not going to be taking any chances.
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It was all about the words that were coming out of other people's mouths. They came out of his as well; of course, but the more important ones were coming from other people.

Words could help you, they could hurt you. They could explain a situation and they could shatter the element of surprise. Today, they seemed to be doing a whole bunch of different things - just moments before, they'd decided to spearhead the resurgence of Adam's hope - in his peers, in himself, and in life itself. Now?

Now those words were taking the upper hand and giftwrapping it on Adam's front porch. It didn't take very long for Adam to realize that they weren't alone, and it took even shorter of a time to realize that this newcomer probably wasn't looking to inflict bodily harm upon them - his tone, his posture, and the look on his face seemed to confirm this, but Adam had experience that dictated something to which he couldn't afford to disregard.

Don't trust a single fuckin' soul you don't know. Not until they prove that they can be trusted.

As he helped Izzy to her feet, the voice broke through the area - and knowing that it didn't belong to either Izzy or himself, Adam quickly stepped in front of her, raising the machine gun to point it squarely at the newcomer. As he assessed the teenager, Adam had to admit, playing the game likely was not in this kid's best interests. He was a hefty fellow, didn't look as though he had any kind of 'street smarts' (if the term could be used for SOTF), and seemed nervous and worried-looking. In short, he looked like the kind of kid who didn't last a day in this game. As he barrelled out of the woods and stopped after calling out to them, Adam pointed the gun at him and braced himself for what he prayed wouldn't be a combative situation.

Uhhh, look out, Adam. Incoming fat kid, two-o'clock...

Pointing the weapon at the fat kid (he felt bad calling him that, but he barely knew anyone's name), Adam put on his best 'don't fuck with me or I'll eat your children" look, and nodded his head to the guy.

"Hey. What's goin' on, buddy? I wouldn't move, if I were you."

Taking a moment, Adam assessed the situation again. The fat kid had asked for help, but he'd have to be careful how he proceeded here. The kid could have backup waiting in the woods to ambush them, or something. Any number of ridiculous possibilities existed, but Adam wouldn't know if any were true until he took the plunge.

"Alright...first thing's first, man..."

Adam paused as the sky opened up and it began to absolutely fucking pour.

Oh, that's just fucking TREMENDOUS. Day just keeps lookin' up, now doesn't it?

Visibly sighing in disgust, Adam shook his head a little bit, keeping the gun raised.

"...son of a bitch. Go figure, huh? Anyway..." Adam turned his attention back to the fat kid. "...look, man. No offense or anything, but...I don't know who the fuck you are. I have what you might call..."trust issues", and because of that, I might have a slight problem 'helping' you, per se. So...how about you enlighten me on just who you are, what you'd like help with, and if you're alone."

Adam paused, and tried to glance into the trees. Unfortunately, the rain made that nearly impossible. If the fat kid had any backup, Adam wouldn't be able to see it coming.

"I don't exactly care much for surprises, most of the last big ones I've recieved haven't been all that nice, so if you're carting around people who're waiting to pounce on me for the kill, you oughta let me know now. I wouldn't want things to get ugly...and trust me, bud? It's sick, it's insane, it's whatever...but unfortunately I'm one of the few people on the island who's undoubtedly capable of some pretty twisted shit. I wish I weren't, but I am. So...you might wanna own up. Yeah?"

Stopping his small little speech, Adam hoped he'd scared the living hell out of the kid. It was a shame, really. He didn't look like such a bad guy. Probably socially inept, seemed a little terrified, and Adam couldn't say he blamed him. Unfortunately, sometimes unkind words were necessary to break down just what was going on.

Fuck, I cussed out Julie and she fuckin' came BACK for me...which reminds me...

Adam was suddenly reminded of his other ally, and isntantly became a little more concerned. If he was indeed going down this road again, and grouping up, he'd want it as small as possible and with trustworthy folks along for the ride. Julie was someone he trusted, and he'd want to get him and Izzy back to her as soon as possible - as he didn't trust that large crowd that had seemingly gathered as he'd been leaving.

"Well, bud? What's it going to be? You going to start talking, or keep standin' there and looking at me like I'm walkin' around with a giant cock drawn on my face?"
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