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Instinct; Semi-Private
Topic Started: Dec 20 2010, 10:42 PM (5,348 Views)
BetaKnight
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In some cultures, what I do is considered normal.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Roman Jackson continued from Living In the Aftermath))

Roman plodded along, absently humming to himself in a droning monotone. The humming abruptly stopped as he realized what he was doing. It was an old habit, one that soothed him in times of stress or mind-numbing boredom. Besides making him feel better, it had the added bonus of driving Alex absolutely crazy. With stiff movements, he glanced at the others in his party. "Sorry," he sheepishly apologized, wondering why no one had commented on it sooner. He had probably been doing it for a while for him to have noticed it himself.

Actually, if he was being honest, Roman was amazed that his new friends had stuck with him for as long as they had. He didn't know if he would have followed Jojo or Simon if they had started aimlessly wandering the island. Granted, his wandering wasn't exactly aimless. He had an aim. He just wasn't a hundred percent sure how to achieve it. Or even 90 percent sure.

One thought had driven him all morning. When you lose something, retrace your steps to the last place you had it. In his pain-muddled mind, that meant that he needed to return to the beginning. For Roman, that meant a return to the clear-cut remains of the forest.

The steep, uneven terrain had proven almost too challenging for his condition. His movements had been punctuated with deep, gutteral grunts as he fought to keep moving forward while favoring his left side. The injured shoulder and side throbbed and pulled with each step. He could feel that the bandages were no longer dry, that he was still bleeding at a steady pace. That thought alone should have alarmed him into stopping and asking one of the others to check, but the need to find Alex had brought him this far. Some nagging instinct drove him, assuring him that he was heading in the right direction. That it wasn't much farther now if he would only press on.

An miscalculated step caught his foot in a small rut, causing him to stumble and fall to his knees. Without thinking, he threw both hands out to brace himself. He bit back a scream as his injured shoulder was ruthlessly jarred by the momentum of the short fall and his own weight. Fighting back pained tears, Roman braced himself with his good arm to try and alleviate the pressure on the other.

Huffing and blowing, he slowly worked to shift himself from his kneeling position into something more upright. But he couldn't do it. He simply didn't have the energy.

He spotted a nearby tree stump and awkardly scooted himself towards it. Placing his right palm on the stump, he managed to push, lever, and drag himself up until he could sit. The muscles in his right arm burned and screamed their protest, unaccustomed to have to do so much of the work all alone. However, that was nothing compared to the bone-deep ache coming from his left side. Hanging his head, Roman was content to simply sit for a moment as his body labored to get enough air.

God help him, he was tired. He wasn't sure how much more of this he could stand. He wanted to lay down. Just lay down and let this whole nightmare be over. But he couldn't do that until he was sure Alex was okay. He had to find Alex first. She had to be close. He could feel it. If he would only get up and keep walking, he would find her.

Roman willed himself to his feet but his traitorous body refused to budge. Silently cursing the situation, he allowed his head to roll backwards so that the open sky of the clear-cut forest filled his vision. Now that his breathing had returned to normal, he inhaled as deeply as he could before bellowing, "ALEX! WHERE ARE YOU?"
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BetaKnight
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In some cultures, what I do is considered normal.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Roman feebly tried to wave Jojo’s concerns off, limply flapping his good right hand at him. As well meaning as the others were, they didn’t seem to understand the need to find Alex right *now*. He had to find her, never mind what his body was doing. Alex could be in even worse shape and who would take care of her if he didn’t find her?

As he gathered his waning strength for one more attempt to stand, he was nearly knocked off his impromptu seat by a force of nature. But even better than a force of nature, it was the force of Alex. He bit back a whimper of pain as she wrapped him in a tight but brief embrace. He had never been more glad to see her in his whole life. He smiled indulgently as she chattered away a mile a minute in typical Alex fashion. He allowed the sounds to wash over him, reassuring him that it really was his twin, safe and whole and healthy.

“Hey, you okay? You’re not saying much.”

A perfectly innocent question but more than he could deal with. He was hurt and exhausted but none of that was important anymore. Shakily reaching out, Roman tucked an errant strand of hair behind Alex’s ear before briefly touching her face. She felt so wonderfully warm and alive to his cold, clammy hand. She was here and she was okay.

The first tear slipped from his eye as fine tremors wracked his body. Learning forward, he grabbed Alex in a one-armed bear hug, burying his face in the crook of her neck and clinging to his sister as he began to cry.

Thank you, God. She’s here and she’s okay. I was so afraid I’d never see her again. Nothing else matters, as long as she's okay. Oh, thank you. Thank you.
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BetaKnight
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In some cultures, what I do is considered normal.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Time skipping again. Wee, time skips! Apologizing in advance for any GMing. If anybody involved has an issue with what I’ve written, let me know and I’ll fix it.))

As he watched the stars twinkling in the night sky, Roman contemplated what was left of his future. He was fairly certain that short of some miracle rescue, there wasn’t anything anyone could do for him. But at least he had found Alex. She was safe and healthy.

He could see how concerned she was about his current…condition but there was nothing he could do except try and downplay the severity of his injuries. If she was distracted by him, she wouldn’t be able to keep watching out for herself. As loathe as he was to think it, he knew he was more of a hindrance to his sister’s continued chances than he was a help.

Hot tears of frustration gathered at the corners of his eyes. Assuming he even managed to climb to his feet when it was time to set out in the morning, he knew that he would be the focus of attention. No one would want to overtax him, not push him too hard. God forbid, if they actually ran into someone who wanted to hurt them, Alex would probably try and shield him. He couldn’t let that happen. He couldn’t let her throw away her chance to go home to their parents on him, not when he was already a lost cause.

Gritting his teeth to keep from sobbing out loud in despair, he fixated on trying to clench his left hand into a fist. He hadn’t told any of the others that he had lost all feeling in his left arm not long after they had run into Alex. Or that the pins-and-needles sensation he had experienced since the shooting had spread over most of his lower body. It was just another one of those things that would worry his sister. His head swam and the stars overhead blurred.

Squeezing his eyes tight, his words came out in a harsh whisper. “God, I know you and I haven’t talked in a really long time. I was really angry after Grandpa George died. I was pretty sure you weren’t listening to me anymore. I’m not even a hundred percent sure you’re listening to me right now. But I know that given the situation we’re all in, I can’t be the only person trying to get your attention.”

Turning his head as best he could, Roman glanced over at Alex to make sure she was still asleep before he continued. “So here’s the deal, God. I know I’m dying. I can feel it. Unlike some of the others who’ve met their ends here, mine is in inches and feet rather than all at once. And I’m okay with that. I really am. But I know Alex won’t be. I need you to take care of my sister, or send someone else to take care of her, and get her back to my parents. It’s not fair that they should lose both of us. They’re good people and they’re going to be devastated.”

Taking a deep breath, he slowly exhaled. “So if you could just do that for me, I’ll be totally good with whatever happens to me. I found Alex. I did what I could. Now, I’m leaving it all up to you.”

He heard the watch approach to check on him. He tried to remember who it was. He could see Alex and who he thought was Jojo sleeping nearby. Taking a wild guess and taking care to keep his voice low, he spoke. “Hey Acacia. You, umm…you heard all that didn’t you?”
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