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Confessional; Private
Topic Started: Apr 30 2011, 04:40 PM (1,391 Views)
Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Make Your Own Kind of Music -> Bounce))


It had been a while since Bounce had got herself to move that quickly. It was tiring, exhausting, even. She was far from fit, after all. Bounce didn't even know why she was still carrying around the can of gasoline. She'd come so close to using it a day or so earlier, and why? Because somebody had acted vaguely threatening towards them? She didn't have the stamina or the strength to lug it around, yet she persisted.

And when the infirmary building loomed in front of her and Alice, it meant that she more or less collapsed straight onto her face. There was a huge clattering sound as everything in Bounce's bag fell on top of her back and she gasped for breath. The wind was knocked out of her, the weight pressing down on her like some kind of anvil.

For a few moments, Bounce just lay there in the grass, face down, wheezing. Putting her hands out to the side, trying to lever herself up, Bounce made a couple of inches off the ground, then slumped back to the floor.

"S...sorry," she murmured to Alice, somewhere behind and beside her. "...Can't... I need..."

...Rest.

She fainted.
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[ *  * ]
((Alice Blake continued from Make Your Own Kind of Music))

Running, running, more running. It was something that she found herself doing more and more often in the last few days. This time, she didn't mind. It keep her occupied on something other then the girl she had killed.

Left, right, left, right, left, right, keeping pace behind Bounce. Heart still racing, nerves still frayed. Her mind still drifting despite her best efforts. Toward Ash, toward Vic. She would try to focus on Bounce, urging her forward when she flagged. She gave thanks to her relatively active life style that at least one of them wasn't staggering and stumbling as they fled.

It wasn't long before Bounce led her to what must be the infirmary, if her her recollection of the map was any indication. She had had guessed that it was Bounce's intended destination a while back, when it loomed in the distance, but she held out a private and fleeting hope that Bounce would change her mind and head back toward town. Unlikely, she knew, but the sight of the town on the horizon brought her mind back to Vic.

Vic, alone, scared, de---disconsolate. But they went to the infirmary instead. Alice accepted that. Vic, she...she made her choice. Or, at least, Alice tried to tell herself that.

Ahead of her, just in front of the two-story building, Bounce collapsed, gasping for air. Alice came to a stop next to her, looking around them to make sure they were alone before kneeling down next to Bounce. She tried to look jokingly reproachful, but she wasn't feeling any type of joking right at the moment. Instead, she said, simply, "That's fine." But by then Bounce has already passed out, so she was as good as talking to herself. Any fear for Bounce's well-being was allayed by the knowledge that this was what happened when someone who sat in front of the computer for majority of the day found themselves running any sort of distance. All the same, Alice would do well to get Bounce inside and out of the open.

She removed her pack and set it on the ground next to Bounce then eased Bounce's pack off her shoulder and set it next to the first. After a second's consideration on the exact technique, she picked Bounce up, one hand on her upper back and the other settled on the back of her knees. As she carried her inside the building, she felt like she much look like some sort of romantic hero, rescuing the fainted damsel in the distress. Well, maybe not hero. Hero didn't kill people, did they? The same couldn't exactly be said for her. She tried not to think about Ash as she carried Bounce to a room toward the back of the first floor. Alice set her gently on the bed on the bed in the room, before stepping back outside the retrieve the bags.

Once back in the room, she closed the door and set up a chair underneath the handle in lieu of a lock. Alice took a seat next to Bounce's bed, leaning against the wall and slumping to the ground. Now that that was out of the way, they were relatively safe. Just the two of them. And with Bounce unconscious, that left Alice alone with her thoughts. Wonderful. Maybe she could read the nutritional facts on the food in Dutchy's bag instead? No. She'd have to think about it eventually, wouldn't she. Think about Ash. About Bounce possibly ditching her once she'd gotten rest and some time to think. About everything that had gone wrong or everything that was fucked up about the last few days. About how, best possible scenario, she was going to die. About everything that could have happened if they had just stayed home. About Vic.

Alice rested her elbow on her knee, with her forehead in her palm. She tried not to think about Vic. She really did, tried to think of anything else. But, inevitably, her thoughts kept drawing back. Tears stung her eyes, and she was quick to wipe them away, casting a fearful glance up at Bounce on the bed. Where had everything gone wrong? As soon as Bounce came around, she'd leave and Alice would be alone again. Just her, against the world. She would be alone, because Bounce would be gone, just like Vic. She buried her face in her hands. After a moment's hesitation, her body trembling, Alice broke and started to cry.
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass" -Terry Pratchett, The Truth

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"It's remarkable how often those with a good weapon get overconfident. It's the very definition of 'false sense of security'."

"Dodd didn't play the game intelligently. On a number of occasions, he was just that lucky to survive."

"Mental strength is just as important as physical... a lapse in concentration, a loss of composure... they can be far more debilitating than any wound."

"I can't believe how many people just forget things like staying hydrated. That's basic."

"I hope I don't seem callous here, but trusting others will really only get you so far..."

"Worst chances of survival? Let's see... socially awkward, physically small, heavy weapon, and with no real friends."

...

"...no real friends."

"friends"


Bounce's eyes opened. Didn't see much beyond a blur. They felt scratchy. Sore. She closed them again. Her head was pounding, her throat parched.

The smell... it smelled of blood in here, smelled of death.

She really wished that she'd never had to learn that particular scent.

Something reached her ears. What was that sound...? Crying...?

Wait, what had just happened-

Bounce sat bolt upright on the bed. "Fuck!"

Had she really just let that happen? Just up and collapse? She'd been going around this island for a week, and one piece of physical exertion and she was just plain out for the count? Alice, that was Alice crying - was she okay? Had something happened whilst Bounce was-

The small girl stopped panicking and stared at her bedside companion. After a few moments, her breathing slowed down, back to normal. Bounce wasn't really sure what to say to Alice. Seeing her in tears like that... it hurt, but more than that, it made Bounce feel even more guilty. Alice was under so much more pressure than her, she'd taken on the burden of protecting her. Yet at the same time, she was having to deal with Vic running off... getting herself killed. Her injuries...

And here was pathetic little Yelizaveta, who couldn't even deal with a little running without laying herself out. Her eyes stayed fixed on Alice.

"I'm sorry... I don't really deserve everything you're doing for me..."

"Easy out."

"Dead for sure."

"No chance in hell."
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[ *  * ]
“I'm sorry... I don't really deserve everything you're doing for me..."

Alice jerked her head up, eyes wide, heart pounding. Her grief got the better of her, made her forgot where she was and who was next to her. She hadn’t wanted Bounce to see her like this, but what she wanted or didn’t want wasn’t of much consequence lately. All the same, she had planned to vent for a while longer. But she had indeed planned to rally, maybe explore the surrounding rooms before Bounce woke up. That seemed like such a lofty goal now, but at the time it seemed easily attainable. How things seemed so funny in hindsight.

But Bounce had caught her mid-breakdown and Alice knew this was how it started and she wanted desperately to avoid it. To her fevered and guilt-ridden mind, this was the confirmation of her worst fears. Maybe it wasn’t because Alice was a killer. Maybe it was because she was injured, maybe because Bounce figured out something Alice didn’t. Whatever the reason, Bounce was, in more polite words, telling Alice that they were done.

I don't really deserve everything you're doing for me.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Let’s take a break.


Bounce was going to leave her. Using the same stock phrase Alice imagined Vic saying to her time and time again in the past. The conversation quickly played out in her head; Bounce doing to her best to put her down gently, maybe while edging toward the door. Telling Alice that she appreciated her help, but that it would be best if they parted ways. Alice begging her to reconsider, Bounce maybe hesitating in the face of her pleas. But it would inevitably end with Alice being alone again.

She had to do something. Bounce leaving would only end badly for both of them. If she left, Alice would be alone and Bounce would have no one protecting her. Then it would be as if was Alice who killed her. Not personally, of course, but her fault all the same. No, she couldn’t just let her leave.

Alice knelt next to the bed, her elbows on the blanket. She took Bounce’s hand on her own, tried to think of everything she could say to keep Bounce with her. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words formed. After a second, she started again, speaking quickly, frantically with the occasional hitch in her voice. “Please, don’t leave, Bounce. I’ll do better, I’ll protect you, keep you safe. You’re my best friend, my…” The tall girl stopped, looking away as she choked back the words. “You’re the only person I have left. I’ll do whatever you want me to do, just…just don’t leave me.”
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass" -Terry Pratchett, The Truth

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Bounce hugged her knees to her chest, her scrawny arms wrapped tightly around her shins. Her eyes kept flicking between Alice and the duvet of the bed. She was supposed to be the smart one, the one with the plan, the one who knew things. And here was Alice, babysitting her. Bounce hadn't even been any use. It was supposed to be an equal trade off. Brains and well, brawn. Bounce's experience and Alice's athleticism. In practice... she was just useless.

She sniffed, then buried her face in her knees, trying to rub away the forming tears.

Alice spoke up, suddenly. What she said was... almost the exact opposite of what Bounce had been expecting to hear. Alice thought that she was going to take off? After practically having had her life saved by the other girl twice already? After she picked Bounce up and carried her unconscious body into this infirmary. The whole thing seemed ridiculous but... well, after what Alice had gone through. Little wonder she was scared of her taking off. She'd lost a lot, she didn't want to lose her friend too.

Well. That wasn't going to happen. They were friends. Best friends, even. Bounce needed Alice just as much as - no, she needed Alice more than she needed her. Nerdy loners didn't make it far in games like this... past track records said so.

"Alice... I just felt bad that I'm depending on you so much, that I'm not even supporting you, even with V- everything that's happened," Bounce's voice trembled a little. "If you're not sick of me, of course I'll stay, of course I will. I never wanted to leave you alone in the first place."
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[ *  * ]
Relief. Relief that she hadn’t felt this profoundly since finding Bounce and Vic in the first place. Relief that Bounce wouldn’t leave her all alone. After all, Bounce was all she had left. If she left, Alice really didn’t know what she would do. But that wasn’t important anymore, because Bounce wasn’t leaving. It was something that she would have to deal with down the road, but not now. Until then, Alice would keep her close, keep her protected. Keep her safe.

Alice climbed to her feet before taking a seat on the edge of the bed, next to Bounce. For now, knowing like she did that Bounce was going to stay with her, she was content to sit and be thankful. She leaned back against the headboard, shoulder to shoulder with Bounce. “Thanks. It…that means a lot to me.”

But, of course, she needn’t have worried. Of course Bounce wouldn’t leave. With all the clarity that hindsight offered, she realized that Bounce would have sooner died then left her side. Out of friendship, kindness, common sense, even basic survival instinct. Bounce was safe with her. They were safe together. Alice had done nothing to make her friend doubt that.

Ever-loyal Bounce. Her best friend. The only person she had left. Together through thick and thin. Of course she needn’t have worried. Bounce would be there for her until the bitter end. She was the only person Bounce really had left too. They were all each other had.

Then Alice was craning her neck over towards Bounce, eyes closed. Then she was kissing her. But her eyes quickly shot open and she jerked her head back, the movement following through to her clambering off the bed and taking a step back away from Bounce, before the other girl could do the same. “Jesus, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Alice spoke quickly, holding her hands up in a gesture of apology and submission. “I wasn’t thinking, it just sort of happened, I-“ Alice quickly looked away, in part to avoid meeting Bounce’s eyes, in part to hide the blush she crawling up her neck. “Oh, I just fucked up. God, I’m sorry Bounce.”
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass" -Terry Pratchett, The Truth

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Uh, um. Okay.

Bounce's eyes were wide as saucers as Alice's lips met hers, her surprise such that if Alice herself hadn't pulled away, Bounce might have jolted back instead. Even so, the sensations of the tender kiss did not fade, and Bounce began to blush, something all the more apparent on her pallid face. Nobody had ever kissed her before, not even when she was a kid and they always used to mess around with those games.

Well... emphasis on the 'they'. Bounce was never a social type, even when she was younger. If anything, she'd been even more awkward back then. Before she learned how to be sardonic.

For once, though, Bounce was lost for words. For a few seconds, she wasn't 'Bounce', competing on Survival of The Fittest, her favourite show, a passion gone horribly twisted. She was just another teenaged girl, Yelizaveta - call her Lizzie - getting a kiss from her best friend, her best, female friend. For a couple of seconds, she was a malestrom of confusion, her heart pounding.

Then... she calmed. Now wasn't the time for this, it had just been an impulsive thing on Alice's part, brought on by tiredness and the grieving and everything. That, at least, was what Bounce assured herself. Yet... she reached out, took one of Alice's raised hands in hers and held it gently.

"It's uh... it's fine, Alice. It's nothing, really, you should not worry about it."

The conversation was interrupted by the sound of a distant voice, amplified by some kind of megaphone.

"Hello, students of Bayview Secondary School. My name is Jaxon Jeremiah. I'm here with a group of people who can get your collars off and take you home, on one condition: that you have not been murdering your classmates over the past week. If that describes you, and you want a lift, come to the beach as quickly as you can. We won't be here for long.

"If you've been playing, I'm sorry, but you're too much of a risk. We're armed, and we will not hesitate to open fire and send you away. All I can suggest is that you hold out and hope we tear this game to the ground. Should that occur, we will come back for you too."


Bounce sat bolt upright, looked at Alice.

"Unless you have any objections, that's the best chance we're likely to get. We need to keep an eye out for players and the type that would use this as an opportunity. Make sure we're not walking into a trap, but if this is for real..." Bounce smiled for the first time in a long, long while. "We're the luckiest people alive."

She hesitated. "Unless, well... unless you want to stay here, for whatever reason. I wouldn't leave you behind," she swallowed. "Not after everything you've done. This opportunity won't come twice, though, you can count on that. And... if they reject you because of what happened back there, then I'll fight for your cause, tooth and nail. She attacked us, you saved my life. If the worst comes to the worst, I'll refuse to get on their damn boat either. Agreed?"
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[ *  * ]
That was good? Right, good. Good? Maybe, good. Bounce wasn't angry, so that was good. But Alice was conflicted, torn, not sure which direction to go in or what to think. Some small part of her wished that maybe Bounce had more of a positive reaction. A very very small part of her. Another, larger part felt mostly guilt and shame. Shame that she had taken advantage of her best and only friend, guilt toward what Victoria would say if she saw them. But Victoria would never see them, and that only made it worse.

Bounce was suitably shocked, but dealing admirably. Alice, on the other hand, just wanted to...disappear. It was like something out of one of those stupid teenage drama's. Except most of those characters weren't cheating on a dead girlfriend. It just made it worse that Bounce was so quick to forgive. It was like it was no big deal. But it was a huge deal, wasn't it? It proved that Alice was the worst kind of person. She was a murderer, a cheat, a heel. Bounce should have been angry at her, shouting, something. That would have been better then dismissal. She deserved anger, not this.

Bounce took her hand, forgiving her. Whether Alice deserved forgiveness or not. She took a seat on the side of the bed, looking carefully away from Bounce. While Bounce was telling her that it was okay, Alice was thinking of Vic. Praying that, if there was some place where Vic was looking down on her, that she would cut Alice some slack. not that her head had caught up with the rest of her body, it was Vic that she was thinking of. Dying alone. Because Alice had failed her. Because she hadn't been there to protect her. And now it was like she had already forgotten her.

She didn't know what to say. She wanted to ask Bounce how she could forgive her, how could anyone forgive her. But she didn't say that. She didn't say anything. Nor would she have said anything for a while longer still, except a voice cut through the murk of her thoughts. A voice that was, apparently, promising escape. It was both a welcome distraction and a welcome development. Of course, it did raise the question in her mind regarding whether or not she would be allowed to leave. They said playing. Did that include her? Well, no, she wasn't playing. But she'd killed someone. It was entirely in self-defense, and not entirely intentional, but would that matter?

And, while on the subject of leaving, did she even want to? Well, of course she didn't want to stay here to die. But the alternative was going back to St. Paul. Going back to an apartment that she should have been sharing with the woman she loved. It would entail sorting through the wreckage that her life would become without the looming threat of death. Of course, that would be instead replaced by the more persistent specter of guilt and depression. She should have never let Vic leave. At the very least, she should have been with her at the end.

Maybe she should stay. It would certainly be easier then going home. And it would allow her a chance to make sure Vic's death would not go unanswered. A chance to make things, if not right, even. Maybe...

Alice shook her head, more to clear her thoughts than in reply to something Bounce said. "We'll go." Alice said, quietly. "It's better then sitting around here, anyway. Come on, then. Let's go home."

((Alice Blake and Bounce continued in The Cavalry Arrives))
"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass" -Terry Pratchett, The Truth

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