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Everybody Loses; V4 Endgame
Topic Started: Nov 5 2011, 02:26 AM (10,284 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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"Louis, if you're watching this, there's something I have to say... s-so, pay attention to your big brother for a second."

Ivan Kuznetsov sat facing the camera he had found in one of the other houses after leaving Tabi for the last time. He was glad to have found a haven such as this, free from dead bodies or other students trying to kill him. It was getting a little tough to find those who fit into that latter category. The announcements stated there were five of them left, and went into pretty good detail of who they were. An unknown factor laid here or there, but he did at least know who Ilario, the only other guy left on the whole island, was. From that bit of knowledge, Ivan understood that this wasn't going to be any easy battle reaching the end. However, as far as he was concerned, the hardest part of his journey was now behind him. Taking her away was going to be the biggest mistake any of them made.

There wasn't a lot of time left to do what he had come to this particular spot to do. Maybe four others remained alive, but Ivan considered himself truly alone. He had always wished to be alone rather than be around his peers at school, finding the spot of least traffic to stake his claim in Bayview's social network. Now he got what he wanted, but only after he had been given something much better. And then, that something had been taken away to be left with his original wish in a cruel display of false generosity. Soon, only one of them would be left alive and they'd have the rest of their life to return to. Ivan was not sure if there was much of a life to return to if he happened to be that one. With that thought, his right hand clasped the hair tie fastened around his left wrist and he stared at the camera in front of him. The instrument was meant to record death and violence and whatever other sick acts the terrorists might have lined up; if it was supposed to record pain, then it was pain he would convey.

"I've been thinking about what I would say to you if I had the chance for a while," Ivan began. His voice was already starting to break as he thought about how his brother might react when he saw the message, as well as how unbearable it was that this might be the last thing he ever told him. "And now that I... um, found this place here with a camera, and sat myself down to tell you, I really don't know still."

He took a breath and ignored how painful his chest felt when he thought about home. He could do this, he could power through all of this for everybody he loved.

"This is just for you, alright?" He had to force the words out at an unnatural pace, as they did not want to seem to come on their own. "I don't give a damn who else sees this... if you think this is entertainment, you can go straight to hell! You hear me? I lost her and you all probably think-" Ivan caught himself, biting his tongue. He had to focus, keep talking to Louis and not those who didn't deserve his attention. "Louis... your brother is going to do everything he can to come back home. I have something I have to do, and before I can win this thing, I'm probably going to have to kill somebody else to do it. I've already killed three people, and I really hope you didn't see any of those first hand." His hands began to shake a little.

"What I'm trying to say is... after this, I want you to stop watching. Keep mom and Aunt Vera company. ... I love you all. See you around."

Ivan turned away from the camera and gathered this things, walking out of the house before anybody else could see him cry. He had all he needed to win the game, now. Almost everything.
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The island had never been so painfully quiet to him before.

From the moment Ivan stepped out that door into the last area of the island that was open to him, he experienced nothing but dead silence from the outside world. The only thing that could quell the deafening, complete absence of sound was the crunch of some sand pressed between his shoes and the surface of the street. How fitting that, as the game drew to a close, anybody who was left would be restricted to the place on the island that was the strongest representation of humanity. That, or it was the strongest representative of the loss thereof.

Ivan was forced to progress towards the center of town from the residential area when his collar beeped a few times. He must not have been close enough beforehand; the way he was pushed onward by a mere noise reminded him of an ant being siphoned towards the center of an antlion's sandy den. The rim held no salvation as it was out of reach, and every step closer could only lead to somebody's demise. The beeping stopped, and Ivan felt that he could stop and rest for a moment.

A soft, high-pitched noise of something shattering... maybe glass?

He pressed himself against the doorway of a nearby building and sunk down low. No gunshots rang out just yet, not that it meant anything. Were there silenced weapons on the island? Ivan couldn't remember. He looked behind him to down the street, then back towards the center of the town. Nobody to watch his back now, he remembered.

Just ahead, he could make out what looked to be a town square of some sort, complete with fountain and flower garden. Bodies littered that area... Ivan could spot two just from where he was. It was an apocaltypic scene brought to life before his very eyes. His hands tensed on the shotgun as he decided to approach the perimeter of the square and head behind the buildings as opposed to in front of them, hopefully not leaving him as a target for anybody who might be sniping from a window. The shotgun went around every corner first, followed by the boy.

Just keep it steady... he could still do this.
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Making his way through the town was taking a lot longer than it should have, ideally. In order to get around to the other side of the town's center, Ivan couldn't just take a straight shot across the open space and hope for the best, since that was just asking to be shot. He continued around the perimeter of the town as he had been doing for a good long while, looking for the next short sprint he'd have to take to continue his path. If there were any blessings to be counted thus far, it was that his body showed no signs of being tired, as though the pain had just decided to give up and go home. Or at least, the pain was hiding somewhere that he couldn't feel it, if only for now. Just surviving to see the next moment, one second following the other, was all he demanded at the time.

It came to him as he was travelling undereath the extended eave of what may have been a restaurant at one point that Ivan really had no destination in mind as he travelled. He was simply moving from one side of the town's center to the other, trapped by the contraints of the game and the limits placed on them arbitrarily by a disgusting man (or men, a different one had been giving announcements lately) that none of them could see. He couldn't go anywhere else, and he did not see the point in standing still. Hiding in the top floor of one of the many buildings dotting the area would probably be effective to some degree, but Ivan couldn't stand staying in the same place anymore.

Standing still meant that he had nothing to do and would get bored. If he got bored, then that meant his mind would wander, and he might start thinking about things that he didn't want running across his mind at the moment lest they weaken him. The hair tie on his wrist served as a painful enough reminder, but as long as he was living that would be his cross to bear. He need not think more of it until he was down on the ground, taking his last breaths. And if he had his way, that wasn't happening just yet. Everybody on this island, as much as he hated to think of them in such a manner, was now a target. He wanted to get himself in to the mindsight that maybe this was all their faults, and that he was going to make them pay with some movie-inspired poetic justice. It would keep him motivated, for sure, to kill everybody who remained.

Yet, some part of Ivan... possibly his better half... made him think better of it. They were victims, just like he and Tabi were, and the act of killing them was really one of mercy more than anything else. All but one of them would die no matter how the pie was sliced, but that one person alive wasn't a winner. In a game such as this one, the only winning move would have been, as he remembered from some sort of pop culture, not to play. That move had been revoked from them, leaving them with no choice but to lose. Even the eventual 'winner' of the game would come out as nothing short of a loser, because in SotF, everybody loses. It's just that the person who got to live the longest would suffer the hardest. If that was the only way he could repay his failure, then Ivan would be that person.

A gunshot tore through the air, the sound bouncing off of the sides of buildings across the open square. Ivan resisted the urge to jump the best he could; he had heard his share of gunshots here, but each and every time he was only affected less and less to a diminishing degree until his nerves plateaued somewhere on the graph. He'd never entirely get over hearing the crack of a bullet being fired, and somebody possibly dying. Steeling his nerves to prepare for the rough road ahead, Ivan readied the Pancor and quickly turned the corner of the building.

Nobody was there. Just another empty alley.

He turned the next corner towards where he thought the shot might've been coming from, and still saw nothing. He checked behind him, as others would no doubt try to get close before taking a shot. Seeing that the close was clear at least for the given moment in time, Ivan pressed on. If he had to shoot somebody, well... that was just the way things had to be.
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He had to admit he had been taken by surprise for a moment. In his overly cautious approach towards the building from which the noises had come, Ivan had put too much of his focus ahead. In doing so, he had let somebody approach him from off to the side. The whistle, which came first, had only startled him. The words that followed from the girl's mouth, they taunted him.

While his arms held the shotgun exactly where it was before he had been confronted, Ivan slowly turned his head towards the girl that had approached him and saw Kimberly Nguyen. Good girl, sensible girl; somehow, he wasn't all that surprised that she had made it this far. Then again, anybody who had made it this far had thrown away some part of themselves in order to remain amongst the living. Supposing that theory was correct, what had Kimberly sacrificed to count herself part of the luck few?

She held a gun in her hands. Just what kind of gun it was, Ivan could never be sure. He didn't do guns. He had never even held a gun before he was forced to point it at somebody and pull the trigger. He thought back to when that was, who the first person he ever shot was. Keith... he had beaten Keith to death. That meant Imraan was the first, and Aaron was the only other person. Both of them had driven Ivan to the brink until he had no other choice, both times to protect himself and...

Only the second time he protected nobody.

He pushed it out of his head, but Kimberly's taunts returned to him. That almost amused Ivan actually; he could remember his mother saying many things to him. A lot of the time she spoke, it was on the court moreso than off. She was never really known for saying a lot of things to him or anybody else if it wasn't necessary... like mother like son, he supposed. Whatever the case, though, he was pretty sure his mother had never lectured him on sneaking up behind others. That sort of shit was Louis's bag anyway, not his. Actually, that brought him to his next point - where the fuck did she get off lecturing other people on sneaking around when she had just snuck up on him? Was that irony intentional? Ivan didn't care to find out.

For an indeterminate amount of time, maybe three seconds or maybe ten, the two of them had been looking at each other, each of them holding a gun. Ivan's was pointed where he intended to walk, but Kimberly's gun was pointed directly at him. She had been nice and clever in her words, sure, but she hadn't followed them up with anything. What was she waiting for? Ivan realized she had the perfect chance to shoot him and yet she hadn't taken it. If this was one of those 'Mexican standoff' things where people point guns at each other and stare for a long time like in the movies, then Ivan had to say he didn't buy into that.

He even remembered asking Louis at one point, 'why don't they just shoot each other' when he was suckered into watching some action flick with him on the couch. To his memory, his little brother could only reply by shoving popcorn into his mouth and returning some unintelligible answer thanks to the chunks of popped corn spraying about. If even Louis couldn't come up with some half-baked answer to such a stupid concept, then Ivan wasn't going to waste any more time on it. Kimberly wanted to point her gun at him? Well, that was just fine to him. His was bigger.

He smirked, maybe from his actions or maybe from the memories, and turned the shotgun to face her. As quick as it had appeared, the smirk wiped itself from his face and he pulled the trigger.
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Thanks in no small part to sheer dumb luck, Ivan had missed the shot. For some reason, his finger couldn't bear to hold the trigger in place, letting the next shot fire off and decimate the girl who was now fleeing. She had every opportunity to fire back at him, and she hadn't. For what purpose her entire little stand-off was suppose to serve, he didn't know and now he'd probably never have the opportunity to find out. It was possible had made a mistake, that he might have just shattered a potential...

No. He couldn't afford to see anybody else here as an ally, not now. Not anymore. The gun probably wasn't even loaded, and she was just using it to try and stick him up for one of his weapons. Maybe she even intended to kill him and was just trying to be dramatic about it, and the gun jammed. There were many explanations for why he did not die just then, and none of them were out of the kindness of Kimberly's heart. It wasn't out of malice on his own part that he was attacking her, but there was nothing else they could do. The price of freedom, and of life, was blood.

He took long and fast strides, as much as his legs would allow, around the corner of the building where he last saw Kimberly. He followed wide just in case she had positioned herself around the corner, but when he saw that she didn't, he hastened his steps. She was right there, fumbling with the door and trying to let herself in. He, on the other hand, was the silent pursuer who approached with the shotgun raised once more.

Had he something to say, he would say it. Somehow, he didn't think there was much conversation to be shared between the two of them. There was no telling just how many of them were left at this point besides himself and Kimberly, but Ivan was willing to bet that the other three couldn't possibly be dead just yet. If he was going to take care of this, he needed to be fast.

Yet once again, he did not fire right away. Something about this wasn't right. He had killed three people, but none of those situations had been quite like this. Now Kimberly was trying to run from him, clearly afraid. He felt like the bad guy, the aggressor. Well, he couldn't be anything else; 'good guy' was a term that no longer applied, and it hadn't for quite some time. Not when the last good people were now dead. Ivan struggled with the dead weight in his hand to pull the trigger again and managed, but the hesitation was sure to cost him.
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Kimberly had gotten away. Despite his relentless pursuit and the shots he took, his target remained unharmed. It was a clever move, finding a choke point and trailing fire along it. The girl wasn't exactly expected to be carrying a molotov cocktail, but it seemed she had found a way to use the tool defensively. She couldn't possibly be followed through the flames, lest anybody want to have their clothes and skin scorched, possibly being burnt alive.

Ivan fought the soreness building up in his body in order to turn away from the inferno, and that's when he was met with the rapid approach of another guy. Ilario... that was the only other male left aside from Ivan himself. There was no time to muse over the fact that he finally decided to join the party, because guns were being raised. Ivan raised his shotgun, the discretion in pointing at another human being far lost in his mind. As the intense heat of the flames warmed his back and the flickering light cast a shadow over his face, he pulled the trigger.

No... Ilario's draw was too fast. Ivan lurched to the right in a panic, causing his own shot to launch harmlessly into the wall just a few feet to the right. He couldn't let himself panic, not this close to the end. Ivan tried, though in vain, to quell the very human emotions trying to swell out of him and force him to act in a primal fashion. His head was the only thing that kept him alive so far and if he lost it, he was dead.

Shots had already been fired, it was probably a little late to try talking. Not like talking was going to do anybody any good in terms of stopping the fighting, as only one of them could survive to see the end of the day. Only one of them had a future, as broken and paved with blood as that road might be. Still, it would help calm Ivan down, and if Ilario was willing to oblige...

"Hey..." Ivan's panting caused his voice to be raspy. "... where the hell are the other two!?" The Pancor jackhammer remained at the ready, though not pointed at Ily... yet. All it would take was a joint effort, a small twitch of two wrists to bring the shotgun in line with the boy, and Ivan could liquify his guts.

Just keep talking... let the nerves settle. Then end this.
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Breathing had been slowed to a regular pace, the spasming of muscles being subdued as much as humanly possible when being haunted by the most primal of fears. Ilario's words confirmed the answer to at least one of his questions. Both Reiko and Ericka were dead, meaning it was now down to three people, three kids. He wanted to feel wrong for how he was thinking about things now, what with the other two now being dead. He was supposed to feel sadness, grief and the usual feeling of loss when somebody's peers die. They weren't suppose to be obstacles to living. That's how Ivan wanted to feel, but the grim reality had been necessitated by the circumstances. For the time being, that's all the two girls were. To feel yet another shred of his humanity slough off like discarded skin... this was something that terrified Ivan more than the gun in Ilario's hands, and something that could be just as fatal.

Ivan's focus had been intensified to where he could feel each of his facial muscles tighten in anticipation of Ily's movement, and maybe a little bit of anger mixed in. The raising of the gun and positioning of the trigger finger was smooth, telegraphed and deliberate. It was clear to him that they were both fighting back the most atavistic of instincts, the very principles of which screamed it was more important to flee, quaking in fear the entire way as they preserved their own life over the taking of another. They were also fighting everything that living in society for almost two decades had tought them: do not point your weapons at another human being, do not pull the trigger, do not kill. It was something the both of them had already broken, though Ivan could only speak for himself as to why.

The words came; a hollow apology left Ilario's lips, and Ivan was all too certain about what was coming next. He wanted to think and to plan ahead, to pre-empt all of Ilario's movements, but the thoughts could not come out quick enough. With the two choices of firing back or ducking for cover presenting themselves in a doorway, neither of them wishing to let the other one through, Ivan froze up and, with that, committed a mistake that could have very well been fatal.

"If you do that again, you will only lose the match! And should you keep doing it, you will get in the habit of doing it, over and over again. You will never win, you will never be a champion!"

Ivan flinched at the words of his mother, who stared right back at him from the other side of the tennis court with her eyes that could have held anything from anger to disappointment to mere determination, maybe even hope... Ivan was never very good at interpreting any of it. But that last hit was far too fast for him to be expected to hit it back, at least at his level. "I'm doing everything I can," he tried to defend himself weakly. He felt as if his voice was not carrying properly across the court thanks to how winded he was getting this late in practice. "I tried to pre-empt the hit, figure out where it's going so I can be there for-"

"Idiot! You are thinking too much!" Mischa Kuznetsova had switched over to speaking russian, and Ivan knew to immediately shut his mouth and keep it that way. "You don't think about where it's going. You feel where it's going next. You are drawn to it. You do not stop and think, you ACT. ACT!"


Ivan pulled all of his weight to the right before it was too late. Releasing the shotgun with his left arm to leave it entirely in the custody of his right, he used his dominant hand to grip the edge of a small table. Throwing himself behind it, he swung up with his hand to overturn the table and give himself the cover he so desperately needed. It wouldn't stop the bullet, but it would make Ily lose the visual... at least, he hoped it would. He tried, and failed, not to jump in shock as the bullet fired against the wood, splintering through it about a foot to Ivan's left. Without thinking much more on the situation, Ivan hoisted the shotgun over the top of the table and directed it where he expected Ilario might be. It probably wasn't going to hit him then and there, it was just supposed to give him the cover he so desperately needed.

Ivan felt the weight of the replacement clip in his pocket against his leg as the final assurance he was doing the right thing, and squeezed the trigger. The shotgun in his hands, operating as the automatic weapon that it was, went nuts with each miniature explosion. Ivan directed it the best he could for the few seconds it took for all of his remaining shots to expire, then he hurriedly set about to reload the weapon. It was not until he finished that he even attempted to look over the top of the overturned table. He didn't have to be able to see in order to know that the flames in the house had drawn closer thanks to the burning fluid on wood, but it shouldn't have become a problem for him just yet. The biggest problem was still Ilario, and Ivan was ready for him, should he have survived.
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He had made a grievous error in judgement. He had screwed up, and now Ivan was paying for it something fierce. He planned on hastily finishing his reload and rising up to polish off his suppresion fire, but no sooner had he slammed the strange magazine into the body of the gun, Ilario threw himself over the top of him. Everything happened so fast in a splinter-soaked haze that Ivan hardly had enough time to discern which direction Ilario had come from before he was being struck.

His hands flexed with every intention of pulling a trigger that was no longer there. The barrel of the unwieldly shotgun had been knocked away from him, the stock yanked out of his grasp as his hands flew up to protect his face from the other boy's assault. Much like the philosophy he had remembered and re-adopted a few seconds prior, there were no real thoughts going through Ivan's mind as he relied on instinct to carry him; a split second was the difference between life or death. He felt naked without the familiar and quite substantial weight of the shotgun in his arms, but such weight was replaced with the bitter pounding of knuckles slamming against his wrists.

Ivan remained on the defensive for the better part of a few sounds before returning some swings of his own in an animalistic fashion. He was capable of nothing fancy... this was simply returning blow for blow. Ilario would strike, then Ivan would struggle to force one eye open long enough to swing a right. The stinging in his arm returned to him, but it was either dulled from Tabi's final doting care, or he quite frankly no longer gave a shit, and to discern the true answer might as well have been impossible. A couple right hooks rewarded him with another strike to the face, and he could already feel the swelling in his cheeks, his glasses being smashed and swatted away.

He might have needed those glasses to read or to reduce fuzziness, but Ivan was more than capable of seeing what he needed to hit. A vicious left jab caught Ilario right in the nose, and the italian's swings had stopped for just a moment. Ivan snapped two more hits, a right followed by another left, right in the same spot. It was enough to cause Ilario to stumble back on his feet. Ivan stumbled to his own feet, ducked the crown of his head into a pitiful jab, then launched a left uppercut right at Ilario's jaw.

"FUCKHEAD!" Ivan screamed as the thunderous blow cleared enough space between Ilario and himself to get his bearings back after taking such a frenzied beating. His vision was blurred both from the loss of his glasses and more significantly from the hits he took, but he had more than enough of his wits about him to drive his left hand right up against Ilario's stomach, followed by a few more unaimed blows all from the favored hand of the lefty.

"Who the fuck do you think you are!?"
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Following the retalitory assault, Ilario had crumpled to the floor and looked to be in no position to fight. Truth be told, Ivan couldn't really blame him for not being able to stand anymore. He could hardly stay upright himself, and he was mostly on the giving side of the scuffle that had broken out. The fact that he stood victorious lay dwarfed by the two weeks that he had been on the island. Two whole weeks had gone by with less-than-adequate food and water, just about no peaceful hours of sleep, and leagues of stress from an entire class of students who were turned against each other. Every inch of him burned and shook and trembled with every move it made. He had strength, however, in the memory that there were only three of them left.

Soon, that number would be down to two.

Ivan offered no goading or taunting towards the fallen boy who had thrown himself onto his side, inching solely out of the most basic of survival instincts. Ivan was equally plodding in his steps, struggling to catch his breath as he made his way towards the discarded shotgun that had been knocked out of his hands earlier. He supposed, in the darkest corners of his mind that he tried to suppress as to not succumb to the more morose aspects of reason, that Ilario deserved to live every bit as much as he did. This wasn't some sort of idealistic battle of good versus evil, or even sympathetic versus antagonistic. They had both killed, so neither could pretend to be some sort of innocent good guy that irrevocably retained their reasons to live. Now, it was just about who wanted it more.

Ivan had made a promise, and it was a promise he had every intention of keeping. How unfortunate it was that in order for this promise to hold true, two more people would have to die.

Letting out a strained groan as he bent down to reach for the grip of the shotgun, Ivan looked back to Ilario. He was still crawling away... slowly, but still moving in some sort of meaningless journey. The flames were only growing stronger and washing the two with ebbing waves of heat, threatening to tighten skin and singe hair. Then there was the smoke. The smoke was getting to a point where in a space of possibly less than a minute, it might make seeing and breathing oppressive, stinging at the eyes of anybody inside the building. He'd have to make this quick. Bending down the extra inch needed to make contact with the unrelenting surface of the gun's grip, Ivan noticed a glint off in the corner of the room, illuminated by the light of the fire. Was that...

Oh no...

OH GOD NO.


Ivan lurched upright, but in his panic, the stock of the weapon fell from his grasp. The panic from before returned to him not in waves, but in bolts as he grasped one more time for the Pancor. This time, the weapon did not elude the clutches of his left hand. He hoisted the gun up, ready to take care of the problem once and for all.

The thunderous sounds of gunshots erupted ahead of schedule. Something tore through his left arm, his good arm, and everything went numb except for the pain. The clattering of the shotgun hitting the floor was drowned out by more of the deafening noises, and another one of the stinging phantasms of pain slammed into him, this time into his abdomen. Between the two devastating wounds, Ivan found himself unable to scream. His lungs had misplaced all of their air when his arm was torn into at the elbow, rendering it useless. There was hardly enough time before the second shot hit his stomach, twisting him into a world of agony. The most he could manage to emit was a gurgling cry of terror, dismay... oh, and the pain. The pain was nothing like from before, like anything that he had ever felt. Even the graze along his right arm had been something that while excruciating, he could struggle through, scream and bite at the pain while powering past it. This was indominitable... fatal.

Ivan stumbled back, quite possibly carried only by the nerves of his body and the adrenaline coursing through him to make those desperate strides of getaway. The fire was more intense to his right, and so he struggled to turn himself to the left, walking towards the only thing he could see of note. He approached the door outside, the very same door that he had chased Kimberly through, and grasped at the frame with his right arm to pull himself along in aid of his legs. As he passed through the doorway and stepped outside, the heat of the licking flames and smoke were replaced by clean crisp air and a surprising chill. He wasn't sure how far he made it out before he collapsed to his knees.

His shoulders rocked and turned him so he collapsed onto his back. Ivan had lost his glasses in the fight previously, but recognized the bleak, gray sky that was looking back down at him. He didn't feel like he had the strength to raise his head and look at his body, but there was nothing to see that he didn't already know was there; he could feel the blood pumping out. This was it. He was going do die.

"... I tried..."

Footsteps approached.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Pain had caused the world to stop making sense. As Ilario fell to his knees beside him, Ivan couldn't so much as even decide what to think or feel other than the bitter hell coming from his own body. His eyes either squinted shut in his meager attempts to cope or blurrily opened to look up at the boy... his killer. The words he heard were blindly grasping, trying to decipher the same world. It was a naive effort, trying to find reason for all the killing, but it was an effort all the same, he supposed. All the same, the answers Ilario used to try to soothe his own damned conscience found no respite with Ivan thanks to their emptiness. There was a whole lot of talking, there, but nothing had been said. As he laid there on the ground feeling himself slip away bit by bit, Ivan fabricated enough strength to open both eyes and bear them on Ilario with a glare.

"Don't tell me," Ivan croaked. His words were interrupted with pained gasps, his chest fighting the unseen weight pressing down on top of it in order to get out what needed to be said. He may have lived his life as somebody with few words, only talking to others when he deemed it absolutely necessary, but Ivan had never had more to say than he did now. "Don't try to tell me that you're the hero... here." Another short gasp had broken apart the sentence, but regardless of how broken his body was, he would not be stopped. "I killed people. I killed three people, kids... fucking kids you and I both went to school with. Every single night, I saw Keith's face staring back at me."

Ivan had to suppress a cough in order to continue. "... Didn't deserve to die. I got scared, I did something I shouldn't have... I took a life. I wouldn't be able to live with myself after that if it wasn't for..." A pause was warranted as Ivan felt parts of himself shutting down. He couldn't really feel his left arm anymore, not after the bullet had torn through it at the elbow. He noticed, albeit groggily, that he was finding it harder and harder to feel his feet as well. His right arm, for a long time the thing that pained him the most and dragged him down, was really the only thing that he could feel and move by this point, and he made full use of that ability by clutching at the ground beneath him to cope with the pain.

"I did it all for her. Imraan attacked us, trying to kill Tabi... j... just because she defended herself against Clio. He thought he was being a hero too, you know." Ivan's voice, feeble before, had raised itself to try and add some bite to his words. "But he was just being a killer. Imraan attacked Tabi. Aaron..."

The memory was too vivid, and Ivan could only whisper the next part.

"Aaron killed her."

Somewhere, not too far away, Tabi's body was laying in one of the many residences on the second floor. When he thought about it, he realized that she wasn't actually all that far away... nor had she been dead that long. It felt like so long ago, the last time he had kissed her or the last time he had seen her smiling face, listened to her say something that he thought was pretty funny but didn't want to show it. She looked so pretty to him, even when she was all covered in mud and insisted that she looked absolutely terrible. It was a happy memory, but the knowledge that they were all behind him brought the tears to his eyes.

"I didn't save her, so... s-so no, I'm no hero," Ivan admitted through clenched teeth. "But if you think you're any different at all, you need to wake the fuck up! There are no heroes on this island. Not anymore."

The dying boy took a long, wavering breath and tried to sit up, but could only manage a slight incline at the neck. It was enough for what he needed to do. His right arm slowly reached across his body, clutching at the black hairband that was strapped around his arm just below the bloody mess that was once his elbow. He struggled to pull down on the band of his arm that would no longer function on its own, pathetically jerking at the shoulder to get an extra inch or too. As much as he wanted to scream out in pain, all of Ivan's strength was dedicated to pulling the hair tie off of his arm, which was raised in the process of doing so. Once he had pulled it off and his left arm hit the ground once more, never to move again, Ivan let his right hand fall with the hair tie, holding it at his chest.

"Take this..." he breathed, his eyes closing. Leaving them open was becoming much too hard. "Tabi's parents... give it to them. Please."



I'm sorry I couldn't give it to them myself, Tabi. I tried, I really did.
Maybe he'll do it for me. If he goes all the way and makes it home.
I'm getting tired... it's hard to move. Even breathing...

You're so close by...












B082, Ivan Kuznetsov - Deceased
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