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Why We Fight
Topic Started: Nov 10 2016, 08:21 PM (1,324 Views)
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((Kimiko Kao continued from The Lagniappe))

After what had happened Kimiko found herself returning to the only other place on the island that she had felt safe. She didn't feel comfortable though, Kimiko found herself looking over her shoulder the whole journey, making sure no one tried to ambush her like on the previous day. Her back still had the occasional twinge of pain as she walked, an uncomfortable reminder of what had happened but also something that helped focus her. It also helped keep her mind off what had happened. She intended to make sure Caleb hadn't died for nothing, but she didn't know how to go about it. She couldn't shake the feeling that nothing she did mattered as much as what had happened in the cabin. But Kimiko knew she had to keep moving forwards otherwise she would find herself adrift and at a loss of what to do.

It was obvious that her first few days on the island had put a target on her back. People knew who she was and were planning around her. People were also out to get out, that much had become clear. She had to be much more careful and smarter then she had been. No more snap decisions, she had to think everything through and do it with a purpose. She wasn't just being selfish anymore, she carried Caleb's hopes with her. She couldn't let him down.

The storehouse came into her view, she could see the stairs leading up to the helipad, where she had collected the nodachi. It felt like an eternity ago after everything that had happened. This time however Kimiko intended to search inside. She had her supplies plus Caleb's but anything extra she could scavenge would only be beneficial in the long run. Kimiko made sure the tantō was secure in her pocket and took the nodachi off her shoulder, gripping it firmly in her hand. She had to be ready in case anyone was already there.

As she moved closer the question was answered. There were three people outside the storehouse and one of them was Clarice. Kimiko stopped and slowly crouched down, careful to make sure there was nothing nearby that could have given her position away like in the staff housing. From her crouched position Kimiko crept forward, using the bushes and trees for cover.

She wanted to attract Clarice's attention but stopped herself. There was no way of knowing how any of the three would react: Bart, Jennifer or Clarice. They could have shot at her as soon as she appeared, then Caleb's sacrifice would have meant nothing.

The other thing stopping her was the intense feeling of shame brought on by seeing Clarice. She couldn't bring herself to face her and doubt was starting to set in. Kimiko turned, intending to leave but as she did so some of the ground gave way under her foot. She managed to keep herself from falling by using her free hand to steady herself but her heart was pounding out of her chest and her breathing was ragged. As put her hand over her mouth to keep herself quiet it brushed something dry and brittle.

Caleb's blood was still on her face.
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Kimiko stayed where she was, watching the scene unfold in front of her. Luckily it didn't seem like anyone had noticed her presence. She still felt like she was seeing something she shouldn't have been though. They were having a conversation not even realizing she was watching them. Not even aware of the killer only feet away. It was a strange feeling within Kimiko, not knowing whether she should have revealed herself. She was weighing up her options when Clarice started to break down.

Her legs moving despite herself Kimiko slowly moved out from her hiding position and approached the group. It was a terrible idea but Clarice was one of her best friends and she felt compelled to try and comfort her or do something. At the same time she didn't know how the whole group, or Clarice for that matter, would react to her presence. She made sure to make it obvious she meant no harm, the sword hanging harmlessly from her shoulder and hands empty of anything that could potentially cause harm.

She stopped a few feet away and looked over the group, waiting for their reaction. At the same time her body was tensed, ready to carry her away at the first sign of any of the group intending to do her harm.
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Kimiko got exactly the reaction she had expected. Fear and anger. It made sense and she didn't begrudge them for it. But at the same time it still hurt to be treated as a monster again. Only Caleb had treated her as a real person. Clarice, one of her best friends, still shielded Kizi from her, as if she was a feral dog that looked like it was about to strike. That was all she was now to people, a threat, a danger, something to run from and have nightmares about. The feeling of shame returned.

Up close Kimiko could see that Clarice was injured, her arm had either been shot or stabbed, she didn't know which exactly. It didn't really matter. Even with that Clarice still tried to sign something, it was a gesture Kimiko appreciated and a sign that Clarice still saw her as a friend a little bit. The question was simple, blunt and delivered without emotion. Kimiko picked up on all of it, how could she have missed it? All of the signs every member of the group displayed showed nervousness. Whether they realised it or not they were sending a simple message to her loud and clear.

She wasn't welcome.

Kimiko began to raise her hands to form a response to Clarice's question when Jennifer lunged forward, moving to stand in front of a discarded gun Kimiko hadn't noticed on the ground. For a split-second she froze froze and her eyes widened. But when Jennifer didn't pick up the gun, she took a small step backwards and continued to raise her hands, this time in a placating gesture. If any of them did move to pick the gun up she was ready to run.

She didn't want to fight.

She also didn't know what to say, revealing herself had been a mistake. She should have stayed out of sight and moved on. Kimiko wished she had.

Once nothing further came from the group Kimiko began to sign.

"I wanted to..."

She stopped and tried again.

"Clarice was crying and..."

She couldn't find the right words. It was difficult, difficult to be there for someone when she wasn't wanted. Instead she decided to answer Clarice's question as honestly as she could. She turned her focus more onto her friend.

"I was scared and I was angry."

She wanted to tell Clarice about Caleb. Kimiko didn't want her to think she had been hiding it but she couldn't bring herself to do it. The memory was still fresh and painful. Kimiko lowered her head and took a shaky breath, regaining her composure before she continued.

"I just saw you crying and wanted to see you and maybe help."

It all sounded so childish out in the open, but it was the best reason she had. Truthfully she didn't want to be in front of the group anymore. She wasn't ready for interacting with others. But she waited for Clarice's reply all the same, keeping her eyes on everyone else, making sure they didn't try and attack her.
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Distrust. That was what she could expect now. One of her best friends didn't even trust her. That made Kimiko want to leave then and there, she wasn't even sure if Clarice realised how much what she said hurt. Instead she just took the tissue and nodded, wiping at Caleb's blood that was coating the lower half of her face. The other two, Bart and Jennifer just said how they didn't want to fight. It suited Kimiko, she had no intention of hurting any of them unless they tried to attack her.

It did worry her that Clarice had come into contact with Isabel and Nancy. Of the three of them Kimiko considered herself the most sane, and she cared about Clarice and didn't want her to get hurt. Of course her opinion of the three of them was based on what the announcements said however and she didn't know how trustworthy they were beyond giving the names of those that had died and their killers. Eventually Kimiko gave up trying to get all the blood, she was sure there would still be blood on her neck but she didn't want to spend anymore time trying to get it all.

She looked down and sighed, thinking about what Clarice had said and remembering Caleb's words back in the cabin, his smile and kiss. She looked at the tissue that was stained red with his blood and then to Kizi and finally Clarice; who didn't trust her anymore but still stood talking to her.

Kimiko had promised herself she would be smart and wouldn't do anything stupid. Nothing that could endanger her chances of reaching the end of the game and making sure Caleb's sacrifice wasn't in vain. But she felt something tugging at her and she knew deep down that the chances of her seeing Clarice again were nearly zero. She wanted to hug her but the gun and the others played on her mind, she didn't know how they would react.

But then, given the circumstances what did it matter?

Kimiko stepped forward and pulled Clarice into a hug.
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((Breaking post order because inactivity dodging))

Clarice didn't return the hug. Kimiko expected as much but it cut her deeper than anything blade could have. Clarice didn't want her there and didn't trust her. Kimiko's arms fell limply to her sides. She was stupid to
think that just because they were friends it meant Clarice would be able to work past that. She should never have stepped out of her hiding spot.

Running her eyes over Kizi, Bart and Jennifer Kimiko took stock of her options. Using the word options was too hopeful, she only had one option. She had to leave. Her presence would only make things worse for Clarice in the long run and she couldn't and wouldn't put her friend through it. It was clear that while Kizi trusted her, Bart and especially Jennifer did not, Jennifer an aggressive amount. Kimiko didn't see any way her staying with the group would be sustainable in the long run.

She also didn't want what had happened with Caleb to happen with Clarice.

When Clarice asked the question of what came next Kimiko already knew her answer.

"I can't stay here." Her hands started to shake but she fought it back and kept them steady. "I'll leave you in peace."

Kimiko slowly stepped back away from the group, making sure to not turn her back or take her eyes off any of them. Once she was happy she was a safe distance away Kimiko turned and started to run, only to stop and turn around.

"Be safe Clarice."

She meant it with all her heart.

((Kimiko Kao continued elsewhere...))
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