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If That's Who I Am, Then I'll Fight Who I Am; Night, Day 5 (private)
Topic Started: Feb 15 2017, 06:35 PM (1,190 Views)
Ciel
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(Audrey Reyes continued from Hang in There.)

Audrey forgot what day it was. Not the day of the week, the 'day'. Day 7? Day 10? It is hard to keep your inner clock set when you sleep for twenty hours straight.

Audrey knew it was a terrible idea to let herself sleep for so long on the familiar floor of the therapy room. She could not help it though. You see, Audrey Reyes had the miraculous superpower of being able to lay down and sleep anywhere, anytime. On the couch, in the waiting room of the doctor's office, even on the cold, dirty linoleum floor. She got it from her mother's side. It was unusual for her to sleep for such a long stretch of time though.

She was still fuming about Al, even as she was waking up. Alessio, who just up and ditched her after she nearly saved his life. Audrey defended her out of the goodness of her heart and -

And it was all a waste of breath. And for what? So Alessio can go and kill a bunch of other people?

She did not want to think of Al like that, because Al is - was - her friend. But it's not like her saving him meant anything to him. If it did, he might have not been so eager to scamper away as he did.

It was nighttime when Audrey fell asleep. It was nighttime when Audrey finally woke up, and without any way to tell the time, she wasn't even sure how long she slept for. The loudspeakers managed to wrench her from REM, but just barely. So she *knew* she was asleep for a long, long time. She also knew that she did not listen to the announcements, so she wasn't even sure if Al ended up killing anyone else. Quite frankly she did not want to know. Ignorance is bliss.

You want to know the worst part about sleeping for twenty hours straight?

No dreams. No fading little memories of traveling to space, no visions of sugar plums dancing in her head. No nightmares of terrorists killing Audrey's teachers. Just, nothing. Like a movie dissolving from one shot to the next, implying the passage of time rather than showing it.

That's the worst. She hated it. She hated this Orwellian death game. But she didn't exactly have much choice in the matter.

Audrey found it difficult to sit up but she managed it. She grunted, feeling the muscles in her neck strain as she craned her neck. She rubbed away the sleep in her eyes with the sleeve of her hoodie and wondered whether she should just kill herself or not.

The thought seemed extreme, sudden, but to Audrey it was a good question.

What was she even doing here?

Why was she even wasting her time? It wasn't like she was ever going to survive.

Should she just wait for someone to kill her? Or would it be better to cut out the middleman?

... Head in her hands, Audrey cursed. She shut her eyes tight. This was ridiculous. Audrey was being silly. She had to get a lid on herself, "compartmentalize." There had to be something she was missing, some way she could get back home without doing the unthinkable. "Compartmentalize." She was going to be a director for christsake, she couldn't just give up on that! "Compartmentalize."

Audrey slapped the side of her head. She breathed in deep and exhaled through her nose.

She would not let this game beat her. But that meant she had to play it.

Audrey was tired of a lot of things, but she was especially tired of this Futilitarian bullshit.
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Ciel
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Audrey turned her head. Towards the voice

There was barely any reaction from her. The turn of her head and their matched eye-contact was the only indication that she even heard Alvaro.

One of her legs wobbled. She was halfway through standing up when Alvaro entered the picture. It only took a second to straighten herself, a brief moment of weakness.

She did not respond to Alvaro at first. Her throat felt dry and she coughed into a clenched fist.

Audrey wanted to be mad. She wanted to scream at Alvaro, chuck something at his head. That's what she said she would do if she ever saw Alvaro Vacanti again.

She wasn't mad though. She didn't have it in her. Alvaro picked the best moment to wander back into Audrey's life; when she was at her weakest. She was just too tired to stay mad at him, too tired to react accordingly. In hindsight, that scared the shit out of her. What if he pulled a gun out on her and shot her dead? Somehow she doubted that would ever happen. Jasper only died because Alvaro was jumpy. She knew that, and she had a feeling Alvaro knew that as well. It was an accident. That didn't clean Alvaro's hands, but it was an accident. And if he had killed anyone else after Jasper... Well. Audrey slept through the announcements. Ignorance is bliss. She guessed.

Audrey wiped the growing tears in his eyes away. Wait, was she sneering?

"Yeah, Alvaro. Hi."

Okay. Maybe she was still a bit pissed. Still bitter. Audrey wasn't perfect for christsake.

Alvaro needed Audrey to do something for him. She grunted,

"I - " Audrey sniffled. The muscles in her lips ached. "I don't think you're in any position to be asking for favors, Alvaro."
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Ciel
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Audrey squinted, sighed through clenched teeth. Okay, compartmentalize. Alvaro clearly needs her for something. She should stop being so passive aggressive and listen to him.

Her heart fluttered for a brief moment as their eyes locked. Alvaro said that he can't do this anymore. He needed her help to do something. Alvaro could not look Audrey in the eyes when he said that.

Alvaro was acting strange. Talking strange, looking strange, breathing strange.

That, in itself, wasn't all that strange. Come on. He did kill a bunch of people in the past couple of days. Audrey could not blame him for changing; the island changed her too, as much as she did not want to admit it.

What was 'strange' was what Alvaro was asking her to do.

He wanted her to do 'it'. 'It' being...?

She squinted even harder at that.

"Okay, hold on."

Audrey took a step forward, arms crossed under her chest.

"You need to slow down Alvaro. I have no idea what you're asking."

Another step forward. They were only three feet away from one another. Audrey looked Alvaro straight in the eye.

"What exactly do you want me to do?"

Audrey thought she was giving him the benefit of the doubt.
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Ciel
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Audrey slapped Alvaro so hard it left a mark.

It did not fully sink in that she struck Alvaro. Slapped him open-palmed across the cheek. Not until her brain registered the stinging in her hand.

Audrey thought she didn't have it in her to be mad.

She thought wrong. She thought SO wrong.

It was like pulling teeth trying to keep her composure, to compartmentalize. Because Audrey was already at breaking point. She was already thinking about killing herself. Now there was a line that she could not cross, a line overlooking a cliff and Alvaro was pushing her over. He was pushing her and he didn't even care! He didn't give a fuck did he? God she was going to lose her shit. She was going to lose her shit at a known killer that would get her killed, or humiliate her family, or both. That scared her.

He scared her.

He was a killer. And he was asking Audrey to kill him.

"You're shitting with me, there's no way -"

She took a step back. Audrey laughed, the nerves were eating her alive.

" - Y-You can't be serious. This has to be a joke, right? I can't..."

Another step back. She was shaking her head vigorously, so hard that it honestly hurt her head.
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Ciel
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And it landed right at the center of Audrey's stomach.

Audrey flew down, crumpled to the floor. Her arms hugged her torso. The pain was sudden, jutting through her belly and up through her chest. For a second Audrey swore she couldn't breathe. She started panting frantically. Tears welled up in her eyes. She was trying her hardest to breath but it was like she could not inhale.

She didn't know what in the blue hell Alvaro did. It was so sudden. One moment she was on her feet, the next she was crawling back like a pathetic bug. She did not see the kick. All she knew was that Alvaro hurt her.

It was the slap, she thought. He was mad that she slapped him so he hit her back.

Audrey crawled backwards on one elbow. Her feet scrambled, her sneakers squeaking across the floor. There was a bang somewhere in the distance, but Audrey had neither the ability nor the inclination to wonder where the source of the noise came from. Her brain was off-kilter, she barely had any inkling of where she was until she bumped her shoulder against one of the chairs.

That's when she knew that she was about as far away from the door as one could get. And the only thing standing between her and the door is Alvaro.

Alvaro did not cut a very menacing presence, but Audrey was scared shitless.

"Oh please," Audrey said in shuddering, straining gasps. "Please don't kill me."
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Ciel
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PHRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Audrey squealed. Her arms flew from her stomach to her ears, eyes squeezed so tight that all Audrey could see were stars.

The sound ended as quickly as it started, but the reverberations lingered. Audrey could feel the gunfire in her core, in her bones and skin. It was the familiarity of that sound. It was the same sound she heard when Alvaro killed Jasper.

She... She felt sick. She wanted to throw up. She probably would have if there was anything substantial in her stomach.

There was a loud THUNK. Audrey squirmed because it was only a few feet away from her.

She was still panting. Her fingers were trembling. She opened her eyes.

Alvaro was laying in a growing pool of his own blood.

Audrey's brain was overheating. The adrenaline in her system said that she should be dead. Her eyes remained glued to Alvaro.

She crawled over to the boy, checked his pulse because it was the only thing she could think to do. She felt a pulse. Alvaro was still alive.

Inside her body, Audrey felt nothing at all. No fear, no anger, no relief. Audrey Reyes was uncomfortably numb. She exhaled a deep, shuddering breath.

Audrey noticed that there was a third person in the therapy room, but she was in no mind to connect the dots. She lifted her head.

And found herself staring directly into the barrel of the gun.

Audrey realized she was still crying. It was Jasper all over again; things were happening so fast that she could not process everything.

She opened her mouth to say something but she closed it. She did not move, she just stared up at Scout and shook her head.

(Scout Pfeiffer continued from Mystic River)

Scout felt a lot of things. Anger, disgust, hatred. Spend so many days sitting on your ass and talking about how you're going to clean house can turn you into a loathful son of a bitch. Most importantly though, Scout felt vindicated. Impassioned. And the crying girl whose name Scout was blanking on did not discourage her. In fact, she only served to piss her off even more.

Scout closed the gap between her and the rat on the floor. She nudged his shoulder with the end of her shoe with the intent of rolling him over. Whether or not he did so depended on the rat that called himself Alvaro Vacanti.

It was just Scout, the girl and the rat. Asuka was close by, Scout imagined. The gunfire was sure to light a fire under her ass. It really didn't matter who got there when, just that they got there at the right moment. If Scout arrived a moment too soon, things could have become very messy indeed. Not that Scout came in here to play superhero. She held the gun in her hand, a compact little number that tore the rat a new anal cavity. She liked it. It felt good. She could see why people got so fucking crazy about owning them.

She took no pleasure in what she was about to do. Quite the opposite; she found herself hemming and hawing now that she was face to face with the rat. Her eyes moved, glaring at the girl who was sitting at the boy's side. Scout did not understand why she wasn't running for the door. The rat was trying to kill her, right? Actually, Scout did not want to know the reasons. Because she didn't care.

Scout cleared her throat.

"Remember me, asshole?"

"If you lie to me, I'll kill you." She thought to herself.
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Ciel
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Scout Pfeiffer hovered over the rat, the gun pointed down, her wrists keeping a tight grip on the handle. She heard the rat loud and clear, and she debated what it was asking for. Whatever. She scoffed at the mere notion, her finger hovering over the gun trigger. Scout could feel herself hesitating and she wanted to quell whatever was holding her back. Her finger tightened around the trigger. Ready to pull it. Ready to finish what she started.

"No, stop!"

She sneered at the girl on the floor.

"Stop?" Scout asked. "Stop what?"

The girl said."Don't shoot him! Please!."

Scout was beside herself with confusion and rage. She almost pulled the gun on the girl, almost. She stopped herself. Not that way, she told herself. Instead she ran a hand through her hair and clicked her tongue. "... But he just tried to kill you."

"No, he..." The girl balled her hands into fists. "He was..."

Scout just stared shocked as the girl reached down to clutch the dying rat's arm. When Scout rolled the rodent over, all of the blood began to pool out. The girl did not even realize she was kneeling in a pool of blood. It was going to stain her skirt. The girl was sobbing. She was sobbing for the rat. The girl must have been in shock, Scout determined. She did not want to consider the alternative; that she actually cared about a dying rat.

The girl tried to put on a smile, despite being a sobbing mess. "It's okay Alvaro. Everything's okay."

Scout squinted. She looked behind her shoulder, searching for Asuka. She did not want to look at the rat and its girlfriend. It was going to die, whether it liked it or not. There was no helping it now.
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Ciel
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Was Audrey lying? No, she was not.

Was Audrey genuine? That was debatable.

Shock, and any resulting the temporary lapse of judgement, had nothing to do with it. Alvaro was dying, dead, he was dead. She recognized that, knew it when she checked the boy's pulse. But had it been her bleeding out on the floor, she would have wanted someone by her side too. Alvaro used to be a friend. She wanted to remember him as such.

The girl was staring at her. She could feel her eyes staring into her. Audrey did not pay Scout Pfeiffer any mind. She swiped the remnants of tears from her eyes, groaning as she realized that she was sitting in a pool of Alvaro's blood. There was no queasiness, no revulsion, and that struck her as strange. Disturbing, even.

Scout spoke up in that gruff voice of hers."You should have moved. I could have shot you."

Audrey finally met Scout's gaze. She didn't laugh, but there was a sick little smirk on her lips.

"Yeah, and? How the heck does that matter to you, Scout?"

The ginger girl straightened her shoulders. A note of surprised crossed brows but it passed. Was Scout expecting a thank you? Did she think she was some hero? Because she was far from that, Audrey could assure her. Scout didn't meet Audrey's gaze, like she was refusing to look at her. Audrey wanted to interpret that lack of eye-contact as guilt but she knew better. Scout was kind of a bitch. Well, she was a bitch in school, anyway. Audrey did not like having to deal with her.

"I thought I recognized you," Scout's voice wavered."You're in Dukoff's class, right?"

Audrey gave a stiff nod of her head. 'Yeah, Scout. You sit next to me in history class. You can't be this dumb.' Audrey held her tongue. Getting up to her feet, Audrey fumbled for her dufflebag, hoping to at least dab her skirt with something. There was a feeling in Audrey's chest that told her that Scout was going to try to start a conversation. The pregnant, awkward pause Scout gave was evidence enough. Audrey could remember that pause; when she was a socially awkward kid who could barely carry a conversation. It made her cringe. Made her even more pissed.

Scout went to speak and Audrey interrupted her.

"DON'T," Audrey raised her voice, "talk to me. Leave me alone."

"... Why?"

"Why? You just killed someone right in front of me! You killed one of my friends!"

"... But he was trying to kill you?"

Audrey went to respond and - stopped. She just. Scout didn't get it. Audrey was furious, she was sad and she did not want to explain it, she just wanted to wallow in her misery, alone. It was ironic, then, that she spent the past day not seeing a single soul but the ONE time she wanted to be alone...

It was her turn to avoid looking Scout in the eye, though that had more to do with the corpse on the floor directly in front of the ginger than the ginger herself. Audrey mumbled an apology. She appreciated what Scout did, and she was glad she got there when she did.

That did not mean Audrey had to kowtow. Worship the ground Scout stood on.

That did not mean Audrey had to be happy about it. Glad to watch another person die right in front of her. Relieved that Audrey herself wasn't caught in the crosshairs.

Scout stopped talking. Good. Audrey didn't feel like talking to anyone, least of all to Alvaro's killer.
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Ciel
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Alvaro Vacanti. Alessio Rigano. Nancy Kyle. Isabel Ramirez. Kimiko Kao. Brandon Harte.

The mental image of her crossing out the rat's name with a sharpened pencil felt good.

It said 'thank you'. Something about that pissed her off real bad. Now, there were certain things Scout had trouble discerning, that required her to pause and think. What, exactly, was that filthy rat thankful for? Thankful that it's girlfriend was there? He was just trying to kill her, wasn't he? Didn't make sense. Whatever. It was dead. That's all that matters.

When Scout attacked Alvaro, threw him to the hard concrete in the asylum basement, she had no intention of killing him. Yet. What she wanted to do was send a message to Alvaro. Maybe, just maybe, if she pummeled the shit out of him, he would think twice about killing again. Obviously she thought too highly of the pathetic, spineless rat.

So he, it, did not deserve to be thankful for anything. It did not deserve to die peacefully,

The rat's girlfriend clearly thought otherwise.

Scout did not know the girl's name. She was better with faces than with names. It started with an 'A', but that was all she could come up with. Suffice it to say, Scout had a feeling they weren't going to become fast friends any time soon. Which was fine. Scout didn't want to be friends, and she sure as hell did not need her gratitude OR her mumbly 'thanks'. If that rodent's ladyfriend wanted to act like a pouty little shithead, then that was fine with Scout. She could act pissed and stomp her feet and throw shade all around the room if that's what she wanted, if it helped her sleep at night. Scout didn't give a fuck, it made no difference. Saving her was tangential; Scout would have exterminated the rat regardless.

The first rat of many.

Alessio Rigano. Nancy Kyle. Isabel Ramirez. Kimiko Kao. Brandon Harte.

Scout did not see Asuka arrive, but when she made it inside the room, she went straight over to the girl. She watched as Asuka patted the top of the girl's head. Scout was conflicted about this. Of course she understood why. The girl said Alvaro was a friend. That was all Scout needed to know. At the same time, however, Scout could not find it within herself to care. The girl was a terrible judge of character if she considered Alvaro Vacanti, a known killer, as a friend.

Then again, Scout wasn't what you would call a 'character judge' either. She expected Asuka to have a stronger stomach. In an alternative universe, the sight of Asuka slipping on a puddle of blood and falling on her ass might have been slightly funny. It could have dispelled the tension in the room. Instead it made Scout sick to her stomach, and that irritated her in a way she could not fathom.

"C'mon Takahara, pull yourself together."

Scout stomped over, waited for Asuka's dryheaving to pass.

How it has taken Asuka nearly a week for her to see a corpse and get sick is anyone's guess. Scout can't get too mad at her. She dryheaved a lil' when she saw her first corpse too. Five years ago. On the internet.

"Asuka. You need to get up."

Out of the corner of her eye, Scout could see the rat's girlfriend shooting a dirty look. Scout shrugged it off; she was a lost cause.
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Ciel
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Scout grunted. "You sure as hell don't sound fine."

This damn room was too small. The ceiling was too low, the walls too compact. Scout was breathing in and out in quick, heated bursts. She told herself killing the rat had been all too easy but emotionally it wasn't. All she had was the satisfaction of going through with her plan, but it, him, Alvaro, 'thanking' the girl for being with him, was not in the plan. Was that why Asuka was acting like a fucking back? She didn't know.

"Fuck."

She turned away from Asuka, smacked herself in the head. Get your head back in the game champ.

"Why couldn't he just die? Why did he have to open his dumb mouth."

None of the people in the room heard Scout mutter to herself, although only two of them were dead and the third and forth were standing awkwardly at the other side of the room.

The girl said her name was Audrey Reyes. She and Alvaro were friends. Just friends.

Scout recognized the name but it didn't exactly do much to quell the irritation. Yeah, Asuka decided to walk right over to Reyes and - console her? Quite frankly, Reyes should be glad she was still alive. But now she was crying and acting like she just lost a family pet or some shit, and apparently Asuka was just eating it all up.

Reyes tried to rub the tears away with her arm to no avail. "It's okay. I'm okay. Thank you. I just... It hurts, you know? Losing someone like him. Someone I considered a friend."

"Your friend," Scout interrupted, "just tried to kill you."

Silence.

"When I walked in here, you were begging for him not to kill you," Scout continued. "He was looming over you, apologizing."

...

"Am I missing something here?" Scout added. "Because as far as I can tell he was going to kill you and I stopped him

The girl still had tears in her eyes, but the look she gave Scout was anything but sorrowful. "He didn't want to kill me. He came in here and asked me to shoot him! I said, no, I slapped him and he - he got mad at me, I think? I don't know, I..."

"Bullshit."

Audrey Reyes's face went crimson. Scout scoffed.

"I wasn't born yesterday. If he wanted to die he could have just shot a camera or jumped off a cliff."

Reyes held her head. Tears streaming down her face. "Of course I know that! I - He just came in here, looked me in the eye said he needed me to kill him! I don't know why he did it! He just - He just did it!"

"Why did he need you to do anything? Why didn't he shoot himself?"

"Why are you asking me?? I don't know!"

Scout rolled her head. "... Tell me this - why were you begging him not to kill you?"

Reyes recoiled. Her shoulders slumped. "I... When he asked me - told me he wanted me to kill him, I slapped him and - he kicked me, I think. It happened so quickly but I don't...

"I don't know. He said he couldn't do this anymore. I...

"I don't know why. It just happened."

Silence.

Scout rolled her head. She looked at Asuka, gauging her reaction to all of this.

"Y'know what I think?" Scout said. "I think you're just making up stories. I think you don't want to admit to yourself that your friend's a cold-blooded murderer who was going to add your name to the list. That's what I think."

Reyes was going to say something but stopped herself. She shook her head and mumbled something to Asuka, not Scout. Whatever. She could mumble away to her new best friend as much as she wanted. She was in denial, that much was clear to Scout. And nothing Reyes could possibly say would convince her otherwise.
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Scout turned her head and stared at Asuka. She gritted her teeth and furrowed her brows. What she said gave Scout pause.

"... Don't play dumb. I told you exactly how things were going to work."

There was more but Scout decided against saying anything else. Clearly Asuka was siding with Audrey. She shouldered her back, switched the grip of the gun from her left hand to her right. The gun was held upright, though not directly at the two girls. She walked right over to Alvaro and took his - its- the rat's bag. She sat on her haunches and patted down the pockets of Alvaro's jeans, just to make sure. It should have been disturbing, how easy it was for her to loot a corpse, but that barely registered for her.

"Whatever. I'm leaving. You two can stay here and play pretend, make believe all you want."

She stood up. Her fingers trembled and she exhaled through her nose.

"Eventually you are going to realize how stupid you're being right now. Sympathizing with the devil of all people is going to get you nowhere. If you give these people an inch, they will take a mile, no exceptions." I hope you get that through your thick skulls sooner rather than later. For your sake."

Then she turned and walked out of the room.

(Scout Pfeiffer continued in Die Anywhere Else.)
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Audrey watched Scout leave the room in a huff. She really did not have the energy to stop her from patting down her friend's corpse. It made her grind her teeth and she wanted to slap the redhead like she did with Alvaro. But she didn't do anything to stop her, because she really wanted her to leave and if that meant just taking Alvaro's stuff and walking away then so be it. Audrey didn't care. She just wanted her gone.

The wet footsteps descended into the hallway. Audrey listened until they faded away. It left both her and her new companion in silence. Well. The room was silent, save for an inexplicable drip-drip from somewhere close by. Audrey turned her head to look and found nothing. Maybe it was her mind playing tricks.

Her attention turned back to the other girl.

"Thanks. You didn't have to do any of that."

She paused, looked over the other girl. Audrey was sitting on the floor again, legs outstretched, propped up on her elbows. She was far away from Alvaro's body now, but the blood staining her skirt was making her self-conscious.

"Are you going to go after her?" Audrey asked. Somehow she doubted that, but who knows? Maybe they were friends.
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Audrey shook her head and smiled. It was a bitter smile but a smile nonetheless. "Hey, it's okay. This place just brings out the worst in people, I guess."

Scout was always kind of a stuck up bitch though. Audrey tried her best not to think badly of people but let's be honest? You just can't get along with everyone. She sat up, hugged her legs. The girl asked her a question. She looked at her, blinked. Then she looked at Alvaro's corpse.

"... No. We weren't close."

No offense taken, of course. It was only a simple question, and from the way Audrey was 'making excuses' for Alvaro, it was only understandable that Asuka might be curious.

"I mean. I like to think that I could have considered him as a friend. But we've never really talked all that much. I'd say we were more friendly acquaintances back home?

"I always liked him though."

Her shoulders drooped.

"I found him around the time I first woke up though. He was beaten up, like, real bad. So honestly I think he was goaded into killing and... I dunno. No one was helping him, so I tried to..."

. . . No. She was rambling now. This girl didn't care. What bitterness Audrey held for the boy was in the past. She looked away from Alvaro.

"Oh. Um, I'm Audrey by the way... Wait. Did I already introduce myself?" She scratched her cheek awkwardly from her subtle change of subject. "Sorry. I think I'm still in shock."
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Audrey took it easy. She just sat there on the floor, legs criss-crossed underneath her. The arms of her hoodie dangle at her sides; her actual arms were tucked inside of the hoodie itself. Why the heck was it so cold all of a sudden?

She winced at Asuka's comment. She said nothing at first. Her eyes fell to the floor and she bit her lip.

"I guess you're right."

Audrey did not smile. She was just trying to make Audrey feel better. It wasn't working very well though. In fact it was only serving to make her feel worse.

"It's not just that though," Audrey said as she sat back. "Alvaro was just a scared boy. When you're scared you don't think before you act. And when you don't think you do stupid stuff. That doesn't excuse anything he's done but... I don't want to start seeing my classmates, the people that I used to see day in and day out, as monsters. Because they totally aren't! Alvaro was a nice person, he used to be good. And I'm sure he isn't the only one."

Audrey stopped talking. She turned her head to look out the open doorway. She sighed, pushing one arm through the neck of her hoodie in order to scratch at her jaw.

"... No. Actually. We're all a little 'fucked up' in our own little way. If we were all 'okay' then we wouldn't even need a week to kill each other."

Audrey let out a laugh. Just a firm 'ha', punctuated by another bitter smile.

"That was a terrible joke, huh? You get what I mean, right?"
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Ciel
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"Thatís not a prediction, thatís a spoiler.Ē
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It's okay if Asuka did not get the joke. That's the best part about different interpretations; two people can see the same thing differently. Different headspaces, different ways of thinking. Audrey sat up, her arms resting in her lap.

"It's cool, don't worry about it."

She cut the thick silent with a swipe of her hand. She nodded, too, because huzzah for being fucked up. Huzzah, bad things happen to good people. She smirked, eyes closed and the corners of her mouth to crinkle.

"Now you're getting it," Audrey said. She stretched her arms over her head. "We're on the same page now."

She liked Asuka. They were both awkward and weird and a little fucked up. This was okay. Audrey could deal with this. The emptiness in her chest that Alvaro left, the one she could not simply compartmentalize away, remained. But with Asuka, Audrey found it a bit easier to ignore it.

(Audrey Reyes continued in And Now That I Am Here, I Am No Longer Here.)
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