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The Martyr Approach; alternate title: the third mistake (special thanks to murderweasel for his help in writing this) (i'm so sorry, everyone)
Topic Started: Mar 16 2017, 12:08 AM (213 Views)
Yugikun
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maybe if you're lucky the random avatar will sync up to the character you're reading right now
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The night was young.

The sky was clear.

And they were walking. Together. Down the street, the house of the girl behind them. He wasn’t quite sure where they were going. He knew that there was an end goal of “somewhere” but it wasn’t really descriptive. For all Jeremy knew she could have been taking him back to the school or something after they went home for like, five minutes or so. Maybe she prefered dancing in regular shoes? He didn’t know. Still, he trusted her, wherever they were going. BB was a cool person. A friend. Maybe more than that? Fuck, he didn’t know. Point was, given her tastes in music, he supposed that they were going to have a fun time wherever they ended up going.

Still, like...

Where were they going? He supposed it could work as an icebreaker. He could wait and find out, but they hadn’t talked much at all since they’d left her house. He wanted to talk. They’d done it the whole night before now and there was sort of a reason for that. She was fun to talk to. So much so that he wanted to do so more.

There didn’t seem to be any problem with that. So he asked:

“So, uh, it okay if you tell us where we’re going?”

"It's okay, yeah," BB said. She smiled a little. Jeremy waited. Silence filled the air again. He was sorta just waiting for her answer and he supposed it was okay and-

Oh.

He laughed. Took him a while to get that, actually. She got him there.

“So where are we going?”

"Liberty Park," she said. "They don't usually close it up at night, and if they did we can just hop the fence."

“Alright, cool.” It was. Liberty Park was the park he generally didn’t really see much of compared to Sumac, or the playground near his place. Not as much over at Liberty Park. Nothing that could hold his interest. Still, he supposed there was a reason others went there, and given that this was the place BB wanted to take him to he supposed that there was something in here of value to her. He wouldn’t ask why. He’d let her surprise him. That was like, the gentlemanly thing to do, or something. The nice thing to do. She took him out when he was planning on staying home, she’d entertained him for the whole night, it was only fair that he keep his mouth shut for whatever this was. Stay silent, keep walking, and see what laid on the other end.

And whatever it was, he couldn’t wait.



Jeremy Frasier was going to die on this island.

((continued from Jenny From The Block))

That’s what he had figured out five or six or seven or however many days ago, he wasn’t entirely sure when. Moment one. When he had woken up on that beach. When he had talked with Danny and Irene as the waves rolled in, still unaware of how real this game was. Before Clarice, before Scout, before Alex, and before Junko. Moment one, he had known that. He knew that he was going to die. The game existed to find the fittest and he wasn’t fit. Sure, he had been given a gun, but how much did it mean in the long run? Not a lot. He couldn’t run, and if someone closed the gap then he couldn’t fight. He was dead in the water. He would not be the one crowned the fittest at the end. He was Jeremy Frasier, 0% chance of winning the game.

And yet, he was still alive.

And yet, he had chosen to end the life of a classmate. His friend.

And yet, he was the one who had been rewarded for his efforts. The one who the people up top deemed the best killer of the day.

And he remembered. From back then. When he had been at the bell tower. He had said something to himself, back then. He wasn’t going to be a villain. He wasn’t going to kill. There had been a hundred or so people out there who all wanted it more than he did, so what right did he have to take that chance of life away from them? Why should he eat the apple? Why should he have killed, if he was going to die anyway?

And yet, today he was the one rewarded for taking another person’s life.

So why did he do it?

Why did he take the apple from the tree?

He knew the answer. Junko had attacked him. Junko had been trying to kill him. He hadn’t had much of a choice in the matter. The real question to that was why did he choose to try defending himself? If he was going to die, wouldn’t it be better to do it sooner rather than later? Get it out of the way so that he couldn’t build up any hope of him actually getting out of here?

He knew the answer, again, but to be honest, he wasn’t sure how good of one it was.

Regardless, though, he was here, walking down the concrete path. The map said that this was the way to the Gym, and Jeremy was inclined to believe that. He had seen the library, a minute back. Well, what remained of it. He hadn’t seen the library until after someone had burned it down and it was basically a husk of what it once was. It was a shame - there were probably so many books in there, sucks that they all likely burned - but it at least told him that yes, he was on the right path. He was sorta lucky, in a way. The Gym was right next to the radio tower. It was a straight shot to collect his prize. It’d be done so quickly that he figured he’d take a detour. Go through the staff dorms Hazel and Jordan weren’t going through. See if anyone else was there.

And, given what had happened in there, there was a fat lot of good doing that accomplished.

But regardless, he was here. Almost at the gym. All he had to do was just turn the corner and-

Oh.

Hey Astrid.

The corpse was laid right in the doorway. Face down. Blood dried in a puddle spread all across. Isabel had done this one. He remembered that from the announcements. Apparently she’d calmed down a little on the maiming people front - this corpse was nothing like Conrad’s. He took his steps forward, towards the corpse. Then, with a fairly slow motion, he flipped over the corpse with his foot.

Oh.

Nevermind his previous statement, then.

Astrid was somebody that Jeremy had been aware of, back then. Even though he remembered everyone's name it would have been especially hard for him to not know Astrid. She was distinct. She had a cool eyepatch. She was on the soccer team. She was sort of a bitch to everyone who didn’t treat life with as much drive as she did. Jeremy didn’t interact with her much because of that. Cochise had their share of those types of people. They weren’t Jeremy’s type. He remembered Penelope giving her compliments, though. She was apparently friendly to her friends. She was driven. She had goals.

And she was lying dead at the entrance to the gym, eye cut out by a girl who probably found that funny.

And he was standing above her corpse, still alive despite the fact that he’d pronounced his own death five or six or seven or however many days ago.

Was that fair? She had been driven. Determined. She’d probably wanted to be the fittest. She‘d probably worked so that she could get further. Put everything that she had behind it and gave everything else up just so she could claw her way to the end.

So was it fair that the person who deserved to live most was dead, beneath the feet of the person who had treated the past days as his last? If the world worked how his parents said it was supposed to work - that the person most deserving got what they wanted - shouldn’t the positions be reversed?

He didn’t know.

He had an answer, but he wasn’t sure that it was a good one.

He looked down, staring at the corpse, for a bit.

He supposed the world just didn’t work that way.

He crouched down, hands going down beneath the back of her head. The strap undid itself. He stood up again.

The eyepatch went into his pocket.

May as well.



They had walked in silence since that point. Nothing to say, really. Nothing he had to say. They’d talked the whole night, now was the time to enjoy each other’s company, or something like that. He was enjoying hers, and that was all that really mattered. The question of whether he liked her or not still weighed on his mind, but there wasn’t really any need to figure out the answer right now. He was happy where he was right now. Sure, it felt nice when she held his hand and sure, the feeling of pure adrenaline he got when he danced with her was one he had never expected to feel, but you know what? It was enough. Being happy was her with enough. Being with her was enough for him.

Time had passed. They made it to Liberty Park. Without skipping a beat, he trotted up to the front gate and pushed it, no resistance coming as it fell back.

“Gate’s open,” he said, moving his body over and bowing his hands slightly towards the open passageway. “Ladies first.”

"Thanks." BB made a… sorta jerky motion. Bowed down nearly. Nodded. Slipped through the gate. Jeremy didn’t know what was up with that. He followed, though. Caught up pretty easily. Even without the disadvantage of wearing heels BB seemed to be pretty slow, which was good for him. Meant that he could be next to her. Be with her. Be-



So did he like her?

Because the answer was there and the answer was clear and the answer was right there next to him walking by his side and yet he still couldn’t grab it. He still couldn’t figure it out. There were the little guys sitting on his shoulders and they were screaming in unison telling him that yes he did and yes he should say so but there was something else. Something in his head. A goth girl in his class in the grade below him who he thought was sorta cute and who he couldn’t stop thinking about and who made him think may as well and who had put him through a fucking wringer until he couldn’t take it anymore and who he had gotten angry at and who remained near him to this day, tormenting him about his mistake. She was there. Telling him no. He didn’t like her. Thinking otherwise would only be a mistake on his part.

But BB wasn’t like that.

BB was different.

He knew that. It was just…

He had to talk.

Figure it out.

The path continued. There was a bench, off the edge of it.

Maybe he could do it now.

Figure it out.

“So, uh, you mind if we take a seat in that bench over there? Check out the view, talk about something?”

"Yeah," she said. "Yeah, I mean I don't mind. That's fine."

She sat on the bench, placing herself in the middle left. That meant… fuck, no way to not sit next to her.

Not like he was gonna complain about that, though.

"Talk about something," she said, and then laughed. "I guess I'm just talking about now, huh?"

“Ahaha.” He moved onto the bench, to BB’s right. “I guess that’s what we’re gonna talk about, then.”



The Gym was dark.

The air unclear.

And he was walking. Alone. Through the gym. Looking out, both in front of him and around. His prize was supposed to be somewhere in here, apparently. He imagined somewhere off to the side. They’d told him not to walk past it in the dark, if he remembered correctly. That told him it was easily missable, and given that it was supposed to be for him, he didn’t really want to miss out on getting it. It’d… help. Probably. He didn’t really want to take the apple again but it was probably best that he did come here, y’know? He’d won a prize. This prize was apparently good. He was totally alone while taking it, so that meant that there was no chance of him dying while taking it, right? It was his prize. He was free to take it whenever he liked.

Only problem was finding it, apparently.

So he walked through the gym, just trying to look for what he was supposed to be looking for.

That was when he noticed the smell.

Not the smell of a corpse. Not anything decrepit or old or anything like what he’d had to live with for the past five or six or seven or however many days. This was fresh. Strong. Meaty.

...Mexican?

He walked forward. Followed the smell. Went further into the gym. He was going faster and he could feel the smell get stronger and he was barely looking around anymore he was just going closer just looking for it just trying to find it.

And that’s when he saw it.

On one of the mats. A box. A tupperware container, next to it.

His first instinct was to move forward. Towards the prize. Towards the food. It was his. It was food. He hadn’t eaten fucking anything in five days. He wanted it. He needed it. He was alone. It was his. There was no reason he shouldn’t take it.

But his second instinct was to stop. Part of him thought that it was a trap. That part quickly got told it was wrong. There wasn’t a trap. It wasn’t likely, at the very least. Four other people had won this before and he didn’t think any of them had died yet, so this wasn’t likely to kill him. It was safe. It was claimable.

So was there a point in stopping?

Well, this was his. He could claim this whenever he wanted. But once he did, he couldn’t dawdle. He’d imagine that the people up top wouldn’t find it very funny if he just stayed in here the whole day. That was a loophole he couldn’t really exploit.

But technically, he hadn’t claimed his prize yet.

And something was telling him they couldn’t really do anything if he didn’t do anything.

It wasn’t like he was going to stay in here forever, though. That’d be a bad idea. He was in here. There was a whole world of people out there. They were fighting and dying and Jeremy wasn’t there with them and he knew at this point that some of them were the people he was looking for. No. He wasn’t going to stay in here and dawdle. That went against everything he had to do.

But still.

There was a camera, up above. Looking him in the eyes.

There was a little something he could do here, while he was safe.



“Okay, uh, next question. Favourite movie?”

"Ooh," BB said, "that's tough. I wish I had something really artsy and awesome, but I guess it's probably 'The Shining.'" She shrugged. "I guess Kubrick gets me a little credit maybe? I don't really watch that many movies."

“Me neither, really,” Jeremy replied. “I’ve seen Shining, though. Family made me watch it when I was like, eleven. It was good. Didn’t find it very scary, though, sorry.”

The dramatist in Jeremy wanted to move around, a little bit. Change his position to signify the break between the two things in his response. The romantic in Jeremy didn’t want to, though. He was already looking at her. He was comfy where he was. There wasn’t really a reason to move.

“Your turn.”

"How about an album where you like every single song?" she said. "It doesn't have to be your favorite album ever, just one where every piece just works."

She paused for a second.

"And no cheating with, like, something with only one track."

“Uh... fuck. You nearly got me there. Off of the top of my head, uh… Don’t think you’d know this, but The Father of Death I don’t think has any pieces I dislike.”

He paused.

“My Head is an Animal comes in second, though. If Slow and Steady wasn’t on the album that’d be my easy answer.”

"You're right," BB said. "I don't know it. I'm kind of impressed."

She gave Jeremy a light shove on the shoulder.

"You'll have to play me some of your favorites sometime, since I already got to subject you to some of the stuff I like. And then I can break out the really weird stuff guilt-free."

“Guess I’ll have to, someday,” he laughed. “Can’t wait for you to tell me how much my opinions suck.”

BB laughed too.

"Don't worry," she said. "I know how much music means to people. I won't tell you it sucks. I'll just look you in the eyes until we both know the truth without having to say it."

She put on a mock scowl and locked eyes with Jeremy. He smiled. Looked into hers.

“So like this?”

"Pretty much."

She leaned closer, scowl deepening for a second, but she couldn't hold it and it cracked into a smile and laughter. He followed. Laughed. Disengaged, for a second.

“I’m so happy we got the chance to go out together.”

"Me too." Her smile didn't widen, but it warmed a little. "I actually didn't think I'd have this much fun. I mean, uh, I thought I'd have fun, but it impressed even given that. You know?"

“What, you thought I’d disappoint you?”Jeremy asked, seemingly pouting. “You make me sad, -”

He paused for a moment, trying to figure out what to say.

“...uh, BB.”

"Mm?"

“Oh, no, it’s nothing. I just sorta almost messed up, is all.”

She narrowed her eyes a bit, inspecting Jeremy's face.

"You don't need to worry about messing up," she said. "And if you say that sort of thing, you have to know I'm gonna ask about it."

“I just, uh…” He looked away for a quick moment. “I just half considered calling you by the name you hate.”

"Oh," she said. "Okay, I take it back. That would have been messing up indeed."

She smiled again.

"Good thing you caught yourself."

“Yeah, I guess it is.” He smiled. “Just gonna warn you now though, sometimes when I wanna sound patronising I call people by their full names rather than their nicknames, so if you wanna murder me now to stop that from happening there’s not a lot I can do to stop you.”

"Ooh, thanks for the warning," BB said. She looked around a bit, squinting into the darkness. "Damn. I don't see any, like, good chunks of brick, and the bushes here look a little small to stash a body. Guess you get to live."

“That’s probably good. I think I’m like, too good looking or something to die this young.”

He paused for a bit.

“You’d probably be, like, one of the better options for being my murderer, though. At the very least I can say, ‘oh, at least it was BB who killed me and not some random psycho off the street.’“

"Yeah," BB said. "It'd be pretty good for my musical career too. Like, nobody would care about 'The Love and Terror Cult' if it wasn't by Charles Manson. But do some brutal murders and anything you touch is interesting to somebody."

She paused for a second.

"Maybe we can find some bricks on the way back?"

“I mean, if you’re a brick collector, then sure.”

"Mm, maybe," she said. Then, after a moment: "I wouldn't actually kill you to jumpstart my career. And you know, if you do mess up with my name, I think I could… maybe forgive you. Once or twice. If it was for sure an accident."

“I’m glad to know that my date tonight isn’t going to kill me. At least for those reasons.”

"Maybe we can find some other reason later," she said. "I think it's your turn for a question, anyways. Maybe that'll give us a start."

“Oh!” Jeremy paused. “Hmm…”

He leaned a little further away.

“Fuck it, let’s go for the big gun question. What’s the biggest problem facing your life right now?”



“So…”

A pause.

“Uh…”

Another.

“Hey, everyone. It’s me, Jeremy.”

He was leaning up against one of the walls of the gym, looking at the camera above and opposite. His arms were folded. His eyes were open. Blank. Unbreaking from what he was looking at.

The faintest traces of a smile could be seen on his face.

“I guess, considering I got this whole area to myself right now that I better, like, take it to full advantage since I can. Say something to the people at home since I’ve got the opportunity to, and all. Honestly I didn’t really prepare anything because I didn’t really expect to get a chance like this, but I guess I’ll figure out what to say. I used to be good at this, so, um…”

He paused. Breathed. Brought his hands to the back part of his hair and pulled on it.

“I guess I better begin by giving the thanks I should give to the guys up top. Not for like, kidnapping me and everything, I would have rather not had that happen to me, but, like…”

He looked away, for a bit. Turned back.

“You guys have actually been pretty kind to me ever since I’ve woken up here. It’s probably more coincidence than anything but, like, you’ve made me a bit better off than what’s probably the majority of the people here. I got a gun from you guys at the beginning, you told everyone the full story of what happened with Junko, and you’ve given me… something Mexican to eat today, so, like…”

He took a breath.

“There’s actually a thanks due there, so, like… thanks, I guess. Would’ve appreciated it if you told me what happened on Survivor, but considering the other things you’ve done for me I suppose I was sorta stepping out of line, there.”

One down. Three to go? Three seemed like the right number.

“I guess next up should be the people at home. Uh… Sandra. Sis. You’re probably watching this. Mom and Dad probably told you not to watch this but I’d imagine that you couldn’t really bear to listen to them. So, uh, if you’re watching this, then…”

He paused. Scratched his head.

“Can you please let Mickey into my room?” His sentence was weak. Higher pitched than normal. “I mean, like, I’m trying to think of things to say and make sure what I give out is meaningful but, like, that’s the only thing I can really think of saying. Mom and Dad probably aren’t listening, you already know I love you, and stuff, but you guys have probably locked the door to my room since I disappeared, so, uh… you know he likes my room more than any of the other bedrooms, so if you could make him happy that’d be great.”

He paused again. Breathed. Speaking was tiring. Especially without water to wash it down.

Two down, two to go.

“So, um, next message goes out to this dude who’s article I read online a couple months ago. It was from 2007. It was talking about this. This game. It was basically going through, like, a recap of what had happened. It was probably for like, the families, and people like them. Those who didn’t want to watch it themselves but wanted to know what happened for whatever reason. I got that reason.”

A pause. A breath.

“Issue was, like, doing what you’re doing still caused the issue to keep happening. Like, no offence, but just giving them attention means that it’s gonna make this keep happening. I get that you got good intentions, but it’s causing more harm than good, so…”

He looked away. Turned his head back, again.

“Maybe consider just writing politics instead? You were pretty dry in tone, you didn’t really come off as biased, so, like, you’d probably be good at just stating the facts there. I dunno. It’s an idea. You’ve probably got a better one than I have but if you’re down to listening to me, well, then… I dunno.”

One more breath. A big one.

Three down. One to go.

“Last message goes to, uh. BB. You’re probably there. You’re probably watching this, so, uh…”

Wait.

“BB’s my pseudo-girlfriend, for the people just watching this. That’s also her actual name, by the way. It’s not like, a cutesy name I give her or anything.”

He paused.

“But anyway, like, you’re probably watching this. You’ve probably heard about Cameron and… I’m sorry for that. I never really knew her and I know this won’t help at all, but, like, I just figured I’d say it. Just in case it does, y’know?”

The question hung in the empty air, for a second.

“But, like, there’s not a lot I can do to help, from where you are. If there’s something I say that you should listen to, though, like…”

He paused. Breathed.

This was probably the most important part.

“Try to forget about us.”



“I know that sounds like an incredibly shitty thing to say, but, like, you need to, if you wanna move on. You told me about the dreams you had, and they were… probably bigger than anything I had in store for my future. You had aspirations. Goals, and like, I was happy to follow along and help you with them. Be the Lucy to your Schroeder, or something like that. But now I- we’re here, and you probably can’t think of anything other than that. You might not be able to think about anything else after, either. It’s just…”

He shook his head.

“I guess what I’m trying to tell you is to forget about us. Keep going where you were going before. Follow your dreams.”

He tried to smile.

“Because if you don’t, if you can’t flourish because of what happened to us, then we’ve basically died for nothing.”

The words hung. Silence reigned, for a few seconds.

“That’s it from me. Sorry for getting on my soapbox. I guess this is a return to your regularly scheduled Survival of the Fittest.”



He’d said it.

There wasn’t really a lot more to it. They’d been talking, they were sorta into each other, so he’d figured he would ask it. It was a simple question. Maybe not one that she’d be willing to answer, but it wouldn’t be one she’d have to think about too much if she wanted to answer.

Hopefully he hadn’t turned her off him by asking this. The night had been great so far. It’d suck if it didn’t end great as well.

"I think maybe the band," BB said after the longest pause he'd heard from her yet. "It's… I don't know. Cameron and Vanessa are sort of tense about Coleen, and even if everything works out there, we're all going to different places after graduation. And I know we'll try to stick together, but these things just fall apart so easily."

She rubbed her forehead a little.

"And it's tough, you know? My future and theirs… who knows if they're even compatible?"

She sighed and was quiet, for a moment.

Huh.

That was…

He could have guessed that, if he wanted to. He remembered her saying something like that back at the record store. About… something about how the band was going to break up. She’d joked about having the best solo career. He remembered that. He’d joked back, something he said which which he couldn’t remember. She was worried about her friends. She was worried about her future. He… got that, sorta. He could empathize, in a way.

"And you? What's eating at Jeremy Fraiser?"

Maybe not about the friends bit, but there was a way that he could answer her question. The one she threw back at him.

Part of him had been hoping that she wouldn’t ask it, but it didn’t matter now. She’d asked her question, and as her date it was his duty to answer it.

“Yeah, I get what you mean about your friends. I… don’t really know the situation myself, but I’d imagine it could come up with me some point before the end.”

He paused. Figured out what to say.

“I guess the short of my answer here is that if you’ve got issues with your future, you can join the club with me.”

She smiled a little. "Pretty sad club, honestly. Maybe we need to spruce it up. Get, like, badges or have a pizza party or something."

He smiled back. “Yeah. That’d be fun. Probably more interesting than anything else that’ll happen in the adult life of Jeremy Frasier.”

"Don't say that," BB said. "First off, it's kind of sad. I mean, you're a pretty cool guy and you make interesting stuff happen just by being around. And second, it presumes I let you survive the night."

“It’s a sad club,” he replied, “and I might be one, although the issue is, like…”

He paused. Frowned, slightly.

“Given what school’s like most of the time being in an office job would probably, like, crush my soul or something. I’ve got my talents, but it’s like…”

He paused again.

“They’re gambles. There’s no real way that I can guarantee a totally stable career out of them.”

"You can't guarantee anything." BB shrugged. "I don't know. I think it's better to try something that makes you happy than just accept that you won't make it, right? Even if you fail, at least you tried."

“Do I get a gold star, or anything like that?”

"Something like that." She shrugged again, closed her eyes for a second. "I guess maybe you get to know instead of wondering."

“Yeah, maybe.” He paused. “It’s just that, like…”

His head dropped. He considered what to say, for a second.

“You ever think that, like, something’s gonna happen to you? Like, something in your life that defines everything else in it?”

"I don't know." She looked up at the sky. "I don't even know if that would be a good thing or a bad thing, honestly."

“I dunno either, it's just… I’ve been thinking that it might happen, and I’m sorta hoping it comes… it’s just like, I’m sorta hoping it happens because it can’t come soon enough, y’know?”

Wait.

Hang on, quick correction.

“Well, I mean, if it happens it can wait until tomorrow. Hopefully tonight doesn’t end soon.” He turned his head back to BB. Smiled.

"Yeah." She smiled back. "Tonight can take its time."

He didn’t reply. He just kept his smile. Felt something on his cheeks.

...Was he blushing?

He was, wasn’t he?

...He liked her, didn’t he?

Yeah. he did.

And all was silent, again.

He may as well say it.

Maybe she wouldn’t like it, but, it was like…

Tonight was great. He hoped it wouldn’t end. But it had to, at some point. And he knew it would. He’d go back to being him and maybe they’d smile at each other or something whenever they saw each other but it wouldn’t be anything major. They’d be acquaintances. Nothing more. If he did nothing, that’s what would happen.

Tonight would end regardless, but if he wanted another night like this…

Fuck it.

May as well.

“Hey, BB?”

"Mm hm?"

“I think I like you.”



Burritos.

That’s what they had given him. Burritos. He was sitting on the mat, next to the container. The other box was behind him. He hadn’t opened it yet. Part of him knew that he probably should, given that it was also for him, but the other part couldn’t think of anything else other than the burritos in front of him. He’d opened them first. The smell was sorta too overpowering for him to even think of taking the other box first. Maybe it was a trap or something, maybe the thing in the other box was better than whatever was in this box, but fuck man he hadn’t eaten in five or six or seven or however many fucking days there were you couldn’t just give him Mexican and expect him not to take it, he’d have to be a madman or a psycho to do that, man.

So yeah. He’d taken the food first. Sue him. The smell of the burrito was too overpowering, even for Jeremy.

And he knew that there were cameras watching him, and given what he had just done, he had probably given himself an audience.

And he knew that he had to savour it. This was probably the last thing he was ever going to eat. He had to make the taste last.

And he knew that he had two friends in the same situation as him. Two friends who would probably appreciate something to eat as well.

So he picked one of the burritos up. Folded it so that nothing inside fell out. He brought the burrito up to his mouth, and he took a bite.

And another.

And another.

It was still warm. Still steaming, even. He hadn’t even considered that. It was still warm and it was so good and the meat was in his mouth and he could barely even taste it he could barely even feel it on his tongue it was going in and it was going down and he couldn’t stop it was so warm it was so good and he had to eat this he couldn’t think of anything else he just had to do it feel it send it down his throat and-

It was gone, no- fuck, how quickly had he eaten that? He looked at the container. There was still another one left. There was also rice. Meat sauce.

He considered saving it for later. Have it somewhere else. It’d be cold, but it’d still give him sustenance for when he might need it.

He considered saving it to hand it out to someone. Maybe Hazel would like it. Maybe Jordan would like it. They’d probably appreciate it if they finally got food they could eat.

But he’d eaten his too fast. He was still hungry. Fuck, he needed more.

He lifted the second burrito up.

And from a place he didn’t know, from a part of his mind that he kept away from the others, a thought came out.

Junko died for this.

And she did, and she did, he was right. She was dead. He killed her. He’d shot her back in the asylum and he’d killed her and part of him even now didn’t know why. She had attacked him. He understood that. But why’d he fight back? He’d said it from moment one. He was going to die here. He’d said that so many times and yet he was the one who’d pulled the trigger on her. He was the one who made the choice that he wanted to continue living back there in the doctor’s office.  He was the one who had elected to collect his reward.

He was the one eating the culmination of everything he had done.

Because really, it was. He’d woken up on the beach, talked to two people who were dead by now. He’d gone up to a tower. Rung a bell. He’d told himself that he was going to have fun. He’d barely even been considering things seriously up until the point where his friend had got an axe sent straight through her arm. Until the point where he’d remembered that one of the teachers he’d learned to know got shot right in front of him. He’d told himself that he’d still try. He was still going to have fun. A friend had died before Jeremy had gotten a chance to say goodbye, and he’d known that there were others who could die before then but for whatever reason he’d decided to think about himself more.

So that was why he’d decided to ally with Alex. Why he’d decided to do nothing but help as Alex had mutilated another person. Why everything else that he wasn’t even going to fucking bother going into had happened.

All in the name of having fun.

But y’know, honestly?

He hadn’t really had a lot of fun since waking up here.

Because no. There wasn’t anything fun at all in taking care of a madman. There wasn’t anything fun at all in making sure his blade didn’t turn on you, and there wasn’t anything fun at all in having to abandon him, fucking moments after you’d seen that everything you thought you knew about him was wrong. There was nothing fun about being here. There was nothing fun with being unable to do anything as you heard that your friends, the people you’d spent the past several years or so being with, had died, while you didn’t even think about them until it was too late. There was nothing fun about almost fucking killing yourself because you couldn’t take it anymore, and believe it or not, there was nothing fun about having to kill your friend for a reason you’re still weren’t sure of.

So no.

He wasn’t having fun.

And he didn’t know why he was trying to convince himself otherwise.

Because really, he hadn’t even been trying to. When was the last time he’d thought about it? Not today. Not yesterday. It’d been on that fucking list which he knew he wasn’t even going to complete but really, it shouldn’t have been put on there. He wasn’t having fun. He’d put it as the number one priority, but he knew that saying that it was a priority or anything was a lie. He’d said that he’d been having fun, but he wasn’t. He never had been.

And he had said that he was going to die from the very first moment he woke up here, and yet he had killed his friend to save himself.

And he had said, way back when, that he wasn’t going to be a killer. That he wasn’t going to be a villain.

And yet he was the one being rewarded today for killing his friend.

He was a liar.

He was a hypocrite.

And he was just as bad as all the other people out there.



It was still there.

It was still warm.



He just needed that fucking burrito.



He did it.

He said it.

He looked away.

And there was nothing else he could do. Nothing else he could say. All that was left was to see how BB replied.

"I…" she paused, looked at her feet and then her hands and then Jeremy and then her feet again. "I think I like you too."

There was a feeling of… relief? Lightness? She’d…

She’d said yes.

He wasn’t really expecting that.

And honestly, he didn’t have anything else he could say.

Silence reigned, for a few moments.

Then:

“So, uh… what happens next?”

"I actually have no idea," she replied.

“I guess, uh, we move closer?”

She laughed and scooted a little towards him on the bench. "I guess so."

“I, uh, okay, I guess.” He moved to his left. Up next to her. “This is, uh…”

He laughed. She laughed too. Then she reached out and gently laid her hand on his arm.

This was…

This was nice.

He could stay like this.

“I, uh..- man I’ve already said that. I’m running out of material here.”

"You could always say I struck you speechless. That's a good cover story."

“Maybe.”

He laughed.

“We could also say that whatever we were doing didn’t need words, or, uh, something like that.”

"Mm," she said, leaning in a little. "Like what?"

“I, uh, dunno. Anything you wanna do?”

She leaned a little closer.  

"I might have an idea."

He leaned in as well.

“What is it?”

She smiled and bit back a slight laugh, then brought her lips to his.

Oh.

This was…

This was a feeling.

It was wet it was warm it was something he didn’t expect at all but it was good it was warm and there was a feeling inside him something powerful something large and it told him he wanted this, even if he didn’t know it until now even if that wasn’t his goal by saying what he said at all he wanted this, he had wanted this feeling he was feeling to be felt by him all this time and he didn’t want to let go he didn’t want the feeling to end he just wanted to be here forever. His heart was beating quickly. His breaths had stopped but those didn’t matter because he was here he was with BB and he was in this night and he was feeling this feeling that he hoped more than anything else he’d never stop feeling.

And maybe this wasn’t his first.

And maybe this wouldn’t last forever.

And maybe he’d fail. Maybe he’d try to go for the gamble and it wouldn’t work out.

And maybe nothing else would compare. Maybe he’d stop being interesting. Maybe he’d work an office job for the rest of his life and have nothing special ever happen to him.

But that didn’t matter, though. He didn’t have to think about anything other than this. He was here. He was with her.

All he had to do was kiss her.

And maybe this wouldn’t last forever. He knew that. But he still hoped that he could stay like this. Be with her.

And maybe the future was scary.

But he was here. He was now.

And he hoped this night would never end.



There was another gun in the other box.

He’d eaten the other burrito, at this point. He’d taken out the rice and meat sauce as well. Scraped the whole container dry. Maybe it probably wasn’t as good as the burritos his mom would make, but given that he hadn’t eaten anything in days? Yeah. Best food he’d ever eaten. Perfect for a last meal.

...Yeah, he was still on about that part. Nothing had changed. At least in that area.

But anyway, there was another gun in the other box. It was big. Bigger than the one he already had. Fire it and it’d probably- uh, do something, he supposed. He wasn’t sure where he was going there. There was a manual, included with the box. The Pancor Jackhammer, the gun was apparently called. ‘Custom Repeating Shotgun.’ He didn’t know what the second word meant, but he knew what the last one was. He had a shotty. Those were… pretty good, he supposed. Maybe better than his regular gun. He didn’t really want to get rid of his pistol but really, knowing what this was his gun was probably redundant now. Thanks a lot, terrorists.

But yeah. He’d seen the gun. It made him consider things a little more than he already had. He’d killed Junko, to receive this. He’d contradicted himself. He’d been living on an idea that he himself hadn’t even believed for the past few days. Those were problems.

There were solutions, though. Just one simple thing he needed to do and then everything else would follow.

1. Have fun, above all else.
2. Get to Emma. As soon as possible.
3. Find Serena. Make sure she's safe.
4. Figure out what the fuck to do with Alex.
5. Find Al. Say hi.
6. Find Clarice. Apologise for earlier.
7. Figure out who else should be on this list. Retroactively add them.
8. Find Josh's corpse. Give last respects, for what they're worth to him.
9. Find Jasmine. Figure out what happens when you get there.
10. Find Caedyn, get closure in that area, if you can.
11. Pursue hopeless venture of survival, if above conditions have been fulfilled.


Do that. Directly take out the issue he had. If he could do that, if he could stop thinking that he had to have fun, he could solve the issues he had. Get a better idea of what to do, going forward.

And when that happened, he’d finally figured out why he killed Junko.

The answer was simple. Because he had to. She’d been attacking him. He hadn’t wanted to die. He had to fight back. It was as simple as that.

But he had said it himself, right? He was going to die on this island. Why did he choose to delay the inevitable? Why did he choose to kill knowing his death was imminent from the start?

The answer was simple. He was buying time for himself. There were things he needed to do. People he needed to see. There wasn’t much of a choice in the matter. He had to do it.

If there was a world where he hadn’t had to do so, though, he wouldn’t have done it. Junko was still his friend. Nothing would ever change that. Even if she’d turned on him, even if he had to kill her, there was still the back then. The time they talked together. The time he went up against her in Street Fighter. He knew that the past couldn't be changed, but that was for the best as much as that was for the worst. His memories remained, and if he could, he’d make sure they’d never go away.

But there were priorities. There were people out there. Fighting for their lives. People he knew were out there and possibly dying and he was in here, away from the rest of the world.

And now, with his distraction gone, Jeremy figured he’d double his efforts to find them. Go around the whole island, if he needed to.

Things had changed slightly, though, when he found that gun. His prize. His reward, for killing Junko.

Because he knew that there were people out there. Fighting and dying just like the rest of them. They were different, though. They weren’t like Emma. They weren’t like Serena. They weren’t like Hazel and Jordan. They were like Isabel. They were like Lily. They were like Nancy. They were monsters, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people up top tried to pull on others. They were killers that Jeremy knew. People who heard the rules of the game and took others out with glee. People they knew. People they were possibly even friends with. People who Jeremy knew the terrorists weren’t trying to tell lies about.

People who stood as threats.

Not to his chances of winning. He didn’t care about that. People who stood a threat at taking away what he wanted. People who saw Serena as a shy girl. An easy target. People who saw Clarice’s injury and thought that’d make her an easy number for them. People who’d try to go for revenge on Jasmine before he saw her himself. People who’d go for revenge on Caedyn for what she’d done.

People like them? He’d kill. He’d take his gun or he’d take his bat and he’d take them out. Simple as that. He was ready to be selfish. He was ready to do it again, now. He was ready to kill.

And he supposed, for better or worse, he was ready to bite the apple.

The containers were behind him. His bag was on his back. Baseball bat in his left. Jackhammer in his right. Raging Bull in his pocket.

Oh.

Right.

One more thing.

Put the baseball bat down.

Pick the Raging Bull up.

Open the chamber.

Spin the chamber.

Clack the chamber back in.

Smile.

Pick up the baseball bat.

And then step out the gym, ready to face the world again.

((Jeremy Frasier, continued in If You Don’t Like What We Say, Try Living Here A Couple Days))
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