Because everyone else is doing it - author's note. Not that I'm as much of an author as I am a fan writing fiction, I suppose. Anyways, The Last of Us left me speechless. I was almost sure I would never experience anything of that quality again. And then came Left Behind, which made everything better.
I decided to write about it. Just try my hand at a "novelization" of the DLC, since it is quite short. I will also try to bridge the gap in Ellie's story between the DLC and the main game, once I get there. It is quite different to write a story that already exists, and make your own with only a beginning and end to go on.
Hopefully someone likes this. I have put some thought into how I write Ellie, who is in my opinion one of gaming's most complicated characters. Writing teenage girls is damn hard though.
Rated T for language. Spoilers for the DLC ahead. And possibly bad grammar, since this is a fanfiction written by a non-english teenager. Thank you, and please enjoy. Oh, and one more thing - I deviate quite a lot from the DLC in terms of dialouge, and so on, so if you are looking for a word-by- word transcript, well, wrong place.
Something hot caressed her throat. No, attacked it. What?
Ellie let out a small scream, and shoved something heavy off of her. Her eyes flew open, and she sat up so quickly her head spun and her vision was filled with thick black spots. It didn't matter. Ellie knew what to do. She didn't have to see, only reach her hand under her pillow, searching for the cold, metallic wood she knew was there.
Her fingers locked around the hilt of her knife – her knife by now, not her mother's – and sprung up from her bed. All in one and a half second, in which time her heart beat a dozen times.
The Infected rolled around on the floor. And laughed. What?
Ellie rubbed her eyes with her free hand, while the world stilled around her, no longer reeling. She looked to whoever sat laughing on the floor, and her mouth fell open. "Riley?" The room was dim, only lit by the distant glow of a lightpost from outside her window, and even that light was blurred by the hammering rain. Yet she had no trouble identifying the person on her floor. She knew that laugh by heart.
Her friend raised a hand, still giggling, and holding onto her rear. "Hi Ellie. Ow…"
"The hell? I thought I was bitten." Ellie wanted to ask a hundred questions and say a thousand things, yet those two were the only ones she were able to mold into proper words. Her vision was clear now, and she was no longer dizzy. She scanned the room anyway, just in case. Nothing.
"I know, it…" Riley moaned, rubbing her hip. "It was kinda awesome. Ooh, I landed on my hip."
Ellie stared at her, baffled, shocked, furious and a little bit happy. Because she was fully aware that this was no dream, neither a waking one or a sleeping one. Because she had dreamed of this moment before, several times. Not of it playing out like this, but still.
Riley stood up, slowly. "Well?" she asked, tentatively, giving Ellie a questioning look. "You're not going to kill me, are you?"
Ellie looked down at her hand, befuddled. She was holding her knife, as if prepared to assault an attacker at any moment. It was instinct, an act that she had barely noticed. She quickly drew her arm back. "I would like to, you know that?" Ellie folded her knife, meeting her former best friend's gaze. She tried to look really really angry. "I haven't seen you…" she shook her head. "In I don't even know how long." In reality she'd been counting the days, but there was no way in hell Riley would ever know that.
"Forty-five days." Riley said, having the decency to look somewhat ashamed. "Well, forty-six, technically." She threw both arms to her sides. "Wanna know what I've been up to?"
Ellie nearly laughed. Instead it became somewhat of a snort. "You can't jus-"
Riley took a step towards her, hand reaching out. "Okay, I left and you're mad, I get it."
"Hell yeah I'm mad!" Ellie stepped backwards, away from Riley. "You expect some sort of warm welcome? Then you're gonna be fucking dissapointed, alright?" Riley stilled, her eyes distant and thoughtful, contemplating her next action, for once. In truth, Ellie didn't know what to think. Some of her many questions began to take shape in her head, thankfully in the form of words. Will you stay? Where were you? What have you been up to?
Riley answered all of those with a single movement, unclasping a necklace Ellie had not noticed. Surprising, since she tended to notice most things about Riley. She really had been gone a long time. And now this. "Here."
Ellie took the dog-tag from her, measuring it in her hand. It was larger than a coin, but thinner. It was engraved with some numbers and a name. Riley Abel. On the back was a familiar logo. An emblem dear to Riley and mostly meaningless to Ellie. A double F, important enough for Riley that Ellie had been left behind while she went to look for the light. That was, after all, what Ellie had figured, yet it was different to know. "You've gotta be kidding me…" That was all she was able to say. That meant… it meant…
"Still got it up, huh?" Ellie turned towards the clearly amused voice, seeing Riley. She was holding her picture. Their picture, taken with an old and nearly broken camera. "Hey, don't…" Ellie paused.
"What? Touch that?" Riley leered. "You really are a sentimental one, you know that?" She left the picture. Ellie was somewhat thankful. That picture had been her best friend for forty-five days. She'd sobbed while holding it. She'd talked to it. It felt pathetic now. Riley turned towards her bed, the one Ellie had been guarding like a hawk. Anytime she'd been dealt a roommate she'd made short work of them. By now no one wanted to share a room with her, which had suited Ellie just fine. Until now. "Still no roommate?"
I don't want a roommate. I want you.
"Riley-" Ellie sighed, deciding to get it over with. "Why are you here?"
Riley stilled, and nodded, as if she knew the question had to be asked, even though it was not pleasant. "To say hi to my best friend?" She looked at her, her expression a mixture of curiosity and nervousness.
Ellie snorted. "You told me I was a worthless piece of shit, remember?"
"Yeah." Riley averted her eyes, as if she found the carpet very interesting. She looked sad, for once. Ellie nearly apologized, until she remembered how sad she'd been herself. "Yeah, I remember." Riley swallowed. "And I'm here because I got something to show you. To make up for it. So come on."
What? Ellie frowned. "Now?" she asked, ridiculed. It was… she looked towards the window. It was to be morning soon. Riley nodded. "But I have military drills." She handed back the dog-tag, not wanting to touch it anymore. "You know, where we learn how to kill Fireflies? How did you even get in here?"
"The power of love?" Riley smirked. "Get some pants on and let's go." Ellie caught the pair she threw her, staring at the floor. Riley was already by the door, waiting. "There are no soldiers on the entire floor. Trust me." She opened the door, and the familiar warm light of the hallway flooded part of the room.
"I do," said Ellie. "And I'm so stupid for it." She got dressed slowly, silently hoping for Riley to deny her words. Her switchblade she put in her back pocket, and her backpack was slung lazily over one shoulder.
Riley looked almost bored with her reaction. "Oh, come on. When have we ever gotten into trouble?"