Timeline note: Set post-movie, see below.
Dedication: To buttoncatcher, for being terrified for my sake that after all that hype, watching the actual movie might leave me majorly disappointed.
Note: Right, I really wanted to publish this before seeing the movie on Tuesday. I'm pretty sure that it's gonna contradict the technicalities of my story so much that I'll lose interest in pursuing the idea, and since I really like this… yeah. ;) If they're in any way reconcilable, I'll probably rewrite this.
Sorry for the long author's note, but since this is set post-movie, I'm going to assume several things about the end of the movie. These are based on trailers and previews, so SPOILERS GALORE! Also, please don't confirm or deny anything; getting spoiled now would be pretty devastating.
For the purposes of this story, I'm assuming the following about the movie:
- Riley runs away from home for some reason, but reunites and makes up with Mom and Dad.
- Joy learns to accept and even embrace Sadness's presence in Headquarters. And they get back there, of course.
- Meg is the girl with the headband from the trailers and lives in Minnesota.
- I have no idea about Bing Bong, so I'm going to ignore him completely. Same with most of the workings of Riley's mind.
This is probably gonna be a three-parter, and I want to finish this by Tuesday at the soonest and before the premiere at the latest. But that's everything now, so have fun.
Fear had been putting in double shifts.
He knew the others weren't happy about that. He knew Riley wasn't happy about that. But he'd be damned if he let her endanger herself again. So he put in extra effort so that she would be at least twice as careful as before. He took over Dream Duty as often as he could and kept talking Joy into giving him more time at the console, which, surprisingly enough, wasn't all that hard now that she had realized how much she had suppressed Sadness in the past.
He would get up early, or stay up late, and help Riley come to terms with all that had happened a few weeks ago. If she bottled it up, it would linger and eventually resurface, causing pain and suffering and maybe even fights with her parents if she drew the wrong conclusions, which might lead to more drama and… well, he just wasn't gonna risk it.
Sure, he was as exhausted and weary as Riley was by now, but it felt good for things to be under control again. At least on an intellectual level, she had to appreciate that, right?
Riley wished she could go back to sleep again, but she just couldn't seem to calm down. She kept tossing and turning and squeezing her eyes shut in the hopes that it would help her drift off. All she wanted was to get another hour of rest. Why was that so hard?
Yet the light creeping in between the blinds made her bedroom bright enough by now that the stars on her ceiling didn't seem to be glowing anymore. Maybe she should just get up? Her mind was reeling anyway, so what was the point in trying to fight it?
Of course, she realized that after what had happened, this kind of thing had to be normal. Running away had probably been the single worst decision of her life. It had felt so right at the time, but after seeing what it had done to her parents… how could she have been so blind? How could she have forgotten how much they loved her?
The questions kept going in circles inside her head, and she shuddered at the thought of how much worse the situation could've turned out. What if something had happened to her before she'd made up with Mom and Dad?
"I'm sorry," she whispered weakly as she buried her face in her pillow.
With a frown, Fear adjusted the settings on the console. He didn't want her panicking, he just wanted her to be careful. It was a bit difficult keeping up a moderate level of sensitivity for longer stretches of time, but hey, if it was for Riley, then he could do this, right?
"Fear," he heard a voice right behind him, and he jumped at least a few feet high.
"S-Sadness?!" he blurted out as he turned around, abandoning the console for now. "W-what are you doing up? I mean, good morning!" he hastily added when she started tearing up, probably at the notion of her company being unwelcome.
"Good morning," she gravely returned the sentiment, running a hand over her eyes in what looked like slow motion. "It is morning. Maybe you should get a little sleep."
He stared at her for a moment - he'd completely lost track of the time. "Maybe later," he muttered, turning back around to the console. "When we got her to school safely." Great, now he was feeling guilty. He'd just been planning to let Riley think for a while and then find enough rest to safely get through the day.
"It's Saturday," Sadness pointed out, then slumped to lie down on the floor next to him. "Did Riley get some sleep?" she mumbled up from the ground.
"Not much," he admitted, fixing the screen. "But she had so much to contemplate…"
"I don't think she likes what you're doing," Sadness pointed out quietly, in that brutal honesty she was so good at.
Fear frowned to himself as he kept pushing Riley's buttons. Yeah, he knew that, but Riley was a good kid. She might not be ecstatic or anything, but she had always seen the reason in his interventions. She knew he was just watching over her, right?
But before he had figured out how to put that into words without possibly offending Sadness, he jumped again when Joy's usual delighted morning-shriek ripped through the room from the upper level, and next thing he knew, he'd been tackled to the ground beside Sadness by a blurry ball of yellow and was getting the wind squeezed out of him.
"Fear! What a lovely morning, and how wonderful to see you!" Joy proclaimed as she pinched both his cheeks. "How're we doing?"
Faintly grumbling at, well, at her everything, he got to his feet again and dusted off his bow tie. "We're doing fine, actually. The night was very productive, and I think…"
"Ah, Fear," she cut in brightly as she waved to Disgust and Anger who'd trailed behind her, "I want Riley to be safe, too, but if you make her think all day and night, there'll be no room left for fun times!"
"And if there is, she'll be too tired to enjoy them," Disgust deadpanned.
"You didn't keep her up all night again, did you?" Anger growled.
Fear gulped at the raw fire in the statement and hastily darted his eyes around the room to come up with a possible escape route, just in case.
"Don't fight!" Sadness started begging in a small whimper.
But of course, Joy was already intervening. "Give her a break, Fear!" she chirped, and almost knocked him over when she clapped him on the back. "It's okay, there's no need for you to keep driving. You look like you could use some sleep, and we're gonna see Alex today, anyway, so you can just rel-…"
"Alex!" Fear shrieked as he whirled back around to the console to use at least half its controls at once. "Oh my gosh, I forgot! What if she doesn't like us?!"
He shouldn't have let himself lose track of the priorities. He absolutely shouldn't have. Dealing with the past was immensely important, but he couldn't let that distract Riley from what was going on in the here and now. If she didn't pay attention to what happened around her…
But almost immediately, Joy had caught both his wrists. "Alex is gonna love us!" she declared. "She knows us already, and, I mean, she was the one who asked us to go ice skating today! Maybe she's even gonna be our new best friend! What is there to worry about?"
"She might change her mind!" Fear argued as he struggled against Joy's surprisingly strong grip, and before she had dragged him away from the console and waved the others over to take care of Riley for the moment, he did manage to get a last button push in.
Riley gave a groan and crawled out from under her blanket. She was too riled up. There was no point in trying to sleep anymore. She might as well just start getting ready for the day.
As she brushed her teeth, she felt herself calm down a bit, but she still kept asking herself why she was this nervous, or rather, what she was nervous about. She had the day off and was going to spend it with a new friend, doing something she liked. Shouldn't she be happy?
She cringed when the bathroom door opened with a high-pitched squeak, but it was just Dad. "Good morning, Riley! Did you sleep well?"
"Morning, Dad." She had to smile at him, even though it probably turned out a little wistful. For some reason, it hurt to see her parents so chipper every time they came near her these days. "Er, not really, but that happens."
She wasn't at all surprised when he caught her in an embrace from behind, and she gave in to his loving caress. He didn't even seem to mind when that got yucky toothpaste smeared on his pajama sleeve.
"Love you, too, Dad," she mumbled, a single tear escaping out of one eye.
"Joy, please!" Fear begged again as she pushed him into the dark Sleeping Quarters with a playful shove. "I can still sleep later, I need to take care of her, what if something happens, and…"
"We're going ice skating today!" Joy argued brightly, but there was no way he could miss the aura of authority that had crept into her words. "And Riley's been doing that since she could walk. She's a natural. There's nothing to worry about." Then she smirked at him. "And you'd know that if you weren't so overworked."
"Accidents happen especially when you think you've got something and fail to pay attention because of it," he mumbled, but he did sit down on his bed. Part of him knew there was no arguing with Joy sometimes.
Her features softened - she must have caught something in his tone that shook her out of her bossy mode, for she came over and sat beside him to take his hand with both of hers. "Don't worry about her so much."
"It's my job," he quipped half-heartedly, and felt his spirits lift a little when it elicited a chuckle from her.
"She'll be fine," Joy stressed. "She came out of this a lot stronger than before. You should have a little more faith in her."
"I just…" he began, but then found he couldn't speak around the sudden lump in his throat. "I just want her to be safe," he tried again, fixing some spot on the floor. "I just don't want anything to happen to her. Not again."
There was silence for a moment. And then he jumped when Joy wrapped him in a crushing bear hug.
"Riley will be fine!" she proclaimed as she got to her feet again to dramatically spread her arms. "This is gonna be the best day ever!" But she calmed down again to smile at him. "And we want her to be safe, too. All of us. Of course we're not as good at keeping her safe as you are, but we'll do our best, okay?"
"Yeah, sure," he muttered. What else could he say? She wasn't gonna let him help right now. Maybe if he slept for an hour and then got back to the console… but, no, they'd just send him back to bed.
"How about this?" she suddenly offered. "We'll take care of her in the morning, and when we meet Alex, we're gonna come and wake you. Promise."
With a frown, he raised his gaze to scan her face - was she just saying that to make him follow the order? But it seemed sincere. Good thing she was glowing; it always let him decipher her expression, even against the brightness of Headquarters visible behind her through the open door.
"That would be great," he finally replied. There was a difference between caution and paranoia. "Thanks."
Her resulting smile was dazzling. "Awesome!" she exclaimed and skipped away. "Sleep well, then! We'll try to keep it down!"
He chuckled a little at her bubbliness. She meant well. They all did. And they all wanted the best for Riley.
He knew he needed to trust them a little more. He just didn't know how.
Riley had finally managed to calm down. And it was about time, too, for she knew it would have upset her parents if they'd noticed something wrong with her. But as it was, she'd managed to enjoy breakfast, and even helping Dad with the dishes registered as a rather fun activity today.
Dad smiled at her as he kept scrubbing away at one of the plates. "So… you said you were gonna see that girl today, right?"
"Alex," Riley confirmed. "She asked me if I wanted to go ice skating, so we're gonna meet at the lake in the park."
She had to repress the urge to roll her eyes when she saw him tense up immediately, though. She knew what was coming.
"Don't you think you should, um, go to an ice pavilion for that?" he asked, sheepishly scratching his head with one soapy hand. "I mean, it would be a controlled environment there, you never know if the ice on the lake is actually gonna hold, and…"
She had to laugh at his awkwardness. "Dad, if it's not gonna hold, they're not gonna let us on it! Just relax, I'll know if it's safe or not."
"W-well…" Dad kept fumbling, but then his gaze softened. "Yeah, of course you've got this. Sorry, sweetie."
"It's fine, Dad," she chuckled, and then burst into a giggling fit when he splashed a handful of soapy water at her.
Fear had tried. He really, really had tried. And indeed, he had even managed to doze off a few times even through his anxiety. But mostly, he had just been lying awake agonizing about what could possibly go wrong while he wasn't there to ensure Riley's safety. He'd also been trying his best to catch snippets of the others' conversation so that he could determine whether the things that upset Disgust and Anger were actually dangerous, which tended to happen sometimes.
When, finally, Joy seemed to sound way more chipper than usual, he took that as a sign that they'd reached the park, and he debated with himself about whether or not he should get up. But Joy had said she'd wake him, so he should probably wait, right? But what if she'd forgotten?
The decision was made for him, though, when the door opened abruptly and forced him to shield his eyes against the bright light if he didn't want to go blind.
"Come join us, sleepyhead," he heard Anger's unmistakable growl.
Fear did his best not to be too hasty about throwing off the blanket, but he couldn't wait to check on Riley again to calm his fluttering nerves. "T-thanks. Wouldn't wanna sleep through playtime."
He gulped when his eyes adjusted to the light level enough to tell him that Anger was looking him up and down. Not good. Had it sounded too eager?
"You did sleep, didn't you?" Anger snarled and narrowed his eyes. "You still look like someone put you through the wringer."
Fear calmed down instantly. He'd learned to recognize that tone ages ago. It sounded hostile, scary even, but this wasn't aggravation, it was Anger's way of caring. "Yeah, I did. I promised." It wasn't even a lie. He'd slept as much as he could.
Anger harrumphed at him and turned to leave without another word, and Fear hurried to follow him down the ramp and back to the console, where he was greeted with the sight of the girls taking turns at the controls, and through Riley's eyes, he saw the winter wonderland that was the park near the school grounds. The snow covering the ground and the distant trees was sparkling in the sunlight, and for a moment, he thought he could almost emphasize with Joy's usual enthusiasm a bit… but there were more important things to consider. Riley was running, and it was cold. And that was a dangerous combination.
"Are we wearing a coat?" he asked when he and Anger joined the others at the console. "And gloves? And a scarf?" He blinked against Headquarters' brightness a bit; whatever his current state was called, "well-rested" wasn't it.
"There you are!" Joy exclaimed brightly as she turned around to him. "Yeah, don't worry, we wrapped up warm. If we die today, it's from heat stroke."
"That's not funny," he grumbled and pushed a button to make Riley slow down a bit. Was this pathway leading to the lake? But then he jumped when Alex came into view to their left - apparently, they'd already met her and were running somewhere together. Definitely the lake, then. He could see her long, black mane fluttering behind her as she gained a lead on them. She had a pair of skates tied together by the laces and dangling over one shoulder, so he assumed that Riley had taken her own with her, too.
"C'mon, Riley, what are you waiting for?" Alex called back over her shoulder.
Joy operated the console in response to that, and sure enough, Riley started laughing almost immediately. "Nothing!" she replied and sped up again.
"We're gonna catch a cold if we run in these temperatures!" Fear pointed out.
Disgust rolled her eyes at him from the other end of the console. "Here we go again," she groaned. "Fear, it's not that cold."
"And if we don't run, we're gonna lose Alex," Sadness quietly reminded him.
"Which is why we're gonna keep running!" Joy decided, and with a few quick taps, she made Riley speed up enough that she gained a lead on Alex, and there was nothing Fear could do about it.
Riley had to laugh at the silliness of their little race. From what she could tell, Alex seemed like an okay person. Of course she wasn't Meg, but Riley knew she shouldn't expect her to be. She really couldn't go moping about Minnesota any longer.
Right. This was a new life. She could do this.
"Coming through!" Alex shouted in her ear as she passed by again.
With a chuckle, Riley did her best to catch up. And then shrieked as her foot got caught between two tiles. She wildly flailed her arms to regain her balance before she could hit the ground. For a moment, it felt as if she was floating, but then gravity took pity on her and stopped fooling around.
"You okay?" Alex called over from a distance.
Riley took a deep breath and looked back over her shoulder to try and find the loose tile. "Y-yeah, I just stumbled." Another deep breath. "Whew, that scared me!"
She looked up just in time to see Alex roll her eyes. "Yeah, well, it's no big deal," her new friend decided. "C'mon, I can see the lake!"
"Yes, it's a big deal!" Fear insisted waspishly. This Alex person had no idea what she was talking about!
"It's not," Anger snapped. "It might've been if we'd actually fallen, but we haven't!"
"Don't fight," Sadness whispered again, looking to Joy for support, and Fear knew he would have marveled at the sight if he hadn't been busy quietly pouting at Alex.
"Look, we can see the lake, too!" Joy announced in a really transparent distraction attempt. "And, oh, cool, there's even a little forest beside it!"
Unfortunately, seeing the lake meant they could also see the large patches of water in between the ice sheets, and the group of people at the shore looking decidedly disgruntled.
"Oh, no…" Sadness mumbled and reached out for the console, but Fear was faster.
"It's too warm," Riley spelled out what they could all see. "We can't go on the ice today."
Immediately, Riley knew she'd said the wrong thing, because Alex turned around to frown at her with her eyes narrowed.
But Alex wouldn't expect her to do something unreasonable, right? This was dangerous!
"We'll see about that," her new friend claimed after a moment, then dashed off to the edge of the forest.
"Alex, wait!" Riley called after her, but her words fell on deaf ears, so with a sigh, she also broke into a run again. "Wait!"
But Alex didn't stop until they had reached the trees, and it was there that she turned around to smile a decidedly mischievous smile that Riley had never seen there during classes. "I know a secret passageway! We just have to sneak under these trees and then we…"
"But, Alex, we're not supposed to go there!" Riley could feel herself tense up, and a moment later, she remembered her father's words. "Why don't we just go to an ice pavilion, we could…"
"Indoors!" Alex huffed, her nostrils flaring. "That's no fun! Why are you such a chicken?"
Riley blinked her eyes for a few moments. That hurt. That really hurt. "I'm not a chicken!" she mumbled weakly, her uneasiness increasing tenfold. Alex was gonna force her into this, wasn't she?
And sure enough, now Alex was smiling again, but not in a nice way. It looked as if she thought she had won. "Well, great, then! C'mon!" And she ducked under a nearby fir tree.
Riley found herself rooted to the spot. She couldn't go there. But if she didn't play along with what Alex was suggesting…
What was she supposed to do?
"We are not going in there!" Fear insisted, crossing his arms.
"Alex is gonna leave, you idiot!" Anger bellowed, pushing him out of the way to reach the console.
"Anger, don't!" Joy cut in and flew over to catch his wrist. "If we overreact now, she's not gonna like it, either!"
"She's gonna hate us…" Sadness whined.
"Of course not!" Joy claimed, then pushed a few buttons on the console, and a moment later, Riley had started to cross the small distance to the trees.
"This is dangerous!" Fear snapped, pulling one of the two main levers and making Riley halt again. "And we're gonna get in trouble!"
"We're losing Alex!" Joy burst out, and even as she operated the console, she threw him a sideways look that was decidedly less positive than usual.
Fear squirmed under her gaze. Was he really just overworked? Was he overreacting? But he wasn't being unreasonable, was he? They shouldn't be doing this! There was so much wrong with this that he couldn't even begin to describe it!
Riley couldn't keep the doubts from clouding her senses, even as she hurried through the underbrush to catch up with her friend. She knew she shouldn't be doing this. Hadn't she vowed to take better care of herself? What would her parents say if she got into trouble again?
She pushed at another branch, but it bounced back and hit her across the face. Tears instantly sprung up in her eyes, but the worry was worse, almost overpowering by now. Would this leave a mark? Would her parents realize what she had been doing? And what would Alex say if she caught her crying?
Then she was out, and found herself in a more or less secluded area where the lake had formed a little cove among the shades of large fir trees. With the lower temperature, the ice sheet was indeed still whole here, and Alex was sitting by the water, shoes off, currently trying to untie the laces on her skates. When she heard Riley rustling through the trees, she turned her head to smile brightly over her shoulder. "There you are," she quipped. "I thought you'd gotten stuck."
"Alex…" Riley began, but she had no idea what to say. She couldn't go skating here. They couldn't go skating here. The ice would break! "Alex, we shouldn't be doing this."
Alex seemed a little bored as she turned back to fiddle with her skates again. "I've done it before. It's fine."
Riley gulped. "Alex, I really, really think we should go to an ice pavilion, we…"
"Oh, come on!" Alex burst out, abandoning the skates to get up and stalk over to her with just socks on her feet. "You can't be serious! There'll be so many people that we won't have any room to ourselves! It won't be any fun!"
Riley bit her lip. She didn't want to fight with Alex. But she absolutely couldn't skate on the lake. She knew something was gonna happen. "Isn't that still better than falling into the water?" she whispered.
Alex furrowed her brows and looked at her, just looked at her for a moment. "You know what?" she finally said. "I don't really feel like ice skating today, anyway. Why don't we just call this off?" And she turned around to collect her shoes and skates.
Riley felt numb. The worry was gone, but so was the excitement, as well as that warm, fuzzy feeling of being liked by someone new. "Alex…" she tried again.
But Alex frowned at her as she passed her. "I can't believe I tried to be friends with such a scaredy-cat!" she bit out. And then she was gone.
There was dead silence in headquarters.
No one was operating the console. There was no way to respond to that.
Fear was staring at the screen. But he knew the others were all staring at him. And he had a sinking feeling that this had been his fault.
Breathing around the sudden lump in his throat was hard, but he forced himself to touch another button. Now that caution around their new friend - former friend? - had just ceased to matter, he at least wanted Riley back in some place where she was allowed to be.
"Alex is gonna come around," Joy whispered almost inaudibly. "Just… just give her a little time, everyone."
Fear bit his lip. He had ruined this. He'd tried to look out for Riley, and instead, he'd ruined everything.
But he had no time to wallow in self-pity right now. When they came back to that branch that had hurt them before, he made sure that Riley would be acutely aware of the way it moved this time...
And then he yelled as a sudden pain shot up his arm. Had there actually been a spark where he'd touched the console?
"What is it?" Disgust sneered. "Are the trees gonna eat us?"
"N-no…" Fear muttered, too spooked to even take offense at her tone as he kept staring at the console. "I… something stung me…"
"Oh, what, so now the console's dangerous, too?" Anger bellowed.
Fear gulped as he realized that the others probably weren't gonna tolerate his antics for much longer. "N-no, of course not..." The console wasn't dangerous. It never had been. Right? He needed to keep it together now.
Sadness moved to stand beside him at the console and gently touched one of the controls. Was she testing if it was gonna hurt her or did she think Riley should be miserable now?
Whatever her intent was, he saw the screen blurring with unshed tears, and the knowledge that he was the one who had caused them was burning in his chest, threatening to suffocate him.
Well, at least Riley was back on the pathway now.
Not that that managed to cheer her up or anything. She was pretty sure she had just lost Alex for good, and that realization brought about a wave of loneliness so powerful that she briefly considered going back to the little cove, just so that she could cry in peace without having to worry about being caught doing it by any of the passers-by.
But, no, of course she couldn't. It would be pretty dumb to go back there now that she'd lost Alex for not wanting to go there.
Had it been the right thing to do? She didn't have enough friends here to be able to afford losing Alex. But what would Mom and Dad have said if the ice had crumbled underneath her?
Blinking to fend off another wave of tears, she went back around to where she and Alex had spotted the group of people, but the crowd had dispersed by now.
For a moment, she halted, just staring out at the lake. But she could see that spot from here, and that hurt way more than she wanted to admit to herself, so she turned and continued along the path, doing her best not to run into anyone. Maybe something interesting would pop up on the way, but somehow, she doubted it. She couldn't go home yet, though. Mom and Dad would ask questions, and then they would worry about her again.
She hated worrying. Maybe she should've gone along with what Alex had been planning. That way, she wouldn't have had to be alone anymore. And Alex would probably have been impressed with her, right? Now that she looked back on what had happened, she'd bet anything that the ice would have held… but it was too late for that now.
Why was she always so afraid of things? It had only gotten worse in the last few weeks…
Not for the first time, she wished Meg was here. Meg wouldn't have laughed at her for crying, or for being afraid in the first place…
But hadn't Meg also teased her about it sometimes?
Riley bit her lip. No matter what way she looked at it, the realization sunk in that she worried too much, about too many things.
She faintly registered that there was laughter in the air, and when she looked up, she spotted a playground further along on her path. Little children, way younger than she was, were playing on a slide and a set of swings, and they were running around and falling down and laughing about it afterward. Why weren't they afraid?
And why was she?
"Can't you leave her alone already?" Disgust snapped at him.
But Fear shook his head. "She's devastated. If she's not cautious now, she's gonna do something stupid again."
"She did something stupid already!" Anger growled from behind him. "She made Alex hate us!"
"I don't care if Alex hates us if she's gonna get us killed!" Fear snapped, but it was getting harder and harder to defend his actions, especially now that he had realized something.
Riley wasn't reacting the way she should. He kept pushing her buttons, doing everything in his power to make her see reason, but she just did what she wanted. Hopped off the huge ledge around the playground, jumped into puddles full of muddy snow and germs, and at one point she actually patted a ferocious looking puppy.
"What's she doing?" he wailed, getting ever more agitated.
"What are you making her do?" Joy retorted from behind him, sounding somewhat puzzled. "It's not like you to send her into all these situations! I mean, the puppy was cute, but…"
"I'm trying to keep her out of them!" he complained, his rapid hand movements blurring even in front of his own eyes. "She's not listening!"
"Shall I…?" Joy offered, but he waved over his shoulder impatiently to keep her away.
"She needs to see that she's making a mistake!" he argued, then yelped as he took another look outside. In a split second, he had grabbed both of the main levers and pulled them all the way down.
Riley was hesitating again, and she hated herself for it.
The little stream she'd found behind the playground was gurgling in front of her, and she knew that meant the lake probably wouldn't have been safe. Not that that mattered now.
The stream seemed too wide to jump over. She wasn't sure she could make it. She couldn't always make the jumps in PE, either. But she wanted to. She wanted to be brave. But she could get wet.
Then again, so what? She had gotten wet before. She'd live.
Her gaze hardened. No. She'd made up her mind. She wouldn't be afraid anymore.
Riley had broken into a run.
Fear could hear the others gasp behind him. He clung to the levers as if holding on for dear life.
What was happening? Why wouldn't she listen?
He could feel tears collecting in his eyes. This had always worked. Why did she defy him now? Why would she disregard all his concerns for her safety?
He slammed the levers down again, and again, and again. He could feel her briefly slowing each time, but she didn't stop.
"Fear…" he heard someone behind him. It sounded like Sadness.
"Why won't you listen?" he screamed at the screen, slamming the levers down again so hard that the plastic of the console cracked slightly
There was an alarm, and then a spark. Brilliant white light. And then… pain.
The last thing he noticed before he passed out was Riley jumping.
Riley landed safely on the other side.
She threw a look back over her shoulder in satisfaction. There, that hadn't been so hard, right?
She wouldn't be afraid anymore. She would never be afraid again.
Note: Feedback is welcome, especially because I left you hanging on such a cliffhanger (sorry). But don't spoil anything in the comments, please! I'm actually aware of (but ignoring) a little something revealed in the Mother's Day video, but that's a huge spoiler that not everyone knows about (and I don't know how it works, anyway). Please respect that. Thank you!