Anna woke up in a strange, white room. If she was actually in a coma, she assumed the room was a hospital room. Coming to slowly, she noted the truly concerning amount of monitors she was hooked up to. The coma scenario was looking good.


She looked up, seeing John Pine in grey joggers and a white t-shirt bolt up from the chair he'd been sitting in at the far end of the room.

Had she died?

"John?" She sat up, feeling the numerous applicators that were attached to her begin to pull at her skin. She still felt pain, but since she'd never died before she didn't know if retaining the ability to feel pain in the afterlife was normal or not.

"You were… I saw you…"

"Yeah, yeah I know. I died. But I didn't really!" He fidgeted with his hands.

"Ah… it turns out we're a part of this big computer simulation where they train soldiers to respond to like, really intense events and stuff- so-"

"We're not dead?" Anna concluded, unsure of it herself but since her entire sense of what was real and what wasn't had been completely upended she didn't know what else to do but accept whatever situation she'd found herself in now. At least she got to see John.

"Nope, very alive. The doctors are about to come in and unhook you from all the machines, and then you have to go talk to this weird psychologist guy who asks really personal questions. I don't very much like him." John whispered the last part, a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth.

Getting to see John again, it almost felt like nothing had happened- like the past two days hadn't happened, and the Christmas show had already happened and they were about to spend the week of winter break watching Netflix and working their asses off at the bowling alley, and they just could pick up their lives where they'd left off.

But John's smile didn't reach his eyes- and Anna found herself unable to reciprocate the smile he offered her. As much as they both knew that nothing had happened, that they weren't in danger and had never truly been in danger that didn't take away the terror of the past two days. John had died, Anna had watched him. He'd sacrificed himself for her- and now that both of them were here, alive, they had to confront the reality of what that gesture had really meant for the both of them.

"I've got to get going, but I'll see you after your tests and stuff, yeah?" He smiled that half-smile again, reaching out and gently hitting Anna's shoulder with a closed fist.

"I'm really glad to, uh, see you again."

"Me too."

He tugged at the bottom of his shirt, eyes tracking around the room.

"Well, I should, ah-"

"Yeah, of course." Anna nodded, watching as John turned and walked out of the room- looking back and giving her a small wave before he left.

She watched him go, feeling her stomach clench painfully as tears began pricking at her eyes.