Disclaimer: I don't own any part or person of the SAW franchise. I am not associated with any of the four SAW movies in any way, but you all knew that.
Just Like Me
"Where is he?!" He smashes my head against the wall. "Where's my son?"
Most likely Daniel is out of the safe by now, probably being looked at in the hospital. I'm not going to tell him that. Why would I be that stupid? Daniel said it himself, half the city could be out looking for him, so Eric could kick his ass. Just as he is beating me right now. He's learned nothing at all, he's just the same angry bastard he always was. I wonder how he would feel knowing that his son killed the body he was laying next too. He would probably arrest him, keep him locked away just as he was before then earn another medal for his "work."
Gripping my hair even tighter he gives me another bash on the wall, showing me what a big man he is. Hoping this type of brutality will get me to talk. "Tell me where he is." So I can send him back to you, just so you can screw him up again? No way, you sick fucking asshole.
I look down at my palm, at the single vertical cut. The cut which forms a blood connection, that which is stronger than Eric's and Daniels will ever be again. Do you want to know where Daniel is, I'll tell you.
"Right fucking here!"
There's nothing like a pit of needles to put things into perspective. It confirmed just how much of a fucking psycho Xavier was, how Jonas was trying to play the peacemaker as opposed to actually helping me and possibly just how wrong I had been about him. Someone I hated and snubbed.
He reached out his hand to me, helping me out of the pit. Pulling out the needles from my body, he tries to be comforting, but there was absolutely no comfort to be offered in the situation we were in. It was funny, in a sort of ironic way. Eric Matthews was the reason I ended up sticking needles in myself in the first place, now here was his emotionally disturbed troublemaker son Daniel pulling them out.
"Come on, you've survived this." He comes back to my side after Xavier tried to push him away, once again removing the needles. "You can do it again."
I'm not supposed to give a shit. I shouldn't because his father is the one that put me away in the first place. He's a fucking Matthews. Though I can't help but see the differences between them. Eric doesn't give a shit while Daniel is trying to help all these random strangers when they're getting hurt. Daniel's eyes at this point are filled with concern, while his father had nothing but cocky anger in his. You'd almost swear they weren't related.
"Come on Amanda, we've got to get moving." I wonder if he's only helping me because he knows I'm his best chance for survival. Then I see him rush over to Laura, the weakest link in the chain, who clearly isn't going to make it through this. Maybe living with his mom for so long has given him more respect for women.
Who knows exactly what prompted me to do it, I guess in my eyes he had already proved himself. I don't want him to be dragged down by helping other people. He deserved a chance to survive. I want him to survive. "Leave her to me, just keep walking ahead Daniel." The guy only answers by coughing up some blood, which set something off in me. I didn't want him coughing up blood, nor did I want him touching Laura.
Daniel follows Addison up the halls while I help Laura up and follow him. He keeps looking back to see if we were alright. How could he be this way, but at the same time a survivor? Laura collapses again, he keeps trying to encourage us by saying that we can't stop now. Just like John, he wants us all to survive this too, despite the death we've already seen.
I cradle Laura in my lap while she points to the wall. I know exactly what is there and I'm having second thoughts about whether or not it should be revealed, but what can I do to stop it? I have to play by the fucking rules. Addison grabs the picture and snaps at Daniel, explaining her story. Laura just keeps staring at it, realising that her "hero" is not who she expected. For Daniel, the whole thing is a reality check. He can pretend he completely hates his father but I know deep down he really cares. No matter how bad they treat you, for some reason you still want their approval.
"Please tell me that's not your father." It was stupid thing to say, because I know it is but some part of me doesn't want to believe it. Not from the things I see in Daniel.
So many things happen at once, Addison leaves, Laura dies in my lap and Daniel's eyes show that he is really sorry. No more letting my emotions take control, I have to get away from them and get the heck out of here. No matter how much I try to block him out, I can still hear him. "I'm sorry Amanda I didn't know." Shut up, shut up, shut up! "Please don't leave me."
I walk back to where we started. As far as I'm concerned, Daniel can do whatever he wants. I can't convince myself of that for too long when I see Jonas with a nail bat sticking out of his head. Three guesses as to who set him free. Xavier is yelling so loud, you can hear it throughout the whole house. It scares me, because I know he's not going down easily. Then I think of Daniel, knowing that Xavier finds him he's doomed. I can't leave Daniel by himself, not now. I can't let him die.
Why do I care? I keep asking myself. Maybe it's because I can see myself in him. A father that really didn't give a shit, getting into some trouble just to let out the anger at the world, feeling so many emotions at once you just want to scream but instead you end up cutting yourself. He's my seventeen year old self, in male form. Just like me he will survive this and grow stronger from it, just like me he will live through this ordeal.
"We've got to move." I grab his arm and make him follow me. He doesn't think twice about doing that. I just keep holding him, making sure he's still with me. He still has a chance at a life, not like Adam who was locked in the dark bathroom. It's not just about the game anymore.
Daniel only starts thinking clearly when we end up back in the room with the safe. I can tell he's scared, because I felt the same way when I woke up with a reverse bear trap on my head. I want to save him, like John saved me. We end up below the house, running from Xavier. I take him to a place that I know all too well, that bathroom.
From a combination of shock and the nerve gas, Daniel slides his back down the wall. I crouch down beside him. "Stay with me, come on." I encourage him, just like he has been doing this whole time. "Please, just hold on for a little bit longer, I promise you'll be okay." I can keep that promise to him. I know the combination to the safe, as long as Xavier doesn't get Daniel's number it should still be there.
"Amanda…" He whispers before he passes out. I don't know why I'm sad about it, but I feel his neck for a pulse. I don't feel anything, which just makes me lean into his shoulder and want to cry. I don't want to feel for him, I was told not to, but I do.
Xavier comes in the room, but I don't care. "He's gone." All I can whisper is that. I suppose it's a good thing, he didn't leave by the hand of that fucking idiot.
He wants to read the number on the back of Daniels neck and mine. I don't want him touching me again with his disgusting hands, let alone Daniel. I try and stall him, telling him that he won't know his own number if anything happens. I just keep watching as he cuts the back of his neck. Only god knows why I squeezed Daniel's thigh, maybe I knew he was still alive.
He comes at us, or rather comes at me. Suddenly Daniel jumps up from the floor holding a hacksaw and slits Xavier's throat with it. He lets it drop to the floor, looking the exact way I felt when I killed Adam in the same bathroom. There is some feeling of good, knowing that he did what he had to do, guilt and a mixture of disgust and fear. He did what he had to do to survive and to save me.
I hold Daniel from behind as he shakes. I can see tears falling down his cheeks. He turns to me, looking for some kind of support and comfort. I don't know what comes over me next. Probably because I can't stand looking at his eyes anymore, then again maybe it's because he's what I've been searching for which is someone who understands. Either way, we've both saved each other, physically and mentally.
One of those reasons is probably why I kissed him. I just go for it and let my raw emotions out onto his lips, which he reciprocates for his own reasons, most likely out of a sense of relief. It's hard not to feel something for the second person who's saved your life. Breaking away from him, I smile and look at Xavier down on the ground. I turn to the last man standing grab his hand to lead him back to the house.
"Where are we going?" He chokes out before coughing a little.
"Everything is going to be alright. I'm going to take you away from everything that is making you crazy and fucked up and scared. All of this, you'll be helped. You will be saved." I lead him up the stairs and start opening the safe right in front of him, pulling out the antidote.
"How do you know the combination? Who gets the antidote?" He looks towards me with hope in his eyes.
"You get this. You deserve it. I'm not going to let you die, okay?"
"This was…you were in on this the whole time?" He finally starts figuring it all out as I smile back at him. He wipes his mouth on his sleeve, as though to try and get rid of our kiss. I can't really blame him, it was a fucked up impulsive moment, but he's not going to get rid of me so easily.
I walk up to him slowly. "You may hate me for it now, but you'll thank me for it later."
"Why the hell should I trust you?" Daniel asks, backing away.
I pin him against the wall, tugging up his sleeve to reveal his cuts. The cuts that I always knew were there despite his efforts to hide them. "…because you're just like me."
He tries to cover them up. "Amanda, why are you doing this?" He tries to say something else, but I quickly stick the needle in his arm, ridding him of the sickness in his system. He passes out on the floor and I pick him up in my arms and lead him out of the house.
The whole car ride he doesn't wake up once, but judging by his little episode in the bathroom I wouldn't be surprised if he is awake. When we park at the warehouse I just sit for awhile, with some kid eight years younger than me sitting passed out in the passenger seat. I don't know what's going to happen to him. All I was told was to bring him here if he survived. I don't care that he's a Matthews anymore. Let Eric arrest me corrupting his seventeen year old son. My feelings are the ultimate "fuck you" to Detective Matthews.
Daniel's face is cold but smooth against my cheek as I lean in, listening to his soft breathing. "Congratulations, you are still alive." I whisper, even though he probably can't hear me. "Most people, including me, were so ungrateful to be alive."
I cup his face, planting my lips on his again. They're much warmer than his face. "But not you, not anymore. Daniel."
I carry him up the stairs of the warehouse and dump him on the floor by John's chair. I have to prove to him that I am a good apprentice. That my emotions are not going to affect me like they did with Adam. John can't know the real reason I kept Daniel alive, despite all the planning he did in case he should die.
"What are you going to do with him?" I ask, looking down at the tough yet fragile being on the floor.
"It appears Michael has failed his test." John points to one of the monitors nearby. "Police will put two and two together and arrive soon. After all, Eric Matthews can not resist being called out."
Daniel starts stirring at my feet, probably with no idea where he is. I bend down beside him, making sure he doesn't pull any sudden moves. Soon enough he passes out again. I turn my attention back to John, who looks at me like he can read my mind. My only concern at this point is what to do next, at least that is what I pretend it is.
"He's still alive. Eric will definitely come looking for him." I tell him, unaware if we're in fact letting him go or not. The plan so far was just to lure Detective Matthews to the bathroom, I had my ways but I hadn't planned on Daniel being alive. I hadn't planned on my emotions wanting so badly to save him, nor did I realise that he was a survivor on his own.
John had obviously planned everything. He always did. "Take him to the locked room, I'll tell you when we're ready for him."
"What are you going to do?" I pick Daniel up, squeezing him.
"Eric Matthews doesn't appreciate his life, nor does he appreciate his son's. His impatience and anger only hurts those around him. Daniel is going to help with that. Now take him to the room."
The hours pass and as I wait patiently I can hear Daniel screaming for help. He begs to be let out. Next door, I lie on my cot listening to him. I start crying, hoping that soon he'll shut up. I hear him crying softly as well. I know he doesn't want to play anymore, he just wants to go home and try and put this experience behind him. I can't take it anymore, I have to see him.
"Amanda, what the hell are you doing this for? You don't have to do this." Daniel stands face to face with me. "I've survived. I've passed the test you set!"
"Don't forget who helped you. You wouldn't have had a chance otherwise."
Daniel grabs my arm, much like he did in the house when he was desperate to survive. "You don't want to do this. I know you don't want to do this."
"Don't fucking think that you know me." I pull away and turn to the wall, unable to look at him anymore.
He tries to look me in the eyes. "You kissed me in the house when you could have let me die. You don't want anything to happen to me."
"Okay, fine! You're right, are you happy now?" I snap at him, turning to look into his blue eyes. "Fuck you."
Daniel pulls me to him and kisses me, probably as a last ditch effort to convince me to let him go. I shouldn't give in, but it feels so good. The kiss is so hungry and emotional. When our lips part we just hold each other's arms, staring down and wondering what could become of this. He grabs my arm, tracing a finger around my scars and needle marks. Bowing his head he begins to kiss them.
"Come on Amanda, we can leave together. I'll make sure that nothing happens to you."
I pick up his arm, rolling up his sleeves again. I mimic what he did, showing him how good it feels to know someone gives a shit about you. "You think you won't get arrested for what you did to Xavier? Face it Daniel, at least this way we're alive. Besides, I can't leave John. He saved me, just like you've been saved." I spy John's shadow at the doorway, wondering how much he has seen, if anything. I know that this means it is time.
"I saved you too." Daniel touches my face, while desperate tears roll down his own.
"It's not about you." I lean in towards him, making me think I'm his friend. I want him to understand that this is what his dad does and this is why he needs to stay. Once again I stab him with a needle, emptying the sedative that causes him to fall down. "It's about your no good, fucked up father."
John comes through the door and informs me on what to do next. Grab the oxygen tank and put Daniel in the safe. Such a simple task, I should be able to do it. One step at a time, I'm going to do this and help someone like I was trained to do. Daniel has met death and then will go on to appreciate life. Or will he?
It all occurs to me when I drag him into the other room. I pick up the oxygen mask to fit it to his face, but then I just stop. How will his life be better through this? He's now witnessed death and killed someone only to be locked in a small dark space. Most likely he will leave only to find out that his father is dead. More isolated than he already is, with few in the world that will understand him. His life will be just like mine, saved but with a price.
I figure that he is better off dead. If I really want to save him I should just kill him right here. Smothering him wouldn't be too difficult. With everything his body has gone through he's barely alive as it is. I grab my jacket, preparing to tighten it over his face. I try and force myself to do it but I can't. Everything he represents to me is something I can't kill.
Frustrated, I turn to my only means of release. I undo my jeans and grab my trusted knife. I'm not being very good to myself, but I deserve it for not being good to others. My thigh bleeds as a single straight cut penetrates the skin. The same happens with the other leg, forming a freaky symmetrical bleeding pattern. I clean up as fast as I can, hoping to focus on the task at hand.
Then there are his cuts staring me in the face again. Undoing my bandages, it trips me out to see just how identical our scars are. To most people, it would have been so sad, but to me it was a sign. I wasn't just connected to John anymore. I cut his hand creating a slice down his palm, then a cut down my own. I need to feel connected with someone else. I need a permanent reminder that I am not alone and so will he. What better way than a scar? Grabbing his hand his blood and my blood flow into each other, down both our wrists. It binds us permanently, connects us. We will bleed together before we both go into the dark to wait.
I do what I have to do. Bind his wrists, take him to the safe and secure his oxygen. Tears fall at the thought of locking him in the dark for so long, reminding me of how much I always hated it. So, I give him the message that he gave to me. "You're not alone."
Finally shutting the door, I head back to the house to wait in the dark. Lying in the bathtub, in the room where we kissed and killed. Looking at the gash in my palm from which we both bleed. The cure for death is immortality. The cure for loneliness is finding someone just as screwed up as you to make a connection….even if you do want to kill their father.