Willing sacrifice

Author notes: Takes place pre-Saw III, Amanda's point of view.

She lay beside him in his small stolen hospital bed, her eyes glittering with her frantic thoughts as she fixated her eyes upon his thin, sunken chest, anxiously watching its slow, shuddering rise and fall as the older man took each ragged breath. He was asleep, but neither deeply nor peacefully; she feared that his next breath would be interrupted by his violent, hacking coughs, so harsh and physically harmful to him that they caused him to spit up blood… or even worse, a seizure, terrible stiffening, then flailing of his limbs as his body shook, barely able to drawn in oxygen. Both possibilities terrified her, for she had seen them happen to John before, but even worse was her darker fear. For she had lived through his coughing, his seizures, as had John… what Amanda feared daily, with an icy, painful dread that stabbed harshly into her heart, was that someday, John's breathing would stop altogether…that he would leave her entirely, permanently…

Tonight her fear was particularly strong, for as of late he only seemed to be worsening. No matter what she did, how hard she tried to help him, it never seemed to ease his suffering, to make him any better. In fact, under her care, John only seemed to be growing worse. The man known to most of the world as Jigsaw was himself coming apart, seeming to lose pieces of himself and his health, his livelihood, every day… and there was nothing that Amanda could do to stop it.

She had taken to watching him as he slept, not daring to sleep herself…for how could she miss a moment of his life when he may have so little time left? How could she risk his needing her, leaving her, when she would not know about it, could not be instantly at his side, ready for his words to her?

At first Amanda had only sat at his bedside, or paced around his room… but tonight she had found that even this seemed too far, that she felt utterly distant from him, alone and despairing, even sitting at his side. Without thinking about it for more than the impulsive second she decided to do it, she had found herself very carefully lying down on the bed beside John, atop the covers, holding herself very still so as not to awaken him or disturb him any farther.

She had been careful to not touch him, though she lay close; just being closer to him, curled near his side as he slept, somehow made her feel a little more comforted, a little less afraid. Watching the movements of his chest rising and falling, the way his eyelids flickered under thin lids, hearing his raspy breaths wheeze in and out, Amanda could almost convince herself that everything would be okay for them.

She didn't know what she would do if John died. He couldn't die… it simply was not an option. She would not allow it… whatever she had do to, Amanda simply could not allow John Kramer to die. For if he died…Amanda herself would not be able to survive. She knew with absolute clarity and faith that if John died, she would find herself spiraling back into the darkness of her own mind and life, burning out in a rapid flame of her own self-destruction. Without John, she would have already done so long before…and right now, it was only John who stopped her from continuing down her long-fated path of life…or more, accurately, death.

He was everything to her now, the only reason for her existence in every literal sense. He was her entire life, her entire world…she worshipped him, loved and needed him in the total desperate way that one would one's parents as a very young child or infant. And in a way he was exactly this to her…for he had given birth to her, to the person Amanda was today. He had raised her, formed and shaped her into what he wanted her to be…but even more than her father figure, even more than her creator, he was her savior.

For John had saved her…he had saved her in every way that one person could another. Where no one else had cared…where no one else had ever even noticed her and the squalor of her life, he had. He had seen her, seen all the dreary self-absorbed darkness she was capable of. He had seen her with her drug use, her useless mess of a life…he had seen her suicidal fantasies and behaviors, saw her hopeless despair and self-loathing, saw how horribly low she had sank into herself…

He saw her, but he did not give up on her…he did not walk away, did not leave her to herself and her doom. He saw her, and he picked her up, lifted her from the shadows of her hazy, painful life, bringing her into something new, something beyond her own capabilities. He opened her eyes to so much…to herself, to others, to everything about life and living she had never known, never appreciated. He reawakened her…her will not only to survive, but to live…

Where Amanda had been nothing and no one, a useless waste of space and flesh, John Kramer had taken her and made her into something superior, someone important not only to him, but to the lives and improvements of others. He made her special, useful, necessary…even vital, for what John could no longer do himself, he entrusted Amanda with. He gave her once desolate and empty life meaning, purpose. She had thought herself to be incapable of giving or accepting love, that she was unworthy of it…but John had proven her wrong on both accounts. Almost from the day they first met, the time he first spoke to her, when she had been so terrified, so shocked by what his game had brought forth from her, Amanda had sensed her connection with Joh, felt drawn to him in a way that petrified as much as excited her.

He had spoken to her as she stood there, trembling violently, blood of her mauled companion streaking her hands and clothing…blood that she had drawn forth, that her hand had causead. He had told her how proud he was, how she was different from the others. He had told her that her life was just beginning, and that he would help guide her through the remainder of its course, if she would allow him to.

And he had…he had been there for her ever since. John Kramer had snatched Amanda out of her life and taught her all she had never before understood, all she would never have realized on her own. He had made her his apprentice, made her feel worthy and right. He had listened to her as she haltingly, tearfully recounted to him the sins of her past, the abuse she had endured in her childhood, and he told her that it did not matter…none of it mattered. They no longer could affect her, for they had not happened to her, but to another, a different person than she was today.

John looked at the scars on Amanda's arms, marks of her drug use, the cuts on her wrists, and he told her they were no longer a part of her…only the memories of another, present on her current body. When she awakened some nights with screaming, weeping from the memories of the torture he had put her through, the terror she had undergone, he was there beside her. He comforted her, quieting her tears with gentle, fatherly touches, and soothed her with his verbal reassurances of who she was now, the faith he now held in her strength and ability.

Amanda depended on John entirely, with more desperation than she had felt even before their meeting. And now that he depended on her too, she was terrified that she would somehow fail him.

As she watched him, his slightly unsteady breathing providing her very little comfort, she could hear her own ragged breathing, cold and slightly painful in her throat. She could not…she would not fail him. No matter what he needed, no matter what he asked of her, she would do it…

She was more than willing to sacrifice for the one she loved.