Saw is, unfortunately, not owned by me. Set just before Saw III, but contains spoilers for flashbacks within that film.

The razor splits the skin, and Amanda breathes a barely audible sigh of relief. The pain, the release... her body has been screaming for this for quite a while now, but she hasn't had a chance to get a fix. As she stems the blood flow, she acknowledges the irony of breaking a heroin addiction, only to need the blade more than ever. But John is okay with it; encourages her, even. She's thankful for that. These are the two things that keep her grounded, help her to maintain some semblance of reality: her relationship with John, and the knowledge that sharp implements are always close by.

As if he can hear her thoughts, she hears the man most people refer to as Jigsaw shuffle in behind her. Ever since Detective Matthews, that fucking cunt, beat him senseless, John hasn't been quite right. She suspects he's a lot worse than he's letting on, but she doesn't want to ask and he certainly isn't telling. She doesn't like his latest plan, to get a fucking doctor to come and try to make him better – but she wasn't consulted; she was told. And fuck, she resents that.

"Amanda," he murmurs in that gravelly voice that inspires a sickening fear in his victims; Amanda can't believe there was ever a time when she didn't find comfort and beauty in the sound. She turns, and smiles awkwardly at him. Even though she knows she has nothing to fear from him, the years of being judged and shunned for the razor scars on her arms and legs have meant that she still isn't comfortable with him watching her harm herself; the social taboo is too thoroughly ingrained.

And isn't that fucking ironic? Amanda thinks to herself. Cutting makes her uncomfortable, but helping John set his traps, knowing that he values her so highly... that gives her a warm glow; something she never knew before he saved her. Funny how murder, no Amanda, it's not murder; we're helping people help themselves, is okay, but drawing a fucking razor blade across her skin drags up long-suppressed emotions of guilt and shame. Getting a grip of her thoughts, she turns and smiles at him.

"I'll be out soon, John."

He nods gravely, and shuffles out, closing the door firmly behind him. Amanda sits quietly, carefully putting the bandage on her thigh – something she's had years of practice doing. She sighs, and lets her thoughts drift again. She loves John, and she knows he loves her – even if he can't express it, even if he's not capable of doing anything physical anyway. It doesn't matter to her; the connection they have is far beyond trite matters like sex. She needs him, and she's sure he needs her, too.

There are some things she can't tell him, though. Like that thing with Adam: that was against the rules, she knew that, but she couldn't let him starve to death... she just couldn't. She knew what it was like, to be locked in a dark room, not knowing if you would ever leave – but the difference was, Adam knew he'd die there; Amanda had at least had the comfort, if you could call it that, of knowing that eventually her fucking father would probably drag her out because he wanted something. But she couldn't let him out of the bathroom; that was against the rules – after all, he lost his game. The only option left was the mercy killing... there are other things she can't tell him, too. The traps... but fuck it, she knew what she was doing.

The nerve gas house left her shaken for a day or two. Not so much the trap itself, but Xavier flipping out – that had scared her. For the first time, she realised that there were some things even John couldn't protect her from; raving psychopaths who would do anything for an antidote was one of them. It was a complete fluke that she'd made it out of that one alive, and she wasn't particularly inclined to put herself back in the centre of things for a while yet. But what she wanted and what John had asked of her conflicted on this particular occasion... and there was nothing Amanda won't do for John.

She really doesn't like the idea of bringing a doctor here, to their place, to treat John. How can they trust her? Even though she'll have the trap attached to her, there's nothing to stop her going to the police the second she's saved John, because of course she will, there's no possibly way John can die... Amanda chews her lip in frustration. Is it possible that John's getting soft, more trusting as his illness progresses?

She's shocked at herself as soon as she thinks it; it's nothing short of blasphemy. The thought sparks an internal battle that Amanda has no hope of controlling.

John knows what he's doing, Amanda. Who the fuck are you to question it?

But, what if he doesn't? Another, sharper voice in her head responds. What if he has grown soft; what if this is the decision that destroys you both?

Amanda clutches her hair, hoping to silence the voices; it works. She's shaky, and close to tears. She knows that, no matter what she believes, she will do exactly what John asks of her – just as she has since that very first time when she sliced open a man's stomach to retrieve a key and save her life. John maintains that she is alive because of her own choices, but Amanda knows the truth: he saved her. One way or another, she would have been dead within the year, if he hadn't stepped in and shown her the true value of her life...

Amanda takes a few deep breaths, to steady herself. She has a job to do, and if there is the slightest fucking chance that it will help him, then of course she'll go kidnap some bitch doctor from a fucking hospital. She can't quite shake the nauseating feeling that, with this trap, John might have sealed his own doom, and hers as well. At the same time that John's death makes her feel faint, there's a vague sense of relief that even if it does end here, tonight, at least they'll be together; the two of them against a world that doesn't understand.

She walks out the door: head held high, pig mask in her hand, black and red coat disguising chloroform and rope. She kisses John on the forehead, and smiles at him as she leaves. A sense of finality settles upon her as she drives to the hospital, ready to kidnap a young doctor by the name of Lynn Denlon.