I'm very sorry to those who have me on alert for my other stories, but I thought I'd post this even though it's not what I usually write. I've gotten into Saw lately, and accordingly I've been playing around with the characters. What follows is the bit that I found most legible. The Amanda here is a little different from the one I normally see in fanon, and I'm trying to decide if I like her this way. All comments are, as usual, loved and appreciated. This is gorier than my usual; those who are familiar with Saw will know what they're in for, but those who aren't might want to tread carefully.
Oh, and to address something that I'm sure many who know me from Teen Titans are wondering: No, I don't know if I'm going to finish my other stories. No, I have no current timetable or plans for doing so. I'm going to update my bio a bit later with more information, so if you're curious, you can read about it there. Regardless, I do hope you enjoy this story, and I apologize for any trouble I've caused in my absence.
Some Say Love, It Is a Razor
Amanda likes to watch.
She's always been into some sick shit, so it doesn't surprise her much, but what does surprise her is that it's not about the ribbons of dark blood or the mess of frayed cartilage or the last splinter of life leaving their eyes. It's about that moment. The one where they realize that the game is over and they've lost. That they're weak. The one where they surrender.
It's different for all of them. Sometimes they clench every muscle, bracing themselves against the death they know is coming, the end they know they deserve. Sometimes they scream, and sometimes it's a guttural howl, primal, like a pissed off animal, and sometimes it's the teeth-on-tinfoil terror-scream, the one they make when they don't know how to be angry anymore. Sometimes they're just still, silent, shoulders sagging and mouth slack as they wait. But the eyes are always the same. A shadow passes over them, thick and hollow. The switch is flipped, and they stop trying to live and start preparing to die.
Amanda looks into their eyes at that moment and sees the end. It's more satisfying than the death, because that's just on the surface, superficial. A consequence of that moment where they choose their fate. It's sacred. Because there, in that pure, beautiful moment, John is right. He's so right. Everything he does, everything he's dedicated his life to, comes down to that moment of choice. The death in their eyes is a microcosm of all that John has worked to teach her. There in that moment, Amanda understands.
She likes to watch that. In that moment, she is vividly aware of every expansion of her lungs, every precarious heartbeat, aware and alive in the miracle of being. When she watches with John, she can catch fragmented glimpses of the clarity with which he sees the world, shards of amber sunrise slipping through her fingers before she can hold onto them. Even in their effervescence, they awe her. In that moment, she understands his message better than any other: without that choice, she is nothing. Without him, she is nothing. It reminds her why she has to do what she knows she has to do. In that moment, she falls in love with him.
In that moment, she is his.
Once, John saw her watching with tears in her eyes, and she could feel his concern, his doubts that she could handle the work, and she had to explain. She thinks he understood. She hopes he did. Fuck, she hopes he did. Amanda's not good at explanations: they get stuck in her chest and wrap around her throat and come out as a growl or a sniff or a dirty look, but luckily, John is very good at decoding her clumsy overtures.
Amanda remembers when she thought that John was very good at everything. But she doesn't. Not now. Not anymore.
Because John is so good that he can't see the only flaw in his perfect plan: he is so goddamned better than everyone else in this world. He's convinced that their subjects can change because he can. He's convinced they can value life as he does because for him, it's easy. It's so fucking easy. He doesn't need to watch death recording after death recording to feel that beautiful pulse of hope. John has so much hope that it spills over and seeps into his expectations for the scum he tries so hard to help. They can't change. They won't change. Amanda knows. She can see it because she is flawed, because she can't convince herself to make the right choice with every breath unless she's currently watching someone make the wrong one. She can watch the junkies and the thieves and the whores and all the filth clinging to life's bottommost rung and know that they will learn nothing. That they will understand nothing.
Amanda has understood since Matthews. Since then, she's known what she has to do.
Amanda is standing in the doorway in John's cloak, flanked by the jaundiced lighting of the setting she chose for her game, watching Kerry. She sees the change in the woman's eyes as she knows, understands, surrenders. Kerry knows that she is looking into the end. What she does not know is that Amanda is sinking into that same moment. Tonight, Kerry and Amanda will both lose their games. Amanda's is just as unwinnable and unfair as the one she designed for Kerry.
She watches Kerry struggle with the lock that will unlock nothing. It's against the rules. It's against John's only, beautiful rule. But Amanda has to break it.
And she knows better than anyone what happens when someone breaks the rules.
It's a strange thing, Amanda thinks, facing her death for the second time. The realization is slippery and cold, gelatin coating the inside of her throat and expanding, settling into her stomach, branching into her nose and mouth and the space behind her eyes. Amanda doesn't let her eyes shudder closed and conjure the bear trap, snapped open, her face a mosaic of crushed bone and dangling, leaking tendons. She doesn't let her thoughts turn to her lifeless body, pooled in dark, filthy blood, finally showing the world how filthy she is on the inside. She doesn't let her mind slip into a thousand memories of cold sweats and cold nights filled with corroded needles lodged under flesh and Adam's decaying, sightless eye sockets. She doesn't let it control her; Amanda owns her death, not the other way around.
She doesn't let her gaze flicker to the camera where she knows Hoffman is watching her.
She hadn't thought it would get this far. She'd expected John to stop her after Troy. Amanda wonders what new game he has for her. What form her death will take. When the life will leave her eyes as it now leaves Kerry's.
Kerry's trap arches upward, graceful and perfect, punctuated with a symphony of snapped bone. Her muscle tissue clings naked and exposed to her shattered ribs. The air in Amanda's lungs is sharp and clean.
Amanda stands motionless as the woman's writhing intestines coat the floor. She stands and breathes in and out and listens to the sounds of life. Gives Hoffman enough time to pretend he wasn't watching.
John cannot teach these people. He cannot change them. But they cannot be allowed to live, these filth, these swine unappreciative of his pearls. And Amanda won't sully John's hands with their putrid blood. He can't be allowed to know that his efforts were in vain. Not now. Not when he has so little time left.
No, not their blood. Not Troy's, not Kerry's.
Not even Amanda's.
John is going to be pissed – he's going to be enraged, or -- even worse -- just disappointed in her failure, her weakness. But that's Amanda's fucking choice. It's her fucking job to protect him. Nobody else can do it. Certainly not Hoffman, that dick.
John will bring her justice, she knows. That's what happens when a game is lost, and Amanda has known John long enough to know that the purest justice comes with blades and gears and razor wire. But what John doesn't know is that death won't be her punishment. Death is not the price. Amanda would rather die sequentially in every trap they've made together and all the new horrors they'd planned to build than see the regret and resignation and honesty on his face when he tells her that she meant nothing.
He'll never know what she did for him. That she did it all for him. But she knows that that is the price. She knows and chooses to pay it. There's no fucking price she wouldn't pay for him.
This, Kerry's disassembled, twisting ribcage, Troy's unrecognizable remains, is Amanda's game. Not John's. And she has made her choice.