They didn't know her.
"Be responsible!" Amber had cried. They all wanted it. They all wanted her to be normal, to be able to talk to her and have a normal, everyday response. To feel like they could rely on her, to know what she was going to do next.
But Tai San was not predictable.
No-one could understand it. She'd had a normal upbringing until the virus. She'd had to have been normal then, a few had lived in her neighbourhood and she had been the usual, everyday girl. But now…
She was weird. She was strange. She was different.
If anything she tried not to belong. She danced, she fought, and she was beautiful. Calm and flowing, yet capable of terrible anger and violence without remorse, as Zandra discovered. She was like the ebb and flow of water, unpredictable, soft yet capable of great damage.
"Be responsible!" she never took responsibility for her actions, never seemed to care. Did she even feel anything for Lex? No-one could guess. She filled all of them with the urge to shake her, to drag her out of her fantasy land, to put her in the hell that they were all suffering.
To watch her drown like they were. To rip her out of her fantasy. To smash her world to pieces. Then one day, it did.
They were all there when it happened. A mixture of cabin fever, depression and hunger brought it on. One snapped, then they all did. They bombarded her with her own lies, they pulled out who she truly was and showed it to her. They screamed 'Why, why, why?" and they couldn't bring themselves to stop. Miserable, scared teenagers was what they all really were, but she was different, they thought she could handle it. Because nothing ever really affected her, did it?
But then her world was smashed to pieces.
It seemed to explode in a second, full of terrible anger and misery and pain. They saw her true self, not blurred or smeared by her talk of riddles and calm 'holier than thou' glances. They saw her. She was terribly human. She cried and sobbed and screamed, and pulled at her hair and scratched and bit all she could grab. She was broken, had been for a long time, traumatised by what had happened. They thought she was stronger, but the thing was she was so much weaker that she had already died a long time ago. They had all relied on her, without realising, relied on her mumbo-jumbo, relied on her calmness, her sudden chaos just as the land relies upon the sea to calm it, to form new landscapes from it, to renew it and to always be there. But her strength- although fake, was gone. Her world of fantasies was gone, and she was just like the rest of them.
All but Lex left her, as she lay shaking on her bed, mouthing silent cries. The two sat in silence as she slowly pieced her façade back together, stitched broken pieces that didn't fit into one. Told herself all that she had told herself before was true, about karma and auras and energy and all that other crap. Pieced back the lies until her true, broken and cut up self was covered, so much that not even she could see it herself.
She reappeared three days later, emerging from her room with Lex behind her. She emerged anew, covered with her stories and theories and infuriatingly ridiculous riddles. But no-one shook her, for they knew how the pieces inside her would rattle. No-one pulled out her soul, for they knew how her stitches would snap and break. No-one bombarded her with her own lies, no-one accused, and no-one tried to see the real her, because then they would see themselves just how much like them she really was.
So they didn't try to save her, because they were barely afloat themselves. Because she, unlike them, didn't need to be. She was one less to worry about. She had her own world.
She was different.
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