Timeline: End of the fourth season, perhaps a little jumbled. (Undefined in the TWEWY universe.)
Pairing: Eventual Cadley (Camteen). Not right off the bat, though.
Rating: T thanks to some language and violence, but so far I'm not thinking of going higher anytime soon. Might change, though. (You know, HLA. The world needs more of it. *wink wink*)
Author's Pretty Darn Significant Note: Ahoy, mateys! I realize this is probably the second most ridiculous crossover right after House/Pokemon, but it's been on my mind for months now and, you see, I'm continuously fascinated by the idea of Cameron and/or Thirteen dead. (Tough love for my favorite characters, that's all I can say.)
What I want to say is that even if you've never played/seen/heard of The World Ends With You, all mechanics of the TWEWY universe will be explained (because, obviously, neither have Cameron and Thirteen).
And as always, I'm not a native English speaker. Please, bear with me.
That said, buckle your seatbelts, 'cause this ain't Princeton anymore.
Week 1, Day 0: Let the Games Begin
Ah, the joys of night shifts. The wondrous echoes of passing time sang in her head as she got changed and left the building that had become a second home to her; left it along with her other self, which was to be found at the exact same spot the next day. The creased paper sign sat lonely at the back of her locker, the thick black number "13" in its center underlined by a more subtle "12th annual run" both looking at her expectantly, only to have their hopes crushed again. She kept the sign as an external memory core, a reminder of the time when people were nothing more than numbers and signs and nameless white coats. For the most part, that was still true for her assigned persona; a source of medically relevant facts and ideas underneath a number and a lab coat glossier than the surface of a cabin of a newly revealed Ferris wheel. For the next few hours, however, she would remain Remy.
She had successfully accomplished most of her daily chores. Don't let House piss you off – check; don't tremble – check; save a life – check. Today's jackpot was won by a certain Seth Griffiths, a rather long-term patient about her age, whose Lyme disease took the liberty of almost killing him; but then House experienced one of his infamous epiphanies and Seth was free to live happily ever after. Ding-dong. For one thing, dealing with the same person – and an annoying, inquisitive person at that – for weeks can be frustrating.
But that issue was now solved and, while waiting for another, she could go home and take a long, warm bath, and read some Tolstoy under the covers and… What the hell?
There it was; the all too familiar feeling of the thenar muscles in her left hand moving on their own accord. And there she thought she could last a whole day. She cursed under her breath and clenched her hand into a fist. Ever since she had had the misfortune of finding out about the lovely lifelong companion imprinted in her genes, the frequency of the tremors seemed to have increased. Either that, or she took more notice. Figures the immediate reaction to a thing of such character would be a string of paranoid hallucinations. That's what horror movies always take advantage of, isn't it; you may be so deep in trouble you would be digging your way out for the rest of your life and be fearless yet thanks to blissful ignorance, one of life's greatest gifts. However, once it takes its leave and you realize just how screwed you are, you become the lamb in the lion's den, trapped and shaking, and you wonder, has the lion always been watching you? Is he planning his next move? The constant fear was eating her alive, like a parasite.
And then there was Amber. The future right in front of her eyes, the past behind every corner, and the present nowhere to be found. She just didn't seem to find the right balance of them all.
In the middle of an internal debate over the unhealthy significance of hysteria in her condition and the potential benefits of her growing a backbone, she paid no attention to the fact that the tremor conveniently picked the middle of a lifeless road to visit. It was only lifeless until the bright headlights of a silver Ford Taurus, which was obviously very happy to see her, blinded her peripheral vision.
It wasn't the disease's fault when she stood frozen in place, suddenly unable to move a muscle as the vehicle hurried towards her. You know how they say you see a white light when you die? Well, she wasn't expecting that kind of light.
Closing her eyes shut was the only voluntary movement she was capable of as the screeching voice of the engine pierced the night.
Get killed – check.
"Remy Beauregard Hadley."
Nor did she expect those words to be the first thing she'd hear after her death. In fact, she didn't expect any words at all. Yet there they were, close, stating the cold fact.
"A doctor – an internist – twenty six years old, diagnosed with Huntington's."
With all due respect, she was getting mildly irritated at even God – or whoever this was – using those words to describe her seconds after she so unexpectedly left the world of the living. There's more than that!
"Intelligent, devoted, compassionate and mysterious, among other things. You have potential; you meet the prerequisites."
There, that's bet- …Huh?
She opened her eyes to find out that, to her surprise, she was still standing with her hand in a fist, clutching it with the other. And standing in no ordinary space, for that matter; she frowned when she noticed a pair of yellow and black striped Moorish idols swimming around in circles under her feet. As far as technology and imagination had gone in the glorious United States of America, she had never seen a transparent aquarium floor. Not to mention an aquarium floor capable of holding many old fashioned-looking pieces of typical living room furniture and a – Good lord, was there an end to all those surprises? – huge pool table. "Say what?"
"I'm here to make you an offer."
She almost forgot about the unknown being speaking to her. As it turns out, the person was no more than a blond teenage boy at least a head shorter than her. The smirk on his face was rather unsettling, though. While this could have been just a normally strange conversation in a strangely normal environment, somehow, she just couldn't get over the tiny problem of her having died a few moments prior. If something hadn't gone terribly wrong, then she wasn't a Hadley. "I'm listening," Remy said, even though it came out as more of a question.
"Allison Cameron. There's an interesting specimen, unmatched in kindness and grace, which is your greatest weakness. Frankly, I'm impressed. We don't have many like you around."
The blonde doctor stopped dead in her tracks as where a dark road had been seconds ago, there was now solid glass and behind it probably an entire marine ecosystem. She looked around in panic and complete confusion. She wasn't dead. She was alive. She could go back there if you just showed her the way!
"Hush, little one. There's nothing to be scared of."
It was just a little boy, no older than seventeen, but the way he spoke frightened Cameron. "Who are you?"
"Call me Joshua. I'll be your guide here. Welcome to the Underground," he greeted her with open arms. "This place isn't what it used to be, but it's maintained its charm so far, don't you think?"
"You poor thing must be so confused," he mused when Cameron's astonishment refused to fade. "Say, how about I get straight to the point? Be my guest and make yourself comfortable; it might take a while to explain." He gestured towards an archaic armchair.
She walked over to it hesitantly and then looked at the boy, as if waiting for approval. He chuckled and motioned for her to sit down, so she rested herself in it, all the while eying Joshua suspiciously.
The boy paid no notice to the blonde's doubts. "Firstly, you need to understand the fact that you're dead. I'm sorry, but that's the way things are."
No. That couldn't be. She escaped death, she was sure of it! And yet she could think of no reasonable explanation for the sudden change of her surroundings. But she was alive, there was no arguing that. She could see, hear and feel, which are attributes fairly common in existing, living beings, no? She could think, albeit not too straight, and she could speak. And foremost, there was no God or Satan. No doubt she was still alive, but it didn't seem she could return home any time soon, and if she were to spend the next few moments of her life with this kid, she could as well listen.
"Now that we're clear, let me introduce you to the Underground, or UG, for short. The world you lived in before you came here is what we call the Realground, the RG. That's were most living people reside. You're here because I have the power to send you back there."
Allison was well aware that this kind of thing is never for free, even in movies or terribly messed up dream sequences. But he was offering her awakening, was he not? "But there's a catch," she half asked, half predicted.
Joshua smiled. "Bright girl! Obviously, we can't be reviving people back from the dead all the time, which is why we only choose the most powerful and valuable individuals."
She frowned, slightly offended; did he not understand that all life was sacred? If he wasn't God, how dare he judge the weight of one's deeds? Her subconscious wouldn't support that opinion, or would it?
"Which is why we have the game," he continued, remaining oblivious to her mental protests. "The point of the game is quite simple; your goal is to survive in the UG for seven days straight. However, in addition to that, every day, there's a mission for you and your partner to complete."
"My partner?" Her eyebrows shot up. This was getting weirder and weirder.
"Yes. Excuse me, I've explained this many times, you understand. I apologize if it's a little too much to comprehend, but I assure you that you will learn all you need to know. Now let me finish. The UG holds many surprises and dangers, one of which are the Noise. The Noise are creatures whose only purpose is to take your Soul – that is, erase you from existence entirely. Because the Noise exist in a special dimension between the RG and the UG and thus are split into two different planes at once – only in completely unrelated forms – there must be two players to defeat a single Noise, and that is why you will need to form a pact with another player, if, of course, you accept."
Cameron squinted and ran her hand through her hair. Although she wasn't taking this whole thing seriously, it piqued her interest, and it seemed like an elaborate matter. "So how am I to fight these Noise things?"
"I was hoping you'd ask," Joshua grinned. "That is the most fun part of the game. In the UG, there exist certain – pardon the cheesy Stan Lee-ish expression – supernatural abilities accessible through the medium of what we call psych pins. They look like ordinary pins, but give you the means to, for example, create fire."
Now it was getting ridiculous. "So you're telling me I can burn a pseudo-beast using my will and an 'Obama for president' pin glued to my jacket," she deduced and put on her trademark 'oh please' face.
"Precisely," the boy confirmed. All of a sudden, there was a blinding orange flare as the armchair opposite her Joshua was sitting on burst into flames.
Cameron jumped and watched with her mouth open as the fire vanished just as fast as it appeared, with Joshua in the middle of it without so much as a scratch. There was an impish twinkle in his eyes that made her blood run cold. "P-point taken," she stuttered.
"This place is full of necessary evils," he stated matter-of-factly and leaned back in his seat. "Oh, I forgot to mention; the UG and RG exist in the same place. They look the same, they work the same; the only difference is that people in the RG won't be able to see or hear you. To explain this in a way more familiar to your kind, you are a ghost. You have no influence in the Princeton Realground." He paused and thought for a minute while playing with his hair. "I think we have the basics covered. Now the million dollar question – Do you accept the challenge?"
Cameron closed her eyes and counted to ten in her mind, hoping to appear back where she belonged the easy way. Nonetheless, when she opened them again, the only thing she saw was a seemingly amused young boy watching her intently with his fingers intertwined and his elbows on the arm rests. She buried her head in her hands. "I'm dead, aren't I?"
She nodded to herself and whispered: "I'm dead." Of course she was dead. There was no way she could have gotten out of death's grasp this time. Why did it have to be so inevitable? Why did one thing have to change everything? Why did she have to…
That was it. There was no way out. Live or die; no compromises, no middle ground. To be fair, apparently, there were not many people given that option, so she could as well grab the chance by the neck and kick and bite and never let go, because she was not ready to leave just yet. Maybe she still had a chance to set things right.
"I accept," she announced decidedly.
Her companion grinned once again. He seemed to have a messed up sense of humor, if nothing else. Then again, who knows how long he's been doing this. She would come face to face with death every day; actually being death, however, is another thing. "Good call. Oh, one more thing; as an entry fee, that which your heart holds dearest will be taken from you. Not to worry, though! If you lose, you won't miss it anyway, will you?"
The startled doctor had no time to react as all of her surroundings turned into white. The pool table standing tall and proud was engulfed by a stream of light radiating from the cold walls of the cage of the undead. The Moorish idols melted and became one with the sea and in the blink of an eye, the entire kingdom evaporated into thin air, leaving her to fall into nothingness.
The players had crossed the Rubicon.
Author's Posthumous Note: Why yes, the girls woke up in Dead God's Pad. (My apologies to those who haven't played the game and therefore won't understand this.)
On an unrelated note, when I found out Thirteen's middle name is "Beauregard", I barfed in my mouth. Remy Prettyglance Hadley? Seriously, writers? What is she, Canadian?