Disclaimer: I do not own Lost in Blue 3. Well, I have a copy of the game, but I didn't invent it. Duh.
Warnings: Character death. Possible spoilers if you haven't met Kumiko yet. Or James.
This little fic was inspired by something Sam said when his health got down to 5%. (Yeah, I have an over-active imagination. So what?) Apologies again for any spelling/grammar mistakes. Enjoy!
"...I'm not going to make it."
James spun around, shock and fear crashing through him as Sam staggered to a halt, one hand pressed against the damp cave wall for support as he doubled over, gasping for breath.
Six hours. They'd been hunting for six hours straight (not that they had much to show for it) before the stubborn fool had finally admitted something was wrong. Even when, an hour earlier, they'd lost a deer because Sam's hands were shaking so badly he could barely hold the bow, let alone aim and fire in a straight line, Sam had just casually brushed it off, saying he was just tired, and anyway, he'd never been very good at hitting moving targets. Hate to break this to you, the sarcastic part of James' brain whispered. But "just tired" is probably the understatement of the century. Looking at his friend now-because that's what Sam had become, despite James' initial hostility-he felt fear trickle through his chest and condense into a cold, hard lump in his stomach. It was his fault. He should have spotted the signs earlier-Sam refusing to wake either him or Claire for their turn to keep watch; Sam skipping breakfast that morning just so James and Claire would have enough; Sam struggling desparately to keep them all alive, even through the poison that had immediately led to the rule "No mushrooms." The older boy was exhausted, and James could have kicked himself for not noticing sooner.
No sense in panicking now. He took a deep breath and knelt next to Sam, who'd somehow managed to lower himself into a sitting position against the cave wall. His eyes were closed, and only the faint up-and-down movement of his chest indicated he was still alive.
"C'mon mate," James pleaded. "Don't say that-we're nearly there, see? You'll be fine, Sam, I promise." There was no answer. "P-please? Don't-" His voice cracked, betraying his emotions, and Sam sighed, tired brown eyes flickering open again. "Oh, thank God!" James gasped, one hand pressed against his racing heart. "Don't ever pull a stunt like that again, you hear me? Are you trying to give me a bloody heart attack here or what?"
Sam grinned, managing a weak chuckle, and shook his head, before wincing in pain. Evidently that hadn't been a good idea. "James?" He whispered at last, voice pitifully weak. James had to swallow several times before he found his own voice.
"Yeah?" He managed at last, forcing the words around the painful lump in his throat. "What is it?"
Sam was silent for what seemed like forever, so long that James began to worry that he was already d-NO! He couldn't be! As if to prove it, Sam coughed a little and smiled faintly.
"God, t-this sounds so stupid...I can't even believe I'm asking t-this..."he gasped. "James, do you t-think you could...c-carry me?" James blinked. Whatever he'd been expecting, it wasn't this.
"Where to?" He asked, more than a little confused. "There's no way I can get you back to the cave-I mean, not that you're heavy or anything but I'm kinda short and we're both tired and-"
"James," Sam's voice cut him off. "You're...you're babbling. C-calm down. S'not far anyway." He was barely whispering now, and James had to lean in close to catch the next few words. "Th-the field of flowers-where Kumiko's plane crashed. D-do you remember?" James nodded silently. "I-I want to...to d-die somewhere b-beautiful..." His voice trailed off, soft brown eyes glittering with unshed tears.
James was feeling pretty close to tears himself. Not trusting himself to speak, he nodded and gently picked Sam up, carrying him in his arms like a baby. He was lighter than he'd thought-he'd lost weight since James had first met him, that long-ago day on the beach. James started walking, slowly, trying not to jolt the boy in his arms too much. The log bridge was navigated with a little difficulty, but finally they were there. The field.
Kumiko's plane was still there, charred and blackened near the edge of the cliff. All around them, flowers of every imaginable hue seemed to glow in the evening sun, exuding a somewhat false sense of peace and security.
"Here?" James asked, walking almost to the edge of the cliff and looking sadly out to sea. Sam nodded and reached up with a shaking hand, wiping away the tears James hadn't even noticed were running down his cheeks. Sam's smile was peaceful, content.
"Don't cry, James, please. Don't be sad." He sounded like a small child somehow, as though the approach of death was stripping him of his 17 years. James laid him down softly on his back, but Sam stirred weakly, tears of frustration pooling in his eyes as he struggled to sit up on his own. James frowned, then understood and helped him to lean against a section of burnt plane. He stepped back and just stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do next, but at the same time unwilling to leave.
Sam moved a little, motioning for James to listen. He obligingly leant down, so that Sam's dry lips were almost grazing his ear. He could feel himself crying again, but let the tears fall. They were nothing to be ashamed of, after all. Not here, not now.
"Keep the girls alive for me, James," Sam was whispering. He pressed something into the younger boy's hand-a gold pendant, the one he never took off. "The numbers on this...they're the code, for one of the doors. I-I don't know...which one." He took a deep breath and James closed his fingers tightly around the metal until he felt it cut into his palm. "Remember, no mushrooms. Don't eat the mushrooms." Sam laughed a little, and the sound, whilst weak, wasn't at all forced. "A-and tell Claire...tell her I'm s-sorry and that...tell her that I loved her. And I r-remember...us. I remember it all n-now." James nodded tightly.
"No problem there, mate. I'll do it, I p-promise. I promise." He tried to smile, but it turned out more like a grimace. "So...I guess this is goodbye, then."
Sam smiled and closed his eyes, turning his face towards the sun. "Yes...I'm glad I met you, James. I'm glad...I'm so glad you're my friend. B-but...you should go now. G-go back to Claire."
James nodded again. "I'm glad you're my friend too, Sam. I-I'll miss you, we...we all will. G-goodbye, Sam." And that said, James turned around and walked away. As he went, he heard-or maybe it was just his mind playing tricks on him-he thought he heard a small voice, the voice of the boy who'd become almost a brother to him in just a few short weeks, whispering "Thank you, James. Thank you." Maybe he did. Maybe he was mistaken.
But in any case, he didn't look back.