Author's Important Note: This is a direct (as in, "a few hours later") sequel to my previous fic, It's a Whimsical World. Do not even attempt to read this unless you've successfully finished the former, lest you be very, very confused. (I pretty much only divided them into two because it seemed appropriate and the file on my computer was growing unhealthily huge.)
Again, the name is a play on the name of the game. (The World Ends = Dreams with You, see? Lame, I know. It is also known as "It's a Wonderful World" in Japan, hence the first part of this series. YAY REFERENCES.)
Now where was I… oh yes, week two. I promise I'm not going to be a [n unresolved sexual] tension bleep much longer. ;)
Week 2, Day 1: Forgive Your Partner
A snowflake's journey begins much higher than any of us 'superior beings' will ever reach, safe for a few famous exceptions. A thing without soul or mind of its own can still travel a longer distance than many people; from the endless white fogs slowly drifting down through the atmosphere, probably changing its shape here and there. An unthinkable distance traveled in a surprisingly short period of time while the people below spend their days trying to get from point A to point B and vice versa, even though while reaching the goal is important, it's always better to remember that it's the journey that matters, what you learn and how you live during that time; because after all, there will always be another goal to reach when you've achieved what you wanted, and another journey to undertake – just like the journey of a tiny star of ice back to the heavens. And so a little snowflake is able to see much more than people ever will. Lower and lower it floats until it reaches the highest tin roofs, the highest windows giving curious children the opportunity to rejoice at the sight of first snow; it keeps falling to floor number eight, seven, six, past the chinking church bell and the welcome sign above a jewellery until it settles on the shoulder of an unsuspecting stranger and vanishes as quickly as it appeared, dying the jacket of Allison Cameron a slightly darker shade of brown.
Why? That was the first word of about a million and three hundred thousand questions Cameron had. Why did this happen, why did this one do that, why did she fall for it, why did Remy leave her? Of all the people she had ever helped, be it by nursing them to health or simply showing concern, not many of them had been suffering from similar anguish, abandoned by the only – and most precious – ones they had in a foreign, malevolent world where every minute literally hurt to live through, as the pain in her palm kept reminding her. During those few rare moments her mind wasn't occupied by any of the countless 'why' questions, there were many more beginning with the word 'if', usually followed by a first person singular pronoun. If I had seen through their lies, if I hadn't been so naïve, if I had listened to what she had to say. But when she got to the 'then' part of the sentence, she couldn't form a reasonable excuse for the guilt to linger. If she had done all those things, then what? At best, Remy would have killed her. At worst, it would be the other way around. There was ultimately nothing she could have done to prevent this disappointing turn of events and yet she was tormented by her own conscience.
Maybe she shouldn't have said all those seemingly meaningful things.
She could feel the back of the pine tree digging into her back, and although she could have gotten rid of this uncomfortable sensation simply by lying down in the snow, she cared no more. She stared into nothingness without even knowing what she was hoping to find.
"So what kind of Player are you if you're not even looking for a Partner? The clock is ticking, you know," pointed out the nosy, high-pitched voice that had been nagging her for the past few minutes.
"A blind one," she responded nonchalantly.
"Oh. Uh, yeah, good luck with that." There was the sound of footsteps running off, and then silence fell upon the field.
"You shouldn't have done that."
The high-pitched voice turned into a scream accopanied by a crack of thunder.
"Here. She stole your psych pins. How did you not notice?"
Cameron wasn't sure at first, but from up close, there was no doubt whom this new voice belonged to, and she lifted her head with newfound hope. "Remy?"
"Yes—I'm right in front of you." Worry was evident in Thirteen's voice. Shocking realization crossed her features, though Cameron could only tell by the horrified whisper that followed. "You can't see." The blonde could feel the tender touch as a hand cupped her cheek. "What have they done to you?"
To me? What have they done to all of us, Cameron mused. "It was the lilies." They say that when a person sees someone they may never see again, spider lilies will sprout. She could hear her own voice breaking and thought she would start crying in the nearest future possible. How could she even know this person was truly Remy? It could just as easily have been Joshua or some other Reaper using the voice she realied on to lure her away, into a trap. Then again, why would they? There was no will or determination left in her anyway. She was helpless, alone in the merciless dark.
A while of cold silence and a deep sigh later, the voice continued. "I can't leave you here like this. Forge a pact with me. There's only a few minutes left."
"But you're one of them…"
"They didn't fulfill their end of the bargain, so why should I?" She paused for a while, contemplating the best way to keep her thoughts in order. There was so much she wanted to say and explain and all of it strived to be said first; safe for one thing that begged a little louder than the others. "I'm so sorry, Allison. I should have listened to you. I should have been more patient. I thought they would let us both live and I was obviously terribly wrong. I hereby renounce my 'Reaperhood'. Let's just get us back home in one piece, okay?"
"Aren't you scared of… of going back?" Allison whispered, hinting at the other woman's condition.
She got a throaty, humorless chuckle in return. "Being here isn't any better. I have to kill Players to score points that will keep me alive."
"Oh. So how many have you killed so far?"
The brunette gulped down a lump in her throat. "That girl back there was my third. It's enough to hold me for the week," she mumbled.
"I know, I know, it's not right, I'm not proud of it and I will never do it again. Can we please move on? You don't have much time and I'm taking you with me, whether you appreciate the company of a murderer or not."
"Allison!" Thirteen interrupted. Cameron couldn't see it, but the clock now indicated a particularly life-threatening situation was upon them. 0:01.
She could, however, tell that this was no time for fighting. "Fine!"
Thirteen dropped one of the two Player pins she was holding into Cameron's hand and closed her fingers around it hesitantly, so that the two two-dimensional white skulls were pressed together between them. The blonde winced a little at the cold touch of the steel and then slowly, tentatively followed her partner's example, tightening the grip and joining their hands into one.
Blue light immediately seeped through the almost nonexistent space around the pins and soon began to take shape, but it wasn't snakes this time. Two glowing strings crawled to each side of an imaginary circle, twisting and curling along the way, and then rose up, limb after limb, assembling what looked like a living creature like a puzzle. Formerly a strange liquidy cloud of cyan then became clearer and sharper and allowed Thirteen to recognize the posture of a wolf.
Everything behind a few feet's distance began to fade away. The wolves ran in circles around the two, howling and barking as they greeted the new champions. Remy wished Cameron could see it; she froze on her knees and watched the scene in awe and with a little apprehension too. "They're beautiful," she whispered, the corners of her open mouth turned slightly upwards. She didn't even realize her wings had disappeared.
The blonde closed her eyes and smiled in spite of the circumstances. She thought she could actually see her vision flicker in blue at times. The howls marked a new beginning that was sealed by the warmth of Remy's hand holding her own. Whether they stood or fell, it didn't matter, as long as they went together.
The wolves were still dancing when she spoke. "You're not a murderer."
"You're right. I killed three people. I'm basically a serial killer by now."
"They attacked you…"
"No, they didn't. It was my own decision to kill them."
"Technically, you can't kill what was never alive in the first place…"
Cameron was sure that if her vision miraculously returned at that point, the first thing she'd see would be Thirteen rolling her eyes at her. She was trying her best to deny Remy had anything to do with crime, but she was steadily running out of excuses. This went against everything she had ever stood for. Normally, she would never side with a killer. Much to the contrary, she'd treat them like garbage because they would clearly deserve it; but this was Remy. This was the friend that had stood by her when no one else could have. "But why?"
"I didn't think it would matter, okay? I didn't think I'd ever see you or anyone else again!" Thirteen snapped and yanked her hand out of Cameron's grip. There was a loud thud as she punched the ground and the snow melted against her skin.
"It mattered to them…" the blonde whispered softly. She knew she couldn't see, but now she was certain her lacrimal glands weren't damaged in any way. The howling stopped and the glowing quadrupeds ran off their separate ways.
"Well now you see that I'm not perfect. I'm merely human and I'll do what I can to survive. Wake up and smell the dandelions, it's the real world calling out to you!"
"So you think you were in right?"
"I didn't say that."
"But you think so."
"You don't know shit about what I think!" Remy ran a hand through her hair when she saw Cameron jump at her outburst. She didn't want to startle her, but why did it have to be so complicated? She had had no choice, had she? "It's still me. It's just a little more 'me' than what you knew before. And the deeper you go, the worse it's gonna get."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because you're a good person. You shouldn't be wasting your energy on someone of my level."
Cameron could feel fatigue rapidly draining her of all power. The day was over, whether they liked it or not. There was no time for chitchat. She hoped at least one last sentence would get across, but her eyes closed before she even had a chance to finish. "You don't understand – I've already—"
She registered the sound of snow cracking under Remy's hands and then her whole body. That was the last thing she knew. Sleep… all conscious thoughts were redirected to the many meanings of sleep.
"There is a significantly higher number of Players this week."
"Strange, I thought the new addition to your team would help you solve this issue…"
"She renounced her position."
"Don't try to make a fool of me. You knew very well it was going to happen as soon as she scented the other; that's why you let her join, so you could ultimately save them both."
"Just like you tried to erase them both. I'm only playing it fair."
"Bishop to H4. Check."
"Pawn to G3."
"That's all you can do. Defend. Knight to C3."
"You are too reckless to ever deliver the mate, anyway. Rook to C5 and check. See? Just like the pieces I will soon take it all."
"Why are you doing this? It serves no purpose and won't earn you any personal gain."
"I'm screwing with you, of course. The fun is my personal gain."
"Just take the damn knight."
Author's Note of Randomness: WE HAVE TO GO DEEPER. - Sorry, it was too hard to resist once I wrote it. (If you don't get it, just go on, there's nothing to see here.) I apologize for the shameless shortness of this chapter. I don't know what's wrong with me. :(