Heya guys, it's me, Jesspikapal, but you probably already knew that!
So, the last chapter of WoHC before the sequel comes into play! I'm excited as heck for this, it's going to be so much fun to write! However, I'm currently a little down as I'm considered as less by some people merely because I contribute to a fandom instead of writing my original works at all times. It's really frustrating... but I won't let those types of people affect how I update; I would have updated this yesterday, but there was a power shortage of some kind because of the bad weather, so I didn't get chance. Either way, I hope you enjoy this chapter, and are looking forward to the sequel! Review if you will!
Breathing was the hardest part. She'd be thrown underwater with such force that she thought she'd never have the strength to get back up; the fact that she had, and was now gulping down oxygen ferociously, was probably one of the most shocking things she'd found she could do since she met Wilson. Her own physical and mental strength surprised her greatly.
However, once they had steadied themselves, and shared a small hug (or what was considered a hug when up to their necks in freezing cold water), they had swam with surprising ease. That being said, the salt in the brutal ocean sea made her wounds sting like needles were constantly piercing her skin, and the gentle rock of the waves would occasionally break pattern at random intervals, making the pair of them cringe as the water lashed at their eyes like tiny whips. By God , it was cold... especially in the Winter weather, and though the cold behaviour of the season was slowly correcting itself, the pristine water did not seem to want to follow suit.
"See any land yet?" Whimsy asked Wilson, who was surveying his surroundings with keen, calculating eyes, and with Chester securely on his head after they had fumbled around in the sea to find the tiny companion. The little creature gave a lurch of discomfort as the scientist swam forward with shockingly strong arms. With a small shake of his head, he muttered:
"No, not yet..."
Inwardly, he was panicking by now. There didn't seem to be any footholds to get anywhere near the top of the island once more; no possible ways up meant them staying in the water, and Wilson knew that they'd either freeze to death, or drown from exhaustion if they didn't find some kind of way up and out. Whichever came first, and they were both grim possibilities. Whimsy tried not to think about the stinging of her limbs, or the freezing cold temperatures of the sea, or the way her vision was hazy and fuzzy; if not for Wilson's spiked hair (though it was matted as it was wet, the tips simply would not relent), she probably wouldn't have been able to see him, and follow him, at all.
Say, Pal, you don't look so-
'Don't even finish. Admittedly, I don't look so good right now, but you're just trying to put me off. Well it won't work, Wilson and I are going to get through this, and your mob of "monsters" aren't even going to get close any more. Trust me when I say you're through, and your joke's run dry.' she interrupted. She wished she felt as brave as she sounded. Suddenly, a wave lapped over her head, making her splutter and cough semi-violently and upon steadying herself, she could only assume that Maxwell had caused such a comeuppance. She supposed, if any other person, she would have deserved such a reaction, but with Maxwell, she simply refused to take any pity or give up being so rude and forward. In fact, was it even rude? It was what he deserved... so could it be considered as improper, or even unpleasant? Perhaps it was the most pleasant he would ever get.
I don't care for your attitude. Then again, it'll be fun to take you down a peg or two, so by all means keep going.
'I will.' Whimsy huffed back. She was not prepared to be told off by the demon, nor was she prepared to take threats without at least putting on a stoic façade. She didn't want to seem weak, didn't want him to hone in on her weakened guard if she was to put down her defences and admit how frightened she actually was of him. But the truth was, she was tired... so, so tired. Her arms and legs felt about ready to drop off from the pain and exercise they were going through, and her bandages had left her, having been torn away from her whenever the sea became defiant and crashed against her. She felt so heavy... as if she could sleep right this second and not regret it.
"Whimsy!" she heard as she struggled to keep her eyes open. "I found something! Look, there's a little, narrow water-way here, we should probably follow it!" Wilson exclaimed, the excitement clear on his face. He seemed to think this particular "pathway" was some kind of breakthrough, when all it meant to her that they were going to be spending longer in the water. In that freezing cold water... she wasn't sure if she could take much more of this. She felt so pathetically weak, and yet nothing was happening in order to make her have a more positive outlook on their current predicament, even the water-way in question.
She gave it an intense stare. The tiny nook obviously wanted to go unnoticed with how very remote it was; if she hadn't been so one-track minded, she probably would have been excited just as the gentleman beside her was. The small rocks that littered the 'entrance' of it were of little hindrance, and there was a clear, though small, way through. The water also looked slightly more tame... maybe if they could just get there in one piece, they could make it. Forcing her anxieties back, Whimsy forced herself to swim after the scientist, who was already slightly ahead.
He turned his head to look at her and gave her a slight look of pity.
"I know it's freezing, m'dear, no need to look so brave."
"If I don't, I'm going to stop, and that won't be good for either of us," she responded with a clenched jaw, determined not to show weakness. Wilson shook his head slightly at her usual defiance. He took a moment to admire her courage and brave face; even though it was technically a lie, it was a lie used for the best of intentions: to not worry him. He liked the fact that Whimsy felt she needed to protect him that way, and keep his head from being led astray onto otherwise "unimportant" matters. But she wasn't unimportant. On the contrary, she was just the opposite. Science would probably always be his one true passion... but it didn't stop the fiery sculptor from making her way up into the number one spot alongside his work. She gave him something he could not ever gain from his brilliant inventions and ideas: inspiration. And of course, all the human side-effects that came with that, such as respect, admiration, adoration and love. He felt blessed to have met her.
"I suppose, if it keeps you happy, that's fine." he smiled to her, before propelling forwards once more as she struggled to see ahead. As they reached the entrance to the gully, they gave each other nervous glances. Wilson had never felt so anxious to explore, and Whimsy had never felt so damn tired. She could feel her limbs going to sleep... just as she wanted to. So, so badly...
Without another word, she closed her eyes, exhausted and unable to withstand the need for rest and the pain any longer. Whilst Wilson continued to survey the surroundings with upmost intrigue and interest, he didn't notice as she eventually went underwater, her bag weighing her down as her arms were no longer out to make sure she stayed afloat.
"And that's why we should head North, rather than North-West." he seemed to finish, turning to face her proudly. Only to recoil in horror. Where was she? Where had she gone? He told her not to go off! "Whimsy?!" he shouted, fear rising quickly in the pit of his stomach. He couldn't control it, and as he turned in circles in the ice cold blue, he could only feel his fright intensify. The cold temperature now seemed like nothing compared to the heat that racked his core as his blood pumped furiously about his shivering body. There was no way she could have travelled that far in a matter of seconds of him talking, it was an open body of water. Meaning...
Without hesitation, he shoved his head underwater, feeling the heaviness pull down on his head. Concentrating hard, he could see a vague outline sinking further and further down. That had to be her. It just had to be, it was too much of a cruel coincidence for it to be anything else. Immediately, he took a huge gulp of air and began kicking, his lean body diving towards her with slick practice. True, he had never taken swimming as a passion, or a hobby, but he had made sure that he knew how to swim well should an emergency happen when he eventually had to meet fellow scientists over seas. Seemed his good practices had been rewarded at least, in the sense that he could reach her fairly quickly.
As he grabbed her, he desperately began pushing back up to the surface again. He progressed slowly, but he was managing, Chester clinging to his head tightly for all he was worth, somehow still panting as if lungs full of water didn't bother him. Then again, he most definitely worked differently. Whimsy herself was light, and would have been even more so in the water... but her bag was so packed with materials that it made it quite the difficult task to pull her up at all. He began to run out of air himself as he threw his head over the surface of the water, gasping for breath, before hauling her out too. He didn't keep her steady for long, far too shell-shocked and frightened to do so; she slipped back in, only for him to wrap his arms securely around her , keeping her head above the life-taking liquid.
"I've got you...," he whispered to her as he held her close for a moment, before pushing his head towards hers as he placed the side of his face to her mouth. No breath was hitting his cheek in return. Hastily, he took her wrist; thankfully, there was still a light pulse going. From his position in the water, he did his best to pump whatever water had gotten into her system out of her. He felt terrible, slamming his palms into her back with such heavy force that water spurted out of her mouth like a low-running hose-pipe, but it was the only way she was going to stay alive at all.
Suddenly, the female coughed violently, choking up water and spluttering over her own oxygen as she inhaled with haste. What was happening? Where was she?! She felt something warm by her ear, like air, and realised in her drunken, choking state of mind that it was Wilson behind her, clutching her tightly. It was only then that she took note of his warm hands on her waist, despite the water surrounding them being sub-zero, and could only just comprehend the words he was softly whispering in her ear.
"Take it easy, my dear... you're fine... it's all right..."
By now, Wilson's legs were beginning to go numb from the low temperatures, mixed in with the adrenaline slowly departing from his veins as the danger ran thin, dwindling away into non-existence. The female in his arms briefly registered what he was saying by nodding briefly, as her breathing pattern began to slow once more, to which he leaned his head against her matted hair and squeezed his eyes shut, forcing back tears of relief as he clutched her tightly, almost refusing to let go again.
"Whimsy," Wilson whispered into her ear. Any other time, she would have felt charmed... perhaps even slightly seduced if she was feeling particularly bold that day, but now, she simply felt out of it. Completely and totally astonished. She was trying to recollect whatever had happened five minutes ago, but her mind was simply running blank, retrieving no memories despite her knowing she possessed them. She must have done, she mused, something happened, therefore there must have been some recollection of it somewhere, even if it wasn't in her head right at that moment. "Can you move on your own? Can you swim?" he continued to whisper. With little luck, he could keep her calm enough to move on her own; he highly doubted he could carry her all the way to shore. If there even was a shore.
To his dismay, she shook her head, her eyes closing again.
What a close call, Pal. We wouldn't want anything else like this happening again, would we?
Too weak to argue with whoever this voice belonged to – she recalled it, but was too exhausted to place the voice to the name she knew she knew – she simply shook her head once more, leaving the gentleman to sigh worriedly. Unable to do anything else, she passed out, her head lolling onto the scientist's shoulder, sending an eerie chill down his side. With a shiver, he placed his hand over her mouth, relieved to feel soft breath hit his quivering fingers. She was alive, and it was all because of him and his swimming.
He tried to haul her onto his back somehow, but after several attempts, it was clear that she was too heavy. Crestfallen, Wilson reached for her bag and slipped it off of her shoulders, putting the most important bits (such as grass, twigs, a few pieces of flint and a small batch of berries) into his own pockets, surprised they would even fit at all, before letting go of her bag and watching it float out to sea.
"It doesn't matter...," he growled, watching what other materials she had leave them. "It doesn't matter. We can gather more." he then looked to the unconscious girl in his arms, finding he could lift her much easier now. Gently, he eased her over his back, making sure her face and airways were out of the water's way, before swimming towards the narrow opening with all his might. If he could just stay strong enough to stay awake himself, they'd have no trouble, providing there really was land around there like he theorised.
It was just a matter of time.
Maxwell couldn't help but raise a brow at the pair of them. Had he honestly misjudged their relationship? Had he not given them enough credit for how close they were – or seemed to be? If it had been him, and his companion had simply passed out and started drowning, he probably would have left them, unless they carried valuable traits or materials with them. He couldn't see himself swimming to shore with them if they couldn't do it themselves. Too much effort. And risking his own life too. But watching Wilson do so with what seemed to be a certain ease made him feel pathetic, thinking he couldn't achieve the same. How dare that scientist excel at something, and have the mind to help another whereas he did not! It wasn't the companion-carrying he felt a burning hate for, if anything, it'd be better she stayed alive this time so that it would be twice as fun when she eventually died for real, but his fine swimming. He was supposed to have stayed cooped up in his house for years! How was he able to perform daily tasks at all? He'd noticed it as soon as he dragged Wilson to his world, actually – Maxwell knew that he was clever, but years and years of confinement had to have done at least something to jut his common sense. How did he even understand how to make a fire, or to make tools in order to help him out? The only thing he could remotely understand was the Science Machine.
Looking back at his 'map', he paused and narrowed his eyes slightly in confusion. Where were they? It looked as if they had just... disappeared from his scope of vision. Away from his expanse of land all together. His frown deepened when he found he could not see them anywhere. Had they died? Had Wilson finally cracked? No... that wasn't possible, he was always alerted somehow...
"Where are you?" he hissed, beginning to get frustrated. He snapped his fingers in a slight temper, and two shadows appeared in front of him. "Find them." he ordered coldly. "Find them, and tell me where they are. Scan the area, find out where they have disappeared to and alert me. Oh," he paused, a demonic grin making its way onto his face. "But do not harm them. I wish to see for myself what kind of mess they have got themselves in."
Without another trace, the shadows vanished, intent on fulfilling Maxwell's biddings. He took a cigar out of his pocket and lit it slowly with a swipe of his slender fingers, placing the tip to his mouth and inhaling deeply, a peaceful expression making its way onto his face. He felt better, knowing they would be sought out and recorded. He felt better knowing they wouldn't be out of his sight for much longer. He felt better knowing that a mere sculptor and a mediocre scientist had not bested him. He leaned back in his Throne, a comfortable feeling washing over him.
"Not this time, Pal..."
At first, Wilson had been skeptical. He swam through the opening with vigour, Whimsy supported properly and ever-loyal Chester still gripping onto his head... but he hadn't found anywhere in which they could rest.
And then there it was.
It was in no way inviting, all barren and abandoned, but it was there. A small section of land sat alone, slabs of uneven concrete weakly paving the entrance to what looked like a huge cave, sand littering the rest of the small expanse. Once the raven-haired man had noticed it, he had practically transformed into some kind of torpedo, hurtling towards it, wishing to get out of the freezing water before he simply passed out much like Whimsy had before him.
Pulling up onto the dry land had never felt better. Once safely out, he put Whimsy onto her back (much too polite to simply shove her off of him) and then collapsed onto the sand, the side of his face hitting the sand with a soft thump. The only thing that could be heard was him gasping for air and the rattling of his bones as he shivered relentlessly. His body had gotten used to the cold temperatures; they weren't good for him, and he was not resistant, but now that he was out of it, he simply felt much colder.
Struggling to compose himself, he dropped his bag from his back and emptied it, coming across grass and logs, to which he built a camp fire with and then eased off his wet (top-half) clothes, laying them in front of the brilliant warmth. After a small amount of time, he bit his lip nervously. Whimsy needed the same treatment.
The scientist paused. He could in no way undress her, that wouldn't be proper at all! But... much like mouth-to-mouth procedures, there was nothing he could do to avoid compromising events. He simply had to abide them, for better. Silently, he slipped her wet socks and shoes off. Easing her gently towards the camp fire, he hovered over her a second before swallowing his pride and screwing his eyes closed, slowly pulling her shirt away from her body and laying it over his. Then, to ensure sand didn't stick to her (as the water was far to cold to wash it off), he propped her over his leg, her head resting on his thigh to which he couldn't stop himself from blushing heavily at. He was being so childish, so ungentlemanly... and yet he couldn't help himself. Was this what it felt like to be a typical man, and not a refined, reserved one?
Ever so slightly, he placed a hand to her bare shoulder, gulping back apprehension. He had to feel that electricity again, he simply had to, especially after feeling like he'd never feel it again after she had passed out in the ocean. He kept his eyes firmly glued to the back of her head, only snagging touches at her with his blind fingers. Then, satisfied, he kissed her forehead sweetly, and laid her down to rest once more, upper torso laid (face down, just to make it easier on him as well!) over his already-drying clothes. No, they weren't totally soak-free, but they were no longer dripping wet, thanks to the mighty heat and warmth of the fire he had set up. He watched Whimsy's back move up and down as she breathed softly; she'd most definitely wake soon and for that, he was beyond glad.
He began to roast the berries he had taken from Whimsy's bag before he had let it float away, ending up with a rather delicious helping. Briefly, he longed for his ice-box. If only he hadn't dropped it on the cliff... they could have had meat, proper vegetables, pre-cooked dishes, fish...
He froze, a small grin appearing on his pale face. Fish.
He grabbed a stick from his bag, and then a piece of rope, wrapping it around the wood with care. It wasn't as fine, or delicate as the usual silk he would use for a fishing rod, nor as efficient, but it would work enough for him to catch some kind of food. The sea had to be swarming with fish and sea creatures, there was no doubt he could catch at least two! He smeared a little of the mushed up berries onto the end of the rope, hoping it would serve as some kind of bait and cast his line quite far in.
"Ugh... wh-what happened...?" he heard and he turned his head to look at Whimsy, who was now sitting up and rubbing her head softly.
"I found some land," he explained gently as she peered around the unknown place with mild interest and fear. She then spied a banana tree in the very corner of the island; something Wilson had overlooked in his panic. He followed her gaze to look at it, and immediately brightened up. "If you can, would you be able to pick some? I'm trying to catch some fish right now." he gestured to his line in the water, which was suddenly pulled, making him yank furiously on it, desperate to reel in his supposed catch.
With wobbly legs, the sculptor managed to stand up. It was only then that she felt her bones ache, and protest to her exercise. She ignored them however, and trudged forwards, eventually reaching the tree, which she leaned against meekly. She wasn't sure if she could reach them, she seemed too little, but as she reached up with all her strength, she was surprised to feel the tip of the fruit touch the palm of her hand. She yanked it hard and it eventually came free. She did this again, now hosting two of the vivid fruits before staggering back to the camp fire, the chilling feeling in her bones subsiding as she sat beside the heat.
She tried to recall whatever had happened, but she simply couldn't collect her thoughts together. It was as if there was some kind of mental block that prohibited her from remembering anything past swimming after Wilson in the ocean. She could only guess they had made it back – or, he had with her. She could only assume she had not been awake if she couldn't remember... meaning Wilson would have pulled her to shore. What a saint. She smiled fondly as he lured in a second fish, the pair flopping around on the sand before dying promptly from lack of water. If not for him, she probably would have been dead so many days ago... and it was thanks to him, really, that she had made it this far. True, she had helped him in return, what with the Winter wear and the fighting the monsters of Maxwell's foul world, but he was her glue. Wilson was that sticky substance she had been searching for in order to keep her together when she was to weak to do so. He had kept her sane. Happy. She felt her heart throb slightly with new-found emotion as she watched him come towards her, fish in hand and a bright smile on his face. He had spent so long looking on the bright side of things that she doubted he was even aware of the dark side any more. And why should she worry about that either?
As he pulled up beside her, he offered her a fish and a stick, which she accepted gladly, beginning to cook it over the raging fire. She couldn't believe it had gone on for so long, but what really captured her interest was the cave to her left. It was huge, and it's entrance was oh-so tempting. She simply wanted to go there, and see it. It seemed like a huge hole in which they could rest in, possibly even build a new life in. New camp, a fresh start. The idea excited her as she peeled her banana and ate it slowly with a thoughtful countenance.
"Is the food good?" she heard. She nodded slowly, feeling strength come back into her body as she swallowed every bite of it thoroughly. It was only then that she seemed to notice his bare chest as a blush made itself visible on her face.
"Why aren't you wearing a shirt...?" she mumbled. The scientist couldn't help feel self-conscious, but he resisted the urge to cross his arms over himself, knowing all too well that a male being shirtless was just fine, and even acceptable in a general community. Still, the idea of being so open and vulnerable made him cringe inwardly.
"I-I had to get them dry...," he murmured, looking towards the floor. It seemed that Whimsy only noticed her lack of a shirt as soon as the gentleman said this. So that's why he wasn't looking at her over dinner. Immediately, she folded her arms over herself, attempting to cover herself a little. "D-Don't worry," he paused, still looking elsewhere. "Do I really strike you as a typical man?" Another pause. "I took it off with my eyes closed, I swear."
Whimsy was left to silence as she slowly took her arms away from herself. If she couldn't trust Wilson, he'd never trust himself with anything this important ever again; what if there came a time when they had to rid themselves of articles of clothing for another water trip, or to travel somewhere wet? Sighing, she forced herself to be comfortable, though still felt too exposed for her liking. Then again, she had a wonderful view just opposite her, Wilson was surprisingly well built. His arms were quite thin, but there was obvious muscle, his stomach nice and flat. She gulped down her thoughts with a blush, which he took as her still adjusting to being so open.
"Well, thank you," she choked out, earning his attention. "At least it'll be dry by the time we move again."
"It's something. You always seem to know what to do." she looked up at him, meeting his eyes with a passionate gaze. He mirrored her slowly as he paused in his eating and simply looked ahead at her. The glorious eye contact racked his spine with shivers and made his heart pump furiously, so much he feared it would burst straight out of his chest. He had never felt this way, not even with a working machine. The excitement had been different. "Thank you for everything." she eventually spoke again, making him nod silently.
"My pleasure," he whispered, stomach full as he finished his fish, adding the peel from both of their fruits to the fire as fuel. They burned nicely, odd fierce sparks jumping from the fire's exterior like toddlers on a trampoline. "And speaking of moving again, I'm not sure where we're supposed to go next." he piped up. Though, his mind had other things it wanted to explore. "Whimsy, I have... I have so much to tell you." he took a breath. "But it can wait a little. Let us get back on our feet first. We suffered quite a blow from Maxwell's monsters, and our latest 'misadventure' through the sea made us both weak."
He was dying to confess his feelings, dying to come clean about how he felt... but he just couldn't. Not quite yet. Even if she didn't know it, he had kissed her forehead, and that was enough expression for him right now, his conscious slightly satisfied with his acceptance. He could always tell her when it was more convenient. And he would. The smaller girl seemed to accept his words as she nodded and smiled at him, apparently agreeing.
"So, where do we go next?" she asked, attempting to seem bright despite her feeling of exhaustion. She had slept earlier... but it didn't feel enough. Her body still yearned for rest.
"The only place we can go, it seems," Wilson replied as he turned his head to look at the cave and it's gaping entrance, dark fused around it like a thick sheet of glass. He was ever so glad he had taken those supplies from Whimsy's ruck-sack before they had left her bag behind, otherwise they'd have been stuck without a way to go forward as they wouldn't have had supply to make torches to venture through the darkness. "In there."
Whimsy took a glance at it, feeling the usual excitement she felt when getting offered a new place to explore. It seemed so big, so vast, and that meant she had plenty of opportunities to see things she never thought she would see, even if it was something so simple as a cave.
"But... doesn't it seem dangerous?" she asked him, smirking knowingly as he raised his eyebrows at her, sporting a confident smile of his own. He chuckled and looked to the hole of darkness, giving it a diligent nod. With only a moment's hesitation, he uttered:
"Only one way to find out."
Okie, so it's done. Hooray~! Be happy though, the sequel is on it's way, so nobody panic and say it's incomplete, or it's "unsatisfying" - of course it is because it's not over yet! Anyhow, thank you to EVERYBODY who stuck by me with this story, it's been a pleasure to write and I'm so happy to have so much support from all of you! :)
Also, I'll answer ANY questions you have about this story on my DA page (I'll write a journal answering them if I get any and then link it here – I can edit it) and may even be giving slight hints about my sequel story, so if you have any questions about basic plot or whatever, you MAY be able to pry something from me. Not major plot though. :P I will also eventually be doing a Don't Starve comic, featuring Wilson and Whimsy too. :)
Review if you will, I'd love to hear your opinions on it! Until next time, Pal!