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I Played it Out
Topic Started: Aug 28 2014, 11:47 PM (1,261 Views)
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((RBP3: Sarah Bourne continued from whY whY Zee ))

The door to the theatre was pushed open and a hooded person crept in. A piece of chair was clutched tightly in their hand, they were in a low crouch, muscles coiled and ready in case of any sign of danger. Sarah quietly closed the door behind her and pulled her hood down. It obscured her peripheral vision, so was a dangerous hindrance when she was indoors. Quickly crossing the lobby Sarah moved past the arcade machines. She took note of their names as she did so. They were all plain and generic but she could appreciate the Sega Rally machine they had. Didn't the cinema in Whittree have one? Sarah was fairly sure it did. She had definitely been on a two player racing game then again it could have been Daytona USA. She didn't really know and it was distracting her from what she was doing.

Shaking her head Sarah moved to the first screen and pushed the door open quietly. After a quick check she found it open. After repeating the exercise for the other five screens Sarah could confirm she was alone in the theatre. Someone had been in the theatre before her though since one of the screens was a wreck. She pulled a face as she left the final screen. The whole plan had been one big disappointment for her so far. She hadn't come into contact with anyone since she'd left Anzu behind.

Anzu hadn't come with her. That much was obvious whether or not she'd stayed with Caroline's body or moved on was another question. Sarah preferred not knowing the answer for now. Eventually she would have to confront what she had done. But that time was in the future. Sarah tousled the strands of her hair that hung down over her shoulders, it felt weird to actually have her down and do more than just drum or be relaxing at home. On the subject how many of her friends had actually seen her with her hair down?

She smiled to herself and dumped her bag on the air hockey table. Taking a seat next to it (making sure to face the door) Sarah withdrew Chip and her half-drunk Lemon Lime PowerAde. She pulled the cap open and took a drink.

"Now we wait Chip." She muttered as she put the PowerAde down next to her. She kept the piece of chair next to her one hand resting on it. "Wait and see who finds us first."
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((Pia Malone continued from The Devil You Know))

They picked the movie theater because it was convenient, and because Pia was pretty sure her fingers would fall off if they wandered around much longer. Neither she nor Paisley had a coat or gloves on them, and the sun was starting to get low on the horizon. It didn't get as cold in Whittree as it did up wherever the resort was, and by the time they pushed through the front doors, Pia's teeth were chattering and the cold metal of the Vektor almost felt like it had fused with her hand.

"Ugh." It was the first thing she'd said aloud since their spat at the cabaret. "How come those dorks from Season 65 got a tropical island and we get dumped in this place?" She raised her voice a little so that any microphones would be able to catch it clearly. "You hear me? Next time I get kidnapped in December, I wanna go to the Bahamas."

Pia started to move further into the lobby to get away from the cold air seeping through the doors, but caught herself mid-step. Someone was here. She hadn't noticed until just now. Stupid. Stupid and careless seemed to be the themes of the day, honestly.

She started to bring the gun up before she recognized the figure by the air hockey table. "Sarah?"
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The door opened and Sarah tensed, someone had arrived. Now it was a question of if they were a killer or not. The voice was a giveaway, it was Pia. Pia had killed twice. Once was unforgivable, twice was evil. There was no doubt about whether or not Pia had meant to kill or not, no need to question her actions. Once could have been an accident, twice was planned. Sarah pushed herself off the air hockey table. Her hand gripping the chair leg stayed tight as it hung by her thigh. She had to be ready. Prepared for a sign of aggression. Pia wasn't to be trusted.

She had a gun. That made things more complicated. A straight up attack wasn't going to work. She'd just get shot. Sarah wasn't stupid, angry yes, stupid no. She wasn't going to make the mistake Caroline made. Too many variables, too many chances for it to go wrong. She'd only get to try once, never twice. Kill the killers, that was her plan. She had known Pia but now, now Pia was just a killer, she was a danger, she knew how to fight and she had a gun.

Play nice now.

"Pia." Sarah kept her voice level. She pointed the chair leg at the gun Pia held. "That what you used to kill those people?"
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Wow, okay.

Pia had been hoping for a nice, civilized talk with a friend, but Sarah wasn't having it. Whatever she'd been through in the past two days had put her on edge, or maybe she was just reacting to hearing Pia's name on the announcement that morning. It was a grim, cold feeling to realize that even people she'd liked might not trust her now.

Since walking over to sit next to her wasn't an option now, Pia leaned up against the pinball machine instead, making sure to keep the gun in Sarah's view. Paisley wasn't far behind her; maybe she'd be less jumpy if Pia stayed at the ready.

"Yeah," was her short answer to Sarah's question. She could have elaborated that the Vektor had only been for one actual kill, but there wasn't much of a point. Saying that she'd used three different weapons for three different kills would probably sound worse, actually.

Pia looked Sarah over with a critical eye. She didn't seem injured, which was both good and bad right now. She definitely looked primed for a fight. If it came to that, though, Pia was confident she'd have the upper hand. Sarah was a good deal taller than her, but Pia was definitely faster and stronger. And of course, she had the gun.

"You look like you've been through some bad shit." She said finally. Maybe Sarah would let them in on what had her hackles up.
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(Paisley Hopkins continued from The Devil You Know.)

Paisley didn't talk much after the argument. Not to apologize to Pia, not even to complain about the cold. Then again, Paisley was never a complainer. She just held her arms and swallowed the cold.

They arrived at the theater in short time. The theater was beautiful, the sort Paisley saw in old movies. Her attention landed on the many portraits lining the walls. Paisley paid them a sliver of her attention until Pia's voice clued Paisley into what was happening.

She turned. The appearance of Sarah Bourne, or, rather, the 'noticing' of Sarah Bourne, took her equally by surprise. She barely showed it; her mouth gaped for a split second and she took a step back. Then, little else.

Oddly her eyes did not focus on the third wheel for very long. Her attention drew to the air hockey table. On it, Paisley could see a bottle of PowerAde and a Mister Potato Head. The toy forced a smile out of her, a smile that was quickly subdued. She returned to the blank stare she had on the second they left the Open Air Cabaret. Her eyes arrived at Sarah again, who had a chair leg. It wasn't deja vu but it felt oddly familiar. She couldn't make anything else out, other than that she 'look like she'd been through some bad shit'.

The most logical thing she could have done was to stay back. Let Pia handle it. She knew Sarah. Paisley did not. Yet that idea never crossed Paisley's mind. Almost immediately stepped forward, standing a few paces behind Pia, hands clutching the gun. Maybe she had something to prove to Pia. Maybe she was still rattled up by what had just transpired. Or maybe it was both. She wasn't sure. It was like the connection between brain and body was severed and she could not think, rationally or otherwise.

After that, there was nothing else to be done. Paisley wanted to make her presence known and she did all she could without making a big of a mess. Like she did with Genni. Wasn't much else she could do, honestly. She did not know Sarah. She barely talked to her in school. And Pia said everything that needed to be said.

So Paisley said nothing.
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No denial. No remorse just the facts. Paisley Hopkins was with Pia, Sarah hadn't noticed her before. She hadn't killed anyone as far as Sarah knew. That meant she was friendly, still a person. There was no fight with her. Would Paisley kill as time went on? Maybe maybe not. It didn't matter right now. If she killed then Sarah would deal with her, as things were though Paisley was no threat and not a target.

Pia on the other hand, was both. But at the same time Sarah couldn't fight someone who had a gun head on. Luckily Pia offered her a chance to think and buy more time to come up with a plan. She wanted to know what had happened. Where could Sarah start? Everything had gone wrong and she'd lost her three best friends in the space of a few short minutes. There was no way to soften that impact or cushion the emotional blow.

"Valerie was murdered by a guy called Gene Steward. Caroline was shot in front of me by Ashley. Anzu has lost her mind." Sarah's voice stayed level, like she was reading off some statistics or facts. Sadly there was no changing what happened, there were so many things she could have done differently to prevent everything from happening. But she would never get the chance to ever fix her mistakes. Instead she would have to live with them. Carry the loss of her friends with her and use them to push her forwards, give her the drive to keep going. Maybe Anzu could be saved, but that would have to come later. Ashley would have to die either way. Sarah couldn't let Caroline's murder go unpunished it just wasn't an option.

She'd told her story, now she would have to wait for how Pia responded.
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Pia had opened her mouth before Sarah even finished talking, already formulating her response, but once Sarah's words sank in, she couldn't force any sound out. Caroline? Caroline was dead? No, no, they'd just seen Caroline yesterday. They were going to meet back up with her, get the Bears to the finals. Caroline couldn't be dead.

Pia realized with a jolt that everyone they'd met so far who had died had done so by her own hand. Caroline was the first ally - the first friend - that she'd been able to see and talk to beforehand. Sure, she'd been distraught over all the other names, memories of who they were back in Whittree, but Caroline had been there. They'd had a plan. How was the plan going to work if Marcus was crazy and Caroline was dead?

When the words finally did come, they were disjointed. "I- we saw Caroline. Yesterday. Why'd Ashley shoot her? We were going to meet up with her again, we were gonna-" Pia had to stop herself before anything else spilled forth. Couldn't let her guard down, not when Sarah was still looking at her like you'd look at a dangerous animal.

She shouldn't have ever let Caroline out of her sight. Hell, they should have at least made sure she took a decent weapon with her, but even that wouldn't have guaranteed anything the way making her stick with them would have. Paisley had one hell of a weapon, didn't she, and she'd still managed to kick off disaster back at the cabaret. It was becoming apparent to Pia that she was really the only person here who knew how to both keep it together and keep herself alive. Matt went and got himself shot, Marcus flipped, Paisley cracked, and now Caroline had been knocked out of the running too.

It was going to be one hell of an effort to get the remaining team to the finish line.

Pia took a deep breath, looked Sarah straight in the eyes, and tightened her grip on the Vektor. "Caroline was on Paisley's team. Why'd Ashley shoot her? What happened?"

She could feel Paisley at her back. God only knew what was going through her mind, and all Pia could do was hope that they weren't about to have another Genni on their hands.
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Caroline was dead. Ashley killed her. That was why Sarah 'looked like she

Paisley didn't understand why the news didn't rattle her. She was sad to hear that Caroline was dead, yeah, and it really sucked to lose a teammate. Eli's plan was failing. But... When she told Caroline everything was going to be fine, she could not look Paisley in the eye. Paisley knew she was lying. It didn't matter, though. Paisley didn't hold it against her then and she wasn't about to start. She just couldn't feel very sorry for her.

Paisley really wanted to slap Pia though. Not because she said anything to offend her, but because Paisley could see the cracks in Pia's shield. Especially after what had just happened. Pia went on and on about Paisley needing her way more than the other way around. She cut Genni's throat like it was nothing. Jesus Christ, Pia killed three people, she lectured Paisley on not killing someone, namedropped Marcus and Eden like it was nothing. And here she was, quivering like a scared pup over Caroline. Paisley didn't get it. She got the whole tough girl act, but this...

Paisley sighed when Pia repeated her question. She turned to Sarah and frowned at her, lowering the gun.

"I'm sorry, Sarah." Paisley said. "Somebody died right in front of me, too. There was nothing I could have done to stop it, but still, it really tore into me. Pia helped me get over it. I don't know where I'd be without her..."

Paisley had no ulterior motives. What she saying came from the heart. Despite that, she could not resist the urge to glare at Pia. She frowned again and looked away, fearful that Pia will misinterpret. She was right. She really did have something to prove to Pia.

"I can't imagine what you must be going through. Caroline was a nice girl... I'm sure it isn't sunshine and rainbows, though."
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Sarah's head snapped in Paisley's direction. Sunshine and rainbows? Did she even understand what had happened? This wasn't just some person who had died. It was one of her best friends. To use the phrase sunshine and rainbows in the context of discussing the murder of one of her best friends? To answer the question, no it wasn't sunshine and rainbows. Shit was about as far away from that as it could have been. It was thunder and lightning with no end in sight. Maybe there was no end ever; this would be Sarah's life now. She just glared at Paisley. She didn't deserve a response with comments like that. Plus she knew if she responded she would just end up yelling at her and that wouldn't be helpful.

"She wanted Ashley's gun and there was a struggle. Ashley fired the gun and shot Caroline in the throat." She didn't add any extra flourishes to the story. Just the facts. No more, no less. There weren't many ways what had happened to Caroline could be interpreted. Regardless of that Ashley was one of the people Sarah was planning on killing. Her, Gene Steward and now Pia. Eventually they and the other killers would all die by Sarah's hand. When it happened was more fluid though and Pia's death wasn't on the table as an option the way things currently stood.

Then again, maybe the threat Pia posed could be reduced through less direct ways. SOTF had always shown itself to be as much of a mental game as it was a physical one. There were ways to force mistakes through mind games. Sarah turned her gaze back to Paisley.

"Why are you working with a killer?"
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Oh my god, Paisley, shut up.

Pia almost said it. She almost turned and grabbed Paisley by the shoulders and shook her until she stopped acting like a complete twit. Sunshine and rainbows? Sunshine and rainbows? God, Pia hadn't even witnessed any friends die and it sure as hell wasn't sunshine and rainbows for her!

Maybe she was in shock still. Pia wanted to believe that, rather than believing that all sense of tact and self-preservation had abandoned Paisley after the first day here. They needed to win Sarah over, not make her think they were totally crazy.

"We're working together because we have a plan." Pia answered Sarah's question before Paisley could. She leveled her gaze right at Sarah. "And because we're friends. I told Paisley this and I'll tell you, Sarah - I'm not crazy, and I'm not stupid. I'm not going around shooting everything that moves. That's more than you can say for some people, and you know it."

You know who I'm talking about, Sarah. You know if she was here, you'd already be dead.

And you know how this works. How it's always worked. Nobody protests the NFL just because somebody got injured during a game.

"You know," she continued finally, "it's pretty damn stupid for you to go around trying to pick fights with the most dangerous people here."

She didn't look at Paisley, didn't look anywhere but Sarah's face. Things were winding tighter and tighter, like a coiled spring. Just a little more pressure before it popped.

"I don't wanna see you die because of a stupid reason like that, Sarah."
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Paisley stared at Pia.

Please stop talking.

For the love of God stop talking.

I know you shot some girl who was trying to run away. I know that you didn't shoot the last person you killed, you stabbed them, why didn't you just shoot them? You know any ounce of credit or believability's going straight out the window once everyone hears you gutted some poor girl. Why don't you just shoot Sarah if you're putting on this tough girl act Pia? I know you're upset about Caroline was dead but you know we were never going to see her again. Do you still think Matt's plan is still on after you murdered him?

Of course Paisley didn't say any of this. Because that required her to pay attention to what Pia was saying.

It was Sarah's question that distracted her. Her anger was at a low temperature. The question itself did not set her off. Neither did the absolute lack of response, save for a bit of a glance. Fine. If Sarah didn't want Paisley pity, fine. Forget her. Caroline was dead and Paisley had nothing to do with that. What did set Paisley off was the tone. It was the way she spoke and the look on her face and the whole cold killer act.

And Paisley fell right into it.

"Don't you dare talk like that."

Paisley's expression was that of an unimpressed slab of concrete. She knew how to fight, but she rarely fought with her fists.

"Pia did what she had to do. It doesn't matter if I approve of it or not. She's still Pia, she's still my friend, and no stupid game is going to change that."

Paisley's voice held a sharp spike to it. The gun remained pointed towards the floor. Her fuse simmered and fizzed.

"And you know what? Even if Pia wasn't my friend, she's been with me since we arrived. She's helped me this entire time and I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for her. Maybe you don't see that as a reason to 'work' with her, but I do. So don't you dare call her a killer, like she's some criminal, I'll have none of it."
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(Corin continued from: Better to be alone than with bad company)

Corin was beginning to sicken of constantly being alert; though the walk had been peaceful the paranoia of Vahka taking a roundabout path and coming abruptly out of the trees was always a lingering thought. Up until the game started, Corin had thought him to be a pretty great guy – he mulled over how he was acting like a total bastard after that exchange. Corin coughed to clear his throat, he was going back the theatre and it was because he hadn’t any plan. He had no idea about what he was doing anymore.

He was walking along the walls, not wanting to walk straight into the building like last time in case that guy he’d shot earlier was still around. He hoped not, he figured he’d fled, or rather he hoped he fled. Still, he looked through the door to the lobby through an angle. He recognised the faces, but his attention went straight to Paisley. His heart started to beat a little faster in his chest. He knew it was a stretch, but he had hoped that she had been left at home or skipped over by recruitment.

It looked like it was a delicate moment, like an argument. It certainly sounded like one. He bit his lower lip, it was chapped, but he was focusing on whether or not he should step in. His first impulse was to throw caution to the wind, for once and rush to Paisley. He didn’t though, for a moment his legs stayed glued to the ground. When he did move, it was to back away from the doorway; he was cupping his face with his hand and thinking about what the best course of action was for him. He almost groaned in frustration, but restrained himself in order to stay quiet.

He looked to see if either of the girls from the boardwalk had decided to follow him before taking any action. He was thinking of just walking in, he didn’t want to miss this chance to catch Paisley, it wasn’t even a plan but that’s what his mind was telling him. He waited to see if the bickering would come to an end soon, it would probably be better than waltzing in at that exact moment.
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Trying to pick fights? That wasn't what she was doing at all. That implied a level of uncertainty. Sarah knew if she approached everything the right way there would be no way the result of her quest would be in doubt. Maybe other people just couldn't grasp that. Sarah met Pia's gaze and didn't blink. She either didn't understand or was fooling herself into believing she knew what was happening. There was no way she could understand; she hadn't lost her closest friend without ever getting to see her and then one of her best friend’s right before her eyes. She could still see the blood leaking out of Caroline's neck onto the floor of the beauty parlour.

Sarah opened her mouth to respond but before she could Paisley started talking again. Don't call Pia a killer? What was she in that case? A saviour? No. Sarah had seen what happened first hand; with Ashley. Everyone was dangerous in Survival of the Fittest but the ones that had killed had already made that step and from there it would just become easier for them. Someone had to try and stop them.

It was an argument she couldn't win. Two versus one where neither of the two wanted to listen. It was also a fight she couldn't win. They may have been calling her stupid but Sarah was smart enough to realise that. Better to just leave things how they were. She could come back for Pia later. She had time. There were other killers walking around anyway. She could skip over one for now. Taking a step back Sarah turned and put the PowerAde and Chip back into her bag. Gripping the table leg with one hand and her bag with the other Sarah looked between Pia and Paisley before settling on Paisley for the first time since the conversation began.

"I'm not calling her a killer like she's a criminal. I'm calling her a killer because that's what she is now. Nothing will change that."
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Pop.

Like a soda can being opened after it had been shaken. No explosion, just a little fizz. Just the pressure escaping. Paisley and Sarah's combined words had stopped the eruption and relieved it, for now.

Paisley was her friend. Paisley was her friend, and that's why they were sticking together, and god, Pia had almost forgotten somehow that that was their whole reason. She wanted Paisley to make it out okay. That was why she was doing what she was doing.

Sarah was right too, in a way. Pia was a killer, and that wasn't going to just change. She knew that, she'd made her choice. And she knew what the consequences might be, whether Sarah thought she understood or not.

Matt collapsing on the porch of the cabana before he even knew what had happened. Riley bleeding out all alone in the snow. Genni sprawled on the ground, choking on her own blood and lashing out with the last of her strength. Pia knew what she had done. She wasn't going to hide from it. She was going to get them home, no matter what it took.

Sarah looked about ready to cut loose, and Pia reached out with her free hand to grip Paisley's shoulder and pull her to the side so that Sarah had a free path to the door. She didn't relax her grip on the gun, but she didn't raise it any further.

"We all know how this works, Sarah. And I meant what I said. I don't want you to die because of something dumb."
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Paisley's anger foamed by the time Sarah started packing her things. When she spoke, though, the anger disappeared.

That's what she is now. That's what she is now. That's all she is now. And nothing will change that.

Any indignation over Sarah 'accusing' Pia went straight out the window. The color in her face left, too. In fact, Sarah's words robbed her of so much thought, so much emotion and so much rationality that it left her as a husk. Something in what she said drove a knife into her chest and she could not say what. So she stood there, knees buckling, eyes wide, just staring at Sarah.

When Pia grabbed her shoulder, Paisley almost shrugged her off. Not out of annoyance but out of reflex. Pia's selfless act snapped her back into reality though. She allowed Pia to guide her out of the way, wobbling on her feet. But in those few seconds between Pia grabbing her and Pia speaking up, Paisley remembered everything.

She remembered Genni and how she pulled out a knife. She remembered how Pia didn't pull out her gun in kind. She remembered how her paranoia got the best of her and she pulled the trigger. Paisley remembered how Pia gutted Genni instead of shooting her. She remembered Pia turning to her, blood-stained, and accused her of forcing Pia to clean up the 'mess'. Paisley remembered the excuse she made, a mumbled half-truth involving a warning shot and how it was all an accident. She remembered how Pia didn't buy it, how she went on a rant about how she 'lost friends too'. Never once considering why, out of all the parts of Genni's body, Paisley chose the neck. She remembered... how she brought the gun to her shoulder, stared down the barrel at Genni's head and fired without second guessing. Finally, most importantly, she remembered how easy it was, and how scary it felt to acknowledge how easy it was.

It was an accident. She didn't mean it. That was the truth. But what, exactly, did she mean by 'it'? Did she mean firing her gun in general? Should she have waited? Was it regret over fatally shooting a girl she barely knew? Or was she - as stomach-churning as it sounded - kicking herself over how Genni survived a bullet and how she let Pia finish the job for her?

... She didn't know the answer to that. Logic, planning, simple common-sense, none of it helped her come to a conclusion. That, in itself, was an answer. But no matter what Paisley's 'accident' was, bottom line, it was no accident.

A killer. That was what Paisley was. Nothing was going to change that.

After a pause more pregnant than empty, Paisley finally spoke up. She didn't plan to speak. The words came suddenly and she could not help herself.

"Sarah."

She ignored Pia's repeated threat. Her eyes landed on Sarah and they did not stray. Hands still clutching the gun, Paisley continued.

"Uhm." She blinked. "I was wondering..."

Paisley kept the gun steady in her one hand. With the other, Paisley pointed at Sarah's bag. Her face was noticeably warmer than before.

"... What's up with that Mr. Potato Head?"

She remembered Chip, too.
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