Trigger warning: brief mention of suicide
A/N: Islamoraica is a combination of Islamorada, FL and Jamaica. Kind of like San Fransokyo being San Francisco and Tokyo. I made it up. Enjoy!
The wasteland seemed to never end. Tadashi could feel his feet growing heavy and sore.
"Do you want to rest?" (YN) asked him. "You look tired."
"Your call," Tadashi said.
"You've had a long day," she said. "We'll rest."
They went to the nearest shanty and saw that no one had claimed it as their own. The shanty was one room and dark. There were no lights, but a few logs in the center of it for a fire. A bed barely large enough for a small family was in the corner against the wall and on the other side was a desk and an open pantry. The pantry had some old wool blankets and an empty can of beans. As Tadashi took a few of the blankets, (YN) went to start a fire but changed her mind. She thought it might be for the best not to quite yet and just opted for a blanket to curl under for warmth.
"So what do you suppose this place is?" Tadashi asked. They sat together on the bed. Each of them had their own blanket and then shared one to stay warm. There was one pillow and it seemed deflated.
(YN) shrugged. "It's like some weird sort of purgatory or something. Everyone I've met here died because of something they did, not because it was just, like, their time or something. Like you, for example, you weren't supposed to be in that fire but you ran in to save that Callaghan guy. One guy I met took a bullet for his friend. A few people here committed suicide. It's a lot of people that shouldn't be dead but did something to make it so they were. It's like we're being given a second chance. I'm surprised more people didn't want to take it."
"Unless you're the only one who had it figured out," Tadashi said. "Maybe they just think nothing of it."
"I mean, it's not even a matter of having people to go back to or not," (YN) said. "I don't have anyone to go back to; they all died. But if we're still here, and we're still living in this weird place that's not Heaven but not Hell either, then obviously we were meant for something more... right?" (YN) looked to Tadashi for confimation.
When Tadashi looked to her, he locked eyes with her. Her (EC) eyes were large and scared. Tadashi nodded. They were silent for a moment.
"Where are you from?" Tadashi asked to break the silence.
"Islamoraica," she said. "It's an island by the Bahamas."
"You're welcome to come with me to San Fransokyo," Tadashi offered. "You'd be welcome there." He wasn't sure why he was offering her this -- he barely knew her, for Christ's sake -- but he felt like he should. It felt like the right thing to do. "And at least that way, you won't be totally alone. You'd have me and my friends."
She smiled at him; it was the first time he saw her truly, genuinely smile. "Thanks, Tadashi. I might take you up on that. As much as I want out of here, I don't know if I could look those people in the eye ever again." She said it with a nervous chuckle. Her smile began to fade. She was loosening up around him a bit, but not completely. "The people I do know that are left, well... I'm probably not their favorite person in the world."
"What do you mean?" Tadashi asked harmlessly.
(YN) pursed her lips. "I just... I was selfish," she decided. Her gaze averted to the dirt beneath them. "There's a lot I could have done better... and probably should have done better. But even if I did go back to Islamoraica, it'd be too little, too late at this point." She shrugged her shoulder. "I didn't go out brave like you did."
"That's not true," Tadashi said. "Everyone handles things differently. Look at you now, trying to get out of here and helping me? That's brave, right?"
(YN) shook her head. "Maybe this whole... everything, dying and coming to this place instead of resting in some sort of afterlife or whatever, maybe it's made me strong. But before all this, I was weak. Not brave."
"Try not to dwell too much on it," Tadashi said kindly. "You're not weak anymore."
"Thanks," (YN) said solemnly. The silence between them was solemn. Tadashi was surprised when (YN) curled a bit more into him. "Sorry. You're really warm."
He smiled softly. "I wonder if it's because I died in a fire."
The two of them shared a small laugh. Within both the blanket they shared and his blanket, Tadashi opened his arms and embraced (YN) so she rested against his chest.
"When's the last time you slept?" Tadashi asked.
"I haven't," (YN) said. "I haven't been tired to the point of sleeping. Resting, yeah, but never sleeping. And honestly... I don't know what happens if you fall asleep here. I'd be scared to find out."
Tadashi frowned. "Have you heard of anyone falling asleep?"
(YN) shook her head. "No. I don't think we get tired enough, seeing as we aren't technically alive. I haven't been hungry or thirsty either. I wonder if, in time, it'll happen. If eventually, when you're down here, your body just forgets that it shouldn't really be functioning anymore and just does anyways."
"I hope we're not around long enough to find out," Tadashi said.
(YN) looked to the open, empty can of beans in the pantry. Someone had to have been here before and someone had to have made this journey before. But that someone had been hungry. "Me neither," (YN) agreed.
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