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Not Who I Thought You Were

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"You can't go out there!" They'd told him. "It's too dangerous. You could get killed, just leave him!" But they didn't understand. They could never understand. They called Josh insane, and called him a maniac, but he was sick! Why couldn't they see that?

That's why Chris needed to go after him. If he didn't, no one would.

He would've left without a word, following the stranger into the woods for Josh without hesitation. But it was Ashley that made him stop. She wanted him to stay too.

"He let you down, Chris," she'd said. "He let us all down!"

No.

No, no, no.

Josh hadn't let anyone down. Josh may have pulled a lot of dick moves that night, but it was understandable. Josh was sick, Josh was angry, and Josh thought he was all alone through it all. The reasoning all made sense to Chris, in hindsight. They were being punished.

Was it wrong? Yes, of course it was, but being tied in a shed and beaten around a bit by Mike was punishment enough. Josh never really hurt anyone, anyway.

But Ashley... The one person he saw as truly compassionate of the group, telling him to stay? To leave Josh out there to die? He couldn't believe it. He'd lost Josh once already that night... The joy he'd felt to see he was alive was unparalleled. He couldn't lose him again, he couldn't. And Ashley just...

He had been torn between Josh and Ashley for so long. Both of them having stolen his heart years ago tearing him in two. He could never decide between them. Now it was starting to become crystal clear. The Ashley in his romantic mind... Maybe she'd never been there at all. Or maybe it was just her true colors finally coming out.

"I'm not leaving him," Chris said, voice cold and level despite the flames of rage that swelled within him. "I don't care what he did. I don't care what it takes. I'm not leaving him behind. Not now, not ever."

He was out of the cabin fast after that. His heart beat loudly in his chest. He had to find Josh. Find him, hug him, apologize, bring him back to the lodge and tell him that he-

The door to the shed swung open, and Chris froze. Binds were broken. Claw marks left upon wood. Blood in a puddle on the floor. Chris' knees buckled beneath him.

No. God, please, no...