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„No Reflection“ by Marilyn Manson

 

The sun stings hot through the small window of the abadanoned bunker and warms up the cold grey stone. Dried up leaves are scattered across the floor and a single snake is hissing angry in one corner of the building. Other then that its silent, even the birds are quiet today and the young man who´s entering the bleak room enjoys the pleasant emptiness.

Too many thoughts are piling up in his head, too many considerations and too many memories. He welcomes the silent with a smile and one quick cut with his machete shuts up the salviating snake.

He´s alone, like ever so often, but it doesnt really bother him. Being alone protects him, causes him to be more calm and allows him to feel more like himself. Moreover does it safe him from all the uncomfortable questions they would ask him inevitable.

Jason Brody drags the heavy backpack off his shoulders and tosses it in the corner. He takes one deep breath and closes his eyes, tastes the damp and earthy smelling air and recognizes how he slowly begins to relax.

Yesterday he started his way at Citras temple and headed to the norht, almost constanly moving through the jungle. He didn´t want to take a car, wasn´t seeking more attention then he already had since he came back from the dead.

And its also part of the ritual to walk this path with his own feet, the path that will make him a warrior.

Tomorrow he is going to kill Vaas.

Tomorrow he will be worthy his Tatau.

The thought of the upcoming fight worries him a bit. It will come to an end, this way or another, doesn´t matter if he succeeds or not. Tomorrow the whole insanity will end and he will be killing the man that hurt him so much. If it´s necessary he´s going to die with him to make sure that Vaas and his whole filthy pack of pirates are obliterated.

Jason isn´t sure what he should feel because of this. On the one hand he believes he has the needed strength to fight Vaas, Citra seems to think the same. But on the other hand there are still so many doubts gnawing on him. It feels weird to think that tomorrow should be the day he has worled towards to for so long. That everything will be finding an end.

Sure theres still Hoyt but they doesn´t share this uncomfortable bond he has going on with Vaas. Vaas killed his brother, nearly killed Jason himself mutliple times and tried to sell and enslave his friends. Whereas he saw Hoyt only once for a short amount of time and he seemed more like an insane business man then a nemesis.

He wants and needs to do it. Thats what he promised Citra. And the Raykat; his people. The pressure thats lasting on him is big, he doesn´t want to fail and he wants to complete his path. But he can´t bann the torturing thoughts out of his head completely.

´What happens next?´

´You kill Hoyt. You take the island back. You become a warrior.´

´What about Liza? Daisy, Keith and Oliver? How am I suppossed to return home after this? I´ve done so many horrible things.´

´No you did what was necessary. You freed the Raykat from their injustice, you´re a hero. You´re doing it for Grant.´

´Am I really doing this for him? Or for Citra?´

These thoughts have been tormenting him for a while now. The boat is nearly finished and his friends force themselves more and more onto him. They want to talk to him, want answers he can´t proffer them. He is aware of the expression in Lizas´ eyes, sees how she glances at him with this questioned and increasingly dissapointed gaze. He doesn´t want to witness it and keeps wandering through the jungle to get a clear head.

This worked out well until he tried to free the alleged Raykat and Vaas almost drowend him in this Cenote. In the following fight he became aware of the fact that he can´t leave the island until he isn´t completely sure who he is and who he wants to be. Something inside of him desires answers to all of this and he hopes that Citra is able to give him what he needs.

The trip to her temple afterwards was breathtaking and confusing. The stuff she gave him made everything appear so real and defeating the giant Tatau monster felt like winnig. For a moment he really thought he could face every imaginable evil in this world, nothing could break him and that it really is his destiny to be a warrior.

For one Moment he actually thought he knew who he was and where this path leads him.

The sex afterwards was at least as incredible. She had ridden him in a way he never experienced in his life before and he loved it like with no other before. The sex with Liza wasn´t bad but also nothing special and he didn´t even felt sorry for replacing her with Citra.

Now in the emptiness of the jungle the whole expirience seems different to him and his conscience is stirring. His thoughts bite themselves umconfortably through his convictions and he tries to repress them but they won´t vanish.

He remebers a fight with Liza and how much he hated her in that moment only because her words contained a truth he couldn´t gainsay.

He was about to check on his friends if they were alright, after one of his many sojourns at the temple. They tried calling him multiple times but he always avoided the confrontation. One day they got so importunate, he had no other choice then to apologize embarassed to the Rakyat and leave finally.

Daisy apparently moved on with the boat and wanted to show him her success personally. He nodded apathetic at the news, he didn´t really care. Oliver watched the whole scenario and shook his head silent while Keith asked if everything was alright.

There was still this teared look to his eyes and the fear that haunted him since his martyrdom with Buck. Jason showed very little pity for this as well. He also survived something traumatic and he didn´t let his friends feed him through. He was doing something for them.

Didn´t they notice that he was the only one facing the danger outside? That he was the only one fighting against dozens of pirates every day, taking back radiotowers and outposts and that he´s the one who safed all of them one after another? And what did they do?

He wanted to leave and headed back to Citras temple, mumbling a very short tailed good bye. Then Liza grabbed his arm and got him to the side where she looked at him once again with those hurt puppy eyes.

„Jason you´ve changed, what´s wrong with you?“ He could see the desperation in her eyes, she clung to him and was close to tears. He wanted to turn away but she remained intrusive and continued badgering him.

Citras words came to his mind, the words that ate themselves in his soul.

´A warrior has to change.´

He tried to get rid of her and murmured „You´re crazy Liza. How am I supposed not to change after all the things that were done to my family? That were done to me? Leave me alone, I need time for myself.“

She broke out into tears, sobbing „Jason you´re not yourself anymore, that fucking island changes you! You don´t even know which one is your friend or your enemy.“

Once again Citras words resounded in his mind, this time almost scornful about Lizas accusations. ´You need to leave your old self behind and completely surrender yourself to the Tatau. A true warrior is through and through permeated by this power and theres no room in his life for people who doesn´t help him on his path.´

In that cave her words sounded true and right. He could´nt hold himself back with things like that, he needed to finally find his way and he must know what his destiny is.

Now, where his feelings and emotions collide unimpeded against each other and mix themselves to a confusing mash of accusations and doubts, Jasons is no longer sure which way is the right one. He still has a mother in America and even if Riley and Grant are dead, he can´t leave her alone.

He also begins to question what he´s doing on that island the whole time.

He kills with an easiness people, living and feeling human beings, that makes him want to throw up, gets him dizzy and drives up the question if he has become a cold and emotionless monster. He takes indiscriminately drugs and drinks potions that let him fall into hallucinogenic horrortrips and tattoes himself with foreign signs and motives that are supposed to help him become a warrior. He follows a tribe and has no clue about their manners and history and believes hes one of them.

And he has sex with a complete strange woman that asks him afterwards to do her a favour an kill her own brother.

He understands Citras inducement, perceives her hate and her motivation. But isn´t Vaas still her brother, a part of her family? She doesn´t seem to care and she didn´t even look very sad about the fact that he wants to kill her last family member. She even requiered that from him. Vaas must have hurt her unspeakably.

´The first time I ever killed was for my sister. But it wasn´t enough for her, no.´

He pushes the thought away. Vaas simply screamed some bullshit, probably only lies anyway. Why should one believe a drug addicted maniac?

So he does no longer question Citras reasons and just accepts that they probably have the same goals and she is going to help him. Or is he the one who helps her achieve her goals?

He doesn´t know for whom he runs through the jungle and kills all those people and he feels more confused then ever. He´s Jason Brody after all and he want´s to save himself and his friends so they can leave this hell.

Or is he a warrior that fights for the Rakyat and wants to free them?

Or just a monster that rages itself all the way to his real goal without any regards of loss?

He hopes that the upcoming mission is going to clear all those thoughts. And hes sure with one thing. He wants to kill Vaas Montenegro, whether for himself, for Grant or Citra it doesn´t matter. The only thing that matters is Vaas´ death.

He opens his backpack and pulls out the musty and damp sleeping bag and hangs it over the window frame to dry. He had to sleep in the rain last night and there wasn´t enough time to dry the bag.

Through insiderinformations the Rakyat found out that Vaas is throwing a big party in his piratecamp to celebrate Jasons death and they decided that now is the right time to fight back. It is well known that those piratepartys last for a few days in a rough but after that no one could say where Vaas would go so they had to speed things up.

Citra told him in the very beginning of his journey that it´s an important part of his path to kill his archenemy and the demon of the island. Only then he is allowed to call himself a Raykat.

Jason willingly agreed when she begged him „Jason you have to do this! He´s the true enemy, it´s your destiny and a hurdle on your path to become a true warrior. Show us that you are worth having the Tatau and show me that you are serious about it, show it the tribe!“

He told her thereupon „I will do it. For you and the tribe, I promise.“ and kissed her on the forehead. She smiled silently and it appeared somehow inappropriate to him in this situiation. They were planning a war after all but he didn´t care much longer. For him it only was a concession of her affection.

When he was about to leave she held him back and said „You need to understand that this is a ritual Jason and it´s important to honor the manners of the ancestral. You serve yourself with the power of the Tatau to kill the demon, but to do so you have to go into the empire of the giant. The Ayahuasca will lead your way and will awake the warrior inside of you. It will show you your true destiny and will reveal who you truly are.“

She told him to seek a certain liana and brew it with the leaves of the Chacruna shrub and to drink the potion right before he kills Vaas. The warrior has to create himself an entrace in the world of the giant by brewing the potion and going into the pond. To enter a different dimension so to say.

When he left the temple he didn´t thought much about it. But now he asks himself if he really wants to fall into another mad trip once again and how he is supposed to kill the most dangerous man on the island while being high as a fucking kite. He really hopes that Citra is right and that the Ayahuasca will help him finding the right direction.

The sun crawls slowly behind the horizon and Jason stacks wood for a small fire on the stone ground. Besides some utility objects he carries a tiny bit of dingomeat in his rucksack, from a small dog he killed on the road. He cuts it into more or less fine strips and cooks the meat over the crackling fire.

Cooking never was one of his strenghts, he´s too lazy and doesn´t feel like dealing with spices and ingredients. So he just devours the food unseasoned and dry when its finally no longer raw and grimaces.

„Disgusting.“

It was a long day and he had to take extra care on his way that none of the patrolling pirates would see him. After all they are not supposed to know that he´s still alive and about to come for their leader.

It turned out to be more difficult then he thought it would be to find one specific liana in the middle of the jungle and to that the right leaves. More then one time the thought of not drinking this brew and to just make a short process with Vaas came to his mind.

But he doesn´t want to dissapoint Citra and if she´s right then this stuff will actually help him with his task. At some point he found what he needed and now he pulls the small claypot the Raykat gave him out of his backpack and starts mashing the liana and the leaves to a paste. The juice that´s coming out smell horrible and looks pitchblack.

Jason pours in some water from a nearby river and leaves the brew to cook on its own, stirring from time to time in the thicker getting mush and blowing his nose because of the worse getting smell of rot. He doesn´t want to think about what this will taste like.

The jungle comes to life and he is aware of the soft rustling underneath the window and the crickets that start to chirp nearby. It is so quiet and peaceful, Jason notices how soemthing drops of his shoulders. Out here he feels the most like himself. Not like the friend, the warrior, the asshole or the murderer. Out here he´s just Jason Brody and it feels so good.

He dosn´t know what he should think about his own feelings for Citra. Are they even feelings? Or is it just the euphoria you experiences when you have terrific sex and you feel alive and filled out? He can´t say what it is and this thought unsettles him.

Sure, she is a beautiful woman and she has something mysterious on herself; when hes with her he feels the need to give her everything she wants.

But in other moments, when hes alone and on his own hes no longer sure if he should give himself up completely for this woman. If he should bequeath his life to her and give her everything she craves from him. He wants to become a warrior but does he really want that for himself or for her, because thats what she desires?

In addition comes that the thought of his friends isn´t going to die completely. They are still real, they are still out there hoping to be able to go back to America. Hoping for his help. And even if the relationship with Liza is about to end he still has an obligation to them and can´t let them down this easy, no matter how much they annoy and importune him.

He can´t wait for this to be finally over and desires at the same time to drag Vaas´death out, to savor taking his life and watching him suffer. It should feel wrong but all he can sense is the growing anticipation and arousal when he imagines Vaas´ agonized face.

The concoction in the small pot starts to have the consistency of wasted oil and according to Citra is this exactly how it should be. Jason pours the viscous, fetid liquid in an small flask and puts it carefully back into his rucksack. Tomorrow he´ll need it, no matter if he want´s it or not.

He pulls the sleepingbag off the windowsill and spreads it accross the hard floor, it´s still damp but Jason doesn´t care. He can see Vaas´ small island through the window and quiet music echoes from the distance. The son of a bitch should celebrate his death. It won´t take long until he earns what he deserves.

And with the thought of revege, retribution, love and a warm bed Jason Brody falls asleep.

Chapter Text

„Going Nowhere“ by Modstep & Dion Timmer

 

Way to early Jason gets dragged out out of his light sleep by his nightmares. He spent half of the night rolling from one side to the other, sweating and clenching.

It´s still dark outside, slowly the horizon is markable as a grey stroke and he can sense the outlines of the bunker in the pale semidarkness. The moon is still high up in the sky, a thin sickle that barely causes any light and seems more like a scrawny finger then a heavenly body .

He dreamed of Liza and home, remembered how they got together and what an up and down their relationship was until now. There has always been this faint doubt that the thing she had going on with Steve, her ex boyfriend, wasn´t really over yet and it got confirmed in his dream. He was able to see all those little things that made him doubt her honesty and it hurt him unspeakable.

But is it really a surprise that she prefers the organized, better paid and more intellectual Steve over him? He didn´t even manage to get a job after High School until she procured him the job at her ex boyfriends work. What a humiliation.

Citra crept her way in his head right after and he dreamed about her smooth skin, her tight breasts and her beautiful face. She whispered gentle and teasing things and he let himself fall in her touch but something seemed wrong. Something oppressed and gnawed on him subconsciously, something he couldn´t describe with words, more so with feelings.

It felt like something was blinding him, as if her words and her presence would daze him and take the ability to think clear. As if he was missing something important and this feeling didn´t left, despite the erotic and wet fantasy.

His mind wanderd to Vaas and he saw him once again in front of him through the bamboo bars, with his insane and chased look. He once again pressed his hands on Grants wound and felt the weaker getting pulse in the tips of his fingers. Listend to Vaas´ tirade as he tried burning him and Liza alive.

He soaked his definition of insanity up and played it like a never ending matra again and again in his head while he plunged down this cenote, tied up, again and again.

He felt irrepressible hate and sheer fear. His mind tried to unsolve the haphazardly lined up words of this maniac and he only lost himself more and more in them and felt insane himself in the end.

´Who give you that ink, hmm? Citra give you that ink? My sister give you that ink, huh?´

´You think that makes you one of us? You think that makes you like me, huh?´

´It´s really too bad that Citra had to ink you up. Because now the only way to kill you is to erase you completely.´

He finally jolts awake by the picture of Vaas thrusting the dagger into his chest and his face changing to Citras, a fond smile on her lips followed by the bittersweet and gentle words „You´re a warrior Jason…“

Jason sits sweating in the damp sleepingbag and tries to take a deep breath to calm down his racing heart.

„It was just a dream, everything´s alright. It´s over soon and this bullshit means nothing. Nothing. It´s just the stress.“

He clings to this words like a drowing man and swallows the tight bump in his throat with effort.

It takes a long time for him to finally calm down enough so his hands won´t tremble anymore. The sun already crawled over the horizon and dips the jungle in red fire. It would be a breathtaking view if Jason would´nt be distracted by the quiet Dubstep music that still resounds over the iland.

Jason strechtes and his back cracks and he takes a noisy yawn while he scratches his hurting shoulder. It´s time to move on and he does´nt want to dawdle and packs his rucksack.

He only takes the most important stuff with him and stowes the backpack underneath a pile of leaves and sticks, hoping that some roaming pirate won´t spot it right away. The only things he takes with him are his machete, the bow, a pistol and a few of the medicine suringes, to that the small flask filled with potion. If everything goes as planned he will sneak into the camp and operate from the ambush, kill Vaas without causing a great stir and leave quickly.

He does´nt want to fight against a whole piratefortress on drugs but he still packs some granades just in case something goes wrong. Better safe than sorry.

It´s a good sign that the music is still playing, the pirates are´nt patrolling yet. It should be easy breaking into the fortress, Jason does´nt expect a lot of a guards and even if so they´re probably all drunk or high as balls.

He feels a little bit like he did right before he fought against Buck. The adrenaline rushes through his veins and causes an unpleasant but still familiar tingling, goosebumps form on his head and a tremor urges through his spine, over his guts to the outside. If he could see his own eyes right now he would look into drastically dilated pupils that cover the watery blue green of his irises almost completely.

In the doorway he turns around and notices that he removed all traces succesfully and nodds satisfied. He turns and heads to the north, to the noise and his actual goal. Vaas.

He´s progressing slowly, it´s a hot and humid day and it feels like he is swallowing the air. The sun stings on his head and burns his naked arms, he is´nt noticing it much, all he can perceive is the kick. His machete cuts almost blindly through the thick undergrowth and it´s barely audible over the noisy screaming oft he jungle, he´s entirely one with his surroundings.

It almost takes him the whole morning to arrive the small shore across from the pirateisland. With one last jerk he makes sure that every weapon is in place, then jumps right into the waves.

The water is pleasing warm and the stream is soft, thank god too flat for sharks. With strong moves Jason plows through the waves and swims to the small weathered dock where any boat that wants to visit or leave the island has to stop.

There´s only one isolated pirate visible on the pier, he moves unsteady from one end to the other, bawling and taking a sip of his dirty brown bottle from time to time.

Jason only understands some of the scrap words and the guy does´nt take care of his surroundings one bit, just like he suspected.

He dives in precautionary, swims directly underneath the man, jumps out oft he water and kills him in a matter of seconds with a targeted cut of his knife.

A little smirk creeps onto his face, it is in his blood. The killing.

In a crouched position he moves along the abadoned dock and hides in the bushes as soon as he leaves the rotten wood. The music gets louder and now Jason is able to spot voices and screaming, fusillade and the rustling of bottles.

Right in front of him he observes loud whining and panicked crying, multiple men are swearing and bawling and he cowers deeper into the bush, peeking through the solid scrub. In the middle oft he road lies a young woman, a local Rakyat, enslaved for prostitution. Two pirates bend over her, one is hitting her and threating her with a knife, the other one laughs and grabs his crotch, drinking from his bottle.

They scream filthy things Jason has never heard about und menace her in a different language he can´t understand. Though the gestures they make are more then unambiguously as one man grabs her by the hair and holds her down while the other one opens his belt and pulls down his pants.

´Time to intervene.´

Jason dashes forward and stabs the guy with the pulled down pants through his throat. Blood splatters and he feels him twitching at the base of his machete. It´s a good feeling.

The woman gets bathed in the blood of the gurgling pirate and screams raucous. The other pirate doesn´t get what just happend and holds the woman down, moves up his head and watches how Jason pulls out the knife of his friend and lets go oft he Rakyat, grabbing his gun.

He fires two shots, then Jason is by his side and cuts his throat as well. With a quiet gurgling voice the guy slumps and Jason drags them both into the bush. As he moves around to look after the young woman, his eyes jump to the gaping holes in her chest and he grimaces. This asshole got her with his bullets.

Jason also drags her corpse off the road and moves on. The path is lined on both sides with giant rocks and it makes it harder for him to move along unrecognized. As the jungle gets lighter and a crumlby concretewall comes in sight Jason starts crouching again and pulls out his camera.

Theres a sniper to the right on a small bamboo tower, he does´nt seem to be wary but still holds his gun at the ready. To the left in front of a big iron gate are two pirates walking vigilant up and down, accompanied by two dogs. It appears too easy to Jason and the music echoes deafening so he decides to no longer sneak and to make a quick process.

At first he kills the sniper with his bow, crawls underneath the tower and shoots an arrow through his head. The man is dead immediately and Jason climbs the tower. The sight is good up here at the two pirates and their dogs. If he does´nt want them to hit the alarm he either has to be quick or lure them away from each other.

He tends towards the first option an raises his arms, draws the bow and aims at first towards the dogs that stroll a little to the side through the bushes. They croak noiseless and he turns to their owners.

The first one gets shot in the middle of the chest, while the two pirates laugh together and rais their bottles. Jason hears the other one scream „shit!“ and quickly pulls another arrow and hits him in the thigh. The guy shrieks like crazy and Jason jumps off the tower crosses the field and slamms the knife into his face.

His Heart flickers in his chest, hes overwhelmed by euphoria and pulls the machete with a slurp out off the man´s head. It feels good, so fucking good, like winnning. It feels right.

It seems that the pirates inside the camp didn´t notice what happend, the music is still playing and Jason hears the men screaming and jeering. His eyes search the concretewall and he discovers a small ledge a few meters next to the frontgate.

With quick movements he climbs up on the liana that infested and crushes the wall slowly with it´s deadly hug. Right above him is a little roof, he´s in the shade and hides behind a few barrels.

Through the wire fence he catches a look on the pirates that are scatternd around a few makeshift poledancebars to watch almost naked girls dance. None of them is going to keep an eye on him.

The courtyard is dusty and easy to overlook. To his left the road contuniues to climb up the small hill and dissapears in some sort of warehouse. On the front to both sides are empty buildings that seem to be used as barracks.

Jason believes that the actual camp starts behind the warehous and he´s sure that he has to go through it. It should work if he only stays close to the barracks.

The excitement starts to mix with his euphoria and the light tingle of panic gets noticeable. So it´s getting serious. For one momment he considers drinking the potion right now but puts the flask back.

Citra told him that the potion unfolds its full effect in less then a quarter hour. He should at least be close to Vaas. Otherwise it would be hard for him to focus on the essentials.

Theres a heavy steel door next to him that opens to the side and he pulls it slowly to the left. The door shrieks creaky and he pauses to check if someone noticed it. But the pirates in the court pay no attention to him so Jason squeezes through the small opening and enters the musty and dark room.

His eyes accustom slow to the darkness and he recognizes a bunch of televisions, a few desks and knocked over chairs. The empty windowopenings are covered with planks and leave little to no light through the small cracks. Dust is dancing in thin rays of light and the air inside is surprisingly dry and stuffy.

Jason notices in one corner of the room a bunch of pallettes stacked with cocain and he plans to set them on fire later.

Slow and crouched he works his way through the barracks and creeps down small stairs. The music sounds muted through the brakish walls and wooden boards and he listens for voices or footstamps.

Back outside he skulks around a building that releases loud moaning and screaming. It should disgust and scare him but he barely even notices it. He only has one thing in his head and that´s Vaas. Everything inside him burns to finally meet him and to let him pay for what he did to him.

Everything else is irrelevant.

He reaches the end of the building and the yard spreads in front of him. Two men are leaving the house and he pants and jumps behind the ledge. They didn´t notice him yet but one of them is heading directly towards him.

„I need to fucking pee man, my cock burns like fire and I don´t know what this fucking whore gave me this time.“

The other one laughs dirty and barks „That´s why you took her bloody, no?“

The pirate comes around the edge and opens his pants while walking and Jason jumps out of his cover and smashes his head against the wall. His jaw breaks with a nasty crack and a hard punch against his temple knocks him finally out. Jason waits for a moment and the other guy stamps from one foot to the other in front oft he barrack.

„Hurry up man the boss wants to see us. You know how he snaps if we don´t jump right away when he barks.“

Jason presses himself even harder against the wall as the other guy walks around the corner.

„Hey asshole, why is this taking…“

He isn´t able to talk much more and gets the same fate like his friend did with the result of Jason breaking his neck and the man dying right away. Theres no time for him to celebrate his small victory, he needs to move on, needs to finally reach the end.

He carefully squints around the corner and discovers the warehouse in some distance. The red gate is opend a small gap wide and he has to run fast accross the open field to get inside and he could lock it from there.

Right in front of him is a tiny ledge with a rail and with an easiness that the adrenaline bestows him he pulls himself over it and dissapears behind the nex row of buildings. Theres little going on here, Jason can see a pirate in the distance, hes throwing up, other then that hes alone. It´s the perfect ambush.

Jason crouches and pulls out the small flask. He´s not sure what exactly awaits him behind the warehouse and doesn´t want to wait any longer.

With a long sip he empties the tiny vessel and gasp and tips over forward, coughing. He immediately feels sick and tries to throw up, swallows with difficulty his gastric acid mixed with the liquid.

The potion is viscous and thick and feels like an oily film in Jasons throat. The foul taste of rot won´t leave his tounge, no matter how hard he swallows and spits out saliva. He needs a moment to catch himself then pulls himself up and staggers along the wall.

He´s dizzy and holds his stomach, his view blurrs and his ears tingle. It feels unreal, he can´t feel the ground under his feet and experiences the feeling of falling. The puking pirate comes closer and Jason sees his contours through a radiant fog, slighty distorted and blurry.

His hearing is hypersensible and he believes to notice everything down to the smallest detail and to decompose it in his head to their original ingedrienst. The throaty chocking sounds the man makes, the hurt moaning and screaming, the hoarse grunting and the cracking of bottles, over that the teared up screeching of the music. Ist way too much, too loud and it seems like he´s the only human in the world, all the others are ghostly schemes and colors.

He follows his instinct and keeps moving towards the pirate, throws himself onto him and drags him to the ground to smother him with bare hands. Theres a strentgh to his arms that he never noticed before, an urge to kill and a gentle voice that whispers what he is supposed to do. He does´nt really remember why he´s here, all he does is following his intuition that impels him to move.

He eventually arrives at the end of the building. The open gate flickers weird and he heads towards it, stumbles over his own feet but still manages to get to it. Screaming turns up behind him but he won´t turn around and squeezes through the gap that appears to him like the opening of a pitchblack maw.

Inside it´s almost completely dark and the black emptiness swallos him. To his left he discerns the light contours of a gateway and stumbles towards it, the nausea comes up and besides that an unknown and intoxicating feeling. He doesn´t understand it and it feels like he´s dissolving.

Suddenly the gate behind him closes with a loud bang and the room lights up, barrels explode and a voice, ghastly through a speaker and terribly familiar reaches him through the chaos.

„Surprise Motherfucker! You didn´t think I knew you were coming, right? I am so dissapointed! You showed so much promise, Jason. So much fucking promise! Now here you are trapped in the boxes of life like a fucking rat. And the thing is, I did not bring you here. You walked in here by your own goddamn self! And that´s what Citra does to you, right? She turn you fuckers into rats and now I have to deal with the rodent problem. But, that´s what brothers are good for, right?“

Right next to him another barrel explodes and the bang seems to tear his eardrums apart. He pants and jumps through the gateway, his eyes are watering because of the acrid smoke and he can´t breathe, everything is spinning and he doesn´t know where to go.

The voice keeps talking to him, he can´t figure out where it´s comming from and wanders around blind, it gets darker even though the fire burns with a fervent power that threatens to devour everything.

„Oh, Jason, Jason, Jason! You come to fuck with me in my own house for a bitch, for Ctra and you bend not a sinlge fucking finger for your own brother? You fucking bastard!“

His words are like poision, they scoff themselves inside his brain and choke him; Pictures appear in front of his inner eye, Grant dying in his arms, his life flowing out of his body with every twitch of his carotid.

The Picture flickers and gets displaced over and over again by Citras breasts that dance up and down while she´s riding him. Then how she stabs the knife into his chest and how her face turns into Vaas´ and back.

He wants to throw up and gasps, the smoke pollutes his lunges and burns him from inside. The words are true, so true and send a shiver through his body, panic overcomes him. He betrayed Grant, Riley, his friends, his family.

´Do it for me, for my tribe, for the Rakyat and become a true warrior!´

„Don´t worry, hermano, don´t worry. I don´t like my family either. When you meet me, OK? When you see me, you better thank me, because I am gonna free your soul.“

It´s as if his words get through the cotton that seems to surround him. He believes to understand something in them, but he isn´t entirely sure. His sight turns black and he fights his way forward, not even sure if he´s walking or floating. His breath is racing and his feelings surge up and down. Memories flash through his head, memories of Vaas, of Citra, Riley, Grant, Liza, his mother, America.

Everything blurrs and he looses himself, can´t catch his identity and witnesses how he drifts away more and more.

„Jason, look at you. I mean look at you. Stupid motherfucking white boy. You come here in my fucking jungle and you think you´re a fucking warrior, you think you know what it takes to fucking kill?“

´Become a true Rakyat warrior.´

´First time I ever killed was for my sister.´

´All the Tataus will be yours.´

´ But that was not enough for her.´

´Let go of everything, sacrifice yourself to me and the tribe.´

´Them or me? Me or them?´

And all oft he sudden theres nothing left but the black emptiness. He´s falling and theres nothing to hold on to, his ego dissapears and he gasps and pants.

Then a path, consisting of flickering televisions. He looks around, still gasping for air and looks down but can´t see his body. A Picture appears, of him or what he supposes to be himself.

It flares and shifts into a different man, a man he knows very well but he can´t figure out who he is. Both oft hem put a gun on their temple, ready to pull the trigger.

´Who are you, Jason Brody?´

He keeps wandering along the path, senses that he has to do this, that theres no going back.

´You are strong, powerfull.´

A different immage appears of a beautiful woman that dances lascivious around a pole. She turns into the man and it doesn´t appear less arousing to him, it confuses and hypnotises him.

´The world is on a diagonal. I am the balancing point.´

He sees himself, sees how he has sex with this lovely and formidable woman, sees how the man has sex with her. He feels like him, is able to feel the bonding, something unspeakable, something deep, abysmally.

The man is right in front of him, flickering and diped in cold light, he moves towards him, shifts slow and sneering.

„Are you enjoying my sister´s company? Huh? She´s gonna make a warrior out of you.“

´All the Tataus will be yours.´

The woman. The knife in his chest. Everything plays within seconds in his head, he wants to kill her, wants to erase her, doesn´t want to let her get to him. Loves her. Hates her. Deifies her and still wants to annihilate her.

The man comes closer, his eyes are clear, deep like the sea and Jason sees his own future in them.

„You are so fucked, Jason. C´mon pull the trigger.“

The man grabs his hands and presses the gun to his own forehead and screams „C´mon motherfucker. Pull the trigger! Let´s go, shoot me!“

Jason can´t, in the moment he wants to pull the trigger, the moment he wants to end this vision, the picture changes to his own face thats screaming at him. He pulls back and the figure turns into smoke.

Something keeps him moving on, he can sense it, feels the bond between him and the other man. They both are the same person, he can see his whole life spread out and his future, sees himself in the other man, witnesses the hate, the desparation, the fear, the insanity as if those are his own thoughts.

„Take me into your heart. Accept me as your savior. Nail me to the fucking cross and let me be reborn!“

Then he´s by his side, pulls out the dagger, vaguely noticing the request in his head to do it, to end it. To become a warrior.

´Do it for her, for the tribe, for the Tatau and end it.´

He raises his arms and the other man blocks his attack, the knife slips out of his hand and falls to the ground, he can´t get it, does´nt want to get it, needs to get it.

His eyes snap up, fear and panic is flooding him and blue, of hate and madness contorted eyes drill into his, send shivers over his back and eat him alive.

He failed, he knows it.

„We are so fucked, Jason.“

Chapter Text

„Insanity“ by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs Blasterjaxx

 

There´s only one thought in Jasons mind, one single thought torn apart by panic and fear.

´I´m dying.´

He feels the panic threatening to pull him into her black waves, senses the fear of the what is going to happen inevitable. His eyes twitch from side to side and stare into the blue eyes of this monster.

Vaas´ eyes are torn open widely and seem to gush out of their sockets and for one moment it looks like he is about to burst into guffaw, his mouth tears open and he bares his white teeth, hate and derision glisten in his look.

Then he slamms his head onto Jasons nasal bone and Jason staggers dazed and panting backwards, his sight blurrs and the dull pain spreads out onto his face. Blood shoots out of his nose and glues his mouth shut, he tastes it on his palate and retches. He´s still drugged and Vaas´ voice seems to resound from every corner of the building, it taunts and derides him and bites into his hearing.

„You failed hermano, didn´t make it, you aren´t even able to kill the guy that shot your own fucking brother! You shouldn´t have come her, shouldn´t ran into a war for this bitch and fight a battle that isn´t yours. You´re a useless dumb fucking cocksucker, you crawl for a fucking slut just because she showed you her tits and let you fuck her. You are so ridicolous Jason, a fucking ridicolous white boy that Citra is able to manipulate and train however she wants. You´re a pathetic son of a bitch, Jason, a fucking, paltry son of a bitch!“

Jason notice the next punch in the conrer of his eye and raises his arms, the fist collides with his ellbow and he trips until he catches himself. It´s unbelievable hot around him and he coughs, smoke burns inside his throat and he rubs his watering eyes.

„But it´s ok Jason, it is ok. You aren´t any different than all the other cocksuckers that came her before you. You thought you were the first one, no? Eh, hermano? You really thought you were Citras first ever warrior. Thought you were one of us and you fucking thought you know what it takes to kill. You know shit amigo! You wanna be like me? Then get your fucking white ass moving and fight you fucking bastard!“

Wrath begins to stir inside of him, hate burns and tightens his throat. Vaas´ words are like firing poison in his veins and corrode every rational thought to viscous slime. He´s hating himself in this moment, hates what he has become and hates this man, who spreads out all of this right in front of him and forces him to look at it.

He moves forward, shouting hoarsely and Vaas jumps out of nowhere and attacks him from the left, the stagger in his hand. Jason sprints towards him and lets himself fall hard against him, hitting the knife away. The ritual stagger slips into a hole in the crumbling floor and a burning beam plunges down and nearly buries the men underneath.

„Shut up, shut the fuck up!“

The bang and the fire pull Jason slowly out of his trance and he screams by the sudden realization of his surroundings. The warehouse is ablaze. Even the air seems to burn and a few barrels explode, he tries to get away from Vaas, stumbles and falls lengthways.

Vaas immediately jumps onto him and turns him around, the man swings himself on his chest and pins Jasons arms with his knees to the floor. Jason can´t resist and roars, kicks back with all his strentgh but the pirate doesn´t give in.

„You had potential Jason, honestly, I saw it in you. Who would have thought that you are also nothing more than a fucking rat? Eh? For one moment I really thought you were different. Well hermano, you´re as pathetic and pitiful as all the other fuckers before you! You could´ve at least brought the guts to come for your brother.“

Vaas bends down to him and hits him in the face, Jasons head slamms to the side and he screams, spits out blood and yells „fuck you!“

The man on his chest laughs manic, the warehouse around them collapses and the heat becomes unbareable. Then he bends down even more to Jason, grabs his face with both hands and forces him to look in his eyes.

„Fuck me? Maybe you should try it, hermano, I wouldn´t send you over to my sister and demand you to kill her on fucking drugs. You would even sell your soul for her, your shitty fucking soul you traitorous cocksucker!“

He punches him again but this time Jason turns his head away and struggles free, manages to throw Vaas of his body and hits the maniac with his fists again and again. He only hears him laughing louder with every punch and feels how he becomes dizzy again. He won´t abandon himself to this words, won´t internalize this lunatic hate speech, he is going to kill him.

But something inside of him holds him back, something won´t let him wrap his hand around Vaas´ throat and smother him, pressing the life ouf of him. Something inside him struggles against that and causes this nausea, something seems to block him and takes away the possibility to focus his whole anger against this man.

It´s the doubts that gnaw on his self esteem and ideology, that guzzle them slow and biting and let him forget for what he actually fights for. He groans frantic and screams, wants Vaas to finally shut up and strikes harder and harder.

„You can´t do it man, you can´t bring it!“

Vaas laughs again, gurgling through his blood stuck teeth and Jason smashes his fist into his stomach, the men writhes and screams „You can´t kill me! You are me and I am you. You know that I´m right and that fucks you up, it pisses you off and you try to fight that but you know it Jason. You know it! She´s goingt to make a warrior out of you, a true warrior, a legend, but only if you fucking kill me!“

The roof crashes almost completely and a burning peace of wood hits him on his shoulder, Jason collapses and rolls to the side. He´s barely able to breath in the heavy smoke and tears stream down his face, his eyes are burning and he pants and gasps for air. The way is blocked and he can´t find an exit, there is burning wood everywhere and the roof cracks and squeals deafening.

His gaze turns up and he sees how the roof beams bend downwards and the metal bars won´t hold them any longer. The skin on his naked arms turned red and he recognizes the big blisters that built up and smells his own burned hair.

Vaas stands up next to him, panting and snorting and leans for one moment on his knees, then stumbles towards him. Jason moves backwards, moans and holds his shoulder, his eyes search hectically for an exit.

„Come on hermano, let´s end this. Com´on! Become a warrior, man, that´s what you want, no? I´ll help you Jason, I will make it easy for you. Take your fucking gun and shoot me, come on motherfucker, shoot me!“

The roof creaks and groans, Jasons sees how it bends down deeper and deeper and how it breaks slowly. It feels like timelapse when he jumps towards Vaas and crashes against him, the man grins wide and yells something at him but Jasons world slows down to a crawl and he can´t hear nothing but his own hoarse breath.

The impact lifts them both of their feet and they fall to the ground, wrangle with each other for a moment until Jason gets the upper hand and kicks Vaas harshly in the ribs. He gets up, panicking and rushes towards a window almost two meters above him, pulls himself up on the hot windowsill and falls down on the other side, hitting the dry stone and asphalt hard.

Hoarse and sneering screams come out oft he warehouse, they scorn and laught at him.

„You fucking bastard! You can´t even do that, I´m dissapointed, your fucking brother would be dissapointed! Run forest, run home to your slut and let her lick your wounds, go piss off!“

Blank chaos has broken out and he looks around panicked. Pirates run around screaming and trying to put out the fire. Halfnaked girls whimper and screech, the music has stopped and Jason notices gunfire nearby.

For one moment he´s dizzy and gasps for air, then he moves trembling towards the outside wall and tries to find a small ledge, his skin is burning and he is barely able to breath, his thoughts are blurred and the only thing that comes to his mind is ´I failed´.

Finally a peace of wall that broke down halfway and he jumps onto it. A few men run towards him and scream, start shooting at him. He barely manages to climb up and lets himself fall over it, plunges down a steep slope and lands in the water.

His eyes turn black and he keeps loosing consciousness, the stream pulls him away. Half unconscious hes able to catch a liana and pull himself with great effort and pain out of the water, his shoulder is already swollen up and the blisters on his arms burst. Tears of fury and desperation burn on his face and he collapses on the soft and earthy ground.

It´s already dusk when he wakes up and he perceives the screaming and raging of the pirates. He lies in the middle oft he jungle and is still on Vaas´ small island. Black clouds of smoke raise in the darker getting sky and he hears men strolling through the jungle, they search for him.

Coughing and groaning he rolls over onto his stomach, comes on his knees and pushes himself laid against a tree upwards. He lost all his weapons either in the fight or in the sea, only his machete dangles from his belt and Jason grabs it tighter while he hits himself through the bush.

Despair and fear mix themselves with hate and anger about himself.

´Why didn´t I kill him, why the fuck?´

He could have done it, could´ve killed and torn him apart with easiness, why didn´t he do it? Vaas gave him more then one opportunity and he didn´t make use of it.

A oppressive feeling spreads out in his chest and blends with sheer panic, makes him tremble and choke and he throws up in the bushes. Theres only black slime coming out of his mouth and he throws up again, gasping. His soul is uneasy and he pants, isn´t able to focus.

´You´re a failure!´

Jason trips blind through the jungle and hears the louder getting pirates behind him. His breathing goes flat and uptight, he clings to the trees and fights his way forward.

´You couldn´t kill him, you´re not a warrior, you are nothing!´

A pier comes in sight at the end oft he jungle, he notices two men walking around and guarding a a small zodiac boat. He needs to get to the boat, just get away from here, from Vaas, Citra.

´You´re not worth the Tatau, you are weak, I was wrong about you, you´re like Vaas, a coward!´

He arrives the pier and jumps onto the man next to him and stabs him the knife into his chest. Jason gets up and kills the other one, stumbles over the corpses and pulls a gun out of one´s belt. His sight turns black again and he falls forward into the boat, manages to get up and starts the motor.

Behind him the screams turn up again and shots crash into the water.

„He´s escaping, stop the fucking white boy, the boss want him alive!“

Jason pulls the steering wheel around and manages to get away from them. He falls unconscious multiple times and when he finally arrives the mainland he completely lost track and is barely able to hold himself up. The hull of the small boat collides with a reef and it comes jerky and spitting to a standstill.

He tilts forwards and throws up into the water, falls out of the speeder onto the wet sand and crawls into the jungle. Later he arrives a small shack and breaks down on the rotten wooden floor and passes out.

Chapter Text

„Burns“ by George FitzGerald

 

It takes Jason two whole days to become fully conscious again and to not throw up his soul.

He feels shitty and wasted, his head hurts and his throat is dried up, a thin layer of sweat covers his skin and he has a fever. He also didn´t change his clothes since he went to Vaas´ fortress. He smells his own sour body odor and it drives the bile into his mouth.

But worse than all of this is the crippling fear and the sensation of sheer panic that wrenches in his guts and his head. The whole time all he can think of is his fight with Vaas and that he ran away like a coward and wasn´t able to finish his mission.

It would have been so easy, so simple, just like the hundreds of times before when he murdered people callous and without remorse. Vaas even made it easy for him, he saw it in his eyes when he pulled out the dagger to finish it.

He almost could feel the expression in them, that finality a human being only owns when facing death, when one accepts his demise. He doesn´t understand why Vaas should have made it easy for him, all he knows is that he didn´t use the opportunity and failed.

Were it the drugs? Or the insignificant manic things Vaas whispered to him? Deep down inside he fought against pulling the final line, something held him back and didn´t let him beat that son of a bitch to death with his bare hands.

´Maybe it wasn´t intent, moreso a mistake. I was totally high and done, the dagger just slipped out of my hand.´

Jason isn´t even sure which of the things he remembers are reality and which ones are visions.

Trembling he recalls the feeling that overcame him when Vaas whispered „You are me… and I am you“. He felt this connection, saw himself in the other man, his future and what he was going to become if he continues to walk this path.

„No, I would never become a monster like him, I do it for Citra and the Rakyat, I´m freeing them, I do the right thing.“

 

A shiver jolts through him and he pauses his mantra as he notices what he just said out loud. The sound of his own voice is strange and he twitches.

„No… I do it for Grant. I did it for him and for Riley. All of this…“

´Or?´

Jason sits on the floor of the small hut, leans to the rotten wall and stares on his feet.

The afternoon sun is shining bright and golden through the empty doorframe and warms up his limbs. He´s fully awake for a few hours now but not able to move from his spot and to get on his way.

He doesn´t even know where he should go. What should he say to Citra? Or the Rakyat? How is he supposed to tell them that their great warrior failed and escaped the fight like a cowardly dog and hid himself in the forest for days?

Shame and abhorrence of himself flood him like thick black slime, take away his breath and break through his consciousness. He wanted it so badly, he had worked towards this day for so long, to finally kill his enemy and become a true warrior.

He flinches and interrupts this thought again.

„No, no, no it was for Grant! For Grant and Riley, dammit!“

The feeling of not knowing who he really is collides with such a force against him, that he fears to suffocate and loose himself. His first thought goes to Citra and the Rakyat, the only thing that creeps through his head is the fear of dissapointing them and being not worth his Tatau.

Were it should go at first to his dead family and his friends; that he couldn´t protect them and that the guy that killed and wanted to enslave them still runs around.

 

´You bend not a single fucking finger for your own brother?´

Cold and stinging resound the words inside of him and he has to choke, shakes his head and wants to get rid of them.

´I´m dissapointed, your fucking brother would be dissapointed!´

A hoarse scream escapes his throat and he presses his hands on his ears.

„Stop, shut the fuck up!“

But the quiet voice inside of him, that he thought was dead a long time ago, pipes up and whispers to him that the lunatic bastard was right. That he betrayed his whole family and that he lost himself in the jungle, on this island. It pulls on him and annihilates his existance, makes him arch and scream louder.

How could he become something like this?

´Citra wouldn´t betray you, she needs your help, her goals are also your goals don´t forget that.´

´You are strong, powerful.´

Jason wants to cling to this words, tries to push down these horrible memories and emotions and to focus on the fact that the Rakyat need him. But a part of his soul, the part that believed in the warrior in him, went silent and he can´t pull it of to escape back into this deceptive peace.

Two more days go by in the small rotting hut and Jason only leaves it to take a shit or to go hunting.

He mostly feeds himself with small animals, rats or chickens that breed in a small radius around the hut. He doesn´t have the strength to move a lot and lives through short visions from time to time; an aftermath of the potion he believes.

In the night he rolls from side to side and has horrible nightmares, Citras face no longer transforms into Vaas´ when she stabs him and she also no longer whispers „You´re a warrior Jason…“. Instead she calls him a coward, a failure and that he deserves to die a wretched death.

It hurts him and tears his soul apart. He wanted to give her so much, promised her everything and what did he achieve? The most important thing she had requested from him, he couldn´t do.

Then again Grants face, Rileys screams and his family, ruined because of him.

And at last the question: ´Did you really loose the dagger by accident? Or was it intentional? Did you really want to kill Vaas? Or were you too cowardly and you didn´t even wanted to push through?´

He feels more confused and hurt than ever. Everything he could always count on faltered and impends to collapse. He believed to know his destiny, his true self to be found within the Rakyat, but now he isn´t even sure who this self really is.

It´s the evening of the fith day and Jason sits by the fire and roasts a meager rat on a stick, when he decides it´s time to face his demons. He no longer can´t shirk the confrontation with Citra and the Rakyat, they probably already know what happend. So why then run away any longer?

He pulls off the of putrefaction tasting meat with his teeth and swallows it disgusted. Afterwards he stamps out the fire and gets his machete out of the small shack. With a heavy heart and the fear and certainty in his guts that he will die, Jason heads to Citras temple.

Somewhere on a hill he finds the bunker again where his journey started and he sighs heavy as he pulls out his rucksack under the pile of leaves. How easy everything was back then, how easy he thought his life was and how much he believed in himself that he could achieve everything he wants to.

It´s the hardest thing that Jason ever had to deal with, the most horrific feeling he ever felt. This uncertainty about what will happen, if Citra is going to kill him and the worst, how dissapointed she will be, almost drives him crazy.

Vaguely the thought that she shouldn´t see him like this comes to his mind. Not so dirty and smelly, if he has to face her this way or another.

´You are pathetic.´

He shuts his eyes and strips slowly, throwing the dirty clothes in a corner and washes himself makeshift with the water in the bottle he had in his backpack.

It doesn´t rinse his body smell off completely and he runs his fingers through his dirty, strangly hair and sighs again. Until now he didn´t even notice that he let himself go that much.

Somehow he doesn´t care, so he puts on semi clean clothes and continues his journey.

His path leads him across the jungle and he doesn´t stop to rest or sleep. A loathsome uneasiness forces him to walk and itches under his skin, he needs to move and do something, he can´t stop and least of all relax. He couldn´t end the thing with Vaas, so he needs to bring this to an end.

The templepath comes in sight through the thicket and his breath stops. It´s dark but he still is able to witness the bright burning bowls from far away, that line the road on both sides. His steps slow down unnoticed and he stops right in front on the stone gate.

He´s dizzy and his mouth in dry, cold sweat built up on his forhead and the fear of the upcoming events sits in his throat and wants to break out every moment as a sharp scream. He´s trembling and it feels like as if his guts would twist around each other, his knees trun soft and for one moment he thinks that he falls unconscious again.

Then his feet start to move on their own and he shambles towards the gate, slowly becomes faster and turns his walk into a light trot. The inner gate opens as if by magic but he hardly even notices it and squeezes through the small gap inside the temple.

Hundreds of Rakyat stare at him. They are all gathered around the great tree and it seems as if they are praying, or were right into a ceremony. All this faces turn confused towards him and look at him with amazed and distorted miens. Jason can´t read their expression and the panic threatens to overpower him. He swallows, gives himself a jerk and walks slowly through the crowd.

The Rakyats heads follow each of his steps with vigilant eyes. Some of them reach their hands out but flinch shortly before they actually touch him, like they could burn themselves on his skin.

Jason wanders through the rows, his gaze rigid and turned straight forward to the entrance of the inner temple complex. He walks through the gateway into the hallway where Citra told him the story of the Giant. Unpleasant memories awaken of her beautiful face and the fascination that she impacted on him when she told him of the demon and the warrior and the fight that a true Rakyat warrior has to overcome.

He also remebers his own fight against the tataumonster and the sex afterwards, but the thought of it no longer makes him shiver in an pleasant way. Instead it triggers a disgusting nausea that takes his breath and drives him crazy. He loved the sex with her, loved her herself. Where are these new sensations coming from?

The picture of Vaas also having sex with her displaces his own memories and he pauses, about to throw up. Why does he think stuff like this, why does he consider Citra would get intimate with her own brother? He has no clue and it appresses him, theres this sensation again that he misses out on something important, something that would change his view.

Two of Citras closest guards wait at the end of the hallway, blocking the way with crossed speers. They shrug only a little bit when they see him, their expresseions stay rigid but Jason notices the slight change still. He stops in front of them and after a moment of uncomfortable silence they step aside and let him pass.

He´s inside and walks up the stairs to the small platform at the very end of the temple complex. The platform where she rid him and he believed he fell in love with her.

His head is empty, a strange whir prevails inside of him and fills him out, seems to surround him. He pants and stumbles, everything in him fights against going forward but he can´t stop.

She turned her back towards him and looks over the sea. He stops a few meters behind and looks at her, stares at her flawless back and her tattoos and his gaze wanders up and down her body. Before the fight her sight aroused him and fullfilled him with joy and happiness. Now theres only fear and reluctance.

It seems like forever how they stay there in complete silence. He sighs quiet, clears his throat and she slowly turns around.

Jason can see how her eyes widen, of hate or surprise he can´t tell. For one moment all they do is staring at each other, he can´t loosen his gaze from her imbuing eyes and feels like they are probing him and disclose the most inner part of his soul.

Then her mouth opens and she says silent, very gently „Jason.“

The way she breathes out his name makes him gasp and a part of him is pleased and wants to fall in this affection. But a different part, the one that still feels the dagger in his chest, fights against that and lets him tremble, lets his sight turn black.

´Are you enjoying my sisters company? Huh? She´s gonna make a warrior out of you.´

He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, opens them again and notices Citra came a few steps closer. Her view is uncomfortable, he could loose himself in those eyes and looks away, stares on his feet. She takes his hand and presses it softly, lifts up his chin with her other hand and looks in his eyes again.

„Jason, the Rakyat worried about you.“

Her voice is still soft as if she wants to stroke him with her words and it confuses Jason, makes his core vibrate in an unpleasant way. Does she plan to weigh him in safety, just to stab him behind back? Or is she serious?

„Jason what happend? We´ve heard that Vaas died, that he got stabbed, but what happend to you? You didn´t come back and I thought, I feared that…“

She pauses as Jason flinches heavily.

´Vaas is dead?´

He heard himself that the pirates wanted him alive, that their boss wanted him. To that he didn´t even came far enough to use his dagger and they wrestled more with each other, than to fight.

´How is this possible?´

He swallows and stares at her aghast, his hands become sweaty and he withdraws from her grip to rub them on his dirty pants. Citras look darkens and she glances at him confused. It almost seems as if shes worried and she lifts up one hand to stroke his cheek, her gaze glides over his emaciated body.

„Jason what´s wrong with you?“

He shrugs and tries to oust the germinating uneasiness and panic. If Citra and the Rakyat believe Vaas is dead then they maybe don´t even know about his failure. Maybe that´s a chance to safe himself from this situation, maybe it is an escape to fight against Vaas again and to be worthy his destiny this time.

Jason forces himself to look back into her eyes and clears his throat, more coughing then everything else and says with a husky and brittle voice „I needed a few days for myself. It was… not easy. I wanted to think about everything in rest before I return to you and the tribe.“

She frowns and a small wrinkle builds up on her perfect forhead. Then she nods lightly, it´s only a subtle movement of her head and she says quietly „I understand that. Vaas wouldn´t have make it easy for you. I know him, he probably whispered things to you and tried to dissuade you from your path.“

Again she takes him by his hand and leads him to a small bowl next to the stoned desk and demands him gentle to sit down. Jason obeys and tries to stay calm, everything inside him screams to jump up and kill something, to let himself go and let the confusion and self-loathing run free. He doesn´t know if and why Vaas should be dead and represses the thought, tries to only concentrate on Citra.

She sits down with him an scoops water out of the small brook that swirls around the plateau and adds some herbs and flowers, mixes everything with a wooden spoon. An oppressive silence rules the scenery and Jason belives to go insane, his innerself still trembles and he needs all of his strength to fight against the panic and to breath deep and slow.

Then Citra talks again, calm and controlled but Jason can still see how agitated she is.

„He left me, the tribe, his birthright. Hoyt Volker lured him away with money. Drugs. He became a monster. But he was still my brother.“

´But it wasn´t enough for her, no.´

„You needed to do it Jason. He was a threat for the Rakyat, my tribe and my home. For us. He was an insane beast, a coward.“

Jason swallows hardly and looks to the ground. He should´ve done it, he should have killed Vaas, but really for Citra and the Rakyat?

Citra lays her fingers again carefully under his chin and looks at him with her lightblue beautiful eyes, not so dissimilar to those of her brothers.

„Jason you did the right thing. I know it is hard but it was important. You are a true warrior and you are worth the Tatau. You are Rakyat.“

´You are me… and I am you.´

The sky slowly lightens up and the world sighs in anticipation of the new day. A red shimmer dips Citra and their surroundings in a warm, eerie and magical light and Jason asks himself if it was Vaas´ destiny to walk the same path like him.

And what made him degenerate into such a monster.

Chapter Text

„Nothing else matters“ by Metallica

 

Somehow he feels empty. There´s everything and yet nothing. The whole anxiety and panic about Citra and the Rakyat slowly subsides and Jason just feels tired and worn out.

He doesn´t understand how it should be possible that Vaas is dead and a part of him doesn´t even want to question it, instead accept the situation. Maybe it even is the truth? Maybe he got killed in the burning Warehouse?

´And why do the Rakyat believe that he got stabbed? Why are they conviced that you killed him?´

It´s true, he can´t weigh himself in the believe that Vaas is dead just because someone spreads those rumors. He wouldn´t find any peace, the uncertainty would chase him and make him become even more insane than he feels already.

He´s sitting quiet by Citras side in the brighter getting morning and drinks the water she gave him, it´s supposed to have a healing effect. If it could only heal the pile of broken glass in his soul.

She still looks at him with that worried expression and strokes his arm gently, but there also lies something different in her gaze. Something Jason doesn´t understand and it frightens him.

Then she says, still with a calm and soft voice „Jason, I know it was hard for you. And the Rakyat can´t thank you enough for what you did. But Hoyt is still out there, he still terrorizes our home and enslaves my tribe.“

Her look becomes pleading and Jason swallows. He senses the need to hug and love her, to hold her tight and be there for her. But the quiet, nervewrecking voice in his head whispers that she doesn´t want that. That she doesn´t need his closeness, only his fightingskills, his bloodlust and loyalty. It closes his throat.

He turns away and she comes closer and strokes upwards his arm, over his chest and down to his crotch. Her touch leaves a burning, unpleasant feeling on his skin. It is confusing and he twitches slightly as her hand grabs his penis through his pants. A part of him wants it, wants this touch and affection.

A different part fights against that and Vaas´ laugh resounds in his mind.

He pushes it away as she slowly draws him onto his back and pulls down his pants.

The sex was nice, at least he thinks it was and that it felt good. When he shut his eyes he was even able to push all his thoughts away for one moment and just gave himself to the soft and arrousing touches.

But as soon as he heard her moaning or saw her naked body pressed against his, this thing in his chest began to stir and he quickly finished the job. He was too tired and just rolled off her, now lying on the small stone desk, still naked with Citra pressed against his side.

The sun rised up completely and warms up his abused and emaciated body. Jason noticed a while ago that he lost a lot of weight in the past few weeks. His muscles doubled up though, but he constantly gets skinnier and feels just worn out and overworked, especially after hard fights.

It seems like all his strength goes right into his emotions. He´s either awake at night or falls from one nightmare into another. During the day all these wrenching and numbing thoughts buzz through his head like a swarm of angry insects and scratch, bite and hurt him.

More frequently he reaches for the bottle or numbs himself with Earnhardts wonderpotions, but even this won´t help him anymore to get his head empty. He feels like he´s breathing flat and pressed all the time, as if there´s too much adrenaline in his blood at any time of the day and he´s shaky and confused.

Normally Citra was able to calm him down, her soft skin against his made him breath more peaceful and her sweet words soothed the monster that crawls in his chest. But these feelings also evaporate slowly and even if he should feel pleased in this moment, he still senses this stirring hunch and rolls restless from side to side.

Citra lifts her head and sits up a little, her expression is unreadable and seems to radiate peace, welfare even. But something inside Jason doesn´t want to relish her loving touches, something refuses vehemently to give himself fully to Citra and to let himself just fall, even if he needs it so badly.

She gives him a soft kiss and Jason returns it, not closing his eyes, rather looking into the blue and cloudless sky. The mindcarousel inside his head slowly speeds up and he doesn´t notice how Citra comes off his side and starts stroking his cheek.

„Jason?“

He twitches and turns his head towards her, looks into those captivating, biting eyes and wishes he could just leave.

„Yes?“

„Jason, what are you going to do? A courier told me that your friends will leave the island soon. Now that Vaas is dead and the boat is almost finished…“

She stops and looks down, continues to stroke his arm and naked torso. Then she turns her gaze up again and looks at him, burning him with her eyes and grabs his hand with both hands.

Jason looks away, he can´t withstand her gaze and sits up. And, without planning it, the words start to gush out of him.

„I won´t go. I am going to stay on this island. I´m not finished yet.“

He feels her getting tense and looks at her, her face seems to brighten up and it almost appears as if she fights down a smile. Maybe it´s just imagination.

„But your friends, what will you tell them?“

Her look wanders down to her hands, still wrapped around his in a protecting way. Or possesive.

He thinks about it and mumbles „I´m just going to explain it to them, they will understand it. They have to. I will kill Hoyt for what he did to me and your tribe. I can´t leave until everthing is done.“

Now she really is smiling and it appreas inappropriate to Jason, somehow wrong. He interrupts those thoughts quickly. He ows all of this Vaas, his hatred speech clung to his brain and he notices how it confuses his mind and makes him feel things he has to fight down.

´Take me into your heart, accept me as your savior, nail me to the fucking cross and let me be reborn!´

´I do the right thing. I want to helpt Citra, become a warrior and free the Rakyat. I want revenge.´

But more than this, more than his wish and the need to avenge his family, he wants to find out the truth. About himself. About Vaas. About his own path and if he really became a monster or if Jason Brody from California still exists.

She swings herself on his lap and pushes him softly back on the desk, he feels her naked crotch against his penis and he feels aroused and disgusted at the same time. Citra starts massaging his chest slowly and talks quiet, with a warm and loving voice.

„How are you planning to kill Hoyt? It sure will be even more difficult than killing Vaas.“

„I met a man, Willis, he does have a contact person in the south. He will take me to the south island and smuggle me in with Hoyts privateers, as soon as he´s ready to go.“

„Clever.“

She stops and moves her hands on his face, fondles it and sinks down on his chest.

„The Rakyat will miss you, when you´re gone.“

„Will they?“

Her fingernails scratch slightly over his skin and goosebumps form on his body, he shivers, even under the hot sun.

„Come back to me. To my tribe. I need you.“

He wants to believe her, wants so bad to just accept that she loves him and that thats the reason she wants him to come back. But he´s not able to shake off the silent doubt in his heart and turns his head away.

They stay a few more hours on the small platform and Citra takes care of him and pampers him, but he can´t relax fully and senses the whole time the quiet impuls to jump up and run away.

Time flies by and they finally get dressed and he gives her a last kiss and promises to come back as soon as he talked to his friends.

On his way out of the temple he passes Dennis. He´s clearly drunk and leans with a bottle in his hand on the green, covered with moss, templewalls. It almost looks like he´s been waiting for him.

„Jason! You want to leave us already?“

„Hey Dennis, yes I…“

But the man interrupts him and chuckles quietly, then says with a gurgling voice „You´re busy working for Citra? Yes, hmm? I heard you killed that bastard. Was it hard? Do you feel better now? Revenge for your brother, no?“

„Dennis, what do you want? I honestly don´t have much time, ok?“

Jason notices how Dennis sways a bit and how he tries to move a few shaky steps towards him. Dennis lays a hand on Jasons shoulder, a bit to forceful and rough to call it friendly.

„Jason, you know… we aren´t so different, you and I. I also came here as an outsider. Citra found me, she saw the… potential in me. She made me become a warrior Jason, yes she did that. A warrior like you want to become. She freed me Jason.“

He pulls on Jasons shoulder and it hurts, Jason wiggles himself free as good as he can and steps back. Something is wrong and he tries again, saying „Dennis listen, I really have a shit tone of work to do, it is…“

„It´s ok, Jason, it´s ok. I understand that. You still have a long way to go.“

He takes another sip of his bottle and babbles „Citra, you know, she´s with me. She freed me, yes, she freed me.“

Jason tries to smile but the corners of his mouth won´t obey. Instead he pats Dennis´ shoulder and nods, he doesn´t understand the point of this. Dennis laughs, waves off and mumbles „Just go boy, go. You have a lot of work Jason, lot of shit.“

He doens´t like how Dennis calls him ´boy´ and all he can do is nod again and this time his put on smile suceeds. Jason turns around and he´s almost gone through the gate when Dennis laughs behind him „Good luck on your fortune… I mean… Your mission, yes.“

And once again the quiet voice inside him whispers that he´s missing out on something.

The way to Earnhardts house is long, he needs o fight his way across the jungle. He surprisingly doesn´t meet a lot of pirates on his way, only two times he has to hide in the scrub of some jeeps. But other the those little incidents it´s calm and he´s got way to much time to think.

How should he explain to his friends that he´s not going back with them? There´s no explanation which would sound sane, they could never understand it. In Citras temple he was easily able to promise to push this thing through. The thought that he took too much to handle again comes up and he feels the need to get himself a drink or one of those wonderful pills the doc has alway on hand.

Unwillingly he has to think about Vaas and of what Citra told him. That Hoyt lured him away with money and drugs, that he´s high and erratic all the time. He would lie if he wouldn´t see a certain similarity between both of them and this thought makes him retch.

´Not the warriorpath makes you like that, that´s your selfdoubt. Just push everything away that could be a burden to you and it will get better. It has to get better.´

He stops at a bar on road to drink himself some courage and occurs to himself like the pittiest coward on earth. Liza comes to his mind again and again and how shitty he treated her. He doesn´t even remember the last time he talked to her in a decent way. Let alone treated her with respect.

The relationship with her may have been over even before they came to this island, but she still doesn´t desvere to be let down by him and to be betrayed by him with another, little known to him woman. She deserves something better and with this thought he plunges down a few more drinks.

Somewhere in the middle of the night he arrives drunk and sweaty at the doctors house and heads directly to the cave underneath. His heart lies heavy in his chest and he feels the monster inside him, even through his clouded mind, raging.

His friends are gathered around a small fireplace and cook some food in a pot. Keith seems to fell asleep laying on his side, Oliver smokes a joint and Liza and Daisy sit closely crowded together by the fire and stir the meal.

It smells like a tasty stew and Jasons mouth gets watery, he didn´t even notice that he hasn´t eaten the whole day.

At first they don´t notice him, the girls talk to each other quiet and Oliver lsitens to them, chuckles from time to time and takes a hit of his pretty strong joint. Liza suddenly pauses and turns her head towards him, her jaw drops a little and she jumps up.

She throws her arms around his neck and he swallows hard and fights down the impuls to to hug her back. It is better if he doesn´t make it more difficult than it already is. Daisy and Oliver also stand up and come towards them, but stop a few meters away.

Liza takes a step back and kisses his cheek, her eyes sparkle with tears and he already feels like shit, even if he hasn´t said a single word yet.

„Thank god you´re alright, we worried about you! You haven´t shown up for days, we didn´t knew where you were and thought something happend to you.“

She stops, then says quiet and with a worried voice „Are you drunk? Jason, what´s wrong?“

He stays silent and grabs her by the arms to push her away from him. Her eyes widen and she opens her mouth, looks at him confused. Then she stammers „Jason, is everything ok?“

„I´m fine Liza.“

A sarcastic undertone creeps into his voice and he hates himself for it. The others also seem to notice it and Daisy narrows her eyes.

„If you say so. The boat is almost ready, we can finally go home.“

Daisy looks at him examining, apparently waiting for an answer. He grinds his teeth, everything spins a little. Then he finaly clears his throat and proclaims with a somewhat sterdy voice „I won´t come with you, I´m staying here.“

For what feels like ages theres only stunned silence and he can almost feel how appelled his friends are. Liza breaks the silence first and bursts out into tears, sobbing „Are you serious? Jason, what the hell are you talking about?“

Daisy and Oliver also stare at him with dismay and Jason looks to the ground. He turns up his gaze again and says with a hard voice „I need to do this, ok? I can´t leave. I need to finally know who I am and I believe I will find that out right here. There´s so much stuff left to do, I can´t go now!“

Liza sobs louder, turns around and walks towards the boat. Daisy stares at him a little longer, then goes after her. Jasons gaze wanders to Oliver and his friend looks sad and mumbles „Man, do you really want to do this? You´re kidding me right? We can finally leave, that´s what we worked for the whole time, no? You can´t stay here alone, if it has to be I´m going to stay with you. I´m better here with the doc than in Cali anyways, right?“

It touches Jason somehow and he swallows the need to give Oliver a well meaned pat on the shoulder.

Instead he says „I´m ok Olie. But you need to go back, someone has to explain it to my mom. And you need to take care of the girls, they need you. I appreciate that buddy, honestly, but I will be fine.“

Oliver opens his mouth to say something but then he just reaches out his hand and as Jason takes it, he pulls him into a hug.

„Take care of you bro. Whatever you do out there, be careful.“

Jason nods, hits Olivers shoulder and turns around to the girls. Daisy lopped her arms protecting around Liza and tries to comfort her, but as Jason comes closer Liza pulls away and pants with a broken, drowend in tears voice „I´ve waited so long for you to grown up. I tried so long to be there for you and to support you. And now you´re leaving me? Why?“

He doesn´t know what to say. His head is empty in the only moment he wishes he could give her an proper answer. But all what leaves his mouth is „Goodbye, Liza.“

She howls and burries her face in her hands. Jason looks away, waves to Oliver one last time and leaves the cave. Like a coward, it feels like.

Right before the exit he witnesses fast footsteps behind him and a harsh hand pulls him around on his shoulder. It´s Daisy, she´s a little out of breath and her face is reserved, the expression in it hard. Jason tries to slough off her hand but she grabs him harder and pulls him closer to her.

„Jason we need to talk.“

He again pulls on her hand, rougher than he intended and growls „Daisy, there´s nothing to talk about, the thing with Liza is over. I won´t change my mind!“

Be she stays persistent and grabs his shoulder even tighter, her fingernails dig into his skin and it hurts.

„It´s not about Liza. Jason, what the hell is going on? You hardly show up here anymore and if we get to see you, you´re either high or pissed off. Your weird tattoo gets bigger everytime we see you, let alone that you become more and more skinny and you look like shit.“

He moans and brushes her hand harshly off his shoulder.

„Thank you very much, if the only reason you wanted to talk to me is so you can tell me how shitty I look, you should save up your breath and leave me the fuck alone.“

„Jason god dammit we worry about you; I worry about you! Didn´t you notice by now that you aren´t yourself anymore? You´ve changed, but not for the better. How did you imagine growing up? Running through the jungle and slaughtering people is what you call finding your path and becoming a man? Jason, do you even realize what you are doing there?“

The words hurt, burn inside his brain and scoff through the fog of his thoughts and the alcohol. She´s right, Jason knows it, but he won´t let it close to him, there´s no going back.

„How the fuck should I have survived? God dammit, I get attacked by pirates almost every fucking day and all of them want to kill me, just because I escaped Vaas. Because I freed all of you. I saved you, took care of you and brought you here, one after another. I did that and no one else!“

Dasiy looks at him shocked. She takes his hand but Jason tears it away. He feels outraged, angry and hurt. All he wants is for this to be finally over.

„Jason… I can understand that you want to know who you are. I can also undertand that it´s not easy out there. But you´re not helping yourself when you fight other peoples wars. You´re hanging with these Rakyat people and tattoe yourself with their symbols and talk about becoming a warrior. Jason you are not a Rakyat! You´re not from here and this isn´t your fight. Tell me, when you killed that Vaas guy, did it still feel like winning?“

Her words cut so deeply in his mind that for one moment he´s unable to speak. Then he mumbles „How do you know that?“

Daisy pulls him even closer and says quiet and occupied „The doctor told me. The others don´t know anything, I didn´t want to worry them. A few pirates came to buy drugs and talked about the death of Vaas, their boss or whatever. They said the white boy did it. Jason you´re not okay and you know that. And this murder doesn´t make it better, I know that. Come to your senses, revenge won´t bring you forward it only pulls you deeper into the jungle!“

The anger earns the upper hand again and he slips out of her grip, his hands sweat and he feels an unpleasant heat and neausea.

„You said yourself that whoever killed Grant deserves to die. Vaas did it, Vaas killed him and tried killing me several times as well! He deserved to die, he deserved to croak like a mangy cur. What´s your problem?

She´s silent again and looks to the ground. As she talks, her voice isn´t any louder than a whisper.

„I know I said that. And it still hurts damn much when I think of Grant. He meant everything to me, do you understand that? All three of you meaned everything to me, you were like a family to me. And now only you is left and you plan to leave us. It´s not about me wanting to tie you to me, moreso that I notice that you are not okay and that you´re about to become something you would have never wanted. Something Grant and Riley wouldn´t have wanted.“

The monster inside him roars and too late Jason notices that it´s not anger what makes him tremble, but endless grief which flushes him fully. Silent tears stream down his face and he feels wrong, empty and left behind. He´s not a warrior. He´s lost and lonely.

„If you think it helps you to stay here, then I won´t hold you back. But never forget who you are, Jason. Never forget that there are still people caring about you. And never forget that someday, sometime there´s no going back.“

Chapter Text

„Hearing Damage“ by Thom Yorke

 

His sight is blurry and he hardly sees anything as he stumbles out of the cave into the dark night. The tears left hot, wet traces on his cheeks and his skin burns, he feels so tired and yet so awake. Everything inside him screams in desperation to kill something, he wants to let out the pain and frustration, wants to let go of himself and evaporate.

Wants to give himself to the madness.

Jason´s feet carry him automatically to Earnhardt’s small shack and he sinks down on a chair and rests his arms on his knees, his head falls into his hands. His fingers touch the wet skin on his cheeks and the old hate creeps back, Jason wipes away the tears with his T-shirt and pulls up the snot that almost runs out his nose.

He doesn´t want to cry because of a bagatelle like this and presses the palm of his hands into his eyes until he starts seeing colorful patterns lighting up. He did the right thing.

It´s hard to get his thoughts together and even harder to focus. Jason takes a deep breath and rubs his numb face; his heart is empty besides the glowing hate for whoever he decides to blame for this situation. He needs to find out what happened to Vaas. If even his pirates run around and spread the rumor that he killed him, it´s becoming more and more unlikely to be true.

Maybe Vaas faked his own death and all of this was just a show, just a theatre with him in the leading role as the dumbass. He shudders, this thought makes him tremble and panic lies heavy on his chest. Vaas´ corpse needs to either disappear or he needs to stab him and drape him so a warrior would find the body and confirm his death.

It´s obvious that he must find that son of a bitch as soon as possible, time doesn´t hold back. Preferably before Willis drops him on Hoyts island.

Jason is so caught up in his mind that he doesn´t notice the door opening silent and a single person slipping in. The figure comes closer, reaches out and touches his shoulder with cold and wrinkly fingers, Jason flinches and looks right in the doctor’s face.

The old man seems to be as tired as him and the grip on his shoulder gets tighter. It´s an unpleasant feeling, he still feels Daisy’s iron grip in it and the memory of her words feed the monster inside him with fresh meat.

But the doctor let´s go of him before Jason can shake off his hand. For a moment it seems as if Earnhardt is about to say something, but then he presses his lips together and breathes out, sighing. His gaze wanders through the room and stops at a molding, covered in moss chair.

His eyes twitch back to Jason, as if he wants to make sure he wouldn´t just disappear when he turns his back towards him. Then he slowly shambles to the chair and pulls the rotting thing over to his visitor. He sits down by his side and rests his arms on the small desk besides them.

Still silent Earnhardt starts pulling out a few small baggies of his jacket. Jason knows too well what they contain. Curious and reluctant at the same time he sits up a little and watches the doctor emptying the bags in small bowls, sorting every color different pill with surgical accuracy.

He´s too tired and worn out to bring up the strength to ask Earnhardt what he wants. In his dizzy mind state, he doesn´t even think about the fact, that it´s actually the doctors shack and that he´s the one who broke in.

But Earnhardt also seems too distracted, or maybe just too high, to ask him what he´s doing in his mini lab, so neither of them makes the effort to interrupt the silence with words. The hush isn´t unpleasant to Jason, in some way he even enjoys it and as the minutes turn to hours he leans back relaxing and watches the doc work.

The sky slowly shifts from pitch black to a dull grey and the old man finally also leans back and lights up a cigarette. Calm and with raised eyebrows he passes the cigarette after three longs hits to Jason and he accepts it, being well aware of the strong, unmistakable smell of marihuana and cheap tobacco.

Way too fast the weed develops its effect and he becomes dizzy and lightweight, everything starts to spin a little. But the monster that spooks around in his head slowly start to relax too and he decides to let the inebriation happen. It´s nice to not have to think, it feels good to turn off his head and he doesn’t even notice that addictions are born out of feelings like this.

Then the doctor finally breaks the silence.

It takes Jason a moment to read the noises, that break through the thick layer of cotton, as words. He bends forward, as if this could make him hear any better, and narrows his eyes.

„Jason, you know how this island works. Why do you want to stay here?“

Only two simple sentences, but for Jason they hang confusing and incomprehensible between them. It takes him a lot to concentrate and with the exhaustion all the poisoned thoughts rise again and detain in his head.

Maybe they were never really gone, instead just asleep.

He swallows and takes his time to lay the words in the right direction before they come over his lips. Way too often in the past few weeks he spoke without thinking and got caught up in things that are not only too big for his own horizon, but also seem dangerous enough to eat him alive.

„I... I don´t know. I still have things to do, I need to find answers. I´m not done yet, there are things I need to know, things I need to process. “

He stops, trembling. Unwillingly the next words flood over his lips and he decides it doesn´t matter.

“I need to find out the truth. About me and the Rakyat. About what happened here. It feels like I stirred in shit and I´m not able to get it off my hands until I pulled this thing through.”

He looks down, thinking. Across him Earnhardt nods lightly, even his interlocutor can´t see it. He inhales the numbing smoke deeply and seems to battle his own monsters.

The silence takes so long that Jason almost forgets that they talked to each other. But then, suddenly and with a calm, almost normal voice that banned the old pain and madness, the old man says “The island will change you, Jason. It will dig into your soul and mind and will never let go of you. It will eat you and throw you up, tear you apart and put you back together repeatedly until nothing´s left. You wouldn´t be the first and certainly not the last one.”

Fear squeezes abruptly between all the clouded thoughts and represses them from their places, fills out his head and takes control over him. Before he answers, Jason reaches one more time for the joint and takes a deep hit. Marihuana immediately climbs up into his head, calms his tingling limbs and tames the panic a little bit.

He answers Earnhardt with a slow and heavy voice, as if he has trouble letting the words in his head flow out of his mouth “What do you mean by that? Who did it happen to?”

He feels the fatigue rolling over him in waves, it threatens to pull him into its black deeps. Earnhardt’s following words come from far away and sound quiet, Jason´s mind shuts down and he barely notices his surroundings anymore.

“There once was a man among the Rakyat that could have been their leader. He was the strongest one and the most loyal. He could´ve had anything, but this island has nothing to give, it only takes. Itself and all creatures on it. Everyone only takes, takes and takes until nothing´s left. It took him too.”

The doctor stops once again, like he wants to let his own words wander through his mind, to make sure he indeed said them out loud and it wasn´t just a train of though.

Then he pulls Jason onto his feet and guides him to his house and while the young man sinks down half asleep on his couch, the old one mumbles “You better should have a really good reason to stay here. Your reason should be worth it and you should do it out of the right feelings. Open your eyes Jason, the jungle is already too close around you.”

He can´t lose the feeling that the doctor is hiding something.

It´s already the morning of the following day and Jason opens his burning, crusty eyes slowly. His vision is bleary and shame crawls over him as he notices where he slept the past day. The house is in its well known chaos and on a small desk to his right and few contagious looking substances bubble in test tubes.

The air smells of stale smoke, sulfur and sour sweat and it takes Jason a few moments to recognize it as his own body smell. He grimaces and turns his head disgusted as far away from his body as possible.

His feet sink down to the floor and he slowly sits up, both of his hands rest besides his body on the couch. He vaguely remembers the past evening and quickly pushes the memory away.

It´s over. Now it´s important for him to look forward and to continue, even if he more and more forgets for what exactly. In an alarmingly long moment the thought flushes through his head, that Grant´s memory starts to fade already and it hurts in his chest when he tries to remember his voice and face.

All he can conjure up is the picture of Grant in the dust, how he pressed his hands on his throat and wanted to stop the bleeding. Jason shakes his head vigorous, tries to evict this picture and comes on his feet, shaking. Hopefully taking revenge on Vaas will burn this picture out of his brain so he never has to remember this nightmare again.

The voice in his head laughs and whispers that nothing in this world can make this picture undone.

He wanders through the living room sleepy and rubs his eyes, they are crusty and sleep still clings to the corner of his eye. The last time he slept this long was back in America and it almost feels too good for him to be true. As if someone would break in the house every moment and starts shooting at him.

But the house stays silent and besides the chirping birds in the trees outside, everything is peaceful and quiet. He tries to calm his own breath and stalks to a small kitchen table. Earnhardt left a small note for him in his rickety, close together lying hand writing and Jason needs to hold it close to his face to be able to decipher it.

´I must prepare a large delivery for the pirates. There are fresh close and something to eat for you on the table, you can use the bathroom down the floor. Please leave until the evening, I will return and probably bring some of your ´friends´ with me. Earnhardt.´

His eyes wander over the messy desk and stop on a bundle of clothes and a small plate, covered by a pot. He notes in his mind that he wants to return the favor somehow and thankfully accepts the offer.

Afterwards he feels better, fresh and rested. The break was surely needed and while he scoffs down the tasteless, mushy stew something that feels like the will to live comes back to his body. His mind feels more awake and after his breakfast he gathers his weapons, throws away his old and dirty clothes and heads across the jungle.

Jason has no clue where to go, let alone where he should begin with his search for Vaas. He could be everywhere on this island; he even could be hiding on the south island in Hoyt´s fortress and that would be more than bad for him.

This could endanger the whole mission, the bastard knows what he looks like after all and probably would immediately traitor him to Hoyt, if he hasn´t given him a description of him already.

It´s very unlikely that Hoyts isn´t inaugurated in Vaas´ faked death. He probably was the one who planned it and Vaas was happy to play once again with Jason´s mind and all of this was a tactical maneuver to keep the Rakyat off his back.

The old anger starts to germinate in Jason, of Vaas and those fucking pirates, Hoyt and this damn island. It appears to him as if everything and everyone wants to fool him, as if he´s a chess piece that the big men indiscriminately push from side to side, until he becomes too troublesome and they kick him off the board.

Quietly the voice in his head groans that Citra also is a mastermind on this island, that she also pushes figures across the board and that he became her most important one. No one expects the rook that got almost eliminated and came back from the dead to checkmate the opposing king.

But maybe the rook also doesn´t expect the knight of the king, hiding in the shadow and waiting for the perfect moment to sweep him off the board, again and this time destroying him completely.

´You need to be faster. Quicker, more brutal and unscrupulous. You can only move forward if you are the worse enemy, the worse ulcer, the more painful tumor.´

Haphazardly he fights his way through the jungle, his feet walk on their own and carry him through the thicket and Jason doesn´t know where they would bring him. He just needs to move, needs to be busy and most important needs to empty his head and maybe do all of this for once without the help of drugs.

Citra herself likes to use blurring substances, but Jason barely believes that she imagines her perfect warrior as a junkie. Especially since she called her own brother pejorative in this way.

The machete cuts with a bashing sound through lush green and he suddenly stops bewildered when his arm hits emptiness and a glade opens in front of him.

At first, he doesn´t recognize the place, the sun stings bright down on him and he squints, protecting his eyes with one hand. Slowly he gets used to the sudden brightness and the sudden realization where he is, hits him hard.

Doubtful he takes a few steps towards the gaping hole in the ground, gras turns to moss, moss to stone. Then his toes hit the rim of the cenote and he carefully peeks over the edge into the abyss.

The sun reflects on the clear water surface and he notices the small dots on the ground of the waterhole, they seem to grin and call his name sneering, almost like wisps. Apparently, the actual nightmare of this hole, the wet mass grave, becomes visible only on nice days like this one.

Jason´s stomach twitches and he stalks back startled; panic tries to work its way from his heart to the outside and he has trouble fighting it down. He remains in shock, like a rabbit, but only for a heartbeat long moment. Then he steps towards the hole again. His eyes rest on the water, he stares on the massive amount of small dots and remembers his own experience in the cenote.

Odium sprouts in his guts like a plant that searches for light and urges its way through his body to the surface. He wants to scream, to cry, to kill something. All the torture that he survived on this island comes to his mind again and his heart flips.

His surrounding is still calm and silent, once again too calm and a hoarse roar escapes his lunges. The hate in his chest collapses as fast as it grew and he sinks down on his knees helpless.

He almost tips over and quickly sits down, letting his legs hang over the edge. The enticement to simply jump flashes through his brain. But he knows all too well that this wouldn´t kill him. Which is good, right?

He grinds his teeth and feels it crack under his ear. His hands rest on the blank stone edge and he keeps his gaze rigid to the water, forgets his surroundings and loses himself between the scornful dots.

Time flies by, Jason doesn´t notice how much until something around him changes. Like a cautious animal he senses the presence of a predator before he sees it. He almost jumps up, his hand on his machete but the other one is faster.

A harsh kick in his back almost tears him off the cliff and he convulsive clings to the edge, his legs clinch to the wall and he pants as he tilts forward and barely holds himself up.

Behind him he hears a manic laughter, a way to familiar, terrifying laughter and bile comes up into his mouth. Within seconds he falls back into his hunting instinct, jumping up and pulling out his gun, aiming for the other guy before he even turned fully around.

Something inside him drops and he steps forward, unlocking his weapon without taking it off the other man’s head.

“Vaas.”

The name leaves his mouth more growling than talking and a deep rumble comes off his chest. The temptation to pull the trigger is high, but the voice inside him holds him back, demands him to wait.

Vaas laughs again and lifts his hands up in the air, like he wants to welcome Jason warmly and roars “Jason, hermano! I almost thought you were surprised to see me, by the dumb fucking look on your face. Well surprise motherfucker, you didn´t really think it would be that easy to kill me, right? You always have to make sure that you really killed the fucker you aimed for, hermano, you always have to be sure!”

Jason narrows his eyes and takes another step towards Vaas. Rage, hate and despair boil inside him and his finger twitches on the trigger.

Vaas notices it before he does himself and is with two quick steps by his side, pulls out his own gun and aims for Jason´s head. He grins perky and his eyes sparkle, they mince around each other slowly, both of them cling to their weapon with a harsh grip and Jason feels how the gun in his hand starts to tremble of strain.

“What do you want?” he finally presses through gritted teeth. “How did you find me here?”

Vaas clicks his tongue and waves with his gun from left to right, without taking it off Jason´s face.

“Jason, Jason, Jason. I believe that isn´t much of your fucking business, eh? I don´t ask you either what the fuck you are doing this whole fucking time on my damn island, no?”

They stop and Jason feels the sun burn in his back. He´s dizzy and has a headache, the stew the doctor made him rumbles in his stomach and it feels like this isn´t reality. He really should pull the trigger, in this condition Vaas wouldn´t even need a weapon to kill him.

And as if he read his thoughts, the other man snarls “Come on, asshole, what are you waiting for? Don´t you want to pull the trigger and finally finish you fucking job? Eh? Come on Jason, don´t be a pussy for once and pull the trigger god dammit!”

His finger bends, the trigger starts creaking and he remembers that the Rakyat believe that Vaas got stabbed and that a giant hole in his head wouldn´t be good for this theory. There isn´t any sane reason to shoot him in the head when he already killed him with the dagger, right?

He hesitates, wants this so bad. But he knows it, before he slowly takes his finger off the trigger, knows he won´t do it and Vaas´ grin becomes wider, he takes down his own gun and bursts into guffaw. Jason flinches by the bright sound of his voice and holds back a scream, he feels fooled and still aims on his opponent even they both know that he won´t pull the trigger.

Vaas rubs his eyes, laughing tears and say out of breath and from time to time interrupted by a chuckle “You´re so pathetic Jason, I mean look at you! You´re a fucking coward, a craven son of a bitch! You´re standing there, with a fucking gun, aiming for my god damn head and you can´t pull it off to finally shoot! And Citra wants to make a warrior out of you, that’s fucking pathetic!”

There it is again.

´She´s gonna make a warrior out of you.´

´Good luck on your fortune… I mean… your mission, yes!´

He takes a tiny step in Vaas´ direction and tenses the arm that holds the gun, the other man doesn´t step back, instead waits and stares at him with pervasive, mad eyes that eat his soul.

“What the fuck is wrong with you? And what the fucking hell do you want, Vaas? I don´t think you have the guts either, otherwise I wouldn´t be standing here, right?”

To his surprise his opponent raises an eyebrow and clicks his tongue, this time deprecating and growls “How ´bout you use your fucking brain, just for once cocksucker. You come here, in my fucking jungle, you slaughter my fucking men and you think you´re one of us. A warrior, you stupid fuck. But all you really are is a fucking dog and you think you´re going to lead the Rakyat? You do the same shit over and over again Jas, you dig over and over again in the same shit and you´re hoping that something changes. And you call me insane? You wretched white boy believe to know how the jungle works, how this island and this fucking life here works. You know shit!”

Vaas moves towards him and Jason withstands the impulse to back away. The others body language changed, he´s tense and Jason notices that he´s about to jump and clings to his weapon.

“You aren´t any better! You´re running after me, trying to kill me and talk the same shit again and again; you do the same shit again and again and then act surprised that everyone thinks you´re fucking crazy? Do you really think someone cares for the shit you´re talking? Do you think someone takes that bullshit serious?”

Vaas´ grin becomes even wider and it equals more a shark´s one, than looking human. He bears a row of evenly white teeth and chuckles dark with a mocking voice “Oh yeah, is that so? That´s why you sit here, swinging your measly white balls over this god damn hole, thinking about the shit I blow in your head!”

Once again, the words hurt because it´s true, he can´t forget all the things Vaas whispered right into his mind. They poison him, attack his thoughts like a virus and make him doubt, take away the ability to do and see what´s right.

Rage boils hot under his surface and he has trouble to keep his voice calm, feeling the screech that sits in his throat and it takes him effort to also talk in a mocking voice. He doesn´t want to respond to Vaas´ derision, doesn´t want to give him more room for a fight. This conversation is done.

“By the way, why are you always talking about ´your´ island? Why are you complaining I killed ´your´ men and terrorize ´your´ little holiday paradise? You crawl up Hoyts ass because he´s the one with the fucking balls, you´re just a well-trained lap dog and you act like you´re the one with the power. Use your own fucking brain, you´re getting exploited, you´re nothing more than a cheap bitch which Hoyt can control with a little bit of money and drugs. Tell me Vaas, how many privateers had your ass until you got promoted for the pirate king, hmm?”

Vaas´ eyes darken and he growls. Jason jumps towards him, the gun lifted upwards to hit his temple but Vaas is faster. He dodges and jumps to the right, grabs Jason around his hip and rams his knee into his crotch.

Jason pants and gasps for air, hanging over the other man’s shoulder and wants to writhe but forces himself to beat the others back with his fists, clinging to the pirates wifebeater.

It´s more of a wrestle than an actual exchange of blows and all the sudden Jason notices how Vaas starts pushing him backwards. Panic twitches through his head, he stands with his back turned to the cenote and tries to fight but is still not able to straighten up.

Vaas´ face is too close and he grins again, Jason feels his warm, fresh breath on his face and opens his eyes in panic. The mad one bares his teeth and snarls “Pickaboo motherfucker!”

A hard push against Jason´s chest throws him off his feet and he falls over the cliff. He screams and grabs hectic for anything to get a grip, but all his hand gets to grab is Vaas´ leather necklace.

With a snap the thin band breaks and he plunges down backwards.

The brunt hits him hard and presses all the air out of his lunges. He sinks down a few meters until he manages to swim back to the surface and takes a deep, hurtful breath, trying frantic to stay up. He lifts his head, looks through the hole into the blue sky and finds Vaas´ head on the edge of the cenote; he bends down to him.

Jason gasps for air and coughs, screaming “You fucking bastard, I will skin you alive and make you eat it, fucking son of a bitch!”

His voice turned into a gurgling screech and Vaas´ laughter resounds from the stone walls.

“We´ll see hermano, we´ll see.”

Then he´s gone and Jason stares upwards aghast before he turns to swim slowly to the exit of the cave, feeling the sharp pain in his testicles and lunges prominent. He rolls on the stone shore, breathing heavily and pressing Vaas´ necklace against his chest as if it could safe him from drowning.

Chapter Text

“Losing It” by FISHER

 

He stares to the dripping wet stone wall, unable to move or think. Minutes pass and all he can hear is the splashing sound of the water and his racing heart, flapping in his chest like a bird that tries to break out of his cage.

The lump in his throat gets bigger and bigger, Jason feels how it wants to crawl out of his mouth to become a horrific shriek. But nothing happens, the lump stays in its uncomfortable position and desperation starts to burn under his skin.

All he had to do was to pull the trigger.

To bend his finger, only for a few millimeters and the story would have ended, Alice would have drowned in the rabbit hole.

But would it really be over? Jason doubts it more and more that he could escape the constantly repeating mantra. Maybe it just isn´t supposed to be done. Maybe it´s his personal limbo.

It´s already dawn outside the cave and a bear roars in the distance, the jungle wakes up and with it the thunder in Jason´s head. He shivers on the cold stone, his skin forms goosebumps and he rubs his undercooled arms.

´That fucking son of a bitch.´

He can still hear Vaas´ laughter, it´s almost like it clings to the stone walls and resounds, getting louder the more he tries to ignore it and it drives him crazy; it bites and itches under his skin, constantly reminding him of the fact that he is not able to kill his enemy, that he´s not able to take the last step and that he failed.

It´s more an urge than an actual thought, the need to take revenge, the need to prove to himself that he´s more than this. More than all the others thought. More than a failure.

The monster in his chest whispers the next steps with a sweet and comforting voice, like it´s crystal clear that he has to kill Vaas before he does anything else on this island, before he searches for Hoyt and finishes his warrior path. This is personal and has nothing to do with anyone else. It´s his demon.

Yet it still confuses him that he doesn´t know which loss would be worse, his friends or Citra. That he doesn´t know who he wants to protect more. Even if he said goodbye to his friends and treated them rudely there´s still a concern, the quiet hope that they escape this island safely and the wish that they´re going to be fine.

Like the last little bit of humanity that he´s able to maintain.

On the other side there´s Citra, with her beautiful body, her loving smile, and the promise that she can give him the answers that would kill the monster inside him and bring him peace.

Too late he recognizes the snarling voice in his head as his own.

´You couldn´t find what you searched for by now, right? Why do you think she will give you what you want, if you only do what she desires? When you continue running through the labyrinth like a rat?´

´And that´s what Citra does to you, right? She turns you fuckers into rats and now I have to deal with the rodent problem. But that´s what brothers are good for, right?´

He swallows and sits up. Vaas´ words lie heavy in his stomach and he trembles.

´How many were there before me; how many walked the same path that I walk? ´

He shrugs, a bitter taste lies on his tongue and poisons his mouth.

´The more important question is, where are they now? And why is Vaas in the position, he is now?´

Jason pinches his arms, scratches over his skin and tries to shake off those feelings, tries to shake off Vaas. He can feel him detain in his head, wavering around like poisoned fog and taking away his ability to think clear, feeding the urge to kill and to float in drugs.

His facade crumbles and the fear of what will happen if he finally yields the beast is worse than everything else.

He doesn´t want to be a monster. He doesn´t want to be like Vaas.

Heavily breathing Jason finally comes up to his feet and shakes himself like a wet dog. He brushes through his hair with his fingers and sweeps the wet strands out of his face. His feet are shaky and he slowly walks towards the waterfall.

He´s almost outside the cave when he finally notices the small object in his hand and stops, looking down.

It´s Vaas´ necklace, the thin leather band is intertwined with his fingers and the small green stone lies heavy in the palm of his hand, shimmering green in the pale evening light and Jason is almost hypnotized for a moment.

Then he flinches and pulls out to sink the small necklace in the water. Right in the middle of the movement he stops again and lowers his arm. Something holds him back and he stares down. The jewel sparkles softly in the red evening sun and he frowns as he looks at it more closely.

The leather band looks frayed and greasy, as if Vaas takes it off seldom and the necklace witnessed a lot of fights. It looks outworn, in some places the leather is thin and brittle, but the stone is nearly unscathed and still shiny, except for two little scratches.

He considers for a moment and finally ties the broken band behind his neck, hiding the pendant under his T-shirt. The feeling that he took something from Vaas that could be important to him quickens Jason and warms his guts. He won´t take it off until he finished what he´s supposed to do.

The small jewel lies heavy on his chest and seems to pull him down. Unwitting he stretches his neck, lifts his shoulders, and leaves the cave.

~ ~ ~

The air is humid and smells of smoke, unwashed bodies, and the unmistakable metallic smell of blood.

Jason lies in the gras on his stomach and peeks through the rifle scope of his M-700 down to an outpost. Carefully he moves the shaft of his gun with the slow, lazy movements of the pirates and surveys different men, trying to remember where the alarms are and counts 27 bodies in total.

His last meetup with Vaas was a week ago and he had plenty of time to make plans. Many possible scenarios formed in his head, one more bizarre and brutal than the other.

He finally concluded that it would be the easiest to ambush Vaas directly in his own camp, maybe even in his shack and kill him when he feels the safest. Probably when he got high, had a party and a good fuck, being totally worn out and drugged.

The imagination of finding him naked, vulnerable, and seeing his surprised face when he stabs the machete in his heart, satisfied him immensely. It urged him to this outpost, where most of the deliveries get stored before they finally arrive in Vaas´ camp or leave to get shipped in the whole world.

He hopes that he can avoid fighting the whole fortress and instead sneak in from behind. The plan also includes a pirate that’s either dumb enough to tell him on his own how Vaas´ camp is built, his manners and hobbies, or he gets the right treatment to do so.

A mad grin creeps on his face and for the first time in ages the old instinct comes back, the euphoria right before he runs into a fight and starts a wave of chaos.

It feels so good and in moments like this he remembers why he is Citra’s warrior. Why she chose him and not Dennis, or one of his friends, or another Rakyat.

Because he can do it, because he´s born to do it and the killing lies in his blood, flows in warm, thick rivers through his veins and pushes him forward. It´s his nature, he can´t deny it no matter how much he tries.

At least he´s able to calm the monster down by believing that he´s still the hero in his own little story.

The sky is cloudy today and under the thick cloud cover the wet heat retains and turns the island into a greenhouse. It won´t be long until it unloads into a heavy storm and Jason desperately needs it. He can´t stand the humid air, it makes him sluggish and tired, makes every move harder like he´s stuck in a swamp. It´s disgusting.

Suddenly a truck drives through the gate of the dirty outpost and stops in the middle of the court. Pirates pull up the tarp and drive out a few people with bags on their head, line them up and push them on their knees.

They made hostages and apparently plan to enslave and sell them. Or worse.

It should disgust Jason, scare him, or let him feel compassionate. But all what shoots through his head is that he probably is going to have an easy game when the pirates are busy, but it also impends it if any Rakyat recognizes him.

Jason looks to the edge of the camp, only a few tired pirates guard the fence and the gate, it probably would be the best to stay close to the rim and hide in the shade.

He slowly takes down his sniper rifle and hangs the cobbled leather band over his shoulder, comes up panting and sneaks down the hill.

The shouting becomes louder and now he also witnesses the weepy, pleading voices of the Rakyat. Vaguely the thought pops up to free them, but he quickly rejects it. He would have to take down the whole outpost and doesn´t have time for that, Vaas could travel to the south islands any moment, especially if Jason attacks the most important outposts this close to Vaas´ own camp.

Vaas could also attack Citra in revenge, since he doesn´t know where his friends are. And she would have no clue, would never expect a fight since she believes to be safe because he determined the threat.

Panic dizzies his mind and he swallows it hardly.

Jason creeps carefully around the rusty tin fence until he finds a hole and peeks through it. Inside the pirates run all over the dusty court, the weapons ready and guard the prisoners. There´s a small shack to his left, directly adjoin to the fence and an empty window on the backsides faces the jungle. Jason positions himself under it and holds his breath.

Above him hush voices become louder, two men talk in a different language and he notices the characteristic click of a snap open Zippo. Pungent smoke wavers through the window and Jason pulls up his T-shirt over his nose. His eyes start to water and he fights down a cough tediously. Whatever these guys are smoking he doesn´t want to breathe it in.

Slow and quiet he peeks over the window ledge and sees a man that turned his back to him, another man leaning on the wooden wall. They talk fast and heated, wildly gesturing like they´re in a fight and pass a small dirty glass pipe. According to the stench they probably smoke crack or meth and Jason breathes flat through his covered mouth and closes his eyes.

He pulls out his machete and the jungle around him becomes quiet. Even the shrieking and screaming of the Rakyat pales out and his heartbeat vibrates in his bones, he feels his blood rushing and comes up, jumps over the ledge, and stabs the first pirate through his neck.

Silence, a gurgling voice and the half-hearted try to reach for the big knife in his throat are the last things this man witnesses on earth. Then he collapses and a big pool of blood splashes out of the wound as Jason pulls out the machete.

His gaze jumps up, meets the eyes of the other man. It takes the pirate a second to realize what just happened, Jason sees the cognizance rush over his face, mimic by mimic. First the unbelieving dropping of the jaw. Then the gaze turning down to his mate, a shocked tremble, and the quick look upwards to their predator, the eyes becoming wide in recognition and the mouth tearing open to form a sharp scream.

Jason knocks him out with the grip of his knife before he has any chance to change his fate and the pirate sinks down in the blood of his partner.

Only now Jason realizes that he held his breath the whole time and lets out the air in his lungs with a satisfied sigh. He looks around, the shack is empty besides a few ammunition boxes and the front door is ajar, the window in his back seems to be the only one and its rather dark in the wooden hut.

It´s still calm outside, besides the whining and screaming so he figures that no one noticed that two pirates are missing. Just in case that someone could search for them, Jason creeps to the door and closes it carefully, pushes an ammunition box in front of it so it can´t be open.

He feels so alive, so filled out, so right. He doesn´t know what it is, why the killing elates him so much and gets him going, better the any drug could do it. Maybe it´s better that he doesn´t know it. He wouldn´t like the answer.

Jason turns around and pulls the unconscious guy away from the other and leans him under the window, hoping the singing of the jungle would cover at least a little bit the screaming in the courtyard.

The other pirate wears the same attire as all of them and Jason rips a piece of his red wifebeater and ties it around the head of his prey, covering his eyes and the tiny wound the grip left on his temple. Maybe there´s a slight chance that the man didn´t recognize him right away.

Even though Jason doubts it, considering the expression on the pirate’s face and ties his hands together, just in case.

A deep moan comes from the beaten man and Jason crouches down in front of him, slaps his face a few times until the moan becomes louder and he mumbles “Shit, what the fuck…?”

He stops abruptly as Jason pushes the machete to his throat and cuts deep into the dirty skin, a quiet gasp escapes the pirate’s lips but dies right away. Jason notices the others breathe getting quicker, how the veins on his neck become more visible and the light tremble that seems to come from his bones.

It drives a smile on his face and he enjoys the power he has right now. The vulnerability of a grown-up man, lying in his hands, in the blade of his machete. The smell of fear that seeps out of every pore, the shaky breath, and the need to scream but the realization that no one in this world could help him, only Jason´s will to keep him alive.

It´s nice to have the upper hand.

He takes a deep breath and slowly says with a deeper voice.

“I want to take down the knife of your throat. I think it would be easier for you to talk that way, no?”

He chuckles and the other one swallows; the blade jumps with the movement of the adams apple.

“You look like a smart guy, clever enough to not scream as soon as I put down the machete. You can try it if you like, but we both know that you would be dead before you had the chance to even breathe in a way I don´t like. Are we clear?”

The pirate trembles, Jason smells the sour sweat that drips down his face and grimaces.

“Answer!”

Another swallow and the man carefully nods. Jason’s grin gets wider. The poor bastard really seems to believe that there could be a chance to survive this.

He slowly releases the pressure on the pirate’s throat and puts down the knife. A quiet sob escapes his chest and the guy lets out all the air that he held in his lunges.

“Now, now no reason here to cry buddy. Tell me, what´s your name?”

Jason eyes the guy and notices that he is just as old as him, if not younger. He witnesses the heavy sharp breathe and tilts his head to the side, clicking his tongue annoyed.

“I don´t have to bring up the machete again, do I?”

“N-no.”

“Then tell me your fucking name!”

The pirate turns his head away, even though he can´t see where Jason actually sits.

“Raphael.”

“Louder, I couldn´t understand you.”

A sigh, then “Raphael. My name is Raphael.”

“See, that wasn´t so hard, right? Ok Raphael, I need a few information’s from you. If you answer me well-behaved there´s no need for you to die a painful death. But if you start crying, if you start with that ´I don´t betray my boss or my little pirate friends´ shit, you´re going to be very sorry. Are we good?”

Raphael nods slowly, he doesn´t even seem to consider being brave.

“I need to hear it from you Raphael, otherwise I won´t believe that wonky nod.”

“I will answer everything, ok? Just let me go, I won´t tell anybody. I promise. Man, I just came here to party, fuck some bitches and shit. I didn´t want to deal with fucking Rambo.”

The last sentence comes out shaky and tears stream down Raphael’s face, leaving marks on his dirty skin.

Jason sighs and pulls out his gun, unlocks it and presses the shaft to the others forehead, he flinches and Jason growls “We had a promise Raphael, no crying. I don´t want to shoot you before you had the chance to prove your right.”

The pirate shudders, nods again and says shrugging “Ok, ok, we´re good. Just ask me what you fucking wanna know.”

Jason chuckles again and smiles.

“I want to know everything about the big boss. Tell me all you know about Vaas. What are his habits? When is he at home? Where does he go, where is his lair, when is he drunk or high or in the mood for a fuck?”

Even through the cover over Raphael´s eyes he can see the other men frowning, considering why he wouldn´t ask him more appropriate questions like where they store all their weapons, drugs or whatever.

A little tip of the gun on his temple seems to fasten his thinking process and Raphael’s answer comes quick and a little insecure.

“I don´t really know, I mean it´s not like I´m allowed to stay in the great camp.”

Jason sighs and he quickly adds “But I know a few things, ok? Vaas isn´t home very often, he´s mostly around the island and works for Hoyt, collecting hostages and watching the drug and weapon trade. Or lately, you know, deals with you I guess.”

He stops abruptly by Jason’s laughter. “Is that so?”

A wide grin creeps in his voice and he clicks his tongue “Tell me more Raphael. What does he like to do if he´s home?”

Raphael clears his throat, sweat streams down his face and a slight tremble becomes more noticeable with the realization that his boss might kill him for telling those secrets.

“I don´t know man, Vaas isn´t really home much and this is just some gossip the others tell.”

“Hmm that´s sad because I really was willing to let you live because I thought you could give me some proper answers, my friend.”

Jason´s voice sounds sad and he scratches Raphael´s temple with the shaft of his pistole.

“Ok, ok, god dammit! Vaas has a separate room at the other end of the camp, he doesn´t live with the other pirates in the barracks. You have to pass the big warehouse, the bar and ´pharmacy´ and then you´re almost there. But if he´s home, he´s mostly in the bar and chills by the pole tables, sometimes he takes one or two whores with him home and doesn´t leave his room for days. I don´t know, often you won´t see them again or if so, they have a somewhat strange and weird look on their faces…”

Jason notices how he loses himself in the memory and clicks his tongue again, waving with the gun in front of the others face.

“Hey, keep track man!”

“Alright, you don´t have to threaten me, for fucks sake! I don´t know what he does because I literally talked to him only once. He seemed nice, I don´t know, he hasn´t called me a rookie or something like that. He just asked me if I saw Rambo lately and laughed when I said that I´m glad I never had to meet you. He slapped my shoulder and went off and that´s fucking it! I don´t know what else I should tell you.”

Jason nods, even though his opponent can´t see it.

Raphael shrugs a little and moves uneasy “Can I go now? Please I don´t know anything else, I promise I won´t set the alarm, honestly. Just let me go man, I don´t care for your plans or what you want to do with Vaas, this is none of my fucking business.”

He trembles and for one moment, only a blink of the eye Jason considers letting this poor boy go, realizing how young he is and how anxious and dumb. Like he has been.

He sighs, keeping his voice warm and friendly as he says, “I believe you Raphael.”

A gasp, then a smile and Raphael stutters “Thank you man, I-I really appreciate…”

His voice dies with the gurgling sound of blood flooding his trachea and he passes away silently, trembling and way too young to be in this fucking place.

Jason sighs, sorrowful, again. At least it was quick.

~ ~ ~

A loud ringing noise makes Jason come up and he looks around, panicking. He´s wrapped in darkness besides the pale spot of light the moon pours through the roof of the dilapidated hut he´s sleeping in.

Confused and disoriented he turns around and feels over the wooden floor, trying to determine where the nerve-wracking sound comes from. It must be the mobile phone in his backpack, he comes on his knees and crawls over.

He almost believes the ringing will cease as soon as he reaches it, but the phone won´t obey. Jason stares dozy on the green blinking screen and wonders who the hell would call him in the middle of the night.

´What if the Rakyat need help?´

He flinches, panting. Maybe it´s already too late and the pirates found the poor bastard in the outpost and took revenge, attacked Amanaki or Citra’s temple while he´s sleeping blissful in a random shack in the middle of the jungle.

Panic tingles in his chest and mixes with adrenaline, the phone trembles in his hand and he notices his hands start to sweat and soak the masking tape on the backside, smudging the name “Felipe” that’s written on it.

A few more seconds pass and the phone keeps ringing unpleasantly loud, he presses the green button and holds it to his ear, prepared to hear gunfire and crying behind Dennis´ panicked screams.

The voice he hears instead is a lot worse.

“Can´t sleep asshole?”

The shock keeps Jason from yelling, he shrugs and Vaas blows off on the other end of the phone.

“Jason, man, are you there? You wouldn´t hang up on me, right? That would be fucking rude!”

Jason´s finger indeed twitched towards the red button for a second, trying to maintain the illusion of a nightmare.

He gets interrupted by the thought that there still could have been a battle and that´s no one left that could call him, besides Vaas. He swallows, sitting paralyzed on the ground and listens to Vaas´ regular breath, mumbling “What the hell…?”

Vaas chuckles and it sounds scornful with a slice of rage sprinkled in.

“You have something that belongs to me, hermano. And I want it back. So, I would suggest you move your white ass over here pronto.”

“I don’t get it, what the fuck do you want Vaas?”

Jason is confused, he wonders if he´s still dreaming or straight up mad and shakes his head mechanically, even though Vaas can´t see it.

He still seems to guess Jason’s´ movement; Vaas´ voice gets darker and he growls “Are you still asleep, shithead? Get your fucking shit together and come over here!”

Jason moans annoyed, he tries to overplay the storm that wrenches in his chest and presses the phone closer to his ear with sweaty hands, his breath going harsh.

´If Vaas really attacked the Rakyat or my friends, then he wouldn´t have a talk with me about this cryptic shit.´

Unwitting his hands move to the small pendant under his T-shirt. He takes a deep breathe, as if thinking alone would cost him too much air and answers with a somewhat calm voice “You mean that broken necklace?”

It´s more of a detention than a question.

Vaas chuckles, sighs and growls into the phone “Exactly amigo, exactly. Fifty points for your cabrón. You tore it off my neck and I want it back, so get your fucking ass of the couch!”

A silent smile unfolds on Jason´s face and he presses the stone to his chest. With a chuckle in his voice he purrs into the phone “Why should I give it back to you, hmm?”

It´s quiet for a moment, then Vaas growls carefully calm “Because I´m going to turn this whole fucking island upside down and sell your pussy friends on the black-market. Oh wait, that´s what I´ve planned anyways. Then I´m going to blow up your god damn whore´s temple and sell you to my men, you fucking cocksucker.”

Fear lays with an iron grip around his throat and his brain slows down.

´Would he really comb through the whole island to find four people, because of a fucking necklace? Would he really kill his sister and his whole tribe? ´

No, Jason can´t imagine this. Vaas on the other hand is unpredictable so he concludes that it would be the best to calm this fucker down.

Vaas recognizes his hesitation and chuckles dark, he knows he has him by the balls.

Jason snarls deeply “And how should I bring this shitty necklace back to you? I´m not going to stroll through your little camp and throw it into your mailbox.”

Vaas laughs and sounds amused, Jason can almost see him grin and feels the urge to punch his face.

“You simply march to the hotel where I set you and your bitch on fire. Sorry, former bitch.”

He screams of laughter and Jason bites his tongue, he doesn´t want to lower himself on Vaas´ level, instead he replies “Why the fuck should I meet you there? Isn´t this thing completely burned down?”

Vaas clicks his tongue and Jason rolls his eyes at the sound. Then Vaas proclaims “Oh Jas, half of this thing is still intact. There was a big storm in the night we had our rendezvous, the west side is completely fucked up, but the eastside is still standing. A little demolished but it should carry a toothpick like you.”

He ignores Vaas and hums “And when do you want me to come over with your little friendship necklace, asshole? Or do I have to make an appointment with your pimp first, so you get a day off?”

“He, he, he no fucking expletives Jas, or I consider visiting your bitch again! You can come over tomorrow evening and we share a romantic night, just the two of us. What do you say?”

He grits his teeth at Vaas´ dirty laughter and rubs the bridge of his nose, his head hurts and he feels so worn out and haggard. Then he sighs and mumbles “Fine, is that it? Can I fucking sleep now?”

It´s quiet for a second as if Vaas would really consider it, but he finally barks “No man, that´s it. I don´t want to interrupt your beauty sleep. Ciao Jason, sweet dreams.”

Jason sighs annoyed at the kissing sounds Vaas makes and finally hangs up. One part of him wrenches in fear and horror of the upcoming meeting. The other one is happy of the chance it´s providing.

Sleep creeps back and ambushes him quietly, he sinks down on the sleeping bag and falls into the dark waves Vaas´ voice left in his head.