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My Perfect Warrior

Chapter Text

Up. Down. Curve. Circle. 

"We lost control over the South Island!"

Interlacing lines, crossing and overlapping. 

"Amanaki town has been overrun. We must take in refugees, we have space in the temple." 

Beautifully carved.

"This is a sacred temple! We cannot allow non-true Rakyat blood inside this holy ground!"

The Silver Dragon Knife truly is a remarkably crafted weapon.

"Where is Dennis? We need him."

"He is the one who led our brothers to their deaths!" 

"What do we do?" 

Finally, the heated discussion quieted down, and all the generals in the circle all turned their heads towards Citra. Their Warrior Goddess was busy examining the Silver Dragon Knife, tracing its intricate lines with the tip of her fingernail. Despite the tension surrounding the group, she was perfectly calm. Apathetic, really.

"We do.. what our ancestors have done time and time again." She ran the blade gently over her fingers. "We fight. We fight to the very end. That is the Rakyat way." 

"Where is Dennis?" One of the generals spoke up, and the rest murmured in agreement. 

Her fingers curled around the knife tightly, just enough for a thin line of blood to appear on her skin. "Brother Dennis passed away last night. His wounds were too great. His soul is free now. Do not be saddened, he is with the gods, watching over us. He was a great warrior, a brother of the Rakyat, and we honor him today with a drink." She waved a hand and her handmaidens came in giving everyone a cup of wine. Citra raised hers up, "To Dennis."

"To Dennis!" They all repeated and drank.

Citra didn't drink from hers though, and instead tipped it sideways letting the liquid drain and once the cup was empty she simply let it roll from her fingers, clattering on the stone ground. A deep, resounding thud sounded when she slammed the Silver Dragon knife into the table, catching everyone's attention.

"I have.. sacrificed so much for this tribe. For my people. I considered you family, loved you as one. I have been an understanding and good leader." Her voice raised an octave, dragging her fingernails back and forth on the wooden table. "Have I not been?" The generals shifted uncomfortably at her sudden change in mood, and none dared to answer the question. Citra chuckled and rubbed a hand over her face that pulled at her skin roughly. "Then why must you betray me?"

The generals erupted to the beginning of a protest but she raised a hand silencing them. "Please, listen. Everything we've been through, we have been through together. When you suffered, I suffered. When you mourned, I mourned. And when our island was finally freed I felt your joy, your happiness. We are family." Her smiled dropped. "And when I found out that you were all planning to replace me behind my back..." There was a deadly silence, every eye on Citra waiting to see what she would do next.

"It hurt." She said quietly. "And as I have felt your pain, you will feel mine." It started with one man, and then the rest were coughing, hacking up blood, their bodies shaking in small spasms. In a matter of seconds they were all slumped over dead. Citra looked around at her handiwork and sighed. "I hoped you all learned your lesson. I did."

She left the bodies to rot under the sun and went back to the inner temple. A smile was already plastered on her face when she entered Vaas' room... only to find it empty. Before crippling anxiety could seize her, something red on the floor caught her eye, and when she looked down it revealed itself to be red arrows leading outside the room. It guided her into the hallway and lead outside where she found him standing at the end of the long walkway. As she walked towards him, she passed carcasses of dead monkeys left half-haphazardly on the floor.  When she stopped by his side, he was staring at particular spot at the slab of stone, his brows pulled into a deep frown, the tips of his lips curled downwards.

"What do you see?" He didn't answer. Lowly she said, "When I didn't find you in your room.. I thought you left me."

"Nah." He shrugged, "Just felt like I've been cooped up for so long in there. Going a bit.. crazy, you know?" She knew what that was like. When the shadows start playing tricks on you and the walls whisper something strange in your ears. "Anyways that's why I left you this to find me." He said, motioning to the bloody arrows. "I knew you would freak the fuck out." 

He hopped onto the slab of stone and sat crisscrossed. She joined him, curling up against his steady frame, resting her head on his shoulder and intertwining their fingers. They sat in peaceful silence, gazing at the sparkling ocean. After all the chaos that happened not so long ago, it felt nice to sit here and do nothing but be with her brother. Just.. feel him. She wished this moment can last forever. Right here, right now, just them two. But nothing lasts forever. 

Vaas sniffed and got off. "Let's go." 

"Where?" She asked, getting off too. 

"I don't know. Anywhere- anywhere but here."

"You mean leave.. the temple?" Citra glanced back at the temple structures and shook her head. "I can't... they need me. I have to stay here. It is my responsibility." 

She blinked in surprise when Vaas suddenly grabbed her shoulders. "No it isn't. You know what, no. Screw them." He jabbed a finger at the temple. "FUCK YOU! Forget all this crap, it's just nothing. Nothing! None of this bullshit matters, Citra. The warrior, the tribe, the gods- it doesn't matter."

"It matters to me." She shot back. "And it should matter to you."

He cupped her cheek and pressed their foreheads together, staring deep into her eyes, almost frighteningly so. "And I'm here to tell you that the Rakyat isn't the only thing in this world. I know! I've been out there and I have seen so much. The world is way bigger than this island. It's opened my eyes to realize that everything right here.. it just doesn't matter." 

"They need me. I am their leader and soon you will be." She whispered, wanting to look away from his penetrating stare but she just can't.

"They don't need you. I think they made that pretty obvious. They were ready to replace you and for what? Because you have a fucking punani?" Vaas seethed, an anger that she should be feeling but all she felt was failure. "They don't need you and they don't deserve you. They call themselves your family but I'm right here. I am standing right in front of you."

I'm your family.

"I-I can't.. I don't know." Why was she suddenly feeling so conflicted. Shouldn't the obvious decision be to follow Vaas and in his words, 'Screw them' and leave? But.. she slowly realizes... This has been her dream ever since she can remember. Being tribe leader, being strong and powerful and having people look up to her. This is what she wants. This is what Tane believed she can be. Believed in her when no one else did. 

Can she really just leave it all behind? For Vaas? 

The internal battle she was having must have been obvious since Vaas' lips pressed into a thin line and he stepped back. 

"You know what? I'm gonna make this easy for you." He points to the temple, "Them or me. Me or them." She froze. Those familiar words... her eyes flickered to the scar running down his head. And after all these years, she still regrets doing that. Regrets letting her anger consume her. Regrets ever hurting him. She doesn't want to hurt him anymore. 

In the end, it all boils down to a choice, and every choice has consequences. 

When she looks back at the temple, she sees the Warrior Goddess standing regal, the giants head raised in one hand, and the Silver Dragon Knife in another. Honor and glory. A hero. 

When she looks at Vaas, she sees two children with galaxies in their eyes and Wanderlust in their souls. Just kids playing games and running through the trees. Nostalgia, and a promise yet to be fulfilled. Freedom.

As if she needed to make a choice.

It's been Vaas and Citra since the beginning. That was all she had and that's all she needs. 

She realized Vaas is still standing there waiting for an answer and she gives him one.

"Where to?"

They climbed over the temple walls like a bunch of kids sneaking out of their parent's house. Citra is the lookout while Vaas hot-wires a car they find close to the temple grounds, which means Vaas got the car going in fifteen seconds while Citra laid on top of the hood watching the clouds move slowly by. 

He pounded the top of the car, "Aye let's go!" 

"Where are we going?" She asked when they take off down the road. Looking back, the temple gets smaller and smaller. She found it funny how some distance can make something disappear. Maybe not disappear, but she is definitely not there anymore and if she's not there then it no longer exists. 

Poof. Gone. 

"You'll see." He reached over and opened the glove compartment and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. When he popped it open it's empty. 

They drive on for a long time, Citra watching the scenery fly by. The island was beautiful.. it was always beautiful. 

"You know what I find fucking hilarious?" He said, one hand on the wheel and the other sticking out the window, feeling the rush of cool air. "If you were to walk into Badtown right now, no one would even fucking recognize you." He chuckled, wiggling his fingers through the air. "It's funny how that works, the people who are responsible for everything: the killing, the pain the suffering. And yet no one knows the face of the person they hate the most. I mean, do you even know what Hoyt looked like." It was something she never thought about, and thinking about it now, she realized.. She didn't know what Hoyt looked like. Hoyt Volker was just a name slapped onto an invisible attacker. "They don't get their hands dirty. That's what fucking mindless cocksuckers are there for."

"And me?" She asked. He chanced a quick look at her.

"Citra Talugmai is just a name. Just like Vaas Montenegro is just a name. Names only hold meaning if you fucking want them to." She looked away, resting her forehead on the glass window. "Why Talugmai?" He sounded off, and when she looked at him, his face was professionally neutral, but the tight grip he had on the wheel which made his knuckles turn white betrayed his inner feelings. 

"Because her name had meaning." She answered honestly. "Because it mattered." 

"YOU DON'T-" He cut himself off, blowing air from his mouth angrily. "You don't deserve to take her fucking last name." 

"Who says I don't deserve to?" She frowned.

"I do!" He exclaimed, hitting the wheel which produced an abrupt honk. "You don't even know what you two have done to her!"

She felt her face burn, "What I have done!? I know what I did! I killed our mother! I know! So just finish what she started and drown me in a river!" 

The silence that followed after her hot outburst was a tense one, and both the Montenegro siblings stubbornly decided to ignore the other. But it didn't last long. Citra cracked first. She didn't want Vaas sour at her, not when it's their first time spending time together after.. after everything. She opened her mouth, an apology on the tip of her lips, but Vaas beat her to it.

"Dad said.. that you looked a lot like her." He said hoarsely. "We both did, but you especially. Same eyes. When I was a kid I used to believe that mom was watching me through you." He chuckled, "Fuck.. I wouldn't want her to see me now. I hope she never was."

She agreed quietly, because despite what Vaas thinks, they share identical eyes, and the thought of their mother watching her... terrified her.

Vaas stopped the car some ways away from Churchtown. They got out, but when Vaas started walking towards the town Citra pulled his arm back. 

"What are you doing? We can't go in there." She said in alarm, wondering if her brother truly lost his mind. More than half the island now was overtaken by the rebels. Knowing that knowledge, Citra thought she and Vaas were going somewhere secluded, or at least somewhere where they wouldn't be seen and walking into a town is a bad way to start. She was the leader of the Rakyat and he, the recently dead but not really, Pirate Lord. 

"What did I tell you back in the car? No one is gonna recognize your face. But these might give you away." He said, referring to the tatau's littered obnoxiously on her body. He took her chin and gave it a little wiggle. She swatted his hand away, unamused.

"And you? I'm sure people will recognize you." 

Something peculiar shined in his eyes and he grinned slyly. "Don't worry about me. I'll be fine. Now c'mon, we gotta cover that shit up." He walked off and Citra wanted to stop him but she knew he wouldn't listen to her. He never has, and she doubted he was going to start now. Huffing, she followed after him. This was just like old times and she didn't know if she was glad about that. She forgot how reckless Vaas was and how it was usually him who got them into all sorts of trouble. Despite what he likes to think, he's not invincible! 

They half-snuck, half-jogged to the nearest house. At the back, Vaas took down some clothes hanging pinned on a wire to dry off. He threw pieces of articles at her and she got to work changing into them while Vaas slipped on a white tank. Using a random bush to throw her old clothes in, Citra examined what she was now wearing; a simple shirt that hid her shoulder and belly tatau, and a loose knee-length cotton pant that covered the tatau trailing down her thigh. It felt.. different wearing 'normal' clothes but she refused the sandals Vaas held out to her to which he simply shrugged and tossed them aside. 

"Alright now take all of this shit off." He gestured to all the jewelry she had on. Citra simply gave him a look and got to work removing the stacks of bracelets on her wrists, followed by the unwinding of the neck ring. She left the tooth necklace on, that was more than a simple piece of aesthetic. It held meaning. With everything off, she felt.. lighter.. freer, and not in a physical sense. 

They strolled down a road away from the house, heading towards the town square. 

"What is it?" Citra asked when she noticed Vaas looking at her intently. 

"You look more like yourself. Not all that... bullshit on you." 

"It was traditional wear for a woman. It was expected of me." She confessed, rubbing her free neck absentmindedly.  

"You never cared about that." He said, looking away. "You were better than that." 

"A lot of things have changed since you were gone. And I didn't have you to make it any easier." She said bitterly. There was so much more she wanted to say, so much more she felt they both had to talk about, but she didn't want to, and knowing Vaas, neither did he. Not yet, anyways. 

The dampened mood was lightened when Vaas cracked a smile. "Here we are. Ta da!" 

Citra looked up at the glowing neon sign which read Rex's Burgers. She didn't understand his excitement until she recalled faintly a memory of the same name, but located somewhere else. "I remember this place." She said softly, "We tried to get in but dad never let us, and we never had any money... We don't have money, still." 

Vaas hummed, grinning impishly as he pulled out wads of bills from his pockets. 

"Where'd you get that?" She demanded. 

"Chill, I didn't steal it. It was in a chest at the house where we uh, stole clothes from." She crossed her arms, and he patted her cheek playfully. "Ah, don't look so grumpy little sister. You remind me of that cat on the internet. Such a cute little fucking thing." He did a funky motion with his hands as they walked to the entrance of the joint. Citra expected the place to be empty, but inside it was mildly packed with people. Specifically tourists. That's when it clicked in her head. The reason Vaas wasn't so worried about people recognizing him. 

"This is a tourist spot." She said out loud. This is where the rebels bring in outsiders to get money. There's no rebel squadrons stationed here because Churchtown was located so deep in rebel territory they didn't need to worry about the Rakyat attacking them. This town was far behind the battle zone, the front lines. Here, Vaas and Citra blended in well with the other young adults. But there was something still bothering here. "How did you know?" 

"Know what?" Vaas chirped, giving a secretive smile as he headed to the counter, leaving her perplexed. He came back shortly, and before she could say anything he snatched her wrist and tugged her along. "C'mere I wanna show you something." He pulled her towards a corner of the joint where a group of outsiders were surrounding what looked like an odd machine. Citra wasn't surprised when Vaas shoved the guy at the machine away, taking his place.

"What the fuck, man?" The guy said heatedly, puffing out his chest. 

Vaas cocked his head, and straightened up to the face the guy. It was as if the outsider was a balloon, and at the sight of Vaas he deflated. "The fuck you say, hermano? Huh? You got a problem pussy fucker?" 

Citra took a quick glance around the joint in case there were rebels around. Last thing they needed was more trouble. If neither of them backed down Citra was going to have to step in. The male ego was a wondrous thing. This wasn't the case since the guy backed up and left tail between legs along with his friends. Vaas stared them down all the way, even when they left the place.  

"You know, I think that's the second time I let cocksuckers go free. First one was a mistake." He muttered, turning back to the machine, and just like that his entire mood changed back to that light-hearted boy she remembers from when they were kids. "Check this out, I got the highest score in this game." The screen title glowed in neon pink Blood Dragon, and some retro music started playing. Vaas moved the joy-stick onto highscores. He looked so giddy that even though Citra had no clue what he was talking about, she smiled anyways. 

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Vaas said, as the list of top scorers appeared on the screen. Citra looked away from his face and to the list, and raised a brow. Vaas the Destroyer was on the list like he said, but it was listed as number 2. Number 1 was taken by a certain Snow White. "Even in death motherfucking cunt is still messing with me. Really Jason, really? You come to my island, disrespect me, burn my weed, murder my boss, and fuck my sister but this? This is some evil shit, hermano." 

The time was spent trying to get top score again. Sadly for Vaas, their burgers were ready and he had to quit the game, but not before pulling out the plug and sticking it back in, resetting the scores. He grinned, pleased with himself.

"Are you two brother and sister?" The lady behind the counter asked when she handed them their burgers. 

Vaas smirked and hugged Citra from behind. "We get that a lot, no?" He surprised the lady, and even her when he kissed her neck. "Yeah we are." He said with a wink. Citra barely had time to see the face the lady made when Vaas pulled her outside laughing. "My incest senses are tingling." He muttered under his breath as they looked for a place to sit, finding refuge under the shade of a tree. Vaas was already digging into his burger, but Citra didn't pay hers any mind. She was distracted by the tourists. 

They all looked young, maybe around their ages. Most if not all reminded her of Jason and his group of friends. Was this how they would have looked like? Strolling by happily with not a care in the world? What was it like? To have no responsibility, no pressure from a culture that demanded it. They looked so.. free. It was bizarre, because all her life she's been surrounded with war. No one on Rook Island smiles anymore, and the ones who do have lost their minds. 

For a moment, a brief fleeting moment, she imagined that she wasn't Citra, Goddess Warrior of the Rakyat, and her brother wasn't Vaas, Pirate Lord. Instead, they were Vaas and Citra, just two people eating burgers. Nothing more, nothing less. 

"Are you gonna eat that?" He asked, already finished with his own burger. Citra shook her head and handed it to him. Vaas frowned, but took it anyways. "What? What's wrong you don't like it?" 

"I prefer hunting my meals as our people have done so for centuries." She replied, giving him a side-glance. "Unless, you have forgotten the ways of the jungle Vaas. Tell me, can you still kill a deer without scaring it?" 

Vaas guffawed and tossed the burger behind his back. "I was the best. Better than you anyways and that's all that counts to me. Anyways, who took on a bear one-on-one?" 

"I fought a tiger." Citra quipped. 

"Tiger's are pussy cats, everyone knows that." He said with a devilish grin, making her scoff and hit him on the arm. 

"Well then let's see if you've still got it."

They went to the nearest store, and Citra was amazed that this one didn't contain any weapons. Just products like the little hula girl bobblehead that Vaas had fun making them bounce all in a row. Luckily there was rent-a-bow. Vaas paid what's left of the money they had for two bows, including the arrows. Their bows expired in a day, but Citra had a sneaking suspicion they weren't coming back to return them. 

Half-way back to their car, Vaas stopped and nodded at a truck parked with the engines on, door open, a familiar group of tourists standing at the back laughing. 

"No-" Citra starts but Vaas is off already making a beeline for the truck. All she can do is follow him. He jumps in, and Citra doesn't have time to go around since Vaas caught the tourists attention by charging in like a wild bull, so she dives on top of him and once she's inside Vaas steps on it. It's a struggle to maneuver herself to sit on the passenger side, and she may or may not have elbowed Vaas on purpose, but she finally settles down. Vaas is hollering and sticking his head out the window, giving them the finger. Caught up in all the excitement, Citra too sticks half her body out the window and blows them a kiss.

They're laughing like little kids, a good, long laugh that reverberates in her chest, cheeks flushing and ribs aching. Vaas blasts the radio and starts singing along to the songs as he rummaged through the stuff the tourists had in their car. "Oh shit. Naughty kids have the best fun." Vaas held up a plastic bag containing a familiar green mush. Citra snatches it from him and without warning throws it out the window. "What- no!" Vaas whined, "Citra whyyy. Fucking partypooper." He continued his rummaging and made a sound of delight. 

"Fuck yes! Citra take this and sit on the window." He shoved what looked like a flare in her hand, rolling down the window for her already. She easily slid half her body out the through the window and sat, shifting to find the most comfortable spot. She examined the thing, and popped off the cap. Clouds of red smoke puffed out in billows. Citra's eyes widened in fascination, weaving her fingers back and forth in the gas. From the other side of the car erupted green smoke which curled with the red until the two disappeared together in the sky. The colors were so vibrant, and when one ran out, Vaas would hand her another in a different color. 

Eventually they used it all up, but by then they were already pulling to the side to park. Citra hopped out of the car and slid the arrow case over her shoulder. The bow itself was not finely made, and it was obvious the craftsmanship wasn't one from the Rakyat, but it will have to do. The rush from before disappeared, replaced with a calmer attitude. The hardest part wasn't killing an animal. It was being one with the jungle. 

Years of training kicked in, and as they made their way deeper into the jungle, her footsteps remained light, leaving barely a footprint in the recently wet soil. She walked with a steady stride, ears piquing at the many sounds, and if you were truly a master, you could pick out distinctive ones, and follow that. Deer barely make any sound, and only do when startled. 

Crunch, crunch, crunch.

Citra stopped abruptly and slapped Vaas' arm sharply. "Ah! Fuck was that for?" 

"Your shoes. Take them off. They're making too much noise." She hissed disapprovingly. It was like dealing with a child, and even a Rakyat child would know better! "Tane taught you better than that." 

"If I remember correctly Tane gave you special lessons. He didn't teach me most of the stuff he taught you. Fuck he spent more of his time on you than the rest of us." he said, kicking off his shoes.

"He thought I needed more help. You didn't."  

"If that's what you think." He muttered. 

They continued on, Vaas making significantly less noise. She noticed he had a hard time adjusting at first, having to actually remain silent instead of stomping around shooting bullets in the air. But eventually he started moving just as swiftly as Citra. She smiled. There are things ingrained into you that you cannot get rid off. This is his jungle, and it's welcoming him back into the hunt. 

Citra spots deer first, and crouches down immediately drawing her bow, Vaas following her lead. 

"Lost your touch, brother? One second more and you would have walked right into them." She whispered, the tips of her lips curling upwards. 

"Nah, I'm just better at hunting humans." 

Citra inhaled air quickly when Vaas suddenly picked her up and pinned her to a tree. In order not to fall, she wrapped her legs around his waist all the while still having the arrow pointed at the targets. They don't move a muscle when some of the deer raised their elegant fragile heads, their poor eye-sight trying to see what caused the noise. Excruciating seconds ticked by before the deer relaxed again.

She meant to send an annoying glare at Vaas but that died when she saw the look in his eyes. The jungle is constantly filled with noises, and if it isn't, that means you're not trying hard enough to listen. But right then and now, the world around her fell quiet, and the only thing she could focus on was him. He moved his face closer to hers, the only thing between them was the arrow winded up, prepped to fly. She became hyper-aware of the sound of their breathing, his breathing. His lips that parted softly and his hands that were wrapped around her waist. 

The screeching of Macaques broke the silence, and the sounds of the jungle came rushing back like a tidal wave. They both looked up at the tall trees, up, up at where the leaves shuffled as something inside it moved. 

She knows this type of calling. It's a specific screech the Macaques use to signal a predator in the area, thus unintentionally warning the deer. 

"Leopard?" Vaas guesses. 

"Tiger." She corrects him. 

Their only safe bet is to stay still and watch the show. All the deer are on high alert, their ears pointed upwards twitching. They know a tiger is in the area, but if they can't see it, then they won't run. Citra tries to spot the tiger first, but it is an experienced hunter, and stays hidden from sight. 

It happens, as always, without warning. Without even a sound. The ferocious animal emerges from seemingly out of thin air, lunging at the closest deer. Everything breaks into chaos, and the group of deer scatters. All except one. The tiger already has its fragile neck in its powerful maw, shaking it vigorously.

She would've been focusing more if Vaas didn't have his body pressed flush against hers the same time the tiger attacked, his lips brushing ever so gently against the side of her neck. 

"I got you." He sighs, sending chills down her spine. 

The tiger drags its catch off, probably back to its dwelling to eat in peace. Citra exhaled in relief and unwrapped her legs from his waist. Vaas stepped back, looking at the spot where the tiger was. 

"That's never happened before." He said.

"I know." Not once when they were out hunting did a tiger appear and catch their prey. It's a pretty rare experience, and to see a fearsome predator at work was amazing. 

"Fuck, there goes our dinner." He laughed as they walked the opposite direction the tiger was going. 

"There are many more animals out there. If you can find them." 

His brows shoot to the top of his forehead, "You doubt me? I'll show you, c'mon."

Vaas gets a clean shot straight through a boar's lungs. He heaves the dead animal onto the back of the truck and they're off again, heading somewhere only Vaas knows. 

He cupped a hand over his mouth and said, "And if you look to your right you will see the stinkhole of hell. Also known as Badtown where the girls come cheap and the liquor even cheaper." 

Citra sat up and peered out the window. He was right. From where they were passing, Badtown was in full view. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, a tiny voice wondered if Riley was there. 

They drove past the rebel headquarters and down the road following the waterfalls. From there she could see the rebel ports. It reminded her of Yalung, and how easily the demon had sneaked in and stolen a submarine. She wondered what those CIA people wanted with the demons dead body. She guessed she will never know. 

Vaas pulls off road and into the beach, the drive becoming bumpier under sand. He slows down to a stop before a lone wooden house with a small pier extending out into the sea. They leave the car and everything in it, with the exception of the boar that Vaas flings over his back, and walk down the pier where a patrol boat was left tied to one of the poles. 

He throws the boar in the back as they clamber on. It's a short trip to the two mini islands in the distance. They passed the first one, and Citra spots a cliff that looked perfect for diving off of. When they reach the second island, Citra blinks and gives Vaas a strange look. 

"Why are we here? This place is haunted." It's an old childhood scary story she and Vaas knew about. The story goes that the people who worked at the station on that island vanished one night without a trace. Notes from the workers revealed there was a tiger prowling in the area, and at night they would hear it clawing at the door. Nobody knows what truly happened to the workers, but no one dared to set foot on that island in fear of encountering the tiger from the story. Not even Vaas and his friends in all their bravado. 

"That's just a story. Although we do have a tiger loose on the island but Rajah keeps to himself. He doesn't like the sound of dubstep and that's what we usually play. Poor fucker." He chuckled. They get off the boat and she follows him down a small path that lead right up to the old factory. When they reach a huge red sliding door, her eyes widen in realization that Vaas had lead her to his hideout. The eye spray-painted on the door an obvious give-away. 

This is where you have been hiding all this time. She thinks. 

Vaas hands her the boar and slides the door open. "Hello MTV, my name is Vaas Montenegro. Pirate King and natural herbalist and I welcome you to my crib. Please, come inside, come inside." 

It's like walking into another world. There's graffiti art all over the walls of the building, and even on the floor. She frowns curiously at the burned down building right at the entrance on the left side. 

"You can thank Jason for that." Vaas commented, taking the boar from her hand. She strolls after him, taking everything in. This is where her brother has been. Sleeping, eating, resting, anything she could think of. He was so close, just  half a days trip across the island and she could've been here with him. She wondered what he did all these years except the obvious, such as killing, torturing, and being a complete menace in general. No, she wondered what he did to make the time pass. 

Looking at her surroundings, she noticed that the place seemed off. As if a battle a been fought here. Dead bodies were strewn around. Did Jason do this? 

For a bitch? For Citra!?

"Look what Snow White did to my home." Vaas said, setting down the boar to pick up a flame thrower, using it on a huge bonefire. Citra sees all this destruction, and envisions the battle, sees Jason fighting his way through hordes of Pirates.. all to get to Vaas. "He did this for you, you know that?" 

"He did this for his brother." Vaas killing Jason's brother was the only reason he came to her. "He wanted revenge."

"Who? You are Jason." 

"I never wanted revenge." She said firmly.

"Are you sure about that?" Vaas had his back faced towards the burning bone fire, his face cast in shadows. Citra doesn't answer that. They get to work skinning the boar and cutting strips of flesh off to hang in the fire to cook. She's hungrier than expected, and she devoured dinner quick, secretly tempted to eat the rest of the boar raw. After dinner Vaas got up and tapped her shoulder, signaling she should follow him.

"What's in there?" She asked, nodding at the building at the far end of the station. It had a huge sliding door with a pirate's eyes painted on it. 

"Oh no, no we're not going in there yet. Not just yet. No we're going there." He points a finger at the huge tower in the distance. "See this is where I let my men stay, have fun, relax but not me. Like they say, a man doesn't sleep where he works, right?" 

The way to the tower is that they had to exit the station, and go around a bend and up a hill. They approached a warehouse first. There was no pirate eye painted on the door to this one. Inside, Citra's mouth hanged open in amazement. If she thought the station was where Vaas lived, then she was so very wrong. Everything in here was treasures untold, objects of this and that with stories she wanted to know all about. There was even a car in here, a nice looking one, not the ones on the island. 

He grabbed her arm. "I want to show you something." They pass random clutter of stuff that would've been garbage to other people, but to her it was what Vaas liked and that meant it was precious. He pulled her all the way to the end of the warehouse and waved a hand at the wall. 

Citra blinked. 

"You like it?" He grinned boyishly, walking up the graffiti portrait of her face. "It's like Picasso, no?" 

"Did you do this?" She asked. Why do you have this? 

"Of course I did!" He confirmed, sounding offended. She gave him a look and he shrugged. "OK. It was one of the prisoners but I commissioned it, so basically I did it." 

They exited the warehouse and went to the front steps of the tower. Gazing up, the tower was tall, way taller than the radio towers, and unlike the radio towers, this was in good condition.  

Vaas suddenly took off, calling over his shoulder, "Race you to the top!" She shook her head at his childish antics, but that didn't stop her from racing after him. It was always a competition between them, but she liked it that way. The steps seemed endless, and when they finally broke onto the final platform Citra couldn't slow down her momentum and her body crashed against the door seconds after Vaas' did. 

They were huffing and sweating, grinning like maniacs. Vaas leaned back on the railing to catch his breath, tilting his head back exposing his long neck. She could see his adams apple bob up and down as he gulped in air. He swung his head back, their eyes locking onto each others. The sun was setting, casting soft warm colors on his skin. It made him look surreal, otherworldly, and all she wanted to do was touch his skin. 

He swallowed and busied himself with opening the door. "Caballeros first." He said cheekily. She smiled and entered the building. The inside was spacey, and looked like it served some form of manufacturing in the past, but under Vaas' care, it has gone under reconstruction. Different colors of neon light lit up the place, purple and chrome pink clashing against one another to fill up the room. 

Vaas headed over to a side of the room where a desk was placed. He tapped a button on a computer and music started playing from the large speakers shoved into the corners of the room.

~Ooh I love my ugly boy, so rough and tough don't care about anything but me. Yes I just love him cause he's so crazy, just crazy about me!~

Citra looked around in a circle, taking everything in. Guns of all sorts and sizes hanged from the walls like trophies. Distorted, almost demonic looking graffiti drawings covered every inch of space the walls could offer. From hellish looking creatures to eyes, eyes, eyes, so many eyes that seemed to stare at her unblinkingly. Peering closer, there was writing scribbled in small messy words. 

She read a few, but she didn't understand what any of them meant. Each was more nonsensical than the next, and some of it didn't make any sense at all, such as the cake is a lie! or Greedo shot first

"This is my private sanctuary." Vaas said, watching her like a hawk. "I've never brought anyone else in here." 

This place, it was like stepping into Vaas' mind. This is his world, his mind. 

There was one spot on the wall that was left empty, only a small sentence dominating the space. 

I miss my sister. Are you out there, Citra?

She touched the words, her heart twisting violently. 

MOVE! A voice in her head screamed. It was as if her instincts exploded, something taking a hold of her body and making her jump to the side. 


The bullet barely grazed her cheek, and left a small hole through the wall where her head should have been. 

"WOW!" Vaas exclaimed happily, waving the gun in his hand around. "You got that Spidey-shit happening!" He aimed the gun at her again, and pulled the trigger. Citra moved to safety just in time and swiftly pulled out her knife, flinging it with deadly accuracy in his direction. It was Vaas' turn to twist his body unnaturally in order to avoid getting hit, the blade flying past him and lodging deeply through the wall right above the bed. When he turned back to face Citra she had already closed the distance between them, smashing her body into his at the speed of a freight train. 

~You and me make the whole world jealous. God knows I know my homegirl's precious!~

They tumbled onto the floor limbs tangling, biting and scratching.

"What are you doing?!" She managed to yell.

"We're playing! We used to do it all the time! You stabbed me so I get to shoot you!"

The gun was knocked from Vaas' grip and slid a few feet away. With all her might she lunged for it but Vaas snatched her ankle, making her fall. He yanked her back, dragging her body across the floor. Citra struck out with her free leg, kicking him square in the face making him release her. She took the opportunity to grab the gun and fire all the bullets into the ceiling until it clicked empty. 

Breathing heavily, she discarded the weapon, staring at Vaas wearily. His lip was busted, and he wiped the blood away with the back of his hand, paying it no mind.

"So you wanna a fist fight, huh? Come on adik perempuan. Show me what you got." He huffed tauntingly, using his hands in a come at me gesture. It was a challenge, the playful look in his eye hiding the malevolence underneath. You play with Vaas you're bound to get a few boo boos. Play with Citra and you get scars. 

~You fuckin' mental, my crazy little girl. Maybe the most psycho chick in the world! You mystical shit just's not physical. What you and me got's unfuckwithable!~

Like a tiger she pounced, taking a swing at him. He dodged it easily and tried to sneak in a quick jab to the side of her ribs but Citra saw that coming and recoiled her arm, elbowing him in the face, followed by powerful kick to the abdomen. Vaas staggered backward clutching his nose, strings of curses flying from his mouth. 

He chuckled at the sight of his own blood coating his hands, and wagged a finger at her. "You can do better than that, Citra." He charged at her like a mad buffalo. She prepared herself for the impact, and yelped when he smashed into her and picked her up. She forgot how strong he was, a mistake she learned as he slammed her back on the wall, making the guns hanging shake upon impact.  

A painful groan escaped her lips as he swung her aside and dropped her on a desk. Random things on the desk went flying: money, cocaine, papers, and other indeterminable stuff. Blinking back into focus, she saw Vaas kiss his knuckles before striking her hard. Her head whipped to the side, her skull banging against steel and the taste of blood flooded her mouth. Another hit made her see stars. 

"You know, this is therapeutic. I should do this more often." He commented, speaking as if he were discussing normal matters with her over tea and not in a violent fistfight with his sister. Citra used his momentary distraction to wrap her fingers around a lamp and smash it across the side of his head, the light bulb shattering into tiny glass pieces that rained down on them. That felt good, really good, and she smiled baring her bloody teeth. 

~Respect me! Receive my protection, I'm always right by your side like a weapon. Love me! I grant you there will be love, fuck with my girl there will be blood~

She rolled off the table, landing like a cat. Something struck her shoulder, making her topple over onto her back. Her eyes widened as the bottom of Vaas' feet descended down on her feet but she moved away in time. She was on her feet in an instant, settling in a fighting stance, Vaas doing the same. He looked bad, small cuts from the glass littered all over the side of his face where he got hit, but she probably didn't look any better than he did. 

They circled each other slowly, bodies tense and nerves high as they expected the other to make a move. Citra hissed and shuffled forward in a mocking bluff, making Vaas jump back. She laughed at his response, and Vaas cracked a mischievous smile. 

"Scared Vaas?" She breathed. 

"Do I look scared?" He laughed, patting the bulge in his pants. Citra exhaled, her lips parting in disbelief, her focus momentarily broken. She snapped out of it right as Vaas swung at her. She barely dodged his fist, her mind thinking fast as punch after punch came at her non-stop, unintentionally backing her up to the edge of the bed. Vaas punched, and this time Citra blocked it and latched onto his arm. She used it to swing behind him, hooking a leg under his ankle and with all her might, she swept him off his feet and onto the mattress, she landing on top of him. 

Now it was her turn to release some pent up frustration she didn't know she had inside her until right now. 


That's for leaving her! 


That's for joining the pirates and terrorizing their island!


That's for getting along so well in his life without her while she struggled everyday without him!

She wiped sweat from her forehead, catching her breath. "And this is for never coming back for me." She made to hit him one last time, but Vaas finally regained his senses and caught her fist mid-flight. In a blur of motion, he somehow pulled his legs under her and launched her up and over with his feet. Instead of falling flat on her back, she used the momentum to roll to a stop on her knees. 

The knife she threw before caught her eye, and she made a grab for it. It took two hard tugs to pull it out the wall. She turned to face Vaas, only to see him on the other side of the room, taking a pistol of the rack. She moved faster than she's ever had, diving from the bed and breaking into a roll to cushion her landing as gunshots rang loudly in the room. 

It happened all too quickly, and before she knew it she was standing in front of him, blade pressed against his neck, the barrel of his gun nestled under her jaw. Their chests heaved in unison, and their faces were so close she could feel his breaths. The look in his eyes knew that she knows they were in a standoff. A draw. A stalemate. 

If she made even a hint of a move, then Vaas blows her head off. If he shoots her, the blade is positioned correctly so that it would slice his neck. 

Vaas' eyes flickered down to see their current predicament, and his lips twitched in a smile. "I guess you don't get to win this round." 

"I don't mind losing." She found herself saying. Maybe it was something in the air, or maybe it was the way the neon light colors splashed on Vaas' skin, the way his eyes darken with a deeper, more primal desire that threatened to consume her whole. He flung the gun away and smashed their lips together in a desperate, wild hungry kiss. Citra inhaled sharply through her nose, letting the knife fall from her fingers in favor of pulling him closer. 

Without breaking their kiss, he lifted her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist instinctively. This time when he slams her into a wall, it sends tingles of pleasure down her back. They break apart finally, Vaas setting her down and walking backwards, taking of his tank top and tossing it to the side. He has a playful smirk on his face, his eyes screaming get over here. 

And that's exactly what she does. 

Like a predator going in for the kill, Citra sauntered over to him and shoved him onto the bed roughly, his body bouncing a little bit. He props himself up with his elbows to watch her remove her shirt, letting it crumple on the floor beside her feet. She crawls on top of him, their lips locking in a passionate battle for dominance, something that she wins. He moans under her, the sound vibrating to her mouth and she withdraws laughing, Vaas joining along.

He flips her over, his huge frame engulfing her smaller one. Time escapes her, and there's only Vaas- His lips, his skin, his smell, his sighs- it's overloading her mind. They know what each the other likes and don't likes, they had years of experience getting to know their bodies. Like how Vaas remembered how sensitive her collarbones were, as she remembered how riled up he gets when she runs her hands over his ass, scrunching his pants down. They get each other out of their pants quickly.

When he enters her it doesn't hurt, not like her first time. 

Their bodies move as one, and she has him moaning her name in a mantra. And when their eyes lock, everything outside this room didn't matter. Their past, the Rakyat, the great Warrior, the war, the island. 

None of that mattered anymore.

She stopped caring, and her soul felt lighter.

Citra was free. 

She's come back home, back home to Vaas. Back to the little girl who went on adventures with her brother, back when their love was innocent. They have become so estranged but now the rip between them has mended, the stitches the intertwining of their fingers. 

For the first time in a long time, Citra felt ultimately happy. 

Their bodies are slick with sweat in the after glow. The music was turned down so Vaas can play his ukulele in peace. "I asked her if she'd play a song for me. I knew a song would set my spirit free. Could she be an angel sent from up above? Maybe this is ukulele love." He sang softly, strumming the strings expertly. Citra had her eyes closed, enjoying to listen to him sing. "Hey Citra?" She opened her eyes. "Do you remember when we used a banana and pretended it was your penis?" 

She threw her head back and laughed heartily. "I remember that! Dad got so mad at me when he found out that we never did that again." 

He smirked at the memory, "Well I'm glad you didn't change.. not that much." He added as an after thought. 



She bit her lip. "I'm sorry... about pushing Tipene off a cliff." 

"Really?" Vaas said incredulously. "That happened fucking looong time ago." 

"Yes, well I'm sorry." 

He shrugged nonchalantly, "Is OK. I would've done the same thing if you liked him. If you liked anyone, really." 

Vaas placed the Ukulele down and Citra nestled closer to him, their bodies fitting together perfectly as if some god molded it to be that way. "I'm such a fool." He whispered into her hair. "I should've done this earlier. We could've ruled the world, you and I." 

"We can still. We have all the time in the world." 

He laughed, holding her tighter.



You killed me!

I miss my sister.


Have you no love in your heart? 

You're taking him away from me

The Jackal never returned to the Peacock HEWASALREADYDEAD

You can't hate me! Why are you doing this?


Are you out there, Citra?

Thunder boomed as her eyes flew opened. She sat up in a cold sweat, the voices fading away, leaving her in a quiet room.

"Vaas." She muttered, reaching out for him, for his comfort. He can make the bad thoughts go away. He can make everything better. But where he was supposed to be, there was only empty space. "Vaas?" She called, scanning the dark room. The neon lights were turned off, the glow from the TV the only thing lighting up the room if barely.

"I wanna tell you my secret now." A boy under the covers whispered from the TV.

"OK." Replied a man.

She slipped off the bed and silently got dressed.

"I see dead people."  

Citra went to the door, picking up the discarded knife from before and slipped it through the strings around her waist. Something wasn't right, she could feel it. She reached for the door knob, and paused. The back of her hairs stood up. She could.. sense something... something behind her. Steeling her nerves, she slowly looked behind her. Nothing. 

She stood frozen, waiting. Her eyes roved over the walls, and it was like someone dropped a bucket of ice cold water on her because the eyes- the eyes all of them were staring at her. Staring and blinking. So many green eyes judging her, angry, evil eyes that looked at her with so much hatred it burned!

Her breath quickened, and she swung the door wide open and hastily exited, slamming it shut. Outside she was hit by freezing cold wind that whipped at her face, and greeted to a heavy rain shower complete with big dark clouds that filled the sky. 

"Vaas!" She yelled through the storm, squinting her eyes to see if he was out here. There was no sign of him. Worry filled her. Where was he? He can't be out here in this storm! Hugging herself, she cautiously made her way down the tower stairs. The steps were wet from the rain, and more than once she had to steady herself on the hand-railing. When she finally reached the bottom, she jogged to the warehouse, her bare feet splashing in the soggy mud. 

She was soaking wet by the time she entered the warehouse. Inside was no warmer, but it offered comfort from the rain. 


The only reply was the echoing of her voice. She moved on, glancing at the portrait of herself. It remained the same, except her eyes were crossed out with red crosses, tears of blood trailing down her face. 


Was written in bold red letters under the portrait. A statement.. or a warning. She moved quickly through the warehouse, not wanting to stay in there a second longer. Outside again, she trekked down to the station where she could only hope to find him there. She slowed down to a walk once inside. The huge bonfire was out, the long wooden logs bleached darker in the rain. 

Citra looked around. There were many buildings, and Vaas could be in anyone of them. Lightening flashed in the sky, illuminating the doors of the building at the end. She went over there and stopped at the entrance. She looked at the large white eye, and the large white eye looked back at her. A feeling of dread pooled in the pits of her stomach. Something was telling her to go back, turn around and leave while she still had the chance because whatever was in there, whatever was waiting for her in there, was something she didn't want to see. Something she can't come back from.

She wanted to run away, but she couldn't do that now. Not this time. 

Stepping inside, Citra was greeted to large shipping containers, empty and forgotten. There was an opening to the other side of the room to her left. In there were piles of rusting old cars. She walked to the middle of the room, looking up at the bright neon light sticks stabbed into tiger carcasses that hanged from the ceiling. 

"I never liked tigers. They always reminded me of you." A voice said from behind her. It was Vaas, and he was wearing his pirate attire. His eyes were trained intently on the floor, looking at something. She followed his gaze to dark pools of dried blood that stained the floor in between them. She crouched down, placing her fingers on it. 

"Why did you send him to kill me, Citra?" The sound of his voice cracking prompted her to look at him. "I knew you were mad. I.. I hurt you real bad but kill me? I never thought-" He swallowed, hiding his face away. "I never thought you would ever want me dead. Because- because even though I've become a monster, I knew you were the only one who would still be at my side, even after everything."

He became a monster but he was still my brother.

He looked at her, indescribable sadness in his eyes. "Why Jason, Citra? Why him?" 

"He wanted to kill you." She replied weakly. She can't- she can't answer this, silently begging for him to stop. Just go, they have to leave. "Vaas let's go-"

"NO!" He roared making her flinch. "You're lying Citra TELL ME! TELL ME WHY!" 

"I can't!" She cried, her eyes watering with tears, shame flooding her body.


"BECAUSE I HATED YOU!" Finally she said it. Let the anger course through her veins, let the bitterness shrivel her heart. This is the real Citra, rotten to the core and exposed for all the world to see. She's the broken-hearted giant with a vengeance to exact. "I HATE YOU!" 

"But you couldn't kill me yourself, could you Citra?"

you needed Jason to do that

"You use people Citra. You never- you never loved me. You were only in love with the idea of owning me but little sister what did I tell you." He smiled, spreading his arms, a tear slipping down his cheek. "I'm free." Spots of blood blossomed all over his tank and to her horror grew more and more in size. When blood started leaking from the corner of his mouth all the anger in her dissipated. 

"Vaas!" She cried out, reaching for him but the lights in the room brightened, blinding her. She was struck by a powerful pain in her stomach that had her curled up on the ground. From her place on the floor, Vaas stood over her, a wild, deranged look in his eyes.

"It's eating you alive, Citra." He chuckled, "It's eating you alive."

She blinked and he was suddenly exiting the building. The pain- the pain! It hurt so much! But she grit her teeth and pushed herself up. She ran after him because she knew if she didn't, if she let him go, she would never see him again.

The jungle greeted her outside. No longer was she at the station, but in the middle of the wilderness. Vaas was far ahead of her, walking slowly down a path. She cried out his name and shot after him but it seemed no matter how fast she ran, she couldn't catch up. He was far, too far! But she won't give up, she won't lose him again!

From afar, a temple rose from the ground like an angry volcano, red orange clouds swirling around its peak. He disappeared into it, and Citra didn't think twice about following him inside. Burning torches cast wicked shadows on the statues of old warriors and legends lining the walls, the chanting of her ancestors following her down the hallway. 

"Who are you?" Her father said, stepping out of the shadows, his chest riddled with bullet holes that still bled. She passed him, eyes wide with fright as she ran even faster.

"What kind of man are you?" Tane emerged from the darkness, blood trickling from his sliced neck, holding in his hand a beating heart. 

"REPENT! REPENT! REPENT!" Vaas' voice seemed to come from every direction. "DO IT WHILE YOU CAN BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE! SAVE YOUR SOUL!"

Behind her, the torches started flickering out one by one, the darkness encroaching upon her accompanied with the wailing of a thousand tortured souls. The sound was so terrible it would surely drive her mad! Freedom came when she dove from the hallway and out into an open grassy square. 

From out of nowhere, something big and white rammed into her taking the air straight from her lungs. She landed back with a thud, and yelped in terror as a tiger's jaw invaded her space. Instinctively she raised her arms, shielding her face from those razor sharp teeth that chomped down on her arms, violently shaking side to side tearing at flesh, its teeth scraping at bone. 

"Tiger Warrior." A bitter voice said into her ear. "More like Snake Warrior."

No.. gods no she knew that voice!

The tiger broke down into small white snakes that slivered over to her and started biting her. Citra screamed, withering in pain as it felt like her entire body was burning up. 

"That's what you are! You're a snake! You're nothing but a fucking snake!" 

Fingers wrapped around her neck and lifted her up, her legs dangling in the air. Jason's eyes burned like the flames of a thousand fiery halos, his body and the area around his face an inky black.

"Ja-son!" Citra choked, clawing at his fingers weakly. The sound of her saying his name made his grip tighten, cutting off her airway. 

"You betrayed me!" His voice grew deeper. "After everything I've done for you!" He threw her at a wall. Citra crumpled to the ground clutching her ribs, took weak to move. Jason picked her up again and threw her around like a rag-doll. "I trusted you! I killed my friends for you!"

"No!" She snapped, staggering to her feet. "It was either me or them and you chose me. It was a choice I didn't force you to make!"

Jason's face twisted in anger, and he let loose a screeching furious wail that rocked the very ground! "SHUT UP! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR THIS! THIS IS YOUR FAULT! ALL YOUR FAULT!" Lava like veins spread like spiderwebs throughout his body, and Jason threw his head back roaring, making the sky turn red. Fireballs fell from the clouds and hit the earth causing mini-earthquakes. 

"I'm gonna make you pay!" He said, his voice demonic. 

Citra drew her knife settling into a fighting stance. Faster than the eye can see, Jason advanced with a punch. Citra wouldn't have been able to dodge that if it weren't for the primal instinct deep inside her taking control of her body. His fist punched through the brick wall, making parts of the structure collapse. Swooping in, she sliced underneath his arm. His response was to slap her, sending her rolling away. 

Blood drooled from her mouth, and she opened and closed her jaw to make sure it was broken. She was abruptly lifted off the floor and came face to face with Jason. He opened his mouth wide enough she could see down his throat where fire boiled, waiting any second to erupt and melt her face off! Desperate to get away, she raised the knife and swung it down, lodging it in Jason's left eye.

The result was almost instantaneous. She was thrown to the ground, Jason clutching his head shrieking. She watched him yank the Silver Dragon knife out, fully intending to toss it aside but something made he pause. 

"I killed your brother with this knife. It's only fitting it takes your life too." He growled, posing the knife over his head. 

"No you didn't!" She said quickly. "You didn't kill Vaas." 

Jason cocked his head. She didn't believe her eyes when he dropped the knife. 

"I don't need to make you suffer." He said, his voice returning to normal and the sky above them calming down. "You're already doing that yourself." 

When she blinked, he was gone. Exhausted, she dragged her beaten body up, scooping the knife off the floor. Clutching her sides, she limped to the only entrance that didn't lead back to where she came from. There were no torches in this hallway, and it was shorter than the previous one. She could see the end from here, a bright white light contained by the outline of the door.

Each step she took she felt her strength return to her, as if the closer she got to the light was healing her in some way. Right before she crossed through the door, she halted and looked to her right. Dennis sat with his head hung low, a cup of alcohol in his hands but it looked untouched. There was nothing to be said, and she left him, stepping into the light.

For a moment, all she could see was white. Then it faded, revealing sandy ocean shore, a salty breeze blowing against her skin softly. She heard the cawing of seagulls, but didn't see any. At the edge of the shoreline, Vaas stood with his back facing her. It started with a brisk walk which turned into a fast jog then she was running to him. Vaas turned around just as she threw her arms around him, hugging him with all her might. She pulled away and cupped his face.

"I love you." She breathed. 

He didn't say anything but dip down and kiss her. It was soft and chaste, and he poured everything he couldn't say into that kiss. It was broken by a painful gasp that tore from her lips. She collapsed on her knees, excruciating pain ricocheting through her body. Vaas fell with her, holding her close, placing a hand on her stomach. Citra started convulsing, coughing up blood as the pain traveled from her abdomen up to her chest near her heart. 

"It's killing you." He whispered. 

Despite the pain, she laughed weakly, brushing her knuckles against his cheek. "It's OK. You're with m-me."

He shook his head, "I can't let that happen." He reached for her waist and took the knife, positioning it over her stomach. 

"No." Citra mumbled, pushing away the knife but he took her hand and wrapped it around the handle, his hand covering hers. 

"You have to let me go." He said, and when she looked into his eyes, she knew. "Trust me." 

Vaas didn't help her slide the knife in, he was just there for her. She expected more pain, but the opposite happened. The pain stopped. 

"I left.. because I did something.. something wrong and I can't- I couldn't bear to watch you hate me." He squeezed his eyes shut. He looked so distraught, so tormented. 

She cupped his cheek, "I could never hate you Vaas. I don't think I can." 

He smiled and reached behind him, unclasping the necklace she made for him so many years ago. He clipped it around her neck,  brushing his fingers over the leaf one last time. "Look in my safe, you will know the code. I'm sorry, Citra." He gazed at the ocean. "I need to go." 

Her smile faltered and she grasped his wrist. "Don't leave me. I need you." 

Vaas looked back at her, and leaned down, pressing their foreheads together. "You don't need me, Citra. You never needed me." When he straightened back up, her grip on his wrist loosened. 

He stood and took two steps towards the sea. Without looking back he said, "I guess it's my turn to wait for you." 

Everything begins to brighten. Vaas walks into the water, a little boy going off on an adventure. He doesn't look back, but that's ok. She knows he will wait for her to catch up. The light blinds her, and when it dims down she's all alone.

She can't stop the falling of her tears. The knife slides out easily, her shaking fingers making the knife slip from her hold. A crushing, hollow pain engulfs her chest and she cries and cries, hugging herself. 

He's gone. He's gone. But no matter how many time she says it, she can't accept it in her heart. 

Was he even real to begin with? 

But that thought made it worse. 

Look in my safe, you will know the code.

This isn't the end. There was still something left to do. 

She has to go back. 

Back to the jungle. It welcomes her like an old friend.