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It Doesn't Hurt Me

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It's not real. It's not real. It's not real.

Ty repeated the sentence over and over again in his head as he looked in front of him. He wasn't in Hawkins anymore. He was in the Blackthorn's old house in Los Angeles, standing in the bedroom he used to share with Livvy, standing on his side of the room, a piece of blue tape dividing the sides. Standing parallel on the other side of the tape was his late sister herself, dressed in a white sundress, turned so she wasn't looking at him.

"Ty?" Livvy said, her voice echoing. It almost didn't even sound like her, but Ty knew it was her. Ty knew the sound of his sister's voice like he knew his own heartbeat. "Ty, is that you?" Ty nods, he couldn't bring himself to speak. He couldn't even bring himself to breathe. He shouldn't be afraid, it was just Livvy. Livvy who used to cry when Dru or Julian threatened to kill spiders when they were children, who would instead carry them outside and give them names. Livvy wasn't going to hurt him. But if he wasn't fearing pain what was he fearing? "I didn't hear you come up the stairs. Come over here Ty, I just want to see your face."

"Can't you just turn around Livvy?" Ty asked her. Livvy started laughing. No, not Livvy, the voice was too deep to be Livvy's melodic soft voice. She kept laughing as she turned around. Ty looked up, for once in his life going to make eye contact, but instead of looking into his sister's sea blue eyes, he saw empty eye sockets instead, the lights flickering behind her illuminating her too-wide grin. Blood coming out of her eye sockets dripped down onto her cardigan, her laughter growing louder, spreading through the room like a disease.

Ty couldn't even bring himself to scream, he just ran. Bursting out of the room, down the hallway of his old house. He didn't have time to enjoy the memory of his simpler life, not when not-Livvy was on his heels.

"Tiberius! Stop running this instant!" A voice said as soon as he reached the bottom of the stairs, the voice of a ghost older than his sister's. Eleanor Blackthorn had been dead so long it surprised Ty he even remember the sound of her voice, but no one ever really forgot their mother's voice. Ty stepped into the dining room, and in the flickering lighting he could see his mother's silhouette standing at the opposite head of the table. "Why do you run from me my Tiberius? All I do is love you. Why do you run from me?"

The lights flickered, and the rest of his family was seated at the dining room table. Julian, and Mark, and even Uncle Arthur. They all looked exactly the same as when Ty last saw them, some of them just minutes before and some years, but all of them were missing their Blackthorn blue eyes.

"Ty," Livvy whispered. Ty turned around. She had eyes again, his sister, but she didn't look normal. She was wearing the same outfit she wore on July 4th last year, her rainbow striped shirt and jean shorts, her hair tied back with a yellow scrunchy. And a hole in her chest her blood soaked hands were covering, a hole put there by the mind flayer she earned when she tried to push little Tavvy out of the way of it's path. "Ty help me, please Ty, please help me." Ty rushed to his sister's side as she sunk to the floor, the flickering getting more intense, making his head hurt.

One minute he was looking down at Livvy's face, and the next he was looking up at Vecna's.

...

"Get his headphones! Get them from the car!" Dru was already running towards the car as Kit and Mark screamed the words. She couldn't tell which one of them said what, everything seemed all mushed together. Nothing felt real, time seemed to have stopped when they walked up to Livvy's grave to find Ty frozen sitting in front of it, his eyes looking up at the sky when they usually only looked down.

Fuck, fuck, fuck Dru thought as she dug through Ty's bag in the backseat of the car. They didn't have the time for this. In maybe only a few seconds Ty would end up like Jon and Arthur and whoever else would perish to Vecna next. She had one job, she wasn't going to let her brother die because she couldn't do it.

"Fuck!" Dru cried as she got to the bottom of the bag. They weren't in there. Ty never left the house without his headphones, but they weren't in his bag. Why weren't they in his bag? 

Dru was reaching for Kit's bag before the thought even hit her fully. Ty gave his headphones to Kit, because he wanted them to be safe in case something happened to him, a token for Kit to remember him by. Dru grabbed the headphones and Ty's walkman's out of Kit's bag and started running back up the hill. Cristina and Emma better be right about this. It hadn't been a year since Livvy, she couldn't take losing Ty too.

"Put the fucking headphones on him Dru!" Mark cried. Dru put the headphones on Ty's head as Kit struggled to grab the walkman and play whatever song was in there. Whatever it was would be Ty's favourite at the moment, Ty tended to play the same song on repeat until he got sick of it. Dru could hear Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush playing softly from the headphones as Kit tucked the walkman into Ty's pocket, right before Ty started to float off of the ground.

...

"Tiberius," Vecna said. "You've been carrying around your hurt for a long time. It can't be easy, living every day knowing that you killed your sister." They weren't in the Blackthorn's old house anymore, they were in the shell of another house, one Ty couldn't recall ever being in before. "Your suffering is almost at an end, and God knows you've had a lot of suffering. Let me release you from it." Ty made a movement with his arm, but Vecna grabbed him, putting his other long hand up above Ty's head.

It doesn't hurt me you want to know how I feel

Ty could hear the sound of the song playing softly at first, getting louder and louder gradually. He closed his eyes for a split second and could see Livvy dancing around to it in their bedroom, wearing her oversized t-shirt and a stupid smile that he loved so much. He opened his eyes and looked over Vecna's shoulder. He could see the graveyard, he could see Dru, Mark, and Kit standing around him, looking up as he floated in the air.

"Please wake up Ty," Kit pleaded. "Please come back to me. We need you. I need you."

I need you

Ty kicked his leg right into Vecna's stomach and as the monster  tumbled backwards he started running towards the small window, his only chance at survival, at getting back to his family. Pieces of the house began flying at him, but her kept running.

If I only could make a deal with god

He could see Dru and Tavvy sitting on the counter as Emma told them the elaborate story of how she, Kieran, Julian slayed the demogorgon, half of it exaggerated, all of it entertaining.

Get him to swap our places 

He could hear the sound of his Livvy's laughter as he shoved her into the water, not the awful quarry water in Hawkins, but the real ocean in California.

Keep running up that road

He could taste Julian's pancakes

Running up that hill

He could touch the strange red upside-down liquid as he fell into it. He quickly scrambled to his feet and began to run fast, Dru, Mark, and Kit's pleas filling his ears.

Running up that building

He could feel Kit's lips on his.

Ty ran through the window.

He opened his eyes as he fell out of the sky, like Icarus when he flew too close to the sun, like Arthur did when Vecna got to him. The difference between Arthur and Ty was that Arthur was dead, but Ty was alive. He was alive, more alive then he had been in a very long time.

He landed in Kit's arms. His vision was blurry with tears, and even without them he felt too disoriented to be able to tell much, but he would know Kit's touch and the feeling of Kit's arms against his body  anywhere at any times. He could feel it when Dru and Mark wrapped their arms around the two of them too. He could almost feel Livvy's arms too. She was here. In Hawkins. In the real world, in the soil. Vecna couldn't take that away. 

Running up that road, no problem