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“Hazardous anomaly detected. Quarantine activated.”

 

Orange lights begin to flash in the room and you ready your plasma cutter, glancing at Isaac to see if he’s ready. You see that he is, and just as you turn back, a Slasher is in front of you. You shoot its legs off and run up to it, smashing it with your boot before it has the chance to try injuring you. You repeat your strategy over and over with the other Necromorphs coming at you until the lighting turns back to normal again. Now the walls are stained in crimson and dead Necromorphs are sprawled on the ground, but it doesn’t dissuade you. No, you’re used to the sight now. You’re used to the sight of dead Necromorphs and human corpses littering the floors, used to the stench they’re beginning to give off because of how long they’ve been there. This is nothing new to you anymore, so you still don’t understand why Isaac has to ask you how you’re holding up after every single little attack.

 

“Are you all right?”

 

You turn to him, giving him the answer you always do: “Yeah, I’m fine.” You can’t see his eyes because of his helmet, but you know those blue-green hues are scrutinizing you, examining you to see if you truly are okay. You aren’t.

 

He nods. “Let’s keep moving.”

 

-----

 

Isaac can tell there’s something bugging you. You’re not talking — well, you never really have since the incident in the flight lounge — and he can just… sense it, even if he can’t see those [eye color] orbs of yours he’s so familiar with. He wonders if you’re starting to get tired, whether it be physically or just of the whole infestation. He certainly doesn’t blame you for either.

 

There’s a crawling noise, and your head shoots up to look at the ceiling. Whatever’s coming for the both of you, it’s in the vents, and you begin to feel increasingly nervous.

 

 “There!”

 

You don’t know if you’re the one that said that, or even if you shot right at the Lurker, since for once, you panic. You hate those things.

 

It turns out you missed it, because in an instant it’s in your face, and you make a grab for it, doing all you can to keep its tentacles away from you. By some miracle you have a grip on it that lets you slam it to the ground, and you kick it as hard as you can as it screams. Tentacles have detached from the main body, which is spurting blood. When you turn, Isaac is using his boot to nudge at the Lurker he’s killed.

 

No movement.

 

He looks at you, and you decide to save him the extra breath. “I’m okay,” you tell him.

 

You can’t see it, but you know he has a small smile on.

 

-----

 

It’s getting on his own mind now. The incessant hunch he has that something’s bothering you is unnerving him. You’ve gone down two halls, five rooms, one zero gravity area, and numerous Necromorph encounters since it first came to mind, and he finally wants to ask you what’s the matter. He’s been holding off, seeing if it’s just him imagining things, but he knows you far too well to let it go as just his imagination.

 

The both of you enter a room with a few supplies, and there’s a chair in the corner, but you don’t go to it, settling for leaning against one of the walls and sliding down until you’re sitting on the floor. You take your helmet off, and Isaac walks up to you as your helmet is retracting itself back into your RIG suit. He does the same with his as he sits down next to you.

 

He isn’t expecting to see tear stains on your cheeks when your helmet is fully removed.

 

“You’re not okay.” He doesn’t allow you time to state otherwise as he gently puts a hand under your chin, causing you to look at him. Your [eye color] irises are glazed over, and more tears pool at the corners of your eyes, but you don’t wipe them away. When they start to fall, he does that for you.

 

“How long is it going to be?” Your voice cracks. “I can’t take this anymore.” The gore and violence you’re used to, but the number of people who were killed because of the infestation you’re not.

 

Isaac’s quiet for a moment. “Neither can I.” He avoids your question because he knows he doesn’t have the answer.

 

You take a deep breath. His eyes watch you, never break contact with yours, and they have a soft tone to them. His hand holds one side of your face, his thumb gingerly rubbing your cheek. You liked it when he did that. It became his way of calming you down, and it worked every time.

 

You feel his lips against yours, and the kiss is tender, like he doesn’t want to break you. When he pulls away, you smile slightly. He’s about to question it, but when he looks into your eyes, he doesn’t have to ask. He already knows the answer. 

 

-----

 

The next room you go through, you find blood in a thick pool in one corner of the room that has a light directly above it. You slowly walk over to it and see a woman laying in it, obviously having died a while ago. The smell doesn’t deter you as you look at the wall behind her, seeing a drawing made in blood. It’s simple and crude, but you still recognize it. “Isn’t that an…”

 

“Apple blossom?” You look back at Isaac, and he nods. “Yup.”

 

You only spare a glance back at the crimson painting before Isaac starts to move on. You linger for a few seconds more before going after him. You don’t know if he knows what that apple blossom means, but you sure do.

 

Hope.

 

And considering the fact that you and Isaac have made it this far, you feel that there is, even if it’s just a little.