When she touches your scars, you can’t help but close your eyes and lose yourself at the feeling of her cold fingers against your rough skin. But it is Sam’s touch and her touch comforts. Even if it’s a brief brush of fingertips. Your lips curl into a soft smile.
“Does it… Does it hurt?” Sam asks sadly when she carefully touches your ribs again. Her voice is shaking and you can’t help but curse yourself. Because you are the reason of Sam’s sadness, you are the reason Sam’s heart is breaking right now.
You’re both standing in the middle of the shipwreck beach. Reyes, Jonah and Whitman are sitting near the camp fire, trying to gain some warmth as the day draws to its end and the winds get colder. You should be happy that they’re here, that death hasn’t found a way to them but you have this feeling of uneasiness in your stomach that stops you from cherishing the moment. Another disaster is somewhat near, you can feel it.
You wanted to scream and shout from the top of your lungs about a minute ago, when Sam has placed her hand on your broken ribs but now the pain slowly subsides and almost disappears without a trace. You appreciate it, even if it’s for a little while. When the crushing pain vanishes, another feeling emerges. It’s somewhat the opposite of the uneasiness you’re still feeling. This feeling makes your heart skip a beat and feel a bit dizzy, like everything around you is spinning even though you’re standing in one particular spot. You can’t quite figure out these feelings, as if the island has taken your ability to feel anything at all. It feels so strange, it’s like you’re being torn in half, one half is in peace and the other one is at war. But what kind of peace is this? And what are the reasons of the war within you? You try and try to understand all of this but your poor head starts to hurt too much to properly function. It’s frustrating (whoever said that ignorance is bliss was a moron).
You snap out of your thoughts as soon as a cold hand touches your bruised cheek. And then you finally realize (your reaction is somewhat slow now) that Sam is here, Sam is safe and now it’s the most important thing in the world. Sam is right in front of you. She looks uninjured and unscathed but her eyes tell that the most painful scars are now inside of her, torturing her, tormenting her. But Sam is really here, she’s real and the heat that is radiating from her hand proves it.
“A bit” you say, your voice dry and hoarse from not speaking for a while. Then you realize that in a way, you’re lying. Because it usually hurts like hell but Sam’s hand is still placed on your ribs and you think that maybe, maybe it’s her touch that makes the pain go away (is that possible?). Her other hand is still lingering on your cheek, stroking it with her thumb. Your headache gets so bad that you have to close your eyes for a couple of seconds. Maybe it will go away too.
“Lara” you hear Sam growl and look away. You don’t want to think about all of the injuries right now, the pain, the killings, the sound of the guns, men shouting, bodies falling, blood spilling… You shake your head a bit - you don’t want to think about yourself at all. What matters the most is right in front of you (and it’s true).
Sam then carefully slides her hand down your cheek until she cups your chin with her fingers and lifts it up so she can look at you. Your hazel eyes meet Sam’s dark grey and you feel like you’re glued to them, you can’t stop staring into them. They’re so mesmerizing… You feel getting lost in the depth of Sam’s eyes. Your whole body is shaking as if electricity is running down through your veins.
“Lara, don’t lie to me. I know you want to seem strong and trust me, you are but please don’t lie” says Sam and for a moment there’s this unreadable look she has before her beautiful eyes start to water.
“I-I’m sorry. Sam, plea-please, don’t” you stutter. You feel so devastated you can’t even finish the sentence. So you just stand there and stare at your empty hands that have seen better times. You didn’t want to lie, you didn’t want to make Sam cry (you almost start crying too but get a grip on yourself).
Suddenly, you feel a slight pressure to your waist and it stings a bit. You do not understand what is going on at first but then you feel Sam hugging you, tightly clutching the fabric of your tank top, holding you tightly as she brings her body closer to yours.
“I-I thought you died, Lara. I thought this island took you away from me. And-and then I lost any will to go on because I didn’t care anymore” Sam breathes these words into your neck. “But then I heard you on the radio I stole from the guard and I felt different. I didn’t-I didn’t know what that feeling was but I knew I wanted to go on, to go on so I could see you”. Sam mutters into your neck and you feel her tighten her hold of you even more (Sam is almost crushing you now).
“Poor Sam” you think as your dirty hands embrace her. She’s slightly shaking because of all the hot tears pouring out. You stand there like this, for a moment not caring about the Sun Queen, about Mathias, about the Yamatai, you just want Sam to calm down so you hold her tightly (it hurts a little but you don’t care) and you whisper gentle words into her ear. After a few minutes it seems that Sam has calmed down and her hands slowly let go of the fabric of your shirt (“too soon” you think to yourself).
“Do you feel better?” you ask and then wipe away some of the tears on her pretty face.
“Are you both okay there? It’s dark so I can’t really see you anymore” you hear Jonah shout from the campsite. You and Sam are standing quite far away from the remaining survivors so it’s expected for them to worry about your safety. Jonah is quiet, too quiet and you think there’s something he wants to tell you but doesn’t want the others to hear. Whitman is really sketchy, earlier he said that he ran for miles but he never broke down in sweat, you think there’s something up with him and the Solarii. Reyes is being cold and distant but can you blame her? Roth’s death has affected the both of you the most and now all she wants to do is get off of this island and see her daughter. She even said that they’ll be leaving in the morning, with or without you and you think it’s fair. It’s your fault after all, it’s your fault everyone is dying around you, it’s your fault you’re on this island, it’s your fault that Sam…
“We’re good” Sam yells back and you can’t help but think that you’re not. Nothing about this is good, you can’t leave this island yet, you need some answers.
“Are you hurt?” you manage to ask her as you take her hand – so soft yet so cold. Her hands are the opposite of yours, your hands are always warm yet the skin is rough. Nevertheless, Sam’s hand perfectly fits into yours (like they’re meant to be this way).
“No, not really, I’m good, just terrified” Sam answers honestly and then takes both of your hands into hers. A sigh escapes your lips.
“It’s all my fault” you say silently, evading her eyes. “It’s my fault I fell asleep, it’s my fault you were taken away”.
“Lara, you’re not-“ she begins but I cut her off.
“Don’t” you say as you raise your head in shame to look into Sam’s worries eyes. “Don’t say it’s not true because it is”.
“It’s not” Sam shakes her head carefully. “It’s my fault that I trusted that bastard”.
That is not right at all. Sam has always been caring and kind, too kind but that’s what you loved about her. She has always been nice and giving, always worrying about everyone. Sam trusts people too easily but you can understand her. She is somewhat naïve and idealistic, she doesn’t understand why someone would hurt other people on purpose (and you don’t understand that either).
“I need to go” you whisper and then turn around slowly, turning your back to Sam. You’re not lying this time, you really need to go, you need to get the answers to the questions that have been floating in your mind since the arrival. Maybe even longer.
“Don’t go” she pleads and your heart almost breaks at the despair in her voice. She sounds so scared, so lonely. You don’t want to leave her.
“I need to go” your dry lips automatically repeat. You then feel a warm breath on your back. Sam took a couple of steps and put her head between your bare should blades. She has put her hands around your waist and now her hands are resting on your stomach.
“I don’t want you to go, something might happen to you” she says seriously but you can’t help it and laugh a bit at that. You’re more worried that something might happen to Sam, at the moment you don’t care about yourself at all. You then remember when you wanted to give up, to lie down and never stand up, but when you heard Sam’s voice through that radio, you knew that you had to keep going. For her.
“I stopped worrying about me a long time ago” you say and shift, trying to turn around so you could see Sam’s face. But when you do turn around, she looks down and just puts her head on your chest. Your heart is beating like crazy, but why? Sam just holds on to you tightly and her breath tickles a bit.
“What is it?” you ask her, you know she wanted to say something.
“Don’t say that, I worry about you, everyone does” you barely hear what she’s saying as she mutters it directly into your collarbone. You wanted to say that she doesn’t need to worry about you, that you’re fine but you didn’t want to make her sad again.
“I worry about you too, that’s why I gave you the gun. Don’t show it anyone, alright?” You raise your hand and shyly touch her hair. “Please Sam, be careful, I beg you”.
Sam lifts her head and looks straight into your eyes, she has that look again. You can’t help but think how beautiful she is, her facial features are soft, eyes (even though Sam has gone through a lot) still very inviting and her skin is like white porcelain.
“Can I-?” No, it doesn’t matter” Sam suddenly says and trails off.
“What?” you look at her confused. You have no idea what she wants to say but you guess it’s something important because Sam looks lost and confused too.
Sam stares into your lips and you finally understand. You finally understand that peaceful feeling within you. You only feel that way when you’re with Sam and though you should feel in shock, you don’t. Because it’s only natural, love is only natural. You love her, you love Sam and she loves you back because that unreadable feeling in her eyes is love, her eyes are filled with love. You look into Sam’s eyes and confirm it. You guess that you always loved her, since the first time you accidentally met at a university party. You didn’t want to attend that stupid party in the first place, but meeting her was worth it. It’s all worth it, because Sam is worth only the best. I need to find a way for us to get off this island…
“Sam” you suddenly pronounce her name very clearly. You feel like you’ve never been so scared in your life.
She just looks at you and then you lean in a bit and brush her lips with yours. It’s only a brief touch of lips, a chaste kiss but it means the world to you. And probably it means the world to Sam as well. You touch her cheek gently and she gives you one of the brightest smiles you’ve ever seen (and it’s very nice seeing Sam smiling in this god forgotten place). Sam then carefully wraps her hands around your neck and pulls you further into the kiss. Your hands instantly encircle her waist and you pull her closer to your body. You both melt into the kiss, tongues dancing in your mouths, hands touching uncovered skin. And for a moment, peace reigns within you. You pull back to get some air into your lungs because you can’t breathe anymore. Sam does the same, then she just smiles and puts her forehead against yours. You close your eyes and enjoy the moment. You feel like you’re home, because home doesn’t have to be a place, it can be a person.
“I really don’t want to go but I have to” you break the silence and Sam’s smile turns into a sad, painful one.
“I know” she says and lets you go. You just stare into the sand at your feet, you don’t know what to say. Even if you knew, you wouldn’t be able to cheer up Sam.
“I’ll see you soon” you try to brighten the mood but it doesn’t work.
“It doesn’t feel that way” Sam says and looks at you. It doesn’t feel like that to you either but you don’t say anything, you don’t want to worry her even more. Besides, maybe you’re wrong, who knows?
You take a step forward and softly kiss her temple, then turn around and decisively start walking away from her. When you turn around later, you can barely see because it’s so dark but you still catch a glimpse of Sam’s figure. She’s standing in the same place she was as you left. Your feeling of uneasiness kicks back in but you try to ignore it and keep on going forward. Everything will be fine, right?
You return to the campsite the next day. You’re even more bruised and battered but equipped with knowledge now. But as you get closer, you see only Jonah and Reyes. No Whitman, no Sam.
So that’s what the uneasiness was about. Your heart shatters into a million pieces.