Tomb Raider: War and Peace

Chapter 10

“Finally” you mutter to yourself as you stand on the deck of the ship that picked you up quite recently. It’s not that you finally feel safe, it’s not that. When the S.S. Endurance got wrecked by a storm, when you heard the sound of cracking glass, the water of the ocean pouring in, you thought that you’ll never feel safe on a ship, ever. This still haunts you, what if disaster will strike once again? Is Himiko’s spirit really on the other side now? What if it’s just a pretty illusion to throw you off? What if there’s still danger?

“We will be fine, Sam” Lara says not even looking at you, standing mere inches from you, shoulder to shoulder. How did she know? Did she feel it? Know it? You turn your head to observe Lara’s face and then it hits you – Lara must have been thinking the same things as you. She’s in the same spot as you are.

“I hope” you say as you take her cold hand into yours.

Still, there’s no doubt that it’s safer to be here on this big stable ship than on an old boat. You are glad they picked you up… It happened only a few hours ago but it seems like it has been days already. Here’s at least a hint of civilization. You four were finally able to eat normal food and they gave you cabins with bunk beds and clean sheets. You guess that when you’ll fall asleep, you’ll wake up a week later, that’s how tired you feel. But now, the medical team will check up on you and treat your wounds. You’re scared for Lara, she is the one who’s hurt the most and you hope that she will be fine. She needs to, she survived all of this not to fall ill now.

“Sam, Lara, are you going?” Reyes shouts from a couple of meters, Jonah is smiling and waving at you.

“Be there in a minute” Lara replies not turning her head and Reyes and Jonah slowly go to the medical team’s cabin. Lara then stares into the calm ocean; you don’t know what she sees there. A sunken S.S. Endurance? Faces of our fallen comrades? Herself? You don’t understand, you don’t even try to. Besides, it’s really dark right now. When Lara was carrying you down the mountain on Yamatai, the sun was setting and the ship picked you up when it was almost as dark as in the nighttime. Still, you have no idea what time is it (and you don’t really care because you are going home).

“Let’s go” you say and Lara nods.

Jonah wasn’t injured at all, nobody could take out the big guy he is. Reyes only had her arm bandaged. It’s from that time the Solarii attacked you on the shipwreck beach after Lara left. It was that moment when you felt scared, that was that time when you understood that things are far from over. You, you sprained your ankle that Mathias bandaged and were able to get away with only a few bruises and scratches. And Lara… When she took of her shirt, you thought you would lose your consciousness. There were so many bruises, scratches, cuts, scars on her body that tears started flowing from your eyes. Reyes and Jonah were waiting outside while the medical team was cleaning up Lara and you were sitting there, crying soundlessly. Lara never showed that it hurt, you guess she was too tired to even feel the pain but it hurt you, your chest hurt just from watching all that wounds, her shirt soaked in blood. When they were done and Lara without any emotion left the cabin, you went up to the doctor and asked if she’ll be fine.
“I have no idea how she managed to stay alive all this time. Her wounds are pretty serious but now she’ll be fine. We bandaged her, gave her medication so she should be able to recover from this. She needs to rest” the doctor answered seriously but with sympathy. “Her body is really tired so she needs healthy food and sleep too”.
You thank the doctor and go out feeling at least a bit relieved. She’ll be fine, you know that she’ll be fine. You notice that Lara is talking to Reyes and Jonah and when you come up to them, everyone smiles. Like good old times, huh?
“We should all go to sleep” Reyes says, clearly tired. “We’ll be home tomorrow evening”.
“Reyes is right, we need to rest, especially you, Little Bird” Jonah turns to Lara. “You need to build up your strength”.

We say our respective goodnights and then slowly go to our cabin, which is in a different direction that our friends. Lara is quiet, too quiet but whatever she wants or doesn’t want to say, you don’t want to push it out of her. So you just ignore it, if she wants to say it, she’ll do it. As soon as you enter the small cabin, you slowly start undressing and getting ready for bed, Lara does the same. You feel glad for the crew, that they gave you new clothes, even if it doesn’t suit your taste, your grateful to have clean clothes instead of all ripped off. When you discard your shirt, you can’t help but look at her body, which is now all wrapped up in bandages but is still marvelous and breath-taking. When you’re both done changing, you help Lara get into her bed and then you take a few stairs to get into your bunk bed on top.
“Goodnight, Lara” you say, words barely a whisper. You feel too tired to speak.

“Night, Sam” Lara mutters and you can hear her sheets rustle a bit.

You thought you’d fall asleep fast because of how tired you were but this was it – you were unable to do so, you were too tired to sleep. You tossed and turned in bed feeling weird. Why can’t you fall asleep? What is wrong? What are you waiting for?
“Sam, are you asleep?” Lara asks you and it hits you. She wanted to say something, she still wants to, and that is the reason you couldn’t fall asleep – the anticipation, the pain, the waiting.

“No, I’m not, but you should be” you answer, your voice is shaking. You sounded a bit too strict but you couldn’t help it, Lara really needs to rest.

“Sam, I…” you feel her start choking on her words, unable to breathe.
“Lara, what is it?” you ask, your body leaning down, trying to see Lara’s face in the dark but you’re unable to. Then you get out of your bed and carefully get down tro the floor. What’s going on? Is she hurting? Is she in pain? What’s happening?

“Sam…” as you hear your name, you sit down on the edge of her bed and try to find her hand. When you finally do, you realize it’s all wet. Your eyes get adjusted to the dark and you see Lara’s face glistened with something. Tears.
“Sweetie, are you, are you crying?” you’re shocked. She doesn’t respond, you just hear sounds of her trying to contain herself, but you can still figure out she’s crying because her shoulders are shaking. You feel completely and utterly lost. Lara is crying, the hardened warrior, the survivor of Yamatai. And she’s crying now, letting go of all of her feelings that were bottled up inside. A second ago you felt terror, now you just smile softly at her. She needs this, she needs to cry, to let it all out. You move a bit closer to her and she sits up, still shaking, still crying. Oh Lara… You softly guide her head towards your chest and her hands encircle your waist instantly. The warmth soothes you though your shirt is getting soaked in her tears (but you don’t mind). As she sobs into your chest, holding you, you caress her smooth hair. It’s terrifying, it is, to see Lara cry like this when you perfectly know how rarely Lara cries at all. Especially in front of someone else. But you’re glad, you’re glad that it’s you to whom she decided to show her cracks, that she decided to let out all these tears, this hurt, this pain. Lara told you, that she was afraid she’s no longer human, that she wasn’t able to spill any tears during the nightmare that’s called the Yamatai.

“Sam?” it looks as if she’s calmed down a bit, her sobbing has quieted down. You look down and see that she’s not looking at you, her eyes wandering over the whole room, just not looking at you.

“Yes?” you gulp and tense. Is there more to the story? Is there something else?

“I’m sorry” Lara says.

“Lara, I have already told you to stop apologizing. None of this is your fault” you try to sound as convincing as ever, you need to convince her, you need her to believe you or else she’ll blame herself again and again and again.

“It’s all my fault” she repeats these words God knows how many times. Lara, enough.

“Stop it” you can’t stand it, you grip the sheet of the bed so tightly that your knuckles turn white. “Stop it. This is not your fault, we went there because we wanted to, not because you forced us, we went to Yamatai because it was our goal. We couldn’t have known what would happen there. This isn’t your fault so stop blaming yourself” you spit out, angry. How can she not get it? Why she’s still blaming herself?

“But…” Lara tries once more but you don’t let her finish the sentence.
“No, just shut up. You don’t have to take responsibility here. We went there on our own free will. Grimm, Alex and even Roth died because they made a choice. I don’t mean that they chose to die, but they chose you over themselves. You were precious to them so please stop blaming yourself” you have to say this, while you’re still fired up, while you’re still able to. “Stand tall, Lara. You survived that damn island, you just have to pass down the memory of those three brave men, that’s what they would want you to do. And not cry your eyes out and get pessimistic and stuff” you say out of breath. Wow, you never thought you’d be so fired up to say these words to her, but she deserves it. She deserves to be happy, there is no need to cling onto the bad memories. It doesn’t mean we have to forget it as soon as we can, but we shouldn’t dwell on it either.

It looks like she has calmed down completely; the tears have stopped streaming down her beautiful face. You carefully put your hand on her still wet cheek.
“I know that you’re right, I know. I just, I couldn’t control myself” Lara looks up into your eyes, her hazel eyes shining. “I have lost so many dear friends and suffered so much. And this pain, it seems that it will never end, that’s how I feel tight now even though I know it’s not true. But on that road of loss and sadness I found something too”.

“What is that?” You ask her and Lara smiles softly.
“I found you, I mean, I found my feelings for you, I finally understood them. And this brings me happiness” she nuzzles her nose into your neck, holding you tightly, not wanting to let go.

That is right, we have each other now. We have “us”, our feelings that still need sorting out. I lift her chin up and let my lips melt into hers. She’s perfect, she’s amazing, she’s wonderful. She’s everything I’ve ever wanted and finally I got her. She’s mine now. Our tongues start the familiar dance as we enjoy the moment of being together and being safe. Now we don’t have to worry about some Sun Queen, or crazy men trying to kill us, or about the betrayal of one of our people. Now we just dive into the ocean of our emotions and feelings and drown in them. Because we can. And then we slowly lay down on the pillows and fall fast asleep, Lara’s head still on my chest, her hands gripping the white sheets. From tomorrow on, we’ll have other things to endure. Things that are related to us, our feelings, our future, our past. We need to figure out this relationship between us, we need to take care of each other, to endure each other, to survive each other and learn to live with it, our feelings, our strengths and weaknesses. Human emotions, thoughts and feelings are and everlasting battle. It’s the battle in me; it’s the battle in her. It’s the war and peace within me, it’s the war and peace within her.

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