Tomb Raider: War and Peace

Chapter 9

You were not expecting this. You thought that maybe Sam would shout at you, yell that you got late, that she almost died, that she’d be cold, distant. But it’s the opposite. Sam was being warm, gentle, nice and you were being pessimistic, ruining the mood, ruining everything. But Sam, she knew the best way to control you, to control your feelings. She said that she will be there for you and you felt your heart fill with joy. You both can try to get over it, to forget it if you are there for each other. Sometimes you feel like you both are cracks from the same vase, you both fit perfectly together. And sometimes you think that you are the two faces of a coin, so very close but with a solid metal wall in-between. The definitions change with the mood, feelings change also. You have never even guessed that you’ll be kissing your best friend with so much passion and lust, her touches leaving a trail of fire, driving you crazy. These feelings are so opposite to each other, on one hand you feel as if you’re falling apart, crumbling, shattering. And on the other hand, as if you’re growing, rebuilding yourself. The war and peace within you.

You don’t know why Sam has kissed you (not that you mind), but you tried to pour your every emotion into that kiss, into that dance of the tongues. It surprises you how much easier it is without words, you were never really good with them, not good at explaining how you felt. Even with your hazel eyes closed, you can see Sam in front of you, you can feel her, the warmth radiating from her body. Then she suddenly stops the kiss. With your eyes still closed, you can feel her putting one of her warm hands on your cheek. Sam leans in again but it is different this time – she kisses your forehead and pulls away.

“Lara, are you alright?” you hear her soft voice.
“I’m fine, Sam” you answer, your eyes still closed, afraid of looking at her, afraid of comprehending the kiss.

But you open them just to find that Sam is standing really close to you. Her eyes seem to look right through you, she is trying to understand.

“We should, erm, we should go” you shake your head as you say this, your cheeks are burning red. “Reyes and Jonah are waiting for us”.

Sam laughs at you, maybe at your rosy pink cheeks, maybe at your smoothness (Way to go Lara, couldn’t you have said something nicer and not “we should go”?). But you know that it’s ok, Sam understands you, she knows that you’re not good with words and emotions, she just has to bear with it for a bit longer. Maybe later she can teach you how to be more open about how you feel. Now you just need to get out of here.

“Sam, can you-“
“No, I still can’t walk, I can barely stand” she interrupts you.
“Do you want to rest more? Maybe you want some water?” you ask her. You need to take care of her, you need her to be fine.
“It is okay, it’s just… It annoys me how weak I am” she blurts out and looks away to the side, to the grass, to the mountains, anything but you.
“Sam, what do you mean?” you give her a confused look.
“It’s just, you nearly died who knows how many times, you have all these serious injuries and you have to carry ME just because I’m too weak to be able to walk by myself” she spits out. Not angrily, not out of ill will. She thinks you had it worse, that you don’t deserve to do this and that she’s so weak she can’t even handle it.
“Sam, I know I’ve been injured and etc. but you almost died right now, you almost vanished. You would have disappeared without a trace. And it’s traumatic, for your brain, for your body” you say slowly. “This is not a competition. If I feel good enough to help you, I will. Maybe later I’ll be ill and you’ll be fine and you’ll take care of me. You never know. So please, don’t think too much about this” you say and smile briefly at her.

“Oh Lara” Sam looks as if she’s going to burst out in tears any minute. But she gets a grip on herself and just nods simply.

You take her into your hands and start carrying her again. Sam, you were foolish a minute ago, but can I blame you? It has always been the same with Roth and you. He had always done things for you, helped you, taught you and you never gave anything in return, just because you didn’t have anything worthy to give him. But relationships, any kind of relationship isn’t about equal exchange, it’s not about being selfish. It’s not about “if you give me this, I’ll give you that”, it’s about giving in general. I help you because I want to, because I can, not because I’m waiting for a favor to be returned. If relationships are based on this, they’ll crumble, eventually. You think Sam knows this better than anyone, it was one of those things you learned from being with her, you think it was stress and the traumatic experience of being a damsel in distress that got to her.

You go down by the mountains, carefully, not to fall or slip, not to hurt Sam. After everything that has happened, you thought you won’t be able to carry her any more, but you guess the kiss gave you the energy to do so. At least the path down is clear, there’s not much left too. You just hope that Jonah and Reyes are alright and have not been injured in the fight. The rays of sun aren’t so warm anymore and only now you notice that the sun has almost set. The trees have been painted in various colors of the sunset. You need to hurry up a bit, Lara. As you think of those words, you see that you’re already on the beach. Where are they? They must be somewhere close, you know it. The sound of the boat’s engine informs you that they’re here and as you turn your head to the side, you see them both.
“Sam, we’re here” you whisper softly only to notice that Sam has fallen asleep in your arms. You smile to yourself. Yes, she needs to rest, she’s been so tired, you guess she also barely slept at all on this island. Jonah makes the boat get closer to the shore. Lara, you need to focus, only a couple of more steps. But you feel so tired too, as if all the heaviness in the world has been dropped on your shoulders. A step after a step and Jonah takes Sam out of your hands. Reyes looks at you sadly, though all-knowingly, Jonah puts Sam down.
“I think she’s going to be okay” you want to calm them down, to understand that you’re both fine.
“What happened up there?” Jonah asks and they both look at you.”

“It’s over. We can go now…” you shake your head slightly. You don’t want to talk about it, at least not now. You know you’ll have to tell them what happened, but just not now. You need to rest a bit yourself. This is it, you get into a boat and pray that everything will be ok.
“Alright… let’s get the hell out of here” Reyes is the first one to react, and to understand that you’re in no condition to talk about the island. Jonah looks as if he wants to say something, but he cannot find the words to comfort you, so he keeps silent. Reyes just turns the boat to the horizon and you go sit near Sam, you want to be there when she wakes up.

Hours pass and you think about your father again, about all the stories he told you.
“I’ve been so blind… so naïve” you think to yourself. “For years I resented my father, doubted him like the rest. But he was right about so much. I just wish I could tell him that now. There are so many mysteries that I once dismissed as mere stories. But the line between our myths and truth is fragile and blurry. I need to find answers… I must understand.” You hope that you’ll be able to make up to it, to understand, to learn. You need to find out, distinguish the truth from the lies, the real things from illusions. Then you’ll be able to find the true peace.

You feel movement near you, body shifting.
“Lara?” you hear a weak voice.
“I’m glad you woke up, Sam” you lean in to kiss her forehead.

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