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12/19/2014 c1 32bkwrmnlvnit
AGH THIS STORY IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. JDKFLAJFADJF;ALDJFALKDSF. You have no idea how ridiculously happy this made me when I first read it a couple months ago after I first played the game, and I've now played it three times in a row and I've read this fic about ten dozen times, and I'm really glad that I'm finally getting a chance to let you know how happy this fic made me and how epically awesome it is and how equally awesome you are for writing it.

Anyway. Coherence.

Straight off, I absolutely adore the imagery you put into these first few sentences. Not only is it the phenomenal way you show off the winter scenery to show that bitter cold we all loved to hate when we played the game, but it's also the minor details you used with Joel and Ellie to portray exactly the state they're in and set the mood for the story, especially Ellie. As if the fact that Joel's weakened and bothered by what happened at the end of the fall wasn't enough indication that life still wasn't easy, her jokebook is. It's always there to lighten the mood, and the fact that it now can't do so both because it's frozen and because it's owner never bothers to try is absolutely flooring because it always brings a smile and now it doesn't because no one feels much like smiling or even can. Talk about your powerful beginnings...

I love this sort of side mention of how Joel is talking about hot chocolate and Ellie's tuning it out as well. Once again, it's a double meaning here. It means Ellie is clearly still not alright after what happened with David to be ignoring news of the real world which always fascinates her so deeply, and it also is reminiscent of the very behavior Joel was showcasing in early spring after what happened with David. He's just trying to say anything to make his little girl smile and be herself again, just to fill up the silence that she's not stopping. It's very powerful, and it has a very sad ache to it. Lovely detail to add.

This conversation with Joel carries it on even further with how she's feeling better but is still not paying attention. Better is not fixed. She is still heavily bothered by what happened with David, and even if she's improving a little, she still remembers. And that memory is going to just keep on haunting her until she feels like it's safe to let it slip. She's trying to be better, but she is in no way herself again, and she won't be for a long time.

Also love how you include the detail about how Joel knows she's lying but doesn't press. It's perfect and it suits him very, very well. He knows when people are lying, but he also knows when to make them talk and when to shut up about it, and that sort of gruff consideration is absolutely perfect for him, another wonderful detail. Equally wonderful is the way you describe Ellie, how she wakes in terror but tries to tough it out and yet still leans on Joel sometimes even if she tries to be independent because she is just so traumatized from this experience. I love this sort of stubborn bravado it gives her, the exact kind she had in the game when she tried so hard to be strong but sometimes slipped through and wound up acting exactly as she was - a kid who had every right and every reason to be outright terrified. Wow.

The way this goes on again with Ellie waking up is great. A lot of people would describe the nightmare to a cliched point, but you just capture the end and that's perfect because that's all we need to know to capture the terror and know exactly why she's so horrified and so haunted by this and why she can't move because she sees David in the doorway waiting to slam her back onto that table again. It's that same bravado from before making itself known in a way again as it falls away, because in these sentences, you return her once again to being reasonably scared and screwed up, just like she should be. And rather than having her do some dramatic confession of how scared they both know she is, you have her just go over to Joel and lean against him to be comforted by his presence, and that's perfect. It says it all without saying a word, because Joel knows and she knows and they don't need to say a word.

I also love how this story ends, with how even years later she doesn't stop needing him. She recovers eventually, but she never is perfect again, even after four years and time and healing. She does still need Joel, even if she can fight for herself. It's a perfect testament to the intensity and the intimacy of the bonds they share, and I absolutely adore it. Even when they both can fight for themselves, they know they can still lean on each other, and that's both beautiful and brilliant for both their relationship and for you to notice.

All in all, this fic is spectacular. It is heartbreaking and twisting and heartwarming and it shows every single aspect of the relationship between these two that I love, exemplifying in so few words that they are always there for each other, they always understand, and they love each other very, very much, and you capture that beautifully through your wonderful imagery and choice of details. Absolutely amazing job. Thanks a million for posting and keep up the phenomenal work. This is fantastic!

7/31/2014 c1 Alexis
This was so good! I need more TLOU fics like this. Most of the time when I look for a Joel and Ellie story, they end up hooking up... yeah, no thanks! XD This was perfect though! Thanks for writing!
10/22/2013 c1 S4656guy
10/22/2013 c1 Guest
:D :D awww too cute! fantastic job!

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