Author's Note: I always wished that Joel had properly gotten the chance to say goodbye to Sarah before she died, though I know the whole point was to make the opening of the game heartbreakingly tragic. I've always wondered what Joel and Sarah's goodbye would've been like though if they'd gotten the chance to say goodbye so I wrote this.
I hope you enjoy reading this fic and will let me know what you think! ^-^
DISCLAIMER: I don't own The Last of Us or any of the characters, as that would be Naughty Dog, because if I owned the game and the characters then multiple universes would exist where everything I write for it would be canon within it's own universe.
Stay With Me, Baby Girl
"Oh no..." said Tommy brokenly, as he looked over towards where his 12 year old niece, Sarah, lay on the ground clutching at her blood soaked stomach.
"Sarah!" called out Joel, as he quickly scrambled to his feet and darted towards his young daughter, instantly pressing his hands down atop her stomach from where she was currently bleeding out from being shot. "Okay, move your hands, baby."
Sarah gasped out in pain as she tried her best to move her hands even just a little bit, but was immediately deterred from doing so since the pain was too unbearable to comprehend.
"I know, baby, I know..." said Joel, hating more than anything to see his young daughter in so much pain and from a gunshot wound no less. "...listen to me. I know this hurts, baby, but you're gonna be okay, baby. Stay with me, baby girl."
All Sarah could currently do was gasp harshly at the searing pain she felt that was only intensifying with each passing second.
"Alright, I'm gonna pick you up now..." said Joel, trailing off to gently ease her into his arms and rest her head against his lap in order to comfort her a little bit better. "...I know, baby, I know it hurts."
All Tommy could do from where he stood was slowly sink down to his knees and watch the sight before him heartbreakingly unfold, as he currently had no other clue what he could do in that moment. He only knew that he wished he didn't have a pretty good idea of how this was ultimately going to end for his older brother and young niece.
"Come on, baby, please..." soothed Joel, as he wished more than anything he could take away his daughter's pain. "...I know, baby girl, I know it hurts."
Sarah gasped out loudly as she clutched tightly to her father's shirt.
"Sarah..." said Joel, his breath hitching violently in the back of his throat. "...Baby!"
"...Dad!" gasped out Sarah, as her tears continued to slowly stream down her cheeks. "...I can't, I can't, I..."
"Don't do this to me, baby, don't do this to me, baby girl..." begged Joel, as he held her even closer to him and rocked them both back and forth. "...come on now. Don't do this to me, okay? You're gonna make it."
"No, no, I won't..." panted Sarah breathlessly. "...we're both smart enough to know this isn't gonna end well, Dad."
"Don't say that, baby girl!" begged Joel, as his own tears now started to slowly cascade down his cheeks. "You're gonna make it, yeah? Because you're strong, Sarah. You always have been so don't you dare stop being strong for me now, okay?"
"I'm sorry, Daddy..." cried Sarah, gasping, as she locked her eyes with those belonging to her father. "...I'm so sorry."
"No, it's not your fault. None of what has happened is your fault, okay?" said Joel, as he smiled as reassuringly as he could down at his daughter. "The only one we can fault for this was the soldier that shot you, alright?"
"Why'd he do that, Daddy?" asked Sarah. "I thought he was supposed to help us."
"So did I" replied Joel. "But I dunno he, he just, I think he got scared and thought we were maybe infected with what's been infectin' people, but regardless that don't excuse him shootin' you, as that's somethin' he should never have done."
"Better me than you, Dad..." gasped Sarah, as she trailed off due to the searing pain that shot through her abdomen.
"Oh no, no, no, baby girl, don't you dare say that!" exclaimed Joel. "I'd rather this was me over you any day. You've your whole life ahead of you, Sarah. So don't do this to me, baby, okay?"
"I love you, Dad..." panted Sarah, hiccupping as she did so.
"I love you too, Sarah..." said Joel, not even failing to hide the fact he was now crying and sniffling. "...you are and always will be the one good thing that I ever got right in my life."
"You were the best father a girl could ever have asked for so never forget that, Daddy..." smiled Sarah faintly. "...tell Uncle Tommy that I love him too."
And with that Sarah trailed off one last time and succumbed to her inevitable fate.
"Oh, god! NO!" cried Joel, as he glanced over towards Tommy who just shook his head sadly at him, before he then cast his attention back towards his now limp daughter lying in his arms. "...oh no, no, no, please, god, NO!"
Cradling his daughter tightly to him Joel slowly rocked the two of them back and forth in his arms as he willed her to wake up and start breathing once more. "Please, please, don't do this, please, stay with me, baby girl, stay with me, please!"
"She's gone, Joel..." said Tommy ever so quietly, not even trying to conceal his own slowly falling tears at having lost his niece at such a young age and in such a cruel way too. "...I'm so sorry, big bro, but she's gone."
"No, no, no!" yelled Joel, as he clutched his daughter even more tightly in his arms. "I refuse to believe it, Tommy! I just can't! She's not gone! She can't be because she's my baby girl!"
"If only I'd got to you sooner I could've shot that soldier before he ever even aimed at you both..." said Tommy sadly, trailing off to glance down at the ground below him.
"It's not your fault either for what happened, lil' bro, so don't you go blamin' yourself" said Joel, his breath hitching in his throat, as he glanced over towards his little brother who was just as defeated and broken as he now currently was. "I don't blame you for this, Tommy."
"I'm still so sorry, Joel..." said Tommy, as he glanced back up and looked over at his big brother. "...I'm just so sorry, Joel."
"I know you are, Tommy..." said Joel, as he turned back towards Sarah and lightly rested his head atop of hers. "...but she's not gone. Not really. She's still with us. She's just sleepin' that's all. You'll see."
"Yeah, yeah you're right..." said Tommy slowly, as he decided to just go along with his brother's grief for a few extra minutes, knowing that right now that's what he needed to help him soon face the inevitable truth. "...she's just sleepin'."
As Joel heard his brother say that he knew instantly why he was doing it because he wasn't a complete fool, as a lone tear then slipped down his cheek while a fractured and broken sob escaped from the back of his throat and out of his mouth. "SARAH!"
Scooting closer towards his brother Tommy slowly and tentatively reached out towards him when he got close enough, placing what he hoped was a comforting arm around his shoulders, because right now he honestly didn't know what else he could say and he was more than certain that if he even thought of something it wouldn't be comforting and would no doubt somehow just be the wrong thing to even say since he'd never been too good with words. So he chose to remain silent and allow his brother to deal with the grief of losing his daughter. Deep down Tommy was just as heartbroken over losing Sarah, because she was his niece after all, but regardless he knew that the pain he currently felt over losing his niece would be nothing compared to the pain that Joel no doubt currently felt over losing his daughter.
As Joel rocked his daughter gently back and forth in his arms he vowed to himself silently that her death would not be in vain because someone out there was going to pay severely for so cruelly taking his precious baby girl away from him and out of his life forever.