So, this is the last chapter... Enjoy ?
Josh's gaze went up as Sam stayed quiet and fell on Mike, who was leaning against the door frame, the shadow of a smirk on his lips. When he noticed that his friend's attention had shifted, he took a few steps closer, slightly limping to avoid putting weight on his injured side, and his hands came to rest on the metal side rail at the foot of the bed.
"It's good to see you, mate."
"Sorry I hit you the last two times I saw you that night. Never got to apologize either after I realized you had not part in it… For Jess, I mean."
"Yeah…" Josh let out a humorless laugh. "That one wasn't on me. And you look like I returned the favor anyway."
Mike's eyes shifted to the bandages on his torso before coming back to Josh.
"Guess you could say that, indeed," he said with an unsteady smile. "Oh and, by the way, when we were searching for you, we find what you had prepared for Jess and I. Not cool, mate. I would be glad we escaped that if the alternative hadn't been so… hungry."
"Not helping, Mike," Sam protested.
"Let him." One of Josh's hands rose to rub his eyes but the IV line stopped him. "You both risked your lives for me, I think you earned the right to call me every name you can think of."
"We earned the right to see you again, you mean, that's all I wanted." Mike leaned over, as far as his injury would allow him to. "Partly so I could apologize for… for what happened a year ago, for Han- Hannah, and for Beth too, and… and not seeing how bad you were doing after that. And…" He took a shaky breath. "… partly because you are my friend and I missed you."
"Are you crying ? Mike ?"
He looked away, blinking hard to keep the tears at bay. Josh, as for him, didn't even try.
No one heard when she walked through the door, but Josh saw her motion at the corner of his eye and a moment later they were all looking at her. Ashley smiled. The day before, she had adamantly refused to come visit him, saying – screaming – he wasn't even her friend, but Mike's, and she could never forgive him. Yet, here she was, fingers nervously playing with the end of her braids. Her uncharacteristic high-collar shirt hid the scars on her chest.
"I wasn't going to come," she said bluntly.
"So why are you here ?"
"I felt alone in the hotel. Everyone is here."
"And… And I'm sorry. I sometimes feel like that was I that started it all. With the… the prank, last year, I mean. Hannah. I'm sorry. So I guess we're just even now. Maybe not even that, because I'm sure you had something nasty in mind for me and Mike, but you didn't have the chance to play it out. Hannah got her revenge first."
"That thing wasn't my sister."
"I know. But it came for me first nonetheless. And it didn't kill you, it didn't kill Sam, it even tried to save her when she finally ran for the switch, it didn't attack Mike either. I guess it still had some kind of memories."
"… It's even sadder. I don't remember being a wendigo, so I hope Hannah wasn't aware of what had possessed her either."
"I'm sorry," repeated Jess.
They stared at each other for the longest time. The blonde was shifting her weight nervously from one foot to another. That had been the first time the others had heard her apologizing – she hadn't even after the twins disappeared. It was never her fault, she either took pride in what she had done or just acted like it hadn't even existed. But now her smile had faded, her laugh was nowhere to be heard, and she acknowledged her part in the disaster that were these last trips to Blackwood Mountain. Maybe it would allow her to move on.
She walked out through the door without adding a single word.
He came last, clutching in his hand a paper bag stamped with the logo of a fast-food chain, as a lifeline connecting him to normality – to a world where no one would have to resort to human flesh to survive. His eyes darted to Emily and he seemed a bit surprised that she was still there. He kinda would have assumed she would have tried to kill someone by now.
"I almost ran into Jessica coming here, I tried to talk and she didn't answer. What's the matter with her ?"
"I think she needs more time to process everything," said Josh after a moment of silence.
"That you tried to kill us, you mean ?"
"Technically, I wasn't. It was all just a show."
"That you filmed."
"And how did it turn out ? Are you gonna be famous ?"
"Did Emily try to teach you sarcasm ?" Josh fired back, suddenly annoyed. "At least from what I learned having footage of this shit made you avoid ending in a psychiatric yard like I'm going to."
"Yeah. Have fun there."
"Matt !" Sam protested. "You can't say that !"
"I can, and I will ! I don't care if he didn't want to actually kill us, he nearly did anyway !"
"The Wendigos weren't-"
"-his fault, I know ! Except that he got us all separated, lost in the woods, scared shitless about some maniac chasing us when we should have focus on the real monsters, and he cut off our only way out !"
"Matt, for fuck's sake man, just stop," Mike stepped in.
"Do you think that monster would have caught Jess if you weren't in that damn cabin in the middle of its hunting ground, uh ?"
"The whole fucking mountain was its hunting ground, remember ?"
Sam's scream made everyone stop.
"Get out, Matt. I don't know if you're right to be angry or not, but either way now is not the time. Please."
Emily walked up to him and took his arm.
"Come on. Let the Care Bears have their pity party."
"Honestly, I'm not even that pissed off at Josh. He mostly just tried to steal my bag, as far as I'm concerned. Unless a certain someone that tried to fucking shoot me."
"Em-" Mike tried in turn.
"Bye, losers !"
She exited the room with a wave of her arm, dragging behind her a still-fuming Matt. The sound of her heels against the tiled floor echoed in the sudden silence.
"Yeah…" Sam replaced a strand of hair between her ear and leaned against the bedside table. "Well, we got that out of the way."
"I can't help but feel like he's right," Josh said quietly.
"We all did things we regret back then on the mountain. Not on the same scale, but… I mean, you were kinda right." She raised a hand to stop him from interrupting her. "We did pull a prank on Hannah and she won't ever have the chance to talk about it, to decide if she forgives us or not. We do. And as for me… Honestly, I'm not sure I can forgive you. But I can't live without you, nor any of us here."
Her gaze lingered for a few seconds on each person in the room. They were all looking at her, eyes shiny with tears.
A slow applause made her turn abruptly.
"Great speech, mom. You are really bringing our weird, dysfunctional family together, congrats."
"Mike !" She hissed. "I swear, if that weren't for that injury, I will freaking punch you !"
He caught her hand easily as she mimicked a blow at his face and didn't let it go, intertwining his fingers with hers. Laughter broke the tension in the room, quickly followed by tears – but they were tears of relief, this time.
Maybe… maybe the second time around, we can finally get our happy ending.
I posted this, I re-read and corrected and updated all the previous chapters... That means I'm officially 100% done with that fic ! And I must admit I feel a bit blue now, but also proud ! This is my longest fanfic ever, which means my longest english fic, and even if I wrote a full novel in French it still seems like quite an accomplishment ;)
I'd like to thank you for sticking with me through this whole fic, favorites and reviews are what kept me going ! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and... may I hear your thoughts one last time ? ❤
And if this get 5 reviews (in total), I will begin another Until Dawn fanfic... What would you say about that ? :P