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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Luka looked back towards the old neighborhood he recognized. Could he go to his home—his father’s home. Was he in there now? Was he alive? Was he alive?

“We can’t go.” He said through a weak sob.
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"...It's your decision," Jason said, all the excitement leaving him now. "But if you stay now, you might never leave. What happened? You were so sure this was the right idea just a few minutes ago. You said you'd 'go crazy' if you kept up this life, I thought we could... finally get you away from all that."
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“I do want to go. More than anything, I do. But you were the one who said to stay.” Luka simply responded. “You said that Wesley Naught was alive. And if I let you run away from that,” He sighed instead of finishing his thought.

“It wouldn’t be right.” He finally said. “You wouldn’t be happy. Not really, and not forever.”
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"Wha-" Jason exclaimed, staring at Luka in disbelief. "What are you even saying? And... How do you know Wesley Naught in the first place? I... I know I told you about the... accident, but I never said what his name was. What aren't you telling me here?" He was looking quite distressed now, already on edge from the almost-escape.
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“I... I don’t know!” He shouted back. “You told me all this, but it was 20 years from now and you were a gross, old man. Well not that gross, but I mean you changed your face and you were bald so a little. And Stella was there, and we were all competing for money, and I was stuffed like some kind of animal. I don’t know why I remember, but I know I’m right! I’m not crazy!”

Almost like a lightbulb went off in his head, Luka grabbed the driver-side mirror of the car and ripped it off. He clutched the broken end tightly, drawing blood from his hand. Real blood. It made him smile, and then he laughed. He displayed his bleeding hand to Jason fully as if to say “see?”
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Jason abruptly backed off when Luka started to apparently go crazy. "Jesus! What are you-" he yelled, before clamping a hand over his mouth and glancing over towards the house. He didn't want to wake Luka's father. "What are you doing?" he continued in a forced whisper. "Okay, look, maybe we should go for a ride, you can calm down out there. You can always think about this again, right? So long as we return before dawn, you can still choose whether you really want to do this or not. But I don't think staying right here is doing you any good, you're... acting irrationally." He continued to stare at Luka's bleeding hand, physical evidence of his apparent bout of insanity.
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Luka was visibly frustrated, but it seemed he got another idea. "The field! Remember? My research? The morphogenetic field? This is it!" Luka gripped Jason on the shoulders, looking him in the eyes. "Listen, you have to believe me. You told me everything--about Wesley, the combine, the green rock. There's one under your floorboard too, some old lady put it there. I'm right, right?! How else could I know any of this if you didn't tell me?"
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"The... the field? Right, you've talked about that before," Jason said, calming down, before eyeing Luka quizzically. "So you're saying you talked to yourself in the future? That's... Well, it sounds crazy, but it would explain what you've been saying..." He was accepting Luka's wild claims with remarkable ease: presumably he trusted him just that much. "But... your hand, are you alright? I... I trust you, of course I trust you, but I'm still quite confused here. You were always the one with the mind for this sort of thing."
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“I didn’t talk to myself. I was there. And my hand, well it’s a long story but in the future, I kinda died. Or I didn’t, that’s another long story but I think Stella-“

Luka stopped himself, slapping himself in the head. “Stella! She should still be here, right?”
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Jason blinked, before answering guiltily. "Er, yes, she's still here, of course. I wasn't going to tell her about... well, this, but... Why do you ask?"
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"I've been a terrible friend." Luka looked away. "We're about to leave, and we're not even telling her. And then after I die you leave too, and she doesn't know anything. She's just left alone. And when I came back 20 years later, I never got to tell her thank you. For bringing me back, for everything else."

He then looked at Jason earnestly. "I never got to thank you either."
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"Me? I haven't even done anything yet- Um, I suppose that's not really the point. Future stuff, right," Jason mumbled. "Sorry, I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around what you're saying. But, there's no need to thank me. You know I'd always do anything for you, now and in the future. Um, not to sound weird. Well, I guess that sounded weird anyway."
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“No.” Luka refused Jason’s refusal to accept the apology. “My life is... let’s just say stressful. And I was such a piece of shit to you and Stella years ago but you guys kept at me. You guys and more family to me than anyone I know.”

Luka kissed on the lips quickly, almost out of nowhere. His blushing was inevitable. “I uh... I never realized how I rich I always was.”
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Jason suddenly smiled brightly. "Wow, um... Yeah, wow." His smile combined with his own blushing made for quite the radiant expression. "W-well, if you're saying that, it's only fair I return the favour. You already know how, well, with Wesley... It was hard for me to move on with my life after that. Hard for me to make friends again. But you, you were there for me. And Stella, of course, but you, you... Our time together helped ease the pain. So thank you, really. I guess we, we both helped each other. We were both there for each other. In a way we complete each other? Okay, no, getting weird again, sorry.

"Speaking of weird, would it be weird if I kissed you back? Not that it was weird when you kissed me, it was the opposite really, but, um..." Jason floundered to a halt, stumbling over his own nervousness. He glanced again at Luka's house, for a moment irrationally worried about being caught by the parent.
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“Uh yeah! I mean-“ Luka cut himself off and instead responded by action. He suddenly wrapped his arms around Jason and passionately, messily, and clumsily kissed him the only way a horny, teenage boy could.
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Jason was taken aback at first, but soon responded in kind. The kiss went on for an uncomfortably long amount of time to anyone who happened to be watching. After they finally pulled apart, Jason mumbled "amazing" in a stupor, all his prior worries evaporated.
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Luka rubbed the back of his head, also smiling. He put his hands on his own knees, fidgeting a bit. “So uhhhh, did you want to get going? I mean, I’m fine with staying here a bit too. If you wanted to that is. But if you want to go I’m also totally fine with that.”
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"Going? Uh, going where?" Jason asked, still a bit out of it. "Just a minute ago you said you wanted to stay."
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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“To Stella’s, I need to ask her something. Plus it could be good to get out of this rain.”

Luka took the car keys from Jason’s pocket. “No offense, I’m driving.” He held the keys for a moment. “Scratch that, we’ll walk.”
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"Stella's? Right, sure, if you say so," Jason readily agreed, excited all over again now. "You sure about the car though? It's a bit of a hike, especially in this rain."
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“I’m sure. And make sure to tell your parents to get the car inspected.” He looked over at the broken mirror. “The engine and brakes that is.”
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Luka and Jason begin walking through the rain and the dark.

They keep talking and laughing about different things.

The road takes a sharp turn around a steep hillside. At the bottom is darkness, and it makes Luka uneasy, but they carry on together.

Finally, the two of them reach a street with narrow, tall, brick houses made a hundred-odd years ago.

The two of them go up to the door and knock gently...
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About a minute passed before the door opened a crack. A girl with bright blue eyes and short blonde hair peeked through the opening briefly before pulling the door open. She wore a black turtleneck and her hair was messy; maybe she'd been asleep or busy studying. "What's going on?" Stella hissed softly. "I haven't seen either of you in about a week, and you show up NOW? Did you walk here? This late at night? In the rain?"

She glanced over her shoulder quickly before waving the boys in. "Hurry up and get in here, but try to keep it down. Auntie already went to bed."
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“We’re dating!” Luka blurted out, smiling widely and holding up Jason’s hand as he spoke. “Umm.... we’re dating.” He repeated again, whispering. He walked inside quietly kicking his shoes off by the door.
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"We are? Um, yeah, we are!" Jason awkwardly agreed. "That, er, probably comes as a surprise..." he added, given that not too long ago Luka had rejected him and he'd fallen into a deep depression as a result. "There's some strange circumstances, Luka can explain it way better than I can, but we kissed so I guess that makes it official."
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"You are?" Stella blinked in surprise. "Oh, wow, so things worked out after all, huh? Congratulations!" After clasping her hands cheerily, she blinked again. "Um... that doesn't really explain why you were out in the rain, though. Actually, hold that thought. Let me go get you some towels, then you can tell me about it," she said, already on her way to the bathroom.

A few seconds later, she returned with a bath size for each.
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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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Luka took a towel and briefly smothered his face into it before dragging it across the rest of his body.

“Saying it’s complicated would be an understatement.” He smirked. “But we needed to see you. We couldn’t leave you again—or uh, the first time. This is the complicated part.

“Do you remember the stuff I told you about the morphogenetic field? I think I saw the future, and I think it’s real. No, I know it is. And I think you know it is too.”
Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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"Her too? Really?" Jason said, drying himself off as well. "...This is really not how I thought this evening might go."
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"You... think the future is real? Or the field is real?" Stella frowned. "And what's this about leaving me?"
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Re: NG9 Game Thread (Round 8: Time to Go)Topic%20Title
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“Well, Jason was supposed to kill me today. And then a lot kinda snowballed from that, but we don’t meet again until 20 years from now. And I was alive, even though I died. Stuffed in a body like a taxidermist animal, except I was still me.” Luka looked at Stella intensely as I spoke. “And I know that sounds crazy, but it shouldn’t to you right? Because you know that kind of thing is possible.”
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"Wait, wait, wait, I was supposed to what?" Jason exclaimed, standing off to one side.
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“Well it was a car accident but yeah, you kinda killed me. Your words.” Luka uneasily smiled despite the serious matter.
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Stella gripped her arm anxiously and glanced at the floor momentarily. "...Luka, I really don't know what you're trying to do here. Is this some kind of prank? It's honestly not funny." She narrowed her eyes at Jason. "Are you in on this?"
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Jason's eyes widened as he turned to Stella. "N-no, I'm, um, very confused right now too. I have been since a little before we started walking here. We were about to get into my parent's car to, um... go for a drive, but then Luka started talking like this. Though apparently I was just going to crash the car anyway, so... it's better this way? I don't fully understand what Luka's saying, but I do trust him. Let's hear him out."
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“It’s not a prank, but I can’t really prove it.” Luka sighed frustrated. “I knew stuff about Jason he never told me though. And in the future you had this bird called Costeau. And that cult you told me about, I learned more about them too. How they revived stuffed birds, the warblers. Come on, I have to be hitting on something right?”
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"Cousteau...?" Stella paled a bit. "No, that's... I-I left him back in the forest... But I don't think I told either of you his name... or did I? I don't remember now..."

She shook her head and stared at Luka intensely. "Seriously, what are you trying to do with this?"
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“I’m not trying to do anything.” Luka sat Stella down on the couch, grabbing her hand. “You have to believe me. I don’t know what’s going on, but in the future I die again. My stuffed body doesn’t hold up, or my soul can’t stay in it. I’m not sure. But if there’s anything you know, anything that might help me...”
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"I..." Stella quivered, tears beginning to form in her eyes. "I-I don't know... I'm sorry, I don't know... They... When Cousteau died, t-they brought his body to something like a church a-and set him next to some kind of stone and... they started singing... I-It sounded kind of like his song... and, and then he started m-moving and singing too... T-That's when I ran away... I-I was so scared of whatever was happening... I don't know how they did it, I didn't want to think about it, I... I just wanted to forget that whole part of my life ever happened... I'm sorry..."

She swallowed hard and squeezed Luka's hand. "I'm sorry," she repeated softly. "I-I want to help you with whatever this is, b-but I just don't know what the answer you need is... You're talking about the future and coming back to life and this morphogenetic field thing, b-but I don't understand how any of this works... I wish I did so I could maybe do something for you... just, anything..."
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Stella Bontempo clutches Luka's cold hand, crying softly next to him.

Luka's not next to her on the couch though, he's dead, lying on the ground in front of her.

Her words echo across time and space, and somehow her grief comes from both the mouth of Stella from that other timeline and the one kneeling in front of Luka as she says her last goodbyes.

But Luka doesn't just hear them in the past like he should. He hears them now.

His eyes flicker open.
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Luka looked around awkwardly at everyone and without speaking, sat himself up so he was off of his back. He blinked a few times as if he had just woken up from a sleep, but seemed otherwise fine.
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