Fandom: The Last of Us
Characters: Joel & Ellie
Prompt: 3 of puzzleprompts's 6 prompts for April: a winter's night, time, bloody
Word Count: exactly 300!
Summary: Joel flirts with death after his injury in Colorado
Author's Notes: Title taken from my favorite Robert Frost poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Crossposted to AO3 and FFN.
The cool, crisp air of fall was gone, chased away by the cruel bite of winter. Joel had been slipping in and out of consciousness --and lucidity-- for God knows how long, losing all sense of time, but it seemed that this change had happened awfully fast. Day and night had swapped often enough that he knew it had been at least several days since he’d fallen. It felt like mere moments had gone by, even if each moment inexplicably seemed to span hours.
His fuzzy brain was playing tricks on him. He was bleeding to death… no, my shirt’s bloody but dry. He was freezing to death… no, my head’s on fire. He was something-ing to death -- the pain in his side was unrelenting, unbearable. He wanted everything to stop. The end was near; he could feel it. Like a hokey cliché, snapshots of his past flitted before him. Resigned to his fate, he closed his eyes... yet every time he did, it was as temporary as sleep.
He woke in darkness to a shadowy figure hovering over him. Small, silver-haired, glowing… Sarah? Was he delirious enough to believe in angels now, or…
“Oh thank God. Joel, don’t die on me. You can’t. I need you to… I need you.”
Ellie! It was moonlight that defined her as a silvery silhouette. Her cold hand soothed his fiery face for a moment, or maybe hours… he was slipping away, and she felt it, her head on his chest, body quaking with silent sobs.
Then something inside him snapped into place.
I can’t leave her all alone, I’ve gotta fight. Ellie tethered him to this world; he wasn’t going anywhere. Unable to transform the thoughts into words, he’d have to show her –- by not dying. I got this.