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Endgame

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He's never liked Amanda or Hoffman.

And to be fair, he's pretty sure they'd never liked him, either. Well, Hoffman hadn't seemed to care much one way or the other. Amanda, however, had seemed to nearly loathe him at times. At least, she certainly hadn't liked him after he'd become a fellow accomplice. Gordon has always suspected she saw him as a rival for John's affections.

And yes, that's who the man is to him now. Not Jigsaw, never Jigsaw anymore. Not after he found him in the hallway and put him back together. No, after that, Jigsaw became John. Or Kramer, if Gordon was trying to keep a respectful distance in the situation. Not a friend, more of a savior.

All right, so Jigsaw hasn't quite been able to save everything for Lawrence. His marriage had still crumbled, after all. It had been far too damaged to survive anything further, especially the kidnapping. But what had happened to Lawrence had made the marriage end a bit differently. His wife at least tries to be civil, and she doesn't stop him whenever he wants to see his daughter.

And he makes it a point to have a relationship with his daughter; if he didn't, he would be violating John's trust and completely ignoring a large chunk of what his test had been supposed to teach him in the first place, and doing that would make everything up to now rather pointless. He's been through too damn much to call it all pointless.

Hard, sometimes impossible to understand, yes. Pointless, no. Far from it.

Now, though, with Hoffman finally, finally gone, he can finish putting his life back together. Not necessarily follow in John's footsteps. For one thing, Hoffman -- that asshole -- had destroyed the lab, which will make it infinitely harder to do anything along those lines. But, he supposes, there's no harm in keeping an eye out for someone who would fit John's unique qualifications. Not Amanda's.

Amanda, she of the unwinnable game and unsolvable test and unwavering devotion to John. Lawrence suspects that it's that last bit that had John caring so much for her. She was a screw-up, a reject, and she'd survived her ordeal. John had taken her in, much as he had taken in Lawrence himself.

The only difference was, Lawrence had followed the rules. He has never taken it upon himself to imitate his mentor and twist everything he had been taught. He's taken everything in the vein in which it was meant -- he learned. He knows Amanda never did and he knows that deep down, John knew it too.

Needless to say, Amanda still isn't Lawrence's favorite person.

He sits at the dining room table, reading the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee and smiles to himself; the article is about Hoffman and his apparent descent into madness. Only Lawrence knows that Hoffman wasn't mad so much as... searching for something forever beyond his reach. Lawrence can understand that. John had a way of getting inside a person's head, truly getting inside it, that was unrivaled by anyone Lawrence has ever heard of. John was hard, though, unyielding -- you could only learn from him, truly learn, if you lived. Oh, there was the final moments where sickening realization set in, but that isn't the kind of learning John had wanted for his subjects. He had wanted them to survive. What Amanda had never realized and what Lawrence quickly came to understand was that some part of John was always rooting for his subjects at least a little. Amanda and Hoffman hadn't gotten that, and they're dead now.

But Lawrence is the one still alive. The one who was smart enough to know how to make it through the past few years unscathed.

Well, relatively unscathed, anyway.

As he makes that little mental note, his ankle throbs. It does that sometimes, though not as frequently anymore. Which is something else he's grateful for, because he's been able to continue his career. He's not sure where he'd be without it, actually. He's been able to resume his previous life, though with changes. But people believe what they want to believe, and so they believe that any changes in Lawrence have been because of the terrible trauma he suffered.

But they have no idea what it's really come from, and he has no desire to enlighten them.

He finishes the last of his coffee and stands, making his way slowly to the kitchen to refill his cup. It's one of those two-cup-minimum mornings; since shutting Hoffman away, the past few nights have been sleepless ones. Lawrence won't rest soundly until a few more days have passed, maybe even another week. Hoffman is a resilient man, more resilient than Lawrence would like to be dealing with; he wouldn't be surprised if the other man were able to survive longer than the average person would be able to make it.

He knows he'll have to go back and check eventually, knows he won't be able to fully relax until he can confirm it for himself. He knows there's no way out of that damnable bathroom on one's own, knows that he will find Hoffman dead on the floor, but this is one time when he isn't going to leave anything to chance.

He downs the second cup of coffee quickly and leaves the mug in the sink, heading out to his office a few minutes later. His mind may be preoccupied with thoughts of Hoffman and John and the games, but he has to act normal. He has to keep up appearances. And that means not doing anything that would give people even the slightest bit of suspicion. Maybe it's paranoia, but a little bit of well-served paranoia never hurt anybody, he figures.

If it keeps him out of trouble, he's all for it. Survival is the name of the game, after all, survival and enlightenment.

He stands the winner, and he takes his prize with the seriousness John would want.