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Filthy Pride

Chapter Text

 

Oh
I should've known a little better
Good things never last forever
My heart in repose
I need you the most

Oh
Feed me to the wolves
Like I don't have a pulse
'Cause the day you said "no"
I started dying

 


 

 

'It was just a joke, Han!'

Boom! Butterfly Effect... Fuck that.

With a chilling breeze hitting her exposed skin, Sam shuddered and curled her scarf tighter around her neck. Squinting her vibrant green eyes, she dug her feet into the snow that covered the ground like a blanket while studying her surroundings. It had been two years since the disappearance of her best friend and her twin sister, Beth and Hannah. Yet it had only been one year since the reunion that had left the blonde and all of her friends in ruins. Did it bring them closer together, or further a part? The athlete hated lingering amongst the thought of there ever being something more horrible than death, but mental sickness had its mighty claw around someone important to her... That itself mattered more than the after life - death couldn't scare her anymore.

Not when death could prove inevitable.

The sound of her phone ringing snapped Sam out of her deep trance, and she started to breathe again. Once she answered, her knuckles turned white from how hard she was gripping onto her phone. It was Chris.

"Hey Sam, are you almost here? He's waiting for you, I can hardly get him to hold still." The man's voice was soft, seeming like he almost knew what Sam was feeling. After all, she was almost positive he felt the same way. 

With a nervous sigh, Sam smiled weakly to herself and continued on down the path that led to center of her mischief. "Almost there. Got distracted by some squirrels." A small, nervous giggle escaped her lips. Chris said nothing before lightly clearing his throat. 

"You're horrible at pretending nothings bothering you." Damn. Was it that obvious? Chris sighed into the phone and Sam felt her shoulders slump as she heard a faint voice in the background. Chris was right, Sam was horrible at lying, and pretending everything was okay when they actually weren't. 

Noticing that she wasn't too far from her destination, Sam's heart began to race even more against her chest - so much that she could feel it in her throat. Why did she agree to do this? Chris didn't pressure her to do anything, everyone else in their friend group didn't have the heart to forgive him - Josh. After the hell that he put all of them through, Sam sometimes blamed herself for never stepping in during the beginning of the prank that pushed her best friend to her death. She had to pretend to be okay to get all of her friends through the guilt, especially Josh. Oh, Josh... I'm sorry.

Clutching onto her phone tightly, the blonde stopped before the entrance of the property before staring down at the ground. Taking in a deep breath, Sam almost wanted to yell in frustration by how fake she felt. "Would you rather me say everything is bothering me, Chris? Do you even understand how weird it is for us to be back for the third time on this damned mountain?! Now I'm facing my best friend's brother, who I wanted nothing more to get better - but did he? NO. He became worse, and he didn't even realize he was until the last minute. I can't be okay right now, but I can pretend to be. For him, and for you." Oh, dammit. Why was it that every time Sam got angry, she started crying?

Quickly rubbing at her eye as tears threatened to escape, she sniffed and bit the inside of her cheek lightly. At times like this, Sam had wished she had the ability to rip out her own heart and store it away for someone else to take care for a while. Though the one person she wanted to couldn't, because he was too busy suffering through his own torture. Sam tucked a lose strand of silky blonde hair behind her ear and wiped another warm tear away from her cheek. Biting her lip, she closed her eyes and slightly hung her head.

"-Sam. Sam, trust me... I understand what you're going through, but you can't keep blaming yourself for what happened. I know it's easier said than done, and I can't explain as to why I think everything will be okay but I truly believe that it will all work out. Josh is here - waiting for you, and he's really excited Sam. He keeps walking around and fixing his fucking hair in the mirror. He cares about what you think, too... You two need to talk, whether you want to or not. I know you're strong, Sam. You can't keep pretending to be stronger than your heart, though." Chris whispered softly, followed by a soft and reassuring chuckle.

Sam stared through the gate in disbelief, listening to her close friends words intently. Letting a soft roll of laughter from her lips, they curled into a small smile and her shoulders relaxed faintly. "Wow, I didn't know you were capable of speaking like that." Though she was trying to lighten the mood and ridden her sour thoughts, Chris did have a point and she appreciated the gesture. Chris let out a scoff, and then he clicked his tongue.

"Whatever, just hurry up and get here. I know the gate is broken still, you'll have to climb over the wall. Does it bring back any fun memories yet?" Chris talked casually, his tone of voice changing as well. Sam glanced up at the rock wall that was elegant, but seemingly dangerous in its own way. Taking a deep breath, the blonde cracked her neck and then she reached up for one of the rocks.

Placing her foot up against the structure, Sam spoke into the phone. "Yeah, good thing I'm not wearing a skirt this time. Not up for almost getting frostbite again. I'll see you soon, Chris." Hanging up without giving him any time to respond, she quickly stuffed her phone into her pocket and started climbing up the familiar structure. Almost sliding a couple times, the woman eventually got up to the very top where once her feet touched the edge, she lifted her head and stared in awe at the scenery before her. The Washington's had decided they wanted to rebuild their luxurious cabin and gave them permission to sought Josh out there, as long as they had promised not to damage anything. It was bitter sweet - Sam had almost wished it was never rebuilt.

After jumping down from the wall, the woman grunted and then smoothed down her pants. She had worn a hefty winter coat and her familiar red scarf, as well as a hat that hugged her silky blonde locks that slid along her slim features. With black skinny jeans and knee high winter boots, Sam had come more prepared than the last time. Nervously picking at her gloves, Sam couldn't find herself able to move a muscle as the realization hit her that she was only a few minutes away from seeing her best friend for the first time since she had found him in the mine, chewing on the body of one of the unfortunate miners. It was almost a sin that Hannah had recognized him instead of killing him, because keeping him alive through that torture was almost worse.

Slowly moving her way towards the large estate, Sam felt her knees buck forward once she had reached the stairway to the front porch. Gripping the railing and with each step, memories flooded into her mind.

It was damp, and the darkness that represented the mine held a more profound evil that no one had suspected. The Wendigo curse, the mountain, the simple history behind it... Everything had damned Sam and her group of friends as soon as they had stepped onto the property the year before. Hannah was dead, and she ate her sister to stay alive. Since she had turned to cannibalism for survival, it awoke a deadly spirit that would never truly die. She wasn't Hannah anymore, but Sam was still happy no one else had died because of karma - or to simply put it, the Butterfly Effect. Now the blonde was picking pieces of the puzzle, even if the picture wasn't one that she had wanted or expected. After finding out the truth about the Wendigo curse and the leading cause of Josh's insanity, Sam only wanted to help fix things even more. She was compassionate, driven, brave... Josh was important to her, more important than anyone else and she wasn't ashamed of that.

Traveling throughout the mine, the blonde was determined to find him. She knew Josh was down there, because that was where Hannah had taken him instead of killing him. She was scared, but extremely driven by adrenaline and passion for finding the destructible man.

Though when she did turn a corner and finally found him, Sam had dropped her pipe and slapped a hand over her mouth. Tears flooded her eyes and quickly spilled down her cheeks. Holding back frustrated sobs, Sam collapsed to her knees and stared in disbelief at the sight before her. The man she had grown up with, along with his twin sisters - and the man that she nagged all the time because she cared so much about him... he had resorted to cannibalism. He was gone, at least that was what it had seemed like. The curse of the Wendigo...

As soon as Josh had turned his head from his meal, his eyes grew and his pupils shrunk. His eyes were no longer vibrant and tingling with at least a small bit of hope, they were milky. Half of his mouth was ripped upwards, revealing his sharp fangs. He still had his hair but instead of it's slightly messy composure, it was tangled and seemed to fall upon his neck. Josh's skin was still tan but because of the dark lighting, it seemed ashy and in the beginning of decomposing.

Slowly turning around, the creature flexed its claws. Could Sam still classify this thing as Josh? It didn't look like Hannah, but it, no, JOSH seemed far gone from being human. He let out a loud shriek, the noise piercing Sam's ears. The woman cried out, quickly covering her ears and clenching her teeth together. Tears spilled down her face still, but now she was struggling to move because she was scared - disappointed, even. Her throat tightened and Sam felt like her chest was going to burst.

"J-Josh..." Her voice was strained as she croaked his name, and her hand trembled violently as she tried to slowly make her way to the pipe.

Josh stared at her with an intense pair of eyes, hunger lusting in his gaze. With a snarl, he hissed and then took a step forward. Sam gripped onto the pipe, but when she went to quickly turn around and run, her eyes widened as she felt a sharp sensation overwhelm her back. Crying out as her body slammed into the cool ground, she thrashed around as Josh's claws dug into her back. The attack was full of anger, and was it weird to think it made Sam more upset than fearful that Josh was hurting her? This wasn't the Josh she knew - this was a monster that had threatened Josh's mind for a long time.

"JOSH! JOSH, P-PLEASE! S-STOP!" Sam cried out, screaming in pain as she tried desperately to block out Josh's attacks with her backpack. With a shaky hand, Sam grasped the pipe she had previously once more before quickly looking over her shoulder. Staring up at the man who had been her best friend for many years, Sam felt her heart shatter to pieces as she found the courage to slam the metal pipe along his head. Josh shrieked in anger and pain, stumbling off of the woman while holding his head in his hands. Quickly scrambling to get up, Sam panted and finally found footing. Leaning against the wall, her body pressed against it in an attempt to keep great distance between the two of them. Curling into the cool surface the blonde found herself trembling once more, letting out a quiet sob. This was fucking bullshit. What was she supposed to do now?

Though as Sam had stood there and seemed to slowly accept her fate, her eyes had drifted open once more after the realization hit her that Josh wasn't attacking her again. Staring at him in shock, the blonde studied the creature as he whimpered and clutched at his hair.

"Y-You're n-not the boss of me a-anymore!"

Did he just speak? He could speak?

With wide eyes, Sam watched in confusion and fear. "J-Josh?" She whispered softly, her voice shaky. "Josh?"

Josh twitched, his body stiffening for a moment. Slowly raising his head, Josh's eyes no longer seemed incredibly milky. Now there was life in them, but he was still partially controlled by the hunger Wendigo's thrived off of. "S... Sam...?"

When he had said her name, Sam felt her heart crush beneath her ribcage. With a weak smile, the woman slowly let go of the wall and fell down onto one knee. "Josh? Oh Josh, I'm so, SO sorry..." She croaked, her smile falling once she had felt the all too familiar pang in her heart. Josh stared at her with wide eyes, and his body seemed to visibly tremble. Moving towards her slowly, he had noticed that Sam stiffened quickly and almost curled into herself.

She was prey - Josh's prey.

Sniffing her faintly, his eyes almost rolled back with how good Sam's scent was. Her smell was familiar, almost comforting... He hadn't remembered what it was like to feel safe, especially because of another living soul. Besides the blood faintly staining her skin from wounds he had conflicted to her, Josh felt his mouth open slightly and he started to recognize her perfume. Sam had a distinguishing smell, and even as a human Josh would study it as she walked by him. Or if they hugged and he buried his face into the top of her head. She always brought him back home, and she was determined to do it again.

Falling to his knees just a few feet away from her, Josh curled into the ground and held back a loud growl. "Please... H-Help me... Help... me!" Josh cried out, and it seemed so human that Sam cried out as well. He broke her heart. It wasn't him, it was the love she wished he could feel that she had for him. Punching the ground and crying out in frustration, Sam went to rush towards him despite the fear that belted in her core. Once she had practically tackled him in a tight embrace, she sobbed and gripped him tightly to her chest. Burying her face into the back of his neck, Sam started to seemingly forget that he had inflicted wounds to her back. The pain didn't distract her from sobbing into him and trembling against his form. Holding him felt right, it reminded Sam of when he would come over to her house in the middle of the night because he couldn't sleep. They needed each other, but it felt like Sam needed Josh way more than he could ever need her.

"I'm so sorry, Josh. I'm so fucking sorry, I was so lost in denial that I couldn't believe you were suffering the way you were and I was too stupid to not insist on helping you more. All I wanted was for you to get better, I was just so scared... I was so scared of losing you too. I already did though, and it's all my fault." Sam's voice cracked as she spoke quickly to him, and her hand trembled as she held his head into her chest and pushed his hair back out of his face. Josh panted against her, clutching at her bicep and his body trembled against her. He felt so human and that scared Sam, because it didn't occur to her how he was still a Wendigo.

Not responding, Josh still gave Sam a harsh squeeze along her bicep. Did he understand what she was saying?

"I'm getting you out of here. I won't let you become this," Sam hissed in frustration. Going to stand up, she whined as Josh seemingly shook his head and allowed his body to go limp. Dropping him to his knees once more, Sam sniffed and quickly crouched down beside him. Studying his face, she felt her lips tighten and her eyes widened as she studied the blood that was stained along what was left of his mouth, and sharp mandibles. Staring down into his eyes finally, Josh weakly turned his head so she could get a better look at him. Slowly cupping his face, Sam didn't dare go near his teeth even though she wanted to.

"N-No... I can't... I can't go with you, Sammy..." Josh croaked, but it seemed like he was trying to smile. Supporting his face with her hand, Sam was desperate to remember what he had felt like. It seemed so sad, the smile he was giving her and it broke her heart even more. With a tear falling from her cheek, Sam budded out a bottom lip and she watched it fall down onto Josh's face. Quickly shaking her head, she gripped Josh once more and embraced him tightly.

"You can't take me up there... I... I'm not ready, I can't do it." Josh groaned and he quickly turned over in Sam's embrace, hacking up whatever he had previously eaten before. Sam gnawed at her bottom lip and slowly ran a hand along his forehead to push his hair back once more. She had never realized it until that moment, but she was never allowed to have the chance to roam her fingers along his face before. She had never touched his face in all of their years of knowing each other, unless it was to mess with him... It was so intimate, and the extremely pathetic downfall of it all was that Sam had told herself he was never going to be hers.

Shaking her head, Sam growled and felt her eyebrows furrow together. "I just found you and you want me to leave you? I can get help, Josh! I can help you, please let me - "

"YOU CAN'T HELP ME NOW, SAM!" Josh yelled, and Sam winced. She had always hated it when he yelled, but he had rarely ever done it to her growing up. "You and I both know... that I'm a lost cause... I always was, and that won't change... This is my fate, Sammy. I'm s-sorry..." Josh cried out, his voice cracking in pain and he recoiled away from Sam. She went to grab him but he slashed a claw at her, and almost instinctively she knew that he was serious. That broke her. Sam stared at him in agony, and tears swallowed her eyes whole and drowned them as she felt a piece of her die. She watched her best friend move along the ground in pain, clutching at his head and then his neck. What was he feeling? Why couldn't God decide to give them another chance?

Then, something seemed to snap in Josh, and he held still.

Slowly backing up away from him, Sam trembled and raised her weapon. "-Josh?"

With the roll of Josh's head, his milky eyes met her own gaze once more. He was gone again. Sam started running to the entry way of the cave, the blonde panting as her chest enclosed on her lungs. She was an amazing athlete, but emotional stress had always weakened her. Not looking back once, she knew that Josh was right behind her. One wrong move, and she would've gotten killed. Running quickly along the thinning pathway of gravel, she kept her eyes on the only way out. If she could slide down under the door, she could buy herself more time...

Then, the impossible happened.

The large door was pushed upwards, and like a slow motion part in an action movie, cops flooded in with guns and flashlights pointed there way. No way, Emily had actually gotten through to get help?! With her blood pumping hot through her veins, Sam screamed at the cops to run. PLEASE DON'T KILL HIM, PLEASE DON'T FUCKING KILL HIM. Anything but that...

"Sam? We were sent down here to look for Josh Washington - "

"GET OUT! GET OUT OF HERE, RUN!" Sam screamed, waving her hands around to exaggerate she was being chased by the man himself, who was no longer a man, but a monster. Maybe deep down inside, the real Josh was waiting to wake up and to tell her that this all had been a joke... just a part of his own prank. The cops looked at the blonde with a blank stare, before they screamed and suddenly realized what she had been warning them about. Shots were fired but when Sam tried to turn around to yell at them to stop, she was grabbed by the arm. Quickly twisting around to face the cop, she pushed on him and pointed to Josh. "Don't kill him! Please!" The woman was begging now, but as she was dragged out she tiredly bowed her head and allowed herself to be taken away.

Months later - that was when Sam had gotten a call from Josh's parents that he was still alive and in the hospital... They needed time accepting what had happened, but besides that, everyone knew that even though it was possible for him to gain some humanity he wasn't going to be completely normal physically or mentally. They paid for his plastic surgery, at least that was what Chris had said... Their best friends parents were in complete denial and if they didn't have their money to fall upon, they might've been insane themselves. The surgeon had said Josh still had his sharpened teeth, but the slit that drove up the corner of his mouth was sewed up - partially. His fangs were somewhat filed down as well so they weren't like daggers anymore. He was on medication for his psychosis, but recently his parents were getting too uncomfortable and selfish to help him through recovery. Chris had a brilliant plan to try and contact everyone, including Sam, and out of everyone involved she was the only one excited to see them both again.

Sam was terrified because she still felt guilt for Josh and his twin sisters. Though she loved all three of them, she held a more profound love for Josh and it tugged at her heart every single day he wasn't by her side... Which was always. Now that he was recovering and she was invited to spend time with him out at the mountain once more, she wasn't sure whether or not to feel lucky or cursed.

Sam was convinced life was doing it out of spite, but perhaps this was the small prayer she had begged God for. This was the result of the Butterfly Effect.

 


 

 

 

Sam's hand wouldn't move once it was on the handle of the front door. She stared intensely down at her knuckles and watched how they turned white. Squeezing her eyes shut, Sam let out a low groan and tried once more to move her hand down onto the handle. This was it - she was going to spend however long she needed with her two best friends. She needed to patch things up with Josh, whether he was still partially Wendigo or not. She'd ask him more about it once she had actually gotten inside, but she swore she could feel something watching her through the glass door. Slowly pushing open the door, Sam stepped inside and shuddered as the warm air had hit her chilled cheeks. Kicking the door closed behind her Sam peeled off her backpack from her shoulders and walked into the large loft. Looking around, the blonde felt a soft smile perk at her plump lips. They curled around her perfect white teeth, and her heart danced softly against her ribcage.

She didn't want to remember what had previously happened there before - the prank and the dark atmosphere. It had burned down with everything else, nothing in the cabin was old or attached to tragic memories. Everything was new, but Josh was not.

Hearing quick footsteps, Sam looked up and smiled cheerfully as Chris walked towards her. Spreading his arms, he engulfed her into a large hug and lifted her from the ground. "Sam! You finally made it!" Chris laughed and set her down on the ground, grinning and looking down at her afterwards like a genuinely happy golden retriever. There was a certain confidence about him that radiated now, and Sam was sure it was because he and Ashley were finally dating... she had hoped Ashley would come up eventually, too.

"Of course I made it, nature led the way." Sam purred sarcastically and she motioned towards the door behind her. "After all, aren't I the athletic Disney princess everyone proclaims me to be? Squirrels tend to like me a lot."

Chris rolled his eyes and ruffled Sam's hat, misplacing it on her head. The blonde huffed and slapped his hands away, a playful smile gleaming on her face. She had almost forgotten she was supposed to face someone incredibly important. "Okay smartass, you're probably one of the smallest Disney princess' too." Sticking out his tongue at her, Sam huffed and rolled her eyes as well. After exchanging giggles and gentle shoves, a certain feeling filled the air and suddenly the atmosphere changed. Clearing his throat, Chris drooped his eyes to the floor. "S-Sam... About Josh - "

Oh shit, here there it was.

"He's obviously not the same as he was before. Not mentally, and definitely not physically. He's intimidated to show you, so please don't freak out." Chris held up his hands and did a gesture that told her to keep it on the down low. Now Sam's heart raced, but she was more so excited than nervous. More so than she was in the beginning after getting off the old bus that took her to the mountain to hike up to them.

Sam frowned but her eyes softened. "All I want is to see him, Chris. I missed him, and you know I have for a long time. I... I was worried I'd put more stress on him. He always hated it when I babied him." She smirked faintly, rubbing the back of her neck. "I'm not worried about his physical appearance... Hell, Chris. I'm way too nervous to think straight." Sam whined, and then she rubbed at one of her temples. Waving her hand towards Chris, she huffed and felt her face warm up. This was happening, wasn't it?

No matter what, Sam had promised Josh a long time ago that she would never give up on him.

Chris sighed and then turned around. Walking into the kitchen, Sam had heard distinctive talking that was cut short. Followed by sudden foot steps that were different from Chris', Sam closed her eyes and held her breath.

"Mr. Washington will be just as fine, Samantha. He awoke from a comma and we are now trying to feed him protein. We had to sedate him and we are talking to his parents now about arranging some spiritual, mental and physical help for him... I'm afraid you won't be about to come around for a while though, we need him as calm as possible. His parents had also requested that you shouldn't be allowed access to visit him, too. They believe you didn't help him overcome his paranoia, and helped him to be self diagnosed."

That was what angered Sam the most, but also gave her a small bit of hope.

"Sammy?"

Looking up at the voice who beckoned to her, Sam felt her eyes widen. An excited smile grew at her lips as she stared into the eyes of the one and only... Josh. "It's you," She breathed out softly, her eyelashes fluttering and her chest raised and lowered quickly. Her fingertips twitched and every fiber in her body awoke. Casually stretching out his hands, Josh smirked but seemed timid, and his once milky eyes were now gleaming with what seemed to be something close to happiness. Was he being shy? Really?

Rushing towards him, Sam let out a yelp as her body slammed against his own. Josh closed his eyes and buried his face immediately into her hair, his arms tangling around her small torso and pulling her against his bigger one. Sam desperately held onto her best friend around the neck, standing on her tip toes and having balance from Josh's hold on her. Laughing weakly against his bare neck, her laughter turned into uncontrollable sobs. She scraped her nails along the back of his neck lightly, taking in his scent and pressing herself inhumanly possible to him. She just wanted to become one with him and take away whatever he had felt since the time of his sisters passing. Also, did she just notice how they had always fit perfectly against each other?

Letting out a shaky sigh against her ear, Josh then hummed happily and gripped the back of her coat. "I missed you, so fucking much." His voice croaked, and Sam swore she could hear a small sob almost escape from his throat. They were embracing each other, and it was simply amazing. It felt so surreal, and sadly Sam thought it wouldn't ever happen again. They had embraced each other before but not because they missed each other, not like this. Sam felt like she had fought a war to get Josh back, and even through the fight she still didn't have exactly what she wanted in one piece. But he was there with her now, holding her and breathing softly against her cheek - tickling her skin.

Slowly pulling back from him, Sam stared up at Josh in awe. Taking in his facial features, her gaze fell upon his eyes first. They were soft and hazel, like she had remembered - but now they weren't full of secret hatred. His hair was cut similar to the hairstyle he used to have before he had turned into a Wendigo, and his skin looked soft again. Was the curse completely lifted? Why were his teeth still sharp? The surgeon his parents had hired to 'fix' him (by their own words), didn't like being near his face apparently... At least that was what Chris had informed her after having an emotional visit with Josh after his surgery.

Lifting a hand, her fingertips gently grazed the scars that were on the left side of his face. Josh flinched, but he eased into her touch and closed his eyes. His eyebrows furrowed together lightly as Sam's fingers accidentally slipped down to his teeth.

"Your teeth... They're the same as they were in the mine." Sam's smile started to fall quickly, and she began to grow worried once more. Chris watched from a distance with his arms crossed to his chest, a weak smile tugging at the corner of his lips.

"Sam..." Josh sighed, his voice deep and it rumbled within the back of his throat. "This is going to be hard to explain, and I'm not going to be good at explaining it - but you out of everyone I know will sympathize with me the most." He swallowed the lump forming in his throat and then rubbed the back of his neck. "I'm not... I'm not back to normal, Sam. Obviously you know this. Back at the mine when you called my name, a part of me awoke from that transition. Yet I still went back to being that thing." Josh's eyes narrowed and his lip curled.

Sam frowned sadly and watched him, not saying a word. She was always good at listening to what her loved ones had to say. She wanted his burdens on top of her own, she just wanted him to be happy. That had always been a problem for her - she took on too much. Sam was a fighter, she challenged the norms and she loved things and people passionately and extremely hard. That part of her was what Josh appreciated the most. Before Sam could say anything, he interrupted her once more.

 Noticing Josh became stiff where he stood, his eyes narrowed and his hands clenched into fists. "My own parents didn't even want me - not even after they tried to fix what they could of my face. They realized I wasn't mentally right in the head, didn't want to talk about it with me and research how to cure what's wrong with me. They dumped me back here - but I'm not too upset. Not after finding out Chris asked you to come... I... I don't think I'll ever be okay, not mentally and especially not physically. Are you okay with that? I might hurt you again, and I don't want to."

The blonde's eyes softened, and then she reached out and suddenly Josh's face was in her hands. "I promised you I was never going to leave and I meant it. We have a connection, Josh. That's never going to change."

Josh sighed softly in response to her reassuring words, but the darkness that still lingered in his mind played games with him. They were telling him Sam wouldn't stay after all, and that she'd leave and forget about him like everyone else. Though despite what the voices said... Sam was right in front of him, holding his face and gently tracing his cheek bones. With his eyes fluttering shut, Josh forgot what it was like to be a mutant - only for a moment.

Why was Sam such a lover? She was such a mom, always treated everyone with such care like they were fragile. Josh wasn't fragile, but she made him become so.

"Chris, you have to promise me if I ever try to hurt Sam, or you - you HAVE to burn me. Okay?" Josh was stern as he said what he did to his other best friend. Chris's jaw clenched, and he glanced at Sam before looking back at the other man. Slowly nodding his head, he pushed his fingers back through his spiked dirty blonde hair.

Moving towards the two, he clasped both of their shoulders and squeezed them. "We got your creepy ass handled, and Sam will keep us in check. I say we'll be just fine."

The three of them chuckled, but the way Sam looked up at Josh afterwards made him feel... sad, in a way. She seemed to study him, her lips gently pursing as she was in thought. Her green eyes softened as she glanced up into Josh's, who quickly cleared his throat and turned around. Grabbing Sam's bag for her, she groaned and started to complain but he kept yelling in an attempt to shut her up. Heading up the stairs, Sam stayed in place and swallowed the lump forming in her throat. Everything felt so awkwardly painful, but Josh was so fucking happy she was there to watch after him. He was so scared of her even touching him the way she was, he could've snapped at any moment... He still could later on, and actually - he knew he would. He was a danger to everyone, including himself.

Crossing her arms to her chest, Sam watched Chris head to the kitchen and she stayed back to watch Josh. "You know that we'll get through this, right?" Sam called after him, her voice smooth like silk. Josh could listen to it all day, he was sure that he wouldn't ever hurt anyone else if he could. She relaxed him, strangely enough. It wasn't so bad during the day, being what he was because the voices weren't that strong. Yet at night, it was a completely other story. The voices were stronger and more powerful, and harsher. They didn't like any of Josh's friends except for Sam, and that was rare. After all, Beth and Hannah had always been his consciousness, even since they were alive. Josh truly believed in the bottom of his heart that Sam wanted to be there for him, but there was still a small bit of tension there that needed to break. They needed to talk about what happened - his own prank towards his friends.

He glanced over the top railing and looked down at Sam. The blonde stared up at him with large eyes, her body not moving in an attempt to show she was serious. Josh was scared - scared everyone would leave after all and he would convert fully into a horrible, god awful creature that felt nothing at all besides hunger and betray to surpass, and get to it. He just wanted things to go back to normal, but what he was now... that wasn't at all in the slightest bit, normal.

Slowly nodded, Josh smiled faintly down at blonde. She returned it, and then hummed softly as she hurried after Chris into the kitchen.  "I already hurt you more than once, please stop giving me chances to hurt you again." The man whispered softly with a deep frown. Taking long strides to one of the guests rooms, more specifically the one he picked out for Sam, he entered the enclosed space. As he gently dropped Sam's bag onto her bed, he remembered what her scent did to him back at mine and how it made him feel; and already beckoned to be near her once more. This was going to be hell...

How many times was he going to hurt Sam because she wouldn't leave? She would rather throw away her own safety for his comfort, and he wasn't okay with that. Yet something about her was so... enchanting, and he wanted her to stay no matter how hard he would physically beg her to go.

With a deep sigh, Josh buried his face into his hands and sat down on her bed. Gently tracing where Sam had done so with his fingers, his breath hitched. Then, he growled and kicked at the floor with the thought of never being able to have real connections with people because of the possibility he could snap whenever, and he was so desperate for one person that it hurt without her presence.

The only one who could hear his silent cries for help was the beautiful bird that bathed in his own diligence.

Chapter Text

Blackwood Pines Lodge: February 2, 2014.  

 

It was the first time Josh had ever seen Sam slip a cigarette into her mouth.

After sitting around with the gang near the fire place in the main room of his family's lodge, he had snuck off after getting curious about Sam's random secret whereabouts. Like a cunning kitten, he excused himself after everyone surrounding him was nearly high or drunk enough not to notice him. Purring softly, Josh lightly licked at his lips and took long strides to hurry after the blonde. Sam was probably the only person he could feel drunk around while being sober, besides Chris of course - and that made him that much more grateful to know them. To know her.

There was a passionate, and nurturing aura Sam had that made everyone want to know her - to be near her. Josh had always known that since they had become friends in middle school. She had always watched people from afar and didn't think others noticed, but the one person who did was him. He envied how people flocked to her and accessibly told her everything, even though it was painfully obvious she didn't know how to react. It was also incredibly adorable how selfless Sam was, and Josh always liked that about her.

He followed her around in secret when they first met, but as they grew to know each other he became her best friend - along with Chris, and of course that led to him becoming somewhat close with Ashley. Yet as they grew older and were in their last couple years of high school, Josh had noticed how much Sam had changed. Especially physically.

Josh tried to not think of his best friend in that way, yet sometimes it happened randomly. Most of the time it would be when she was incredibly close to him, and his hands would somewhat twitch in an attempt not to reach out and grab her hips to pull her in close. Her frame was stunningly perfect, and athletic - it pained him to try and not romanticize anything about Sam. Their friends would tease them about how they always acted like a married couple, and Josh couldn't ever bring himself to dislike that. Sam had always played it off with one of her sweet laughs, and a wave of her hand over to slap him on the arm endearingly.

"I don't think he would ever want to marry me, I'm not wife material."  Sam had said, and Jessica looked at her friends before wiggling an eyebrow at the other blonde.

"You're right, you're not wife material. I am." Jessica purred, casually flipping a pig tail over her shoulder. At the time, she was dating Matt and the pour guy had only rolled his eyes at her response and rubbed the back of his neck. The rest of the gang giggled and started to lightly talk over each other, but no one had noticed how Josh's cheeks had turned a soft pink. He bit at his lip in an attempt to bite back a sarcastic, and obviously a happy smile. Sam couldn't ever be a simple house wife, Josh knew her better than that. Though as he raised his head after stuffing his hands in his baggy pockets of his hoodie, his eyes caught hers. They both shared a blank expression, but she looked away quickly while casually clearing her throat. Josh's lips parted, and his breath hitched after gaining the pleasure of seeing Sam BLUSH. Slowly feeling his lips curl into a cunning grin, Josh perked up an eyebrow and hummed lowly in the back of his throat.

That was probably one out of the many moments he realized he sort of had a semi-big crush on his best friend.

The only reason he hadn't ever done anything and/or made a move on her, was because she was the only woman that could make him seem more like an idiot than a class clown.

Josh despised every guy Sam had been with since he had accepted his feelings towards her, but he pretended to like them - simply to support her. He was always her shoulder to lean on, even though he wasn't that good at comforting her; or comforting anyone in general. He masked his own pain and discomfort of himself with humor, and he knew sometimes people appreciated it... but with Sam, he couldn't ever bring himself to make a joke at her sadness, so he stayed silent. Throughout the years of his silence, and with every moment Sam's head touched his shoulder and her body curled into him - Josh wanted to grab her, and drown her in every bit of love she had shown him growing up without any reason.

Sam's green eyes, her sharp cheek bones, her cheeky smile, her small but athletic form... everything about her was so normal, but so comforting.

It was perfect - she was the definition of perfection.

Hurrying after her once more, Josh finally turned around a corner after seeing Sam's shadow disappear. Squinting, his gaze fell upon her silhouette as she slipped through the slim crack of the double glass doors, and onto the back patio. Easing his way forward, Josh dodged the accessible spots where Sam could easily spot him. Pressing his body into the wall, he peeked around through the thin satin curtain and gently pushed it to the side with his slim fingers. Pursing his lips, Josh could feel his throat tighten as the woman only a few feet from him look up at the night sky. She looked peaceful - something that Josh felt after he ran to home base at his past high school baseball games.

Sam's platinum hair glistened underneath the moon light, and her pale skin seemed delicate and a beautiful shade of porcelain. Josh slowly leaned into one of the doors, peeking through one of the glass window plates. His eyes softened and his fingers gently tangled in the thin curtain that only partially blurred the beautiful scenery, and human being, that was Sam. Studying her, Josh's eyes roamed down her neck and then to the dip of her back. Her body looked like a blank canvas, but the only thing he wished he could change about it would've been the hands that touched her before his own self.

Losing footing, Josh hissed a panicked fuck before stumbling forward - making the floorboards creak beneath his weight. Sam quickly turned around, her eyes wide and she looked like a deer caught in the head lights.

"J-Josh?! Why did you follow me, you creep?" Sam squeaked out in surprise, stuttering faintly. Her hand was stiff at her side, seemingly hiding - or trying to hide something from his sight. Josh stuttered nervously as well before quickly raising himself from a crouched position, and eased his way awkwardly onto the patio; now only a couple feet from her. Smiling sheepishly, he rubbed the back of his neck and lifted one of his hands in aspiration.

"Everybody is back at front getting wasted and blazed, I didn't want to join them without you." Josh pouted playfully, his hazel eyes forming into an innocent puppy stare. Smirking smugly as Sam snorted, they both shared giggles before moving closer together shamelessly. He stood beside her at the edge of the patio, glancing over the edge and staring at the large field of snow covered trees. Pursing his lips, the man put his hands onto the wooden railing and peeked down at the small woman besides him. "So, what's in your hand?"

Sam seemed to choke on air, and she laughed sheepishly before casually slipping her hand behind her back. "What? There's nothing in my hand."

Humming faintly, Josh narrowed his eyes and bit back a sarcastic grin. Looking Sam up and down, he slowly eased towards her before looking down at her. "You suck at lying. What's in your hand?"

"I said, nothing." Sam hissed back with her voice lowering about an octave, a lyrical tone to it. She glared up at him with a pout, her cheeks turning a light shade of baby pink. Josh huffed in response, and then his eyebrows furrowed together before sassily putting his hands on his hips and jutting one out to the side.

"Samantha," Josh warned.

"Joshua." Sam purred in response, smirking and crossing her arms to her chest - the item still stuffed in her fist.

They exchanged glances before the man stared her dead in the eye and casually raised his hands. The blonde stared at him with a bored expression, an eyebrow casually raising in an attempt to try and act amused. Then, she squealed into bits of adorable laughter as Josh laughed mischievously as well and started tickling her sides harshly. Tough girl Sam could try and convince the man of improve that she wasn't hiding, but she had forgotten that she was a horrible liar - and Josh saw right through.

Whining in defeat after Josh made a victorious yell, he quickly stepped back and opened his hand to look at the item he won. Holding it up, he gasped slightly before twisting it around. "SA-MAN-THA!" He began to scold teasingly, laughing in shock as he moved it around in the air. "A fucking cigarette?! When did you smoke? Oh god, you're a smoker now!" The man continued to laugh and tease the woman, but Sam groaned and stood a bit straighter to try and at least seem a tad serious.

"Josh! Give it back - don't tell anybody! I don't do it that much, it's just... I don't know," Sam began, stuttering once more. Josh loved it when she stuttered and seemed embraced, she hardly ever did so but in the few moments she did... he loved to give her absolute shit for it. "Being here with everyone is amazing, and I love that Hannah is actually trying to step out of her comfort zone and be something to Mike other than a face."

The man casually tilted his head and his eyebrows furrowed together in confusion. He watched the adorable woman and pursed his lips casually. What?

Clearing her throat, Sam easily reached up and slipped the cigarette from the man's fingers - and Josh let her do so. Her head was tilted back and he was slightly hunched over, their eyes meeting. Josh's lips parted and he accidentally glanced down at her own. Fuck. Stuttering he quickly looked back into her eyes and puffed out his cheeks. "Can you actually make sense before I tickle you again?"

Sam groaned and lightly pushed his hands away as they made way to her sides once more. Giggling though, she stuck her tongue up at him and it made Josh genuinely smile. "Okay, asshole... What I'm getting at, is that I'm so happy we're all together. It's just that sometimes I need to slip away, because certain people just make me feel... I don't know, anxious?" She sighed and turned away from Josh, which made him accidentally pout. He watched her with softened facial features, his eyes studying every bit of movement she made. Even when she breathed, it made his heart flutter within his chest - which sounded completely cheesy and contorted, but it was great. He tried to mask the admiration he had for Sam with other women and activities, but none of it made him feel as good as Sam did with just a simple smile.

Bringing the butt of the cigarette to her lips, Josh felt his jaw drop as he stared at the beautiful blonde in awe. She inhaled deeply and as she slowly exhaled, Josh glanced at how the smoke filled the space above them. Tilting his head faintly, the man fluttered his eyes while narrowing them before glancing over at her. Sam glanced up at him sheepishly, before giving him a soft smirk. Josh glanced into her eyes, also giving her a small smile in return. His facial features softened though, and he glanced at different facial features of hers. He stared up at him as he did so, and her lips parted ever so slightly. Humming softly, Josh stepped forward and nervously chuckled - his eyebrows furrowing. Slowly raising a hand, his fingertips gently brushed against her own.

Sam gulped nervously, and suddenly she refused to look up at him. Bowing her head, her eyes fluttered shut as she stiffened into a stance and felt Josh ease his way even closer to her. Now feeling his soft breath on her forehead, her body twitched as she felt his fingers touch hers once more.

Then she held her breath once Josh casually took the cigarette from her fingers, and as he stepped back and turned from her she let out a shaky sigh. Putting a hand on her chest, Sam felt her eyes widen and she bowed her head once more. What the fuck was that? Glancing up at her best friend, she partially licked her lips. Staring at him as he inhaled on her cigarette, she felt her heart begin to race against her chest. He always made her nervous, but never to this extent... what was going on between them? No - nothing, of course. He... He was Josh, he was light hearted and humorous. Just like always.

That was all it was.

Josh nervously laughed as he blew out the cigarette smoke, and then glanced over at the blonde. Sam glanced up at him finally, and sighed softly as she studied the way the moonlight traced the outline of his head and torso. Tilting his head, he glanced into her eyes once more and this time... it was different. He nervously swallowed and suddenly his face grew serious. She had never seen him so serious before, he was compassionate and usually a trickster. She was nervous for some reason though - and she didn't know if it was a good kind of feeling or not.

"You shouldn't smoke cigarettes," Josh purred softly, a soft twinkling settling in his gaze. Sam felt her lips part softly, and she perked up an eyebrow. "It'll make you age faster." He smirked and reached out, casually pressing his knuckles up against her chin. Her breath hitched as they made contact, and her head tilted back as they met eyes once more. Staring at each other with almost an comfortable silence between them, Sam embraced the familiar feeling. Gently running her fingers along his forearm that was bent near her, Josh closed his eyes and shuddered. Sam smirked faintly, her heart swooning in her chest as she suddenly felt an endearing sensation she had never felt before.

"Yeah, at least you'll still like me if I age horribly."

With a cute laugh, Josh shook his head and nervously leaned forward to gently press his forehead against hers. He held his breath, and Sam closed her eyes and did the same.

They didn't say anything else after that. Sam was nervous about the sudden affection that Josh was showing her, but it wasn't... horrible. It wasn't horrible because it was Josh, but she was nervous because... well, it was JOSH. They always threw their legs over each other when they shared the couch, or lazily cuddled when they watched movies. Or consoled each other when the other was sad, and some times called each other because of pure boredom. Josh was always there - whether Sam liked it or not. He was the one person she was scared to get so close to, because she knew if anything had 'happened' between them, it'd break her if it didn't work.

Who knew, though?

Certainly not them, even their friends considered them to be a married couple.


 

After the comfortable silence of just standing there with each other, Sam and Josh were suddenly interrupted by an excited Mike. He had suggested they come back inside, and thankfully he didn't see the stance the two were sharing.

As the two went inside, Josh walked ahead of the blonde woman. Glancing upwards with a soft smirk, Sam studied the way his broad shoulders swayed when he walked. Whatever had happened outside was incredibly comforting, but it was Josh for fucks sakes. There were occasional moments where he would playfully wrap an arm around her even and kiss her head, but it wasn't romantic. Or, at least he never said anything about it.

Later that night, the two occasionally exchanged glances but never said anything else. Josh would smile behind his hand as he sat there on the love seat, listening to a drunk Chris going on about Ashley (who was in the kitchen with Jessica making more drinks). As the man with spiked hair ranted about how he was too nervous to say anything to the brunette, Josh purred and rolled his eyes back as he took another swig of his 6th drink that night. The room was starting to spin, but he didn't care. Even though he was listening to the man talk about the woman he was incredibly in love with, Josh himself couldn't stop thinking about the blonde sitting across the room from him.

It felt like Josh was flirting with death herself, but Sam was the exact opposite of that.

Then a voice broke his trance, and he lazily glanced over at a drunk Chris. Huffing, the man besides him pouted and lightly shoved at his arm. "Dude, you fucking suck. You haven't listened to a word I just said."

Groaning tiredly, Josh lazily slumped back into his chair and rubbed at the right side of his face. "Bro, I swear I've been listening. I'm just, sort of out of it at the moment."

"HAH, no shit. You're DUR-UNK." Chris purred and wiggled his bottle of beer in Josh's direction. The man snorted and glanced over at Chris with a sarcastic gleam in his eye. Rolling his eyes, he started laughing before running a hand back through his hair.

"Yeah, no shit. I hadn't noticed yet that I was, I think you're sober." Josh slurred slightly, leaning over and laughing at his friend. Gently shoving Chris's head to the side, the man whined and fell onto his side and into the couch. Both shared laughs and glanced at each other.

Rubbing at his face, Josh then sighed and leaned forward in his seat. Resting his forearms on his knees, he realized he couldn't even blink right. No amount of rubbing on his eyes could fix his fuzzy vision. Chris yawned and sat up, stretching his arms above his head. Motioning towards the kitchen entry way, he pointed out that the large kitchen island with stools were available so they could bother both Sam, Jessica and Ashley. Chris got up first, and Josh hesitated lazily before being literally dragged out of his comfortable stance.

As the two men stumbled to the kitchen stools, they both plopped down and almost immediately they put their heads down onto the counter. "Bro, I think I'm dying." Josh grumbled. Chris grunted in response, shifting himself so he was leaning more comfortably over the counter. Stretching out his arms, the man allowed his glasses to fall off and he instinctively curled into his biceps. Josh lazily looked over at his friend and perked up an eyebrow.

Then, almost as if he felt someone staring at him, he drifted his gaze over to the middle of the kitchen. Meeting Sam's gaze, she smirked smugly and tilted her head while crossing her arms to her chest. Josh felt himself start to have a bubbly sensation in his chest and stomach, and it was painful to hide back a huge genuine smile. Sam was such a blessing, Josh didn't even believe in things like that. She was... beautiful. Even that wasn't enough to describe how he truly felt about her, but he felt confused at the same time. Maybe they were just meant to be best friends - they had a connection, after all.

Yet as Josh peeked his gaze through his arm as he put his head down onto it, his usual playful demeanor fell as he suddenly felt... vulnerable? With softening features, he stared at Sam with a twinkle in his eyes. She smiled softly, her eyelashes fluttering as she reached up and lightly tucked a strand of platinum hair behind her ear.

Was he in heaven?

Not taking his gaze off of the beautiful siren before him, he slowly reached over and kept poking at Chris until he grumbled and turned his head towards the others direction. "Hey, can I tell you something?" Josh muttered as he watched Sam turn around and reach for something in one of the cabinets. All Chris did was grunt lightly in response, but he was listening. Or maybe he wasn't, Josh was determined to tell him an important thing on his mind. That thing, of course, was the blonde secretly teasing him from afar.

"I... I almost kissed Sam." Josh whispered, smirking softly and perking an eyebrow over at Chris. The man was quiet, before slowly turning his head once more over to Josh. The man's eyes were wide and his eyebrows were raised dramatically. As the two men shared the same expression, they then snickered and buried their heads into their arms once more. "It was amazing, and I want to be that close to her again. I don't know what's wrong with me man, she's not mine. She never was." Josh whispered softly, a soft pang clenching around his heart. Waiting for Chris to say something, the drunk sighed and finally accepted the fact his friend had officially passed out.

With a soft hum, Josh closed his eyes and curled himself more into the counter top. Slowly falling into a deep trance, then eventual sleep, his body relaxed at a gentle touch on his head. Fingers gently made their way through his thick curls, and it felt so fucking nice. Sighing softly, Josh couldn't open his eyes but he wanted whoever was touching his hair to keep doing it. Falling asleep finally, he fell into a cool pool of darkness. Though as he swam in his own mind during his heavy sleep, Sam's voice kept singing to him faintly in the distance.

Wow, now he knew how Chris felt. To think Josh somewhat made fun of how nervous the man got around Ashley... Huh, figures. Though at the back of his mind, Josh had always thought he couldn't fall in love. It wasn't because he didn't want to, there was just something lingering in the back of his head that kept telling him it was going to be difficult to ever find someone to trust himself to.

The only thing right with him was knowing Sam was one of the best god damn things that had ever happened to him.


 

 

... Josh...

...Josh...!

... Ah, fuck it! He won't wake up!

Huh?

Beth... It was Beth's voice.

Slowly fading from sleep, Josh made a low groan in the back of his throat. He couldn't form any words yet, and Beth was talking to fast and shaking his shoulders. Slumping back into his usual crouched stance, he didn't move a muscle and felt his eyes refuse to open. Hearing his sister groan in frustration, he listened as her footsteps faintly faded off into the disance. What the fuck was that about?


Groaning loudly, Josh winced in pain as he sat up from the counter he fell asleep on. Slowly looking around and gaining consciousness, the man tried to swallow away the dry feeling in his throat. Water...

Wait, where the hell was everyone? With his head throbbing from a radical hangover, the man sighed lazily and tried to push himself up from the counter. "Chris, how long was I-, bro?" Quickly looking around, Josh's eyes widened as he had noticed there was heavy, dead silence in the lodge. Not caring about the throbbing pain in his temple, he hurried around and tried to look for evidence that someone was still in there with him. Hurrying to the front end of the lodge, he grabbed his coat and slipped it on quickly. Yanking his beanie down onto his head, he shuttered as he opened the front door and was almost pushed back from the wind. "Hey?! Where the fuck is everyone? I pass out and everyone leaves! Not cool!"

Heading out into the snow blizzard, Josh squinted and looked around. Then, he saw a group of figures forming in the distance, calling for someone.

Slowly heading his way over, he hunched over and held his scarf firmly to his neck. As he made his way to the group, he was relieved to see all of his friends... Except for his sisters. Where in the hell were they?

"Hey, guys. Thanks for leaving me back there." Josh grumbled sarcastically and crossed his arms to his chest to keep himself warm. As he spoke, everyone quickly turned around and stared at him with fearful expressions. Everyone's eyes were the size of quarters and they kept looking at one another in what seemed to be disbelief and shock. Frowning, Josh looked at everyone before slowly shook his head. "What the fuck is going on?"

Then, the angel of the group quickly pushed herself through the group. Sam stood there with just skinny jeans and a baggy sweater on, her sleeves rolled up. Her hair was falling out of her high pony tail, but her eyes were wide and it made her look more... catastrophic. When Sam looked scared, it worried Josh more than anyone else he knew - except for his sisters, or Chris of course. He knew that meant shit turned south.

"Why isn't anyone answering me?! What the FUCK happened?! You're freaking me out!" Josh snapped, his arms falling from his chest. His eyebrows furrowed together, and suddenly his attention snapped to Emily as she stepped away from the group to face the forest.

Everyone glanced over as she yelled out, "It was just a prank, Han! Come back!"

... Um, excuse me?

PRANK?

Slowly looking from Emily to Sam, the blonde looked sickly. Opening her mouth to talk, her bottom lip quivered as she motioned towards the forest. "There... There was... Hannah ,-"

"It was just a stupid prank, dude." Mike grumbled and stepped from the group. Sam started to glare at him, and that made Josh glare at him even worse than she was. The feeling bubbling up in his car made him uneasy, and how was it that he just simply knew he was about to be told horrible news?

Mike sighed and bit the inside of his cheek. Emily stood behind him nervously, not daring to look up from her determined look on her shoes. "We played a small prank on your sister, Hannah. She took it harshly and got embarrassed, and ran off... Down... There. Beth ran after her. We tried calling out after them but they've both been gone for a while, and we're worried."

Josh stared at the larger man as he talked, and he slowly tilted his head and furrowed his eyebrows together. Mike noticed the anger starting to build in his head, and he held his breath and took a step back. As Josh took a step forward, he huffed angrily and his throat tightened as his teeth cleaned. "So... You're telling me that my sisters are out there by themselves, because of your stupid fucking PRANK?!" Brother bear was poking through his wall of usual passive apprehension. Sam winced and bowed her head faintly, her eyes squeezed shut.

No one said a word, until Mike slowly nodded and murmured, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry ,-"

"YOU GUYS ARE FUCKED! How could you do that to her?! I don't know what the fuck she did to you, but if she doesn't come back... If THEY don't come back..." Josh's voice cracked, and suddenly his eyes widened. His breath caught in his throat, and then his hands began to violently tremble. Starting to pace back and forth, he huffed nervously and slapped his hands onto his head. "Oh my god, what if they don't come back?!" He panicked, his voice cracking. Staring at his 'friend' group with a petrified expression, his face then turned into pure anger.

Sam noticed it almost immediately and quickly ran to him to stay in the middle of him and Mike. Grabbing onto him, she dug her heels into the ground as she slid along with his movements. "J-Josh! STOP! It wasn't his fault-,"

"Don't fucking stand up for him, Sam! Unless YOU were a part of it." Josh's voice grew deeper, and he suddenly had a face that contorted his beautiful features into something fierce. He glared down at her with a piercing pair of hazel eyes that cut through her being like daggers. With her bottom lip quivering, Sam then growled faintly and squeezed his sides. That was all he had needed to know...

She wasn't a part of the prank. He just... he just had that sense that he had always been right about her, that she wasn't shitty like everyone else in this scenario. Hell, what about Chris? He would figure that out later... God, his poor fucking sisters.

Mike clenched his fist tightly, and his lips pressed into a thin line. "Man, it's not our fault your sister is sensitive and got upset over a stupid harmless prank."

Sam tensed quickly, almost like she reacted for Josh. There was tension that you could obviously cut with a knife - now Sam was debating on whether she should let Josh go or not to give Mike a piece of mind for even having the nerve to talk about Hannah the way he just did. That... was her best friend. And because of her huge crush on Mike, and her gullible nature, she was fucking embarrassed... and HURT. Hannah was gone, and Sam didn't chase after her like she had originally wanted to. If only she had been outside of the room and stayed there.

Though as her thoughts caught up with her, Sam hadn't realized her hold on Josh was slipping. "Shut up, Mike! Don't be so insensitive!" Sam snapped over at the dark haired man, her eyes narrowing. Her body stiffened as Josh's whole aura had shifted, and Chris must've felt it too because he had burst from the group at the right moment - right when Josh had escaped Sam's grasp and lunged at Mike. Chris wrapped his arms firmly around his friends torso and practically threw him back, Josh screaming in anger and in result he had also lost his hat to thrashing around. Trying to escape, he kicking and growled - trying to push Chris away from to throw himself onto Mike.

"AND TO FUCKING THINK HANNAH HAD AN INNOCENT CRUSH ON YOU! WHAT A FU-CKING JOKE!"

Everyone grew into a guilty silence, and as Josh stubbornly cried out Chris firmly held him close to his side still. Josh angrily shoved at his friend once more, and then his body went limp as he fell to his knees in surrender. Sam quickly fell to her knees as well, sighing sadly and burying her chin into the top of his head. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she held him close and felt his body start to shake. It wasn't because he was cold she was almost sure of, and poor Josh... Fuck this, why did this sort of thing happen to them out of everyone else they knew?

As Josh began to shake violently and laugh mockingly at himself, Sam growled faintly and made him bury his face into her chest as he started to sob uncontrollably. Yet the one thing she had failed to notice was the most beautiful man she had ever come to know, the crumbling mess pressed against her, was a ticking time bomb... and no one was prepared for what he had stored within himself. Not even her - the bird he had trapped within the cage of his heart.

 


 

Chapter Text

Imma be so cold

Need some more

I never felt these things before

Imma think for sure

Please don't go

How could you not need me no more?

 

I don't get it

You're the only thing that I love

You're the only thing that I want

You're the only reason

The only reason

 


 

With a frustrated sigh, Sam stood by the window of the guest room she had chose to stay in and annoyingly shook the empty cigarette carton that she had found deep in her duffle bag. Leaning against the windowsill, she pressed her forehead into her forearms and tossed the carton onto her bed. The woman had promised her friends the first time she had thought Josh was dead that she would've considered quitting - but unfortunately, Sam had a hefty burden clinging to her shoulders and it was hard to shake off the bad habit. She was intimidated by the thought of Josh finding out she still did, or had recently tried to, because of the lecture that she would receive. 

Pushing back lose strands of glistening light hair from her forehead, Sam then pushed away from the window and tugged the curtain closed so the sun didn't pierce her eyes. It had been a few days since meeting back up with her childhood friends, Chris and Josh - and it was fascinating learning about the Wendigo curse through Josh's perspective even though it still negatively impacted him. There was an underlining fear that she hadn't mentioned to either of them yet, but Sam had began to wonder what went through Josh's head since she wasn't sure if he was regular on his medication that his parents would send him for his schizophrenia... and what had happened to his mind because of the sudden stop of his transformation. Perhaps she was simply overthinking, but why wouldn't the bad feeling resting in the pit of her gut go away? 

Quickly tugging off her baggy t-shirt and kicking off her pajama bottoms, the woman dug through her bag before pulling out clothes to wear for the day. Dressing herself, Sam passed by a mirror that hung above a dresser and then suddenly stopped to examine herself. She didn't see the purpose of wearing makeup because she knew that she would've ended up rubbing it off anyway, so to save herself the mess she just chose to not buy it regardless. It was obvious the golden haired athlete looked tired, but with a smile Sam sighed and lightly scratched off an eyelash that had fallen onto her cheekbone. 

Looking down at it as she examined her finger, she shrugged and held it up to her lips. "Make a wish," she muttered, "perhaps for more sleep?" It wasn't either one of her friends fault for losing sleep, but it was more so the constant worry that flooded Sam because she cared too much for Josh - passionately. Closing her eyes and thinking for a moment, Sam then gently blew the eyelash off of her fingertip. Walking to the door, she turned the handle and then headed out of the room to take calm strides to the top of the stairway that connected to the main living room of the lodge. Rubbing at her eye, the woman began down the stairs before reaching the bottom and turning the corner. Stopping in her tracks, Sam looked around before slowly walking to the door way that led her to the kitchen. 

With her heart seemingly beginning to race, she pressed herself behind one of the door frames and peered inside to stare at the figure that was looking out the window just how she had done so earlier in her room. The sun that fell into the window was somewhat blocked from completely lighting the nicely decorated room, and created Josh's shadow that cascaded along the middle of the room. The rays of light fell upon the mans darkened skin, and if Sam studied him enough she could easily notice the hints of chocolate brown that blended with his natural black waves of hair. She hadn't noticed before how broad Josh's back truly was, and a part of her wanted to reach out and trace her finger down the curve of his spine. There were times when they were cuddling on the couch as younger teenagers, and he got into the habit of practically begging her to touch his back.

It was a pure moment that had made Sam really appreciate him, and then there were other moments like so where she could stare at Josh from the shadows and admire him - even through the broken façade. Pressing her head to the door frame, she began to slowly walk around the corner to silently place herself feet away from the other. So close, yet Josh seemed so distance and far to touch. Too far, actually. Even if she could hold the mans face in her gentle grasp, staring into his eyes felt eerie because she now began to wonder who was really staring back at her. 

Sam flinched and suddenly stilled where she stood once Josh began to stretch his neck and shoulders. Watching the way his body ripped beneath his tan t-shirt, she had felt her heart flutter before nipping at her bottom lip. Since when did he make her so nervous? There was always a hidden attraction towards the man Sam had denied to her friends and family, but the thought of Josh ever not being in her life ultimately terrified her. Then, before she could begin to walk closer to her friend, the woman had noticed Josh was peering back at her from over his shoulder. With the normal side of his face, the teasing grin that was plastered along his lips created a faint dimple only Sam favored. 

"Stalking me much? I heard your footsteps the moment you came downstairs." Chuckling, Josh then reached back and lightly scratched at his neck. Turning to face the open window once more, he reached out and pulled it closed before leaning towards a cup that seemed to have chocolate milk in it. Blinking and trying to form words to say, Sam had noticed the lime green straw that poked out from the beverage and felt a grin tug at the corners of her lips. 

Walking towards Josh the woman tried to steady her racing heart, but with a giggle, Sam reached out and playfully shoved her hand into his back - which didn't cause him to move even an inch. "Chocolate milk? I thought you gave that up back in middle school." Smirking smugly and crossing her arms to her chest, the man rolled his eyes before scoffing and bringing the straw to the good side of his mouth. 

"Hey, don't hate on my happy drink. I could be addicted to other things," Josh began, "but I choose to indulge myself in something that only gives me a small stomach ache if I drink it too fast."  

Both began to laugh, and Sam's eyes beamed as she secretly enjoyed the way her friends nose crinkled - and how he lowered his chin to his chest when he let out a low giggle. Turning to the fridge, she walked over and opened it to start rummaging for some food to ease her growing hunger. While doing so, Sam tried peering over her shoulder to keep talking to Josh but with how she was positioned, it wasn't easy. With long easy strides, the man pushed his hand through his hair and lightly tugged at it. Studying the sharpened teeth that became visible to her, the blonde watched him through the crack of her arm and side. After pulling out a half cut piece of grapefruit, she went to work gathering a plate and knife to cut the inside of it into small triangles.

Huffing and rubbing at her forehead with the sleeve of her red hoodie since she was holding a knife, Sam peered over to the side to look at Josh before perking up an eyebrow and clicking her tongue to gather his attention. "Do your teeth bother you?" She asked softly, her eyebrows furrowing together. "You haven't let me watch you eat since I got here." It may had seemed like a weird question to anyone else, but considering Josh's situation the woman was more than okay compromising with her worry to help ease certain wonders. 

Giving her a quick glance, Josh then shrugged and he fiddled with a hand towel that was sprawled out along the counter. "I'd rather not have a fucked up mandible but I do what I can to make it easier on myself, I guess." With a pair of narrowed eyes, the man then flicked his tongue along a sharpened tooth. "No amount of money my parents could've thrown away could fix my face." Closing his eyes, he quickly shook his head before folding the towel and tossing it to the side. Moving a couple inches closer to Sam, he peered down at her hands as they worked around the grapefruit. 

Sighing softly through her nose, the woman nodded with understanding. She appreciated Josh's honesty but his words had secretly began to tear away at the walls she had built around her heart in an attempt to not be afraid of the possibility of him never being okay again. Not knowing where Chris was, though he was probably still asleep, Sam had wished he was downstairs with them to ease the hefty tension that only Sam seemed to feel. 

"-Sam?"

Quickly cutting the fruit with ease, the woman wasn't registering that Josh was trying to talk to her. Taking in a deep breath, Sam shuddered and felt her jaw clench. Why did shitty things have to happen to good people? It wasn't like she didn't want to be around her best friend, because he was more than important to her - but every time their eyes met there was that guilt that she tried to bury since the death of Hannah and Beth. Though it hadn't been her fault directly for what happened, sometimes she had wondered who really had to be the one who needed forgiveness. She-,

"-SAM, slow down! You're going to-," 

Yelping, the woman jerked once she had felt the knife slice into her finger. Allowing the knife to slip from her fingers, Sam flinched at the sound of it clanging against the hardwood floor. "Shit!" She hissed and quickly went to press a towel against her wound. Backing up the counter, the woman groaned and flashed Josh an painfully embarrassed look. The man sighed heavily before shaking his head, his eyebrows furrowed together as he stepped forward and grasped her curled hands into his own. 

Huffing and beginning to grumble words Sam couldn't make out, Josh narrowed his eyes with obvious disapproval flashing in his endearing gaze. "Nice job, dork. Who the hell taught you how to cut a grapefruit, or use a knife in general?" Smirking and clicking his tongue teasingly, Josh flashed his friend a small smile. "You're so accident prone." 

Rolling her eyes, Sam's face flushed with frustration and slight pain, which was more of an annoyance than terrible. "If I wasn't trying to hide my stupid mistake, I'd say you were the one who taught me how - especially with using knives to open beer bottles." Snorting and trying to flash Josh a smile to give him reassurance she'd be okay, Sam began to cringe at the blood that stained the white cloth. Curling it around her finger, she never stopped putting pressure on the seemingly small cut. Why in the hell wouldn't it stop bleeding? 

Laughing faintly, Josh shrugged before lightly yanking her to the sink. Turning on the facet, the man reached out and allowed the cool water to run down his slender fingers. "You still haven't said who taught you how to cut a grapefruit." Making Sam hold her hands underneath the water, he peered down at her from the corners of his eyes. Studying her hardened facial features, he memorized the way she grew stubborn at hiding the pain that pierced through her finger. As her plump lips began to move in an attempt to laugh and talk, Josh felt his heart suddenly begin to race once the smell of iron began to flood his nose.

Widening his eyes, the man furrowed his eyebrows together and suddenly felt his body begin to cringe. Josh opened his mouth to try and talk but he began to panic once nothing came out. What was happening to him?

Beginning to noticeably tremble, he nervously swallowed and suddenly felt a faint growl escape his throat. Now he couldn't hear anything, only the sound of his own blood rushing throughout his body - and could immensely feel Sam's body heat that radiated off of her. Peering down at their hands, Josh gagged once he had realized how much blood that colored the water. Suddenly moving away from her, the cursed man quickly shuddered and covered his face in an attempt to try and steady his breathing. With an shocked expression, Sam stared at him for a moment before her features curled into fear and worry. Josh swore he saw her attempt to call out to him, but she only seemed to mouth his name. 

When she went to reach for him, Josh hissed and flinched away from her. With a pained wide eyed expression, Sam noticeably clenched her jaw and stubbornly glared at him. 'Please,' Josh groaned in his mind, 'Don't get any closer. I don't know what's wrong with me.'

"-Josh?! What's wrong?" Sam practically whined, nearly begging and beckoning for Josh to come closer. He quickly shook his head though, fear settling in his eyes before peeling his wounded gaze from her. It broke Sam to see Josh the way he was, but this? What was going on with him? Did the blood bother him? It didn't seem to bother him before, but... 

Slowly straightening herself out, Sam's green eyes began to widen and she took a shaky step back. With Josh's eyes slowly peering her way, she had noticed they had darkened and the light in them was gone. Not only that - his eyes seemed to have a milky film that made the brown in his eyes almost black. Quickly shaking her head, the woman gasped sharply once her hips hit back against the edge of the counter. Sam had seen that look before. 

With her lips trembling, Sam gulped and then with disbelief - began to shake her head. "...Josh?"

Jerking and quickly pressing herself back against the counter, she watched in horror as Josh curled within himself and began to claw at his neck. Tilting his head, he let out a seething whine and barred his teeth together. Gasping on air, it sounded like he was choking but Sam couldn't break her stance to run and help him. Then he bolted from the room, supernaturally fast and she swore she barely heard any footsteps that Josh created. Taking only a second to compose herself, Sam didn't waste any time as she allowed her legs to start moving on their own. 

Chasing after him and nearly slamming her hip into the edge of the couch, Sam flung her chin up and with a frantic noise leaving her mouth she quickly shook her head. Watching Josh as he began to coward near the front door of the lodge, she quickly turned to yell for their best friend. "CHRIS?! CHRIS, COME HERE! IT'S JOSH, HE..." 

Scrambling for the doorknob, Josh snarled and nearly clawed at the wood surrounding it with what little nails he had. Allowing herself to run his way, Sam nearly fell over onto him in an attempt to grab at him. "N-NO! Josh, w-what in the hell are you fucking doing?! Don't-," yelping in shock as an arm suddenly yanked itself away from her, she was knocked down onto her back. Gasping sharply, she was quick to sit up and scrambled backwards. Panting heavily, Sam felt her body tremble almost as much as Josh was. The person who stared back at her wasn't Josh, at least not at the very moment. Feeling tears pierced at her eyes, the woman felt her jaw clench and the same with her throat. She knew it wasn't over, the curse hadn't fully decrepitated. 

Screeching at her, Josh furrowed his eyebrows angrily and then warningly snapped his teeth like a rabid dog would do. Taking in deep breaths, he heaved heavily and then suddenly yanked open the door once he remembered how a fucking doorknob worked. With heavy, quick footsteps echoing throughout the lodge Sam had noticed Chris was quickly trying to head their way. Before he could question what had happened, he stood near the defeated blond with an intimidated, yet protective stance. With widened eyes, the light haired male slowly adjusted his glasses and felt his jaw drop.

With a broken tone in his voice, Chris tried to say something - anything. "JOSH?" 

Meeting Josh's milky glare, the other felt himself stiffen with harsh fear - making his body grow rather cold. Staring with Sam as Josh suddenly climbed onto all fours, both panicked and screamed for him to stop as he leapt and rushed away outside into the cold atmospheric land. As Chris began to call out to his best friend, he scrambled to the door with Sam and both stood there in disbelief as they watched the figure run into the forest with speed. Moving without a second though, Sam tried to abruptly pass by Chris to run after their friend but she nearly fell after being grabbed by her bicep, and was yanked back into the lodge. "N-NO! JOSH!" She screamed after him, tears flooding her eyes and spilling down her cheeks. Barring her teeth and trying to free herself from Chris, she was successful after a final yank and ran from him. 

It hadn't occurred to her how cold it truly was outside, forgetting after all, that they were on a mountain. In nothing but a thin hoodie and black yoga pants, along with tennis shoes, a burning sensation began to run up her legs, neck and face. Shuddering violently as a burst of wind thrashed into her, Sam nearly toppled over but caught herself. With the sun shining down upon her and the flat blanket of snow that covered the land, she had looked like a heartbroken angel watching Josh run away from her. Not again. 

Slowly falling to her knees, Sam shook her head in disbelief and felt her hands curl into fists and pressed them into her lap. "Josh...?" She whispered, her green eyes full of hurt and shock. Looking down at her hands as they began to burn, she didn't care how red they were from the piercing cold. With tears staining her skin as she watched tears fall into the palms of her hands, Sam screamed out in frustration and then hunched over as she sobbed. 

Why was she so painfully attached to Josh? Why couldn't he just have had his moment with the prank and learned his lesson instead of the damned curse? 

With a hand firmly on Sam's shoulder, Chris was by her side and consoled her as he crouched beside her. Wrapping an comforting arm around her smaller frame, he stared off into the distance and frowned sadly. Then with a soft sigh, he quickly shook his head and went to get up, hesitating to move his friend for a moment but brought himself to help her onto her feet. "What happened?!" He stuttered out, his voice cracking and his eyes were full of panic. Sniffing and hugging herself, Sam winced and shook her head before motioning to her finger. Chris felt his eyebrows furrow together before realization broke his trance. 

Studying the wound Sam inflicted upon herself on accident, he felt his jaw clench before turning towards the lodge. Tugging her along, Chris knew the other besides him was reluctant to follow but she allowed him to pull her inside. Closing the door and pulling the window covers closed so they weren't exposed to anything that could look inside, Chris then turned to her and dramatically rubbed at his face. "I wish I could make us both feel better and reassure you Josh will be okay, but right now I have no fucking idea what even is happening right now." His breath was shaky and his face felt rather pale, all the blood rushing to his heart. 

Sam hissed in frustration, and paced back and forth while rubbing the wet layer off of her cheeks. "He's not getting better, okay? He is to an extent - but not really!" She groaned and stopped pacing to stand still and stare at her feet. "I think the blood triggered him into freaking out," she flicked a pained gaze Chris' way, "I didn't realize that he still had the ability to be like that." Rubbing at her face, Sam then walked to a wall and leaned her back against it. 

Sighing heavily and running both hands through his hair, Chris shook his head and bit his lip. Shit. "Then we wait until he gets back," he muttered lowly, "because eventually he'll do what he has to, and come back. Right?" He hated having to look at Sam with the same fear in his eyes, but when she looked at him with a softened gaze, his heart clenched. He knew she felt the same way he did. 

"He has to come back," Sam whispered softly, "he just has to." 

Both began to stare at the floor, and the friends curled within themselves while becoming too ill to move. They had promised Josh that they wouldn't leave, and neither would break his trust. Yet, what were they going to do when the rest of their friends would come to allow Josh redemption for his past actions when there was the potential of what just happened, happening again? 

With a final sniffle, Sam rose her head and pressed it back against the wall. Closing her eyes, she let out a shaky sigh and hugged herself. 

Times like this were why she chose to smoke. 

 


 

 

With her body limp along the comfortable couch, Sam had found herself constantly snapping out of light slumber. The worried woman felt her eyes droop as disappointment filled her being, noticing that it was dark outside and the moon shone through the crack of the living room curtains. Groaning weakly and turning her head, Sam rubbed at one of her eyes and weakly pushed herself up with her elbow. "Chris?" She called out. "Any sign of Josh?" Her voice was soft, but she was determined to stay strong regardless of how much fear peaked at the surface of her core. 

Hearing feet shuffle not too far away, Sam eventually glanced up to meet an exhausted Chris. His glasses were crooked from how much he rubbed at his face, and his usual neatly spiked hairdo was now a mess. "No," he muttered, "I wonder what in the hell he's doing..." 

Shaking her head, Sam sighed and buried her face into her bicep. "I wish I had a clue," she whispered, "I'd rather have him out than risking all of our lives trying to stop an outburst." Closing her eyes, she tried to steady her breathing. Stay calm, Sam. Josh has to remember what home is, and where it is. 

Before Chris could turn and head down the hallway, the door handle lightly jiggled before the door suddenly creaked open. Both jumping up with quick gasps leaving their lips, Sam had felt her mood lift in hopes that it was Josh. Though as she saw a few bodies flood inside and become exposed to the faint lights flooding the inside of the lodge, Sam felt herself damper once more. Ashley, Mike and Jessica had arrived. 

The three immediately started to peel off their snow gear, Jessica being the one to first say something. "Oh god, the tension in here is as cold as it is outside!" She laughed, and Mike awkwardly smirked before looking away and glancing down at his boots. Kicking them off, he raised his chin for his eyes to fall upon Sam's blank stare. 

"Uh, hey? Do we not know each other or something now?" Mike questioned, a half teasing smile perking onto his lips. Snapping out of it, it had suddenly occurred to Sam that half of the gang was together again. Quickly gathering her composure, she hurried off of the couch and ran to her friends with wide arms. Embracing Ashley first, she felt a rush of emotion run throughout her body. It felt good to hold someone that genuinely sent loving energy towards everything, even in the worst of situations. Peeling back, Ashley suddenly gripped at Sam's hands and smiled hopefully as she gleamed into her eyes. 

Clearing her throat, Jessica moved past them to glance at Chris. "Thanks for messaging us back," she sarcastically sneered, "it's not like we had a group chat for a reason or anything. We nearly got lost coming up here." Waving her hand around, Jessica then clicked her tongue disapprovingly. Yet as Chris took a deep breath and gave her a small smile, she automatically sensed something was abnormal - he never was the type to be sad, though when Chris was he usually didn't show it. Or tried to cover it up with the same smile he was giving Jessica.

Moving towards the woman with pigtails, Chris hugged her faintly before nodding towards Mike. "Sorry," he started, "we were a tad preoccupied before you guys showed up." Turning his head, he felt his heart flutter as Ashley met to meet his gaze. Feeling his body loosen from being tense for so long, a genuine soft smile tugged at his lips and his blue eyes gleamed as Ashley nervously lowered her head and smirked - was she blushing? 

As they began to embrace, Sam stepped back and admired how powerful the love they had for each other was. Out of all of the bullshit that took place, she was happy that her friends relationship was at least intense and unbreakable. Rubbing at her arm, she flicked her eyes up at Mike as she smirked and sighed heavily. Moving past her, he reached out and grabbed a book that was resting on one of the couch side tables. Tossing it onto the couch, he then turned and crossed his arms to his chest. "Okay, since I'm going to be the one to break the obvious tension that our past shit show left us..." he drawled out, flicking his head to the side and pursing his lips. "Where's creep-o at?" 

With Chris and Sam both noticeably stiffening, the other three friends gave each other worried yet confused looks. "Sam?" Ashley whispered as she still was pressed against Chris' chest. "Where's Josh?" 

Opening her mouth, Sam nervously scratched at her thighs before beginning her sentence. "Well, you see..." 

Then, the door cracked open once more. 

With a dark figure slumping through the doorway, everyone backed up and didn't seem to know what to do. Quickly flashing a look over at Chris, he seemed to stare at her with the same thought lingering in their minds. "Josh?" Mike called out questionably, putting a hand on his hip. "Why the fuck were you outside? I'm not letting you pull another prank on me," he started, even though it was supposed to light up the mood but Jessica groaned before rolling her eyes. "What?" He laughed and wiggled an eyebrow, leaning back and crossing his arms to his chest. "I think I'm doing pretty good towards someone who tricked us, did us wrong and also couldn't have the audacity to at least be here when we arrived." 

Sam held her breath, not ready to move right away incase something wrong would happen - she hated thinking the worst, but with Josh, you didn't know what could be. Taking long strides, Chris moved past everyone and gently brushed past Sam. Shuddering as he did so, she hugged herself and watched while they all stood there in the large living room - anticipation rising. 

Standing in front of the slightly shorter cascade of a man, Sam was almost positive it was Josh - and got clarification once she heard his voice strain to respond to Mike. "Tricked you?" The chuckle that Josh let out was small, but it was deep and it lingered with an slight overcast of being on the edge of an extreme high. "I deceived you. "Tricked" makes it sound like we have a playful relationship." 

Chris peered back from over his shoulder, standing before his best friend so no one else could see how much of a mess he had gotten himself into. At least not yet. Glancing at Sam, she tensed up before flashing Mike a soft glare. Jessica was already beating her though, and slapped Mike's arm. "Hey, cool it will you? Go grab yourself a drink or something, you've been an asshole all day." She smiled at him, but a hint of annoyance seethed through her teeth. Obviously used to her, Mike shrugged and turned away from his friend group. 

"Yup, I wonder why, Jess." Walking to the kitchen, Mike obnoxiously threw open the fridge door and Jessica rolled her eyes at that. Yanking Josh's hoodie from the coat rack near the front door, he wrapped it around his friend's upper body, including his head so he couldn't be seen, and quickly excused them as he lead them both through the small mass of people and headed towards the downstairs bathroom. With just the girls together, they gave each other awkward side glances before Ashley cleared her throat and nervously scratched at her cheek with a delicate pair of fingers. 

Walking towards the fireplace, she sat down on the couch and rubbed her hands in an attempt to warm herself. Looking up from her lap, Jessica sighed and peeled off her jacket to lazily toss it to the side. Lightly brushing past Sam, she reached up and lightly cusped the others bicep. Making Sam flinch and meet her gaze, they both studied each other wearily before Jessica broke the tense silence. "He still looks like a freak, doesn't he?" 

Though Sam knew her friend didn't mean it offensively, it still sounded so and in response to it, her cheeks flushed and her jaw clenched. "Gee, Jessica, - do you need to cool it?" Lightly yanking herself away from the other blondes grasp, Jessica's eyebrows furrowed together and her plump lips formed to an offended pout. 

Ashley sighed deeply and slapped her hand down onto her lap. "Seriously? Just leave it, Jessica." 

Abruptly pushing past Jessica, Sam heard the other woman scoff before hurrying away and went to face her demons head on. Though as she turned the corner, she was grateful she stopped for a second to listen as Ashley defended her actions. "We're here to support him! Don't be like that." 

Before Sam moved another step, her hands clenched into fists as Jessica groaned. "What? I didn't mean for it to sound mean," she waved her hand towards the side, "It's the truth, we all know about his denial for plastic surgery. His parents don't believe in his recovery at all, and though I do want to believe he'll change and redeem himself - I don't blame them for feeling the way they do... He's my friend, too. I just... don't see why we are trying to force this to happen when everything is still so fucked up." 

Taking in a deep breath, Sam allowed her friends voices to murmur into nothing as she walked the steep hallway that led to the main downstairs bathroom.  The door was closed of course, but behind it she could faintly make out what the men were saying. It brought relief to her knowing that Josh was back with them, but now there was the lingering worry of walking on eggshells with the unknown dangers of his curse. 

Slowly bringing her fist up to the door, she lightly began to knock and cleared her throat. "Guys? It's me, Sam." 

Hearing feet shuffle on the other side of it, she bore her gaze into the wooden surface. Flinching as the door cracked open, she met Chris' softened blue eyed gaze. He poked a Band-Aid out for Sam through the opening of the crack, and she casually took it before peeling away the wrappers. Wrapping it around her finger, she glanced down and smirked softly once she studied the smiley face bandaged wrapped around her now finger. Looking up at Chris once more, Sam sighed nervously and motioned for him to open the door fully and allow her access to see Josh. Quickly shaking his head, Chris opened the door enough for his body to slide through, and then he closed the door efficiently behind him. 

"Sam," he whispered softly, almost warningly, "I tried cleaning most off of the blood from his face." Staring at him in shock, Sam felt her eyebrows furrow together before her eyes drooped to her feet and she cleared her throat in realization. 

"Oh," she muttered, "What did he get into?" 

Clenching his jaw, Chris shrugged and awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. "Not exactly sure on that, Josh keeps apologizing to me and won't look at me... probably a deer?" He sighed and turned his head away from Sam, knowing her intense stare would burn into his being and make him nervous. She never intentionally did it to him, or anyone - but when Sam was determined to get someone or something, she wasn't afraid to let it be known. 

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Sam quickly shook her head before nervously pointing to the door. "I want to see him, let me in." 

Hesitating for a moment, Chris then nodded and went to slowly push open the door. Leaning back, he lightly talked back into the opening. "Hey, Sam wants to see you." Then he turned back to his friend, and motioned for her to head inside. "Close the door when you head inside. I'll go talk to Mike, and the others and try to explain what happened... and warn them of, y'know." Awkwardly waving a hand around his face, he then shrugged and turned away from her. 

Watching him for a moment, Sam then reached out and grabbed his wrist. "Thank you for being here for him, Chris. For me, too." When their eyes met, she flashed him a gentle smile. One that was reassuring and awfully kind, but Chris couldn't help but smile back at her. Letting him go, Sam watched him walk off and then she went to face the slightly open door once more. Gently pushing it, Sam held back the urge to cringe at the sight before her but she suddenly was filled with the sensation of wanting to embrace the slumped figure resting on the toilet seat lid. 

Josh had a towel lazily pressed to his face, blood staining his shirt and hands. Slowly glancing up at her, he quickly flicked his eyes away from Sam and pressed the bloodied towel harsher against his face. "... What's up?"

Lightly kicking the door behind her, Sam then stared at him with a baffled expression. Grunting, she lazily crossed her arms to her chest before disappointingly glaring at him. "Oh, nothing," she began sarcastically, "just worried about you while you aimlessly fought your way out the door and went haywire." Swallowing nervously, her eyes narrowed while she also shot him a pained look. Josh made a low noise in his throat before shaking his head, and scratched at the dry blood that collected near the split cracks along his sharpened row of teeth. 

"Sorry -," Josh seemed to hiss through his clenched jaw, "you seem to forget that I have this stupid fucking curse, that you know, sort of makes me unpredictable and dangerous." Now it was his turn to burn holes into her being, and Sam challengingly glared back at him before feeling her features soften and her body slump forward. Sighing softly, she hurried to him and wrapped her arms firmly around his body. Bringing him close, she tightly hugged him to her stomach and hunched over to bury her face into his head. 

The man stiffened beneath her touch, which saddened Sam but she felt her fingertips tingle as she soon felt Josh slowly wrap his arms around her legs and hug them firmly. "It's okay, Josh," Sam whispered before lightly pulling away, only enough to be able to clearly look down at her best friend. He nervously looked up at her, the towel fully away from his face and she could see the pain lingering in his beautiful eyes that seemed to no longer have the traditional Wendigo milked film covering them. 

With his arms still firmly laced around Sam's thighs, Josh felt himself nervously glance off to the side. "I should've known you still were at risk for things like this to trigger you," reaching back behind her, she reached out and grabbed another towel to try and attempt to help Josh clean the blood off of his face. "We'll be careful next time, okay?" She whispered softly, and smiled confidently down at the man before her. He stared back up at her, and with a soft wince he then lightly dug his fingertips into her thighs. Shuddering, Sam then sighed and flicked on the faucet so she could wet the towel with warm water. 

Beginning to scrub at Josh's face, he grunted and closed his eyes. Seeming to be better at cleaning blood off his skin than Chris could, Sam was eventually satisfied with how much better her friends face looked. Taking one of his hands, she figured he could've done it himself, but Sam wouldn't admit that she was scared that if she'd let go of Josh's hand that he'd run away again. Clearing his throat, he flicked his eyes up to meet Sam's questionable glance. Flashing her a small cheeky smile, Josh still tried to lighten the mood and it meant a lot to her that he was trying. 

"You aren't going to ask me what I ate?" 

Scoffing at his question, Sam quickly shook her head and dropped his hand to gather the other one in her grasp. "That's normally not a question I thought you'd like me to ask, but uh - sure?" Okay, so she was slightly intrigued... 

With a proud smile, Josh straightened out his back and put his hands behind her knees, his fingers perfectly cupping her skin. "I caught a deer, and it was surprisingly... good?" He pursed his lips before making a face and quickly shook his head. "I mean, now it sounds fucking disgusting but at the time, it was satisfying." 

Staring down at him in shock, Sam let her jaws drop open. "Josh," she boldly scolded him, "you killed a deer?!" Pouting, her eyebrows furrowed together with concern. Josh batted his eyelashes up at her before running his hands calmly up and down the sides of her thighs. Smirking, his eyes flashed teasingly and then he suddenly did something he hadn't done before - Josh purred, and lightly ran his face along Sam's thigh like a cat would do to leave their scent on something, or someone. 

"What?" Josh began. "I'm sorry I'm not a vegan like you, Sammy." He purred, his fingertips brushing up one of her calves now. With a faint laugh leaving her lips, Sam quickly shook her head and annoyingly glared down at her friend before cupping his face in her slender, delicate hands. 

Brushing her thumbs along his sharp cheek bones, Sam stared over Josh to make sure there was no more blood remaining anywhere on his face. "I may disapprove of your actions, but that doesn't mean I dislike you any less." Both chuckled, but Sam turned away from him for a moment to turn on the water once more to wash her hands. Moving away from the man, there was only a short distance in between them now. With her thighs tingling from how much Josh touched them, Sam tried to focus on how nice the water felt on her cool hands instead of the way his voice sung to her soul. 

Watching her with a pair of mysterious dark eyes, Josh smirked and brushed his hands down his thighs before lightly clicking his tongue. "Hm, you disappointed I didn't want to eat you instead?" 

Oh?

Blinking quickly, Sam stared at her reflection in the mirror for only a second before suddenly blushing and slapping a hand onto her mouth. With wide eyes, she quickly turned and glared at Josh - still blushing though, of course. Meeting his gaze, she huffed and he laughed endearingly. Sam grabbed one of the damp towels and tossed it onto his face with a flick of her wrist. "JOSH!" She scolded, face beat red and her lip slightly curled over her canine tooth. 

Grinning charmingly up at her, Josh slid his tongue along one of his normal teeth before standing onto his feet. Nervously flashing him a grin, Sam casually took a step back. Perking up an eyebrow, Josh stared down at her before smirking smugly and stepped forward to meet the woman. Sam had never noticed how much of a height difference there was between them, even though he wasn't a giant - but compared to her, he was. With her back now pressed against the door, her body curled into it as Josh was now only a few inches away. Feeling the heat radiate off of his body, Sam tried to demolish the tingling sensation that ran from her core up to her face. Shit, she had to have been blushing again. 

"Sam." Josh muttered softly, and his eyes narrowed as his gaze fell upon the smaller figure before him. They were so close. Reaching upwards, his fingertips lightly brushed down the woman's bare forearm - like what he used to do to her. Nervously swallowing, Sam flicked up her eyebrow and met his gaze. With her lips opening slightly, her eyes narrowed as her head lightly fell back against the door. Was he looking at her lips? 

Shyly slumping back against the door even more, if that was even possible, a shaky gasp slipped from her lips as Sam had noticed Josh lowering his face closer to hers. "Y-Yeah?" She awkwardly whispered, her throat tightening and restraining her from sounding calm. With a twitch of his lips, Josh hid back a smirk because it was obvious he was teasing her - but what did really wanted to do, Sam was curious. 

Slowly running his other hand up Sam's arm as the one prior that played with her forearm hung by his side, Josh lightly brushed the hair that was around Sam's neck away so her skin was bare and accessible. Feeling her eyes flutter close, she gulped and felt her breath hitch in her throat. Leaning closer to her, Josh sniffed lightly and didn't care if the woman beneath him questioned him or not. Green tea and cinnamon. No wonder he could sense her before anyone else. Everyone else had their own distinct smell, but Sam... 

Sam...

Cupping her jaw, Josh moved closer and couldn't help himself. Lightly running his hips along hers, he felt himself tense as Sam twitched against him. Lightly running his mouth along her soft skin, it felt so foreign for the man to hold her the way he was - his best friend. The woman who would literally hit a Wendigo with a metal pipe to rush to his side and still try to drag his ass out of a mine. 

"J-Josh?"

Sam whispered softly, her hands now on either bicep of his. Gently squeezing them, she blushed and felt her eyes squeeze shut as Josh lightly nudged her head to the side for better access. "I've never seen you like this," he muttered softly against her flesh, "it's... nice." 

With her body visibly shaking, Sam lightly dug her nails into his flesh. Josh opened his mouth a little more now, hesitating to run his tongue along her but he gently did so anyway. Shuddering violently, the woman bit back a moan and she suddenly pressed the back of her hand against her mouth. Growling faintly, Josh became a bit more brave and ran his mouth up to her jaw. Parting his lips the best he could, one of his sharpened teeth grazed her pale flesh but then he ran his hands slowly down her arms, to her sides and then he placed them onto her hips. Slowly squeezing them, Sam sighed softly and lightly began to buckle into his touch. What in the hell was happening? 

Josh was touching her. Josh never touched her, unless it was to playfully shove her or hug her. Hell, even a simple high five. Now he was seemingly taking her and studying every inch of her, and that alone made Sam melt beneath his presence. 

Suddenly, Josh wrapped his arms firmly around her slender waist. Sam blankly stared over his shoulder before her eyes fluttered closed, and without a second thought wrapped her long arms around his neck. Hugging him back just as tight, their bodies lightly crumbled against the door and they easily pressed together - seemingly perfect. Burying her face into his neck, Sam breathed him in and enjoyed the slight musk that he endured. Enjoying each other's embrace, Sam was sort of proud of herself to know his heart was racing just as much as hers was. 

Both violently jerking as there was a bold knock on the door, Josh only slightly peeled away to pull Sam away from the door. Peering out of it, he glanced up to greet a smiling Chris. "Hey, Cochise." He flashed his friend a cocky grin. Chris snorted and waved a shirt up in front of his view so he could gather Josh's attention. 

"Sorry for ruining such a touching moment, I'm sure." The blond grinned and raised an eyebrow. "but I have this shirt for you, since you know - you're seeing our friends again for the first time in a while and you don't want to scare them." Flicking his gaze downwards, he met Sam's embarrassed gaze. Smirking smugly, he shoved his way inside and made both of his friends inside the bathroom groan with annoyance. When Josh seemingly became reluctant to peel away from the small female, he than huffed and yanked the shirt from Chris's hand. 

Peeling his stained shirt from his torso, Josh then tossed it into the sink before putting on a clean black t-shirt that hugged his shoulders. "Thanks," he muttered towards Chris before smirking and rolling his eyes. Chris laughed before slapping a hand onto his back, a few times actually, and then motioned towards the door. 

"We have company," Chris began, "are you ready?" He smirked over at Sam, who was composing herself and took a deep breath. Flashing him a sarcastic smile, the woman gave him a naturally confident finger gun before brushing past him. 

"Am I ready," Sam mocked, "you should be asking Josh that." 

Chris grinned and wrapped an arm around both of their necks and brought them close as they all walked down the wide hallway together. "I know he's ready, he's always ready." 

Josh scoffed but smirked up at his slightly taller friend. "I'm good at convincing people that." 

They all stopped before breaching into the living room. Before doing so, the three examined each other before Sam fiddled with her fingers, and looked over at Josh with a soft smile. She watched how Josh talked over what he was going to say and do with Chris, and losing track of what they were talking about she aimlessly stepped closer to gently wrap her hand around his. Stuttering faintly, he stopped talking and then glanced down at the smaller blond. 

Both stared into each others eyes before Josh made a soft noise in the back of his throat. As he began to nervously look away, Sam bit back a grin once she had realized something - he was blushing. 

"F-Fuck it, I-I'm just going to do it." Josh stammered out, gently squeezing Sam's warm hand before peeling himself away from her. Chris bit his lip before making a nervous grunt and hurried after his fast moving friend. 

"W-What! Josh-!" Stopping once Josh had made himself fully available for all of his friends to look over, Chris stood still and covered his mouth with his hand. With his heart racing in his chest, he slowly looked back at Sam - who in her defense was obviously enjoying the moment to give Josh shit for it later, but still looked nervous with a small smile tugging at the corners of her lips. Once Josh had walked to the circle of seats that their small group of friends had created out of pillows and blankets, he was confused as to why Matt and Emily weren't there too - but he'd know later probably. 

As eyes fell upon him, Josh took a deep breath and let his hands stay limp against his sides. Ashley gasped, then shortly after Jessica had looked up and dropped her cup of hot chocolate onto the floor... - and Mike? 

When foot steps echoed from the kitchen, they became more clear as a figure came from the shadows. Lazily chomping away on a sandwich he had made out of too much jelly and little peanut butter, Mike looked up from his plate and stared at everyone. When his eyes fell upon Josh's, both men seemed to tense up before Mike's eyes seemed to widen just a little too big. With a nervous step forward, Chris reached out to grab the others attention to try and defend Josh... 

but...

With a charming, yet still mocking smirk, Mike looked the tanned skinned man up and down before focusing obviously on the others jaws. "Nice teeth, bro. Guess you still have a smile only a mother could love." 

There was something about Mike's tone that made everyone break from the tension that was suppressed for a little over a year, and it was... refreshing. Jessica smirked and crossed her arms to her chest, one leg crossing the other. Ashley grinned and quickly got up, running to Josh before jumping and hugging him tightly. "I missed you, Josh." She grinned and lightly peeled back to happily stare up at him like a happy golden retriever puppy. Hugging him once more, Josh happily obliged with a friendly hug back. Gasping in surprise as he felt another pair of arms around him, he was pleased to have realized he was pressed in between two important people in his life. Ashley and Chris - and Sam of course, who was watching from a distance, but he gave her his full attention earlier. 

His friends still care about him. 

With Chris and Ashley crushing Josh in a tight hug, the couple laughed before pulling away from the half Wendigo. Mike smirked and leaned against the doorframe of the kitchen before glancing over at Sam, whose eyes couldn't stop beaming at the sight of her friends together again. Slowly leaning and nudging her arm, Sam questionably peered over at the man. "What?" She muttered, not wanting to ruin the moment. Hearing her friends talk over each other as they caught up with Josh and asked him questions about what happened earlier, Mike motioned to her hand before swallowing the food he had in his mouth.

"Your finger," he bluntly grunted, "what happened?"

Glancing down at her finger, Sam expanded them before studying her Band-Aid. 

With a soft smile, she pressed herself back against the wall once more before glancing over at Josh - who at the same time, met her gaze from over his shoulder. Flashing her a smile, his eyes softened and they became even more enticing since he seemed to be more confident around their friends. They seemed warm

Lightly rubbing at her finger, she shrugged and pushed herself off of the wall. "I blame Chris - he never taught me how to cut a grapefruit properly." Walking away from Mike, she greeted the group huddled together and was warmly accepted into the conversation they were having about Josh's fun adventure of hunting down a deer. Making a face and watching Sam walk off, he then turned his head to peer back into the kitchen. 

Walking back into the kitchen, Mike glanced out the window while reaching for a cup in one of the cabinets. Stiffening, his gaze met a pair of milky, fiery golden eyes that hungrily stared back.

Taking in a deep breath, he reached up and grabbed one of the window curtains. "Fuck off." Stuffing his middle finger up into the glass, Mike glared back at the glowing eyes that tried to intimidate him. Eventually the figure seeped back into the shadows, and the dark haired male huffed before yanking the curtain closed. 

Nothing was going to intimidate him into separating from his friends again. 

Even if one of them was half of one of the things that stared back at him. 

 


 

I DID IT, I FINALLY UPDATED! I'm extremely proud of this chapter and once again - I would love the feedback, and want to know what you guys think of the characters so far! Where do you see the story going, and who's your favorite so far? See you next time! You never know what you're going to get with Josh. ;)

- Sam