Artyom was knelt down, humming as he picked mushrooms from the rudimentary farms in the blocked off tunnels by VDNKh. It was quiet and relaxing, and he enjoyed it. It wasn't the adventurous life he used to want, but he had come to find peace in the monotonous repetitiveness of the task, compared to the hectic, stressful life he had been leading last year.
He had come back to his home after the pressure placed on him became too much, and only served to aggravate his PTSD. He'd practically run home to Sukhoi, embracing his father and giving a tearful apology. His father accepted him back immediately, and he had been placed in his old tent.
His mind then wandered to Pavel, his musketeer. He had first come to VDNKh around 9 months ago, quickly settling into life in the station. He still wondered sometimes what Pavel thought about the shift from a respected and feared major of the red line to a humble mushroom farmer and tea factory worker, but he seemed happy enough to be contributing in a positive way, after his past.
Life was perfect for him. Almost.
There were times when he would wake up, feeling his lungs burn as the rope stung his neck, or feel gashes all over him where he was torn apart by a group of mutants.
But the worst were the ones where he had to see Pavel die.
Pavel being hung.
Pavel being shot in the head.
Pavel succumbing to the poisonous air of the surface.
It was those memories that would drag him out of sleep, tears streaming down his face as he frantically checked that Pavel was alive.
You see, Artyom's ability was to change fate itself.
If he got shot he could simply replay the event and the shot would ricochet off of him.
If a tunnel collapsed and trapped him he could simply replay the event and he would miraculously make it in the nick of time.
However, his curse was that he always remembered.
Every time he died.
Every time Pavel died.
Every time he failed to save someone.
They would not remember. They would be able to go on with their lives as if nothing had happened.
Artyom didn't have that luxury.
His blessing was fate, but his curse was memory.