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Your Place in the Family of Things

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"Cake. I love cake. Park benches. CHRISTMAS. Computers. Video games... God, I really love video games. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Uh... let's see... Wait. What was the question again?"

Kate rolls her eyes, "If you could ask the Entity for one thing from your past life, what would it be?" She tilts her head and looks at Dwight, whose face is flushed red as the group snickers around the campfire.

"Oh, sorry. I got carried away. Uh, a book, I guess..."

Meg smiles as Dwight is sinking into his seat on the log. She puts a hand on his shoulder for reassurance and squeezes as Dwight looks over at her and smiles back.

The group continues talking amongst themselves, but at some point Meg zones out. She can't help it at moments like this. She appreciates them so much that she loses herself in the appreciation of them. She hates herself for that. 

She looks around at the group, they're all smiling and laughing and Meg thanks her lucky stars that they get to have this. Even if it's just a little while every few days. Even if it's just temporary. 

After what feels like hours, a few of them start to leave. Some have trials to play and others need to get their rest. Meg wishes them luck and says her farewells. Dwight and Jake stay for longer, and they share stories and laugh a little more. But a little while later, Dwight leaves too. He's sore from his last trial and Meg tells him to get some sleep to let his body repair. He agrees and thanks her, wishing her a goodnight and the same to Jake. 

Before she knows it, it's just the two of them. 

"So, what would it be?" He breaks the silence between them and looks at her. He's leaning on the log and sat on the floor, with one leg outstretched and one pulled up near his chest. 

"Huh?" Meg asks confused.

"The thing from your past life. You didn't say." He plays with a stone in his hand, then throws it overhead past her.

"You didn't either." Meg responds, and he smiles.

He nods in agreement and presses his lips together, "Well, you first."

Meg smiles weakly. She looks down at her hand and thinks about it but she finds it harder than she expected. 

She missed almost everything about before, as chaotic as shit was. The chaos was hers though, and no matter how bad things got she always found her head in the end. Here, it wasn't chaos. It was tragedy, and truthfully Meg never found her head for that. 

"I... don't really know." She says, and he scoffs as she shakes her head.

"Oh, come on."

"I really don't. I never really had anything before. At least not anything I'd wanna bring here."

"Not even a running track?" He raises a brow and smiles.

Meg laughs and shakes her head. "No, not even that. I mean, this whole place is a running track if we're being honest."


"What about you, anyway? What would yours be?" She tilts her head and leans forward on her arms.

"The woods."

Meg frowns in confusion, "really?" 

He nods and she can't help but laugh. 

"Do you pay attention? They have woods here."

Jake shakes his head and adjusts his position on the floor. "Nah. It's not the same. Here, you know exactly what's waiting for you. 'Cause it's the same thing every damn day. Back then, you'd never know what you'd find, going in and coming out. That was the beauty of it. To me, anyway." 

Meg puts her head in her hands as she listens. She smiles appreciatively and it's silent for a little while before she replies. "Well, it's better than what I said."

Jake chuckles and nods his head, "That's for sure."

She smiles and it falls silent again. But they sit there in it anyway. They both appreciate that.

"You got a trial soon?" He breaks it, and she's almost sad about it. 

"Uh, no. No, I'm all done for the night."

"Then what are you still doing out here?" He asks. 

"Well for starters, this place is really good for Insomnia." They share a laugh, and he nods in agreement as she looks at him.

"Yeah, that sucks. Sleeping is the only thing in this godforsaken place that gives us an energy boost. We don't even get a cup of coffee or anything. Now that I think about it, you could ask for that from the Entity. I'm sure that'll do you some good."

Meg giggles, "A cup of coffee?" 

He nods, "It sure is better than a running track to me."

"Well, you have a point there."

They talk a little more, and share a few more laughs. And Meg is so lost in the moment her mind doesn't take the time to get lost in the appreciation. 

But then they're interrupted by that dreading alert sound, and Meg's stomach never fails to turn at it. She sighs, and he notices that. 

"Well, that's me." He says, and he stands from his seat on the floor and brushes the dust and dirt from his pants. 

She sighs again but quieter, "Yeah, good luck out there."

"Thanks, I'm gonna need it." He laughs breathily.

Meg responds almost immediately. "You won't."

He doesn't reply to that, only smiles. And she smiles too. 

"I'll see you around. I hope you can get some sleep."

"I do too."

He gives her another smile before making his way to his trial, leaving Meg with nothing but the sound of the crackling fire beside her. 

She tries to sleep that night. And to her surprise, she finds it comes easy to her.