Living within an underground civilization, it is the dream of each member of the community to achieve Clearance. In order to achieve this, you must be skilled in combat, have impeccable survival skills, and be able to outsmart nearly everyone you approach. Once you achieve clearance you are sent to Ground Zero, the main land where you are sent to protect and fight for the humans who have only known the real world, society as we know it. The day of testing comes; some of the trainees in the sector achieve Clearance, while others are held back for further training. When those who are cleared are sent above, they realize that they aren’t meant to be the heroes they dreamt to be, the protectors that their leaders told them they would be, and the world above was nothing like they imagined it would be.
The indomitable sector trainees realize that all of their lives they were being lied to. They weren’t going to be Gods to the human race… they were prey.
Word Count: 2,918
Authors Note: This took me forever I know! I’m so sorry but things have been rough lately! Hopefully you enjoy this and are still following this series! If you are, I love you! If you’re a new reader… I love you! If you quit reading but see this… I love you!
Part 5: Territory
Y/n trudged through the forest terrain with the others behind her, all of them as alert as she was. Each noise they heard, whether it was the sound of sticks breaking or a gust of wind rattling the dying leaves, had them on edge. Ethan was only a half a step behind her which was surprising for him because anyone ahead of him in any sense came across as a threat or challenge to him.
They had walked aimlessly for a day, searching for some sort of area to call their own; an area to make their territory, but they had yet to reach a place that wasn’t open and exposed. None of them had spoken unless it was to give a suggestion, offer help, or ask a question. They were all in complete shock that they were encouraged to have high hopes for when they reached Ground Zero only to be welcomed by deteriorated land and people who wanted them dead.
“This is pointless!” Finley shouted, throwing her hands up. “We’ve been walking around like something’s magically going to show up, but that’s not going to happen. We need to come up with a plan. We need to come up with a plan fast. The more time we waste, the more likely that clan is going to come back and try to make mincemeat out of us. I don’t know about you, but I want to have a shelter to protect me or at least have some sort of barrier.”
Ethan stepped forward, his chest naturally pushing out along with his confidence, “Then we make a plan,” he turned to face the rest of them, “We need a territory, but we don’t know this land, we don’t know who resides here other than those who we have crossed paths with.”
“Tell us something we don’t know.” Leena mumbled, earning a jab to the side from Talon.
Ethan shot her a warning look before continuing, “If we need to make something out of nothing, then that’s what we’ll do, but Finley is right–we can’t just keep walking around until our bodies give out.”
“So what do you suggest we do, oh Great One?” Leena questioned sarcastically, folding her arms across her chest.
M groaned, “Shut the fuck up, Leena, just let him finish so we don’t have to pretend he’s our leader anymore.”
Y/n wanted to step forward and tell them all to quit making shady comments and just listen, but she knew the irritability had started to set in. If she even tried to step in, she would become their exhaustion’s target.
“We walk a bit longer,” Ethan informed them, “If we find nothing, we will do our best to build up something with the available materials around us. Does anyone have a problem with the plan?”
After they all responded with a “no”, they continued their journey for shelter. There were plenty of times where they stopped and contemplated whether or not they should treck on, but they pushed themselves further and it was good that they did.
“Y/n,” a voice came with a tap on the shoulder.
Y/n hummed as she turned around to face Selena, “What? Are you okay? Is something wrong?”
Selena shook her head, “Nothing’s wrong, it’s actually something good. I just saw us finding an area to make our territory, it was a quick flash but I’m positive that it is going to happen soon!” she gave a faint smile, trying to avoid bringing attention to them.
Walking in step with Selena, Y/n replied, “Thank God! I don’t know how much longer I can walk and I don’t know how much longer anyone can listen to Leena bitch about Ethan. I just hope it happens soon because I’m about to lose my mind.”
Selena’s smile grew, “Five, four,-”
“What are you counting down for?” Y/n asked only to be cut off by Ethan.
Y/n looked back in Ethan’s direction to see him pointing to a mountain of rocks hidden behind a village of trees. She watched as everyone sprinted to the area, cheers erupting from their mouths as they ventured through their new territory.
“Selena, Y/n, come on!” M yelled, waving them over. It was the first time M had shown genuine emotion other than anger since they had gotten to Ground Zero.
“Coming!” Selena shouted back, before laughing as she ran forward to join the rest of the class.
Y/n moved to join them but her arm was grabbed, causing her to halt in her place, “Can we talk?” Ethan’s low voice spoke into her ear, the warmth of his breath fanning her skin.
“Sure.” she said, waving the girls off to let them know that she’d be a bit.
Ethan pulled her to the side, his hand still holding her arm. He noticed what he was doing and immediately let go like he had touched a hot stove and was retracting from the heat.
“I think we need to assign roles to people.” he said in a hushed tone even though no one was around them.
Y/n’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion, “Roles? What roles? Why?”
“To make this work, to keep ourselves safe, I feel that roles are a necessity. Did you see the way that clan worked? They had their leader, their shooters, everything. They worked as one. It’s dog eat dog out here and we’ve got to become wolves.” he told her as he leaned in closer, nothing but determination written across his face.
“Is this about what’s best for us or about you wanting to be a leader?” she questioned, one eyebrow raising.
“We’d vote on a leader.” he snapped, his defenses coming up.
She scoffed, “You’d never answer to anyone, Ethan. It’s not in your nature. You’re too dominant, it just wouldn’t work.”
He sighed, running a free hand through his hair, “I would never crown myself without being fair. I may be an asshole, but I’m not one to force anything on anyone. If they don’t want me as leader, I won’t be the leader and I’ll have to get used to it.”
“What if it was me?” Y/n asked, knowing that she was the last person he’d probably want to let take over. They had always had a rough relationship, none of their interactions were positive other than when it came to the testing, but those were different circumstances.
“I’d stand behind you.” he answered without delay.
“Sure you would.” she smirked, turning away from him.
With a hand on her shoulder she was whipped back around again to see that he was more serious than ever, “I’d stand behind you.” he reiterated. “We may have had our issues, but I would have always stood behind you if you needed me.”
This weird sensation moved through her stomach; a warmth that she hadn’t experienced before. It was a warmth that made her heart beat faster and her lips want to twitch up into her most radiant smile. She had never felt something like that and she wasn’t sure how to interpret it.
Whatever it was, she didn’t like it. It made her feel vulnerable and weak. It stripped her naked of her defenses and gave him a map to her heart and mind. She had never experienced the emotion called love or infatuation. They had been taught about it, but none of them had ever experienced a romantic love, only a platonic one. And even then, they rarely experienced platonic love.
She knew that she platonically loved Selena. She was sure that M and Leena also were important to her in that way, but other than that… there was nothing but a business type relationship with everyone else.
But what she was feeling right then wasn’t love. It was a flutter of interest, but love… that was too complex of a sense for her to experience. She didn’t know that she’d ever experience it. Either way, she was always honest with herself and she knew that what she was feeling was triggered by Ethan and it was foreign to her.
She never wanted to experience it again.
“Good to know.” she deadpanned, cutting him off from any other potential opportunity to get under her skin.
He stood there, slack jawed as she walked away from him like he was dust on the floor.
Y/n worked next to Zeke, using her knife to carve the ends of thick, large branches into points. Zeke finished the one he was working on and walked to the designated front of their territory and pierced it through the earth’s surface to add to their makeshift fence.
He returned, taking his place next to her and started working on another one. There was a question she was itching to ask him, one that had been on her mind since she had spoken to Ethan. She knew that out of everyone there Zeke would be the one with the knowledge to help her the most, so she convinced herself to spit it out.
“Zeke, do you remember when we talked about love in our social cues and skills class?” she asked, keeping her eyes on her carving.
“Love? The intense feeling of deep attraction to someone such as tenderness, fondness, intimacy and warmth? Yes, I remember.” he said, pushing his knife against the wood.
“Warmth, yeah.” she mumbled under her breath. “Do you know what it would feel like?”
He shrugged, “I would imagine that you would feel dizzy or something if it’s so intense it causes you to want to be near them all the time and you crave their presence. Maybe you would feel nauseous or overwhelmed, I don’t know.”
“Nauseous?” she asked, wondering why he suggested that.
“Yeah, I mean, I think that if I felt that intensely, that deeply for someone, I’d feel sick when I’m not around them. From what I got out of class, love is almost as strong as hate, if not stronger–though that depends on the person and situation but I digress. What I’m saying is… love is something convoluted, insurmountable, and exotic–especially to people like us who are unsuited for it. It simply isn’t in our playing cards.”
Taking in all that he said, she nodded in agreement. When she had gotten that unfamiliar feeling with Ethan earlier she didn’t miss him when she walked away. She didn’t feel dizzy or nauseous, she just felt… strange.
“You’re right.” she laughed at herself for being stupid enough to think that she would experience something as complicated as love or infatuation. “Love is something we’ll probably never understand. I was just curious.”
“I’m always right.” he teased, bumping his shoulder with hers.
“Sure you-” she went to respond but was cut off by a loud female laugh, followed by a male’s.
“That was amazing!” Selena clenched her stomach as she bent over in laughter.
On the ground was Grayson who seemed to have fallen off of a boulder that he was using to reach up and lock two logs together for the door they were attempting to create. He was laughing as well with his arms spread wide as he laid on the ground in defeat.
She reached down to help him up, but once he got up their hands didn’t release. They stood there, staring into each other’s eyes, unmoving. Y/n tried to process the scene before her, but the fact that they were idol and locked in their own world confused her.
“Zeke,” she shoved his shoulder, causing him to jump and accidentally cutting his hand that was holding the stick in place.
“Fuck!” he hissed, shaking his hand to ease the pain, “Y/n, you can’t just startle me like that! This cut is deep!”
She ignored the pain in his voice, “Internalize the pain and channel it into your breathing. I’ll stitch you up in a second, within the next three weeks blood vessels will be repaired, new granulation tissue will form and new skin will cover the tissue.”
“I know that.” he growled, insulted that she thought she needed to explain it to her when they all knew that he was the most intelligent out of the crew. He was basically a book of knowledge.
“Okay, then listen to me,” she pointed at Grayson and Selena, “What is that? What are they doing? Decipher that!”
Zeke narrowed his eyes as he examined the body language both Selena and Grayson were displaying. He took in their stance, the length of time they had skin to skin contact along with eye contact. He took note of how slowly they stepped away from each other and the deep shade of red that colored their cheeks when they did so.
“I’m not sure,” he sounded frustrated, “It’s bothering me that I don’t know.” he tilted his head.
“Exactly, something weird is going on with those two, do you think that they have what people call an infatuation with each other?”
Zeke huffed, “If that’s infatuation then you and Ethan are in a whole different league.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Y/n shrieked, leaning away from him in surprise.
“From what I have observed, those two are somehow connecting on a deeper level than we, or at least I, have ever known. When I look at someone else all I see is someone who is either going to work with me or going to get into my way. Some people, like you, I consider a friend I guess… but that? That is no friend. That is something else. But you and Ethan, you look like you want to eat each other for dinner when you look at each other. But not like you want to savagely tear into your meal, more like you want to sample everything on your plate and then savor it.”
“Ew.” she responded in disgust.
“Tell me about it.” he cringed, “Sometimes I think you two are going to jump onto each other and the rest is to be determined.”
She faked an appalled shiver, “I wouldn’t touch Ethan unless it was absolutely necessary.”
“Well,” he shrugged, “I’ll just say, I don’t think it’s love, I think it’s this place playing mind games on us. Whatever is happening with Selena and Grayson along with you and Ethan,”
“Nothing is happening with Ethan.”
“Okay, sure, but as I was saying–whatever is happening will pass and it will seem like nothing because that is what we’re trained to do. We know standard but uncomplex emotions. We get in, do our job, and get out. Come time, little moments like that,” he pointed to Selena and Grayson, “will be nothing but an unintended social interaction that will be overshadowed by what’s truly important… survival.”
Again, Y/n nodded in agreement, “It’s good that I have someone logical like you to keep my head on straight.” she admitted.
“You’re welcome!” he smiled and returned to his job.
“Let me stitch you up first.” she said but her attention was pulled away by commotion.
She looked over to see Ethan marching over to Grayson and Selena, anger plastered on his face and the way his mouth was moving looked like he was scolding them. Grayson started to argue back while Selena tried to push her way between the two of them.
Grayson was much taller and more built than Ethan, but Ethan’s skills surpassed his brother’s and if this were to break out into a fight, it could get really bad. Just as the thought crossed her mind, Grayson’s fist swung and slammed against Ethan’s jaw.
“Finally some entertainment!” Zeke gasped, jumping up and joining the crowd forming around the twins, completely forgetting about the cut on his hand.
“Shit.” Y/n mumbled as she ran over to the fight.
Ethan had tackled Grayson to the ground by time she reached them, but Grayson was doing a good job of blocking his face from any harsh blows. They rolled, grunted, shoved, and everything in between as both Selena and Y/n tried to break them apart.
After numerous failed attempts, the two girls were finally successful–separating the boys and getting them to their feet.
“You’re such a hypocrite, Ethan! You’re such a damn hypocrite! You act like you haven’t done the same with Y/n!” he pointed to her with malice in his voice.
Ethan pushed Y/n behind him protectively, “Don’t put this on her, this is all you!”
“I’m not blaming her, you dumbass! I’m calling you out!” Grayson retorted.
“We’re trying to build ourselves a shelter, a home! You’re spending all your time focusing on her rather than working to help out the members of your class!” Ethan argued.
Y/n, not liking Ethan acting like her protector because she could protect herself just fine, stepped around Ethan, “What is going on?” she demanded an answer.
“Nothing,” Ethan snapped, glaring at Grayson, “Grayson just needs to pull his head out of his ass before he fucks something up.”
As Ethan walked away, Grayson bowed his head in a submissive manner, guilt flooding his eyes. She could tell that he had internally agreed with Ethan and that he was eventually going to apologize and say that he was wrong, even though deep down he might not believe it.
With a quick glance at Selena, Grayson walked away from her without another word, moving to a different area to work, where he remained the rest of the day.
Author’s note: Alright, this is for Choices Creates round 32, hosted by @dopecatcollins and @sophie-summer . Thank you very much, you two, for bringing up this theme. So, I know this is going to be difficult doing an Endless Summer MC, because we know that he/she is the Endless and is born in La Huerta, which series doesn’t explain why yet. But hey, we fanfiction writers will always have large imaginations, even sometimes go against canon. This is no different. Oh, let me know if you guys want me to do another MC backstory, preferably the ones in HERO, #LoveHacks, The Freshman/The Sophomore, Most Wanted, and maybe The Crown & the Flames.
MC introduced: Endless Summer (Yurika Hoshina)
Summary: Some of us may know the stories of how folding a thousand paper cranes came to be. There’s even one about folding paper stars. Our little adventurous heroine may never believe in this kind of legend, but she takes great comfort in this kind of activity. (Takes place before actual event)
Yurika vaguely remembers it, but when she was a little girl, her dad would always tell her the story behind the origami lucky stars and teach her how to make one (folded, not cut out). In the legend, they are considered lucky because the little girl and her friends put their efforts into making those stars and have the lost stars brighten up the sky again.
“These stars are lucky because of us. From now on, these paper stars will be called lucky stars. Whenever a lucky star is made, a falling star is saved.”
Her father even added on that if she were to make a thousand of these stars, she will be granted one wish. Any kind of wishes she wanted.
Yurika didn’t really believe in wishes or any kind of legends like this one, but she does enjoy making them. It took her a while, but she managed to make them perfectly. Every little paper stars she made resembles a piece of her, whether she’s happy, sad, angry, or maybe even fear sometimes. And every single star she made will be placed in the glass jar her mother provided her. This is one of the fondest memories Yurika has as a child, and she continued on with her simple, yet intriguing hobby as she grew up. Twenty-one stars.
Gradually, however, depression took a toll on her. Yurika’s parents died in a car crash when she was fourteen. She was eventually taken in by her relatives. But for some reason, she sorted felt neglected from some of them in their households. There wasn’t any serious physical or mental abuse made towards her, but neglection still hurts. Yurika didn’t know exactly the reason why they did that. All she knew was that part of it has something to do with her parent’s marriage, but that’s about it. In order to resort from her pain and loss, Yurika continued to making paper stars and putting them into a glass jar. It worked a little but it only provides itself as an outlet, not a resolution. Forty-three stars.
At school wasn’t much better. Her friends didn’t understand the pain Yurika was going through, so they pretty much abandoned her. Her teachers and counselors did try to help her, but there wasn’t any progress. So very much, Yurika was lost and alone. Seventy-fivestars.
By the time she started high school, Yurika tried to make a fresh start for herself. However, the school she attended was filled with cliches and the blonde couldn’t find herself fitting into one of these groups, and the majority of them are not as welcoming. One hundred and nine stars.
One time, Yurika had a fight with her aunt. It was really bad up to the point where the former became so frustrated, got slapped in a face, and ran out of the house and into the woods, where she had a secret place that calms her down and lets her look at actual stars in the sky. Yurika didn’t know what to do at that time, and even though she didn’t reach a thousand stars, she made a wish to herself that her life would be better. Two hundred and twenty-three paper stars.
Around sophomore year of high school, things are surprising looking up for her. Yurika met a transfer student, Diego Ricardo Ortiz Soto. They attend the same Algebra II and World History class during that time. He wasn’t like any other people she met, yet they were able to become close friends after becoming partners for a history project. And who knew that they would be able to bond over the movies The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight. Three hundred and sixty-five stars.
One time around senior year, Yurika found Diego outside of her home filled with tears of sorrow. After sneaking him into her bedroom, the latter revealed what happened between him and his parents after he unintentionally revealed his sexuality to them (something that only he and his siblings knew). He never told his best friend about that because he was afraid of losing her if she knew. Yurika responded to Diego by holding him in her arms tightly, telling him that she will always consider him as her best friend, no matter what. Plus, she already had a feeling about his sexuality but didn’t say anything because she wanted Diego to trust her first. That made the latter cried into her arms. They spend the rest of the night catching up with late night movies and Yurika shared her secret hobby with Diego of making paper stars. Six hundred and seventy-three stars.
One day, a letter came and Yurika found out that she got accepted to Hartfeld University, the college that she always wanted to go. Turns out that she’s not the only one. Diego also got accepted to the same college, which made their days even better. Seven hundred and sixty-nine stars.
About a week later, however, Yurika broke up with her boyfriend of two years. It was a mutual breakup, mainly because they both are going to be separated into different college and neither of them thinks they could handle a long-distant relationship. She knew it was for the best for both of them, but part of her felt empty because of that. Seven hundred and eighty-seven stars.
First two years of college was…quite eventful. Classes are hard, but Yurika was able to go through them along with Diego and few more friends they made. The main issue isn’t about the courses, however. It’s the roommates. And let’s just say that some stuck-up bitch sexiled Yurika out of the dorms multiple times, forcing the latter to sleep in the lounge, and Diego was forced to share a filthy room with his roommate. You decided which one’s worse. Eight hundred and eighty-eight stars.
It was then that the two of them decided to rent an apartment together. It wasn’t the luxurious apartment they ever been and they have to do some cleanup, but it was nice enough for the both of them to be comfortable in. Plus, there is an awesome view from the rooftop, where they can see bunches of stars shining in the night. It was a perfect spot for them in case they don’t have anything on Netflix to watch or have private conversations of their daily lives.
…One thousand stars.
Yurika placed the last paper star into her glass jar before shutting it closed and setting it aside on her drawer. She glanced at Diego, who passed out on the couch after spending all day packing up for the trip to La Huerta. Yurika shook her head, amused, as her best friend started snoring and went over to put a blanket over him before continuing on with her packing. As she glanced back at the colorful, paper stars she made, Yurika pondered on how these stars she made really helped her cooped with her problems get through those tough times. Was it pure luck? She wasn’t sure. But she was glad to have made them in order for them to guide her to where she is now today.
Now that she has one thousand stars right now, Yurika wondered what kind of wish she wanted to make. The best adventure of a lifetime in their trip? Love? Maybe even more new friends and discovery? She wasn’t so sure.
For now, she is content of what she has right now and decided against making a wish. Yurika wanted to enjoy the life she has right now and make new memories of their future trip. As silly as it may sound, Yurika promises herself that she will use those stars to make a wish for herself one day.
One thing for sure is that she will never stop making them and continue counting her stars.
So this was definitely an interesting exercise! I tried to give each one a slightly different face, body type and accessories (and one also has a different skin tone i think) while still keeping them all similar looking.
So yeah if you want me to change anything about your sim feel free to let me know!
This is my entry for the elsanna contest. It’s a dark!Elsa story, exploring what would’ve happened if as a child Elsa was locked away in the dungeon. I’ve reintroduced the prophesy and several other elements from the outtakes. Arendelle’s a much darker place. When Elsa escapes to the mountains to become the terrifying Snow Queen, Arendelle is assaulted by a terrible and unstoppable blizzard. In a last resort, her sister Anna is sent to assassinate her.
Special thanks to no-escape-from-the-storm-inside for beta'ing!