the ballad of jane doe @choosejoy
what the world needs

Hamid opens his eyes.

 

How is he opening his eyes? The last thing he remembers is his stomach pitching out from under him as he falls and falls and falls. But no, those are his fingers, and his toes, and when he looks around, his friends are there too?

 

Well, his friends and a somewhat creepy looking doll.

 

When Wilde tells them they’re all dead, Hamid doesn’t really know how to respond. What are you meant to do when you’re dead? He cries, obviously, but let's be real, when does he not?

 

The second that Wilde tells them there’s a chance, though, that one of them could survive? Something shifts in him. He loves his friends, he does, but he can’t just leave his family! They need him, they’re relying on him. Saleh is in rehab again, Saira is busy with work, Aziza is on a world tour, and the twins are far too young to help out at the bank, even if they wanted to (they don’t). Someone needs to be there, and it needs to be him.

 

And, comparatively speaking, he thinks, his life affords him more opportunities for change. If he’s brought back, he can make a real, palpable difference to the world. He has the money, he has the power, and he has the drive. Honestly, from an objective standpoint, it makes sense for it to be him.

 

He says as much, as soon as Wilde asks them to state their cases.

 

It does not go well.

 

His friends don’t understand. They couldn’t, of course not. It seems selfish (and if a voice in his brain tells him it is selfish? Well, that can stay with him). The thing is, though, he’s making good points! If they’d all just listen—

 

That is, of course, when Wilde deigns to let them know that he’s not the one making the choice. Apparently, they all need to vote unanimously.

 

Oops.

 

To be fair, he probably would have said the same things, for the most part. Maybe he would have said it a bit nicer, but the point still stands, even if the others don’t see it that way.

 

“I can’t believe you called me unreliable!” Zolf seethes at him, pulling him away from the rest of the group, “Just because I needed some space doesn’t mean that I’m unworthy of life, Hamid, what the hell? I thought we— I thought were friends.” He lowers his voice when the others start to become a bit too quiet themselves, waiting to continue until they look away.

“We are friends,” Hamid responds, shakily. “Zolf, you know I care about you. I just think that— that I’m the right person for this. I have a family that needs m—“

 

“Oh, suddenly because I don’t have ‘close family connections’ means I shouldn’t live? What about Azu, then?”

 

“Stop it! Just— just stop it, ok?” Hamid cries, “It doesn’t even matter now, it has to be a unanimous decision, and I’ve pretty well botched that, haven’t I.”

 

On another day, Zolf might have comforted his crying friend. Even now, it takes him more control than he’d care to admit to prevent himself from reaching out.  Still, though, this isn’t the time. “C’mon, Hamid,” he says, instead, “Up you get. If we only have a couple hours left, do you want to be left feeling sorry for yourself?”

 

Hamid, unsurprisingly, cries harder.

 

“Alright then,” Zolf says, “C’mon back to us when you’re ready. You may be stupid and selfish sometimes, but I— we love you.”

 

Hamid nods again, letting the tears fall openly from where he’d curled in on himself. What he’s said, what he’s done finally starts to sink in, and it’s not a pretty sight. He can hear Zolf’s footsteps retreating, can hear his friends talking in low voices, without him, and… yeah. Yeah, he deserves that. Gods, what was he thinking?

 

So yes, he does take a few more moments to compose himself, before quietly rejoining his friends. His friends who, he realizes with a shock, are far too kind to him, because the second he’s back, Azu wraps him in a hug.

 

“Ah, now that we’re all together again,” Wilde’s voice booms as he rejoins the group, “Who’s next?”

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