Battle Scars
Among Us fanfiction



This fanfiction is set in the universe of the Among Us game by Innersloth.

Title
Battle Scars
Status
Completed (18th April 2021)
Genre
Science-fiction, drama
Rating / warnings
Like Among Us: murders and half-devoured bodies, but no graphic depiction.
Spoilers
Huge spoilers for Just be watching you by Chi-Chi and @Genuine.
Characters
Crewmates and Impostors (with colours Lime, Purple, Blue, Red, Yellow, Orange and Brown)
Summary

The Impostors have sent one of their best executioners to make sure the Skeld never reaches Mira HQ. Vicious and manipulative, Purple looks forward to picking off the crewmates one by one.

In the ensuing game of cat and mouse, Lime risks herself to save Red, but fate has a way of turning on you. Now it's Red's turn to make a choice.

This is an alternative version of The Taste of Betrayal. The first three chapters are the same; chapter 4 is replaced with an alternative ending, in which a slight difference in timing leads to a very different kind of challenge.

This was heavily inspired by the Among Us song Just be watching you by Chi-Chi and @Genuine (the voices are great and the animation is amazing). You could say the characters of Lime and Purple are theirs? The worldbuilding, characters' motivation and details are mine, though.

This story is also available on AO3.

Table of contents

  1. Chapter 1 (same as in The Taste of Betrayal)
  2. Chapter 2 (same as in The Taste of Betrayal)
  3. Chapter 3 (same as in The Taste of Betrayal)
  4. Chapter 4 (specific to Battle Scars)
  5. Chapter 5 (specific to Battle Scars)

Chapter 1

"Hey. You alright?"

Lime whipped round from the window panel to see Red, who was watching her with her head tilted to the side with concern. Lime suddenly became aware again of the cafeteria around her, and of the humming and the soft vibration of the Skeld, flying through space back to Mira HQ.

"You've been staring at the stars for ages," Red went on.

"Sorry, I know I should be doing my part. The sooner we arrive the better." She sighed. "It's just… The war has this way of getting to you, you know?"

Red nodded slowly. Of course she knew. Who didn't? She couldn't suppress a shiver, which she promptly hid under a nonchalant shrug –or something which tried to pass for one. "You think there might be an Impostor on board? Nah, they'd have had time to kill someone already."

Lime didn't answer, simply running a wary gaze around the room and at the corridors. "I just wish a day would come when I feel truly safe," she said softly before shaking herself. "I'd better get started, tasks won't do themselves. Thanks for snapping me out of it, Red."

"No problem. And remember, I'm always here if you need to talk."

With a friendly gesture of her hand, Red turned away, but she paused as Lime called out after her: "Be careful, alright? Try to tell people where you go, and avoid Purple as much as you can."

Red let out a laugh. "You keep talking of him, I wonder whether you like him too little or too much."

"I don't trust him," Lime bristled. "I don't trust the way he follows people around, and I certainly don't trust the hungry air with which he looks at us. You know what they say about Impostors and the flesh of their victims."

Red hesitated, then shrugged. "I didn't really notice anything special with him. I understand you're afraid, but you shouldn't let your imagination run wild. It doesn't help anyone. There's a good chance we'll arrive safe and sound, and we'll all laugh about it afterwards. Except we won't if we let the Skeld fall apart. Back to work," she smiled before heading towards storage.

Lime watched her leave, sighed again, and went to the engine rooms.


Brown hummed softly to keep herself company as she struggled to unlock the reactor's manifolds. Not that it was a particularly difficult task, but she'd always found it intimidating for some reason. Probably because she kept making mistakes for trying to go too fast. Or because she had to stand right next to a vent to do it. She wished she'd had to start the reactor instead, honestly, but oh well, that one had been Red's.

Brown had just finished with the manifolds when a nearby presence made her jump. "Oh, hi Purple," she greeted him, a bit too fast. Behind him in the corridor, she spotted Lime peering into the room, and she waved to her.

After a glance to Lime as well, Purple returned his attention to Brown. "Did I startle you?" he asked, a smile in his voice. "Sorry, I didn't mean to."

Brown shuffled on her feet and rubbed the back of her head. "Eeeeh, well, I might've been scaring myself on my own," she admitted. She threw an accusing glare to the vent. "I learnt Impostors can travel through the ventilation system. Someone could just pop from engine while I'm working, murder me and leave the way they came."

"Or I could've killed you, escaped through the vent and pretended I never went to reactor at all?"

"Exactly!" Brown nodded, adding in a hurry, "Not that I'm accusing you. You've been alone with plenty of people, and we're all still breathing. You could've killed Yellow in electrical while Orange was in storage. Everyone knows what a death trap electrical is, yet you've both survived. So yep, I think you're good," she concluded, straightening up.

Purple chuckled. "My, are you keeping tabs on everyone?"

"Not really," she shrugged. "Orange just happened to mention the two of you in electrical when I passed her in storage. And you said you had wires to fix, so it made sense. Speaking of which, I'm done with the manifolds, I'd better get going."

"Right, and I've got work as well," Purple answered. "See you later in caf'?"

"Sure!" she nodded with conviction before leaving.


At the doorway to admin, Blue's gaze bore into Yellow and Orange for a couple of seconds before he decided to risk approaching.

"Paranoid much?" Orange teased.

"Excuse me if I care about staying alive."

Orange raised her hands to placate him. "Alright, alright. Sorry."

"Why do you actively avoid other people's company if you think we have an Impostor on the Skeld? That's just making you an easier target," Yellow stepped in. He glanced to his friend. "Orange and I can both watch each other's backs and confirm our innocence to the others."

Blue snorted derisively. "Sure, throwing myself into a potential Impostor's arms, what a brilliant idea."

Orange shook her head. "Yellow and I have watched out for each other since we left Polus' orbit. He could've killed me ten times over if he'd meant to, and same for me killing him. But hey, you do you. We'll leave you to your lonely misery, we're done here anyway."

Blue only let out a breath of relief once the two of them had stepped out, and he was alone in the room. There was an Impostor among them. He could feel it. But who? Were Orange and Yellow sticking together for protection, or was one of them an Impostor cultivating their alibi? What about Red, with her constant insistence the Skeld was safe? She could be trying to make them lower their guard. Was Brown genuinely naive and clumsy, or was she putting on a show? Why did Lime constantly cast doubt on Purple; was she right about him, or trying to throw them off her scent?

If only Blue could find out who the Impostor was before the monster had time to strike.


Purple had taken his time. Walking through the corridors, pretending to help keep the ship in working order, chatting with the oblivious crewmates around him, he had analysed how to best fulfil his mission. He was as patient as he was deadly, and he intended to win.

He didn't mind his superiors had sent him alone to take care of the Skeld and its crew. Quite the contrary in fact; he took pride in their confidence in his skill. He was the best infiltrator in recent memory, with half a dozen victories to his name. He knew when to wait and when to strike, when to sabotage and when to manipulate. Even more than the crewmates' succulent flesh itself, he delighted in their fear and that fleeting moment when they realised they'd been played, right before they died.

By now, he knew enough to get started for good. Brown's inexperience was deceptive, as her memory and intelligence would make up for her freshness when it came to identifying culprits. She would be one of Purple's first targets.

Orange and Yellow found comfort in each other's company, and were often seen together. They would be hard to drive apart, but easier to avoid, and their illusion of security made them less likely to look too deeply into his claims. Unless he found an unexpected opportunity to kill one and frame the other, Purple would keep them as unwitting pawns in his schemes.

Almost their polar opposite, Blue distrusted everyone and kept to himself. Most of the others disliked his lack of manners. Purple knew better than to murder him directly; instead, he would use him as a scapegoat when the time came. Seeing innocent crewmates float away in the cold emptiness of space, wrongly executed by an angry mob, was almost as satisfying to the Impostor as feasting on their body.

He turned his thoughts to Red, the one who tried to fend off fear with lightheartedness. Her forced smiles often came off to the rest of the crew as a manipulative attempt to lull them into complacency, which made her almost as suspicious as Blue in their eyes. She, too, could serve to take the blame for the Impostor's crimes.

Which left Lime. Like Blue, she stayed on her guard at all times; but unlike him, she fraternised with her fellow crewmates. Like Red, she hid her fears under a varnish of confidence; but unlike her, she never forgot the dangers. Like Orange and Yellow, she promoted safety in numbers; but unlike them, she spent time crossing from one side of the ship to the other. Like Brown, she performed her duties with careful dedication; but unlike her, she paid attention to her surroundings.

And like Purple, she seemed to be conducting prying of her own. The Impostor had felt her gaze on his back more than once, when he was following someone or allowing himself to daydream of the feast to come. The way she looked at the vents and hidden corners of the rooms, the advice she gave the others, the attention she paid to everyone's whereabouts –she knew to play the score.

Purple smirked discreetly: it felt almost refreshing to have someone who would keep him on his toes. Such a small crew would've been boringly easy to take out. He promised to himself to kill Lime last –provided he found a way to eliminate Yellow and Orange before–, and to make it memorable.

[^]


Chapter 2

With the threat of Impostor attacks lurking in the back of her mind, Brown was glad she could at least trust some of her crewmates. Seated at a table in the cafeteria with a drink in hand, she waited for Purple eagerly. Perhaps they could pair up like Orange and Yellow? She would feel better knowing someone had her back. On the other hand, sympathising between coworkers was frowned upon for a reason: it was already hard enough when it was strangers brutally murdered around you –not to mention when you had to eject them into space at the first sign of suspicious behaviour, often with only incidental evidence. She idly turned the bottle in her hands; part of her wished she had resisted her parents' pressure and never joined Mira.

She perked up as she saw the purple-suited figure come join her.

"Oh, these tasks are so mind-numbing. I wish Mira would fix the ships once and for all before departure already," he complained theatrically, making her laugh.

"I know, right! They seem to think it's a way to assess people's loyalty and spot Impostors more easily but it's really just making our lives harder." As Blue scuttled through the cafeteria and threw them a hostile look along the way –at least, she supposed it was a hostile look; with the helmets you couldn't tell–, she raised her drink for him to see. "Yes, I'm taking a break," she proclaimed defiantly. "I'll return to work once I've finished my drink."

Blue huffed before leaving for the front of the ship, and Purple shook his head with amusement while Brown took an angry gulp. Maybe Blue's silent reproach had affected her more than she wanted to admit.

"So, what's your next assignment?" Purple asked.

"I've got to swipe my card, then a download in comms. You?"

"Ah, I'm going the other way, to medbay."

Brown straightened up. "Oh, you're doing a scan? I can come with you before I go to my tasks, this way I can clear you to the others if something happens."

He shook his head without missing a beat. "Samples to test, actually. Sorry."

"Oh. Okay."

Seeing her deflate and finish her beverage without a word, lost in her thoughts, he wondered whether a part of her still refused to trust him no matter how much his soft-spoken voice and mild manners soothed her. Young, but wise. Not that it would save her.

Purple was a natural. Unlike too many of his kind, he had never needed the threat of execution to himself and his family to fulfil his missions with flying colours. He took pride in serving the greater good of his kind, and enjoyed manipulating and killing the naive crews he infiltrated. Eating their warm corpses was his reward for a job well done. The prospect made his mouth water. Soon, now. Very soon.

As Brown stood and took her leave, he waved her goodbye and went to medbay just when Yellow was about to walk out. The Impostor briefly contemplated going for an early extra murder, before rejecting the idea. Yellow would be of more use to confirm his alibi.

Purple walked to the back of the medbay, checked he was alone, and hopped into the vent.


Lime followed Purple as often as performing her own tasks allowed, all the while also trying to make sure nobody remained isolated in an area easily reached via a vent. Unfortunately, with the crew's tendency to scatter throughout the Skeld, she had to rely on the others' sense of observation more than she wished. That Purple hadn't yet made his move frustrated her even more: the Impostors had very obviously sent one of their most cunning agents. Of course. They hadn't wanted to leave anything to chance. Even if it made the situation even more terrifying, Lime knew she needed to keep a cool head to prevail.

From the other side of the cafeteria, she eyed with suspicion Purple enter the medbay. However, she relaxed as Yellow walked out and was soon joined by Orange to talk in the hallway. Enough people had seen Purple's whereabouts to discourage any immediate murder attempt. With a sigh, Lime went to the front of the ship to correct the steering in navigation.

She found Blue apparently shooting asteroids in weapons. Instead of replying to her greeting, he jumped out of his seat and watched her pass from the opposite side the room. Way to make himself appear suspicious; it was a good thing she already trusted his innocence. Further down the corridor, Red proved, as usual, more talkative.

"Hey Lime. See, nothing bad has happened, and I'm more than half-way through my tasks already! If we keep up the good work, we should arrive in no time."

Lime shook her head. "I wish you were right, but…" The blinking of the camera caught her eye, and she tensed. Who was watching? Neither Blue, Red nor Lime herself, obviously. Orange and Yellow wouldn't bother. That only left Brown… or Purple.

Oblivious to Lime's train of thought, Red followed her gaze and chuckled. "See? Someone's even keeping a watchful eye on us. Nothing to fear."

Lime didn't bother to sound convinced as she answered, "Right. Well I'll still feel safer once we reach HQ. In the meantime, I've got to go make sure the ship flies straight. See you around."

She hurried to perform her task in navigation, and with a bye and a shrug, Red walked into oxygen.

It didn't take long for Lime's fears to be confirmed by the lights abruptly switching off. She rushed out, glanced into oxygen to check on Red, made sure to announce herself to Blue –who, again, stopped shooting asteroids to stay away from her– and ran to admin, where she found Yellow struggling to swipe his card into the reader.

"I'm checking the table!" she explained. She just knew they'd all need an alibi very soon. The only question was where the first murder would happen.


Brown's download in communications had just started when the room around her turned so dark she could barely see her own feet. "Come on come on come on," she whispered urgently to the tablet. Was it her or was the download even slower than usual? She tried reassuring herself that while she was all alone, the Impostor, whoever it was, might not come her way. The sabotage was obviously meant to attract people to electrical and kill them there. It made the most sense.

The moment her download finished, she ran out, only to hesitate in the corridor. She really, really didn't want to go to electrical. But she really, really didn't want to stay in the dark either, and what if nobody fixed the lights?

She was never given the chance to make up her mind. She barely had time to register a presence go past her as Purple grabbed the sides of her head and twisted hard. Before her lifeless body even had time to fall, his chest split open into a huge, grotesque maw, and he bit off the top half of his prey.

Delicious little Brown. Such a shame her death had to be so quick.

Savouring the lingering taste on his tongue, but mindful to appear as frightened as suited an innocent crewmate, Purple trotted towards electrical.


It was Red who found the body when proper lighting was restored throughout the ship. As the survivors sat around the meeting table in the cafeteria and peered at one another with suspicion, she broke the heavy silence in a wavering voice: "I–I found Brown just outside of comms…" She swallowed. "What was left of her. I was on my way to storage but still in shields, I saw it when the lights came back. I didn't see anyone, and I know I don't have an alibi, but I'm innocent, I swear! I was alone in O2 but I was working!"

Yellow raised his hands in a placating gesture. "Let's go about this rationally. It's safe to assume it happened during the blackout, so, where was everyone? I was in admin almost the entire time, Lime can confirm I was there when she arrived." Lime nodded, and he went on, "Then when I left, I met Purple in storage and we joined Orange in electrical, but she was already done when we arrived. Speaking of her, I saw her get a medscan earlier. She's 100% clear. Lime, did you get anything on the admin table?"

Lime sighed in frustration and she answered with a cautious tone, her eyes boring into Purple, "I wish. When I arrived, I saw Blue leave weapons and go to caf'. Red had already left O2, I just saw her arrive to shields right before the report. Purple only showed up in storage, where you joined him, and obviously Brown didn't appear on the table since her body was in a hallway."

Purple spread out his hands, the perfect image of a frightened, wrongly suspected crewmate. "I just came from the cafeteria; with the lights off Yellow must've been right behind me without us seeing each other! I was mostly in the back of the ship: Yellow, you saw me go into medbay to scan samples. I went to fix wires in caf' while the analysis ran, then I returned to medbay, then to electrical through caf' and storage, which is where I met Yellow while I was bumping into crates in the dark."

"I think it's a self-report," Blue hissed, glaring at Red. "She realised she might get caught when you lot fixed the lights."

Red pointed a trembling finger at him. "Or maybe you did it! You could've used the vent to nav', then to shields, murdered poor Brown and come back to weapons before Lime even had time to reach the admin table!"

"I was blasting asteroids! You know, so they don't crash into the shields you may or may not have primed!"

"I didn't, I saw what you left of Brown before I could!"

"Please, everyone, calm down!" Lime interrupted, forcing her voice louder to make herself heard over the back-and-forth accusations. "I'm fairly sure you're both telling the truth. It's Purple who's been suspicious from the start."

"Do you have any proof?" Orange asked, unconvinced. "Anything more solid than a hunch?"

Lime lowered her gaze. "No. But I can confirm Red was still in oxygen when I left nav', and I think I saw Blue really shoot an asteroid before he ran from me."

Orange shook her head reprovingly. "You think?"

"It was dark, I couldn't really see, and I didn't stay."

"Well, I'm voting Blue," Red proclaimed through clenched teeth.

"And I'm voting you," he retorted.

Purple let his gaze run between the two of them before finally settling on Red. "I have to agree with him. He might not have had the time to reach Brown from weapons, but you did."

Yellow cast his own vote as well. "I'm sorry Red, but you're the most likely suspect."

Orange hesitated. "Actually, I don't think it's her. The lights were off too long for a self-report. It had to be Blue." She selected Blue with an apologetic look to Red: "Not that it'll change much, but I do believe you."

Yellow crossed his arms. "Well, that's three for Red versus two for Blue, plus Lime for Purple. Let's get this over with–" He interrupted himself: why wasn't the result revealed yet? He realised Lime's vote was actually still missing.

Red spoke first, with stifled sobs in her voice: "Lime, honey, you need to vote. Thank you for defending me, but withholding your choice won't save me."

Without a word, Lime nodded, and pressed her finger on Blue's icon.

[^]


Chapter 3

Yellow shook his head at Lime in dismay. "Why did you vote Blue if you think Purple's the Impostor?"

Red was trembling wordlessly, incredulous to have escaped immediate sentencing for a crime she didn't commit, while Blue now hesitated whom he distrusted more between her and Lime. "Opinions were made clear enough," he tried. "We can still eject Red."

"No," Orange countered, "the law's firm about it. Only votes matter, and it's a tie between the two of you."

Blue glowered at Red. "Fine. You get another chance to live. But if anyone else dies…"

There was nothing more to say, so everyone scuttled away to their next task –except Purple, who came closer to Lime.

"Well played, Lime," he purred in a silky voice, smooth and dangerous, almost making her lose her temper there and then. "Clever clever… I look forward to getting to know you more in depth once I've gone through the rest of my tasks." And just like that, he turned away and left the cafeteria, as if nothing had happened.

Fists clenched, Lime took a few intentional breaths to calm herself down. She wanted to kill him. She wanted to kill him so badly. If there had been any justice in the universe, it was his blood that should've stained the Skeld's floor. But she needed to remain more cautious than ever. Purple had underestimated her once; next time he wouldn't be as careless. With every passing moment, he might murder another of the crew. With every emergency meeting, he might condemn an innocent soul to die in the cold vacuum of space.

She had to stop him.


The early insouciance had all but vanished, and a shroud of horror and paranoia had fallen upon the Skeld. Yellow and Orange remained closer than ever, refusing to leave each other's side for even a second. Blue jumped at the sight of his own shadow, and Red fumbled through her tasks, blinded by mixed tears of relief and fear. Lime wanted oh so desperately to keep a constant eye on Purple, but she also knew she couldn't afford to dawdle. And Purple was in no hurry to claim his next victim: his priority was to appear as harmless as ever until he found the right opportunity.

For the time being, the only thing Lime could do was make her path around the ship difficult for Purple to predict so he wouldn't feel safe killing anywhere. She also started to worry: she hadn't seen Red in a while. Scouring the Skeld faster and faster, dread tightening its grip around her throat, she finally found her huddled in oxygen, weeping silently.

The sound of Lime's sigh made Red start with fright, and for a frozen moment, she stared at the new arrival with no movement nor sound. She slumped when her brain finally registered it was Lime, who was doing her best to break through the wall of thoughtless terror with kind words and placating body language.

Red stood up and started mumbling incoherently. "I'm sorry I didn't recognise you I can't go on I just can't I thought I was doing to die I prepared myself but I'm so scared I know I should be thankful I'm just so scared I don't know what to do I don't want to die oh Lime I don't want to die!"

Lime gently put her hands on Red's shoulders. "Hey, hey. Red, look at me. It's alright to be afraid. We all are. But I need you to remain strong a little longer, okay? We still have work to do, and the longer we delay, the later we'll arrive at Mira HQ."

Red nodded, sniffing. "How do you do it?…"

Lime let go and answered, perplexed, "Huh? Do what?"

"Keep yourself together. Before Brown's death, I thought you were being overly dramatic, but now you seem so calm!"

"I'm… really not?" She just stayed focused on her goals, honestly.

Without a warning, Red leapt at her to embrace her in a tight hug. "I owe you my life! I wouldn't be there anymore if it weren't for you!"

After a second to process her surprise, Lime patted Red's back. Now this was awkward. How did you comfort an overwrought crewmate when all your thoughts were turned to the still lurking threat?

Thankfully, the physical contact itself seemed to calm Red down, and after a short while, she took a step back and briefly opened her helmet to wipe her eyes. "I'm sorry. I'll never thank you enough, Lime. For everything." She forced a laugh. "I still think you're wrong about Purple, though. It must've been Blue."

As there was no point in debating now, Lime changed the subject: "Shall we resume our work?" Reassured by Red's nod, she went on, "Where's your next task?"

"Electrical," Red answered in a tiny voice.

"I can come with you if you want."

Red looked up, and for the first time since she'd found Brown's remains, she sounded genuinely hopeful: "Yes, please!" It didn't last, however, as she grabbed Lime's hand to go left instead of right: "Can… can we make the detour via weapons? Please?…"

Lime silenced her frustration. Even if it slowed them down, she understood where the request came from. "Of course," she agreed.


Blue couldn't get over Lime's betrayal. Orange's vote was understandable, she was clueless. And either Red was the Impostor, or the shock of discovering half a body had finally put some sense into that thick skull of hers –as unfortunate as her suspicion of Blue was. But Lime? Something didn't add up. He just couldn't put his finger on what was bothering him, besides the obvious resentment for her vote.

For a while, he walked round and round in the ship, neglecting his tasks to spy on the others, check the admin table, watch the cameras. Should he call an emergency meeting? But without a compelling argument, the crew would be quick to vote him out. Should he keep his thoughts to himself and wait for the next murder, hoping it wouldn't be him? Or should he confront Lime directly?

The decision was cut out for him as he came face-to-face with her and Red in the cafeteria.

"You!" he accused. "What's your game! I want an explanation!"

Lime paused. "I'm sorry, I don't understand. Do you mean the vote?" Red fearfully hid behind her.

"All this talk about Purple being an Impostor, and then you try to get me ejected?"

"I was saving Red!" Lime defended herself, turning an open palm toward her protegee. "I let everyone else vote first so I had a chance to block the vote because I knew you were both innocent."

"So you say," he shot back. "Or maybe you hoped more people would vote me out, with your half-hearted argument you'd seen me do asteroids."

"That makes no sense! I was doing what I could to protect you, too!"

"Maybe it was all an attempt to confuse us. Maybe you sneaked out of admin through the vent, murdered Brown and returned before the lights came back."

He took a step forward, and Lime a step back. So now he basically accused her, he didn't run from her anymore? If the situation hadn't been so dire, she might have burst out laughing at the sheer absurdity of it. Behind her, Red turned her gaze to the emergency button and started to move discreetly.

"No, Red, wait," Lime stopped her before returning her attention to Blue. "Look, I would never have had a chance to go to comms and come back, especially not without bumping into Red. I was only alone in admin for a brief moment, I talked with Yellow the entire time until he left." And for the very purpose of reinforcing her alibi, as a matter of fact.

"And why exactly should I believe you?"

"Just ask him! And how would I have known your movements if I hadn't been looking at the table? You did go from weapons to caf', didn't you?"

After a second of grudging silence, he nodded with a mutter, "Yes. Though you could simply have guessed." Still, despite the continuing hostility in his voice, at least he sounded more hesitant. Resentment about her vote aside, he was back to square one on Brown's murder.

She rubbed a hand on her tired forehead. "We're all on edge but I stand by what I've always said: Purple is the enemy. Not me, not Red, not you. He is the one we all need to be wary of."

With a grunt, Blue turned heels and went to seek Yellow. Lime sighed, and made her way with Red to electrical.


Purple was starting to feel really annoyed. Since Lime had found Red before him, everyone but Blue had paired up, leaving the Impostor no opening to kill someone and frame another. Not to mention his prey were paying way too much attention to the admin table and cameras now. As much as they had dismissed Lime's advice at the beginning of the trip, it had stuck. How irritating. At least, it slowed them in their tasks, which in turn gave him more time to plan out his move. While he could always pull a well-chosen sabotage, he wanted to score at least a kill or two before stirring the pot. An emergency meeting might give Lime a chance to poke holes in his defence.

Upon seeing Orange and Yellow go to the front of the ship not long after Lime and Red had entered electrical, an idea formed in his mind.


While Red calibrated the distributor, Lime positioned herself in such a way she could keep an eye both on the vent and the door.

"I don't know how I can ever make it up to you," Red was saying. "After I returned to shields to indeed prime them, I… I couldn't stop thinking about Brown." As Lime didn't know how to answer to that, Red continued after a second. "I really feel better knowing you're here with me."

"Eh, no problem. Just doing everything in my power to keep us all safe."

Red groaned as she missed the mark on the third dial and had to restart the process from the beginning. "I'm sorry about Blue. Now he's at your throat because of me."

"Not your fault," Lime asserted, sighing, "and I don't even blame him either. He is afraid, alone, and confronted to his own mortality. Anyone might snap in the circumstances. Anyone of us, at least." Purple, on the other hand, seemed to thrive on it.

Red shook her head without taking her eyes from the device before her. "You still think it's Purple?"

"I know, Red. I know. I simply don't have the means to prove it."

Silence fell between them until Red's exclamation of victory broke it. "Ha! Done!" She closed the panel, eager to go to a more open room. "Let's go, electrical gives me the creeps."

"Gladly," Lime chuckled. She checked the vent one last time before setting to follow Red out…

…and the door closed right before her, locking her in.

"Lime!" she just had time to hear Red yelp from the other side before the entrance was shut tight.

But Purple hadn't guessed the true significance of his mission. Lime had an ace up her sleeve. Perhaps she could still save Red.

She rushed to the back of the room, opened the vent, and jumped into the darkness.

[^]


Chapter 4

Red trusted Lime with her life, which meant that, despite her scepticism, she feared Purple more than she would have on her own. The moment the door to electrical slammed shut, trapping Lime inside, and she glimpsed Purple coming in her direction from storage, Red didn't think twice: she ran.

Purple picked up his own pace to keep up with her but he didn't gain on her; maybe she still had a chance! She dashed into lower engine, sprinted around the protective railing, bolted into the long corridor to the other engine.

A few metres in front of her, she glimpsed Blue get into security. Should she warn him? Would he even listen?

Of all the hypotheses swirling in her mind in the few seconds before the junction, what would happened next didn't factor in.


Lime leapt out of the vent in security at the very moment Blue stepped in the room. He turned tail before she could close the door, so she did the only thing she could.

She pounced, opening her chest mouth, and pierced his skull with her tongue before he could make a sound. In the same movement, she bit off his upper half up to the waist.

The delicious taste of Blue's flesh crushed Lime's soul. This was wrong. So horribly wrong. A nightmare she wanted to wake up from. But she'd had to and she couldn't waste a second when she might still have a chance to save Red. Later, there would be time for remorse. Later. Not now.

Only then did she realise she wasn't alone. And Lime's world crumbled around her for good.


"Run," Red gasped breathlessly as she passed security, without even glancing lest it allowed Purple to catch up with her.

She heard the sickening wet sound of the murder just behind her. Poor Blue, Purple must have been closer than she thought. But now she would report the body, Lime would back her up, they could eject him! She turned around, and her blood froze in her veins.

Purple, meanwhile, stopped to admire the gruesome scene with incredulity. "Well, I'll be damned. I would never have guessed. See, Red? I wasn't chasing you, I wanted to protect you. Lime's the Impostor."

As Lime sealed her maw shut into the usual form of a seamless crewmate's suit, she wondered whether the transformation was making things easier or worse. "Red, I…"

The other woman wasn't listening. She just stood, motionless, taking jagged and shallow breaths as she stared emptily at Blue's legs and at the creature she had put all her trust into.

When Purple took a step forward, Lime immediately interposed herself. "Don't even think of it. I will not let you touch her. I'll fight you if I have to. I don't care anymore."

Purple barked a laugh. "Me, harm Red? But Lime, you're the only monster here. We both saw with our own eyes what you did to poor Blue, may he rest in peace. I can't wait to hear her testimony at the meeting table." He looked past Lime: "Well, Red, are you going to report the heinous murder, or must I?"

Red still didn't move, but Lime beat Purple to reporting the body.


As soon as they all sat at the meeting table, Lime pointed a trembling finger at Purple. "Purple just murdered Blue right in front of me." She prayed Yellow and Orange would interpret the wavering in her voice as horror instead of guilt. She ran her options in her head. What would she do if Red exposed the ugly truth? She couldn't let Purple win. Kill him on the spot? Injure him and hope anger would make him reveal himself, so the others would at least know they had another Impostor on the ship?

Of course, Purple returned her accusation immediately: "That's the most preposterous thing I've ever heard! It's a textbook self-report; we both saw Lime murder Blue. Tell them, Red!"

"Leave her alone! You can see she's in shock."

"Of course she would be, after you betrayed her like the heartless monster you've always been underneath your act!"

Orange and Yellow looked to each other. Purple sounded so sincere, but if Lime had been the Impostor, she could've gotten a free kill after Brown's murder by simply voting like everyone assumed she would.

Yellow inspired deeply before trying to sort through the few facts they had: "Purple. If Lime's the Impostor, how did she manage to murder Brown?"

"How would I know? I was on the other side of the ship! She must've planned it in advance and done a quick trip via the vents."

The other side of the ship… A half-formulated thought lit up in Lime's mind.

"Lime. How did Purple kill Brown?"

She looked up to peer intently at Orange: "Just before the lights were sabotaged, who was watching the cams?"

The question, asked in a low, soft voice, shook Red out of her stupor. She looked at Lime, then at Purple.

Lime insisted, "Orange, was it you? Because supposedly you were the only one anywhere near security, but you didn't seem to care much about my advice regarding cams and the admin table at the time."

Orange shook her head. "No… And security was empty when I looked. I did check because I thought I'd seen the indicator blink but too fleetingly to be sure."

"Purple had gone to medbay, and the vent there leads to security and electrical." Lime's voice was more assertive now. The implications were obvious.

Surprising everyone at the table, Red finally spoke: "Purple killed Blue. I saw it too." She cast her vote without raising her gaze. She couldn't bear to meet eyes with anyone.

Purple jumped. "What!? She's lying! They're both in it together! It must be why Lime saved her during the last meeting: Red killed Brown, and now Lime killed Blue!" This wasn't going like he had expected at all! What was Red thinking? She'd literally witnessed Lime munch on Blue!

But Lime's argument had hit home, and Red's confirmation finished tipping the scales: along with Lime, Yellow and Orange voted Purple without hesitation.

"Lime murdered Blue! Lime!" he shouted, tapping furiously on her icon as if it would change the others' decision.

As Yellow and Orange dragged him forcibly to the airlock in storage, and a silent Lime followed after them, Purple struggled with all his strength. He was going to slaughter Red in front of her! He was going to make them pay! But the more he lost his shape in fury, the tighter his captors restrained him. Red still hadn't stood up from the meeting table, and soon disappeared from his view.

The ejection was quick, if messy. By the time Orange and Yellow pushed him into the airlock, Purple was hurling insults at Lime in their native tongue and making threatening gestures with alien limbs. He still was when the sudden decompression silenced him.

Orange rubbed her own arm, more to comfort herself than anything else, and turned back to Lime. "I wish we had listened to you," she sighed.

Lime's gaze wandered in the distance. "Yeah. Me too." She shivered. She felt cold and hollow. Go through the motions until the Skeld reached Mira HQ, give them the intelligence she carried. Reminding herself of her mission made the turmoil in her head slightly more tolerable.

"At least we only lost Brown and Blue before we could stop him," Yellow added.

Lime winced. "'Only'?" Still, the last thing she wanted now was a fight. Shaking her head, she left to perform her remaining tasks.


Red followed Lime in admin. "Before you think of killing me, remember Yellow and Orange would know immediately it was you."

Lime couldn't blame her for the accusation. She had considered it, even if she'd looked for all the reasons not to. But it still hurt. "Are you going to call a meeting and denounce me?"

Red drooped her head. "No. You actively saved me when you could've let me be ejected for Brown's murder. But now I've repaid my debt; I won't protect you if you sabotage the ship or kill again," she finished with a heated glare.

"I didn't come to the Skeld to hurt anyone." As Red snorted, she insisted, "I want to help your people. I'm carrying intelligence that could allow Mira to win the war. All I ask is to be allowed to deliver it. Once I've made sure it's safely in their hands, I'll give myself up." She averted her gaze and added with an aching smile, "I'm just glad Purple couldn't get you."

"Save it. You're a monster, no better than he was. You didn't stop at murdering Blue, you ate him. I said I'll keep my mouth shut and I stand by it, but I'll watch and applaud when Mira executes you." Every word was hissed with venom, full of disgust, fear and hatred, and stung Lime like so many poisoned jabs.

"Red…"

"I've said what I had to say. Don't come anywhere near me." She ran out of the room before she could regret her words. Why did Lime have to sound so sad, she had no right to be sad!

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Chapter 5

Red couldn't go anywhere without being reminded of Lime, and she really didn't want to think of Lime. Eventually, she found refuge in medbay. She sat on the edge of the scanner and lost track of time until the sound of Orange and Yellow's chat in the corridor to the cafeteria reached her conscious mind.

She stood up painfully and followed them, finding them already settled down at a table by the time she arrived.

"Red, come join us," Orange invited her with a gesture of the hand. "You look like you need company."

Red sat with them in silence.

"It can't have been easy to find both bodies, plus nearly being wrongly ejected…" As Red almost stood up to leave, Orange quickly apologised: "Sorry, I shouldn't have brought it up. It's okay if you don't want to talk about it."

"At least we're safe now," Yellow added. "Seeing Purple be sucked out of the airlock was very liberating."

Red swallowed. Didn't they fear they'd got the wrong person? How could she express her qualms without casting suspicion on Lime –and herself? "Would you have said the same if I'd been voted out?"

"Of course not! You didn't come with us to the airlock: trust me, the creature we spaced wasn't one of us. Purple dispelled any potential doubt."

Orange shivered at the memory. "Honestly, it was horrifying. I'm glad you didn't see that. I can't believe we ever believed he was a normal person."

"Orange and I have been reviewing all the signs we missed at the time," Yellow nodded. "It's easy in hindsight, yadda yadda, but still. Doing the same task twice, taking too long or too short, going into rooms to talk with people despite having no work there, always enquiring what people still had to do…"

"We were all deceived by how polite and charming he always sounded," Orange sighed. "Even Blue considered Purple low on his list of suspects. I can't believe we held Purple's empty lies on par with all the real efforts Lime had done to keep us safe."

Noticing Red's upset, Yellow changed the subject to what they'd do once they arrived at Mira HQ. After a pang as she remembered her last exchange with Lime, Red brightened up a bit.


The talk with Orange and Yellow did Red some good, at least, and when they returned to their own work, the fog on her mind had cleared up. She went back to her improvised seat in medbay, rested her elbows on her knees and laid her cheeks in her palms to think.

As horrified as she still was at what Lime had done to Blue, getting confirmation Purple had fully deserved his fate definitely lifted a weight from her conscience. Unlike Lime, who had likely acted on the spur of the moment, Purple had murdered with premeditation. The more Red thought about it, the less she expected Lime to kill again now the tension on the Skeld had fallen.

Just as Red decided to push her fears away and see the bright side of the situation, the image of Purple pretending to hesitate before voting her during the first meeting asserted itself in her mind. Impostors were masters of deception. What if she was wrong? What if, like they had with Purple, they all believed a lie? Not about what Lime was, but about what she thought.

Yellow was right about hindsight. Perhaps, now she knew what to look for, Red could identify early hints she'd missed. As she remembered their exchanges, she nodded her head gently. While Lime had been secretive, of course, there was no doubting she had tried to protect them. All the memories Red could find were of Lime worrying, watching Purple, warning the crewmates –and comforting Red.

At the sudden realisation she'd pressed herself against Lime's mouth of teeth for the hug, her heart skipped a beat and a cold sweat formed on her back. And yet… Lime hadn't really reacted any differently from what could be expected. She'd been startled, sure, and worried about Purple as always, but Red could find no sign hunger had even crossed her mind.

Reflecting on the events more dispassionately, Red regretted her words. Lime had done more than fighting Purple's attempts: she had shown the wrongly accused crewmate more kindness than Red's own people. She didn't want Lime to be executed by Mira. Doubly so if she'd come to help them win the war. Impostors were eliminated to protect the people. Ejecting Lime wouldn't save anyone.

Looking at the medbay floor without seeing it, Red decided they needed to talk again.


Lime went through her tasks like an automaton. She would fulfil her mission, and Red would live. It had been worth it, right? More than once, she accidentally let whatever she was holding slip from her fingers. After Red had left admin, she had even thought she'd broken her tablet, and she'd been ready to give up. She didn't know how long she'd stayed prostrated against the wall. She had only realised the carpet had cushioned the device's fall when her eyes had finally fallen upon it, and slowly, painfully, she had returned to work.

Red caught up with her in electrical of all places. Lime had just finished connecting a series of wires after many more attempts than it should have taken and she froze when she saw the crewmate, then, eyes on the floor and shoulders hunched, she tried to push past her.

Red ran to interpose herself on her way. "Lime, wait, please. I want to apologise. Can we talk? Please?"

Without warning, Lime backed her against the wall and slammed her hands on each side, caging her with her body. "Why are you in the same room as me? I could kill you right now."

A frightened yelp escaped Red's lips; but Lime's body language belied her words. She was stooped forward with her head down, as if carrying the weight of the world. The very opposite of an Impostor leaning backwards to strike.

Even though her heart raced in her chest and she couldn't suppress the wavering in her voice, Red refused to give in to fear. "I know you won't. I trust you." A leap of faith, perhaps it was what they both needed. She braced herself and, instead of trying to push Lime away, she wrapped her own hands around her back in a loose hug.

The contact was electric. Lime shivered for a second before she jerked away out of Red's reach, barring from her mind the temptation to surrender to Red's embrace and cry into her shoulder. "How can you be so sure?" she asked grimly. "Purple would. Then he'd sabotage the oxygen to attract Yellow and Orange to the front of the ship, kill one of them, and the survivor would have no chance of resisting."

"Maybe so, but you're not him. I should never have said those things to you. It was the fear talking. Lime, I'm so, so sorry."

"Don't be. I deserve it and more. I don't need your sympathy, keep it for someone who's worth it." Lime hurried out of electrical, refusing to listen as Red called out after her.


Lime did her best to avoid Red. Whenever she glimpsed her at the end of a hallway, she ran the other way. Finally, her last tasks done, she returned to the cafeteria. On the table in the centre, the bright red emergency button pulled her like a magnet. She leaned forward and allowed her hand to hover over it. It would be so easy. Call a meeting, tell the truth, walk into the airlock, silence the accusing voices in her head.

No. She had one final duty to perform before she could be allowed to rest. Having to wait was her penance. She walked to the window and tried to imagine she was floating in the cold void between the stars.

Red's voice behind her startled her: "I'm getting a sense of déjà vu."

Lime didn't turn around. She only leaned her forehead and a fist against the glass. "Leave me alone, Red."

"Don't count on it. I was in a dark place after nearly getting ejected, but you pulled me out of it. Now it's my turn to help you."

"I only needed you to do your tasks."

Red knew better than to believe that. "No, you cared. Otherwise, you wouldn't have come with me to electrical. You would've insisted we take the shorter route. You would've pushed me to be faster with the distributor."

Lime let her hand slump by her side. She felt drained. "Stop making it harder than it has to be. Just finish whatever you still have to do and when we arrive, you'll be rid of me for good."

"What if I don't want to be rid of you? What if I want to help you build the world you dream of?"

"Don't go there. Don't even think it. You're better off without me. There's no room for me in the world I dream of." Lime finally tore herself from the window and started walking away.

"Lime, wait. I won't let you shun me this time. I'll follow you around like a shadow if I have to."

"No you won't." She strode to the corner of the room and, without a further word, jumped into the vent.

"Oh now that's cheating," Red groaned under her breath. She looked around to make sure Yellow and Orange were nowhere to be seen and whispered loudly into the vent: "Lime! Come back, dammit." She received no answer.

Where had Lime gone to? Admin or the corridor near oxygen? Or was she just waiting for Red to leave to return to the cafeteria? Red couldn't bring herself to go near O2 and shields, so she opted for admin. She could always check the table if she didn't find Lime there.

Unfortunately, the room was indeed empty. Switching the admin table on, she saw an icon in cafeteria and prepared to return. Her hopes were dashed, however, when a second icon joined the first, and the last icon showed up in communications.

Of course Lime would.

Red sat on one of the comfortable chairs and spun distractedly. Could she bear to return where she'd seen poor Brown's remains? The situation had changed since then. At the time, her breakdown had been caused by the stress of her near ejection as much as by the memory of the bloody discovery. Now, there would be no more dead bodies to be found, no accusations flying in emergency meetings, no close-call decision only blocked by one last unexpected vote… Purple had joined his victim in death. And despite everything, Red felt safe with Lime.

She stood up and left admin.


Her head buried in the nest of her arms on a table in communications, Lime didn't move when she heard footsteps and a female voice call her name. "I'll be fine, Orange. I just need a moment alone. I'm done with my tasks, please leave me be until we arrive."

"I'm not Orange," Red said.

Lime jumped and looked to her. "You weren't supposed to come anywhere near comms."

"I guess I wanted to talk to you that badly." She hesitated before admitting wryly, "Plus, I've got to divert power here at some point anyway."

Lime turned her back to her again. "Then do it and leave."

"I said I want to talk. Lime, do you remember what I told you at the beginning of the trip? 'I'm here if you need to talk'. You need someone and after everything you've done for me, I want to be there for you now."

"What does it matter? Everything you said after Blue, every word… It was true. I am a monster." Even pushing Red away felt beyond her. Why did the other woman have to insist?

"No you're not."

Lime looked at her with desperation. "I enjoyed it, Red!"

Red flinched, but stood her ground. "Then we don't have the same definition of 'enjoying', because you really don't look like someone who enjoyed herself to me."

Lime slumped and held her head in her hands. "It tasted good. I didn't want it to, but it tasted good. Why won't you hate me?"

Red swallowed with difficulty. "Look, I don't think I can ever forget what I saw. I may get nightmares about it for a very long time, and I can't promise there won't be times when I look at you and remember."

"I won't ever forget either…" Lime breathed.

Red put a tentative palm on her shoulder and rubbed gently. Lime shrivelled up even more.

"But I can forgive," Red continued. "Want to tell me what really happened there?"

Lime shrugged. "When Purple locked me in electrical, I knew he was going after you. I vented to security in hope of still being able to save you. Blue saw me, I panicked. You know the rest."

Red nodded. "And… eating him?"

"Part to make it look like one of Purple's murders, part reflex. We're conditioned hard for it, our leaders want to make sure there can't be any possible fraternisation with your people." The contact of Red's hand on her shoulder felt so soothing, she wanted it to become her entire existence.

"Well, they failed."

Lime glanced to her. "I still don't understand why you don't hate me as much as I hate myself."

"Because I couldn't have been more wrong. You are nothing like Purple; you made one tragic decision when there was no good option. But it's not you. The real you tried to warn us from the beginning. The real you fought back Purple at every step. The real you even stopped me from reporting Blue when he confronted you in caf'. And the real you is risking her life to hand intelligence over to Mira."

Lime looked down. "I'm doing it for my own people first, you know. The regime is crushing us and I'm counting on Mira to bring it down. Sure, I'm happy it'll save your lives too but it isn't the main reason."

"Still. Promise me you won't let Mira execute you once they don't need you anymore."

A weak smile filtered in Lime's voice as she finally accepted to lock eyes with Red. "I can't. But I promise you I'll try."

THE END

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Laura+web@Espezon.org

Among Us fanfictions.
My home page (in French).
Last update: 18th April 2021.