Many Faces, One Person

Katelyn and Travis have a complicated relationship. One connection they have is through their school relationship, the weakest one, another is through video games, and they bond by using their skills and teamwork. The best relationship they have is by soothing each other with their own music as they let their emotions go. The problem is, they don't know that each of those connections are to the same person, and finding that out seemed unlikely for the both of them, until they both go through difficulties that leave them both hanging onto each other for stability.

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1. Gaming Escapes

School had became harder for Katelyn, to the point she came home every day and went straight to gaming. She was nearly overwhelmed with stress of her weekend job and her weekly homework assignments, nearly drowning in things to do, with her home stresses on top of it. Gaming gave her a sense of control in her life, as something she had power over, and now, it would provide her a friend.

She was simply playing on her console, releasing some of her stress and dominating the other online players in the process, when she was the last one standing with another enemy. Their gamertag read "SenForTheWin77". What a dorky name, she thought to herself, exchanging her armor and weapons for better ones. 

"Ready to go down?" she asked into the mic, adjusting her position in her desk chair in front of her computer. A devilish grin faded onto her face as she began the battle. The background music changed to mainly bass, adding to the intensity.

"Bring it on, girly," her opponent's voice mocked her through her headphones. If there was one thing Katelyn couldn't stand, it was mocking her for being a gamer. However, his voice sounded slightly familiar to someone she knew, but she couldn't place her finger on it.

She made the first attack, strong enough to force him to go into cover in preparation. She had faith in herself that she could defeat him, and nothing could stand in her way of victory.

"Well, if that's the game you want to play, fine!" his voice responded to her bold attack with a slight hint of irritance. Katelyn grinned more, enjoying his annoyance.

"What, upset that a GIRL got ya down?" she teased him, laying more strong attacks down on him. He finally began to attack her as well, and they both quickly depleted each other's health until they had to back off.

Katelyn, determined to finish this, hid around corners to find him as her own health slowly rose. She knew his was too, so she had to be quick with her plan.

She attacked him from behind, catching him off guard, so much so that he couldn't react quick enough. Using her strongest attack, she finally defeated him.

Her screen lit with the words "WINNER: LimNightmare" to credit her win with her gamertag. Katelyn stood from her desk chair and fist pumped energetically.

"Wow. Just-wow. Unbelievable," the voice came again, sounding impressed, but annoyed that she had won. She sat back down and snickered, screenshotting her score.

"What, angry?" she mocked him, hearing him scoff from the other side of the mic.

"No, just, nobody has ever defeated me before," he admitted, making her grin more.

"Well, now somebody has," Katelyn began, sending him a friendship request. "And I'll trade you some of my coins for better armor."

Less than a second later, she received a notification that he had added her as a friend as well. "Sure thing, how much you giving?" he asked her seriously.

Katelyn went silent as she considered what was a fair amount to trade. "Two hundred," she decided after a few moments, offering a lot for the best armor he had.

"You-what?" his shocked voice asked, unable to believe how much she would give him.

"That's right, two hundred," Katelyn replied, her voice level and dead serious.

"Deal!" he exclaimed, still in slight surprise, but he transferred her his best armor, highest level in the game. In return, she sent him two hundred coins, as she had saved up a lot over the course of her time playing.

Katelyn grinned a bit, happy to have an allegiance with someone online. Her grin faded quickly when she heard a door from downstairs slam shut.

"Hey, listen, I... I have to go," she informed him through the mic, knowing they could still communicate through their friendships online. She turned off her computer and shut it down, quickly jumping to her feet at the sound of heavy footsteps coming up the stairs.

Katelyn knew exactly who it was. It was her father, home from work, and he was going to need an outlet. His outlet would be her, again. At least he was courteous enough to make it easier for her to hide the bruises.

Her bedroom door slammed open as a large man stood in the doorway. Her father was nearly as tall as the doorframe, and very burly. He had an old career as a boxer, which was very unfortunate for Katelyn and her younger brother, Kacey. His light blue hair was very much like hers, and Katelyn could smell liquor from across her room, the scent coming from him. 

However much she hated her home life, she understood why he let his anger out on her. Mostly because she knew it wasn't as much anger as it was guilt, loss, and mourning. She knew that having a daughter that so much resembles his late wife was painful to see every day, as a constant reminder that their wife and mother was long gone. She just wished that he wouldn't make himself feel better by hurting her instead.

Katelyn shut her icy eyes as it happened, barely feeling the pain anymore. She opened her eyes slowly as her father left her room, stomping downstairs. She looked down at her arms and pulled up her blue sleeves, revealing a small purple bruise near her shoulder. She sighed and pulled her sleeve down again, rubbing the bruised area with her fingertips gently over the fabric. She pulled her home outfit off and changed into pajamas, consisting of a large t-shirt and pajama shorts. 

Slowly, Katelyn crawled under her gray bedspread, sighing heavily as her head hit the soft pillows. Her messy room was illuminated by a faint white light from the moon, a few twinkling stars visible from the window across from her bed, which was in the corner. She glanced to her right, seeing her bedroom door slightly ajar, revealing the dark hallway and closed doors of her house. 

She sighed again, tucking her fallen, light blue bangs out of her face and behind her ear as she turned on her side, falling asleep quickly, dreading the next day to come.

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