Completing The Last of Us was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in a video game
I have played a great many video games and have done all sorts of difficult tasks from braving the b-sides of Celeste to conquering Slave Knight Gael, but not have been as emotionally difficult for me than the hospital chapter of The Last of Us. When I initially began the hospital level after a couple of minutes of playing I needed to set it down. Playing it was making me feel sick. To think I through Joel was slaughtering all of these innocent people trying to save humanity, people who if this situation came to occur in real life I would gladly count myself among them. I was destroying humanity’s last chance at any sort escape from the hell world that they have been thrust into. I may be saving Ellie, but what world am I allowing her to live in by saving her: a world filled with selfishness like mine? A world where all goods are scarce and if you get unlucky scavenging you have to watch your best friends lose their minds while you can do nothing? All of this sent me into a spiral causing me to have to put away the game for a week unable to face the horrible actions that I must execute in order to complete the game.
To make a quick aside, it is not as if I don’t understand why Joel is doing what he is doing. I understand how he sees Ellie as a surrogate daughter; someone that he sees the reincarnation of his daughter in. I know how much that would kill me if I was in his position. The thing is if I was in his position I would be distraught, but I would not be willing to doom humanity. I would be even less willing to kill tens of innocents to do it. So despite me understanding exactly where Joel is coming from that does not change the fact that he is clearly a selfish person, who would be willing to doom humanity just to have a surrogate daughter to give him the fulfillment that his biological daughter was unable to give him due to here unfortunate passing.
Now it is just over a week over and I have just pushed through to the end of the game and hell yes did I cry, because that shit hurt. After slogging my way through a sea of corpses on the first floor knowing I had just executed these people for doing the right thing, I reached the second floor. A short combat encounter later I was crushed to find a recording finding Marlene’s message to Ellie’s late mother. I t turns out that Marlene elected not to kill Joel, because he was the only other person in the facility who truly understands how much it hurts Marlene to kill Ellie. Knowing that Joel isn’t the only person that understand the pain that losing Ellie will cause just really cemented for me that what Joel is doing truly makes him a monster, the worst kind of monster: a monster who I can complete understand the actions of.
After breaking into the operation room it felt as if I were killing representations of myself as I shot all three of the doctors standing in the operation theater preparing to save humanity. Marlene confronting me on the way really added salt to the wound. Killing her while she was offering me a chance at redemption after killing tens of people. She had already given me a chance by not killing me as soon as I brought Ellie and I squandered that opportunity once again in order to appease Joel’s obsession with Ellie. Then at the end of the game the final nail in the coffin for any chance of Joel being a good person he swears to Ellie that his lies about the fireflies not caring about her are truth knowing full well that she would have sacrificed her life for the sake of humanity as the fireflies intended.
[ID: A video of Sam in his home recording booth. He’s wearing a red T-shirt with a white maple leaf on it and a pair of headphones, and he’s seated in front of his mic, which is wrapped with a black feather boa courtesy of his daughter. Above the video frame are the words “this was for some bit on CR but I don’t remember which one”. Transcript below. /end ID]
Sam, speaking throughout in his normal tone, slightly elevated pitch with exaggerated emphasis, sounding like a children’s cartoon character and absolutely nothing like Troy Baker’s Joel Miller: “Okay, it’s March 3rd, 2012, I’m auditioning for the role of Joel on, uh, the mov—the video game Last On Us. Last On Us. [clears throat] Take one! Ellie. Do you realize what your life means, running off like that, putting yourself at risk? It’s pretty goddamn stupid. How many close calls have we had? Ellie, you’re treading on some mighty fine ice here. You have no idea what loss is.”
Her Own Worst Enemy | Chapter 7 | A Watchful Eye (Joel Miller Famfic)
Ada had pulled on the one dress she owned, she had managed to trade some meat for it a couple weeks ago on a whim that she might attend her first dance in Jackson. It was simple but it was still flattering, thin straps leading to a cream crochet dress, she didn’t know how dressed up people got for these things but she did her best. When she arrived at the Town Hall she was still pretty early hoping to arrive before Abby. She spotted Ellie and Dina across the room, picking up a drink from the bar Ada joined them. “Glad I am not the only one who’s early” Ada smiled.
“Well Dina always likes to get here early so she can fit in as many dances as possible” Ellie teased. After some more small talk Ada tried to quiz them on Abby, what story was she going by? Where did she say she came from? But before the words could cross her lips, Ada was distracted as Joel walked in, he seemed to notice her almost immediately. Ada couldn’t help but look at her feet, he looked disappointed at her response and b lined for the bar.
“He seems to really care about you, you know? I know he can be a pain but you seem to keep him on his toes” Ellie chimed in, nudging Ada.
“I don’t think so. We can’t stand each other”
“Doesn’t look like it from where I am standing or sound like it either, he always brings you up any chance he can” Ellie laughed but then she turned serious, “He was going to apologise today. I don’t know what for, but if it was anything to do with last week you should know he wouldn’t have meant it”.
Ada looked confused, “That week is always a bad week for him, he’s gotten better with it but it still brings back memories for him, of Sarah” Ellie elaborated.
“His daughter” Ellie sighed.
Ada’s heart sank a little at the thought of Joel grieving his child, who she didn’t even know about, she looked across the room to try and spot Joel. When her eyes found him, she saw that Abby was standing talking to him. ‘It was sick’ thought Ada, like some creature hunting its prey or a cat playing with a mouse. Before she knew what she was doing her feet were carrying her across the room in their direction. Joel seemed surprised that Ada would walk right up to him, he didn’t say anything.
“Dance with me?” Ada asked putting her hand out, to keep Abby away from Joel she was going to have to get closer to him tonight. He took her hand silently and followed her into the centre of the room.
Ada felt his other hand move to the small of her back, moving closer into him she could smell his scent, a mix of the outdoors and fresh soap.
“I wanted to apologise earlier before you ran off” he whispered, his lips were so close to her ear that she could hear it so clearly.
“I know, I didn’t mean to run off”. It feel quiet again for a moment.
“That dress really is something on you” He said his thick accent standing out, Ada could feel him smirking as he said it, she couldn’t help but blush and laugh slightly at the comment.
“Yeah it’s better than the usual muddy jeans for patrol”
“Oh I don’t know, they do it for me too” Joel continued suggestively, his hand traced a line up the curve of her back. She became acutely aware of them being around people, particularly Abby who kept looking at them every so often.
“Joel-“ Ada began, Joel could sense in her tone that he might not like what she was going to say so he spoke before she could finish.
“I am sorry about the other night. I didn’t mean any of it I was drinking and -” He whispered and held onto her hand tighter as he swayed her to the music.
She interjected, “You meant some of it but you weren’t wrong I do find easier to be alone, it’s harder to let yourself care”
“I want to - care that is and I think you do too” he pulled back slightly to be able to look down at her, she smiled at him but quickly pressed her head back to his shoulder.
Ada was completely torn, she had known Abby a long time but they left her behind without a second thought and she had found the young woman incredibly difficult to see eye to eye with back in Seattle. And then there was Joel: although he had committed a terrible crime, he wasn’t a completely bad person, he just did what anyone would if it was their child who had been on that operating table, she looked across the room at Ellie, maybe he saw some of Sarah in her. He had travelled across the country with her, protected her, grown to love her like his own, ‘Alliances change’, Ada thought and nothing was black and white, morals were a grey area in this new world. She didn’t know what she would do but she knew she couldn’t let either of them die now, not if she could prevent it.
The song came to an end and felt Joel lips lightly kiss the nape of her neck, it was so gentle no one really even noticed.
“Sit and have a drink with me?” Joel asked and Ada nodded silently.
Her eyes were fixed on Abby whilst Joel went to retrieve them both a drink. Abby seemed to be trying to acclimatise into Jackson, speaking with different people throughout the night.
“Here you go” Joel chirped breaking Ada’s eyes away from Abby.
“So about last week-“ he continued but Ada stopped him.
“It’s alright Joel… Ellie explained to me, she didn’t tell me everything but I know it must have been a tough week.”
“She told you?”
“She said that you had a daughter, Sarah and that, that week brings back some hard memories. I am so sorry Joel”
He was quiet for a while, “So what do you think about the new addition to town?”
‘Changing the subject’ Ada noted mentally. She looked over at Abby, “I don’t know, what do we know about her? Can we trust her?”
That made Joel laugh, “Well Miss Ada, the same could be said about you”.
“Okay that’s fair. What do you want to know Joel Miller?”, Ada turned her chair into face him directly, he matched her movement.
“So what is Ada short for?” Asked Joel, Ada explained her full name was Adelaine Abertnathy. “That’s a bit of a tongue twister together but Adelaine, well it really suits you” he smiled warmly.
“Fair’s fair. I should get to ask you a question”
“Alright then, shoot”
She asked about what he did before the outbreak, Joel explained he was a carpenter but when he was younger wanted to be a country singer, “You sing? Now that I have to see” she made him promise to at least play the guitar for her once.
“Is this classed as a date or an interrogation?” Ada laughed.
“Which do you want it to be?” Joel smirked taking another sip of his beer.
“Don’t answer my question with a question. That makes it my turn again, how is it that you and Ellie are like family? I hear people call you her old man but you’re not her father?” Ada knew what she was asking and part of her knew the answer but she wanted to understand Joel.
“I ain’t her father but I promised someone I would look after her for a while, and well after months together, protecting each other, picking each other up when we needed it. I decided from there on I would look after her as long as needed.” and what Joel meant by that was until his last day on this earth.
Joel seemed to pause for a moment, almost as though he wasn’t sure if he should ask the next question.
“What happened to your family?” His face earnest. Ada shifted in her chair and began looking out the corner of her eye, where to start. “Well I have parents but they moved away across state. Honestly I don’t know what happened to them but my siblings. I had a younger sister and brother, my sister she got bit and shot herself so she wouldn’t have to turn and my brother well we got set upon my this bunch of vultures. Would shoot you for the shoes off you feet… they shot him two rounds of ammo and a handful of fucking tinned food” her voice broke slightly, Joel didn’t know what to say, “You are lucky to have Tommy and Ellie” she smiled at him, he smiled softly back and took her hand giving it a squeeze.
“Well I think that’s enough questions for one night, what do you say I walk you home?” Joel suggested.
“I’d like that”.
They were standing at the crossroads between Ada’s and Joel’s houses.
“Well I guess this is where we say goodnight” Ada said trying to break the awkward tension in the air. Joel hummed in agreement, before Ada thought about what she should do next her fingers hooked onto Joel’s belt loops and pulled him closer to her. They kissed and this time she made no attempt to pull away. She felt his hands grab at the fabric of her dress, gather it in his hands.
“Come home with me?” Joel asked in between kisses, Ada couldn’t stop herself long enough to say yes but nodded and followed Joel.
Author’s Notes: A direct continuation of the previous chapter. I was going to do the science museum thing all in one, but it turned out really long, so I figured I’d split it up. Ngl, didn’t proof read it yet, but I wanted to upload it. Will do later.
Genre: Fluff & Angst
Summary: The three of you spend the night inside the museum and continue with scavenging the next day. Things are still a bit tense between you and Joel. Kiddo has a few lines and her identity is revealed at the end.
Ship: Joel Miller x Fem!Reader
The three of you began to walk down another hallway, no longer illuminated by whatever sunlight came through the windows. Kiddo was first to turn on her flashlight. A Walk Through the Stars , you read the title of the next exhibit in your head. Abruptly, she stopped right before entering the room completely.
Joel walked around her motionless body and noticed her widened eyes. “You don’t like it. We can...umm…(Y/N) can stay in the other room with you while I clear this one, then we can---”
“Are you kidding?” Kiddo finally spoke. Though soft, her voice emanated throughout the room and traveled to your ears. You couldn’t believe it.
She proceeded to take in the space exhibit in all its glory. You and Joel exchanged glances before looking back at her. She was so preoccupied with the artifacts lining the display cases that she forgot about clearing the room. Joel watched her have fun for a moment longer before following you as you swept the area.
He signalled you an all-clear and you nodded. The two of you joined in and enjoyed the artifacts as if you were guests.
“(Y/N), C’mere” He waved you over to where he was standing. “You think they could use this back home?” He waved his light on the array of solar panel prototypes against the wall.
You shrugged. “Probably. It would definitely help, but I don’t know who’d know how to make it work.”
“I’m sure Tommy knows somebody who can.” He replied. He looked over at you, but you refused to look back. You could feel his eyes on you. Finally, he tore them away to watch Kiddo climb onto a rover replica that was further into the room. “Listen (Y/N), I’m sorry about what I said back there.” His voice lowered.
“Now’s not the time.” You responded flatly.
“She can’t hear us.” He nodded back at Kiddo.
“I don’t care. I’m not doing this now. We can talk about this when we get home.” With that, you left him to stand there alone as you walked over to the rover display. He let his head fall and sighed before following you.
“Where’s the steering wheel on this thing?” Joel asked out loud.
“They use joysticks.” Kiddo explained in brevity. She moved it around for Joel to see.
He began to examine the small vehicle. “Huh...hang on! Is this the real one?”
A dry chuckle left your lips. “Considering they left the real ones on the moon, I would say no.” He glanced up at your reply. Kiddo obliviously made engine noises with her mouth as she steered the joy stick.
“Can we make camp here?” She spoke up again.
“I don’t see why not.” Joel answered. You began to barricade the entrance to the exhibit while Joel prepped the area for sleep. A metallic knocking sound echoed through the room. He turned to see Kiddo messing with a small cabin capsule. She peered through the tiny window before attempting to open its door. With a grunt, Joel got up and opened it for her; the metal screeched as he did. She peered her head in with the flashlight and deemed it safe. “I want to sleep in here tonight.” She looked up at him, her eyes asking if it were ok.
“You sure you want to? It looks mighty cramped in there.” She nodded. He glanced inside to see two seats. “S’pose you’d fit in there just fine.” He nodded before walking away. “Looks like it’s just the two of us.” He said to your back as you faced the barricade. You let out a sigh and prepped an area between him and the capsule to sleep on.
Joel’s body naturally woke. Being in a windowless room, he had no sense of time. Reflexively, he looked down at his watch. He would do that from time to time before remembering that it wasn’t going to give him an answer. He laid his head back on the backpack that he used as a pillow while his thumb brushed over the cracked face of the watch. Thinking of Sarah made him think of Kiddo. Quietly, as to not wake you, he walked over to the capsule and peered through the tiny window. He barely saw you, but he could tell she was still sleeping too.
Regardless of the time, Joel decided to start his day. He went back to the janitor’s closet he stumbled upon yesterday and grabbed a tool bag. The sun beamed down on him as he walked the distance back to where he left the truck.
Joel removed the screwdriver he used as a key from the ignition. He took a deep breath in front of the museum entrance as he thought about you. He knew you’d be awake by now. Deservingly, he was sure you’d still give him the cold shoulder. He decided to focus his energy on bringing one of those solar panels down and give you space. Thinking about it, you were right; last night was not the time.
Back at home, the three of you unloaded the pickup truck full of scavenged goodies. Joel had to admit, he did not think you guys would find so much stuff of use from a museum. Tommy and another guy helped him move the solar panel while you and Kiddo delivered some farming tools to the gardeners. The scavenge also produced books for the library and school, medical texts for the infirmary and seeds for new crops amongst other things.
He had no idea where you were after the truck was cleared out and returned to the garage. You were not at home, so he was on his way to the daycare. Surely, you were there with Kiddo. He was both ready and not ready to have this talk with you. He knew how he felt, but wasn’t sure how to express it. He also didn’t want to have this dragging on unresolved any longer. While it was a trip with the purpose of acquiring supplies and training Kiddo, he also wanted to have a good time. He reminded himself to count his blessings: there were no run-ins with any infected or otherwise. Things could have gone worse. As he wondered whether he overreacted or not, he felt a hand fall on his shoulder.
“Joel, I’m glad I caught you.” Wendy said.
“I came to see if (Y/N) was here.” He replied. “Why, what’s wrong?”
“Oh, nothing’s wrong. You just missed (Y/N). The girl too. She took her and some of the other kids on an impromptu field trip to the library to see some of the new stuff you guys brought over. I’m sure they’ll be back later on this evening. But what I wanted to see you about was this.” She handed him a folded sheet of paper. The edges were ragged on the left side as if it were torn out of a book. “She wanted me to give this to you just in case she didn’t get the chance today.”
It was a homemade card. On the cover was a drawing of a bright green T-Rex with a brown, wide brimmed hat on its head. His lips curled up in a smile before he opened the card. In colorful letters, it simply said Thank You and at the very bottom, it was signed with her name.
His eyebrows raised as he scratched his beard. “Ellie.” He breathed out her name.
I’m sure everyone has their way of writing out descriptions of things in books they write-even fanfiction. I wanted to share how I’m able to get mu “blueprints” for shops, houses, restaurants, etc. I use paint and choose the different shapes to make shelves, tables, checkouts. Chairs you get the idea. It has really helped me grow as a writer. I thought it might be worth mentioning and helping someone out. 🙂 I tried tagging everywhere I thought a fanfic might show up. I ran out of tags🤦🏽♀️ anywho, you guys get the idea.
Her Own Worst Enemy | Chapter 6 | Everyone's Got a Past (Joel Miller Fanfic)
It was a week later and Ada still hadn’t received an invite from Joel for dinner. “He’s been pretty quiet this week maybe he isn’t feeling well, don’t take it personally” said Tommy as Ada enquired if he had seen his brother, “I thought you two found each other difficult anyway?” He asked, “We do” she replied smiling to herself. Since Tommy didn’t want to explain what was going on Ada marched to Joel’s home and knocked on the front door, when Joel answered he looked well enough, “Where have you been all week?” She asked. He was in his usual jeans and a plaid shirt over his t-shirt but he looked a little tired round the eyes. “I have been here” he said looking confused as Ada pushed past him into his house, “Please come in” he said sarcastically closing the door behind them.
“Well you did invite me, or you half attempted too” Ada sighed crossing her arms, she can see in Joel’s face as he pieces together each part. Suddenly a wave of clarity, “Dinner” he mutters rubbing the back of his head and sighs, “I fucked up, I didn’t realise what week it was. Sorry can we do it another time?” He asks. Ada looks around at the house, a couple whiskey bottles sat out on the kitchen table and a blanket and books lying on the sofa, “Another time? You don’t look particularly busy. What’s been going on this week?”.
There is a pause before Joel answers “It’s - It’s my birthday” he says quietly.
“And this is how you want to spend your birthday? Cooped up in the house alone?” Ada enquires, confused. Joel goes to fill a glass with some whiskey from one of the bottles, “As a matter of fact, it is”. He seemed like he had already had a few drinks. “Have you eaten anything? Ada asked, Joel shook his head and she began rummaging through the cabinets and fridge. He asked what she was doing, “Well it’s about dinner time anyway and I think you could use some food with drink”. Joel was quiet while she cooked and she decided to not ask anymore questions until he had some food in him.
They were sat eating some venison Joel had gotten from the butchers. “I didn’t think you’d be a big birthday person Joel but would you not like to go out, maybe see Ellie or Tommy?” She suggested focusing on the food on her plate to avoid looking at him. “No, no I always prefer to spend it by myself” he says fidgeting with his wrist. Ada decided to look at Joel, her eyes softening and her head titling confused as to why anyone would go out of their way to spend it alone. She decided to ask, “Why?”. She heard Joel exhale loudly as he put down his knife and fork, sitting back into his seat.
“I just prefer too, alright” his tone was sharp and his body language defensive.
“Alright, Jesus sorry I asked” Ada turned away gathering the plates for washing.
“It’s not like you don’t prefer to be alone 90% of the time anyway” He stated, she didn’t want to engage in where this conversation seemed to be going but that didn’t stop Joel.
“Why should any of us open up to you when you a so quiet and secretive about where you came from before” he continued.
Ada could feel the anger that Joel was able to arise in her start flooding to the surface again. “You - You are such a brute, you know that? I come here after you have ignored me all week, make you dinner when you are day drinking and you try to pick a fight.” She scolded getting up from her seat.
“I don’t need this shit Joel. Goodnight” and with that Ada slammed the mans front door behind her and headed for home. She should have known better was what she thought, they were both too complicated people.
“Did you hear?” Dina asks as she works with Ada a couple days later in the greenhouses. Ada had been getting much better with the help of Dina but still it wasn’t her preferred role in Jackson.
“There is another new person in town, she arrived yesterday. Had said she heard about it from someone and wanted a fresh start” Dina continued.
“Hmm” Ada hummed, her mind was still on the other night with Joel, they hadn’t spoken to each other since.
“I met her, seems nice but she was built, like stacked.” Dina kept talking not noticing Ada wasn’t paying all that much attention. When they finished their shift, they walked home in the same direction now with Dina spending most of her nights with Ellie.
“There she is, let me introduce you guys” Dina gestured over at the small group, there was Joel, Ellie and a large female with blonde hair pulled back into a braid
“Abby!” Dina called, Ada’s ears perked up for the first time all day and she felt her body stiffen as the new addition to Jackson turned around to meet her eyeline.
“Meet Ada, she was the new person before you arrived into town” Dina nods between you both. Abby reaches out her hand smiling, Ada takes it, her limbs feel stiff, frozen.
“It’s nice to meet you, Joel and Ellie were just giving me the run down of town” Abby explains as her grip tightens on Ada’s hand, Ada copied her and didn’t take her eyes off Abby for a second. She wanted to say something but it felt like her words were stuck in her throat, she felt sick. Joel nodded while Ellie began to chat with Dina and Abby.
“Can I talk with you? Privately?” Joel asked quietly leaning in towards Ada so only she could hear.
“I best head off, I will see you all tonight at the dance?” Abby began walking off, Ada had to get her alone.
“I can’t just now Joel. We can chat later?” Ada said rather dismisivily as she left Joel standing and instead followed the path of Abby. Ada followed her round the corner of the street so as that they were out of eyesight.
As soon as Ada was close enough she grabbed Abby and pinned her up against the wall, “What the fuck are you doing here?”.
Although Ada was strong, you could tell just by looking at Abby she had the upper hand on physical strength, she pushed Ada off of her,
“You know what I am doing here, did you think I wasn’t going to come back? Why are you still here?”.
“Why am I still here? When we got caught in that blizzard months ago, you all fucking left me and I got set on by a hoard of runners. I am lucky to even be alive” Ada spat furiously.
“We never meant to leave you. But you can come back now with me after all of this” Abby sighed straightening out her jacket.
Ada felt that sick feeling again, “Abby, what are you going to do? He was standing there right in front of you, you could have done it right there and then”.
“I am not stupid, I can’t do it in the middle of this town.” Abby smirked before walking off and leaving Ada in complete disbelief. She knew what Abby was capable off and how to determined she must be to have travelled here a second time, alone. Ada headed home and got ready, if Abby was going to this Spring Dance in the Town Hall she was going to have to go too.