Prompt: nbc_revolution's Halloween Bingo-A-Thon. The rest of the table is HERE
Characters: Miles, Rachel, Aaron, Gene, Charlie, Bass, Cynthia, Ken, Adam
Pairing: Aaron/Cynthia and Miles/Rachel
Rating: PG-13 for the most part, maybe slightly higher because of language
Warning: Violence, slight gore, Major and Minor character deaths [Spoiler (click to open)] Bass, Cynthia and Adam
Summary: Zombie Apocalypse- Revolution style
A/N: Originally this was supposed to be a fic of my least favorite Revolution things or cliches, but it somewhat evolved and some stuff didn't make the final cut (sorry if anyone wanted Ben!Bashing or Bass/Charlie). Also written before 2X6- Goddamn you show, stop ruining my head canon!
Or on AO3
Aaron had no idea why he came back to life, though he figured the how had to be the Nanotech. He had no idea if the Nanites malfunctioned or if it was by some design and if so whose, but he was alive, his wounds were healed, much to his girlfriend's overwhelming joy.
"You're alive!" She cried and hugged him, the minute Rachel and Gene let her back into the room. "I can't believe it- this is a miracle, Aaron! I prayed for hours and now…" She couldn't finish her thought, as she started sobbing in earnest. She grabbed his face and kissed him, something that she never thought she'd get to do again.
"I don't know how, but I'm ok now," Aaron promised her, holding her in his arms, as she let her pent up emotions overflow her.
The following day, Cynthia felt slightly faint and weak. Aaron suggested she go see Doctor Porter, but Cynthia insisted she was alright- she was probably just a wreck from the last day and lack of sleep. She promised that if she continued to feel ill, she would see Doctor Porter, so Aaron left well enough alone and focused on teaching his class.
By the time Cynthia came down with a fever, Doctor Porter was already gone, having joined Rachel, Carter and Phil in bringing back Miles. Aaron watched helplessly as she lay restlessly in bed, shivering and soaked in perspiration, becoming more and more delirious. The next day around noon Cynthia's labored breathing stopped and Aaron stayed by her deathbed, cursing a universe that brought him back and took her away.
An hour later Cynthia's bloodshot eyes opened and everything went to hell.
It took Rachel and Gene longer than anticipated to find Miles- first they had to find a way in to Titus' compound, then they had to locate where he kept him- and when they did he was barely conscious and weak as a kitten. He tried to say something about the woman in the bed next to him, muttering something about taking her, but they had to deal with one immobile person, they didn't have the time or man power to carry two, especially after spending precious minutes saving Sarah.
They arrived at the gates of Willoughby two days after the rescue party left, only to find it unmanned. "This doesn't make sense," Gene said, as they entered the town. "Someone should be on watch."
"You don't think Titus-" Rachel started asking, but was interrupted by Deputy Riley slowly approaching them. "Riley! What's going on?" She got off her horse and went over to him. His eyes were bloodshot and he was staggering towards her. "Are you ok?" He didn't answer, just kept approaching her.
"Rachel, step back," Gene tried to warn her, but Riley suddenly lunged forward. She brought up her arm to defend herself and he sunk his teeth into it. Rachel yelled, shoving him away; Carter grabbed his rifle and shot Riley in the chest. Riley was pushed back a step, but he just kept on going.
"Shoot him in the head!" Rachel backed away, keeping her distance. Carter changed his aim and shot Riley in the head, which finally seemed to do the trick. They stared at his lifeless body, waiting to see if he got back up.
"What's going on?" Miles asked from the wagon, having gained consciousness.
"The hell if I know," Gene said in disbelief. "Come on, we should get that treated," he gestured at Rachel's arm. They made their way carefully towards Gene's clinic along the deserted streets. They met Teddy Collins outside Ken's butcher shop, swaying on his small feet, pawing at the closed door and grunting. When he started coming towards them, they didn't have the heart to shoot him, so they just quickened their pace, Gene and Carter carrying Miles between them, Rachel and Sarah carrying the rifle.
Just outside the clinic they found four more bloodshot townspeople, who ambled slowly towards them, Teddy pulling up the rear. "Stop, don't come any closer, or I'll shoot," Rachel warned, taking the safety off the rifle. They continued to move forward, so Rachel shot the first two in the head, dropping them, before turning towards the rest. Just as she was about to pull the trigger, three shots were fired, dropping the rest. Rachel spared a sad glance at Teddy's body, before raising her eyes to the roof of the clinic.
"Rachel?" Ken asked, lowering his rifle. "You guys ok?"
"We'll live," she said. "What the hell is going on around here?"
"Would you believe me if I said Zombies?" Ken laughed in disbelief. "Like out of some horror movie."
"We were gone for only two days," Gene muttered in shock.
"It spread fast," Ken said. "Stay there, I'll let you guys in."
Ken unlocked the clinic door and scrutinized them. "Were any of you infected? Did you get bitten?"
"I did," Rachel swallowed thickly, a thin layer of perspiration building on her forehead. "Riley bit me."
"Then I can't let you in- you've been infected, it's in their saliva."
"But she's not like them," Gene argued.
"Not yet," Ken said sympathetically. "It seems like some kind of flu at first- sweating, feeling faint, dizziness. Then they get a fever that takes them out of commission and the symptoms get worse- trouble breathing, confusion and finally they die. Only they don't stay dead- they become the walking dead just a few minutes later."
"How long do we have?"
"Anywhere between four hours and half a day, depending on how strong your immune system is. But the end result is always the same."
"Maybe we can figure something out, find a way to reverse it," Gene reasoned. "I need to know exactly how this started and I need to examine someone who's sick. Rachel isn't gone yet, I won't give up on her!"
"I can't risk everyone here," Ken explained. "I'm sorry, but there's no way to guarantee she won't infect someone."
"Then lock her up in the back," Miles piped in. "Only one in and out is Gene, nobody else is exposed, we keep it contained."
"And if she turns?"
"Then I put a bullet in her myself," Miles promised. He glanced at Rachel questioningly and she nodded in agreement.
"OK," Ken relented, letting them in.
"We need to figure out how this started," Gene told Ken, as they put Rachel in the back examination room. "Who was the first documented case?"
"I don't know what happened," Aaron said to Gene tearfully. "She was fine one day and then she started getting sick. I had to shoot her, but it was too late- she already infected other people."
"Did she do anything out of the ordinary before, meet someone, touch something or eat something-?"
"No," Aaron shook his head. "She was with me. Then she got sick, then she died, then she came back a freaking Zombie. I can't believe I made a joke to Rachel about being hungry for brains. How is she?"
"Not good," Gene admitted. "But she's not fevered yet, we might still have time."
"I need to tell you something," Aaron whispered. "I didn't tell Ken and the others, 'cause I was afraid they'd shoot me on the spot." He rolled up his sleeve and revealed a red mark.
"Cynthia, when she came back, she bit me."
"And this was two days ago?" Gene asked, examining the bite. "But you didn't get sick?"
"No, nothing," Aaron admitted. "Maybe it's taking longer to affect me?"
"Or maybe you're immune," Gene mused, suddenly he looked up at Aaron with alarm. "It's you!"
"Did you and Cynthia exchange any body fluids?"
"No, I mean yes- we kissed, but we didn't have- we weren't in the mood for- why are you asking me this?"
"You came back from the dead, then Cynthia gets sick- you said she was with you that day."
"Wait, you think I caused this?" Aaron asked incredulously.
"It fits the timeline. You came back to life, kissed Cynthia and then she started getting sick. She died and came back and her saliva infected the next person."
"Oh my God," Aaron gasped in shock. "I killed her, I killed all those people!"
"But she bit you and nothing happened," Gene said intently. "I think you're immune to whatever this is and if we can figure out how, maybe we can stop this."
"Rachel, how're you doing?" Miles asked her through the glass window. He was still weak from the loss of blood and he had to sit down on the chair every once in a while, in fear of passing out. He leaned against the wall, peering through the window and trying not to focus on his throbbing, bandaged hand.
"Still alive, still me," she said sardonically, before saying more seriously: "My limbs feel heavy, I feel cold and… I think I've got a fever."
"Gene will figure it out," Miles said determinedly. "We still have time."
"Miles the optimist," she said with a smile.
"I'm trying something new," he gave her a small grin.
"A-ha," she huffed and sat down on the bed. "For the first time, I'm actually glad Charlie isn't here. Wherever she is… She's probably safer than here."
"She's fine," Miles said dismissively. "She can take care of herself."
"You taught her well," Rachel told him, biting her lip. "You've been good to her Miles, you've kept her safe. Thank you."
"Stop talking like this is it," Miles admonished her. "You're not dead yet."
"Not yet," Rachel agreed sadly. "But soon, let's be realistic, Miles. I'm getting worse, if my dad doesn't find a cure soon-"
"He will, end of discussion," Miles said vehemently. He took a deep breath and composed himself, before changing the subject. "Bass would love this, you know."
"Zombie Apocalypse. Bass used to love that shit- he'd watch all those Zombie movies, 'The Walking Dead', couldn't get enough of it."
"Too bad he's not here, to enjoy it first hand," Rachel said mockingly. "Did you know he had a kid?"
"When we were in the Tower he told me he had a son, somewhere out there," Rachel shivered, wrapping her arms around herself. "Seems it was a recent discovery that made him want to change his life around."
"I can't believe there's a Monroe Jr. out there. Who's the unlucky woman?"
"Don't know, don't care," Rachel laid down in a fetus position, trying to warm up.
"I can't imagine Bass as a father," Miles said, shaking his head.
"I couldn't imagine you as a father either."
"Well, that's because I'm not," Miles observed her through the glass with concern.
"I know," Miles rubbed his face with his good hand.
"I might suck at math, but I can count back from 9."
"You never said anything," Rachel wondered.
"There was nothing to say," Miles shrugged. "It was a terrible mistake- remember? Ben's her real father, not me," he paused before asking: "Did Ben know?"
"We never discussed it, but I think he always knew," Rachel let her eyes drift shut, it was too taxing to keep them open. "He never treated her any different, but sometimes he would get this look…" She drifted off.
"Rachel?" Miles asked anxiously, but she didn't answer. "Rachel!"
"You shouldn't be in here," Gene told Miles, as he went to check up on his daughter. "You should be resting. And what happened to me being the only one in or out?"
"I lied," Miles shrugged, shifting in his chair, his good hand holding Rachel's clammy one.
"How is she?" Gene came over and checked Rachel's forehead.
"She's got a fever and she lost consciousness twenty minutes ago," Miles said and gave Gene a desperate look. "If there's anything you can do… She doesn't have much time."
"We're working on it," Gene told him. He leaned forward and kissed Rachel's forehead. "Just hang in there, kiddo," he whispered, fighting back tears. "I can't lose you again."
"You won't," Miles said resolutely. "Your daughter's stubborn, she won't give up without a fight. Just… Try and work faster."
"I'll be back," Gene moved a lock of her golden hair away from her pasty face. He and Miles shared a wordless exchange, before he left the room.
Miles sighed and leaned forward. "Don't you dare check out on me, Rachel Matheson, you hear me? I need you to fight this thing just a little bit longer." Rachel didn't so much as stir and Miles silently counted each inhale and exhale, praying that Gene wouldn't be too late.
Rachel arrived at consciousness through a murky haze, her throat was dry and her head felt like it was stuffed with cotton. It took her brain a moment to place her foreign surroundings and the figure sleeping in a chair by her bed.
"Miles?" She croaked, too tired to lift her head, only managing to turn it slightly.
"Rachel!" Miles cried out in relief, nearly jumping out of his chair. "You're awake! Wait a sec," He got up and brought her a glass of water, gently tipping it towards her chapped lips.
She drank two mouthfuls, coughing several times, before she was about to talk again. "What happened?"
"What's the last thing you remember?"
"We went to rescue you, then we came back to town…" She trailed off as the pieces started to fall into place. "I was infected."
"You were, but your dad came through and found a cure on time."
"Aaron, if you can believe it. Apparently he's got antibodies for this thing and Gene found a way to make an antidote." Miles gave her a tiny relieved smile, grasping her hand in his.
"How did he remove the antibodies? Did he separate the white blood cells-"
"You can ask him all the geeky details when he and Aaron get back," Miles told her.
"Get back? Get back from where?"
"To inoculate everyone in town and treat those that haven't turned yet," Miles explained. "The minute he knew you were going to be alright, they took Ken and a couple of the other guys with them; they think it spread to the Andover Clan and maybe a few of the neighboring settlements, so they're trying to stop it from spreading further." He shook his head and chuckled. "Who would have thought that Aaron would both be responsible for the Zombie Apocalypse and save us from it?"
"There's more to him than meets the eye," Rachel said with a tight grin.
"Yeah, about a billion tiny machines," Miles grinned back at her. They gazed at each other for a few moments, her hand still clasped in his. He squeezed her hand, his tough façade cracking slightly and he said thickly: "Rachel, I… I'm just glad you're alright."
"Me too," she told him knowingly, glancing at their joined hands. "You've been inoculated, right?"
"Yeah, of course, everyone here was," Miles said in confusion.
"Good," she said with an impish smile, as she pulled him towards her. She kissed him languidly, still too weak to even sit up, but feeling more alive and exuberant than she has in years.
Monroe and Charlie were ten miles away from Willoughby, setting camp for the night, when they ran into Adam again.
"I just can't seem to get rid of you," Monroe raised his rifle, not caring this time if Charlie objected.
Adam's eyes were panicked and his rifle was raised, but not at Monroe. "Look out!"
Monroe turned just in time to avoid the man who charged at him and he reflexively shot him in the chest. The man didn't even blink, he just kept walking.
"That doesn't slow them down," Adam warned, as he raised his rifle and shot the man in the head. "Only head shots seem to stop them."
"Who was that man and why did he attack us?" Charlie asked, looking down at the dead body.
"He was sick," Adam said, wiping his sweaty brow. "I don't know why, these people just try and kill you for no reason. Whatever it is, it's contagious- if they bite you, you get sick too and die, before coming back like one of them."
"Wait, you're telling me there are dead people walking around, infecting people with a bite and only head shots can kill them?" Monroe asked, laughing in disbelief.
"Hey, I know it sounds crazy, but I've seen it myself-"
"Oh, I believe you," Monroe grinned. "Zombies! God, I wish Miles was here."
"Wait, you know what's going on here?" Charlie asked him. "Have you seen this before?"
"Oh yeah, in lots of different variations," he smirked, before becoming serious again. "We need to get you a rifle and more ammo if we're going to last."
"There's a settlement I passed up ahead, they might have some," Adam said.
"And we're supposed to just trust you?" Charlie asked mockingly.
"There's safety in numbers and right now you two are my best bet to stay alive," Adam told her sincerely. "Screw the reward, I can't enjoy it if I'm dead."
"Then let's go," Monroe nodded at him as they made their way towards the wagon, making sure to always keep an eye on Adam, just in case.
"Do you know how far this disease has spread?" Charlie asked Adam, who was in the back.
"No clue," Adam shrugged, scratching at his left leg. "Maybe it's just Texas, maybe it's the whole world. Without communication, we have no way of finding out."
Are you ok?" Charlie asked him with a frown. "You're shaking."
"I'm just cold," Adam said dismissively. "We're almost there."
When they reached the settlement, they found it was deserted, bodies strewn in the streets, torn to pieces and missing limbs, obviously abandoned in a hurry.
"What happened to these people," Charlie asked disturbed. "How could they do something like this? Not even you would be this cruel."
"Thanks," Monroe rolled his eyes. "And they're not people any more Charlie, so stop thinking about them like that. They're monsters, predators- you can't talk or reason with them. All you can do is kill them or be killed yourself, or worse- become like them."
"Maybe we should keep moving," Charlie said tensely. "They might still be around."
"It's the middle of the night and we need shelter, ammo and sleep," Monroe said, getting off the wagon.
"It'll be faster if we split up," Adam suggested, rolling off the wagon as well.
"We're not splitting up," Monroe said decisively. "That's how they get you. We're going to stick together and stay alert."
"You're the boss," Adam shrugged.
Once Charlie got off, they hid the wagon and started in the direction of the nearest building. The first few buildings were residencies and they found food and supplies there, but no ammo. They were in their fourth building, when Adam suddenly careened into the wall.
"Just a bit dizzy," he said, closing his eyes. "Give me a minute."
"You're sweating," Monroe observed shrewdly. "You're pale and you're shivering."
"You don't look so hot yourself, but you don't hear me complaining," Adam grumbled, glaring at him.
"You're infected," Monroe took a step back, raising his rifle.
"Then prove it- strip so we can be sure you don't have a bite mark."
Monroe took the safety off his rifle, giving him a deadly look. "I'm not asking."
Adam grudgingly took his jacket off and tossed it angrily to the ground. He removed his shirt and even managed to twirl around without falling, giving them a clear view from all side.
"You like what you see?" He asked Charlie with a cheeky grin.
"Looks good so far," Charlie played along.
"Pants too," Monroe instructed.
"God, this is humiliating," Adam complained, as he struggled with removing his shoes, before dropping his pants and stepping out of them. "The underwear stays; trust me, I would have known if one of those things was kinky."
"Turn around," Monroe inspected him closely. Adam slowly turned around and heard Charlie's sharp inhale of breath.
"What?" He asked, dread filling his stomach.
"Your left calf," Monroe said calmly. Adam twisted around and saw a tiny red mark just above his Achilles' heel.
"Son of a bitch!" He cried, falling against the wall for support. "I didn’t even feel it."
"So what now?" Charlie asked Monroe, glancing at Adam worriedly. Adam let out a string of curses as he grabbed his pants and put them back on, followed by his shirt.
"You've seen it before- how long do you have?" Monroe asked Adam.
"Six hours, maybe, if I'm lucky," he slid down the wall and sat on the ground, not even having the energy to stand anymore.
"Maybe there's a way we can slow it down," Charlie suggested. She tried to think about Maggie's herbs and plants and what she would use if she or Danny had a fever.
"Hey, I'm all open to suggestions," Adam grimaced, hugging his shaking body tightly. "It's just my luck-"
Monroe fired a shot into his head midsentence, making Charlie jump. "Monroe! What the hell-?"
"Unless you know a cure, this was the best we could offer him," he told her.
"He was still human! He wasn't, he wasn't one of them!"
"Not yet, but he was going to be," he said reasonably. "He could barely stand- you wanted us to drag him around, slowing us down, until he inevitably turned and tried to kill us? Or is it just that it's easier to stomach killing him when he's an empty shell of who he used to be?"
"As long as he wasn't one of them, there was still a chance that we could help him," Charlie stated through grit teeth.
"That's the kind of attitude that'll get you killed. If Miles was here, he'd back me up on this."
"I'm not Miles!"
"No, you're just a kid pretending to be an adult, in way over your head and a trouble magnet. I'm trying to keep you safe, Charlie, don't make it harder than it already is. Take his rifle, let's go." He turned around and left the building, leaving her behind. Charlie spared an apologetic glance at Adam, before grabbing his rifle and heading after Monroe.
They found one case of ammo they could use and settled in the basement of a building that had only one steel door and no windows that they could barricade themselves in. They stood watch in shifts, barely sharing a curt word or two, the atmosphere between them tense and hostile. In the morning, they left the building and headed to where they stashed the wagon.
The horses were both dead, huge chunks of their flesh missing and the cart was toppled over. "They might still be here," Monroe warned, raising his rifle as Charlie did the same. "We're going to have to continue on foot."
They made their way slowly out of the settlement, when they encountered their first Zombie, swaying towards them. Monroe shot it in the head, only for more to come from all around them. "We need to get back inside," Monroe shot another one in the head, as Charlie did the same.
They stayed back to back, making their way towards their building, when a Zombie jumped out from behind the building's wall. "Charlie, look out!" Monroe pushed her out of the way. The Zombie fell on him and he hit it in the face with the butt of his rifle, moving him far enough away so he could shoot it in the head. Charlie shot one standing right over Monroe and helped him to his feet.
"We're gonna run out of ammo, we need to make a run for it," Monroe told her, shooting the closest Zombie, making sure they had enough maneuverability. He watched as more Zombies came out of the buildings towards them. "The buildings aren't safe, head towards the main road."
"And you think that's safer?"
"I think we have more escape options out in the open, than here," Monroe shot two more Zombies, creating a path for them. "Ready? Run!" He headed off, not looking back, trusting her to keep up. He heard her shooting and her footsteps chasing his, as they ran to the main road and away from the settlement.
They kept running for half an hour and only stopped when they stopped seeing Zombies around. Monroe panted, trying to catch his breath as he looked back, trying to see if any of them were following them. "I think we lost them, but we should keep moving."
"Not now, Charlie, we're not out of the woods yet, we need-"
Monroe looked at her questioningly, before following her gaze and noticing his left forearm was bleeding. He swiped at the blood with his right sleeve, until he saw the telltale pattern. "Fuck," he said succinctly; he closed his eyes tightly and breathed through his nostril. He opened his eyes and looked at Charlie with resolve. "We need to keep moving."
"As long as I can still walk and shoot, I'm coming with you and making sure you survive," Monroe promised her, looking into her eyes intently. "I owe you and your family that much at least." Charlie swallowed and averted her eyes, so he faked a smile and added: "I know it'll be hard, but you'll have to try and contain yourself from kissing me."
Charlie exhaled a surprised laugh, looking up at him with compassionate, watery eyes. "I'll do my best."
"Good, so let's go," Monroe nodded, before resuming walking, Charlie walking a step behind him and watching their rear, not letting any of those monsters catch them off guard again.
"We need to stop," Monroe said after three hours.
"Monroe?" Charlie asked hesitantly.
"I can't go on," he admitted, wiping his sweaty brow with his sleeve, his hand trembling. "I can't see straight and everything's spinning."
"OK, so we stop and rest for a bit," Charlie suggested quickly. "I was getting a bit tired, we need a break."
They went off the main road and found a small clearing; Monroe shakily lowered himself to the ground, sitting up against a tree. "It's time, Charlie."
"We're not leaving, we just got here," she said, not meeting his eyes.
"No, I mean it's time for you to shoot me and keep going on your own."
"I'm not going to shoot you and I'm not leaving you here," she said, her voice strained.
"I'm slowing you down; you need to get to Willoughby to your family and I can't help you anymore," Monroe rasped, his breathing becoming labored. "The way I see it, you either leave me here alive and I become Zombie chow or worse, become one of them, or you end it now, quickly and mercifully."
"I'm not leaving you behind and I'm not killing you," Charlie said passionately.
"Goddammit, why is it so hard all of a sudden? You tried to kill me before!"
"It's different now. You saved my life-"
"Charlie, I'm begging you," Monroe looked her in the eye and pleaded. "I've done terrible things and hurt people I cared about and I can't take it back or fix it. Please don't let me become a monster and hurt people without even realizing it."
"I can't!" Charlie shouted, her eyes watering angrily. "I can't, ok? I've lost too many people I care about; I had to watch helplessly as my dad died, Maggie, Danny and Nora…" She took a deep, shaky breath and whispered. "I won't lose you too."
"I didn't know you cared," Monroe said with a loopy grin, closing his eyes. "If you let me become a Zombie, you will still lose me and if I hurt you… I'm dying Charlie, that's a fact. But you can still make it and I need you to survive, because I need you to do something for me."
"What?" Charlie asked, rubbing at her wet eyes, willing herself not to cry.
"I have a son," Monroe said quietly. "I didn't even know he existed, but I need you to tell Miles, so he can find him and look out for him. He should be around 23 now and tell Miles he's Emma's son; your uncle can be real sentimental sometimes, it might do the trick. Or not, he might just say to hell with both of us." He coughed and grimaced, looking at her wearily. "This is my dying wish, Charlie- promise me you'll tell Miles."
"I will," she promised with a shaky smile.
"There are a few things you should probably know and since Miles and your mom love their secrets, there's no way you'll manage to pry it out of them," Monroe gave her a beatific smile, before continuing:
"So Miles is probably your biological father- nobody ever talked about it, but everyone always knew and he also took your mom away from you eight years ago. We wanted your dad, because we figured he'd know about the Blackout, but your mom tricked him and gave herself up, giving your dad enough time to grab you kids and disappear. Miles tried real hard to get information out of her, he tortured her-"
"Stop, just stop!" Charlie shouted. "Stop lying! If you're trying to get me to get angry enough to kill you-"
"I'm not lying, Charlotte," Bass said with a sad smile. "I'm probably the only one in your life who's ever been truthful with you. When Miles ran away after trying to kill me, he left your mom behind. Now in his defense, he thought that she was dead, but I'm sure he still blames himself for it."
He coughed a few times, before continuing. "There's so much you don't know about them and if I could, I'd tell you everything, but it would take hours and I don't have that long. If you leave now, you could probably reach Willoughby before nightfall. I got infected protecting you, Charlie, you owe me."
"I…" Charlie shook her head, grabbing the rifle. "I'm sorry."
"Me too," Monroe said with a smile. "God I wish I could see your uncle's face when he finds out. Zombies!"
"He might already know," Charlie said darkly. "Maybe they're all dead and this thing will spread across the map."
"You can't think like that, Charlie," Monroe warned her, readying himself. "You've gotta have hope, something to live for, or else you're already dead."
"I just don't know how much more of this I can take," Charlie admitted to the ground. "We just can't seem to catch a break and things always get worse."
"Goodbye, Monroe," Charlie said, her face a blank mask. They shared a quiet moment, neither breaking eye contact, before Charlie raised her rifle slowly and a pulled the trigger.
It's been at least an hour, maybe longer and Charlie knew she should get up and keep moving, but she couldn't find the strength to move from her spot, sitting in front of the cooling body of a man she hated for so long. She felt disconnected from her body, like she was floating and viewing things from afar; her body was unresponsive, like a marionette whose strings were cut.
She could hear footsteps from the main road and she realized she stayed put for too long. She knew should get up, make a run for it or pick up her rifle and stay and fight. She counted the different footsteps- there were at least four of those Zombies and she had maybe two bullets in her rifle, but she could use Monroe's… She tried to get her hands to cooperate, but they stubbornly refused and she waited, paralyzed, as the footsteps drew nearer, not even managing to summon up more than a mild trepidation. It would all be over soon anyway, there was no point to being afraid of the inevitable.
"Charlie? Oh my God, it's really you. Gene! Over here!" She heard a familiar voice saying from a far, though she couldn't quite decipher the words. "Is she-?"
"Her eyes are fine," another voice joined, this one slightly less familiar, but still recognizable. "Charlie, can you hear me? Are you ok?"
"Wait, is that-"
"Never mind him! Charlie, were you bitten?" The second voice asked, as hands touched her face. "It's ok, we have a cure, you're going to be fine."
The words finally penetrated through the fog of her mind and Charlie's eyes focused on the concerned face of her grandfather. "A cure?" She asked slowly, not comprehending.
"Yes, a cure," he said with a relieved smile, motioning at Aaron to come over. "It doesn't matter if you got infected, we can still treat you."
Charlie's eyes drifted lazily towards Monroe's crumpled body and she started laughing hysterically, much to the bemusement of the two men. She kept laughing, feeling her chest constricting painfully, but she couldn't stop. She distantly felt arms surround her, cocooning her in warmth as her laughter turned into heart wrenching sobs, wrecking through her entire body.