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The Walking Dead: Real Monsters (Fanfic)

posted by Visambros on - last edited - Viewed by 9.3K users
I've wondered what had happened to Nate before you see him for the first time on the 41th Day. So I made a fic about it. The first chapter starts on day 2 and the last chapter will end on the 41th day. It will depict his struggles to survive the apocalypse.

It will also be written as if an outside source were playing the game. There will be fake credits and "options" that the person "chooses". But it's written in the point of view of the characters and not the person "playing".

I will be posting it here, but I have also posted it on other websites, so you can read it there if you'd like.

Here are the other websites
Antifanfiction
Fanfiction.net
Archive of our own
Tumblr
Wattpad

On this website
Chapter 1 starts below
Chapter 2 starts on page three
Physical descriptions of Vaughan and Charlie on page five *beware of possible spoilers*
Chatper 3 starts on page six
175 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • [CENTER]This game series adapts to the choices you make.
    The story is tailored by how you play.[/CENTER]


    TELLTALE GAMES
    presents

    [RIGHT]in association with
    SKYBOUND ENTERTAINMENT[/RIGHT]

    [CENTER]THIRTY-FIVE DAYS LATER[/CENTER]

    Nate always acknowledged the aesthetics of houses; the impressive designs of mansions, quaintness of cottages, the unoriginality of copycat complexes; but he never known how much energy radiated off of these places. Never known how much he could feel this energy, albeit subconsciously. Whether people were cooking, cleaning, fucking, bathing; whether people loved life or hated it; the lives of others flowed off of them and circulated in their homes. And their homes, in turn, made the world warm.

    Now all the people abandoned their homes and no matter how different all the houses looked from each other, they felt as dead as the rest of the world. All the energy had faded into space, possibly to another planet where things hadn’t gone to hell. This neighborhood so similar to the one they had run away from five weeks ago was no exception. Nate was surprised by how much he cared.

    “These houses don’t look like they’ve been raided yet.” Nate sounded more indifferent than he felt. “We might have hit the jackpot.”

    (o) Look at house door

    There was a symbol on three of the doors, a number eight with a vertical line down the middle and a small cross to the upper right. The cross was their way of signifying to each other that they were in the house, and the slashed eight told them that the house was emptied of anything useful. Charlie had come up with the signs.

    “Three already? How is she going through the houses so quickly? The truck isn’t that full.” Nate wondered. “Maybe there’s no jackpot after all...” He looked at the fourth house to his right and made his way towards it.

    He walked up the steps of the house to the porch and stood in front of the door.

    (o) Open door

    Many people assumed that things would blow over and they would be able to return home again. They assumed they wouldn’t die before being able to go back. So they boarded the windows and locked the doors to keep their belongings safe until they could return. However, there were always a few homes that didn’t take those precautions. Nate didn’t understand why, but it didn’t matter to him. What was important was making sure that the doors were not already open before trying to break through and make unnecessary noise.

    Nate grabbed the knob and turned. It was locked.

    “Worth a shot.” He said.

    (o) Kick door

    Nate positioned himself sideways from the door, his dominant leg closest to it. He raised his leg and lightly tapped the area just below the knob to get a feel for where he was going to kick. He lowered his foot, took a moment to prepare himself, raised his leg again and-

    “Hey!” A voice said behind him. Nate kicked the doorknob. A circle of pain assaulted the bottom of his foot. Nate yelped, lost balance, and fell down. He hopped back up, quickly turned towards the voice, and readied his gun.

    It was Charlie. She stood in front of the railing of the porch, looking up at him with a bored expression despite the gun pointed at her.

    “Don’t shoot.” Charlie deadpanned, waving her fingers in the air with one hand and holding the butcher’s knife with the other.

    [CENTER]| What are you doing? |
    | Don’t sneak up on me |
    | My foot hurts |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    Nate put the gun in his the back of his pants and frowned. “Don’t sneak up on me!” Nate said. “I could have fucking shot you!”

    “Why are you so jumpy today?” Charlie said, rolling her eyes.

    “I’m not jumpy, I wasn’t expecting you.” Nate insisted. “I thought we were supposed to go through the houses individually. Why aren’t you at a house right now?”

    “I wanted to talk to you. Alone.” Charlie said.

    [CENTER]| Is that so? |
    | About what |
    | Now? |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    Nate stared at her for a moment before smiling. He leaned over the railing and leered at her.

    “What do you want to talk about?” Nate asked suggestively. Charlie stood up on her toes and flicked him on the forehead. Nate swore and pulled back.

    “Not that you asshole!” Charlie hissed. “You are such a pig!”

    “Alright, alright, I’m sorry.” Nate said, rubbing his forehead and not really sorry. “What do you want to talk about?”

    “Follow me.” Charlie said, not answering him. She walked to the side of the house. Nate rotated his right ankle, making sure his foot was useable, and walked down the stairs after her.

    The ground at the side of the house had been paved over, but the signs of neglect were evident by the long weeds that grew through the cracks. Nate thought, as he stepped on the escaping grass, of how his lawn was doing. It needed cutting the last time he left his house so it probably was a jungle now.

    The last time he left the house.

    Was there someone raiding his house right now, he wondered?

    “So about you and your boyfriend.” Charlie began suddenly. “If I remember correctly, you lied to me so I would come to the Vaughan’s house. Though you never told me why.” Nate sighed through his nose. Crap, she wanted to know. They stopped in front of the gate leading into the backyard. Charlie tested it to see if it was opened. It wasn’t. She turned to face Nate and crossed her arms.

    “What did you two want to tell me?” She asked.

    [CENTER]| I’ll tell you later |
    | Vaughan will tell you |
    | You have pretty eyes |
    [B]| ... |[/B][/CENTER]

    Nate grinned at Charlie. Charlie flicked him in the forehead. He swore.

    “Nate, answer me.” Charlie demanded.

    [CENTER]| I’ll tell you later |
    | Vaughan will tell you |
    | You have pretty eyes |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Did I ever tell you that you have pretty eyes?” Nate asked. Charlie scowled at him, her violet eyes like daggers.

    (?) Charlie will remember that

    “Nate-” She warned.

    “Because you have pretty eyes.”

    “-I will kick your ass.”

    “Very pretty.”

    “Fine!” Charlie threw her hands into the air. She turned, grabbed hold on the gate, and pulled herself up. She twisted her body and put the balls of her feet on the top. Nate was briefly alarmed by how much she looked like a vulture, balancing up there and glaring down at him.

    “I’ll let it go for now.” She told him, her face tense. “But soon either you or Vaughan will tell me what’s going on.” With that, she jumped off to the other side. Nate stood there for a moment, thinking agitatedly about the shitstorm that would come when Charlie found out what they’d been hiding from her. Nate shook his head. There was time to think about that later. He went to the gate and pulled himself over it.
  • They stalked through the backyard quietly as they made their way to the door. The long grass brushing against their clothes sounded like signals to whatever zombie was around. ‘Come here, come here!’ He thought he heard. ‘There’s food over here! We’re rubbing their pants! Fucking eat them!’ They crept up the porch and it made squeaking noises. ‘Squeak, eat, squeak, eat’ the stairs said.

    It wasn’t that Nate had never broken into a house before, all three of them had been doing that quite a bit every since the apocalypse started and he had done it twice before then, but it was nerve racking going into a place knowing there was a good chance something would try to eat him. He would get used to it, he knew he would, but that in itself was horrific. Getting used to the apocalypse? Goddamn. ‘Not like you don’t enjoy this a little’ A voice in his head said. Nate fiercely ignored it.

    Charlie went up to the door and, weapon ready, tried to open it. It did, reveling a screen door behind it. She tried the screen door but it was locked.

    “They locked the front door and not the back?” Nate asked. “That’s pretty stupid. A screen door isn’t going to protect shit.” Charlie cut through the mesh, proving his point.

    She put her arm through the hole she cut and unlocked the door. “Doesn’t matter.” Charlie said. “What is important is that there’s most likely no freaks in here.” Most likely. They had gone into homes where the relatives had left their infected family members in rooms. Usually these rooms were marked, but occasionally there had been surprise encounters with the dead. Most of them were adults, some had been children. Both Nate and Vaughan never slept well when they found kids. Charlie went unfazed.

    Charlie opened the door and they both went inside.

    Nate took two steps into the house and paused. Something about the house seemed off and yet familiar, Nate couldn’t think of what it was. Everything looked normal; the floor was swept, objects were clear of dust, and the place smelt as if it had been aired out; but something was wrong. Charlie noticed this as well; she also had stopped and was looking around the entranceway, confused and frowning. She walked forward and turned into the kitchen. Nate followed her.

    “The kitchen smells like pie.” She said. She was flexing the hold on her knife.

    [CENTER]| Apple pie |
    | Why? |
    | I’m hungry |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Great. Now I’m hungry.” Nate said. Charlie stared at him and then looked thoughtfully to the ground.

    “Nate...” She said slowly, looking back up at him. “You can look in the kitchen for any supplies. I’ll look around the house for... things.” She walked away before Nate could reply.

    (o) Open cupboard

    He opened the cupboard expecting it to be empty, but found a dozen cans.

    (o) Take cans

    “Holy shit!” Nate laughed, taking off his bag and placing the cans in. “This is awesome! And some of these have only been expired for a week! Some aren’t even expired at all!” He paused. “Wait, did I just fucking say that? Damn, I’ve been living like this too long.” He put the last can in his bag and shook it. The bag had a comforting weight. Nate smiled.

    (o) Open at drawer

    Nate opened the drawer and looking inside.

    (o) Look at can opener

    “We already have one of those.” Nate said to himself. That was one of the first things they made sure to take when they first started raiding homes.

    (o) Take can opener

    “...It wouldn’t hurt to have more.” Nate said and put it in his bag.

    (o) Look at cleaver

    The cleaver was placed in there rather haphazardly.

    “I can use this.” Nate said.

    (o) Take cleaver

    Nate took the cleaver and placed the handle in his pants.

    (o) Look at pie

    It was sitting on the counter closest to the fridge, looking like it belonged in a cookbook. The smell was sweet and tangy. Nate whistled.

    “Well holy shit.” Nate said. “Apple pie.”

    (o) Eat pie

    There was a small triangle spatula sitting in a triangle hole in the pie. Nate picked the spatula up, scooped out a sloppy piece of pie, and shoved it in his mouth.

    After five weeks of eating canned food, unseasoned meat, and wild plants, this piece of pie was the best anything he had ever eaten. Everything he would ever eat after this was going to taste unbelievably bland but he didn’t care. If he could just die with this pie in his mouth, it would be a good death. Nate made an unintelligible happy sound as he swallowed and began to scoop out more.

    Just before he placed the pie in his mouth, his mind made a connection. This connection was so powerful it made him drop the spatula.

    “This pie is warm.” Nate said slowly. “It was warm because it was recently cooked. Like how the floors had been recently cleaned and the objects dusted. This house feels wrong because it’s being lived in! Fuck, why didn’t I notice that befo-”

    “Hey!” A voice said behind him. Nate began to turn around when a blunt object hit him in the head. Nate fell to the floor and lost consciousness for a few seconds.
  • When he came to he was on his back and the world around him was blurred and doubling. Some evil thing was banging dumbbells in the left side of his skull and throwing stars into his eyes. He managed to focus in time to see a foot accelerating to his face.

    <<<<<Q>>>>>

    Nate caught the foot and pushed upwards. The owner of the foot put their weight down and Nate had to strain to keep it from stomping his head.

    [E]

    Nate shoved hard against the foot and pushed upwards, causing the person to lose balance and fall backward. Nate hastily stood up and took the cleaver out of his pants. The assailant; a man, ten years older than Nate, average build; pulled himself off the ground and charged at him with a wooden baseball bat.

    (o)

    Nate backed up into the living room, raised the cleaver and brought it down on the baseball bat. The bat was cut in half. The man dropped it and swung at Nate. He missed.

    (o)

    Nate swung the cleaver vertically. It hit the man in the stomach. The man screamed and stumbled back.

    (o)

    Nate swung the cleaver horizontally. It hit the man in the shoulder and got stuck. The man wailed.

    (o)

    Nate held onto the handle and kicked the man in the chest. The cleaver came out and the man fell.

    The man crawled backwards; one arm madly pulling behind him, the other limply sagging to his side, his feet kicking out and making squeaking noises on the tiled kitchen floor as he tried to escape the intruder. Nate stalked forward, eyes wide and furious. The man’s back hit something and he looked up. Charlie stared down at him curiously. The man cringed away from her and pushed himself against the wall.

    “So this is what all the noise was about.” Charlie said to Nate. Nate grunted. She looked back down on the man. “You’re getting blood all over your floor sir.”

    “Get out of my house.” The man quivered. “Please.”

    [CENTER]| You need better locks |
    | Why? |
    | Please? |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Please? You’re going to try and be all nice and shit after you tried to bash my fucking head in?” Nate growled. The man recoiled.

    “You should kill him for all the trouble he’s been giving you.” Charlie said. “He deserves it.”

    “No! Please! Take whatever you want! Just leave!” The man begged.

    (o)

    Nate stepped in front of the man. The man put his arms in front of his hands and began to shake. Nate raised his arm and brought the cleaver down. There was a cracking sound and the man screamed. Charlie made a puzzled noise.

    “...Did you miss?” She asked Nate. The cleaver was lodged into the wall a few inches above the man’s head. Nate took the cleaver out of the wall.

    “No.” Nate said. “I’m not going to kill him.” The man stopped shaking and lowered his arms away from his face.

    “...How much are you going to take?” The man asked.

    [CENTER]| Most of it |
    | Some of it |
    | None of it |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “We’re not taking anything from here.” Nate said. The man and Charlie gave him identical looks of surprise.

    “What?” Charlie blurted out. “Why not?”

    “Charles-” Nate began.

    “Don’t call me ‘Charles’. What is it with you and nicknames lately?”

    “-We have no reason to steal from this man. We have an entire neighborhood of unoccupied houses to go through.” He paused and looked at the man. “They are unoccupied, right?”

    “I believe so.” The man answered.

    “See?” Nate said. “Let’s leave him alone.”

    “We’ve stolen from people before.” Charlie commented. “And he has quite a bit of food so-”

    “No,” Nate said. “That isn’t the same. The owners of the houses we go through aren’t using what we take. He is.”

    “...He tried to kill you.” She said slowly, as if that would change his mind.

    “I know. And that was fucking rude.” Nate said crossly. The man flinched. “But he did it for a reason so whatever, let’s go.” Charlie stared at Nate disbelievingly before shaking her head.

    “Fine.” She said. “We’ll g-”

    “Guatier!” A voice from the living room cried. All three of them turned towards the voice. It was a woman around the same age as the man. She had a hammer in her hand.

    “Hanna don’t-” Guatier warned. Hanna screamed and ran towards Nate. He meant to hold her still but the force of her movements and the blood on the floor caused him to fall. Hanna landed on top of him and brought the hammer down.

    <<<<<Q>>>>>

    Nate grabbed her arms and pushed them away from him. Hanna wasn’t very strong, but it was still hard to get her off of him. Nate slowly began sitting up, easing the hysterical woman off of him and-

    A knife protruded out of her chest and nearly hit Nate in the stomach. He flinched as blood gushed on him. Hanna made a pained wheezing sound, dropping the hammer on the floor and touching the knife with shaking hands. Charlie moved the butcher’s knife, the woman with it, and kicked her off the blade. She fell to Nate’s left. Nate looked at woman wide eyed. The woman looked back at him, eyes equally wide, until they looked at nothing at all.

    “Hanna!” Guatier bellowed. He stared at Charlie, eyes on burning with hate. “You bitch!” He lunged with all his strength. Charlie stabbed him in the stomach. She pulled in out and he fell to the ground with a thud. Charlie took a kitchen rag from the drawer and wiped off the blood off her knife. Nate looked back and forth between the two bodies body, stunned.

    “They’re not going to need their supplies anymore.” Charlie said offhandedly, dropping the bloody rag on the floor and moving towards the pie. She cut herself a slice, inspected it, and took a bite. The kitchen didn’t smell like pie anymore, it smelt like iron.

    “Wh- what...” Nate’s voice was raspy. “What the fu-”

    “Nate. I did the same thing you did for Vaughan.” Charlie said calmly. She looked at him. “Let’s focus on getting supplies.” She walked out of the kitchen and left him there with the two bodies.
  • [CENTER]THE WALKING DEAD: REAL MONSTERS[/CENTER]

    Nate sat on the floor, blood seeping through his pants, and thought about how he felt. Ever since everything had gone to hell, he had meditated on his emotions more that he had ever done in his entire life. He knew why he hadn’t before. He did not like how his brain worked.

    It wasn’t as if the apocalypse wasn’t affecting him negatively. Seeing abandoned buildings, fighting and running from monsters did weigh down on his mind; but breaking down doors, bashing monsters’ heads in, running for his life, driving without having any fix purpose; it felt incredible.

    And it was fun, and he hated that it felt fun to him. It wasn’t normal. He wasn’t supposed to like any of this, and a part of him didn’t. A part of him was greatly disturbed by everything and wanted to go home. The other part of him though, the part that he found was much too large, loved it and never wanted it to end.

    Then there were the deaths of other people.

    Nate looked to his left at Hanna, then looked in front of him at Guatier, and barely felt anything. He was a bit sad, they both didn’t have to die and that was a shame, but nothing more. Other than his initial shock, he wasn’t angry with Charlie for killing them, he didn’t feel guilty or responsible for their deaths, and the only nausea he felt came from breathing in the smell of their blood for so long. That was all. Just like when he had killed Anya.

    Nate stood up and stared down at the bodies on the ground.

    “I’m a fucking psychopath.” He told the bodies. In his whole life he had be scared of many things, but Nate had never be as scared of himself as he was now.
  • As he walked into the living room he noticed Charlie staring intently up the stairs.

    [CENTER]| What is it? |
    | We should go |
    | How much stuff do you have? |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Charlie wha-” He began. Charlie shushed him.

    “Do you hear that?” She whispered. Nate walked closer to her and listened. After a moment he heard it.

    “Is that screaming?” He asked.

    “I think so.” Charlie said. “What do you think it is?”

    [CENTER]| A person |
    | A animal |
    | A zombie |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “It might be a dog.” Nate answered. “Maybe a parrot.” Charlie gave him an incredulous look.

    (?) Charlie will remember that

    “A dog?” She repeated, eyebrows furrowed. “You think it might be a dog?”

    “Or a parrot.” Nate said again. Charlie closed her eyes, shook her head, and looked back up the stairs.

    “Whatever it is, it needs to be dealt with.” Charlie said. “You go look and I’ll be here if you need any help.”

    [CENTER]| Okay |
    | Why me? |
    | You come too |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Okay, sure.” Nate said. Charlie walked away from the stairs. He grabbed onto the railing and crept up, making as little noise as possible to take whatever it was by surprise if it happened not to be an animal. These stairs, unlike the ones outside, where well maintained and didn’t creak while he walked. He got to the top and turned towards the direction of the sound. It was coming from a room to his right. As he walked towards it, he was positive that it was not a zombie, unless zombies were learning how to scream. He stood in front of the door.

    (o) Listen at door

    Nate pressed his ear against the door. Whatever was in there was wailing as loud as it could, gasping, hiccupping, and wailing again.

    “That sounds more like a person than an animal.” Nate murmured to himself. “Even if it’s not, whatever is in there sounds like it’s in pain.”

    (o) Open door

    Nate took the gun out, released the safety, and held the knob. He held his breath and quickly opened the door.

    The room was painted with pastel shades of pink and blue stripes. The walls had pictures of balloon animals and circus people. The room was small and only had a garbage bin, a bookshelf, a drawer, a rocking chair, and a crib where the crying was coming from. Nate’s jaw dropped.

    “This is a baby room...” Nate whispered to himself, lowering the gun. His feet moved closer to the crib with out his permission. He placed his gun on top of the drawer beside the crib, placed his hands on the railing, and looked over.

    The baby was five, maybe six months old. It had the same red hair as the father but looked like the mother. Its green eyes stared into Nate’s and it stopped crying for a moment. It’s expression became quizzical, it never seen this stranger before, but then it remembered it was sad and began crying again. It raised its arms to Nate, begging to be picked up. Nate froze.

    “So this is where the animal is?” Charlie said behind him. Nate looked over his shoulder at her. She walked towards the crib and stared down at the baby emotionlessly. The baby stopped crying, stared at the new stranger, and started again. Charlie raised the knife over her head.

    (o)

    Nate caught her arm before she brought the knife down.

    “What the fuck are you doing!?” Nate growled, roughly turning her around to face him. The baby cried harder at his tone.

    “We’re not going to take care of this baby.” Charlie explained calmly. “And if we leave it here it’ll starve. I’m being nice. If I kill the baby now it won’t starve to death later.”

    “Killing the baby is not an option.” Nate’s voice was dangerously low. His grip on her arm tightened and Charlie winced.

    “Fine.” Charlie said irritated. “Let the puppy starve.” Nate let go of her arm and she backed away from him, holding the arm close to her chest. “At least shut it up. I don’t want it attracting a horde to us.” She stormed out of the room and slammed the door.

    He turned towards the baby. It looked at him and raised its arms.

    (o) Pick up baby

    Nate lowered his hands into the crib, stopped a few inches from touching the baby, raised his hands, frowned, and lowered his hands again. He put his hands under its armpits and lifted. He held the baby; his arms straight and locked in position. The baby stretched its own arms towards him, wanting to be closer. He realized that his shirt was cover it’s mother’s blood and for the first time felt a pang of guilt. Nate unlocked his arms and pulled the baby into an embrace.

    [CENTER]| Shh, Shh |
    | Shut up, Shut up |
    | It’s okay, it’s okay |
    [B]| ... |[/B][/CENTER]

    He rocked the baby up and down without saying anything, pacing around the room as the baby cried.

    (o) Look at baby bottle

    It was on top of the drawer next to where he had placed his gun. It was half full.

    “Why would they leave a bottle of milk laying around? Unless...” He closed his eyes. “Unless they were feeding you when we came.” He finished. He opened his eyes and stared at the bottle.

    (o) Pick up bottle

    Nate took the bottle and sat down on the rocking chair. He positioned the baby in the crook of his left arm and gave it the bottle. It cried around the opening for a moment before settling down and drinking. Milk trailed down the side of its mouth as it drank.

    [CENTER]| I’m sorry |
    | Boy or girl? |
    | You’re gross |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Are you a boy or a girl?” Nate asked the baby. “I can’t tell by looking at you. All babies look the same to me.” The baby stared up at him but didn’t answer. The bottle was one third finished. “I’m going to assume you’re a girl.” He said.

    [CENTER]| I’ll make it up to you |
    | You’re drinking fast |
    | Rude |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “You’re a rude little shit.” Nate joked. “You know you’re supposed to say ‘thank you’ when people feed you, right?” The baby closed her eyes. “Fucking rude.” She drank the rest of her bottle. Nate slowly removed it from the baby’s mouth and waited for a reaction. Her eyes fluttered, but she went to sleep.

    (o) Put baby in crib

    He stood up, careful not to disturb the baby, and walked towards the crib. He looked down at the small bed. He didn’t want to let her go, but what were the alternatives? Charlie was right; they couldn’t take care of a baby now. Hell, they couldn’t take care of a baby before the apocalypse began. He sighed, shoulders dropping as he lowered the baby down. She yawned as her body met the bed. Nate went to the side, took his gun, and walked towards the door.

    He opened the door. His feet won’t move. He frowned down at them. Charlie had said that the baby would die of starvation if they left her alone, but they couldn’t take care of a baby. They’d be horrible parents. But if he did nothing the baby would die. But...

    “Fuck it.” Nate said.
  • The look of utter surprise on Charlie’s face was funny. The look that came after it, one of rising furry, was less funny but Nate didn’t care. It was quite hard to carry the bag on this back, the baby bag on one arm, and the baby on the other so his focus was more on that and less on Charlie’s anger.

    “Nate.” Charlie said, trying not to yell. “Why are you bringing the puppy?”

    [CENTER]| We’re not killing her |
    | It’s not forever |
    | Help me |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Charlie, I told you killing the baby is not an option.” Nate said sternly, which sounded odd to him because he was rarely ever stern. “If we leave her here she’ll die, and if you kill her she’ll die, so there’s really no other choice except to bring her along.” Charlie scowled and walked closer to Nate until their faces were inches away.

    “You have to understand something.” Her voice was low and dark. She spoke slowly, stressing every word. “If you bring this baby, she will put our lives in danger. We need to be as safe as we possibly can. So you need to put her back where she came from, close the door, and come downstairs without any baggage.” Charlie looked down at the baby disdainfully. The baby slept unaware with her head on his shoulder.

    [CENTER]| No |
    | I would |
    | I will fight you |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Charlie I will physically fight you for this, I swear to God.” His tone matched Charlie’s; only it was darker and more forceful. He hovered over her and glared down ferociously. “You are not going to let this baby die. If you try, I will shoot you and feed you to the goddamn zombies. Don’t you fucking try.

    (?) Charlie will remember that

    The muscles in Charlie’s face twitched dangerously. She raised her arm and backhanded him across the face. His head was forced to the side and he almost lost balance. The baby moaned but didn’t wake up. He hissed in pain. Charlie turned, picked up her bag of supplies and walked out of the house.

    “Fucking ow.” Nate groaned, shaking his head back and forth. The next car ride was going to be awkward and stressful, he knew that already, but he would deal with that later. He made his way to the front door, his arms already tired from all the weight he was holding. Just as he was about to reach the door a zombie grabbed hold of his bag.

    “Wha-” He began to say. It was Hanna. She, it now, moaned and made a move to grab the baby. Nate stepped back, lost balance, and fell into a chair behind him. The baby made a startled noise but didn’t wake up. Nate tried to grab for his gun.

    The sound of bones breaking made him pause. He looked up in time to see the monster fall to the ground. Guatier stood, broken bloody bat in hand. He swayed where he stood and looked at Nate. The bat fell from his hand.

    “M-my baby...” Guatier grieved. He took a shaky step towards Nate, an arm stretched towards his child.

    [CENTER]| I’m sorry |
    | I’ll take care of her |
    | Stay away |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “I’m sorry.” Nate said. He was alarmed by how little of the apology was meant for the man and woman. He had felt guilt in the nursery, but looking at the dying man he understood that it was for the baby’s sake and not for the pain he caused the parents. What was wrong with him?

    “M-my baby...” Guatier said again. “Don’t... don’t hurt...” The man collapsed. Nate heard him gasp for air, a sound that sounded wet and painful, and then he heard him breathe no more.
  • Nate closed the door behind him. Though questions of his mental health still plagued him, he felt much better now that he outside. Charlie was looking at the supplies they had in the back of the truck. She had accumulated a large amount of goods while Nate had been occupied with the baby and thoughts of psychopathy. He thought they wouldn’t have to go through any more houses in the area if they didn’t want to, though it was always better to take as much as you could in times like these.

    Vaughan was some distance away. It was his turn to stay with the truck. They always took turns staying with the vehicle while the other two went scavenging; protecting their possessions was the job of the person staying behind.
    It looked as though Vaughan was talking to someone, though he couldn’t see who it was.

    (o) Put supplies in truck

    Nate walked to the back of the truck and placed the baby bag and backpack down. Charlie glared at him but said nothing.

    (o) Talk to Charlie

    Nate sighed. “Charlie-”

    “You’re an asshole.” Charlie retorted.

    [CENTER]| I know |
    | You’re not a bitch? |
    | Sorry |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “I’m sorry for making you angry.” Nate said. “I know you’re just trying to keep everyone safe. But this little girl is only five, maybe six months old. I’m willing to do quite a bit to survive, but I’m not doing that.” Charlie looked up at the overcast sky and said nothing. Nate was about to turn to leave when she started talking.

    “Let me give you some advice Nate.” Charlie said. Nate arched an eyebrow. “Some people say that you can’t have morals in situations such as this.” She gestured all around her. “That’s not really true. You can keep some of your morals, such as sticking by your friends or not being racist. But other things you have to forget, or you will die.” She eyed the baby scornfully and looked back at Nate.

    [CENTER]| What’s wrong with you? |
    | Interesting |
    | Thanks for the advice |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Thanks for the advice.” Nate said slowly. The baby turned her face and rested the other cheek on his shoulder. Charlie nodded.

    (o) Look at Vaughan

    Nate walked away from the truck and tried to get a look at who Vaughan was talking to. He walked until he could see Vaughan’s profile and froze.

    "Aw shit." Nate whispered under his breath.

    It was nobody. Vaughan was having a conversation with the Goddamn air.
    Nate pulled the collar of his shirt, frowning down at the ground. Was Vaughan losing his mind? He was mentally the weakest link out of the three of them; he was always reluctant to shoot zombies even when he was a safe distance away, he would have nightmares that would last the entire night, and he had to force himself to eat even when he had gone days without food; but to Nate’s knowledge he had never hallucinated before.

    Vaughan turned towards the truck as Nate looked back up. Nate couldn’t see his facial expressions, but he could tell that the younger man was shaking. Vaughan turned back and flinched so hard his feet left the ground. He looked around, his body twisting in awkward angles and his head whipping back and forth. Eventually he stopped, shook his head, took off his glasses, and covered his eyes with his hands.

    "They’re ‘gone’ now." Nate said to himself, watching Vaughan breathing heavily from afar. Whatever had been going on in his mind, looking at the truck inadvertently snapped him out of it. He made his way towards the younger man.

    (o) Talk to Vaughan

    “Hey.” Nate said as he got close to Vaughan. The baby yawned. Vaughan didn’t notice the little girl.

    “Nate...” Vaughan’s voice shook. He spread his trembling fingers, startled eyes peaking through. “I saw... I mean... I- she- w-what?”

    [CENTER]| Breathe |
    | What did you see |
    | Go to the truck |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    Nate used his free hand to squeeze Vaughan’s shoulder, making him flinch.

    “Breathe. You need to calm down and breathe.” Nate ordered. Vaughan moved his hands away from his face and began hyperventilating.

    “Okay, breathe slower than that. Slower. Slower.” Nate said. Vaughan closed his eyes, concentrating his respiration until he managed to calm down. He opened his eyes and stared directly at Nate.

    “I saw Anya.” Vaughan told him.

    [CENTER]| She’s here? |
    | Not possible |
    | Are you serious? |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    Nate let go of his shoulder and groaned. “Are you serious?” He said, irritated. “You hallucinated because of your stupid guilt crap?” Vaughan stuttered incomprehensibly before stopping himself and glaring at Nate.

    “I didn’t mean to hallucinate!” Vaughan said. “And ‘stupid guilt crap’? You killed someone because of me, you asshole, of course I feel guilty about it. So should you!”

    Nate rolled his eyes. “Give me a fucking break.” He said.

    “I know you think that we’re okay, but I can’t handle being angry 24 hours of the day!” Vaughan said. “I’m still mad at you and Charlie for what the both of you did.”

    “Saving your life?” Nate asked incredulously.

    “Murdering people!” Vaughan nearly screamed.

    [CENTER]| I’m a murderer |
    | Listen to me |
    | You piece of shit |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Listen to me. I understand why you’re pissed off, I really do,” Nate said, trying not to yell himself and accidently wake the baby. “But you have to fucking let it go! Ever since that car crashed into the house, we’ve all been in an apocalyptic situation. And that means we have to do whatever it takes to keep each other safe!” The weight of the baby he was holding punctuated the hypocrisy of his words, but he ignored it.

    (?) Vaughan will remember that

    “Keep each other safe?” Vaughan repeated resentfully. “I thought I was supposed to kill my own innocent people next ti-”

    “Hey!” Charlie whispered harshly. The two men jumped and turned towards her. Vaughan nearly fell down. She was tapping the butcher’s knife on her thigh, looking like a frustrated teacher.

    “You’re both being too loud! Shut the fuck up!” She whispered again, waving the knife at both of them and causing the men to back away from her. Nate looked around, expecting zombies to stumble around the corner, but none came. Vaughan frowned and looked away from her.

    [CENTER]| Sure |
    | More scavenging? |
    | Vaughan, go |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Are you going to go scavenging for more supplies?” Nate asked in a quieter voice.

    “We should.” Charlie answered. “The more we get the better. So you,” She pointed to Nate, “Need to stop talking to your boyfriend and get to work. And you," She pointed to Vaughan, “Need to stop being such a bitch and go to the truck.”

    “Yes Mom.” Vaughan sighed and put a hand over his eyes. Nate smirked. Charlie glowered at Vaughan, tightening her hold on the weapon as she prepared to verbally rip into him, when she realized that Vaughan hadn’t noticed what he said. There had been no sarcasm in his voice or attitude in his gestures. She reluctantly let the comment go. She took a moment to fix the glasses on his face before stalking off.
  • [CENTER]| Bye |
    | You suck |
    | ‘Yes Mom’? |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Yes Mom?” Nate repeated, laughing a little. “Surprised Charlie didn’t kick your ass for that. What was that all about?”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Vaughan said, unsmiling. He placed his glasses on his face and sighed again. He rotated and flexed his left hand.

    “Whatever man.” Nate grumbled, momentary good mood gone. That was it; he didn’t have to stay here with Sir stick-up-ass any longer. He had work to do. “Go to the truck.” He turned to walk away.

    “...Wait.” Vaughan said.

    [CENTER]| Fucking bye |
    | Don’t bitch at me |
    | What? |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    Nate huffed, rolled his eyes, and turned back to Vaughan. “What?” He droned, moving the baby to the other arm. Vaughan quickly looked around to make sure Charlie wasn’t close by. He ran a hand through his hair before speaking.

    “Ever since all of... this happened,” Vaughan gestured all around him. “I haven’t been able to go to the doctor. I need to see a doctor because...” Vaughan paused. “I think I’m getting worse. And I think hallucinations are a new symptom I’ve gotten, not just because of guilt.” He said this last bit with a bit of resentment, looking straight into Nate’s eyes. Nate looked away.

    Vaughan sighed and closed his eyes. “I need to find a doctor...” He said.

    [CENTER]| We will |
    | Supplies first |
    | How? |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “We will find you a doctor.” Nate said. Vaughan opened his eyes and looked at him. Nate grabbed the younger man’s arm and pulled him forward. Vaughan stumbled a bit but allowed himself to be pulled. When they were beside each other Nate turned around, draped an arm over his friend’s shoulders, and walked towards the truck.

    “You’re being an irritating dick,” Nate continued. “But I saved your ass before. Why would I let you die of cancer now?” Vaughan’s shoulders, which had been tense, slowly relaxed. Vaughan looked up at Nate, mouth twitching and glassy eyed. Nate looked back down at him and Vaughan tried to say something but no words came, so he averted his eyes instead. He still didn’t notice the baby.

    They walked this way until they came to the passenger’s side of the truck. Nate let him go; Vaughan put his arms on the roof and lifted himself to the top. He placed the bag of arrows on his back and the bow in his lap. For someone who was supposed to act as a watchdog, Vaughan looked no more threatening than he had when he was on the ground; to Nate he somehow looked smaller up there.

    “...I have an idea” Vaughan said. The baby yawned but Vaughan took no notice of her. “From what I saw on the map, we’re not that far away from downtown. I’m sure there’s a hospital or a pharmacy there. If we can get some temozolomide pills then it will buy us more time to find a doctor.”

    “Temozo-what now?” Nate asked.

    “It’s a chemotherapy drug.” Vaughan explained. “When Charlie made us write down the survival info before all the wifi shut down, I made sure to research about different kinds of cancer treatments. Temozolomide is one of the ones I remember the most because it’s the first time I ever heard of chemotherapy that doesn’t involve radiation or liquid injected into you. It’s the perfect option for me because I don’t have to rely on a machine and I can give it to myself without much effort.” He rotated his left shoulder.

    [CENTER]| About downtown... |
    | About Charlie... |
    | If we can’t find it? |
    | Exit |[/CENTER]

    “Going downtown will be fucking dangerous.” Nate warned him. “There will be zombies fucking everywhere.”

    “I know.” Vaughan said, nodding slowly. “Even if half the population of infected left the city, that still leaves... how many? Thousands? Millions? It’s risky, I know, but it might be worth it in the long run.”

    [CENTER]| About Charlie... |
    | If we can’t find it? |
    | Exit |[/CENTER]

    “How are we going to convince Charlie that it’s worth the risk?” Nate asked. “To her knowledge, we’re both healthy.” Vaughan bit his lower lip and looked in the direction that Charlie had walked off to. Nate looked as well and saw nothing but average, assumedly people free homes.

    “We’re going to say...” Vaughan paused. “We’re going to say that we might need it later. We need to be prepared for the future right? I’m sure Charlie will understand that.”

    [CENTER]| Still lying then? |
    | Want me to tell her? |
    | Sounds good |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Want me to tell her?” Nate asked. Vaughan tried not to smile and failed.

    “As long as you don’t tell her anything horrible like last time,” Vaughan said, trying to sound stern. “Then yes, that would be great. Thanks.”

    “So I’ll tell her that we need a lifetime supply of Viagra.”

    “W-what!? No!”

    “Lots and lots of Viagra.”

    Vaughan stuttered profusely and covered his reddening face with his hands.

    [CENTER]| If we can’t find it? |
    | Exit |[/CENTER]

    “What are we going to do if we can’t find it?” Nate asked. Vaughan looked down at his lap, his shoulders slumping.

    “We’ll have to find a doctor faster then.” He said quietly.

    [CENTER]| Exit |[/CENTER]

    “I should get back to work.” Nate told him.

    “Alright,” Vaughan said. “But I want to know how you feel about going?” He looked at Nate apprehensively, his fingers playing with the string on his bow.

    [CENTER]| Sounds good to me |
    | I don’t like it |
    | You’re going anyways |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “You’re going to go no matter what I say.” Nate told him.

    (?) You didn’t answer Vaughan

    “I don’t have a choice.” Vaughan said apologetically. “I’m getting worse and I don’t know how much time I have.”

    “Then I’m going with you.” Nate said. He moved the baby to his other shoulder. “I’m not going to leave your dumb ass behind. Besides, it’s not like we have anywhere else to go anyways.” Vaughan’s eyes took on a glassy sheen again.

    “Thank you.” Vaughan sighed.

    “Whatever.” Nate said. “Can you hold-”

    “Nate! Start the truck!” Charlie screamed from across the street. Both men quickly turned in her direction. She came running out of a house with a box full of supplies and a dozen monsters coming after her. Vaughan tried to stand but Nate grabbed hold of his arm.
  • “We’ll need all the ammo we’ve gone for downtown!” Nate told him before Vaughan could protest. “Just get into the truck!” Vaughan nodded, gathered his weaponry, hopped of the roof, and entered the truck. Nate ran around the front of the truck and to the driver’s side.

    (o)

    Nate took out his keys and unlocked the door.

    (o)

    With his hand holding the keys and his other arm holding the baby, he had to use the tips of his fingers to open the door. Charlie dropped the box into the back and slammed the tonneau cover shut. Nate sat inside the truck.

    (o)

    Nate tried to put the keys in the ignition, misses, and dropped the keys.

    “Shit!” He said. Charlie jumped into the truck and slammed the door.

    (o)

    Nate picked up the keys. The zombies were moving past the backlights of the truck.

    (o)

    Nate put the keys in the ignition and turned. The engine roared. He stepped on the gas petal and sped off, leaving the creatures behind. The driver’s door flapped as he drove. The baby woke up and began to cry.

    “Vaughan, hold her for a second.” He said, moving the arm holding the baby upward. Vaughan gawked at the little girl, taking her away from Nate without think about what he was doing. Nate used his now free hand to close the door shut.
  • “Nate, where did you get this baby?” Vaughan asked. He kept looking down at the baby in his lap, who he had managed to calm down after they left the neighborhood, like it was an illusion. Any moment now he would blink and the baby would be gone, his expression said. It wasn’t happening though.

    [CENTER]| I found her |
    | Not important |
    | I gave birth to her |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    Nate took is hands off the wheel and placed the baby back onto his lap. The baby made a gurgling noise as it was moved. He placed a hand on her stomach and turned himself into a car seat.

    “I gave birth to her.” Nate said casually. The baby cooed as if vouching for him.

    “I’m serious.” Vaughan said, his forehead wrinkling with concern.

    “So am I.” Nate insisted. “Why wouldn’t I be? It hurt like hell to push her out. Look how big she is!” He shook the baby’s tummy and the little girl let out a happy screech. Charlie flinched.

    “What the fuck was that?” Charlie demanded, glaring at the baby.

    “Babies have a habit of screaming when they’re happy.” Vaughan explained, smiling at the baby but still managing to look concerned. “It’s their way of laughing. I think it’s because they don’t have much control over their vocal cords yet.”

    “Whatever.” Charlie said dismissively. She looked at Nate and frowned. “Where are we going?”

    “We’re going to the hospital downtown.” Nate told her. Charlie raised her hands and looked at Nate like he had lost his mind.

    “Why?” Charlie groaned.

    [CENTER]| For future needs |
    | For trading |
    | Viagra |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    “Because we need a lifetime supply of Viagra.” Nate snickered. Vaughan stuttered incoherently, his face turning red, before muffling an embarrassed scream into the palms of his hands. Charlie closed her eyes and dragged her hands down her face. The baby sucked on her tiny fist.

    “Two things.” Charlie said, opening her eyes. “One, you are not fifty. You don’t need that. And two, I highly doubt your hand is going to care that you can’t keep it up.” Nate laughed so hard he couldn’t drive. He took his foot off the gas pedal and forced himself not to double over and accidentally crush the baby. The baby looked up at him with wide and confused eyes.

    “Can we not talk about this?” Vaughan begged. “The reason we need to go to the hospital is because we need to stockpile on as much medicine as we can.”

    “We can just go through the houses and take what we need from there.” Charlie told him.

    “No.” Vaughan spoke through his teeth. Nate slowly stopped laughing. “We need to go to the hospital. They’ll be a bigger variety of medicine we can take. We can’t just rely on houses for the things we need. That’s stupid.”

    "Stupid." She repeated. "I'm not stupid." Nate drove again.

    "I never said you were."

    "Nothing I do it stupid."

    "Thinking that houses will give us everything is."

    "What the hell is wrong with you, fuckface!?"

    "...Nothing." Vaughan leaned forward, taking off his glasses and placing his right hand on his forehead as he rotated and flexed his left. It looked as though Vaughan was trying to keep his brain from leaking hot liquid out of his head. His face contorted briefly; his eyes squinted shut, his mouth disappeared into a tight line, and he hissed out air; before his features relaxed all at once. He leaned back into the chair and sighed.

    An uncomfortable silence settled in the truck. The baby didn’t notice. She had made it her mission to try and touch the steering wheel. The landscape outside was transforming from mainly residential areas to small businesses. They would be downtown soon, but the distance was too far for Nate to be sitting in awkward silence.

    [CENTER]| You two need to stop |
    | Honeymoon's over? |
    | [Tell a story] |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    "I guess the honeymoon stage is over huh?" Nate asked, scratching his neck. Charlie scowled at him.

    "You just couldn't let it be quiet in here, could you?" Charlie huffed. "You just had to say something, you and you big ass mouth. Do you ever go long periods of time without taking? I bet you don't." Vaughan frowned and closed his eyes.

    [CENTER]| I don't in my sleep |
    | I'm making things comfortable |
    | Fuck you then |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    "I don't talk in my sleep." Nate told her. He turned on to the highway.

    "I don't believe you." Charlie deadpanned.

    "You don't?"

    "No."

    "Then sleep with me and find out." Nate offered. Charlie rolled her eyes but grinned a bit. Vaughan, however, did not find this amusing.

    "I'm right here." Vaughan said without opening his eyes. "Please stop." Charlie crossed her arms.

    "And why should he?" She challenged. "You haven't been a good boyfriend. I'm sure that Nate would do a much better job than you, seeing as you've been a little bitch for the last month." Vaughan's mouth twitched, his shoulders dropped and his head lowered, but he did not open his eyes nor replied.

    “I’m confused.” Nate said. “Not even twenty minutes ago you backhanded me in the face, and now you think I’d be a good boyfriend?”

    “I never said you would be a good boyfriend, I said you’d be better than this twink.” She corrected. “Nate, compliment me." Her eyes dared Vaughan to say something. He didn't. Nate let his eyes leave the road for a moment to look between both of his friends. Charlie had placed her hands on Vaughan's right leg, tapping her fingers against it as she patiently waited for praise. Vaughan sat still, his mouth twitching again.

    [CENTER]| You're smart |
    | You're hot |
    | You look like a boy |
    | ... |[/CENTER]

    Nate looked back at the road.

    "You look like a boy." He said casually. Charlie stared blankly at him, letting the words bounce around in her head before she began screeching. Vaughan's eyes opened wide.

    (?) Charlie and Vaughan will remember that

    "I said compliments Nate!" She shouted.

    "A very pretty boy." Nate added. Vaughan's body began to tremble. He pressed his lips together and covered his mouth, but he couldn't hold it in. He threw his head back and began to laugh uncontrollably. Nate smiled and drove around a zombie standing in the middle of the road.

    "This isn't funny! I do not look like a boy!" Charlie protested.

    "There- there was this one time where... " Vaughan tried to speak through his laughter. "Where this gay guy was hitting on her because he thought she was a 'pretty boy' too and- and then... the boyfriend came and... do you remem-" Vaughan found it physically impossible to finish sentence and kept on laughing. Nate, thinking back to the moment Vaughan was referring to, laughed too.

    "You two are fucking assholes!” Charlie said. “That man sic-ed his dog on me and I almost died!"

    Nate and Vaughan laughed harder, the older man had to stop driving again. The baby happy-screeched.
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