A/N: LOL, I don't know if you'd still remember what this fic is all about but I finally got my life put together so I think I can start writing again. You have no idea how much different my life is now compared to the last time this has been updated. It's been a long while since the last update but I just can't drop this one. Anybody who's still here, thank you!

Enough about me. On to the update!


SEVEN
Organs

I am sorry this how it always goes;
the wind blows loudest when you've got your eyes closed.

Shreveport, LA
Day 47, Late Night

Aubrey's reappearance surely brought brand new energy to the group.

Stacie and the rest of the group came rushing back to the house to confirm what Jessica reported on their radio. They exchanged hugs and thank God your back's and some even shed tears upon her return. Nothing good ever really happens lately—of course, this is the apocalypse we're talking about—but this one good thing is something they can hold on to for dear life.

Amid the zombie apocalypse, it's not an everyday thing that your runaway friend comes back unharmed—and with a lovely little girl and a dog.

It's almost too good to be true.

Maybe that's why Stacie finds it hard to believe it.

"You know, I expected that you'll be a lot happier with her return," Beca comments as she settles next to Stacie by the kitchen bar. Stacie has been nursing a bottle of whiskey for the last two hours, watching the rest of the group re-familiarize themselves with Aubrey—and of course Dani and her dog (who is named Jack).

"I am happy," Stacie replies, looking anything but happy.

"Yeah, you gotta try harder than that," Beca banters with a tight-lipped smile.

Everyone else is by the dining table intently listening to Aubrey's stories of her 17-day journey away from them. She told them everything: how scared she got after she shot Ashley, running away, getting hungry, getting lost, and eventually getting found.

She's told them about how she found a house at a remote neighborhood in Jackson and found Dani and Jack. She's talked about how Dani has given her the motivation to go on—and what made her decide to follow the plan and find them again.

"I can't survive this alone," they hear Aubrey say.

Everyone is just listening to her like it's TED Talks or something.

Beca observes her. She seems fine—better than fine actually. She's gained some weight and the bags under her eyes are almost gone. She looks like she has been sleeping—which is the most ridiculous thing in what's left with the whole wide world. She hasn't slept for more than 5 hours in the 47 days they have survived. She's almost envious of Aubrey.

Sipping from her glass if whiskey, Stacey eyes Aubrey from afar. She then asks Beca, "Do you think it's possible, Beca? To come back from everything that's happened?"

"I'm not sure I understand."

"Look at her," she commands and Beca does so, "is it possible to go through all of those deaths and come out the other side without bruises?"

"You're so poetic," Beca remarks. She masks her indifference with sarcasm—but she observes. Aubrey seems fine, like she's back to her old self. "What do you mean?" she asks, her breath hitching at the thought of Aubrey being anything else other than what she seems to be.

Stacie shrugs, "I'm not sure. All I know is that the end of the world messes you up one way or another."

Beca couldn't agree more—but does it really matter? Maybe, it's possible. Maybe, it's possible to experience the apparent end of the world and not let it darken you.

She looks at Aubrey one more time.

She seems fine.

But is she?

Dallas, TX
Day 48, Noon

"Are you kidding me?" Beca asks in utter disbelief of what's currently pulling up in their driveway.

A camper.

A big camper.

"A fucking RV?" Beca cries. "Whose idea is this?"

"Nick's," Stacie answers as she stands next to Beca by the driveway, watching the RV make a stop right in front of them. Nick hops of the driver's seat and is quickly followed by Jack. The dog excitedly runs up to Beca.

"The dog likes you," Stacie says with a laugh. "He has no idea what kind of person you are."

"Shut up," Beca sneers. She pets Jack.

Nick smiles at Stacie, "Told you, I'll find a big one."

"You agreed with this?" Beca sneers at Stacie.

"Can't say it's a bad idea," Stacie says with a shrug. She examines the big, black RV that stands in front of them. "Not bad, Dalton."

Nick nods proudly as he turns to Beca, "Trust me Beca, this is tons better than your school bus."

"How?"

Nick does his annoying lopsided smirk, "It has beds."

Beca rolls her eyes, "Okay, aside from that."

"First, it has a generator," he starts, raising a finger as if he's counting. "Second, it has its own toilet so we save a lot of time from all the bathroom stops. Third, it has a refrigerator. We can't just keep throwing out food from all our grocery trips. Not every city has a huge stock of baby back ribs."

Beca rolls her eyes, almost convinced, "Whatever."

Their bus pulls over behind the RV as Lilly quickly hops off and walks over to them. She high-fives Nick, "You found a big one!"

Nick smiles at Lilly before turning back to Beca, "Plus, we have Dani now. We can't just let the kid sleep on those uncomfortable bus seats when we travel from one city to another. This one sleeps 8—and as per the flyer I saw by that abandoned rental house, this costs $250 a night and we get it for free."

"Okay, Saint Nick, you win."

Nick just grins as he makes his way to the other bus and starts unloading some of the supplies they got. Stacie helps him out.

"I feel so useless, Jack," he tells the dog and Jack just wags his tail. Beca frowns, "You seem pleased."

"You actually like this dog," Chloe comments with a smile as she stands behind Beca and wraps her arms around the girl's waist. "Never pegged you as a dog person."

"He's the only one who listens to me," Beca pouts as her entire body softens at Chloe's touch. They're doing this now in front of their friends: holding hands, cuddling, hugging. No one asks questions. You know when something happens and everyone just kind of knew it was going to happen anyway? This is that kind of thing.

Beca likes how things are between her and Chloe. They haven't talked about what it means. They kiss. They hold hands. They sleep next to each other. But talk? No, they don't do that. And years of experience with her parents, Beca knows that isn't a good thing but whatever. Talking is overrated.

"Come on," Chloe nudges her. "Aubrey and I prepared lunch."

At lunch

"So we're staying here until next week," Stacie lays out the plan. "First order of business is to visit the military reserve in Grand Prairie tomorrow. It's a 30-minute drive. Who wants to go?"

Jessica raises her hand, "Me obviously."

Being their main tech girl, it has become Jessica's mission to find any resource that can help them contact rescue if there's one. A military base is perhaps the best place they could find rescue right at this moment.

"I'm going, too," Beca says. She doesn't know why but she has a feeling she needs to.

"Then, I'm going, too," Chloe volunteers like it's automatic.

"So, tomorrow, I'm with Jessica, Beca, Chloe, and Jack," Nick enumerates. "I'll train him so he can sniff walkers. Dogs are great assets."

"I'm staying here with the rest," Stacie says. "Lilly, we have to mount the satellite dish on the RV."

Lilly nods as she turns to Nick, "Automatic weapons."

Nick laughs, "Yes, ma'am."

They go back to their meals as light banter takes over for a moment. They talk about the modern two-storey house they're currently staying at. It has three rooms upstairs and one downstairs. It has a basement that's mostly used for storage.

The house is almost 50% glass. It's kinda risky considering they could be attacked anytime but the house has a complete home automation system that controls the gate, doors, and windows. As far as they know, the zombies can't jump so the gated entrance is a plus.

Jessica almost cried seeing the tablet resting on top of the table. It controls everything.

But despite the automated security system, they stick to their old routine: pipe bombs and alarms at every possible entrance. After all, Stacie made a good point: the house is empty and they found traces of blood everywhere which means the owners of this house are now among the walkers. Something in this security system didn't work.

Dallas is a stunning city but it is, so far, the place that has the most walkers they've seen. They initially thought of occupying one of the towering condominiums by the city proper but on the way there, they came across hordes and hordes of walkers so they immediately turned and decided to head to the suburbs—which was unsurprisingly empty. It seems like everyone was in the city proper the day the apocalypse hit.

Although, Beca must admit, the suburbs game of Dallas is filthy rich.

Amid the light conversation, Beca catches Stacie looking at Aubrey as if she's examining her. Stacie is sitting next to her so it's not that hard to miss.

"You're staring," Beca whispers.

Stacie nods, "Gut feeling, Beca. Something's wrong."

A twist forms in Beca's stomach. She doesn't know if it's because Stacie's suspicions are starting to affect her or if she's really starting to believe there's something wrong with Aubrey. She inhales and exhales quickly as she looks at Aubrey.

The girl seems normal. Awfully normal.

I mean, is that even possible? Beca thinks. Can someone really runaway and comeback completely put together? Is that how running away works?

She didn't realize how long she's been looking at Aubrey until Aubrey notices her and meets her eyes. The girl only smiles at her and nods, as if sensing Beca's skepticism. It sends chills down Beca's spine. There's something in Aubrey's eyes.

Before she ran away, it was empty.

Now, that emptiness has been replaced with something else, something dark. And all of the sudden, Beca feels whatever Stacie is feeling.

She swallows and lets out a heavy breath. "I think you're right," Beca whispers.

Stacie turns to her. Nervously, she asks, "Are you sure?"

Beca looks Stacie in the eyes, "Gut feeling."

They both turn back to their meals, both trying to shake that dreading feeling. They both hope they're wrong. Mostly because they don't know how to know if they're right.

.

Dallas, TX
Day 49, Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex

"This place is huge," Beca comments as they pull over in front of one of the buildings in the area. She's on the passenger seat across Nick in this SUV they stole from the driveway of the house next to them. One of the perks of surviving the apocalypse with someone like Nick and Stacie: you learn how to make cars work without using a key.

"It's also seems empty," Nick observes, pulling out a pistol.

"Which means it's not empty," Chloe says nodding as she pulls out her bat. She's sitting at the back with Jessica and Jack.

"Really? We're still on with that bat?" Beca asks not exactly expecting an answer. Jessica brought a rifle she doesn't know how to use. Realizing that, she turns to Nick, "Coming here with the nerds might be a bad idea."

Nick laughs, "I was going to point that out last night but I was afraid you'd shoot me. I mean, I already agreed to abandon your school bus."

"Must you always remind me," Beca utters slowly, pulling out a pistol jokingly. "Careful, soldier."

"Okay kids, time to do some work," Chloe says sticking her head between Beca and Nick.

Nick nods as his eyes survey the entrance one more time. "Chloe and I will head to the ammo floor and try to find something useful," he starts. "That's this building," he points to the building in front of them. "I need the car to stay here."

"Where do we go?" Beca asks.

Nick points to the building at the back, "That's where all the comms are. Just proceed to the top floor near the dish. There's usually a flight of stairs at the side of the building so you don't have to get inside the building to get to the comms floor."

Beca nods, adjusting the radio clipped by her shoulder.

"Be careful, okay?" Chloe tells her, looking at her with eyes full of worry and concern.

"You too," Beca says, forcing a smile. The last thing she needs right now is to make Chloe panic or worry.

What happens next is something Beca totally didn't expect. Chloe leans in and kisses her—on the lips. It was quick but it was there. Like it's automatic, like it's their last. They haven't really kissed in front of their friends before. They've held hands, exchanged intimate hugs but no kisses.

Surprised, Beca wasn't able to react. She just sits there frozen and looks at Chloe.

As if sensing Beca's hesitation, Nick summons Chloe.

"Let's go, Chloe," Nick calls out with a firm voice. "See you here in an hour, Beca, Jess."

Chloe and Nick quickly shuffle out of the car, as Jack sprints from the car to the entrance of the building.

A beat passes and Beca comes back to Earth.

She shakes her head, trying to shake away her thoughts, "Let's move."

Jessica smirks, "I thought we're staying here all day."

Beca gives her a look, "Don't sass me."

Jessica, like the considerate friend she is, doesn't ask anything. She just makes her way out of the car and follows Beca's movements. The distance from the car to the back building is short. And they make their way there without any hassle.

Nick is right, there's a flight of rusty stairs by the side of the building. But it's not exactly a building—it's an observation tower. With Beca leading the way and Jessica following closely behind her, they ascend the steps. Beca holds her gun up as Jessica watches their back.

It's the kind of teamwork you develop over time. Weeks of fuel and grocery runs kind of teach you how to be alert in a hostile environment. Plus, Lilly's stealth training kind of helped all of them to improve on their post-apocalyptic strategies but no one can ever come close to how much of a ninja Lilly can be. Not even Nick.

The door is—just like any other door they've tried to burst in—unlocked. At this point, it doesn't surprise Beca anymore. After getting inside, Jessica immediately surveys the room. It looks like a radio booth with less modern technology.

Beca shuts the door close before she grabs her radio and communicates. "We got in, over," she reports.

Stacie speaks from the other line, "You don't have to say over, Beca."

Beca laughs, "Where's the fun in that?"

Nick's signal comes in, "We got in, too. Lilly's going to love what we're looking at."

"So, it's empty? Like totally empty?" Stacie asks.

"It seems like it," Beca replies as she observes the surroundings of the reserve from the glass window of the Communications Tower.

"How's Jessica?" Stacie asks.

Beca turns to the girl question and sees her seriously examining all the equipment on the table. Beca recognizes this face. This is Jessica's face when you know you can't disturb her.

"She has that face," Beca confirms.

"Oh," Stacie manages a small laugh, understanding exactly what that face means. "Well, you better sit there tight and listen to her mumble. Just pretend you understand."

"I wish I brought a snack or something, I mean, I don't know about military equipment but I know an old-school equipment when I see one," Beca comments as she takes a seat on one of the two monoblock chairs in the room.

After a while, the radio banter dies down and Beca finds herself watching Jessica work with the equipment.

"This totally excites you, doesn't it?" she inquires. Jessica seems challenged by the task at hand—and if there's anything Beca knows about Jessica, it's that she loves a good challenge.

Jessica nods, not taking her eyes away from the equipment. She had just plugged in a cord to a CPU and—

"Is that an actual curved monitor? That thing still exists?" Beca's eyes are wide seeing a computer monitor that's not flat.

Jessica laughs, "At least you can say it lasted until the end of the world."

"Please tell me it at least runs on Vista."

"Nope, doesn't run Windows."

Whatever that OS is, it's really old but Jessica seems familiar with it. "God, what would we do without you?" Beca mutters.

"Lose hope? Give up on the 15th day of surviving the apocalypse?" Jessica provides an answer, laughing to herself.

Beca smilingly rolls her eyes. Up until this day, she still can't believe this girl is their tech girl. I mean, it could've been Cynthia Rose, or Lilly!

"I never would've pegged you as the computer wizard, you know."

Jessica smiles warmly, still not taking her eyes off the monitor that's now saying Data Transfer: 16%, "Would you have pegged Stacie as someone with a double-major in Physics and Astrophysics?"

"I still question that fact at least twice a week."

Jessica laughs at that, "My whole family is—were—technology geeks."

It saddens Beca, how all of the people they care about are now just past tense.

Jessica continues, "I thought I couldn't keep up. I was raised differently. I mean, my father retired as a developer for Microsoft and my brother immediately landed a job as a software engineer with Apple. And I was the shiny, perky girl of the family who could sing like a pro but can't figure out how the wiring of the TV remote works."

Beca's eyes widen in sheer disbelief, "What average person knows how the fucking TV remote wiring works?"

"Every person in the Watkins family tree?"

"What, did your dinner topic revolved around the massive technological advancements?"

"You have no idea," Jessica says with a warm smile. Now this smile, Beca can believe. Unlike that one of Aubrey's. Ugh.

"Okay, so, wait. You took up Computer Engineering because it was your destiny?"

Jessica nods as she unplugs this rectangle device from the ancient computer, "Yeah and also because I truly liked it. I like knowing how things work."

"So what, singing is just a hobby for you?"

"Yeah, what's so wrong about that?" Jessica responds turning her attention to Beca. "I mean, I can totally respect those who see themselves in the music industry but for me, just because I can doesn't mean I have to. Plus, I believe some people are just born with the ability to sing."

"Point taken but it's just so freaking mighty that you're so good with both."

"Thanks for the compliment, Beca."

"Wait, that's not—"

Before Beca can defend herself, a beep from the computer takes Jessica's attention from her. In a matter of seconds, Jessica squeals in joy, "Oh my God."

"What about your God?"

"Do you know what this is?" Jessica asks her, pertaining to that radio that looks like a normal car radio to Beca.

"A new radio for the new RV?"

"This is a MilCom receiver," Jessica states, eyes wide and excited like she expect Beca to burst in tears of joy.

"It receives Mil-what?" Beca asks, now genuinely confused.

"This is a receiver pre-programmed to scan just military communications," Jessica explains.

"You mean…" Beca lets the sentence trail with no plans to add anything to it because she has no idea what to say next.

"It means that we can now program our dish to receive military communications in the air and have it received on a different device while the device we have right now can watch out for other satellite communications like radio and other things like that," Jessica elaborates.

She's getting there, just hang in there. "So, in layman's term, we can now communicate with the military?"

"If there's an available military frequency wherever we are then yes, we can talk to them!"

"Kinda like an Ouija board for the military?"

Jessica thinks for a while before she responds, "That weirdly makes sense. It works exactly like that."

"Great!" Beca utters with a clap as she stands up and looks around the room. "What do we need to take with us?"

"This device and that computer set."

"That old computer set?"

"Not everything runs on Apple and Windows, okay?"

Beca rolls her eyes, "K."

They start moving in sync as they unplug one wire to another. They're silent for a moment until Jessica finally decides to not be the considerate friend she is, "So, you and Chloe, huh."

"I knew it was only a matter of time before you asked," Beca remarks, rolling her eyes. She presses the talk button on her radio, "Nick, we need a hand here. Jess decided to bring in some advanced gaming tech."

Jessica rolls her eyes as she presses the talk button on her own radio, "It's a monitor and a CPU."

"Be there in 20, Chloe and I are almost done scanning this place."

"Copy," Beca ends.

Jessica turns to her with a mischievous smile, "You and Chloe, huh."

"You're not gonna drop this, are you?"

"By the time we finish getting this stuff ready for Nick, we'd still have about 10 minutes before you have to freak out about the fact that you act just like a couple."

"No we don't."

"Yeah, you do."

"What?"

Jessica shrugs, as she moves to another one of the cabinets, scanning it for anything they can use, "I'm just saying. We all notice things."

"By we all, you mean you and Stacie?"

"By we all, I mean all of us," Jessica clarifies.

This renders Beca speechless for a moment.

When it's clear Beca's trying to close herself up again, Jessica meets her eyes, "You don't have to explain yourself. Whatever's happening between you and Chloe, it seems like it's long overdue."

"Long overdue?"

"You've been tiptoeing around your crush on each other for like a year. I think it makes sense you finally got together—sucks that the world literally had to end for you to realize that."

"We're not together."

"Obviously."

"I mean, fine," she rolls her eyes. "There's been some kissing and hand holding, and we're closer now than ever but we're not together."

"What's stopping you?"

Jessica spits it out so casually that it takes Beca aback. What's stopping you?

"It's just…," she stutters. "I—"

Jessica just looks at her like she's not going to believe whatever the rest of that sentence says.

"It's just not the right time."

Jessica snorts to loud that it almost offends Beca, "The right time?"

"I am so done with this conversation."

"There is no time more perfect than the end of the world to be with the person you love. If you're going to make excuses, at least use one that makes sense."

"I don't want to engage in this conversation, anymore. This," she gestures between them, "is a trap."

Jessica just shrugs as she pulls out a couple of boxes from one of the cabinets under the table, "Whatever you say, Beca. I'm just saying, tomorrow is not certain. I'm not saying it in a poetic kind of way. We're literally at the brink of the end of mankind—it has to mean something, you know."

"What?"

"You and Chloe are lucky enough to still be here together. That's not a coincidence."

Beca opens her mouth to say something but nothing comes out. Something about what Jessica just said tugs at her heartstrings. And before she can stop it, her mouth actually says something true, "I don't know how she feels about me."

"There it is," Jessica stops her current struggle with opening the boxes. "Why don't you just ask her?"

Beca shakes her head laughingly, "What? Do I just walk up to her and ask her Chloe, how do you feel about me? Like that?"

"Why not? Some things are as simple as that."

Ugh. Jessica says all the right things.

"I don't know—what if we're just lonely? What if we're just scared?"

"The way that girl looks at you when she thinks no one is watching, that's not how someone would look at the person they're just lonely-kissing."

"I don't know… I—"

Jessica raises her hands in surrender, "No need to explain, Beca. I'm just telling you that everyone in the room can see how in love you both are with each other. I'd punch you both in the face but I can't swing so…"

Before Jessica gets the chance to finish her sentence, Beca's radio beeps.

Nick's voice files in, "Beca, Jessica. Could you please come here? We have a situation."

Like reflex, Beca grabs her radio and presses the talk button, "Is it Chloe?"

Chloe's voice fills the air, "I'm fine but you have to come here."

Hearing Chloe's voice gives Beca a rush of relief.

"Okay," she says onto the radio. "We're on our way."

Moments Later

Beca and Jessica make their way to the next building as Nick gives them instructions on where to go. Eventually, they find themselves inside the Ammunition Storage Room with Nick and Chloe—and two other people.

"What's happening?" Beca asks, eyeing one of the two women they found inside the building. Both of her wrists are tied to the corner post as she sits on the floor completely defeated. She doesn't look like she has turned but she has bruises all over her body and her face looks like she hasn't slept in days. She looks older than them but not by much.

Nick clears his throat as he turns to the other woman, the one not tied to the corner pole. "Skye, this is Beca and Jessica."

The woman—Skye—is a nice-looking lady. That's the first thing Beca notices. She's probably older than them but only around two to three years. She's dressed in badass clothes, rocking those combat boots like she was born wearing it. Shoulder length hair plus tanned skin? Damn. Beca probably wouldn't mind staring at her had the situations been a little bit nicer.

Nick turns to the pale girl tied to the pole, "And that's Jemma."

"They need our help," Chloe ends the introduction stage.

"How can we help you?" Jessica asks, frantic.

"I don't exactly know," Skye says, tears threatening to fall from her eyes.

The poor, pale girl tied to the pole—Jemma—looks at Skye, tears streaming down her face. "I told you, you should leave without me. It's only a matter time before—"

"No," Skye interrupts her. "I refuse to accept that."

Beca easily notices Jemma's British accent. She's not from around here.

"Is she infected?" Beca asks the obvious question.

"No," Skye replies but Jemma quickly corrects her.

"Not yet," she says. "It's a long story but to put it simply, you're looking at the early symptoms of the disease that ended this world."

"What?"

"I'm Dr. Jemma Simmons, I was part of the team tasked to create a vaccine to cure this disease. I was based in Vermont for a few weeks until—"

"—until she got infected, too."

"I'm not sure I'm following," Chloe mutters, determined to understand the situation.

Jemma clears her throat, "The first case of this disease was recorded in Vermont the morning of August 27."

"That's my birthday—and the day the apocalypse hit," Beca notes.

Jemma nods, "The first case was my colleague, Dr. Lincoln Campbell who was fine a few weeks before that day but days before August 27, he started acting strange. His weight dropped dramatically—and impossibly fast considering a two-day stretch. He was pale beyond belief and that fateful day, he came to work all hungry and just an hour later, he attacked two unsuspecting victims and that's how we all ended up here."

Chloe releases a heavy breath, "So you're saying you can be infected without getting bitten?"

"Yes," she affirms. "Lengthened exposure to the virus may cause you to acquire it through airborne contact. While the virus was designed to be acquired through direct contact with it—vaccination to start with and then human contact to spread it, elevated exposure to the virus may cause you acquire it as well. The body hosts a small amount of it upon indirect transfer—through inhalation for example—but the virus grows through live cells which would eventually turn the host."

"What do you mean designed?" Beca asks. Her heart is beating fast.

Skye speaks up, "The government designed this virus for war."

"Oh my God."

"Like Agent Orange?" Nick probes. He looks scared.

"Exactly like Agent Orange."

"That's fucked up," Nick spats, disgusted.

Chloe turns to Jemma, "So, symptoms will start to show and then eventually, the host will become a zombie?"

Jemma nods sadly.

"What are the symptoms?" Beca asks, dreading the answer.

"It starts with a surge," Jemma starts. "The virus acquired through indirect contact will start merging with the healthy cells causing it to produce massive changes to the body. The surge is a medical term for that stage in a patient's damaged body where they would feel okay. Their body will manifest no signs of damage. As the virus spreads through their body, it will almost seem normal. Then comes the part where they become violent but it is subtle. They start to throw tantrums and they'll always be in a bad mood. Eventually, they start to show bruises. Then they become restless. And then they turn."

"Is there a cure?" Chloe asks, her hands nervously fiddling with the hem of her shirt.

Jemma shakes her head, "We weren't able to finish working on the cure—"

"—but there was another team in Albuquerque who was supposed to back up the study," Skye quickly adds, hope is obvious in her tone.

"So, you want us to take you there?" Beca concludes.

"I can't do this alone," she says, out of breath.

Nick clears his throat, "You said you were based in Vermont? Why are you here in Dallas?"

Skye replies, "Everyone is heading west. The least infected states are Nevada and California. There's rescue there."

"So all we have to do is continue heading west?"

Skye and Jemma nod in sync. "I can help you," Skye pleads. I'm an FBI Special Agent—was. I can be useful."

"We have to take them in," Chloe says softly, her eyes darting amongst her team. "Having Jemma on our team can help us better understand the behavior of the infected."

There are so many bad things that could happen by taking Skye and Jemma in. Who knows if they're telling the truth? Plus, their eam is already big enough. Can the fucking RV fit them all?

But it's her gut feeling, Beca thinks, that makes her nod and say, "Come on, guys. Let's get you to safety."

Skye lets out a sigh of relief, "Thank you."

Chloe walks to Jemma and levels with her, "Do you think you're still on your right mind?"

Skye butts in, "She's the one who insisted I tie her up."

"I feel a bit dizzy but I feel fine. I just asked her tie me up for precautions."

Chloe nods in understanding, "Jemma, I'm going to free you, okay?"

Beca's breath hitches watching Chloe communicate with Jemma. Chloe is gentle and empathetic—and Beca wonders how someone could stay this trusting and soft despite all the bad things that have happened.

But through her utter softness, Beca sees Chloe's bravery as she frees Jemma's wrists.

Chloe meets her eyes, "Once you start feeling different, you tell me."

Jemma nods, "Thank you, Chloe."

Chloe manages a soft smile, "Let's go."

Later That Night

"Are you out of your damn mind?" Stacie exclaims. "We're not a foster home, Beca!"

They're with Jessica inside the Radio Room. It's the only room downstairs. Everyone else is finishing their chores before they call it a day.

"We took in Nick without having this discussion," she fights back defensively.

"Nick didn't have a best friend with him who's about to turn into one of the creatures we're actually running from!"

"Skye could be useful! And so is Jemma!" Beca finds herself defending their new orphans.

"This is a bad idea, Beca," Stacie tells her for probably the hundredth time since they brought Skye and Jemma here.

"I understand that you're concerned for everyone's safety here but damn it, Stacie!" she slams her hand on the nearest table she could reach. Jessica—who's tinkering with the tablet—flinches. "Do you really have the heart to leave them there?"

This renders Stacie speechless.

"I know you're now this tough leader you're pretending to be but Stacie, the reason we have survived this long is because we have each other. We have each other's backs. We are all they have right now!"

"Do you remember our first rule when we started running?" Stacie asks her. She's calmer now but frustration is still obvious in her tone. "Don't be a hero."

Beca meets her eyes, determined to make a point, "Aubrey saved your life. Skye is just trying to do the same for Jemma."

Stacie looks away. Beca knows she hit a nerve.

Jessica clears her throat, "Sorry to interrupt your mini yelling match but I've setup the camera in the basement."

Stacie and Beca move to Jessica's side to see the surveillance on the tablet. For the meantime, while they still have no idea what's going to happen to Jemma, they all agree that she should be kept on the basement.

Chloe insists that unless she starts throwing tantrums, she will not be tied. Locking her up down there is already inhumane enough.

Right now, Chloe is down there with Jemma and Skye. Lilly is just outside the door, ready to shoot if provoked. From the surveillance footage they're watching, everything seems normal. Chloe looks like she's paying close attention to everything Jemma says. Skye is munching on that sandwich they had for dinner.

And by the doorway stands Aubrey, her arms crossed at her chest, watching the three others as if memorizing their movements. Her face is devoid of any emotion.

Once again, that dread crawls up Beca's spine. She watches Aubrey closely.

Aubrey doesn't move for a couple of seconds until she raises her head just a bit, her eyes finding the camera installed in the basement. It's like Aubrey is looking right at her.

And Beca sees that darkness in her eyes again—and for the first real time since the beginning of the end, Beca is afraid of dark.


Thoughts?