A/N: Hey everyone! I'm back already haha.

So I really wanted to do an EB one this time. But Idk why, but I couldn't not do this story next. So of course it's Jared/Melanie and I went back and forth on if I should write it because my idea was inspired by another story but this is much different so I'm going to try anyway. I hope you like it :)

If I fall short, If I break rank

It's a bloodsport

But I understand

I am all yours, I am a man

I'm on all fours, willingly down

Loving you is a bloodsport

Fighting in a love war

It's not what I'm in love for, I know

But I don't know if you can't help it

Baby, I'm just being selfish

- "Bloodsport" by Raleigh Ritchie

Jared's POV

Jamie came barreling into the room so fast, I would have blinked and missed him in the doorway. I laughed at him as he came to sit on the edge of his bed. Jamie looked up at me standing in the corner of the room and said, "What's so funny?"

I smiled. "That run you just did. What was so important you get here so fast?"

"Aunt Maggie saw me," he sat up. "I wasn't in class today and when she saw me, she asked me why I wasn't there. I said I was helping Uncle Jeb out in the fields and ran off."

That just made me laugh harder. "Did you think running was a way to make your aunt less suspicious?"

"I didn't think," he replied. "I just ran."

JI couldn't keep the smile off of his face. I haven't laughed like the way I am in a long time. Not since before Melanie was...taken. But right now, her little brother's escape from his aunt was amusing me much more than it was the kid.

"What if she asks Jeb what he asked you to help with?"

I sat down next to Jamie on the bed. The kid just shrugged. "I was hoping she wouldn't."

"You know your aunt," I nudged him. "She's gonna ask him."

"Maybe he'll cover for me?" he said hopefully to me.

"He might," I nodded. "I'm surprised you didn't say you were helping me get things set for the next raid. Me and Kyle were in the storage hole counting supplies."

"Oh, man!" He hit his leg not too hard. "I would have if I knew that!"

"Don't worry, kid," I ruffled Jamie's hair and patted his head. "Your Uncle would make something up for you."

"I hope so," Jamie mumbled.

"If it makes you feel any better," I started. "I'll go find Jeb. Tell him what you told your aunt, ask if he's been blindsided yet."

"You'd do that?"

"'Course, buddy," I said.

I stood up and walked out the door of the small room. It was bigger than most of them but good for just the two of us. Besides, no one really cared about the size of the room here. As long as they had somewhere to stay and they were still human.

The walk down to Jeb's office made me think of how amused Melanie would be by Jamie running away from their aunt. I got the usual pit in the bottom of my stomach whenever I thought about the girl I love. She would have laughed at her brother and then would have told him to go tell her the truth.

I really missed her.

It's been ten months since Melanie was taken. I remember that night before she left so clearly that it feels like it could have been yesterday. The day I found her letter feels even closer. Every night I relive that moment. Every night I lose her all over again.

I finally reach Jeb's office and it's empty. I sigh and look around. There's only a few people around and then a certain one passes me.

"Ian."

He turns around, surprised to see me. "Jared."

His tone sounds like something is going on. Also that he was trying to not run into me. "What's going on? Where's Jeb?"

"Uh..." he stammers. "Outside."

Outside? "Why would he be outside?"

"He found someone out there," he answers. "Something."

I stiffen. "Was it one of them?"

Ian nods. "I think so. Yeah."

"Just one?" I ask. "Or is there a lot of them?"

"I don't know," he tells me. "Brandt said he saw someone out there when he was on watch and Jeb rushed out to go see who it was."

I nod calmly but my mind isn't anywhere near calm. Ian walks in the direction he was going - to his and Kyle's room and my mind starts thinking. There could be a parasite out there. Coming right to us. There are over thirty humans in the caves. Would we all become one of them?

But then there is a crazy side of me, a hopeful side. What if it's Melanie? What if she escaped the aliens and after hiding out all this time, she was coming back to me and Jamie?

No. That wasn't possible. It's been too long. If she could have gotten back, she would have been here sooner.

Just as I'm shaking my head, I see Jeb walking on my side. I call to him and he stops, frozen. He looks even more surprised than Ian did.

"What can do I do for you, son?" he asks me when I reach him. There's something to his voice, something I can't figure out.

"Jamie wanted to know if you'd cover for him with Maggie about skipping class," I said. "He told her he was with you."

"Okay." His mind was obviously on the thing outside. "Jared, I have something to take care of outside."

"Ian told me," I state. "Need any help?"

"I was actually getting some people rounded up to come with me," he says.

I nod. "Want me come?"

"No, that's all right," Jeb says. "You stay here. Take care of Jamie."

His last sentence sets me into guardian mode. I nod. "Got it."

Jeb nods back and walks off into the direction Ian went into. Maybe his group included Kyle and Ian.

I walked back to me and Jamie's room, shutting the door behind me when I get there.

"Did you find Uncle Jeb?" he asks as soon as the door is shut. I nod. "What did he say?"

"He's gonna cover for you," I tell him. "But right now, there's something else on his mind."

"What?" Jamie asks. "What is it?"

"I'm not sure," I lie. I don't want to tell him a potential threat is outside. Not until I know for sure what it is.

"Oh," his face looks sad. It perks right back up as much as it can since his sister's loss. "But he's still going to cover for me with Aunt Maggie?"

"Yeah, kid," I say. "Don't worry about it."

Not too long later, we hear a commotion outside the room. Jeb must be coming back. I stand up and look at Jamie. "Stay right here, okay?"

"What's going on?" he asks. "Why can't I come?"

"I'm going to find out," I say. "And because I said so. Please, Jamie. Just wait for me here, okay?"

"Okay," he gives in.

I try to give him a reassuring smile then I'm out the door. A bunch of people, almost everyone really, is crowded into the big room we walk into when we come home from raids. Jeb is nowhere to be seen yet but there are shadows walking this way. I can't tell how many but the walls start to echo from their feet on the ground.

Taking a deep breath, I prepare myself. Either our people are coming back or Seekers are coming to take us in. Which that it is isn't clear to me yet but I know which I want.

When they come into view, I sigh in relief. There's not a single face I don't recognize at first. I'm trying to get a better look when one of the faces stuns me in place. I'd recognize her anywhere.

Melanie.

Only she's not. Her eyes...they're ringed in silver now. My heart breaks at the sight. My fists ball up in anger. My breathing stops as I look at her beautiful face, now tainted by the parasites. Her face is dirty and tanned, like she was out there for a while. The top of her head is sweaty and exhausted but she's determinded.

But why?

She spots me in the crowd. Her eyes spark in recognition when she sees me. I bit my tongue to keep from screaming at her, how she's not Melanie and to not look at me that way. But right before I do, someone else walks into the caves.

It's Ian.

And he's pushing a stroller. A stroller that as soon as the sun is off of it, a loud shrieking sound comes from. This stuns me even more. All my thoughts of seeing Melanie's body and those eyes stop.

Melanie's body brought a baby to the caves.

So what do you think? I hope you like that beginning! : )

Oh and if anyone has read my previous Canon fic for Jared/Melanie, the flashbacks I had in that one are current to this one but they will not be included. I'm gonna focus on the baby story and what happened to Melanie/Wanda and Jared during their time apart.

If you haven't read Safe & Sound though, I suggest you do! I really loved writing that one and am actually really proud of it too. But just remember, you don't need it to follow this one. ; ) The scenes on the run of Jelanie are more like a prequel for this but nothing else connects the two so it's entirely up to you!

Sorry I'm so ocd you guys and thanks for reading xoxo