A/N: This is an OC fic for my TWD OCs, Ali and Logan. I have vidded for them in collabs but this is my first time writing for them! Special thanks to my friend Kat (littletonpace) for helping me so much with these characters and for proof-reading my fic!
He's been walking for hours now. As he battles to put one foot in front of the other, he feels every ache, every throbbing pain in his bones. Like his muscles are made of rotting wood and he's gradually eroding to nothing.
There's less of those...things out here. It's almost peaceful, like the countryside is meant to be. But every now and then he spots the city in the distance. Burning. And his heart starts doing that thing when it feels like someone's trying to drag it out of his chest.
The flames are still visible where the city was bombed days before. He still doesn't know what happened, or why. Did the government plan this? To quell whatever disease was spreading through the nation and making people sick? Making people into...well, monsters?
His body goes cold as he watches the black smoke rise, the buildings crumbling, the sound of the glass windows still exploding as the heat gets to them.
He left his sister in that place.
He can still see her face. Round and freckly, smiling, those brown curls dancing round her head every time her head moved. She's still a little girl to him. Was.
That's how he thinks of her. Not that sickly, pale girl he saw dying in that hospital bed. The first time he'd seen her in years.
He abandoned her, just like he did years ago.
He deserves to be alone.
She died in that city. She had survived a lot of things in her short life. But not this – not whatever was infecting everyone and spreading like a plague, taking away everything that made you human.
He wouldn't be able to stand seeing Ali like that.
As he drags his feet through the dirt, blisters rubbing against his scuffed shoes, he hears water running. A stream. Perfect. He's gotten used to using his senses more these days. When things are hunting you, you pick up things you didn't think you'd ever need. Like a heightened sense of hearing, or smell. And taste too, or that could just be because everything tastes so much better when you're starving.
He kneels by the running water and drinks, hoping it will give him back the energy he's losing. Every day he grows weaker. He can't help but think things would be easier with Ali by his side, telling him to buck up and get a grip. To keep going no matter how shitty things get.
He savours the cool water sliding down his throat, the droplets soothing his skin as he splashes the moisture to his face. Small things like this mean so much more now. A simple drink of water...it was becoming the difference between life and death.
How long can he survive like this? He escaped the city with barely anything. He'd managed to steal a thing or two from the abandoned cars just outside the city but most people took what they could when they fled, before the bombs fell. Logan doesn't know where they went. He just ran and kept on running until he was far enough away that he could convince himself it wasn't happening, that it was just a terrible dream or something. But then nobody came to rescue him, and the hunger kicked in, and he heard Ali in his head telling him to quit being such a cry baby and to get out there and do something. So he tried.
But, realistically, he doesn't know how much longer he can live like this.
He feels like gravity is pushing him down, making his arms and legs heavy, like the earth is pulling him closer to it, further into this mad spiral of hopelessness. His stomach mumbles for sustenance.
What can he do? He can't hunt, he can't go back to the city.
I'm screwed, he thinks.
He'll die soon. But he'd rather die of starvation than get infected. Than turn into a monster. What a shitty way to die...what a terrible way to die...
I'm sorry, Ali.
There's a twisting feeling in his gut and he's not hungry anymore.
Instead, he scrambles across the rocks and spits yellow bile onto the ground, his stomach empty and yet still contracting, squeezing out every last drop. He shakes all over.
He wipes his mouth and blinks moisture from his pale blue eyes. The sun is setting, an orange hue spread across the skies. It gives him a headache.
He takes off his shoes, removes his jacket and uses it as a pillow. And he tries to sleep.
He wishes he could just keep dreaming. Dream of his sister and what things would have been like if they'd been together these past few years.
He does dream of her. He's young and full of rage. The cab's waiting for him outside. Ali's still in bed. He thinks she's asleep. He shoves his bag in the back and goes to grab the door handle when it hits him. Is this the right thing to do?
It's all mixing around his brain like a blender, the emotions of that day. The screams of his father, the absence of his mother, the disappointment of his sister. He felt trapped here, like he'd been kept in a little box and shaken about like a magic 8 ball. What future do I have here?
And he knows he's dreaming, and he has the urge to scream at himself. Stay. But, even now, having lost everyone close to him, having lost those five years with them, he still can't bring himself to.
So he opens the door and he gets in the cab and Ali's sitting there in the driver's seat, and she turns around and grabs his arm and tells him:
"Don't give up."
That's when he starts hearing voices.
Ali starts to fade away, along with the cab, and the house, and that entire reality. He returns to darkness.
"He's breathin'," says another voice. Male.
"He been bit?" a different man asks.
"Don't see any bites."
He opens his eyes and the sudden brightness hurts. It's like thousands of tiny fireflies are buzzing around his pupils. But then the people come in to focus. A woman, two men, standing over him. One of the guys has a gun and Logan sits up suddenly, his head pounding from the sudden movement. The other guy has a crossbow. Shit. No one had ever pointed a weapon at him before. Were they going to shoot him? Rob him? Both?
The thought suddenly seemed ludicrous. Rob him? Rob him for what? He had nothing of use to them. Either way, he was going to die. Whether it was now, or a week from now. Something would get him.
The woman squints at him. She's a blonde, her hair pulled back tightly in to a ponytail, but Logan doesn't notice much else. He's too distracted by the gun and crossbow and the fact that he is in their current line of fire.
"You look like crap," the woman comments. "What happened to you?"
Logan blinks. If they were going to kill him, why didn't they just do it? For the first time he looks at the woman properly. A pretty, thirty-something with striking blue eyes like his. He can't think of a better answer other than: "Same thing that happened to you, I guess."
The man, the one with the gun, holds out his hand to him. Logan hesitates, then takes it. He's pulled to his feet.
"How long you been out here?"
"Since the bombs," he answers.
"We have a group," the woman tells him. "We have food."
The tension gradually passes. The woman seems guarded, but kind. Like she genuinely wants to help him. He didn't realise that sort of kindness still existed, that a complete stranger would be willing to offer him help in a world where there seemed to be nothing left. He'd been raised to have faith and to believe in goodness and kindness, but he had lost that kind of hope in people long ago. Perhaps he had been wrong.
"What's your name?" the man with the gun asks him.
He tells him "Logan."
"Can we trust you, Logan?"
"Looks pretty harmless to me," scoffs crossbow guy.
"Can we trust you, Logan?" the first guy repeats.
"Yes," Logan answers, not sure what else to say.
"If that turns out to be a lie, I'll shoot you in the foot."
"Quit being over-dramatic, Shane," says the woman, rolling her eyes. "He could be useful. We all play our part."
"Yeah, useful as bait," mumbles Crossbow.
Logan gets it. He's not a very threatening-looking guy. Small, skinny, with those baby blues, freckles and a bone structure that probably makes him look too pretty to be tough. But he's a willing learner. "I just need some place to go. I won't be any trouble. I'm willing to earn my place."
Shane steps closer and stares at him for a moment. "Fine. You know how to shoot?"
"Know how to hunt?"
Shane raises an eyebrow. "You at least run fast?"
Logan stares at him blankly. Then Shane cracks a smile.
"Well, guess you can always wash clothes with the women."
Behind him, the blonde breathes an irritated sigh. Then she looks at Logan.
"If you're coming, let's go."
They start to turn but Logan hesitates. He looks towards his tatty boots, neatly arranged side by side. "My shoes."
"You take off your shoes to sleep? Outside?" she asks incredulously.
Logan shrugs. He never realised but it had become a ritual. A sort of comfort. She laughs at him.
Then he finds out her name.