Beginning Info: In this AU, Jane is a 14 year old who was abandoned by her older sister, and has survived thus far primarily on pure spite to show Jaime that she isn't a liability and can handle herself. The S2 plot here is relatively similar up until what should be the end of EP 3. The big difference that changes up the story is young Jane befriending Clem and Sarah, and going after Sarah with Clem (instead of Luke and Nick going). Further explanations are kind of given in the end notes!
I: Alone Together
It was a good plan, Jane thought to herself and repeated the phrase over in her head. It was a good plan. It was a good plan. But, the execution was just too messy. The plan just fell through the cracks. It all went to hell in a hand basket, unraveled too fast for anyone to save it.
In actuality, Jane wasn't too sure if the entire plan had gone entirely to shit or not. All she knew was that a man had died over it, but that was more than enough for the 14 year old to safely say that it might as well have been entirely a bust. Especially considering that that man was Sarah's father.
"Sarah, fuck, slow down!"
Jane now starts to think of another repetitive phrase. Fuck, Sarah runs fast. And the phrase never really stops replaying in her head.
She and Clem are out of breath as they struggle to keep up with the elder of the three, but neither care about the burning in their lungs at this point. All they care about is trying to get Sarah back before she gets herself killed.
Sarah doesn't wait.
Sarah doesn't stop.
They run for what feels like an eternity, but Sarah soon finds somewhere to stop. A cluster of mobile homes, which Jane doesn't waste her time with checking what the name of it is. The panic driven girl darts straight towards it, but- to Clem and Jane's horror- she stumbles straight into a walker.
"Sarah!" Jane screams despite the ache of her lungs and her best interest. She feels genuine fear in this moment. She can see the outstretch of dead hands ready to tear Sarah apart. She can hear nothing but her blood rushing through her. Jane feels an ancient terror coursing through her veins.
She thinks she knows how this will end.
But, luckily, it doesn't end out that way.
Though it was not her initial intention, the outcry works to their advantage.
The walker looks towards the oncoming pair, and it's distracted just long enough to allow the petrified 15 year old a window of opportunity to get away.
Sarah takes this chance.
She gets up and makes a beeline into one of the houses, shutting the door behind her.
"I'll... go in after her! Get the walker!" Clem breathlessly called behind as she darted in the same direction Sarah had went.
Jane's steps slow to a halt as she approaches the walker that had tried to get its hands on Sarah. There's fury burning in her stomach, but more so there's a dizziness forming that makes her movements less precise.
She fights to breathe, fights to see past her now tunneling vision. She hasn't run like this in ages, and now that she stops it feels like gravity is bearing down on her. She's so used to slowly stalking and hiding herself among the masses of passing walkers.
She does her damndest- though- to fight through the cold, clammy sensation prickling at her face and neck.
Jane hazily takes out her pocket knife. In two quick movements, the walker is on the ground and put down. Good riddance, she thinks to herself, stupid fuck.
The half sense of satisfaction doesn't last longer than a second before a startled cry from inside the cluster fills the air.
Shit, shit, shit.
It sends Jane into a panic again, and her legs quickly find the energy to make their way into the mobile home the other two ran to seek shelter in. With the door closed behind her, she looks around anxiously for the pair.
"Sarah? Clem?" Her voice is kept just above a hoarse whisper.
Clem peaks her head out from one of the rooms down the hall. She looked back into the room, eyes soft with concern.
"Sarah? Hey... Sarah, it's okay, it's just Jane."
Jane quietly made her way towards the room, and the closer she got the more clearer she could hear the quick and wheezy breaths coming from Sarah. A panic attack.
Jane's had them before. Jane's had them plenty of times, actually. She had them more often when she could afford to have them, during a time when someone was actually watching over her and could help her through it- if and when she had one.
Jane makes a pained face as bad memories begin to bubble up in her mind, and she fights to push them back down.
As she came in, however, more of the memories began to push through. Sarah's small form, pressed close to the wall as she shook with her knees held close to herself, is so much like her own.
Jane takes in a deep breath to try to soothe herself, but it doesn't work.
She could almost hear Jaime in that moment, in the back of her head, barking for a petrified Jane to get up.
"Those walkers are coming, Jane, get up!"
Jane could feel her lungs constricting from the run and from the anxiety buzzing in her skull. In her mind she curls further in on herself.
Before she knows it, she's back in the boarded up room that plagued her nightmares, the glass window to it smashed open. The dead clawed at the locked door, groaning and fighting to be let in.
Jane remembers being Sarah.
"Jane," Jaime cries. "-for the love of god, just get the fuck up!"
It's not that Jane doesn't want to get up.
That's not it at all, but she's sure that's how Jaime sees it.
The elder half hangs out of the window like a bird ready to take flight. She wears the yellow leather jacket that Jane had grown to adore seeing on her. Like sunshine. She'd always been envious over how pretty and nice Jaime was, even if she wasn't quite as nice now.
The choppy blonde hair that Jane had cut for her partially covers up her blue eyes, but it does no good in hiding the anguish in them.
"Please," Jaime shakes out. "Don't make me leave you."
Jane wants to go.
Jane wants to leave with Jaime.
But the paralyzingly terror coursing through Jane's veins prevents her from moving. Or even responding.
The door splinters.
"Fine!" Jaime hisses. "Stay there and turn into Walker meal! Be the helpless liability they've always said you were!"
She leans further out.
Jaime looks back.
Her eyes are narrowed at first, but it slowly turns into a more pleading look.
Don't make me leave you.
Jane can't move.
Jane can't breath.
Jane can't tell her to give her a moment.
Jane can't even tell her to wait up for her.
All Jane can do is stare helplessly from her shelter underneath the half collapsed bookshelf.
The door gives out, and breaks open. Jaime makes the decision to jump out of the window by herself, leaving the then 13 year old in the room full of walkers alone.
Jane thinks that she'll die here.
Jane thinks that this is how she'll be remembered by the sister who will survive her.
A scared, petrified, burden.
Someone who needed to be watched out for and taken care of.
A liability to her sister's survival.
Jane thought that she'd die in that room filled with hungry walkers.
Whether out of sheer luck, or something beyond luck, Jane walks out of that room unscathed.
Jane jumps back from the flashback, pale and shaking slightly. She half thinks that she's still in the corridor of the building she and Jaime had taken shelter in way back when, but she's almost pleasantly greeted to the chill of the mobile home.
Seeing that Sarah is still stuck in her catatonia is, however, not pleasant.
"Hey, shit, sorry about that..."
"A-Are you okay?" The 11 year old nervously questioned, eyes wide. "Y-You don't... look too good.."
"Y-Yeah, I'm okay, Clem." Jane took in another deep breath. "I just... zoned out there."
"Do you need to sit down?" Clem looked around. The groaning of walkers outside would draw close occasionally, but would pass by soon after. After a while, Jane was sure that they would all be oblivious to their presence.
Sitting sounded nice, especially after the run. Christ, Jane wasn't actually sure if she could stand up for much longer.
"You still have your hatchet, right?"
Clem nodded and brought it into view.
"Good... alright.." Jane looked back at Sarah. "Let's... let her ride this one out, I think."
"Are you sure?" Clem nervously looked down at Sarah. "What if she doesn't snap out of it? What if she just sits there forever?" Her voice was fearful. Saddened. "I don't want to lose Sarah, Jane."
Jane offers Clementine a gentle expression, one filled with a softer sadness.
"She'll be fine, Clem, I promise." It's strange how they talk about her as though she wasn't in the room. It made Jane feel uneasy, acknowledging that. "Sarah just... She needs time to calm down."
"Oh..." Clem pressed her lips together and nodded.
"We should be somewhat safe if we just keep quiet, okay?" Jane looked over at the windows, quietly going over to shut them with the dark curtains. She quietly made sure to do the same with whichever windows had them. When Jane came back into the room, she closed the door.
Clem nodded, soon seating herself besides Sarah. She gave her enough space to breath though, and didn't touch her as though not to startle her.
Jane watched them, quietly seating herself across from them.
It was quiet for a few moments, save from Sarah's soft and apparent breaths. By now, her head was resting onto her knees. She didn't seem to be fully here yet, though.
Clem looked back at Jane.
"I hope the others are okay." She mused almost absently. Sad and worn out.
"I'm sure they are, Clem." Jane tried to reassure. "They're smart. They'll have made it to the meet up point by now."
Clem nodded softly, though it was still distant.
"Hey... are you doing okay, Clem?" Jane asked softly.
"I-I'm just... tired." The younger admitted. "Really tired. The last few days have been... a lot, I guess."
"I know." Jane watched as Clem laid back against the wall and tiredly shut her eyes. "Try to relax for now, okay? But... try not to fall asleep."
"I won't.." Clem's half shut eyes and nodding head betrayed her words.
"But.. I won't be mad if you doze off." It wasn't wise to fall asleep in this place, but Jane could see that she was having a hard time just trying to stay awake. She couldn't penalize the child for falling asleep after a night like that and then running through the woods with Sarah.
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure, Clem. I'll keep watch, alright?"
"O-Okay... if anything happens-"
"I'll wake you up." Jane gave her a reassuring smile. "Just relax."
Clem smiled back at her, letting herself relax into the wall behind her. With one last look at Sarah, she closed her eyes and started to doze off.
The room was quiet then. It was the first moment of peace Jane had seen in weeks, and she's almost scared to wonder how long it's been since Sarah and Clementine had gotten one either.
In the quiet, Jane feels herself soon tug down into the floor. She's tired, too, she finds. She's exhausted beyond belief, and sitting here reminds her how bad her bones and muscles ache.
She craves sleep bad.
And, for a moment, she half thinks that she might receive it.
But life isn't as kind as that.
The front door creaks open, and a heavy foot steps into the mobile home.
They're not alone.
First off, Thank you for reading!
I'm gonna explain the main two reasons behind having Clem and young Jane go after Sarah instead of Luke and Nick.
Luke, in EP 4, handled the Sarah situation... pretty badly in my opinion. Yes, there was good reason to his behavior there, but how he dealt with Sarah's situation was really poor. So, I figured, what would've happened if Sarah hadn't been yelled at and allowed to peacefully work through her panic attack?
Also, another reason why I went this route, Nick would be alive here! He'll play a big role soon in the story as well.
Well, that's it for the end notes! Again, thank you for reading!