Okay, here it is! The final chapter of the story that took me ages to complete...and it's only 18 fucking chapters! Jeez, I blame my writer's block for this one. But this is where everything ends and it's not the greatest way to end it in my opinion. But hey, gimme a break. I wanna finish the story already so it's good enough in my book ^_^
And for the record, I do now own Digimon or Left4Dead, and the title for this chapter sucks!
By the way, I made a mistake in the story. In chapter 3, Tommy told everyone that his boss/co-worker Eric was ripped to pieces by the infected. I'm not gonna lie...I completely forgot about that. In chapter 16, I made it so that Tommy was the one who killed Eric by beating him to death. So I will take full responsibility for that fuck-up. But I guess I can somewhat fix it by making Tommy purposely lie and say that Eric was killed by the infected, rather than himself. Let's just say that he was ashamed to admit what he had done and lied about it. Okay, I just wanted clear things up and let everyone know that I don't have a problem telling everyone how I screwed things up. Anyway, enough of my ranting, I hope you like this chapter.
Chapter 18: Leaving the Past Behind
Kouji and Tommy both looked over at the blond in surprise, unsure if they had heard right.
"Wait...did you say that you were bitten?" Tommy asked, his eyes wide.
Zoe nodded weakly, feeling her skin growing cold. She began to shiver a bit, and Takuya quickly covered her with his jacket.
"This can't be happening..." he muttered in dismay.
The other four passengers on the boat, including the driver, surrounded the group. They exchanged worried glances, unsure of how to handle the situation. The driver was a man with dirty blond hair and brown eyes, his jaw darkened with a five o'clock shadow. He had on dark blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and a blood-stained brown jacket. Clutched in his hands was a shotgun.
Accompanying him were another man and two women. The second man had spiky dyed black hair and was wearing silver contacts in his eyes to conceal their true color. He was wearing black bondage pants with several chains hanging down the legs, a long-sleeved black shirt with a silver skull on it, black wristbands, and a pair of boots with six buckles on each of them. He was holding onto a machine gun.
The first girl had shoulder-length brown hair, green eyes and was wearing tan pants, a light blue halter top, white sneakers, and a black jacket. Her weapons of choice were twin pistols, resembling the same ones that Zoe had used.
The final member of the new group was a young woman with waist-length black hair and pale blue eyes. She was wearing a white sleeveless turtleneck shirt, a short black skirt, and black ankle boots with a knife strapped to one of them. She was holding onto a hunting rifle.
"How long ago was she bitten?" the driver asked. "By the way, my name is Jirou. And sorry I couldn't get the boat to you a bit faster..."
"Only a few minutes before we got onto the boat," Takuya replied dully.
Everyone mumbled their names to each other, though their attention was focused on the bitten blond. Even Kouji had stopped crying long enough to stare at the bloody bite wound on her.
"What should we do?" he asked Takuya. "I mean...she's gonna turn into one of them..."
"I...I don't know." The brunette stared down at Zoe, feeling his stomach twisting into a knot.
Barely awake, Zoe let out a humorless laugh. "I know what to do."
The raven-haired girl, Kiyoko, gazed at her in worry. "You're not thinking what I'm thinking, are you?"
"She might not have a choice," Tetsuji, the guy wearing all black, responded. "I mean, I would suggest the same thing."
"What are you talking about?" Takuya angrily demanded.
Tommy sighed. "Takuya...I think you know."
"No! I don't know!" he snarled. "So why don't you fucking enlighten me?"
"She wants to be killed," Kouji told him, refraining from calling him an 'idiot'. "She already made it perfectly clear that she didn't want to become one of the infected."
Takuya shook his head vehemently. "Fuck that. I'm not going to kill Zoe. Besides, we're immune to this fucking pandemic."
"What else can we do?" Kouji rolled his eyes. "We might've been immune to the airborne disease, but none of us have ever been bitten before. I wouldn't doubt that we could become infected that way."
"I'm not going to kill Zoe," the soldier repeated. "And I'm not letting any of you do it either."
Zoe groaned, painfully sitting up. "I don't want to become one of them, Takuya. If you don't put me out of my misery, I'll only turn into one of those fuckers and attack you. Either way, you'll have to shoot me. So do it now before I turn."
"Dammit, Takuya! I know that you don't want us to do it," Kouji snapped. "I don't want to do it either. We went through this fucking apocalypse together and it sucks losing Zoe like this. But what choice do we have?"
Unbeknownst to them, Jirou was quietly talking to Mayu, the brown-haired girl. Mayu seemed to be nodding thoughtfully, though her face was furrowed into a frown.
"I don't know, Jirou...what if it doesn't work?" she asked.
"We won't know until we try it," he replied.
Hearing their conversation, Takuya directed his attention to them. "Try what?"
"Well...a little while ago, we came across a research center," Jirou explained. "Just before we escaped in this boat, we came went through the building in hopes of finding ammunition."
"Are you referring to what we found in that room with the Witch?" Tetsuji asked.
Mayu nodded. "Yeah, when we found that briefcase filled with those viles."
"Mayu, we don't exactly know what's in those." Kiyoko rubbed her tired eyes. "Sure, they're labeled, but how do we know that they'll truly work?"
"What the hell are guys talking about?" Takuya asked, annoyed that they weren't getting to the point.
Jirou zipped up his jacket, grateful that the boat had an 'auto-pilot' setting. "We might've found an antidote to the pandemic."
Zoe laid back down on the ground, a pained moan coming from her. "I doubt it...you probably found something else..."
"Use it on Zoe," Takuya suddenly demanded. "I'm not about to kill her, so inject her with it."
"Takuya, they don't know if it really is an antidote," Tommy pointed out.
Kouji wiped a few tears off his face. "And I'm pretty sure that Zoe doesn't want to be a fucking guinea pig in this."
"I don't care," the blond dully stated. "If it doesn't work or backfires, just fucking shoot me..."
"Jirou, are you sure about this?" Kiyoko asked. "I don't know if we should do this..."
The blond man sighed. "I'm not completely sure either. But if there's any chance of helping her, I'm willing to try it out. She even agreed to test it out. And if any of us are bitten in the future, we might have a chance."
"I don't know if she's exactly in her right mind," Tetsuji said dryly as he cocked an eyebrow. "But hey, if she's willing, then give it a fucking shot."
"I'll go get the briefcase." Mayu hurried inside the single cabin on the boat.
Takuya gathered Zoe into his arms, a somewhat vacant look on his face. "This will work...I know it will..."
Tommy and Kouji exchanged nervous glances, unsure of Takuya's sanity. However, they were willing to try anything if it meant that Zoe would be spared of the infection. Kiyoko grabbed a first-aid kit and began to wash Zoe's bite wound, wiping away the blood and saliva on her neck. She covered it with a gauze pad and taped it down just as Mayu returned with the briefcase.
"We have to do this right now if we hope to help Zoe," Jirou told everyone. "We don't know much about the serum, but I saw some papers saying that how much to give the victim. The only problem is that according to the research, it must be injected within thirty minutes of being infected. If it's any later, the chances of it working will quickly decrease and is at risk of losing all potency."
"Alright, let me get this ready..." Mayu opened the case to reveal twenty small viles and five syringes.
Kouji shuddered slightly as he saw the needle, not wanting to relive the time when Tommy had stitched him up. His reopened wound had since stopped bleeding for the most part, much to his relief. He did not want to be sewn up a second time.
Takuya pulled his jacket off of Zoe and removed hers as well, exposing her forearm. Filling the syringe with one full vile of serum, Mayu then brought it up to a vein in Zoe's arm. She injected the antidote, emptying the entire syringe into the blond. A moment later she extracted the needle and put a tiny guaze pad on Zoe's arm to cover up the tiny puncture.
"Well, now all we gotta do is hope that it works," Kiyoko said in a low voice as she tugged her skirt down a bit. "And pray that there are no weird side-effects."
"Whatever, I don't care about being a test subject at this fucking point in time," Zoe replied with a smirk. "If anything goes wrong, just put a bullet in my friggen head."
"Would you stop talking like that?" Takuya snapped.
Tommy grunted in pain as he tried to straighten the broken bone in his leg. "She's a bit delerious from the shock of the bite. Don't go too hard on her."
Jirou crouched down in front of Tommy. "What the hell happened to you, kid?"
"A Hunter broke my leg." The brunette hissed in pain. "The bone is almost poking through my fucking skin..."
"For now I can put your leg in a splint," Mayu told him. "But as soon as we get to our last destination, you'll be provided with better medical attention."
"And where the fuck are we going anyway?" Kouji asked, seeming to be in a daze. "East Who Gives A Fuck?"
Tetsuji chuckled. "Nah, we already went there. This fucking lake is going to lead us to another area where a plane is waiting for us. The pilot will bring us to another designated area."
"And who's the pilot? Some infected douchebag?" the bandana-wearing man asked. "Our last pilot turned into one of them mid-flight. Worse helicopter ride in my life..."
Mayu's eyes widened. "Oh my god, are you serious? What happened?"
"My brother threw him out of the helicopter before he could kill us." Kouji's voice cracked and he rose to his feet. "I'll be over there if you need me..."
With that, he made his way to the back of the yacht, remaining silent as they continued to glide over the water. Takuya was about to join him when he was stopped by Jirou.
"I think your friend needs to be alone right now," he said softly. "I lost my brother and sister, so I know what he's going through. Just give him some time alone."
Takuya sighed and nodded, then turned his attention back to Zoe. "How are you feeling?"
"No different." She had his jacket draped over herself once again. "But I don't expect to feel any different for a little while."
Kiyoko checked the ammunition in her rifle. "I'm not usually the optimistic type, but I think that the antidote will work. Either that or I can't stand the thought of being disappointed again."
"Well, now that we met up with you guys, things are looking a bit brighter," Mayu chimed in. "And there will be more survivors with that plane. We should be there within an hour."
"How many people are there?" Takuya asked, smirking slightly as Zoe rested her head on his lap.
"You're going to be my pillow so don't complain," she quipped, slowly closing her eyes. "I'm gonna take a nap. If I wake up as a zombie, toss me overboard if you feel too guilty about shooting me. I doubt that the infected are very good swimmers..."
Jirou thought for a moment. "I know that there are at least four of them...but there could be as many as ten."
"Where's the plane taking us?" Tommy winced as Mayu tried to straighten his leg to place it in the splint. "Aahh...dammit..."
"Sorry," Mayu mumbled apologetically. "I'm not a doctor or nurse by any means, but I can at least put this stupid splint on you."
Tetsuji played with one of the chains on his leg. "Hawaii."
"No, seriously. Where are we going?" Takuya asked as Zoe began to fall asleep.
"We actually are going to Hawaii," Jirou told him. "It's one of the few places that we heard of not having the pandemic. Almost every place on this damn planet has broken out with this virus. Europe, China, America, Russia, you name it. Hawaii has had no reports of the disease so far, so it's our best bet right now."
Takuya thought for a moment, then nodded briefly. "Yeah, we don't have many options anymore. The world has turned into a zombie apocalypse."
"They're not zombies," Kouji scoffed from the other end of the boat. "That's what you're always telling me."
"Yeah, I know," Takuya grumbled. "Be quiet..."
Kouji grabbed the railing as the boat was bumped over a wave. "Ugh, I hate boats..."
Tommy's leg had finally been fitted with the splint, which relieved the pressure from his broken bone. He absently swallowed the pills Jirou handed him, swallowing them dry. Although there were no drastic signs of improvement on Zoe's part, Takuya thought he could see her complexion gradually getting back to normal. The blond was still pale, but it seemed not to be as bad as before. From the corner of his eye, he could see Kouji's upper body draped over the railing. Whether it was from sea-sickness or the mourning of Kouichi, Takuya didn't know. Perhaps it was both.
Takuya felt a pang of loss over Kouichi as well, though it was nowhere near the extent of Kouji's. The soldier had been distrustful of the Hunter, going so far as threatening to shoot Kouichi if he acted out of line. Yet without him, there was a definite possibility that they never would've gotten as far as they did.
"He'll be okay," Kiyoko said softly after a moment. "Not for awhile...but someday."
"Yeah, someday..." Takuya gazed into the horizon. "Maybe someday this pandemic will be eliminated or under control. Maybe someday we'll all be infected as well. There's no telling what might happen 'someday'."
Jirou picked up the radio, signalling someone on the other end. "Hello? Is anyone there?"
After a bit of static, the sound of a man's voice was heard on the other line. "Hello? Jirou?"
"Hisashi? It's me. Is the coast still clear?" Jirou asked.
"Yep, no sign of any of those bastards. You almost there yet?"
"We should be there within an hour. I've got this stupid boat on 'auto-pilot', but it's still just as slow as doing it manually," Jirou replied.
Hisashi snorted. "A yacht on auto-pilot? What the fuck? Well, just get here as soon as you can, okay? Bye."
"Bye." The blond man moved away from the radio. "The others are waiting for us on the other side of the lake. So far they haven't seen any of the infected lurking around. But either way, we want to get there as soon as possible."
The minutes seemed to drag by as almost everyone remained silent. Kouji had since sank back down in his depression, his once vibrant eyes now a dull color. By the sickly palor of his complexion, he looked worse than Zoe. Tetsuji had gone over to him and offered him a beer, which Kouji took while mumbling a 'thanks'. Although they had slept earlier, Tommy had begun to doze off again, the effect of the pain pills putting him into an exhausted stupor.
The boat finally pulled up to the shore, where a plane could be seen in the distance. Takuya carried a sleeping Zoe off the yacht, while Jirou and Tetsuji assisted Tommy due to his broken leg. Kiyoko and Mayu gently chided Kouji into getting off the boat and walking towards the plane. The long-haired twin nodded solemnly, his face suggesting that he no longer cared whether or not he boarded the aircraft.
Waiting by the plane were seven more survivors, one of them looking as though he were a doctor due to his white coat. He immediately eyed Tommy's splint and seemed to be thinking about how he could fix the brunette's broken leg. After exchanging a few brief handshakes and introductions, everyone decided to get on the plane before any of the infected showed up. The man named Hisashi was in charge of flying the aircraft, though Jirou had taken the liberty of appointing himself as co-pilot should Hisashi grow tired. Tommy sat with Kouji and Takuya, who placed Zoe in his lap rather than sitting her down in her own seat.
As they flew away from the pandemic-ridden area, Tommy glanced at the Takuya. "What are you thinking? Do you believe that this is finally our way out?"
Takuya thought for a moment. "I want to believe that it is...but we won't be sure until we get there."
"Unless this plane fucking crashes and we all die," Kouji muttered. "I'm kind of hoping for a demise myself..."
"No, I have a feeling that we'll make it there just fine," the brunette stated. "And it's all thanks to Kouichi. You know that he did what he thought was right."
"Yeah, at the expense of his life," the raven-haired man shot back. "I feel really great about the fact that I lived while my brother died. Fuck, he died two times if you really think about it. I lost him the first time before he was infected and thought he was dead. And then he showed up out of the fucking blue as a damn Hunter, only to be killed."
Takuya stared at him for a moment, shifting Zoe in his arms. "Well think about this; would you have done the same for Kouichi?"
"What kind of question is that?" Kouji snapped. "Of course I would've."
"Would you have regretted your decision in doing so, even if you knew how upset it would make him?" he asked.
Realizing what Takuya was getting at, Kouji let out an anguished groan. "I would've given my life for him...no regrets..."
"And I'm sure that's how he felt," Tommy added. "Don't throw away his sacrifice by wishing you were dead. Keep moving for Kouichi's sake, okay?"
Tears clouded Kouji's eyes and he dropped his gaze to his lap, unable to look at his friends anymore. He knew that they were right, though it would still be a long and difficult recovery for him to get over his twin's death.
As the hours ticked by, Takuya felt a stirring in his arms. He half-expected to look down and see Zoe in a zombie-like infected state, despite his own rejections of such an idea. Yet to his relief, she looked healthy except for the slightly pale skin.
"Hey," she said, flashing him a smile. "Are we there yet?"
Takuya returned her smile and kissed her forehead. "Not yet. Too bad there's no in-flight movie to pass the time."
Half of the passengers on the plane had dozed off, including Tommy and Kouji. Fighting an apocalyptic battle against infected humans was no easy task, and it would take more than just a few naps for them to feel completely normal once again.
"I can think of something that's a bit better than a movie." Zoe leaned up and pressed her lips up against Takuya's.
Takuya kissed her back passionately, his fingers entwining with her silky locks. His tongue gently invaded her mouth, which Zoe welcomed happily. Their kiss grew longer and harder, both of their breathing becoming a bit more shallow as the seconds ticked by.
"Get a room," Tetsuji teased as he walked by. "Then again, you two can provide the entertainment for the lack of an in-flight movie..."
Finally pulling away, Takuya smirked at the blond. "Careful, you might give me the pandemic."
Zoe shrugged. "If I get infected, I'm taking you down with me."
"Fair enough," he replied nonchalantly.
"So...do you think we're getting out of this hell...or just beginning it?" she asked after a long pause.
"Like I said to Tommy, we won't know until we get there. But...I think that this is our ticket out of our fucking misery," the soldier said as he gazed out the window for a moment. "And if not, we'll keep fighting until we've run out of strength...or bullets for that matter."
Zoe stared out the window as well, her head resting against his shoulder. "I think that we're going to make it. You can finally contact your family and hopefully be reunited with them soon."
"Maybe...Tommy can try to contact his brother as well. I'm not sure about Kouji's parents." Takuya rested his cheek against her forehead. "You lost yours...but at least you still have us."
"Speaking of which, I want you to have something." Wincing from her bite wound, she carefully unclasped her necklace.
Takuya raised an eyebrow in confusion. "What are you doing?"
"I want to give this to you," she told him as if it were obvious. "Just in case something does happen to me, you'll have this to remind you of me. That way you can never forget how much I annoyed you...or vice versa."
"Y-You're not turning into one of those bastards, are you?" Takuya couldn't hide the panic in his voice.
Zoe shook her head. "Nah, I doubt that I will. But I'm just saying that if something does happen to me, I want you to have my necklace."
The brunette eyed the piece of jewelry, then stuffed it into one of his pockets. "I'll hang onto it. Well, unless a zombie tries to pick-pocket me, in which case he'll get his fucking head blown off."
"Good, I'll kick your ass if you lose it. Or try to eat your brain."
The plane continued to fly through the clouds, heading towards their desired destination. No one was sure how the outcome would be of their horrifying nightmare. Things didn't always turn out the way people anticipated them, after all. Yet with the bright sun shining at them in the distance, everyone was optimistic for their awaiting future.
And that concludes the story that I started in February! That is now my new record for completing a goddamn fic, but hey, I finished it! I honestly think that the ending was stupid, corny, and flat-out horrible. But I couldn't think of how else to really end it. However, let's just say that things are looking good for the Survivors. And if all else fails, Kouji can hook up with a Witch to help him get over Kouichi's death.
Kouji: Hey! I don't wanna hook up with a Witch just to get my mind off Kouichi! What kind of brother would I be if I did that?
Witch: *wanders over* I'm gonna go cry like an emo in the corner of that building...wanna join? Or are you too bent up over your brother's demise?
Kouji: Brother? What brother? Count me in on the crying like an emo! *joins her*
Now I can move on and continue working on "Deranged Crack Tales", my urban legend one-shot, "Tormented Soul", and another multi-chapter story that will be out within two weeks most likely.