DISCLAIMER: I neither own Glee nor the characters. They are the property of Ryan Murphy and FOX. This is purely for fun. Enjoy!
A/N: Welcome to the epilogue of my zombie!crackfic. I am so happy you decided to stick along for the ride, and I hope you enjoy the final installment.
You're probably wondering what happened to me next, and that brings us back to the beginning of my story. Quarantine is probably the most boring thing I've ever experienced, but it's been keeping me safe since my escape from Lima. I drove away from that town for days and saw nothing but desolation and emptiness from town to town. It wasn't until I had reached the south, I think I was in Arkansas or something, when the military blockade found me and brought me here. I've been in Quarantine for six months and I have no idea what life is like on the outside. What had happened to Lima, my hometown? What had happened to my mother, to Rachel? I might never know. What I do know, is that I survived, and if I ever get out of this sterilized prison, I'll never take anything in my life for granted again.
He closed the nondescript journal where he'd been recording his past experiences in zombie combat, and ran a tired hand over his face in exhaustion. Looking at the white walls that surrounded him in his cell, he got up from his small desk and collapsed onto his even smaller bed, the only pieces of furniture that were provided for him in his "room." A small attached bathroom was the only other thing he could call his, and he closed his eyes against the harsh fluorescent lights, trying to relax into the uncomfortable bedding. There were no windows, and a large, thick steel door that never opened was his only way out. Once a month, he was allowed to request only the most meager of supplies like soap or asprin, and three times a day, someone came by to stick a tray of food through a slot in the wall. He hadn't had a conversation with a living, breathing human being since he'd arrived here.
That was why he'd started keeping the journal. There were a lot of things that he'd needed to get off of his chest, and writing it out had been very therapeutic. If only he had someone to share the story with, but he had to wonder; was there even anyone left in the world to read it?
A few more days passed after Finn had finished recording his tale, and he was starting to feel restless, and claustrophobic in the tight space that he'd been living in for months. He knew that someone delivered him food every five hours on the dot, and even though he didn't have a watch, he stood guard at his cell door with his ear to the wall, listening for anyone to enter the hallway. When he heard the slight pattering of footsteps approaching him from down the hall, he started to bang on the thick steel door, hard.
"Hey! I need to talk to someone in charge around here! You can't keep me here forever!" His fists started to hurt as he kept pounding against the dense metal, the sound echoing off the sterile walls of his room. "Hey! Hello? Hello!" There was no response from the other side and Finn was starting to lose hope as the slot opened and a tray of food was pushed forward without any kind of communication at all. He was never going to get out of here, but did he even want to see what life was like on the outside? Maybe he should start writing "The Life of Finn Hudson: The Early Years" to pass the time.
He stepped away from his door, feeling like he should just stop trying altogether. If they were keeping him here after all this time, things must not be good on the outside. If it took the government six months to fulfill his simple request for a notebook and pencils, then he was going to be stuck here for years, if he could even last that long.
He was about to lay down on his bed and count the tiles on his ceiling for the fourteenth time (he knew that there were 326 of them, but sometimes he counted them in different patterns), when he heard an actual noise coming from outside of his room. He stood up quickly, getting ready to plead his case to whomever was behind that door, even though he had a gut feeling that he would be denied. When the door finally opened, he couldn't hide his shock when he came face to face with someone he thought he might never see again.
"Ms. Sylvester!" She had always been a ruthless, competitive psychopath, but he had never been more relived to see a familiar face in all of his life. He was convinced that she'd been killed in the Lima Zombie battle, but she stood before him with her trademark smirk and her hands resting on her hips.
"Frankenteen." She addressed him in an even tone.
"What are you doing here?" He asked, awestruck. "I thought you died in the attack."
She clucked her tongue, looking at him like she was disappointed. "Was there any evidence? Did you witness the Z-B's sinking their teeth into my tender, tasty human flesh?"
He shook his head. "No."
"See, no proof! Not dead." She looked around his cell and he could tell that something was different about her. Instead of her trademark track suit, Sue stood before Finn in full military gear, with multiple badges and medals accessorizing the chest and shoulders. "I hunted down the zombies and disposed of them, but was unable to rendez-vous with the rest of the group before the chopper arrived. I saw it leave and knew I had to find my own way out, and I succeeded."
"How did you find me?"
"Well, after the initial shock of the outbreak, many places fell into complete chaos. Most of the major cities are still deserted, but the survivors were all able to join together and rebuild in some areas under government protection." Hope began to bubble up in his chest as he imagined Rachel and his friends rebuilding their lives with a fresh start. "I joined forces with my old special-ops team to gather as many survivors together as possible. When I saw your name on the quarantine list here, I had to make sure it was really you: Finn Hudson, the hero of Lima, Ohio. Well, that's what they called you at your funeral." He stood there stunned as he processed this information as Sue threw him a change of clothes.
"Get your stuff together, Hudson. New Lima is ready to welcome you home."
New Lima wasn't exactly what he'd been expecting. It was about fifteen miles southwest of his old town, which was still in the process of being "decontaminated" and rebuilt. New Lima was mostly a glorified trailer park with military protection surrounding it, where single and double wide trailers were all lined up in rows. Clotheslines connected the trailers together to create a small community of survivors who were just trying to get through another day without running water, electricity, or the other luxuries of their old lives. Small markets were set up every few rows, where people could receive government supplied canned goods and jugs of clean water.
It wasn't much, but they were still fighting, and it was enough.
Finn gripped his bag in his hands tightly; the only possessions he had were a change of clothes and his notebook. He was holding onto it, so one day he could share his story with the world and tell people how he'd survived when he knew deep down that he should be dead. Looking out of the tinted windows of the town-car, he could see people peering inside, trying to figure out who it could be. He started to shake his knees in anxiety, needing to get out of the stuffy car and be with his fellow survivors in his new home. Rebuilding from scratch was going to be hard work, but he knew he could handle it. He'd survived a zombie war, after all.
The car stopped in the middle of an open space in the center of the "town" and people started to gather around the car. He tried to see if he could recognize anyone, but most of them were strangers that he didn't know. Sue motioned for him to stay in the car, ("Building up the tension before a surprise like this is great for morale.") and stepped outside, commanding everyone's attention immediately.
"Ladies and Gentleman of New Lima, Ohio, I bring to you on this fine morning some special news." No one spoke as Sue continued, and all he wanted to do was burst through the crowd and find his friends and family before another apocalypse happened. "Thanks to my efforts and influence in our government, I was able to find a son of Lima who had been separated from us for a long time. A hero who sacrificed himself for the survival of others, a hero that New Lima could be proud of. I present to you all, Mr. Finn Hudson."
The crowd gasped in shock as he stepped out of the town-car, his eyes straining against the harsh sunlight that he was not used to seeing. Cries of "Welcome Home!" was all he could hear as people kept shaking his hand and congratulating him, praising him for his sacrifice and survival.
It was then when he saw him. Noah Puckerman was standing on the outskirts of the group holding a jug of military-sterilized water, and staring at Finn like he was seeing a ghost. Feeling relieved that his friends had indeed made it to New Lima alive, he pushed through the crowd of people who were still congratulating him, and walked over to his best friend and eternal wingman. Grabbing the mohawked boy by the shoulders, he gave Puck the manliest hug possible and Puck didn't even protest.
"Holy shit, Hudson, I can't believe you made it out alive." He said, completely in awe while smirking like a fool. "You badass."
Finn shook his head wildly. "No way, man, it was all pure luck. I should be dead right now, no doubt about that." Without another word, Puck started to lead Finn down the narrow paths of trailers that surrounded them both, a determined look on his face.
"Follow me. There are people you need to see."
Puck led Finn around his new neighborhood until they reached the trailer that his mother shared with Burt and Kurt, who was ecstatic to see his step-brother alive. Carole collapsed into her son's embrace during the reunion, and he explained to her what had happened to him after the other kids got rescued. They all listened in awe as he explained quarantine, and how he thought the world had ended while people were actually still fighting for survival. Finn was eternally grateful that he had a home again, and a family that was healthy and safe.
But there was still one promise he had to keep.
"Where's Rachel?" He asked Kurt and Puck after his emotional family reunion and the two boys shared a similar, anxious look.
"She's at her dads' trailer, not too far from here. We'll take you to her, but be ready for her reaction when she sees you."
"What? Why?" Kurt patted Finn on the shoulder lightly, giving him a sympathetic look.
"Let's just say the girls' been wearing black for six months and hasn't sung a note in just as long."
"Are you serious?" He asked incredulously. Rachel was still in that much grief?
"Dude, she totally blames me for it, too!" Puck said in anger. "She refuses to talk to me because I pulled her away from you that night on the roof. She says I should have left her there. Whatever."
Finn nodded his head, determined to make things right. "Let's go, guys. Take me to Rachel's."
They walked the narrow paths through the trailers as the sun started to set on the western horizon. There was a heavily enforced curfew after sunset, but he had no plans to leave Rachel's side now that he knew how much she'd suffered over the past six months. Compared to this place, his cell in quarantine was like staying at the Hilton, and he made a promise to himself that he was going to work as hard as possible to make New Lima into a better community for his friends and family. The rebuilding had just begin.
But first, he had to rebuild his relationship with Rachel, who still thought he was dead. Puck stood with him while Kurt went to go knock on her door. No one answered, but he could hear Rachel yelling from inside.
"Rachel, it's me, Kurt, and Puck is here too." He paused and she still wouldn't answer. "We have something to show you."
"Just go away." She said miserably, and he knew he had to do something to make his presence known, but what?
"Come on, Rachel, I think you're really going to like it." Kurt teased but she wouldn't bite.
"Leave me alone!" She screamed and Finn knew that she was never going to come out unless he made his presence known.
So he stepped closer to her door, took a deep breath and spoke to the girl he'd been dreaming of for months. The girl he thought he would never see or kiss again. "Rachel, it's me. It's Finn."
"Nice try, Puckerman. You're stooping to new lows with this one." She still didn't think it was him! He tried one more time to break through to her.
"Rachel, it's really me. I'm here to keep my promise."
After a few tense seconds, she came bursting out of the door of the trailer, looking around wildly until she spotted Finn standing with Puck a few feet away. She was wearing nothing but black, her hair was a tangled, wild mess, and her eyes were wide and disbelieving when she took in the sight of him.
She had never looked more beautiful.
"Finn?" Her voice was small and she looked at him like she didn't want to believe it; like he was going to disappear at any second. He put on his brightest smile for reassurance.
"Yes, Rachel. It's me. I'm home." Saying it out loud made it feel more real to Finn as he stepped closer to her, taking in her appearance and committing it to memory. She looked a bit pale, and very thin, but now that he was home, he was going to take special care of her until she was back to her old self. She'd obviously been suffering, and he never wanted to see Rachel in this state of duress again.
"But. . . how?" He had never seen her so speechless before! "I was there, Finn. I saw you fall into that group of zombies."
"I know. It was a ridiculously close call, but I found a way out."
She wasn't finished trying to rationalize his sudden appearance. "I tried to call your radio and the line was dead."
"Yeah, I landed on it when I jumped off the roof."
"You jumped off the roof?" Puck asked, and Finn laughed, reaching for his backpack and handing his notebook over to them.
"Read this, it explains everything. Hold onto it and I'll get it back tomorrow." Puck and Kurt took his journal and walked off with it, leaving Finn to have this moment with Rachel alone. He turned back to her, and she was still looking at him like he was a mirage as he reached out for her hand. Their palms touched as their fingers entwined and she finally looked like she believed he was real. Smiling widely, he rubbed his fingers over her tiny hand and tucked her unruly hair behind her ear in a comforting gesture. She leaned into him and closed her eyes, the ghost of a smile gracing her lips.
"You're really here." She said, still in awe. "You made it out alive."
"I told you I wouldn't stop fighting. I had made a promise and I meant to keep it."
"Now?" What were they supposed to do now? They couldn't go to school, or compete for glee club, or run for homecoming court. They couldn't text one another or send facebook messages or skype. They couldn't even go see a movie.
But they could fight, and survive, and use their love to anchor one another in the chaos that had engulfed the world.
He looked at her and smiled as he leaned forward, capturing her lips in a kiss that made him forget about the brutal stench of zombie guts, or the aching solitude of quarantine. He kissed her with the promise of a future, and the desire to rebuild whatever life they could now have in the new world. Her lips lingered on his and all the nightmares of his past were washed away in the flood of love that flowed through him. He was back, he was alive, and he was ready to keep fighting. With one last kiss, a kiss that was filled with promise, hope, and the deepest love, he led her into the safety of her trailer for the night, wondering what will happen tomorrow, and the next day, and the days after that.
"Now, we live, and we never look back."
Salut mes amis!
I hope you enjoyed my zombie!crack fic! See, even during the apocalypse, Finchel gets a happy ending!
Until next time, sings, Don't Stop. . . Reviewing!
Merci Mille Fois!