Title: Every Kid For Himself

Character: Sam Temple.

Notes: This is set Post-Plague and Pre-Fear. It contains major storires for Plague for those of you who haven't read it yet, that will most likely have you hurtling your computer across the room halfway through. This is a one-shot, my first Gone fanfic, and I hope you enjoy!

Sam should've been pissed. And trust him; he was.

His world was falling apart; literately. Dekka had fallen asleep, and unconsciously landed a fair amount of rubble onto him. Astrid had abandoned him. Little Pete was dead. Taylor had bounced to Caine's side. Caine had a "side" now. He had kids constantly asking about Nutella. Dekka had lost her will and fight. And Sam?

Sam didn't know what in this hell to do.

"Sam? The kids want coke." "Sam? Are we there yet, Sam?" "Sam? The kids want Nutella." "Sam? We need Lana, John's been bitten." "Sam? We lost three more."

Sam this and Sam that. Sam didn't even know what Sam's thoughts were anymore. They had lost about ten kids to Caine's side already, at Perdido Beach. Things, normal things for now, were biting the kids. And they hadn't even made it to the lake yet.

"Sam?" He was about ready to explode at this point when he turned around to face the intruder of his thoughts. "You okay?"

And what could he say to that? That no, he was in fact not okay. His brain and his heart and his stomach were tearing themselves apart at the seams. But other that those little things picking at his mind, he was completely fine. He was walkin' on sunshine.

"Leave me alone, Dekka." It wasn't enough, though. The stubborn black girl sat next to him, looking out at the complaining kids. They were always complaining; always.

"Fat chance, Sammy. I have a reputation to keep," Dekka replied, and Sam almost saw a hint of her old self seemed to peek through the frail and broken exterior.

"Dekka," Sam warned, moving slightly away from her. He loved the girl like he loved Nutella, but at the moment, both were annoying him.

"Cheer up. We have a lake to look forward to! A whole pitiful future that may only last a week water skiing! You'll be in your element, Sam." The bitterness and sarcasm was so easy to hear in Dekka's voice that Sam winced slightly at her words.

"What am I supposed to do, Dekka? Tell you that it's all going to be okay; that the Nutella and soda, if and when we ever get to it, will never run out? Tell you that the lake won't dry and the water will be endless; that the FAYZ wall will come down and that we can be heroes? Do you want me to tell you that Brianna will love you?" Sam was shouting now, getting to his feet.

"Do you want me to tell you those things, Dekka? 'Cause you're not the only one!"

"Well done, Sam. Way to break a girl's heart. But I guess you're quite the expert on that front, right?" Dekka hissed at him. Sam had forgotten that his friend had quite a mouth on her if you gave her the opportunity, which Sam rarely did.

"And I guess you're the expert of not being wanted. But that's a rubbish comeback, isn't it? It doesn't matter if it's true or not. You can keep dreaming Dekka, but Brianna's never going to love you. She likes Jack! Remember him?"

"And Astrid's never going to come back!" The words are ice against Sam's fiery rage. He doesn't need to hear this. He's heard it all before.

What made Astrid Ellison leave, Mr Temple? Was she not in your care, wasn't she your responsibility?

No. She wasn't his responsibility. Not her, or Little Pete, or Edilio, or the sick kids, or the dead kids.

Did you not care about the children dying, Mr Temple? Did helpless, confused and sick toddlers mean nothing to you? Do you have any more rights to live than them, Mr Temple?

Yes. They should've learnt to defend themselves, help themselves, like everybody else had. It was every man for himself, in the FAYZ. Sam only realised that now. It was a dog eat dog world, this bubble. Sam should've been looking out for Sam, not everybody else.

What about Hunter, Mr Temple? And Roscoe? Did you have more rights to survive than them? Couldn't you have done anything else to help them rather than burn them alive or lock them in their own house and throw away the key?

"Sam?" The voice is gentler now, but the court room ignores the witness, begging at the stands quietly. The jury dismiss the worried black girl with a wave of their wrinkled hands.

Do you plead guilty or not guilty of man-slaughter, Mr Temple?

"Sam!" Dekka is begging now, and Dekka never begs. Sam knows that this isn't right; the judge waits for an answer that will change whatever life he has left, in his mind. He should be with the kids, with the Nutella and soda, with broken hearted Dekka and strong Computer Jack and lovesick healer Lana and speedy, confused Brianna and Astrid...

He should... he should... Sam should be at home.

Sam should... Sam should... Sam should plead guilty.

"Sam, snap out of it!" This is a new witness, a new member of the court. Brianna has sped through the double doors and is staring at Sam. She looks worried. Brianna should look confident, not worried. She stands next to Jack, Computer Jack.

"What's wrong with him?" These voices are bodiless, floating about his mind like wisps of smoke curling around his head. "Is he okay?"

"Sam, we need you, okay? Whatever I said before, I didn't mean it. We need you, Sam; Albert is wrong. You're a leader, and you get things done. We can't do this alone. We're kids, Sam. We need to be told."

They're kids, are they? These people in witness boxes, with worried, plump faces turned towards him in hope?

"Sam Temple is a kid too."

So what do you, Mr Temple, as a 'kid', plead?

Not guilty.