Chapter 11

Waking Up Wet

"So what happened?" Takashi asked as he glanced over his shoulder at the bloodied Ryker. Almost as surprising as the American's injuries was the fact Saya sat cross-legged with his head in her lap, dabbing it with a damp cloth. 'This was no accident.'

Rei entwined her fingers and blew a pesky hair from her face. "We got to your place without much difficulty and the doors were still closed. Nothing was damaged downstairs and there were no signs that your mom had come home at all."

Takashi shrugged. He hadn't expected for her to be at the house since she was an elementary school teacher and would have been at work during the outbreak. "I suspected as much. I was just hoping against the odds."

Nodding, she continued. "Saya-san, Alice-chan and I were in the kitchen gathering supplies while Ryker investigated the upstairs. After a few minutes we heard shots and ran up to the third floor." She wrapped her arms around herself as a chill ran through her. "It was a mess. These strange dog-like creatures that Ryker-san had killed were on the floor. During the struggle one of them knocked him through a table and he threw it out the window."

"He wasn't bitten, was he?" Takashi glanced over again at the shivering man that had already acted twice to save the lives of the group's members. He had a feeling these greater injuries were the result of a third time.

"No!" Rei responded quickly. "Saya-chan was standing by the broken window when Ryker-san suddenly ran over and pushed her aside. One of those creatures launched into him and they both went out the window."

Takashi's mouth fell open. "He went out the third story window?"

She nodded and looked over at him, concern etched on her face. "Ryker-san is tough but he hurts far more than he will show. Both inside and out."

"There's a lot more to Ry-kun than meets the eye."

Both turned to see Saeko standing there with her arms crossed; her expression a mixture of concern and annoyance. "His value of life is terribly high in regard to others." She looked in his direction, her eyes softening. "However he puts very small value on his own."

Placing a hand on the older girl's shoulder, Takashi offered a friendly smile. "Then we'll have to show him how important he is to the rest of us. He's already saved two of our lives directly and more than once."

Saeko nodded with a sigh. "I just hope he realizes that before it's too late."

Kohta leaned back against the Humvee with a tired yawn. "Asami-chan, why did you choose to become a police officer?"

Looking up at the younger boy, Asami thought only for a moment before answering. "Asami wanted to help people. She believes that serving others is the greatest way to live her life."

"Are you happy doing it?"

She smiled brightly. "Some days are tougher than others but Asami never regrets choosing the job." The young officer adjusted her skirt as she sat up in the back of the Humvee. "Have you ever thought about it Kohta-kun? Asami thinks you have the bravery needed."

Blushing at the older girl's comment, Kohta shook his head before removing his glasses and cleaning them with his shirt. "I could never do the physical stuff Asami-chan. I would be much better suited in computer crimes or cyber security."

Asami nodded. "It is a difficult training experience. Asami struggled terribly but never gave up." She smiled again. "Your M1A1 Rifle is very nice. Illegal but I suppose in this situation Asami can overlook it."

"I'm just borrowing it." Kohta admitted sheepishly with a smile as he replaced his glasses. "Is there anyone you need to look for or want to meet up with Asami-chan? A boyfriend or something perhaps?"

Studying her shoes for a moment as her dangling feet swayed, she shook her head. "No. Asami has no family in Japan anymore and her boyfriend dumped her for doing so poorly in school." She frowned as her shoulders slumped. "Asami was bottom of her class."

"But you still made it!" Kohta blurted out. "I've heard many cadets wash out before graduation and some simply fail to graduate regardless. You should be very proud of completing the course and getting a job doing what you wanted." He blushed at his candor but continued anyhow. "And your boyfriend made a huge mistake. You're pretty and you're smart. You can do better."

Asami studied the boy sitting down on the ground. "Asami thinks Kohta-kun is a very sweet boy and, while she may not agree with him on everything, Asami appreciates it." She pulled her feet up and scooted inside the Humvee. "Asami is tired now and is going to sleep. Talk to you in the morning Kohta-kun."

"Good night Asami-chan." He replied with a smile, a blush heating his face. 'Maybe there is hope for me after all.' He thought to himself as he leaned back against the Humvee and closed his eyes. 'As bad as it sounds, this apocalypse was the best thing to ever happen to me."

A rotting arm narrowly missed the pink pigtails before a thunderous boot sent the attached creature tumbling down a flight of stairs. Pushing the small girl back, Ryker lashed out with his empty M9 and knocked the jaw completely off the elderly woman before him before delivering a hard kick to her chest. The blow sent the decaying woman into a wall where her skull struck the concrete with enough force to shatter.

"Saya-chan," he gasped out as he clutched his bleeding shoulder; shards of glass stuck out of the ruined flesh. "You have to go. I can't hold them much longer." The scene was grim. Dozens of 'them' were closing in quickly.

Tears sprang into orange eyes. "I am not leaving you Ryker-kun. And you promised I'd get back alive so you have to run with me!"

Ryker sighed and slowly ushered the pink-haired girl behind him towards the blocked door. "I'll try and leave with you, okay? But if I fail you have to run."


Looking over at the incorrigible girl, Ryker could not hide the smile. "I suppose if it's our day, it's our day then Saya-chan." He crouched down, coiled to spring at the horde encroaching undead when Saya suddenly pulled his shoulder causing him to stumble back.As bad as it sounds, maybe

As he turned towards the younger girl, his eyes widened in surprise; the door behind them had come open despite earlier attempts having failed to budge it. "Ryker-kun, hurry!" She was frantic as she pulled his uninjured shoulder towards the open threshold.

Once inside, Ryker kicked the door shut; a middle-aged man who had pursued was launched backwards from the force of the door striking him. Saya quickly latched it closed before sliding down the door with a sigh of relief. Her relief was short-lived as she saw Ryker stumble back into the wall and slide to the ground with a groan.

"Ryker-kun!" She scrambled to his side. "Ryker-kun, are you okay?"

Ryker smiled warmly, his soft brown eyes showing no hint of fear or apprehension in them. "I am Saya-chan. You saved us back there." He rolled his injured shoulder with a small wince. "It's sore but nothing that will stop me."

The only light in the room came from the red emergency sign above them but their eyes adjusted quickly. Looking around, Saya sighed in frustration at the lack of supplies despite having ended up in a storage closet. Feeling her face heat up, she slowly began unbuttoning her blouse.

"Sa.. Saya-chan?"

She looked down as if focusing on the task. "You're bleeding and you need something to wrap the wound. You know so much about medicine but seem to forget you need it too." As she undid the last button she hesitated a moment before slipping the shirt off. The cool air over her sweat-slick skin gave her goose bumps but felt incredible; it was rather warm in the small room despite the air vent's efforts.

Ryker blushed and made effort not to stare at the younger girl's impressive chest. It became more difficult as she knelt beside him and began wrapping his bloodied shoulder with the shirt she had removed. "Thank you Saya-chan."

"It's the least I can do Ryker-kun." She mumbled as she tied the knot tightly over the wound to compress the site. "You've done so much for all of us." Her bright orange eyes met his. "For me."

Swallowing hard, Ryker found himself unable to avert his eyes. Her gaze held him as solidly as chains would have. "I haven't done that much Saya-chan. I did no more than anyone else in the same situation would have done."

A small smile touched soft pink lips. "No Ryker-kun, you did so much more. You offered your body to protect mine on two occasions with no expectations of a return. You act selflessly without ever hesitating when someone is in danger." Her left hand came to rest on his cheek gently. "While it is maddening at times, it is also very endearing."

"I could never allow something to happen if I was able to stop it Saya-chan." He felt his face heat up at her touch. "The world outside might be a chaotic land of horrors but only when we as a people give up our humanity is all hope lost."

Saya closed her eyes and felt a shiver run down her spine at his words. "Ryker-kun…" She bit her lip and tried to calm her racing heart as she inched closer to him. "You are what gives me hope."

Ryker felt his heart thundering in his chest. "Saya-chan, I'm just a man," he licked his dry lips nervously as he realized just how close she had become. "I am sure anyone else wou-"

"But no one else did Ryker-kun." She breathed out; her face so close that he felt the words as much as he heard them. "You did." Before he could respond her lips pressed against his, gently at first and then with more urgency.

The sudden contact took his breath. He hadn't expected such a daring move and the action caught him completely off guard. The small whimper that came from her as she placed her right hand on the back of his neck broke what little control he had remaining. His tongue darted between his lips and into her willing mouth. The honey sweetness of her tongue and the excited noises coming from her only added to the intensity of the kiss.

Straddling the man sitting before her, Saya slid her right hand to Ryker's cheek so that both hands were on his face. It was incredible that despite being in a post-apocalyptic world, the man somehow found time to sneak shaving in to maintain a clean-cut appearance. She purred out a soft moan into Ryker's mouth as his hands gently slid up her thighs that were to each side of him.

Ryker felt control slipping farther away by the moment as the young girl straddled him; her skirt was hiked up enough to give a glimpse of the white cotton beneath. Ryker felt his breath hitch at the feel of her soft flesh as his hands gently caressed her thighs. Her hair had come out of the usual pigtails that she wore it in and was now dangling to each side of their faces as their kiss continued to intensify.

She was panting for breath at every opportunity but the desire to continue tasting the man in front of her was overwhelming her need for oxygen. Pressing her chest against him she let out a soft moan at the feeling of his obvious excitement as her hips came to rest on his lap. Releasing the grip on his face, Saya's hands moved down to undo the belt and button restraining what she was after.

Feeling his own breaths growing ragged, Ryker slid his hands up Saya's thighs and across her hips before letting them come to rest on her rear. His eyes widened at the continued feel of soft flesh without the break of cotton; she seemed conservative but had apparently opted for slightly more risqué undergarments today.

Saya moaned into his mouth as his hands tightened their grip, pulling her tight to him. After fumbling for a few moments on the final button of his pants, Saya nearly squealed in delight as she finally succeeded in her attempts. She was trembling all over with need and her shaking hands had made a simple task infinitely more difficult. Without hesitation she immediately began pulling at the waist of his jeans and purred in approval as he shifted his weight to allow her to slide them down.

The temperature of the room had significantly increased and Ryker felt sweat running down his neck and chest. Reaching up with his left hand he deftly unclasped the already strained bra and pulled the silken object away from the girl who quickly complied. The moment the bra was completely removed, Ryker gently cupped her right breast; his thumb gently teasing the already hardened nipple.

Biting the lip of the man teasing her, Saya let out a throaty moan and immediately slid her hand into his still remaining boxers. Her eyes widened and she used her other hand to remove the remaining material before shifting her hips back away from him. She finally broke the kiss and smirked at the confused look he gave her. Looking down she felt her heart skip at seeing that her hands had not lied; she was quite far from disappointed.

Ryker slid his right hand up Saya's side as she inched back and eyed her curiously as she moved all the way to where she was straddling his knees. Her hands were currently idle but their simple touch was making him see stars. His gaze slid from her beautiful orange eyes to her full breasts and he shook his head in amazement. Why did it take an apocalypse to find such beauty?

With a sultry smile, Saya retracted her hands and unzipped the back of her skirt, slipping it off without ever breaking eye contact with Ryker. Her nervousness had been wholly replaced with unimaginable desire that she never thought possible. There was nothing in all of the world she wanted more than to feel Ryker inside her but she had other plans first.

As Saya removed her skirt, Ryker sat fixated by her seductive behavior. He had always assumed she would be a more reserved and possibly skittish type about such things but she had proved quite the opposite. She was living up to the stereotype of the quiet girls being the more sexually adventurous. Once her skirt was cast aside, she slid her hands up his thighs causing him to take a sharp intake of breath. When her hands reached his hips, she arched her hips up while her upper body dipped down giving him an exquisite view of both her breasts down by his legs as well as her thong-clad ass in the air.

Bracing her weight on his hip with a forearm, Saya took gentle hood of his manhood with her other hand and, while looking into his wide, lust-filled eyes, took him into her mouth. His gasp and tensing of his thighs encouraged the young girl as she traced along his length with her tongue. The sound of his low moan caused a shiver to run down her spine; his reaction heightening her arousal further. Slowly, she began moving her mouth over him, taking him entirely into her mouth before pulling back. As she moved she manipulated her tongue around him, picking up the pace as she went.

Ryker closed his eyes and let out a sigh; his hands were knuckling the soft pink hair that lay cascaded to each side of him. Knowing that he would not be able to hold out much longer at her current pace, he managed to whisper. "Saya-chan…"

Slowing to a stop, the young girl looked up with bright orange eyes. Keeping her eyes locked with his, she removed her lips from around him and deliberately licked the remaining saliva from him before licking her own lips. This action elicited the desired action from Ryker. He took her shoulders, hoisting her up and pulling her tight to him.

With his left hand he pulled her hair back to expose her neck and leaned in, kissing down her neck to her breasts. His right hand reached down and grabbed the back of her thong where it met the hip straps and with a twist, snapped the thin fabric. Reaching down in front of her, he pulled the torn fabric through and tucked it into the strap; the thong now looking like a string belt.

Further excited by his rough actions, Saya lifted her hips to position over him before slowly lowering herself down. The initial penetration was smoother than she had expected; the saliva as well as her own wetness reducing the friction significantly. There was still some pain but the incredible feeling of him being inside her overrode any discomfort. Bracing her hands on his shoulders she bit her lip as she met his eyes.

Placing his hands on her hips, Ryker gently guided her down until he was completely inside her. They remained still for a moment before he leaned forward and began teasing her left breast with his tongue; his left hand moving up to grip the other. Her breaths were coming in short gasps and her entire body shook with the overwhelming amount of stimuli.

Saya bit her lip and tightened her grip on Ryker's shoulders as she began moving her hips up and down; rising just enough to barely have him inside her before lowering back down completely. Picking up the pace, she found control slipping away quickly. Ryker's mouth moved to her right breast as his hands traded off as well. The girl atop him was now moaning audibly with every descent she made; her sounds exciting him further and making the pain of her grip on his injured shoulder a distant memory.

"Oh Rykerrrr!" Saya cried out, his name rising in pitch as her body shook with a powerful tremor. Feeling her tighten around him, Ryker moved his hand to her hip; his grip on either die pulling her down with greater force as she sped up further.

"Saya…" he groaned as he felt his own body nearing its peak. His eyes widened in surprise when she suddenly stopped and lifted off of him entirely. His unasked question was swiftly answered however when she repositioned herself and bent down, taking him into her mouth again.

His gasp at her actions as well as the taste of her own arousal elicited a purr of satisfaction from the young girl as she worked her mouth over him rapidly. She could feel in his muscles that he was close and encircled him with her tongue as she looked up into his beautiful, soft eyes.

Between the feeling of her tongue, the sight of her bare backside bouncing in rhythm to her actions and the sight of her eyes looking up at him finally did him in. "Oh Saya-chan…" he moaned as he trembled in climax. His gaze never leaving her eyes as she unhesitatingly took all he had to offer and swallowed it down. She cleaned him off with her tongue before crawling closer and resting her head on his chest.

As the door finally burst open, both looked into each other's eyes for what they believed to be the last time. Ryker pulled Saya close and buried her face into his shoulder; not willing to let her see what was to come.

"Saya-san?! Ryker-san?!" A frantic voice cried out.

Looking over her shoulder, Saya froze. Standing in the doorway was the rest of the group; their stares going from her nude form to the man she was pressed up against. She opened her mouth to speak but an icy voice filled the awkward silence first.

"Takagi-san…" Saeko's cold blue eyes narrowed into slits as she stepped into the room, katana drawn.

"Saya!" She heard Ryker's voice but everything suddenly went black. "Saya-chan…"


As her eyed fluttered open, Saya looked down into the soft brown eyes of Ryker. His head was propped in her lap and her left hand's fingers were combing through his hair. She saw the blush on his cheeks and realized her right hand was...

"Ohmygod!" she rushed out as she hastily jerked her hand away from under the hiked up skirt. Her face turned cherry-red and her eyes returned to Rykers' who had not wavered. "Ryker-kun…"

An embarrassed smile formed as he looked into the orange eyes above him. "Good morning Saya-chan."

Feeling her face heat up even more, she cleared her throat. "Good morning Ryker-kun. Are you feeling any better?" She offered a nervous smile in return. 'My god, please say I wasn't talking in my sleep as well. If he knows it was about him….'

He studied her eyes for a moment before answering. "I am feeling quite fine Saya-chan," his smile turned into one of genuine appreciation. "Greatly thanks to you."

"All I did was follow your instructions." Her smile came easier at the compliment however.

He shook his head, making her aware that she was idly stroking his hair again. "I don't recall instructing you to sit with me and do as you've done. Your presence did more than simple saline could Saya-chan. I lost enough blood to be weakened but not enough to die; the saline simply allowed me a quicker recovery. It was your actions after that made the process so much easier." He winked. "You have incredible bedside manner. You would make a wonderful nurse."

Somehow finding a way to blush further, she couldn't catch the giggle that snuck past her lips. "You are very sweet Ryker-kun. Though I do not think you will be too happy in knowing that the others already left."

"Left?!" He nearly yelled, startling Saya. "They went to the school already?"

She nodded. "They went earlier this morning when I ran out to get some water." She blew a stray hair out of her face. "I guess I sorta dozed off when I got back."

Despite his annoyance at being left behind, Ryker felt a smirk creep back onto his face. "So you did." He paused a moment before continuing. "Pleasant dreams?"

Her face returned to a bright red as she huffed. "That's none of your business!" She looked away with her nose in the air. "But yes. It was."

Ryker's ability to hold his tongue was absolutely zero. "Was I any good?"

With an audible gasp, Saya froze; her hand stopping mid-stroke in his hair and mouth agape. Slowly she turned to look down into his amused eyes. "H-how did you…"

"You mumble in your sleep Saya-chan." He smiled as she stammered for a moment before he continued. "So…?"

She stated at him incredulously. "You actually expect me to answer that Ryker-kun!?"

He shrugged. "Why not Saya-chan? It's not as though I don't know what you dreamt of and," he gestured to her still damp fingers.

"I can't believe how bold you are, Ryker-kun." She looked away for a moment then, realizing that he was not going to relent, sighed and looked back down at him. "I was… impressed." Her face heated up anew and she averted her eyes. "You were a wonderful kisser."

His soft laugh startled her. "Then I can be assured dreams are nothing like reality."

Saya cocked her head to the side, suddenly finding her gaze drawn to his lips as she revisited the incredibly detailed dream. Her hand trembled and she felt a sweat begin to break out. "They say dreams are an extension of reality. Nothing we dream can be completely fictitious." She licked her lips nervously.

"Very true Saya-chan. So that begs the question of what brought upon such an," he winked. "Interesting dream."

Her eyes remained locked on his lips as he talked. "Stress and being rescued not once but twice by a handsome hero who currently has his head in my lap." Her breathing was reduced to short, quick breaths as her heart rate increased. 'How is he doing this to me? Is it because of the dream or am I really this weak-willed?'

Ryker blushed but kept his gaze on the girl above him. "I'm just an ordinary man Saya-chan. One who has been terribly lucky in this ordeal."

"Lucky!? You were thrown through a window Ryker-kun!"

A coy grin formed. "And look where it landed me. Here I am in the lap of a pretty girl who apparently has intensely vivid dreams about me."

Swatting him with the hand she was running through his hair, she blushed again. "You're terrible Ryker-kun."

"I just see the bright side of things Saya-chan." He smiled and slowly sat up, groaning in the process.


Looking back, Ryker noticed she was looking down at her hands while she fidgeted with her skirt. "Yes Saya-chan?"

"Would you be against showing me how accurate my imagination is?"

The color drained from Ryker's face. "S… Saya-chan…"

Her face went so red he thought she might pop. "I didn't mean that Ryker-kun!" She screamed at him.

Tilting his head to the side, Ryker eyed her curiously. "What are you asking Saya-chan?"

She moved closer, keeping her head low. When she was right in front of him she lifted her gaze to meet his; her orange eyes showed the nervousness she felt. "I just want to see if one thing was right…" She said breathily, leaning closer.

Ryker froze, unsure what to do. On one hand he wanted nothing more than to give in and kiss the sweet girl before him. On the other, his feelings for Saeko were rearing up and kept him rooted to the spot. His other concern was upsetting the poor girl who was opening up to him in surprising fashion. 'Only in an apocalypse would something like this happen. When else would I be worried about the decision to kiss a beautiful girl for fear of another beautiful girl becoming upset?'

His thoughts were interrupted as he realized Saya's lips were a mere breath away from his own; she had not waited for him to meet her and was coming all the way. Just as their lips brushed each other the door slammed open and startled Saya into falling back onto her behind.

"Ryker-san! You're up!" Alice sprinted into the room and slid to a stop beside him before looking at Saya. Her eyes lit up and she covered her mouth. "I interrupted something, didn't I?"

Ryker smiled and ruffled her hair, looking up as the others filtered in through the door as well. "You could never interrupt Alice-chan." He winked with a wide smile. "But don't tell anyone what you saw okay?" He whispered in English.

She giggled and made a zipper motion across her mouth before gently hugging him. "I am glad you're okay Ryker-san. No one got hurt on our trip either!"

"Ryker-san! It is good to see you're awake." Takashi looked exhausted but he had a smile on his face. "I'm sorry we left without you but we could not risk your injuries getting you killed."

With a sigh, Ryker nodded. He didn't want to admit the seriousness of his injuries but he knew that in a major battle he would have run out of steam. "I am much better now Takashi. I owe much to Shizuka-san and Saya-chan's tender care."

Saya blushed and averted her gaze as Miss Shizuka bounced her way over. "Oh Ryker-san it is wonderful to see you sitting up!" She gushed before enveloping him in a vice-grip of a hug; his face being buried in her obscenely large bust. "We were worried when we left because you were so pale but now all that color is back!"

"It won't be if you suffocate him with your breasts." Saya muttered.

Finally freeing himself from the death-grip, Ryker fought down the blush that filled his face. "I am very thankful for your care Shizuka-san." He slowly got to his feet, wavering for a moment before steadying himself. "I need to wash up. You said there was a water station nearby, Saya-chan?"

She nodded. "Outside and to the immediate left. It's cold though."

Ryker shrugged and slowly made his way towards the door; the effort in hiding the pain he felt tremendous. As he approached the door, Saeko gave him a tired smile and went to make for the Humvee but a hand on her shoulder halted her.

"Saeko-chan, would you mind helping me?" He smiled warmly and gestured to his back. "I can't reach it without reopening some wounds."

Looking from him back towards Saya and Miss Shizuka, she nodded and smiled up at him. "I'd be glad to Ry-kun." In reality, the fact that he had asked her and not one of the other girls brightened her rather dark day significantly.

Once they got outside and the door closed behind them, Saeko gripped his shoulders roughly and pulled him into a passionate kiss. The moment their lips met, Saeko let out a content sigh and tightened her grip on him. After a few breath-taking seconds, she pulled back and looked into his warm, comforting eyes. "I was worried about you Ry-kun." She whispered, her eyes searching his. "Miss Shizuka said that if your fever didn't break you might slip into a coma."

Smiling at the emotionally exposed girl before him, Ryker ran a hand through her dark, indigo hair. "I'd not let some little fall take me out."

Her smile faltered and he could see she was struggling to keep it on her lips. "You really pushed Saya-chan out of the way, huh?"


She reached up and placed a hand on his cheek, silencing him. "You truly have a big heart Ry-kun. One that holds genuine care for those around you. I cannot fault you for doing what makes you the wonderful man that you are." She cocked her head to the side. "Though it'd be nice if you rescued a male for once."

He felt a blush rise in his cheeks as he smiled playfully. "I'll be sure to tell Takashi or Kohta to be less cautious in the future."

Saeko rolled her eyes and moved away towards the water station. "Let's get you cleaned up. Takashi will want to go over what happened today. As you can see we came back without anyone new but beyond that I'll let him do the talking."

"Thank you Saeko-chan." He smiled and followed the intoxicatingly beautiful girl.

~Earlier that morning~

"It's so quiet out here." Rei mumbled as she stepped through the open gate. "I don't think anyone is here."

Looking over at Rei, Takashi shook his head. "The school had hundreds of staff and students. Not to mention any of the officers that came here from the East Police Station. Your father and my mother could still be here Rei."

She smiled hopefully and nodded before looking back at the others. Kohta and Asami brought up the rear of the group with Miss Shizuka and Alice in the center. As they approached the main doors to the building the sight of bodies littering the floor brought chills to everyone there. These were not the bodies of men and women of the business world but those of children not even in their teens. Despite having come across hundreds of 'them', seeing children who had turned was not something any of them wanted to accept.

"It looks like the police made it here after all." Takashi smiled over at Rei and opened the door slowly. As he stepped inside he gestured for the others to follow him in before he began walking down the first hallway. A sign above read "Faculty".

As they made their way down the hall, Miss Shizuka held Alice tightly to her hip. It wasn't as much to comfort the little girl as it was to comfort herself. Despite being mostly oblivious to things going on around her, the busty blonde had a deep affection for children and the sights within this school were nightmarish.

Stepping over the body of a middle-aged man in a suit, Saeko looked over and froze. "Ta… Takashi…"

Takashi came to a stop and looked over as well, his jaw dropping at the sight before him. "Dear god…"

Inside of a set of double-doors, propped open by the body of an officer, were hundreds of 'them' feeding on the corpses of dozens of dead. Children and adults alike tore at the bodies littering the cafeteria with insatiable hunger. There were numerous bodies that were riddled with gunshots but seeing that some of 'them' were wearing police uniforms did little encourage the group.

"No…" Asami gasped as she stumbled forward, seeing the uniforms of her coworkers and friends mixed in with the blood-thirsty horde.

Saeko's arm stopped the wide-eyed officer before she could enter the room. "There is nothing you can do Asami-san. There's too many."

"Asami understands but she can't believe so many didn't make it…" Her eyes filled with tears.

Rei embraced the older girl and slowly pulled her from the doorway. "It's okay Asami-san, just breathe." She looked up and saw Takashi was scanning the room with determined eyes. After a few moments he let out a sigh of relief and smiled over at her with a shake of his head; their parents were not among them.

"We need to keep moving." He whispered as he returned to the group. "There's still an auditorium where they might have gathered up the survivors."

Making their way down the halls, the group moved slowly but deliberately. As they reached the auditorium, they stopped and exchanged nervous glances before Saeko spoke.

"Are you both ready? We may not like what we see inside. This is the only other major area they could have gathered."

Rei swallowed and looked at Takashi before they both nodded in unison. "We have no choice Saeko-san. At the very least we need answers." She gave a hopeful smile to Takashi before opening the door slowly.

Takashi went in first, followed by Saeko and Rei. The others remained in the hall to avoid funneling the exit in the event they needed to retreat quickly. As he descended towards the stage, Takashi felt his heart sink; there was no sign of anyone in the large room.

Pulling herself up onto the stage, Saeko glanced around before stumbling back and almost falling from the stage as a head rolled over to her feet. She looked up just in time to see a partially decayed teacher rushing towards her. Leaning back, she kicked the man in the stomach before drawing her katana and beheading him in a swift motion. "We have company!"

Though he heard her, Takashi was fixated on a piece of paper nailed to the stage front. Taking it in his hands, he read the words quickly before stuffing it in his pocket. Rei ran past him and delivered a punishing blow with the stock of her rifle to the jaw of one of 'them'.

"Takashi, we need to go!"

He snapped to action and turned just in time to duck under a clumsy grab. Using the momentum of the off-balance creature, he shifted his weight and flipped the elderly woman over him before bringing the shotgun down hard into her face.

Saeko moved like a ghost upon the stage, cutting down waves of the mindless attackers without so much as a moment's hesitation. She knew the stakes at hand and would not give in. 'Not yet.' She thought. There was too much she needed to do still. Side-stepping a grab, she lopped off the arm before taking the head it belonged to.

Takashi stopped and watched her for a moment. The sight of her just letting lose her frustrations on the mindless creatures was mystifying and it took a hard elbow to the ribs from Rei to break his concentration. "Saeko-san! Let's go!"

Jumping down from the stage, she followed Rei and Takashi up the aisle and out the door. The moment they were all outside, Asami slammed the door shut and forced a trophy from the wall into the handles. Kohta nodded, impressed, before following the rest of them as they fled from the school.

Once outside the group stopped to regain their breath; the air was heavy with disappointment. Removing the paper from his pocket, Takashi re-read it before turning to Rei with a smile. "Rei, this is another letter from your father."

She quickly snatched it from his hand before reading it. "It says they recovered a small group of survivors but were nearly overrun in the auditorium." She looked up at Takashi before returning to reading further. "They are going to try and meet up with a shelter on the edge of the city. Apparently there's rumor of a safe haven."

Everyone shared wide-eyed looks; the thought of such a thing was almost too good to be true but they couldn't help but feel hopeful about it. Alice spoke up suddenly. "Can we head back now? I want to see how Ryker-san is doing."

Saeko smiled appreciatively at the young girl. In truth, she was thinking along the same lines but had been unwilling to voice her thoughts. When Takashi nodded and they began heading back, Saeko ruffled the bright pink curls as she passed the young girl. 'You better be okay Ry-kun. As lame as I feel for these urges, I dislike being away from you.'

Petting Zeke idly as she walked, Alice looked around the group with a wide smile. There was nothing she enjoyed more than seeing everyone in a positive mood. Even though they had gone another day without meeting up with their families, everyone had hope. Alice could not ask for anything more than that.

As Takashi finished up his brief overview of what happened, Ryker pushed off the wall he had been leaning against. "I am glad you were able to find evidence of your families Takashi, Rei-chan. I apologize for being unavailable during your struggle there."

Rei smiled warmly at the obviously frustrated man. "It's not a big deal Ryker-san. No one was injured and your wounds came from a selfless act that saved Saya-san's life. No one here holds your absence against you."

"Besides," Takashi added as he took a bite of his sandwich. "You kept Saya out of trouble. She seems to be a magnet for it recently." He ducked as a pieced of rolled up plastic flew past his head.

"So I'm a burden to you Takashi?" Saya's orange eyes narrowed into slits.

Picking his words carefully, Takashi offered an apologetic smile. "I was just kidding Saya. You were the best candidate to keep an eye on Ryker-san while we left, truthfully. We couldn't leave Miss Shizuka behind in case we needed her. Alice is too young to respond appropriately if something had happened here and I needed our top fighters in the event of an ambush."

Sighing dejectedly, Saya sat down. 'So basically that means I'm worthless. I'm not medically useful and I have no fighting skills. I'm as much of a burden as I am anything else.'

Once the others had gone off behind the Humvee to clean up their lunch mess, Ryker approached Saya and knelt beside her. "Saya-chan, you are nowhere near worthless."

"What are you, psychic now?" she snapped in annoyance, more at herself than the man offering comfort.

He smiled despite her harsh response. "You are not very good at hiding your feelings Saya-chan. I just want you to know how much you helped me. No one forced you to do anything that you did and because of your care, I am alive and well."

She blushed and looked up at him finally. "Are you just being nice Ryker-kun? Because if you are I'm going to hit you."

Ryker grinned at the playful threat. "You're far too intelligent to patronize, Saya-chan. But I would like to make you an offer."

"And what kind of offer would that be Ryker-kun?"

Leaning close, he whispered softly into her ear. "Tonight after midnight. Come outside and meet me where we spoke last time."

Her face heated up as he walked away. 'How do you do this to me Ryker-kun?' She sighed and flopped back onto the bedroll Ryker had been sleeping on. His scent permeated the soft material and she found herself smiling as she turned her face against the pillow. 'You are something else Ryker-kun. I just hope you can stop being such a hero and find some self-value. You're too important to us.'

Rei stretched languidly against the Humvee as she watched Kohta and Asami chat in the corner. It was nice to see the reclusive gun-nut talking to someone; especially a girl. Despite finding the officer a bit strange, she couldn't help but like the girl. Her strange speech only added to the endearment that her innocent personality initiated.

Seeing that Saeko was sitting alone cleaning her sword, the brunette decided to make her way over and have a seat beside her. "How are you doing Saeko-san?"

Looking at the other girl curiously, Saeko smiled politely. "I am fine Miyamoto. I'm sorry we did not find your father or Takashi's mother today."

"No, but at least we know they may still be alive. That is good enough for now." She looked at the indigo-haired girl curiously. "What do you fight for Saeko-san? You fight for more than just survival. You've changed in the last week." She leaned close with a sly smile. "Is it to do with Ryker-san?"

Saeko's blush told more than her lips ever would. "None of us want to become like them Miyamoto. I've just had a few too many close calls lately."

Rei covered her mouth to hide the giggle that was begging for release. "If you say so Saeko-san. Personally, if I wasn't with Takashi I know I'd be after him." She watched the other girl for a response and was indulged beyond her expectations.

"Is there something else you wanted, Miyamoto?" The dark-haired girl's response was uncharacteristically filled with emotion. It showed annoyance at the line of questioning but also a defensiveness over what had been said.

"Not at all Saeko-san." She smiled brightly at the irritated girl. "Get some rest soon. We are going to look for some more food supplies tomorrow. Our supply is still decent but our group is growing."

With a nod, Saeko returned to the task of cleaning her blade. She had no further interest in discussing anything with the brunette who had so successfully pushed her buttons. It was very unlike her to allow others to see such emotions but Rei was right. She had definitely changed in the last week due to Ryker's influence. 'You better start taking care of yourself Ry-kun. If you end up with Saya comforting you again, I promise you will pay for it.'

Author's Note

First off let me say I'm sorry for the terribly inappropriate title. But I thought of it and giggled and kept it. That said… Lengthy chapter go! Not too bad for writing on a plane and in the swamplands that we label Mississippi… God this place sucks; no AC with 90% humidity in the high 80's, low 90's and 40 guys in one billet. But I managed this upload through great effort! Saved file to a jpeg, emailed to myself via my phone's 3G, ran a mile in an absolute downpour to the internet cafe (thank god it was still open...) battled the ridiculous security protocols of their system to download the file, convert it to a document and upload it for your viewing pleasure!

Anyway, to the actual note!

How do you all feel about the direction? I'm working at keeping things moving and intend for the next chapter to do away with their little hide-out situation. How about that dream eh? It's been floating in my head all week and I could NOT resist doing it. If you're angry about it, I'm sorry. If you enjoyed it, I'm glad! Because I certainly enjoyed writing it. Had to take a few breaks during it to cool off! Sheesh. Little more detailed than the last adventure I dare say.

I recognize there is some OOCness going on but as I said before, things change inside people when they have feelings for others. I know this first-hand and I doubt high school kids would be in better emotional control lol.

Do you guys like Asami? She's fun for her adorable speech pattern (if you did not read the manga, like me, but did not research her as I had to, she talks in third person because officers in Japan say "This officer". She's just a little slow lol).

How about Saya's crush on Ryker? Talk about a snowball effect. That's what happens when you fly out of a window and nearly die to protect someone. I should say now, Do Not Try This At Home. There, all better.

I know I'm light on the Shizuka and Alice lately but I promise to at least incorporate more Alice. I adore that little girl and have great plans for her. Just be patient and stick with it! As always, please review! As you can see, I was motivated enough to write during my travel and find a way to manage uploading JUST for you guys! Amazing what you people can do! And speaking of reviews...

Thank you to War Sage and FrancisVamp0822 for the compliments! I am very glad to be attracting new readers still!

Caet: Hearts galore! I adore her illiest speaking pattern. Makes me smile every time I write it. And yes, noodley arms are a problem and that is why I had Shizuka step aside. Silly nurse, afraid of needles. Glad you are enjoying the crush drama! This chapter definitely fans those crazy flames... Sheesh. Was just one of those "Let's see how far I can push the envelope." So I hope people respond. If well received, it may be more prevailent in the future. If not, I will tone it down a bit.

Pablojcd: Glad you are enjoying and I would be thrilled to have you fan art Ryker! I PM'd you with further info. In a few days I'll be home and able to do more. Hope you enjoy the chapter! I know I VERY much enjoyed writing it to keep my sanity here!