Quick note before we start:
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters/places/anything mentioned from the Last of Us or anything else and everything belongs to its respective owners.
Chapter 1: Ready to Go
Packing the little that she had wasn't hard; it never had been. Owning little belongings made that step easy. The next step would be harder.
Picking up an unopened, crinkled envelope, she stared at the only thing on the outside – Ellie- before shoving it into the backpack with the rest of her things.
Quickly glancing around to see if she had forgotten anything, her eyes settled on something. She walked over and picked it up off the table, taking in the small switchblade.
Might come in handy, she thought as she placed it into the backpack and zipped up the pockets.
"Right, time to get going," Ellie mumbled, slinging the black backpack over her shoulders and starting to walk out the door.
Halfway through the door she glimpsed something and stopped, turning around and seeing a dark colored jacket. She quickly grabbed that as well and glanced once around the room before finally walking out of the house.
Ellie knew that outside of the house was usually worse than the inside, considering the streets were usually crowded with people and US military alike. This time though, the streets were oddly silent and clear, giving her a strange feeling that wanted to make her shiver.
Frowning a bit, Ellie looked around for a moment before spotting a man. She walked over to him, slighting annoyed.
"Ready to go?" the man asked, glancing at her.
"Ready as I'll ever be," she mumbled, glaring at the ground.
They started walking towards the edge of the quarantine zone, giving Ellie some time to think as she occasionally glanced at the man.
With an irritated sigh that made the man glance back at her, she started to run through the events of what had happened a few minutes ago. This stranger had come into the house she had been temporarily staying in, telling her she had to leave with him and to get packed up quickly.
Why she was listening to him, she had no idea, especially since she usually didn't take tips from anyone lightly. The only thing that she had to go off of was that he seemed somewhat familiar. Ellie shook her head, trying to remember where she had seen him before; maybe in the marketplace? But no, she couldn't remember correctly and that was starting to irk her.
Glancing at the man again, she figured that she should at least try and figure out where they were going, and that introductions might be the best place to start.
"What's your name?" she asked, trying to start on the right foot. The man glanced back at her with an almost questioning look in his eyes.
"Joel," the man said finally, not seeming interested to stop and chat.
Ellie took a deep breath and let it out, trying to think if she knew anyone with the same name. She would have remembered if so.
"And my name is-" she started to say but was cut off by the man's voice.
"Ellie," he finished, making her feel mad about being interrupted.
"And how do you know my name?" she asked, narrowing her eyes while starting to reach for the pocket containing her switchblade.
At least if he's going to try something, I can use that, the thought wasn't pleasant, but she wanted to stay alive. If 'Joel' was going to be a threat, it just had to happen that way.
"I'm supposed to get you to the Fireflies," Joel explained, making her reach for the switchblade stop in surprise.
Ellie remembered hearing about the small group of rebels numerous times over the years she had been alive. Apparently they were fighting against the US military, but she didn't know for what reason.
"And why do you want to take me there?" she asked, feeling a bit more relaxed around him. She heard him sigh, heavy with some emotion she could not place.
"Let's just say an old friend wanted me to get you there," Joel answered, making her curious.
Someone obviously knew a lot about her, making her scan her mind for anyone that she could think of. No one crossed her thoughts.
"And by an old friend you mean-" she started to ask, but a rough shove to behind some crates and a "Shh!" from Joel made her stop. Hitting her hands on the pavement hurt, making her instantly turn angry at the man again when blood started to leek from them.
"What the-" she almost yelled at him, but a glare and another retort made her mouth shut.
"Be quiet!" he ordered harshly, making her keep herself hidden.
She glared back at him, wondering what he was making a fuss about. She was about to answer his order in a not-so-nice way, but then she heard what he was hiding them from: heavy footsteps, accompanied by voices and some harsh laughter coming from a few feet away.
Glancing out from behind the stack of crates, she saw three guards wandering towards the crates, talking casually.
"Why are we hiding from them?" Ellie whispered, angry that what they were doing seemed to be pointless, "They know we-"
"We are near the edge of the quarantine zone and definitely do not want to get caught now," Joel whispered quickly, making a wave of confusion mix in with her anger.
"And why are we-?" she was going to add 'hiding' when her eyes widened, realizing where he was going with this, "You're sneaking me out…"
"Yes, and that is why I need you to be quiet," he whispered as the guards came closer.
Ellie opened her mouth in a retort, but stopped when the voices came closer.
"Thought I heard something," one of the guard's voices said, much nearer to the crates now.
She heard footsteps coming closer to the crates, presumably the other guards coming with their 'friend'.
"It's just your imagination, Phil," another guard's voice this time, answering the first, "nothing ever happens on the first night of the job."
Ellie glanced over at Joel to see him mumble something under his breath. A moment later she realized he had said "Something's about to happen."
Holding her breath, she wondered what he meant, but then thought about them sneaking out as the answer.
"Come on, we need to go report that the area's clean," the third guard stated impatiently.
"I could have sworn…" the first guard, Phil, started in confusion as Ellie saw the other two guards start to walk away.
"You can check again Phil, but we're heading back," one of the other guards yelled over his shoulder.
The guard named Phil started to walk away, and Ellie let out the breath she had been holding, which was probably a mistake by the look that Joel gave her next.
Phil turned back, apparently hearing her breath, and started to walk towards the crates.
Not good, she thought as she glanced over at Joel, knowing he was thinking the same thing.
'What now?' she mouthed to him, but he just shook his head, making her slightly confused and angry.
So after all this work, he's just going to let us get caught? She thought, annoyed; the sting in her hands reminding her of the now-wasted effort.
At her glare, Joel held his hand up and silently started to creep around the side of the crates. Ellie started to back more into the crated area, trying to find a place to hide. She swore under her breath when she hit the back of another crate loudly.
This seemed to startle the guard for a moment before he leaned forward and caught sight of her. Ellie sat there for a moment, a somewhat sheepish feeling at getting caught coursing through her.
"Um… hi?" she said, not sure what to do next.
The guard opened his mouth to shout to his now long gone companions, but never got the chance to when Joel seemingly appeared behind him out of nowhere.
Wrapping his arm around the guard's neck tightly, Ellie watched as the guard's breath was cut off for a few moments before his body went limp. Joel then laid the guard's body on the ground.
Wide-eyed and somewhat gawking, Ellie just kept staring between Joel and the guard's body on the ground.
"What-" Ellie started to say after a moment as she stared at Joel, motioning to the body on the ground.
"Don't worry, he's not dead, just unconscious," Joel stated simply, making some of her shock go away.
"Won't they know we were here now?" Ellie asked after a moment, trying to take calming breaths.
"Yes, and that's why we should get out of here," Joel said as he started to walk away from the crates and towards the gates that held them in to the quarantine zones.
Ellie stood in the same spot for a moment, having a hard time processing the recent events before she quickly caught up to Joel, a million questions forming in her head.
"They'll be after us," she stated quickly, trying to get him to see the reality of the situation.
"Not for a while," Joel answered as they reached the gates, "Most of the guards don't believe newbies on their first night. They will probably think he drank too much and passed out."
Ellie started to feel frustrated, not seeing how the guards would believe that theory.
"And how do you know that?" she asked, wondering if he had actually been a guard once.
Joel didn't answer; instead he scaled the side of the electric fence and crouched down behind a wall near the gate that opened to let other guards and supplies in and out. She unwillingly followed, seeing that she had no other option other than to turn around and head back to the house; something that Joel probably wouldn't let her do.
Peeking out from the side of the wall, she noticed that guards were moving supplies through the gate.
"How are we going to get through this time?" Ellie whispered, wondering if Joel already had a plan.
Glancing over at her companion, she realized that Joel was looking at the surrounding. Waiting for a moment, Joel then motioned for her to follow him, scaling along the edge of the wall when the guards weren't noticing.
Ellie followed Joel and slipped behind another wall closer to the conveyer belt that was sending the goods through the gate. She was somewhat mesmerized by the way all the goods came through in one place, considering most of everything was scarce in the quarantine zone.
Where does it all go? She wondered as she spied a large crate of food passing through the grate, but then glared over at the forms of the guards when another thought came: oh yeah, probably in their stomachs.
She continued to watch the supplies get shipped into the quarantine zone, becoming mesmerized once again as she felt a dazed feeling come over her. The feeling started to overtake her, so much so that she didn't hear anything until Joel roughly shook her shoulder.
"What?" she whispered, annoyed as time caught up to her.
"Under! Quick!" Joel whispered somewhat harshly. She stared at him for a moment before realizing that he was holding up a side of a tarp that covered a large, now-empty crate; the contents spilled under the conveyer belt.
Ellie quickly scampered under the tarp, followed by Joel who then pulled the tarp back over the entrance.
Darkness quickly followed, and Ellie was conscious of hearing her heartbeat. Voices echoed from the outside of the box: guards checking the contents for anything illegal.
Including stowaways, Ellie realized, feeling nervous. She was about to ask Joel how they were going to not get caught when she heard the voices now above them.
"Let's check this one quick!" one of the guard's ordered, making Ellie hold her breath again when the tarp fluttered lightly.
"Looks like a big one," another guard said with an impressed whistle, "Wonder what could be in there."
"A dead body?" one of the guards joked, sending a ripple of laughter throughout the group.
Ellie quickly glanced over at Joel, seeing his eyes narrow a bit, almost like something was wrong.
Let's hope not, she thought as the conversation above them continued.
"Alright, open it up!" the same guard from before ordered.
Ellie was about to say something when Joel's hand grabbed onto her wrist, making his skin grate sharply against her bleeding hand. Ellie used her other hand to cover her mouth, muffling her sharp intake of breath and almost shout at the pain it caused.
Joel glanced over at her and she felt tears sting at her eyes, wanting to yell at him for the multiple pains he had caused her in the span of an hour.
The tarp started to flap again, showering some light into the crate. The tarp was almost completely open when a horrible sound assaulted her ears, making the guard who had been opening it drop the tarp sharply.
"What was that?!" a guard shouted, mirroring Ellie's frantic thoughts.
"We have a runner!" another guard shouted, the sound of gunfire soon following.
The light in the crate got darker, and Ellie then realized that they were passing through the gate. A sharp tug on her wrist and the momentum of her weight being forced forward made her stumble out of the crate, landing on the ground again and trying to catch herself with her already bleeding hands.
Her head jolted up to glare at Joel, who was standing above her with an unreadable expression on his face.
"Ready?" he asked her, making her think back to what had happened earlier.
"More so now," she said, standing up and following Joel into the fading light.
So, I guess I am taking on a different kind of responsibility this time since I am writing for a game that has not come out yet. I don't want to be criticized when the game actually comes out, but I am thinking this was how 'The Last of Us' might have started. I know that the characters might seem a bit OOC so far (at least from what we have seen from the trailers and gameplay), but I believe that the scenes in the trailers might have happened later on in the story (considering how protective Joel can appear of Ellie at times) and that their 'bond' could have been different at the beginning. Also, I know that with the way I ended this off, it could have been a One-shot, but due to some things mentioned in the chapter (like the unopened letter) that could be important for later, I have decided to continue this fanfiction. You can treat this as a One-shot if you would like, but I will be releasing more chapters in the future. Also, a note to people who read my other fanfictions: this is mostly why I have not updated in a while among other things. Please tell me what you thought of this and any comments and suggestions in a review!