A/N: Hello fellow reader! First of all, thanks for showing interest by clicking this story. Just want to say, I'm a big fan of the game itself and love the characters of Joel and Ellie. And being a fanfic user, I've been interested in making a story based on the game. So here is my take on what happens to Joel and Ellie after the events of the main game. Hope you enjoy!
-CHAPTER 1: A NEW LIFE-
"Ellie! I'm leaving now." Joel called out to her from inside his bedroom. He waited for her response, but got none. As he buttoned up his navy-blue denim shirt, he began to explore the house, curious to what she was doing.
Joel was preparing himself for watch duty that day. It was a job that helped keep him busy ever since they settled in Jackson County a few weeks ago. Tommy had been ecstatic to see them return and become a part of their community. As a welcoming gift, he offered them a house right next to his and Maria's. It wasn't too fancy: a simple one story building, built with two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, living room and even a small porch out on the front. Joel was simply glad they had a place to call home.
Walking over to the living room, Joel spotted her. Laying across the couch near the front window was Ellie. She was sporting a red flannel hoodie, dark washed jeans and black converse shoes. In her hand was a small device with headphones connecting to her ears. Noticing him, she sat up and smiled.
"You're going now?"
"Yeah." Joel responded. He eyed the device held in her hands. He had never seen it with her before. He pointed to it. "Now what's that thing you got there?"
"It's just my walkman." Ellie said, removing her earphones and handing the device to him. It was a gray, mobile cassette player with the words Sony labelled on it. She always had the device with her wherever she went. It wasn't until now that she started using it. "I fixed it in my spare time. You know you can listen to music with these things?"
"Heh, I know what these things do. It's pretty old compared to the cellphone I used to have." Joel said, smiling as he reminisced back to the old days. Ellie simply gave him a puzzled look. Joel explained. "Back in my day, kids at your age would smother themselves into their cellphones 24/7. It was an unhealthy habit."
"I'm sure it was."
"The point is they are much more high-tech than this walkman of yours." Joel handed the device back to Ellie, who still looked confused. To be born during the apocalypse, you wouldn't be familiar with the lifestyle back in the day. Instead, you were focused on surviving. To see and talk about regular objects and events of the past was strange, yet refreshing to people like Ellie.
"So how long are you going to be out?" she asked. Joel guessed he would be back late at night. Ellie sighed. This would be another day where she would be left by her lonesome. Ever since they settled into Jackson County, there was practically nothing for her to do. There was no one her age that she could hang out with. She wasn't allowed to ride the horses as much, since folks were still wary about her the last time she had stolen one of them. All she did was relax on their front porch and listen to her cassette on repeat. Was this how normal people lived? Sure, it was peaceful, but the boredom was torture.
"What am I going to do when you're gone?" Ellie asked.
"I'm sure you'll find something to do." Joel assured her. He knew Ellie was a bright kid. She was sure to find ways to entertain herself. He remembered the moments during their journey to the Fireflies how easily fascinated she would become. CD records, movie posters, hotels, all would catch her interest. But that was when he was with her to share the experience. Joel felt guilty leaving her alone in their house, even if it was only for a few hours. He could even see the bothered look on Ellie's face.
"You know, I haven't gotten around to teaching you how to play a guitar. How about when I get back, I'll show you how to strum a few chords."
"Pinky swear on it." Ellie said, holding out her pinky towards him. Joel smiled at the gesture.
"Take care, kiddo. And no parties while I'm gone, okay?" Joel joked, wrapping his pinky around hers.
"Who would I party with?" Ellie chuckled out. The two said goodbye as Joel left for his watch duty, leaving her alone in the house. She sighed. To any other teenager, it was a gift to have the house to themselves. To Ellie, it was pure agony. She hated being left alone, no matter what the circumstances were.
Deciding she needed some fresh air, Ellie headed outside to the front porch. The town was peaceful in the morning. Birds chirped as the spring breeze of late May filled the air with the scent of blossoming flowers. The trees around the block covered the area, while the mountains far off in the surrounding distance was always breathtaking to look at. The neighborhood around their house was the closest depiction to what life was before the apocalypse, as the streets and houses were kept as clean as possible.
Ellie sat down on the steps of the front porch and pressed play on her walkman. Listening to her music always relaxed Ellie. Settling in a peaceful environment gave her time to think about her adventure, which was the only thing stuck on her mind lately. Ellie was happy to have someone like Joel to accompany her as they traveled across the U.S. It was arguably the best thing that happened in her life, to find someone that genuinely cared.
But there was something about him that felt off. She pictured the moment she found herself in the back seat of the truck, dressed in a hospital gown as Joel drove anxiously. Something regarding the Fireflies had happened while she was unconscious, and she knew Joel was hiding something from her.
He may have spoken those words, but Ellie held doubt to them. She only accepted it because she trusted Joel's decision and he meant so much to her. She thought it wasn't worth the trouble to argue. There had to be a legitimate reason he got them out of the hospital in a hurry. For all she knew, he did it to protect her. But what about the Fireflies? What happened to Marlene? If they did stop looking for a cure, what were they doing now?
One day I'll find out. Ellie thought. But for now, they deserved to live a normal life. They had earned a time of serenity.
"Hey," a voice called her. Ellie looked up to see Maria walking up to her. In one of her hands was a blank, pink book and a pen. "I saw you out here by yourself and thought I'd check up on you. Where has Joel gone off to?"
"He's busy with watch duty." Ellie answered. Maria nodded and took a seat beside her. The two shared a good bond between each other. Maria was the only female figure Ellie could look up to. On the other hand, Maria viewed Ellie as if she was her niece, and was willing to be there for her when no one else could.
"Why aren't you playing with the other children?" Maria asked. "The weather is beautiful. You shouldn't waste it sitting down here all day."
"Pfft! Yeah right. Don't you see how much I stand out from them?" Ellie retorted. There weren't much children around in their community, and the few who were there mostly consisted of toddlers or were as mature as adults.
"I see what you mean. But Joel has told me how you would sit here all day doing nothing when he is gone. It's like something is bothering your mind and that's all you can focus on. You want to talk about it?"
Ellie hesitated. She was surprised how spot on Maria was. It was like she had done this type of thing before. "Did you have children before?" she suddenly asked.
"No. But I've always wanted one of my own. Tommy and I have discussed about it here and there. We just aren't sure if we'd want to bring a child into a world like this."
Ellie nodded. It would be troubling for a child to be raised and grow up in a world populated by monsters. She experienced it firsthand, after all. The strict survival rules they had to be taught and to live in constant fear of danger. But with a safe area like Jackson County, it offered a chance to forget those horrors and live a real life.
"You're an avid reader, right?" Maria asked. She knew Ellie was fond of reading. Occasionally she'd see her with a pile of Savage Starlight comics beside her on the porch, spending the majority of the day reading them. Maria handed Ellie the book and pen she was holding. "I can see the bookworm in you. You're a smart girl for your age, and it would be a shame if you wasted your life doing nothing."
Ellie took the book and opened it, giving a puzzled look as she flipped through the many blank pages. "There's nothing here to read. Why is it all empty?"
"It's a diary. Back before the apocalypse, people used these to jot down their experiences of everyday life and keep a record of them in privacy. It was a way for someone to express their feelings without the burden of being judged. This book is for you to write whatever is on your mind."
Ellie recalled to the time she had run away from the dam back in the fall and found herself at an abandoned ranch house. She remembered going upstairs to the bedroom and picking up a diary, reading the countless entries written inside. It talked about the struggles a normal girl went through, such as worrying about boys, or what shoes matched which skirt. It was all unfamiliar to Ellie, but fascinated her nonetheless on how live before the apocalypse was so different.
"So it's like writing my own story?" Ellie asked.
"In a way, yes. But this diary is for your eyes only." Maria answered. She knew a girl like Ellie would have endless thoughts and emotions running through her teenage head, and no one could be there for her all the time. This diary offered her a getaway from the world. Something Ellie needed.
"Thanks. I'm sure I'll put this to good use." Ellie assured her, giving a cheerful look. The two said goodbye as Maria left her alone on the porch. The concept of the diary intrigued Ellie, but she wasn't sure what to put for her first entry. With the open book in her hand, she tapped the pen against her chin, wondering what to write about.
"Shit. This might take a while." Ellie groaned.
"Joel! Over here!" Tommy called out, waving to his brother.
The south-side of the guard wall was located at the edge of town, running along the edge of a street. The wall was made up of sturdy concrete and metal, which took the entire winter for the town to build. Outside was a clear grassy area, eventually leading to the mountainous woods. A group of men watched over the area atop the wall. Their job was to shoot down any infected that got close or signal any suspicious activities.
"How's the area doing?" Joel asked, walking down the street and reaching the base of the wall where Tommy awaited him. He brought his backpack along with him, which was stocked with ammunition and a hunting rifle strapped into the holster.
"It's been quiet lately. But I ain't complaining." Tommy answered. He led Joel atop the wall using a nearby ladder to climb up to it.
Even though he was Joel's younger brother, Tommy was looked up to by the community of Jackson County and possessed exceptional leadership. He made the right decisions for their town, making it a safe environment. Doing things such as assisting with the hydroelectric dam to produce electricity, organizing food rations so everyone got a fair share and offering jobs to keep everyone busy created a unified group within them.
"I still gotta admit, you do know how to run things around here." Joel said, climbing on top of the guard wall and gazing out into the wilderness.
"It's the efforts of the whole community that keep this place running. It wasn't all me." Tommy answered. Joel could only chuckle at his brother's modesty.
"Always gotta be the humble one, don't you? Is that how you wooed Maria?"
"Well in that case, all I did was kick up the old Texas charm to sweep her into my arms, you know what I mean?" Tommy said, playfully. The two stood there in silence for a moment, gazing out into the wilderness. This had been their routine for the past few days. Watch over the wall. Eat. Sleep. To live in an apocalypse, this was the closest to having a daytime job. Tommy decided to break the silence. "So how's Ellie doing?"
"She's fine, I guess." Joel answered.
"What do you mean fine? Is there anything wrong with her?"
Joel shrugged. He wasn't exactly sure. Ever since the two returned from Salt Lake City, Ellie seemed less talkative than usual. Occasionally, she'd be in an uplifting mood, but a majority of the time, Joel had to initiate the conversations. He recalled to their moment outside Jackson County. Ellie confronted him about her survivor's guilt and what he told her about the Fireflies giving up on a cure. Joel had lied to her and she seemed to accept it, but her expression told him otherwise.
I made the right choice. I did it for her own good.
"You know, you never told me what happened back at the Firefly lab. Care to enlighten me?" Tommy asked. He noticed his brother was in deep thought. "What happened to the Fireflies? What did they say?"
"They...wanted to create a vaccine using Ellie. But doing so would have killed her." Joel sighed and paused for a moment. He replayed the scene in his head. His merciless rampage against the Fireflies. He did not hesitate to put a bullet through each of their heads. "So I killed them."
Tommy wasn't surprised. Knowing how the Fireflies worked, he felt they deserved their fates. The group only wanted power to overthrow the government, which Tommy was against. If any organization, such as the Fireflies, had access to a cure, there was no guarantee it would replenish the population of mankind. Something that would bring hope to humanity would only be used for greed and power. That wasn't what Tommy was striving for. He wanted to bring back the peace prior to the days of the infection.
Looking over to Joel, Tommy could see he was more content with living. He recalled to the very first days of the apocalypse. After the death of Sarah, all Joel did was sulk in his lonesome, never wanting to eat or sleep. He was so overwhelmed with grief he almost chose to end his life. Nowadays, with Ellie by his side, Joel never looked happier before. He practically had a smile on his face everyday. Tommy knew how he felt. He considered family an important driving force to living. Joel relearned this feeling through Ellie.
Tommy nodded to his brother in assurance. "You did what you had to do back there."
"I know." Joel answered. Ellie meant everything to him. She was his family now. He wouldn't let anything happen to his baby girl.
"Tommy!" a voice shouted. Joel and Tommy turned behind them, recognizing their colleague by the name of Richard. He was a bald man with a rough, gray beard in his mid-forties. He had the intimidating eyes of a hunter and had the physicality of one as well. He was part of the watch squad that patrolled the upper half of the town walls. Richard breathed heavy, panicked breaths. He spoke in a gruff voice. "We have trouble! A huge group of infected are attacking the northern part of town."
"Shit! Come on, Joel!" Tommy snapped. The both of them hurried towards the area, bringing along their men with them. It had been weeks since the town was attacked. Normally, Joel wasn't afraid of the infected.
But this time he had a reason.
The sound of the pen scribbling into the pages of her diary accompanied Ellie for the last half hour. She already finished a page and continued writing on the next. Ellie liked the concept of having her own personal book to write whatever feelings she needed to vent out. It allowed her to escape into her own world. Finishing the last few words, she proudly looked over her first diary entry.
"That should do it for today." Ellie breathed in relief. Happy with her entry, she closed the diary, wondering where to keep it. Maria told her a diary was to be kept in a private place. Ellie looked over to her backpack and shrugged. It would do for now. Zipping it open, she stored her diary in a secret pocket inside. Afterwards, she rested her head on her hands as she continued sitting on her front porch. She had the rest of the day before Joel would return. What was she supposed to do now?
I wish something exciting would happen.
"Run away!" a voice cried out. Panicked shouting followed as a group of people ran down the street. Ellie got up and checked to see what they were running from. She couldn't believe her eyes. A few blocks down the street was a group of infected, more specifically, Runners, chasing after everyone.
"Oh, shit!" Ellie gasped. She quickly took out her switch blade, but realized it wouldn't do much against the large numbers. If only she hadn't given up her pistol when they entered Jackson County. For now, running was her only option. Ellie ran down the street with the other civilians. Along the way, she passed by Tommy's house and wondered where Maria was.
Suddenly, a Runner caught up to Ellie and tackled her to the ground. Ellie struggled against it. Using all of her strength, she was able to stab the Runner in the head, killing it and causing blood to splatter on her clothes. She threw the body off her and took a moment to catch her breath, only to allow a pair of Runners to catch up to her. Just as they attacked, a bullet pierced through both of their heads, killing them in a single shot.
"We can't sit here forever. Come on!" Maria demanded. She held her hunting rifle in one hand, helping Ellie up with the other. The two sprinted away from the Runners, following the other civilians as they ran through town. As they turned a corner, Joel's watch group reached them.
"Fill them with lead, boys!" Tommy commanded, aiming his rifle towards the group of Runners and shooting their heads off. Joel and the others followed. The next few minutes were filled with the sounds of bullets whizzing through the air and Runners screaming in pain. Ellie stepped back and watched the massacre unfold as blood sprayed everywhere. The streets were soon scattered with dead corpses. Luckily, no innocents were harmed.
"Ellie!" Joel called to her. He ran to her to see if she was injured. A look of concern covered his face when he noticed the blood sprayed on her clothes. "Baby, are you okay?"
"I'm alright, Joel. I just got a little dirty, that's all." Ellie assured him. At the same time, Tommy was checking over Maria. Joel began to question him.
"Tommy, how did a group of infected get over the town walls?"
"I'm just as clueless as you are, brother." Tommy answered. He began to shuffle back and forth, pondering about the situation. How could the infected get inside? The whole town was surrounded by the walls and were fortified to keep them out. The infected weren't smart enough to find a way to climb over the walls, neither strong to break through it.
"Tommy, you need to see this." Richard called to him. He crouched beside the corpses of one of the infected. On the back of its body was a piece of paper taped along it's back. On it, was a crudely written message in blood. It read:
Paradise can never last forever.
-TO BE CONTINUED-
A/N: And so begins a new journey within the Last of Us universe. I have many, and literally many chapters planned for this story. Things you can expect: relationships that will tug your heartstrings, new characters Joel and Ellie will come across that you will love or hate, jaw-dropping action, and twists you won't see coming! Just a fair warning though. I won't hesitate with the shock value. I will go as far as the Content Rating will allow me to and hopefully hit you guys right in the feels, whether it will make you laugh or cry. Because that's what the zombie apocalypse does to you! Haha! If you readers enjoy this story and want more, let me know!
I intend releasing a new chapter every Sunday evening, so make sure you check back for updates!
Thanks for reading! Bye for now! :D
~I do not own any The Last of Us material. They are the respective property of Naughty Dog Inc~