Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
Author notes: Takes place during season 5.
They had been living in the teacher's lounge of William McKinley High School, the six of them, not stepping foot outside that single room and its adjoining bathroom, for nearly three days now.
It had been the best possible choice, given the circumstances, and the short time frame they had had to make the choice. The cafeteria would have been ideal, given its larger selection of food and the long tables they could have used to lie on top of, but it had too many difficulties that went along with it, too many problems to resolve before it could become even briefly a viable place to stay. There were too many windows, all which would need to be blocked or boarded up in some way, and nothing with which they could have accomplished this. Someone would undoubtedly see the lights on, through all those windows, realize the room was occupied, and try to get in, and it was almost certain that it wouldn't be someone who could help- or even someone who was still even partially sane.
The teacher lounge, though smaller and containing a lesser stock of food, was a better choice, and it was lucky that Quinn had had the presence of mind to suggest it even as they fled for their lives. The teacher's lounge- at least the second, smaller one that had recently been added on, when Sue Sylvester had demanded near exclusive use of the original one- had no windows, and therefore no one could see inside of it to know they were there. Although they had to be careful about not being too loud, and Quinn had shoved paper towels under the crack at the bottom of the door to block out the light, lest the people they could still frequently hear roaming about the school halls would see it and know someone was inside, it was nevertheless still the only room in the building that they could reasonably use and still have the basics of what they needed.
There was a table and several chairs, which they had been using to stretch across as beds in shifts, when they were too exhausted to be able to stay awake any longer. There was a refrigerator with old remnants of staff member lunches and snacks, a water dispenser with cone shaped cups, a coffee maker and the makings of coffee, two couches, a microwave, a sink, paper and plastic dishes, cups, and utensils, a snack and drink machine, though they had run out of quarters and dollars and been forced to let Puck break them open to be able to get anything out of them. And the best of it was there was an adjoining bathroom, so no one had been forced to use the sink for anything other than what it was originally intended for.
They could and had been surviving in those two small rooms, the six of them- Quinn, Puck, Rachel, Kurt, Santana, and Brittany, the ones who had managed to get away from Lima…and also the ones who had nevertheless been brave or nostalgic or self-sacrificing enough, or maybe just foolish enough, to return, even knowing what they knew about the situation. They had returned to help, to try to rescue, or in some cases, just to be there with those who mattered most to them even as those people no longer were themselves at all, and it was clear to all of them now that whatever their original intent or reasons, whatever their initial thoughts, they had been in vain. Because here they were now- Puck, slumped in a seat with his jaw clinched, fists balled at his sides, Rachel, nervously pacing, head down as she frequently wrung her hands, Kurt, sitting in the corner with his arms tightly wrapped around his knees, face hidden against them, Quinn, pale and strained as her eyes darted to each of her companions in turn, and Santana, face alive with both ferocity and fright as she kept protective arms around Brittany. Here they were, together, and yet none had ever felt so very alone, so very hopeless, in the face of what their future might hold for them.
They had all heard about the outbreak in Lima, first by word of mouth from their friends and family there, and then more and more steadily from the media as it became national news. Lima was quarantined now, with no one allowed in or out, in the country's attempt to keep what they knew assumed to be some form of a plague, or even what had been rumored to possibly be a terroristic attack involving chemical warfare of some kind. The six of them had not realized the seriousness of the situation when they first decided to come to Lima, to check on their family and friends, to help care for the ones who seemed to have fallen ill, or to protect those who had not- but how could they have known? How could anyone, even the media, even those who had been there from the start, really have understood it until it was too late to escape?
The illnesses started seemingly like a simple virus, with the person becoming feverish and experiencing sweating and shivering, running noses and vomiting, often what appeared to be delusions, coupled with incoherent speech. Initially this normal-seeming sickness would last as long as a week before the second stage set in, but as more and more fell ill, it appeared that the length and intensity of the sickness was progressing considerably faster, until it was sometimes now only a matter of hours before the "ill" stage progressed to the violence.
There seemed to be no way of predicting how the violence would present itself from person to person- it was only clear that it would, somehow, show itself in their behavior, and that there was very little one could do to stop them from carrying it out. Some people became suicidal, deliberately maiming, mutilating, and eventually harming themselves to the point of death, but others became suddenly and viscously aggressive towards any other person around them. In less than two weeks' time the streets and buildings, both public and private, of Lima were littered with dead and dying bodies of the murdered and the suicidal, to the point that hospitals, police departments, and fire departments no longer responded to calls….in fact, the majority of those who had made up those services were among the bodies.
Every person they knew had fled town before the borders and guards were set into place, if they were very lucky, and had either joined the bodies or the still-drifting, rarely resting homicidal if they were not. No one knew how it spread or how long its effects would last, and they could neither escape nor hope for a rescue. They were waiting, simply waiting, now, having exhausted all theories and possibilities of escape discussions long ago, and no one had the energy to bring it up again.
After all, it was what had brought them to the school in the first place. It had been Rachel's insistence that they, the so-far survivors, would meet in the recently shut down library to research and discuss in privacy just what it was they could do, what were there possible options now; they had been there no longer than ten minutes before a horde of homicidals chased them out, and they had barely managed to shut themselves in the teacher's lounge in time. They didn't dare come out- where else would they be safe? Where else could they go? And besides, they could still on occasion hear the footsteps of someone in the halls and knew that if they were not actually being guarded or watched, they were nevertheless rarely alone.
Three days now, shut together in one small room, all of them exhausted, anxious, and above all, terrified. Three days of little sleep and food, of suffocating emotions and bouts of hopeless tears or fits of rage. Three days, and through it all they had still hung onto the faint hope that they at least were possibly immune, because so far, it seemed only those who had been living in Lima when the illness first hit had been affected, that so far, they at least were all physically okay. They had hoped, they had held their breath, and some of them had even prayed.
But in the end, none of it had mattered, because in the end, one of them had fallen ill all the same.