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Runaway With Me

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He wondered why she came back every night. He had tried to get through to her for 2 weeks now, but everything seems futile. She was a work of art to him. She really was. Jake stared at the woman in his bed, naked and asleep, her breathing soft and slow, her features so soft, so at peace, he wondered if the girl who once loved poetry and music, art and life, was still in there. He had caught glimpses of that girl from time to time, yet, she managed to make that side of her disappear all the time. Alicia Clark, was a work of art. She was tough on the outside, but so soft on the inside, he only needed to break down her walls if he wanted to see the true her. But that again, was an impossible task. With the on coming war, the battle for lands, the dispute that still remains unsettled despite their best efforts to negotiate, had failed, and now, it was only a matter of time before things would crumble to the ground. Jake feared not for his life, but for Alicia’s. He had grown to like her, perhaps, even love her in such a short period of time, he himself was afraid of the possibility of seeing her dead body on the ground. No… he didn't want to even think about that. Alicia and him already felt like an outsider to their own camp, the both of them not being as ruthless as they were expected to be, even Alicia herself was not seeing eye to eye with Madison, prompting her to move in permanently with him.

 

He didn't mind it of course, and sometimes in the mornings, she would seek comfort in ways he never thought the guarded girl could ever do. Her randomness when it came to cuddling, or being a little more happier when she smiled at him as he woke up. Maybe she did feel something for him. Maybe she was beginning to open up, slowly but surely. Maybe it was only him that thought his efforts of getting through to her was not what he thought it was. But that fine morning, staring at the bedside table next to her, which was only 3 am in the morning, had stirred him awake, and he knew, he had to ask her something important. He knew that he had to make a choice, to stay or go, and he wanted to know if Alicia would come with him. His father didn't look him in the eye anymore, having taken a liking to Nick now more than ever, his brother, Troy, had been making threats to him that he was weak, and too diplomatic with his words, had seen him as too much of a weakling to even continue belonging to their society. And Alicia, her mother too saw the same thing in her daughter. She was just a woman who took up space, not being bold enough to pick up a gun and fight. And her brother, heck, he wouldn't even care if she lived or died.

 

Jake could see it in their eyes whenever they were there as a whole group. But Jake, he saw something else entirely, and he wanted to know if the woman that he was now falling in love with, would runaway with him, to create a better life, and to be free, avoiding all the bloodshed and conflict that was soon to happen. And so, when her eyes popped open slowly 30 minutes later, he gave her his signature smile, one that he knew the loving and soft girl inside would always love to see and smile at, made his heart flutter when she smiled back and moved closer to him, resting her naked front partially onto his own naked body and kissed his chest before she spoke.

 

“I didn't know you were that much of a creep to be staring at me all night.” Alicia sighed, closing her eyes again, her voice still thick with sleep.

 

“I was just thinking. Thinking about all that's going on.” Jake replied.

 

“It wasn't your fault that a truce couldn't be created. You tried. And sometimes things just happen and we got to deal with your own shit. Don't take it personally to heart Jake. We knew it wasn't going to work. But that's not what's bothering you isn't now?”

 

Jake wondered how Alicia could tell his feelings and his thoughts all so well. It felt as if his missing piece, that was lost from him when Charlene died was filled again by her, and he felt vulnerable around Alicia. It was something he found fascinating, that she could read him, and he couldn't read her no matter how hard he tried.

 

“I was thinking to run away. Far away from all this. My dad doesn't even see eye to eye with me anymore. The people want a leader like Troy. I stand no chance of being here to protect this land. Call me a coward but I just can't seem to feel the need to fight for them anymore. I risked my life, you risked yours to come with me to meet Walker, yet everything had been for nothing.” Jake clenches his jaw tightly, angered with himself for being so naïve, so blind to see how ruthless the people had become.

 

“Then, I'll go with you. Plus, you need someone to keep you alive and back you up. It would be a waste if I didn't get to explore more Makowsky with you. It would be a shame to let it go to waste.” Alicia commented with sarcasm in her tone.

 

“Well, maybe not after sex. Ain't that romantic.”

 

“Hmmmmm if I recall, I said it wasn't that. Just that what's the point? But I think I've changed my mind. I would like to wake up to you reading me poems and stories every day. Just not here.” Alicia shifts up from her spot on Jake's chest and looks at him with her tired and exhausted eyes.

 

“What about your family? Don't you want to stay with them?”

 

“I never saw eye to eye with them. My mother only cared about her son, Nick, and she always assumed I was okay. That's why I wanted to leave for college. Because I thought I could be normal there, for my family was never normal to begin with. And all that was thrown out the window when the world went to hell. In fact, I don't even feel love for them anymore. I'm just so tired of arguing and talking to them like a broken record player. I'm exhausted.” Alicia shifts up to completely sit down on the bed, throwing her legs off the edge and staring blankly at the wall.

 

Jake was surprised. This was the longest conversation he has ever had with Alicia. The most that her got out from her when he hit the right spot, sending a small portion of her wall to come crumbling down. Alicia was hurting. She had dreams and plans that could never be fulfilled ever again, and he felt pain for her. Alicia deserved the world. And he was going to give it to her. But not here. He was going to show her the beauty that this world still had, and perhaps, she could find it in herself to be happy again. It was only time that was needed to coax it out of her. So Jake got up from his side of the bed, moving over to wrap his arms around her waist, kissing her shoulders softly, telling her that it was okay, that she could let herself feel again, and when she sighed, leaning back into his bare body, he knew he was earning his way into her heart.

 

“Tonight… we can sneak out the back way. Use the back roads and cut through into the forest. I'm not saying it's going to be easy. The undead. And I'm still leaving it open for you. If you wish to stay, you can. I'm not going to make you leave them if you don't want to. But I mad my choice.”

 

“I'm leaving with you… because… because I love you more than them.”

 

And Jake's heart stopped. Her words came out only but a mere whisper, and he heard it loud and clear. She did have a heart still in there. Because she just spoke the words out loud despite it being just a mere whisper. Alicia Clark wasn't emotionless after all. Her feelings for him were genuine enough.

 

“Then I promise… I will never leave you. I'll take care of you. And I'll find you a better place to be in.”

 

“You already are that to me Jake. Wherever you go, I go.”

 

“Alright then… we leave tonight. And Alicia?”

 

“Yeah…?”

 

“I do… love you too.”

Chapter Text

Alicia looked out the window of Jake's room, watching everyone in Broke Jaw Ranch going about their duties, while majority were at the firing range. Jake had left to collect supplies, quickly and stealthily so that they could make their great escape that night. Alicia was only dressed in her thank top and panties, knowing that once they were packed, they planned to spend the rest of their time in bed. Like they always do. Alicia wondered how they came to be in the two weeks that they started sleeping together. At first, she wanted to feel something. To feel her emotions that were long lost and locked away somewhere ever since the apocalypse began. She lost people, trusted the wrong ones, killed someone to protect a father figure and a husband to her mother, only for her to lose him within the same day. She felt lost, angry, guilty even. She was a wreck. She thought to herself, maybe it was better not to feel anything at all. Bible studies was just a distraction. To let herself get lost in her own delirious mind and wake up the next day without having to feel anything more. She didn't feel the need to have feelings and she had been fine without feelings. But she questioned herself after Jake had teased her that one morning.

 

When she was annoyed with a hangover, how he touched her hips, sending a bolt of electricity through her. And that's what drove her to his place. She felt this connection with him the entire time, yet only until he touched her did she finally act upon her instincts. She remembered going to his place, asking him about what he wanted to say before she was an asshole to him, and things escalated from there. The first time in a long time did she feel whole again. When he thrusted into her relentlessly, how she begged him to be rough with her. She had control over him. She was in control. And she told herself, it was only supposed to be a onetime thing. Perhaps, something with no strings attached. But she was wrong. She felt something beating in her emotionless heart. It wasn't just the attraction they had for each other. It was the feeling of care, happiness… and the love that scared her the most. She had lied to her mother that one night, saying she didn't love him. But she was only fooling herself. She did love him. She tried so hard to tell herself that this world wasn't meant to allow feelings to be involved. Not after all she went through.

 

But Jake… he was different. She followed him to deaths doors to save the ranch, but everything backfired in their faces. She had managed to save his life countless times, because she cared. And because she loved him. And Jake saw that too in her. And somehow along the way, they saved each other without them fully knowing it. Jake had stood up to her mother when they came back, telling Madison that she could make her own choices. Madison had pushed her down to the dirt in her words, calling her a child and a reckless train, and that's when Alicia knew her ties to her family have been severed completely. She took her belongings, came walking in towards Jake's room, and he immediately hugged her, giving her his warmth. It was meant to comfort her, and she accepted it. She felt safe in his warm arms and from that day on, she never left his side. Madison had stopped by countless times, and Jake had told her to leave, Alicia not wanting to see her mother, tired and exhausted from arguing when she knew her words would never get through.

 

Yet, her mother was relentless, and so, she never left the room. Jake did everything for her and she had told him once that she needed to do something for him. Only to be brought into another round of sex and Jake told her that she saved his life more than once, and that was all the things that was needed to be done for him. And last night, she had confessed her feelings, stating that she was in love with him, knowing that it was way too soon to be saying such things, but she wanted to stop hiding. They were going to be together for as long as they possibly could, and she knew then that her love for him would be there forever even in death. Just as she stared on, she didn't hear his heavy footsteps coming up the stairs until the smell of food filled the room, and his warm arms had snaked it's way around her waist, his lips touching her bare skin on her neck, and Alicia hummed at the warm welcome.

 

“I brought breakfast. Thought you might want to enjoy our last meal which is a nice cup of coffee with eggs and toast, and bacon. And I managed to get muffins too. You okay?” Jake asked, using his free hand to rub up and down her soft stomach.

 

“Yeah. I'm good. Got the supplies needed?” Alicia turns around in his arms, kissing his lips before walking over to the table.

 

“Mostly medical stuff. Cans of food, water and the pill from the pantry for you. And I've gotten us two hand guns before they did the checks. Troy almost found out but I managed to slip away before he could. Anything that you have in mind that you need? Before we leave from here tonight?” Jake takes his seat opposite of her, stuffing a bacon in his mouth.

 

“No. I got what I needed. So where do we go first?” Alicia stares at Jake, his eyes lifting up to meet hers, before he takes out the map from his drawer nearby.

 

“It's some ways out… but there is a cabin up in the mountains, has supplies and such there that we can do a pit stop at before we head out again. Maybe stay there for a while and we can see what our options are to head out to from there. Unless you have somewhere in mind that you would like to go to?”

 

“No… maybe when we get to the cabin I might think of something. How many days to the cabin?”

 

“We move in the day, rest in the night, about at least a week. We take this route here,” Jake points along the lines of the map, “and we avoid Walkers team altogether. The only people who knew about this cabin was my dad and me. Troy doesn't know. And my dad won't be bothered to tell them where we went because his more busy planning his war with the rest. So we are pretty much safe there. Only problem we have is having to sneak out tonight. Overheard Nick and some of the others talking about increasing the border patrol of this place, so we have to leave when they switch shifts.” Jake continues eating, looking at the map while Alicia puts on her jeans and her flannel shirt that has become part of her life now.

 

“Okay.” Alicia says simply.

 

Jake raises an eyebrow at her, and she looks at him, giving him a small smile before starting on her breakfast. She wasn't much of a talker nowadays, but she only spoke when necessary, and sometimes she felt like an ass for not talking more to Jake. She was trying, yes, she was, trying to open up bit by bit, and Jake was always so caring and patient, would never push her to say more. Jake usually does the talking, but she would talk more if it was matters that were concerning to her.

 

“Alicia… I love you. But are you okay?” Jake moves over to take her hand across the table, gripping it hard enough but not too hard.

 

“I'm… I don't know. I have no idea what to think or feel. And I'm worried I guess. What if something goes wrong? What if your dad or my mom or your brother stops us? What if they…” Alicia had a right to worry.

 

She had seen the savagery of the people outside and inside the ranch, she could never feel safe. It was a constant battle of survival, and she wondered if it was just pure luck that she was even still alive. Jake and her almost had been executed when they came into Walkers camp, and again when they returned, almost having had their brains shot off by Troy. She had every right to be afraid. Every right to be worried. Jake was already in front of her on his knees, taking her hand in hers, and she looks into his soft caring eyes, she could almost break.

 

“We will get out Alicia. We will. Do you trust me?”

 

“I do. I do…”


 

 The sky had turned dark, and Jake looked around from the shadows of his home, watching from the darkness as the soldiers made their way around the border of the ranch. They were changing shift soon, and Alicia was standing in the darkness opposite of him, hiding in the shadows as well. He was worried about Alicia. She wasn't herself all day, only because she was Africa of being caught. And if they were caught, Alicia would be taken from him, and any chance of them tasting freedom would be revoked and Alicia would be placed under her mother's watchful eyes again. He couldn't let that happen. Waiting for another 10 minutes gave them the opening they needed, and Jake grabbed Alicia’s hand, and they made a run for the wall. He knew that they haven't covered up the small gap in between, and because they had used that route to make their trip to Walkers camp. Only this time they were taking the forest route towards the mountains.

 

Reaching the gap, Jake throws their pack and their bed rolls over the fence before taking Alicia's items and chucking them over as well before slipping in between the gap of the fence, and double checking the sides for anyone patrolling. Alicia was next, but before she could get in between the gaps, she was tackled to the ground by a man, and Jake rushes to get back in between to get to Alicia.

 

“Stop. I'm not going to tell anyone. It's me! Nick!” Nick stops his younger sister, and Alicia stares up at him.

 

“Let me go Nick.”

 

“Look… I'm not stopping you. I just wanted to tell you I'm sorry and that I love you. You will always be my baby sister. Just… be careful out there.” Nick moves off Alicia and pulls her up, checking around for anyone else.

 

“And you had to tackle me to the ground?” Alicia huffs, before giving her brother a hug.

 

“Had to go out with a bang. Besides, I wanted you to remember me for the last time tackling you to the ground like we used to do as kids. I just wish that mom hadn't been such a dick to you.” Nick pulls away, taking out boxes of ammo and knives from his own bag and hands it to Jake.

 

“You take care of her. Take care of her like we couldn't. She deserves the world.” Nick says as he hands over a few other items to Jake, nodding his head in understanding before Nick goes over to Alicia.

 

“Be careful Nick.” Alicia hugs him and whispers in his ears.

 

“Someone has to keep mom in place. And look after her. It's my turn now. And you, you better name a kid after me one day 5-6 years down the road.” Nick smiles, receiving a slap on the back from Alicia.

 

“You wished. Goodbye Nick.”

 

“Goodbye Alicia.”

 

Alicia separates from her brother and goes to walk over to Jake, taking his outstretched hand, and Nick gives them one last wave before they left back through the gap, Nick ultimately placing a blanket over it to cover the gap, and he walks away back towards his own home, knowing Madison will catch on to her missing daughter tomorrow. Jake could see that there was still love between Alicia and her brother. More like a mutual understanding kind of love. Alicia had told him once that Nick left before they were brought back together again. That her mother had tried searching for him over and over, neglecting her. And Jake understood now, that Nick felt bad, felt sorry for his sister who couldn't be loved the way she wanted to be loved. And that was what his words meant. To love her away from this place, and keep her safe in his arms.

 

And so, he promised silently, that he would take care of her, as they grabbed their things, and made their way towards the tree line, stopping to have one last look at the Ranch, before he turned to look at Alicia, a single tear running down her face in the moonlight, and she turned around and walked into the darkness. Jake realised that the tear was meant as a final goodbye to the people she knew in the ranch. Her mother whom she did love but never loved her back, her brother who did love her and understood her wants and needs in an unspoken manner. Alicia perhaps let that tear out, finally accepting that there was nothing more she could do, and now, she was free.

 

They both were.

Chapter Text

Night had just befallen, and Jake stops to rest against the rock, wiping the sweat from his forehead as he waits for Alicia. She had stopped by the nearby stream to fill up their water bottles while he checked the area around them just in case there were any undead in the perimeter. They had spent the last four days walking towards their destination, staying off the main roads and kept in the shadows to avoid attracting any unwanted attention. So far, the last four days have been peaceful and quiet. Well, despite the noises they made themselves at night in their tents, but no matter for no one could hear them. Not this far out. Jake looked over the map with the last of light that he had before looking out in the distance. Alicia was taking too long. Way too long. Jake gets up from the rock and heads back towards that river, switching on his flashlight. He felt fear course through his bones, fearing for her safety as he left her alone despite the fact that she said she would be alright.

 

Jake doubled his speed, sliding down the slope and jumping down onto the wet and muddy ground, following the river until he came across her sleeping bag and her bag. But Alicia was nowhere in sight. Jake panicked. His first thought was the fact that Alicia could have fallen into the river, but she could swim. He saw her Swimming in the lake when he took her there after the first time they had sex. He dismissed that idea entirely. Maybe someone took her. If it was a walker problem, he would have seen dead bodies and so his last thoughts went to someone lingering in the woods. Jake stood up to look around, but when he turned his attention to the river again, Alicia suddenly springs out from the water, gasping for air, her butterfly knife in hand and he drops his bag, ready to pull Alicia in when she reaches out for his hand. Jake wondered what the hell happened and he yanked her out and laying her on the ground as she coughed out water from her lungs.

 

“Alicia! What happened???” Jake rubbed her back, checking around her body for any injuries.

 

“Was… filling up… some dead came and I was cornered. All three came onto me and I slipped into the water. Two went down river from what I could see, the other I was trying to stab it but it was so dark down there… I tried and finally I stabbed it.” Alicia catches her breath and stands up with the help of Jake, who was still scanning around the area.

 

“You sure you're okay? I found a spot we can camp at for the night as well.”

 

“Jake… I'm fine.” Alicia assures, fling the dripping water off as best as she could before going back to grabbing her things.

 

Jake was skeptical, seeing that she seemed in pain but dismisses it and they continue on their way to the spot Jake had picked out for them for the night. Setting up the tent, Jake allows Alicia to change out of her wet clothes, but not before taking his time to put the tent together and stare at her naked form. Her back was flawless, her skin glistening still from the water, and he felt his shaft twitch slightly at the sight of his girlfriend, definitely turning him on as she dried herself up. Just as he watched her, her saw red, blood trickling down the side of her hip, and the hiss that came after had Jake stopping all of his work and dashing forward to her.

 

“Alicia? Your hurt.” He dropped to his knees in front of her and there he saw the long gash that was oozing out blood.

 

The wound looked as if a thick branch had penetrated her side, most probably from her fall into the river and something must've cut her during her struggle with the undead. Jake prodded around the wound, making Alicia fall forward in his arms as her grabbed her, and definitely something was still lodged in her wound and Jake knew if he didn't do something, it could get infected and cause her more problems.

 

“I need to wash it and check the wound. Let me get the tent up and I'll lay you down inside okay?”

 

“Okay…” Alicia grits her teeth, and Jake should have realized sooner or later that she was hurt.

 

He rushed to get the tent going up and laid out the sleeping bags, all the while checking over his shoulder at Alicia who managed to get her undergarments on and a singlet but pulled up to avoid touching her wound. Jake laid everything out, taking out medical supplies and pills before heading back out to take her in his arms and carry her inside before closing the tent up. She was sweating slightly, panting from the pain, Jake straddles her hip and starts wiping down the blood with water until he had a better view ad true enough, a large piece of splinter was still lodged in her side and Jake fished out his small pocket knife and takes out a cloth and bundles it up.

 

“Ummmm I'm gonna have to pull it out before I can stitch it up Alicia. And you might need this…” he hands over the cloth, Alicia takes it and as if understanding his words, she places it in her mouth and bites down on it before nodding at him.

 

“Okay baby, just relax.”

 

Jake steadies his hands, and rests his arms light on her stomach, hoping to stop the shaking of his arms, before using the tip of the pliers to put a grip on the splinter. Alicia huffs out, and Jake looks at her one last time before he pulls the splinter out slowly, her screams muffling through the cloth in her mouth, before she stops squirming altogether. Jake wipes the sweat off his eyebrows before taking out the needle and thread, dousing it in alcohol before beginning his work on stitching her wound up. Scream after scream died in her throat as she gripped onto the sleeping bag, her chest huffing in and out from the pain before Jake finishes up the stitches which consisted of at least 8 m, and he wraps up her stomach good and digs into the bag for painkillers.

 

“Here take these. Will help to ease the pain and let you sleep.” Jake takes out a pill, but Alicia refuses.

 

“No. I don't like my head in the clouds. Not in this state of the world.” She grits her teeth before turning over onto her side.

 

“Why didn't you tell me? You could have gotten worse. You could have died. I'm trying to help ease your pain Alicia but your being stubborn.” Jake argues, only for Alicia to turn away from him completely. “Great. Just great! Now you want to ignore me. Fine.”

 

Jake gives up and settles himself down on the opposite side of her, taking off his shirt but leaving his pants on, sighing that his Girlfriend was being a pain in the ass. He switched off the light and turns to face the opposite side of Alicia, not caring about her soft whimpers and eventually falls asleep. But shortly after he does, he hears Alicia shuffling around, and not having a heart to completely ignore her, her turns over to have a look, and finds her sitting up, gripping her side as she faced the zipper of the tent. He knew she was well aware of him staring at her, and the sigh that leaves her mouth makes him give her her full attention.

 

“The last time I took pain killers, my mom screamed at me. Nick was on and off on his drugs, and she thought I was following suit. I hurt myself at school when I tried to help a kid being bullied. My ex-boyfriend and I came to his aid, only for me to get a broken rib, and I just went home and wrapped myself up because I didn't want to be a burden. It hurt so much I didn't go to school for two days. Tried to take painkillers and my mom saw before she smacked it out of my hand, and she screamed at me for trying to waste my life away. So, I never took a painkiller ever again. I thought maybe I could get away to college and be away from my fucked-up family. That's why I didn't want it. I would rather keep quiet and suffer than be a burden to the world.”

 

Jake sits up and wraps his arms around her, pulling her close into his arms and he kisses her neck. He was peeling away layer by layer of the woman in his arms, trying his best to understand how such a beautiful soul like her was lost in the depths of the ocean. He now knew why Alicia was as such. She was broken inside. From years and years of being pushed aside, and the girl who once loved poetry and art had been put down for so long. He saw then that she never had anyone to love her. Never been able to feel safe and relief from the pain she faced, and he now understood why she kept quiet. She feels as if she was a burden to the world, and rather face things on her own. She would rather die than make others suffer and now he knew how he was going to make her feel alive again.

 

“You’re not a burden Alicia. Not to me you aren't. You are strong and beautiful just the way you are and I fell in love with you because of that. You saved my life without a breath in your path that night we were gunned down. You saved my life from Walker, who tried to kill me with a bullet to my head, but you stood in the line of fire and stopped him with your words. You saved my life from the dead when we tried to get back to camp. You, Alicia, is the most selfless woman I have ever met and loved, and I wouldn't change a thing about who you are. But all I ask, is for you to let me take care of you when you think you don't need to be cared for. To let me love you without having to ask for your permission. To let me be there for you when you’re in pain or suffering on the inside. It's only us now and I want to be the one to care and love you even if the world is already dying. You don't have to keep things to yourself anymore. It's just us and will always be that way until we grow old and die somewhere nice without the dead at our doorstep. Just let me in.” Jake caresses her head, and slowly brings her back to lie down on top of him.

 

“I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I'm sorry…”

 

“You have nothing to be sorry for Alicia. I love you. And you never have to be sorry.” Jake assures her with his affectionate eyes, and slowly she lets her breathing settle, despite the pain in her side.

 

“I love you too Jake. I do.” Alicia sighs out, adjusting herself so that her wound wasn't resting on anything and not put pressure on it.

 

The silence engulfed them, and soon enough, Jake's hand that was rubbing soothing circles on her back had lulled her to sleep, and he smiled as his girlfriend snores softly into his chest. He would love her for all she was. And he wasn't going to let her go. This angel of a woman was his light in the dark, and he was certain she was his one true love. Even in the hell of the world, she was meant to be with him. And he was meant to be with her. He would write poems about her all day if he could, and maybe he would once they reached the cabin. Only problem was, they had some ways to go, and they had already run into trouble. Jake then wondered to himself, what other troubles were lurking along the way that would stop them from reaching their destination?

 

Jake could only hope for the best as he laid himself to rest for the night.


 

 The sun was blaring hot, and Jake checked behind him again, for the sixth time that morning as they walked along the gravel dirt road that they stumbled upon, watching Alicia. They started early in the morning, despite protests from Alicia that she was fine to travel, Jake made sure to take extra care and notice of her as they made their way to the nearby town that was written on the map, which Jake hoped that no one had occupied. Alicia seemed fine from where he walked, she was walking normally, carrying her bag and keeping a lookout from behind in case something decided to pop out. She looked exhausted beyond means but at least she wasn't making things apparent that she was severely in pain. They had agreed that morning that they would take more pit stops so that she didn't strain her stitches, and Jake was glad that she wasn't arguing with him to push on when they stopped frequently to rest. So far her tank top wasn't covered with blood, indicating that he wrapped her up good and that she didn't pull any stitches which was a good sign.

 

Only thing he was worried about was the slight warmness of her body that morning, fearing that she could be catching a fever and didn't want her wound to be infected. Alicia said she would tell him if she felt sick and promised to not keep to herself if she did feel sick, but so far, she hadn't said much about anything and Jake's worry died down slightly. He checked the map again, seeing that they had to pass through the town and out the other end before heading into the forest again, which then had a trail that would lead up to the cabin, another 2-3 days hike if they set foot in town today, but he wasn't going to push it. It would take as long as it takes, for Alicia's sake. As the sun made its way to the highest peak, Jake stopped at the side of the road, stopping to sit in the shade of the tree, and waited for Alicia to catch up. She trudged her way over, her eyes hooded and sweat glistening against her forehead, and despite the heat, she was actually shivering.

 

“Babe? Aren't you warm?” Jake takes of her pack, and she slides down against the tree, and Jake hands her his water.

 

“Is cold Jake. Cold. I… I'm sorry. For slowing us down…” Jake crouches down beside her and wraps his arms around her.

 

“It's okay. It takes as long as it takes. Hey, the town is not too far from here and we can find shelter there to rest for the day and night. Let's just hope it's abandoned and we can find ourselves some food as well to stock up.” Jake brushes her hair out of her face, resting for a little bit more and they continued on their way.

 

Jake wrapped his arm around her uninjured side, and allowed her to lean into him, her body heat hotter than the sun against his skin, and he had to get her shelter for her fever was getting worse by the minute. Reaching the signpost, the town was located in the distance, about half an hour walk, and Alicia nodded her head that she could make it into town. Jake stopped to rest and allowed her to take a sip of water while he used the binoculars to scan the town which seemed empty, but it was a risk he was willing to take. They were too far away from the ranch, and also a good enough distance from Walker’s sanctuary to find it somewhat safe.

 

“Jake?” Alicia calls.

 

“Yeah?” Jake continues looking around without looking behind him.

 

“RUN!”

 

Alicia takes off running, pulling his hand along, dragging him down the hill, and he looks behind him, a whole horde of the undead were coming towards them, and shits be told, Jake was taken by surprise. They couldn't possibly shoot off rounds, not wanting to draw attention to others around, and they kept running in the direction of the town, not stopping for anything. Jake picks up the pace, his grip on Alicia’s hand never letting go as they ran the entire distance towards town before stopping at the side of the gravel road. No walking dead so far, and the town seemed deserted as they struggled to catch their breaths. Alicia was coughing and hacking at the side, even throwing up, and Jake had to get her inside somewhere safe. He looked over at her covered wound, and true enough, a small patch of blood had formed, most like pulled her stitches from the run, and Jake took her hand to pull her along into town. If she was to rest and live, then he had to get her somewhere safe.

 

But before he could go any further into town, shots were fired at his feet.

Chapter Text

Jake stopped dead in his tracks, the gun shot going off at his feet and he looked around him, Alicia slumping to the ground, dragging him with her as he struggled to keep her up. She was exhausted, bleeding, running a high fever and now the worst of problems running through his mind was getting shot down. He couldn't turn back for the undead were marching towards them if they didn't get out of there, but if he went forward, he could lose Alicia and he might probably die as well.

 

“Please! Please help us!” Jake pleaded, shouting at however had their guns aimed at him and Alicia.

 

Jake looked around again, and his eyes caught sight of the rooftops of the town, and true enough, there were people residing at the top with guns, before a truck came rolling over from the side of the gas station and men jumped out of the truck. They didn't waste anytime in grabbing Alicia and himself, dragging them into the back of the truck and firing away at the undead whom had closed in on them. Jake was pinned against the back of the truck, Alicia was stripped of her things and pressed down against the back of the truck, a gun to her head as on of the men pulled open her shirt to have a look at the wound. Alicia whimpered, her eyes darting to Jake's, begging for him to do something, but his efforts were futile as a knife was pressed to his throat if he dared to move another inch. The ride seemed to go on forever, Alicia fading in and out of consciousness. Jake could only look around him, and he didn't understand Spanish the way Alicia did, and therefore he had a harder time trying to figure out where they were going.

 

Soon enough, they reached an outpost, definitely not Walkers men, but this was another militia group that had the Mexicans running the place, and when they came to a stop, Jake saw a familiar face, one in which was calling the shots around here and her was set free when they threw him of the truck. The woman that approached him was none other than Nick’s Girlfriend, Luciana.

 

“Jake? What are you doing here?” Luciana stepped forward, helping him up before the men behind him shouted at Luciana.

 

“Please… I just need to get Alicia some place to rest. She's burning up. She's not infected but her stitch popped open and she's bleeding out again. Please! I beg you. The two of us are not here to cause trouble.” Luciana wasted not time and shouted orders to her people, the men helping to carry Alicia onto a stretcher and they took off towards the opening of a tunnel, leading underground.

 

Jake kept close to Alicia, her eyes hooded with fever, and partially closed. Jake held her hand as the followed the men through the bunkers, and soon the reached a small tent, other patrons, mostly older men and women were seated around, minimal lighting in the bug tunnels, and a lamp hanging over head in the tent was the only light provided. Luciana steps in from behind and under the covers of the tent, pointing about and instructing those around, before turning to look at Jake.

 

“What is going on out there Jake? Why were you and Alicia walking out there for?” Luciana ask as she walks around the table Alicia was laid flat on, taking a wet cloth and dabbing her forehead.

 

“The ranch is going to war with another group of people. Walker is his name. Alicia and I tried to reason with him but fell on deaf ears, and the rest of the ranch wanted to go to war with him to fight for the land. So we left. In the night. We thought we could get away and be able to stay safe from the fight, but we ran into trouble yesterday. Alicia fell into the river just a couple miles from where they picked us up, and a big splinter penetrated her side.”

 

Luciana and another female pulled her shirt open, her stitches indeed having been torn open, and Luciana injected her with something, most probably something to make her sleep, and Alicia's grip on his hand loosened bit by bit until she was finally asleep. The other woman, most probably a doctor helped to stitch her back up, Luciana continuously patting her body down with cold water, cleaning up the blood and everything else until she was wrapped up and a blanket was placed on her, covering her up and Luciana motions for him to follow her. Jake gives Alicia a soft kiss before leaving her behind, trusting that no harm would come to her since Luciana seems to be the one in charge of the place.

 

“How is Nick?” She breaks the silence.

 

“He chose to stay. Didn't stop us from leaving and gave us extra ammunition. I'm sorry about what happened between the both of you.” Jake offers quietly before he entered a small room, Luciana shutting the door behind and motions for him to take a seat. There was only a desk and and two chairs.

 

“My men told me they picked you up at the town. Said you were coming from Walkers land? What was that about?”

 

“We weren't from his place. We traveled through the woods to avoid it, just so that we don't have to run into him. Our initial plan was to head up to a cabin up in the mountains for a bit until we can decide where would like to go, but of course we ran into our friendly undead friends. And were here now. Look Luciana, I'm not here to disturb the peace, I'll leave with Alicia once she's okay to go. That's all I'm asking.”

 

Jake studies Luciana’s features, and she nods her head in acceptance. “I would welcome you to stay. But seeing that the two of you have somewhere to go, I won't stop you from going. The two of you saved my life and return, I'll let you stay. You can stay in the infirmary with Alicia if you want to, we won't be bothered by it.”

 

“That's all I ask. Thank you.”

 

“Before you go, I would suggest you be careful on the roads. Not because of the group going for your ranch, but there's a bigger threat out there than all of us combined. One of my people came back with reports two days ago saying that they were taken. He managed to escape but it’s a facility run by the government 6 miles from here. Said they were taking people to be experimented on. I would be careful.” Luciana warns and Jake makes a mental note of it.

 

Jake was then escorted back to the infirmary, Alicia was still asleep, her breathing still erratic, shivering under the blanket and the sweat that was covering her forehead was still evident, making Jake's heart hurt. He placed his stuff to the side, grabbing a chair from the corner of the tent, and taking up residence beside her, taking her hand in his and kisses it before laying his head down on her uninjured stomach, closing his eyes and letting himself sleep.

 

Hoping that she would be okay.


 

 Alicia woke up to the heaviness on her stomach, making her groan when she feels her insides burning up. It was so cold, so so cold, she could use a hot boiling bath right now to heat her up. Her vision was blurry, her head was spinning and her throat was so dry, she felt like dying. She tried to move her hand, but seemed to be stuck somehow and she tried pulling a little harder despite her lethargic state, and that's when she saw his face. The weight on her stomach lifted and Jake's face came into view despite the blurring of her views.

 

“Jake…?” Alicia croaked, and she felt his soothing hand rubbing her forehead and then running his fingers through her hair.

 

“Hey… you should be resting. Luciana is in charge here. She's letting us stay until you get better. Then we can go. You in pain?” He asks with care, making Alicia smile slightly at his care and concern.

 

“Cold.” Was the only word that Alicia managed to croak out, and Jake walked over to the small table to grab the bottle of water and give some to Alicia.

 

She wanted his warmth, his care and his hold, and after she drank water, she tugged lightly on Jake’s sleeve, asking him to join her in the bed. Jake shifted her over slowly, not wanting to aggravate her wound, and he slid in beside her, pulling her all so hot body close to his. She sighed as she cuddled close to him, surprising herself at how needy she was. She was never needy, she was never a person to ask someone to wrap their arms around to give her the comfort she wanted all those years of being alone. She would never ask in fear of being rejected over and over again. Yet, here Jake was, rubbing soothing circles around her belly, easing her slowly back into unconsciousness.

 

“You’re going to be okay love. I promise you.”

 

“It’s funny how you keep calling me love. I like it.” Alicia whispered, her head in the clouds from the medication earlier, yet her body still burned at the pain in her side.

 

“Well, your gonna have to live with it love. Because I won’t stop calling you love. I would do it everyday, every minute, every second if it means I get to spend this lifetime with you. I wish I could have met you sooner before the world crashed. I would have loved you every second of the day. Until the end.” Alicia smiled, gripping onto his shirt harder.

 

“Just don’t leave me, and I will want you forever. Even without art and poems. You’re already my art and my poem.”

 

And with that, Alicia drifted off.

 

But that didn’t stop the nightmares from happening. Her mother voice filled her head, telling her how useless she was, how unappreciative and selfish she was for only caring about herself. The images filled her head, the arguments she had with Madison in their shared sleeping area, how her mother was heartless, blaming her mother for her actions that almost cost them their lives. How she had volunteered to stay at Walkers place, making an alliance with him to secure hers and Jake’s safety if ever were the ranch were to be taken over. How Walker had protected her from the men that dragged her out in the night to a secluded area and used her body for their own selfish needs. He shot them after he skinned them alive right in front of her eyes for failing to protect her.

 

Jake never knew about it. She didn’t tell him. Afraid that he would leave her for not keeping her body to him, afraid that he would look down upon her and leave her to her family that never cared for her. Alicia was broken. So so broken. And she still couldn’t help but feel selfish for loving him, for wanting him. She loved him because he cared and loved her. And she didn’t want to be the one to break his heart for what happened to her. Her mother never cared that she was raped. Her mother only scolded her for being stupid dumb for letting her feelings get in the way. And her mother, her mother pointed a finger at her and said that she was to blame for her own well being.

 

“Alicia! Wake up! Hey! Wake up!” Jake pulled her up into a sitting position, her side aching terribly as she pried her eyes open, tears streaming down her face.

 

“Baby! It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s just a bad dream. I’m here.”

 

Alicia didn’t realise that in her restless sleep, her nightmares had plagued her mind, making her thrash around in her sleep and eventually Jake had woken her up. Her fever had induced the nightmares, making her cry out in agony at the images, the voices, the pain. And here now, she cried in Jake’s arms, unable to take the pain anymore.

 

“It’s okay. It’s okay love. You’re safe.”

 

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry… they used me. They made me have sex with them. I’m sorry…” Jake stared at Alicia in confusion. He knew Alicia had returned somewhat different from the gas station. And suddenly, she had been so distant, so lost. Jake wondered what ever happened. The fact that Walker himself had apologised to Jake when he returned with Ophelia to broker a deal, Alicia had came back to him without saying a word, afraid and lost. Her Friend Ophelia saw it too, but kept their lips shut. Walker had kept Alicia safe in his office, letting her help with the cooking and only be kept in his sight at all times from what Ophelia had said when they spent one more day at the gas station. It all clicked in his mind now.

 

“Alicia… love it’s okay.”

 

“No Jake… I feel dirty… useless. I let them use me for their pleasure. I was afraid to say anything. I’m sorry…”

 

It was the first time Alicia let herself break down, and Jake, Jake cried. It took him so long to get the hardened exterior of the woman in his arms to finally let him through. She was tired, she had a lot to tell him. But for now, she just needed to feel his love.

 

And that’s what she did.

Chapter Text

Jake walked passed the dark walls of the underground tunnel, lights out having happened over an hour ago, yet, he was helping the men in the cargo area lift some heavy items to be used to fix up the trucks and such that were being brought in by Lucian's people. Alicia had recovered over the last few days, her fever had broken the third night they were there and she was just getting back on her feet. She was stubborn no doubt, but after her fever haze confession, Jake tried his best to never leave her side for long periods of time. Alicia was more of herself after she got better, talking more openly and Jake was there to listen to her. He knew she was hurt but not broken inside, and every day, he coaxed it out of her. Talked about her life, her pain, her struggles. And in return, he talked about his, telling her jokes and stories, putting a smile on her face when he could. Alicia was out and about in the day, helping Luciana and the people around despite Luciana's protest on her staying in bed and resting. But she was adamant on being of service for letting her stay and to recuperate. Jake switches of the flashlight when he reaches the door to their room, opens it and smiles when he sees Alicia sleeping on the bed with the blankets covered to her waist, her naked top still in full view and her chest rising and falling softly.

 

It was taxing for Alicia to be out and about so soon, as she did some lifting and cooking with Luciana in the kitchen and he wasn't surprised she was exhausted to no end. Jake walks over to the corner of their small shared room, a bed and table which was the only furniture left in the room, and Jake wipes his body down of sweat with the cloth and bowl of water before he turns around to face Alicia's peaceful face. He wondered how he had gotten lucky with a beautiful woman like her. She managed to make him feel love again, and now, she was able to feel love with him. Jake smiled and ran his thumb across her cheeks, seeing how she adjusted herself unconsciously in her sleep, a small smile appearing on her face as if she was so at peace. The frowns that were on her face was no longer evident, and she could feel safe and at peace for once.

 

"Jake... sleep." Alicia mumbles, smiling still as she felt Jake press a kiss to her nose.

 

"Mmmmm... had to see my girl first before going to sleep. Have to make sure she's feeling okay." Jake smiles at her and Alicia hums softly.

 

"I'm fine. Just tired. Luciana and I made a good meal tonight. Saved some for you if your hungry. Its over on the table."� Alicia lazily lifts her hand and points to the table that had a bowl with a cover on top.

 

"I don't know... does it have poison in it?"� Jake smirks and Alicia pry's an eye open at him.

 

"Don't be a dick. Or I'm dumping you."� She closes her eyes again, and Jake gets onto the bed, hovering above her and starts kissing her bare shoulders.

 

"Mmmmm how about you feed me babe? A hungry man is an angry man they say."� Jake teases and rests over at the side, wrapping his strong muscular arms around her waist and pulling her close to his bare chest, Alicia let's out a contented sigh.

 

"Fine. You big baby. Only because I want my precious sleep after, I'll feed you." Alicia shifts and gets out of bed, Jake smiles and follows along and they stationed their naked selves on the chair, Jake pulls Alicia into his lap and kisses her neck while she reaches over to grab the bowl of still warm soup.

 

Alicia feeds Jake a bite, getting a nice hum from him as he closes his eyes and smiles at the taste of Alicia's cooking before smiling at her. "It's delicious baby. You really are a good cook. How did you learn to be such a great cook?"� Jake kisses her cheeks and she smiles warmly at him.

 

"When Nick used to be sick, my mom or Travis were out, I would make him dinner everyday. Made sure he took his meds and had a full belly before bed. He said the same thing you did. How did I learn to cook so well? Well, I learnt it from a neighbor down the street. She used to teach me when she made dinner. And that I could cook for myself and Nick. Thank her for that."� Alicia feeds Jake another spoonful and in return he fed her a spoonful.

 

Jake felt his heart combust in love for her. He felt as if he was married to this woman before him all this time. The love, the care, and the ways she took care of him by making sure he had something to eat, how she would go outside in the day to wash clothes so he had something to wear while he was out and about helping around. Luciana had even bumped into him, telling him how lucky he was to have a partner like Alicia, who didn't need to say the words I love you all the time, but the simple things that she did for him was more than enough to let him know that she did love him. Jake only wished that the world wasn't so fucked up right now, that he himself could bend down on his knees and make her his wife forever. Alicia was truly a remarkable woman, and he was glad they found their way to each other.

 

Once the food was done, Alicia handed a small granola bar to him, which he then proceeded to break it in half and share it with her, knowing her love for them things made him want her to enjoy every last thing of it. But he also had something in mind for her in the morning. He had a surprise, that hopefully, she would be able to say those three alphabets to him, and he smiled at the thought of it. After almost losing her in a wretched world that they now lived in, he wanted to give her a normal life the best he could. He looked over at the desk where he placed his pack, and inside he could see the shape of the objects he was given two days ago when he was out, and they were his lifeline now. Seeing that they were done, they cleaned up and Jake stared at Alicia's naked form from the bed, scanning her beautiful toned body, looking at the healing scar that looked so much better now, only the redness was still there but the wound had healed. Alicia sees his eyes raking her body, and she instantly moved her hand to cover her scar.

 

Jake gets down on his knees from the bed, and places his soft and warm hands on her hips, pulling her close to his face before he places a soft kiss on her stomach. Slowly, he kisses his way to her navel leaning his forehead on her stomach and runs his fingers down her sides, to her thighs and back up to her stomach, closing his eyes and letting the touch of intimacy burn images of her naked body into his mind. He felt her soft hands weave its way into his hair, rubbing softly and soothingly, letting him know that she was okay. Jake the proceeds to pick her up, standing up from the ground and she wraps her legs around him, and he carries her to the bed. Their tongues slide together with hot kisses as Alicia was laid down on the bed, pulling Jake flushed against her body as sweat began to form between their bodies and Jake slowly enters Alicia s they continued their onslaught of open mouth kisses.

 

Jake rocks his hips, back and forth, releasing moans and explicits from Alicia's lush swollen lips, his lips now attached to her neck, biting into soft skin. Grunts and pants fill the room, only the sound of their bed rocking back and forth, and Jake was in bliss. He felt his cock stiffen harder as it continued pumping in and out of Alicia's still tight cunt despite countless times having sex with her, and Jake was always so careful with her even when there were times Alicia liked it rough. She raked her nails down his back, feeling his lips now having ghosted down to her breasts as he sucked and licked her stiffened nipples. In that instant, Alicia came with an unrelenting force, shuddering and screaming his name like the last of the sun that had set in the horizon, gasping for air as her walls flooded with her come. Jake placed a kiss on her chest before he too shoots out thick ropes of come into her, biting down into her skin between her glorious breasts that he adored so much, and he collapsed on top of her, body spent. Sweat mended with sweat, soaking the bed beneath them until knocks came at the door with an all too familiar voice.

 

"Jesus the two of you! Keep it down in there."� Luciana hollers before they heard her fading voice of cursing explicits in Spanish and Jake chuckles.

 

"She'll get over it."� Alicia sighs with a lopsided smile.

 

"Mmmmm I know. Help her cook more often and she might let us have more fun times loudly."� Jake kisses her breasts and Alicia laughs.

 

"Mmmmmm well see. Sleep baby."�

 

And they did, with a sated heart.


 

 "Alicia... we have a problem."�

 

"What is it Luciana?"�

 

Luciana had called her early in the morning when Jake and her were still asleep, having not moved from their sex position hours before until Luciana had come over knocking. Jake was still asleep when she left, but kissed his shoulders and left the room with Luciana, heading out front to the entrance of the tunnel. Luciana took the liberty to bring her to the watch tower they had built, and to her surprise, she sees her mother in the camera along with Nick and Troy, Jake's younger brother.

 

"How did they get here?"� Alicia asks as she continued looking at the cameras, electricity being powered by the water damn nearby.

 

"By this woman here." Luciana points to another woman in another camera, and instantly, Alicia recognizes her. Ofelia.

 

"She was with a man the last time she came here to broker a deal for water from the dam. But now she seems to be with your mother. I called you here first since you told me Jake and you left there to run from the ranch. But they said they were looking around for you and Jake. I don't know if you want me to tell them of your existence here or not. One of my people said to them they picked you and Jake up a week ago, and they insist on looking in the tunnels for you."�

 

"No. Tell them we left a few days ago heading east. And that you don't know where exactly were headed for. Thank you Luci."�

 

"Hey... it'll be fine. If it comes down to them checking, there's an access tunnel just two doors down from your room where the two of you can make a run for it."� Luciana holds Alicia's shoulders, and Alicia nods at her.

 

"Thank you... for everything."�

 

"No worries. Just wish you could stay longer. I'm going to miss my best chef around here though."� Alicia laughs along with Luciana before they embrace in one final hug.

 

"I'll try to visit if Jake and I can."�

 

"You my dear, just be happy. Jake is a good man, Alicia. Take care of each other."�

 

"I will. Promise."�

 

Alicia smiles one last time before slipping back out and headed back to her room that she shared with Jake. By the time she got back, he was already up and dressed, giving her a warm smile before pulling her in for a kiss. Alicia smiled into the kiss and hummed, before pulling away from him and giving him a frown.

 

"Your brother and my mom along with Walker and Ofelia is here. They are looking for us. Luciana will try her best to stall them while we can take the passage to the right. Said it will get us out if here. Unless.. you want to return to them."�

 

Alicia said with a tinge of sadness. She didn't want to go back. She only wanted to be with Jake and that's all she ever wanted. She would rather die with him than be anywhere else and over the weeks she's been with him, she now knows that deep in her heart, she loves him for every spec of light that he is to her.

 

"Will runaway. I'm not going back there either. I'll take you as far away as possible from them. And live the rest of my life with you. I love you. And I'll die trying to make you live a good life even in this shit of a world. I'm taking you to the cabin and we can spend the rest of our life there if need be. Okay?" Jake caresses her face, wiping the tear she had let slip from her eyes, and they pack their things before leaving the room.

 

Alicia held onto his hands tightly, in fear that if she let go, he would be taken away from her. They escaped into the passage way, using their flashlights to navigate the darkness, running as fast as they could to get away from the place they had stayed in while Alicia healed. It felt like eternity as they continued until finally after what felt like hours, they saw the light in the distance. The gates that were built were all but ruined and rundown, making it easy for them to escape the dark tunnel, and it was late in the evening with light slowly fading in the horizon. It would be dark soon and they were left in the open on the road. Jake takes a minute to study the map, pin pointing their location before they made their way back into the woods, trekking and walking non stop to avoid being seen. As darkness falls, they stumbled upon a waterfall, and Alicia sees Jake stop by the river and drops his pack.

 

"Will rest here for the night. We set off early tomorrow and head back towards the direction of the cabin. You okay with that?" He turns to look at Alicia, after closing the pockets of his bag and walks over to her to check if she was doing fine after running and walking for hours and hours.

 

"I'll be fine Jake. We will be fine."� Alicia smiles, leaning in to kiss Jake when suddenly, he bends down on his knees.

 

Even in the moonlight, and the beauty of the forest around them in the night, she could still see his face clearly with the limited light, and Alicia felt her heart stop.

 

"Alicia... love. I wanted to do this earlier in the morning. But because we had to leave, I wanted to stop here to take the time to say what I need to say. The last few weeks being with you has been the best thing of my life. The moment I laid eyes on you when you were with your family, when you got into the helicopter and sitting at by the fireplace that night that I thought I lost love forever, you, Alicia, you saved my soul then. And we didn't have the chance to live a normal life, I still fell in love with you for who you are, and I want to spend the rest of my life being with you. I know we can't do this for real, but as long as I get to call you my wife, and let the stars and the moon be our witness, will you do the honor of being my wife?"� Alicia, like any other woman would do when they had been proposed to, covers her mouth in shock.

 

Alicia never expected to lead a world like this. She thought her life was over the day she was denied her chance to go to college, was denied the chance to have a normal job, a normal life. To fall in love, be married and have kids of her own, to have a great job, a beautiful house, and everything else that came along with that perfect life. She never thought she could dream about that. But here, now, Jake had given her everything and to be called a wife to a man she had fallen in love with, to the ring in his hand that was simple, a rose gold band and a small diamond in the middle, and Alicia cried. She cried because even this hell of a world, a man like Jake had still managed to find something so simple and pure to give to her, and Alicia was thankful for the man that she fell in love with.

 

"Yes... Jake. Yes..."� Alicia cried and laughed at the same time, smiling as her now Husband, stood up and picked her up in his arms, swirling her around like a little kid who just got the best present in the world, and he kissed her lovingly.

 

"I love you.. Forever and Ever."� Jake says.

 

"And I love you forever... Jake. Forever and ever."�

Chapter Text

It was nights like these that Alicia enjoyed the most. She would stare at the stars above her, making wishes like the little girl she was when she would sit on the roof of her home with her father, and they would count the stars. As many as she could, she would still cuddle up to the man that loved her all so much. But those days were no longer around. Because now, on this same night as every other night, Alicia is cuddled up to the man she now called her husband. Jake Otto. The man whom had wiggled his way into her heart, showing her that this world still had the good in them, the art, and the love that she had wished for all along. And now, under the moonlight, she could stare at the ring he had given her, and she smiled at its simplicity. Jake had a ring for himself, and the story of how he got lucky finding it was what made her heart melt. While she was still in her fever haze from her injury, Jake had helped the men outside, and on one of the trips, he came upon a jewelry shop that was long raided and forgotten, and in the midst of finding supplies, he found the matching pairs of rings. Simple yet elegant. And just three nights ago when they made a run, he made her his wife. And now, in the peacefulness of the night, Alicia was again wrapped safely in his arms. There were big boulders and rocks, which with each other’s help, they managed to climb atop one and made themselves comfortable on the sleeping bag.

Alicia smiled to herself, hearing the soft snores of her husband beside her, and she looked at his peaceful face that she loved all so much. He was a heavy sleeper unlike her, and he could sleep through a tornado or an earthquake, yet she didn’t mind it. As long as he had his sleep, she could rest in peace. Staring up into the night sky, Alycia hums softly, rubbing Jake’s back softly until she saw something up in the sky. A light shot up like a flare, but no sound could be heard even in the silence of the night. Alicia stares at the sky again, and then the soft bang of a gun from a distance fills the air, the flare that was shot high into the sky was closer than the previous shot, and Alicia quickly nudged Jake awake.

“Wha… what is is Licia?”

“Jake… flares. Coming from the north. Someone seems to be in distress. Or worse, attracting unwanted visitors.” Alicia was already up and Jake slips on a shirt and looks up in the distance when another flare is shot up into the sky.

“It’s in the direction of us heading to the lodge. It could mean trouble or it could be friendly. It’s the main road to the ranch as well. But that’s some ways off. At least a two days drive. We have to go.” Jake starts packing things up, Alicia as well packing her stuff up, wondering what was actually going on up there.

“Is there a way around without having to pass through the main road?”

“Not that I know off love. But my guess is as good as yours. We have to be prepared. If we run into trouble, whomever it may be, we have to make a run for the trees again. Stay close to me okay? Don’t let go of my hand.” Jake says as he shoves his backpack over his shoulder.

“Never.”

Alicia looks to Jake, and he smiles, placing both his hands on her face and pulls her in for a kiss. Alicia smiles into the kiss, his hot breath on her lips, and she pulls him closer into a hug before they took each other’s hand and the set off on their way. Alicia had her gun out in one hand and Jake had his rifle in the other, both of them scaling the darkness with the limited light they had from the moonlight, and traveled towards the direction of the flares. It had stopped sometime ago, but as they got closer, they could hear the sound of gunfire ensuing. Jake stops and looks to Alicia, both fear and worry written in his eyes, and Alicia nods her head, preparing for the worst of the outcome and the trudge on. Keeping low on their feet, they scaled through the trees until they saw fire in the distance by the main road, and true enough, they saw an ensuing gun fight between two parties. One party had rifles going off at men dressed in white suits, who were returning the fire and shouts were filling the darkness of the night. Alicia knows that they had to go around someone, and that if they drew fire themselves, they could reveal their own location and be gunned down as well.

Jake pulls her along through the trees, heading north towards the men dressed in white, which were losing to the militia, and Jake then recognizes the people fighting, and he taps Alicia’s shoulder, pointing in the direction of his point of view. There, she saw her mother, Nick, Ofelia, Walker, Luciana and Troy hiding behind their trucks, returning fire and Jake puts a finger to his lips, signaling to be quiet to avoid them being spotted and they continued forward. Just as the groups were out of sight, they stopped near the edge of the main road, checking for anyone around before they made their way across. Just as the touched the center of the road, Jake hollers and gunfire ensues, his arm already seeping blood. He looks over at the side and sees four men in white firing and approaching them, Alicia takes aim and fires to shots. Jake runs with Alicia covering him, only for her to scream in agony and collapse to the ground, Jake fires off his rifle, and kills the two men immediately, making him crouch down and yank Alicia to her feet. Back up soon realized the two of them and Alicia swings her arm around Jake’s neck, and the two of them make a break for the tree line as more shots sounded at them.

Alicia huffed out in pain, her right thigh having been shot, and Jake was groaning for his left arm was burning miserably from the gun shot. Alicia knew Jake was blaming himself for their situation, but at the moment, they couldn’t stop. They had to keep going, checking behind them as they continued to the darkness, even more vulnerable than ever. They were losing blood, Alicia two more from her thigh, and they pushed on, trying to find a safe spot. Gunfire could still be heard behind them, and they couldn’t rest yet. Alicia felt as if their luck wasn’t on their side. Every time they ran into their family, they were always stopped by some obstacle, and now with the two of them being injured, one a useless arm, another a useless leg, and both of them losing blood, they were in a whirlwind of shit. It only served to slow them down, and with the dead walking around, it made things even worse. It was dark, and the smell of their blood could attract zombies no doubt, and they had to find shelter soon, or they might as well kill themselves.

Alicia feels her vision begin to blur slightly, but she presses on with Jake, no wanting him to stop for anything until they could no longer hear the sounds of gunfire, and not long after, Jake stops them, gently sliding Alicia to the ground, her lips clamped shut from the pain, and to avoid screaming in agony, and Jake gets down on his knees, his arm already pressed closely to his chest.

“We need to stop the bleeding. Give me your belt.” Jake points to Alicia’s jeans, and she unbuckles it hastily before holding her hand up to Jake, saying she was going to do it herself. Jake looks at her with concern, but Alicia gives him a smile, and she begins to buckle the belt around her thigh.

“Guess what baby… we have battle scars to tell our kids in future if we ever do have them.” Alicia sticks her tongue out at Jake, and he gives out a breathy laugh, stealing a kiss from Alicia, and in the midst of the moment, she pulls the strap as tight as possible, gasping out in pure pain and panted before wrapping one of her flannel shirts, the purple one around, before let out an exhausted sigh.

“Damn, I think our kids might call you a badass mom.”

“Shush… its your turn old man.” Alicia gives him a painful smirk, pulling his arm towards her, and Jake was forced to bend down in between her legs, before Alicia fumbles through her back pack, and takes out her torchlight, along with a needle and thread, and her butterfly knife.

Jake fishes out the alcohol bottle, and he tenses his arm, Alicia quickly pours the alcohol over his wound, and using the knife, she quickly uses it to dig out the bullet, making Jake groan miserably. Alicia was frustrated that she couldn’t make a fire to close up the wound at least, but with them still being able to hear the distant sounds of gunfire, she didn’t want to risk it anymore than they already could. The torch light in her mouth, Alicia concentrates on stitching his wound, a total of 5 stitches before wrapping it up with a cloth and tying it down.

“Okay… we need to get a fire going to fix you up. Or you will bleed out.” Alicia was already fuzzy with her vision, but they couldn’t risk it.

“No… Jake. We have to keep going. Starting… a fire… would draw their attention and it could mean the end… for us. Just… help me walk until we get further away.”

Alicia could see the motors running in his head, making it hard for her to distinguish the look on his face, and the searing pain in her leg that she tried so very hard to mask the pain and pushing it aside to at least help Jake since his arm could be useful if she got the bullet out even if it will hurt him like crazy. But Jake nodded anyway, using his good arm to haul Alicia to her feet and took her arm around his shoulder, carrying on their way. Jake’s mind was frantic. Only just a couple of days before or a week plus ago was Alicia battling for her life, having been pushed into the river by a walker. Now, she had another scar and problem to add to his list of worries, for she had protected him when he was shot and on the ground. The look in her eyes when she defended him, killing the people she swore an oath to her own heart that she would never willingly kill another human being. But now, she broke that by killing the men who shot at them because of her love for Jake.

And honestly, she would do it over and over again.


 

Jake trudges through the darkness, his torchlight shinning around as he carried more and more weight of his wife, Alicia, and even if they weren’t ever to be married in a church, they were both married by heart and that was enough for him. It was getting to a point where Jake was tapping Alicia lightly over and over to keep her awake and he checked her thigh which the blood had soaked through the fabric she had wrapped around as they continued on through the forest. The sound of gunshots had ceased and Jake looked around the area, only the sound of his breathing and Alicia’s heavy breathing could be heard, and Jake took the chance to stop them where they were, quickly placing Alicia down on the ground, and her groaned at the strain of his uninjured arm. He could use painkillers right now, but that was going to have to wait. Alicia laid back completely, her pupils dilated from the loss of blood, and quickly he scurried around looking for wood and dried leaves, anything to use to make a fire.

Once his task was done, Jake takes out the matches from his backpack and builds a fire, looking over at Alicia from time to time as she laid there on the ground, her chest heaving from time to time and Jake sets her knife on the flames that burned high now. Jake goes over to Alicia, slowly unwrapping the bloodied cloth to the best he could with one arm in use, and the belt that was wrapped around seemed to be helping just a bit before Alicia hissed when he tried to unbuckle the belt that was wrapped around her leg. God, he wished it was him who took the leg wound instead of her. But still, she stood in the line of fire for him, and he was proud of her for her bravery and her love for him. Once the belt was off, Jake looked at her knife that was now beat red, and Jake turned to look back at Alicia, her face covered in sweat and pure pain. Jake took out his pocket knife and her crouched down beside her leg, using his good hand to hold her leg down before using his other to ready the knife.

“This is going to hurt love. I have to get the bullet out then burn the skin. I love you.” He said through tears that were threatening to spill.

“I love you.” She gritted through the pain and braced herself.

Just as Jake dug the knife in, Alicia chokes down her screams, trying her best not to draw any attention from things around them, and Jake made quick work to find the bullet. Alicia had her back arched, her fingers dug deep into the ground and Jake dug deeper as quickly as possible before the metal touched metal and Jake pushed the bullet back out. Alicia lurched forward, biting back her screams, how her lip bled from biting too hard, and Jake groaned at the use of his injured arm. With the bullet out, Alicia panted hard and slumped forward against him, and Jake placed a kiss to her sweaty forehead before coaxing her to stay awake. Slowly after, Jake helps to strip Alicia off her jeans, and stopped at her knee cap, looking at the blood that was bleeding out of her thigh excessively. Jake didn’t waste a moment longer, and he used his leather gloves he brought along, putting it on and grabbing her knife. It was burning hot and he pushed her chin up to look at her in the eye, Alicia struggling enough to stay awake still and he kissed her lips before placing the burning hot metal onto her skin.

The blood sizzled along with her skin, and Alicia couldn’t take it anymore and her screams filled the night air, her cries of pleas and tears streaming down her face, Jake’s heart ached beyond words. Closing the wound up completely, Jake grabs the water bottle and washes it down, clearing the blood and checking to make sure that there wasn’t any blood coming out from the wound, before he wrapped it up in a clean shirt he had and pulled her jeans back up before wrapping the belt around to keep it in place. Jake had Alicia in his arms, passed out from so much pain, and he took out the blankets and laid it out, too tired to build the tent and he laid her down before he himself washed the blood off his hands and joined her. He knew the both of them were unfit for travel, and as he laid down to wrap his arms around her, he kissed her shoulder over and over again, letting her know in her painful sleep that he was there.

“Jake…?” Her voice came out merely but a whisper, and Jake moved up to look at her.

“Licia? I’m here… its okay. We’re safe.” He pushed her hair out of her sweaty face, and Alicia took a long gulp before prying her tired hooded eyes open.

“You… okay?” She asked.

“Yeah baby. I’m fine. Your going to be okay. Promise. My selfless warrior wife.” He smiled and chuckled, making her pull a small soft smile.

“You… saved me… too.”

“Nah… you’re the hero tonight. Always will be my hero. Get some rest.” He cooed and kissed her nose.

“I almost thought I lost you… I don’t know if we could handle that. Not ever.” Alicia sighed and grabbed his arm.

Jake was stunned for a moment. She mentioned the word ‘we’. What did she mean by that? Seeing her drift off to sleep, Jake looked over Alicia and checked her body out for any other injuries. Maybe she was just tired. She was in great pain earlier. For the 7 weeks that he knew her, Alicia still looked as beautiful as the first time he saw her. He met her 9 weeks ago, at the outpost where his brother was doing unethical things, and two weeks after he started sleeping with her and eventually it lead to this moment. She loved him and he loved her. There was no denying that. And he knew that ‘we’ meant each other. He smiled and kissed her forehead before cuddling close to her and laid his head down to rest. It would take a week at least before she would be back on her feet. She needed the rest. So did he. But before he could let sleep completely take over, he heard the rustling of bushes nearby and that had him up on his feet reaching for his rifle in and instant. He wasn’t going to let anyone take her away from him. Not now, not ever. Just as he was about to pull the trigger in the direction of the sounds, someone popped into the open and Jake halted his finger from pulling the trigger.

“Troy?”

Chapter Text

“Jake? What the hell you doing out here? With Alicia? Shit! I thought you were dead man!” Jake stared at his brother who put down his gun.

“Well, I’m not. Why are you here?”

Jake never thought he would see his brother again so soon, let alone in the midst of the chaos that happened earlier. Troy wasn’t looking any better, his shirt covered in blood and few cuts here and there, but he looked fine overall.

“Madison went crazy over your girlfriend there disappearing. So… she goes out with search parties looking for you and her. I left them because I found out that her manipulative mother killed dad. Shot him in the head to broker a deal with Walker himself behind everyone’s back.” Troy sighs and takes a seat at the small rock near the fireplace.

Jake sighed, his heart breaking slightly at the news of the death of his fate. Their father. He felt hurt, pain and anger not towards Alicia, but towards her mother, and he wished he had stayed. He could have kept him alive. But that was another problem that he knew as well he couldn’t fix. It wasn’t in him to take a life of a family member and no doubt his own father to give it over for the price of freedom and togetherness at the ranch. Jake looked over at his sleeping wife, unsure of whether to tell his wife about her mother’s brutality, but he knew eventually he would have to tell her when she wakes up. Jake takes out a can of tuna and throws it at Troy, who quickly smiled like a child who received his first candy and he didn’t waste any time on opening it up and chowing down.

“So, Troy, whatever is your plan now?” Jake asks.

“Well, seeing as I don’t want to go back and see those asshats… can I join the bandwagon with you two? Where are you heading to anyway?” Troy looks at his brother with questions in his mind.

“Well, Alicia and I decided to head up to the cabin. Away from civilians and anybody else. The one dad took me to before you were born. Can hunt, live out the rest of our lives there. But we keep running into trouble and I have a nice shot in the arm, she got the leg.”

“Not surprising. Two of you look like a married couple from day one. Gotta have married scars at least.” Troy smirks and Jake rolls his eyes.

“Well, I did ask her to marry me under the stars. So, we are… officially married.” Jake smiles as he looks at her sleeping form.

“Yuck. You were always the cheesy idiot between the two of us. But hey, congratulations. She’s different than everyone else. But same like you. I wouldn’t have doubted it for second you two weren’t married. But hey! She’s your girl. I’ll take care of my bro’s girl.” Troy winks and gives the biggest childish smile he could give.

“Thanks.” Was all Jake could reply and nods.

“Look Jake… I know I did some things that you aren’t proud of. And it’s okay if you don’t trust me. But I’ve got only you left as family. And a new sister in law. But I am sorry for things that I know shouldn’t be done. Just don’t leave me.” Troy looks at the fire, waiting for his brothers reply.

“I can’t forgive you for some ot the things you did. But my rules are simple. Alicia is my life now. Her safety comes first. She deserves a better life and if you want to stick around, keep your hands to yourself and if you so much as look at her the wrong way, I’ll kill you. Got it?” Jake warns.

Jake knew he was doing this to ensure that his brother doesn’t do something stupid. He loved his brother no matter what he did in the past, and the nod that Troy gave him was all the confirmation he needed to know that Troy would keep to his word. Soon enough, with his aching arm, Jake motions his Brother to take first watch while he gets some sleep, asking him to wake him up later and Jake nods his head before scooting over to a big boulder and keeping his shotgun close, watching the sky and they are around them before Jake settles back down besides Alicia. Her breathing was still shallow, but a little calmer than earlier, tired and worn out from blood loss, but at least she was still alive and resting as she should. Jake held her close to his body, providing some much-needed heat and she hummed softly before leaning into him and became still again.

“I love you Alicia.”

Jake whispers into her ears before he himself drifted off to sleep.


 

The pounding radiating through her head made Alicia groan. Her leg was aching miserably and she knew she had to get up at least to check on her leg. It was in flashes on what happened the night before, the intense pain that shot through the entirety of her leg and body made her want to throw up even more. It hurt so much, but now, it felt a little bit more pleasant than the night before. It was mid-morning judging by the position of the sun. Jake was not beside her and Alicia groaned as she shifted her leg.

“Hey slow down sis!” And that had Alicia looking in the direction of the voice.

“Troy?”

“Aye! Bingo. Jake went to refill the bottles. He be back soon enough. Need help?” Troy motions to her leg, and Alicia, still untrustworthy of Troy, had no choice but to seek help from him or she be puking right there on the spot.

“Yeah.”

Troy came towards her, looking at her as if asking permission to touch her and Alicia nodded before he placed his arms under her armpits and hauled her up to her feet before placing her arm around his shoulder and carried her to the tree nearby. Alicia felt even more nauseated and when she got there, she threw up whatever contents were in her system. Troy held her up as best as he could, watching Alicia throw up over and over again, and all he could do was rub her back.

“Why are you here?” She managed between breaths.

“Well, I ran from the group. Things have changed. For one I don’t blame you for but your mother killed my father to ensure that Walker and the ranch can live as one together without war. We got stopped by some weird as government officials in white suits trying to take people. And I ran. So yeah… I bumped into you two and Jake told me everything.” Troy shrugged his shoulders before Alicia threw up again.

“You okay?” He asked.

“This doesn’t change anything. You may have promised Jake some things but I still don’t trust you.” Alicia coughed and leaned against Troy even though she wasn’t so trusting of him.

“Hey! It’s cool. Like I said, I promised Jake if I’m sticking around, I’ll keep to his rules. Anyways, you look fucking sick. You okay...?” Alicia nods her head and points in the direction to head back, prompting him to lift her up in his arms out of pity of her having to walk.

As they headed back to camp, Jake was checking on supplies when he saw Alicia resting in Troy’s arm and he bolted over to help his brother settle her down. “Alicia… you okay? What’s wrong?”

“Am fine Jake. Just the usual throwing up after getting shot shit.” She flicked her hand and dismissed him.

“I hate to break it to you bro, but I know there is a gas station towards the north where we can resupply and stay for a couple of days. I mean she’s not looking too good and going there would be the best bet to help her heal. Better than being out in the open here.” Troy suggests, looking down at Alicia who was looking pale.

“Alicia… you okay with that? You up for it?” Jake rubs his thumb across her eyebrow and she nods.

Alicia couldn’t tell him yet. She hasn’t confirmed it but she knew what was making her throw up. Making her sick. She just wished having been shot in the leg hadn’t kicked it up this bad now. Troy was of help, and so far, he was keeping true to his word with Jake, but she always had that insecurity with him after what he did at the outpost. But the news of her mother broke her heart. She was too tired to say anything now, but her heart ached. It ached that her mother was immoral, a killer, and taking the two boys father away for the benefit of everyone wasn’t what she had in mind. Even if the situation came down to that, Alicia would never take a life for the sake of a treaty. She would have walked away, just like she did with Jake to live a better life somewhere else.

“I’ll carry her first. Then we switch. Cool?” Jake speaks to Troy and he salutes, taking Alicia’s pack and hauling it over his shoulders including Jake’s, putting it in his front and waited for Jake to pick Alicia up.

“You’re gonna be fine baby. Just hang on. Will get there and you can rest.” Jake kisses her forehead and she rests her head on his chest.

“Ready?” Troy asks.

“Let’s go.”


 

Jake looks around the area, a couple of undead walking around which could be easily dealt with and Jake looks over to Troy, who had Alicia in his arms, asleep by the looks of it, and Jake sighs that she was at least resting. Troy was getting tired of carrying her, for she was in his arms the past two hours after both of them took turns carrying her. Alicia had thrown up just over two hours ago and he was worried about the fact that she had picked up something or that her leg was infected, which he hadn’t had time to check. Troy thinks the same thing as well, seeing that there were no walkers who could have bitten her, which was the worst fear in the back of his mind, but in that case, she wasn’t which made things so much better, but for now, they had to make it to the gas station. Jake tells Troy to wait while he takes out the few undead and he scurries off, his wife’s knife in hand and he took out the first one, the knife driving deep into the skull of the walker before he took out the next two nearby by shooting them in the head.

Running towards the entrance of the gas station, Jake looks around for any other signs of the undead, before he entered the gas station slowly, his rifle in hand. His arm still ached miserably, and from carrying Alicia in his arms hours ago, he pushed through it to ensure that his wife would be better when they had a place to stay and so, he checked each isle, plenty of food and drinks that have yet to be raided, before he headed towards the back. The office was pretty small, blood splattered against the walls but nothing out of the ordinary of having an undead there, and the last for him to check was the bathrooms, not wanting to take a chance at a surprise attack from one or somebody else of the living to kill them. Once he checked every inch of the place, Jake blocks off the back entrance, and any other entrance except the front and he places his stuff down before heading back out to look for Troy. He runs back over to the place her left them and true enough, Troy was leaning against the tree, looking bored as ever and Alicia was still snuggled up to his chest.

“She okay?”

“Hasn’t moved since earlier but I guess she would wake soon. She mumbled something about wanting to throw up again. I swear there’s something wrong with her man.” Troy looks at Alicia before looking at his brother.

“We better get to the gas station then.”

The trio made their way over to the gas station, and Troy sets Alicia down on the ground before turning around to help Jake close up the front door and barricade themselves in. Jake and Troy haul one of the cabinets over, and other bulky furniture that they could lift before the heard the door behind them slam. Jake and Troy looks at each other before turning to look around, and they both took out their guns.

“I thought you said you checked the place?” Troy whispers to Jake.

“I did. I barricaded the door behind. There was only one way in and out. Shit… Alicia.”

Troy takes one aisle and Jake takes the other. The two of them slowly made their way over to the back of the shop. Once there, Troy looks at Jake realising that Alicia wasn’t in the spot they left her in. Jake begins to panic until he hears her in the bathroom at the back, throwing up miserably. Jake scurries over to open the door, only to find it locked. He could hear her as clear as day, and Jake knocked on the door, hoping for her to open up.

“Alicia love… please… let me in.” He pleaded. Troy comes up behind his brother, asking silently to let her be, but Jake all but refuses.

“Alicia please…”

“Let… me be Jake… please…”

Was all the reply he got. Jake felt helpless. Useless even. What in the hell was wrong with her? Was she being bit that he didn’t know? That he didn’t see and that she didn’t want him to know about? Jake slid to the floor, tears in his eyes as he waited for his wife to come out. He sat there for hours, waiting and waiting, wishing she could just open the door, all the while Troy coming over a few times and handing him drinks and chocolate that he scavenged through the shop for. Jake felt sorry for Troy for ignoring him yet his brother came by constantly to hand him stuff as if to cheer him up. But at long last, Jake finally hears the click of the lock and he stands up immediately, Troy looking over from the counter as he too notices the click, and the door finally opens.

“Alicia?” Jake looks at her, her eyes red raw and her face exhausted from all the throwing up.

Jake looked at her from top to bottom, her body slanted against the door, her good leg using all the support to keep her bad leg off. Troy gets up from his spot on the floor by the small fire he built with charcoal and the aluminium , he had something going, perhaps Campbell soup for that matter and he was curious as to why his brother and wife was standing and looking at each other like a bomb was about to go off.

“Uhhhhh okay this tension has to stop. One of you looks like you need a life saving pill, and the other looks like he needs to take a piss or jerk off that bad. So uh… who wants to go first?” Jake turns to look at Troy with glare, before he raises his hands up and walks back over to the side and hangs his head low.

“Alicia… what’s wrong?” Jake steps forward before Alicia holds her hand up to stop him.

Jake looks at her with sadness and confusion before she turns around to grab something and turns to look back at him. And Jake swore his heart stopped. In her hand was the one thing he never actually thought he would ever have to see in his life, or better yet so soon. And when she produced it to him, Jake all but stares at Alicia with his mouth agape.

“Jake…” Alicia croaks and she stares at Jake longer.

Troy was peeking over despite having his head hung low, and when he saw what it was, he gave a thumb up at Alicia before walking away. Jake couldn’t believe his eyes. The two red lines, the throwing up. It all kicked in when her body was hurt. Her body was in shock from the pain of her leg wound and he read it before in a book. It kicked started the nauseous feeling and her being knocked out almost all day. It wasn’t her being sick because she was hit by the typical fever or flu. It was so much more. Jake remembered now. Their first time. Two weeks after she got to the ranch. 9 weeks of being together. 7 weeks sleeping together. Alicia had taken the pill. But they hadn’t been subtle in watching out for times when they had sex. Because every night, they did have their times. But now, everything has been blown into perspective.

“Alicia… are you sure?”

“I’m pregnant Jake… I’m pregnant.”


 

Alicia didn’t know what to think. When they got to the gas station, the urge to throw up again was weighing heavily inside her and her worst fears came to life. She miscalculated her ovulating period. Her mother had told her about the rhythm method. But she miscalculated and the pill, she took the pill but it was still a possibility for they were pretty active with each other at night. And now, the consequences of those actions had come to life. Life was precious itself of them having to survive. And now, she was growing and carrying another inside her womb. She limped her way over to the counter while Jake and Troy were busy barricading the doors, she saw a test kit and grabbed it before heading to the bathroom and shutting herself in. She did the test, threw up, and cried. She cried that she was going to bring another life into this world, a world where everything was a mess. Where everything was out to kill them. And it wasn’t fair to the life inside of her. Alicia ran her hand across her abdomen, knowing that soon she would be showing. The bump was there. With her skinny frame and previously flat stomach, she could feel the budge there and it would soon grow in the weeks to come. Half of her was happy. Yet, the other half of her was afraid.

Afraid that the future could take it away. Would take away the child that would be born into this world. What would Jake think? What would he say? And now standing here in front of him, Alicia was afraid. Jake had just asked her if it was true, if she was certain. And truth be told, she really was. She was expecting to see the man she loved so much scream at her, walk away from her, maybe hit her. But Jake did none of that. He moved forward and pulled her into a bone crushing hug, laughs escaping his lips and the kisses he placed on her head was a different kind of conformation she never thought to expect. He was happy. And Alicia let herself fall into his embrace, tired but relaxed at Jake’s touch and warmth. She saw Troy shaking his head and muttering curse under his breath of how stupidly slow his brother could be before focusing on the food at hand, and Alicia sighed, closing her eyes and leaning into his touch further.

“We can do this. You and me. I’ll be there every step of the way. Will get you two to the cabin and we can be happy there as a family.” Jake whispers into her ears, and Alicia kisses his cheeks, too tired to say anything else.

She felt his hand caress her abdomen. His warm loving hand rubbing it soothingly, and it eased the tension in her belly, calming the still churning contents that she doubts was there anymore from all the throwing up. But for now, she just wanted to sleep. She was tired.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I didn’t know how to confirm it until we got here and I saw the test kit. I knew it because I was feeling sick but I’m guessing I’m around 7 weeks by now if we go by the first night we did the deed.”

“I don’t care about that. As long as you’re okay, I’m okay. I love you and I love this baby inside. Oh my god… I’m going to be a dad.” Jake moves away and starts laughing, his smile as bright as the sun and Troy shouts from his spot.

“Hey! I’m going to be an uncle! A damn good one too. You okay with that Alicia?” Troy winks and she smiles tiredly at him.

“Finish cooking dinner and I might consider trusting you first. Then trusting our kids with you. If you don’t cook a shitty dinner that’s of course.” Alicia says.

“Aye! I can do that.”

Alicia looks back to Jake, and she kisses him with all her might, and Jake didn’t seem to care about her acidic breath that stank. He loved every inch of her. And soon enough, Jake would have his hands full with a little miracle.

His and hers little miracle.

 

Chapter Text

“Guys! I’m bored…” Troy looks over.

“Troy… for the last time… we are not playing poker. No.” Jake sighs.

“What? Afraid Alicia gonna own your sorry ass again? At least I took my downfall like a champ.” Troy rolls his eyes.

“One-day baby brother! I’m gonna own you. And I’ll make sure…”

“Oh will you two quit it already? This has been going o since the last two days! So help me if the both of you can’t get over it, I will personally drag you outside and you can jolly well sleep with the undead outside!” Alicia scolds the two of them.

The trio had been cooped up in the gas station for a week and a half now, Jake and Alicia recovering from their wounds and Troy being the loyal guard he was. It was more for Alicia, seeing that her morning sickness had kicked in the past week, making her healing process a little slower than supposed to, but Jake was there through it all, holding his wife and rubbing her back every time she made an exit for the bathroom. Only three days ago did a sudden surge of walkers showed up in town, and Troy had been counting the numbers day by day, and took the initiative to cover up the glass with black trash bags and tape he found in the aisles, keeping anyone or anything on the outside from seeing in, and only leaving enough space for them to look out. Alicia spent most times asleep on the blankets, while Troy and Jake scavenged around town, killing a few undead in the process and looking for supplies to bring back and they could stock up for the journey ahead. Troy had found a supermarket and even with his sick sadistic attitude, he wanted to use the mobile trolleys and shoot some dead with it.

Jake could only look at his brother in pure annoyance, Troy being childish at times and he had to look out for him regardless. So, they stocked up the cart, took it back to the gas station at the edge of the town, and the two of them got in, guns ready and they rolled down the streets killing as many infected as they could, but, things always never lasted long. Seeing that the trolley wasn’t easy to manoeuvre, it tipped over after hitting a rock, sending them flying to the ground, Troy scraping his elbows and Jake his chin. They made it out of course, but they didn’t make it out from Alicia’s very annoyed wrath. She cleaned the two of them up, refusing to say a word to either of them, and Troy only made it worse but pulling out puns of a pregnant woman, which got him a hole in his jacket before he bent on his knees and bowed to Alicia in forgiveness. Jake on the other hand, wasn’t allowed to sleep next to her or even touch for three days straight. Jake had to practically beg to be near her, and eventually she let up and they made out behind on of the counters, making Troy look over at them in disgust.

“Hey ho! Relax sis. We promised we will never ever do something stupid that will harm our lives again. We solemnly swear upon our hearts we won’t do something stupid and kill your dear darling husband here. Unless he does something stupid that’s his fault. Not mine.” Troy smiles innocently and Jake shoots him a glare.

“Why do I even live with the two of you…” Alicia sighs and rest her hand over her belly, rubbing it soothingly, feeling the bump there.

Alicia wondered how long she has been pregnant, seeing that medical facilities and hospitals were no longer existent with people and its doctors, Alicia only had her basic knowledge that she read from books to help her get by. She was only wearing a black tank top and her jeans, seeing that it was hot and stuffy inside the gas station during the day and would only cool down at night, it made it easier for her to see the roundness of her belly that was already sticking out. She shouldn’t be showing so soon if it was only 7-8 weeks since her first time with Jake. Maybe perhaps due to her lean and small frame, it was more noticeable and therefore, she was going to have to care for their child that would soon grow deep inside. Alicia pulls up her tank top and runs her hand along her smooth skin, smiling to herself. She was going to be a mother. She was so busy trying to survive with Jake, that she hadn’t notice how beautiful it was to stare at the belly, and just then, she saw Jake’s hand cover her own. She looks up at him, having scooted closer to her and smiles, before she removes her hand and allows him the chance to skim his hand around.

“I wonder, is it a she or a he?” Jake whispers, the glint of wonder in his eyes as he rubs her belly soothingly.

“I don’t know. But whoever it may be, I will love him or her no matter what.” Alicia smiles.

She made a promise to herself that she wouldn’t end up like her mother. Never. She would raise her kids differently, for them to love each other if she had more kids in future with Jake. Treat them with all the love and care equally and teach them how to care for their own siblings. Unlike her and her brother. He rarely cared for he was never around. Unlike her mother who cared more for him than she ever cared for her. To leave her be and never be able to give the equal love she always wanted. Nick was already the golden child ever since he was born. And always will be. She wondered why her mother even bothered to continue looking for her. She was never important. Maybe perhaps her Mother thought that by getting her back things would be different. Alicia highly doubted it but she never regretted leaving the ranch with Jake. She loved him and that was all she ever cared about in her life now. And their child. They would be a better family, teaching them better and making sure they never repeated their parents mistakes.

“Can I call our baby little monkey?” Jake grins and Alicia just looks at him.

“Seriously? Like seriously seriously?”

“Yeah?”

“How about little tadpole?” Troy smirks and the next thing that gets pointed at him is a gun.

“Say that again Troy and I’ll put a bullet between your eyes.” Alicia seethes.

“Jesus! Okay okay! I’m bored alright? When do you plan to hit the road anyway you two?” Troy climbs down from his spot on one of the shelves and jumps down to the ground before seating down and crossing his legs to look as his brother and sister in law.

“Well… I guess we could head off tomorrow. You okay to go on foot Alicia? At least walk for a couple of hours?” Jake turns to look at her.

“It’s fine. I’ll be a little slow limping but I can manage. How far until the cabin?”

“About a week. Two if we run into more trouble or one of us gets injured or like you baby brother, having a mid life crisis with the placement of your dick.” Jake says flatly.

“Hey! My dick is fine and right where it is. Yours on the other hand… well, it’s been working overtime, now hasn’t it?” Jake was about to jump over and tackle his brother when Alicia slaps his arm and he tones down immediately.

Jake then proceeds to take out the map, and the three of them huddle together around It with the light they had, and planned their routes. Troy insisted that they stick to the trees and forest, seeing that the undead were more prone to walking the main roads and open spaces then stumbling through the forest. Alicia was only limping but she had stated that she could manage going on the rugged terrain. Troy and Jake agree to go on the paths as long as it didn’t affect Alicia’s leg so much and they packed up what they could before turning in for the night. They covered up the windows when they got there, ensuring that no one who passed through the town could see inside and that they were the only ones who could see outside into the world. Every entrance was blocked off and sealed tight to prevent anyone from coming in so that they need not have to worry about someone coming in guns blazing and shooting them all dead. But tonight however, was totally different.

Just two hours after they had closed their eyes, Jake sleeping with Alicia against one of the counters, Troy having shifted to the opposite side of them and snored, Alicia was the one to jolt awake at the sound of something walking outside. At first, she thought it was just the sound of some walkers going about, but this, this was entirely different. It sounded as if someone or something was trying to get into the gas station from the forceful pushes. Then, voices could be heard from the other side. It was total darkness inside the gas station, and Alicia thanked whatever god there is that they could still move around quietly in the dark, seeing that they knew where their belongings were. Alicia gets up and quietly limps over to Troy, shaking him awake and whispering to him to get up quietly, and Jake whom she had already woken up was using the small flashlight to grab his stuff and Alicia’s. Troy grabs the guns and his own pack, both him and Jake heading towards the back where they made up their quick escape route out the back door, and Alicia made sure they had everything they needed before joining the two men at the back.

“We have to go as quick as possible. We don’t know who’s out there.” Troy whispers as they push the heavy cabinet to the side.

“Once the door opens, Alicia, let us carry you to the tree line and then you can walk from there. Okay?” Jake kisses her forehead and she nods.

Troy then opens the door quietly, popping his head out and scanning the area around them before he gives Jake and Alicia the green light to go. Troy and Jake placed Alicia’s arms over them both each, and they lifted her across the back of the gas station, her legs working to support some of her own weight at least so that the men didn’t have such a hard time trying to carry her full weight as they made their break for the tree line. They stopped momentarily when they reached the top of the hill, turning around to look down at the gas station, and true enough, there were people with flashlights walking around the area. And they weren’t just regular people. They were the people who had shot at them. Men dressed in white suits searching around. Jake eyed Troy who looked at him with fear and dread in his eyes. They didn’t know who these people were. What they wanted or who they were after. All that they knew was the fact that they were out for blood and that taking their chances with them were futile. They made their way into the forest, not turning back to look at the group before they disappeared into the night.

Not leaving a trace of themselves ever.



“Stop! Guys stop!” Alicia says as they stopped near the edge of the river.

“Need to throw up again?” Troy shoots Alicia a look before receiving a smack across the head from her.

“No you moron. Aren’t we going to talk about what those white suits people are after? Don’t tell me you guys aren’t finding them just a tad creepy?” Alicia limps over to a rock and leans against it.

“Well… I swear I have no clue about them. Only thing that we do know is that Walker came across them before and they said they had an all out war at their place. Got one of those men in suits and apparently what he claimed to have gotten out of him was they were taking people for some experiments to find a cure or something. But he also said that they never see those that they brought in walking around. Said that while the guy was on duty, he heard screams and shouts going around their facility, and woman were the more prominent ones they used. For what? We don’t know.”

“So basically, they are a threat and better not to be captured by them. Simple.” Jake says.

All three of them took a quick break, having been walking since morning, and they were getting close to the cabin which was only a few days away. The area was much cooler, and they were using jackets, their supplies still managed properly by Alicia, and Troy had mentioned a few times to Alicia to eat more from the two of their share. Jake and Troy were a great team together despite Troy’s mouth which Alicia had pulled a gun on him countless times for his incensory. Jake has been by Alicia’s side the entire time, making sure she was okay and comfortable for the past few days had her throwing up more often times than not. Troy never complained about her being slow, and somewhat found it fascinating how a pregnant woman as Alicia was strong. She had a sheer force of will that never once slowed her down. Filling the canisters and tubs with water, they began their journey again through the mountain trail towards the cabin. Their minds were still thinking about the men in white, trying to figure out their motive and their wants, and how brutal they could be after their little showdown on the main road.

They continued on their way until it was nightfall when Jake stops them in their tracks. Troy didn’t wait a second until he was over at the side spewing his guts out and Alicia, she choked back the bile that had risen in her throat. Jake was in shock and all three of them couldn’t look at the scene before them. Looking out over in the distance, was an open field, tons of dead bodies, limbs and heads all separated from each other. And that wasn’t the worse part. Some of them were the people they knew back at the ranch. It was people they once lived with, taken and mutilated into disgusting corpses, not even the undead walking. Alicia looked across, seeing that none of her family was there, but the people she hung out with during her bible studies, people she spoke with when a parlay was in place were all lying in the field of bodies. Jake was stunned. So was Troy. This was unexpected.

“What the fuck happened out here?”

Chapter Text

It was a massacre. The trio walked through the mass grave of slaughtered friends and family, people whom they had come to know and be with for a certain amount of time were found dead in the field. It was saddening. Alicia threw up at the sight of her former Bible studies group, people whom she had enjoyed being with dead and covered in blood, Troy controlling his anger and fury along with Jake who was literally scanning the crowd for faces of Alicia’s family at least. They weren’t in the crowd which was a good thing, at least. But people whom Walker had with him too were among the mass of people, and it was a disgusting sight. Jake sighed and rubbed his temple, unsure of what to think of all these bodies around. Troy came up beside him with a sullen look, as if wanting to say something angry and spiteful, but Jake gave him the look to keep his comments to himself until they were back in the tree line. Alicia was nauseous at the sight, her hand wrapped around her abdomen, clearly the sight and smell made her far more sensitive with her pregnancy hormones and Alicia tried to control her breaths. Troy walked over to her as Jake wanted him to stay with her while he searched the area, and knowing he was still unwelcomed on Alicia’s terms, he broke the rule of touching her unless asked and rubbed her back. Alicia didn’t mind it however, knowing that he kept to his word to protect her.

Jake dug through the clothes and the piles, seeing if anything was out of the ordinary or that he could find something to help him understand what had transpired out here, but there was nothing. Nothing at all but blood, mutilated bodies and limbs. Jake trudged back towards Troy and his wife, his gun at the ready in case something popped up out of nowhere. Jake then stumbles over a dead body, and realises that it belonged to one of the men, those in white suits, and Jake gets up to remove the head gear, showing the man under the mask. There, he found a bullet to the head, and a tattoo at the side of his neck, more of a barcode look and Jake deduced that either they were prisoners or that they were some military force that had an outpost somewhere, having work for people in the higher ups. But Jake still didn’t know what their purpose was, and why they were attacking the innocents. He highly doubted that they wanted resources if they had an outpost, but then again, in this new world order, anything was possible.

“We gotta go Jake. The sooner we get to the cabin, the better. I’m not fond of waiting around for these nutcracks or whoever to come back and finish the job with us too joining the pile.” Troy looks back over on a hunched over Alicia, and Jake sighs.

“Your right. We do what we can to survive. Whoever these white suit assholes are, they shoot to kill. Let’s go.” Jake moves over to Alicia, helping her to stand up and passing her the water bottle, before they continued on.

They navigated their way until they got out of the clearing, Troy and Jake taking turns to help Alicia before nightfall. Finding a place deep in the woods, Troy goes out to search for firewood while Jake stays behind with Alicia and they began to set up camp. Seeing that they were alone and Alicia was fixing up the second tent for the two of them, Jake smirks and quietly walks over, only making enough noise of his feet, so as for Alicia to be aware of him coming up behind her, and he wrapped his arms around her belly, pulling her in closely, and he felt a soft sigh of relief escape her lips. Alicia relaxed into Jake’s embrace, his big warms hands rubbing her belly as they relaxed, the feeling of safety bubbled around the two of them. Alicia placed her hand over his, thinking about the life inside of her, growing with each passing day, and soon enough, in the months to come, it would be born into this world. Jake stood behind Alicia, his hand pulling up her tank top, her favourite black ones that she tucked into her jeans, and looked over her shoulders, his finger trailing up and down along her navel line, seeing the small well rounded bump, and sooner or later Alicia had to be changing her jeans to something a little more comfortable. Jake made it a point in his head that he would have to get her to the cabin as soon as possible, in hopes that she could spend the rest of her pregnancy with a warm home and bed, food and proper utilities and everything else that their father had stalked up in that place as a back up when the apocalypse had hit home turf.

He wanted to give their child a place to grow, to be happy even in the shits of this world, and he had to get to the cabin soon, so they could all start fresh. Troy on the other hand stood in the distance, watching the exchange happen between his brother and Alicia. He was returning back when he saw the two standing so intimately, so lovingly together, he was happy for them. He remembered when he had his first girl crush and he did everything he could to win her affections. But the girl only gave him a kiss on the lips and left, having been moved out of the town she lived in to go to the city to live a better life. She would be dead by now anyway. Troy had grown to love the pair in terms of family, and he felt complete, felt happy that he had his heart filled with love from just the two of them. Alicia wasn’t one to show her feelings, her affections that openly, but no doubt, she had expressed care and concern to both Jake and him, and he knew she was warming up to him. Troy admitted that the first time he laid eyes on her, he had fallen in love with her beauty. But he realised then, the two of them were very different people, he wasn’t the good brother like Jake was, who was a smart man with morals and ethics, who used knowledge and reason to settle things.

Troy was proud of his Brother for that. He too was jealous that his Brother had found someone the same as him, and Troy wished he turned out better than what he became. He waited for the exchange between his brother and sister in law to defuse before he walked back into their space, smiling giddily and setting the wood down before Jake came over to help him start a fire. Alicia dug out the food, their rations that they bad stocked up to make soup, mostly canned soup and since they had agreed on mostly Chicken and Mushroom soup, Alicia passed over two cans of chicken soup.

“So uh… did dad keep keep some good stuff at the cabin? Beef jerky at least?” Troy asks, making Alicia shake her head. Troy had an obsession for beef jerky now after he got some from the gas station.

“How am I supposed to know? I haven’t been to that thing in like what… 10 years? Just wait till we get there and we can see what he had stocked up. Hell.. baby clothes and what not. I wouldn’t be surprised if dad kept a whole storage area for everything and anything. Maybe a sex doll too.” Jake smirks and Alicia giggles.

“Fuck you! You don’t know how many dicks have been in that thing. And to top it off, god knows what crawled up that hole of a doll. God! You’re so gross Jake. Fuck!” Troy digs his ears and shakes his head, clearly disgusted.

“What? I was just saying it. It’s not like I’m sticking my dick up that thing!” Jake shrugs his shoulders and Alicia smacks his head.

“You won’t be sticking that dick of yours up mine if you don’t quit it. I’m hormonal and pregnant and I swear if you two don’t quit with the holes, I will make more than three holes in your body with extra bullets as souvenirs in your body! Got it?” Alicia rolls her eyes and focuses on the soup boiling.

“Yes mom!” They both reply.

“I hate you both. Period.” Alicia replies with the roll of her eyes, and the two of them give her their biggest smile before pouting.

“Oh come on Alicia…. What happen to the fun you?” Troy teases and she picks up a branch and throws it at him.

“The only fun you will ever get from me is when I’m buried in my grave and actually becoming a ghost to haunt you. That’s when I’ll have my fun.” Alicia casually smirks and Jake laughs.

“You’re like the she devil in disguise. Sheeeesh….”

“Serves you right!” Jake points out.

The night continued on until it was roughly 2am in the morning when Alicia stepped out of the tent. Her morning sickness had kicked up a storm and she made her way over to the bushes, and let everything out of her system. Troy was asleep in his tent while Jake was sitting by the fire, and he made his way over to Alicia, the look on his face that said how much he could take her pain away. She wondered how long more she could keep this up.

“I wish I could take your pain away…” Jake whispered, sitting close by to her.

“You can’t. It’s part of the process. Can’t complain about it anyway.” Alicia takes a deep breath and before she could calm herself, she was heaving to the side again.

Jake sighs and nuzzles his face into her neck, rubbing soothing circles into Alicia’s back, his other arm wrapped around her pregnant belly, rubbing softly on the bump and Jake did everything he could to keep her up. He was proud of the woman she has become. She was smart, witty, had a medical background and a leader in her own way. Yet here she was, going to be a mother of their child, a protector of their child in her womb, and doing everything she could to ensure that their child was safe. Troy was a helpful man around them, and he was happy that his brother had tamed down to protect the two of them. Jake looks to the side to find Troy sticking his head out of his own tent, giving him the look if he needed anything and Jake shakes his head, prompting him to leave the tent and fetch some water. Alicia continued heaving for a while more before Jake lifted her up and carried her back to their camp, Troy passing over the water and she takes a few sips before leaning into Jake’s front, closing her eyes and resting.

“I don’t know if this will help much but I grabbed this from the gas station… shitloads of em but I hope it helps.” Troy fishes out a box of wholewheat crackers, passing it to Jake and Alicia pries her tired eyes open and sees the crackers, sighing happily.

“Thank you… Troy. It will help greatly.” Alicia speaks softly, and Jake kisses her head.

“Well… I remember reading it somewhere so I thought maybe it might help a little. Plus I get to be a cool Uncle anyway.” Troy gives a goofy grin, and Jake laughs along with Alicia, making them all laugh together.

Maybe life wasn’t so bad after all. And they would dwell in that soft moment of happiness for as long as they could.


 

The cabin was pretty much simple, the wood still intact and termites haven’t eaten anything out as far as what they could see. They had finally reached the cabin, a long trek up the mountain having to stop a few times to rest and Alicia still having an onslaught of her morning sickness, but she was coping well. The generator worked perfectly fine, giving them electricity and water within the cabin, three rooms available to their use. The kitchen was spacious, the living room slightly smaller but a couple of chairs and a big couch, the rooms were simple with a queen size bed. Troy took the room furthest in the back and Jake and Alicia took the front room. Jake and Troy ventured to the big shed nearby, checking on the stocks they had and so forth while Alicia took a hot shower thanks to the water before cracking on the bed and sleeping.

“So we got stock for a years worth, and then we would need to make trips around to scavenge for supplies.” Troy states as Jake searches through the place.

“Well, we could grow crops and stuff but with the weather and temperature, it’s going to be limited.” Jake states.

“Well, at least you do have supplies for the kids I give you that. I mean, she would do the boob feeding thing but still, you need more than that. And a few baby clothes and that’s about it. Dad sure knew how to prepare for the end of the world.” Troy takes a book off the shelf.

“I just wish dad wasn’t such a stubborn asshole to not give the ranch up. I mean… It was his life work and such but… he did take their land Troy. It’s something we can’t argue with over. I hate Madison for what she has done to our father… but you have to know that I do love Alicia for who she is but not for who her family is. I love her all the more and I plan on taking care of her and being with her forever. She resents her family so much, were the only two she has left.” Jake turns to look at Troy with tears in his eyes.

“I don’t blame her either Jake. Alicia is my family now. She still has her reservations but I don blame her for it. And I don’t blame her for what her mother did either. Alicia is a good woman Jake. I always knew when I first looked at her. And the way she treats you… god… I wish I wasn’t such a dick in the first place and I would have wooed her myself.”

That had Jake and Troy laughing together. “I know baby brother. But she’s mine and off limits.”

“I know. I’ll be the best uncle the kid will ever have. But I think we can make it work. We can. But yeah… we can start tomorrow. Besides… your wife needs you now. That morning sickness shit is bad with her. I’m guessing she’s carrying twins by the looks of it.” Jake perks up an eyebrow at Troy who merely shrugged his shoulders.

“Twins?”

“Oh come on Jake? We read the books before. A woman with that bad of morning sickness and can’t keep anything down? I mean we don’t have a hospital here to check but I’m just assuming and guessing ya know? What if she is with more than one kid?”

Jake stalled for a moment. He didn’t know if he was ready for one kid, let alone two. He would and promised to stand by Alicia with their child but the thought of it scared him. If he was scared, he wondered how Alicia would feel. He didn’t know if he was going to be a good father or a good man for that. What if he fails miserably? What if the world they are in isn’t enough for the kids to thrive and live in? His thoughts ran wild like the wind, and Jake sensed his brothers worries. Troy knew if he punched his brother to snap him out of it, Alicia would have their heads on a stake. And he didn’t want to mess with that. If he slapped him however, it could be better but still, his brother would tackle him to the ground like they did when they were kids, and Alicia would still put their heads in a stake still. So he opted for the last option and pushed Jake, causing him to tumble over.

“What the fuck Troy?” Jake snaps out of his daze and looks at Troy.

“Idiot. You were zoning. And when your zoning means you’re overthinking. I wanted to punch you really but Alicia would have my head on a stake with yours. So… what is going on in that brain of yours moron?” Jake grumbles and stands, Troy folding his arms and looking at his brother.

“I don’t know okay? I just… argh… what if they or him or her was brought into a world where they can’t be happy? Can’t live life to the fullest and be themselves? What if I’m not good enough for this? Or for Alicia? What if…”

“Now that shit needs to stop. You were always the guy people look up to bro. Even I do… but you can’t let those stupid thoughts make you go dumb dumb and you will regret it if you keep it up. She loves you, the kid or kids will love you and you will make a great dad. You looked out for me and took care of me… they will be okay and happy with the both of you. Just don’t over think it aright?” Troy assures his brother, and Jake smiles, thanking his Brother silently for helping him put himself straight.

“Come on bro, let’s go home.”

And with that, both men entered the lodge again, Troy heading to his room and shutting the door, Jake heading over to his own with Alicia, and he finds her sound asleep, her hand on her belly that was rounding out more and her tank top made her bump all the more obvious. He smiled at the sight, his thoughts finally settled upon what she would look like more in the months to come, and he somehow felt even more excited with the prospect of feeling the kicks and movements for their child in her womb. Jake took off his shirt and slid into bed beside Alicia, wrapping his strong warm arms around her and pulling her tight to his body, his hand covering hers over her bump, and Alicia sighed in her sleep, cosying up to him before she settled again. Jake kissed her shoulder and smiled, taking in her smell before he too closed his eyes.

He was home.

Chapter Text

“That is not funny Troy! You get your ass back here or I swear I’ll shoot you!”

“Oh come on! It’s not that bad! I planted them right!” Troy hollers back.

“No! I planted them right and you stepped on that one root of strawberries growing you moron! Either you fix it, or so help me I will really shoot you!” Alicia hollers back.

Troy and Alicia were outside re-planting again when they had cut down some trees to make bigger space for planting and growing crops that were able to be planted with the temperature and the right soil when one of the strawberry plant that had grown significantly had been stepped on by Troy. By accident. And Troy didn’t want to mess with his sister in law, took off running to avoid being caught, only for her to start hollering when she actually did catch him in the act. Jake was fixing up the watering system for the plants to give them access to the water, when he saw his wife go off on his brother, making him shake his head. Jake watched as Alicia stood up, one hand to her back and the other wrapping around her front. Jake smiled at the sight, Alicia having got bigger in the past few months they had been up there, seeing that she was somewhere between 4 and 5 months pregnant, her belly sticking out further than ever. He wondered if she was carrying more than one precious cargo inside, but he couldn’t tell and neither did the rest of them.

Jake stops his work and gets up to walk over to Alicia, seeing that she was making sure that everything has been planted and that him giving her a back rub will help soothe and settle her down. She wasn’t supposed to be feeling stressed out or agitated, and he knew her health and the baby were far more important than anything else. The two men would fix up around the big cabin and outside doing all the heavy work including hunting while Alicia stayed in door unless planting, cooking and cleaning up here and there, light work for her so that she could rest afterwards. Everyone had their job to do and it was a fair trade. They kept themselves busy and when they were bored, they would sit outside and have a campfire and relax watching the stars at night and simply talking.

“Hey… you feeling okay?” Jake walks up behind Alicia, wrapping his arms around her immediately and resting his hands on her belly, soothingly rubbing it.

“Yeah… your brother really knows how to kill a plant.” Alicia sighs and leans back into his front, relaxing.

Alicia admitted being pregnant was a tougher job than woman for centuries had let on. Her back ached, her feet were swollen and now that the fluttering of their child inside her womb was starting to get stronger, she was getting less sleep as the months progressed. Jake was excited far more than she was, for he was always taking care of her wants and needs, giving her massages and making sure she was eating properly. Troy had helped somewhat, he would massage her feet, get her some snacks or drinks when he could and he even helped her to carry the heavy stuff around the cabin if Jake was out hunting. Alicia was blessed to say that they were a little family. Jake continued to rub her belly when he felt a soft kick, prompting him to stop and move away from Alicia, quickly moving to the front of her.

“Did our monkey just…?” Jake was in awe and Alicia smiled, nodding her head.

Jake placed both his hands on her belly, waiting again and another kick came through, making him laugh in sheer excitement. Troy comes out from hiding to see what his big brother was so happy about, and true enough, his curiosity got the best of him and he made his way over.

“What are you so happy about?” Troy asked and found Alicia glaring at him before she grinned and pointed at her belly.

“Jake is happy our little monkey is finally kicking hard enough for him to feel. You can feel if you want to as well Troy.” Alicia was trusting enough with him after spending months together, that the man she met at the outpost was now a changed man and Troy looked hesitant at first.

He didn’t want to intrude on his brother’s happy moment with his wife, and when Jake turned to nod at him, Troy too got down on his knees and placed a hand on the protruding mound of his sister in law. His jaw dropped at the feel of the life inside of her moving around and he too laughed at how it felt to be so involved and loved by the two people he had left in his life. Alicia smiled at the two brothers before a kick to her bladder had her groaning in misery, making Troy and Jake look at her with worry.

“You okay?”

“Seems your little monkey is making me want to pee again. Damn kid won’t leave my bladder alone.” The two men laughed and they left Alicia to waddle her way back inside, making them finish up the planting before Troy makes a comment.

“She’s bigger than she should be. I think you got two monkeys instead of one.” Troy looks at Jake who wipes his sweaty forehead.

“You think?”

“I mean yeah… she’s already waddling and her aches and pains are earlier than a regular woman should be. We read that one book that was about pregnancy in the pantry and I’d say you got twins on your hands brother. They are gonna get the best attention in the world from you two.” Troy smiles and Jake laughs.

“Yeah… I agree with you on that. But a couple more months to go and we will find out if there’s more than one monkey.”

“Have you thought about names yet?” Troy picks up his shovel and Jake’s, returning back to the shed nearby and coming back out again.

“No. We agreed we would wait until the kid is born to decide. Only thing I’m worried about is the fact that we have no experience on how to help her deliver a baby, and worst of all, we have nothing for her to ease the pain when labor comes into play. I’m dreading that more than anything else.” Jake sighs.

“Relax brother. We will be there for her and as uncomfortable as it will be, we have to help her through it. If only I was a woman, I would be a damn good midwife if the world wasn’t shot to shit.” Troy wiggles his eyebrows and Jake smacks his head.

“You idiot. Come on. Alicia should be about to start on dinner.”


 

It was in the middle of the night when they heard scuffling coming from outside the cabin. Jake was the first to wake, before Alicia did, and Troy slipped into their room quietly with a flashlight, signalling he heard the same thing as well. Jake puts on his shirt and Troy passes over Alicia’s butterfly knife, both men telling her to stay in bed until they return for her. Jake takes the lead in front of Troy, both of them grabbing handguns from the closet nearby, stalking through the cabin as quietly as possible. Troy knew that if something was outside, his first priority was to ensure Jake made it back for Alicia in order for the two of them to make their escape. He made that oath to himself when Alicia and Jake had accepted him, and he owed that to the two of them. Jake motions to Troy to take the left and head out the back while Jake took the front, and they silently opened the door at the same time before busting out of the cabin.

“Hold your fire!” Someone shouted and Jake stopped in his tracks when he realised the voice sounded all too familiar.

“Taqa?” Jake turns around to switch on the porch lights, and the area around them illuminated in light, revealing Walker standing there covered in grime and dirt, and the only other person standing next to him too was covered in blood and grime. Ofelia.

“Troy? Jake?” Ofelia said as she watched both brothers stand together and walk down towards them.

“What are the two of you doing here? How did you find us?” Jake asked, still a little weary of their presence.

“We found a map from your father’s place. The ranch was overrun with the undead and also men in white suits, everyone dispersed in different directions. Madison and her son took off to Danial’s dam. Ofelia and I didn’t want to go there and we followed this map when we realised there was a cabin up here. We didn’t know you two were still alive.”

“We left. In the night.” Troy said in a cold tone.

“If you want us to go… we only ask for little supplies and we will leave.” Ofelia asked hesitantly and Jake looked at Troy who looked at him.

“The world is a savage place. But… we are not savage people. Besides, we have an extra room to spare anyway.” Jake notions his head to follow him and Troy back into the cabin.

Ofelia and Taqa followed along quietly, thankful enough that the two brothers had taken them in as well when they were greeted in the kitchen by Alicia. Jake give Alicia the ‘be nice’ look and when Ofelia steps in, her jaw almost drops at the sight of her old ally and friend. Ofelia had her thoughts running wild when she saw Alicia, her pregnant belly protruding from her tight singlet, her pyjama pants resided below her mound, and Ofelia watched as Jake walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her protectively as she placed the kettle on the stove. Troy takes up position close to his brother and Alicia, and Taqa watched in silence as the brothers seemed to be protecting Alicia from them.

“Thank you for letting us stay. We will leave if you want us to. Or, if you let us around, we will contribute as much as we both can. But we aren’t here to create trouble. We just want to survive. Just like you.” Taqa explained and he stared at Alicia, seeing that she seemed to be the one to keep the other two men in check.

“Troy and Jake let you in. And I trust them both that they know what they’re doing. And if they let you in, means they trust you. But it’s simple. We help each other and that’s the end of it. Still, steal from us, destroy this place, and Jake and Troy will not hesitate to kill you. And I think they agree with me to. We don’t want trouble and we just want to live.” Alicia says tiredly, already her back straining from the extra weight on her front.

“We promise. We only want peace as well Alicia. You know me.” Ofelia says but Alicia only glares at her.

“Prove it to me that you want peace and I’ll consider talking to you. You left me to die in that hotel and I don’t care what you do now. I was left to die… and you’re lucky enough to be here. So leave it at that.” Alicia turns to walk away out of the kitchen and into the room, Jake sighing and Troy just stares at the floor.

“I didn’t mean to upset her Jake.” Ofelia whispers.

“Look… she will come around. She did with Troy, she will with you. Just give her time. Anyways, there’s food and water, tea and coffee. Troy can make something for you while you get cleaned up. Extra pillows, sheets and clothes are all in the room and the shower is to the other side. Let me talk to Alicia and anything else you need, just ask Troy.”

Jake excuses himself and makes his way to the bedroom, knocking on the door and entering before closing the door and locking it before sliding his way into bed behind Alicia who was facing away from the door. Jake sighs and wraps his arms around Alicia, his hand going to her belly and rubbing it soothingly, feeling the soft sobs coming from her.

“I know it hurts Alicia. But she’s trying.” Jake whispers and kisses her shoulder blade.

“She left me up in that room. I… I almost died. I tried to get rid of all the infected on that level by myself. I killed a man to save Travis… only to have him shot by the man in the other room. I just… I don’t know if I can even let myself forgive either of them. Yes… I want peace. But I just… don’t want to talk to her right now.” Alicia was never liked this.

She was a hormonal mess because of her pregnancy and her hormones were everywhere. Jake understood it well enough and now he had to be the one to comfort her. Alicia never showed her emotions much, let alone was one who was prone to crying. Jake continued his ministrations, holding her close until she fell asleep soundly in his arms. Jake wondered how he was going to keep the small peace in the cabin itself with Taqa and Ofelia here. What he wanted to know though, was who this threat was and what were they. He had many questions to ask and he took the chance to let Alicia sleep before he slid out quietly and closed the door quietly.

Heading back to the kitchen.


 

“So… soup okay for you two? And tea?” Troy asks as he rummaged through the cupboards.

Ofelia had just come out of the shower feeling warm and happy that she felt clean and relaxed with no worrying threat behind her back, and it was Taqa’s turn to take his shower when she entered the kitchen to find Troy trying to crack open a can of soup. Make it two cans.

“Yeah… that’s good enough.”

“I’m not the best cook around here trust me. You want the good stuff and recipes, gotta be sweet to Alicia. She’s the cook. After a hard days labour, damn… Jake and I are wiping our plates clean.” Troy laughs to himself before looking over his shoulder at Ofelia who had a sad smile on her face and a distant look.

“You know… she won’t hate you forever. She’s a hormonal mess now but give her time. She will come around. It took a while for her to get over what I did in the past. But just be normal with her. Talk to her about general things. Be like a… what you ladies call it? Besties for life and shit?” Troy gives his dumb goofy smile and Ofelia for the first-time laughs.

“I thought wrong about you Troy. I just wish I could take back what I did to her. I was wrong to have left her alone. I’m just happy she had the two of you to count on.” Ofelia looks up at Troy who scoops the soup out and places it in front of her with bread.

“Well… Jake was the one to care for her. I mean… he couldn’t control his dick and knocked her up anyway. So it’s his job. My job is to make sure she’s safe and that my nieces or nephew get the best of the best.”

“How far along is she?” Ofelia sighs at the taste of real food that she hasn’t had in two months.

“I’d say about 5 months. But Jake and I guess with her size and the morning sickness she had, she’s definitely carrying more than one kid in there. Jake calls it monkey.” Troy gives a devilish smirk and Taqa walks into the kitchen all freshly dressed and eyes him.

“Monkey?”

“Well yeah Taqa. Jake calls his unborn kids Monkey’s.”

Taqa only shakes his head, not wanting to know anything other than that further, and he thanks Troy for the soup before Jake joins them all back in the kitchen. He gives Troy a nod and takes a seat in the chair opposite of Taqa and Ofelia, Troy remained standing, finding it better than sitting down and Taqa looks at Jake, waiting for him to speak.

“What we do around here is simple. Small farming, hunting at least once a week since there are five of us now. I think Ofelia, you can help Alicia with the cooking and stuff. Things to do around the cabin that needs to be done and during the night, or days where there is nothing else to do, just relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. That’s all we do.” Jake says and Taqa nods his head in response, wanting to make peace with each other.

“Than that we shall do and contribute. Thank you… for letting us stay.”

“Jake… you heard Alicia. She won’t talk to me or even think to be around the two of us for that matter. Can’t I do something else outside?” Ofelia pleads but Jake doesn’t give in.

“You want to stay, then you have to work it out with Alicia. And she will be needing your help when the time comes. And you know her long before the rest of us did. I’m guessing before the apocalypse hit the world hard, you’re the only one who can be her friend and that she can trust. She trust’s you, she trust’s Taqa. But… be mindful of your words… don’t end up like Troy.”

“Moron…” Troy mumbled, causing Taqa and Ofelia to look at them with questioning eyes.

“Troy called her the ‘fat’ word and she almost cut his balls off. Not to mention even try to shoot it off him.” Jake smirks at Troy who only grumbled, Taqa was thrown into a coughing fit and Ofelia couldn’t control the snort that came, soup spewing onto the table.

“Is she really that bad?” Ofelia laughed.

“Only with Troy. It will be okay. Talk to her.”

And Ofelia sighed, making it her top priority to gain her friends trust again.

Chapter Text

“Jake… I’m okay. Just tired alright? You, Troy and Taqa can head out hunting. I’ll be okay. Promise.” Alicia sighs from the bed.

“I know you don’t want to talk to Ofelia yet, but it’s been three weeks since they got here. At least, if anything, let her help?” Jake bends down beside the bed, placing his warm hands on her quivering belly, the baby kicking up a storm.

Jake was getting ready to head out with Troy and Taqa to go hunting in the woods for some fresh kill since winter was approaching and that the place they were at was going to have snow soon, they needed to get all the food they could possibly get before snow falls. Alicia had gotten bigger and was confined to the bed most days, seeing that she was getting tired pretty quick with the weight of her belly. He didn’t want her straining herself and therefore she was made to rest as much as possible. Ofelia and Alicia hadn’t said two words, Ofelia though had been trying her best to get to talk to Alicia, seeing that she was okay with Taqa being around to exchange a few words with her but not Ofelia.

Now that they were going to be the only two people in the cabin, Alicia knew sooner or later she would have to talk to her friend, her once close friend that she was hurt by and no doubt left her to die, was her only source of comfort the next couple of days. And Alicia knew she had to try and forgive her. That’s a start at least. Jake smiles as Alicia nods her head, before she sits up slowly, her added weight was making it a hard time for her to move around unlike when before when she wasn’t pregnant. Jake had protested with holding her back down on bed, but Alicia’s look of wanting to kill him if he didn’t allow her to send him off, Jake immediately changed his mind and helped her up.

“Promise me if you get tired you will lay down in bed and rest?” Jake states at the doorway into the cabin after they left the bedroom and Alicia stopped at the door.

Ofelia was eyeing her from the side, clearly wanting to talk to her but held her tongue for Jake was busy with his wife, rubbing her back as he hugged her and placed a soft kiss on her lips, while his other hand rubbed her protruding mound, feeling the soft kicks that went on, and Alicia sighed, knowing she was going to miss him for a couple of days. Jake gives one last kiss before he leaves her standing there with her arms folded, her body leaning against the door frame as she watched Jake, along with Troy and Taqa set off towards the woods. Troy gives a nod as confirmation that he would look after Jake and Alicia smiles, giving them all one last wave until they were out of sight.

That’s when the awkwardness settled in. Ofelia and her stood there like tree barks, unmoved for the longest of times, and the tension circling the two of them was growing by the minute. Ofelia wanted to say something so badly, anything, but she was afraid that if she said anything, it could set the younger woman off in a heartbeat, and Ofelia needed a way to talk things out with Alicia. They hadn’t spoken with ease since the last time they met and now, someone had to say something before it became a tragedy again.

“You want some breakfast?” Ofelia cleared her throat and looked at Alicia from the side, the younger woman’s features turn from hard and stoic to a soft and exhausted look before she gave a simple nod and backed away towards the kitchen. Ofelia shuts the door and trudges over in her pyjamas, taking out a couple eggs and tomatoes while Alicia gets the coffee pot going.

“You shouldn’t be drinking coffee.” Ofelia says in a soft tone, making Alicia roll her eyes.

“It’s decaf.”

“Look… Alicia… I am truly sorry about what I did. I didn’t mean to live you up there alone to die. I just… had a lot on my mind and when I found out my father was still alive, I made my amends and I just felt guilty to everything I had done. And I am sorry.” Ofelia stops what she was doing to look at Alicia.

“It hurt me that you left me. But I was just a child then. And the past is the past. I can’t turn back time to then and change what could have been. I can’t hate you forever either and I know that you are sorry. And that’s enough for me. Were here now and alive and we can work on that.” Alicia says as she places the coffee in the coffee maker before looking at Ofelia who was gleaming with hopeful eyes.

“Thank you… and I’m sorry. Again.” Ofelia takes Alicia’s hand, giving it, a gentle squeeze yet not looking in her friend’s eye.

“It’s fine. Let’s just get some breakfast in for now. Okay?”

Alicia dares Ofelia to look her in the eye, and when she did, the two of them finally embraced in a hug, finally allowing the peace to settle in between the two of them, and they moved away to begin on breakfast. The two women exchanged small talk, mostly about what had gone down at the ranch, and what her mother had done before each of them had been separated for good, and they shared over their love affairs with each of their respective partners, earning small laughs and smiles from each other. Just as they were cleaning up the table and washing the dishes, Alicia receives a hard kick to her ribs, making her grip the edge of the table with one hand, and the other hand wrapped around her ribs.

“Alicia? You okay?” Ofelia had her hand to her back, rubbing soothing circles before Alicia catches her breath and stands again.

“Perks of being pregnant huh? This monkey enjoys kicking so much, it’s crazy sometimes.”

“You know… for what it’s worth, I’m sure the kid will love you and Jake very much. You’re a strong woman Alicia. In a world like this, where everything has gone to hell, you’re still going strong and keeping this baby alive. I couldn’t even think to bring a child into a world like this, let alone be strong enough to have one. But you, you’re my inspiration. The fact you survived all odds and raise a kid, I really owe that thought to you.”

Ofelia says with honesty in her tone. She admired her friend so much. All so very much. It’s not every day someone could survive in the world as it was now, and carry a child inside to nurture and bring it into the world. That was what Ofelia looked up to Alicia about the most. She was a smart and strong woman, and a survivor who was now only adding more to the list of things she was and being a good mother and wife was the next on the list. And Ofelia smiled to herself as she watched Alicia run her hand across her pregnant belly, watching the movements that appear continuously as she casually rubbed her protruding mound with gentleness and care. She was a good soul. The pure one out of them all. Even if she had her demons inside, she was certain that Alicia still had a lot more good in her heart.

Jake too was a lucky man. He was a good man as well, always caring for the woman he fell in love with. Ofelia had feelings for Taqa as well, her heart forever in debt for him saving her life, and she felt that his affections were far stronger than she had assumed it to be. And just like Jake and Alicia, she knew she was in love too with Taqa. Not to a point where love was really love, but feelings were there and the care was there. They continued on with breakfast in silence, Alicia helping as much as she could to clean up for her back was aching and the baby in her womb was kicking up a big fuss despite her soft humming and her rubs, sometimes Alicia even wondered if there were two babies inside. For one kid, he or she really moved around a lot more than anything and the little one inside just wouldn’t give her a break. The only time they ever calmed down was when Jake had his hand on her belly, and they slept.

“How have you been sleeping?” Ofelia asks as she follows Alicia into the living room and they take up seats on the couch.

“Sometimes through the night. Other times, this little rascal keeps me awake unless Jake calms him or her down. Sometimes it just feels so unreal. I love Jake with all my heart, and even in this shitty world, I never thought I’d get pregnant due to a slip up. One in which I would never regret. This kid means the world to me. And so does Jake. And I’m happy with it.”

“Had any thoughts on names yet?” Ofelia smirks.

“Ugh… no. Jake seems excited about it though. He keeps going on and on about names and the one he wants the most if it was a boy, he wants little Jake Jr. He wants a little man to do his man things and if ever we had a girl, he wants her to be his little princess for life.” Alicia says with a smile, making Ofelia laugh.

“Seriously? I never thought that man could take a joke. He was so serious when we first met. Damn, I never imagined him that way.” Ofelia chuckles and Alicia laughs.

“Oh… you would be surprised.”

“The little one seems to be happy.” Ofelia points to her quivering belly, bumps appearing and rolls making Alicia groan and rub her belly.

“Mmmmm giving mommy problems, again aren’t you? You must be missing daddy huh?” Alicia cooed to her belly as she rubbed her hand soothingly, touching all the spots the baby kicked.

“When are you due exactly?”

“Judging by timeline from when I started having severe morning sickness, and from when we did the deed then, I’m about 24 to 25 weeks along with this little one. So maybe another 14 to 15 weeks before this little one comes.” Alicia said with a soft tone, worry written all over her face.

“Hey… you okay?”

“I just… I don’t know how to do this.” Alicia sighs. “I didn’t tell Jake about it because he doesn’t have to pop this baby out but… I am scared. Without medical equipment or technology to help, and everything is just like back in the days where technology never existed and this baby inside, I don’t know if its healthy or that it would be okay and I’m just afraid that I can’t be a good enough mother for him or her.” Alicia starts to tear up and Ofelia moves closer to place her hand over Alicia’s and grip it steadily.

“You doubt yourself too much Alicia. This child will have the best parents in the world, and I promise you, I will be there by your side to help you with this child to be brought into this world safely. I promise you that. I’ll be there every step of the way and you can trust me and count on me to ensure the safety of this baby. Okay?”

“Ofelia… promise me. Promise me that if something goes wrong, you will make sure that this baby is delivered safely and that Jake will never give him or her up if I don’t make it.” Alicia says with finality.

“Alicia…”

“Please… promise me.”

Ofelia was hesitant to answer or promise Alicia something that she couldn’t ever imagine happening. But she made the mistake of leaving her friend behind to die. And now, she had to accept the fact that all the possibilities could lead to something with the medical equipment that was needed, and Ofelia sighed. She had to be there for her friend, and she had to be there to ensure the safety of her friend’s child be brought into this world and she knew it would be her that Alicia wanted her child to be kept safe with. So Ofelia smiled, and nodded her head with teary eyes before she spoke.

“I promise. And I’ll never let anything happen to him or her.” Alicia nods and sighs, resting her head back against the old couch, closing her eyes.

“Thank you.” Alicia says softly.

“You’re my friend. You would have done the same for me. Come on. You need sleep. Let’s get you to bed.”

With that, Ofelia helped Alicia up and they went to her room that she shared with Jake, stopping to make sure that everything was left where it is before they went into the room and locked the door.

Alicia needed to be kept safe. Always.


 

“Alright men! We got all the kill we need. Let’s head back.” Jake says as he stacks the dead deer on top of the other four kills they had.

They had been gone for close to five days, and Jake was eager to get home to Alicia to see how she was doing and how the kid was doing. Was she sleeping well? Was she eating well and taking care of herself? He knew enough that Ofelia was there to make sure the two of them were safe and his kid as well, and they had been left alone in which he doubted anyone would come by and give them trouble, but he didn’t know for sure what could happen in this world and the next. He just had to keep an open heart to things. As he stood there in his own world, Jake felt a hand on his shoulders, pulling him out of his thoughts and found Taqa smiling behind him.

“Do not fear anything my friend. Alicia is in good hands. And she is a warrior, a fighter, and she would not give up so easily. Your child is safe and will be and I assure you my friend, you will make a great father. You’re a good man Jake.”

“Thank you… Taqa. I just don’t know if I am good enough to be a great father.” Jake sighs.

“You doubt yourself when there is nothing to doubt for. You will be a good father for a great man always puts his family first before anything. In which, you do. Troy is a good man himself. He has changed from the last time we met, and he too has your back. So do I. Everything will be alright.”

“I just fear that living out here in peace would not last. Especially those men in white. Do you know anything about them?” Jake folds his arms as he looks over at Troy who just returned filling their bottles with water.

“I do not know much. But before one of my men died, he said they were taking people to a facility. Where? I do not know. I have never seen them either before and judging by them covered up in white suits, and them taking people, its either they want to use us for experiments, or that they have other plans in mind that no one ever returns after being captured by them.”

“They are dicks I swear. We need to make sure they don’t get the ladies back home. We don’t need any bloody trouble for a while.” Troy states as he wipes his mouth of water.

“Well, whatever it is, we have to keep a low profile. There are towns nearby here and there in which it’s a week of journey or longer, but if need be to gather rations and other things we need, we have to be extra careful. One wrong move and if those people are there, it’s game over for us all.” Jake states.

“I agree. We should be careful even being way out here.”

“Let’s make our way back then.” Jake says and the three men packed up their things.

The hit the road early the next morning, hauling their kill back towards the cabin in silence. The less noise they made, the better the chances were for them to not draw attention to themselves. Jake was an eager beaver to get home, wanting to be close to his wife, his sweetheart, his lover and the mother of his children. He wanted to spend time making love to her, pampering her and loving her all the more. He admitted that he missed her the last few days having been out getting in their fair share of food to store for the winter in the fridge, and the cooler, so he had no choice but to leave her behind with someone he could trust.

But he wanted to be the one to take care of her and give her the tender loving care she needed. Jake knew that she loved him so much that she too missed him and he was making quick time to get back home to her. Troy and Taqa sensed his eagerness as well, knowing he wanted to get home soon to be with Alicia, so they kept up with his pace without saying a word and they went along with him. But just as they came upon the cabin by nightfall, Jake realised something was entirely wrong. The lights were out, there was no sound, nothing that came from the darkened and secluded cabin. Jake’s fears worked its way up into his throat, his heart racing a mile a minute as he dropped his things, guns raised and he approached the cabin looking around.

Taqa understood the situation, he too worried for Ofelia and he rounded the cabin, signalling Jake that he would take the back. Troy had his brother’s back, following behind with his own gun raised and he made his way towards the front door, holding the handle and Jake took a deep breath. His heart wanted Alicia, wanting her to be safe, wanting his child to be safe and so, when Troy pulled opened the door, Jake rushed in and stopped dead in his tracks. The cabin was left untouched, no sign of forced entry or someone leaving in a hurry, and Jake searched around for any sign of Ofelia or Alicia.

Taqa came in through the back door, finding everything where it was supposed to be and he met up with Troy in the living room before the men rushed towards the bedrooms in the back. Troy took his own room, Taqa checked his room and Jake went over to his that he shared with his beautiful and loving wife. As all three men entered at the same time, nothing was touched as was the home, and they were confused more than anything as to how their women had gone missing. Jake was mad. He knew someone was playing tricks on them, for he knew Alicia was not fit to travel even if she could do basic things around the cabin or outside gardening. She would never up and leave just like that.

“This doesn’t make sense. How can the two of them leave just like that if they didn’t take anything with them? I mean it’s like no one ever lived here.” Troy states as he walks back into the living along with Jake and Taqa.

“Alicia would never leave. I know that. Something is really not right and she’s missing along with my unborn child. Something doesn’t add up.” Jake grows ever more frustrated by the moment.

“Jake is right. They didn’t leave.” Taqa was crouched down by the doorway and Jake, along with Troy turns to look at him.

“What do you mean they didn’t leave?” Troy asks.

“Because they didn’t. They were taken.”

And Jake, to his horror, sees a pool of fresh blood on the floor.

Chapter Text

Ofelia groaned as she came to, her head pounding as her hand instinctively brought itself up to rest against her head. Prying her eyes open, Ofelia looked around the dim room, finding nothing but herself and a shitty makeshift bed. Her eyes immediately adjusted to the room and she tried to stand up, only for the pounding in her head to increase as she started to stand up, using the wall as her support system. Slowly, she came to stand on her own two feet, before the sudden realisation hit her. Alicia. Alicia wasn’t here. And the bile began to rise up in her throat as she realised what had happened. They had been doing a little bit of gardening, laughing and joking as Alicia talked about names that she had wanted to pitch to Jake when he returns from the hunting trip when all of a sudden three men came out of nowhere. Ofelia had her gun with her, but before she could point and shoot, she felt something heavy collide with the back of her head before she felt herself fall forward. The last thing she saw as she remembered was Alicia screaming at her and the three men approaching her.

Her heart raced at the memory of what had happened and she needed to find Alicia. She staggered around the room, trying to find any way out of the hell hole she was in, but the walls were made of concrete and the door was locked. Shut completely tight and only the lock on the other side of the other door would open. Ofelia huffed in frustration, scared and worried not just for herself but for her friend. She prayed and hoped that Jake and Taqa would be able to track them down. She feared for the child growing within her friend’s womb, and that became her biggest fear for she would never forgive herself if something had happened to the unborn child. Just as Ofelia tried to sit down, she heard loud shrieks and screams coming from beyond the door. Even for as sealed tight as the place could be, the walls were extremely thin and Ofelia turned into a panic mode.

The sounds of torture were evident for she knew her friend’s screams more than anything, and her heart pounded out of her chest. She was helpless. Ofelia punched and screamed against the walls, begging to be let out of her room, even in the dim light, Ofelia tried every corner, hoping to at least draw whoever’s attention from the outside until the locks were dragged open.

“What the fuck do you want with us???” Ofelia hollered as a man walked in.

He was dressed in a black jacket and dirty faded jeans, his long greasy hair pushed behind which was in need of serious washing and a gun, a rifle, was hanging behind his back. Ofelia watched as the man grinned and his yellowish teeth could be seen, making her stomach churn in disgust. More screams came from down the hallway as what Ofelia could see and she feared the worst of what was actually happening to her friend. Ofelia prayed to whatever god that was out there to let Jake and Taqa to find them quickly.

“Looks like you’re awake. My apologies for keeping you in a room all day. We decided we were going to have our fun with your friend. She’s a big one isn’t she?” The man laughed sadisticly.

“What have you done to her? Where are we?”

“Oh don’t worry about where we are. No one would think to come looking for you here. As for your friend, well, let’s just say us men are having a jolly good time. Don’t worry. When were done with her, we will come have our fun with you next.” The man laughed before shutting the door on Ofelia again.

Ofelia continued to bang on the door, not stoping until her knuckles bled. Alicia was in pain. So much pain and agony that her screams could be heard as clear as day. Slumping down to the ground, Ofelia searched her pockets for anything that she could possibly use to open the lock, seeing that she could probably pick lock or perhaps use something to life the latch on the other side of the door. She had to do something. Ofelia checked around the room, checking every available corner in her grasp and still, she found nothing. Nothing that could help her escape that wretched place. She didn’t know the man or his motives, and she didn’t want to know what he had in mind. All she knew was that she had to get Alicia back.

And fast.


 

“Jake slow down. We don’t know for sure how many of them there are in that mill. For all you know, there could be dozens of them.” Troy insisted.

“I don’t care. I’m going to burn that place down to the ground and kill everyone of them for taking my wife and her friend away. They think they know what hell is but they don’t know what’s coming for them. If they so much as lay a hand on Alicia, I will destroy them completely.”

Jake was furious. Taqa was an excellent tracker and they figured out quickly who exactly had taken the two women from the cabin. Judging by the size of the foot tracks in the dirt, Taqa weighed in heavily on the possibility of those kidnappers being men out looking for a good time. Even if the world had gone to shit, the fact that some people who had were just sick in the mind disgusted Jake completely. He didn’t stop to rest, having traveled the last couple of hours in search of his wife and his friend who were definitely over powered by a lump some if there were a lot of them. Jake wanted to ensure his wife’s safety, his children and to get her back home safe. He ignored the way his brother had tried to talk him out of going in guns blazing and to form a plan, but Jake wasn’t having any of it. He was too lost in his own mind, his own world, and that he only cared for Alicia.

Taqa saw the flash of red and anger in Jake’s eyes, and he knew that Troy was right to get his brother to calm down before thinking to head into the mill to do anything stupid which could result in him dying and killing them all. He knew the man was pissed and angry at whoever took his beloved, having wanted to come home to her and be able to be close to his unborn child, one in which Taqa knew Jake was willing to sacrifice his own life for the sake of their child. Alicia would do the same if it came to that. But Jake wasn’t going to them both slip away while he was still alive and well. Taqa sighed as he watched Jake pace back and forth, knowing his mind was running a hundred miles per hour, trying to figure out a way in and out.

“Jake… how about I go in and draw fire, while you and Taqa make your way in? I’ll get them to follow me and have me as the bait and I’ll try to take out as many of them as possible, while you two get Alicia and Ofelia?” Troy pitches to his brother.

“No. Absolutely not.” Jake argues back.

“Come on bro… it’s the only way. Look… Alicia is the best thing that ever happened to you and it’s because of her I became a better man than I was before. Let me do this for her and for you. I’m too stubborn to die anyway. And Taqa needs his tender loving care from Ofelia too. Soooo… let me do it. You know it’s the only way.”

Troy reasons with his brother. Troy knew he had to make up for what he has done. Even if he had to die today, he would die a redeemed man for he did the right thing to ensure the safety of his brother and his sister in law, and his two friends. He needed them to be okay, to be alright. And he wanted them safe. Just by looking at his own brother, who was driven with anger and rage, he knew what had to be done. He only wanted them all safe. Nothing more.

“I can’t let you go in there alone and draw fire Troy… I don’t want to lose you either. You’re my brother. I don’t want to lose anyone of us. We’re all sticking together. And we’ll figure it out from there when we get inside.”

Troy nods his head before giving his brother a hug, and before they knew it, gunshots were being fired. Jake and Troy whipped around, only to find Taqa running towards the doors, firing shots into the air, turning behind to look at Jake and Troy to find the ladies and get them out. Once Taqa disappears from their line of sight, the two brothers ran as fast as they could, heading towards the back of the mill. There, they stumbled upon a red door that led inside, and Troy kicks the door down with their rifles raised before entering. The insides of the mill were pretty rundown, machinery having corroded away, old tools that were rusty and and dusty, giving the place a spooky feel. Gunfire could still be heard a ways off, and when Jake stumbled upon a staircase that had lights radiating from below, Jake motions for Troy to follow him.

“You think the girls are down there?”

“Only one way to find out.”


 

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

Ofelia placed her ears to the door, hearing the sounds of gunfire above. She knew something must’ve happened and perhaps with her prayers answered, the men had found them. She knew Jake and Taqa would come for them, knowing Jake would never leave Alicia behind for his love for her is eternal, and Taqa had his feelings for her as well. Then, there was also Troy, who had grown to love them all, having had a change of heart for he was now a good man that she trusted with her life. Knowing that they were coming for them, Ofelia couldn’t feel but just helpless for she was stuck in a room, having her friend screaming away for hours to end. Hell, she didn’t even know how many hours it had been. Alicia had been suffering.

She feared for the unborn child and if something terrible ever happened, she would feel guilty all the more. She needed to get to Jake, to get to someone who could help her and help Alicia. But as soon as the gunfire started, her worst fears came to life. The possibility of the men who abducted her and Alicia could have turned on each other, Jake, Taqa and Troy had come to the rescue, or the worst of all fears, Alicia had been used as a target practice doll. Ofelia went to the back of the room, taking a deep breath, before she charged forward towards the door. If she could break the door down, at least it would be a miracle to save her friend.

But just before her side rammed into the door, the door to her holding area swung wide open and Ofelia went flying out of the door before colliding with the wall in front of her.

“OFELIA!” Troy hollered with excitement, rushing over to her, helping her to get herself situated.

“Troy? Oh my god!” Ofelia turns to hug him tightly, happy that a familiar face had showed up to her rescue.

“Are you okay? Did they hurt you? Where is Alicia?” Troy started throwing out all the questions about his sister in law as well as his friends safety, holding her as she cried into his chest.

“I… I don’t know… I could hear her screams but I couldn’t get out. And then… gunfire started and I just had to get out and I wanted to break down the door and you showed up and… and where is Taqa? Where is Jake?” Ofelia turns to look around but only sees Troy there before he sighs.

“I’ll explain later. Now… we need to find Jake and Alicia and get out if this hell hole. Let’s go!”

Ofelia didn’t wait a second longer before she ran along the hallway of a place she had never seen before, wondering what kind of place this is. She didn’t say nothing and continued to run as fast as her tired feet could carry her, hoping to see a sign of her friend. The gunfire had long stopped, and as they reached the end of the hallway which led to a bigger opening, Troy stopped immediately in his tracks. Ofelia stopped a step behind him and she saw with her own eyes what it was. Jake was standing in the doorway of a certain room, and the look in his eyes were devastating. The guilt and hurt that ran through them made Ofelia cringe at the thought of what her friend looked like at that exact moment of time.

The two of them slowly trudged over, and when the view came into their line of sight, Ofelia gasped.


 

Jake separated from his brother, running down the hallway that housed only mould and mildew, his eyes tearing up as he struggled to find the woman he loved all so much. He opened every door there was in that underground hallway, and when he reached the end of it, he saw blood. A lot of blood coming out of one of the locked doors. Jake felt the bile in his throat rising higher with every step he took before he reached it. Jake stopped in front of the door, not wasting a single moment more before he yanked it open to the most horrific sight in his entire life. There strapped to a chair was the woman of his life, unconscious but alive due to the rise and fall of Alicia’s chest.

The cuts that ran along her arms, her legs… it was devastating. Hake saw the bruises on his wife face and the broken the fingers that he loved holding so much. Jake felt the anger rise in him, the want to kill every last one of the males who tortured her, and how he had taken too long to get to her. He could sense his brother and another person behind him, but he couldn’t even move. He was wrecked with guilt and anger that he didn’t know if he could proceed forward. But he had to. It was his wife. Jake mustered everything in his hurt soul and ran over to Alicia, dropping to his knees before touching his wife’s protuberance of a belly, feeling around if the baby was still Okay. That was completely hopeless for he didn’t know how to tell and he immediately grabbed his wife face.

“Baby? Alicia my love… I’m here baby. I’m here.”

Jake felt Alicia stir slightly, her eyes struggling to open before her hooded eyes landed on him, a small smile breaching her lips.

“You came for us…” It was merely a whisper and Jake cried that his wife was still alive and surviving slightly. But he knew the danger was still there. Alicia was weak. She wasn’t looking well at all. Her skin so pale, her eyes red and hooded, the bruises that was already beginning to turn a dark shade of blue on her cheekbones and her forehead dripping blood.

Troy wasted no time in running over, along with Ofelia to undo her bindings, Ofelia desperate to check up on Alicia the old fashion way. She was a midwife before the world went to hell as what her mother had thought her, and if there was anyway she could check up on her, she would do it back at the cabin where they were safe and away from harm. Jake began to move and lift his wife up into his arm when Troy stopped him.

“I need to get her out of here.” Jake glared at his brother with a harsh tone.

“Let me carry her and get her to safety with Ofelia while you finish them all and bring Taqa home with you.” Troy states simply, already taking his sister in law into his arms.

“Make sure every one of these bastards rot in this hell hole.” Ofelia says in a tone so dark, Jake felt chills run down his spine before leaving the door in pure rage.

Troy watched his brother leave before he too left, giving Ofelia a nod to follow him and they made their way upstairs in the main area. Ofelia followed closely behind, having taken Troy’s gun before they ran as fast as they could possibly go, leaving the mill and making their way towards the treeline and into the forest. They continued running and running, Troy leading the way, only stopping to catch his breath and Ofelia’s before they continued again. As soon as sundown hit, they reached the cabin, Troy rushed Alicia into her room, and laid her down on the bed, Ofelia moving him to the side as he stood there, unclear of what to do.

“I need you to lock the doors Troy. Lock everything and watch the door. I don’t know if those bastards are still alive or not, but it’s the only way to make sure they don’t take us again.” Ofelia states, running around the room.

“What about Alicia?” Troy points to his sister’s lifeless body.

“I’m going to make sure she’s okay and that the stress she undergone doesn’t put her into labor.”

“What happens if she does?” Troy gulps.

“Then be prepared for premature babies that won’t survive without the use of medical technology to assist.”

“Oh god…”