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Walking Dead Online

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They had been waiting for this, now it was finally time. In just a few minutes the launch would, well launch and he would be back in the world which he craved so much. Though it was twisted and demented and would make lesser men weep, it was a world he had seen on the screen so many times and he felt beyond happy when he finally got to be in it. He blinked as the video he was watching on his phone was suddenly interrupted by a message from his twin sister. A smile crawled across his face enjoying any form of contact with her. Their parents were divorced and for whatever reason they agreed that his mom would take the girls and his dad would take him. So, he didn’t get to see his twin sister Elsa or their younger sister Anna. However, the twins managed to meet up, though it was all virtual.
Snow Queen-
Just a few more minutes.
He smiled and quickly shot another text back to her.
Jack Frost-
Yup, we probably want to get ready. Did Anna say if she wanted to come with us or not?
Snow Queen-
You know she hates zombies, er sorry, walkers. Plus, she isn’t into the whole virtual gaming thing. Sorry. I’ll see you in game.
Jack Frost-
See you in game.
He smiled making sure the game was in the console, then setting himself up on his bed. Once he was comfortable he put the Moon-Halo—the Western/American counter-part of the Japanese Amusphere—around his head, dropping the visor over his eyes before starting it up and settling back on the bed. The Halo hummed as it started up just waiting for his go ahead. He could barely contain his excitement as he spoke to it.
“Link start.” He called.
A rainbow of colors passed by his eyes as the calibrations okayed letting him log in.
In just a few more seconds, Jack would be in the post-apocalyptic world originally created by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead. A couple of months ago a game developer got started creating a VRMMO of this world. He and Elsa got to beta test it after the beta was put out. It was thanks to the World Seed—which was the result of the SAO and ALO incident—that this game was even possible. So, it was thanks to the kid that defeated the games, Kirigya Kazuto, also known as the gaming pro Kirito. Thanks to everything he did, the risk of the SAO incident was practically an impossibility. So he had no fears of going into this game where you could play even after turning into a walker, that was one of the cool things about the game. The best part was that he was living in the same world as Rick Grimes, and Daryl Dixon and experience some of the same things they did. It was any fanboys dream.
Finally, the login step was completed and he could begin the game. But something was off. In the beta, you woke up like Rick did in a hospital, and right when you left it you were no longer safe and the zombies would attack. But he wasn’t in a hospital. From what he could tell, he was standing in what looked like the CDC from the first season of the show. It looked like the room with the huge screen, the one that Jenner trapped the group in, intent on killing them. He wasn’t alone either. There were thousands of other players stuffed in there, which is when he noticed the room was more than ten times the size it was in the show.
“Is this a new part of the game? It wasn’t in the beta.” He wondered, looking around for his sister’s avatar.
They were twins IRL so they decided that in the game they would be too. Unlike most twins, they didn’t mind looking like one another. In game, they didn’t have their normal white platinum blonde hair and blue eyes, but rather brown hair and eyes. And instead of their usual slim lithe figures they had more muscle and were a bit taller. Looking down at himself he noticed he was still using his old avatar, Elsa was probably doing the same thing so finding her shouldn’t be hard even in a crowd like this.
“This could be the new tutorial.” He thought still scanning the room.
“Big brother!”
Turning a full one-eighty he saw a female version of his own avatar pushing her way through the crowd to get to him.
“Snow Queen.” He called back using her handle.
“What’s going on?” she asked finally reaching his side. “Is it the tutorial? I mean it is the first day of launch. They could have changed it from the beta.”
“Maybe.” Jack mumbled.
“Jack-Frost?” she worried using his handle. “What’s wrong?”
“Something about this doesn’t feel right.”
“… Yeah your right.” She looked around seeing that most people were super exited talking happily amongst each other. But there were a few that she could see that had the same worried look on their faces as her and her brother. “The other beta testers don’t like this either.”
“Hey, the TVs turning on.” Someone called.
Looking up to the wall where the massive wide screen that was now full of static. The twins grew closer, Jack wrapping a protective arm around Elsa’s shoulders.
“Big brother…” she whimpered.
He wished he could tell her it was going to be okay, that this was all just a game and nothing bad would happen. But he was getting worried too, he could feel the cold chill of fear creep up his spine. He wondered for just the smallest moment if this is how Kirito felt when Akihiko Kayaba told them their fate in SAO. Telling himself that he was freaking out over nothing and that there was no possible way for that incident to happen again, he could calm himself down enough to focus.
The static faded and the screen went black. For a moment, everything was quiet. He began to worry that maybe that the tutorial message was glitching. Then a pure white skull jumped on screen making everyone flinch. There wasn’t anything special about the skull. It was just white, whith hollow eyes and nose, and the eerie skeletal smile all skulls have. Yet it was intimidating either way.
“Welcome everyone, to the world of The Walking Dead Online.”
They all gaped as the skull spoke in a booming voice that sent vibrations through Jack’s chest.
“I know that all of you are a bit confused by the setting I’ve chosen. Especially those of you who read the books rather than watched the show. But I can assure you, this is how the game was meant to be. Be sure that I will explain everything you need to know to survive this world.”
“What does he mean by that?” Elsa hissed to her brother. “To survive?”
“I don’t know.” Jack gritted.
Suddenly he came to the realization that he has heard this voice before. He had heard it in interviews and on podcasts. It was the creator of TWDO, the millionaire engineer who developed this game, most VRMMO games in America, and for the Moon-Halo.
“Let me first start by introducing myself, I am Pitch Black, the creator of Walking Dead Online, the world which Robert Kirkman created and we all crave. I bid you all welcome.”
“Is he serious?” someone cried.
The whole room was in an uproar now, making the twins pull even closer together in their unease.
“What did you mean by surviving this game?” someone else shouted.
“I’m sure that you all remember the SAO and ALO incident…” Pitch murmured letting the sentence trail off so it could sink in.
“Oh my god!” Elsa gasped covering her mouth with trembling hands.
“No way!” someone else cried.
“Elsa, stay close.” Jack hissed as everyone began to panic.
“How could this happen?” she whimpered.
“I’m sure that that explained everything. But in case not, let me make it painfully clear. If you die in the game, the Moon-Halo will fry your brain and you will die for real. All the rules that applied in the beta apply now. if you lose a limb then you permanently lost it in game. Hunger and thirst can and will kill you, so will drowning, and falling. The only way to escape is to end this game. Find the clues in the hospitals, labs, and colleges. Coordinates and notes that will lead you to the lab which the scientist is hiding in then he will lead you to the military base where he will input the codes and release an antivirus and eradicate the walkers. This is the only way in which you will escape. That is all you need to know. I wish you luck, survive and win players.”
With that the screen shut down going white, and leaving the room silent.
That lasted all but three seconds before people started freaking out. Some would cry how this wasn’t real, or how this couldn’t be happening. Then the first person became static and glitched out. This brought on an even stronger bout of panic.
“What’s happening?” Jack gasped.
“JACK!”
He turned back to his sister who was now glitching out.
“ELSA!” he screamed trying to pull her closer.
“JACK!” she cried tears streaming down her face.
“I’LL FIND YOU!” he promised, his arms passed through her body. “JUST STAY ALIVE AND I’LL FIND YOU!”
All she could do was sob as he too began to glitch right before she disappeared with a whimper. He watched her go gritting his teeth, then looked at his own hands as they became static. Muttering one last curse Pitch’s way, he watched as others began to glitch out. Then the room began to get fuzzy as the glitch got worse. Within seconds everything was zapped away and he was thrown into black nothingness.
The last thing on his mind, as his consciousness faded, was finding his sister and ending this horrible nightmare.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t like those cliché scenes in books and movies where the hero woke up and couldn’t remember where he/she was for a minute. Jack knew exactly where he was and what happened. That isn’t to say that for a moment he didn’t try to convince himself that he was just waking up in a hospital IRL. But in the end, his prior knowledge of this world and its workings informed him that he was in fact in TWDO and that everything he saw before with the skull on the wall was real.
Just like in the beta, he was in a hospital room upon waking. Fighting the urge to panic, he sat up and gaged his surroundings. It was a relatively standard room with five beds including his, the others were all empty however. That wasn’t at all alarming though. When he beta tested, he woke up to a similar situation. It was supposed to stimulate what Rick went through when he woke up that very first episode/chapter. Still it was disorienting. The room thoroughly empty, he allowed a few tears to slip and a whimper of despair to ghost past his lips. Not wanting to waste anymore time, he quickly wiped his eyes then engaged the menu by flicking his hand in an upward motion. He didn’t want to bother looking for the log out button, but desperation drove him to pull up where it should have been. Of course, it wasn’t there. With that terrifying realization, he steeled his nerves and went looking through all his stats.
“What the hell?” he gasped.
He was supposed to have been started on level one but for whatever reason he had all the same stats and weapons from his beta test. Not that he was complaining. This would better his chances for survival. It was just a little odd.
“A glitch?” he wondered. “Or maybe that bastard did this on purpose for whatever reason.”
Still, if he had all his old weapons, that meant he had his favored buck knife and desert eagle which was good since he was used to them. But what was even better was that he also had a rare weapon he won in a drop when fighting some NPC badasses. Something he has grown so use to he was willing to hack into the game once the beta was done just so he could have it again. Scrolling through his weapons inventory biting his lip growing more nervous every millisecond he didn’t see it.
“There it is.” he smiled tapping on it.
Building itself pixel by pixel he watched as his beloved shepherds crook spear became physical once again. Smiling like he was meeting an old friend, he reached out and took hold. Swinging it around a couple of times to get a better feel for it, smiling fondly at the hooked top and sharpened end. Once he had it down he quickly changed out of the hospital gown so he was wearing and into a pair of brown jeans that were cut off just under the knee and a white tank top going barefoot like he prefered. He then equipped himself with his knife and gun on his belt for extra protection. There was a weight limit to what he could hold on his person of course, but since he had no food or water yet he stocked up on ammo filling his bag and pockets. Ready to and willing to strike he started for the door. He knew that in the beta, this hospital wouldn’t be attacked until he left so he was supposed to be safe. But this wasn’t the beta, this was a full dive to hell and the rules that applied in the beta may not apply here. He tried not to tense so he would be quicker, but all he could think was how it could all end. The next corner may reveal a face of decaying flesh or some deranged NPC ready to end his everything. Before rounding each corner he looked up to the concave mirrors that allowed him a good view. Thankfully each time he looked up he wasn’t met with anything unpleasant.
He had made it all the way to the nurse’s station without any incident but had to pause when he saw someone or perhaps something standing at the station. He studied the creature for a good long moment before deciding it wasn’t dead since it was checking its menu. It was a player, and that could be either good or bad. Even though the threat of death was very real in this world, that didn’t mean that players still wouldn’t PK. Just look at what happened in SAO. Some people embraced the act thinking that even if they got out they couldn’t be punished because there was no way to prove it. This was a serial killer’s paradise. So he had to act with caution. The fact that the player appeared to be a girl didn’t mean she was any less dangerous. When it came to stats she could easily out power him. IRL physicality had practically no meaning here.
Slowly he crept up on her, his weapon ready to strike. And yet, despite the fact that his main skill was stealth, he somehow found the one piece of shattered glass that hadn’t been brushed against the wall, stepped on it, destroyed its durability and made a loud noise. The noise distracted him, he looked down giving the girl the perfect chance to swing a frying pan with all her strength. She whacked him right on the side of the head sending his health points down into the yellow and knocking him out.

For the second time that day he woke up knowing what had just happened… it didn’t make him feel any better through.
“Ow…” he groaned, the data streaming a virtual headache.
“Oh thank god.” Someone sighed. “You weren’t waking up, I thought for sure I had killed you.”
He gave her an odd look to which she shrugged and nodded.
“Yeah, I know.” She sighed looking through her menu. “The fact that your HP didn’t go red should have been a dead give-away that you were fine. Or even the fact that we’re in a temporary safe zone. But still it freaked me out.”
Still he gave her the same look not understanding what was going on.
“Well anyway, here take some of these.” She instructed as she summoned a pill bottle from her inventory. “I did have some on me, but after you didn’t wake up for so long I figured it was best to store them. But your gonna want to take three, I imagine that you have quite the head ache. I guess Pitch decided that he was gonna make the game more real by lowering the pain absorbers. So now anything that can hurt will. Here.”
He glared at the offered bottle, thinking this girl liked to talk and that there was no way he was taking three of anything.
“Umm…” she smiled awkwardly looking between the bottle and him before she suddenly gasped. “Oh, duh, sorry. You have no idea who I am. I am so sorry. I look so different than the avatar I use, you on the other hand look almost alike to yours. Well except your avatar was taller and had brown hair and eyes.”
“What?” he asked now even more confused.
“… please don’t tell me I’ve been wrong this whole time. We can’t see names unless you want people to see it, but you look so much like him only with white hair, oh and blue eyes, cute.”
“What!” he cried leaping out of the bed and running to the adjoined rest room. Just like the odd girl said, his hair and eyes had changed to that of his normal color. His avatar’s features were gone and replaced with that of his natural ones.
“How is this possible?” he murmured tugging at his hair.
“No one knows.”
He turned to find the girl in the doorway, tugging at her seventy-foot-long blond hair. Now that he was getting a good look at her he could see she was tiny, barely five-three at the most. Her eyes were a brilliant emerald green that sparkled as if she were about to cry. She wore a tattered pink sun dress over a pair of purples jeans and she was bare foot just like him. Not the usual beginner clothes of a t-shirt and sweats with a pair of sneakers. She had to be a beta tester like him, and there was only one other beta tester he knew of that didn’t wear shoes.
“… Rapunzel?” he asked tentatively.
“Oh thank goodness.” She smiled leaping at him for a hug. “It is you. Hey Jack.”
“Wait, hold on.” He shook his head pushing her away. “You… but…”
“I know.” She sighed looking down at herself. “For some reason when we all woke up, our chosen avatars where gone and we looked like our real selves. In the real world, this is what I look like.”
“Same.” He pondered looking at himself in the mirror. “The guys that went through the SAO incident said the same thing happened to them. Maybe Pitch is trying copy Akihiko Kyaba to a tee.”
“Maybe.” She shrugged. “Either way, all the players woke up like this and took off.”
“All except you.” He noted cocking his head at her. “Why didn’t you go?”
At this she shrunk in on herself.
“It sounds stupid, considering I still have all the stats I had in the beta, but I was scared.” She admitted. “I mean my strength stat gives me the power to move a car with my pinkie, but going out there alone is suicide.” She shook her head looking out the grime crusted window. “If I found a herd I would be dead within seconds. You’ve played the beta, you know how just three walkers can become a herd before you even know what happened.”
“That’s how my sister and I got ourselves killed most of the time.” He nodded before his eyes went wide. “Elsa. Have you seen her, er Snow Queen I mean?”
She shook her head.
“Sorry no.” then she averted her eyes. “I spent the first couple of days hiding under my bed I just couldn’t handle the fear. I’m so sorry.”
“Wait…” he felt a chill spread from his core, freezing his insides. “Couple of days? How… gulp… how long have I been asleep?”
She looked up at him showing nothing but sympathy.
“It’s been a week since the official game launched.”
He stumbled back until his back hit the wall, then slumped down clutching his head.
“A-a week.” He gasped. “I’ve been asleep for a week?”
“That’s why this place is still a safe zone, but once you leave it won’t be anymore. That or you could wait the three-day safety period then this place will be over run.”
It was a rule that was announced after a few days into the beta when some decided they were going to stay in the hospital so they wouldn’t have to fortify it. Of course, it didn’t take long for the word to get out and there was a pretty good size group living there. As long as that one person didn’t leave they were okay. So it was decided that there would be a three-day period that started the second you woke up in the official game. Once that time was up you were no longer safe and would be left open to a herd or NPC attack. Most people understood why that was a thing since playing that way was unfair when everyone had to fortify their camps to the point of madness just to keep it up. Still it pissed a good number of players off.
“When I realized I had been hiding for two days I crawled out to find supplies fully intending on getting the hell out of here since I only had a day before it wouldn’t be safe anymore. That’s when I saw you. I realized that this place wasn’t going to be over run until you woke up so I had some time. Still you could wake up any at minute and then we would only have three days. But there was no one else here, and if I tried to survive on my own… I wouldn’t last a week. So I was hoping once you woke up, maybe we could form a party, like in the beta? You… you can’t survive on your own anymore. Not if you want to live. It’s just a thought…”
He nodded.
“Just like the old days huh?” he smiled. “I wouldn’t mind having a master healer in my party.”
She smiled jumping to hug him again.
“Yeah, I forgot, you’re a hugger.” He groaned as she knocked the wind out of him, squeezing till he couldn’t breathe. “A-air! Need air!”
“Sorry!” she cried throwing herself back blushing madly. “I forgot. I’m not this strong in the real world.”
“Noted.” He coughed straightening up. “We should gather everything we can before we go.”
“I already collected all the starters supply that the game generated for me, so we just got to get yours.”
“How much do you have left of that?”
“A bit.” She shrugged. “I went scavenging the nearby shops and homes. There wasn’t much. Most of the other players already cleared everything out. But I found a few things here and there, so with your provided supplies, mine and what I gathered we should have enough to last us for a good while. Be even better if we found somethings along the way. Maybe hunted a few NPC survivors and get their loot. We should be fine for a good while after that?”
“Sounds good.” He nodded.
“So are you going to invite me or not?” she asked.
It was an unspoken rule among players—at least it was in the beta—that the person who invites you was designated the leader of the party.
“Why me?” he asked his brow furrowing.
“Seriously?” she raised a brow. “You want me to be a leader?”
“Means I don’t have to be.”
“Yeah, but you and Merida lead our party before.”
“That was the beta, and I had Elsa with me before that and we had our awesome black smith, Hiccup.”
“C’mon. I’m no leader.”
“Neither am I.”
“Yes you are.”
“I was but that was just a game.”
“Well we’re gonna have to figure some way to settle this.”
He scratched his head scooting a little closer to her.
“Rock, paper, scissors?”
“Are you serious?”
“Hell yeah, loser has to be the leader.”
“… fine.”
They held up their hands, right fists on their left palms and slammed them down three times.
One had rock, the other scissors.
“I win.” She smiled.
He groaned letting his chin fall to his chest.
“Fine.” he sighed waving his hand to summon the menu and send her a party invite.
She accepted then walked out into the hall calling back to him.
“Let’s go find you supplies then get out of here.”
He rolled his eyes with another groan then followed her.
It didn’t take them long to find the provided supplies. Three bottles of water, five ME food packs, and half a case of ammo for his desert eagle. They raided any hidden medical supplies and equipment that was still hidden then packed up their stuff with some duffle bags Rapunzel found a few days ago. before they went out they tied up Rapunzel’s hair in a complicated braid then wrapped it around her head so it wouldn’t get caught.
“Is your hair seriously this long IRL?” he asked finishing with the last pin.
“Yep.” She nodded. “My parents could never bring themselves to cut it, and nearly had a heart attack when I asked to get it cut so it never got cut.”
“So dumb.” He groaned. “So why won’t you let me cut it now? It’s not like it’ll kill you and it won’t affect your real body.”
“… it’s all I have to remind me of them.” She murmured. “If it becomes a problem then I’ll cut it, but for now I’m keeping it.”
“We might not get a chance if it becomes a problem.”
“I’ll take care of it.” She assured giving a half heart glare.
“Whatever.” He sighed. “Let’s just get out of here.”
“I’m with you.” She nodded slinging one of the packs on her shoulder.
They rushed to the nearest exit, pausing just before opening it. Once this door was open, this place was no longer safe. Before, in the beta it wasn’t hard for Jack to just rush out the door as soon as he had his provided supplies and just go nuts. But now, this was different. He wondered, is this how everyone in the SAO game felt when they realized that if they stepped out of the towns safe zone then they could really die. Or Rick and the others. Just like for them there were no safe zones in this game. You had to make them. The hospital would only last for three days and if they waited that long a massive herd could form and trap them or even block the way out of the city. Considering it had been a week, there was a good chance that the exit had already been blocked. They needed to gather all the supplies they could and plan their next step.
First, they had to take that first step out the door.
“Level with me.” he gritted before they opened the doors. “Do you have any skills in stealth?”
She bit her lip and shook her head.
“No.”
“But you still have your whip and acrobatic skills, right?”
“Yes.”
“Okay, focus on using those.”
“But I don’t have a whip, or even a length of chain.”
“We’ll find something.” He assured. “No fire arms, okay. That’ll only draw a heard and we can’t deal with that being just a party of two. Use your frying pan, or if you find a chain use it, your strength stats will make wielding it easy.”
“Okay.” she nodded.
“Stay close to me and try to make little to no noise. We’ll fill up our packs and storage then find a safe place to scout out the city from and come up with a plan.”
She nodded again, her grip tightening on the door handle. With baited breaths, they slowly pushed them open. Hearts thudding, bodies tense they checked to make sure the coast was clear then made a break for the street.
You start out in Atlanta—which, as anyone who read the books or watched the show will tell you, is not a good place to be. The city is already completely over run and your chance for survival is extremely low if your too brazen or hesitant. Caution was the only way to go here. If your main skill is stealth then you have a good shot. That or if you mastered any of the “criminal skills.” Things like hot wiring, pick pocketing, lock picking or syphoning gas. These are all skills you should at least build up a little in the game since they could mean the difference of survival and death, but it’s not something you necessarily have to master. Just knowing the basics is enough. There are some players, however, that make these skills their main ones. These character types have proven to be one of two things; either a great ally or a sly back-stabbing jerk. The latter was the most common, so not very many trust those who excel of criminal skills. Jack’s skills were based in more acrobatically parkour and stealth, he of course knew the basic criminal skills but mostly he was great at scaling buildings and getting in and out. Something Rapunzel was not good at.
They had made it to an apartment complex shortly after leaving the hospital. Normally Jack would just scale the building till he found an open window and silently search the building till he got what he could and slip out unseen. He couldn’t do that with Rapunzel though. Her acrobatic skills were mostly for evasive action and they worked a lot better when she had a whip to propel her. This was something he was going to have to do the normal way. So they quietly entered the building going floor from floor, room to room gathering whatever they could find. There wasn’t much. The building had been hunted practically clean, which didn’t surprise Jack since it was so close to the hospital. Still they could find a few things.
“I’ve got another can of corn.” Rapunzel called softly form the bathroom.
“In the bathroom?” Jack asked raising a silver brow.
“Look everywhere.” She shrugged rummaging through the cupboards. “I also found some bandages and cough drops. How about you.”
“I’ve got some batteries.” He smiled adding them to his inventory. “I think we’ve got everything. We should go before the walkers catch our scent.”
“Yeah.” She nodded.
Weapons raised, feet light, they started to make their way down.
And that was when everything went south.
“Wait.” Jack hissed.
Obediently Rapunzel stopped. They crouched down and listened. It was the unmistakable sound of the dead. Their shuffling feet and gurgled moans spreading a freezing panic through both survivors. Gulping it down, Jack motioned for Rapunzel to back up slowly. She didn’t look where she was going and backed right a table with an excessively big vase teetering atop it. Of course, it fell and shattered making a noise like the shriek of a firework. Instincts developed after three months of playing this game had Jack spinning on his heels and grabbing Rapunzel’s wrist, and taking off down the hall. The dead moaning and growling as they trailed them.
“We need to find some place to hide.” He gritted.
“I’m sorry.” She murmured keeping her eyes down. “I should have-”
“Stop it.” He snarled still looking for an exit. “We can’t change what happened. This game is always against you. I wouldn’t be surprised if that vase just suddenly popped out of nowhere to screw with us.”
“Still-”
“No, just stop. We can’t focus on that now. We just have to get our asses out of here.”
Knowing that arguing was pointless right now, she nodded and focused on keeping up with him. It took them a little while and a bit of back tracking before finally they found the elevator shaft… yeah they knew this wasn’t going to go well.
“Are you kidding me?” Rapunzel hissed as Jack pried the doors open. “We’ll die. We’ll fall, then our HP will hit zero and we will die.”
“Do you see any other way that isn’t blocked by walkers?” he gritted. “This is the way we go.”
“Do you have a plan then?”
“I can scale it.”
“That’s great for you, but what about me?”
“You strength stats and acrobatics will keep you from killing yourself. All you have to do is control your fall.”
“What.”
“Use your skills to fall from one ledge to the other. Once we’re at the bottom all we gotta do is check things out and make sure the coast is clear. If it isn’t we’ll just have to keep quiet—and I mean practically silent—and wait them out.”
“This is crazy.” She shook her head furiously.
“Hey, hey look at me.” he urged squeezing her arm till she finally locked eyes with him. “You can do this, alright. You will do this because this is how we are going to survive. Just trust me and trust your skills. This is how we survive.”
She still thought this was crazy, but in the end, she knew her skills were beyond most other players at this point. She had a better shot. She could do this. She had to. This was how she was going to survive.
“Okay.” she nodded.
He nodded back before forcing open the doors.
“I’m gonna have to close the doors behind us.” He told her. “I’ll cover you. Don’t think, just drop.”
Taking deep breaths, she dropped down so her legs were dangling off the edge, before she rolled onto her tummy and slipped down till she was hanging by her fingers. Jack shined his flashlight down the shaft so she could see where she was supposed to drop to. But he couldn’t keep it there since he needed to close the doors and start his own descent. So she had to take a leap, or fall, of faith. With one last deep breath, she let go of the ledge dropping down, trailing her fingers against the wall till she felt the next ledge and quickly grasped it.
“Okay, it’s about to get really dark.” Jack warned as he closed the doors. “I’m gonna jump to the other side and fall down that way. From there we’ll fall together. Sound good?”
“Just hurry up.” she hissed back at him.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming.” he sighed in mock annoyance.
He stuffed the flash light in his pants pocket. This wasn’t as scary for him as it was for Rapunzel, but still. He was jumping around an elevator shaft with no light and the permanent threat of death. This was not easy. But it had to be done. So with a small prayer to anyone that might be listening he went for it. He wasn’t counting on jumping so hard he slammed into the opposite wall and barley catching himself off the ledge.
“Ow.” He groaned. “I’m dropping down, after that we’ll drop together until we hit the bottom. Got it?”
“Yeah.” She gritted, the time on her grip ticking away.
Doing exactly what she had, he let go of the ledge and trailed his fingers down till he caught the next one down.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
“My grip meter is getting too low.” She hissed back. “We need to go now.”
Grip meters were made to make sure that no one would just camp out by hanging off the side of a building. Depending on your strength stats you could hold on longer, but it wasn’t indefinite. At some point your strength will fail you like in the real world and you will fall and have next to zero chance of regaining your grip. Only those with a high parkour skill could manage something like that, but even their chances were slim. So in other words, both Jack and Rapunzel need to be extremely careful.
“Okay, when I say go, drop.” He called to her. “Go.”
They both dropped down to the next ledge, then to the next and to the next going on and on till finally they hit the ground floor.
“Arg, my hands.” Rapunzel groaned.
“You okay Raps?” he asked getting out his flashlight. “Let me see.”
“You’re not the medic here, remember.” She sighed. “Give me the light, and check the hall for walkers.”
“You got it.” He nodded doing as she asked.
Luckily Rapunzel had an extremely high medic skill. For the first month of the beta she did nothing but worked on that until it was beyond the beyond average. In the game magazines, she was noted to be the best medic in the whole game. There were four players that were the best of the best in this game she and Jack were two of them and the other two were in their party before. She really hoped they’d be able to find them now. Her hands weren’t that bad, just some sores that would heal on their own in just a few minutes. The game didn’t even register them as major injuries so the pain and evidence would be gone soon enough.
Jack’s heart was racing, which was not good for a scout like him. When it came to mastering stealth skills your control over your pulse was key. Unless you are calm it will interfere with your precision and form. It could very well cost you your life. Interfere with your judge of distance and you can fall to your death. So Jack must remain calm at all times. It could also interfere with his listening skill. So he took a minute or two to calm his breathing and his heart so he wasn’t just hearing it pound in his ears. Then the skill started doing its work. He liked to think of his listening skill like Toph’s own version of sight in Avatar the Last Air Bender. He could hear everything and it translated into a rough image in his head, almost like someone was drawing a picture based on what he was hearing. What he was hearing now was a bunch of walkers on the upper floors milling about trying to find their lost prey and an empty hall in front of them. But there was something else. Three heart beats on the other side of the doors.
“Shit.” He hissed reaching for his gun while moving his hand to open the inventory only to be stopped by the sound of a hammer being cocked.
“Don’t even think about it.” A voice called from beyond the doors.
“Who’s there?” Rapunzel called out.
“All you need to know is that you are going to open those doors and we are all going to take a walk into the city. Our boss would like to have a word with you.”
“And if we don’t?” Jack gritted back.
“We fire a few rounds in there and maybe just maybe kill you. Worst case scenario we just dent the door a little and lead that heard upstairs here so you’ll be trapped.”
“You have no way of knowing that’ll work.” he called.
“Oh well. In the end it’s you that gets screwed over.”
“… Jack…” Rapunzel whimpered.
He gave her a tense nod then called to the girl on the other side.
“We’ll come out, but you have to give me your word that you won’t hurt me or my friend.”
“… as long as neither of you do anything to provoke us we should be good. We just want you to come see our leader.”
They shared another look before nodding once more.
“Fine.” he called. “We’re opening the doors so stand back.”
He heard them take a few steps back before he started to pry the steel doors open. It took him a bit, since they seemed to be rusted shut, but once he got it open he made sure to put himself between the unknown and Rapunzel. They were met with three blondes roughly around the same age as them. He could tell by the green cursors above their heads that they were plays and not NPCs—which this should be cleared up, for those who know all about most VRMMORPGs it should be stated that the color of a player’s curser didn’t really mean anything. If you harmed or killed another player it would not change the color of the cursor, the only way it changes is if you turn into a walker, then it turns red otherwise nothing else affects it. Really all it was is a way for players to differentiate between player and NPC but all players were green— making the situation a bit more complicated. Though most NPCs were just quest activators there were a few that were made just to kill or rob players. But a player could predict their intentions upon careful observation and intuition. Players were a whole other story.
There were two girls and a boy. One of the girls was a twin to the boy if their boney features where anything to go by. The leader of this little group was a slim but well-built girl with her hair braided behind her head and startling blue eyes. They all carried hand guns, looking fully loaded and pointed right at Jack. He could sense a hesitance to hurt them, but there was also a willingness to defend themselves at any cost. In other words, for now, Jack had to play along and be as pliant as possible. So he put his hands in the air motioning Rapunzel to do the same. Satisfied with this, the leading lady motioned for them to move forward which they did. All the while Jack was trying to figure out what to do. He could see Rapunzel doing the same. Should this go south and these people try to kill them or take all their items they needed a plan a way to get the hell out of there—FFW-THICH—WHERE THE HELL DID THAT ARROW COME FROM!
“Take cover!” the lead girl called pushing Jack and Rapunzel behind a car.
“Listen here, ye bunch ay crips.” They heard another feminine voice call echoing off all the buildings. “Ye are gowin te hand over aww ye items, or ah’ll let hell rain upon ye.”
Both Rapunzel and Jack gaped at each other, not quite believing who they were hearing and yet knowing she was entirely serious.
“Aam givin ye teel th’ count ay tree.” She called out. “One,… tw-”
“Wait!” Jack cried shooting to his feet.
“Get down!” one of the twins gritted.
“Merida, it’s us!” Rapunzel cried looking around desperately.
“Don’t shoot.” Jack urged.
There was an unsettling silence before they heard a soft thump behind them.
“Jack-Frost, Rapunzel?”
They spun around to find a girl their age with untamable curly red hair and emerald green eyes. She wore a green leather jacket over a teal tank top and ripped up jeans with a pair of combat boots. The outfit looked just like the Merida’s they knew and the compound bow was the same dark pine camo, but the hair and eyes even the gender were all different. The Merida they knew was a boy with black hair and red eyes and he had muscle and spoke with a Scottish accent. Honestly, he was the only Scottish speaking player they knew and apparently, he was a she.
“Wait you’re a girl!?” Jack gawked.
“An’ yer a bleedin albino.” She answered rolling her eyes. “Aye am a gurl. Ah chose a male avatar because ah didn’t want gits loch ye gawking at meh.”
“I’m not gawking.” Jack rejected.
“Yur totally are.”
“Guys, now is not the time for this.” Rapunzel urged.
“Yur right, Raps.” Merida nodded pulling back her arrow and taking aim. “Ah dorn’t loch killin’ players, bit ah will if ye give meh a reason.”
“Lame.” The male twin groaned.
“We should just blow them up and take off.” The girl snickered reaching for her pouch.
“Hold on, Ruffnut, don’t do anything stupid… ugh just don’t move.” The leader moaned rubbing her forehead before turning a serious glare on the other three who now could over power her. “Are your handles really Jack-Frost, Rapunzel and Merida?”
“Aye they are.” Merida answered as Rapunzel and Jack backed up behind her.
“Wait then that means they’re-” but the leader interrupted the male twin.
“Shut up.” she hissed. “Are you the Jack-Frost, Rapunzel and Merida? From the beta? Three parts of the unstoppable team called the Big Four?”
“What’s it to you?” Jack ticked.
“If you are who you say you are, and not a bunch of posers, then prove it.”
“How.” Rapunzel inquired.
“I got this.” Jack nodded opening his inventory.
He swiped his hand this way and that till he got to his weapons and summoned the one he wanted. With the pixel effects his crook spear came into physical existence. He snatched it from the air and did a few tricks showing his skill and solidifying their claim to their identities before stabbing the spear end into the ground.
“Show off.” Merida rolled her eyes.
“Holy crap!” Ruffnut gaped.
“Oh man. Astrid, they’re the real deal.” The male gulped. “We need to tell-”
“I know Tuffnut.” Astrid—as she had been identified as such—gritted before looking to the confirmed Big Four. “You need to come with us.”
“Ah doubt ‘at.” Merida snorted.
“No I mean it.” Astrid insisted. “The leader of our group, he was a beta tester too. You need to talk to him. Please.”
“Who is he?” Rapunzel asked out of curiosity.
“… If I say you won’t believe me.” she murmured. “Please, you have to come with us and see.”
“Your too eager.” Jack shook his head turning to the girls. “I don’t trust her.”
“Ye heard ‘im.” Merida shrugged, backing up and getting the others to do the same. “We’ll bea taken’ our leave now.”
“Wait please!” Astrid cried reaching for the them only to freeze at hearing the blood curdling scream.
“Rapunzel!” Jack cried.
“Get off me.” Rapunzel screamed after the legless walker pulled her down to the ground and was now dragging her into an ally.
“Shit get th’ woker, ah’ll get ‘er.” Merida urged, shouldering her bow, and grabbing Rapunzel’s wrists.
“You sick bastard.” Jack hissed taking the spear end of his crook and jabbing it into the walker’s eye.
But that was only the beginning of their troubles.
“Ye weren’t bit, were ye?” Merida asked looking over the blonde.
“No, I kept its mouth away from me.” Rapunzel sighed leaning on her friend for a moment.
“Guys, we’ve got to go.” Jack warned already hearing the moans of the undead.
“They’re tae close.” Merida gritted, having the highest listening skill as part of her hunting skills, she was able to pinpoint creatures just based on the sounds she heard. “We need tae find someplace safe tae hide.”
“Come with us.” Astrid urged. “Look I don’t care if you believe me or not at this point, but if I let you go Hiccup will kill me.”
“… did you say…” Rapunzel couldn’t even finish her own sentence she was so shocked.
“You know Hiccup?” Jack demanded leveling her with his crook.
“We’re all friends IRL, he was the one that got us into this game.”
“Yeah and look where that got us.” Ruffnut snorted.
“Shut up.” Astrid growled.
“How dae weh know yer tellin’ th’ truth?” Merida demanded.
“Why else would I be trying so hard to get you to come with me?”
“Tae kill us.” The red head said bluntly.
“We don’t have time for this.” Astrid cried desperately. “They are coming. You are three of the best players in this game. What could we possible do that you couldn’t prevent? Please, just come with us.”
The three looked amongst each other before Jack finally sighed. They couldn’t let this chance—if they really were friends of Hiccup’s—pass them by. Hopefully this didn’t get them killed.
“Fine.” he said tautly. “Lead the way.”
In the end they weren’t able to out run the horde entirely. A few cut them off and they had to fight their way through. It felt so natural, once again the members of the Big Four were together and fighting back to back. They pulled off all the tactics and styles they used back in the beta dispatching their enemies with ease. Rapunzel even resorted to using her hair as a whip to entangle the walkers making them easy targets for Merida and keeping them away from Jack. This was also how the Big Four got to see the rather… interesting… fighting style of the twins. If you could call running around laughing like a pair of lunatics swinging their mace and sword around like they were playing a game of smash the mail boxes a fighting style. In comparison to Astrid’s disciplined form of wielding her double-bladed ax, it looked like they were just a pair of crazy skeletons. Yet still they managed to dispatch the few that had surrounded them and get a head of the horde all together. Now all they had to worry about was getting to this camp Astrid had mentioned and living.
She lead them a good nine blocks further into the city closer to all the office buildings. The further they went the tenser Jack and the others got. He wanted to see Hiccup, but as the girl said they were the Big Four. Practically the main topic in every gaming magazine and blog for the last two months of the beta testing. Anyone could pretend they knew Hiccup after hearing the other’s handles. But if these was Hiccup’s friends then he couldn’t let this slip by. Hiccup was a good friend and a great strategist. He was the reason why the Big Four made it as far as they did. Able to think nine steps ahead of the enemy, predict the walker’s movements or motives of the NPCs, they dodged a thousand or so bullets thanks to Hiccup’s mind. So hell yeah he wants the boy back on his side. Still, if Astrid was lying then he would take the greatest pleasure feeding her to the walk… if he did that then she would die for real and it would be his fault. Damnit. He wondered if any of the Walking Dead characters felt the twist in their gut he was feeling now. Or if Kirito did. He knows in the show almost every one of the characters have had to kill someone, but what did the survivors of the SAO incident—that weren’t red players—do in situations like this?
Damnit. I don’t know what to do. He gritted mentally.
“We’re here.” Astrid called softly.
Looking up they could see that they were standing before an office building about the tenth the size of the others surrounding it.
“Why here?” Rapunzel asked. “It doesn’t look all that safe.”
“Hiccup scouted the whole thing. There is a sewer access gate we can go through and a fire escape on the opposite side of the building going all the way down and all the way up to the roof. He said it was our best bet should we need to escape.”
“Yeah, ‘at sounds loch ‘im.” Merida sighed.
Hesitantly they entered, weapons ready. They went all the way up to the top floor just under the roof and then to the end of the hall to a room of cubicles. That is where they were stopped by a dark haired boy that was all muscle and attitude.
“Who the hell are they?” he demanded squinting his brown eyes in a glare.
“Get out of the way Snotlout.” Astrid sighed. “Where’s Hiccup.”
“Our fearless leader is talking with Dagur and Fishlegs about a plan to get out of here and does not want to be disturbed.”
“Trust me, he will once when he sees them.” Astrid smiled.
“Yeah, I don’t think so.” Snotlout shook his head continuing to stand with his arms crossed, blocking Astrid’s way.
“If you don’t want to die then move.” She growled.
“Hey as his cousin It’s my job to protect egg head back there and I don’t like the looks of these people.”
“Excuse meh.” Merida cried.
“Easy girl.” Jack hissed holding her back by her elbows.
“See, that one already looks ready to turn.” He stressed. “Nope they’re not going anywhere until the others come out.”
“You know that could take all night.” Astrid gritted.
“Not my problem.”
“I’ve got two bottles of water on Astrid.” Tuffnut chuckled.
“Three on Snotlout.” Ruffnut smirked. “Get her dragon man.”
“Get out of my way.” Astrid said going to walk past the over beefed boy only for him to grab her shoulder.
Big mistake.
Before he could get another word out she grabbed his wrist and flipped him over her shoulder only to startle his back and twist his arm pinning it under her.
“Ow-ow-ow-ow-ow!” the boy cried out.
“What in the name of Thor is going on out here.”
They all looked up to find three more boys stomping their way toward them, but it wasn’t the boys that intimidated Jack and the girls. It was the waist high black panther strutting right next to the shortest of the boys.
“Hiccup, she’s trying to kill me.” Snotlout cried.
“Pay up.” Tuffnut chuckled.
“Damnit.” Ruffnut groaned handing over her water bottles. “You couldn’t put up more of a fight, lame.”
“You’re the one dating him.” Her brother snickered.
“Shut it.” She growled cracking her knuckles.
“Don’t you two start.” The shorter boy groaned turning back to Astrid and Snotlout. “Astrid get off him.”
“Whatever.” The she devil shrugged letting go of the so called dragon man and dusting herself off.
“Now mind telling me what this is all about? We were just in the middle of something important.”
Jack new that voice better than he knew his own fathers. Which is why he couldn’t help himself. He smiled walking faster than anyone could react and enveloping the boy in his arms.
“God it’s good to see you Hic.” He sighed as he crushed the boy to his chest.
“HE’S TRYING TO KILL OUR FEARLESS LEADER!” Snotlout cried.
Before he knew what was happening Jack was jerked away from Hiccup and thrown against the nearest wall with a very big very pissed off cat snarling in front of him.
“Astrid, who are these people?” the taller red head demanded as he kept his rifle trained on Jack.
“No, Dagur don’t shoot him.” She urged.
“Who are they?” he said again.
“Ye dare hurt ‘im and ah’ll turn ye into a pin cushion.” Merida cried notching an arrow.
“Stop!” this came from the bewildered Hiccup who stared unbelieving at Jack. “Toothless, come here. Dagur stand down.”
Obediently, yet reluctantly the panther did as the boy said going to mope at his feet. Dagur gave his leader a quizzical look but lowered his rifle and backed off. Giving the cat a hand signal to stay put Hiccup slowly approached the smiling Jack.
“Are you really…” trying to get a hold of his whirring mind, Hiccup gulped trying to swallow the lump in his throat before trying again. “Is that you Jack-Frost.”
“Finally caught on huh Viking boy?” Jack smirked standing back up.
Hiccup’s face split into a smile of pure joy before throwing his arms around his old friend and laughing.
“Thank god you found me.” he chuckled. “Thank god you’re here… you look nothing like your avatar by the way.”
“Oh, look who’s talking.” Jack snorted holding Hiccup at arm’s length. “You are definitely not the tall twenty something year old with stubble and cool looking braids in your hair.”
“Och shut it will ye an’ let us have a turn.” Merida scoffed pulling Hiccup into her arms. “It’s good tae see ye lad.”
“Merida?” Hiccup gawked. “You’re a girl.”
“Och am never goin’ tae hear th’ end ay this.” She cried throwing her arms up in the air.
“My turn. My turn. My turn.” Rapunzel squealed jumping into Hiccup’s waiting arms. “I’m so happy to see you.”
“Me too, Raps. Me Too.” Hiccup sighed holding her close.
“Now the Big Four is Back together once again.” Jack smiled pulling Merida in for a group hug. “We ready to beat the hell out of this game.”
“““You know it.””” Was his answer.
“Wait, you are the other parts to the Big Four?” this was coming from a rounder boy with blonde hair with a giddy smile on his face.
“Um, aye.” Merida affirmed looking suspiciously at the boy.
“Oh you have no idea what a great honor it is to meet all of you.” He squealed pulling out a pad of paper and a pen. “Do you think there is any chance I could get an autograph?”
“Not now Fishlegs.” Hiccup sighed scratching his head.
“Hey I have to ask you guys something, now that I know your friendly.” Jack interjected looking a bit desperate.
“What is it?” Hiccup asked worried for his friend.
“Have you seen a girl, she would look exactly like me only with longer hair?”
“Sorry, you’re the first albino we’ve seen here.” Dagur snickered.
“Be nice.” Astrid hissed. “Who is she?”
“My sister. Before I met you guys we were beta testers together. She had to stop playing though because of school stuff IRL. But when the official game launched we logged in together. She was with me that day in the room with the TV and Pitch Black. I have to find her.”
“Don’t worry.” Hiccup assured rubbing his friends arm. “Once we get out of the city we’ll find her.”
“Oh yeah, when we got here Snot-whatever said you were trying to come up with a plan of how to get out of here.”
“Hey, my name is Snotlout.” Said boy roared.
“Yeah, Dagur Fishlegs and I think we may have come up with something.” Hiccup nodded ignoring his cousin.
“Great let’s hear it.” Merida smiled.
“Hold on.” Dagur interjected. “Why are you guys still in the city? From what Hiccup has told us about you, you should have had no trouble getting out of here. So why are you still here?”
“Weel ah couldn’t find a safe way out.” Merida groaned. “All th’ safe routs out are over run now. Ah’ve been lookin’ bit haven’t found another way out.”
“I’ve been in the hospital looking after Jack.” Rapunzel informed.
“Why were you still in the hospital?” Hiccup asked looking worried. “Are you okay?”
“No need to worry over your hero Hiccup, I’m fine.” Jack smirked earning a swat from Merida. “Ow, okay, okay I was in the hospital because I didn’t wake up until today.”
“But it’s been a week since the game launched.” Astrid choked. “How could you just wake up today?”
“I don’t know.” Jack sighed. “All I know is when I woke up I still had all my old skills and weapons form the beta test. Rapunzel’s the same way. What about you two?”
“Aye.” Merida nodded pulling up her menu. “Ah steel have aw mah old huntin’ and achery skills along with my old bow and sword.”
“Same.” Hiccup nodded looking down cast. “It’s the same with all the other beta testers. It’s why all the other players turned on them.”
“Whit.” Merida gawked.
“He’s right.” Dagur sighed. “The day after the launch a bunch of us where hold up in a grocery store. We were there for a couple of days before some found out a few of the players where beta testers. It became known that all beta testers still had their skills and items. A lot of the first timers demanded that the beta testers give up half of their items to everyone to help them out. But of course, none of them wanted to go for it. There was a long-winded argument that was utterly pointless. What gamer would ever give up their hard-earned winnings like that. But still in the end it all went to hell...”
“Out of anger one of the first timers attack and killed one of the beta testers.” Astrid filled in. “Now, for some stupid reason everyone has set up this rule that if you come across a beta tester you either do the smart thing and join their party or you murder them and take all their shit. Most do the latter. Which is why there aren’t many beta testers in game anymore.”
“And why we got out of there before they realized Hiccup was a beta tester.” Dagur nodded. “They already hated him because he tamed a panther. But it was thanks to Toothless that no one messed with him I guess.”
“Bit, there were loch ten hundred beta testers.” Merida cried looking panicked. “Ye can’t bae teeling meh ‘at a bunch ay n00bs took ‘em all out.”
“That’s exactly what happened.” Hiccup gritted. “Those bastards let their petty resentment and fear control them and slaughtered a bunch of good players.”
“Oh god, Elsa.” Jack whimpered. “What if she-”
“You can’t think like that!” Rapunzel cried gripping Jack’s hand. “You have to have faith that she’s smart and kept a low profile. If she’s anything like you I’m sure she’s fine.”
“She nothing like me thank god.” He smiled. “I would go around showing off my skills like an idiot. Elsa… Elsa’s more reserved and modest. Her skills were amazing before she stopped playing and she keeps to herself. You’re right I’m sure she’s fine.”
“We’ll find her.” Hiccup promised looking grim. “I won’t let another person suffer because of this death trap. Damnit… this wasn’t supposed to happen. We weren’t supposed to… they-”
“Stop.” Dagur blurted out. “What did I tell you about that.”
“Dagur-”
“Shut up leader boy. As our leader, we can’t have you doubting yourself. We joined this game of our own will. How where you supposed to know that the jackass who made it was going to pull an SAO on us. It wasn’t supposed to be possible. This isn’t your fault so just stop and focus on how you’re going to keep us alive.”
Hiccup nodded, giving a small sad smile before taking a deep breath and dawning his half-lidded poker face.
“He’s got that look.” Jack smirked.
“Oh yes I know that look.” Rapunzel giggled.
“Our strategist is back.” Merida grinned crossing her arms. “So let’s her it.”
“In order for this plan to work we must follow every step carefully.” He started.
“First we need to be sure that semi will even run.”
“It’s got gas.” Rapunzel called softly from the driver’s seat.
“Batteries definitely have juice.” Dagur called back to her. “And there don’t seem to be any problems with the engines. How are those plates coming guys?”
“Second, we need to find a way to weld those steal plates we found to the rig of the semi.”
“I found a blow torch in the garage along with a helmet.” Astrid called to Hiccup.
“Good.” He nodded taking the blow torch and watching as the twins and Snotlout lined up the seven and a half foot tall plates with the trucks rig. “Here we go.” He said flipping the helmet down.
“Third, find the best route out of the city.”
“Th’ main road is our best bet.” Merida assured looking over the cities map on the conference room table.
“You just said that is where the biggest herd of walkers is.” Jack blanched.
“It’s th’ most direct route out ay th’ city.” Merida urged. “It’s all we have.”
“Fine but you’re telling Hiccup.”
“Coward.”
“Fourth, scout the route.”
“He should be back by now.” Hiccup murmured pacing back and forth.
“He always comes back so don’t worry.” Rapunzel assured.
“I know but still.” He couldn’t help but worry.
“Would ye stop movin’. Yer makin’ mah head spin.” Merida groaned.
“Is he always like this?” Rapunzel asked. “He always seemed a bit of a worry wort in the beta but not like this.”
“He’s worse.” Astrid groaned.
“Hiccup calm down already.” Dagur growled grabbing Hiccup’s shoulder to still him. “Your giving me motion sickness. “
“Jeez you guys need to learn the art of silence I could hear you all the way down the block.” Jack scorned suddenly appearing next to Hiccup.
“What took you so long.” Hiccup accosted.
“Sorry had to lose some walkers.” Jack shrugged.
“What did you see?” Dagur asked.
“We need to move sooner rather than later.” Jack urged. “The herd is thin now but stragglers are joining it every second. We need to go before night or it’s only going to grow to the point of we’re screwed.”
“Fifth and last, get out of the city.”
They were packing up and checking their menus to be sure they had enough meds and ammo getting ready for the ride of their life.
But Jack—having finished with his preparations—only had eyes for Hiccup at this moment.
“Is there something I can help you with?” Hiccup asked swiping through his menu while petting his panther.
“Yeah, something has been bothering me since we met up.” Jack said eyeing the panther.
“What is it?”
“Where the hell did you get that thing?”
Hiccup chuckled scratching Toothless’s head a little harder much to the felines delight.
“Do you remember in the books how Ezekiel had the tiger friend Shiva?” he asked.
“Didn’t read the books, but yeah, I remember seeing that in season seven.” Jack nodded.
“Well apparently, you can develop this skill the game calls beast taming.”
“It already had that. But you’re saying it wrong. It’s animal taming. I remember you excelled at that skill as well as blacksmithing.”
“You’re not wrong, I did have a high animal taming skill. But you’re not right either. Look at this.”
He manipulated his menu so Jack could see his skills listings.
“Whoa, you weren’t kidding.” Jack gaped staring at the words that clearly spelt beast tamer.
“It showed up after we got trapped in the city zoo. I kept hanging around this panther that was missing a tooth. I treated it nicely like when you’re trying to tame a horse or dog. Really, I just applied all my skills basis from my animal taming. Eventually Toothless began to trust me more and more and eventually would let me pet him. Then the zoo was attacked. I ran all over the place letting all the animals go when I got to Toothless, the herd was already so close. I thought I was a goner for sure. But Toothless protected me. He’s been with me ever since and when I checked my skills lists again this was here. So I’m guessing animal taming doesn’t pertain to animals that can’t be domesticated like normal pets. Either way, it’s a skill I now have and a black panther for a best friend so I’m not complaining.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t either.” Jack chuckled.
“Hey.” Astrid called getting their attention. “We’re ready.”
They loaded up, Fishlegs behind the wheel while the others took to the trailer hitch, doors, and the roof guns ready.
“Hey, when did you do that?” Jack asked as he got a good look at Rapunzel.
“Oh.” She blushed messing with the thick iron chains she had somehow braided in her golden strands. “I found these in the garage and well, when we were cut off by that herd and I used my hair as a whip it gave me this idea. My strength stat is pretty high so they’re not a bother to me. Plus, they’ll do more damage this way.”
“Ah loch it.” Merida smirked hopping atop the semi’s cab. “Makes ye look loch yer a true survivor ay th’ apocalypse.”
“She’s right it looks awesome.” Jack smiled patting her head before turning serious. “Hey, be careful out there.”
“Same goes for you.” She nodded. “We’ll make it through this.”
“I know.” He smiled. “Let’s go.”
Jack stood on the step for the driver’s side. Hooking his crook into the engine pipe and gripping the staff for dead life to keep him in place. He would use his desert eagle to shoot any walker that got to close for comfort. Behind him on the hitch Rapunzel stood with Dagur and Astrid with their own guns at the ready as they clung to the broken window. On top of the cab sat Merida and Hiccup who managed to create a tether to strap to the semi so they wouldn’t fall off. On the other side in the passenger seat sat Snotlout and Ruffnut with her twin in the same situation as Jack on the passenger door—though he seemed more excited about it. Admittedly this wasn’t the best way to keep them safe but they needed a shooter and the semi had no trailer so this is what they came up with.
“Let’s go.” Hiccup called.
Nodding nervously Fishlegs started up the truck with a mighty roar and they were heading out.
Of course the sound of the monstrous engine attracted the dead, but they were kept at bay by the shooters and Rapunzel’s chain whip hair. It didn’t take them long at all to reach the city’s main road and the massive herd that blocked their exit.
“Oh boy.” Fishlegs gulped.
“Just keep going Fishlegs and don’t stop. Gun it.” Hiccup urged.
“Everyone hold on.” Jack cried as Fishlegs stepped on the gas.
The first wave of walkers to be beaten down by their jerry rigged walker plow sent a shock wave through the truck causing all those hanging on for dear life to curse. The walkers where closing in around them making them shoot up the streets like a bunch of crazy people.
“Where almost there.” Hiccup called trying to reassure everyone.
One could feel the air around the group lighten as their relief washed over them.
And of course, that is when this world likes to break your very spirit.
Just as they were in the last stretch they passed over a manhole cover that was pushing itself up. As they cleared the herd standing atop of it, it was thrown off and a rotten hand shot out latching onto Dagur’s leg and pulling him free of the truck.
“Ahh!” he cried surprised.
“Dagur.” Hiccup wailed attempting to undo the harness.
“Fishlegs, stop.” Jack ordered hopping off as soon as he did then called up to Hiccup. “I’ll get him you guys cover us.”
Walkers went down left and right as his friends shot down any that came to close while he dispatched them whit his crook.
“Jack!” Dagur called out limping toward the albino.
“You okay?” Jack asked letting the boy lean on him.
“The damn thing bit me.” Dagur hissed.
Looking down Jack could see his right leg was red with the damage effect. Crimson polygons floated from the wound representing the loss of blood. This wasn’t good.
“You should just leave me.” Dagur gritted.
“No way. When we get out of the city we’ll cut it off and stop the infection. You are going to live through this.” Jack insisted pulling him toward the truck. “I’m not letting Hiccup’s friend die.”
“Hey, our odds are not looking so good man.”
“Shut up and just move.” Jack urged.
“No listen to me. I am by no means giving up. But if this all goes south and I turn, you have to promise me something.”
“If I say yes will that get you to move faster?” Jack growled stabbing another walker.
“I mean it! Promise me!” Dagur practically begged.
“… fine, what is it?”
“Take care of Hiccup. He idolizes you, loves you. I’ve always protected him since we were in middle school. But if I don’t make it you have to protect him. Promise me that, please.”
Without hesitation, Jack nodded.
“You got it man, but I’m not going to need to because you are going to make it, so come on.”
“C’mon ye guys. Yer almost ‘ere.” Merida cried firing another arrow at a walker behind them.
They made it to the truck, Jack stuck to Dagur as they clung to the back window but before they could go anywhere a walker just randomly generated and grabbed Jack dragging him off the truck.
“No!” Dagur roared tackling the monster to the ground.
“Dagur!” Jack cried getting up on his feet.
“ARGH!”
They all watched in horror as three more bastards fell on Dagur all taking a bite out of him.
“NO!” Hiccup cried.
“Dagur hang on man I’m coming.” Jack assured aiming his desert eagle.
“… take…c-care of… Hiccup.” These were the last words he heard come from the red head as the walker he had tackled lunged taking a massive bit out of his throat.
“…no…” Jack gasped.
“Dagur!” Hiccup screamed. “Say something! Dagur!”
“Jack we have to go.” Rapunzel urged tears streaming down her face.
But Jack wasn’t moving. All he could do was watch as the monsters tore into Dagur’s flesh all the while thinking why.
Why did this happen?
Why did this have to happen to us?
Why did you make me promise? I couldn’t protect you. So what makes you think I can protect him?
He didn’t register the others yelling his name or Fishlegs trying to motivate him by revving the engine. All he could do was stand there and watch. Tears prickling his eyes but not falling.
We’re all going to die. There is no point to this. We’re going to die.
… Big brother, you promised you’d find me. Are you going back on your word?
C’mon man, don’t do this to me. I spent the better part of my life protecting that kid crying your name up on that truck. I don’t regret a second of it either. But if you don’t move, if you don’t live and beat this game you’ll regret it. So move Jack, go back to Hiccup. You promised me. Move!
Big brother come find me please. Just move!
Move!
“Jack move!”
Snapping out of his stupor just in time to dodge a walker coming at his face Jack felt a cold rage burn through his body. He was pissed. Pissed at Dagur for making him promise. Pissed at his parents for separating him from his sisters. And pissed at Pitch Black for becoming a Kayaba wanna be and trapping them all in a game where they are most likely going to die. He let that rage boil. It boiled over until it became nothing but steam propelling him back to the truck like a rocket. He moved faster than was humanly possible even with the game’s system assistance. He zigzagged from one walker to the other taking out his rage on them all the while getting closer and closer to the truck till he shot out from the herd and latched onto the back of the truck.
“He’s on go!” Merida screamed.
Flooring the gas Fishlegs made a mad dash through the herd until finally they burst through and out of the city. But he did not stop and no one told him to either. They were all in shock. They had just lost one of their own. Jack and the girls hadn’t even known him that long and even still they could feel the pain of his absence. They couldn’t imagine what it must be like for Hiccup and the others.
A window suddenly popped up in front of Jack making him blink. Looking around he saw the others had windows in their faces too. They had just beat a massive herd, so of course they would get some loot. Medicines, ammo maybe even some rare weapons. But no one was even bothering to look at their loot. He couldn’t blame them. He was content to ignore his own window when something caught his eyes. with that last bout of madness he pulled off at the end he managed to score the highest kill count meaning he got a major prize. Curious he tapped it and was instantly covered by a light blue hoody with frost patterns reaching from the shoulder. In any other game, he would be bragging up a storm at his skills and triumph, but all he felt was pain. It was like the hoody knew this and it was soaking it up, taking it from him so he wouldn’t have to carry it.
But Jack would carry that pain. He would wear that hoody as long as he remained in this world and would carry the pain to remind him that this wasn’t a game. This was real and the loss he felt wasn’t just a bunch of data the Moon-Halo was flowing through their brains. It was real. This was real.
It’s not just a game.

Chapter Text

They finally stopped when the truck sputtered out of gas. After that everyone just fell from where they clung and mourned. Jack could hear Hiccup’s broken sobs atop the cab and Merida’s quiet reassurances that seemed to do nothing. Rapunzel cried softly into Jack’s shoulder as he held her letting his own tears slip by silently. There were no words to speak, no apologies to be made, no blame to place. All they could do was take their moment to mourn.
“Hiccup, c’mon.” Merida murmured undoing their makeshift harnesses. “Jack, can ye help meh with ‘im?”
He looked up to them before whispering to Rapunzel.
“You gonna be okay?” he murmured softly rubbing her back.
Wiping her eyes, she nodded pulling away from him.
“I’ll be back.” He promised before standing at the passenger’s side to help Hiccup down.
The boy clung desperately to Jack, practically wrapping himself around the scavenger. It broke Jack’s heart every time he felt a sob rack Hiccup’s body making even Jack tremble. He wanted to apologize, to promise that everything was going to be okay but he couldn’t. He knew his apology wouldn’t be accepted and he’d be lying if he made another fool hearty promise. Instead he just held him close, waited for Merida to climb down then beckoned Rapunzel over for a group hug.
“We need to keep moving.” Astrid spoke brokenly. “We’re out in the open, it’s too dangerous.”
“Where do you suggest we go?” Fishlegs muttered.
“Anywhere.” She hissed. “We just need to get the hell out of here.”
“We need to find Elsa.” Jack urged.
“And how do we do that?” she sighed.
“If I know my sister, she’ll be up high.” He said thoughtful. “The initial spawn point for everyone is Georgia. If she made it out of the city then she would head for the mountains.”
“Oh so we should just search all the mountains.” A snide remark from the blonde.
“No, just the ones closest to the city.” he shook his head choosing to ignore her rudeness. “She wouldn’t go too far so I could find her.”
“This is assuming she’s still alive.”
“Astrid!” Merida growled.
“She is. I know it.” Jack insisted.
“We have nothin’ better tae dae.” Merida offered.
The blonde glared at them not wanting to give in.
“We need to do this.” Hiccup chocked. “We need to.”
The decision had been made.
“Fine.” Astrid sighed hefting her battle ax. “Then we better get going.”
They nodded shouldering their weapons and packs before heading away from the city. The further the better. Staying close to one another and keeping their eyes and ears open always watching each other’s backs. Jack—hating the fact that he even promised in the first place—kept Hiccup close or at least always within his peripheral so he could jump to his aid at any moment should he need it. He boy didn’t look up from his shoes, didn’t speak and relied on his hand which gripped Jack’s sleeve to guide him. Astrid was behind them keeping her eyes on Jack the whole time as if watching for Jack to make a wrong move. It made Jack’s back itch. He had to get Hiccup talking. Grieving in silence wouldn’t do him any good, wouldn’t do the group any good. Worst case scenario this could cloud Hiccup’s judgement and get him killed. Or worse it could distract him and get him in trouble and that would distract Jack and the others and land them in hot water. They needed to get a handle on this.
“Hiccup-”
“I know what you’re going to say.” The grieving boy blurted.
“What was I going to say?”
“If I don’t get over this I’m gonna get us all killed.”
“Yeah, that is true… but that is not what I was going to say.”
“… then what were you going to say?”
“I was going to say that what you’re going through is horrible but you have to go through it. It’s the only way you are going to heal. I know you like the books more, but do you remember in season five when Carol told Daryl that he needed to let himself feel it. That’s what I’m gonna tell you. But you can’t let this rule you. We need you at your best, not just because you’re our strategist but because we can’t lose you. I can’t lose you.”
At his words Hiccup froze, his fist clenched so tightly in Jacks’ hoody he worried it would rip. Jack turned to him seeing the silent tears fall past his chin, his teeth clenched almost to the point of chipping. He couldn’t explain it but he knew that Hiccup was struggling with whatever he wants to say.
“We need to keep going.” He urged gently rubbing Hiccup’s shoulder. “You can say whatever you want as we go, when you’re ready. But we need to go. Kay?”
Jerkily Hiccup nodded and let Jack lead the way.
They made it about a half a mile before Hiccup finally talked.
“… We were childhood friend-enemies.” He murmured. “My father and his were partners before my dad became sheriff. He would come over almost every night and bring Dagur with him to ‘play’ with me.” he paused to give a broken chuckle at that. “His version of play was locking me in the closest or trying to drown me in the creek behind the house. I hated him at first. But then we ended up in middle school together. I was a nerd. Talked too much about the Norse gods and things like that and got myself bullied. But before those jerks could do anything, Dagur shows up and says ‘no one picks on Hiccup, but me. So beat it’. But those kids didn’t take the hint. He beat the shit out of them. Ever since then he was like my shadow, always looking out for me.” more tears slid past his chin as he shook his head. “This is my fault.”
“Hiccup-”
“No, it is.” he insisted. “I was the one that introduced him, all of them into RPGs and VRMMOs. I was their guild leader in five other games. I was his leader and I got him killed. My plan was flawed. I should have put better thought into it or considered the enemy using the sewers. I should have-”
“No one would have thought of that.”
“I would.” He gritted. “If I hadn’t been so damn distracted, I would have.”
“…What distracted you?” Jack asked though he had a feeling he knew looking up at where Merida was arguing with the twins.
“It’s nothing.” Hiccup sighed whipping his eyes. “I just shouldn’t have let it get to me.”
There was pang in Jack’s heart that he chose to ignore in favor of easing his friends suffering.
“Hiccup, the sewers weren’t even accessible in the beta.” He reminded. “You couldn’t have known that changed.”
“I should have considered it. I did when I made plans for escape in the office building.”
“Okay, for the sake of easing your conscious I’m gonna pull a low tactic.” Jack sighed facing Hiccup fully. “If Dagur was here right now, if it had been me that had been caught, and you had said that what would he have told you?”
“Jack…” Hiccup whimpered shaking his head. “That’s-”
“Low I know, but answer it.”
“… he… he would smack me upside the head and say I had no reason to blame myself for something no one could predict.”
“See, this wasn’t your fault.”
“But-”
“No buts. You can silently blame yourself all you want but remember, Dagur would never blame you and wouldn’t be too happy you were blaming yourself. This game is fucking with us. We just have to try and do our best to keep everyone safe. We need you at your best for that. So take a moment to do what you’ve gotta and then go back to being the badass strategist beast tamer you are.”
At that Hiccup gave a wobbly smile.
“You’re such a dork.” He hiccupped.
“Got you to smile though.” Was Jack’s satisfied remark.
“Guys look.” Merida hissed from the head of the group.
They all froze looking toward the little group sitting on the side of the road looking broken and dejected.
They had no cursors.
“They’re not players.” Rapunzel informed, clutching her hair.
“Should we engage?” Astrid asked Hiccup.
“The NPCs in this world can either be helpful or murderous.” Jack intercepted. “The only way we’ll know for sure is to engage.”
“But if they’re bad things could go south really fast.” Hiccup said knitting his brows.
“You don’t have to tell me.” Jack sighed rubbing his neck. “The first group of NPCs my sister and I encountered were a bunch of cannibals.”
“Whoa, how’d ye escape ‘at trap?” Merida asked.
“We didn’t.” was his regretful answer. “We had to start over and just avoided the area we found them in.”
“Was that anywhere around here?” Hiccup inquired unable to stop the gears in his head from turning.
“I have no idea.”
“Then we need to approach this carefully…” the beast tamer trailed off putting a knuckle to his chin.
“You’ve got something in mind?” Jack smirked thankful that his friend was trying to be okay.
“Maybe…”
“’En let’s hear it.” Merida demanded.
“It’s nothing fancy, pretty basic and would work a lot better if we had a sniper but Merida’s bow will have to do.”
“Hey, whit does ‘at mean?”
“Look the plan is this; Merida and the twins head around and keep a close eye on us from the trees. If anything looks off I’m counting on you to help us out. Meanwhile the rest of us will confront the NPCs and try to get a feel.” At this he looked at Astrid. “You’re better at reading atmosphere and people, even if they are in game characters they emulate human habits. If anything seems off let me know as subtly as you can and I’ll get us out of there. As most of us know they won’t let us leave if they’re after our items or loot. So this will most likely turn into a fight. Merida put as many down as you can. We’ll be out of here before their back up can get here while getting their loot as well. Sound good?”
They all nodded clutching their weapons.
“Then let’s do this.” He nodded.
It was a good charade, yet you didn’t have to be a great people reader to know he was grinning and baring.
Hiccup… Jack couldn’t help but worry, still he would let the boy do what he needed.
Merida gave a nod to her friends before following the twins into the trees and with that everyone began to move forward. They weren’t very quiet about their approach, wanting to seem like a bunch of n00bs out looking to make an easy score. The group of NPCs was made up of three men and two women all seemingly unarmed. All the beta testers knew better. NPCs are wild cards. Just like in any RPG game they could be quest givers or tricksters that will use you to do something that wouldn’t sit well with your moral compass. In this game, they could be worse. A lot of the NPCs in this game were created as player traps. Basically Pitch couldn’t count on the players taking on roles of the Governor or Negan so he created NPCs for that to make things more interesting. However, when Jack was beta testing he come across many Negan wanna-be’s. Even found some with bats wrapped in barbed wire like Lucile. He thought it was dumb. Why try to become a character that already exists. Sure, Daryl and Rick are his idols, but he wasn’t going to start wearing angel wings or learn to master a Colt Python. He needed to do them justice rather than become a joke of an imitation. So he let their situations guide him and became his own kind of character. One centered around speed and agility. If you can do that you can almost cheat.
You can out run a bullet.
“Hey there.”
Shocked out his musing Jack raised his crook reining his focus.
“It’s so nice to see some friendly faces.” He was a tall slim man with greasy looking blonde hair and brown almost black eyes, already putting Jack on edge. He wore a simple white t-shirt stained with sweat and grime and a pair of dark cargo pants with sneakers. Jack didn’t like him and one look at Astrid told him that she felt the same. “Please if you could help us, we just ran out of our rations two days ago. If you could spare any food.”
“Sorry.” Hiccup said abruptly motioning everyone to move on. Astrid must have tipped him off and he decided it wasn’t worth trying to get more loot. Or Maybe this guy just gave him the creeps like he did Jack. Either way, Jack couldn’t be happier to move on. “What we have is only enough for my people. I wish we could help, but we must be moving on.”
“Please, we just-”
“He said no.” Astrid gritted. “We have to go.”
The man looked dejected and backed off. Hiccup nodded to everyone and they walked on. Jack still held his breath not wanting to let his guard down until they regrouped with Merida and the twins and they were a mile and a half away.
Yet his blood run cold when he heard a static filled voice call out from the NPCs.
“We caught the red head archer. Their back up is down. Get them now.”
“Shit.” Jack hissed drawing his gun.
“Jack!” Rapunzel cried standing behind him.
Her call was all Hiccup needed to jump into action, pulling out his shield and sword stepping in front of Rapunzel with Toothless at his side growling.
“Guys what’s wrong?” Fishlegs asked getting out his own Glock.
“You tell your friends to let ours go or I’m going to blow you away.” Jack growled aiming at the obvious leader. “I heard on your walkie. Your goons have a read haired archer. You let her go and we won’t have any problems.”
The NPCs seemed unaffected by their show of force. They simply smiled like they were carrying a secret. Something deadly, something fatal.
Whatever it was it set Jack’s nerves alight.
“What are they-” but something cut Snotlout off as he wobbled on his feet then fell face first.
“Snotlout!” Astrid cried only to be the next one that went down.
“What the hell is going on?” Hiccup cried.
“Ehhh…” next was Rapunzel.
“Rap- Ugh!” Hiccup was down then Toothless right after and Jack could see what did the job.
“A knock out dart!” he cried honing his hearing.
He heard the faint pst as the dart was fired again and from that he could predict where it was going to hit. He leapt into the air flipping backwards, watching as the dart zipped just under him. Landing on his bare feet he took off running for the leader. His best chance was to hold the leader hostage and get the dart gunner to come out then kill them all. He also had a small hope that the twins—who seemed to be unaccounted for since he didn’t hear the NPC’s comrades mention twins—might come and help him. He had to hope that they would come out and help him, otherwise he wasn’t sure how he was going to pull this off.
He ran in zig zags making it harder for whoever was targeting him to aim. Just a few more yards and the bastard was his. All he had to do was get his crook around his neck and his gun at his head and this battle would be done.
And yet just as he was close enough to reach out with his crook the leader NPC pulled out a gun from behind his back.
“Shit!” Jack cursed putting on the brakes.
At this distance the bullet had no chance of missing Jack and even with his skills and reflexes he didn’t think he could dodge it. His best chance was to duck and roll. He dropped to his knee to do just that when-
TWACK!
“Ack!”
Damnit, I was so focused on the leader’s gun I forgot about the dart gunner… now every things… going… black…

“Jack, wake th’ heel up ye bastard!”
“Ahh!” Jack gasped as he was jostled awake finding the everything around him hanging off the earth like a bat. “What… what is… oh no, oh shit!”
“Jack calm down.” He heard Hiccup hush.
He craned his neck to look to his left to see a worried red-faced beast tamer. Although he looked weird do to the fact he was upside down. Looking around he could see everyone from their two parties were hanging from their ankles inches of the ground with their hands tied behind their backs.
“This isn’t good.” Jack gulped.
“Gee ye think.” Merida huffed.
“That isn’t helpful Merida.” Rapunzel accosted.
“No you guys don’t get it.” Jack gritted. “This is the NPC cannibal group my sister and I came across. There is no escaping this.”
“No way!” Astrid hissed. “Hiccup you need to come up with something quick.”
“What do you expect me to do?” Hiccup cried. “I’m the one who got us into this mess. I should have known this was a trap.”
“That isn’t true and you know this isn’t the time.” Rapunzel abolished. “You can think of something.”
“I’m afraid that nothing you come up with will help you now.”
They all fell quiet as the man they saw from before waltzed into the room, self-satisfied smirk splitting his face in two practically.
“Ye bastard.” Merida growled. “Ye better let us down if ye know whits good for ye.”
“Oh I think you’ll be plenty good for me.” he chuckled licking his lips.
“Son of a bitch.” Snotlout spat.
“But first we’ve got to get the blood drained out of you.”
“Oh good he’s doing the monologue thing.” Jack groaned. “Anything we say that doesn’t add to the story won’t be registered as dialogue to this guy. So all we can do is suffer through it.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Astrid snarled.
“Once that’s done we’ll chop you up and cook you into some delicious dishes.” The NPC went on. “Don’t worry, I’ll be sure you’re turned into something delectable.”
“Thes es sickenin’.” Merida groaned.
“Just bare it.” Jack sighed. “We need to focus on getting out of here.”
“An’ how dae ye propose we dae ‘at?” Merida gripped.
“Working on it.” Was Jack’s reply.
“It’ll take you a while to bleed out.” The leader went on. “But after that it’ll just be a matter of time. I’ll leave you now to your last moments before the bleeders get here. Have a nice last bit of existence.”
They watched him walk away wanting nothing more than to rip him apart limb by limb.
“Okay this is our chance.” Rapunzel murmured. “I’ve only played a few games but in everyone I’ve played I know that when the bad guy takes off like that it’s the game giving you a chance to escape. So come on guys let’s think of something.”
“Hiccup now would be the time.” Astrid hissed.
“Shut up already, I’m trying.” Hiccup cried screwing his eyes shut tight. “I’m trying.”
“Whit did ye and yer sister do?” Merida asked looking to Jack. “Did ye manage tae at least get out of the chains.”
“She did.” He admitted. “We managed to wrap our chains around each other till the pressure became too much and her chain snapped. But we couldn’t get the ropes behind her back undone and the cannibals came and killed us.”
“So let’s try that.” Snotlout cried. “We can figure out how to undo the knots afterwards.”
“That won’t-” but Hiccup cut himself off. “Wait. Reverse it. Focus on getting the ropes. I bet you anything those of you who are taller would be able to touch the floor making it easier to move around. Jack your closest to me and taller. Swing as close as you can and I’ll untie you. Same goes for Rapunzel and Merida and Astrid and Snotlout. Oh my god I forgot about Fishlegs.” Suddenly panicked Hiccup twisted his neck this way and that trying to find his friend.
“He’s over here still knocked out.” Snotlout sighed. “I think they had to pump him full of a shit tone of knock out toxin just to keep him down. Didn’t stop him from blubbering like a whale. Jeez so lame.”
“Okay whoever gets down first cut him loose.” Hiccup sighed. “Everyone got it? We don’t have a lot of time so hurry.”
“Wow that is a great plan. I wish we thought of something that cool.”
They all froze pulling faces of annoyed shock.
“Yeah, but our plan has explosives. So that makes it way better.”
“Yeah your right, sis.” Tuffnut chuckled.
“Of course I am. I’m smarter than you after all.” Ruffnut smirked.
“Y-you two!” Astrid cried.
“Ruffy-nutty!” Snotlout sobbed.
“Ugh, I told you not to call me that idiot.” Ruffnut gaged.
“Hey what the hell are you two doing, get us down already!” Jack called.
“Yeah we should probably get them out of here before the bomb goes off and lets that herd we brought here.” Tuffnut shrugged coming out of the shadows waving his mace like it was baton.
“Wait herd!” Merida cried. “Ye damn idiots brought a herd ay wokers. Are ye nuts!”
“Uh duh.” Ruffnut deadpanned heading for Snotlout. “It’s the only way to make sure your enemies don’t follow you. Don’t worry they’ll be too busy with the walkers that they won’t even bother coming after us.”
“Did you watch the show!?” Astrid roared. “After Carol let loose the herd on the Terminus group they survived and came after them leading to Bob’s Death. If Tara hadn’t come up with the plan she did they would all have died. You want the same thing to happen to us. We might not be so lucky as Rick and the others.”
“No they’re right.” Hiccup assured. “The NPCs in this game are nothing like characters of the show or books. Once we get out of their agro range then we’ll be safe. They can’t come after us.”
“Then how do we stop them from going after another group?” she asked as Tuffnut cut her loose doing a back flip by pushing of with her hands.
“We can’t do anything about that.” Jack shook his head watching Astrid untie Hiccup. “They’re in game programs, nothing we do will kill them off indefinitely. They’ll just respawn.”
“He’s right- oof.” Hiccup huffed falling on his back. “Ow, all we can do is let everyone know that they need to avoid this area and hope that does something.”
“It’s bullshit.” Merida growled. “Bit it’s true.”
“Then we better go find your gear, we only have a few minutes before that guys comes back and even fewer minutes before the bomb goes off.” Ruffnut informed as she was being crushed by an over affectionate Snotlout.
“’En let’s move.” Merida urged.
“Over here. We were able scout out the place before we came and got you.” Tuffnut waved to a door on the opposite side of the room.
They nodded but there was still one problem.
“Fishlegs, wake the hell up!” Astrid roared slapping the boy’s face as hard she could.
“Ahh!” he cried sitting up. “What happened? Where are we? Why are we here?”
“No time for that.” Hiccup shook his head. “We’ve got to go.”
Now that everyone was awake and ready they took off running for the other door. They were careful not to run into anyone. Right until they reached the armory.
“Take only what you lost.” Hiccup told them. “It’s best we stick with weapons that we’re used to and that we only carry what we can. We still need to raid the kitchen and try to get all that we can.”
“We also need medical supplies.” Rapunzel reminded.
“Then we’ll have to- uh, damnit.” Hiccup cursed clenching his fists.
“What is it?” Astrid asked.
“You came to the same conclusion, then.” Jack sighed. “We can’t just raid this place.”
“No, we have to take them on.” Hiccup finished.
“Why would we have to do that?” Snotlout chocked.
“Because they won’t have a kitchen or med bay.” Hiccup gritted. “They’re NPCs, they don’t eat, drink or need medical care. This is supposed to be the equivalent of a quest, so all that stuff is what we would win in defeating them. In other words if we want to live we need to defeat the boss of this dungeon.”
“There are no bosses in this game.” Astrid snorted. “Just really big monster quests.”
“Still…” he went on. “Change of plan, take everything. We’ll ditch it as we go.”
“So whit’s th’ plan ‘en?” Merida asked.
At this Hiccup froze up.
“I can’t.” he whimpered. “I can’t come up with a plan, not after the other two. I got Dagur killed. And the last one almost got us all. Someone else needs to be the strategist, I can’t. In RPGs where there was no risk of me getting us all killed for real, sure. But no not this game. You guys need to find someone else.”
That was it, Rapunzel had had enough. Jack was about ready to psyche Hiccup up when she strode right past him, stepping up to the unsuspecting Hiccup and slapped the shit out of him. She used her full strength, giving everything she had and sent him rolling into the opposite wall taking out ten percent of his health points.
“Gugh!” He coughed as his back slammed into the wall.
“You bitch!” Astrid growled hefting her ax.
“Dorn’t even think about it.” Merida hissed leveling the blonde with her sword.
“Rapunzel what did you do that for?” Jack demanded.
But she ignored him and marched forward.
“Just stop it.” She growled stopping right in front of him. “Just stop it right now.”
“What- ahh!” he cried as she pulled him up by the front of his shirt.
“Stop doubting yourself!” she yelled in his face. “You want us to find another strategist, well I’m going to tell you to stop being a dumbass! You seem to have forgotten that you were the reason that we made it as far in the beta as we did. Sure, Merida, Jack and I are great players, the best if you believe the magazines and blogs. But we wouldn’t have gotten there without you. I’m smart, I can come up with a half assed strategy but that wouldn’t get us anywhere. You were the one that did that. You always thinking nine steps ahead. It didn’t matter how slim our chances where, you were always able to get us through it. You want us to find someone else? Well you’re all we’ve got! And I’d rather have you than some half assed jerk who has no idea how to save us. So you are going to crawl out of the hole you dug yourself into and save us like you always do.” Calming down she back off staring at his wide green eyes. “We will follow you. Just like we always follow Jack as a leader or Merida as a tracker, we’ll follow you now. So give us your plan, besides you need to find Toothless.”
Jack and Merida smiled as they saw the light returning to Hiccup’s eyes. Nothing like a speech from Rapunzel to get the blood pumping. Hiccup snorted giving a small smile before looking up at all of them, the hooded eyes of the Big Fours Tactician.
“Fine. the plan is beyond simple.” He said. “Ruffnut, Tuffnut I want you to go and find Toothless and get him to me also if you find any other players bring them-”
“And how do you expect us to control your cat when we find him?” Ruffnut gaped.
“Just let him out, he’ll find me. Oh and disarm that bomb. We don’t need a herd to take out these assholes.”
““What, oh c’mon!”” the twins cried together.
“Meanwhile Astrid, Fishlegs and Snotlout will lure the NPCs to the room they had us chained up in. we will take them out from there.”
“How do you plan on doing that?” Snotlout asked.
“Don’t worry.” Jack smirked. “We’re the Big Four, we have a way about doing things.”
And so the plan was set into motion. The others set out to gather the cannibals while the twins went to find the panther and any other survivors. Meanwhile Hiccup and the rest of the Big Four set up in the holding room. Jack facing the door to which the enemy would enter, Merida standing right next to the door waiting with her arrow notched and ready. Hiccup and Rapunzel stood closer to the back with Hiccup in front his shield raised and Rapunzel clutching her hair taking deep calming breathes. They were ready with their formation, they knew this would work. It always did.
They had this in the bag.
So when Astrid and the other’s burst through the doors bringing twenty-five assholes with them, Hiccup gave a harsh and direct order.
“Get out the way!”
As soon as they were out of the way they moved. Merida blocked the doors while Jack sprinted forward, Hiccup and Rapunzel following quickly behind him. It was a simple but powerful strategy. Merida was the front guard, Jack the mid and Hiccup the rear while Rapunzel was back up and a medic. It was Hiccup’s job was to protect Rapunzel, who would watch the flanks, and watch the fight to provide instruction while Jack went berserk and tackled the enemy. As was stated before;
He could out run the bullets.
His speed stats were beyond anything anyone could see, the only one who could keep up with him was Merida and that was just barely. But her agility wasn’t enough to do what he could. He got the idea when he was watching the BoB with his sister—they enjoyed the Japanese players style rather than the American. It helped that the famed Kirito was a challenger along with Elsa’s idol, Sinon the sniper. But watching as Kirito fought with a photon sword and pistol, blocking, and dodging the bullets with the sword it was inspirational. So he worked his butt off in the American version of GGO—the game he and his sister played before TWDO was a thing—to emulate what he did while adding his own spin on it. He worked up his speed till not even the most high-powered bullet could catch up with him. He would out run the bullet and get his opponent without even breaking a sweat. But that was in GGO, a game with an in-game assistance system called bullet lines. TWDO didn’t have that. Jack trained with his sister for half a month to get down a technique that would do the same. Eventually he learned to watch the character’s body language and eye movement so they would tell him all he needed. While he dodged the bullets, Hiccup would watch him and know whether he needed to block the bullet or no. Hearing the hiss of gas and the roar of flames letting Jack know that he ignited his sword—a mastery of his own making—this was the signal the fire fight was about to begin.
He watched as they raised their guns, as Merida began taking them out from the back and where the barrel was pointing.
My left thigh. He noted moving faster and leaping into the air just after the bang was heard.
The bullet went right under him.
Three, one coming for my head, one in the left shoulder and the other for my gut. He grinned dropping low and rolling to the right before getting to his feet and leaping forward.
“Watch out Hiccup.” He called.
Hiccup did not stop his mad sprint, rather raised his shield, deflecting each and every bullet while watching and calculating the enemies moves.
“Jack they shoot in a rise of two.” He called. “The next bout will have five bullets.”
“Got it- ah there focusing more on Merida!” he called.
“Get to her.” Rapunzel cried.
“I’m on it.” Jack assured pushing his legs to go faster. “Haaaaa!”
With a monstrous cry, he leapt into the air, spear end of his crook raised high as he brought it down impaling three of the bastards smashing them into pixels.
But he put himself right in the middle of them.
“Hiccup.” He called back.
“We’ve got you covered.” Hiccup assured as he pressed a button on his shield which switched it into a crossbow.
Knowing the others had his back now he went all out dodging blows and spearing anyone that got too close.
“Jack look out!” Merida cried.
He looked behind him to find a gun being raised to his face, he didn’t have a good chance to dodge. If the others didn’t get him he was going to die.
“Shit!” he gritted.
But just as the smug jerk was going to pull the trigger a black mass slammed into him throwing him to the ground.
“What the hell.” He looked to find that the guy had been attacked by a big black panther.
“Good boy Toothless.” He smiled nervously to which the cat only hissed. “Okay, okay, pissy cat.”
“Hey what do you want us to do.” Astrid finally asked coming out of her stupor upon seeing the Big Four in action.
“Pick off the ones on the side.” Hiccup called back. “You new guys too.”
“Oh, um yeah on it.” A tall Asian guy nodded pulling out a gun.
The others—four in total—that the twins brought did the same and fired off on the NPCs.
The battle didn’t last long after that, fifteen minutes at best. Soon enough all the NPCs where dead and they were all getting windows with a great bit of loot.
“All medical items give to Rapunzel.” Hiccup sighed, kneeling by Jack but his eyes were on Merida who seemed very interested in her window, more than usual. In the end he decided he was too tired to care. “God it’s been a while.”
“Works just like always.” Jack smiled.
“So what do we do with them?” asked Snotlout motioning to the new comers the twins brought.
Beside the tall Asian there was also an even taller blonde girl with green eyes and a yellow sundress and high heels, a muscle made boy with brown hair and eyes and black tattoos on his chin and a tall brown hair and eyed boy with a goatee. He wore a blue vest over a white thermal shirt and black jeans and boots. Jack didn’t like the looks of him, he was too clean.
“You.” He said stepping up to him. “Where’s your camp?”
“Excuse me.” the boy said.
“Where’s your camp?”
“I don’t have one.”
“Bullshit.”
“I don’t- aaahh!”
Before anyone knew what was happening Rapunzel had whipped her hair out, wrapping it around him and throwing him up to hang in the rafters.
“What the hell is this?” He cried struggling to get his arms fee. “Is this hair?”
“Look I’m tired and need a bed.” She said as sweetly as possible. “So could you just tell him what he wants to know? Please and thank you.”
“Okay, okay!” he whimpered. “It’s a hotel. I’m not really camped there its just a place I’ve been staying.”
“Is it safe?” Hiccup inquired craning his neck looking up. “Are there walls or fences?”
“There’s a gate. I mean it’s been holding up for the couple of days I’ve been there.”
“Show us.” Jack demanded.
“Whoa, why would I do that?”
“’Cause if ye dorn’t aam goin’ tae let mah arrow fly into yer heart.” Merida shrugged aiming her arrow right where she said it was going.
“Fine, god you people are crazy.” He whimpered. “I’ll show you just let me down.”
“One last question.” Jack called. “What’s your name?”
“… Flynn Rider.” The boy answered.
“Well Flynn Rider, you can either show us where this is and be on your way or you can join our party. Your choice. Oh and you use your criminal skills for helping us. I see you turn on anyone I will kill you.”
“How did you-”
“I didn’t.” Jack smiled.
“Damnit.” Flynn hissed. “Fine, I won’t do anything just let me down already.”
Letting him down they kept weapons trained on him as he lead them out and on.
The walk wasn’t as long as they thought. Just a quick short cut through the woods and over the river and boom. It was one of those huge ass luxury hotels with nine floors. They wouldn’t be surprised if there was a pool. But the best part,
“It has a gate.” Rapunzel smiled. “The bars as so close together not even a child could fit through them.”
“Ye were sittin’ on thes gold mine an’ ye didn’t think tae share?” Merida raised a brow.
“I wasn’t planning on staying.” Flynn whined.
“It’s perfect.” Jack smiled. “This will be our camp. Everyone go in and make yourselves at home. We’ll reinforce the gates and head out tomorrow to find Elsa but it’s getting late and facing walkers in the dark is suicide. Sound good?”
“Hell yeah.” Tuffnut cried.
“It’s clear right?” Astrid asked.
“Yeah,” Flynn nodded. “It took me a day to lure them out and lock the gates behind them. There haven’t been any after that.”
“Well then go and get a room.” Jack chuckled.
They all cheered running for the resort with high spirits.
“Hey Raps.” Hiccup called before she ran off. “Thanks for slapping some sense into me back there.”
She smiled raising her hand and slapping him on the shoulder jostling him a bit.
“No problem.” She giggled. “Let’s try to all get rooms near each other.”
“Yeah, ow.” He sighed watching her go before looking back to Jack.
He was looking away with a worried grimace, biting his lip.
“Hey.” Hiccup said softly grabbing his hand and giving it a soft squeeze making Jack lock eyes with him, peridot and blue diamonds. “It’s fine, we’ll find her tomorrow.”
“Yeah.” He nodded watching the sun set. “Tomorrow.”
I’ll find you Elsa. We’ll survive this together and clear the game. We’ll get out and see our baby sister again and we’ll make mom and dad see they can’t keep us apart. We have to. But for now, we’ve found a home I can bring you back to and keep you safe. Stay alive out there. I find you soon.

Chapter Text

There was a beeping noise that didn’t seem to go to his ears but rather his brain letting him know that the alarm he set was going off. Reminding him that he wasn’t in his bed in his apartment with his father. He was in TWDO, the new death game since SAO. He was in hell.
The only way to turn off the alarm was to wake up. a sufficient way to make sure you get moving, but annoying none the less. With a groan, he sat up and looked around with a small smile. He may be in hell but at least he got one of the honeymoon suits. Jack, Merida, Rapunzel, and Hiccup all got their own rooms on the top floor. All honey moon suits. Everyone else paired up either with a friend or lover on whichever floor they waned. But as the leaders of their group the others felt it was only fair that the Big Four get the best rooms for themselves. He had to admit it was nice. But still, he’d rather share a room with his sister, knowing every night that she’s safe and with him.
Today is the day I find you little sister.
KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK.
“Jack.” Rapunzel called from the other side of the door. “I made breakfast, come on down to the dining room.”
“Coming, just give me a second.” He called back.
Though they didn’t need to change their clothes or anything they were still uncomfortable to sleep in if you didn’t have to. So he slept in his tank top and underwear. But when he reequipped his clothes he made sure he had his blue hoody. Made sure he was carrying the pain. The water was still working in the building but the gas lines were down so no hot water, but still, it felt good to be able to wash his face in the morning. And take a good gulp to get him started in the day.
Still, all the luxuries didn’t change the fact the he was still trapped in hell.
“Morning.” He called as he entered the dining hall.
“Morning.” Was the collective answer back.
Jack looked over the new comers with a fresh sense of interest. The Asian, as he came to find out was named Baymax, but he preferred to be called by his real name Tadashi and the extremely tall blonde was his girlfriend Honey Lemon. They hadn’t gotten to know much about them just their skills, which was a must know when playing RPGs. Tadashi was a medic with a sub skill of engineer, mostly strength centered but had a decent speed stat. Honey Lemon was a chemist mostly—which Jack didn’t know was even a skill in this game. This basically meant she was a bomb expert, a trap maker, and a bit of an engineer. Either way she knew how things worked. She also had a decent agility stat which made her a good scout. The other two were Eret, a heavy gun totter and sailor. This would help them to get fish if they found a lake or if they found a way out onto the ocean. He was mostly based in strength stats and had this attitude that got on Astrid’s nerves. And Flynn Rider, a criminal mostly a thief. Extremely helpful as long as he doesn’t piss off Jack or the rest of the Big Four.
“So I couldn’t really sleep last night and walked around this place and I found something that can be used as a blacksmith shop.” Hiccup said around a mouthful of oatmeal. “And with Tadashi and Honey Lemon’s help I’ll be able to make bullets.”
“Seriously?” Snotlout cried.
“Yeah.” The blacksmith nodded throwing some fish for Toothless. “It won’t be that hard now with Honey Lemon with us.”
“Making gun powder would be simple.” The blonde smiled. “I just have to work up my skill a bit more before we do that though.”
“Not a problem.” Hiccup shook his head. “We have things to do before we do that.”
“Like find Elsa.” Jack reminded.
“That first and for most.” Hiccup nodded giving his friend a gentle smile. “And reinforce this place more.” I think we should go out in a small scouting team to find Elsa while the rest of us stay here and do what we can to make this place safe.”
“Th’ Big Four needs tae stay together.” Merida insisted. “We wurk best ‘at way.”
“I agree.” Rapunzel nodded. “Plus Tadashi is a medic too. He can take care of things here while I’m gone.”
“I’m not that good yet, but I’ll do my best.” The boy assured.
“Then I’m going.” Astrid claimed. “Hiccup’s safety is my top priority.”
“I’ll be fine Astrid.” Hiccup sighed.
“No I think she should come.” Jack said thoughtfully. “Flynn too.”
“Why me?” the thief whined.
“So we can keep an eye on you.” Was Rapunzel’s blunt response. “You can still be trouble and this little journey will give us a chance to bond and become a real team.”
“I never wanted to be on this team you all kind of forced me.” he wailed. “And besides did you see what happened last time I went out there, I almost got eaten by cannibals.”
“But you didn’t.” she smiled. “We can’t just expect Jack to do all the recon jobs for us, he needs help sometimes. That’s where you come in.”
“Why won’t you just let me goooo…”
“Quit complaining.” Eret groaned. “Be thankful they took you in at all.”
“But I didn’t want to get taken in.”
“We’ll hold down the fort till your gone.” The sailor affirmed. “I never got to thank you before, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure we all survive.”
“Ah loch ‘im.” Merida beamed. “Ye should take a page from ‘is book, thief.”
“Why isn’t anyone listening to me?” Flynn wailed slamming his head down on the table and the others moved on.
“Okay.” Hiccup said getting every one’s attention back on him. “This is our base of operations. Jack said that Elsa would go up high and stay there to wait for him. So we’ll check the mountains around us. If we can we’ll leave notes that will give Elsa a safe place to go and wait for her brother. A house or shack with a decent enough defense. We can hide supplies there for her too. Do you have anyway of leaving her a clue without anyone knowing what it says?”
“We both speak Danish. We used it as a code when we played GGO.” Jack nodded. “Nothing fancy just a way to talk without anyone understanding us. I can’t say it won’t be easy to crack. But she’ll know it right away when she sees it.”
“Okay, that’s what I thought.” Hiccup nodded back. “That’s why I want a middle ground for her to go to. If we told her to come here someone could be bilingual and come right for us. Right now, we can’t handle someone trying to take an assault on the hotel. It would be preferable to find her today, but that chance is—I’m sorry to say—not likely. This may take time.”
That sobered the rest of the group right up as they understood the implications.
“I want this hotel to be permanent.” Hiccup continued. “I want our group to be the one that clears this game. I know that was the Big Four’s main goal during the beta, to beat it at all costs. But now we don’t have the option of respawning so we have to go about this carefully. Finding a safe place and keeping it safe is step one. From what I understand Elsa is a formidable player and there will be others out there like her. Building up our little community is step two that way we’ll have a big enough group to take on the step that really matters.”
“Going on scouting missions and finding the clues in the labs and colleges.” Jack finished.
“Exactly. But for now we have to live here. We need to make sure we can do that. That means hunting, raiding, growing, all of it. This isn’t a game we can take for granted. This is real and we need to treat it as such. So we’re gonna have to find some lake or something to fish, form a hunting party-”
“No parties.” Merida shook her head. “People will onlay get in th’ way. Ah can take care ay th’ huntin’ on mah own.”
“Fine if that’s what you want.” Hiccup shrugged. “We’ll need farmers or at least people who are skilled with agriculture. And not just for food either. We need to grow herbs and other useful plants for medicines and engineering.”
“I can give that a go.” Rapunzel raised her hand. “I don’t have any skills in agriculture but I could get us started till we find people who do.”
“Sounds good. I can tame a few horses and other animals so we can start raising livestock, but once when the blacksmith shop is up and running I’m gonna need someone else to take over taking care of animals.”
“When I’m not fishing I can do that.” Eret offered. “It’s not strong but I did try to dabble in animal taming. I’ll do what I can to help anyway.”
“I’ll teach you all I can before I go to the shop.” Hiccup offered which was accepted with a nod. “We’ll also need a group that specifically hunts herds and takes them out to take their loot and bring it back for the group as well as scouts to go out and scavenge.”
“Wait, you want us to go out there and find the zombies just to kill them? That’s suicide.” Flynn gaped.
“That’s what the Big Four did for fun.” Jack chuckled. “There are no dungeons or obvious bosses in this game like other RPGs, its all herds and NPC fights, so quests basically. That is how you get all the good loot and items. Scavenging can only get you so far, killing walkers is the best way to get stuff. Just like in the show how Abraham got the rocket launcher from a dead solider. Or how rick got that grenade. You can get some really cool stuff. How do you think I got my crook, it was a really nasty shepherd walker just oozing gross puss and gunk. So gross but so worth it. I’ll take that job as well as scavenging and clue finding.”
“Okay, but that’s only out there. There are going to be walkers that come up to our gates so we can also hunt them that way. Either way, if we play this smart we may not ever run out of supplies. We just have to make sure that we keep this place and hunt big enough herds. We can also do that while we’re out their looking for Elsa. So after breakfast we’ll pack up and head out. Fishlegs you are in charge while we’re gone.”
“Why does he get to be in charge?” Snotlout whined.
“Because I trust him not to agro a herd or blow the place up or let their girlfriend talk them into doing such.” Hiccup said giving Snotlout and the twins a sharp look.
“Hey, we haven’t gotten to blow anything up since we’ve got here.” Ruffnut defended.
“But the time is coming.” Tuffnut cackled. “Very soon.”
“…maybe we should tie them up before we go.” Astrid suggested.
“No point, they’ve mastered the Houdini skill of slipping out of bindings.” Hiccup groaned rubbing his temples.
“Um, though I am confident in my skills with knowledge and categorizing, I don’t think I can keep them in check.” Fishlegs murmured twiddling his thumbs.
“Fine, Tadashi you’re in charge.” Hiccup cried.
“Why me?” Tadashi asked, honestly curious.
“I’m confident enough that you have no intention of betraying us and that you will find some way to keep the twins and my cousin out of trouble.” Hiccup sighed.
“Um, thank you, I think.” the medic engineer raised a brow in suspicion.
“Okay, that’s the plan.” Jack announced. “So eat up, pack up and psyche up, ‘cause we’re heading out in twenty.”
Precisely twenty minutes later the Big Four and company where ready to go.
“We’ll be back in exactly five hours.” Hiccup told Tadashi at the gate. “If we don’t come back by then it just means we ran into some trouble, so don’t worry. If one of us dies you’ll get the message.”
In this game, it was important to know if you party members were dead or not so if one did die the other members of the party, and everyone on the deceased friends list, would receive a message telling them as such. During the fight to get out of the city Hiccup’s party got the message for Dagur but didn’t really register since they all saw it happen and were too distraught to concentrate. You could also send typed messages to people on your friend’s list like you would for a chat room in an RPG computer game. This was one of the few conveniences of the game though.
“Unless you get the message don’t come looking for us.” He finished while Toothless sat at his heels.
“Don’t die and we won’t have anything to worry about.” Tadashi suggested cheekily. “I’m not too worried, since you added me to your friends list I should be able to send you a message if something happens. Hopefully I won’t need too though. I’ll do what I can to hold down the fort till you guys get back.”
“Just give the twins and Snotlout something sharp and let them kill walkers through the bars. That should keep them entertained for a bit.”
“Thanks I’ll do that.” The medic nodded. “Come back safe and with Jack’s sister got it.”
“Yeah, we will.” Hiccup nodded with a smile.
Jack couldn’t help but watch with a faint grin and a twist in his gut. He didn’t really understand why he felt like that. It wasn’t like Tadashi was trying to take his friend or anything. Still Jack didn’t like not having Hiccup close to his side at all times.
Maybe because of the promise I made? He thought absently. Still I’m glad he’s back to his old self. Or at least has a good handle on the grief for now. Seeing him so upset was horrible.
“Alright let’s do this.” Hiccup called as he joined the others with Toothless giving a soft yowl of glee.
“Yeah.” Jack nodded wrapping a friendly arm around the boy’s shoulder—or at least he wanted it to be friendly.
They kept the road in their sights but didn’t travel by it to keep from running into the cannibals or any other NPC group that could try to steal from them all the while heading for the mountain that was closest to the city, their best bet.
“All I’m saying is that a scavenger like me does best on his own.” Flynn insisted as they continued through the trees.
“Oh but your talents could be so useful in the group too. Just imagine all the loot you could get for our group.” Rapunzel smiled cheerily, somehow becoming his babysitter.
“Or I could just take all the loot for myself.” He offered. “That was the plan since this whole shit storm started.”
“Well plans can change, just ask Hiccup.”
“I don’t want the plan to change.”
“How about I make you an offer.” She chirped. “You stay with us for a week and if you don’t want to stay then you are free to go and I will give you all the supplies I have gathered just for myself. You’ve already seen my skills and know that I can get quite a bit with little effort, so what do you have to lose?”
“My life.” He said bluntly.
“Oh like I would ever let that happen.”
“You really think you I’ll stay after a week? Why would I do that?”
“You haven’t left us yet. It’s not like we’ve chained you up and started dragging you along.”
“You hung me from the rafters and your friend threatened me with an arrow.”
“That was just a warning in case you tried to steal from us.”
“That was a threat.”
“Call it whatever you want. If your criminal skills are as high as you let on then you should be able to get away from us with no problem. So why haven’t you?”
“Because… I don’t want an arrow in my ass.”
“Whatever you say.” Rapunzel shrugged with a smirk.
“Hey ye two mind keepin’ it down.” Merida growled. “We’re tryin’ tae keep th’ woker from knowin’ where we are.”
“We’re fine Merida.” Jack called. “And besides we’re nearly up the Moutai-”
“No Hiccup!” Merida suddenly cried launching for her friend. “Dorn’t step there!”
SNAP! CRANK-CRANK-CRANK-CRANK-SLAM!
“What the hell.” Astrid freaked.
“I didn’t do it!” Flynn cried.
“No I did.” Hiccup moaned holding up a bit of rope. “I didn’t see it and set of the trap.”
“An’ now we’re stuck in a cage.” Merida groaned. “Just great.”
Remembering something from last night, Hiccup eyed the red head with intense suspicion.
“How’d you know that was here?” He asked.
“Whit?” she asked absently searching the bars for weak spots.
“How’d did you know that rope was here?” he asked again.
“Ah… ah used meh search skeel.” She answered wincing at her obvious hesitance.
“No way.” Hiccup shook his head. “The way this trap was set up, not even a search skill as high as yours would find it. Even Toothless didn’t sense it and that’s like his main job, detecting danger and traps.”
“Look, get off meh bach already.” She growled. “Mah eyes are jist better ‘an yer bloody cat’s.”
Toothless seemed to take offence to that as he growled lowly at her.
Rapunzel wanted to cheer up her friends but the look on Jack’s face made her pause.
He was smiling.
“Jack, are you okay?” she asked cautiously.
He turned to everyone else with a broad smile on his face.
“This is great.” He chuckled. “This is perfect.”
“Oh good. Leader boys lost it.” Flynn muttered.
“Shut it.” Merida snarled.
“Jack what about this great?” Hiccup asked looking around in despair. “An NPC group could have set this up. Maybe even those cannibals or other players. Either way this can’t be a good thing.”
“You’re right. This is a great thing.” He said again. “This trap was made by my sister.”
They all looked on unbelieving and shocked.
“How can you possibly know that?” Astrid finally roared. “Anyone with a good trapping skill could have made this thing.”
“Because she signs her work with a snow flake.” He smirked pointing at the pattern etched into the metal.
It was indeed, a snow flake.
“Holy crap.” Flynn gaped.
“She couldn’t have made this with the beginner tools.” Hiccup noted. “Not even with the extra stuff the beta testers get. She must have a camp, a safe one with supplies. Maybe we can get them to come back with us. Or maybe they’re safer than we are. Either way, Jack’s right. This is a great thing.”
“So whit dae we do now ‘en? Jist wait fur ‘em tae come an’ get us?” Merida asked crossing her arms.
“Pretty much, yeah.” Hiccup shrugged getting comfortable using Toothless as a back rest.
“Oh great.” She groaned leaning against the bars.
“Anybody got some cards?” Rapunzel asked with a sigh.
“Yeah, I do actually.” Flynn nodded pulling out a deck from his inventory.
“Figures.” Astrid snorted. “Let me guess you swindle people out of their items just as much as you steal from them.”
“Hey, this is a world with gamers in it. They all have this code GG. If you beat them in a game rather than outright take from them their more likely to cooperate.”
“Have you ever taken items before?” Hiccup aske eyeing the boy.
“No.” Flynn shook his head. “I avoided players like the plague and applied my skills to NPCs mostly. Stealing from players always involves a fight. I can hold my own but if the group is too big, or if I didn’t account for their back up and can get myself into major trouble. When I first started this game, I assumed PKing would be fine and that’s how I planned to get my loot. But if you kill someone here… I couldn’t live with that on my conscious.”
“Your one of the few thieves like that.” Rapunzel smiled.
“Hey!” he suddenly chocked turning red. “Don’t go thinking anything dumb. I’m not trying to be nice. I’m just a thief not a murderer. That’s it.”
“I understand.” She giggled teasingly.
“You know what blondie, you’re really annoying.” He groaned tossing the deck to Jack.
They had been sitting there for hours—which another benefit to this game was the clock you could see in the top right corner of your vision. They had played three rounds of go fish. Two and a half round of slap jack which ended in Merida and Jack having a short wrestling match. And where on their fifth round of war.
“God thes es borin’.” Merida moaned into her arms atop her knees.
“Seriously, where is the group that set up this trap?” Astrid moaned.
“… What if they forgot about this trap and moved on?” Flynn shrugged. “Or what if they got eaten.”
“Dude.” Hiccup hissed eyeing Jack who was getting grimmer with each passing hour.
“She’s not dead and she would never have left her trap like this.” Jack sighed standing up. “Something must have happened. Maybe she was driven out of the area.”
“You think that could, be it?” Rapunzel pondered standing too.
“It’s the only explanation I have.” He murmured closing his eyes. “Either way we’ve been out here for hours. Way past the five hour mark we set for our time limit.”
“I’ll send a message to Tadashi to let him know that we’ve found a lead.” Hiccup informed pulling up his menu. “Do you want me to tell him we’re going to be out here for a bit longer?”
“Yeah.” Jack nodded looking around.
“Really?” Flynn gawked. “This is a wash. So why don’t we go home?”
“Home?” Rapunzel smiled.
“Shut it, goldy locks.” He snapped.
“’Cause, even if she left th’ area there cood steel bae a trail.” Merida told him as she stared to her left. “Ah can already see a trail headin’ north up th’ mountain. If we follow ‘at, we might find ‘er old camp.”
“So now we just need to find a way out of here. That should be easy.” Astrid snorted watching Jack. “What are you doing?”
“Elsa didn’t just learn the trapping skill to trap food and walkers but also as a last resort haven.” He told her as be began climbing the bars. “If shit hit the fan then we would set of one of her traps and stay there for a couple of hours. But the point of a trap is to keep something in. So, she created a weak point where the walkers couldn’t reach. Hit that and this things durability is done.”
“Why would she risk that?” the blonde ax wielder demanded. “What if you caught other players or NPCs? Wouldn’t they find it?”
“Most people don’t think of using a trap as a shelter.” He called as he hung from the top bars. “So they wouldn’t think there would be anything like that. And NPCs don’t have the capacity to consider something like that.”
“Well if this thing is real, then hit it so we can get out of here, I think I here walkers.” Flynn hissed eyeing the trees.
“Hang on. I’ve almost got it.” Jack grunted as he aimed is buck knife at a seemingly random point in the cage.
The second the blade touched the point though the whole cage started to shatter. Thanks to his quick reflexes Jack was able to flip mid-air and land harmlessly on his feet. He watched with everyone as the cage fell apart ultimately freeing them.
“We better move.” He told them sheathing his knife. “It’s be getting dark soon and we don’t want to be out in the open when that happens.”
They all agreed and let Merida take the lead as she followed the trail which was only obvious to her tracker skill. To everyone else she was just looking at dirt and leaves but to her the foot prints where glowing and distinct. She couldn’t miss them if she wanted to. Meanwhile, as Jack wanted her to focus on nothing else but the trail, everyone else was focused on the forest around them. Ready and poised to act at a moment’s notice. Hiccup was closest to Merida so he could step in front of her with his shield should he need to.
But it didn’t seem like that was going to be a problem.
“Merida wait.” Hiccup hissed grabbing her shoulder.
“Ahh! Whit th’ hell are ye doin’?” she demanded rounding on him.
“Look.” He pointed ahead.
Her glare fell short when she turned to find why he stop her so abruptly. Wrapped throughout all the trees were razor wires. If he hadn’t stopped her she would have walked right into it causing a good percentage of HP loss.
Gulp.
“Thanks.” She murmured.
“Guys look.” Rapunzel hissed pointing further.
Looking past the wire they could just make out through the trees cabins, tents and RVs.
“It’s a camp.” She gasped just as a player passed them. “And there’s still people in there.”
“So then why didn’t Elsa go back for the trap?” Jack gritted.
“For the last time Hans, we need to get our asses out of here!”
Everyone ducked upon hearing the female roar over the mountains. Everyone that is, except Jack. He stood wide eyed, staring into the camp.
“Jack, get down.” Merida urged in a hushed tone.
“We are not leaving and that’s final.” This was a smooth male voice, one that Astrid did not like.
“Hiccup, we should move positions.” She hissed.
“Jack c’mon.” Hiccup urged grabbing for his friend’s arm.
“Have you not been listening to me.” the female snarled. “There is a massive herd coming from the city. It’ll be here in a few days. I saw it in my scope. We need to go now.”
“Weren’t you the one who said that you need to stay and wait for you brother, Elsa?”
That was the trigger. That was all Jack needed to take off like a bullet through the wires and into the camp. That was all he need to be the happiest person in this death game.
“I can leave clues for him on where I’m going.” She insisted rubbing her temples. “He would rather I get myself somewhere safe than stay and wait for him with the risk of getting killed.”
“Look sweetie-”
“Call me sweetie one more time and see what happens.” She roared reaching for the holster on her hip.
“ELSA!”
She froze, taking a minute to register the voice and what it meant. Slowly, she turned her long silver braid falling from her shoulder. Her wide blue eyes brimmed with tears as they finally locked on his.
He was breathless, having sprinted like a madman through the trees only to stop a few yards from her. A smile adorned his face as he took in her healthy state. She wore a blue tank top with a black grey leather jacket over it. The collar was made of wolf fur—according to the flavor texts—and gave her an icy apotalyptic queen look matching her handle. Her grey torn up jeans where covered in grime and held at least one gun on each thigh as well as the one on her hip and her favored Barretta .50 Cal on her back. And tucked into her strapped up combat boots where her trusty military issued knives. This was his sister as he remembered her from the real world only armed to the teeth. But it was her.
“…Jack?” she whimpered as if she didn’t believe what she was seeing.
His answer was a smile as he raced to her, wrapping her in his arms and spinning her around like a princess.
“Elsa.” He laughed feeling overjoyed with everything at this moment.
“Big brother.” She sobbed clutching onto him for dear life as he swung in endless circles.
“I’m so happy you’re okay.” he sighed after a moment finally letting her feet touch the ground, burying his face in her shoulder. “I found you.”
“You did.” She sniffled. “You kept your promise. You found me.”
“Elsa, what’s going on?” and irritated man demanded marching up to the twins only to stop as an arrow pierced the ground at his feet.
“Not another step.” Merida warned aiming another arrow. “Or th’ nixt ones gowin baetween yer eyes.”
“Jack?” Elsa asked watching as his friends emerged from the forest. “That boy and those girls… are they…?
“Yeah.” He smiled. “It’s them.”
“He has a panther.” She gulped making her brother laugh.
“He only attacks if Hiccup tells him.” Jack assured.
“Elsa answer me already.” The man—who Jack assumed was the leader of this little group—demanded yet again getting angrier with each second, he went without an answer.
She sighed, stepping back from her twin but keeping his hand in hers.
“Big brother, this is the leader of this group, Hans the asshole.” She announced.
“You simple bitch.” Hans growled.
“Watch it.” Merida cautioned.
“Hans, this is my twin brother Jack-Frost. And that boy over there with the panther is Hiccup and I’m assuming the red head with the bow is Merida and the blonde with chains in her hair is Rapunzel?”
All three nodded, ignoring all the stares this was earning them.
“That, that can’t be.” Hans gawked looking between them.
“Oh yeah, I forgot to mention.” Elsa said innocently placing a finger to her chin. “My big brother was the flash blizzard of the Big Four. My bad.”
Jack chuckled at the name she made for him. She did it for all of them. The magazines gave her an annoying name so she gave him and the others one. Not that anyone else ever called them that. Still this got the reaction she was looking for, making Hans waver and the on lookers murmur reverently.
“You’re, the Jack-Frost?” Hans asked breathless.
“Yeah, but you can call me Jack.” The scavenger smiled with a shrug.
“Then you must have come to join me and protect this place and its people.”
“… What?”
Elsa groaned getting her brother’s attention.
“You remember Gregory from season six?” she asked.
“Yeah…” Jack trailed off wondering what she was getting at.
“That is Hans in a nutshell.”
“Oh, good to know.”
“Good friends. The Big Four themselves understand my leadership and have come all this way to aid us in our efforts to survive. See this now and-”
“Shut it.” Merida growled. “’E’s givin’ meh a headache.”
“We’re not here for you wierdo.” Astrid jumped in. “We’ve come for her.”
“Hold on.” Hiccup said stepping forward. “Elsa right?”
She nodded.
“I’m Hiccup.”
“The Machiavelli Blacksmith I know.” She nodded again.
This threw Hiccup off track as he blinked rapidly giving Jack a weird look.
“She has one for all of us.” He sighed. “The gaming magazines gave her this name that she thinks is dumb so she tried to do the same for us… it didn’t work.”
“Whit did they call ye.” Merida wondered aloud.
At this Elsa turned red and averted her eyes.
“The Ice-Cold Sniper.” Jack answered for her.
“Wait what?” Astrid cried looking at the platinum blonde in a new light. “You’re the Ice-Cold Sniper. She’s supposed to be on par with Japan’s GGO player Sinon. You’re her.”
Elsa went even redder but nodded.
“Oh wow.” Rapunzel smiled. “Of course, it would be Jack’s little sister. Do you have any other siblings with major skills we should know about?”
“Yes she is quiet amazing isn’t she.” Hans smiled. “That is why she saw fit to come to me and join our efforts.”
“Oh can it Hans.” Elsa growled. “I only came here to wait for Jack and now that he’s here I’ll be going with him. If I were you I would do the same before that herd gets here.”
“That’s what I was trying to talk to you about.” Hiccup interjected. “You were mentioning a herd earlier. What herd?”
“There’s a massive herd coming from the city.” she informed looking worried. “I noticed them yesterday. They’ve been getting closer. If we don’t move it’s going to be chapter two all over again.”
“We must have been the last people in the city then.” The tactician hummed placing a knuckle to his chin. “Once all the players leave the city a good percentage of the herd in the city goes out making the city a relatively safer scavenging ground and spurring players who are in their path on and away from the city. She’s right we need to get out of here. Which way were they heading?”
“Straight here.” She told him. “North.”
“The hotel is West.” He murmured. “If we get a team out here to lead them this way then we can be sure they won’t wander to the hotel and tear it down.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?” Flynn asked.
“With some fast players and the twin’s explosives.” He answered without a second thought.
“Or you could just let the twins go out and have fun.” Astrid suggested.
“True… but I’d feel better if they had back up.”
“Count me in.” Elsa stood tall. “I’m mostly strength build but my speed and agility are about the same level and are still pretty high up there. I can keep up with everyone and provide cover with my rifle.”
“Sounds good.” Hiccup nodded. “Merida I want you to go with her-”
“Hold on!” Hans suddenly cried getting everyone attention. “You are talking about leading the herd here. You plan on killing all of us.”
“Ugh, obviously no one will be here.” Elsa groaned utter exhausted with Hans at this point. “What aren’t you getting. You need to leave. It doesn’t matter if we lead the herd here or not. They are coming and they will tear this place apart.”
“Not if we redirect them away from this place.” Hans insisted. “This place is secure.”
“Then how did I get in?” Jack asked growing tired of this man. “I didn’t even have to use my stealth skills. I just ran right in. No one stopped me. And none of your defenses worked. If I can do it that easily then you can be damned sure a walker can. This place isn’t safe.”
“You are all just idiots blind to what I offer here.” Hans insisted.
“Enough already.” Elsa screamed. “You do nothing but sit in your cabin drinking whiskey that you force the scavengers to get for you playing at being a leader while the rest of us risk our necks to keep this place safe. You do nothing so stop acting like you do.”
“How dare you talk to me like that.” Hans roared going red in the face. “You have no right. I am your leader. You will do as I say.”
“She isn’t a slave ye git.” Merida snarled stepping in front of the twins, murder in her eyes. “An’ ye are not ‘er family. Ye have no claim tae ‘er.”
“Look I can settle this hear and now.” Jack informed gripping the red head’s shoulder to calm her. “How about a little game.”
“A game?” Hans asked raising a brow.
“Yes.” Jack nodded with a smile.
“Oh boy.” Elsa murmured backing up.
“The idea is simple. I assume you have a gun right?”
“Of course.” The suedo leader scoffed pulling out a nine caliber Glock.
“Alright, I’ll take nine steps back and then Elsa will count to three. When the count-down is done I will rush you. You just have to shoot me. one bullet is all you need to win this game. But if I out run the bullets and get my crook against your throat I win and Elsa along with whoever else wants to come with us does and we get the hell out of here so we can direct the herd. Deal.”
“You honestly believe you can outrun a bullet?”
“Yeah, I realize that that sounds a little silly. But hey it’s a game Elsa and I would play a lot in GGO. Though I think she won more than I did.”
“Of course I did.” Elsa snorted.
“So what do you say?” Jack smiled holding out his hand.
Hans chuckled as he took the albino’s hand squeezing it as hard as he could… which didn’t really register with Jack as he had no reaction.
“Fine, but don’t be mad if I accidently get a head shot.” He warned.
“If that’s the case you’ll be dead before you even realize what happened.” Hiccup promised pushing the button to switch his shield into a crossbow.
“Alright then, let’s get started.” Jack cheered leaping back nine steps. “Ready whenever you are Elsa.”
She nodded holding up her hand, waiting till everyone was out of the bullet’s line of fire before she started counting.
“One… two…three!”
There was a loud bang and for a moment everyone thought Hans had won. But to their shock Jack was already half way to Hans. Panicked, the false leader started firing off shot after shot desperately trying to hit the oncoming albino. But Jack paid the bullets no mind as he raced forward. Out running the bullet before it could reach it’s target. Within seconds he was standing next to Hans with the hook of his crook pressed against his throat a smile plastered on his face.
“I win.” He smirked backing off.
“How…” Hans couldn’t grasp the loss though he witnessed it, yet he couldn’t accept it. “You must have cheated.”
“He didn’t.” Hiccup informed. “This is a game where the shooter has the advantage. While the runner has to wait to move the rules said nothing about the shooter taking aim during the count down. You took aim, he was just too fast for the bullet to reach in time. He used nothing but his own speed and strength. He won.”
“In other words…” Elsa started with a smirk. “We are getting the hell out of here. So screw you.”
“No dorn’t dae it!” Merida cried running for Elsa, but even with her warning, Hans didn’t listen.
“You are not going anywhere.” He snarled aiming his pistol’s barrel at her.
Then pulled the trigger.
“ELSA!” Jack screamed even though he knew that it wouldn’t make a difference.
Everything slowed down as the bullet raced for it’s target who had no time for more than a panicked stumble back. Not enough to evade the bullet. If she didn’t move she was going to die.
But…
PING.
It was like the world blinked and when it did, Merida suddenly appeared in front of Elsa. She had pushed the girl back and deflected the bullet with her long sword in a matter of seconds. Almost as if she knew exactly where the tiny bit of metal was going to strike. But that was impossible… wasn’t it.
“Elsa!” Jack rushed for his sister while Astrid went after Hans. “Are you okay?”
“Y-yeah.” She nodded still staring at Merida’s back.
“Come ‘ere.” Astrid growled grabbing for Hans.
“Back off!” he cried waving the gun at her. “I mean it. I will kill you if you don’t- PANG!”
He made a funny face as the sound rang out before falling to the ground revealing Flynn standing behind him with a frying pan.
“Whoa, this thing rocks.” He smiled swinging it around like a sword. “Thanks for letting me have it blondie.”
“Wait when did you even-” she gaped patting herself down. “Flynn you shouldn’t steal from your party members.”
“Are ye alright?” Merida asked kneeling down so she could check on Elsa. “Ah didn’t push ye too hard did I?”
“N-no.” the sniper shook her head getting a hold of herself. “I’m fine.”
“How did you do that?” Rapunzel asked. “It’s like you knew.”
Suddenly Merida got sheepish trying to keep her eyes from everyone as she looked for the best way to make this go away.
“You got a special skill, didn’t you?” Hiccup more stated than asked.
“No, ah- it… ah dorn’t know. It jist showed up.” Merida gritted lowering her blade. “After th’ battle with th’ NPCs, it jist appeared.”
“That’s what happened with my beast taming.” He affirmed. “What is it called.”
“Sixth sense.” She sighed. “It’s weird. Loch a flash ay whits gonna happen’ in th’ next couple ay seconds. It gives meh barely enough time tae react.”
“That could come in handy.” Jack smiled. “It saved Elsa’s life. I’m for it.”
“Guys, what should we do with him?” Flynn asked still holding the struggling Hans—who had come to the land of the conscious at some point.
“Let him go.” Hiccup told them.
“Are you serious?” Astrid asked.
“Yeah, he won’t try anything.” He assured getting a growl from Toothless—who was now watching the man like a hawk. “And if he does, it’s not just us that he has to worry about.”
They looked around to see that indeed most of the people of the camp where glaring at Hans with a fierce hatred.
“He has no more followers.” Was Hiccup’s simple conclusion.
Reluctantly they did as he said only for Hans to take off into the woods.
“That better not come back to bite us in the ass.” Flynn groaned.
“It won’t.” Hiccup promised. “Besides we need to focus on the herd.”
“What do you need us to do?” Rapunzel asked.
“Flynn and you lead who ever want’s to come back to the hotel with us and send the twins out with their explosives. While you’re doing that we’ll set up a trail for the walkers to follow.”
“How are we supposed to do that?” Elsa asked.
“Fire.”
About a half hour later everyone was in their place. Jack was waiting with the twins in the path that the walkers were supposed to take while Elsa and Merida stayed in a tree watching them come.
“They’re on rout. You ready big brother?” she asked over the metal walkie—another form of communication that was limited to those who were in close nits, a sub class of grouping like with Rick and the Atlanta group. It was almost like telepathy though it carried a static with it like a walkie talkie, hence the name.
“Yeah. The twins have already set up the explosives. We just need to lead them there and we’ll be good.” Jack answered smelling the herd as it got closer. “Geez, you would think Pitch would have forgotten to give these things the smell of death, but no.”
“Jist keep yer eyes open. Dorn’t dae anythin’ stupid, jist lead ‘em tae th’ bomb an’ get th’ heel out at there.” Merida called over the walkie from the opposite direction of Elsa.
“Yeah yeah, I know.” He rolled his eyes though she couldn’t see it.
“Hey they’re coming.” Ruffnut called.
“Light the torches.” Jack instructed. “Elsa stay with us. You too Merida.”
“Roger that.” Elsa assured. “If anything gets to close I’ll pick them off.”
“Ah’ll hang back a bit an’ get th’ stragglers.” Merida informed.
“Just keep an eye out.” He told them. “Be safe.”
“This is the best idea Hiccup has ever come up with. It’s got fire, explosives and running around yelling.” Tuffnut squealed.
“Just don’t get us killed.” Jack warned. “Okay go for it.”
“Hello you gooey assholes. Over this way!”
And off they went calling out taunts to get the herd to follow them all the while Elsa was in the trees running with them ready to take position at a moment’s notice to take a shot. She had already equipped her silencer so she was in no danger of drawing the herd her way. And with her sniper skill hawks eye she could track them while staying a safe distance away.
“Hiccup we’re on our way. Elsa will snipe any threats and Merida’s’ got the stragglers. Get ready.”
“Got it. Once you’re in sight we’ll light the fuse. Get as close as you can then get in the trap Elsa set and don’t come out till we come and get you.” Hiccup urged.
“Don’t have to tell me twice.” Jack snorted. “See you when this is done.”
Hiccup was waiting at the cabin camp site waiting for a sign of Jack and the others. The idea was to get the herd to follow Jack and the twins to the campsite and then blow the whole place up so it would keep the herd entertained and disperse them. This way if any of the walkers did make their way to the hotel it would only be a manageable few at a time.
“Here they come.” Astrid called. “Light the fuse.”
He nodded striking the match and held it to the fuse.
“Alright, the fuse is lit. Jack get here and into the trap. Elsa, Merida stay a safe distance away.” Hiccup told everyone.
“Roger that.” Elsa and Merida called back.
“Read you loud and clear.” Jack affirmed.
They put everything into place and booked in into the woods. It was a few minutes later that Jack and the twins came up on the camp. They made a bee line for the trap, but there was a small problem.
“Why isn’t it falling?” Tuffnut asked.
“Elsa why isn’t the trap working.” Jack called through the mental walkie.
“It’s what?”
“It’s not falling.”
“What do you mean it’s not falling? I should have- oh shit. I forgot the trigger.”
“You forgot the what? You never forget anything how could you forget this?”
“Hey it’s been, a day. I just reunited with you and almost got shot. I’m allowed a few mistakes.”
“Not a mistake that could end my life.”
“Just hang on. I’ll be there in five minutes. Just hang on an I’ll set it up.”
“The herd is going to be here in two. We don’t have that much time.”
“Make that one.” Tuffnut warned.
“Elsa there here. What do we do.”
“Stay under the trap.”
“Elsa!”
“Hold on guys, aam comin.” Merida called desperately.
“Jack get out of there!” Hiccup screamed running for his friends.
“No, Hiccup don’t.” Astrid cried holding him back.
“Astrid, we have to help them. The bomb”- BOOM!
The blast sent a shock wave through the forest throwing Hiccup and Astrid off their feet taking off a good percentage of their HP.
“JACK!” it was barely a minute after he fell that Hiccup was back up and racing for the trap with Toothless close behind.
“Stop! Just stay there.” Jack called back through the mental walkie.
Hiccup froze dropping to his knees, Toothless next to him and with Astrid not far behind.
“Thank god your alive.” The beast tamer sighed.
“Just stay there.” Jack told him. “Let the flames lure them away before you open the side door.”
“How did you even survive that?” Astrid demanded ready to kick Jack’s ass for making Hiccup worry.
“Elsa sniped the rope and it fell right on top of us.” He sighed. “And not a moment too soon.”
“Be thankful I did it when I did.” Elsa growled over the walkie.
“Good show las.” Merida sighed relieved. “Aam jist a few yards from ye Hiccup. Ah’ll get th’ stragglers ‘en meet ye where ye are.”
“Kay we’ll wait till you’re with us and then we’ll get Jack and the others out of there.” Hiccup assured feeling an extreme weight lift from his shoulder.
After Merida hooked up with Hiccup and Astrid and the herd wandered off or burnt away they hurried and opened the side door and off they all went to regroup with Elsa.
“Thank god.” She cried throwing herself at Jack.
“I’m fine sis.” He chuckled.
“Yeah, screw you, you jerk. I was scared out of my mind.”
“You were scared. You should have been in the cage.” Ruffnut snorted. “Can we go home now. I have a feeling Snotlout’s about to lose it.”
“Yeah, let’s go home.” Jack nodded holding his sister close and keeping an eye on his best friends.
Home. He thought fondly. For now, that place will be home. And now with my sister with me it will be.

Chapter Text

Three Years Later
The sun was high in the sky when Hiccup finally came out of the black smith shop for something to eat.
“Morning Hiccup.” Someone called out to him.
“Morning Judy, Nick. All’s well I assume?” He called back to the peppered haired violet eyed girl and her tall red head partner.
“A bit of a build-up on the south side but nothing we couldn’t handle.” Nick answered for her.
“Good. Thanks you guys.”
“Hey, Rapunzel was looking for you.” Judy told him as he walked on.
“Thanks for the warning.” He waved to them.
He made his way from the parking garage and to the dining room where he found Remy handing out bowls of stew.
“Morning, Remy” Hiccup smiled.
“It’s noon.” Remy informed handing him a brimming bowl. “If I were you I’d get to the infirmary. Rapunzel has been looking for you all day.”
“I will, but first I’m gonna go check with the front gate.” Hiccup promised.
“Merida got back from her hunt ten minutes ago and is with Raps. Elsa is up on the roof keeping watch. And Jack and Flynn won’t be back for another hour.” Remy fixed him with a knowing look. “You still have time before he gets back.”
“I know. But I was just wondering if he came back early.” Hiccup mumbled scooping another spoonful of stew into his mouth. “What about Astrid?”
“She and Eret still out on the lake. They should be back soon.”
“I’m really glad they found each other.” Hiccup smiled. “Everyone needs someone to be with during this nightmare.”
“Says the guy who won’t tell the person he likes that he likes them.”
“Shut up. I’m going to the gate.”
“He won’t be back for another couple of hours. It’s a waste of time.”
“Thanks for the info Remy but mind your own business.” Hiccup called back.
The hotel had become a blessed community over the last couple of years they had been trapped in the death game known as Walking Dead Online. They had made crops, found a good lake to fish, built up defenses and gone months without incident. And if they could help it, it would remain that way until they defeated this god-awful nightmare.
“Morning, Guy.” Hiccup called approaching the front gate. “How’s the defenses looking?”
Guy, a well-built boy with wiry brown hair and eyes smiled as he finished his check and dusted himself off.
“It’s looking good boss. And Elsa and I have been setting up traps to keep all the walkers at bay so the build ups are manageable. Keep this up and we will have this place for a long while.” He smirked petting the live sloth—he somehow got a hold of and tamed—that was wrapped around his hips. Aptly named Belt. “All is well.”
“Great just one more question for you.”
“No Jack isn’t back yet.”
“I was actually referring to your lack of shirt.” Hiccup mumbled already knowing where this conversation was going.
“Eep, do you see any sign of Jack or his crew?” Guy called up to his girlfriend on the stand they created so they could have people watching the main gate at all times.
“What do you mean? I thought he wasn’t supposed to be back for another hour.” Eep, a wild child of a girl with green eyes and curly red brown hair, called back down.
They are both heavily skilled in hunting, mainly strength and speed build. However, they also have a high number in agility stats. Really these two are just masters at almost everything. Especially Guy. Animal taming, engineering, hunting, scavenging and even tailoring. In other words, this kid got bored and decided to try everything.
“Do you see any sign of him?” Guy persisted.
“No.” she said tersely.
“Sorry lover boy.” The entrepreneur shrugged. “But your boyfriend isn’t here yet. Looks like you’re gonna have to wait that next hour.”
“He is not my boyfriend and I’m not a lover boy.” Hiccup groaned. “I need to talk to him about getting supplies. That’s it.”
“Sure it is.” Eep called down with a chortle.
“Geeze, you may kick ass at this game but you really need to work on your relationship skills.” Guy snickered.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Hiccup inquired eyeing the boy suspiciously.
“C’mon you can’t tell me you’re that dim.” Eep snorted jumping down from her perch. “The sexual tension between you and Jack-”
“Okay enough.” Hiccup groaned. “I’m just gonna go see Raps and Merida.”
“Yeah you do that.” Eep laughed.
“See you later lover boy.” Guy chuckled.
Sometimes Hiccup regretted letting such dorks like them in here.
“There you are.” Rapunzel huffed as he entered their make shift infirmary in a conference room.
“Hey Raps.” He smiled sheepishly. “Sorry I was stuck in the shop. Nick and Judy just told me that you were looking for me.”
“Bullshit, ye were checking fur Jack.” Merida snorted.
“W-why does everyone assume I’m so obsessed with Jack?” Hiccup griped.
“’Cause ye are.” The red head smirked.
“Whatever. What did you need me for?” he asked her.
“Medical supplies are getting low.” Rapunzel stated. “Hunting walkers isn’t getting us what we need. They’ve been picked near clean. We’re gonna have to go scavenging.”
“That’s Jack’s department, isn’t it?” he asked cocking his head.
“Yes, but I’m assuming you have things that have been getting low too.” She supposed. “I just want to get our ducks in a row before he gets back so our meeting doesn’t last hours on end.”
“Yeah I see your point.” He nodded. “Your right. I need more metal. What I’m working with now isn’t the best. I ran out of the better metals and have to use the lesser. But they barely make decent bullets. Arrow tips would be a no go. If I tried to make a sword or shovel, anything we’d really need I couldn’t. were gonna need to make a run.”
“Ah know ah said no huntin’ parties,” Merida started running a hand through her uncontrollable hair. “Bit th’ game es tae scarce. Aam a need help. If ah continue loch thes ah’ll never find food. Ah might have tae go out further even.”
“Kay, when Jack gets back we’ll have a conference about everything that we need to gather as well as what he found and what he needs.” Hiccup sighed. “We knew things were gonna get tough. We’ve been here for three years so it was only a matter of time.”
“Merida, Guy said you were here!”
They all turned to find Elsa running through the door.
“What is it?” Rapunzel asked looking panicked. “Is everyone alright?”
“Oh, your all here.” Elsa smiled. “No everyone is fine. I just wanted to tell you I saw the scavengers coming.”
“Seriously?” the three cried before running out the door.
They made it just as the cars were crawling through the gate. There were two in total. A silver SUV and a blue Buick. There were five in the group; two to the Buick and three in the SUV. Jack was driving the Buick with Flynn in the passenger seat while Snotlout and the twins were in the SUV. It was a relief to see that they all made it back alive. Though if anything had happened to any of them a message would have been sent out letting everyone in the hotel know. And it looked like there was a good hall in the SUV.
“Jack.” Elsa cried launching herself at her brother.
“Oof, hey sis.” Jack huffed holding her close.
“Did you find the clue?” she asked.
“We did.” He sighed looking tired. “The next location is far. We’re gonna have to scout before we go for it. But other than that, everything is good. All went well here I’m guessing.”
“Everything is fine.” Hiccup assured. “We just need to have a meeting to get everything in order.”
“Kay, just let me get my stuff put away and I’ll meet you in the conference room next to the library.”
They had a lot of people in their safe zone and people got bored easily. So they underwent a mission to take any bookstores or libraries in the area and fill another conference room with shelves and books making their own library. That was the good thing about this game. All the books—and if you were lucky enough to get electric working and find a DVD—where readable and all real books from the real world. They had quite the collection.
“Got it.” Hiccup nodded just feeling relieved that his friend was back and alive.
“Hey blondie, did you miss me.” Flynn smirked walking up to the blonde medic.
“I don’t know if it’s possible to miss a raccoon.” Rapunzel shot back with a grin.
“Oh you wound me.” He smiled pulling her into a hug. “It is good to be back home and not out there with them though.”
“It’s good to have you back.” Rapunzel sighed.
“Och, get a room ye two.” Merida laughed.
“Like you’re one to talk red.” Flynn chuckled.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” it was Elsa who asked.
“Oh I think you know.” He chuckled.
“Oh jeez here we go again.” Jack groaned.
“We are not as bad as you two.” Elsa cried glaring at the thief.
“Weel ye are a bit loud dear.” Merida shot back.
“I’m loud, have you heard yourself? It’s like a mating cat.”
“Why ye little-”
“Enough.” Jack finally hollered. “I really don’t need to hear about my baby sister and her girlfriend’s sex life thank you. Let’s get everything unloaded so we can talk.”
Thirty minutes later the Big Four along with Elsa and Flynn found themselves seated at a round table they moved to a room with maps and lists pinned to cork boards on easels and white boards full of plans and such. This was the war room so to speak.
“So it’s that bad huh.” Jack sighed rubbing his head. “We’ve got a good bit of food so I’m not too worried about that. But the medical supplies we got wasn’t much and we didn’t find any metal to be used. In other words, I’m gonna have to go out again.”
“But you just got back.” Elsa whined.
“He won’t be going alone.” Flynn assured.
“No he won’t.” Hiccup agreed.
“You’re not going.” Jack warned glaring at the blacksmith.
“Yur right.” Merida nodded. “We all are.”
“No.” Jack growled. “You all are staying here. Flynn and I and the others will go. It’s our job.”
“Jack this isn’t clue hunting. We need to be precise on everything we find.” Hiccup argued. “I’m the only one who knows what I’m looking for when it comes to metals. And Rapunzel is the only one knows whatever about the medical supplies.”
“We’ll just grab whatever we can and go.” Flynn shot back. “If we need to go back then we will. But I don’t want Rapunzel out there.”
“I can take care of myself.” The blonde urged. “But Hiccup’s right. You need us.”
“No and that’s final.” Jack roared. “You guys have been in here too long. I’m not risking you’re lives out there.”
“You won’t have too.” Hiccup roared back. “We haven’t forgotten how to survive out there, Jack.”
“You are not going.” The albino hissed.
At this Hiccup adorned his half lidded slack face that everyone knew.
“You don’t know where you’re going.” Was his blunt statement. “I know the perfect place to find everything we need. You have no idea where it is.”
“Draw me a map.” Jack growled.
“No.”
“Damn it Hiccup.” Jack stood up at this point walking to the window to lean his head against the cool glass. “We almost lost Flynn out there this time.”
“Dude.” Flynn chocked.
“What!” Rapunzel shrieked looking at Flynn’s HP worriedly.
“I’m fine.” he jumped to reassure her. “It was just-”
“He fell off a ledge and into a small heard.” Jack informed.
“Dude.” Flynn cried.
“He held them off long enough for us to get to him. But that was just one of the scarier close calls we had on this trip and I can’t take that with you guys.”
“Big brother.” Elsa sighed going to hug him from behind.
“You guys are all I have in this world and I couldn’t bear to lose you. So please just stay here and let me go get it and stay here.”
“And we can’t lose you.” Hiccup sighed. “Jack, every time you go out there we get so worried we’ll never see you again.”
“Sum more ‘an others.” Merida mumbled eyeing Hiccup.
“Shh.” Rapunzel hushed.
“This place is huge and like I said you won’t really know what you’re looking for. We’ll follow everything you say and play it safe. If it doesn’t look good then we’ll come back. Besides you need to scout out the area for the next clue hunt.”
“You don’t even know which direction the next location is.” Jack accosted.
“The trail they’ve been leading you on has been heading east. The place I want to go to is east. You’ll be able to scout ahead.” Hiccup shrugged.
“One of these days that strategic brain is going to get you into a whole lot of trouble.” Jack groaned.
“Until that time, I will continue to use it for evil purposes.” The beast tamer smirked.
“I’ll ask you one more time to just stay behind and let me handle this.” Jack begged giving the brunette his best puppy dog eyes.
“Jack we’ll just follow you even if you tried to leave us here.” Elsa smirked.
Sigh.
“Fine.” he growled. “Where are we going?”
“There is this factory just a few miles east of the hotel. When I checked it out last time there were no walkers that I could see. I obviously didn’t go inside so I don’t know about that part. It would have everything we need. Metal, medical supplies, might even have some food or clothing. Either way we should check it out regardless.” Hiccup informed walking up to one of the maps circling the area in green pen. “We grab what we can then get the hell out of there and use it as a hunting spot until it’s clean.”
“When did you have a chance to see all this?” Jack ticked glaring at the boy.
“Don’t be so belligerent.” Hiccup sighed. “I got bored and took Toothless for a walk and ended up a little further than I thought and spotted the factory with my binoculars.”
“Speaking of which where is he?” Flynn asked.
“Up on the roof.” Hiccup shrugged. “He likes to sunbath and get away from everyone. But back to the plan.”
“While we’re out ‘ere ah can scout th’ area fur game.” Merida nodded surveying all the forest she’ll have to check.
“Tadashi can handle the medic position while I’m gone and we can leave Astrid in charge.” Rapunzel suggested. “They can handle things here for a few days.”
“Then we should pack up and get ready to go.” Flynn sighed. “I say we head out tomorrow morning.”
“Meetin’ adjourned ‘en.” Merida called getting up and heading for the door.
“Hey, let’s get you something to eat.” Rapunzel said taking Flynn’s hand.
“Oh she speaks gospel.” Flynn sighed letting her drag him along.
Hiccup chuckled at them thinking how nice it would be to have a person like that in this hell to make things just a little better.
“Hey can you give us a minute?” Jack asked looking down at his sister.
She looked back and forth between them then nodded with a knowing smile.
“I’ll see you in the dining room.” she gave him a quick hug then bounced out with a giggle.
“She worries me sometimes.” He sighed before turning to Hiccup.
“Please don’t start.” Hiccup begged rubbing his neck. “I understand your worried about us but I promise you that we’re gonna be fine-”
“Hey.” Jack said cutting him off, fixing him with a soft look. “I’m glad to see you.”
“…Yeah you too.” Hiccup snorted.
“I know you guys can handle yourself. It’s just, what happened with Flynn really freaked me out. I’m sorry I’ve been an ass.”
“It’s fine your always an ass anyway.”
“Very funny.” Jack chuckled. “Just promise me that you’ll be careful while were out there.”
“I promise. If you tell me to jump I’ll do it.” Hiccup affirmed.
Jack nodded.
“Oh and no more wandering into dangerous areas without back up alright?”
“I think a five-hundred-pound panther is back up enough.” Hiccup snorted.
“Yeah maybe.” Jack chuckled. “Now let’s go get some food.”
“I already ate. But if you don’t mind my company I’ll join you.”
“Sound good.”
The next morning the Big Four along with Elsa and Flynn packed up the SUV and saying their goodbyes to everyone who was gathered before them.
“We’ll be back tonight. Tomorrow morning at the latest.” Hiccup assured Astrid as he placed the last bag in the back.
“Don’t do anything stupid. Understand?” she accosted.
“Don’t worry and take care of Toothless alright.”
“You know he isn’t going to be happy about being left behind.”
“It should just be a milk run. Nothing to strenuous.”
“Just be careful.” She rolled her eyes.
“We will.” He smiled giving her a hug. “See you later tonight.”
“Alright this is how this is going to go.” Jack said after he got done checking everything out. “Elsa, you take a spot somewhere and get set up to watch our backs. Merida, you go with Rapunzel and Flynn to find medical supplies while Hiccup and I go looking for the metal. So, let’s do this.”
It didn’t take long for the job to go south.
There was a herd locked inside that Hiccup had accidently let out. It chased him and Jack all the way back to the others where the herd had cut Hiccup off from the others.
“Keep going I’ll find another way out.” He called to the others drawing the herd to him.
“Hiccup no get back here!” Jack cried taking out another walker with his spear. “Damn it.”
“Jack?” Flynn called in askance.
“Get the girls out of here and get the car started. I’ll get Hiccup.” Jack told him taking off.
“You’re going to use that thing aren’t you?” Flynn asked.
“I might have to.” He called back.
“What thing?” Rapunzel asked.
“He got this random skill a few trips ago.” Flynn shook his head taking out a stray walker. “It’s almost like he’s flying. Don’t worry he’ll get Hiccup back.”
In his head Hiccup had this place perfectly mapped out. In reality he was too panicked to think clearly. Which became apparent when he took a left that was supposed to circle him back around to the entrance but let to a dead end.
“Oh Shit.” He cursed turning back to the herd. “Double shit.”
He had five bolts left in his inventory, with that, and his sword and rifle he might be able to take out half of the herd before they rip him apart. And if he could somehow manage it, he could use his shield to push all the walkers back and create a wedge that’ll get him out of there. So he tried it. Throwing his shield up in front of him he forced his way forward… only to get pushed back up against the wall. Hiccup pressed his back to the wall watching with utter horror as the herd closed in. He was going to die. It was as simple as that.
And yet, it seemed like he had someone looking out for him.
To his shock he saw Jack jump over the herd, higher than any player should be able to and landed right in front of him. Grabbed him then jumped over the herd again taking off in a full-on sprint with Hiccup still in his arms.
“How?” was all Hiccup could ask.
“I got my own special skill.” Jack gritted. “Light Foot.”
“Oh, when did you get that?”
“A few runs back.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“It never came up. Now please be quiet, I need to concentrate.”
Though the herd was still behind them Jack was oblivious to it. All he could think was he needed to get Hiccup out of there now. With a manic kind of will Jack burst through the doors and leaped into the open door of the SUV.
“Drive.” He roared.
Flynn said nothing as he just slammed his foot on the gas and took off.
The ride back was silent. Jack held Hiccup close the whole way there just trying to reassure himself that he was alive and okay. Hiccup said nothing, knowing that his actions though unintended, scared everyone. He was surprised that they didn’t all start reaming him. For the most part, though everyone was just relieved they made it out alive.
As soon as they got back and were all out Jack gave Hiccup one last relieved look before he stomped off to his room.
“Hiccup, what happened?” Astrid demanded.
“Nothing.” He shook his head. “I’m kind of tired, so I’m going to bed.”
“Hiccup.” She called after him.
She turned to the others to find out the story only to find they were gone.
“What the hell?” she growled throwing her hands up in the air.
Jack sat in his room for the longest time. Trying to get some sleep. But it eluded him as his thoughts continued to assault him.
He almost lost Hiccup today.
Everything he had hoped to tell him, hoped to show him could have gone unsaid. He couldn’t let that happen. He needed to tell Hiccup how he felt. With this resolution, he got up and marched down the hall to Hiccup’s room. He paused for a moment trying to gather his thought before he entered the room. From there it was like his instincts took complete control.
He pushed the door open which gave a week squeak announcing his entrance. Hiccup said nothing. Slowly, he looked up at Jack from where he laid curled up on his side. It seemed almost, even though Jack had said nothing, that he understood everything he wanted to say. With that, Jack glided forward. Hiccup watched him the whole while rolling onto his back as Jack leaned over him gently pushing on his shoulder. They stared into each other’s, conveying everything they could not express. Jack leaned down then, pressing his lips to Hiccup’s. The kiss was gentle, searching almost too perfect. It put them both at ease as they finally felt each other. Jack slipped his arms under Hiccup to hold him close while Hiccup ran his hand through Jack’s hair. If it weren’t for the fact that they both were initiating the actions the system would have started to warn of harassment. But this was completely consensual. This was what they have needed since they first met one another. This was their fate.
The need for air became too grate so they had to separate yet Jack did not remove his lip from Hiccup. Trailing them down his jaw and neck hearing sharp gasps from the beast tamer. He knew he wouldn’t be able to keep this up though. If he didn’t act soon he was going to lose it. Looking down at Hiccup he could see the boy felt the same. So together they activated their menus and unequipped their clothes, even their underwear. Jack smiled down at his love who was red and biting his lip in self-consciousness.
“Amazing.” Was all he said not giving Hiccup a chance to react as he leaned down taking a pebbling nipple in his teeth.
“Jack!” Hiccup moaned gritting his teeth.
This made Jack chuckle as he swirled his tongue around the bud to sooth it. Meanwhile his right hand snaked up the other boy’s side to his other nipple which he rolled and pinched.
“Nng.” Hiccup gritted.
He smiled moving back up to the blacksmith’s lip claiming them once again as he attacked the buds aggressively with his thumbs. Pressing as close to each other as they could manage they ground their hips creating a beautiful friction between their erections.
“Jack… I need… ah!” Hiccup begged pulling free of Jack’s lips. “Please.”
“I’ve got you.” Jack assured leaning back so he could position himself correctly.
The best part about this game was the act of sex—as long as it was consensual otherwise the act wouldn’t happen at all—wasn’t painful no matter if the partners were opposite genders or same, virgin or not.
Before he entered however, Jack looked down at Hiccup asking silently if he was sure this is what he wanted. To his delight Hiccup nodded placing his hands on Jack’s hips and bringing him forward. The feeling was indescribable. Jack could barely keep himself from crying out in pure bliss. Hiccup was so tight around him, creating the best kind of friction. Hiccup had never thought he would be so full before, so complete. But still there was more to come as they found out when Jack pushed all the way in.
“Oh god.” Hiccup cried throwing his head back.
“Hiccup.” Jack hissed as he pulled out only to slam back in.
“Ah!”
In and out he went picking up the tempo with each thrust. The sound of skin slapping on skin filled the room along with Hiccup’s moans and Jack’s growls. Clinging to each other for dear life as they raced to the edge together. Then with a ruthful smile Jack re-angled his hips then rammed them forward.
“AAH!” Hiccup cried throwing his head back.
Now that he knew he had found it, Jack continued to assault Hiccup’s prostate making him cry and writhe in absolute pleasure.
“Jack, I can’t… I’m going to- oh god.” Hiccup whimpered burying his face in Jack’s shoulder.
“Do it.” Jack groaned. “Together.”
“Jack… g-NAAAH!” over the edge went Hiccup with Jack chasing close behind him.
They were breathless, there vision going black as they became too tired to remain conscious.
But before they fell into a blissful sleep, Jack needed to say one last thing.
“I love you, Hiccup.” He murmured falling further and further into the black.
“I love you too.” Was the last thing he heard bringing a smile to his face as he slipped to sleep. “More than the world will allow.”
The next morning Jack didn’t want to move. He just wanted to stay in bed holding his love to him and never let go. Never face the nightmares outside.
“You know we still have to go.” Hiccup murmured softly.
“How long have you been awake?” Jack asked with a sigh.
Hiccup shrugged rolling over in Jack’s arms so he was facing him.
“Since the sun started to rise.”
“… if I ask you to stay, will you?”
“How could you ask that? Especially now.” Hiccup groaned. “I can’t take the chance of losing you not when we’ve finally gotten together.”
“I know.” Jack exhaled burying his face in Hiccup’s hair. “I just want you to be safe.”
“I will be. You’ll be sure of that, just as I will be sure you’re alive. You watch my back and I’ll watch yours.”
“Fine but after this no more trips for a while okay. Not unless you need to. Please.”
Hiccup muddled it over. His place was here and Jack’s was out there looking for clues and he knew that. Before they got together this was how things always were. Jack would go out and Hiccup would stay behind to make weapons and tools. They all had their rolls to play and Hiccup knew theirs.
“Fine.” he nodded. “I know that I have a job to do here and you have a job to do out there. I just wish…”
“What?”
“I just want you to be safe too. I wish this was just a game again. That I didn’t have to worry about getting that message that you weren’t coming back.”
Jack took a deep slow breath rolling on his back so Hiccup could lay his head on his chest.
“I know.” He lamented. “I want nothing more than to take off with you and just hide away from all this. But if I don’t find those clues and find the NPC that can end all of this then we’ll never get to the real world. We’ll never get to see each other or go on real dates. That’s what I’m fighting for here. That and to see my little sister again. I can’t just give up and hope someone else beats the game and frees us. We need to be the ones.”
“Yes.” Hiccup nodded. “The Big Four is going to end this. When that final battle comes we’ll be ready.”
“Then we better get to it.”
Once again, they got the SUV packed back up and said goodbye and were back on the road.
“The good thing is that the last time we were there we were able to lead the herd away so we won’t have to deal with them.” Flynn announced holding Rapunzel close. “So we should be able to get in and get out.”
“Elsa, take the position you took last time and keep an eye out for us, alright?” Jack asked from the drivers seat.
“Aam stayin’ wit ‘er.” Merida announced.
“Merida.” Elsa moaned.
“Ye dorn’t need meh in th’ factory an’ ah cood protect ‘er while she’s watchin’ ye.” Merida summarized.
“That’s fine.” Jack assured. “I’d actually feel better if you did that.”
“Big brother.” Elsa whined.
“Last time was tae close, love.” Merida urged. “Ah dorn’t want tae go through th’ same thang.”
“Fine.” the ice queen finally lamented.
“Alright the plan is the same. Flynn, you take Rapunzel and get the rest of the medical supplies while I take Hiccup to get the rest of the metal. Quick is the key word here everyone. I want to be home and safe within a few hours.”
“Got it.” They all declared.
They pulled up on the factory and took out all the weapons they would need and their bags then separated.
“Here is another pile.” Jack hissed trying to keep quiet.
Even if the herd had moved on there was still the chance that another one was coming. Or even other players in the area. So silence and stealth was the key to survival here.
“This looks good.” Hiccup smiled. “I’ll be able to make a lot out of this stuff.”
“Kay grab it and move on.”
Hiccup nodded adding the metal to his inventory.
“Okay let’s go.” He said holding up his flashlight.
But they both froze as they heard the click of a gun.
“You guys have been collecting a lot of metal. I can’t help but wonder what it’s all for.”
Turning slowly with their hands in the air they came face to face with two players pointing long barreled revolvers at them. Both were tall and muscled with tank tops and cargo pants tucked into biker boots. They were the definition of rough and tough.
“Gentlemen.” Hiccup greeted tensely. “What can we do for you?”
“You could answer a few questions for us.” The taller of the two said.
“And what do you want to know?” Jack asked.
“You two look pretty well taken care of. Do you have a camp?” the other asked.
“No.” was Jack’s stiff answer.
“What do you plan on using the metal for?”
“We’re trying to find a place to turn into a camp and the metal can be used to make a wall.” Hiccup said.
“Either of you a blacksmith?”
“Not yet.” Jack answered.
“Too bad we could have used one.”
“Doesn’t mean that they can’t still be useful.” The taller smirked.
“Brother I have them in my sights. Do you want me to take the shot?” Elsa called over the mental walkie.
“As soon as the opportunity presents itself.” He called back.
“Guys we have a problem.” Rapunzel cried through the same method.
“Yeah your telling me.” Hiccup groaned.
“No, she means that there is a herd of roughly eighty walkers coming our way.” Flynn gritted through the channel.
“Shit.” Jack murmured.
“What was that kid?” the taller asked.
“Elsa take the shot. Hiccup and I need to get out of here. Flynn and Rapunzel get outside and to Elsa and Merida by any means necessary. We’ll meet you out there as soon as we can.”
Outside Elsa was stationed on a tree branch using a fork in the branches to balance her Barrette. She looked through the scope waiting for the sight effect to go from red to green letting her know that she was on mark and ready to fire. That took only a second. Taking a deep breathe she steadied herself and pulled the trigger. Her target was the taller one’s right thigh, since his revolver had the larger caliber and he was the greater threat. Seconds later her .50 caliber ripped through his leg and he went down. The other guy lost interest in Jack and Hiccup then looking for the sniper giving the boys a chance to run.
“Let’s go.” Jack urged grabbing Hiccup’s arm and pushing him forward.
“Hey! Get back here.”
“Run.” Jack roared pushing Hiccup behind a stack of boxes as the other started shooting.
They ran as fast as they could for the exit knowing that the herd would come at the sound of the shots. If they didn’t get out of there now they would be trapped with those two assholes and a herd on their tails. They needed to get out now.
“Get to the car.” Hiccup cried throwing open the exit doors.
“Oh God?” Jack cried pulling Hiccup back. “Go back! Go back!”
“Found the herd.” Hiccup shouted.
“Just run.” Jack urged.
Now the herd was close on their heels and those two thugs somewhere looking for them.
This couldn’t get any worse.
“There has to be another way out of here.” Hiccup huffed.
“Up there, that window. It leads to a ledge we can get the others to get the car over to us and be home free.” Jack told him.
“I’m game.”
Using his light foot skill, Jack wrapped his arms around Hiccup then jumped up to the window and busted it open with his crook.
“Flynn, are you guys in the car?” Jack called over the walkie.
“Yeah, where are you?” Flynn asked.
“South side of the building. You can’t miss us we’re on a ledge.” Jack answered.
“On our way.” Flynn assured.
“They’ll be here soon.” Jack sighed.
This is when it all went so very wrong.
“AAH!” Hiccup screamed as he was pulled off his feet and dragged back.
“Hiccup!” Jack cried grabbing Hiccup’s hands and pulled as hard as he could.
“Somethings got my foot.” Hiccup shrieked.
“Hang on. I won’t let you go.” Jack swore.
“Jack!” Hiccup wept.
“Hang on.” Jack begged. “I can hear the car. Just hang on.”
Even though Jack was using all his strength to pull Hiccup up the boy was slowly being pulled away from him.
“Jack, you have to let go or you’ll be pulled in too.” Hiccup urged gritting his teeth as the pain of being stretched was becoming too much.
“Shut up. I’m not leaving you.” Jack gritted.
“Jack.” Hiccup roared getting Jack’s full attention.
They locked eyes and Hiccup gave a sad smile as tears ran down his cheeks.
“No don’t!” Jack begged gripping Hiccups hands all the tighter.
“I love you.” Hiccup murmured abruptly forcing Jack’s hands away.
It felt like her was falling forever. Watching Hiccup be dragged away from him by the monsters that dominated this world. He fell and fell until he finally he slammed into a metal surface.
“Jack whit happened?” Merida cried.
“Hiccup!” Jack bellowed.
“Jack what’s going on?” Flynn demanded jumping out of the car.
“We have to go back and get-”
He was stopped mid-sentence as a window popped up in front of all of them. Tears ran down his face uncontrolled as he already knew what it said. It didn’t stop him from howling to the sky in pure agony.
THE PLAYER “HICCUP” HAS DIED.

Chapter Text

Though it was impossible for a player to lose their voice through over exertion, Jack felt as if he screamed himself mute. He curled in on himself panting as he stared at the metal of the cab roof under him. All he could do was stare at the silver material, his thoughts racing a mile a minute.
“How could this happen?” he whimpered silently. “We just… he can’t be gone.”
“Damn it!” he snarled.
“Hiccup.” Rapunzel sobbed. “This can’t be happening.”
“Rapunzel.” Flynn murmured but had no words to comfort her.
“Bi-big brother,” Elsa whimpered. “The herd is coming. We need to go.”
Something snapped in Jack then. His panting stopped, his eyes became a dead blank as he gripped his crook and hopped off the roof. Elsa held the door open for him but he walked right past it.
“Big brother?” she asked. “We need to go. Jack the herds coming we need to get out of here.”
“Let them come.” He deadpanned.
“Are ye nuts?” Merida cried. “C’mon we need tae go.”
“Go.” He snarled. “I’m going to kill them all.”
“Big brother!” Elsa scream running after him only to be held back by Merida.
“No, ye can’t.” Merida warned panicked.
“Let me go!” She screamed struggling for all her worth, reaching out for her brother’s back. “Jack come back. Please don’t do this. Come back!”
“Go home Elsa.” He called back. “I’ll be back if I survive.”
“Ye damn bastard!” Merida roared fighting her own tears. “Ye can’t do thes tae us. Do ye hear meh. We can’t lose ye tae! So stop bein’ a pain an’ get back ‘ere.”
“Go home. And take care of Elsa.” He said still as calm and stoic.
“Ye can’t make meh promise somethin’ loch ‘at!” she cried back. “She’s yer sister. Whit dae ye think thes weel do tae ‘er?”
“Big brother please, just come home.” Elsa begged.
This made him pause.
“I can’t.” he finally said. “It’s not home without him. Unless I do this… I can’t go back.”
“Your wrong it’s still a home.” Elsa cried. “And if you die then it won’t be anymore. Please just come back. We’re supposed to beat this game and go back to see Anna. We need to survive to see her right? So just come home, please.”
“… we can’t win.” He stated. “The only reason why we made it as far as we did is because of Hiccup. And now that he’s gone we have no chance. We’ve been here for three years. You really think we are any closer to finding the scientist or the right lab yet. You are all so… tch. We have no chance. Our real bodies are going to give out before we get out of here. We’re are going to die. Might as well do it now rather than wait for it to come. I don’t intend on going down without a fight so there is a good chance that I could survive this. If you’re not ready to face it yet I understand. Just go home.”
His little speech left them all frozen. Since they said nothing back he continued his slow walk into the factory. All they could do was watch as he entered and closed the doors behind him.
The sound of the door’s locking is what finally snapped them out of it.
“Damn it!” Merida screamed. “Jack get back ‘ere!”
Elsa gritted her teeth as she jumped up atop the SUV and set her sniper skills to work. Even without the aid of a scope, snipers have this little skill that allows them to see farther than most people. The skill was called hawk’s eye. Using it she could see perfectly into the factory’s window.
“Big brother!” she cried.
Jack could hear his sister’s desperate cries for him but he ignored it. His focus was solely on the herd growing ever closer. And he couldn’t help but feel disappointed as he watched them.
“This won’t even be a challenge.” He sighed mentally taking a walker out by raising his arm smacking the hook of his crook into its chin, the force decapitating it. “My level is beyond theirs. The only threat they pose is their numbers… but still. They killed Hiccup. And they are going to pay for their hunger.”
With a murderous cry, he charged the herd carrying a madness in his eyes that would scare even the bravest man into a panicked run.
Elsa could barely watch, he was moving too fast. Just when she thought she had him in her sight a few walkers would go down and he was gone. With him moving around like this she wouldn’t be able to help him out by sniping because she might hit him.
“Damn it.” She gritted.
“Elsa, what’s happening?” Flynn called up to her.
“Jack is taking the herd out all on his own.” She told them. “I’ve been trying to snipe the ones that may be a problem but he keeps getting to them first. I can’t do anything unless I want to hit him.”
“’At idiot.” Merida snarled.
“… He’s grieving.” Rapunzel murmured.
“Blondie?” Flynn asked shocked that she had stopped crying already.
“He’s just lost someone very precious to him and all he can do is take out his anger on the walkers. We should leave him alone. It’s better he go this route than go after someone else. Let him go Rick Grimes for a little while.” She whimpered curling in on herself.
“Are you nuts. He could die.” Elsa screamed.
“Hey, don’t yell at her.” Flynn warned.
“Enough all ay ye.” Merida hollered. “Elsa, she’s right. Jack isn’t gowin tae go down so easily. Ye said it yer-self. There es nothin’ ye can do tae help ‘im. Jist let ‘im work through ‘is grief.”
“But…” in the end she knew they were right, he needed to do this. “Big brother, don’t die please.”
Hours passed before the doors finally opened. Elsa had been watching her brother the whole time and giving an accurate play-by-play letting them know that it was Jack that was coming out. Elsa couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly relieved at the fact that her brother was alive and well but the look on his face when he got out had her freezing in place. He looked absolutely dishearten. Like there was no joy to be found in this world for him.
He said nothing as he walked forward, dragging his beloved crook while carrying a disk of sorts close to his side.
“Is that Hiccup’s shield?” Flynn asked no one answered already knowing the answer.
They watched him closely as he walked past them and hopped into the back seat and waited. They took the hint and hopped in, Flynn doing the driving with Rapunzel in the passenger seat. Elsa sat close to her brother hoping her presence would help him in some way or another.
Yet all he did was stare at the shield with the black dragon painted on it.
The drive home felt slow. They were all dreading what they would face upon getting there. Hiccup’s little party was sure to have gotten the message. Meaning they would be waiting, wanting to know what happened or ready to take a bite out of Jack. Elsa wouldn’t let that happen though. She would tell them and make them leave her brother alone. He had just lost his love he didn’t need to deal with all that right now.
“Big brother…” she murmured gently leaning her head on his shoulder as tears ran down her face. “I’m so sorry.”
She knew that it went unheard. Her brother’s thoughts were to jumbled to comprehend anything right now. She didn’t mind though. She didn’t even want to imagine what it would be like to lose Merida. She was sure it would break her if she did, just as loosing Hiccup has broken Jack. This wasn’t fair. After all this time they should have been at least one step closer to the end of this nightmare game. There had to be an end. There had to be hope.
Oh that reminded her.
“Jack,” she said softly hoping he would hear her. “I know this is hard, but did you see his walker?”
As an answer she got a very stiff shake of the head.
She was hoping otherwise. If he had found his walker then there was at least a bit of hope. They don’t know for sure if when a player becomes a walker that they are officially dead or not. In the beta you could get bit turned into a walker and still be playing. That was one of the appeals to the game at first. So for all intents and purposes any walker with a curser is a player and they could still be alive. They have been collecting those walkers with that small hope. They may be pulling a Hershel but it was still worth a shot.
She sighed wrapping her arms around his shoulder hoping he would take all the comfort he needed from her.
They crawled up on the hotel with utter dread. Already they could see the whole place was in an uproar. This was not going to go well.
“Where is he!” Astrid screamed as they stopped.
“Astrid calm down.” Eret urged trying to hold her back.
“You answer me right now you albino bastard.” She roared grabbing Jack’s hoodie. “Where the hell is Hiccup. What did you do?”
“Astrid stop.” Merida cried pushing her back. “Jack tried to…there was nothing anyone could do. We couldn’t get to him in time.”
She looked between her and Jack, then the others before she started to fervently shake her head.
“No.” she whimpered shaking her head, backing away into Eret’s arms. “No! No! No! No!”
“Astrid.” Eret sighed letting her fall against him.
She sobbed into his chest, joined by all those who were in Hiccup’s personal party as well as those who all got to know him.
Jack looked around feeling aggravated. Yes he understood everyone’s pain at loosing Hiccup but they did not understand the depth of his pain. Theirs felt cheap. Like they didn’t understand the meaning of the word itself let alone what he was feeling so what right did they have to cry over their own. He knew it was wrong to feel this way, and yet he couldn’t stop himself from doing so.
He needed to get out of here.
“Jack.” Elsa called to her brother as he stormed inside the building ignoring everyone around him.
“Give ‘im time dear.” Merida sighed wrapping an arm around the snowy girl.
“How much time?” she whimpered.
“Enough time fur ‘im tae begin healin’.”
“What if that takes too long?”
“We will jist ‘ave tae do whit we can tae help th’ prosses.”
“… I hope he’ll be okay.”
With a huff Jack threw open the door to his room then just stood in the middle, shaking.
“Damn it.” He sniffled. “Damn it. Damn it. Gaahh!”
With his anguish he the dropped shield and started using his crook’s weapons skill to trash the room as best he could with most of it being indestructible objects of the game. Still this didn’t seem to register as he continued screaming and attacking. He didn’t stop for what seemed like hours until finally he fell to his knees in the middle of the chaos, crook forgotten, clutching the shield as tears ran down his cheeks.
“Hiccup…” he whimpered. “I love you… please come back to me… please… I can’t do this without you… please… come back…”
The days became a week and no one had seen Jack since then. His sister worried constantly, fighting with herself on whether she should check up on him or not. It kept her up at night which kept Merida up. In truth, no one who was close to Hiccup was getting much sleep. Still there was something weighing heavily on Astrid’s mind and she needed to talk to Jack about it sooner rather than later.
“Jack.” She called after she knocked on his door. “Hey are you in there? I need to talk to you.”
There was no answer, but she assumed as much. Elsa and the others have been trying to no avail to reach him. But she needed to talk to him now. Needed to get it off her chest before she lost it. She needed to talk to him.
“I’m coming in.” she called opening the door.
But he wasn’t there.
“Jack.” She called again.
She checked the bathroom but he wasn’t there either. He was on her friends list and with that she could check to see where he was. To her surprise he was up on the roof. She hurried out of the room and up the stairs to see what he was doing. Though she had a nagging suspicion at what it could be.
If it were possible to grow facial hair Jack would have quite the scruff going on. He had neglected to take care of himself for the last seven days and he had finally had enough. That is how he found himself up on roof sitting on a pipe staring at his desert eagle. Even though the hotel has been made into a safe zone death could still accrue. People within the safe zone can kill each other or get killed by other means. At first, he was trying hunger or thirst but it was taking too long. So now he had to take it one step further. He had one in the chamber ready and waiting. One shot was all he need. Sighing he looked up to the sky wondering if Pitch was watching all this unfold.
“You won.” He sighed. “You broke me. Took everything I cared about and now I have nothing. Elsa can take care of herself and now she’s got Merida. She doesn’t need me. And I can’t do this without him. Congrats. You won.”
His little speech done, he took a deep stuttering breath and pressed the barrel to his temple.
“I love you Hiccup.” He whimpered closing his eyes. “I’ll see you soon.”
“Jack no!” Astrid screamed pouncing on the boy.
Pinning him down she ripped the gun out of his hand and threw it across the roof before she started to unleash her rage on him.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” she roared. “Why would do this?”
“Get of me.” He growled.
“Not until you answer my question.” She gritted pulling him to his feet. “You cannot honestly tell me that after everything you were planning on killing yourself. Hiccup would have ended you if he where here.”
“Well he isn’t!” Jack roared back. “He’s gone. What more do I have to live for?”
“Your sister for one.” She shot back.
“She has Merida now. She doesn’t need me.”
“If you really believe that you’re a bigger dumb ass than I thought.”
“Shut up.”
“No, you shut up. What the hell were you thinking.”
“That I can’t do this without him. This game cannot be beat without him. I can’t do this.”
“That’s bullshit.”
“It’s not.”
“Yes, it is.” she screamed wanting to punch him. “You know what you are so pathetic.”
“What did you say?”
“You heard me.” she hissed. “You finally got Hiccup and then lost him and now you think the world is ending. Try loving him since middle school and knowing you can never have him because he’s in love with some boy that he met through a game.”
This shut Jack up as he watched her fight back tears.
“I hated you. God I have hated you since the damn beta. For years I’ve been in love with Hiccup and just when I think I might have a chance he comes to school and tells me about this person he met through the WDO beta. God the way he lit up when he talked about you. It drove me nuts. You took him from me and I have hated you for that. But I love Hiccup, even now, and he loved you so I’m not going to let you kill yourself because I know that’s not what he would want.”
Though he saw her in a new light, he wasn’t willing to give up on the task he set for himself.
“You can’t stop me.” he snarled getting in her face.
She cocked her head, unbelieving at him before she scoffed.
“You’re right, I can’t.” she shook her head. “I could take away your gun and weapons and lock them up. Tell everyone what you planned and to watch you. But in the end, you’ll find a way. So you know what, fine. If this is what you want fine. Do it. At least when I die and face Hiccup in the afterlife I can say I tried… Can you?”
With that last sting she stomped off shaking her head. He watched her go letting his own anger simmer. She wasn’t wrong. If he saw Hiccup on the other side, would he be happy or pissed off.
“Damn it.” He sighed slumping down on the pipe once more.
Could he really give up? The Big Four’s main goal was to defeat the game. But without Hiccup could they really be considered the Big Four anymore?
“No, but we can’t give up the mission no matter what.” He murmured. “Fine, I’ll keep going until something kills me. Until then, wait for me. Okay Hiccup.”
And that is what he did for three and a half months. He was never at the hotel, barley talked to anyone. Just kept up his manic search for clues on the whereabouts of the scientist NPC that would end this game. He made his main priority leaving the scavenging to Flynn and the others. Spending too much time at the hotel was too painful, especially with seeing Guy in Hiccup’s shop. Someone had to take over the job of blacksmith and Guy was the only one qualified. Jack just couldn’t stand it. So he practically lived on the road now with Toothless. After the incident on the roof with Astrid the big cat hasn’t left him alone. At first, he hated it because he reminded him of Hiccup but now he’s come to think of Toothless as a protective shadow.
And that was how he found the most important clue in this game.
It had to be about one in the afternoon when he woke up. He had a late night trying to find a safe place to hide from the walkers. They just kept going after him, everywhere he turned they would show up. That wasn’t anything he wasn’t used to however. It was just part of the job. He was getting better at avoiding them though. It just took longer last night because he was in a city rather than a town or rural road.
“Morning buddy.” Jack yawn sitting up in the front seat, petting Toothless’s head and it popped up from the back. “Let’s get a move on. Sound good?”
“Purr~” was his answer.
“Alright then.” He shrugged starting up the GEO Tracker he found.
Today he was planning on hitting one more town before heading back to the hotel for a day or so to deliver all his loot and the talk about the clue he found. So he backed out of the garage he had parked in for the night and high tailed it out of the city. Once they were a safe distance away Jack pulled out the last of his food and split it with Toothless.
“Okay,” he huffed pulling up into the small town. “This is how this is going to go. We’ll only take an hour, I’ll gather whatever I can get within that time and you be the attack dog shadow thing.”
“Reow.” Toothless yellowed grumpily.
“Yeah, I know you’re not a dog, but you get the point.” Jack chuckled.
They had done this plenty of times. It was habit at this point Jack strutting along the sidewalk, his crook resting on his shoulder. He acted like this was no big deal because it wasn’t. His stats were so high at this point that the only threat he had were other players, massive herds, or other players on his level. Yet because of his stealth skills and agility he didn’t really have to worry about running into anything like that.
Or so he thought.
“Get away from me!”
They both paused as they heard the scream.
“Reow!” Toothless growled.
“No.” Jack growled back. “I don’t care if they need us. We are not on the recruiting team.”
Toothless snorted at the albino then booked it in the direction the scream came from.
“Damn it, Toothless!” Jack hissed chasing after him. “Get your furry black ass back here.”
Rounding the corner Jack was just in time to find a girl with dark hair braided over her shoulder being pinned down by three walkers.
“Damn it.” Jack sighed again as Toothless attacked two of the walkers. “Stupid cat.”
Now he couldn’t just pretend he didn’t see this or leave the cat behind. So he marched forward twirling his crook like a baton. The girl fought off the last one long enough for him to get there so he could whack it upside the head knocking it away. It fell back attempting to get back up before he plunged the spear part into its skull. Ignoring the girl, he leapt forward, using his light foot, landing in front of Toothless and drove his spear through both the walker’s heads ending their existence. He didn’t look back at the girl then just motioned for the cat to follow him and moved on.
“Wait.” The girl called. “Please, don’t leave me.”
“I helped you already.” He told her not looking back. “Just get out of here and survive.”
“Please, I need to get away from the men that took me.”
“Not my problem.”
“There hunting me. They used me to lure people back so they could do horrible things to them.”
“I don’t care.”
“Please, they have my brother. They have Dagur!”
That froze him in his tracks.
“Please. I need to save him.”
“What did you say?” Jack demanded whirling on her.
“They have my brother, his name is Dagur. That’s how they’ve been controlling me. They took him and told me that if I didn’t do as they said they would kill him. But he told me to go and get help. So I… I did. I left my brother behind. So please help me save him.”
“How do you know they have him?”
“I’ve heard him. They have him locked up in a room but I can hear him.”
He stared unbelieving at the girl. She had to be nuts. Or maybe it was another Dagur.
“Did he have a friend named Astrid?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” She shook her head. “I only know about his geeky friend Hiccup. He talked about him none stop IRL.”
That settled it. He sighed, holding out his hand.
“My name is Jack-Frost, I’m a friend of Hiccups.”
Hesitantly she took his hand.
“Heather.”
“I think you need to come with me.” he told her.
She came without any question.
Soon enough they were through the gates of the hotel and facing the people he once saw as friends. Now they were just people. He ignored them leading Heather forward as she looked around worriedly.
“Jack.”
He paused looking to his left where the voice came from to find Merida and Elsa running for him.
“Oh thank god.” Elsa sighed wrapping her arms around him. “You have to stop doing this to me.”
“I’m fine Elsa.” He assured though it was only halfhearted.
“Hoo’s thes?” Merida asked looking Heather up and down.
“This is-”
“HEATHER!”
Before he could get it out Astrid was sprinting past him and throwing herself at the unsuspecting brunette beauty.
“Oh my god.” The blonde cried. “I didn’t know for sure, I had hoped you didn’t get stuck here too. Oh god Dagur was so worried.”
“You know my brother?” she asked pulling away from Astrid.
“Oh yeah, we never met formally.” The ax wielder chortled. “I was a friend of your brother’s.”
“What do you mean was?” Heather asked looking confused.
For a moment Astrid only looked at her, confused, then she whirled on Jack.
“You didn’t tell her?” she glared.
“Tell me what?” Heather demanded.
“… I’m sorry.” Jack murmured. “Your brother was never at that place you were taken. They tricked you. He was with Hiccup and Astrid and the others. And he died saving me three years ago.”
“… No,” Heather shook her head. “No I heard him… I heard him… he told me to go and get help to take down Drogo… no he can’t be… no… NOO! NO! NO!”
“It’s gonna be okay.” Astrid hushed holding the girl close.
“NOOOO!”
They collapsed together as she screamed to the heavens. Jack couldn’t take this. He shook his head and started to head for his room when she stopped him.
“No, wait please.” She called out to him reaching with her hand. “Please, I know it wasn’t my brother that I promised, but please. There are people there. People that are be tortured and killed. Someone has to do something please. If you don’t, they’re going to kill that boy.”
“Whit boy?” Merida asked.
“The boy they just brought in about three months ago.” she sniffled. “He has been standing up for everyone and becoming a target for their frustration. If we don’t save him and the others they are going to kill him.”
“You can do that if you want.” Jack told the others. “I have work to do.”
“Please. He was a friend of Dagur’s. I mentioned him before, Hiccup.”
That got everyone’s attention, including Jack who—for the second time today—froze in place with a look of utter shock.
He turned slowly, almost like if he moved to fast he would shatter, and faced her daring to hope.
“What did you say?”

Chapter Text

“Answer me right now.” Jack roared rushing at the girl before grabbing her by the front of the shirt. “What did you say?!”
“Jack don’t!” Astrid cried pulling at his arms.
“Put her down, big brother.” Elsa urged.
“Answer me.” He snarled. “And I swear to god if you lie to me I will throw your HP into the red before you can say TWF.”
“I said the boy’s name is Hiccup.” She whimpered.
“What does he look like?” He demanded.
“Scrawny, brown hair, green eyes, lot of freckles, he’s really pale… that could just be because they keep his health in the yellow.”
“Get off ‘er!” Merida finally roared pulling him back.
“What do you mean they keep him in the yellow?” Jack asked getting dizzy with all the information he absorbed.
“He is a lot stronger and smarter than any other player they’ve caught. So they have to keep him week. Only healing him enough to fight in the arena.”
“But we got the message.” Elsa whimpered.
“They have a way of faking that, and voices I guess.”
“So your saying, that Hiccup is alive?” Jack murmured, his legs shaking under him.
“Last I saw, which was three days ago.” she nodded.
His legs gave out then and he was down on his knees a bewildered look in his eyes.
“He’s alive…” he breathed.
“If we don’t hurry he won’t be for much longer.” She urged.
“Whit dae ye mean?” Merida urged.
“He helped me get out. He’s always pushing Drogo’s buttons. He’s not going to survive for long if Drogo’s temper is pushed too far.”
“Where is he?” Jack begged on the verge of tears.
“I’ll take you there, but you have to promise that you will kill Drogo.” She gritted.
“I don’t care if you asked me to kill the president.” He choked. “If he has Hiccup and is hurting him, I’m going to shove my crook so far up his ass he’ll be choking on it.”
About a half an hour later they were all standing in the war room around a table, staring at the rough sketch of the prison in which Drogo was staying in.
“I still can’t believe he picked a prison.” Flynn groaned. “Rick wanna be much.”
“Try more the Governor with a pinch of Negan mixed in.” Heather groaned. “He is nuts and his anger is something to be wary of.”
“So the cells with all the captives are on the bottom floors while all of his men are on the top floors and he’s on the highest floor.” Jack summarized pointing to all the said spots on the sketch.
“Yeah, they did that in case the walkers they captured got out or if they were overrun the captives would be attacked first while the men and Drogo would have a chance to get out safely.” She nodded.
“So how do we do this without getting slaughtered?” Eret asked glaring at the girl. “I mean we’re supposed to kill Drogo but he’s on the top most floor. Getting to Hiccup and the others would be easy, sneak in grab everyone and sneak out. But getting to Drogo, that’s a whole other set of stupid. We’d have to go through his men and if we survive that we’ll have to find him and he could be long gone by then.”
“He’s right.” Tadashi sighed. “It would just be easier to forget about getting Drogo and just save all the captives.”
“Drogo has to die.” Heather insisted. “If he doesn’t then he will just come after us and kill all of us.”
“I get that.” Tadashi sighed. “But we can’t just go trudging up the stairs shooting and howling like a bunch of lunatics.”
“He has to die.” She growled.
“She’s right.” Jack nodded. “After what he did, he doesn’t deserve life.”
“Great, how are we supposed to do that?” Flynn asked.
Jack shook his head leaning over the table.
What would Hiccup do?
“I say we just let the herd go and let them take out everyone else.” Ruffnut snorted.
“And get ourselves killed in the process.” Eret groaned. “Great plan. I’m so glad that all you twins ever think about is bombs and big herds.”
“Wait…” Jack suddenly brightened up. “That’s it.”
“Whit’s it?” Merida asked.
“Twins I need you to set off an explosion that will set the herd free and lure everyone upstairs down. While their busy with the herd we’ll get everyone out and then Elsa will snipe Drogo.”
“What?” Elsa barked. “You want me to kill someone.”
“This someone has killed lots of people indirectly.” Heather reminded. “And hurt Hiccup.”
“It has to be done, Elsa please.” Jack begged giving his sister the best big brother puppy dog look he could muster. “If Hiccup is really there and this guy has been hurting him then I can’t let him live.”
“Then you kill him.” She hissed. “You want him dead so bad you do it.”
“I can’t.” he told her. “While the herd is distracting the others, I’ll be getting all the prisoners out. You’ll take Merida and Heather with you, she’ll tell you who Drogo is. You have to kill him. We can’t risk him coming after us.”
She glared at him for the longest time before she sighed and nodded.
“I’ll do my best. That’s all I can promise. I’ll do my best.” She exhaled.
“Thank you.” He nodded. “Okay, we want to avoid a fight with them as much as we can. Just get the captives out and let the heard deal with the others. Rapunzel you and Tadashi stay outside and give medical aid to anyone that needs it. Flynn you stay with her and protect her. I’ll take the Hooligans and a few others and go in to get everyone out. Twins, once you’ve set up your bomb find someplace safe to hide to make sure it goes off and no one defuses it. Once that’s done rendezvous with us. We do this fast and we do this quiet. In out. Thirty minutes is all we’ll take once the bombe goes off. Once that time is up we get the hell out of there. If there are still people in there… I’m sorry but we can’t take the risk of being caught-”
“What if Hiccup is one of those people?” Astrid demanded.
“If Hiccup is in there I’ll find him.” Jack swore still leaning over the map.
“If?” she asked giving him a look.
Which he ignored giving his sister his most serious face.
“Elsa in that time you have to kill him. I’m sure he’ll be right there with everyone else as they try to handle the herd. That’s your window. Got it?”
“Yeah.” She nodded tersely.
“Alright, pack up, arm up, load up, I want to be out of here in ten.” Jack ordered ending the meeting.
They filed out, grim faces and grumbly voices yet ready to do what needed to be done.
“Jack hold on.” Astrid called grabbing his arm before he exited with the others.
“What?” he asked briskly.
“What did you mean by if?” she asked crossing her arms. “You were so gun-hoe about saving Hiccup and now what? You don’t think he’s there.”
“I’ve had some time to think about the situation and I think that getting false hope over the words of some girl I just met is a bit risky.” He answered with a glare. “I mean come on. She had to of known Hiccup meant something to me. I was fine with just leaving her out there to survive up until she mentioned Dagur then Hiccup. She could just be using us to get her revenge on the guy that locked her up for who knows how long. So until I see Hiccup or get a more reliable source that he’s there I’m just gonna assume that’s what she’s doing.”
“If that’s how you feel why help her at all?” she wondered watching him walk away.
He paused giving her a sad look, one she had seen far too much of since that god-awful day.
“It’s what Hiccup would have done.” He told her before moving on.
She watched him, sighed then followed.
“God I hope we can pull this off.” She groaned.
About an hour later they found themselves crouched down behind a patch of trees waiting.
“Elsa do you have eyes on the twins?” Jack asked through the mental walkie.
“Yeah, they just set up the bomb. We have three minutes till go time.” She called back over.
“Three minutes.” He told everyone one in his group.
…the three minutes past and nothing happened.
“Twins.” Jack growled.
“Something went wrong.” Elsa told him.
“You think?” he called back.
“I’m gonna snipe the bomb and set it off.”
“No don’t do that. The point of the bomb was for them to assume that a gas line went off or some shit like that. You snipe it, they’ll hear the gun shot and know that someone was behind this. We don’t want them thinking that until after you’ve killed Drogo.”
“Then what do you suggest I do?”
“I don’t know, try to signal the twins to fix the problem.”
“Wait they just threw something at the bomb-”
BOOM!
The shock wave of the blast was enough to send Jack on his ass along with anyone close to him.
“That would be our signal.” He grunted. “Twins.”
With all the speed they could muster without exhausting their energy they cut their way through the prison fences and found the twins at the door they were told to meet them at. Rushing in they found all the prisoners crammed into cells stacked on cells.
“Shh, Heather sent us to help you.” Astrid assured them.
“Twins, watch the hall and incapacitate anyone who tries to get in.” Jack ordered.
“Incapaca- what now?” Tuffnut asked sharing a raised brow with his sister.
“Stop them any by any means necessary.” Jack groaned.
“Oh.” They smiled and nodded running for the door.
“Twins.” He sighed moving to help the others.
There were three cell blocks in total that housed captives as soon as one block was freed and following one of Jack’s people out they moved on to the next block and repeated the process. They were at the last block when things got complicated.
“He’s not here.” Jack sighed as he watched the last of the captives run out of their cell. “Of course he isn’t.”
“Jack, you need to get out of their now. Men are coming your way.” Elsa told him urgently.
“Astrid, walkie the twins and tell them to bail. We’ve got to get out of here.” He ordered marching up to the blonde.
“But we still haven’t found Hiccup.” She barked.
“He isn’t here.” Jack shook his head. “He was never here. He’s dead, Astrid. It was dumb to get our hopes up.”
“We can’t leave yet, we have to get Hiccup!”
They both turned around to find a short Asian boy with gravity defying dark hair and wide innocent brown eyes.
“Please we can’t leave him!” he cried again taking on a desperate glare.
“How do you know that name?” Astrid asked back.
“He’s a friend. How do you know him?”
“He was our friend.” She answered.
“Was?”
“He died.” Jack gritted.
“He’s not dead.”
“How do you know?” Astrid urged.
“He’s been here helping all of us. They have him locked up in the arena. If you’re his friends then you have to help him. They’ll kill him if we don’t get him out of here.”
“Astrid get the others out of here.” Jack told her. “We only have fifteen minutes left. If I’m not back by then leave without us.”
“No I’m going with you.” She insisted.
“Go.” He ordered in a booming voice scaring her a bit.
Reluctantly she nodded turning tail and running for the exit.
“Show me.” he demanded.
Running as fast as they could—which wasn’t all that fast in Jack’s opinion since the kids speed stat was way lower than his—they navigated the maze of halls until finally bursting in to what looked like a gymnasium.
“Up there.” The kid cried pointed up.
Looking up Jack saw a cage swinging gently back and forth, and just barely through the bars he could make out a slim person.
“Help me.” the kid urged untying a knotted rope.
Still not convinced this was Hiccup, but knowing they need to save everyone they could, Jack help him slowly lower the cage till it touched the ground.
And that was when Jack’s cold exterior shattered.
“HICCUP!” he cried practically slamming himself against the cage.
Through the bars he could see his sleeping love was extremely pale, looking almost sickly. A graphic image that only happened when a player spent too long in the yellow zone of their HP bar. This only worried Jack more as Hiccup didn’t respond to his call.
“Get it open.” The kid urged.
Without a second thought Jack took his crook and slammed it on the pad lock throwing the door open.
“Hiccup.” he sighed as he crawled in cupping the battered boys face.
Rather than the relieved smile he was hoping to see, Hiccup’s eyes opened wide and he threw a punch that Jack barely dodged.
“What the hell?” Jack cried.
“Just because you bastards took my sight and hearing doesn’t mean I can’t put up a good fight.” Hiccup snarled backing into the corner with his fists in front of him.
Jack rounded on the boy with a glare.
“What does he mean by that?” he demanded.
To his shock though the boy was typing furiously at a hollow keyboard, his face scrunched up in concentration.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Restoring his sight. It’s gonna take a minute though.” The kid gritted.
“What the hell does that mean?”
At this the kid gave a pitiful sigh.
“A while ago I figured out how to hack the game. Not to the point where I can get us all out of here, but enough to pull off a few tricks. Like enabling senses.” He ticked. “Drogo made me do some pretty awful things with it, like duplicate Heather’s brother’s voice. That’s why I can’t restore Hiccup’s hearing first. He knows that voices can be faked. But images, I haven’t been able to duplicate players like that.”
“Big brother you need to get out of there now. You only have ten minutes.” Elsa cried over the walkie.
“Hurry.” Jack urged the kid.
“I’m trying.”
“Elsa, have you taken out Drogo?” Jack asked.
“… No not yet.”
“If you see a shot you take it. You understand me? We can’t let this come back to bite us in the ass.”
“I know don’t tell me what to do.” She growled back.
“I’ve got it.” The kid suddenly cried slamming his pointer finger down on the enter key.
Jack whipped around just in time to see Hiccup blinking furiously while shaking his head. Once he was focused he got into a better fighting stance only to go blank. His hard face melting into a broken smile.
“Jack?” he whimpered.
“Hiccup!” Jack cried pulling the boy to him in a crushing hug. “Thank god.”
“Jack, I can’t hear you so I’m not sure what you’re saying, but… I love you too.”
This made Jack chuckle as he pulled back, cupping the brunette’s pale cheek, and locking their lips together.
“Yeah, I love you.” He smiled when they pulled away.
CRACK!
Startled out of their moment Jack looked toward the sound wondering if it was what he thought.
“He’s down big brother… I got him…” Elsa voice was soft and shaky but resolute.
“Good work.” Jack called back his own voice a bit shaky. “We’ll be out in a minute.”
“Roger that. Meet you back at the cars.”
“C’mon we’ve got to get out of here.” Jack told them. “You can restore his hearing once where in the cars. But for now, we need to get the hell out of here.”
Knowing Hiccup was too weak to move on his own Jack stooped down and hefted him into his arms and they were off.
Bursting out into the yard and sunlight had Hiccup wincing and burying his face in Jack’s shoulder.
“Almost there, Hiccup.” Jack promised.
But when he went limp in his arms he really began to worry.
“Faster.” He told the kid pushing himself further.
A quick sprint through the forest found them on the main road and right into their cars.
“Rapunzel.” Jack cried desperately.
“Oh my god.” She gasped. “Hurry, get him into the van.”
As soon as they were in the doors slammed shut and they were off. Jack lied Hiccup down so Rapunzel could get to work on getting his HP back into the green. Though that took a second since they all got quite the shock.
“Hiro?”
The boy looked up to Tadashi confused before he threw himself at both him and Honey Lemon.
“Aniki!” Hiro cried.
“Oh, Hiro.” Tadashi smiled holding him.
“Hiro!” Honey Lemon smiled.
“I’m so glad your safe.” Tadashi sighed.
“Tadashi, I’m very happy for you but right now I need your help.” Rapunzel practically begged.
“Right.” Tadashi nodded yet still keeping his brother close as he helped Rapunzel.
“All I can do is inject him with adrenaline. But that won’t last long. He needs vitamins and rest mostly. But I’ll feel better once we get him back in the green even if only a little.”
“What if that doesn’t work?” Jack asked.
“We let him rest for a couple of weeks, keep giving him medicine and hope for the best.”
“Rapunzel-”
“Jack I am doing what I can.” She insisted silencing him.
He nodded letting her do what she needed. With her own little nod she first injected Hiccup with her own special blend of vitamins and herbs to kick start his healing. Then she prepared her next needle with adrenaline but before she could implement it a window popped up in front of her.
“What the.” She gaped reading the words.
“What?” Jack asked.
“It’s a skill notice, my medic skills have reached higher than anyone else in the game-”
“So now it’s offering you a new skill.” Jack finished.
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“The same thing happened to me and my light foot skill. Whatever it is except it.” He urged.
She nodded pressing the okay button and waited.
“Moral Melody Boost.” She read.
There was a list of lyrics before her so she just assumed to activate it she had to start singing.
“Flower, gleam and glow,
Let your power shine.
Make the clock reverse,
Bring back what once was mine.
Heal what has been hurt,
Change the fates design.
Save what has been lost,
Bring back what once was mine.
What once was mine.”
Instantly as she started to sing everyone in the van began to feel better than they had since they began this death game. Looking down at Hiccup they could see his health bar slowly inching back into the green. A collective sigh was heard throughout the van as everyone sat back relieved.
“He’s gonna be okay.” Rapunzel assured with a watery smile.
“How long will it be before he wakes up again?” Jack asked running shaky finger through Hiccup’s brunette hair.
“It might be a while. He’s been through a lot, Jack.” She informed sitting back exhausted.
“You did good blondie.” Flynn sighed pulling her to his chest. “Just rest for a bit, you’re gonna have your hands full once we get back to the hotel.”
The ride back was quiet, except for the quiet murmurs of Tadashi, Honey Lemon, and Hiro. Jack couldn’t keep his hands-off Hiccup at the moment, unable to believe he was alive. So he pulled him into his lap practically wrapping himself around the boy. He couldn’t believe he was back, couldn’t believe they were together again. He felt as if he let him out of his sight then he would just vanish. So he made sure that couldn’t happen. All the while he buried his face in Hiccup’s shoulder to hide his tears of joy.
As soon as they got to the hotel Astrid was ripping the van doors open, tears in her eyes.
“Oh my god.” She cried crawling in and crouching before her best friend. “How is he?”
“He’ll be okay after some rest.” Rapunzel assured. “Jack take him up to your room and let us know when he wakes up.”
“Yeah.” He nodded. “Astrid, get the other hooligans. I’m sure they’ll want to see him.”
“But-” Astrid she began to protest only to be cut off.
“I’ll do it.” Eret assured. “You go with Jack, I’ll get the others.”
She turned to him tears running down her face, looking guiltier than Jack had ever seen her.
“Eret, I’m… I’m sorry… I just-” she stuttered looking down.
“Hey,” he murmured softly leaning down so their eyes would meet. “I get it, I knew. So don’t worry. I understand. So just be with him for as long as you need. I’ll get the others.”
She nodded hopping out of the van waiting for Jack. Said boy hefted his love into his arms and began to carry him past the driveway and through the doors. All the while everyone was watching. He felt weird like Daryl when he was carrying Carol through the tombs only now he could feel the eyes of everyone watching the damn show on him. It was uncomfortable to say the least. He was damn pleased once he got back into his room with Astrid in toe away from the prying eyes of everyone else. He laid Hiccup on the bed and sat on the edge clutching his hand desperately.
“C’mon Hic, wake up soon.” He sighed.
“He’ll be fine.” Astrid assured. “He’s alive and fighting. He’ll be fine.”
“Yeah I know.” He nodded. “I just want him to wake up already. I have so much I want to ask him.”
“Go ahead and ask, I’ll do my best to answer.”
They both smiled leaning in closer as Hiccup groaned and moaned awake.
“Hey.” Astrid sighed crawling into the bed. “How are you feeling?”
“Like I spent three weeks locked up with a bunch of psychopaths.” He groaned. “Other than that I’m pretty good.”
“Damnit Hiccup,” Jack sniffled. “I’m so sorry. I should have looked harder I should of-”
“Jack, they had me out of there before I even knew what was happening. Then they sent a message via metal walkie and Hiro sent the message.” Hiccup explained slowly sitting up.
“He what?” Astrid balked.
“Kids a genius.” Hiccup smiled. “Hacked the game, now he can fake voices, messages and talk to the people IRL.”
“Wait what?” Jack demanded.
“Yeah, he’s been in touch with government officials outside. Drogo didn’t know. Apparently, the kid set up a live feed so everyone can see what has been going on with us IRL. It’s like a spinoff of The Walking Dead. The Big Four is a huge thing by the way. Lots of people like us.”
“Wait so people on the outside can see everything we’ve been doing?” Jack asked going red. “Like, cough, like that night you and I-”
“Oh god, no.” Hiccup choked. “No, Hiro said he set up a code that would detect that kind of data and black out that stuff. Same thing goes for when we shower or disrobe.”
“When did he have time to set all that up?” Astrid asked.
“He originally set it up to try and find his brother. For a couple of months, he was holed up in a high school and did nothing but make code.”
“So people can see us.” Jack groaned. “Well that isn’t freaky in the least.”
“He did it to bring us closer to the families out there. Weather it worked or not I couldn’t tell you. Besides the government official he hasn’t talk to anyone else. He’s been trying to get us out. But for now, it seems that the only way is to beat the game.”
“Then we will.” Jack assured. “And with our brilliant strategist back we’ll definitely kick its ass.”
“Yeah, well your brilliant strategist needs like a day or two before he starts working his brain like that.” Hiccup chuckled.
“Take all the time you need.” Astrid cooed.
“Hiccup, what happened back there?” Jack asked. “I mean Heather told us a little but what happened?”
“Wait, Heather, Dagur’s sister is here?” Hiccup asked looking back and forth between the two. “Is she okay. How’d she get here? Where has she been?”
“She was with you.” Astrid said looking confused.
“No she wasn’t.” he shook his head. “I would have seen her.”
“They kept me in the cell blocks with Drogo’s men.”
Heather, along with the other hooligans stood in the door way staring wide eyed at Hiccup in his bed.
“Guys.” He smiled.
“Hiccup!”
Before Astrid and Jack knew what was happening they were pushed out of the way as everyone hoped onto the bed, dog piling Hiccup.
“Guys, hold on.” They could hear Hiccup cry out.
“Get ur dim butts off ‘im now before thes cat tears ye a new one.”
Pausing they turned back to the door to find Merida barely holding back a growling black panther on a chain.
“Toothless.” Hiccup smiled and with that the chain slipped and the cat dove for Hiccup.
“And just like that, we get him back only for the cat to maul him to death.” Ruffnut snorted.
“I missed you too bud.” Hiccup chuckled.
“We all missed you.” Jack sighed crawling back into bed with them.
“Alright, there will be plenty of time to talk and catch up later.” Astrid called. “Let’s let these two have their moment and leave them be.”
“Thanks Astrid.” Hiccup smiled.
“See you tomorrow.” She nodded.
Soon enough everything settle for them, Toothless became content to just lay on the floor on Hiccup’s side while the boys… tangled.
“I’ve missed you so much.” Jack gasped between kissing sessions.
“The thought of seeing you again is what kept me going.” Hiccup admitted. “The thought of this moment.”
“Then I better make sure it doesn’t disappoint.” Jack chuckled attacking his lover’s neck.
It didn’t take them long to unequip their clothes, but from there they went slow. Hiccup was still weak but that didn’t seem to matter to him. Still it worried Jack. So he flipped them so Hiccup was straddling him. Hiccup stared at him confused and breathless which only made Jack chuckle.
“You pick the tempo baby.” He smiled. “This is about you. You run the show.”
Hiccup went red as he gulped. Slowly he positioned himself then lowered, impaling himself. He bit his lip trying to keep the moan from escaping. Something Jack seemed to have no problem with.
“Hiccup.” He sighed gripping the other boys thighs.
“I’m sorry, is it okay?” Hiccup gasped worried the sound wasn’t positive.
“It’s good, but it’ll be better once you start moving.” Jack said with a cheeky smirk.
Hiccup went even redder as he took the challenge. Leaning back so his hands were grasping Jack’s own thighs he began to roll his hips getting the reaction he wanted. Jack gritted his teeth throwing his head back in a silent growl. This made Hiccup smile as he lifted his hips just barely before slamming them back down getting a grunted moan from the boy. This was nothing like their first time, where that was slow and desperate this was primal and rough. Despite his weakened state Hiccup was practically attacking Jack. His time in the arena with Drogo’s zombies and captives taught him that he needed to be far more dominate and even though Jack was more so in his eyes, he had no trouble taking the reins when he wanted. Though it seemed Jack wasn’t as willing as originally assumed to give them over. With a snarl he sat up wrapping his arms around the boys waist but with all the control he could muster he stayed that way letting Hiccup continue to ride him.
“Shit.” He gritted. “You have no idea what you do to me.”
“I may, mmm, have an inkling.” Hiccup gasped.
With just a few more thrusts both boys collapsed in a pile of tangled limbs and sweat.
“I’m so glad your back.” Jack sighed.
“I’m happy to be back.” Hiccup huffed.
“Hey, Hiccup, I love you.”
That got a chuckle from the beast tamer.
“I love you too Jack.”

The next morning found Elsa on the roof waiting for Merida to come get her for their morning hunt. Her mind plagued with images of what went down yesterday. She couldn’t get the picture of the man going down out of her head. Sure she had PKed before. She used to play GGO, were PKing was encouraged. But this was different. She hasn’t had to kill anyone yet. NPCs and zombies sure, but not players. It left a terrible taste in her mouth.
“Oi, ye gonna sit up ‘ere aw day or ye gonna cum so we can get huntin’?”
Sighing she shouldered her rifle and started her climb down the stairs.
“Ye alright?” Merida asked as they made their way down.
“I’m fine.” she said flatly.
“Yeah right.” Merida snorted. “Es thes about yesterday? About that Drogo guy?”
“… I killed him Mer. What am I supposed to do now?” she sighed. “It’s like, every time I’ve pulled the trigger I was doing it to survive. But I didn’t need to do it then. That guy wouldn’t have even known we existed. I didn’t need to shoot him. So why did I?”
“Because ‘e was hurting people. Because ‘e was hurting Hiccup. Because if ye didn’t ‘e would’ve cum after us. Ye did whit ye had tae so we would survive.”
“It still sucks.” She sighed.
BOOM!
The whole building shook making them grasp the railing so they could keep their balance.
“Whit th’ heel was ‘at!?” Merida screamed.
“I don’t know.” Elsa cried back.
Meanwhile with the others in the war room.
“There is someone at our gates with a tank.” Eret cried as he peered out with his binoculars.
“A what!?” Flynn gaped.
“Drogo!” both Hiccup and Heather gasped.
“Get everyone out now.” Jack urged moving for the door. “Everyone knows the plan. Get everyone out the back. Everyone else hold them off for as long as we can.”
“Were not gonna fight back?” Snotlout demanded.
“They have a freaking tank.” Hiccup barked. “We don’t have defenses against that. Do as Jack says.”
They all went to work getting into places as everyone else got to work on the escape route. They hid behind the cars firing off their riles at the enemy while said enemy continued to fire off their tank at the building.
“This isn’t getting us anywhere.” Astrid called over the gun fire.
“We just need to hold them off until everyone is out, then we can get out.” Hiccup assured her.
The next second they heard a cry.
Turning they saw just as Snotlout landed on his back and the message appeared before all of them.
“SNOTLOUT!” Ruffnut screamed going to his side.
“Ruffnut get down!” Astrid cried jumping in front of her.
“Astrid!” Hiccup howled as he watch a bullet rip right through her chest. “No!”
“Damnit.” Jack hissed. “Fall back. Get out everyone.”
They did as he asked, both Hiccup and Ruffnut being practically dragged away. This wasn’t a battle they were going to win and they knew that from the beginning. Still they hoped that they would never experience something like this.
Then another message popped up in front of them.
THE PLAYER, BAIMAX, HAS DIED.
“Oh my god.” Rapunzel whimpered.
“Tadashi.” Jack hissed. “Damn it. We need to go.”
“Jack what they did-” but Jack cut Hiccup off.
“We’ll get them. But not now. Now we need to go.” He urged. “Please I can’t lose you again.”
Hiccup gave him the best watery eyed nod he could muster and off they went again.
They had made it to the back where they had get away vans and busses lined up for situations just like this. They were almost home free, however the scene that lay before them was not one they had expected.
Bodies were strewn out all around including Tadashi’s and Eret’s. The vans and busses were gone so at least a few of their people got out. But that was of little comfort at the moment since they were staring at barrels and barrels all pointing at them and Merida standing with her hands up giving her best brave face.
“It’s about damn time you all showed up. I was getting tired of waiting.”
Looking to their right they saw a man step forward and make his way to their twelve. Hiccup instantly began to sweat as he backed up behind Jack while Heather just started to sob. Jack watched them, starting to freak out just a bit.
Who was this guy?
“You can’t be here.” Hiccup gasped. “Your dead. She killed you. How is this possible?”
“Hiccup what’s going on.” Jack demanded.
“Yeah, Hiccup what is going on?” the man hissed. “Why did you lead your little friends to my base and have them attack. I thought you were becoming such an obedient little dog.”
Without warning Hiccup unsheathed his sword, setting it alight and charged the man with a murderous cry.
“Hiccup!” Jack called desperately, but he went unheard.
“DIE YOU BASTARD!” Hiccup roared swinging his sword down only for a gun to sound off and imbed itself right in his leg. “Gaaah!”
“Hiccup!” Jack cried rushing to his side.
“Still haven’t learned your lesson I see.” The man snorted.
“Rapunzel help!” Jack begged looking back at his friends.
“Don’t you dare move girly.” The man growled.
“Who th’ heel dae ye think ye are?” Merida demanded with her own snarl.
“I’m someone you little bastards pissed off.” He snarled. “I’m the guy who’s base you blew up and attacked. I’m the guy your sniper missed by just a hair barely grazing the side of my head.”
Jack’s blood ran cold as he suddenly realized what was going on and how screwed they truly were.
“I’m Drogo, and your all going to wish I had just killed the lot of you.”

Chapter Text

All Who Wander
Jack now officially knew how Rick and the others felt when Negan’s men forced them to their knees and gave their “One of you is going to die” speech.
Because that was happening to him right at this moment.
“Line them up.” Drago snarled.
It took a bit, but after a good struggle and a few colorful words from Merida, Drago’s men got the Big Four down on their knees. They had no need to tie their hands behind their backs since they had them surrounded. Not to mention they had a gun pointed at everyone else they rounded up, Flynn, and the rest of the hooligans included. Toothless wasn't in sight so they could only assume that he had run for safety. Unless they wanted Drago’s men to blow their brains out, they had no choice but to sit tight. They did take their weapons though-Which, by the way, Merida was glaring at the man with her bow-pissed them off greatly. Jack was barely paying attention to all that though. His eyes were on Hiccup as the boy winced gripping the bullet wound in his leg. Meanwhile, his mind was on Elsa.
God I hope you made it out Elsa. He thought desperately. Please be safe.
“So, this is the famed Big Four.” the dark-haired behemoth of a man snorted. “Not as impressive as I once thought.”
“Wait till ye see us in action.” Merida growled.
“Oh, I will.” He smirked. “We all will.”
“What are you talking about?” Rapunzel hissed.
“He wants to put us in the arena.” Hiccup snarled glaring at the dreadlock-sporting man. “Make us fight each other to the death. Isn’t that right?”
The man shrugged dawning a smile that sent a thrill of fear down Jack’s spine.
“Why?” The blonde gaped. “Why would you do this? What’s the point? Once when this game is defeated dozens of people have seen your face. You will be arrested, maybe even put to death. What could doing this possibly do for you.”
“He doesn’t want the game to end.” Hiccup sighed. “He’s been sending out men to find the clues and take them before anyone else so no one can defeat the game. This is heaven. He’s a monster with a kink of watching people kill each other. And now he’s gonna do the same to us.”
“You’re not wrong.” He nodded. “But that wouldn’t be a fitting punishment for the crimes you have committed against me.”
“The crimes I’ve committed?” Hiccup gritted. “You kidnaped and forced me into the arena. Then when I wouldn’t kill my opponent you killed him right in front of me. You locked me up and took away my hearing and sight. You made me a slave. And I supposedly committed some offense to you?”
“You lead your people to me-”
“My people found me on their own.” Hiccup roared. “They’re the Big Four. They’re the best damn players in this death game. You don’t stand a chance in hell. When this is all over, we will end you and I will win.”
Drago went red before stomping forward and whipping his hand across Hiccup’s face sending him to the ground.
“You son of a bitch.” Jack snarled as he was forced to stay where he was kneeling. “Don’t you fucking touch him.”
“You listen to me boy.” Drago snarled grabbing Hiccup by his chin and lifting him up back to his knees. “I’m the best player in this game. As I have proven. You’re Big Four doesn’t stand a chance.”
“I’ll believe that when I see it.” Hiccup spat. “You only bested us this time because you ambushed us. But just you wait. We’ll kill you. Sooner or later, unless you kill us now you will die by my hands you asshole.”
Drago snarled again throwing the boy down.
“You have no idea what is coming for your four.” He roared. “I’m not just gonna put you in the arena and make you fight each other. That comes later. After every one of your little friends here have killed themselves. You will watch every fight. Every death. Every victory. All the while knowing that those deaths, that blood, is all on your hands. Until there is no one left but you four. And then, that is when I will make you fight. And if you don’t do as your told I’ll make sure your life is a living hell. Just to show you an example.”
With a nod of his head, two of his men grabbed Hiccup and dragged him over forcing him on his back before Drago.
“Get off me.” Hiccup gritted.
“Get away from him!” Jack roared struggling even harder.
“Don’t hurt him!” Rapunzel begged as she and Merida fought their own captors.
“Ye touch ‘im an’ ye will regret it. Ye hear me!” Merida shrieked.
“Hiccup!” Jack cried.
“Hold still or I’ll miss.” Drago smirked.
Turning to one of his lackeys, he held out his hand receiving Merida’s long sword.
“No dorn’t!” Merida cried going pale. “Dorn’t hurt ‘im.”
With a roar of victory, Drago lifted the blade high above his head and brought it down on the leg with the bullet wound. Hiccup’s eyes went wide, his mouth wide open in a silent scream as the pain radiated up his body. Jack and the others fell silent as they watched his leg from the knee down shattered into thousands of pixels.
“Oh my god.” Rapunzel whimpered.
“Ye bloody bastards.” Merida roared as frustrated tears ran down her face.
“… I’ll kill you.” Jack hissed glaring at Drago. “You hear me. I’m going to fucking kill you!”
This only made Drago laugh.
“I’ll look forward to it.” He chuckled. “Load them up, I want to get back home before dark.”
Putting up the best fight they could, everyone was dragged to a bunch of rapist vans and thrown in. Anyone who tried to get out was threatened with a barrel to the face or shot at on the spot. Either because Drago wanted to torture them more or just because he was dumber than a brick, he had the Big Four along with Flynn and the hooligans all put into one van. Jack didn’t fight the men as they shoved him in. They didn’t even shove, he just hopped in and crawled right up to Hiccup who had passed out. The others just let themselves be thrown in as they glared at their captors fighting back tears.
Once the doors shut they all turned to Jack.
“Let me look at him.” Rapunzel murmured crawling over to Hiccup and inspecting his leg. “They took all my meds and tools. But maybe the Moral Melody Boost will help.”
They listened solemnly as she sang her little lullaby filling them with a strength that they wouldn’t be able to use.
“Jack, what the hell do we do now?” Flynn asked gripping his hair.
“… I don’t know.” Jack murmured.
“What the hell do you mean you don’t know!?” he barked.
“Flynn stop!” Rapunzel cried.
“Lev ‘im alone.” Merida hissed. “’Is lover jist lost a leg and we dorn’t know where ‘is sister es. Giv ‘im a minute tae adgist.”
“No, we need a plan to get us the hell out of here before these freaks kill us all.” Flynn choked.
“Knock it off,” Ruffnut screamed. “What the hell does it matter. Snotlout is gone and when we get the hell out of this van I’m going to kill Drago.”
“And how do you plan to do that?” Flynn scoffed.
“Don’t underestimate my sister dude.” Tuffnut snorted humorlessly.
“Just everyone shut up!” Rapunzel finally cried.
“Raps?” Jack gaped, this girl rarely ever lost it. Even when she was reprimanding Hiccup she wasn’t truly mad.
“We are in a lot of trouble, now is not the time to be yelling and arguing. We need to calm down and find a way out of here. After that is done we can figure out a plan on how we are going to kill Drago and then get the hell out of this game.”
“Ye want ta keel ‘im?” Merida asked looking concerned.
“Of course not.” She whimpered shaking her head. “But I know everyone else wants to, because he killed our friends, he tortured Hiccup and took his leg. But even though I saw him do all that, I still don't want to kill him. It's not me, it's not us. That's not who we're are.”
Everyone remained silent as her tears dripped past her chin.
“Hey,” Flynn murmured rubbing her back, waiting until she looked up into his cocoa-colored eyes. “It's not, your right. It's not us. We don't kill unless we need to. We can't.”
“It's not us.” She repeated.
“It's not,” Jack assured grabbing her hand. “We're going to get out of here, and when we do we're going to take these people down. We don't have to kill them. Just get their HP down to red. They should back off then and we make a break for it. Regroup and recover.”
“How?” Heather demanded. “We have no weapons and an unconscious boy. We won't get far. Even if we knock their HP down to red they'll just get their medics to fix them up and they'll be on our asses again.”
“We cannae gie up!” Merida insisted.
“What else are we going to do?” She cried. “You guys haven't been through all this before. I have. There is no way out.”
“There is.” Jack insisted gritting his teeth. “There always is. We didn't survive this long to be put under the thumb of some Negan wanna-be.”
“We have nothing to fight with. We can't win.”
“We can!” he hissed. “We have the special skills. We have Toothless.”
“They have guns. What is jumping really high, singing a song, or a panther going to do against bullets?”
“Merida can see the future.” Rapunzel murmured.
“It doesn't work loch ‘at,” Merida growled. “Ah only see five minutes ahead, an’ et only gives sae much time ta rea-”
Her eyes suddenly went wide her lips parted mid-word.
“Brace yerselves.” She warns just as the van came to a lurching halt.
They all went flying forward, Jack and Rapunzel curling over Hiccup to protect him. When everything settled they all groaned and moaned as their pain absorbers failed, sending aches and pains throughout their bodies.
“Ow.” The twins groaned.
“What the hell, Merida.” Flynn groaned.”
“Ah said brace yurselves, didn't ah?” She whined.
“You couldn't say what for?” Jack groaned.
“Five minutes esn't as much as ye think.” She huffed.
“We can focus on that latter,” Flynn called. “We first need to figure out what the hell is going on.”
“Its-” before Merida could finish the side door flew open and a mass of black fur came barreling in before a lathe snowy haired girl hopped in.
“Stay where you are.” Elsa cried holding her rifle in one hand and a detonator in the other.
Toothless nearly crushed Jack in his desperate attempt to get to Hiccup who he was now nuzzling and purring over.
“Hey don't move.”
Looking over her shoulder she saw three guys with handguns aimed at her. Her look of shock quickly turned to a ruthless smile as she pressed the button activating her trap and stringing all three guys up by their ankles. With a ruthless chuckle she climbs into the van and slammed the but of her gun against the van’s floor three times.
“Let’s go.” She called.
“Elsa!” Jack cried grabbing her shoulder. “What’s going on?”
“We’re saving you what do you think is going on?” she told him pushing him back. “We couldn’t get the other vans, but we’ll focus on saving everyone after we regroup. Now hang on, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”
She wasn’t kidding. They all had to lay as close to the floor as they could get to keep from being launched all over the place. There were shouting and gunshots outside and eventually, Elsa opened the back of the van to throw a grenade out. The deafening boom shook the van making them all cry out in surprise. Elsa took only a second to recover before she sent another bomb out but this one was a smoke bomb. As soon as she closed the door the van took a sharp left and everything got way bumpier. It got to the point where Jack actually had to throw himself atop Hiccup to keep the boy from sliding all over the place and hitting his head. Toothless lay on top of him to protect both of them for which Jack was thankful.
When they finally stopped, everyone was clutching some part of their body as their skin reddened with injury indicator graphics. Others were clutching their stomachs and making gurgling noises. Thank god Pitch wasn’t that much of a sadist that he made puking a thing.
“Where are we?” Rapunzel finally asked once the world stopped spinning.
“In the middle of nowhere,” Elsa told her checking over Merida. “I saw everything through my scope. Jack-”
“Tell me it isn’t true!”
They all turned to the front of the van were Hiro was marching forward Honey on his heels. There were tears running down both their cheeks and the look in their eyes. They were destroyed.
“Tell me he isn’t dead.” Hiro cried stopping in front of Jack, fisting his hands in the boy's blue hoodie. “He isn’t! They found a way to use my trick right. He’s okay, right? My brother… Tadashi isn’t dead!”
“Hiro.” Honey hushed trying to pull the boy into her arms.
“NO!” he screamed. “Tell me!”
Jack could only look down pathetically at the boy. Shaking his head he placed both hands on Hiro’s shoulder and knelt down so he was eye level. Hiro was still glaring at him, but an anguished understanding was beginning to show through the anger.
“Hiro, I’m sorry.” He told him trying to keep his voice level. “But everyone we lost today, they’re all gone... Tadashi is dead.”
The boy just stared, his hands falling to his side while his lip quivered. He knew now. They all did.
“We are so fucked.” Flynn said holding Rapunzel close.
“Jack…” Elsa whimpered refusing to look him in the eye. “This is all my fault. I missed the shot. Astrid, Eret, Snotlout, Tadashi, everyone else… it’s all my fault. I’m so sorry.”
"Did ye miss oan purpose?" Merida asked placing a hand on the snow queen's shoulder.
“Of course not.” Elsa choked wiping her head around to the other.
"Then it's nae yer faut. It's Drago's.” The huntress assured looking to everyone else in the group. “He killed them, he's th' crazed radge man 'at doesnae want thes gam tae end. We need tae tak' heem doon an' gie th' clues his fowk gaithered."
“How?” Heathrr gritted. “You saw what he did to us. We don’t have enough people to take him on.”
"Aur ye quittin' oan me?" She demanded, turning her glare full force on the dark haired hooligan. "Because lest time Ah checked, we donae gie up."
“For Christ's sake Merida!” She growled looking to the van were Toothless was watching his tamer. “Hiccup lost his fucking leg! What are we supposed to do?”
“Enough!” Jack cried shutting everyone up. “We already decided that Drogo needs to be taken care of. But not right now.”
“He’s right.” Rapunzel called getting everyone’s attention. “We will talk about Drago later. Right now we need to get out of here and find someplace safe.”
“There…” they looked to Hiro who was still hiccuping into Honey’s chest. “There is this group of survivors by the ocean. They’ve fought off Drogo and his thugs before. They haven’t been able to take that place. They might help us.”
“It’s better than nothing.” Rapunzel nodded deciding for everyone that this was their next step. “Pack up what we have, Jack help me make a stretcher so we can move Hiccup. I want to be out of here in twenty. Move people.”
It had been days since their escape and every step they took was a struggle for survival. They had started out with nothing and had to scavenge the neighboring areas for any kind of food medicine or weapons. Elsa was the only one that still had all her weapons. So far they’ve only found some small kitchen knives and some well-expired aspirin. So they had to resort to the makeshift skill set. This was a skill set that all avatars had and it was made for this specific situation. At some point in the books and show, the main group would come upon a situation where they didn’t have their preferred weapons or anything else to speak of. After the Governor destroyed the prison, after terminus. When Negan came and took their stuff. But they always made due with what they had. So when he made the game, Pitch made this skill set for all the players if they found themselves in a similar situation. And at this moment, that was all the Big Four and their friends had. They spent most of their days walking through trees whittling at sticks they found to make spears and spikes. Really anything that would be good use to peg and kill a walker. Merida had managed to find some string in one of the abandoned cabins they came across and made another bow with a branch she found. It was less durable than her preferred bow but it would do for now. She would spend a lot of her time while on this journey finding sticks and rocks and feathers to make arrows with. It kept her busy and kept her mind off things, most of the time anyway. They weren’t too worried about people right now. If they heard other players or thought there might be some in the vicinity they would change course and go around. Even if it was a player surrounded by walkers with no way out. They relied heavily on Merida’s foresight and Hiro’s hacks to help them navigate if they had to avoid a massive herd they didn’t want to be put off course. The ocean was their only hope. Even if not everyone believed that.
They would stop to take breaks and in those times they would take turns hunting- they couldn’t rely too much on Merida for this since she was already being spread thin. Whoever didn’t hunt cooked. Sometimes they brought back big fat dear other times tiny rabbits- three at the most. They were rarely starving. If they had managed to catch a dear they would try to keep the meat in a cooler they found so as to feed them for a while. But without ice, it lasts only a few hours. Sometimes they would open the cooler that was full an hour before but was now empty. The durability ran out and it vanished into pixels. So they would be hungry but still not starving. Water wasn’t that much of an issue either. They were always able to find a stream or something of the like and boil the water to purify it. Water and food were fine, what had the group looking like Rick’s after the hospital and Beth was all the people they lost and the threat that still loomed over them. Drago had torn them apart without even lifting a finger. Just sat back and let his men take them out. This wasn’t like before. They didn’t know how to stop him. They never faced anything like this. Never thought they would have to face anything like this. They assumed everyone wanted out of this game. That everyone wanted to go home. They never even considered that this would come up, or that there would be more than one. They went in without knowing anything and now they are paying the price.
They had stopped to rest again. They had to do that every two hours or so because of Hiccup’s leg. Making their situation all the more dire.
When he first woke up he just took one look at his leg and nodded.
“You okay?” Flynn asked Jack wouldn’t even look at him.
“I will be.” Hiccup groaned reaching for Jack’s hand. “Help me up.”
Jack pulled him to his foot and kept a firm hold of his hands still not looking him in the eye.
“This isn’t that bad.” Hiccup snorted. “Just got to make a crutch, or maybe we can find a horse. I could ride the horse and fight. Either way, I’ll find a way to work with this.”
Jack didn’t know how he could be so calm about this. He didn’t know why he wasn't freaking out. He wanted to ask but didn’t think he had a right. If Jack had been more prepared they wouldn’t have been put in this situation. If Jack hadn’t let his own pride deceive him into thinking nothing could hurt them, Hiccup would still be whole.
“Jack, look at me.”
It took him a minute, but eventually, he let his eyes travel the expanse of Hiccup’s neck, then up his jaw till green met blue.
“I’m sorry.” he mumbled now unable to look away.
“Stop.” Hiccup smiled carding his fingers through snowy strands. “This isn’t your fault. I was running my mouth off. And besides, it’s not my real leg. It’s virtual.”
“It could get you killed.” Jack whimpered nuzzling the hand that was now on his cheeks.
“I won’t let it.” He smiled leaning his brow against Jack’s. “I’ll beat this. We’ll beat him.”
That was days ago. They hadn’t found a horse, but they did find a wagon. Hiccup groaned when he saw it but knew that it was their only option at the moment. So they found some rope and fashioned a makeshift harness that they wrapped around Toothless so he could pull Hiccup along. It was a pain in the ass. They had to keep pushing on the back of it to get it unstuck since they weren’t traveling on a road. It was all steep hills and rocky terrain. The entire time Hiccup kept whittling at a log he found. No one knew what he was making but left him to it. What else was he going to do while they were traveling?
Pushing the wagon was back-breaking work, and put a ton of strain on Toothless so they would stop every two hours to rest and replenish any water or food they needed. Jack would rarely leave Hiccup when they stopped. He kept watch; taking out any walkers that got too close. Hiccup didn’t say anything about it. He didn’t say much of anything since he woke up. Just kept whittling.
Eventually, it got on Merida’s nerves.
“Big brother,” Elsa called as they stopped again to rest- after receiving a meaningful look from Merida. “Why don’t we go look for supplies.”
“Take Merida or Flynn.” Jack told her taking up his normal place by Hiccup’s wagon.
“Ah went las time.” Merida growled.
“Dude.” Flynn groaned from his spot against a tree. “I went the time before that. You haven’t gone out and you're the expert scavenger.”
“I’ve been protecting the group.” Jack hissed.
“We can do that.” Rapunzel assured. “Go, take a breather.”
“I’m not leaving you defenseless.”
“You mean you're not leaving me.” Hiccup sighed pausing in his work to give Jack a stink eye. “Go. I’ll be fine. Everyone is here. You need a break from your pity party anyway.”
“I’m not-”
“Go.” Hiccup insisted point with his knife. “I’ll be here when you get back.”
Not really having a good argument and knowing that if he tried to stay Hiccup would just sick Toothless on him, Jack sighed and nodded following his sister out of camp.
As soon as she was sure that they were out of ear-shot, Merida marched up to Hiccup her arms crossed.
"Why huvnae ye said anythin' tae heem?" she demanded.
“What do you want me to say?” he sighed still focused on the log.
“Talk tae heem. Gie heem tae fight again. He doesnae hink we can win. We willnae if ye dornt convince heem otherwise."
“Nothing I say right Now is going to help him.”
“Hiccup-”
“Merida.” He interrupted now looking up at her. “I can’t walk, I can’t fight. He knows that. I'm useful in other ways. My mind is probably way more useful than my fighting skills, but he doesn’t see it that way. To him I’m helpless. He is not going to leave my side to fight Drago. Unless I can prove that I can still fight by his side and right now I can’t do that.”
"Then whit dae ye plan oan daein'?" she asked glaring full force now. "Haw ur ye gonnae fix thes?"
He chuckled looking back down at his log.
“I’m going to finish this, we’re going to find that other group, then I’ll find a way to fight.” He told her. “That’s when Jack will be okay. But don’t worry. I’ll get his fighting spirit back here in a few days.”
She looked dubious but could hear Elsa and Jack returning so she left it alone. She didn’t know what he was planning. She just knew that she better stay out of his way and let him work it out.
A few days later they sat down again taking a break when Hiccup let out a sigh.
“Finally.” He smiled starting to undo the ropes on his wagon.
“Hiccup, what are you doing?” Rapunzel asked being the first to see him move.
He paid her no mind as he began tying the rope around the log then tying the log to his leg. When he was done with that he took a deep breath and scooted to the edge of the wagon placing his foot and the now attached log on the ground. Everyone watched him as he took another deep breath and push up. He wobbled, Jack rushed forward to steady him then they shared a look. Hiccup smiled as he took a step forward, then another following Jack as he backed up. Everyone watched with bated breaths as Jack let go and stepped aside so Hiccup could stumble forward before steadying himself and stepping forward with confidence.
“Holy-” Ruffnut started.
“Shit.” Tuffnut finished.
“I can do this.” Hiccup smirked turning to Jack. “I just need a little practice. And if this place we’re going has a blacksmith then I can make a real prosthetic. I can do this.” He limped back to Jack cupping his cheeks so their eyes were locked again. “I’m not giving up Jack.” he hushed still smiling. “You shouldn’t either.”
Jack stared for a moment before giving his own little chuckle placing his hands over Hiccup’s.
“I never did,” Jack assured. “I was worried. I didn’t know how I was going to do this without you. But now I won’t have to. You can do this.” He nodded. “We can do this.”
Elsa watched the boys with a fond smile, her conversation with Jack that day they went hunting suddenly coming to the forefront of her mind.
“Jack,” she sighed when they were out of earshot. “I know how this looks.” she murmured pushing a branch out of her way. “But you can’t give up. Drago’s still out there. We need to stop him. Once when we find this ocean place we can regroup. But we can’t win if you give up.”
He gave her an odd look. His brow raised in a quizzical arch. She was certain he would start in on a rant about how there was no hope like he did when they thought they lost Hiccup, but he surprised her.
“I haven’t given up.” he deadpanned.
Her eyes widened and she tilted her head.
“But-”
“I haven’t given up.” he repeated leaning on his spear, looking at his bare feet. “Drago is a threat we need to stop. Eventually, we have to go after him. We still have to win the game if we want out and he’s in the way of that. We got to go after him.”
“But you’ve been-”
“Worried.” he sighed kicking his spear into a twirl. “Hiccup can’t walk. That could get him killed. I’ve been so focused on protecting him that I’ve started to brood. But he’ll figure something out. He always does. He’ll find a way to fight by my side. Whether it’s on the back of a horse or hell maybe he’ll fashion a sled and attach it to Toothless. I don’t really know, all I know is he hasn’t given up and neither have I. We just need a minute. Time to recover, to rethink our approach. Time to grieve for everyone we lost. I will never stop feeling guilty for that. It’s my fault that they're dead. But I’m not gonna let that bring me down. I’m gonna use it to push me forward. I’ve got to make this better. I’ve got to atone for this. The best way to do that is beat this game and take down the asshole that trapt us here.” He turned to her giving her a small smile. “Don’t worry sis, I’m not done.”
She smiled back taking the five steps needed to wrap her arms around him.
“I’m glad.” she said softly. “We’ll win this.”
“Yeah.” he nodded pulling away. “C’mon. If we come back empty handed Merida will kill us.”
Elsa didn’t tell Merida about this. She figured that whatever Hiccup had to say to her was of a similar nature. And besides, it would be a nice surprise once revealed.
The heavy cloud that hung over the survivors suddenly seems silly. There was no need to be so tense. Jack never gave up, he was just being overprotective. Sometimes it was hard to tell the difference. They still had heavy hearts because of their loss but now, now they were ready to take on this death game.
Soon enough it would be game over.
“When you said they were at the ocean,” Jack groaned looking out on the waves. “I didn’t think you meant it was an island a mile off shore.”
“Sorry.” Hiro winced looking out at the island. “I didn’t really know where they were, just the coordinates Drogo had me track.”
“Either way,” Hiccup interjected. “Let’s find a boat and start rowing.”
"What kin' ay defenses dae these fowk hae?" Merida asked looking for a dock.
“I have no idea.” Hiro sighed scratching his head. “I only knew where this place was, never anything else.”
“It’s fine.” Rapunzel assured patting his shoulder. “You got us here and that’s all that matters.”
“Hey over here.” Elsa called finding two rowboats tied to an anchor buried in the sand.
They all rushed after her, except for Jack and Hiccup. The sand was the worst place to walk when you're just getting used to your new prosthetic. Hiccup had to rely on Jack and Toothless to balance him. The sooner he makes a real prosthetic to replace this peg the better. Espesially with the sand, it was making his peg rub harshly against his leg causing some discomfort. More so than normal. For now, he would have to just deal with being babied.
“Slow steps.” Jack was murmuring as he leads his lover with his right hand, glancing over at the massive cat that stayed close to Hiccup’s left letting him lean on him so as to not lose balance.
“If we go any slower,” Hiccup growled. “Someone else will have beaten the game by the time we get to the boat.”
“Remember the Governor's girlfriend in the show?” Jack reminded making Hiccup pause in his grousing.
“Andrea? What about her?”
“No not her, the other one. The one with the kid.”
“Lilly?”
“Yeah her.”
“I reiterate; what about her?”
“Remember how her kid died?”
“Mud walker… You think there are sand walkers?”
“Anything is possible with the walking dead.” Jack sighed finally reaching the boat and helping Hiccup in. “I think they did that in both the book and show.”
“I remember the sand walkers from the show.” Hiccup tilted his head. “Tara and Heath came across them. But I don’t remember them in the book.”
“Either way.” Jack shrugged hopping in with Toothless. “Better safe than sorry.”
They pushed out taking a moment to get the hang of rowing then aimed straight for the island. There was no one on the beach. There were no traps. Nothing and that worried all of them. The island may be a good place to hold up but people still could show up and try to take it. If these people were any kind of Walking Dead fans they would know this.
“Keep on your guard,” Jack warned.
They all nodded pulling out their spears and knives, Merida notched her arrow and Elsa pulled back the lever on her rifle. Hiccup had to rely on Toothless to keep him upright as he shuffled forward after Jack. The snowy-haired leader was sticking close to the blacksmith knowing that if this turned into a fight that he was Hiccup’s best hope. They marched through the sand until it became grass and mud.
“Getting a real Oceanside vibe right now.” Flynn told the others. “Remember how tough those chicks were.”
“Stay calm,” Rapunzel told him. “And focus.”
He nodded leveling his knife with his chest.
They had made it all the way to what looked like an abandoned village without incident which only served to unnerve them more.
“Waur ur they?” Merida growled at Hiro.
“I-”
“Hands up now!”
They paused standing ready, knives poised as a dozen players popped up from behind huts and trees. They were all armed with heavy artillery and it didn’t look like they would mind shooting any one of them. Jack looked to Hiro who looked shocked then back at Hiccup who nodded.
“We’re not here to fight,” Jack exclaimed lowering his spear. “We want to talk.”
“Weapons down, now.” one of the others called, a woman from the sound of it.
“Seriously?” he looked around at his people. “The only ones that are a real threat to you is the girl with the Beretta and the other girl with the bow the rest of us are armed with sticks. You all have massive guns trained at our heads. What harm are we to you?”
“You have a panther.” one of them called
“And you have an AK.” Jack retaliated with a shrug. “Seems we’re at a disadvantage. We only want to talk. Our home was destroyed and we’d like to talk to your leader and see if they’re willing to help us with a little problem.”
“I won’t say it again buddy.” This one was a hulking dark-skinned boy with a Soviet AKM bayonet and all, but Jack could see it shaking in his hands. “Drop your weapons.”
“C’mon man.” the girl next to him- a short angry looking thing with dark purple streaked hair- growled training her colt AR-15 at Jack’s head. “Woman up and shoot them.”
“Wait!” Hiro called rushing forward. “Wasabi, Go-go don’t, it’s us!”
“Hiro stop.” Honey cried running after him.
“Honey Lemon, Hiro?” another boy, this one blond and wearing a green beanie called lowering his SK. “Is it really you?”
“Yeah Fred,” Hiro smiled. “It’s us.”
“Holy crap.” Fred cried leaping over his cement barrier and rushing to envelop both Hiro and Honey in a bone-crushing hug. “I missed you guys. Thought I’d never see you.”
“Knew you’d find a way.” Go-go smiled joining the hug.
“I’m so glad you’re alive.” Wasabi whimpered wrapping his arms around all of them. “So glad.”
“What about Tadashi?” Go-go finally asked looking around for the older Hamada. “Is he with you?”
Everyone lowered their weapons and watched the happy moment knowing that there weren’t enough of these in this game. But at the sound of Tadashi’s name everyone in the group looked down a new wave of grief replacing their temporary glee.
“Tadashi…” Hiro couldn’t get it out before tears started to spill. “We were in a hotel, and this guy he… Tadashi didn’t…”
The smiles fell as they began to understand now wrapping the other two in their arms as if to shelter them from all the harmful things in this world.
Jack wanted to give them a chance to have their moment, to reconnect and grieve, but there was no time.
“I’m sorry,” he said getting their attention. “But we really need to talk to your leader.”
“Oh yeah.” Hiro sniffed rubbing at his eyes. “Guys, this is Jack Frost, Hiccup, Rapunzel and Merida, the Big Four.”
Now everyone was really looking at them. You would think they would be used to this but it still felt weird. They had to fight not to fidget.
"Fur th' loove ay christ, woods ye quit gawkin' awreddy." Merida finally cracked.
“She’s right,” Rapunzel said stepping forward. “We don’t have that much time. We really need to talk to your leader.”
Go-go- the supposed de facto leader- scrutinized the group before she nodded.
“Follow us.” she said turning and walking further into the island jungle.
They all released a breath and quickly followed.
Along the way, Jack and the rest of the B4 had to answer a ton of questions. Seems they had a bit of a following. They tried to be nice and answer as politely as they could but eventually, Merida started snapping at people and Toothless- being able to sense his tamer’s discomfort- started snarling at anyone that got to close. They still tried to smile politely as most everyone kept their distance.
Soon enough they found themselves coming upon a ten-foot wall that loomed on the horizon. It reminded them of Hilltop if they were honest. There were two guards up at the top the gates, giving them a look of distrust. But after Go-go barked up at them they pulled the gates apart a bit so there was a small gap with just enough room for their group. Inside was nothing like Hilltop. It looked more like the abandoned village a few miles back but more lively. There were huts everywhere and people, lots of people. They were all milling about doing chores or sparing. Making baskets and fish traps husking coconuts and sewing blankets. It was thriving. And most of them were staring at Jack and the others like they were a pack of wolves.
“Starting to understand why Drogo hasn’t been able to take this place.” Elsa murmured scanning the area.
“They have the numbers and the weapons.” Jack noted seeing all the well-crafted spears and swords and the massive rifles.
“We need to get them on our side.” Hiccup grunted his stump starting to twinge. “Or else we’re gonna have to find another group.”
“You okay?” Jack asked.
“Do you want me to look at it?” Rapunzel asked already reaching for her meager meds.
“It’s fine.” he assured. “Just been walking on it for too long.”
“Oi.” Merida hissed getting their attention, Go-go had stopped in front of a larger hut with tapestries instead of walls.
“Wait here.” She told them going in.
"So what's th' plan?" Merida asked turning to her companions. "Haw ur we gonnae convince them tae help us?"
“Tell them our story.” Jack shrugged.
“Tha’s it?” she raised a crimson brow.
“It’s all we can do.” Hiccup affirmed.
“I want you to watch the leader.” Jack told him. “Try to read them.”
“You got it.” He nodded.
“The rest of you,” he looked to everyone else. “Look as non-threatening as you possibly can.”
They all nodded looking back to the door just as Go-go came out.
“The Big Four only.” she said. “The rest of you stay out here and wait with us.”
“Like hell.” Flynn growled stepping forward.
“Flynn.” Rapunzel hushed.
“No,” he persisted. “If Blondie is going I’m going.”
“Same here.” Elsa agreed, inching closer to Merida. “I go where Mer goes.”
“No.” Go-go insisted. “Just them, that’s the deal. The panther stays out here too.”
“Oh like hell that’s gonna happen.” Flynn snorted.
“Okay.” Hiccup nodded.
“What?” Both Elsa and Flynn choked even Toothless gave a gruntled hiss.
“This is their home,” he told them. “We follow their rules.”
“But Toothless will freek.” Elsa urged.
“Stay with him.” Hiccup told her. “You and Flynn are the only ones he trusts outside of us four. He’ll be fine.”
“But-”
“Flynn,” Rapunzel interjected. “Stay here, I’ll be fine.”
“And you?” Elsa growled rounding on her redhead. “You’re okay without me.”
“I woods loch ye tae come, but it's their haem.” Merida shrugged. “Besides Ah ken ye can tak' caur ay yerself as can Ah.”
“Fine.” she hissed crossing her arms and taking her place with Flynn by Toothless.
“Come here.” Jack said softly letting Hiccup use his shoulder for support. “Keep an eye on the leader.”
Hiccup nodded giving another wince as he put too much weight on his stump. Jack watched him worriedly but knew that if he asked Hiccup would just brush it off. He’d wait until after the meeting to address whatever was wrong with Hic’s leg.
Inside the hut there was nothing but a platform and a top it was three people. Two hulking men, one shirtless and wearing shorts. The other wearing a red shirt and overalls. The last was a tiny slim girl with dark curly hair. She wore a peach color tank top and tank cargo pants. She stood with the overall man behind the shirtless one. It seemed pretty obvious that he was the leader. They stopped at the bottom of the platform looking up at them waiting.
“You're the Big Four?” Shirtless asked raising a brow.
Jack snorted giving Hiccup a look. Hiccup smiled and nodded moving to stand on his own. Rapunzel was glaring at him but he ignored it, and the pain in his leg focusing instead on the three people in front of him.
“We are.” Jack told the leader stepping forward. “I’m-”
“I know who you are.” he boomed. “Jack Frost. Just as I know the others. You are all legends in this game. Everyone knows that if you see a boy with white hair, a girl with mile-long gold hair, another with curly red hair and a boy with a panther that they are most likely the Big Four.”
“Well, that is rather flattering.” Jack snorted.
“Mair loch embarrassin'.” Merida growled.
“So you know us.” Rapunzel said politely still watching Hiccup from the corner of her eye. “But we don’t know you.”
“I am Maui,” he told them looking back at the two behind him. “These are my left-hand man and right-hand woman, Ralph and Moana.”
“Nice to meet you.” she nodded.
“What do you want with us?” Ralph demanded.
Jack looked back at his people then gave a sigh.
“We were held up in a hotel a good long ways from here.” he told them leaning on his spear. “We were doing just fine until someone took Hiccup. We had to go get him and when we did we stirred up a hornet's nest. You’ve heard of Drago right?”
At this, all their eyes widened and they flinched. Well, all except one. Hiccup noticed this and honed in on them.
“You pissed off Drogo!” Maui growled.
“We didnae know who he was.” Merida hissed crossing her arms. “An' we cooldnae jist lae uir friend in thaur. We hud tae sae heem, end ay story.”
“You have no idea what you’ve done.” Ralph gritted.
“Yes, we do.” Jack mumbled looking down. “When we went we had the intention of killing Drogo. We didn’t want him to come after us. My sister, she’s called the ice cold sniper, she took the shot and was sure it took him out. Turns out that it just grazed him. He lived and came at us.” This is the part of the story were Jack started to get a bit misty-eyed. “He destroyed our home, killed a lot of our people, took the ones that survived. He wanted to take us. Make us watch as our people killed each other. But my sister and two others got out before the rest of us, came back and saved us. We’ve been traveling ever since.”
“And why did you come here?” Maui asked.
“I think you know why.” Jack nodded.
“You want us to help.” Maui scoffed. “You think we would help you. I don’t care if you’re the Big Four I’m not helping you. Hell, the fact that the Big Four couldn’t take him down just makes me more adamant about keeping my people out of this.”
“He destroyed uir haem.” Merida growled standing next to Jack. “Took uir fowk. We cannae lit 'at stain.”
“So this is about revenge.” Maui accused.
“No.” Jack insisted. “Well yes, partially. But not a big part. Mostly it's because he’s got clues. Clues that will help us end this nightmare. He finds them and does nothing with them. He doesn’t want this game to end. He may have the clue that will get us to the scientist or the place we need to take him. We can’t just let him keep them. You have the people and the weapons. Please, help us.”
“The answer is no.” Maui boomed. “Now leave this island.”
“Excuse me.” Hiccup exclaimed hobbling forward. “I understand your reasons but I don’t think you're the one calling the shots.”
“Excuse me?” Maui scoffed.
“You're not the leader.” Hiccup shrugged. “I’ve seen leaders, how they act in meetings like this. They adopt a mask of kinds. They don’t let themselves show anything they’re thinking. You two-” he pointed to Maui and Ralph- “suck at that. But her”- he pointed at Moana who still had a blank face even as they all focused on her- “she excels at it. To the point, I almost thought she was just bored. But no.” he smiled. “You’re the real leader aren’t you.”
She looked around at everyone waiting to see if they believed him or not.
“Pretty clever.” Hiccup continued putting a knuckle to his chin. “Using the big hulking guy as a double. Most people are slightly masochistic and think they can manipulate a woman leader. If you use a man then they take your people more seriously.”
“It’s actually more of an intimidation tactic.” She chuckled stepping forward. “But you are correct.”
“Sorry, Moana.” Maui murmured looking down.
“It’s fine.” Moana waved the apology away. “We're dealing with one of the topmost expert strategists. It’s only natural that he’d sniffed out our plan.” She smiled down at the four placing her hands on her hips. “Hi, I’m Moana, welcome to Motunui.”
“Pleasure to meet you.” Hiccup smiled, but it was strained and Rapunzel could see it.
“You’ve heard our story.” Jack said getting her attention. “What say you?”
“I am sorry about your home and people.” she said looking sincere. “But I don’t understand how I should let it move me to sacrifice my own. We have been working hard to keep him at bay-”
“Then stop.” Jack insisted. “Stop keeping him at bay and start keeping him down. Stop hiding and fight.”
“A rousing speech.” She snorted. “But still.”
“Have you lost any of your people to him?” Hiccup asked crossing his arms.
She stared hard at him, before looking down.
“Yes.” She nodded.
“What’s their name?”
“I don’t know his real name.” she murmured looking back up at him. “His handle is Ocean.”
Hiccup bit his lip, looking away.
“Did you know him?” she demanded. “Did you see him?”
“I did.” he answered still looking down.
“Is he okay?”
“He… I fought him,” he told her now looking her in the eye. “That’s what they make you do in there. Work on chores then fight in the arena against each other. To the death.”
They all were looking at him, hanging off his every word.
“He was my first fight.” he continued. “I got to know him a little before the fight. He tried to help me get through a day there. But that night… I won the fight but refused to kill him. So they held me down and made me watch as they fed him to the walkers. Then they took me into a room and cut me up. Dropped my HP to the yellow and kept me there. Over and over. It was an endless hell.”
She kept eye contact even as one tear slipped down her cheek.
“I’m sorry.” she murmured.
“You… should be-” he didn’t finish as his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed.
“Damnit.” Rapunzel gritted rushing forward.
“Hiccup!” Jack cried barely managing to catch the boy. “Hic, what’s wrong.”
Rapunzel pulled his stump towards her and ripped the peg away pulling up his pant leg to see his stump. It looked red, the usual pixels to show injury. But she had medic skills. So she could see things the others couldn’t. Or rather a pop up would tell her what was wrong with him.
“It’s been rubbed raw.” She hisses. “Then it got infected. He needs antibiotics now.”
“Ralph, go get the wood witch,” Moana ordered. “Tell her to bring antibiotics and anything else she may need for an infected stump.”
“Going.” Ralph nodded rushing past them and out the hut.
Jack held his boy close, running shaking fingers through slick brown hair noticing for the first time that Hiccup’s cheeks were red. A graphic in the game to indicate fever. How hadn’t he seem this?
“Raps.” Jack whimpered. “He’s burning up.”
“Jack stay calm.” She told him ripping off a piece of her shirt and soaking it with the water from her water bottle and placing it on his brow. “He is going to be just fine.”
“My medic will have what you need.” Moana promised hopping from the platform kneeling next to Jack. “We’ll get him healed up.”
“Thank you.” Jack murmured.
“... What he said…” she licked her lips. “Is it true?”
“Hiccup woodnae lie aboot thes.” Merida urged kneeling with her friends.
“What happened?” Elsa cried rushing in with Flynn and Toothless on her heel.
“Elsa,” Merida called going to her girlfriend. “C’mon.”
“Is he alright?” she asked as Merida pushed her out.
“C’mon.” Merida urged. “Let Rapunzel dae ‘er thin’.”
“He has clues?” Moana asked looking like she needs this to make her final decision.
“Yes.” Jack nodded not seeing what that had to do with anything.
“We’ll help you.” she promised, a fire in her eyes. “We’ll fight with you. But first we need to get him healed up and a new leg.”
When Hiccup woke up the next day it was to the good news that the Motunui group would fight with them. But it was also to a bunch of angry friends. They were all pissed he didn’t tell them he was hurting or that he was sick.
“I thought that my pant leg would be enough of a buffer.” Hiccup shrugged sheepishly. “I’m sorry. There were more important things going on.”
“Listen to me.” Jack hissed cupping his cheeks making him look right at him. “We could have waited to come here. Nothing, and I mean nothing is more important than you. Than our people, got that?”
“Yush.” Hiccup shh-ed seeing as Jack was holding his cheeks so tight that his lips were misshaped into a skinny O.
They laughed at that.
After that Moana showed them around and let Hiccup use whatever he needed in the blacksmith hut to make a new leg. This took him a whole day to make. Then another couple of days to learn how to walk and fight on it. And by then everyone who needed them was given a bunch of new weapons. Merida got a new compound bow with two full quivers and a spear. Rapunzel only wanted a frying pan- the chains were still in her hair. Jack got a new spear but still dearly missed his crook. As soon as they took down Drogo he was getting that back. Hiccup was given a crossbow and a gun. He too missed his flame sword and shield bow and didn’t have time to make another of each. They needed to end this within the next day or three. And Hiccup had the perfect plan.
“This is both insane and brilliant.” Jack smirked when Hic told them.
“I quote the legendary Johnny Depp as the also legendary Jack Sparrow,” Hiccup smirked. “It’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide.” He finished giving a well-practiced bow now able to maneuver near perfect on his new leg.
“But first we need to find a herd.” Elsa hummed standing with her arms crossed in thought. “Where are we gonna find one?”
“We'll hae tae scit it th' main lain an' see whit we see.” Merida suggested looking to everyone around her. “We got tae dae it quick thocht. We’re losin time.”
“Then let’s get a team together.” Jack nodded.
“You don’t need to.” Hiro told them pulling up a hollow keyboard. “One of the codes I installed allows me to track moving herds. The game generates them close to long-lasting communities or good scavenging stops.” he trailed on typing away as fast as he could. “There’s a chance that there is one already heading this way. We can draw it away to that storage locker building you were talking about.”
“What?” Moana cried looking over Hiro’s shoulder. “How did you-”
“He’s a genius.” Rapunzel shrugged.
“There.” Hiro called pointing to a spot on his hollow map. “There’s one made up of about fifty just a couple clicks away.”
“There is one that close?” Moana paled. “They could wash up on our shores in less than a few days.”
“We won’t let them.” Jack assured. “We’re heading out to gather them. We’ll need to find and hotwire a couple of cars.”
“Don’t need to.” Moana smiled. “We have our own way of transport. Follow me.”
They did and ended up at a stable.
“I don’t know if any of you are any good at riding but this is the best way. They don’t need gas and there were plenty of them running wild on the mainland.” She smiled as they gandered at their massive herd of horses.
“Whit a beauty.” Merida breathed walking up to a hulking black Shire colt.
“That one is called Angus.” Moana smiled. “He’s gentle enough and a good runner. You can take him.”
“Thank yoo.” Merida sighed running her fingers through Angus’s mane.
They all went around picking their steeds Rapunzel and Flynn grew fond of a stallion named Maximus though the colt didn’t seem to like Flynn that much. Hiccup picked a black Arabian mare and Jack went for her mate a painter colt. Everyone except Elsa seemed pretty happy with their choice. But she just kept walking up and down the stalls.
“Whit’s th’ matter love?” Merida asked atop her new colt.
“Horses make me nervous.” Elsa ticked watching the towering creatures wearily.
“Wha?” Merida scoffed. “Thaur big teddies.”
“With territorial issues.” Elsa snapped.
“Then maybe this will work.” Moana called opening another stall. “I’ve been saving it for when I learned how to ride, but I never got around to it.”
Elsa narrowed her eyes at the island leader as she followed her but they soon became wide with awe.
“Oh my.” she gasped feasting her eyes on a beautiful Triumph motorcycle. “This is…” she gulped gently placing a hand on the handle. “This is the bike that Daryl made when he first got to Alexandria.”
“Yup.” Moana nodded standing next to the snowy-haired girl. “I found it a while back. Couldn’t just leave it there so I brought it here.”
Elsa suddenly realized something and whipped around to look at her.
“You’re just gonna let me ride it?”
“Do you know how?”
“Yeah, my brother and I played plenty of racing games, I loved riding bikes.” she smirked.
“Then who better.” Moana smiled. “Otherwise it just sits here collecting dust. That just shames Daryl’s name.”
“If you’re sure.” Elsa smiled straddling the classic and revving the engine. “Amazing.”
Their rides figured out they loaded everything on the oversized motorboat and started putting their plan into action.
Though he would help, Hiccup worried that he might lose Toothless so he left him on the island in a cage much to the cat’s disdain. Besides, he spooked the horses. Best not to get thrown from his horse while he’s trying to stop a maniac.
“Merida, Elsa, you go and direct that herd.” Hiccup told the girls.
“On it.” they said horse and bike rocketing away.
“Moana, take your people to the trap and get everything ready.”
“Come on.” she called to her army taking off to the north.
“Jack, Flynn Rapunzel, and I will go and set the bait.” Hiccup told the remaining group members. “Wait here for Merida and Elsa and then help them get the herd in the trap. Hiro when I give the signal. patch Drago through to our mental walkie.”
“You got it.” Hiro nodded following Jack and the others into the trees.
“All of you, this is our only chance to end this.” He told them looking grim. “Don’t mess up.”
Merida hadn’t stopped looking at Elsa since they paused to wait for the herd.
“What?” Elsa finally asked looking up at the other girl only to receive a smile.
“Ye look bonnie bad arse ridin’ ‘at thin’.” Merida smirked sneaking a look at Elsa rear.
Elsa snorted grabbing the handles and leaning closer to the front.
“Drive you crazy with desire?” she teased giving a crooked smile,
“Heel yeah.” Merida giggled still staring like a hunter watching its prey.
Their fun moment was interrupted, however, by the nauseating wave of groans and gurgles of the undead.
“Hold that thought.” Elsa said started up the bike and giving the throttle a twist. “We got a job to do.”
Merida groaned herself glaring a the herd.
“Suin as thes is dain, suin as we gie a chance-”
“Definitely.” Elsa smirked wheeling around with a vroom. “But for now, watch yourself.”
“Ye tae.” Merida urged pulling on the reins and giving the shire colt a kick. “Yha!”
Hiccup and the others rode out to the north a few miles before splitting up with the intention to meet back up in about five minutes.
“Clocks ticking.” Hiccup told them through the mental walkie.
“Then let’s get started.” Flynn said and they could hear the smirk in his voice.
“Raps, Flynn, and Hiro all of you stay quiet.” Hiccup instructed. “But keep on the line, if something goes back on your end we need to know so we can come to get you.”
“Got it.” Rapunzel said.
“Hiro, when I say go, you patch that bastard through.”
“Ready and waiting.” Hiro affirmed.
“Ready Jack?” Hiccup asked his voice going a bit softer.
“When you are.” Jack said just as softly.
“... sigh… Go.”
They all felt the added connection and waited a few seconds to see if Drago would say anything before starting their practiced dialogue.
“Hiccup?” Jack asked, his voice tentative, hesitant.
“Jack!” Hiccup sounded alarmed. “What are you doing? You know we’re not supposed to use the mental walkie. Hiro found a bug. Someone could be listening.”
“I know.” Jack murmured, sheepish. “I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.”
“I’m fine Jack.” Hiccup insisted. “... are you?”
“I’m okay.” Jack assured. “I think I’m coming up on the spot. I just wish we didn’t have to split up.”
“It’s for the best.” Hiccup hummed. “The sooner we find the next clue point the sooner we can find the others and then get the hell out of this game. That’s how we’re gonna beat Drago.”
“I know.” Jack sighed by now he was coming up on the trap and the others would be with him soon. Time to end this. “Holy shit, I found it.” he said excitedly. “All though there is a downside that’s a bit steep.”
“What is it?” Hiccup asked.
“I’m three miles north of Drago’s prison.” Jack groaned.
“Jack cut the line now.” Hiccup urged. “I’ll be there with Raps and Merida in ten, do not enter and get off the line. If you see any of Drago’s men you get out of there.”
“I love you.” Jack murmured- this was not part of the script and threw Hiccup off a bit.
“...I love you too, I’ll see you soon.” He said his tone softening again.
And with that they cut the line knowing full well that Drogo heard every word. About a minute latter they were all together again and galloping for the trap.
“I’m pretty sure that worked.” Rapunzel called as they came to a stop.
“For sure.” Jack smiled pulling Hiccup in for a quick kiss. “Well done babe.”
“Nice touch at the end.” Hiccup smirked pushing away. “Come on, we have to get ready for when Elsa and Merida show up.”
“There.” Heather called spotting Elsa on her bike and Merida right behind her.
“C’mon.” Fishlegs called riding off towards the trap.
It only took a minute or so for Elsa and Merida to catch up. As soon as the trap was in sight they could make out the harsh booming of electronic music. They rode the horses and bike up to the open doors before breaking off and going to the back of the building. It didn’t matter that there were nummy meat bags riding on bigger meat bags going towards the back of the building all the noise and lights from the strobes were way to inviting for the walkers to even try to follow them. They ambled through all heading for the storage closets with all the lights. Up on the second floor Hiccup and the others watched over the rails as they shambled about waiting until they were all packed in.
“Now.” Moana told Maui as the last one wandered into a container.
He nodded slamming his massive hand down on a red button. A switch flipped and all the doors on the ground floor slammed shut. Moana cut the music and turned to Hiccup.
“Places.” He called seeing Merida and others coming up the stairs. “The show is about to start.”
Drago has been seething ever since his men got back to the prison without Hiccup and the others. He had been terrorizing everyone. Pushing them out to find them. He wanted to watch Hiccup agonize over all the people that he would get killed. Finally, make that little puke see who was alpha. When he had gotten that bugged connection he knew that it was destiny.
He was going to put them all in their place, right under his boot.
The men went right through the front door. It was a three-story storage container facility. Which meant it was a tower and had only a few places for hiding. This was going to be a piece of cake. They saw no need for subtly, there were only four players in there with little to no weapons. That’s what they thought. But as soon as they entered they found that that was not the case.
As soon as they entered, as soon as the last man was through the threshold the door fell shut and they were swallowed by darkness. Seconds later the room was flooded with light and they could make out several people with large rifles aimed right at them.
“Drop your weapons.” Moana roared.
They didn’t, of course, taking aim at the people above on the second-floor balcony. But they didn’t fire. They were a bit distracted by the banging and slamming on the container doors.
“Do as she says.” Jack called. “Those lockers are filled with walkers and we got a man up here with his hand over the button. One gun goes off, he pushes the button and you all die.”
“You don’t have the guts.” someone called back up.
“Try us.” Merida growled back.
They all looked at each other then one by one they started putting their firearms down and their hands on their heads.
Everyone began to relax after that. Everyone except Hiccup. He scanned the crowd of players starting to get more panicked.
“Hic?” Jack asked grabbing his shoulder. “What’s wrong?”
“Where is he?” Hiccup hissed leaning over the railing. “Where is he?!”
“Hiccup what’s wrong?” Jack demanded.
“Drago!” Hiccup roared aiming his gun at one of the players. “Where is he?!”
“We don’t know.” the player, a teenage boy with a leather jacket, yelled staring at Hiccup’s goose gun. “He told us to go in, he stayed outside.”
“He knows this is a trap.” Moana growled. “You’re gonna get us all killed.”
“No.” Hiccup hissed lowering his gun. “He’s too arrogant. He would have sent his men in thinking they would have overpowered us no problem.”
“He saw the door go down.” Rapunzel urged. “He knows now.”
“I know that.” Hiccup growled now pacing. “He… he would have seen that then realized… but he wouldn’t give up.”
“What would he do next Hic?” Jack asked. “You know him better than anyone. What would he do next?”
“He’d find another entrance.” He said feeling absolutely positive. “He’s gonna try to take us by surprise.”
“Then we’re just gonna have to surprise him.” Jack said looking to the others. “Moana, you take the hooligans, Hiro, Honey, and your people and get these jerks out and tied up. Rapunzel and Flynn you circle around the outside and look for Drogo. Hic and I Will take the first and second floor. Elsa you and Merida start on the second and go to the third. Fan out and find him.”
They all gave their affirmatives and did as they were told. Hiccup swapped out his rifle for his crossbow then followed Jack to the first floor. They checked the surrounding halls and the office before heading up the stairs and checking the second-floor halls. But they found nothing. So they decided to case the third floor as well and meet up with the girls while they were at it. They had made it to the third-floor balcony and still hadn’t seen either of them.
“What the hell.” Hiccup growled as they looked down.
“Looks like the walkers got out.” Jack groaned watching as the dead meandered about barely able to move two inches to either side. All packed in like sardines. “But the door to the halls and stairs are still closed.”
“At least we’ll all be able to get out.” Hiccup sighed.
“I wouldn’t count on that.”
They both tensed raising their weapons and taking aim only to pause with their fingers on the trigger.
“Elsa.” Jack breathed his eyes going wide.
“Let them go Drago!” Hiccup demanded pushing his bow forward over the rail.
Across from them standing tall and confident was Drago along with two of his cronies who had their arms around Elsa and Merida’s shoulders and a knife pressed to their throats.
“We both know that’s not going to happen.” Drago growls. “What is going to happen is your going to put your weapons down, put your hands up and we’re going to walk out of here and get your friends out there to surrender and come back home with us.”
“Keep him talking Hiccup.” Jack hissed to the panther tamer before connecting to Rapunzel. “Where are you?”
“We’re on the first floor.” Rapunzel said sounding tense. “The walkers got out-”
“Forget about that right now.” Jack urged. “Get to the third floor now. Go to the south side guns raised. Drago has Elsa and Merida.”
“We’re on our way.” Rapunzel assured.
“Big brother?” Elsa called through the walkie.
“Elsa, you okay?” Jack asked his eyes flashing his concern for her and Merida.
“We’re fine.” She smiled. “Just keep him talking. Merida and I got this.”
“How do you think that’s going to work Drogo?” Hiccup called riling up the walkers two floors down. “There are more of us. Moana and her people already have all yours at gunpoint. I doubt she would let them go just because you got us. We’re not even hers.”
“But she’s good.” Drago snorted. “She’s descent and descent people don’t let others die if they can stop it.”
“Don’t be so sure about that.” Jack shook his head while watching as Merida and Elsa grabbed the knives and used their free arms to elbow their captors repeatedly till they let go. Yet Drago didn’t notice, he was so focused on Hiccup.
“This is how this is going to end.” Hiccup growled still with his bow leveled. “My friends are going knock your guys out, and my other friends are going to show up and hold you at gunpoint. Then I’m going to take this bolt and launch it into your leg. Payback for taking mine.”
At this Drago let loose a booming laugh that practically shook the balcony.
“You fool.” he roared leaning on the railing.
“Did he just do the villain thing?” Jack inquired raising a brow.
“Yup.” Hiccup nodded watching as Merida and Elsa threw the other players to the ground then kicked them in the head to knock them out.
“You really think that you're going to take me down?” Drago now looked to be overtaken with mania. “I have all I need on my side. I have all the clues everyone needs. There is no getting out of this game. You’re all mine to take. You are trapped.”
“Good to know.” Flynn smirked, standing directly behind Drogo with his 50 cal rifle. “That sound like something we could use.”
Drago whirled around to find that Elsa and Merida were free, their guns back in their hands and were now joined by Rapunzel and Flynn both with their own guns. His men lay unconscious on the ground and he stands pressed against the railing suddenly looking panicked. He whirls back around to glare at Hiccup.
“This isn’t over.” He promises.
“But it is.” Hiccup swears, pulling the trigger and sending a bolt right into Drogo’s leg.
What happened next is not what they planned.
The bolt caught Drago right in the knee making him cry out. He reared back then forward losing his balance in his blind panic and rage tumbling right over the edge of the railing. Falling right into the pit of walkers.
“NO!” Hiccup cried reaching over the railing as if he could catch the man only for Jack to rush forward and wrap his arms around his middle to keep him from going over.
“Hiccup stop.” Jack urged when Hiccup began to struggle.
“No, I didn’t mean too.” Hiccup whimpered still reaching over the edge. “I didn’t-”
“I know.” Jack assured pulling him to his chest, running his fingers through earth brown hair. “I know. It’s done now. We need to go.”
The trek to the prison was tense. Hiccup, the others, and Moana were riding in the front with the prisoners tied behind them in four rows, hands tied together one after the other. It was a long parade line. The hooligans and the rest of Moana’s people were at the back driving the prisoners' trucks and vans keeping an eye on the prisoners. Moana kept looking at Hiccup like he was Hannibal Lecter and Hiccup didn’t tell her to stop. All though it was getting on the rest of the Big Four’s nerves. They knew he would never do something like that on purpose. They knew it was an accident. But it didn’t stop the poisonous thoughts in Hiccup’s head. He killed someone. Even in the arena he never did that. Drago killed them not him. He knew that in the end, it was for the best. Drago was too dangerous. He would have gotten out and destroyed them.
But that didn’t make him feel any better.
The guilt was not worth it.
“Enaw awready.” Merida growled from her steed riding forward so she was next to Moana grabbing her arm to get her attention. “Stop glarin’ at heem lock ‘at?”
Moana glared retching her arm free.
“He killed someone.” She hissed.
“Someone who was going to kill us.” Elsa gritted coming up on Moana’s other side, her bike humming with its slow pace.
“That doesn’t make it right.” Moana insisted now fingering her knife. “He murdered someone.”
“We already told you it was an accident.” Flynn maintained. “We saw it. Hiccup shot him in the knee. He only wanted to stop him but the guy fell over of his own accord.”
“Hiccup would never.” Rapunzel asserted from behind Flynn on Max- which was awkward but she wasn’t going to let this girl hurt her friend. “It was an accident.”
“How do you know that?” Moana demanded.
“We’ve been with him since the start.” Raps lashed out now leaning so far her hair was dragging on the ground. “Even though the guy cut off his leg and kept him locked up Hiccup doesn’t have it in him to kill anyone on purpose.”
“But he did.” Moana exclaimed.
“It was an accident.” Merida roared now maneuvering her shire so that he blocked Moana’s path and view of Hiccup stopping the whole parade. “Sae ye need tae drap it.”
“And if I don’t?” Moana asked clenching the handle of her knife. “What if I take my people and go?”
“Then go.” Jack snarled turning around and marching his painter back to her joining Merida. “Take your people and go. You’ve done your part. So go. Get the hell out of here. Because if I have to sit here and wait any longer for you to make the move your planning to make on my boyfriend I’m going to knock you off that horse myself.”
“My horse.” Moana snorted. “There all my horses.”
“Not anymore.” Jack shook his head gripping his gun. “The horses, the guns, ammo, anything on us is ours now. Go home. We’re going to finish this.”
“What does that mean?” Moana said wide-eyed. “Are you going to kill them too?”
“No.” Hiccup gritted finally speaking up. “We’re not. And we’re not going to take your guns and horses.” He dismounted pulling the crossbow and walking them both to Moana. “Take them. We’ll manage.”
“Hiccup.” Jack hissed.
“No.” Hiccup shook his head handing the reins and bow to Moana. “You don’t trust me anymore, I get that. You need to keep your people safe and I may be a threat. So take your horses and weapons and go. We’ll manage.”
Moana stared down at the boy who wouldn’t even make eye contact with her. The look in his eyes was distant, haunted.
“You won’t make it armed with sticks and knives.” She said still watching him.
“We’ll manage.” he insisted still not looking at her.
She continued to watch him for a minute before shaking her head and pushing her steed forward.
“Get back on the mare,” she growled pushing past everyone. “We still got a lot of ground to cover.”
They watched for a minute before Hiccup shouldered the bow and hefted himself upon the mare.
“She’s right.” Hiccup said looking down at the mare’s main. “I murdered him.”
“He fell.” Jack insisted.
“Don’t change the fact.” Hiccup shook his head flicking the reins and marching on. “I killed someone, that makes me a murderer.”
“Hiccup-”
“Let’s just get this done.” He said. “We can talk about what happened after we find a new camp.”
“What about the prison?” Flynn suggested. “We could be like Rick and the others.”
“Flynn.” Elsa accosted.
“I’m not staying in that place.” Hiccup growled. “Let’s go.”
Those who remained at the prison gave up without a fight, most of them were there for the safety and didn’t like the way Drago did things. They got the message and new things were gonna be okay. Still, Jack and the others went in to get all the clues that Drago’s men had gathered along with their original weapons and meds.
“Thank god.” Jack sighed swinging his crook around relishing the feel of it in his hands.
Rapunzel smiled at her frying pan Merida cheered as she hugged her bow and sword to her chest. Hiccup was too relieved to hand back the crossbow- the weapon that took down Drago- and pick up his shield bow and flame sword.
“Guys.” Flynn called rushing into the armory with a tall thin grey skinned man in tow.
“What is it?” Rapunzel asked going to him.
“You need to hear this.” he told them turning to the man. “Tell them what you told me.”
“M-my name is Jude Law.” he started. “I was an associate of Pitch Black.”
“You were what?” Jack cried rushing forward. “What the hell does that mean?”
“Jack stop.” Hiccup urged stepping in front of his boyfriend.
“I worked with him on the game,” he said backing up. “He said he had a special job for me in game so I logged in and got trapped like the rest of you.”
“Whit special job?” Merida asked zeroing a glare on him.
“I’m…” he swallowed looking them all in the eye. “I’m the scientist that can end this game.”

Chapter Text

Game Start

They wasted no time after finding the scientist. They got the information they needed to find the lab and rushed out after a light lunch. Moana came with them since all they were doing was resonances. They didn’t get a second chance at this, they need all the info they could get before moving in.
What they found was concerning.
“This is the final boss battle?” Flynn cried starting with everyone else a good click away.
“Well, they’re always the hardest.” Moana gulped staring wide-eyed with everyone else.
“Aye.” Merida nodded fingering the string of her bow. “But thes is madness.”
Before them stood a herd unlike any they had ever seen. Even the whispers never amassed anything like this. There were practically millions of them.
“This is impossible.” Rapunzel whimpered. “There is no way for anyone to get through this.”
“I don’t think that's even the worst of it.” Hiccup ticked watching the walkers and their system like patterns. “Elsa, can you shoot one of them from here?”
“Yeah.” She snorted half-heartedly still staring completely freaked. “Why?”
“Do it” Hiccup nodded.
She looked at him for a moment, then looked to her brother who nodded. Sighing she pulled up her Beretta and looked through the scope. She, in all honesty, didn’t even have so aim. They were all packed together to tightly all she had to do was raise her gun to eye level and fire she would have hit one of them. But at this point, it was just habit. So she took aim then the shot. It hit and after a brief pause, the walker shattered into pixels. They waited but even with the thunderous sound of the gun, the herd didn’t stir.
“They should be coming for us.” Elsa noted lowering her rifle.
“Just keep watching.” Hiccup said a knuckle to his chin.
After a few more minutes something extremely terrifying happened. The shards doubled then reformed into two walkers.
“Oh god.” Rapunzel whimpered.
“They split into two.” Flynn exclaimed putting his hands on his head.
“We could kill half of them.” Hiccup hummed. “Make a path and we still wouldn’t get anywhere. They would multiply and be on us before we could say oh shit.”
“So what do we do?” Jack asked glaring at the herd.
“We figure out a plan.” Hiccup growled walking past everyone going back for the horses. “I need to get Toothless, we’ll figure out what to do along the way. Hooligans.”
“Yeah.” Fishlegs squeaked.
“Head back to the prison I’m placing you in charge of that place.” He told them. “This should only take us a couple of days.”
“Unless we die.” Flynn gulped.
“Flynn.” Rapunzel chastised.
“Go-go.” Moana called. “Take your group and go with them.”
“Got it.” Go-go nodded.
“Run the place as best you can, like we did at the hotel.” Jack told them mounting his colt. “We’ll see you when this is over.”
“Hiccup,” Fishlegs called getting his attention. “You better win.”
“We will.” Hiccup assured with a stiff nod.
They groused and planned all night, throwing each and every idea out the window. They were either too risky, or they didn’t have the equipment. It was driving them crazy.
“The prison has a tank.” Flynn groaned. “That has to be useful for something.”
“Whit ur we gonnae dae?” Merida demanded, rubbing her temples. “Drife ben them reit up tae th' duir? 'At doesnae tak' caur ay th' ones inside. ”
“She’s right.” Hiro growled looking at the hollow screne of the inside. He managed to hack in and get a good look inside. “There aren’t as many inside, but they may have the same spawning bullshit going on.”
“Either way we need away to deal with the spawning time.” Jack groaned rubbing his neck. “If only we had like a forcefield or something of the like.”
“We do.” Hiccup suddenly said from his seat. He had been so quiet just sitting there petting Toothless with a knuckle to his chin that it actually spooked them when he spoke.
“What do you mean?” Jack asked from his left.
“The semi from the city, remember?” Hiccup wondered still looking at the table.
“Yeah.”
“Retrofit another one.” Hiccup mumbled. “Use the tank to make a path then use the semis to safely transport a small group to the door.”
“Then what do we do about the ones inside?” Moana asked.
“We make a smaller version.” He gestured with his hand now looking up at them. “It’s going to be hot and claustrophobic, but it will get us in. We don’t want to kill too many walkers or else we’ll be overwhelmed.”
“How are we going to make these things?” Hiro asked.
“The truck is simple.” Jack told him. “We’ve done that before. The other part-”
“I’ll take care of that.” Hiccup assured. “I’ll leave the trucks to you. I need to use your forge.”
“Hey.” Jack said catching Hiccup’s arm before he could leave. “You do your thing. We’ll see you when you're done.”
“Yeah.” Hiccup nodded leaning in for a quick kiss. “See you soon.”
He watched him for a moment before turning to the others.
“Let’s head to the mainland and get this done.” He told them. “Hiro, keep an eye on Jude.”
“You got it.” Hiro nodded heading back for the room they had Jude in- they didn’t trust him.
The work lasted for a few days. They modified the truck plan with two instead of one welding a ten-foot steel plate between the backs of the semi-trailers. Then they welded more plates to the sides so they covered the gap between the trailer bed and the ground. They left the front open so it was kind of like a moving corral.
“This will work.” Jack huffed after they put the last touches on.
“Want tae see hoo Hiccup’s daein’?” Merida asked after taking a quenching gulp of water.
“Yeah.” He nodded. “Go get some rest and food.”
“I’m coming with you.” Elsa says walking with them.
“Whatever.” Jack shrugged.
They got back in their boats and headed for Motunui where Hiccup was currently working his ass off on whatever it was that was going to keep them safe from the walkers.
“Hic?” Jack called as he entered the forge, the heat burning the sweat on their brows eyes squinting at the dark room. “You in here.”
“Over here.” Hiccup called from the back.
“We’re finished with the trucks.” Jack called following the voice. “How are you doi- what the hell is that?”
Hiccup smiled holding his arms wide, his skin shimmering with sweat.
“The anti-walker box.” Hiccup smiled patting the side of the six by six cube with five-inch slits at the top running the length of the cube all the way around so they could see.
“Looks like a death trap.” Elsa winced.
“Hoo dae we move it?” Merida wondered tilting her head.
“Like this.” Hiccup smirked pulling the front open which split into double doors.
Inside there were four sets of handles attached to four sets of tires and an axle that connected in the center.
“Flynn and Elsa will walk along while we push.” He told them wiping his brow. “If they have to they will shoot.”
“And what about Moana?” Elsa asked nodding with him.
“I don’t want her to be a part of this.” Hiccup shook his head. “If we… if we don’t make it our people, the prison, her people they’ll need her. Which is why I’m going to tell Hiro to record everything we do and send her that file so she can try to make a better plan based on our failings.”
“You don’t think we will win?” Jack raised a brow.
“I don’t know if we will.” Hiccup sighed. “I don’t know for sure, I just know that if we fail we need to take what we know about that place and give it to someone who can win.”
They stared at him understanding what he meant.
“We’ll head out tomorrow.” Jack nodded. “For now, let’s get some food and rest. Go over the plan one more time.”
They did just that, ate, planned and went on to their rooms. Elsa, Jack and the others didn’t know if they would make it out alive tomorrow. They may die. Or hell they may even win and get out of this game. They intended to find each other after that, but they may not be together when they wake up. So they spent as much time as they could together. Of course, that meant the couples spent most of the night rolling around like rabbits.
By sundown the next day this would end, one way or another.
The next morning they said goodbye to Moana and headed out to the mainland. They met up with the hooligans at the prison and told them the plan and they agreed to get the tank. And back to the death battle they went.
“This is crazy.” Fishlegs gulped.
“Just stick to the plan.” Jack told him feeling really anxious about letting the twins drive the trucks. “Remember, you two get us up there get the hell out of there.”
“You got it boss man.” Ruffnut chuckled.
“Yeah. We don’t want to be walker chow.” Tuffnut snorted.
“Just stay safe.” Hiccup told them.
“We’ll be fine.” Ruff assured.
“Let’s move.” Merida called.
“When we give the signal you fire that thing off three times.” Rapunzel told Heather and Fishlegs. “Make a clear straight path for us.”
“Will do.” Heather nodded from atop the tank.
“C’mon.” Flynn told her.
Jack looked back by the tank where Jude was standing and nodded for him to come over.
“Get in the box.” He tells the man but catches his arm before he gets too far. “If you try to screw us over in any way, I will break you down pixel by pixel.”
“Of course.” Jude nodded jumping back after Jack dropped his arm.
The Big Four, Elsa, Flynn, Hiro, Toothless and Jude all entered the anti-walker box closing and locking the double doors behind them. Once they were all in position, they nodded to each other and Elsa and Flynn waved a piece of cloth on each side of the box. Three loud booms shake the ground as the large caliber bullets strike the herd taking out a large portion. Large enough for the two semis and the box between them to rush through. The semis created cover so the box wasn’t swarmed and overwhelmed or stopped. Meaning this was quick work to get the four plus to the front doors.
“Get out of here.” Hiccup called to the twins as they pushed the box forward as Elsa and Flynn shot up the glass doors of the lab.
They pushed through then.
It was hot, sweltering making them all pant and sweat like pigs. But it did the job. Walkers bounced off harmlessly and were pushed to the side giving them a clear path all the way. They followed Jude’s instruction all the way to the basement- the stairs were a bitch- and to the supercomputer, in a room that was clear of walkers.
“Get to it.” Jack told Jude pushing him out the double doors.
“Secure the doors.” Rapunzel yelled at everyone.
“Hiro help Jude.” Hiccup told the boy.
“Yeah on it.” Hiro called back running to the computer.
Everyone quickly rushed to barricade the door with the box and whatever else they could stack against it. The dead banging against the other side to try and get through shaking the barricade and knocking lose some parts but still it was holding. They were just finishing up when Hiro cried out as Merida froze up.
“Hey what the hell are you doing?”
“Dorn’t lit heem!” Merida cried notching her arrows.
“Merida, what’s going on?” Hiccup demanded.
“It’s heem!” She cried rushing closer to the computer. “It’s Pitch!”
“What!” Elsa gasped raising her gun.
“Get the hell away from the computer.” Hiro hissed pointed his Glock at Jude, or rather Pitch. “Now!”
“You heard him.” Jack snarled. “Get away from it.”
Pitch, chuckled throwing his hands up and turning to face everyone.
“Let me guess,” he said looking to Merida. “Precognition skill.”
“Gannae frae th’ computer.” Was Merida’s reply.
“All this time.” Hiccup gritted his rage of being trapped for the last couple of years in this death game bubbling to the surface, Toothless snarling right by him. “I should have known. You were always such a Kaiyaba wanna-be.”
“You dare talk to me that way.” Pitch hissed.
“Oh c’mon man.” Flynn scoffed. “Trapping us all in this game and killing everyone, now you’re also a part of the game. Not just any part, but a really important part. That was Kaiyaba’s MO to boot.”
At this Pitch just laughed deep and melodious.
“No one is dead.” he smirked, his words echoing in their ears sharply.
“What?” Rapunzel breathed.
“Then where the hell are they?” Jack demanded, thrusting his crook closer at Pitch.
With a wry smile, Pitch waved his hand around the air as an indicator.
“They are here.” He said softly. “The halo doesn’t just fry brains. It also downloads the brain's memory data and codes it to be apart of the game. Essentially-”
“You die, you become a part of the game forever.” Hiro clarified. “No way out. You become nothing more than a living program.”
“Exactly.” Pitch grinned. “We will all be the walking dead forever.”
“That’s insane.” Elsa cried. “You’re a nut job. You can’t just keep people trapped here like that.”
“Why shouldn’t I?” Pitch asked glaring at her now. “Tell me, all of you started to play my game because you wanted to be apart of the world of The Walking Dead or am I wrong? So what’s so wrong with staying in the world you love forever?”
“It’s not living.” Jack hissed. “It’s not real. We have families and lives outside this world. We want both, this world and our original. We want the freedom to go back and forth. You took that freedom from us. But today we end it.”
“Hiro,” Hiccup called getting the kids attention. “Can you hack the system from here and gain admin privileges?”
“I can try.” Hiro said stowing his gun and tapping away at the keyboard.
“I can’t let you do that.” Pitch sighed snapping his finger.
The banging at the door suddenly stopped making them all look to the door. So they missed the pixels taking form right in front of them. That is until Hiro turned with a cry.
“Guys look out!”
They all turned back to find a herd of at least twenty-five walkers standing before them.
“Shat!” Merida cried letting her arrow fly into the nearest walker’s head.
The sound of bullets and arrows flying defend all else as the survivors fought to keep the walkers back. But in the end, it was a fruitless effort. The walkers just multiplied overwhelmed them and got their mitts on them and held them in place teeth inches from their flesh.
“They won’t bite.” Pitch assured. “They just going to hold you. Give me enough time to finish what I came here to do.”
“You could control them this whole time.” Hiccup gritted fighting to keep his neck from one nasty looking walker missing most of its face, while watching the Walkers that had Toothless. “Why did you need us to bring you here.”
“In all honesty, I didn't.” Pitch shrugged. “But you were going to bring me here whether I liked it or not. So I went along.”
“You could have come up with a different lie. Said you were someone other than the scientist.”
“Yes well I need to make my way here sooner or later anyway.” again he shrugged.
“Wa is ‘at?” Merida asked struggling against rotten hands.
“Well,” he sighed turning back to the computer. “My original plan was to let all of you play the game and just die as you went. But that is taking to long. Your physical bodies will fail before all of you die. Which means that those who are still alive are more likely to actually die and that’s not what I want. Not to mention the location of the lab is compromised and one of you managed to hack my game. So I have to speed up the process.”
“So what are you going to do?” Jack growled.
“He’s going to release an airborne virus that will wipe us all out.” Hiro told them still by the computer but now in the clutches of two female walkers. “He’s going to kill us all.”
“You really need to learn to stop stealing people's thunder kid.” Pitch sniped.
“You can’t do this.” Rapunzel cried, there were a significantly larger number of walkers holding her considering her strength stat was the highest in the room.
“But I can.” Pitch smirked pressing a button and setting up a countdown. “And I will.”
“NO!” Jack growled, using his light foot skill to send him flying through the air and losing the walkers attached to him.
Which was his undoing.
One of the walkers, in their blind effort to keep a hold of him, sank their teeth into his shoulder. Ripping his hoodie, tearing his flesh from his shoulder blade making him scream. He fell in a crumpled heap on the ground right at Pitch’s feet letting loose a series of cries and curses.
“JACK!” Hiccup howled pulling all the harder at his captor's grip, Toothless giving his own anguished yowl.
“NO!” Elsa screamed tears slipping down her cheek. “BIG BROTHER!”
“Well, that was dramatic.” Pitch smirked. “You see, there is nothing you can do. I’ve won.”
“No, I win.” Jack coughed pulling out his desert eagle with a smirk. “GG.”
With a loud bang, Pitch’s head whipped back then forward before he slumped onto the ground with a sound thud before, a second later, when he burst into pixels. Jack expected for the walkers to start going crazy and chomping down on everyone in the room. But to his surprise, they all vanished leaving the room empty except for the Big Four and their loved ones.
But the game wasn’t over. The counter was still counting down. They still hadn’t defeated the boss.
“Jack!” Hiccup cried rushing to the snowy-haired boy’s side. “Rapunzel help!”
“Kid, hack that system already.” Flynn ordered.
“I’m doing it. I’m doing it.” Hiro called back.
“Jack stay with me.” Hiccup begged cradling him into his chest, Toothless chuffed as he nuzzled Jack’s hair both attempting to comfort the boy. “Rapunzel do something.”
“I can’t.” She sobbed kneeling helplessly next to Jack. “There is nothing to cure a bite.”
“Big brother please.” Elsa wailed taking her brother’s hand. “Don’t do this. You can’t leave. We were supposed to get out of here and see our baby sister. You can’t go. Anna is waiting for us.”
“Hiro, hurrey!” Merida cried.
“I’m trying.” Hiro snarled. “Stop yelling at me.”
“Guys chill.” Jack coughed. “It’s gonna be okay.”
“Hiro.” Hiccup begged. “Please.”
“Hic, stop.” Jack urged weakly grabbing Hiccup’s hand. “It’s okay.”
“Jack…” Hiccup sniffled.
“No, it is.” Jack smiled. “I got Pitch. We had to end the game. We did it, guys. We won.”
“Enough about the stupid game.” Elsa screamed. “Dammit, Jack you can’t just-”
“It's gonna be okay.” He promised his vision going dark. “I love you, all of you. It’s gonna be okay.”
His senses were slowly failing him. He couldn’t see, couldn’t feel, could barely hear. So he didn’t know if he heard right when he heard Hiro cry out.
“I got it!”
And then it was all gone.
He wasn’t sure what was going on. So used to waking up to the sound of Hiccup’s breathing or Toothless’s snores, or walker groans, he just come to expect it. It made him nervous when he didn’t hear either of those. Right now, all he could hear was the methodical beeping and pumping of machines. He felt heavy, it wasn’t right. It wasn’t the heaviness of Hiccup’s arms around him or the massive panther on top of him. It was his body. It was cumbersome, not at all light and flighty like he was used to. But it also felt… frail. Like if he even moved his pinky two inches it would shatter his whole being.
This doesn't feel right. He thought, but then; No, this is exactly how it's supposed to feel. This is how I’ve wanted to feel all along.
It took him a minute, but he eventually forced open his heavy eyelids to be met with blinding sunlight, forcing him to quickly close them again. Sunlight, actual honest to god sunlight. Not a programmed artificial sun in a pixelated sky, but real UV rays. He worked at it a moment, getting his eyes adjusted to it but eventually he was able to keep them open. He looked around wondering why everything was tinted when he realized, the halo. With extreme effort, he sat up and slowly removed the Halo from his head. His hair was longer, but someone had taken the time to keep it a short. The halo didn’t cover his whole head. So he assumed his mom has been cutting it. Still, it covered his ears when he removed the Halo. He stared at it for a moment wondering how such a little thing could cause so much trouble. So much grief. He couldn’t really hear anything, not well anyway. It was all muffled like he was under water. But he did hear one thing crystal clear.
“Jack…” it was hushed and horse but it was clear.
Looking up he could make out a blurry image- his eyes still not working right yet- of a girl with tangled, limp, butt length snow white hair sitting in the bed next to him.
“Elsa…” he rasped just as horse.
Before either of them could really understand what they were doing they both struggled out of their beds and crashing on the floor together. Tangled in their wires and hospital gowns tears staining their faces and they mashed them together, foreheads touching, lips to cheeks, boney hands running all over as if making sure this was real.
This was real. This wasn’t a bunch of ones and zeros. This was skin and blood and bone.
This was real.
“We did it.” Elsa hushed her head in his chest. “We did it.”
“We did.” Jack brayed running his fingers through her hair. “We’re home.”
They stayed like that for a moment, letting the fact that they survived to sink in. Letting the relief wash over them. Letting it all soak them with calm.
“Every-” Elsa gave a feeble cough. “Everyone.”
Realizing that she meant everyone at the lab he stiffened looking around the room.
“They may not…” he gulped. “They may not be… here, but they- cough- h-had to of made it out.”
“We’ll find them.” She nodded holding him tighter.
“We will.” He nodded.
“Oh my god!”
They both looked up over Elsa’s bed finding their baby sister staring wide-eyed at them.
“Anna.” Elsa smiled.
“Hey, little sis.” Jack called weakly.
“OH MY GOD!” Anna cried rushed to them, rounding the bed and falling to her knees wrapping her arms around them. “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!”
The day everyone got out was one for the history books. This wasn’t like the SAO incident where barely half of them made it out alive. Everyone who they thought dead was alive. Dagur, Tadashi, Astrid, Eret, Snotlout, everyone. Even Drago. Who was found and put on trial. But the idea of it all was still a bit crazy. How can you punish someone who was playing a PVP game and killed other players even with the special circumstances? They weren't downloaded either because Pitch wanted everyone to be downloaded at the same time- poor planning on his part since that would have bogged up the system. As for Pitch himself, the man was MIA. Authorities searched everywhere but could not find him. Which was troubling, but everyone doubted he would start up trouble agian.
Either way, they all made it. And they all got to meet in the real world. They were all minors and still in school, which they missed three years of. So after doing a few months of physical therapy and fattening up, they were all sent to school. Rather than get an old building up and running for a makeshift school in cities and towns they got an abandoned boarding school up and running and asked everyone to send their kids there. They could come and see them anytime and the kids could go home to visit whenever they wanted, the government even had cars and aircrafts ready for all the kids whenever they needed them. All paid for by donations of the good people of America. It was in Nebraska which is relatively in the middle of the country. All the kids stayed in dormitories. And that meant that The Big Four and everyone else they were close to were always together. Hiccup and Jack were always together.
“It’s weird sharing a room with Dagur.” Hiccup groaned from his place on the grass.
He and Jack were eating their lunch out on the lawn. Their friends would always let them have lunch alone together. It was one of the very few times they were alone.
“Hey, at least he’s got a girlfriend now.” Jack shrugged popping another grape into his mouth nearly moaning at the flavor. “What was her name again?”
“Mala.” Hiccup smirked. “Thought they were gonna kill each other when they first met, but now they’re so gross and lovey-dovey.” He shuddered.
“And we’re not?” Jack smirked.
“Nah.” Hiccup smirked. “We have class and decorum.”
“Class and decorum.” Jack snorted, looking down at Hiccup’s leg brace.
“It’s fine.” Hiccup told him, taking his hand. “It’ll never be the same, but I learned how to handle it in WDO I can learn IRL.”
Jack smiled squeezing his hand, just staring at them for a moment before he spoke up.
“Do you ever miss it?” he asked still staring at their hands.
“Walking Dead Online?”
“Not just that.” Jack shook his head. “Virtual Reality. All the games we used to play. After WDO, the American government thought that VRs were too dangerous so no more VR games.”
“Yup.” Hiccup nodded.
“So do you?”
“Yeah.” Hiccup smiled wistfully. “I’m a gamer, and gaming that way was one of the best. So yeah I miss it. I even miss WDO. Not the death game, but the beta. That was fun while it lasted.”
“Yeah.” Jack sighed looking up at the sky. “While it lasted.”
“Jackson Overland.”
They both turned around staring at one of their teachers, Mrs. Tara marching out on the lawn to them.
“Yes?” Jack called standing, then helping Hiccup stand.
“There is someone in my classroom who would like to have a word with you and mister Haddock.”
“Just us?” Hiccup asked raising a brow.
“No, miss Corona, Dunbroch, your sister and mister Fitzherbert are already there.” She smiled. “Come on.”
They followed her back to the building and to her class where Merida and the others were, along with four others.
“What’s going on?” Jack asked.
“Who are you?” Hiccup queries.
“‘At’s whit we’d lock tae nae.” Merida gruffed her arms crossed.
“Hello, childrren.” The big man with the white beard and blue eyes smiled.
“We’re from Luna Guardians inc.” The woman with the extremely colorful hair nodded. “Thats-”
“We know who they are.” Eugene Fitzherbert- aka Flynn Rider- jumped in watching them wearily.
“Your the people that took over what was left of Pitch’s company.” Rapunzel clarified. “Nicholas North, Aster Bunny, Sany Mahan, and Toothiana Fairy.”
“Yup.” The tall grey haired green eyed man, Aster Bunny, nodded.
“What do you want with us?” Elsa asked modeling her girlfriend's stance.
The short man with the golden skin and hair started moving his hand all over, while Ms. Fairy translated.
“Do you miss VR gaming?” he asked.
They all looked at each other sheepish looks on their faces before Jack nodded.
“Yeah, a little bit.” He sighed looking down.
“Zerrre is nothing wrrrong vith zat.” North smiled brighter.
“We’re actually ‘ere fur ‘at.” Bunny told them laying a briefcase on the table and opening it for them to see.
Inside there was what looked a ringlet of dots, four wristbands, and a WII stick.
“Whits thes?” Merida asked.
“This is called the Dream Catcher.” Fairy grinned pulling out the ringlets.
“You mean another Halo.” Hiccup titled his head.
“No better.” Fairy translated for Sandy. “This doesn’t use virtual reality, it uses augmented.”
“Seriously?” Hiccup gaped.
“No way.” Jack shook his head. “The only country with that kind of technology is Japan.”
“Da, vell now ve do.” North boomed throwing his hands up in the air.
“What does this have to do with us?” Rapunzel asked scrutinizing the other four.
“We want you to test it out for us.” Fairy tittered.
“You want us to be beta testers?” Eugene scoffed. “Seriously.”
“There is no way to do what Pitch did with augmented reality.” Hiccup said still looking like a kid in a candy store. “It’s just reality, or rather bending reality just slightly. Making people see things that aren’t there, feel, hear. It's really cool honestly.”
“And we’re just supposed to give in to that?” Elsa wondered. “I’m not completely opposed but, sigh, we just got home.”
“It von’t happen again.” North swore.
“Can you honestly promise that?” Elsa demanded leaning in closer to him.
“Of courrse not.” North snorted. “But ve vill trrry ta not let happen.”
“Elsa.” Jack murmured getting her attention.
They had one of their silent twin talks before she nodded. He turned to everyone else giving them the same look. He got smiles and nods from them and he turned back to the other four.
“We’ll do it.” He smiled. “But on one condition.”
“So the plan is to loot the megastore right?” Hiccup asked placing the dot circulate on his head and securing his wrist and ankle bands.
“Yup.” Jack nodded swinging around the joystick, which was slightly longer than the one in the briefcase. “In, then out, no mess.”
“Ye say ‘at.” Merida huffed swishing her own joystick through the air. “But th’ lest time we tried ‘at Ah died an’ Elsa lost an arm.”
“You were the one that jumped in front of the walker.” Eugene snorted. “I could have taken it.”
“And I managed to keep Elsa alive.” Rapunzel whined. “I patched her up and she could still shoot with one hand.”
“Yeah with my Glock.” Elsa tsked checking the calibration of her wristlets. “Just admit it, love, you wanted to test the walker simulation.”
“Ah lost most ay mah inventory, mah weapons, mah stats. Had tae dae a lot ay solo grindin’ tae gie back tae waur Ah was.”
“Is Hiro going to be here today?” Hiccup asked getting off the subject of their last failed raid. “Astrid and the rest of the hooligans are home for the weekend.”
“Same for them.” Jack told him. “Just us six today.”
“Oh well.” Elsa shrugged. “They miss out on the loot it’s their fault. As long as they’re there for the big raid next week. There is supposed to be some good weapon drops, not to mention more walker kills.”
“They’ll be there.” Jack assured tapping the dots at his temple.
The game they were playing was another Walking Dead game. That was Jack condition. It was made with the same data from the Walking Dead Online game from Pitch only with a few modifications. It was a lot like any MMORPG there was no main quest, just a lot of boss battles and little quests. Raids, things like that, basic leveling system. This was Walking Dead Survive and Thrive or WDST.
“Times now.” Eugene smirked taking Rapunzel’s hand. “Let’s get this party started.”
Through the Dream Catcher they could see a countdown start when it hit one they all said as one.
“We are Walking Dead!”
The world changed around them to the one they had lived for so many years, the post-apocalyptic wasteland covered in rust and dust and swarmed with the undead.
GAME START