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Through the Valley

Chapter Text


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Isabel heard the lock to the front door click, indicating either Levi and Farlan were finally home. She was surprised to see Levi swinging the door open, a few bags in tow as he stepped through the threshold. He kicked off his shoes at the front, moving his head to the side to keep his jet black hair out of his eyes as he did. Levi and Farlan usually came home around the same time from their job at the local plant, but tonight it was just Levi. It was late already, nearing 11:30 PM.

 

"Where's Farlan?" she asked from her place on the couch. She situated herself with a bowl of popcorn as she lounged around in the living room of their home. She was wearing a pair of plaid pajama bottoms with a matching pink top. Levi was adorned in his usual work attire; a black pair of jeans and a tight-fitting black t-shirt.

 

Levi cocked a brow, scoffing a quiet, "Nice to see you too."

 

Isabel sat up, rolling her eyes as she did. "You know I didn't mean it like that. It's just not usual for you guys to come home at different times."

 

Levi shrugged and hurried into the kitchen, dropping the bags in his hand onto the counter. He flicked the light on and said, "He's working overtime. I'm passed my overtime so they sent my ass home. Can't say I'm not a bit relieved."

 

After sifting through the various groceries he'd purchased, Levi made his way over to the couch and plopped down next to Isabel. "Anything good on?"

 

"I've been watching Jerry Springer," she sang a bit.

 

Levi scowled at her. "What did I tell you about watching that senseless shit? You're going to melt whatever brain cells you have left."

 

Isabel giggled, bringing her feet up to rest on the ottoman. "But it's so interesting! Could you imagine being in any of these scenarios?"

 

Levi brought his own socked feet up, kicking them against the red-head. "Absolutely fucking not. I'm going to put a block up on this channel, I swear to God."

 

"You're such a prude!" Isabel accused with lightness. "Look! This guy, seriously, he slept with his wife, her sister and their mother! Now two of them are pregnant, don't you want to see if he's the father?"

 

Levi snatched the remote from Isabel, giving her a disapproving look. "You're in too deep with this crap and I know Farlan would be giving you shit about it too."

 

"Whatever, he's barely around," she muttered, reaching and stealing the remote back.

 

"So it finally comes out," Levi sighed.

 

"What comes out?"

 

"I've known you for over ten years and you don't think I can see when you're falling for somebody?"

 

Isabel sputtered, almost losing her grip on the remote control. "You don't know what you're talking about! He's practically my brother!"

 

"Practically," Levi echoed with reason. "You don't think I saw that disappointed look on your face when I stepped through the door?"

 

Isabel huffed, turning away from Levi with a blush on her cheeks. "S-Shut up."

 

Levi, Isabel, and Farlan had been living together for over a decade. Levi's mother, Kuchel, had taken Farlan in first after he had lost his parents. Levi had met him in school and they hit it off immediately, bonding over similar interests. When Levi had brought up to the possibility to his mother that Farlan would be thrown into the foster care system, Kuchel didn't hesitate to step in and make him a part of their family. Down the line, Isabel came into their lives like a whirlwind. Similar to Farlan's background, the young girl was in and out of homes, each one worst than the last. 

 

Kuchel was a kind woman with an open heart, Levi remembered. His mother always welcomed the broken into their home and in their own way, they became a unit. Isabel cried with so much relief and joy when Kuchel extended her welcome for her to stay with them. Several trips to court and enormous amounts of paperwork later, she was legally adopted and a permanent part of their lives. 

 

When Levi was sixteen, his mother succumbed to an illness that took her life slowly and painfully. With little funds and not enough time to combat the illness, she passed away and the three of them were left to fend for themselves. Thankfully, their family was well known in their quiet corner of Texas. Farlan and Isabel carried quite an accent while Levi never picked up on it. His voice was always a deep drawl or a rich whisper. After the town learned of Kuchel's death, one of the local power plants offered Levi and Farlan jobs. The two of them dropped out of school in favor of working. Hustling and working with what they had, they were able to keep the house from being foreclosed on while Isabel continued in school. 

 

Two years had passed since then and Levi was relieved to say they were doing for themselves.

 

"You should just tell him," Levi said after a few moments of silence, his eyes on the television while he reached to steal some popcorn from the bowl. "It's painfully obvious he feels the same way."

 

"What?!" the redhead exclaimed. "You're so lying!"

 

"I'm so not," Levi mimicked with a smirk. "You two are idiots. I can't keep watching you both dance around each other, it's getting awkward fast."

 

"You know, I was going to give you something for helping me ace that final last week, but I think I've changed my mind."

 

"Oh?" Levi raised a brow. "You didn't have to get me anything, you know. You did all the work."

 

"Flattery gets you nowhere with me, so I think I'll just take it back."

 

Levi leaned toward Isabel who playfully shoved him back. "You've got me curious now. Come on, give it here."

 

The teenager sighed and reached behind her. "Fine, here. But--" Isabel drew the box back when Levi reached for it. "You're going to drop the Farlan subject. You may be right, but I don't know if I'm ready to tell him yet."

 

The raven-haired man just sighed. "Alright, I'll drop it. For now. Eventually, you're going to let this fester and it's going to drive you batshit insane if you don't just get it out."

 

"I'll... think about it, alright. Just open your damn present."

 

Levi snatched the box and open it quickly, looking down at a pristine silver watch. It looked... pretty damn expensive.

 

Isabel beamed a bit while saying, "You mentioned a few weeks ago your other one broke, so I figured you needed a new one."

 

There was a moment of silence and it had Isabel squirming. "Well? Do you like it?"

 

"I do," Levi answered shortly. "But... shit, I think somethings wrong with it." He brought the watch up and tapped it a few times. "It's not ticking or anything--"

 

"What, no! You've got to be kidding me! Let me see that!" Isabel reached for the watch but noticed Levi suppressing a grin. "Oh, haha, you're such a dick!"

 

"Where'd you even get the money for this?" he asked, readjusting the watch on his wrist. It fit rather nicely.

 

"Drugs," Isabel responded without missing a beat. "I've been selling hardcore drugs."

 

"Oh, wonderful. You can start pulling your weight around here and help with the mortgage."

 

Isabel kicked him with her bare feet and Levi nudged his foot right back. "Fucking brat," he muttered with fondness.

 

Laughing quietly, the two of them settled into a comfortable quietness and watched whatever was currently playing on the television. Within forty-five minutes, Levi felt Isabel's head land on his shoulder. He looked over and saw she was fast asleep, snoring quietly. Maneuvering himself without rousing her, Levi slipped his arms around her and adjusted her bridal style. "Up you go," he said. 

 

He carried her up the stairs and to her room, which was painted a painfully bright purple. The walls were littered with band and movie posters while a desk sat on the opposite end of the room, a desktop computer perched on its surface. Even though he was two years older than her, he had to chuckle at how ridiculously teenage the room was. He figured it was still a good thing she acted her age, he didn't want Isabel to be forced to grow up too fast the way he and Farlan had.

 

Levi had developed a sense of protectiveness over Isabel a long time ago and as the years went on, he and she held a strong brother-sister bond. He found her infuriating and annoying the first few months she had come to live with them. But as time passed, he couldn't help but feel some sort of affection for her. Her personality made it hard to turn away from. When people asked him now, he'd always say he had a brother and sister.

 

Levi laid Isabel down on the bed, reaching over and clicking the light off. She moved around a bit but settled into the blankets, releasing a quiet sigh as she did. Levi lingered for a few moments before exiting her room and closing the door behind him.


 A loud ringing was blaring inside of her ears and she groaned, turning over in her bed to ignore the sound. When it persisted, Isabel huffed irritably and reached for the house phone sitting on her nightstand. "Hello?" she answered while rubbing her bleary eyes. Emerald orbs averted and noticed it was a little after 3 AM.

 

"Isabel!" she heard Farlan shout, causing her heart to skip a beat. "Are you okay? Where's Levi?"

 

"I'm okay... why wouldn't I be okay?"

 

Farlan let out a breath of relief and continued, "Listen, I need you to find Levi for me, okay? Something really bad is happening and--"

 

Before Farlan could finish what he was saying, the line started beeping. She hung up the phone and attempted to call him back but the same disconnected beeping was all she heard. Feeling a nervous churning in her stomach, Isabel placed the phone back on the receiver. 

 

"Levi?" she called uneasily, slipping out of her bed and walking to the hallway. She strode into Levi's room and found it a disaster, which wasn't like Levi at all. Her eyes caught sight of the television above his dresser and reached for the remote, pressing the unmute button while listening. When she did, her eyes widened.

 

"We are getting reports that the death toll has reached 32 as we continue to cover the area. It is strongly recommended you pack only the belongings you need to make your way out of the city--"

 

The sound of the television drowned out when the ground shook beneath her, a bright orange catching her eyes from the window. From where she stood, she could see a fire erupted explosion from across the town. If Isabel remembered correctly, that was the area the power plant was. "What... the hell is going on?" she whispered, feeling fear grip her in its clutches.

 

"Levi!" she called out more urgently, leaving his room and unsteadily moving downstairs. There was nothing but a painful silence as she made her way into the kitchen. She glanced around and saw nothing out of sorts from earlier but she stilled hugged herself. A flashing light from Levi's cell phone had her walking to the counter, picking it up to examine it. Just like the landline, there cellphone indicated there was no service. She did catch sight of several texts from Farlan.

 

"Where the fuck are you... why aren't you answering your phone... is Isabel okay..."

 

Isabel let the phone slip from her fingers, a noise startling her from the study. Levi stumbled inside, closing the sliding glass door with shaking hands. His eyes were wild, holding an expression of fear that she had never seen on him before. 

 

"Levi, what's going on?" she asked with a quiet voice. 

 

"Did anybody come in here? Are you alright?" he rushed out hastily, walking over to the desk inside the study and reaching for a safe beneath it. Isabel's eyes widened when he pulled out Glock 19 from its confines. She could still see his hand was trembling around the weapon, slowly walking over to the sliding glass door again. 

 

"Why would somebody come in...?"

 

"Just--" Levi exhaled a deep breath, his gray eyes looking outside. "Stay back there, okay? Our neighbors... something isn't fucking right with them."

 

"Bro..." Isabel whispered a name she seemed to only use when she was truly scared. "You're freaking me out right now."

 

Both of them gasped when someone ran head first into the glass door, causing Levi to take several steps back and Isabel to grip the corner of the wall beside her. The glass cracked on the impact but it didn't stop the figure from doing it again. Each time he would hurl himself against it, it would splinter the glass further. 

 

"I'm fucking warning you!" Levi shouted, holding the gun up to level with his gaze. His eyes never faltered as the glass finally shattered and Isabel recognized the man currently running straight to Levi as their neighbor, Mr. Peterson. They had been neighbors since they had moved in. His appearance was different from what she remembered, his eyes blazing with a hunger she had never seen before and his skin nearly a deep brown.

 

Isabel screamed and Levi shouted an explicit as the man noticed Isabel, making a beeline for her. She was frozen in place and whimpered, a cry releasing from her throat as blood splattered against her and Levi both. The sound of the gunshots rang inside of her ears and she watched Mr. Peterson crumble to the ground, twitching and releasing a low groan.

 

Looking up to Levi, her expression was haunted. Levi was panting, wiping the blood off of his face. "Y-You... shot him."

 

"Look at me," he said as he grasped her arm. 

 

"I just saw him this morning..." she whispered.

 

"Izzy," he commanded, causing the redhead to focus on him again. "Something really bad is going on right now and we need to leave right now."

 

Headlights shined through the window in the living room, causing Levi to tighten his grip and pull Isabel with him. "That's Farlan, come on."

 

Isabel looked back when she noticed Levi hadn't even bothered closing the front door behind them, ushering her toward the truck parked in the driveway. He heart fluttered in silent relief when she met Farlan's gaze. He ran up to her, pulling her into a tight embrace. "Thank God, you're alright..." he whispered.

 

She marveled at the feel of being in his arms, closing her eyes just for a few moments to savor it. 

 

"Let's go," Levi hit his hand against the truck a few times.

 

"What the fuck? I've been trying to call you for hours! Do you have any idea what's going on out there?" he demanded while releasing Isabel.

 

"I've got some notion," Levi muttered, opening the back door of the pickup truck for Isabel to slip inside. She did so in a haze, visibly trembling from what took place a few minutes prior. Farlan and Levi took their seats in the front and Farlan glanced down at Levi questionably.

 

"Why is there blood on you?"

 

"Just fucking drive," Levi growled out.

 

Farlan started reversing out of the driveway, his eyes still on Levi. "They're saying half the city has lost it's damn mind, that they're sick or something. You going to tell me what the hell happened?"

 

"Later," Levi hissed again, giving Farlan a critical look.

 

Farlan averted his eyes to Isabel and asked, "You holding up okay?"

 

Isabel nodded slowly, her eyes staring out the window as they began to leave their house and drive up toward the center of the neighborhood. Isabel could see several of their neighbors packing up their cars, hastily rushing in and out of their houses in an attempt to escape whatever was happening.

 

"At first they said it was just the South. Now they're saying it's the East Coast, West Coast, everywhere. Someone said they found a family mangled up inside of their own house--"

 

"Farlan," Levi warned, glancing back to Isabel.

 

"Can you turn on the radio?" she asked quietly, trying to get the images out of her mind from Farlan's words.

 

"Sure thing," Farlan reached over and turned the knob to the radio but all three of them were met with static. Farlan laughed in dismay. "No cell phones, no radio; we're doing great."

 

"Did they say where to go?" Levi asked urgently. He was sitting forward in his seat, looking at their surroundings carefully.

 

"Army's setting up roadblocks on the highway so there isn't any way to get into the next county."

 

"That means we need to get the fuck out of here, so take--"

 

"71, that's where I'm headed."

 

Isabel watched their exchange quietly, rubbing her uppers arms and glancing out the window again. They had turned onto an abandoned dirt road, cutting through the heavier traffic main streets. After a few minutes, they were back on a different main road as they made their way to the highway. As she stared off, she caught sight of a man, woman and a young child with them. She assumed they were a family after the headlight shone onto them. "Look!"

 

"Let's see what they need," Farlan said while slowing down the truck and reaching for the gear shift. Levi leaned over and shoved his hand away.

 

"What the hell do you think you're doing? Keep driving."

 

Farlan stared at Levi in disbelief. "Are you serious right now? They have a kid!"

 

"And so do we! So keep fucking driving!" Levi retorted heatedly, giving Farlan no room to argue as he reached for the steering wheel himself and swerved away from the family on the side of the road. As they drove around them, Isabel could hear the man shouting while jumping up with his hands in the air for them to stop, please, stop.

 

"Someone else will come along," Levi reasoned, leaning back into his seat with what appeared to be a relieved sigh. 

 

Isabel began wringing her hands together, tears collecting in her eyes as she whispered, "We could have helped them."

 

Levi turned back to stare at her with a sympathetic gaze but offered her no words. His attention shifted when several emergency vehicles passed them in haste. They continued to drive in silence, seeing several cars overturned on the road and people running from God only knew. They were left completely in the dark with no information other than people were losing their minds and sick. Sick with what?

 

"Oh fuck..." Farlan gasped as the truck approached the highway. From the entering lane, there were vehicles backed up for miles with helicopters flying overhead. "Everyone and their mother had the same damn idea."

 

"Where the hell do we go now?" Levi asked, rolling down his window and listening to several other people shout in panic and anger. In front of them, one of the car's occupants had stepped out with his hands thrown in the air. "Maybe we can backtrack or something," Levi muttered more to himself than anybody.

 

"What the fuck, man? Let's get moving!" the man in front of them shouted. As the words rang in the air a chilling tendril ran up Isabel's spine when she noticed a man barreling toward the person outside of his car. He slammed into him, throwing him down onto the ground and clawing at him desperately. 

 

"Holy shit," Farlan whispered, his fingers turning white as they gripped the steering wheel. The three of them watched in silent horror, unable to believe what they were seeing. 

 

"Farlan, turn us around," Levi urged. Farlan's eyes were dazedly staring at the man that was attacked, now lying limp on the ground. The person, the creature, that had furiously ripped the man apart turned its direction toward them. When Farlan didn't respond, Levi reached over and shook him harshly. "Farlan!" 

 

"Oh fuck," Farlan snapped out of his daze, switching the truck into reverse as the figure dashed to them. The truck swerved a complete one-eighty and Isabel gasped when the back of the truck was slammed into. "Holy shit!"

 

"Drive! Fucking move!" Levi barked, his cool demeanor shattering with each passing second.

 

"What the fuck was that? Levi, what the fuck was that? Did you just see that?"

 

"Yes, I saw!" he responded, his eyes darting from the rearview mirror and back to the road again as they entered the town. "Turn here!"

 

Farlan was panting, practically hyperventilating as he quickly turned the steering wheel with shaking hands. As they rounded the corner, there were dozens of other townsfolk running in their direction. "Dammit," Farlan muttered.

 

"What are they running from?" Isabel inquired, a tint of uncertainty in her tone.

 

"Through there!" Levi pointed to the small opening where a bus had overturned, unbuckling his seatbelt to get a closer look. 

 

"There are too many people," Farlan said, glancing for some other way to get around the crowd. 

 

"Just go," Levi growled.

 

"I can't 'just go'! What do you want me to do, fucking run them over?"

 

Levi looked at Farlan incredulously. "Then back up!"

 

"They're behind me too!"

 

Isabel gripped the front seats between her fingers, her heart racing inside of her chest. She gazed at each terrified face as they ran past their truck, giving them pleading and unsure looks and shouting incoherently as they scrambled away. One person pounded against her window, begging to know where they should go. Isabel shook her head, her emerald eyes wide with panic.

 

"Now, go now, Farlan!" Levi commanded, noticing the area was now scarce. Farlan shouted at them to hang on as they drove over the curve of the sidewalk, nearly hitting two other citizens as he did. The truck was back on one of the main streets in the town and Farlan floored the petal, unaware of the headlights that were blinding Isabel's eyes from the side. It was only for a second she was able to see a dark green van closing in on them.

 

"Look out!" she screamed, moving to hang on to the handle closest to her. Levi and Farlan didn't have enough time to register what was happening before the impact knocked them all around the truck, causing it to flip several times in the street.


His head pounded and his ears were ringing. He felt an uncomfortable pressure against his side as he tried to open his eyes. Blinking, gunmetal orbs forced themselves open and he groaned, bringing his hand up to rest against his throbbing temple. "Shit," he hissed. When he regained his vision, his eyes widened. There was a sheet of broken glass in front of him and it took several seconds before his mind sharpened and realized the truck was lying on its side.  

 

Levi winced as he tried to push himself up on his elbows, broken glass digging into his skin from beneath. He heard the continuous cries and screaming and it grounded him back to reality, but what reeled him in more was the van that had crashed into them. His eyes zoned in on the blood splattering against the windows of the van, the occupants inside clawing helplessly as one of the infected tore into them, biting and using its hands to rip apart their insides.

 

"Oh, fuck," Levi whispered, moving earnestly to look around. Isabel was lying next to him, her eyes closed and unmoving. He didn't see any sign of Farlan. "Isabel?" he reached over and shook her, his heart speeding up when she didn't immediately respond. "Izzy!" he hollered this time.

 

She finally groaned, sitting up and looking at Levi with a misty, distant gaze. "What...?" she began, but Levi cut her off quickly.

 

"We have to get out," he said, shifting his body from where they were trapt inside the truck. He raised his booted foot and kicked against the window, grunting at the jolt it sent through his exhausted body. He attempted a second time and again, a third time, successfully shattering the glass and moving his body to crawl out. "Come on," he offered his hand to Isabel, who took it with trembling fingers. He bent down to help steady her when he suddenly felt his body being pressed against the vehicle, his eyes widening to see a grotesque face snarling at him.

 

Mr. Peterson had looked similar, vicious and decaying from the inside out. Blood was seeping from its pores, it's eyes wide with frenzy. It reached for Levi, snatching his shirt in its clutches and taking several premeditated snaps at him with its jaw. But it's strength... it was unlike anything Levi had ever felt before. Levi snarled, reaching into the back of his pants to try to retrieve the Glock that was placed there. Isabel screamed and reached for him and in that instant, Levi felt like his life was flashing before his eyes. 

 

Unexpectedly, blood sprayed Levi's eyes and the decrepit face in front of him had lost part of its cheek, releasing it's grip on him and falling unceremoniously to the side. Wide eyes turned to see Farlan standing there, panting and holding a brick in his hand that was now caked red. "Isabel?" Farlan questioned, dropping the stone to the ground and walking up to her. She attempted to walk but cried out, stumbling on her feet.

 

"What's wrong?" Levi asked quickly, looking at her for injuries.

 

"M-My leg," she stammered, wincing as she attempted to put weight on it. "Shit, it hurts."

 

"How bad?"

 

"Pretty bad," she confessed, trying yet again to walk. Levi stopped her, gripping her shoulders and keeping her in place.

 

Levi averted his eyes to Farlan, reaching into the back of his jeans. He pulled out his gun, holding it out to Farlan who looked at him questionably. "I can run faster than you," he explained. The town was in ruins, fires breaking out and people running in every direction for some sort of salvation. "You said there were roadblocks up, do you know where they are?"

 

"We can cut through Bill's bar," Farlan said while retrieving the gun from Levi. He examined it and then looked back at Levi. The other man reached and brought Isabel up to his chest, cradling her close while nodding to Farlan. 

 

"You've got this, just cover me while I get her there."

 

Farlan nodded, his blue eyes locked with Isabel's. "Keep her safe," he said lowly, just between him and Levi. 

 

"Then keep us safe," he responded.

 

They started moving then, running through the streets while Farlan kept the gun leveled. Various amounts of the crowd seemed to part around them, several of the infected running rampant and tearing into whoever was near them. Levi felt his blood roaring in his ears, his eyes stinging and his mouth dry. Isabel clung to him, burying her face into his neck. Levi could feel her eyes on Farlan behind them. 

 

"Cut through the alley! We'll get trampled if we keep up out here!"

 

Levi didn't need to be told twice as Farlan pushed the linked fence open, the three of them racing through and running as quickly as they could through the alleyway. His boots slammed against the concrete, splashing puddles near side dumpsters. From the corner of Levi's eye, he didn't have the time to process the two figures crouched over on the side. They lunged at him and Isabel, Levi's only defense to raise his arm and place it against the infected creatures neck. 

 

Farlan was swift, kicking the infected man down to the ground and fluidly bringing the weapon in hand up, emptying a single bullet into its skull.

 

"Christ," Levi gasped, keeping a firm grip on Isabel as Farlan shouted for them to keep running.

 

More of the infected followed them as they sought solace at the local bar, running through the back patio area. There were so many of them, clawing and chewing on carnage while moaning and noisily noticing their presence. There was not a moment to accept, to process or understand; it was the instinct to carry on and survive. Farlan ran ahead of them, opening the door to the building while screaming for him to hurry. Levi thrust himself inside, turning to see Farlan shutting the door with several grasping arms trying to break through. He held the gun and turned furious eyes toward Levi.

 

"You go ahead! I'll hold them off. The site is just outside here!"

 

"No! We're not leaving you behind!" Isabel screeched.

 

Blue eyes softened briefly even as he struggled against the door. "I'll be right behind you," he assured her. "Levi can get you there quicker than I can if I'm buying you some time."

 

Levi gritted his teeth, glancing at the door being pried open and the back entrance. "I will see you there."

 

Farlan offered a short smile, nodding his head. "Go."

 

"Farlan!" Isabel cried out, struggling against Levi's hold on her. 

 

"You have to trust him," Levi assured her, running through the vacant bar and pushing his way through the back door. There was only a few infected outside and Levi didn't waste a single moment, dashing wildly and as quickly as he could with the young woman in his arms. 

 

"We can't just leave him!"

 

All Levi cared about was ensuring Isabel's safety first. He could see from just gazing at her leg that it was broken. Levi and Farlan could manage after, but right now, keeping her away from the hysteria of what was happening was his first and utmost priority. From where he was, Levi could see several army tanks and lights ahead. He used that as a guide, leading him off the back porch of the bar and down a dirt road. He could hear snarls and moans behind him but he didn't look back even as Isabel gripped his shirt in panic. 

 

The gunfire that suddenly sounded in the air caused Levi to abruptly stop running, his body pivoting to shield Isabel. He clenched his eyes shut, assuming the gunshots were directed to them. His eyes opened briefly to see the bodies of the infected falling one by one onto the dirt-ridden ground. When moments of silence passed, Levi dared to look up and see a soldier with his assault rifle drawn. He sighed in relief, looking to Isabel with an expression alleviation. 

 

"We're safe," he assured her. 

 

"What about Farlan?" she whispered back, her eyes trained on the soldier in front of them. Levi shook his head, taking a step forward.

 

"Don't move!" the armed soldier shouted and his gun now aimed at them. Levi stiffened, taken aback.

 

"Look, we've just been through fucking hell. I think her leg is broken, we're just trying to get help--"

 

Isabel instinctively gripped Levi's shirt, her eyes wide as the man stepped forward. "I said don't move!"

 

Levi took several steps back, his gray eyes focusing on the assault rifle. "Listen... we're not sick."

 

"We have two civilians in the outer perimeter, please be advised," the soldier said into his radio.

 

Levi felt a terrible shiver run up his spine and he gripped the girl in his arms, his eyes narrowing as the man said, "But sir, there's a young girl."

 

The weapon in the man's hands slacked only a bit as he waited for a response, but soon it was gripped with purpose. "I understand, sir."

 

"I already told you, we aren't sick!" Levi tried to reason, every sense in his body and mind raising in alarm. The assault rifle was lifted and aimed at them again, causing the raven-haired man to start moving backward. "Oh, shit."

 

The bullets grazed him and made him lose his grip on Isabel, both of them barreling to the ground and rolling down the hill and Isabel screamed. Dirt covered his face and entered his mouth, making Levi sputter to catch his breath. He groaned painfully, pushing himself up and adjusting himself to his back as swiftly as he could. When Levi turned over, he was met with a blinding light from the soldier. He raised his hand up, pleading for the man to stop. 

 

"Don't," was all he could muster to say.

 

It was a fleeting, single moment as brain matter splattered from the soldier's helmet. The rifle in his arms fell before his body did, landing onto the dirt without a sound. Levi, for a short moment, thought he was dreaming. But when Farlan's form entered his vision, he let out a sound of relief. Farlan's eyes darted as he kept his gun drawn and Levi moved to sit up, grunting as he did so. 

 

"No," Farlan whispered.

 

The whisper shook Levi to his core and he followed Farlan's eyes, his own widening when he saw Isabel's body lying on the ground; unmoving.

 

"No, no, no..." Farlan threw the gun to the side, running and dropping to the ground next to her. Isabel was shuddering; gasping as Farlan brought her into his arms. Levi rushed over, helping Farlan as he steadied her. It was then that Levi could see the blood seeping through her shirt near her abdomen. "Izzy," he choked, grasping the shivering girl and pressing his hand against the wound. Levi felt stunned, sinking to his knees next to them and placing his shaking hands against her stomach as well. 

 

Isabel gripped onto Farlan's shirt, her lips quivering as her body quaked. Farlan was turning to him, shouting something that Levi couldn't make out. His eyes were straining on the blood dripping to the ground. His hands pressed, his gaze locking with Isabel's. Her eyes pleaded with his; petrified and searching. The air around them thickened as Isabel's grip started to loosen.

 

"Please," Farlan begged. He leaned down and placed several fluttering kisses against her cheek. "Don't do this," he chanted over and over again. Levi's mind reeled but his body wouldn't move. He felt Isabel's body stop it's struggling and when he looked into her eyes again, he could see the light inside of those eyes had faded.