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Denial, Acceptance, Family

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William’s foot scraped against the concrete ground, the ever pursuing undead behind them only growing louder as he struggled to get back on his feet again. Pain continued to shoot up through his leg, and barely a step here and there was made, which only worsened the pain. Sun’s frantic cries beside him rang louder than the rest, his focus shifting, his body on autopilot— he thought about Texas. The soldiers had not seemed hopeful in the slightest. Texas was big. He got lucky. Did his family? There were so many of them, and most of them were kids. Rose hadn’t gone into detail, but she had mentioned the school- she had told Sun what happened to Ryan. Even the adults turned to a mob like mentality, only being able to survive by being violent and uncaring.

Maybe that was why he was about to die.

“Shoot me!” William screamed above the chaos, watching as Rose shifted to the front of them, turned around, her gun held fearfully in her hands. “Kill me! Do it!”

I’m only slowing you down, you people still have hope, ” were further words that went unsaid. He could only watch, fear still managing to curl in his chest as Rose raised the gun, Sun uttered a loud scream and then the gun shot rang out.

In that split second, William could only pray that Sun found her mother, Rose found her daughter, and Spears could help them along the way. He thought about his daughters and his sister. If they were still alive, all he could do was pray they were not suffering.

And then his ears were ringing. Death seemed to crawl to him, not hit him suddenly. If he had been shot, he didn’t feel it. It finally hit him when his ears stopped ringing, the sound of Sun screaming again replacing it and he opened his eyes.

He was still being dragged.

“No, Sun, what the fuck- Sun, what are you—?!”

Her words rang out over the chaos still, in what he could only imagine was her being incredibly angry, or devastated, or both. She was right with him, her much small frame acting as a crutch for his entire right side. Despite his own anger and confusion, he didn’t waste a single step, practically hopping with his left foot to spur the both of them onward. Ahead, he saw Rose and Spears still running, picking off the few bloody stragglers that came out in front of them. Every few steps, Spears turned, aimed shots at the closest undead, and then faced forward again.

They ran through and around the barricades, finally reaching a metal fence complete with a gate. Sun practically shoved William through as Rose and Spears held it open, sliding in afterward as the crowd of undead rushed closer. Sun shoved her own gun in through the metal poles, effectively locking the gate in place even as the multitude of growling, bloodthirsty monsters slammed into it, smacking, growling, pushing against the gate.

Sun only stared for a moment in shock, a bit of awe, and especially horror. Suddenly, William’s yelling brought her back to the ground, the woman quickly whipping around to help Rose get William up once more. They pushed on, Spears leading the way while they tried to ignore the noise behind them. They still rushed, but their movements were a tad slower, with the given time. Sun stayed against William, one arm wrapped around his back with the other hand pushing against his ribs to keep him upright and moving.

As soon as they ducked into a darker area through a heavy red door, silence practically engulfed them. No more screaming outside, no more gunfire, the only thing seeming to echo off the walls being their own footsteps and exhausted panting. A deep howling sound became apparent, a heavy wind blowing, and then faint sound of dripping water somewhere within the structure. Sun glanced over to Rose, suddenly overcome with rage as she pulled William closer to her own frame, her screams suddenly erupting and echoing through the enclosed space.

Rose’s shocked face turned to look at Sun, though she continued helping William along.

“Sun, what’s- Sun, what’s up?!” the man asked, looking between her and Rose.

Suddenly Sun reached across her friend to shove against Rose, her shouting continuing until Rose finally shifted away, hands raised. William could only look over to Sun, brows drawn together in confusion as she continued muttering, her eyes set ahead and unmoving. With that, Rose moved up ahead, staying side by side with Spears as they all made their way through the area, moving closer to an opening that no doubt led into the main stadium. The howling of the wind grew louder and louder until it became as consistent as the silence from before, everyone practically on autopilot as they moved, closer and closer to the dull gray sunlight leaking into the area under the stadium seats.

Rose and Spears were the first to step out into the light of day, Sun pulling William behind them. The man took one long look at the stairs descending through the bleachers and shook his head, reaching up to pat Sun’s back a few times.

“I can’t make that trip all the way down there,” he spoke, words heavy with pants. “Come on, help me- help me get over a bit.”

Sun nodded, uttering a word of confirmation as she started to slide along the back walls to the left, moving behind the bleachers for a few meters before he patted her again, mumbling a “ here, here ” at a particular seat. Sun confirmed again, careful to help her friend sit down, flinching when he gave a shocked sound of pain. She hurried to kneel down in front of him, hands hovering over the injured foot with confusion.

William started waving his hand, shaking his head. “Don’t touch- don’t touch it, Sun, it’s just- it hurts.”

She stammered for a moment and then babbled out something unintelligible, looking up to William with a shake of her head. “Uh, uh... Shot? Shot?”

William shook his head, gesturing with a wide wave to the entire leg. “No, it’s- it was an old injury, it just- I fucked it coming out of that club from before. Fuckin’ hurts.

Sun stared at it for a moment and shook her head as well, reaching a hand forward to touch it lightly, looking back up to William to seek his approval. She paused a minute while he thought it over, and then he waved to it again, muttering a go ahead. She was careful and slow, lifting the pant leg half way up his calf, giving quiet apologies in between his hisses of pain. When that was done, the woman glanced up and over, watching as Spears and Rose waved to them, then descended through the stadium.

Sun returned her focus to William, tapping the edge of his boot inquisitively. He groaned.

“S’that the only thing you can do?” he asked, face screwed up in a wince already.

She nodded, tapping it again before he finally relented, sighing with a nod. Sun was quick, but still careful to untie and then remove the boot, whispering a quick apology as she pulled the sock away as well. He only squeezed his lips together tightly, groans rumbling in his chest as he fought the instinct to yank the injured limb away from Sun’s grip. He peered through one eye, staring at the hugely bruised spot, red and purple fading together to create quite a sight to see. All he could do was watch as she used two fingers to very gently prod up and down the length of his foot, moving up his ankle and making sure to double back for his heel and the ball of his foot. The centralized area of bruising was where it hurt the most, the man practically shouting when Sun applied pressure at the roof of his foot, and then beneath it on the ball of his foot.

Sun shook her head, looking up to William. She rattled off a few words in Korean, brows drawn together in thought before she shook her head again and gestured to the foot, “Broken. Broken.”

William sighed deeply, leaning forward just a bit as he reached up and rubbed his hand up and down his face. “Fuck. Why didn’t you- god, woman, I knew I was just gonna slow you all down. Ain’t no reason you should have stopped Rose. I could have gotten you killed.”

The woman stared at him, her eyes widening, silent for just a moment. Then, just as suddenly as she had earlier, Sun stood up tall and started shaking her hands at him, her gestures aimless but fervent as she practically yelled at William, ever unintelligible in specific words but being very clear about how she felt overall. William could only stare as he had earlier, eventually raising both hands only for Sun to put both hands on the man’s chest and push, just enough to get her point across.

After a moment, she was only shouting one thing that William could recognize- aniyo. He knew what that meant, despite the rest. But, really, that was all he needed to recognize. Sun was practically in tears as she trembled, shaking her head, repeating that word, repeating no with another small, weak and non threatening push against William’s chest. He just waited for her to be done, not budging until she drew in a shaky breath that was exhaled in a small wail. That was when he went out on a limb, reaching up his arms to pull the smaller woman down into the bleachers beside him, reaching one arm around her to give her a half hug. She fell into the embrace quickly, sniffling and turning her head into his shoulder.

“That’s why you screamed at Rose,” William murmured, lightly patting Sun’s arm as she leaned against him. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess I’d be pretty pissed if you made her do that, too.”

They stayed still for a moment, the pair of them mulling over countless thoughts in the practical silence that encompassed them. Sun was the first to move, sniffling again before leaning away from William, reaching up to wipe her face and then take a few deep breaths. William gave her a moment before reaching over to lightly pat her back, looking her up and down.

“Hey.” When she didn’t look at him, William patted her back again, continuing, “ Hey . From now on, I don’t do that. It’ll- it’ll be team decisions. I just… Sun, I didn’t want you all to die. You all came so far.”

Sun shook her head and pointed at him, repeating to the best of her ability, “ You come so far.”

It was true. He had more of an argument, but he did not want to make it. Not after seeing Sun so upset already. So he relented, nodding and then reaching up, gently pushing Sun’s hand back down. “I got you, Sun. Listen. How’s about we- we get my damn shoe back on, and then you run down and check on Rose and Spears? Huh?”

Sun gave him a long hard look but nodded back, glancing down to his injured foot. She just sighed before kneeling down once again, being just as careful with his injury as before.