A/N: Honestly guys, I can't tell you how great it is to be writing again. When I first started doing this it was just some hobby I did in my spare time. Now it has become something that I can really get behind and let creativity flow, hell, even my girlfriend has some fanfiction she's planning on putting on the site with a profile of her own. I'm actually encouraging that.
On to this story in particular, I'm beyond impressed at the number of reviews, follows and favorites that it has gathered after only a couple of days. And I know that the whole 'Xbox opening a dimensional gateway' thing is overdone, but it just seemed to be the best way to go for my OC to jump like that, so give it a chance despite the tactic is as common as it is.
For the plot, like I said last time I am going to be fusing the tv series into the game series at some point. And there will elements of both within one another at certain points. You'll be seeing what I mean soon enough in that regard. For now, here's the next installment.
Disclaimer: Don't own Walking Dead (In any form)
Chapter 1: The Reality of Things
Night had fallen over the country side, the bright light of the full moon shining down upon the landscape casting long shadows along the ground.
A pair of headlights drove steadily down a long, bumpy dirt road. Going past various corn fields, fenced in animal enclosures and various trees. Inside the truck, the occupants were all in a strange combination of relaxation and alertness as they rumbled farther into the country. The incidents that had occurred to them over a couple of hours ago still very fresh in their thoughts as they focused on the road ahead.
Jason had his head resting in on his knuckles, elbow on the passenger door as he watched the countryside fly past them. Clementine was on his left with Shawn driving on her other side, Shawn's friend Chet was leaning his back against the cab from his spot in the trucks bed.
It was late, roughly around 11 or maybe closer to midnight, the fighter could feel sleep crawling at the edges of his consciousness but refused to let it take hold. There would be time for sleep when he and Clementine were somewhere safe, and if what Shawn had been telling them is true, a farm out in the middle of nowhere seemed like the best place to be when the more populated areas are overrun by walkers.
Though he couldn't help but feel a sense of nostalgia coming to him the farther along they went. Something about Shawn's last name triggered something that he was having a bit of trouble trying to recall. "Greene...Greene...Where have I heard that name before?" The fighter thought to himself.
"Jason?" he turned and looked down at his charge who was rubbing her eyes before looking up at him. "I'm getting sleepy. Are we there yet?" she asked before yawning.
"Almost, little darlin'." Shawn said as he turned the truck down another dirt road. "The farm isn't too much farther, we can find you two a place to crash when we arrive."
"Thanks for doing this for us, we really owe you." Jason said gratefully. "You sure your family won't mind having us?"
The farmer waved him off, "It won't be a problem, my dad might be a bit hesitant with strangers but I'm sure he won't mind letting you stay for at least one night." he made another turn and a small house in the distance could be seen approaching. "Besides, I couldn't just leave you two there like that. Not with those things wandering around takin' chunks outta people."
Pulling into a dooryard, Shawn parked the truck next to a blue one that was already sitting there before shutting the engine off. The group piled out and approached the front porch. "Hey, Shawn..." Chet said stretching his arms, "I'm a' run on home. My mama's gonna be in a snit."
"No sweat, man. I'll catch you tomorrow night." replied Shawn.
Chet nodded before turning to Jason and Clementine, "It was nice to meet ya both."
"Likewise, take care of yourself out there." the fighter replied as the man headed down the driveway and disappeared from sight. The front door of the house opened drawing their attention as two female figures came out to see them.
Jason's eyes widen and felt his breath hitch, that was why Shawn's last name sounded familiar and why he felt that he'd known this place somehow.
The unmistakable forms of Maggie and Beth Greene came running down from the porch, their arms going around the older man in a tight embrace. Both girls looking exactly like the characters that played them on the Walking Dead right down to the last detail. "Thank God, you're okay!" Maggie said with relief filling her voice as she held the man.
"I'm fine, sis." Shawn said hugging his sisters back. "I was worried it'd be bad here, too."
"Everything's okay here, daddy was worried about you." said Beth before turning to the ones Shawn had brought with him. "Who are these two?" she asked looking from the young man to the little girl that hung closely to his side.
"This is Jason and Clementine, they helped me and Chet get back here when we got held up in town." said Shawn turning to their guests. "These are my sisters, Maggie and Beth."
Snapping himself out of the slight stupor he had fallen in, the fighter nodded to them. "Your brother's a hero, we would have been in a lot of trouble if he and his friend hadn't helped us out when we needed it."
"Well, it's a good thing they were able to help somebody." they all looked to the front door and Jason felt his mouth drop again. Even missing his long beard and prosthetic leg, the kind and serene visage of Hershel Greene was still very surprising to see.
The older man smiled kindly at them as he came down the steps. "So, it's just you and your daughter then." he said looking down at Clementine who smiled back shyly.
"Oh, she's not his daughter." said Shawn before Jason could answer. "He's a friend visiting from Chicago and found her alone at home."
Hershel cast a small glance at his son before turning to the younger man with a calculating look. Jason felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up under the man's gaze, but kept his face as calm and collective as he could before the man turned to Clementine and kneeled down to her level.
"Honey, do you know this man?" he asked gently.
The girl hesitated a moment before nodding her head, "Yes."
Hershel narrowed his eyes and nodded back, "Okay then. You two look like you've had a pretty bad day. Beth, would you mind fetching them something to drink. Shawn, Maggie, why don't you go in and check on your mother." His children all headed into the house, the girls sending smiles toward the girl and her guardian before they disappeared inside.
The farmer motioned for his guests to have a seat on a couple of hay-bails in front of the porch, they all sat down as the man started speaking again. "Seems like things got awful bad in the cities." he turned to Jason, "What did you say your name was again?"
"Jason Harlow." the fighter replied.
"Nice to meet you. I'm Hershel Greene." said the farmer. "Shawn said something about you coming down from Chicago. That's a long way from home for you, what made you come down here to Georgia?"
It didn't take much to figure out that the man was digging, searching for lies that could paint him in a bad light. "Just keep it honest. But don't mention anything about somehow jumping dimensions." "I was on vacation, thought I'd come down and visit some friends. Didn't expect things to fall apart like this when I arrived though." he said dodging around the truth easily.
"Where were you headed?" Hershel asked turning to him.
"Atlanta. When I saw the main roads blocked off I took a detour and ran into some trouble, I came across Clementine's home running from those things you've probably heard about. After that we ran into your son and his friend before making an escape." said the fighter. The older man nodded, seeming to buy the story for the most part. But there was still a sliver of mistrust in his eyes that kept Jason on edge.
Beth came out of the house with two bottles of water, handing them to their guests and given them a smile before heading back inside. "The house is full up with mine. We've got another displaced family of three already sleeping in the barn. You and the girl are welcome to rest there for the night." Hershel turned to Clementine. "I didn't catch your name either, darlin'."
"Clem-Clementine." she answered back.
The farmer shook his head sadly, "Can't imagine what you've been through, Clementine."
"I'm looking after her until we find her parents." Jason said honestly just as Shawn came out of the house and approached his father.
"Hey, dad, I've been thinking. First thing tomorrow, we gotta reinforce the fence around the farm."
Hershel shook his head, "That doesn't seem necessary." he said casually.
Shawn gritted his teeth, "I don't know what you saw on tv, or heard on the radio, but there's some serious..." he lowered his voice looking over at Clementine as she slowly drank the water in her hands. "...shit hitting the fan. I don't think anyone knows how big it is yet."
"He's right, sir." Jason said after taking a big gulp of his own water. "Things are a lot worse out there then you may realize, dead people are wandering around eating the living. Making sure this place is safe for you and your family should take priority."
The farmer didn't look to be moved as he regarded the two younger men, "Stuff like that doesn't happen around here. But do what you think you should. We've got plenty of other chores around here as it is."
"Jason and those folks in the barn can help out in the morning. We gotta do it, really." the man's son pressed.
"I already said yes, Shawn. You don't need to try and convince me any more." Hershel said as Shawn turned and went back in the house. He turned back to Jason and motioned to the building a little ways from the home, "There's blankets and such in the barn. We'll be seeing you bright and early. Come tomorrow, which way you think you're headed?"
Jason hadn't thought about their next step, surviving the walkers had taken up most of his thoughts so much he didn't stop to think about where he and Clementine should go next. Then he remembered the conversation he had with the girl back at her house. "Savannah, Clementine's folks were down in that area when things started falling apart. I promised to help her look for them."
"Then your best bet would be to pass through Macon." replied the farmer. "The coast is still a long drive from here, maybe those other folks we took in can offer you a lift in that direction tomorrow." he gave the two another smile, patting the younger man on the shoulder before going into the house leaving the two to their own devices.
Watching the man disappear inside, the fighter turned to his charge who looked back unsure. "Well...I think the sandman is calling our name, Clem." he said with a light smile and getting a giggle out of her. They got up and walked across the large front yard toward the barn.
The Greene family farm looked almost exactly like it did in the show, only it seemed to be a little smaller than he remembered. More often then not, Jason couldn't help but think of the large herd of walkers surrounding the place from the treeline while people fought to escape.
Reaching the barn after a light walk, the odd duo pushed the large doors open before going inside, sealing the entrance behind them before gathering a couple of blankets and pillows that were stacked up in the corner.
Finding a small corner amongst a pile of hay-bails, the duo set up their makeshift beds on the floor before settling down for the night. The sounds of someone rolling around in the upper loft telling them both that the other family that had taken up residence in the building for the night was up there already asleep.
Jason laid on his blanket, pulling out the walkie-talkie, the hammer and the handgun he got off of the dead cop when they fled Clementine's house under his pillow for easy access before folding his arms under his head and staring up at the ceiling above. His mind already starting to go over how they would be able to reach Savannah, or any kind of safe haven where nothing would happen to him or the girl that was now in his care.
"We're gonna need food, medical supplies, and weapons. A hammer and a gun with a single clip won't last us long. We're also going to need a vehicle and some gas to get us there, not to mention a way to keep the walkers from taking a bite out of us.." he rubbed his temples when he started feeling a headache coming on. "I'll worry about this in the morning, should get as much sleep as I can. Gonna need it tomorrow."
Clementine smelled around her as she tried to get comfortable, "It smells like..." she trailed off not knowing how to word it.
"Manure." Jason said rolling over to face her with a smirk.
"You mean, when an animal...plops?" she asked hesitantly and getting a nod from her guardian making her shiver slightly. They fell into silence for a few minutes before Clementine reached into her pocket and pulled out the folded picture of her family, laying it next to her pillow as she curled up by it. "I miss my mom and dad." she whimpered softly.
Jason winced, the messages he heard on the answering machine coming back to mind. "I know, sweetheart." he said feeling his heart clench at her anguish.
"How far is Savannah?" she asked as her eyes began to grow heavy.
Jason yawned, "Pretty far, Clem. But we'll get there, don't worry."
Clementine's eyes closed completely as she settled in, "Oh...okay..." A moment later her breathing evened out meaning she had fallen asleep. The fighter watched over her for a few more moments before rolling on to his back again, exhaustion starting to settle in with him as well as he closed his own eyes.
His last waking thought being of what their overall plan should be before the hands of sleep claimed him for the night.
"So that's how it is then?"
"Jason we only want what's best for you and your career."
"Bullshit! All you two care about it controlling our future! I remember Katie wanted to be a writer, but you two stomped down on that dream the moment she uttered a word of it!"
"You need to take your life seriously, son. If you don't you won't get anywhere in life."
"I am getting somewhere!"
"This stupid dream of becoming a fighter is just that, a dream! If you don't buckle down and choose a worthwhile profession then you won't be getting any more support from us!"
"...So you're cutting me off? Just because my life's not the way you want it for me? Being in the MMA may seem like a dream, but it something I'm working hard for! And being a mechanic is a good profession, do you have any idea how people with auto skills get paid for their work? Even freelance mechanics earn more than others."
"No mom! This isn't about me, my future or any of that, is it? This is about your image and how I am making it look bad! How embarrassing it must be for the two of you to have a grease-monkey with bloody knuckles in the family instead of another doctor."
"Son, our word is final on the matter."
"Fuck your word! Fuck your support! And fuck YOU! If that's the way it's gonna be with you two, then I'll start packing my shit. I'm done being shoved in a box I can't fit into. I'm done with the snide comments, the glares I get when I visit home and the way you let people talk about me when you think I'm not listening!"
"Parents are suppose to support their kids and love them no matter what they do with their lives, not give them ultimatums and threaten them just because they don't fit into the family's grand plan. I can stand on my own two goddamn feet...I've been doing it for a long while now so what the hell does it matter?"
"If that's the way you want it, then consider yourself on your own Jason. You are no longer any son of mine!"
Jason bolted awake, looking around him and seeing the four walls of the barn and the piles of hay stacked around him.
He'd been reliving that moment from years ago for a while now, the moment when his dad all but disowned him and his mother just walked away with her head hanging low. Neither of them looking back as they walked out of his life without another word.
It had been a stupid situation anyway. Just because he pursued a profession and a way of life that they didn't agree with didn't give them the right to threaten to no longer support him and kick him out of the family. He'd tried to be the adult in the situation, trying to see if from their point of view and make compromises.
But nothing worked with them. They just hated the fact that he didn't have a job that fit well with their view of things as long as they looked better in the community. So he stuck through it, they didn't want him? Fine. He had been doing good on his own for years without anything from them and was doing well.
His eyes searched the barn again realizing that everything he had been through the day before had been real before letting out a sigh knowing that nothing was going to change that. A light shuffling came from his left and he saw Clementine curled up on her makeshift bed, her hat half-hanging off her head and her expression peaceful while she slept.
Smiling at the image, he reached out and removed her hat, setting it to the side within her reach before standing up and stretching his muscles. Skin a bit itchy from laying in hay, the fighter walked slowly over to the doors to the barn being as silent as possible so he didn't wake anyone else as he stepped out into the crisp, early morning air.
It was still relatively dark out, but the dark hues of pink, blue and purple on the edges of the horizon marked the start of the new day. Taking another deep breath, Jason started walking around the yard along the fence that separated the space around the home from the surrounding fields.
He could hear the sounds of animals waking up all around the property, a horses in the nearby stable grunted and stomped their hooves as the fighter walked past them. Stopping by one of the many fence posts and leaning on it while he looked out over the landscape.
After living in a city for so long, he almost forgot how quiet and serene the country side was. "Everything's so peaceful out here." he thought while hearing various other animals waking up for the day. "Hard to believe the world's coming to an end outside the boarders. Hopefully not everything turns out like in the series."
Footfalls in the grass behind him broke his thoughts and made his body tense, preparing for an attack until he heard a feminine voice speak out, "You're up pretty early." Looking over his shoulder he saw Maggie Greene standing behind him dressed in a casual white tank-top and jeans with light tears in them that hugged her body close. A pair of brown cowboy boots completed her attire and painted the perfect image of a 'farmer's daughter' in his eyes.
"Y-Yeah. Rough dreams." he admitted albeit a little tongue-tied given the beautiful southern-belle standing before him.
Maggie slipped her hands into her pockets and walked up to stand next to him. "Shawn told us what was going on out there, it sounds horrible."
Jason nodded seriously before glancing out over the farm. "It is. The last thing you expect to see is people eating each other, it's nightmare stuff, and I don't think things will be getting any better with happening." he said while running a hand through his short-cut hair. "It's a good thing it hasn't reached this far, your family is lucky."
"Maybe," she said looking out over everything as well. "Daddy says that we have nothing to worry about, that what's happening out there won't reach us. But Shawn thinks that it's best to prepare for the worst."
"It's a good idea," said the fighter. "It's always better to prepare for the worst, than hope for the best. Even if nothing happens here, at least you'll be ready incase something goes wrong."
The young woman nodded before casting a smile in his direction, "Clementine looks like such a sweet little girl, it's terrible how she's all alone now. It's a good thing you found her when you did, anything could have happened to her."
"I made a promise after I found her, I honor my word. And no matter what it takes, I'll make sure nothing happens to her." came the reply, conviction filling the traveler's voice at the commitment he made to his young charge. A hand on his shoulder made him look up to see Maggie's bright green eyes and smiling face.
"She's lucky to have you looking out for her. I can tell that you're a good man and will honor what you say." her voice was soft and made his heart skip a beat or two. She looked even prettier in person and Jason couldn't help but feel like he was back in high school talking to one of the popular girls.
"T-Thanks," he managed before clearing the dry lump in his throat and getting the woman to giggle. "What are you doing up at this hour?" he asked, a little curious as to what she was doing out here.
"Beth, mama and I are gonna head to our neighbors' for the day. I just came to check on the horses before we head out in a few hours." she approached the stables and ran her hand along the elongated face of a dark-brown steed that bowed its head so she could scratch it behind the ears.
Jason stepped toward the stable as well, reaching a hand out and running it along the animal's neck, hearing a deep grunt that sounded like it was enjoying the attention. "He looks like an amazing animal." he commented before jumping as the white furred horse in the stable next to it leaned out and nipped at the back of his shirt, causing Maggie to laugh at his expense.
"Definitely a city-boy." she teased getting a mock-glare in return that only made her laugh more. "So what do you do for a living?"
"I do work as an auto-mechanic, but in my spare time I train as a fighter. The sport's always interested me since I was a kid and I was just barely getting scoped out by sponsors when...well, all of this happened." he covered easily.
Maggie looked his way, "Sounds dangerous. Throwing yourself into a situation where you have to fight each other. But I guess farming is dangerous on its own."
Jason nodded, "You're right. But in life you have to take risks if you're passionate about something."
"You're right." the young woman replied before smiling at him. "Your family must be proud of you." The fighter remained silent, wanting to tell her the truth but deciding to keep it to himself.
They exchanged a few more words with one another, talking about seemingly random things and finding that they had a little bit in common and enjoying themselves rather well before going their separate ways, Maggie back to the house and Jason back to the barn. The sun was beginning to rise a little higher in the sky but still relatively early and the fighter wanted to catch a little more sleep before the day really got started.
Still feeling a little light in his steps from his talk with the farmer girl, the fighter walked into the barn and found Clementine still asleep where he had left her. Laying himself back down on his makeshift bed and settling in, Jason's eyes slid closed and took a couple deep breaths before drifting back into slumber.
"Hey, get up!" His eyes shot open about an hour or so later and found a man dressed in a white, fishing shirt and jeans looking down at him. The man also had a mustache that curved around his mouth and long hair kept under a truckers hat.
Jason's first reaction was to reach for the handgun under his pillow, but the kind smile on the man's face told him that he wasn't a threat and defused the situation before something could happen.
He looked to the side and found Clementine already awake, scratching at her arms with a look of discomfort. "I'm itchy." she complained.
"Well you slept in a barn, little lady." said the man. "Lucky you don't have spiders in your hair."
The girl yelped and reached her hands up into her dark curls in fear of finding eight-legged bugs waiting for her. "Relax, Clem. I think he was just pulling your leg." Jason said getting to his feet with a light chuckle.
"He's right, darlin'. Besides, I bet your daddy here scared 'em all away, huh?"
The fighter scratched the back of his head, "Uh, I'm not her dad. Name's Jason." he said holding his hand out. The unknown man clasped his hand with his and shook, "Name's Kenny." he introduced back.
"Dad!" the three looked toward the open barn doors and saw a boy a year or two older then Clementine standing in the opening. "We're gonna build a fence! There's a tractor and everything!" he exclaimed with excitement before running off toward the house.
Kenny chuckled, "Well, we better get going or we won't hear the end of it." they all headed out of the barn, Jason used the moment to quickly snatch up his hidden items, stashing them on himself before catching up to the other two and began making their way to the farm house as well.
"That's my boy, Ken Junior. We call him Duck, though." said Kenny while they walked.
"Duck?" Jason asked with a raised eyebrow at the odd nickname, Clementine giggled as she walked at his side, her hand holding on to his.
"Yeah. Nothing bothers him. Like water off a duck's back, y'know?" explained the older man.
"Good trait to have, especially now with what's going on out there." said the fighter.
Kenny nodded, "No kidding. But frankly, I think it's because he's dumb as a bag of hammers." "DAAAAAD!" Duck yelled from up ahead. "But he makes up for it with enthusiasm." the man finished with another chuckle.
They neared the front porch of the Greene home and found Kenny's son talking with an older, blonde woman. Both looking up as they closed in. "The word is you were on your way to Macon." Kenny said turning to the odd duo.
"Yeah, hoping to find a way to Savannah. If you don't mind giving us a lift." said the fighter.
"Not at all. Personally, I'd appreciate the company of a guy who can knock a couple of heads together if he has to." replied the older man.
Jason grinned, "Oh, no worries on that front. Been training in Mixed Martial Arts for several years now, even won a couple of matches and started getting somewhere before everything fell apart."
"Cool!" Duck exclaimed with wide eyes, "Does that mean you know Kung Fu and stuff?!"
"Sort off," the younger man said while smiling wider at the kid's enthusiasm. "MMA is kind of a mix of all sorts of fighting styles. Karate, Kickboxing, Mai Tai, Judo, that kind of thing." he explained while taking a boxing-stance. "The key is to find your strengths when you're up against someone and improving on them, all the while increasing your endurance, strength and dexterity. Me personally, I do a combination of Judo and Boxing. Leveling off strength and speed when fighting an opponent."
The boy was bouncing from foot to foot before turning to the woman, "Mom! Can I learn to fight too?"
"Easy, sweetie. I think you're still a bit young to be worrying about that right now." said his mother with a slight accent tinting her voice while running a hand over his nearly buzzcut hair.
Kenny shook his head a moment before making introductions, "Honey, Duck, this is Jason and...uh, what's the girl's name?" he asked.
"Clementine." Jason said looking down at his charge who tried her best to hide herself behind him.
"Clementine, that's a very pretty name." said the woman smiling warmly. "My name it Katjaa , it's nice to meet you." The little girl smiled and said thank you just as Shawn came around the house and approached them.
"Well, we should get to work. We've all seen what those things can do out there so the faster we get this new fence up, the better." he said to the group.
"I wanna build a fence!" Duck shouted, wanting to be a part of it.
Shawn grinned, "Yeah? Well I need a good foreman. You can sit on the tractor and yell at me whenever I take a water break." The little boy seemed to vibrate with excitement before chasing after the farmer as he went off to improve the border around the property.
Katjaa turned to Jason and smiled, "I can keep an eye on your little girl here on the porch. We can visit." The fighter looked down at Clementine and nodded, getting her to smile and head over to the older woman and sit with her while he and Kenny went over to the blue truck with the hood up.
"Need any help with that, Kenny?" he asked as the older man began to look over the engine.
"Naw, I think I got it." he replied while picking up a wrench and attempting to remove one of the spark plugs, only to find that it was the wrong sized socket. Jason leaned forward and took the wrench from the older man, quickly changing to the right socket and removing the damaged component with relative ease and switching it with a new one Kenny had nearby.
"That's pretty good. You a mechanic?" the older man asked a bit impressed.
"Worked in an auto body shop back in Chicago, it helped pay the bills outside of matches and training." Jason replied before changing out another spark plug and replacing it. "Spark plugs are an easy fix, but I think your timing belt is a little loose. This truck won't go far until it's all taken care of."
Kenny looked up at him with a questionable look after another minute. "Do you need any help with anything?"
The fighter paused and raised an eyebrow at him, "What do you mean?"
"I mean, in taking care of that little girl. You know what you're doing? You got kids of your own?" Kenny clarified.
Jason shook his head and went back to the engine, "I'm only 23, my longest relationship was only a few months. So no, I don't have any kids. Always thought about having one in the future though, thought I could make a great dad some day." he thought about the other man's family and looked up at him. "You've got a good family."
"Thanks, been doin' the best I can at keeping them safe through all of this. Our plan was to head back on down to Lauderdale and let this mess get sorted out." Kenny explained. "Government will start handing out shots and the national guard will do its thing. On the odd chance things got too bad, we could hop on my boat, I guess."
"Not a big chance of any of that happening..." Jason thought bitterly. "You've got a boat?" he asked curious.
"I'm a commercial fisherman, catching mackerel, dolphin, whatever's biting and paying. Katjaa wouldn't be wild about it, but the boat's not that bad." said Kenny with a little pride in his voice.
Filing that little piece of information away for later, the fighter continued helping the fisherman repair the truck. Talking back and forth about what was going on and how it may have started. Kenny talked about their first encounter with the walkers, how they came down from his sister-in-laws place and Duck getting grabbed at a gas station. But they had managed to escape, seeing a lot of dead along the way until they came to the farm.
Jason realized then that things were just as dire as he first believed, that the chances of finding a safe haven in all of this was going to be very difficult if he and Clementine didn't have a good plan to follow.
When the truck was fully repaired and running again, the fighter looked over at his little charge who was still on the porch where she was happily talking with Kenny's wife. "They seem to be getting along alright." he thought while feeling glad that she was opening up to people.
"Hay girls," he said approaching the two. "Enjoying yourselves?"
"You can say that. Clementine was just telling me about first grade." replied Katjaa warmly.
"Really, and how is that?" asked Jason while turning to his charge.
Clementine smiled, "It's easy."
"I'll bet," he said ruffling her hair through her hat.
"Anyway, it's almost like we didn't see people eating each other for the past three days. It's peaceful here, no?" said Katjaa getting a nod from the fighter.
"Kenny told me about how rough it was out there for you three. How did you handle getting through the city?"
The woman sighed, "Kenny just...drove. We passed do many people that needed help. And...we just...passed people, over some. Just...just..." she closed her eyes not wanting to think about it anymore.
"It's okay, ma'am. You don't have to say anymore." Jason said trying to ease her troubled mind.
Katjaa shuttered, "I want to go home tomorrow, but even then I can't take away the things we, the things Duck, went through." She looked up into his eyes, "Don't you want to go back to the moment before you knew about all of this?"
The question had stunned him for a moment, recalling how he had gotten into all of this and that there seemed to be nothing he could do to get back to where he was before. "Anyone with half a brain would. But in a situation like this, you just gotta take the hand you're dealt and make the best of it with what you have."
Katjaa smiled, "That sounded a bit philosophical."
Jason shrugged, "I'm no Plato, but I have my moments every once in a while." He drummed his fingers lightly on the bill of Clementine's hat and making her smile at him. "I'll leave you two be for now, better check on Shawn and those new defenses."
"Okay." the girl said before going back and talking with the blonde woman. He moved on from the porch and went around the house to the back where Shawn was busily hammering several heavy boards to the fence, making it stronger and more durable than before.
"Need an extra set of hands?" he asked the farmer after waving at Duck who was happily sitting on the tractor and playing with the steering wheel.
"Sure can," the farmer replied while motioning to a couple of saw-horses and some long wooden boards. "If you could cut those two-bys to length, that'd sure speed things up." Jason walked over and set a couple of boards up, picking up a nearby hand-saw and started cutting them in half.
"My dad doesn't know how bad it really is out there." Shawn said after a minute of silence.
"Noticed that." said the fighter picking up a couple new boards after cutting the first two. "Most people hate to admit that something's wrong when its so hard to believe." Speaking from his own experience, he could definitely relate.
Shawn sighed and shook his head, "I saw a guy in Atlanta kill a kid. A boy. Just shot him right in the face. He didn't even hesitate. He just turned, put the barrel of the gun between his eyes and pulled the trigger...You don't see things like that, it's not like in the movies."
Jason nodded, "At least then you know it's fake. But now, the horror of reality just doesn't set in right after seeing what we have." the next two boards fell away and he picked up a couple more.
"Have you...done it yet?" asked the farmer turning to him, "Have you had to off one?"
The fighter paused, eyes locked on the half-cut boards as he recalled his encounters with the walkers the other day. "Yeah. Four of them. Two in the woods, one inside Clementine's house...and one outside your truck before we managed to get away."
"Damn," muttered Shawn. "That takes some guts. I could probably shoot one, if it was far away." he looked to the fence he was reinforcing. "I'm just glad we're getting this fence built-in. Dad just wants to keep the family safe and thinks inviting people in is a bigger threat than whatever's out there."
"How bout yours? Where's your family?"
The next to boards fell away and Jason sighed, "Wouldn't know, haven't heard from them in a couple of years. We had a pretty bad falling out and I've been on my own since."
"Sorry to hear that. Didn't mean to pry like that." the farmer turned to him again. "That's probably all I need cut for now, thanks for the help."
"Don't mention it man, it's the least I can do for helping get me and Clem out of town last night." he replied setting the saw down.
Shawn smiled, "No problem, Jason. Couldn't leave you two behind. Anyway, when you see my dad around, he might want some help in the barn." Jason looked over at said barn and found Hershel heading inside with a pitchfork. Rolling his shoulders, he walked across the wide yard and followed him in just as he started tossing hay into a corner pile.
The older man looked up at him, narrowing his gaze slightly before going back to work. "I was sort of hoping you'd come and talk with me, Jason. We didn't have a whole lot of time to talk last night after Shawn brought you in."
"About what, sir?" the fighter asked wondering what else they would need to talk about.
"About you, what were you doing before all of this? What about your family? Girlfriend? Parents? Siblings?" asked Hershel.
Jason leaned against one of the support posts for the loft and crossed his arms over his chest. "I worked in an auto body shop in Chicago, fixing and detailing cars for a living while at the same time I was training to become a professional fighter." he ran a hand through his hair, "I haven't had a girlfriend in a little over a year. As for my family, well, we lost touch a while back. Irreconcilable differences that kind of tore us apart."
"That's sad to hear. Family's the only real important thing we got left in this world. It's a shame yours is as broken as it is." replied the farmer with a bit of sympathy. "But now you've got this little girl to take care of. Clementine, is it? You just stumbled up on her?"
Jason nodded, "Yeah, was looking for help at her home and found her alone. Her babysitter was...no longer amongst the living. I couldn't just leave her like that." he said honestly.
Hershel hummed to himself before stabbing the pitchfork into the hay-pile and stepping forward. "Can I give you a piece of advice, son?"
"Sure." The younger man said giving his full attention.
"With things the way they are now, and how bad things may get later on, You're going to have to depend on the honesty of strangers if you're going to make it." the old farmer smiled, "But, at least you have the common sense to listen to an old man giving you advice."
Jason smiled back, "Your generation set the ground work for mine, not listening to words of wisdom like that would be a huge mistake on my part." they shared a laugh right before a loud, mechanical roar was heard followed quickly by a scream of pain.
"What the fuck?!" the fighter ran out of the barn and ran straight for the house, Hershel right behind him.
"Go! I'll get my gun!" he called out, heading into the house while Jason ran around back and saw what all the trouble was.
Duck had somehow turned on the tractor, one of the front wheels having rolled over Shawn's leg and painfully crushing it down into the ground pinning him in place. At the same time, a walker had wandered up to the unfinished fence and was trying to reach through the gaps in the boards to grab on to him as he tried to pull himself free.
"SHAWN!" Jason sprinted toward the fence, reaching back and pulling the Glock from the waistband of his jeans and flicking the safety off as he brought it to bare.
Bam! The walker's head exploded in a shower of blood and bone as the 9mm round punched through its forehead and out the back.
Duck screamed grabbing the fighter's attention, a second walker had come up and was attempting to pull him over the fence. He quickly reaimed and fired another shot that drilled right through the creature's temple and out the other side, allowing the boy to jump down from the tractor and run to his father who had come around the house with Katjaa and Clementine.
The wooden fence started creaking when a third walker appeared, leaning heavily on the wood but was quickly thrown back by a well placed round between the eyes. With the threat now gone, Jason put the gun in his back pocket before running over and started pushing against the tractors front. Putting all his strength into it and moving the machine just enough for Shawn to free his leg and crawl out from under it to a safe distance.
Hershel came around the house and observed what had happened, beyond thankful that everyone was okay. "Shawn!" the farmer yelled running over to his son and kneeling next to him.
"I'm okay dad, " Shawn winced as he tried moving his right leg which was obviously broken with a few patches of blood soaking through his pants. "J-Jason saved my life, Duck's life too." The old farmer looked up at Jason who stood facing him, nodding in thanks his way before tending to his son's injury.
Clementine was beaming, the whole thing had been scary, but her guardian had pulled through and managed to help everyone before anything bad could happen.
Then her eyes caught movement on the other side of the fence...right behind where Jason was standing! "JASON LOOK OUT!"
The fighter spun around just as the fence broke, a large walker going through the weakened boards easily. Rotting, cold hands grabbing his neck and bringing him to the ground as it struggled to get at his flesh.
Jason strained his arms against the undead, barely making out the others shouting behind him as he kept the hungry walker at bay. The gun had been knocked from its place and was laying off to the right, too far away for him to reach and if he tried the creature would take a chunk out of him in a second.
The slight digging in his right hip reminded him of the hammer he had stored there and immediately came up with a plan. Grabbing the walker by the neck, he snapped his head forward and slammed it against the undead monster's hard enough to make it recoil, just long enough to pull the hammer from his belt and cram the shaft of it into the thing's mouth as it snapped back to try and bite him again.
Now with a better hold, he used the walker's own leverage against it and rolled them both over so that now he was on top of it. Pulling his arm back, he punched the creature with all his strength in the temple, its head snapping to the side, a couple of its teeth shattering on the hammers shaft allowing him to free it from the thing's mouth.
With weapon in hand, he cocked it back and slammed the blunt end as hard as he could into the walker's head with a loud crunch. He repeated the action again, and again, and again. Each strike crushing bone and sending blood and grey matter splashing into the air. Small outcries of fury breaking from his lips with each successful hit while he kept swinging.
By the sixth hit the walker laid unmoving, its brain now nothing more than a pulpy mass oozing out of its shattered cranium like a broken egg on a kitchen floor. Jason breathed heavily, standing up slowly as he looked down at his latest kill. Blood splattered on his clothes, his arms, and dripping down from the hammer that was clenched tightly in his hand. Body shaking with tension as he tried to calm himself.
Letting the bloody tool slip from his hand and clatter softly to the grass, the fighter took a step back and sat on the ground, all the while keeping the walker in sight as his mind caught up with what had just happened.
Clementine broke away from the stunned group, running over to her guardian and wrapping her tiny arms around him in a tight embrace. Tears in her eyes seeing that he was okay and the monster was dead. The action alone was enough to break him out of his stupor as he hugged her back, doing what he could to sooth her from what she had to witness yet again.
No words were spoken from anyone. The tractor continuing to rumble while it sat idle by the fences opening and filling the silence.
A/N: How's that for a change up?! If any of you out there have played the game you know full well about the many choices that had to be made that ultimately effected the over all plot. Jason will be facing similar situations, but the outcomes will be a bit different then what you might expect. I am also considering a pairing for Jason sometime in the future, but I'm having trouble figuring out who to put him with. Any ideas out there? Answer me via review.
Till next time guys!