Everworld fic. Yayyy.

Slash. Mostly femslash. Might put in boyslash too, not sure.

Forgive the crappiness of this chapter. It's the shitty first draft, and I'm very tired.

Fic rated 14, so far for language, later for violence and sex.

Please give CONSTRUCTIVE reviews. Don't tell me why it rocks/sucks, tell me WHY it rocks/sucks.

This takes place after Everworld IX, as our beloved characters are attempting to make their way back to Olympus. Senna, of course, has mysteriously disappeared.

So. Back in the forest. Hungry, tired, injured, bitchy. Nothing new there.

Actually, I was the only one bitching. Everyone else was too exhausted. David was doing the whole brave-war-leader thing. Squared shoulders, marching ahead of us all, brow furrowed deep in thought, contemplating the secrets of the universe. I don't know what he was thinking about that was so fascinating, but he was tuning the rest of us out.

Christopher would've been bitching, or at least laughing at my bitching, but he was unconscious. Nothing dramatic, for once. He'd slipped and went tumbling when we crossed a stream. Hit his head on a rock. I figured he'd be okay. He was bleeding a little, but nothing too bad. Jalil was busy dragging him along on a makeshift litter we'd made of branches - I couldn't help because my arm was broken. Or sprained. Or something. It was swollen almost comically and throbbed like mad. Pain. Lots of pain. I'd taken three of out precious Advil, but they didn't have much of an effect except to make my empty stomach hurt.

It would've been easier to just sit and wait till Christopher woke up instead of having poor Jalil drag him along, but the sun was setting, and none of us wanted to still be in the forest when the night fell. Senna wasn't around to protect us. Not that I'd count on her to protect us. But David still thought she was on our side, that she wouldn't want us to get hurt. Or at least not badly maimed. And David, our unofficial leader, was very intent on getting out of the forest.

Most forests in Everworld were creepy. Creepy-bad. The kind of forest that's really big, and really thick, and really dark, and gives you the feeling that in about five seconds, something is going to jump out from behind that enormous tree and eat you for breakfast.

This forest gave me the feeling that if anything was hiding behind the trees here, it was big and bad enough to eat all four of us for a snack, and even that would barely make a dent in its hunger.

It was the trees. They were just so fucking HUGE. I could barely see the sky, could only judge by the little sliver of twilight blue that I could see between the treetops that the sun was going fast. David was carrying a torch, had been carrying a torch through noon. Come night, it would be pitch-black. Someone - something - could come and kill David, Christopher, and Jalil right in front of me, and I wouldn't realize anything was wrong until it killed me, too.

And it just gave me a really bad feeling. Aside from the huge trees and the darkness. I had a really, really bad feeling about this forest. Like there was something in it. Something… not evil, but not good. Something powerful enough that I could feel its presence. And I knew it could feel mine.

It was quiet. No birds. No cute fuzzy animals running around. Just the crunching sound of our shoes.

Creepy. Very, very creepy. And it wasn't just me. Jalil was silent, David was silent, both so tense and scared they didn't tell me to shut up and quit whining about how cold and hungry I was.

"And my wrist hurts. I mean, really hurts. Fuck. Look at this. FUCK. It's purple. That's not a good sign. I'm not supposed to be purple. Does that mean the blood flow's all wrong? What if it really is broken, and broken bits of bone are stopping my artery? Jesus. We should at least make a split. I dunno. Something."

I was scared, okay? I was cold and hungry and my arm hurt like fuck and I was scared. So I was babbling. I couldn't stand the quiet. It was horrible. Had to fill in the silence.

"Goddamnit David, what are we going to do? Just keep walking and walking through the night? It's getting dark. Your torch is burning down. Are we just going to keep walking, bumping into a tree every two seconds? Or are we going to sleep and hope nothing eats us? Is there a plan C? Because somehow I don't think we're getting to the end of this place before dark. Or ever." I was shaking. My head hurt. I wanted some more Advil. And a meal. A hot meal. When was the last time I'd eaten? Yesterday? Two days ago? Back on the ship, with Senna. Fish. Fish and fish and more fish, till the sight of it made me sick, but even then I kept eating it, because that was all there was to eat. Now, fish sounded wonderful.

"Fried fish. With tomatoes and onions on top. All crispy and warm. A lemon on the side. And a big glass of water. Or beer. Fuck. I'd drink beer if we had any. Even that crappy beer they had on the boat is better than nothing." Stumbling through the forest, babbling about food. I could almost smell it.

"April," David said suddenly.

"What? WHAT? Plan C? Do you have a plan C? Or do you know of a nice inn nearby? Creepyforest inn? I bet they serve humans for breakfast. Nice crispy David, nice crispy April - "

"Shut up." Jalil. He'd stopped, they'd both stopped. I looked from one to the other, looked at Christopher, who'd lost his boots somewhere while being dragged through the forest. My arm hurt. I thought I was going to cry.

"This is all your fault. Just stick to the path, just stick to the fucking path until it fucking forks and you choose wrong." Blaming David. It wasn't his fault, I knew that. Just had to keep talking, it was so quiet, if I kept talking maybe I'd stay sane.

"April." Something about David's voice made me finally stop babbling.

There was a noise. Crackling. And I was smelling something.

A moment later I realized what it was. Fire. And smoke. Somewhere nearby. It couldn't be too big, or we'd be seeing the flames. A fire small enough to be concealed by the enormous trees - a deliberate fire.

A nice warm toasty fire. I was so cold. So cold.

And fire was protection.

And David's torch was burning low.

"We should check it out," Jalil said in a low voice.

Yeah. Like we had a choice.

David went over to Jalil, took hold of the litter, and started dragging it towards the crackling sound. Jalil turned, look at me - "Coming?"

I had the feeling that if I opened my mouth, I'd start screaming hysterically. So I walked over to him. Tripped over my own feet, nearly fell. Jalil grabbed me, jolted my arm. I was crying. Bawling against his shoulder. "Just so fucking cold - "

"You're feverish," he said calmly.

"Yeah, well…" I was hiccupping, snot and tears running down my face, clinging to Jalil, and that was how we stumbled into her camp.