Please read the author's note at the end!

Alan- machete

Doc- AK-47

Jamie- katana, submachine gun

Maria- incapacitated

Zoey- dual pistols, sniper rifle

The survivors cruised down a highway and Alan pulled up the second exit like Doc instructed. The gang was surprised to see a massive CEDA building before them, but it had long since been abandoned. Doc without worry pushed the doors open and then walked into what was formerly a massive laboratory. Alan carried in a still unconscious Maria on his back, following Zoey and Jamie into the lab.

"Put her on this bed," Doc instructed. Alan walked over, gently lying Maria on the bed. The little girl was sweating and panting, and on top of that she was growing pale. Doc pulled up some equipment from all around, plugging it into the wall. It started to look like Maria was intensive care. "Can someone find the power?"

Jamie nodded then started looking around the room before finding a switch on the far end. The lights came on and the rest of the power in the room came to life with a slight humming noise. Doc walked to the other end of the room, opening something that looked like a refrigerator. He pulled out a bag of clear liquid and another bag of light red fluids. Doc hooked each one of them up to a stand, letting them hang as he poked a tube into one end of the bag and gently injecting a needle into Maria's arm. The black haired girl made no reaction to the needle going into her arm. The fluids started to flow down the tube and into Maria's body.

"What's wrong with her Doc," Jamie asked.

The blonde sighed heavily before messing with some monitoring equipment, "She might be infected…" Jamie's eyes widened as Zoey only gasped with fear.

"What," Alan asked quietly. "How could she be infected…?"

"Before it became an epidemic, it was believed that the Green Flu could be spread through bites, so CEDA and the army put more emphasis on armor and protection from bites. Well, the infection started mutating, and the ways Green Flu spread because more wide spread. If someone inhales too much smoke from a Smoker, they could become infected, if they accidently ingest Boomer bile, they could become infected."

"But she didn't ingest any of it," Alan snapped.

"It could've been absorbed through the skin, gotten in her eyes or in her mouth somehow," Doc replied quietly. "That's why I think she threw up back in the vehicle; her body was trying to get rid of the infection as best as it could…"

"So what happens to her now," Jamie asked, terrified of the answer. Doc sighed heavily, staring down at the ground.

"You notice how there aren't any zombie children? There's a reason for that. Kids' immune systems are weaker than adults. I saw a few cases back at Mercy Hospital. Kids would be infected, all the normal symptoms like a normal adults and they'd turn into a zombie. But…the infection would eventually be too much and it would kill them within an hour or two…"

"No," Zoey whispered, covering her mouth with her hand.

"There has to be something we can do," Jamie snapped at Doc. "You brought us here for a reason right?"

"Well," Doc began before he sat in a rolling chair. "I could try to make a vaccine or an anti-virus that kills the Green Flu. But I have nothing to go off of aside from my samples of Boomer bile and a bunch of these chemicals which I have no idea what they do."

"Well what the fuck were the people here doing," Alan exclaimed. "Maybe they have documentation or something lying around that can give us a head start! How much time do we need?"

"Average time for the infection to spread through a child's body is around twenty four hours. After that…she won't survive more than a few hours after that."

"Fuck," Alan cursed as he started going through desks and drawers.

Jamie and Zoey split up in the room and started going through papers and files scattered all around. Doc sighed heavily, staring at Maria who was breathing heavily now. Zoey threw a few files off of a nearby desk, but found a stack of tapes with dates on them.

"Hey, I think I found something!" Everyone's heads snapped towards Zoey's direction. The brunette came running up with an armful of tapes. "These have dates and stuff on them. They have to be progress reports or something right?" Doc quickly looked around for a TV, finding one up in a far corner of the room.

"Put it in, play it," Doc ordered. Zoey quickly ran towards the TV, sliding in the first tape. Doc leaned forward along with Zoey to watch the tapes. Jamie would've leaned over Doc's shoulder as well, if not for him seeing Alan off on the other side of the room. Jamie headed towards Alan who had his back turned, running his hands over his head.

"You okay," Jamie asked.

"No," Alan replied. "We were supposed to get out of here, this was supposed to be it! If it wasn't for me, Maria would've been safe, she wouldn't be in this position right now!" Alan sent a ton of papers sliding off a desk, screaming with frustration. Zoey and Doc turned around, seeing Alan walking around in frustration. "I'm so fucking stupid! It's my fucking fault!"

"No one blames you Alan," Jamie said assuring his friend. "Anyone could've made the same mistake."

"Not you," Alan exclaimed, almost accusingly of Jamie. "You managed to keep her safe, you managed to keep ALL of us alive! The one time one of our lives is at stake, and it had to be Maria…this…this bullshit happens!"

"Shit happens Alan. Five people died just a few minutes ago, I couldn't save them either."

"Yeah, because you weren't there to lead us! You ran off with that Tank hot on your ass, trying to get it away from everyone else! That's you, always the selfless leader who runs head first into danger and manages to get everyone else out alive!"

"Alan, you got everyone else out alive," Jamie shot back. "The others who got away, they're safe because of you and your efforts."

"Yeah, and Maria, she's going to become a fucking zombie now because of me!"

"Hey, she's not going to-," Alan screamed, throwing a computer against a wall before placing his hand on his forehead. For the first time ever, Jamie saw Alan fighting back tears. "Alan…she's not going to become a zombie. Doc is going to do everything he can for her alright?"

"And what if she doesn't make it," Alan asked. "In all honesty I think we've been getting lucky before. A lot of people just died because of us Jamie, and now something really bad is about to happen! But what if she does turn? What do we do then huh?!"

"She's not going to," was all Jamie said. "Just take a breather and stop thinking negatively alright?"

"I'm not," Alan snapped. "I'm thinking realistically! If they couldn't make a cure for this damn virus, what makes you think one fucking doctor in a shitty abandoned lab is going to make a cure!?"

"Alan, just get the fuck out of here right now to calm the fuck down!" Alan's jaw tensed up before he walked into the next room, screaming as he threw and broke more things. Jamie shook his head then walked towards Maria, sitting next to her bed. Doc and Zoey turned back to the video, listening to the recorded videos. Maria sighed heavily, opening her heavy eyelids to look at Jamie. "Hey there," the dark haired brunette said with a smile. "How ya feeling?"

"Sick," Maria replied. "Where are we? What happened?"

"We're in an abandoned CEDA lab," Jamie answered as he grabbed Maria's hand. "We're just taking a break here…" Maria looked at her arm, noticing the pale skin and dark veins. Her paling blue eyes followed tubes from her arms up to little plastic bags hanging on stands next to her bed. Maria was quiet, staring at the bags for a moment.

"I'm infected aren't I…?" Jamie clutched Maria's hand tightly. "If I'm infected why don't you guys just kill me, or leave me?"

"Don't talk like that," Jamie hissed, trying to be as kind sounding as possible. "We're going to work on something, we're going to try to make you better okay?" Maria smiled weakly, causing Jamie's heart to sink. "You're gonna be fine okay…?" The black haired girl only let her eyes fall before she looked over, seeing Doc and Zoey watching the documentation, pointing and whispering quietly.

"What are they doing…?"

"Those are recorded documents I guess," Jamie replied. "They're trying to find something to give us a head start to make a vaccine or something."

"What if they don't find anything?"

"They'll find something," Jamie answered sharply. Maria sighed, turning back to Jamie.

"Where's Alan?" In response, something in the other room made a loud crashing sound. Maria stared past Jamie, looking into the distance, "He's taking this pretty hard huh?" Jamie smirked a bit before brushing a strand of Maria's hair out of her face. "Jamie…if I don't make it-,"

"You're going to make it," Jamie responded sternly. "Don't think like that okay?"

"Just let me speak…" Jamie remained quiet and Maria continued. "I…I just wanted to apologize. For the longest time I felt like I was a problem, a burden because I wasn't immune. I felt like you all went so far out of your way and got hurt just to defend me because I couldn't defend myself. I'm so sorry for all those problems I caused…"

"You weren't a burden Maria. You were…you were what kept us human. If it weren't for you, we'd be doing stupid, daredevil shit like Alan does all the time. You're this group's main foundation. Without you…I don't know what we'd all be."

"We got something," Zoey shouted. "They were working on a vaccine that kills the virus in the early stages!"

"Does it work," Jamie asked.

"It had a sixty-forty percent success rate," Doc replied. "The forty being the success…"

"It's better than nothing though," Zoey argued.

"And those were for adults with stronger, more durable immune systems. Maria is a small girl with a small, new immune system that isn't as strong as adults. I'd give her about a seventy-thirty success rate."

"Doc," Jamie growled, looking to the awakened girl. Doc looked at Maria then sighed heavily.

"I've got to learn when to shut my fucking mouth…"

"How does it work," Maria asked.

"Well this is all what I got from these former scientists, and I'll put it simply without boring you with all the medical crap. Basically the Green Flu is a mutating virus that adapts and evolves, according to these guys. Each person's immune systems are different. Sometimes the immune system isolates the Green Flu, or in some rare cases destroys it completely. When the Green Flu finds a weaker immune system, they just turn the person into a normal zombie. Sometimes the immune system will put up a fight, and the Green Flu has to adapt to destroy the immune system and infect the person."

"So it's like a normal flu," Jamie asked.

"Yeah, but unlike the normal flu the Green Flu adapts and mutates and sometimes it goes too far and creates special infected. Again, this is all the hypotheses of these now dead scientists. One thing that was absolute though is that their vaccine killed the Green Flu in its early stages."

"So how does it kill the Green Flu?"

"It's like most any medicine," Doc continued. "It works with the immune system, sometimes boosting its effectiveness to fight off the foreign virus. The results varied with each test subject though. Some people threw up, others had excessive urinating, some secreted unusual waste, some sweated the virus out, and a few rare cases didn't have any side affects whatsoever."

"What happens if it doesn't work," Maria asked. Doc sighed, looking to the floor.

"If it doesn't work, the Green Flu will just absorb the vaccine and continue to mutate. It won't speed up the infection and it won't make it more potent. It basically won't do anything if it doesn't work."

"Well," Maria sighed as she looked away from her team. "I've got nothing to lose…let's do it." Doc nodded then rolled off to some nearby chemicals. Zoey and Jamie stayed by Maria's side to support her in her hour of need.

Time was going in an excruciatingly slow crawl. A single minute seemed to last forever, and an hour seemed to be an eternity. Doc was flying around the lab with vials, samples and papers, muttering to himself, going over all of the other scientists' findings as he experimented. Zoey and Jamie held Maria's hands, talking to her and asking her questions to make sure she was alright. So far there were no obvious signs of infection, aside from Maria's physical appearance. Doc rolled over every now and again to run his own tests, take small blood samples, and anything else to make sure everything would go as best as they possibly could. After a few hours Alan walked in, looking as though he was a scolded child. The bulky survivor approached Maria, smiling wearily at the infected girl. Maria looked over and smiled at Alan as brightly as she could

"Hey," Alan said.

"Hiya," Maria replied back. Alan looked to Jamie for a moment before turning back to Maria.

"Can…can I have a minute to talk to her," Alan asked Jamie.

"Sure," Jamie answered as he stood up with Zoey. The two brunettes walked off and Alan took a seat next to Maria, who was still smiling.

"I'm uh…I'm sorry Maria…"

"Don't blame yourself for this. There was nothing you could've done. That fat ass Boomer was a sneaky one." Maria laughed weakly before it switched over to coughing. Alan placed his hand on Maria's bed, staring at the young girl.

"I could've put you in the evac vehicle first, I should've made sure you were in there first! I knew you weren't immune, but I was focused on Jamie, Doc, and Zoey, I wanted to make sure they survived and I wasn't thinking…"

"Trust me Alan: I wouldn't want to be in that evac vehicle anyway…" Alan looked up to Maria, eyes filled with shock. "If I was then that would mean I couldn't be around you all. I'd rather be here than without the rest of you guys. Besides, I wouldn't have stayed anyway. If it came down to it I would've gotten out and fired that RPG myself. I always thought it would've been more dramatic when you fired it. Like you would've impaled a Witch with it then fired it into a Tank." Alan laughed a bit, wiping away a tear that rolled down his cheek. "Please don't blame yourself Alan…"

"I can't help it," Alan replied. "If it were Jamie instead of me you would've been fine."

"You don't know that…"

"I do. We both know he wouldn't have taken any chances and would've thrown you into that vehicle by your shoelaces if he had to."

"Well," Maria sighed. "Not much we can do about it now. If the worst does happen though Alan, you can't blame yourself for this okay?" Alan opened his mouth, but Maria slapped her small, pale hand over his mouth. "You can't blame yourself. You've got to be the normal, life threatening heart attack this team needs." Alan sighed through his nose then nodded. Maria slowly pulled her hand away.

"Hey," Doc said as he rolled next to Maria's bed. "Need another blood sample real quick." Doc gently injected a needle into the little girl's arm. Alan looked at Maria, seeing no reaction to the needle on her face.

"You don't feel that," Alan asked. Maria shook her head with a confused look that told Alan she didn't know why either.

"She's on a special type of pain killer," Doc explained. "If she wasn't, the infection would've killed her from pain alone. Alright, that should be enough." Doc pulled the needle out, looking at the darkened blood in the vial. "You feeling okay? Feeling any irritability?"

"I'm not that much of an ass Doc," Alan snapped.

"I'm not saying that. Irritability, anger, mood swings, they're all signs of the infection. I'm surprised that you haven't shown any of these signs yet." Maria smiled with weary pride. Doc returned the smile before rolling off to his test tubes.

Jamie and Zoey had been exploring the lab, making sure the doors were secure and that there weren't any way that infected could come in. The last thing they needed when curing Maria was a horde of zombies or a Tank busting in. They entered a room that was filled with computers and monitors, dried blood, but nothing else. Jamie entered the room first, shining his flashlight back and forth throughout the room.

"You think Maria is going to be okay," Zoey asked, breaking the silence.

"She'll be fine," Jamie replied. "She's tough, and Doc is working his ass off to find a cure." Zoey smirked a bit, watching Jamie looking through the room with no real point. She knew that he was just thinking optimistically and didn't even want to consider the alternative. It wasn't like Jamie to not think realistically, but considering the situation…

"You don't blame yourself do you?" Jamie froze in place, into empty space. Worry washed over Zoey's face as she took a step towards Jamie. "Do you blame yourself…?"

"No," Jamie spat out quickly.

"You have nothing to blame yourself for," Zoey snapped. "You weren't there, there wasn't a thing you could've done!" Jamie slammed his hand on a nearby desk in rage, causing Zoey to stop dead in her tracks.

"Just because I wasn't there doesn't mean it wasn't my fault. I didn't have to run off to distract that Tank. All of us could've teamed up on it and-,"

"All of us," Zoey repeated, her tone high with anger. "The only people with a gun were me, Doc, Alan, and whoever the hell that other guy with a shotgun was! What was everyone else supposed to do, jump on a Tank and stab the crap out of it like you do? You made the right choice to lure that Tank away. That's not why Maria is here though."

"It's because I wasn't there to defend her," Jamie said quietly. "I shouldn't have-,"

"So it's just a lack of trust in Alan," Zoey questioned.

"No, I do but I—I just…I don't know…" Jamie fell back heavily into a chair. Zoey stood in silence, staring at Jamie who remained motionless. "I shouldn't be acting like this should I?"

"No," Zoey replied. She walked up and took a seat across from Jamie. "Right now we can't afford to play the blame game. You should know better than the rest of us that Maria needs us now more than ever." Jamie smiled and looked up at Zoey.

"You're right, obviously." The two brunettes stood up and headed for the door. "When did you become the one to talk me through problems?"

"I learned from the best," Zoey answered with a smirk before nudging Jamie with her hip. Jamie smirked as he and Zoey continued down the hall.

Back in the main lab, Maria was sleeping, Alan was passing Doc different chemicals and scientific tools. Doc was looking into a small dish of Maria's blood, squirting some strange syringe full of liquid onto it. After a minute of staring, Doc slammed his hands on the counter.

"Fuck!" Everyone jumped at Doc's outburst. Jamie and Zoey looked at the slumbering Maria who only remained still. Doc sighed then threw the dish to the side, getting a new one. "I swear these bastards must've been the next best thing to Jesus…"

"What's wrong," Alan asked. "You said they had it to where the virus was being destroyed in the early stages!"

"Yeah, but evidently that was before we had the good ol' mutations like Smokers, Hunters, Tanks, Witches, all that stuff. This obviously killed the Green Flu when it first broke out, but NO, these idiots couldn't just go into overkill when it came to killing a freaking virus! I'm no scientist, but if an epidemic like this were to break out I'd be throwing all my solutions into overkill!"

"Doc," Jamie hissed. "Maria's asleep."

"She's passed out," Doc muttered. "She just fell asleep awhile ago. Trust me, a Tank could bust into this place and she'd be sound asleep."

Zoey walked up and sat next to Maria's bed, placing her hand gently on the little girl's forehead. Suddenly, Maria shot up, screaming in anger. Zoey fell back out of her chair with fear as Maria jumped out of the bed, clutching her head while screaming. Zoey quickly got up and ran next to Maria.

"What's wrong," Zoey asked. "Maria what's wrong?"

"GET AWAY FROM ME!" Maria shoved Zoey back with surprising strength. The brunette was thrown onto her back while Maria screamed with anger, looking around at Alan and Jamie who was now on either side of her. "WHAT?! STAY AWAY FROM ME!" Doc walked up with a syringe, pulling the cap off with his mouth.

"There's the irritability," Doc stated. "Hold her down."

Jamie and Alan were reluctant for fear of hurting Maria. Finally Jamie went forward first, wrapping his arms around Maria's upper body. To Jamie's shock, Maria was getting dangerously close to breaking his grip on her. Alan ran up, and wrapped his arms just above Jamie's.

"Get her legs," Alan ordered. Jamie moved down, holding onto Maria's ankles with all his strength. The little girl thrashed and wrestled, trying to break free. Doc walked up, pulled up Maria's sleeve, swabbed a part of her arm then stabbed the needle in. Upon injection, Maria's eyes fluttered before closing completely. Jamie and Alan relaxed their grip, the former lifting Maria onto the table. "What the fuck was that?"

"Her getting pissed off out of nowhere or her almost breaking your guys' grip? Both are results of the infection. We've got to strap her down now…" Alan and Jamie moved on both sides of the bed, pulling out the bed's belts and strapped Maria down without hurting her. Doc moved back to work, Alan stayed next to Maria, and Jamie went over to help Zoey.

"You okay?" Zoey groaned in response, looking over at Maria.

"Shit she's a tough little girl." Jamie put his hand on Zoey's back as she stood up. "I'm fine," she assured Jamie. "How's she?"

"Doc said her anger and strength came from the infection in her body," Jamie replied. "She's changing…"

A few minutes later, Alan went back to helping Doc while Jamie and Zoey sat next to Maria's bed. Maria woke up after a few moments, groggy and tired.

"Hey," Zoey said with a smile. "How're you feeling?"

"I have a headache," Maria moaned. "And my body feels sore…" Jamie and Zoey looked up at each other.

"Anything else," Jamie asked.

"I'm hungry, and tired…" Maria coughed for a bit then continued. "And my eyes feel like they're burning…" Zoey moved to stand up, but was stopped by Jamie's hand on her shoulder.

"I'll go," Jamie offered before he walked off towards Doc and Alan. Zoey watched Jamie for a moment before turning back to Maria who gave a small, tired smile.

"What," Zoey questioned.

"Nothing." Maria started coughing again, this time harder than before. After a minute, she stopped and looked at Zoey again. "I just wanted a normal life ya know?"

"You're going to get a normal life Maria. Once we cure you and once we get to safety."

"Yeah…I guess I won't know what I'm missing at least…" Maria looked up at Zoey, staring her in the eyes. "I know I'm going to miss finding love though…"

"You're not going to miss anything," Zoey assured, stroking the now coughing girl's head softly. "I promise you're going to get better, we're going to get out of this, and in a few years you're going to find a handsome young man." Maria smiled a bit. After a moment, the little girl looked up at Zoey.

"You've kissed someone before right?" Zoey blushed a bit then nodded once. "What was that like?"

"Why do you want to know," Zoey asked with a laugh, her face growing increasingly red.

"I want to know what I'm missing." Zoey scoffed amusingly before looking at the floor. Maria waited for a moment before Zoey looked back up.

"It was in high school, I was a freshman he was a junior."

"Wow, going for them older guys," Maria said teasingly. Zoey glared mockingly before continuing.

"It wasn't that great though. He had braces and asthma. I nearly killed him because he was so nervous." Maria giggled a bit before coughing again. "You sure you're okay?"

"Yeah," Maria replied quickly before clearing her throat. "So that wasn't the greatest kiss you've ever had?"

"No way," Zoey said as she laughed.

"Which one was your best kiss?" Zoey stopped for a moment to think. "Well…?"

"I don't think I've had a lot of good kisses," Zoey admitted before blushing suddenly. "Jeez, why am I telling you stories like this?!"

"Because I asked," Maria answered honestly. "Why haven't any of your kisses been great?"

"Well…I've never been in a serious relationship before." Zoey shrugged. "After high school I was a shut in and I had little to no human interaction."

"So you've only had one kiss?" Zoey shrugged dismissively. "You know…I bet ya Jamie is a great kisser." Zoey's face lit up in red within seconds. Maria suddenly exploded with laughter as Zoey tried to cover her heated face with her hands. Her laughter was followed by coughing, which helped quiet her down. "Come on, you know you like him. Why don't you just tell him the truth?"

"I don't-,"

"You're going to lie to a dying girl," Maria asked, a challenging smirk on her face. Zoey sat dumbfounded, her mouth gaping with confusion. What does someone say to that? "What have you two got to lose? I've seen how he looks at you, and what happens when your eyes meet." Zoey's red face didn't fade away no matter how hard she wished it would. "Just tell him…both of you deserve that at the very least…" Zoey looked over, seeing Jamie talking with Doc.

"I…I dunno…" Zoey looked back to Maria who coughed before looking back up at Zoey.

"Do it," Maria ordered. "For me…" Zoey sighed, staring down as Jamie walked up.

"Alright, Doc says that all of your symptoms are because of the infection. You can't have anything to eat because you'll just barf it up later, but you can have water. Alan's going to go get a bottle now."

"Thanks Jamie," Maria said with a grin. "Oh, Zoey had something she wanted to tell you." Zoey's head snapped up, a look of dread on her face. Jamie only stared at Zoey sitting in the chair, unable to see her face. "In private…"

"Oh, alright, lead the way Zoey."

The light haired brunette scowled at Maria who only grinned in response. Zoey stood up and walked away from Maria, leading Jamie into a separate room, thousands of thoughts running through her head. How is she going to tell him? How is he going to react? What is he, what CAN he say? Before Zoey knew it, they were in the computer room and she was standing in the middle, her back to Jamie.

"So what's all this about," Jamie asked. Zoey held her eyes shut, arguing with herself that this was a bad idea. After a moment, she sighed then turned around, opening her eyes to stare directly into Jamie's.

"Um…I uh…" Jamie waited patiently, putting his hands into his pockets. "Okay, Maria told me to be honest so here goes." Zoey swallowed the lump in her throat and let out a shaking sigh. "I…I like you Jamie…I mean 'like' like." Zoey cursed herself instantly for the last remark. What was she a fifth grader? Jamie's eyes were wide with shock and fixated on Zoey. After a minute his eyes lowered down to the floor.

"Well…shit…" Zoey's mind started racing. What's wrong? Why shit? What was he thinking right now? "Look, Zoey, you're a great girl and I like you too."

"No, I understand," Zoey replied immediately. Jamie was thrown for a loop and his face clearly showed his confusion.

"You…understand? Just like that?" Zoey blushed for a minute, going over what Jamie said again. She heard 'you're a great girl, but,' when he really said, 'you're a great girl and I like you too.' Zoey's face was red with embarrassment, causing her to stare at her feet.

"Sorry, continue…"

"Um…okay, I like you a lot, but…" Jamie sighed then walked up to Zoey, placing his hand under her chin to better look at her. "It's just that…when people are in stressful situations or crazy situations like this they sometimes do stupid or impulsive things, right?"

"Yeah," Zoey agreed, trying to focus on what Jamie was saying and not his eyes.

"And well…I just want to be sure these feelings I have right now are actually my feelings and not just whatever instinct that makes us do stupid things in stressful or life threatening situations." Zoey looked down for a minute to contemplate Jamie's words. They made sense, it made perfect sense. He liked her so much that he wanted to make sure that he actually liked her and that it wasn't the situation making him feel like this. "You okay…?"

"Yeah," Zoey snapped as she came out of her thoughts. "You're right, if we really like each other we should wait." Jamie smiled a bit before lowering his hand.

"So are you okay," Jamie asked again.

"I'm fine," Zoey answered with a grin on her face. "Don't worry about it, we're cool."

"Alright," Jamie said with a grin before he wrapped his arms around Zoey, giving her an embracive hug. Zoey lowered her gaze to the floor as she did the same. If she was okay, why did it feel like something was still wrong? What if these feelings were just because of the apocalyptic setting? A part of her was screaming that she didn't want to let this feeling go, even if it wasn't true. "Uh…Zoey?" Or maybe it was the hug she didn't want to let go? Zoey quickly unwrapped her arms, clearing her throat as her face began to heat up again. "Alright then," Jamie began, rubbing the back of his neck, her face also turning red. "We should be heading back…"

"Right, lead the way."

When they got back, Alan was still helping Doc, and Maria was now fast asleep once again. Hours later, Maria woke up, screaming with pain and darkened veins popping out of her pale skin. Everyone panicked, but Doc shouted at them that there wasn't anything they could do at the moment besides let her scream. It also meant the infection was working faster than Doc originally thought. After nearly two hours of screaming, Maria finally passed out. Her skin was now pasty white, and her veins were nearly completely black. Doc had been mixing chemicals, using left over samples, replayed videos over and over again until the sun broke into the sky. It had been twenty hours since Maria was thrown up on, and the little girl was now thrashing around mindlessly, shouting gibberish. She was barely holding onto her humanity and slowly started becoming more infected than human.

"Doc," Jamie shouted, trying to hold Maria down to avoid injuring herself. "Tell me you've got something!"

"I might," Doc replied. "But I've got to test it and make sure!"

"How long does testing take," Zoey asked, clutching her pistols while watching the doors. Maria's thrashing and screaming made the others a little paranoid, and lack of sleep had put them on edge.

"At least two hours," Doc replied.

"We don't have time for that damn it," Alan shouted. "Your last tests were based on their early shit and it's been proven to kill the Green Flu!"

"But there are different things to consider," Doc screamed. "It worked on her blood alone yes, but the Green Flu affects her brain, organs, bones, skin, muscles, every part of the body! I need a more thorough exam before I can even think of injecting her with this otherwise it could kill her!"

"She's dead anyway," Jamie exclaimed. "You've got to do it!"

"If I do it will kill her! We could just cut out the hours of pain she'll experience and just shoot her now!"

"DOC," Maria shouted, trying to stop her thrashing. Everyone was quiet, staring at the infected little girl. "Please…just do it…"

"Maria, I can't, there are too many variables to-,"

"Doc," Maria snapped. "I trust you. Please give me the shot…" Doc sighed then pulled out an empty syringe. He filled it completely with the vaccine then walked over to Maria.

"You sure," Doc asked. All eyes were fixed on Maria, watching for her reaction. The little girl nodded once, not saying a word. Doc sighed heavily before injecting the needle into Maria's arm, pushing the vaccine into her body. Maria sighed a bit before her head fell back gently.

"What happened," Jamie asked worryingly. "Is that a good thing?"

"Sort of," Doc answered. "That's what my vaccine was supposed to do, otherwise she'd still be in pain while it destroyed the virus…if it destroys the virus…"

"So if this doesn't work," Alan began, leaving the end of his sentence for Doc to finish.

"If it doesn't work, then the Green Flu will kill my vaccine…and she'll become a zombie anyway…"

"How long until we know," Zoey asked.

"I'm not sure. The vaccine could just delay the virus' spread through her body, so it could be tomorrow before she wakes up, normal or infected. Now all we can do is wait…"

The survivors sat in the lab, doing nothing besides counting the seconds go by as Maria lied in bed, unmoving. Time didn't seem to go by any faster than normal, progressing in hours instead of minutes. Each survivor was going through their own thoughts about everything. Meeting each other, their thoughts and feelings for one another, and what was happening with Maria at the moment. No one could blame themselves was the one thing they all agreed individually. Maria didn't move, and her condition didn't worsen nor did it get any better. This left each of the four with different reactions. Doc wasn't sure if his vaccine was working or not, but believed if it was working that she'd be getting better, not staying the same. Alan didn't think it was working, and he felt he would have to do something if Maria turned into a zombie. Everyone else loved her too much. Zoey was praying that it was working but she knew there was a possibility it wasn't. She wasn't getting better and she wasn't getting worse. Maybe she'd just be in pain forever and be some infected human mutant. Jamie knew that it was working. She wasn't getting worse, she wasn't twitching, and her skin wasn't getting paler. Something just told him that things would be okay.

"Guys," Alan spoke up for the first time in hours. "I…I just wanted you all to know that…I really appreciate having you guys around. You…you all are like my family now." Everyone smiled wearily.

"Same here," Doc added. "I never really had a family, too busy with med school and my dad kicked the bucket at a young age, and my mom raised me enough just to get out of high school. You guys, you're most definitely family to me." Suddenly, Maria stirred a bit and groaned. Everyone jumped up and ran over to her. Everyone hovered over Maria, watching and waiting as her eyelids twitched, about to open.


Cliffhangers, aren't they a BITCH!? Alright, since I have all of you pissed off I'll just tell you thank you ALL who read this story and supported me through twenty four crazy ass chapters of zombie mashing, Smoker strangiln, Hunter bashing, Jockey rapin, Tank smashin, uh…lots of explosions of uh…screw it, just thanks for all the amazing support!

Now I'll explain my overall, master plan to all of you! I'm not done with this story, in fact I'm far from done with this story! My next Left 4 Dead story will be Back 4 More: Southern Edition! Featuring, you guessed it, everyone's favorite news reportin, redneck slurin, chocolate lovin, friend insulting survivors: Rochelle, Ellis, Coach, and Nick (in that order). Basically it'll be a story involving the L4D2 survivors AFTER the bridge finale at the end of the game and how they get thrown back into zombieland. Why is it important? Well look at the freaking title, what relevance to you think it could have with this story? And after that story I'll have the direct sequel to THIS story…which I haven't thought of a title because I don't know what else has 4 or any other random number in it.

Anyway, thanks again for reading, and expect more soon!