“Taehyung is missing.”
“What the fuck?” Baekhyun growled, yanking the covers off his bed and rolling off to rush towards the closest.
“Jungkook just came pounding on the door downstairs with Yifan, said that Taehyung left a note, he’s out looking for Jongin. Said he owes you.”
Baekhyun's face dropped, pulling a shirt over his head and gulping. “It’s been days, Taehyung couldn't possibly -“
“He held Heath at gunpoint - said to tell him where we were, made him write it all out.” Chanyeol stated.
Baekhyun felt his knees wobble and shoved a pistol into his pocket before going to run downstairs but Chanyeol grabbed his wrist. “It’s not your fault.”
The younger hissed and yanked his arm out of the elders before running downstairs.
It had been days.
At least four, but Baekhyun wasn’t keeping a good track because all he did was eat, sleep, and wait on the watchtower.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” He growled as he stomped down the stairs and saw Yifan and Jungkook sitting on the couch.
As soon as he noticed Baekhyun, Jisung squealed from Taeyongs lap and climbed down to wrap around his leg, Baekhyun didn’t even acknowledge him.
“This has got to be a fucking joke. He doesn’t owe me shit.”
“You saved my life.” Jungkook whispered, hair tossed anxiously around and shaking his leg.
Baekhyun's lips curled up, “We’re family! That’s what we fucking do! We help and save each other - this isn’t some.. we don’t pay each other back! I did it because I wanted to, no other motives, he doesn’t owe me.”
“Little too late to tell him that now.” Kyungsoo drawled from the kitchen, “How the fuck he got out makes no sense, there’s at least a few hundred surrounding the walls.”
Baekhyun stomped almost childishly and covered his face, shaking Jisung off his leg and walking towards the closet to pull out bigger guns.
“I spoke to Spencer, said he saw the kid throwing something over. Probably meat, something old, he’s smart like that. Probably ran right past them.” Yifan mustered up, walking over and silently grabbing a shotgun from Baekhyun's hand and shutting the closet door.
The younger fixed him with a stern, clenched jaw expression and yanked on the doorknob angrily, Yifan ignored him and held it shut.
“What could you do, Baek Hyung?” Taeyong called with a sigh, “Something stupid, probably, I shouldn’t have bothered asking.”
“Be nice.” Kyungsoo ordered, but it didn’t carry any real heat as he knelt down to give Jisung attention because the toddler was beginning to look pissed off at Baekhyun's rejection.
“I’ll tell you what.” Yifan said, raising a brow at Baekhyun and continuing to hold the door closed, “Me and you walk the perimeter. Let’s see what’s going on.”
“Give me the gun.” Baekhyun demanded.
“How about Yifan and I go instead.” Chanyeol offered, raising a brow at Yifan, an analyzing look on his face as he eyed the two, leaning on his knees.
“We can all go,” The leader muttered passively, but an underlying hiss in his tone.
“I’m going to the watchtower,” Baekhyun interrupted their stares by walking towards the door, “If you guys took the sniper down - I swear to god you’re gonna be on your ass.”
Jongin heaved from under the dumpster he had been under.
It could have been hours, days, weeks, since he had crawled under here, knife shaking in his hand and covered in blood.
His only company being Nicholas’ body lying beside the dumpster, eyes wide open and hollow, head blown off and missing chunks.
He had been waiting.
Waiting days, nights, eyes wide open and watching the walkers feed.
Now, they had lost interest, everyday more left, everyday they became distracted by chirping birds or rolling metal cans from the window.
And today they had all gone.
Every last one of them were gone from the alley he was in.
Jongin groaned as he reached a bloody hand out from under the dumpster, grabbing the metal and heaving himself out.
The effort made his chest burn, throat even more painful as he reached for a water bottle on the ground, he brought it to his lips and growled as he threw it away, not a drop down his burning throat.
He prevailed and groaned as he shifted to start sifting through walkers body’s, those that laid dead on the ground from the feast - Nicholas’ included.
The orange flare gun on the ground was broken, unusable from their tumble of the dumpster - or, Jongin's fall, since Nicholas had been long dead.
He pushed Nicholas’ decaying corpse over, or what was left of it, and found the silver gun that had caused the splatter of gore on Jongin's face. He shoved it in his pocket.
“Hey, heads up!”
Jongin squinted, disoriented up above him.
A water bottle splattered down in front of Jongin in a puddle of blood.
“I said heads up!”
“T-Taehyung?” He croaked.
Jongin reached for the bottle, probably looking insane as he threw the cap away and downed it, practically drowning himself when he finished the entire bottle and coughed - the water almost came right back up.
He heard clattering and suddenly a pair of boots stood in front of him, “Fuck. That was a tall fall, damn it.” Taehyung cursed, kneeling down and rubbing his ankles.
“You blind now too? Or all that blood in your eyes?”
Jongin laughed, disbelieving as he watched Taehyung pull his backpack around and shove another water at him. “What are you doing out here? How’d you find me?”
“Shut up and eat.” Taehyung teased, throwing a pack of candy at him, taking a seat on the blood soaked cement. “I followed the trail of walkers, got pretty good at climbing since the prison, if you stay high up and they don’t notice. Plus, I had a few.. vague directions.”
The elder listened as he opened the bag, but was quickly trying to fill blanks in his head, “What happened in Alexandria? We heard that sound. The gunfire.”
Taehyung pursed his lips and shoved the package rudely towards Jongin's face, “Eat, Hyung. We can’t stay out till dark.”
“What happened is what always happens. People died.” Taehyung added as an afterthought.
“The herd broke through the walls?” Jongin muffled on a mouthful. “The walkers. They broke out of the quarry early. We got on them, but that sound, the air horn, what was that?”
“God, so many questions.” The younger snickered, “It was people.”
Suddenly he had Jongin all in his face, leaning over his lap and grabbing his shirt, not forcefully, but demanding attention. “Baekhyun, is he okay? Is Baekhyun okay?”
Taehyung actually laughed at that, climbing to his feet and shaking his head, offering his hand. “God. Let me tell you, for someone so small he’s fucking crazy. Come on, we need to start heading back.”
“Taehyung..” Jongin warned.
“Oh, shut it, I’ll explain on the way. You better eat before you pass out, I may be full of fun, but I’m not all muscle to drag your sorry ass back, sorry to break it to you, Hyung.”
“I’m annoyed with you already.”
“What’s the deal?”
Chanyeol raised a brow and ran his finger through blood that was dripping through a crack on the wall, “What?”
“You two aren’t gonna say a word? That’s just it?” Yifan asked, shrugging with his hands in his pockets and tilting his head towards the watchtower Baekhyun was anxiously watching from.
Kyungsoo laughed while Chanyeol grimaced.
“Everyone fucking knew.” Kyungsoo rolled his eyes, “Hell, since even before the prison we were pretty sure. Do you want us to point it out? Fight with you?”
Yifan chewed the inside of his cheek, “Jongin.. the last call I heard from him he said to watch Baekhyun for him, I didn’t… I couldn’t tell Baekhyun that of course. He’d crying and then-“
“Then you’d want to cry because Baekhyun looks like a puppy when he cries,” Chanyeol finished, an annoyed kink to his brow. “Listen, I’m not… definitely not saying it’s okay, but Jongin was really against it. And if he… asked you and, I mean, if he really is… dead, Baekhyun will… have a gap to fill, it’s not open for you to take - don’t misunderstand me, that’s our husband, but if… you know, he asks you. If he comes to you…”
“He’s trying to say thank you.” Kyungsoo rolled his eyes and shoved Chanyeol's back, “For watching Baekhyun and for.. not trying to steal him or anything like that, god knows you had all the chances, and fuck - he really cares about you, so thank you for not taking advantage of that - or him. I’m not trying to, you know, make it seem like you have a place, or that you have anything with him; it’s just his choice to make and I won’t control that, it’s just… hard.. to think that there’s three of us, but we still can’t make him happy.”
“You guys really fucking suck at explaining shit.” Yifan sighed.
Both Kyungsoo and Chanyeol laughed, relaxing a little more.
“I honestly didn’t think it was… that obvious, I tried really hard because it’s not my business, Baekhyun isn’t my business. But… I just…”
“If you say it’s because you find him attractive or like.. want to fuck him I will knock you on your ass right now, fair warning.”
Kyungsoo turned and punched Chanyeol's arm even as Yifan shuffled awkwardly, looking offended and embarrassed. “Shut the fuck up.”
“What! You were thinking about it.” Chanyeol grumbled, crossing his arms in restraint.
“Was not, fucking idiot.” Kyungsoo growled.
The leader scratched his arm and turned to lean against the side of one of the wood fortifications and pointed over their shoulders towards Baekhyun who was now speaking to Minseok and pointing at something over the wall. “That’s not the reason, of course not. I mean… I watch, I pay attention, but I’m not… leering or, you know, checking him out or anything. I just worry, we all worry about him. I mean, Baekhyun is beautiful, but you know that, I don’t have to say it - especially to either of you. But.. yeah, I don’t even know, honestly. I just… just feel like… he deserves a lot? Does that make sense.”
“And we don’t deserve him.” Chanyeol finished.
“I didn’t say that,” Yifan said quickly, “I don’t think that at all, it must be hard for all of you, not just him. And I’m not saying I’m trying to do anything with him - I’m not… trying to steal him, in the end he sees me as family, and that’s all. None of us are perfect - frankly, we’re all fucked, but sometimes it just… feels better to look out for people, you know?
Baekhyun always needed a bit more… help, and I think I just got too attached, didn’t even know it until Yixing pointed it out. It’s my fault, and I’m taking responsibility, I’m not trying to deceive any of you or go behind your back, I’m just laying it all out: I like Baekhyun, and if he gives me an opportunity I’m going to take it.”
Kyungsoo simply nodded and Chanyeol clicked his tongue and scratched the back of his neck awkwardly until Yifan looked at him for a reaction.
“I’m trying, man.” Chanyeol said passively, “I have nothing against you, really. It’s just… Baekhyun is mine, you know? And we fight a lot, but I’m really trying here. I’m really protective of him, so just don't… don’t do something stupid.”
“What? Like drowning in a storm for his attention?” Kyungsoo chuckled to himself.
Chanyeol turned to him with a mean sneer as Yifan started laughing, “Okay, first off, it was an accident, secondly, I almost fucking died, and third, I think I’m entitled to kick your ass now.”
Taeyong pulled his hood over his head and walked faster.
“Man, wait up!”
The teenager nearly yelled when a hand yanked his arm, fingers twitching towards his pocket.
“Man, I’ve been yelling for you.” Ron said as Taeyong turned to acknowledge him.
“What do you want?” Taehyung sighed, crossing his arms.
Ron shrugged slightly, “I want you to teach me how to shoot.”
Taeyong reeled back in surprise, frowning, “Why?”
“Mikey died. I want to protect my mom, my brother.”
Taeyong eyed him and felt something about it was a lie. “Do you think you could even handle the responsibility?”
Ron opened his mouth and Taeyong scoffed, pointing his finger at his chest, “If someone is in front of you, and they have a gun. You're gonna be scared. You will be. Your body's gonna tense, you won't have time to think. You're just gonna want to pull the trigger when you get it in front of you.”
“Then, you’ll miss.” Taeyong murmured, “And you’ll be dead.” He finished, turning to walk away.
Ron grabbed his arm again, and Taeyong nearly hit him again, but barely restrained himself. “Dude, that’s why I need you to teach me.”
Taeyongs face pulled together in irritation before he took a deep breath and looked down the street.
Baekhyun was still on the tower, it’d been hours and he was still standing on the tower watching, Luhan walking up to it to presumably convince him to come down. It wouldn’t work.
Taeyong wanted to just beat Ron’s ass up now, just for being fucking annoying and suddenly wanting to be nice to him when all he did was send glares and uncomfortable looks his way after his dad was killed.
But, maybe Baekhyun would be happier if he knew Taeyong was making friends, trying to at least.
Taeyong relaxed a little and reached into his pocket to grab his gun, removing the clip and putting it in his pocket before shoving the empty gun at Ron, “You have to get it up to your eye. You've got to be strong enough to wait for your moment.” He began.
Ron frowned at him, giving an irritated look, “We can’t target practice? I can shoot down at the walkers or something.”
Taeyong eyed him suspiciously and clenched his jaw, “Yeah, waste bullets at a time like this, smart.”
He sighed and shook his head, “Sorry, i'll show you the stance, and you just practice carrying an empty one around for a while.”
Ron clenched his jaw and nodded.
“You don't have to be up here so much, squirrel.”
Baekhyun licked his lips and turned to accept the sandwich Luhan offered him, “I won't be.”
“This is the direction he'd come in. If he sends up a signal, it'll be from out there.” He added, pointing out towards the East.
“Yeah.” Luhan murmured, “It’s lunchtime, take a seat at least.” He requested, moving the camping chair closer to Baekhyun.
The younger did, knee instantly beginning to shake, “Or it-- it won't be.”
Luhan sighed, reaching over to lay a palm on Baekhyun's knee and pat his leg, “When we go out there, it's never easy, it's never simple. It's always a fight. But we've come back from harder things. From further away. Jongin will too.”
Baekhyun didn’t respond, didn’t need anymore false hope and only tossed his gun on the tower floor to unwrap his sandwich.
“Maybe we don't wait for them to be back.” Luhan mustered up, gaining his attention moments later. “We should start figuring out how to draw the walkers away. We have some food and water to last us a while and the walls are holding. We can take our time. Really think this through. Do it right. Sehun told me to tell you that’s what they’re planning.”
“Clear it so they can-- they can walk right in.” Baekhyun mumbled.
Luhan laughed and nodded, squeezing Baekhyun's thigh, “You coming down now? To help?”
“No… I think… I think just a little bit longer.”
Luhan sighed and moved another chair closer to Baekhyun's, taking a seat with him.
“You look like you guys could use some help.”
Yifan laughed under his breath, nodding at the two new arrivals, “Grab a saw, cut some wood,” He muttered, clenching his hand open and closed and passing the hammer over towards Minseok, “Crack in the wall, need to keep it fortified.” He explained.
Zitao only nodded at him, grabbing the other end of a chunk of wood Junmyeon was trying to hold on the wall, and Jongdae smiled and went to help Yifan cut new pieces.
“You know, you guys scared the hell out of people when we first saw you all.”
Yifan gave Jongdae a confused look, but nodded slightly,”I know.”
“You scared the hell out of me.” The other continued, “With that beard. The way you guys looked around like you all were seeing things we weren't... hiding around corners.”
Yifan frowned and stopped sawing to stare at him.
“Turns out you were.” Jongdae whispered, grinning before shrugging, “Things moved slow here. And then things just started moving fast. Too fast. But don't give up on us.”
The truth was they already had given up on these people though. Yifan only sent him a look, and Jongdae's smile dulled a little and he nodded, walking towards the wall and towards the others.
The leader sighed, putting his hand out unwrapping the gauze around it. It had loosened up, no longer pressuring his tensed muscles.
“You should have Baekhyun wrap that up for you.”
Yifan looked up at Kyungsoo blankly, could see over the man’s shoulder that Yixing was putting nails into the wall - and he was a medic, why would he suggest he ask Baekhyun?
“He’s not doing anything right now,” Kyungsoo added, nodding towards the tower before turning to walk away.