alinaandalion: (dany02)
Title:  Dog Days Are Over
Author:  alinaandalion
Rating:  T
Spoilers:  Through the end of season 3
Characters:  Nathan Ford, Sophie Devereaux, Alec Hardison, Parker, Eliot Spencer, Maggie Collins, and Tara Cole
Pairings:  Nate/Sophie, mentions of past Maggie/Nate, Parker/Hardison, and Sophie/Tara
Summary:  When the zombie apocalypse strikes, the team has to figure out how to face it.

Chapter Four:

For the most part, they traveled without incident. Nate and Sophie swapped driving duties every twelve hours; Hardison and Eliot followed suit. Parker petitioned multiple times to be allowed to get behind the wheel. She was denied every time, but Hardison smoothed her ruffled feathers by providing games for her to play. It was nearing midnight when they reached Los Angeles, and they were all exhausted.

"What's the plan, Nate?" Eliot asked as he glanced out his window.

Chaos reigned over the city. There were cars abandoned in the middle of the street, broken glass scattered over the pavement. Most houses and buildings were dark, an empty foreboding. Figures skirted past their vehicles, and Sophie let out a small cry when they realized the group was actually a small child pursued by zombies. Eliot grabbed his gun from the floorboards and clicked off the safety. He started to barrel out his door, but he was too late. They all watched in horror as the zombies pounced on the boy and tore into his skin. Her face blank, Parker opened the back of the van and approached the feasting zombies.

"Parker, get back in the van!" Hardison hissed.

Parker ignored him, took aim, and opened fire. One zombie dropped with a bullet through its head; another took a hit to its chest, and sufficiently distracted from mutilating the boy, it charged Parker. She raised her gun to shoot it, but before she could squeeze the trigger, it dropped in its path, a bullet wedged into its forehead. She glanced over her shoulder to see Eliot a few feet back. He nodded his head and finished off the last two zombies. Parker didn't fight him when he grabbed her arm and forcefully directed her back to the van. Hardison reached a hand down to help her up; she took it.

Nate let out a long breath as he watched Eliot reclaim the van's driver seat. "This isn't going very well."

"No, it's not," Sophie agreed. She raked her fingers through her hair and bound it into a ponytail. "We should probably keep moving. We can stay at Maggie's apartment and figure out a new plan."

"What do you think the chances are that we won't have to fight through a horde of zombies?"

"I think that would qualify as a miracle."

Maggie was pulled from uneasy sleep by the sound of gunshots. She blinked and flipped on her lamp, grateful that the electricity hadn't been shut off yet. The staccato beats were too close to be outside. She grabbed the baseball bat she kept in case of intruders from her closet and moved to her living room; she was not about to be taken advantage of, rescued or not.

"Someone pounded on the door. "Maggie, open up!"

The familiar British lilt prompted her into action. She pushed the mostly empty bookcase she had used to barricade the door aside and whipped the locks open in time to look up at a terrified Hardison.

"Do you mind if we drop by?" he asked as he slipped inside, letting out a nervous laugh.

Parker whipped into the room right behind him. She was covered in blood. Hardison blanched as Maggie shouldered her bat and sighed.

"You'll need to clean up." Maggie pointed down the hallway. "The bathroom's that way. I'll get you some clean clothes."

Parker cocked her head to one side, and Maggie caught the glimpse of a smile on her face before she disappeared. Hardison had moved to her kitchen and was banging the cabinet doors open. Maggie shook her head and moved to the doorway to check on the others.

Eliot was at the top of the staircase at the end of the hallway, two guns in his hands as he shot down the stairwell. Sophie was hovering in the middle of the hallway, torn between getting to safety and leaving behind Eliot. Nate was nowhere to be seen.

"Nate, stop playing the hero!" Eliot bellowed as he paused his shooting long enough to put new clips into the guns.

Nate appeared at the top of the stairs a few moments later. Eliot and he ran down the hallway as Sophie whirled on her heel and dashed for Maggie's apartment. Maggie moved out of her way and waited as Eliot ducked inside. Sophie stayed right outside the door, waiting for Nate. At that moment, a zombie who had managed to stagger up the stairs lunged at Nate, falling on him and taking them both to the floor.

"Nate!" Sophie lifted her gun to shoot the zombie, but Nate managed it first, blowing the zombie's head to pieces.

It made a revolting mess; Sophie rushed over to Nate and knelt down beside him. She helped him up and the two rushed into Maggie's apartment. Eliot was waiting and as soon as they cleared the threshold, he slammed the door closed and locked it, dragging the bookcase back in front of it just as fresh zombies threw themselves against the resilient wood.

Maggie looked them over. Nate now had zombie brains all down his front mixed with blood; Eliot was mostly clean except for a few patches where he had probably been a little too close to the kill; Sophie's hands were covered in what was all over Nate.

"Parker's in the shower right now, but when she's done, you can use it," Maggie offered.

Sophie moved to the sink to wash her hands. "That would be wonderful."

Eliot tossed a duffle bag onto the ground. "Glad I grabbed this. There's some clean stuff in there for us, Nate."

Sophie looked at Maggie. "You wouldn't happen to have…"

"Of course," Maggie replied before Sophie even finished. "I was about to go get some fresh things for Parker."

Nate shuffled his feet and managed to fish up a smile. "Sorry about the mess. We didn't expect that many to be outside."

"Maybe you should call me next time." Maggie shifted her bat and smirked when he eyed it nervously. "I've been watching them for the past four days. They got most of the apartment building."

Sophie shuddered; Hardison brushed past her, brandishing a carton of ice cream and a box of cereal.

Eliot eyed the combination. "Are you serious?"

"Comfort food for the ladies," Hardison replied. "There's other stuff in there."

"Help yourself," Maggie said dryly.

"They tend to do this," Nate told her, a wry smile on his face. "It's part of the package deal."

Parker appeared in the living room, wrapped in a towel. Hardison dropped the ice cream as he stared at her, and Eliot growled in irritation when he had to bend over to grab the carton. Parker shuffled her feet and stared at the floor.

"Can I have some clothes?"

Maggie moved immediately and guided her towards the bedroom. "Yeah. Whoever wants to use the shower next can go ahead."

Sophie nodded her head. "That should be you, Nate. You're kind of a mess."

He nodded his head and left for the bathroom. Sophie sighed and sat down at the counter, tugging the ice cream out of Eliot's hands. He gave her a spoon, and she took a small bite. Parker padded into the room and claimed the seat next to Sophie, accepting the box of cereal Hardison offered her.

"No milk?" Parker asked as she opened the box.

"I've been stuck in my apartment for the past four days," Maggie said as she walked back into the room, carrying a small bundle of clothes that she dropped on the sofa. "Those are for you, by the way, Sophie."

Sophie smiled in thanks and dug out a larger spoonful of ice cream. Maggie grabbed a spoon from the counter and joined her.

"So, sleeping arrangements?" Eliot prompted. "How're we going to work that out?"

Maggie shrugged. "I have a queen-sized bed. The couch pulls out into a bed. And, I might have an air mattress. We'll have to double up."

"Who pairs up with whom?" Sophie said quietly.

"Eliot and I can share," Hardison offered.

"And, I'll share with Maggie," Parker decided.

Sophie raised an eyebrow. "You want me and Nate to share?"

"You did at your warehouse." Parker grinned. "Don't pretend to be mad or anything. You know you want to."

Sophie let her spoon fall to the counter, and she left her chair to head towards the couch, pulling the cushions off of it.

"Nice going, Parker," Eliot hissed, stalking off to help Sophie pull out the sofa bed.

Parker frowned and dug her hand into the cereal box. "I don't understand. Did I do something wrong?"

Hardison shook his head and glanced at Maggie; Maggie, for her part, just took another spoonful of ice cream. She had an inkling about what had upset Sophie, but she wasn't up to a conversation with the other woman yet. That would probably be one best left for the morning and when they could have more privacy. She had a feeling Sophie would not appreciate discussing anything to do with Nate with Maggie when the man himself would find it too easy to eavesdrop.

They passed the next two hours in relative quiet. Maggie was the constant in the living room as they all rotated out for their turn in the bathroom, and when everyone was finally clean and in a new set of clothes, she gave out gentle instructions for how the night was going to go.

"Parker and I are taking my bed," she said. "Eliot, you and Hardison have the air mattress. Nate, you and Sophie are on the couch."

She started to leave, but Nate called her back. "Me and Sophie? Are you serious?"

Maggie turned from where she was standing on the threshold of the hallway. "Didn't you hear, Nate? Girls don't have cooties anymore. I'm sure the two of you can manage for one night. Unless you would prefer the floor."

Nate ran a hand through his hair and mumbled something about how sarcasm wasn't very useful, but she ignored him. Sophie was pointedly not paying any attention to him and had crawled onto the right side of the sofa bed. Hardison and Eliot were busy settling onto the air mattress; she felt a little bad for them because the thing was a little small, but they both looked so tired that she didn't think it would be a problem. Parker had already left for the bedroom.

Maggie smiled at the four left in the living room. "Goodnight."

A low chorus of responses followed her out of the room. She sighed as she entered her bedroom and closed the door behind her. Parker had curled up on the left side, a stuffed bunny held tightly in her arms. Maggie stifled the urge to kiss her forehead and simply collapsed onto the bed beside Parker, exhaustion washing over her.


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July 2012

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