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.
Maggie woke up the next morning alone. She thought for a moment that the previous night had just been a very vivid and strange dream, but when Parker appeared in the doorway, shoving handfuls of cereal in her mouth and chewing loudly, Maggie decided that it really must have happened.
Parker swallowed. "Everyone else is awake. We've been waiting on you."
Maggie sat up and rubbed at her eyes, stretching. "Someone could have woken me up."
"Nate said to let you sleep." Parker shrugged. "Hurry up. Everyone's weird out here."
Parker left. Maggie stared after her; shaking her head, she got out of bed and moved to her dresser. She pulled out a pair of jeans and a plain long-sleeved T-shirt. Two minutes later, she was dressed and padded her way to the living room, pulling her hair back into a loose ponytail.. Sophie, Parker, and Hardison were seated on the couch; Eliot was in the kitchen area going through her cupboards, and Nate was pacing along the back of the couch. Maggie noticed that his hand kept trailing along Sophie's shoulders when he passed her. Sophie looked incredibly uncomfortable and kept shifting her position, causing Hardison to shoot an exasperated look in her direction.
"Jesus, Sophie, chill," Hardison said as he opened his laptop. "You're worse than Parker."
That earned him a glare from Sophie and a hard poke in his side from Parker. Maggie smiled and moved to perch on the arm of Hardison's side of the couch.
"So, is there a plan or something?" she asked.
Nate looked up at Maggie's question and stopped pacing. "Oh, you're awake. Okay. Hardison, run it."
Hardison nodded his head and tapped away at his keyboard. A map appeared on Maggie's television. It was blanketed with flashing dots of various colors. A few lines criss-crossed over the map.
She leaned over to Hardison. "How do you manage to do that?"
He grinned. "Age of the Geek, baby."
"Damn it, Hardison, just get on with it!" Eliot growled from the kitchen.
"Okay," Hardison continued. He mumbled under his breath, "Someone shouldn't be so grumpy because he wasn't the one kept awake half the night by someone's snoring."
"I heard that!"
Nate groaned. "Hardison, let's just try to get this done."
"All right." Hardison gestured to the map. "I've been pulling the most recent information from the Internet, and I've gathered two main points: the government has collapsed since at least half of Congress is made up of zombies, which I think is an improvement, and the military is now very active. The yellow dots are the military bases that are zombie-free. These places are open to provide shelter to those who need it. The red dots are the cities that are heavily infested. The blue dots are areas, mostly rural, that the smallest amount of reported zombie activity. Now, the lines represent routes that Nate feels would be the safest to take."
"Nate, one of those lines goes straight to a military base," Sophie interrupted. "You can't be serious."
"It's not my first choice, but it's a possibility," he replied.
Maggie frowned. "What would be wrong with going to a military base? Wouldn't they provide protection and stuff?"
Parker shot her hand up into the air. "Ooh, I know this one!"
Nate ignored her. "We're thieves. They're the law. It's instinct to run from them. Besides, we don't know if they'll run any of us through a database and try to arrest us."
"Is that really an important issue for them?" Maggie replied.
"What would you do if you were a normal person who had gone to a military base to be kept safe and then found out you were sharing the place with thieves?" Eliot asked as he walked out of the kitchen, bearing a plate filled with toast. He set the plate down on the coffee table. "We can take care of ourselves. By the way, I used the last of your bread."
Parker poked at the stack of toast. "Where's the butter?"
"Get your own. Besides, it's bad for you."
Parker whipped her head around and stared at Hardison. He looked up from his computer, sighed, and left for the kitchen; Eliot promptly took his seat on the couch. When Hardison got back with a carton of butter and a few knives, he frowned.
"Aw, come on, man!" Hardison protested, throwing the carton and silverware onto the table. "I get up and do something nice, and you go and take my seat. Not cool!"
"You know what else isn't cool? Kicking me all night long." Eliot glared at Hardison. "That's. Not. Cool."
"Boys," Sophie admonished, but there was no strength behind her voice. "So, when are we leaving?"
"We're going to have to gather supplies." Nate pointed to the map. "If you'll notice, L.A. is one of the red dots. So, anything we need will have to wait until we get out of the city."
"How are we getting out of this apartment?" Maggie asked. "I don't know if you've looked outside, but I think there's a mob of the undead standing on my front step."
Nate smirked. "Eliot, how do you feel about posing as bait?"
Two hours later, they were on their way. Nate's plan had either gone smoothly or been a complete disaster according to who you asked. Regardless, no one had been bitten, so they all chalked it up to luck and just decided it would be best to not talk about it. Especially since Eliot was still a little grumpy about being charged by an entire horde of zombies without much warning; Hardison had a good time laughing about it, and Parker kept going on and on about how he was like Batman. That took some of the sting out of Hardison's ribbing.
Maggie had opted to ride with Nate and Sophie. It was…awkward, to say the least, but she had decided it would be better than squeezing into the back of that van. She had a tendency towards motion sickness, and she felt it would be best to not tempt her stomach; in between the smell in the van, which Hardison kept insisting did not exist, and the fact that it was already cluttered with most of their possessions, Maggie had managed to finagle the backseat of Nate's car. So far, things were going smoothly. After they had left the city, zombie sightings had grown rarer. She hoped that would last.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Parker's voice drifted through the earpiece Hardison had given Maggie.
Maggie started and then relaxed. "Sitting in the car. Why?"
"I'm bored. Entertain me."
"She's not the circus, Parker," Eliot growled. "Take out your comm. We're only using those to check up every couple of hours."
"I'm bored," Parker whined again.
Sophie rolled her eyes and tilted her head towards the window. "Hardison, what happened to those video games?"
"She's doesn't want to play them," he replied. "Me, I'm cool with shooting up imaginary people all day long."
"We could always make out," Parker offered.
As Hardison spluttered in an attempt to find an answer, Eliot said, "No way are the two of you doing that while I'm driving. No. Way."
Maggie laughed and took out the earpiece. They were entertaining, but the constant back-and-forth bickering was going to give her a headache. Sophie did the same and stretched a little, turning her head to look at Nate.
"Are we going to stop soon?" she asked.
He looked at her and smiled a little. "Um, we can, if you need to. Do you need something?"
"A bathroom would be nice." Sophie's lips quirked. "And, I think I could use a turn at the wheel."
"Are you bored?"
"Considering the stimulating conversation that we've been having…" Sophie turned her gaze back to the road.
He sighed. "Fine. You can tell Eliot, though. I don't want to listen to his complaints about people with small bladders again."
"I'm surprised Hardison doesn't need to stop more with all the orange soda he drinks," Maggie remarked.
Sophie let out a laugh. "He hasn't been drinking all that much recently. Can't afford to waste it in the middle of the zombie apocalypse." She put in her earpiece. "Hey, guys, we're making a stop in a little bit."
"Again?" Eliot asked. "We stopped only four hours ago."
"Well, not all of us have bladders the size of Texas," Hardison interjected. "Besides, Parker is going stir-crazy. She needs to get out of this van."
"Because letting her out in the middle of zombie-infested territory is such a good idea."
Parker stretched languidly. "I'm a better shot than Hardison. Don't worry about me."
Eliot laughed at that. "She's got a point there. Okay, I think I see a gas station up the road. That cool with all of you?"
Sophie wrinkled her nose and sighed. "Yes, that's fine."
"Better shot than me," Hardison grumbled. "Who's the one always winning at Halo?"
Parker grinned. "I like blowing myself up in that game."
"There's something wrong with you," Eliot muttered as he pulled into the gas station.
Nate shut off the car as he grabbed his gun from the glove box. "Everyone, be on your toes. Eliot, you going in first?"
"Of course," Eliot answered, getting out of the van and approaching the gas station.
The others gathered around the van. Maggie held the gun limply at her side; she still wasn't used to the idea of using the thing. Parker leaned in and petted Maggie's hair. When Eliot came back out, he motioned for them to follow him inside.
"We're clear," he announced.
"Really?" Hardison asked as he stepped forward. "Because you know, we couldn't figure it out since…"
"Shut up," Eliot growled. "We need some supplies, Nate."
"Yeah, I was thinking about that." Nate sighed and looked at the group. "Okay, everyone use the bathroom. Rotate out and keep a guard posted just in case. Grab what you can carry. Try to pick up practical stuff. We don't need twenty boxes of cereal, Parker, or gallons of orange soda, Hardison."Parker looked offended at the idea that no one else wanted to live off cereal, so she huffed her way into the bathroom. Eliot posted himself at the front and nodded at Hardison. Hardison slipped into the men's bathroom. Fifteen minutes later, they were all refreshed and loaded down with armfuls of food. Parker had restrained herself to five boxes of cereal; Nate decided it was best to not say anything. While they loaded everything up into the back of the van and Nate's trunk, Eliot and Nate filled the gas tanks and also some spare gas cans they had grabbed from Nate's apartment before they left. They continued on their way.