Title: Regeneration (Go-go)
Summary: The infection spreads north, so Alex and Paige head south.
Category: Degrassi the Next Generation/Grindhouse crossover, Alex/Paige, Alex/Cherry Darling
Rating: R (for violence and sex)
Word Count: 1,210
It was somewhere in Colorado when they ran out of ammo. The desert sun sweltering, burning Paige’s fair skin and turning Alex’s a richer tan. Months, living off the land, surviving simply because they had to. The disease moved north, something about the winds made people change, so they headed south.
Paige caught her at the door – Paige running in as Alex was ready to leave. "You do not want to go out there. Trust me, hon."
Alex made a face. "What do you mean. If this is some game, you should just tell me now, and we can go ahead and just go in the bedroom and-"
Paige gripped her shoulders. "No, I’m serious. I just came from The Dot. There’s- you aren’t going to believe this."
"What am I not going to believe, Paige?" Alex smiled, placating.
"Emma. Is a zombie."
Alex laughed, despite the look in Paige’s eyes. "Honey, I know. I’ve been trying to tell you that for years now."
Paige sighed. "I am, unfortunately, not joking."
At the "Welcome to New Mexico" sign they stopped. "Something’s not right," Alex said, tensing her muscles and reaching for her empty gun. Frowning when she remembered. "Paige, stick close, okay?"
Lines of heat from the ground obscured the monsters, approaching from the east.
Chad’s shotgun, loaded. A backpack of extra ammunition, food, water. Paige even found her mother’s handgun tucked in the kitchen. She shot Marco with it. Not Marco – Marco could never have been the strange gruesome thing that came after her that night, the last night she and Alex spent in a place they called home.
Paige cried that night, tucked into Alex’s embrace. Alex never cried. She didn’t sleep either. All night, one hand on the gun.
"If you’re infected I’ll kill you." The voice rang through the heat, reverberating in the thick air, tickling the hairs hanging down Alex’s neck. There was blood under her nails. Not her blood, not infected either. "I said-"
"I heard what you said," Alex said, using the defunct shotgun as leverage to help her up off the dusty ground. She raked her free hand through her hair, shaking the dirt and dried blood free. "I’m clean. Who’re you?"
"Cherry Darling," said the woman on the white horse, wringing her gown free of her mechanical leg. "At your service."
A rural farm family in Montana let them stay for a week. They’d refused to give up their land for a bunch of “freaks” and so far hadn’t been infected themselves. They gave Paige and Alex the upstairs guest bedroom and didn’t ask questions so long as they were guaranteed two more gun-users in the event of an attack.
The nights were surprisingly quiet. They made love for the first time in months, stripping slowly and silent, each other’s eyes their only audience. Paige’s lips tasted like salt, Alex’s like honey.
Mexico was hot and dry and lonely, despite the large encampment. Among the doctor, the pimp, the babysitters, Alex feels utterly out of place. After dinner one night, she asks Cherry if she can hold her baby. It’s rare after that if Alex is seen without little Wray. Perhaps an unexpected move if anyone there had known Alex before, but they didn’t. She is a blank slate.
She gripped the pole behind her head and slid down, spreading her legs for balance. The audience hooted and tossed dollars her way, the hazy lights accenting her bare breasts. She didn’t know that Paige was back stage, or that in less than a week she would be out of a job and out of a home. Another month and there wouldn’t even be a town to return to, but Alex didn’t know that. She closed her eyes and turned, hooking her leg on the pole and grinding against it in the way that made the most tips.
"We don’t ask questions here," Cherry says to her one evening, sitting down in the shade where Alex and Wray are leaning back against a tree.
"So," Alex doesn’t look up, "don’t." Wray has her tiny fist around Alex’s thumb.
"When I found you…"
"I don’t want to talk about it, Cherry."
"Fine, Alex." She leans against the tree to stand, her machine gun leg glinting a little in the evening sun. "But we’ve all lost someone." It could be the sunset, but Alex sees a glint in Cherry’s eye.
They hadn’t kissed for a week. The sun and the heat and the distance were becoming too much. Alex and Paige slept in shifts; one curled up around the supplies, and the other sitting by the small fire. Touch was a luxury when survival was at stake.
Alex didn’t know how she fought them off. Everything went into a blur that cleared up when Cherry rode up over the horizon. Before that there was only blood.
Alex stands in the doorway, watching as Cherry puts Wray in her crib for the night. Her arms are crossed at the chest, unsure why she hasn’t moved.
"What do you want, Nunez?"
She wants to know how he died; Wray’s father. She wants to know how Cherry lost her leg, how she came up with the idea to replace it with a machine gun. She wants to ask if Cherry knows how to erase the image of Paige’s body from her mind. She wants, and the thought causes her to blink in surprise, to brush Cherry’s hair back from her face and see if her eyes are the same color as Wray’s.
Alex only shakes her head. "Nothing."
Paige was alive when the monsters ripped her apart. First the right leg, then an arm. Alex couldn’t look away, her retina burning. She watched her lover’s eyes. The grey-green turned cold and glassy, her lips, cracked from the sun, choking up blood. Finally, Alex registered the empty gun in her hand and the blunt weapon it would become.
She slams the intruder against the wall of her room. The half-light of night not revealing them by sight. But by scent, and belatedly, by touch, Alex realizes this is Cherry pinned against the wall, and she could very well be free right now if she wanted it badly enough.
"You shouldn’t be here, Cherry," Alex is surprised at the tone of her voice; needy, pleading.
Cherry lifts a hand, brushes Alex’s cheek with the lightest of touches. Alex slams her back again, and kisses her hard on the lips, finding Cherry’s mouth open and ready, her tongue eager to receive Alex’s for battle. Someone growls into the embrace.
They break. "We’re all real sick of your mopey attitude, Alex," Cherry pants.
"Something should really be done about it."
Alex holds Cherry against the wall, glaring although neither can really see in the dark. "Maybe I should be the one to do it," she says, and makes quick work of the tie of Cherry’s skirt, feeling it drop and thrusting two fingers inside her. "Hmm?"
The first kill was exhilarating, but it got old fast. There was the rush of protecting her girl from the baddies, but when they started having faces she recognized it became less of a game and more of a nightmare.
"Paige, we can’t stay here."