Epilogue – Better Days

There was nothing, only black emptiness. Just a void. Oliver tried to blink, but he couldn't move. He tried to move his eyes, and look around but nothing happened. He couldn't move anything, but he didn't panic. In fact, he couldn't move anything, not even his mind. He just kept thinking of the same thing, nothing. Pain suddenly roared throughout his body, but he couldn't move. In fact, Oliver didn't even notice the pain, there was only nothing. Then it happened again, and everything started back up.

"Fuck!" He suddenly screamed, pain tearing up and down his body. His arms and legs flailed out, knocking over a couple of metal objects. He opened his eyes and looked around. Three blurry figures were standing around him. He wasn't wearing his glasses, and he couldn't make out the faces of the people. He wasn't wearing a shirt, but his pants were still on.

Oliver sat up quicker than anything, and before the figures could react, he leapt off the bed and attacked the closest one. From the grunt it made as his fist connected with its jaw, he could tell the figure was a male.

"Mother fucker!" Oliver yelled, punching him again. He felt arms grab him from behind, and turned around, about to punch another figure. He stopped the second a hand slapped him across the face, his flesh burning from the strike.

"Oliver! Chill the fuck out!" A girl screamed, her voice sounding like it was tearing. He looked forward, and felt something sharp pressed against his chest. He reached quickly and found himself holding his glasses. He put them on and saw Mia standing in front of him Leigh next to her. He turned around and saw Sam, hand over his mouth, a trickle of blood down his chin. It took him a full five seconds to register what he had done.

"Oh god…" He whispered, falling back and landing on the bed he had woken up on. He sat there for a minute, looking at the three. He realised they were inside a hospital room.

"Damn dude. You hit hard when pissed off." Sam finally broke the silence. Oliver smiled slightly. Mia walked over to him, looking in his eyes.

"Are you okay?" She asked.

"Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"

"Well, you had the shit kicked out of you, were gone for a moment, and where out of it for a long time."

Oliver raised an eyebrow.

"I see." He said slowly. Leigh slowly stepped forward, looking him up and down.

"You're handling it better than we thought." She said quietly, as she used to do before the war. Oliver looked at her.

"What do you mean?" He asked, looking around, after Leigh's eyes averted his. He slowly had a feeling coming over him, a feeling like something was missing.

"You don't remember?" Sam asked, his voice also a lot quieter. Mia moved away from Oliver, and leaned against Sam, who was in turn leaning against the wall. "Up on the top of the parking building?" Oliver thought for a moment.

"I remember driving in a car, telling you guys to get out and not going. Driving to the top, Brennan being shot by Mathers. Mathers then shooting Tracey and then me killing Mathers. And then everything is black until I woke…up…here…" Oliver slowed down, realising what he was saying. His eyes widened, realising the second to last thing he said.

"…Tracey…" He breathed. He slowly got to his feet and walked forward.

"Where are you going?" Sam asked, moving after him.

"To…to go and…walk…walk and clear mind…or something." Oliver mumbled and stammered out of the room, pointing at Sam, telling him to stay. Leigh looked a Sam, and then at Oliver as he rounded a corner and stumbled out of sight.

"You're just going to let him go?" Leigh asked. Sam turned to her.

"He needs some time alone for now." He replied slowly.

Oliver walked down a long corridor, his footsteps dampened by the carpet along the ground. He turned and called one of the elevators. It beeped after a couple of minutes ad the doors slid open. He stepped in and pressed all the buttons before getting out. He then called the other one, which was already on the ground floor. He got in and pressed the roof button. Sam, Leigh and Mi all sprinted around the corner as Oliver got into the second elevator, running when they first heard the first one arrive.

"Oliver! Wait!" Sam yelled. He turned and stopped just before the doors slammed shut, seeing Oliver's face. Despair, depression and sheer misery were marked all over his face. The doors closed and the elevator rose.

"No you don't." Sam whispered.

"Fuck! He's got the other elevator going up level by level!" Mia screamed, slamming her fist against the other set of doors.

"We'll take the stairs, Mia, I want you to see where he stops and then follow us." Sam ordered, ripping open the stairway door. Him and Leigh both sprinted up the steps. The hospital only had seven stories, but it had more steps than a twelve story. When the two reached the fourth story, they heard a voice scream from below.

"He's on the roof!" Mia screamed, her face aiming upwards. She could just see Sam and Leigh running. Mia then turned and ran up the stairs herself, after the others. Leigh began to lag behind and Sam pulled ahead. He didn't ignore Leigh; he just decided it would be better if he didn't wait for her. Sam reached the roof door, Leigh still a story down and Mia down two after Leigh. Sam didn't stop. He leapt forward and slammed against the door. It bended and shuddered, but didn't open. He threw himself again, screaming and the door exploded off its hinges. He ran outside and looked around. Gratings sticking out of large blocks of concrete were sticking out of the ground, making it impossible for anyone to find anyone around there. Sam looked behind the exit and saw that on the edge of the building, the wall was raised by a meter, making some form of safeguard for accidental fallings. But those didn't stop Oliver from sitting on one, on the other side of the whole building. Sam began to walk towards him, and then ran when he noticed he would probably be too late if he walked.

By the time he was just a few meters from Oliver he was breathing hard, completely out of breathe. Oliver slowly tilted his head to one side, looking towards the sunset ahead.

"How long have I been sleeping?" He asked quietly. Sam could barely hear him over his own breathing.

"Just over a day." He breathed heavily. Sam walked over and jumped up onto the ledge next to Oliver, looking at the sun slowly sink behind the broken Mount. "She seriously left her mark though." Sam muttered, not really speaking to Oliver but more to himself.

"Yeah…she knows how to do that." He replied. The two sat in silence until both Leigh and Mia came out the door and saw the two.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Leigh asked, looking at the back of Oliver's head. She was expecting him to turn around and apologise, but he just sat there, not saying anything. She was about to say something else but Mia put a hand on her shoulder and shook her head.

"Now yet." She said quietly.

"You know, I never got to tell her things I'd always wanted to say to her." Oliver suddenly broke the silence. Sam turned his head.

"I never got to tell her what happened over the last few years. You know, just things that I wanted to tell her."

Mia jumped up onto the ledge and sat on the other side of him. Leigh sat on the other side of Sam.

"Hey, none of us got to say the things we wanted to say to her. Fuck, the others didn't even get a fucking chance." Mia explained. "I mean, I never got to ask her what she'd been up to for the last few years, talk to her about what it was like now, nothing except what the hell we were going to do."

Oliver felt water building up underneath his eyes.

"I never even got to really talk with her. That week when you were gone? Most of the time we spent either fighting or looking for you." Sam added.

"I just wish I could have been given a chance to get to know her properly." Leigh chipped in. Oliver chuckled slightly. And then it went silent again. The wind picked up slightly, a cool breeze blowing around them. Mia and Leigh's hair moved in the wind, Oliver and Sam's clothes flapping slightly.

After a while, "So, what do we do now?" Leigh asked, looking at the other three. Sam smiled, so did Mia. Oliver didn't.

"What did you do with her?" He asked, his face not changing.

"We were able to siphon out some petrol from the car and were able to find a metal rack which we slammed across the ground. She was unofficially cremated." Sam explained. Oliver finally did smile.

"Good. She never wanted to be put in the ground." He said. He slowly got to his feet and turned around, jumping off the ledge and onto the ground of the roof. "We should get going." The others followed.

"And go where?" Mia asked.

"That's a good question." Sam answered for her. The others laughed.

"Well, I guess it's quite clear we can't stay in Tauranga." Leigh added.

Before anyone could say anything, they all heard a sound that cut straight to their ears. A helicopters blades slicing through the air, the motor whirring away. They all turned and saw a green helicopter heading towards them.

"You've got to be fucking kidding me." Sam muttered. "And none of us have our guns up here."

They contemplated going downstairs, but decided to stay on the roof, maybe put an end to everything. As the chopper got closer, Oliver noticed a red cross on the side.

"That ain't a mother fucking American chopper. That's a goddamn New Zealand helicopter!" He yelled. "HEY!" He started jumping, waving his arms in the air. The others followed suit, trying to hail rescue. They succeeded. The helicopter seemed to be heading towards the city, but changed course and headed for the roof of the hospital. The four looked around and saw an emergency helicopter landing pad not far away.

"Fucking brilliant!" Sam screamed, punching his fist into the air. The four began to run towards the helipad. They reached it same time as the helicopter did. Ropes descended from it and two men in black suits dropped down. Each one was armed with an assault rifle. Oliver couldn't see what they were. For a second, he thought they were wrong, and they were enemies, but when the men aimed at them and then lowered their guns, he realised what they were.

"Are you guys okay?" One of them called out over the noise from the chopper. Oliver couldn't believe it. After the last week and a half, the only adults he had seen had all been pointing weapons at him and trying to kill him.

"We're fucking fine now!" Sam yelled back. The man waved his hand and the helicopter lowered and landed on the pad. The rotors slowly stopped spinning and the sound died away. The man who had spoken removed his helmet and looked at the four.

"Wait, you're all just kids." He pointed out. The other one stepped forward and took his on helmet off.

"That doesn't matter. As long as they can tell us what the hell happened." He said, looking at the city burning in the distance. Sam looked at them.

"It's been over a week and you don't know?" he asked. The first one stepped forward.

"First, call me Dave. Second, every plane that's flown over has been shot down, every ship sunk and every insurgent found and murdered. Getting information out of this whole city has been like getting blood out of a rock." Dave explained. Oliver looked at the second man. His name, John, was patterned onto his uniform.

"Well, it doesn't matter. All we need right now is out of this hell." Oliver said, walking towards the helicopter. John and Dave both raised their weapons at him.

"Don't take another step." John growled. Oliver raised his hands, slowly and took a step backwards.

"Whoa, it's cool. We're not like the others, really." He said quickly. The soldiers lowered their weapons slowly.

"Yeah, seriously. Does it look like we could take over an entire city?" Sam asked, stepping forward.

"Dude, Brennan kind of did that." Oliver said quietly. "By himself pretty much." The pilot of the helicopter got out and walked over.

"Is there a problem?" He asked.

"No, not anymore." Dave replied, shouldering his rifle.

"Come on, we need to be out of here soon. Too much of a chance being shot down." Dave and John nodded. John gestured and the others followed them. They all clambered into the chopper and Dave closed he door, the sound of the helicopter starting up being cut out. The four all sat in seats while Dave and John moved up next to and behind the pilot.

Leigh curled up into her seat and then against Oliver. He put his arm around her and rested his head on top of hers. Mia was up against Sam, both talking quietly. Oliver and Leigh just sat there, staring out the window as they flew over the burning and broken city. Bodies, all charred, bullet ridden or just partially there, littered the streets, along with cars, both burned out and shot up. Buildings were still standing, even though most of them had walls missing, windows shattered and parts burning from gas leaks. Roads had bullet holes, craters from rockets, missiles and explosions, and black tire marks were on ever street in the city, save just a few that weren't touched. Oliver wondered about the men he had gotten their trench coats off. Where they still alive? Or were they among the dead?

And Oliver knew that amongst all the dead bodies, recognisable and not, were friends, relatives and those he had loved more than both. Tracey, Daniel, Alive, Cojack, Winston, Theresa, Ryan and countless others. He wondered just which death field held his parents and brother. Were they all even in the same one? Or all separated from one another? And silently, with no one watching, Oliver began to cry, water beginning to run down his face, dripping unnoticed onto Leigh's hair. The helicopter turned and began to fly over the Kiamias, a set of long and large mountains, heading towards Hamilton, one of the larger cities in New Zealand. Oliver slowly turned his head back, looking at the smoke rising from behind them.

"I'm sorry I couldn't save you." He whispered. Leigh moved slightly, turning her head to look at him.

"Something wrong?" She asked.

Oliver looked at her, through her eyes and into her mind. He felt like something he had truly desired had been give to him for free. Except Oliver knew the truth. Leigh was not the one thing he had truly desired, and it wasn't for free. He had gotten what he wanted, and she had been taken away. And now he had been given something totally different. Oliver began to understand what had happened. He had gotten his wish, except it was not the one he had been expecting. Tracey had come back, but it was only for a while, then she left again. Then he thought about Leigh. Yes, he loved her, as much as he had loved Tracey. Maybe a bit more, since he had not been separated from Leigh long enough to notice changes. Or maybe he just felt differently to her, yet still the same as to Tracey.

"Nothing." He replied, kissing her forehead. "Nothing at all. But I've had better days than this." Sam and Mia both heard that.

"I think we can all say that." Sam added, then turning back to Mia.

Oliver smiled. The helicopter travelled of the mountain range and towards Hamilton, still a while away. He lay his head on Leigh who was still lying against him.

As the helicopter flew over the range, the plot noticed a beeping sound. He looked at the scanner and saw something heading towards them. An enemy missile. He was about to tell the others to brace themselves, but he knew that there was no way they were going to survive. He looked back and saw the four kids all huddled together, smiling in a depressive way. They looked like they had been through hell, and the tall one with glasses looked the worst. The pilot jus sat there, sweat starting to drip down his face, knowing he was about to die. Knowing they were all going to die. He didn't change heading, he just kept pushing the stick forward, heading in a straight line.

Oliver and the others didn't noticed anything, too busy involved in the one next to them.

"Leigh, there's something I need to tell you." Oliver said quietly. She moved her head again, looking up at him, her eyes glittering slightly.

"I can guess what it is, but continue." She whispered, smiling.

Oliver smiled back. "I lov—"

I'm sorry, but I had to do this to you all. There was no way I was going to have Oliver survive, and I kind of screwed it up with him getting into the chopper, so I though it best everyone else dies as well.