Prologue

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Somewhere in the rolling hills of what used to be Virginia, a beat up Jeep Wrangler sped along an abandoned road. The frame of the vehicle was slightly rusted and colored black by spray paint, while its lights were dimmed, barely illuminating the scenery it passed by. It was nighttime, and if the lights were to be turned off, the Jeep would have faded into the surrounding darkness.

Four people occupied the Jeep's seats. The two front-seat occupants were male, both armed with M-16s, while the third male of the group sat behind the driver, his grip tight on his own LR-300. The fourth rider, the only female of the quartet, was twisted in her seat, keeping an eye on their rear in case they were followed. She held an old AK-47 in her small hands.

"Do you think any of the Watchers are still out?" she whispered to her companions.

"Not sure, Ria," the driver, Freddie, answered back. They knew they were safer away from the major cities. The cities were the strongholds of the Authority and the people who lived in them were completely under their control. Out in the wild, there was less of a chance they'd run into one of the Authority's Watchers. It was other groups of survivors they had to worry about this far out. None of them had forgotten the last time they'd driven at night. It had been bad. They'd been ambushed by a group of men and all of their supplies had been stolen.

Freddie glanced at their leader, who was sitting to his right. "Do you think we're safe out here, Luke?"

Luke tore his eyes away from the trees they were passing by. In the dark, his eyes were almost completely black, and with his scruffy beard and windswept hair, he looked somewhat frightening. He stared at his fellow renegades before running a hand over his chin in thought. "I don't think we'll run into trouble. Just keep your eyes peeled for anything suspicious," he said quietly, his deep voice reassuring.

Freddie and Ria both nodded. Luke was rarely ever wrong when he sensed danger. If he thought nothing was amiss, then they would trust his judgment.

The car ride continued on in silence. They were all tired from the long day spent scavenging for supplies. They'd had a close call with a Watcher about twenty-five miles back, and unfortunately, Caleb (their youngest companion) had been the one to catch the hovering robot's attention. The poor boy had been absolutely terrified when the robot shot phaserfire at him. They'd had to shoot the robot down and immediately flee the scene in case the Authority showed up.

In the process, they'd lost half of the supplies they'd found.

And to make the day worse, it started to rain twenty minutes away from home.

Luck was apparently not on their side.

Caleb decided that moment to groan. "Really?" he snapped irritably. "We've had some pretty shitty luck today, guys. First that damn Watcher and now this," he said, pointing up at the weeping sky. "Can it get any worse?"

"Look out!" Luke shouted at that exact moment, pointing to the middle of the road. He grabbed the steering wheel, jerking it to the side so that it swerved down the left side of the road. Freddie slammed on the brakes, causing the Jeep to squeal on the wet asphalt; they lost traction and skidded off the road, but Freddie was able to regain control and bring the vehicle to a safe stop.

"Holy shit!" Caleb breathed once the Jeep stopped teetering and stilled.

"What the hell happened?" Ria snapped.

Luke stood up on his seat and leaned on the overhead rails to look behind them. There was a crumpled form lying in the road about fifty meters behind them. And it looked suspiciously like a body.

"I think there's a person on the road," he said, kicking open his passenger door. His dark eyes quickly scanned the surrounding area. "Ria, stay with the car. Keep an eye out for any trouble," he ordered calmly, taking control. "Caleb, I want you to stick close to the car and provide cover for Freddie and me if we need it. Freddie, you're with me. Let's make this quick."

Cautiously, they approached the form on the road. Luke squinted against the cold rain that fell into his eyes, trying to see if his initial hunch was right. If it was a person, he hoped they wouldn't find a dead body. Freddie was on his six, checking their left and right, looking for any signs of an ambush.

When they were a few feet from the form, they lowered their weapons.

"What the hell?" Freddie whispered.

It was a woman lying on her side with a small pool of blood around her head. She looked to be in her mid-to-late twenties, if her gentle features were anything to go by. Luke's eyes ran along her slender body, and widened in surprise. The woman was pregnant. He could see the gentle swell of her belly beneath her soft clothes. "What happened to you?" he wondered aloud while he slung his weapon over his shoulder and crouched down beside her. He leaned close and sighed in relief when he saw her chest slowly rise and fall. "She's alive," he informed Freddie, moving to lay her flat on the ground and check her over. His fingers flitted over her soaked hair, where all of the blood was coming from. "And she's got a pretty nasty gash on the back of her head."

"What do you think happened to her?" Freddie asked.

Luke frowned in thought. "It looks like someone attacked her..."

"But what is she doing all the way out here?"

"Someone could have left her here to die."

"By why would anyone attack a pregnant woman? It doesn't make sense. This could be a trap, Luke..."

"I don't know if she's dangerous or not, but I'm not going to leave her out here," Luke said tightly. The world might have fallen into disorder but he still had his morals. And he sure as hell was not going to leave a defenseless, pregnant woman out in the wilderness. "When I lift her up, you'll need to support her head and keep it stable. We'll get her to Zachariah. He'll know what to do." He shifted to slide his arms around her shoulders and underneath the back of her knees, but when his hand brushed the skin at the nape of her neck, the woman jerked in his arms. Her eyes flew open and she let out a sharp gasp.

Luke froze as he stared into her beautiful eyes. The pure blue of them filled him with emotions so strong that he felt like he was about to burst. Love. Devotion. Passion. He felt them all in the blink of an eye. Somehow, he knew this woman. And he felt a deep power rush through him as his soul bound itself to hers. It was a power he had only ever read about in old tomes. His breathing grew harsh. After years of waiting—of searching—he'd finally found her... And she was pregnant with another man's child.

He felt sick.

The woman held his gaze for a second, before her eyes closed and she lost consciousness.

Freddie's hand clamped down on his shoulder. "Luke, are you okay?"

Luke gave his friend a pained look. "She... She's my Other."

"What? Are you serious?"

"Yes..."

He understood his friend's surprise. He was having trouble believing it himself. He'd waited so long for her and here she was: in the middle of the road at night, pregnant and bleeding. A deep well of anger and betrayal washed over him, but he let out a long sigh, trying to stay calm. He didn't know the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy. For all he knew, she could have been forced.

The thought made him grit his teeth.

Freddie frowned as they returned to the vehicle. He helped support the woman's head, and was careful to keep his fingers away from her bleeding wound. "They'll ask questions," he said when they neared Caleb and Ria.

"Don't tell them," Luke warned. "They'll find out soon enough. Everyone will." He glanced down at the burden in his arms, and felt a strange warmth travel through his limbs when he looked into the woman's face. He wanted to speak with her. See her smile. Hear her laughter... He swallowed hard.

Ignoring Caleb and Ria's rapid questions and anxious faces, both men maneuvered the woman into the car. Luke decided to hold her in his lap and stabilize her. Ria handed him a clean towel and he used it to apply pressure to the woman's head. He tried to focus on her features instead of the worry that was beginning to form in the bottom of his stomach. Seeing her bleeding and unconscious was nearly unbearable. He didn't even know her name and he already felt like he could not live without her.

"Step on it," he ordered.

Freddie pressed down on the gas and the Jeep sped along the road, headed towards the dark mountains in the distance.

Fifteen minutes later, at that very same location, several Watchers arrived on the scene and scoured the area, looking for a pregnant woman with dark hair and blue eyes.

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A/N: This is my first time posting on FictionPress. So here goes!

I imagine this introduction was very confusing, but fear not! Everything will be explained in due time. Updates might be frequent or sporadic. Depends on my mood and workload. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

~ Rakkasan Girl