A/N: Um... well, here it is. The final chapter of this story. It was going to be longer, but as I was writing this I realized I didn't really have much more to say. And it just felt right to end it there. I could add an epilogue but I don't think I will. I left a lot of things with Fix out because of course that's going to be dealt with in Ramble On, his and Spear's view of the story and everything, and I didn't want it to be repetitive. It will also be mentioned more in the sequel, maybe. I'm honestly debating about even making a sequel. Depends, I guess.

I had a lot of fun writing this story. It went in a different direction than I originally planned, but I hope it turned out okay. I know I have a lot of errors in here, probably OOC moments and stuff, and the science is probably crap, but I do plan on editing this and I will revise it and fix those mistakes, add and remove scenes, etc. This is a very rough first draft ;)

Thanks so much for following this story for so long, if you're here at the end with me :) I really, truly appreciate it. I love all the reviews and messages and follows and favorites and everything. You guys are the best.

As much as I hate to end this story, I'm also relieved. I don't have to worry about updating and finishing it now. It's done :) And it's been a fun, long ride and I'm going to miss it, but now I can start on Ramble On, and the potential sequel, if I decide to have it. Let me know what you guys want?

I'm going to shut up now because I'm rambling. Sorry.

Here it is. The final chapter of this story. It's been a hell of a ride.

Chapter length: 2299

For the last time in this story, onward!

Chapter Sixty-Three: Worth It


Alec swallowed because no one had even said anything to Fix yet, and already he was shaking his head, staring at them. Caleb was out of the area, with Koda, while they talked things over with Fix. Fix woke nearly ten minutes ago and finally cleared his mind enough to ask when Spear was getting back.

Something must have shown on their faces, because instantly he was shaking his head and saying 'no'.

"Fix…" Nixa breathed shakily.


"Fix, I'm sorry…"

"No!" Fix scrambled to his feet, tearing away from Nixa and her attempts to keep him on the ground. He was still healing, after all, though much better than he was before. "What… What happened? Where… No."

"Fix, please," Nixa said, stepping toward him. He took a step away, tangling his fingers in his hair, tugging at the strands, expression contorted and twisted and Alec sympathized.

Sympathized so much, because that could have been him. Was going to be him. But it wasn't.

Fix's gaze landed on Alec, those eyes dark and desperate, searching for a lifeline Alec couldn't give him. "Where is he?" he breathed, stepping toward Alec. Alec struggled not to move away, despite how much he wished he wasn't part of this conversation.


"Fix," Nixa said. "Please."

"No," Fix snapped, rounding on her, growling. "He's… No. He's not. He can't…"

Alec shifted uneasily, especially when that desperate gaze snapped back toward him.

"She's lying," Fix said. "Tell me she's… Where is he."

"She's not lying," Alec forced himself to say. "Spear… He didn't… He didn't make it out."

"Didn't make…?"

Alec watched, almost in slow motion, as Fix's legs gave out and he collapsed to his knees, shoulders drooping in defeat, breaths shaky and clipped. Nixa came up behind him, resting a hand on his shoulder but he shook her off.


And Alec didn't know what to say. How could he just come out and tell him Spear lied to him the whole time, lied to everyone, and set off the treatment himself? That would kill him at the moment, but he couldn't lie to him either. He'd know the truth as soon as he saw Caleb. Nixa had tears gleaming in her eyes but Alec applauded her strength at the moment.

He wished he'd gone with Caleb, but Nixa didn't want to be alone. Zeke would be back any time. They hadn't expected Fix to wake up as soon as Zeke left to work out his leg a little. But Nixa hadn't wanted to be alone for any length of time because she would think about it, and then Fix woke up and it was just a big mess.

Guilt was foremost in Alec's mind, but he was also glad he wasn't in Fix's place. This made him feel even worse because he was such a horrible human being for thinking that way.

Alec wasn't aware he'd been slowly inching away from the scene until he was halfway out of the clearing. Nixa caught his eye, then, tears gleaming in them, and nodded at him, telling him it was okay to leave. Then she smiled, and Alec knew he should leave. He was intruding at the moment. She needed to grieve with Fix in her own way, and Alec barely knew the guy. He knew Spear better than Fix because Fix was always so closed off and was rarely seen without Spear.

So Alec took in a breath and turned on his heel, walking away from the scene. He felt ashamed to do so, to leave Nixa there with this, to abandon both her and Fix in their time of need… but he just couldn't do it.

Because that could have been him. That could have been Nixa and Fix trying to comfort him after Caleb's death. And he couldn't. Just… no.

So he fled.


Alec swallowed and looked up, unaware he'd even hurried toward the blonde, pulling Caleb into a crushing embrace. Now he took in a breath and repositioned his face against Caleb's shoulder. "Sorry," he breathed. "Sorry, just… for a minute…"

Caleb's arms wound around him slowly, Koda sitting patiently at his feet. "Babe? Is everything okay?"

"Fix woke up," Alec said quietly.

Caleb stiffened somewhat. "Oh. Oh, okay. Shit. How… How is he?"

"I don't know. I… I had to get out of there… but I don't think… he's taking it very well."

And he couldn't blame him because if their positions were reversed, he'd still be like Fix. Even though he would have known Caleb's death was coming. But Fix… He had no idea. No idea this was coming, this was going to happen. He thought he'd walk out of here with Spear next to him while Alec came under the impression he'd be leaving alone, if at all.

And it wasn't fair, and Alec wanted to thank Spear as much as he wanted to strangle him. He hated him for doing this to everyone, for keeping it a secret and then… making it so sudden. They were all still sort of reeling after everything, and Fix had to wake to this, and Alec hated Spear for doing this to the man. What kind of person did that to the person they loved?

And yet… he could understand it, and not just because he was grateful.

People would try to stop him if they knew. Caleb might even try doing what Spear did, if their roles were reversed and Spear was supposed to die, and…

"Babe, you're hurting me."

Alec realized his hold on the blonde had unintentionally tightened, but he couldn't help it. He did loosen his hold a little, though, because hurting Caleb was the last thing he wanted. "Sorry. I just…"

"It's okay," Caleb said. "I understand. It sucks."

Alec's laugh was anything but happy. "Understatement of the year, Caleb."

Finally he felt stable enough to pull away, and at least hold the blonde at arm's length. Caleb's own arms dropped to his sides as those green eyes watched him.

"Are you okay?"

Alec nodded. "Yeah, I'm… I'm okay. You?"

Spear and Caleb were close, after all. And this was already hurting Fix, and that was going to be hard enough to deal with when they went back and he saw that Caleb was alive. If Nixa hadn't told him what really happened by then…

Then it would come as a shock and that knot in Alec's stomach tightened just thinking about it. Fix might blame Caleb, might take his anger out on him, and… No. He wouldn't let that happen. Caleb had no idea Spear was planning this and Alec knew that if Caleb had known, he wouldn't have let Spear do it. There was no way Caleb could be blamed for this.

If anything, he should be blamed. He was the one who all but begged Spear to do something, to make sure Caleb didn't die, and then he got so mad at him, hated him for accepting the remedy while Caleb…

But now he knew Caleb actually got the remedy. It was what really made him sick. And it explained the guilt he found in Zeke afterward. Not because he did that to Caleb, but because he had to lie about it, and because he gave it to Caleb and did as Spear asked even after he promised Caleb he wouldn't change anything.

It was all one big, giant mess and he had no idea how they were going to clear things up, especially with Fix.

The scent of the blonde so close, the feel of his warmth, calmed Alec. He breathed it in and relaxing minutely.

"I love you," he breathed quietly, face buried in Caleb's shoulder, hiding from the world, from Fix's pain and Spear's sacrifice.

"Babe." Hands pushed lightly at his stomach, pushing him away. "Look at me."

Alec shifted away, Caleb's hands lifting to clutch at his shoulders.

"I said look at me," Caleb said quietly.

Alec sighed and dragged his eyes up to the blonde's face. Warm green eyes looked back at him, and he relaxed a little more.

"It's okay," Caleb told him, smiling faintly. "It's okay."

Alec released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.

"And I love you, too, babe."

They didn't go back to the clearing until nightfall. They spent the day walking, for the most part. They found a small river, sat along its edge and watched the ripples and waves in silence. Finally they got up and walked some more, and then the sun went down and they decided they needed to be getting back, no matter what happened when they did.

Neither of them wanted to face Fix, but they were going to have to at some point or another. They couldn't hide from him, or from what Spear did.

They entered the clearing to find Fix asleep on the ground, surprisingly. The semi-guilty expression on Zeke's face left Alec certain the slumber wasn't the brunette's idea, but rather Zeke slipping him something.

"He wouldn't calm down," Zeke said. "He was going to hurt himself. He's still healing."

Alec nodded slowly, watching the rhythmic rise and fall of Fix's chest. In sleep he looked peaceful, but he knew all of that would change once he woke up.

Nixa was also asleep next to Fix, and Alec glanced back at Zeke.

Zeke sighed, scrubbing a hand across his face. "She needs the rest," he said.

"No one's blaming you," Caleb said. "You… Yeah. They need the rest."

"How are you feeling?" Zeke asked, watching the blonde.

Caleb shrugged. "I'm okay, I guess. Sore as hell."

Alec winced, having forgotten about that. "That walk must have been hell."

"Not as bad as when you hugged me," Caleb said, tossing him a faint smile. "Besides… it was nice to get away for a while."

Alec nodded, silently agreeing with him.

Zeke patted the ground next to him. "Sit," he said.

The two wandered toward him and sat, Caleb next to him and Alec on the blonde's other side. The flickering campfire cast odd red shadows across the sleeping forms of Fix and Nixa.

"I haven't seen any zephroes since the explosion," Zeke said quietly.

Alec frowned, realizing he was right. "Neither have I. Do you think…?"

"I think that means it worked in the very immediate area," Zeke said, sighing. "It will take longer for it spread elsewhere. Days. Months. Years. Who knows."

At least the treatment was out there, and there was finally hope. They'd still have to deal with the neutrohales, but at least now they only had to worry about one faction of mutations.

And Caleb's still here.

Caleb was still alive. Even if the treatment didn't work, Alec would be just fine as long as Caleb was okay. He knew it sounded ridiculous, because not that long ago he hadn't wanted anything to do with anyone else, and now he couldn't imagine his life without the blonde in it.

Funny how things changed.

Funny how he never even noticed it happening, not until Caleb was already too close.

"Sleep, babe," Caleb said, resting a hand on his shoulder. The touch was simple, a light weight on his skin, but he leaned into that contact because it had been a rough week. A very, very rough week and it wasn't over yet.

The treatment was dispersed, but they still needed to get out of here. Then again, Yellowstone National Park was probably the safest place there was right now.

Caleb must have noticed his expression and recognized it for what it was, because the hand on his shoulder tightened marginally. "It's safe here," Caleb said. "Safest since M-Day."

"That is very true," Zeke commented, causing them to look his way. "We could probably get a large group to settle here, start rebuilding."

"We need to see Spear's community first," Caleb said quietly, causing Alec to glance at him, noticing the way the blonde's eyes focused solely on the ground. "Tell them what happened. Make sure they're okay. Take Fix and Nixa back."

"Or," Zeke said slowly, "we could bring them here."

Bringing an entire community all this way would not be an easy task. The larger the group, the slower they traveled, and it was still dangerous out there, even with the treatment. The treatment only worked on the zephroes, not the neutrohales. It would take a while for it to even begin to take effect. It was still dangerous out there, especially for a large group traveling slowly, with kids and sick people and…

It would just be hard.

But worth it, in the end, Alec was sure. They could start fresh here, where it was safe. A new beginning.

Alec smiled.

A new beginning.

He really liked the sound of that.

It wouldn't be easy. It wouldn't be quick. But it was finally possible.

Healing was a long, and sometimes painful, process. But worth it, in the end.

Caleb tossed him a glance. "What are you smiling at?"

"Nothing," Alec breathed, shaking his head, but he couldn't keep the smile from his face. "Just happy it's over."

Caleb stepped a little closer. Warmth surrounded him as arms encircled him. "Yeah," Caleb murmured, mouth pressing lightly against his own, "it is."

Nearly a decade after M-Day, it was over. A treatment had been dispersed. It would take for it to work properly, and it probably wouldn't happen in their lifetime, but finally there was hope. There was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Just as the end of the world was a slow burn, sneaking in unnoticed until it was too late, the healing of it was the same.

A slow burn of hope.

And it was worth it.

A/N: And there's that :) The final chapter. Hope it sounds okay, and thanks again for staying with me all this way! Thanks for reading and please review!