Snippet #2575026

located in Season 3, a part of The Walking Dead: Online, one of the many universes on RPG.

Season 3

"The Fall"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Hopkins Character Portrait: Stephanie "Stevie" Darden Character Portrait: Silas Quinn
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Previously on TWD:O

Season 1
Season 2

… 3 Days Later …



Harper Hopkins


The occasional din and clatter down the stairs sounded far away in the apparently reshuffled interior of what used to be Amoeba Records. Nearby, Stevie and Harper sat next to each other on the bench outside of Silas' office, staring straight ahead out over the railing looking down into the larger room below. Stevie's hands gripped the edge of the seat as she leaned forward, her legs crossed before her on the surface. Her eyes focused distantly off and away on some unknown point, clearly lost in her own thoughts.

Harper's posture was far more relaxed by comparison, her ankles pressed together, back leaning up against the wall. On her lap rested a yellow legal pad with a series of scribbles neatly columned and labeled—judging from the condition of the pad, it must have been pages' worth of recorded information. The morning after the group of six arrived at Amoeba, Silas had requested her help in assessing the status and the needs of the group--who was missing? What did everyone need? Shoe sizes, medications needed, blood types, allergies, birthdates?... all to be noted, categorized, and wrapped up before the group ventured out into the unknown to search for those they'd endured those first crucial days with. Hours were spent interviewing each person under Amoeba's roof… and while she'd managed to hit all of Silas' checkmarks, there was a problem. Something she didn’t know how to explain to Silas quite yet.

The door creaked open to Stevie's left. Silas poked his head out, smiling warmly as he stepped back to make room for the two to pass through to head into his office. "Harper," he greeted as he extended his hand ahead to the woman with the fatigued violet rings beneath her green eyes, "good morning."

Harper stopped just briefly, then nodded drowsily and accepted his much larger hand, squeezing it politely. "Good morning, Silas," she offered coolly, walking past him to promptly take her place in one of the chairs in front of the large desk toward the wall. She knew her mannerism was on the cold side… but there really wasn’t any time for much in the way of pleasantries. Not when there was so much work to do, and so much uncertainty to prepare for. She'd not only compiled a list of supplies needed to keep the group running along for at least another week, but she'd also drawn up a suggested plan and timeline for the rescue, as well… written for Silas' review, then set to be up for discussion with the group preparing to head out, hopefully standing up to questions they anticipated that the group might have. Harper had to admit that not only did Silas' methods resemble some variation of task-driven, structured hierarchy, but also that Silas' methods at least showed a measurable rate of progress toward a goal of some kind. Harper liked that. She had to admit.

Silas watched Harper carefully for a long moment, then turned to look at Stevie, her head still apparently stuck up high in the clouds. "Morning, Sunshine. Feeling better?" he asked cheerfully.

No answer. He reached forward and tapped her on the shoulder. She startled briefly, then turned her head up to acknowledge him. "It was good to rest for a few days," she replied softly as she stood up, raising a hand and patting him on the arm in a friendly greeting. She shuffled in casually to take the seat next to Harper's. The other woman gave her a quick glance; Stevie adjusted her glasses and nodded as she affixed herself in the same position she'd been in on the bench outside, setting her elbows on her knees. "Silas helped me get some antibiotics. Everything I had last week was in the car," she reminded Harper as she rested her face in her palms, filling her in on what the conversation the two had been having had focused on. Harper nodded, controlling the expression on her face. Someone else might think that Stevie was nervously over-explaining herself. It even annoyed her sometimes. But if there was something she'd learned about the jittery girl in the glasses, it was that she was committed to honesty and transparency, even when it didn't suit her own interests. Harper knew that Stevie would work with the group to find a way to make things work.

Her head felt cloudy and closed-in all of a sudden. It was still early, and the unsettling fuzz that still stuck to her brain from the three tablets she'd taken the previous night to settle down hung hazily into all five of her senses. The metallic taste in her mouth intermittently triggered what she was sure looked like a souring of her face, as though a lemon hit her square on the nose. Breakfast that morning had been extremely unpleasant, despite the heaps of praise sent toward the kitchen for a job well done. Her sense of smell felt a little duller than it had three days previously--not by much, but she knew the difference. The buzz in her ear thrummed constantly, causing her hands to reverberate just slightly… or to at least have a sensation like that. Maybe she'd gone more than a little overboard when she'd settled on three…

She refocused on Stevie's face, and nodded curtly. Silas had asked her a question—a question that had disappeared into the background noise in her head. "Right." She sat up straighter as though to take control of her end of the situation as Silas wound around the desk, examining Harper somewhat distantly as he carried two bottles of water with him. He set them before the two women as he settled down into his chair. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, Harper set her legal pad on the table between the plastic containers, pinned one corner with one hand and turned the pad upside-down from her view, and pushed it toward the man opposite of her. "Here's everything, chopped up and organized." Also as though adding a punctuation mark to the end of her action, she meticulously set a Sharpie, cap faced toward herself, next to Silas' right hand.

Silas eyed the precise offer, then stretched out a hand slowly to accept the yellow paper, pulling it along the surface of the desk toward him and thumbed through the wavy pages that had obviously been turned several times. He then took a second turn, this time examining more intently. He put the pad down and glanced up purposefully to Harper, folding his hands in front of him and tilting his head. "This… isn't everything." He blinked. "Where are your notes?" he asked coolly. "I thought you mentioned you might include them."

Harper looked up diagonally and to her right. She had promised him the notes. She really had. No doubt about it. She'd hoped he might have forgotten about that part of their conversation. But it was no use. Silas was as stubborn as they came—just like her. And her need to protect her own was just as strong as his need to protect his own, so she could justify no need to deliver those notes immediately. There was no way he was ready to know about this yet.

It might buy a little more time, at the very least, before she could make sense of what it was that she'd stumbled upon.

She blinked vacantly at Silas. "Oh. Right. My bad." She shrugged. "I just didn't have time."

"I really want to review your notes before we go, actually," he said calmly, his voice not betraying any degree of exasperation, but still just a little frustrating to Harper, all the same.

"Look. We've only got so much time today," she dismissed airily as she shook her head. She reached out a hand to pinch the end of the first page to start in on her pitch—only to lose her grasp as Silas' hand gently touched down on the yellow lined paper and firmly pinned it in place. Harper visibly flexed her jaw and fixated her eyes on the desk instead of Silas' face, willing herself to keep her mouth shut.

Stevie straightened up calmly, glancing at the two and scooting forward into the edge of her seat. Her eyes darted across the table quickly. "Can we just photocopy the notes in the office when we get back?" she volunteered carefully, as though tiptoeing around the sort of confrontation potentially brewing between the two headstrong personalities. Harper and Silas turned their heads almost in unison in the direction of the voice, both pairs of eyes staring at Stevie expectantly. She let out a brief sigh. "It's not going to make a difference right now, at this moment, if you have them or not, Silas," she continued, moving her eyes to his and nodding. Harper had to admire Stevie sticking up for her… despite having not been told what had triggered Harper's apprehension to fully comply with Silas.

He held her gaze for a few long moments, then nodded as he turned back to Harper. "I've been outnumbered by two extraordinary women," he peppered briskly, drawing in a deep breath and allowing a broad smile to cross his face.

Stevie let out a stream of air through the corner of her mouth, rolling her eyes playfully. "You are so full of shit," she tossed at him jokingly as she re-crossed her legs beneath her.

Harper let a smile cross her face mildly as she watched the interaction. It was corny, and tedious to sit through at times, but Stevie made it work. Their friendship from before the event that had occurred 12 days prior had served to the small group's advantage. Anything the group wanted or needed was something that Stevie could talk Silas and his people into providing. So far it had benefitted all members of the group well—with the exception of James, who had elected to speak as little as possible over the course of the last three days to anyone, not even to their small group. For some it had provided a brief reprieve from his hard-charging ways and loud voice, while others saw it as a glaringly obvious fissure in the group's morale. Harper held a mixture of both views—while she could hardly tolerate much noise at all these days, she did rather like James, and wished that the confrontation at dinner the night they had arrived had not occurred.

Still, all the same, things had gone well.

Mostly.

Harper nodded after the two returned their attention to the yellow pad of paper and stretched out a long, thin arm to peel back the first page. She cleared her throat and took in a sigh. "We're going to send five people on each bus. It'll mean that there's enough weight to carry people and supplies back." She paused, flicking her eyes over the black and blue writing by her hand. "Or whatever else we need to bring back with us," she added somewhat grimly, then felt her dry throat scratch against itself. She sputtered into a series of coughs, prompting Silas to reach his own long arms forward to grasp the water bottle he'd offered to her, effortlessly unscrewing the cap and presenting the plastic container to her.

"Might want to go get some vitamins, too," he suggested lightly. Must have been his own way of suggesting she get checked out for a cold… some of the others were self-admitted germaphobes who had expressed fear of becoming sick. It wasn't long before Silas had begun to take them seriously. People getting sick without enough antibiotics to go around would be a challenge, and one they certainly weren't ready to handle.

Harper shook her head and waved her left hand as she sipped from the bottle ravenously. The water was on the cooler side of room temperature, and felt satisfying as it seemed to heal the dry, scratchy sensation that had sent her into a fit of coughs. "No, just went down the wrong pipe," she tossed out nonchalantly. She'd drank no less than four cups of water just fifteen minutes earlier at breakfast, even…

After a beat, Silas' eyes quirked down to read over the page before him. "Eli and Patrick are leading up the team looking for our people," he noted aloud. Harper felt the corner of her mouth tug down in disapproval. Still this whole business of 'ours' and 'yours.' It was irritating. "Niobe leading yours to go to the tunnels and grab your cargo." He swiveled his head toward Stevie. "Your name is here. I thought you weren't going."

She blinked suddenly, as though surprised he had even pointed it out. She reached a hand reactively up to rub the back of her head idly. "I changed my mind," she said quietly, then after a quick pause, continued. "I have the keys to the cars. I know where they're parked. I know exactly what's in them. And I know where the truck is."

Silas moved on, satisfied with the explanation. "So you've got Niobe, Stevie, Jack. Harper, I see you're on the list, too." Harper responded with a wordless nod. "From your group I notice that Carl, James, and Christopher are staying… James seems to know how to handle himself. Why are you keeping him back?"

"We need someone back here to help," Harper answered, closing her eyes to brace against an upcoming pang of a headrush. She quickly composed herself and moved on as though nothing had happened. "I still have to tell him. Last night we thought he was going to go. But…"—she glanced over to her right to the brunette sitting quietly—"… Stevie really wanted to… make sure the supplies made it back."

Silas nodded and offered a slight laugh under his breath. "Good luck," he offered somewhat puffily, then moved on. He eyed the pad again, then stood. "I like your recommendations. Good work, Harper." He picked up the pad and tucked it under an arm as he drew himself to his feet, then gestured his hand forward, his fingers filed together, indicating toward the wispy, tired woman still seated. "And please remember those notes this evening," he reminded, raising his eyebrows and lowering his chin. Harper nodded somewhat distantly. Maybe he'd forget about it later… "Stevie, what's up?"

The shorter woman had locked her gaze with the window, her eyes boring outside and actively scanning the view for something. Harper couldn't exactly tell… but she knew what might be on her mind, perhaps. "I'm just eager to get out there," she answered, glimpsing to Silas and rustling to her feet.

Harper watched as Silas turned his attention to her. It didn't take long at all for her to realize that the tension was as thick as a curtain between them… but it didn't seem like it was anything personal. Silas was this way with most everyone who wasn't obvious a member of his circle. Guarded. Maybe even a little clannish. For now, having Stevie on "the inside," so to speak, worked. In reality, though, Harper knew that whatever was bothering Silas clearly had nothing to do with her. It wasn't personal. There was something else… something else was bothering him. Something important.

Harper knew that she'd find out what it was, no matter what it took.

Stevie nodded to the two. "Ready to go have a chat with everyone?"