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The first shot was what caught his attention, and by then it was already too late. The stand off in the hall had deteriorated past the point of cooperative repair by the time he entered the chaos. The swing of the machete and the cracking of the wooden door brought the situation back into harsh prospective. He dropped all regard of Davidson and Lenore and Sebastian and turned back down the hallway.

“Anna!” he yelled, though he wasn’t sure it was wise to draw attention to one’s self during a standoff.

“Nathan!” he shouted as he drew closer to the door. “Just come out before this gets any worse than it already is. We just want to talk to you and check on Hayley.” He shot a furious look towards Anna, “Wolverine over here got a little too excited, and that was a mistake. But can we start by putting the gun down and talking instead of shooting and hacking away?”

Daniel paused when he reached the closer side of Nathan’s apartment door than Anna. They stared across the width of the door frame at each other, both shooting daggers from their eyes at the other’s method of madness.

“She just needs a little help,” Nathan called from inside the room.

“That’s what we’re here for. We just want to help her. To help you help her. Just tell us what you need.” It was too late for this type of negotiating, and Daniel knew it. They were just wasting words and Nathan was just bidding his time while he tried to form one last drastic plan.

“I need space. I need peace and quiet. I need to be left alone is what I need.”

“Afraid it’s a little too late for that, Cowboy,” Anna retorted. Daniel shot her another look, which she responded to with an exaggerated shrug of her shoulders.

“I need…” he trailed off, and Daniel held his breath. He tried to put himself into Nathan’s shoes. If he had had this opportunity, what would he have done?

“What if we get Hayley out of here? If she’s infected, then none of us are safe, especially not you. The last thing she would have wanted was to turn your fate the same way that hers went.

“If she’s sick, let us help her get better. But if she’s infected, let us get her outside the building. It isn’t ideal, but at least it will keep her alive. And when the cure comes, then she’ll be with the others, and she can return to you. She can return to herself, who she was before.” It was such an enticing promise, because though it was ludicrous, there was still a shot in a million it would work. They certainly didn’t know any better. And that is all he would have wanted. A chance to turn back the clock, to return things to the way they were before the infection started. The teasing promise of normalcy held such great promise.

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