Disclaimer: I don't own anything, it all belongs to people far richer than me.
Author's Note: The final chapter and let me tell you, it's been a killer. Literally. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.
'I'll meet you there.'
He'd been looking at Scarlet when he said it, but Tammy knew he'd been talking to her. Since the night before there had been a heightened awareness of each other, a covert knowledge of all that had passed between them. Once it was over there was no need to say anything more; Tammy didn't regret any of it – how could she when she might not live long enough to have the luxury of regret? She had lain there in the darkness and listened to him breathing, grateful that she was able to forget tomorrow, even for a moment.
After a while, Doyle had disentangled himself from her, pressing a brief, gentle kiss to her forehead. They dressed in silence, her gaze glancing off his shyly to be met by a casual grin. Tammy flushed at that, wriggling into her jeans to disguise her sudden unease. Outside, shrieks sounded in the distance, and they'd both hit the deck – Doyle still bare chested for the time he'd put into watching her. She could still feel the pounding of her own heart in her throat, her fingertips, and how it dissipated against all possible logic when the Sergeant pulled her beneath his body at the sound of footsteps on the stairs.
It had only been Scarlet. Whatever her thoughts, they hadn't been evident on her face. Andy joined them a moment later and the small party spent a restless night tormented by the noise from outside their stronghold. Doyle took the first watch as they settled into the darkest corner of the room, his rifle once more stationed across his knees in readiness for a fight he anticipated. The last thing she remembered before dropping into anxious sleep was his fingers combing tenderly through her hair.
They'd found an abandoned car in the city, chased back into District One by the Infected, only to run straight into their own people bent on destroying them. The gas took care of the more immediate issue, but flamethrowers weren't far behind and all the engine – having lain stagnant for months – could do was wheeze asthmatically. Tammy held her t-shirt up over her mouth and nose, smoke stinging her eyes and the back of her throat. Dying Infected had smeared vomited blood all over the car windows making it doubly hard to see out into the street, but she wasn't really sure she wanted to anyway. Scarlet was ramming at the gears in a slightly hysterical way.
'I'll meet you there.'
Doyle looked at his colleague, before glancing back, once significantly, to the rear seat. Then he was moving, climbing out of the relative safety of the car and instead taking up a bracing position at the back of it. Tammy could feel the tears begin to sting at her eyes, but she kept them locked on the Sergeant.
She watched as he began to push the car, corded tendons on his forearms – the only exposed part of his body – becoming visible with effort of it.
She watched as his warm brown eyes softened on hers, more reassurance conveyed in that contact than in all they had perpetrated the night before.
She watched as the uniformed men closed in, unaware or uncaring as to the status of their targets, blindly following orders, no better than the Infected themselves.
She watched his eyes as he was consumed by the flames; as his easy smile became a grimace of agony; as, with his final breath, the engine spluttered to life.
Tammy gripped weakly at the headrest, her breath coming in short, sharp sobs. They were moving now, the car speeding away from the pursuing soldiers but she only had eyes for one. His familiar features were obscured by flames as he fell to his knees in the street but in the subsequent days she would learn to draw them from memory. Though he hadn't known it when he died, Sergeant Jim Doyle had made a mark on her heart that was indelible.