I know that people generally tell of pairings in the description of the story, but this one has a surprise pairing. My apologies if that irritates you, but it seemed like the best way to go.

~HAZEL~

The entire city is silent. It has been deemed a 'restricted' area by the government for quite some time. And the only living things left at Sacred Heart Hospital are the rats that scour the dirty tile, desperate for the smallest crumb of food. It's hard for even rats to find the necessities.

The older man is out on a run for just the barest of provisions. He needs just enough food to get the two of them by for another day.

A bird flutters in a nearby tree and the man cocks his gun.

No, he thinks, The animals aren't safe anymore. Even if they are immune to the virus, they may still be carriers.

Him and his partner are starving. The saying 'skin and bones' applies to them well. The pair are wasting away to nothing.

It's just the two of them now, all of the others are dead. They need each other. They thrive on one another.

Besides the one he shares a bed with, the man hasn't seen another human being in...in months. Most of them have fled the city, others dead from the virus.

The virus that he is partially responsible for.

He creeps into the abandoned house, bat in one hand, gun in the other and ready to strike at the faintest sound. Being overly cautious is second nature to him now. He has to be, surviving is hard enough.

His temples throb. Malnourishment does that to a person. Though he isn't in half as bad of shape as the other.

The kitchen is worn down, the owner of the house obviously left at the beginning of the epidemic. That was over a year ago. Quickly, he opens all of the cabinets. One of them is filled with non-perishable food items.

He silently cheers as he fills his backpack up with cans. It isn't good food, but it will keep them alive for another week, at least. It's another week for somebody to find a cure.

If anybody is left to find a cure.

He slips out of the unhinged front door and back into the dusk air. The backpack weighs him down, making the journey back to the bunker a difficult one. He passes by cars with rotting corpses slumped down in the seats and wonders how he's stayed alive for so long.

It almost seems unfair that he didn't get such an easy out...

Suicide tempts him, but he knows that he can't leave his partner alone.

He reaches the door to the shelter and hopes that he won't be greeted by emptiness. The bunker has only one room and a bathroom, and his eyes immediately scan their mattress in the corner. The thin shape underneath the covers calms him. He needs that constant in his chaotic life. He needs to know that the other one is going to be there when he comes back, ready to accept all of his shortcomings and imperfections.

He sits on the edge of the bed and pulls one of the cans out of his bag.

Beef Ravioli...Gets old after awhile.

He pulls the lid off and equally distributes the food onto two plate.

" Get up and eat. "

The person in the bed barely stirs before turning over in protest.

" Time to eat, Newbie. Rise and shine. "