by the Legendary Armor

"I lust for after no disaster can touch... touch us anymore. And more than ever, I hope to never fall... Where enough is not the same it was before."

They were everywhere.

Hands tearing, shredding, beating the life from him. The roar of his shotgun didn't drown their inhuman screams, didn't drown the call of the alarm, bringing more and more of the merciless infected down upon him. He felt his blood as often as he felt their hits, and soon he couldn't see -- everything was dim, was red, was too blurry to make out as he hit the ground, and hit it damn hard. Steel shook as his hand tried to steady his pistol, kept trying to fire. He'd come too far. They were almost there, all of them somehow in one piece, but here he was now...




Bullets kept flying even after his pistol's clip clicked empty, and he was too confused to understand why as the blood of the infected sprayed over his prone form, their limbs flying every which way. He blinked, shakily wiping the blood from his eyes, trying so desperately to see through his haze of pain. It was so quiet now...

...The alarm. They'd shut off the alarm.

His focus sharpened a little as a med kit slammed into the ground next to him, torn open by hands that he couldn't see were shaking. Something cool, something numb was applied to his cuts, something was tightening around his injuries -- whose hands are those, they're so warm -- a pill slipped into his mouth, and plastic slid across his lips as a bottle of water was held up to him. He drank, slowly, blinking as his pain focused him closer to actual consciousness.

"I thought... I thought you was a goner, for a second."

Blood was smeared across Ellis's face, his arms, his shirt -- he was goddamn covered in it, almost as much as he was -- dammit, his suit was sure as hell past ruined, more red than white now -- but a smile graced the boy that he had never quite seen on him before.

"Come on... come on. You're gonna be alright." Stumbling to his feet, the conman breathed heavily, his hands so wet with blood they almost slid right out from Ellis's firm grasp. He leaned heavily on the mechanic for a moment, catching his breath as he calmed his racing heart. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he noticed Ellis was holding his hands a little too tight, holding the man a little too close. Then those soft lips came to his ear, whispering --

"...Please... Don't you ever scare me like that again..."

Nick found it somewhere in himself to smile at the younger man, meeting his gaze fully for the first time since he'd been incapacitated. "Payback... for when you scared me the same way." Ellis wasn't sure if he imagined it, but he could have sworn the conman squeezed his hand gently before letting go. Ellis wrapped his arm around him, helping him walk as Rochelle and Coach came running.

"...When we get out of here, Ellis... When we get out of here... I have something to tell you." Smiling slightly, the mechanic simply nodded, keeping his eyes on the road ahead.

Not another drop of blood would ever stain that suit again.