Sooo, it's been a while hasn't it? Well… this is it! The final chapter! Super long for you guys to make it up and make sure you never have to wait that long for an update again.

OOC- character growth is my excuse (lame one)



Nick lied there holding Alex close to him. Her body was warm and smooth. He buried his face into her blonde hair and inhaled, he loved the way she smelt. Nick ran his hand down until it found its way to her hip where he let it lay. She was tense, and he didn't know why. Usually after they had made love she was relaxed, but not tonight.

"What's wrong?" Nick whispered into her ear.

"You're so far away."

"What do you mean?" Nick asked, grabbing her shoulder and forcing her to look up at him.

"What happened to us?" she asked, "after Katie was born you pulled away."

Katie… That's right. He glanced over to the baby monitor on the night stand,

"It frightens you. Now there's no way you can escape; not really." Alex's hand rose and cupped Nick's cheek, "Marriage frightened you, but you could still leave, but a child…"

"I can still leave."

"And I feel like you will. Eventually."

"Jesus Christ, Alex." Nick sat up,

"Don't," she sat up with him, "don't lie to me and say you're not going anywhere, because you are. Being with the same person for too long isn't your style. I know that. I still chose to be with you knowing that."

Nick ran a hand through his hair, "I don't know what you want me to say?"

A cry came through the monitor. Nick grumbled and laid back on the bed. Without a word Alex got up, slipped into her robe and was out of the room. That woman drove Nick mad, but he loved her. God knows why, but he did.

"Hush, Katie." Alex voice came through the baby monitor, "mommy is right here." She began to sing softly and it lulled Nick to sleep along with Katie.


A hand gently jostled Nick awake, "Sorry, man, time to get up." Ellis spoke softly.

Nick opened one eye, "Damn it overalls… My turn for watch already?"

Ellis smiled that big goofy smile of his, "nope, Coach and I took over fer both you and Ro. Figured you two could use the extra sleep."

Nick sat up, wincing, "You shouldn't have done that. You two need to sleep just as much as me."

Ellis shrugged, "Naw, all I need is at least two hours, and I got four last night! I'm good to go!"

Nick rolled his eyes and extended his hand, "help me up will you?"

"Sure thing!" Ellis said and carefully helped Nick onto his feet.

Nick glanced around and noticed Rochelle was still asleep, she didn't look well, "How is she?"

Ellis frowned, "I kept hearin' her cry last night. She's gotta be in a world of pain."

"Sheesh," Nick slowly limped his way over to her, carefully he lowered himself to the ground (Ellis keeping a close watch on him), "Hey sweet heart," he carefully rubbed her good arm, "we need you to start waking up."

The reporter whimpered, "Do we have any pills?"

Nick rummaged through his pockets and pulled out what was left of their pain pills, "Here."

"Thank you." Rochelle shakily took them.

Nick patted her on the head, "No problem, once they start kicking in we'll head out."

She nodded before asking, "Where's Coach?"

"Right here." The large man said sitting down beside her with an energy bar. The older man handed it to her, "Breakfast."

Rochelle smiled thankfully and took it.

Nick pushed himself up, Ellis right behind him in case he needed help,

"You don't need to baby me. I'm fine."

"Come on, Nick, I know yer in pain too." Ellis frowned.

Nick grunted and headed over to the table against the wall and grabbed an energy bar for himself. God was he getting sick of these things.

"Yer back… is it still botherin' ya?"

"Of course it is. It's never going to fucking heal at this rate."

Ellis glanced down at his bloody shoes, "Jus' gotta keep pushin' can't be too far from the military."

Nick looked around the safe house. They were all on their last leg. Coach already had a busted leg long before the apocalypse and it had only gotten worse. Rochelle was hurt, badly, and she was barely holding it together. Nick knew even himself couldn't go on much longer. He knew he had a fever from an infection, most likely caused by the wounds on his back, and he wasn't sure how much longer he could go. Ellis was the only one who was fine. A few cuts and bruises, but nothing serious. The kid was a fighter. Then again, he was fighting for something. Ellis still believed he'd be reunited with his friend. Nick had lost everything. Everything he's ever cared about.

As if knowing what he was thinking, Ellis clasped his hand on Nick's shoulder, "we just gotta keep goin'. We've gotten this far, no way are we all dyin' now."

Nick couldn't help the small smile that spread across his lips. He brought his hand up and squeezed the mechanic's arm, "You're right kid. It'd be a god damn waste if we all gave up now."

Ellis beamed, "That's right!" He turned to the other two, "We're gonna kick some zombie ass today!"

Rochelle forced a smile, and got up, "We sure are."

"Ain't no stopping us now." Coach joined in.

"We all ready?" Nick asked.

Ellis loaded his gun, "yes sir!"

Rochelle and Coach nodded and readied their weapons. Nick nodded and kicked open the safe room door.


"FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!" Nick groaned the second he knew they had to go down into the sewers,

"You sure picked a bad day to wear a white suit, Nick." Coach laughed.

"You're telling me… Fuck it." Nick said and was the first one to leap into the trench. The smell was awful. Not nearly as bad as Boomer bile, but still enough to make your eyes tear and your nose burn, "For fuck's sake." Nick buried his nose into his arm, "this is rancid."

Ellis came down next, nearly losing his footing he bumped into Nick, "Woo-wee! It smells like shit!"

Nick eyed the mechanic over his shoulder, "You think?" he asked sarcastically.

Ellis blushed and shrugged, "jus' an observation."

Coach came down, he fell to his knees and let out a groan of pain, "Jesus…"

"You okay?" Ellis asked helping him up,

"This damn leg can't take much more of this." Coach thankfully took the mechanic's hand and was lifted to his feet, "Alright, Ro, come on down." Coach extended his arms and not so gracefully caught the woman, "Keep your arm tight to you. Don't want any of this filth getting in it."

Rochelle nodded and brought her hurt arm close to her. Ellis turned to Nick, suddenly worried, the conman rolled his eyes, "I'll be fine, I don't plan on going swimming in this."

Ellis let out a sigh of relief, "Good, cause we can't risk you getting' an infection or nothin'."

Nick said nothing and started forward with Ellis close behind him. The four of them were as silent as they possible could, but when you're knee deep in sludge, it's hard to keep your footsteps quiet. A few undead sprinted at them, but luckily they were able to fight them off before they got to close. The group came to a ladder. Ellis pushed past Nick,

"I'll go on up first. Don' wantcha to fall or nothin'."

Nick nodded, "fine, be careful."

" 'Course!"

Nick watched and had his gun ready in case anything popped out at the young man. Ellis gave a thumbs up and the other three made their way up the ladder. Rochelle struggled, but she managed. Once she was up she noticed the safe house, "Oh thank god… Can we please take a break?"

"The bridge isn't that far." Coach frowned, "Just a little further."

"I need a break too." Nick spoke, "I'm exhausted, and my back is killing me."

"Alright. We covered enough ground for today." Coach nodded.

Once inside Rochelle quickly found a room and laid down on the sleeping bag. Coach rummaged through their supplies taking inventory. They were low on just about everything. Nick found another room and sat down on a dirty sofa in the corner. He gently leaned back and relaxed as much as he could. He closed his eyes. He wanted to sleep. He wanted to close his eyes and not wake up. The couch sunk beside him. He opened one eye and saw Ellis sitting beside him, a concerned look on his face.

"Don't." was all the mechanic said.

"Don't what?" Nick mumbled.

"Don't start givin' up."

Nick sighed, "I'm tired Ellis. I am so tired."

"I know." Ellis grabbed his hand, "We all are. But we're close. Don' start givin' up on me. I need ya."

Nick reassuringly squeezed his hand, "I'm not going to give up and you don't need me."

"I do." Ellis moved closer, "I know ya don' wanna hear what I gotta say, but I love ya." The younger man blushed, "And 'fore you say that I don' or I hardly know ya, I do."

Nick studied the other's face, his eyes searching for answers, "Why? I'm an ass. I've treated you all like shit."

Ellis smiled at that, "Yer definitely an ass, I won't argue with ya there. But I like that. Ya tell me how it is. Ya don' bullshit me like everyone else does. Ya may treat me like I'm stupid, but-"

"You're not stupid…"

Ellis brought his other hand up and ran it across Nick's cheek, "I know ya care about me, about us all. I've told ya that since day one."

"That still doesn't explain why you're love with me."

"I don' think love is supposed to make sense."

Nick brought their faces closer together, "You infuriate me."

"But ya love me, dontcha?"

"I think so."

Nick closed the gap, their lips melting into one another. This kiss was tender and sweet, unlike the others they had shared. This kiss spoke more than anything they could ever say. It said I love you; I don't want to lose you, and good bye. Nick was the first to pull away, but he pulled Ellis into a hug. He may have lost everything, but he gained something as well. This hell had brought a sliver of hope into his life. That hope may be an uneducated mechanic from the south who is a little too optimistic, but it was exactly what Nick needed. It made him feel needed and wanted. It made him feel like maybe he wasn't a complete fuck up.

"Thank you, Ellis."

"For what?" the mechanic asked as he leaned into the hug.

"For so much."


Nick sat inside a dirty old bar. He had no idea where he was or how he had gotten here. A man sat down beside him, "I'll have whatever is on tap." The man said.

Nick looked over at the stranger, "Keith?"

"Howdy, Nick." The handsome blonde smiled, "I love this here place. Ellis and I had our first legal beers here, y'know? That was a fun night. Poor kid got SMASHED."

"I, uh, bet."

The bartender placed the young man's order in front of him and left them, "You ain't drinkin' anything?"

"No." Nick shook his head.

"Whatever, cheers." He said raising his glass before taking a swig from it, "Guess we need to talk."

"About Ellis?"

"Mhmm. You gonna treat him right? Cause ima have to kick yer ass if you don't."

"I…" Nick trailed off, "You're dead right?"

Keith shrugged, "Who knows. Odds aren't really on my side."

"They're not." Nick agreed, "But if you are dead; it's not my fault, right? I mean, how was I-"

"Calm yerself." Keith held a hand up, "I woulda done the same thing, if I were in yer shoes. It ain't yer fault."

"But Ellis,"

"He doesn't blame ya." Keith chuckled, "He was upset. I don't blame ya Nick. As long as you take care of my buddy, it's all forgiven. Deal?" he reached out his hand.

Nick hesitantly took it into his and shook, "Deal."


Coach was sitting on watch. He had taken Rochelle's turn. There was no way he was going to make the poor woman get up in her condition. 'her condition could be worse,' he kept telling himself. All things considered Rochelle was managing.


Coach turned around to see Nick standing there, "Oh, hey there son."

"How long have you been on watch?"

"A while. Took Rochelle's time. Girl needs her rest."

Nick nodded in agreement and sat down next to the older man,

"Looks like you need some more rest to, Nick. You're awfully pale."

"I'm fine."

"You sure?"

"Just gotta hang in there a little bit longer right?" Nick smiled, "safety isn't that far away."

Coach laughed and grasped the man's shoulder, "Damn right. We're almost outta this hell."

"Thank god."

Coached nodded in agreement and the two sat in silence for a while. Nick broke the quiet, "Why don't you go get some shut eye?"

"You sure you're up for it? I can always get Ellis."

"Let the kid sleep." Nick said.

"You know, you aren't so bad Nick." Coach smiled, "You were a little shit when we first met, but now look at you. You're looking out for all of us."

"Hey, hey, don't get all mushy on me." Nick smiled back.

"Night son."

"Night Coach."


"The bridge! There it is!" Ellis exclaimed, "We're almost there!"

Rochelle let out a sigh of relief, "Rescue…"

"Just a little further!" Coach beamed, "Then we'll get someone to look at your arm and patch you up properly."

Rochelle smiled, "Yes."

Nick smiled and opened the safe room door, "looks like there's a ladder we can climb up. It should lead us right up to the bridge."

"Then alls we gotta do is cross it." Ellis grinned.

"Hopefully it'll be that easy." Nick said unconvinced, "But hey, there's some ammo… and pills! Thank the fucking lord." He quickly opened the bottle and downed a few, "Here Ro."

Rochelle happily took the pills that were offered to her, "guess no one made it this far." She said after swallowing,

"Guess not." Coach said opening up a water bottle and chugging it.

Ellis handed out the rest of the bottles, keeping one for himself.

"Alright, y'all ready?" Coach asked.

"As ready as I can be." Rochelle said, feeling a sudden swell of energy. God bless those pills.

Nick opened the door and looked around, "An intercom?"

"Push the button." Ellis said, doing so, "Hello?"


"What? Maybe it works…"

"H-Hello…? Is someone there?" a voice broke through.

"Oh god…" Nick muttered and held button down, "Yes! There are four of us! All survivors and none of us are infected!"

"Please repeat. You said you're not infected?" the voice asked.

"Yes!" Nick responded, "We're all immune. Can you help us?"

"We have a chopper waiting; it takes off in about ten minutes. You think you can make it?"

"We don't really have any other choice."

"Alright. We're going to let the bridge down. Hurry up. We can't wait." The voice went out and the bridge started to lower.

"Alright!" Ellis cheered,

"Don't let your guard down, Ellis." Nick cautioned, "There are probably plenty of zombie fuckers up there."

"We'll tear right through them!"

"Damn straight." Rochelle joined in, "This is it, fellas."

The bridge was almost down,

"Let's go!" Nick shouted, and the four of them took off.


It was all a blur. It was going so well. There were tons of infected, but they managed to plow through them. They stayed away from the edges, unless they had to get around something. They stuck together, watching each other's backs like they have been doing for a while now. Ellis got a Hunter before it got to close to them. Rochelle managed to get a Spitter between her eyes, sparing them all from her acid. Even Nick was able to put a Jockey down before it could attack any of them. They were doing so well. The helicopter was in sight. They could almost feel the wind from its blades. But when did anything ever go so smoothly for the four of them?

The Tank appeared out of nowhere. One second they're running, smiles beginning to appear on all their faces, and the next, a car was thrown at them from behind sending them flying. Nick managed to keep his footing and quickly looked around for Ellis. He found the man, he was bleeding from his head, but he was able to get up. Nick ran over to him,

"Are you-"

"I'm fine!" Ellis shouted and started unloading at the Tank that was closing in on them, "Where is Coach and Rochelle?!"

Nick chucked a bile bomb at the Tank, infected quickly charging at it; slowing the massive beast down. Nick quickly looked around, he couldn't find them.

"There!" Ellis pointed over to a pink and purple blur lying on the ground all too close to where the Tank was.

"Oh god, Ellis, keep unloading on it." Nick ordered,

"You aren't goin' over there!" Ellis shouted, "You can't!"

"I'll be fine!" Nick assured him, "Just keep firing!"

Ellis hesitantly nodded and started shooting again. Nick ran as fast as he could, adrenaline pumping through his veins. He got to them. Rochelle had herself thrown over Coach, crying,

"Please, you have to get up! Please!"

Nick took in the sight before him. The man was lying on his back. From the waist up he looked mostly unharmed. But his legs… The one was bent in a way no leg should ever bend. The other looked completely crushed, a bone protruding from his knee.

"Nick…" Coach weakly reached out to the conman.

Nick bent down, "You're gonna be fine." Was all he could manage.

"You're so full of shit." Coach laughed weakly, "Take Rochelle and go."

"What!?" Rochelle cried out, "We are not leaving you! Tell him Nick!"

"Coach…" Nick trailed off.

"There ain't time boy." Coach glared, "Now you take her and you go. You three get to the helicopter."

"Not without you!" Rochelle cried.

"Nick!" Ellis shouted, "Hurry up! I'm running low on ammo!"

"Coach… are you sure, I could probably-"

"There isn't anything you can do." Coach assured him, "Now go. Take care of both of them."

Nick stretched out and grabbed Coach's hand, "I promise."

"Good boy."

"No!" Rochelle continued to cry, "I can't leave you…"

"You gotta, baby girl. You'll be fine. Nick and Ellis will take care of you."


A giant chunk of concrete whirled passed them. Nick picked Rochelle up and started dragging her away from Coach.

"No! Please, Nick! We can't leave him! We can't!"

"I'm sorry, we have to go!" Nick took out a shot and injected it into his leg, giving him the energy to throw the small woman over his shoulder and run.

Rochelle continued to scream for Nick to stop and go back for Coach, but Nick ignored the woman's pleas. By the time Nick caught back up with Ellis the Tank was upon Coach. Rochelle let out a loud shriek. Nick closed his eyes tightly and kept running. The three got into the helicopter. Two military men helped them in and secured Rochelle down. She kept trying to get out of her restraints crying out for the older man. Nick sat down beside Ellis. The two quickly fastened their seat belts and the chopper began to rise.

Ellis grabbed Nick's hand, "What happened?"

Nick shook his head and squeezed the mechanic's hand back, "I couldn't do anything… He was-"

Ellis nodded, "Ya don' have to say. Ya alrigh'?"

"I will be… You?"

"Fine." Ellis looked over at Rochelle. She had calmed down, but tears still streamed down her tan cheeks, "Is she gonna be alrigh'?"

'no… probably not… she probably won't forgive me for leaving Coach behind either.' Nick shrugged, "I hope so…" he closed his eyes and leaned his head back. The hand in his comforted him. He was safe. Ellis was safe. They were safe and they were together. Who knew what CEDA had planned when they land. And who knows what will happen to them. All Nick cared about in this moment was that Ellis was safe and beside him. Even if that broke his number one rule. But then again, when did he ever follow it? He didn't follow it with Alex or Katie and he sure as hell didn't follow it with Coach, Rochelle, and Ellis. It surprised him how much he wished he could have switched places with the older man, but at the same time the thought of how Ellis would have reacted upset him. The way Rochelle had broken down; what if it were Ellis? Crying out to him not to give up, to stay by his side. He couldn't think about that. Nick opened his eyes and looked over at the man beside him. He looked so at peace, it made him smile,

'Being with the same person for too long isn't your style.' Alex's voice echoed in Nick's head. And she was right. Just the thought of being with the same person forever frightened him, but not anymore. Nick loved Alex, but he knew they weren't meant for each other. Ellis was different.

"Hey, Nick?" Ellis said after some time.


"Try not to shoot this pilot, alrigh'?"

Nick could hear the smirk in Ellis' voice. Nick squeezed the hand in his grasp and smiled, "Shut up, Ellis."



WEEEEE ITS DONE! Yay! Sorry Coach… originally I was going to kill Nick off, but I couldn't… and if I do put up my sequel, Nick's gotta be alive. Is anyone even interested in the sequel? Anyone even read this chapter? I don't blame you guys if you don't… I did kinda abandon this for a while.

Anyway, I am so thankful for all the support I got working on this fic! And I am also thankful for the readers who didn't give up on me. I love you all