A/N: So...It's been nearly a year since I posted 'Back to Life', the L4D1 equivalent of this, and every month or so I open my e-mail to another one of you people reviewing that. Seriously. Get with it. (Oh, but thanks to the spelling-gurus who pointed out that I had no idea how to spell 'pilot'. You should be proud of yourselves.) I could have just attached this as a chapter 2 to that, but I think this is individual enough to be a separate story.
SO...I've had L4D2 since Christmas. I love it. And I went and wrote this because I'm a moron. I hope I'm still slightly funny.
"Hey," Rochelle began, interrupting an otherwise silent trip down the stairs. "Where's Ellis?"
"He's gone?" Coach inquired. He took a quick survey of the area, finding no sign of their teammate. "Well, damn. I coulda sworn he was followin' Nick just a second ago."
Two pairs of eyes immediately trained on Nick, who had taken a moment to ignore the conversation the moment the topic went to Ellis. However, he did notice that everyone started staring at him.
"Alright, what are you two staring at me for?"
"Where's Ellis?" Rochelle asked.
"Oh, the talkative southern kid?" Nick replied, uninterested. "He's dead."
Needless to say, that answer didn't go over well with his teammates. "What?!?"
Nick nodded, surprised that they even cared. "Yeah, he went down back on the escalators on our way up. I couldn't get back to him. Crying shame. At least it's quiet now."
"We agreed to have two run ahead and the other two make their way up from behind!" Rochelle scolded. "You weren't supposed to just leave him there!"
"W-wait up a sec," Coach said, unslinging an orange box from his back. "I've got one of them defib units. We can go get 'im."
"We?" Rochelle inquired icily. "Personally, I think we should stick with groups of two."
"Groups of–" Nick stuttered, watching as Rochelle sidled over to Coach's side and folded her arms. He looked to the bigger man for support, but all he got was a defibrillator shoved into his arms. "You can't just send me back there alone! What if there's one of those gangsters or long-tongues?"
"You can scream if you need us," Rochelle pouted. "Otherwise, just run as fast as you can and hope Ellis is willing to forgive you."
"What if he's already a zombie?" he pleaded. "What if he catches the infection and gives it to us? What if–"
"Just go already," Coach said, giving him a pat on the shoulder. "We'll wait right here for ya."
Pouting almost as much as Rochelle, Nick stormed off with the defibrillator in tow.
Coach waited until the con-man had slammed the door behind him before he turned to Rochelle. "You think we were too hard on him? What if he gets hurt?"
Rochelle glanced up to the door, slightly concerned, but turned away. "He'll live."
"'You can scream if you need us,'" Nick grumbled mockingly. "'I think we should go in groups of two.'" Resisting the temptation to chuck the defibrillator over the fence and claim he'd lost it, he trudged along the blood-encrusted tiles and towards the escalators. He didn't find the body on the first one, but on the second flight he spotted a familiar-looking cap buried among a pile of zombie corpses.
"There you are, you little runt," he muttered, taking the corpse by the shoulders and dragging it up to the open floor. Shoving aside a severed arm or two to make room, he settled the defibrillator machine on the floor and inspected the buttons. He didn't have a proper medical degree, but he knew enough to understand how it worked. A couple buttons later, electricity buzzed from the panels.
Nick sighed, picking up the paddles and readying himself. "This'll be playing God a little, but..." Mimicking the action from the movies, he pressed the paddles onto Ellis' chest and watched the electricity flow. The corpse twitched a bit, but no result. Frustrated, he rubbed the paddles together and gave it another try.
Fortunately, the second try proved more magical than the first. Ellis coughed a couple times, then sat up and flew into a full-on hacking fit. Nick apathetically watched him write for a bit before smacking the kid on the back with a defibrillator paddle. One final cough loosed the obstruction, sending a severed thumb flying across the floor.
"Wonderful." Nick grimaced. "Aren't we glad that came out."
"Aw, shoot, man!" Ellis exclaimed, taking deep breaths. "I thought I was gonna die!"
Nick felt his eye twitch. "Me too."
Reluctantly, the gambler pushed himself to his feet and dragged Ellis up. He gathered up the burnt-out defibrillator (crappy emergency batteries) and tossed it over the railing.
"Hey, wazzat one of them de-fib units?" Ellis asked, staring after it. "Damn, that reminds me of the time Keith tried to charge his old batteries with–"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Keith, bright idea, ninety percent, whatever," Nick grumbled, already making his way up the escalators. "Come on. I wanna catch up before something tears my face off or reminds you of your childhood."
Back in the stairwell, Rochelle paced up and down the second-to-last flight of stairs while Coach kept an eye on the door. Neither really had anything to talk about. With a sigh, Coach finally decided to speak.
"He's been gone a while," he commented.
"Yeah," Rochelle replied simply.
"He's still out there."
"He could be hurt."
Coach paused, then glanced back towards her. "He could be dead."
Rochelle had no reply. Luckily, something else filled up the silence.
"Hello?" came a muffled, familiarly southern voice. "Anyone there? Keith? Ted? Anyone?"
"Ellis?" the other two gasped in unison. Rochelle scrambled down the last flight of stairs and soon spotted a broom closet. Without hesitation, she threw the door open and stared straight into the face of her formerly-deceased teammate.
"Hey guys!" Ellis said with a little wave. "Thanks! I didn't know how long I'd be in there. It was like this time when Keith's lady got mad at 'im and buried him alive but he–"
"Oh, Ellis!" Rochelle sobbed, wrapping her arms around him and letting her tears flow into his shoulder. "I'm so glad you're okay."
"Ah, shucks, Ro. You're gonna make me cry!" Ellis said, patting her on the back. "Say, where's Nick?"
Rochelle suddenly stopped, and looked up to Coach. Coach shrugged, unsure. At the sound of approaching footsteps, all three of them looked towards the door.
"Don't get your panties in a bunch, guys!" Nick announced, shoving the door open. "I've got him."
"Got...him...?" Rochelle asked, suddenly becoming aware of their situation. Everyone's eyes widened when the second Ellis walked into the room. Coach opened and closed his mouth, gaping like a fish. Rochelle glanced between the two clones. Nick's cigarette dropped from his mouth.
"Hey, it's me!" The Ellis near Nick practically squealed with glee. "Aw, man, this is just like that time Keith tried to clone himself–"
"An' he paid his lady to be the mom?" the other Ellis picked up.
"Right! And he thought he had it right 'cause she got pregnant but in the hospital she started screamin' at the top of her lungs for him to get out–"
"–An' that he wasn't the father!" The two of them broke into a fit of laughter.
Nick walked right past the first Ellis and started down the stairs. At the bottom, he placed a hand on Rochelle's shoulder and whispered:
"If the phrase 'groups of two' ever leaves your mouth again..." He tightened his grip on her shoulder, digging in whatever nails he had that hadn't been broken during the apocalypse. "...I'm going to handcuff you to him. Both of him."