A/N: This is my first L4D fic but not my first fic on this site. I have read some great L4D stories on this site, especially CorkyTheGuar's End of Innocence and OukamiYasha's Savannah City Sweets which you must all go read as soon as you're done with mine. Also, try to review even if it's just a little bit of encouragement! We writers really eat that up! Without any further adieu—ok a little more—my fic!
I wish I could change the ways of the world, make it a nice place. Until that day, I guess we stay doing what we do, screwing who we screw. _ Lily Allen
Awful lot of bodies, Keith, you sure this is where we oughta be?
It's what the damn poster said. Besides, there's helicopters up on the roof. Don't you hear em, dumb shit?
Ellis remembered the laugh and Keith's expression when he'd protested, and the way his friend elbowed his ribs playfully, probably just trying to keep Ellis in high spirits like he did any time Ellis second-thought one of their harebrain ideas. Keith had tried to hang back, when he was at the end of the line for the last helicopter, but Ellis pushed him forward playfully, telling Keith that he was probably scared of flying. Keith had gotten onto the helicopter after trading his hat for Ellis' and Ellis had cheerfully waited, since the CEDA man had promised all of them there would be more helicopters. After forty-five minutes, most of the others that had once been lined up single-file had wandered away and a lot of them had gone back into the hotel to find shelter from the hot sun or possibly leave for another evacuation point.
By nightfall, everyone but Ellis had gone, but still he sat, faithfully waiting for a helicopter like an old dog waits for its owner on the front porch. Eventually—he didn't remember when, really—he had sat down, and was fanning himself with Keith's hat as the hot Savannah night bubbled up from the city below. He never thought for a moment that he'd been lied to, that CEDA had no intentions of returning for one blindly optimistic redneck perched up on one of the roof's many sections, all he thought about was Keith's face as he waved to Ellis from the helicopter like some excited child, the way Ellis would have been if he'd gotten to ride in the helicopter. Ellis chuckled as he dozed off, and he thought that he'd be drinking beer with Keith by midnight in whatever city CEDA took them to, but soon he would know just how wrong he was.
No Jason you can go on to the Mall I'm just gonna stick around for a little while and get some more statements. I might hit hillbilly gold down here. I'll just leave at the hotel in the morning. I can still hear helicopters it's no big. Meet you at the station tomorrow and you'd better not be late!
Rochelle cursed at her phone when it showed no service, "This town sucks," she muttered to herself, putting her phone in her pocket and climbed the stairs, "Anybody?" she shouted, receiving a strange inhuman shout back that made her scramble to the stairs with childish fear. She burst onto the roof and shut the door behind her, scolding herself for being so jumpy, "Just take it easy, Rochelle. You're paranoid," she told herself.
"Seems to me like there ain't hardly enough people for evacuating," a voice nearby said, making her jump.
Rochelle turned to face the man and calmed a little again, "People keep scaring me today," she said, "When are the helicopters coming back?"
"Couldn't tell you," the man said, "I was headin to the high school evac station but the roads are all blocked off. I sure hope my boys got out alright."
"You got kids in this?" Rochelle asked, smelling a human interest piece.
"Football team," the man replied, "Maybe they just filled up with people and gotta come back, probably just missed us this time around."
"HEY!" a third voice shouted as the door Rochelle had come through opened and slammed shut. A man in a white suit struggled to close and lock the door, dragging a few barrels over in front of it, "Holy shit!" he spat.
Rochelle eyed the man, "You probably shouldn't block the exit like that; what if people need to get up here?"
"Sweetheart if they can survive the shit down there in that hotel then no locked door's gonna stop them," the suited man replied, and backed away from the door as it began to shake and rattle from something on the other side, "I wouldn't be standing that close to the door, is all I can tell you."
Rochelle exchanged glances with the coach and then they backed away from the door together, heading with barely-restrained urgency across to the platform where the Ceda tents stood empty, or almost empty.
Ellis snorted as he jerked awake, hearing voices and footsteps; he brightened, thinking rescue had arrived, and he jumped to his feet, straightening his clothes and shielding his eyes to observe the three crossing the roof, "Hey y'all!" he greeted pleasantly, "Are y'all CEDA?"
"I don't think CEDA's coming," the man in a suit said, "How long have you been here?"
"Well… since yesterday about five I guess," he said, "What time is it now?"
"Time to get the hell out of here," the coach said as he surveyed the landscape.
Rochelle ran a hand through her hair and sighed, "This isn't happening," she muttered, "There's another evac station at the Mall. Anyone know where that is?"
"I do," the coach said, "Not too far from here, but what about what he said?"
Rochelle looked over at the tables that were set up with a few emergency axes and supplies, "We better not go down there unprepared," she said, walking over and picking up a pistol, "I don't plan to use this but… you never know."
Ellis faltered, "But Keith said the helicopters would be back," he said, "That CEDA fella said-"
"Listen, dumb shit, if you want to stay here and cook on this roof then be my guest, but CEDA isn't coming back," suit man said as he picked up an axe, refusing the pistol Rochelle offered, "Already got one, thanks."
A flicker of familiarity at the insult nudged at Ellis' subconscious when the suit man called him a dumb shit and so he nodded, "I'll come with y'all. I don't guess it matters what CEDA helicopter I get on right? They're probably all the same." He took a pistol quickly and straightened his hat when the breeze tugged lightly at it.
"Alright people let's get to it," the coach said, picking up an axe and walking back to the door, 'Stick together now I don't want to be looking for nobody once we get down there."
An explosion rocked the group as fire burst from a window a few floors down and the survivors looked warily at each other, "Let's do this fast," suit man suggested shakily, then helped the coach move the barrels he'd placed out of the way.
"Holy this I knew it!" Ellis cried enthusiastically, "I knew it all along zombies are real!" He let out a small whoop as the elevator descended, "Hey maybe we should stop at a gun store or something and really load up!"
"I can't believe all those people…" Rochelle said, then shook her head, "My god it's awful." She sank to the floor, "What are your names?" she asked.
"You can call me Coach, little sister," Coach told her, his eyes wandering to a CEDA notebook on the floor near a fallen man in a hazmat suit.
"Nick," suit man said when her eyes strayed to him.
Ellis sat down beside Rochelle, "I'm Ellis," he said happily, shaking her hand, "What's your name, miss?"
"Rochelle," she said, "I'm a reported from Ohio. So far, I'm not a big fan of Savannah."
"Look at this," Coach said, "Got a notebook with pictures of… some of those things out there. They got names for em. That little one's a Jockey, and the one with the tongue's a Smoker."
Nick reached and took the notebook, "Shit look at that one!" he proclaimed, pointing to the picture of a monstrosity next to which Boomerwas printed, "I hope to hell we don't see one of those."
"We'd better keep that, just in case," Rochelle said as smoke filled the elevator, "I don't think I'm ready for this."
"Maybe the smoke ran em off," Ellis said optimistically, standing and helping Rochelle to her feet as the elevator groaned in protest and opened slowly, revealing a room blinding bright with fire, and full of frantic burning infected.
Rochelle held back for a moment as the other three ran into the blaze, "God this really is Hell," she whispered to herself, then hurried to catch up to her gentlemen companions, "Anyone want to carry the pretty girl so her boots don't get ruined?" she joked as Coach took out an infected CEDA agent, "What's that?" She knelt down and picked up the jar, "A jar of puke, apparently." She made a face and tossed it aside, hitting a zombie in the face as the monster lurched toward them. It screamed as the vial broke and the mass of burning monster rushed to it and attacked, "To what happy accident," she grumbled, crying out when Ellis grabbed her and pulled her back from the real deal, a vomiting Boomer.
"Look out now!" he cried, aiming and shooting the massive creature that exploded with a surprising violence that knocked Rochelle to the ground.
Rochelle was attempting to gather her wits when Ellis shouted again from behind her and she saw the great green glob heading for her, "GOO!" she shouted, struggling to her feet as the other three scattered like roaches from a sunlamp, dividing her from the others as a burning piece of ceiling fell, "Shit!" she cursed, then took off away from the flames that licked her boots like a happy kitten.
"Did anybody see Rochelle?" Coach called as the three men ran their own path through the burning lobby, "Either of you!"
"I saw her go for the door over there," Nick replied as he kicked away the corpse of the recently offending Spitter, "Nothing after that though."
Ellis' chest was heaving as adrenaline thrummed through his veins, "We can't leave a lady behind!" he protested when the other two headed for the door, "What if she's trapped?"
"Ain't gonna be no good to her dead, Ellis!" Coach said tolerantly, and pulled the boy along behind him.
Ellis followed the men reluctantly, shooting behind them as a few straggling infected gave a half-hearted chase. They ran through another door and out into fresh air and sunlight, and the others seemed relieved, "About damn time," Nick said, "Hey, dumb shit, you got any of those pills I saw you pick up?"
"I don't see Rochelle," Coach said regretfully, "Could mean she pressed on to the mall without us. We can meet here there." He waited for Nick to down a couple of pills and rub grudgingly at a burned spot on his arm before leading his smaller ranks down the street, "She's a strong girl; we'll see her again."
Ellis felt guilt as he looked back at the burning hotel and he thought of Keith, then of the woman they'd just met and lost already. This Green Flu had not been good to Ellis.
A/N: Ok so it's short-ish and I skipped the first little bit of zombie fighting because it's been done so many times, no? Every time we play Dead Center we get a big taste of "What the hell is THAT thing" and "Omg that thing is RIDING him!" I thought I would go lightly on the early combat to spare myself—and you, but mostly myself—the repetitiveness. Also: there will be humor! There will be romance! SO MUCH ROMANCE! I plan to update this pretty quick since I just wrote this whole chapter in about two hours. I'm just so inspired! Reviews help! I always love plot suggestions too! They make me feel warm and spongy, like a Twinkie, like a Twinkie.