'Ro. Hey, Rochelle.'
Rochelle looked up slowly from the small bottle of pills she had lifted from the bathroom sink of the safe room. She considered them for a moment before flipping her backpack around to push them into a pocket, before glancing up at Francis, her illustrated admirer, again.
'Check out what I found in a cabinet outside- a little sneaky Pete, eh?' he chortled.
She half-laughed, eying the bottle in his hand. 'Russian vodka... I've drunk worse. Wait, hold up a sec- how the hell did you manage to get this past Nick, you sly bastard?' A dark eyebrow arched and he shrugged with a slightly exaggerated nonchalance, seizing the moment to impress.
'He's a little distracted givin' Skippy out there a hard time over his little fangirl obsession with Zoey. The others are trying to get some shut eye.'
'Ellis is a sweet kid,' she responded lightly as she zipped up the bag with a little difficulty.
Francis gave hefty sigh and sat down, back against the moldy tiles of the wall. He began to fiddle with the cap of the bottle, a slight smirk playing on his lips when he caught her stalling in taking her leave to gaze at the alcohol with more than a little longing. She was cute when she tried to disguise how badly she wanted to drink. 'Let's play a game, sunshine.'
'For what, the vodka?' She tittered, picking up her combat shotgun from it's resting place by the sink and waving the barrel playfully in his face. 'I know a way that I could just take it.'
'Very funny,' Francis replied with an eye roll. 'Just park yourself down here.'
Though for the life her her she couldn't really say why, Rochelle obliged. She sat cross-legged opposite the biker, feeling a little like a teenager drinking away from a parent's judging eyes.
'So what's the name of the game, Francis?'
'Oh trust me, I know you do.'
'Har har. C'mon, it'll be good. I wanna know what else you hate.'
'Whatever... so how does it work?'
'Okay, listen up. To start, I say something I hate. Like, I don't know... Greece. I hate Greece. And if you hate that thing too, you drink from the bottle. If you don't, you don't. Comprendo?' He started to unscrew the cap.
'Sure, sounds pretty simple.'
The cap came away with a little pop. 'Ladies first.' He shot her a 'go on' look.
Rochelle huffed quietly. 'Do I have to? I HATED going first in games as a kid.'
'... that'll work.' Francis took a healthy swing of the vodka, clenching his eyes shut for a second as he swallowed the drink. 'Damn... that is some good, strong shit.'
She laughed. 'Any excuse, right?'
'Right! Now let me think... I'll be kind in the first round, seeing as you clearly need a drink. I hate stairs.'
Rochelle bit back a smile at the memory and shot her hand forward, jerking the bottle out of his grasp with a surprising speed. 'Gimme.' The alcohol burned the back of her throat, a satisfying feeling. She flicked at the neck of the bottle, listening vaguely to the sound of Nick's drawling taunts and Ellis' retorts outside. 'I hate when men bicker like toddlers.'
Francis tutted jokingly, not reaching for the bottle. Rochelle snorted. 'Baby.' She took a small sip of the bottle, causing him to protest. 'Hey hey, keep to the rules, sweetheart.'
'Didn't take you to be much of a rule type of guy.'
'Coincidentally, I hate rules.' Listening, Ro passed him the bottle, not drinking. He shot her a questioning look.
'In my line of work, it's all pretty rigid. Rules keep the news business tickin' over.' She paused. 'I hate Spitters.'
'Nasty bitches,' he agreed. He took a drink and growled, with a sudden darkness to his expression: 'I hate Tanks.'
Rochelle reached out a hand for the bottle, and Francis handed it over. She took it, watching the hint of rage in his eyes, and look a longish drink. She finished and nodded quietly, allowing the silence to stew for an instant She wondered if she should say something about their fallen comrade, a man they seemed to miss, but internally decided it may have been too soon. Instead she smiled slightly and muttered 'I hate Nick's suit.'
She held out the vodka but Francis folded his arms and gave a stubborn little grunt. 'Are you serious?'
'Yeah, so what if I find the jerk's suit kinda cool? White can be snazzy.'
'Not with a turd like that on the shoulder, but your opinion is yours and yours alone... I won't say a word,' she laughed.
'You wanna know what I DO hate though? I hate having to wash stains outta my vest.' He turned his gaze to her pink Depeche Mode shirt for a second, taking in the dried blood and wearing seams. He had to admit- the girl could pull off a freakin' Hunter hoodie covered in Boomer bile if she tried.
The game continued on for a long while, with a large amount of dislikes (cats, Bono, dictionaries, Hugh Jackman, neon signs, cacti, barbed wire, and lemons among many) agreed on.
'I have a twist for the game,' Rochelle pipped up eventually. Francis had to hand it to her- the girl was clearly no lightweight drinker. The bottle was nearing it's end and she remained impressively sober. 'Up for the challenge?'
'You clearly don't know me well enough just yet- baby, I live for challenges.'
'Three things you don't hate and why. We can take it in turns if it makes it easier... this kind of thing takes thought for a pair of haters like our dear selves.'
'Interesting... Numero uno... go.'
'Razors,' Ro said without hesitation.
'Huh?' Francis' expression was dumbfounded.
'Zombie apocalypse or not, I like my legs to be smooth,' she shot back as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
'Riiight. Cute. Lasagna.'
'Francis, if each of your three things is a foodstuff I swear to God...'
'Next one already, c'mon.'
Rochelle thought for a moment, picking at some dried blood at the hem of her shirt. Her face was oddly tentative, and she gave a little half-chuckle as she spoke, almost embarrassed. 'I don't hate... I don't hate the way Coach prays sometimes, out loud. Makes me feel sort of safe, I guess. Stupid right?'
'Just a little. Not that much though.' Francis was clearly unsure how to respond.
'I don't hate safe houses. I especially don't hate safe houses with booze.' Saying so, he took one last swing of the vodka and handed it over, a few mouthfuls left for Rochelle.
She closed her fingers around the glass, eyes pouring to his. She leaned forward onto her knees just a little, a tiny smile resting on her lips. Placed a hand delicately on his shoulder, leaned in closer, her breath in his. Francis felt dizzy, and internally chastised himself for feeling that way. She moved in a fraction closer.
'I don't hate health packs,' she murmured, and he felt a shoot-sinking sensation in his gut for no reason he could name.
'... what?' he blinked. Teasing like that should not be allowed. It was... cheating. And damn could she cheat.
'Health packs, yeah. They're handy. Your turn.'
He took a moment to clear his head before blurting out something simple and thoughtless. 'I don't hate... guns.'
'Mm. Me neither.'
There was a moment of silence in which they sat there. Rochelle looked slyly pleased with herself for playing him like a banjo, and Francis was all-around confused and just a little miffed. Rochelle stretched slightly, straining to listen outside. All was silent, the boys apparently haven gotten sick of their bicker.
'We should go get some sleep. We're leaving in a few hours.'
'Yeah. We should hit the hay.'
They stood, Francis pulling her up, legs stiff from sitting on the tiles for so long.
'Oh, and Francis?'
'I can't say I don't hate you.'
The burly man took a moment to work that out in his head before raising his eyebrows. 'Well that's sweet.'
'No, you don't get it. I more than don't hate you. Wait, let me try to put it this way. It's... it's more than not-hate.'
'I don't just not hate you, honey. I... I like you.' She touched an inked arm. 'Even if I do really hate that vest.' She smirked before grabbing his chin and kissing him lightly, his genuinely surprised grunt muffled against her lips. His big hands had just settled on her waist when she pulled away, grinning.
'Did I mention we should get some rest?'
'Did you?' he replied slowly, dazed. Ro replied with another peck on the lips and a brief squeeze of the hand before leading the way out of the cramped little bathroom. She pulled the door open, and blinked as two forms fell forward in a tangle of white and denim.
'Uh... uh... hey, Ro.'
'You assclown! I told you not to lean so hard on the fucking door!'
Ellis scampered up from the floor, expression guilty. Nick pushed himself up too, already defiant and embarrassed, ready to bolt at a moment's notice. Rochelle's face darkened.
'I hate eavesdroppers.'
A/N: I don't think I'll ever understand why people don't like Rochelle (other than the whole 'axe me a question thing... blame the writers, hehe). She's quippy and sassy and pretty badass. And uber hilarious when paired with Francis! They have such a grounded, bantering dynamic- I love Frochelle, actually more than Zoey/Ellis. They did get a mention, though! ;) Plus... Francis is just too awesome xD.
So I have NO idea if I did this pairing an ounce of justice in this fic, but it was crazy fun to write. I Hate was based off of I Never, which I first saw in Lost. I'd imagine this took place at sometime during the Passing... maybe just imagine both groups of survivors holed up in a safe house for a night.
Happy ficcing. :) Review if you have the inclination.