The Cigarette Smoking Man

A/N: An expiremental drabble where it takes a look at a person's behavior and relationships more than it does the character itself, hence why I chose to not use names at all. However, I will assure you that this is supposed to be about L4D2's Nick. Also, it introduces some other characters you know (and may not know). Try to take a guess at who they are! Also, the timeline is not straight through: ie, the first section is during the Z-Apoc while the final paragraph takes place before the Apoc. Anyway, enjoy.

The cigarette smoking man sat there, eyes watching the skyline steadily. Streams of smoke dotted the sky, giving a dark hazy look to the deep oranges and pinks of the sunset. He had his own smoke, a steady stream of grey from the cig drifted and melted into sky. His fingers twitched, and a dusting of ash floated to the ground.

He was so absorbed in the surreal scenery that he didn't notice someone join him. The younger man smiled, hand raised in a pitiful attempt at friendliness, "Hey, mind if I join you."

The cigarette smoking man grunted. That, apparently, was a yes to his younger companion.

"Cool. Uh…could I borrow a smoke?" The younger male nodded to the pack of cigarettes between them. The cigarette smoking man tore his gaze from the skyline and eyed the man, "You don't borrow something you can't return…unless you don't plan on lighting it. But then it would be useless to you."

"Oh, uh. I mean, may I have one?" The younger man shifted nervously under the gaze of the cigarette smoking man. He hated it when he got that look, always made him nervous. Too nervous to even be in his own skin.

"I had quite the face off to get these. Last pack of my brand. So, no. You may not…" Was his response. The cigarette smoking man gave his visitor a wickedly charming smile. The younger male shivered, and excused himself.

The cigarette smoking man looked back to the sky, put the cig to his lips, and inhaled. A puff of gray smoke swirled before him as he exhaled, and it melted into the sky.

The cigarette smoking man entered the doorway of his one-bedroom, three thousand two hundred and fifty dollar a month New York apartment and groaned. She was standing there, hands on her hips and fire in her eyes.

She screamed obscenities before he could even get out, "Hi, honey. I'm home." Obscenities that ranged from downright crude to oddly poetic. Her long, dark locks flew about her angry face. She threw something that was in her hand, and it shattered on the door behind him.

He didn't even cringe.

Instead, he walked to the couch, dodging yet another object being thrown, and sat down. From his pocket he retrieved a pack of cigarettes and lit up.

She was still yelling. Tears now flowed freely from her eyes, mixing with the supposedly waterproof mascara she wore, streaking her face with black. She inhaled deeply, and let out a loud sob. She knelt down, wrapping her arms around her curled knees as she sobbed. He watched her, mesmerized by how strangely beautiful she was just then.

Black spots started to seep onto the white dress shirt she wore. It was a little too big for her, it seemed. Probably one of his old ones that she was so fond of wearing. She wiped her eyes on the sleeve and looked up at him.

Her eyes were wet and bloodshot, but he could see the look of love within them. He sighed, flicking the cigarette into the ashtray on the side table, and stood. He knelt beside her, and pulled her into a hug. The two stayed there for hours, her petite body fitting perfectly in his hold.

The cigarette burned out on its own, left forgotten on the table.

It was night. Quiet and peaceful in the hotel room. A woman lay sleeping in the bed, sheets twisted around her as she curled beneath the covers. She was tired from a long night of drinking, dancing, gambling and passion. Her chest heaved in time with her breathing, so perfectly synced with his as he watched.

Across the room, alone in a chair, the cigarette smoking man gazed at the woman as she slept. A lit cig hung from his lips, the tip glowing a soft red. Small twirls of smoke drifted lazily to the ceiling, and disappeared. In his hand he had a crystal glass; scotch on the rocks. It was half empty as he only sipped the nightcap. He couldn't sleep. He'd been having a hard time sleeping lately.

So each night, he decided, he would spend it poisoning his lungs and killing his liver. A small smile played on the cigarette smoking man's lips, removing the smoke to take a drink of the scotch. It burned his throat, warming it down to his soul.

Then he inhaled the cancerous smoke; it, too, burned.

His free hand swirled the ice within the glass, it clinking lightly. Music to his ears, he thought with a grin.

Finally, the cigarette smoking man tipped the glass back, emptying it. He took the dying cig and stamped it out on the ice. He stood from his spot and sauntered to the bed, joining the woman under the sheets.

And as the sun rose over the awakening cityscape, the cigarette smoking man slept.

A pool stick in one hand, a cigarette in the other. He grinned at the man before him. The man looked smug, but that also made him look pathetic. A bet gone sour and now the man was threatening.

The cigarette smoking man remained his position beside the billiards table, a drink forgotten on the ledge. He gripped the pool stick when the man advanced, but he wouldn't strike. No, not yet.

Before he could get even one last puff of his cigarette, the angry man launched a strike. A wildly aimed uppercut that still managed to land itself. Being hit square in the jaw was no laughing matter, and the cigarette smoking man reeled. His cigarette was now uselessly burning on the wooden floor of the bar.

He laughed. The familiar metallic taste filled his mouth, and he spat. Blood splattered the floor, but that didn't deter him. With one quick shake of the head (to clear the haze), the cigarette smoking man launched an attack of his own.

He raised the cue stick high, bringing it down on the unsuspecting man. A sickening crack resounded throughout the bar, causing every patron to hush immediately. All eyes turned on the cigarette smoking man and the other who lay cowering before him.

"I cheated, hm? That what you claim?" He smiled his oddly charming smile, and the other man growled.

"You bastard!"

And before he could even get up, the cigarette smoking man slid the cue stick under the other's chin. He lifted the man's head with the tip, so they looked eye to eye.

"I'm not the bastard here." He said with laugh, and flicked his wrist. The pool stick whipped the man across the face, the force cleanly breaking the already damaged cue in two. The other man's face was bleeding, his hand trying to cover the wound.

The cigarette smoking man dropped the broken stick to the floor; it clattered and echoed through the silent bar. From his pocket he pulled a pack of his brand, and yanked a single cig from its home.

As he stood there, cigarette between his bleeding lips, every person watched. He flicked the lighter open, flame immediately burning, and brought it to the tip of the cigarette. It lit instantly, the tip glowing a fierce red.

He grabbed the stack of cash he rightfully won, and pulled a couple twenties from it. He threw it onto the pool table, and nodded to the bartender. He then glanced at the bleeding man, and smiled, "Good game."

And with no other words, the cigarette smoking man left.