There's something that I can't quite explain...
I'm so in love with you,
you'll never take that away.

In an instant he had realized how insignificant he was. It was as he stood there on top of that evac center, the smell of the burning hotel choking his senses, the heat from the Georgian sun melting his skin into sweat, that he realized no one cared. The helicopter had lifted into the sky only seconds as he and three others came tumbling out of the doorway, breathless and still hopeful. It didn't even hesitate as it turned west and disappeared into the horizon.

They had seen them and he knew it. Maybe the pilot had thought they were Infected... Maybe he had had orders. Or maybe he just didn't care. Whatever the case, they had left them. Without even a second thought.

Nick had looked to his left and to his right. There were four of them on that rooftop, including himself. Four of them left to fend on their own. Four people too insignificant to be saved. It had hit him hard—and he had tried to deny it. The pilot hadn't seen them—okay, he probably had. There would be more helicopters—no, this was last call. He didn't need a fucking helicopter. He could con his way to the next evac center.

But it was approximately five minutes later that he realized that alone he really was insignificant. Together, they were not. And so he had swallowed his pride—but not his obnoxiously sarcastic attitude—and he had followed them. Not out of any real sense of camaraderie or anything, but more out of instinctual need to just survive. As long as they could hold a gun, or an axe, or do something useful... then he would stick with them.

Even if he hated them.

And especially Ellis. The way his words were drawn out in that southern twang, his optimistic view about god damn everything, his constant chatter and, god, that goofy ass grin that was a permanent resident on his dumbass face. He was everything Nick was not. And he hated him for it. And so his words stayed harsh, his actions cold, his disgust evident. And still, the kid smiled.

And it was very soon after they met, that he realized he envied Ellis. And it terrified him.

And if I said a hundred times before...
expect a thousand more.
You never take that away

And although he kept his words harsh, a few playful punches here and there, a roll of the eyes, a snort of disdain during each stupid long-winded story... The kid grew on him. And quickly. It may have been because the kid had gotten them out of Savannah and on the road towards the only evacuation center left the south... or simply because Ellis just kept on smiling back.

And eventually, he realized he was falling for that smile... and that smile was unwavering. Even in the face of his cold-heartedness.

And then their hands touched one night sitting in a cramped safe room. It was dark, so it could have easily been written off as a mistake. But it wasn't that dark. Not dark enough for Nick to not notice that flush of crimson across the southern's cheeks or notice that inaudible and embarrassed mumble of 'sorry.'

He had taken that hand, squeezed it. That touch had been a confirmation of sort... and invitation, maybe. Whatever it was, it had been the start of something.

Every time he caught his eyes wandering, he would slap himself mentally. Each time it must've been noticeable, because it seemed Ellis would look at him, a half-smile. That little knowing bastard grin. Sometimes Nick didn't know if he wanted to knock that crooked smile clean off his face or capture those lips with his own and smother them into submission. Some days it was hard to think. Some days he would just simply smile that tired smile back, whispers of I love you held hostage behind clenched teeth.

Even though he knew it, even though he knew Ellis knew it, it was still too hard to choke out those words. Almost as if... when he said them, the end would be near. God would strike them from above, or more likely, a Hunter, like a flying trapeze artist from above. It would descend on one of them—arms reaching, hands twisted greedily with savage rage. Bent on destroying them. Ending whatever they had.

If he had said it. If he had said "I love you" then the end was near. Because where there was hope, there was death. When lovers ran hand in hand through the diseased streets, they would fall. Because loving someone was only a hindrance. Loving someone was a handicap. Loving someone made you vulnerable. Love didn't make the Infected stop. Love only clouded your judgement. Like it was a disease itself, destroying you from the inside out.

Well expect me to be
calling you to see
if you're ok when I'm not around.
Asking if you love me:
I love the way you make it sound.
Calling you to see,
do I try too hard to make you smile?
to make us smile?

He remembered the first time he did say it though. It wasn't even after all the zombie bullshit was done like how he had promised himself he would wait for. But it was in a moment of peace. Sitting there, side by side, fingers intertwined almost secretly, Ellis' head on his shoulder. It was warm, dark... muggy. The sound of life one would have thought would be in a swamp was replaced with a deathly silence, except for the occasional helpless moan of an Infected outside. Breathing felt thick, hot, uncomfortable, but still... they had found a moment a peace. A moment to just sit there, holding onto each other.

Before he had realized it, he had said it. "You know I love you, right?" Ellis had shifted, head lifting, those sleepy blue eyes blinking from under that worn out hat. He had grinned, that obnoxious, but so god damn beautiful grin.

"Sure, Nick. I think I've always known."

He hadn't asked if Ellis had loved him back. He knew he did. He didn't need to ask, and hearing it probably would have killed him a little. The young mechanic had shifted his legs up, both arms wrapping around one of Nick's and his head had rested against the conman's shoulder. Nick had held him—really, for the first time then. And realizing that this moment of peace was worth fighting for. Worth all the bruises.. Worth the scratches, bites and headaches. Worth the broken and dislocated fingers. Simply worth fighting for. If he got to hold Ellis again and again and again, he would just keep fighting.

Well, I will keep calling you to see,
if you're sleeping are you dreaming and
if you're dreaming, are you dreaming of me?
I can't believe
you actually picked...me

"Ever kissed in the rain, Nick?" Ellis had asked. Nick had looked at him, a face of miserable annoyance as the rain had soaked him through and through. He felt like the weight of the world was behind that rain. And yet, there Ellis was grinning like a fool.

"What?" he had snapped back.

"Kissed in the rain?" Ellis had sounded hopeful. Bashful, almost. He half shrugged, adjusted his hat and then brushed the rain from his eyes. The mechanic shoved the embarassing question aside and pretended like nothing had happened.

Nick hadn't known what to say. What to really think. Was it a proposition? He supposed he should have considered the fact that he and Ellis' relationship hadn't gone past innocent hand-holding. They hadn't sealed their feelings with a kiss. Was that what he was getting at?

He had grabbed the mechanic by the wrist then, jerked him over and with his free hand hand knocked that stupid hat right off his head. Ellis looked startled at first, like he wanted to retrieve his prized hat from the ground, but he quickly lost interest in it. Fingers twisted in the hicks hair as Nick had forced him into a kiss. Well, forced probably wasn't the right word. More like, guided him... strongly. Ellis had froze at first, but the moment his initial shock had waned he was groping and pawing at the conman to get closer.

Nick would always remember the smell of rain, the softness of those curls, the way their tongues glided like velvet across each other, those hands touching him so desperately... but most of all, he'd remember how right it felt. And how he never wanted it to end.

I thought that the world had lost its sway
then I fell in love with you
and you took that away.
You take away the old,
show me the new,
and I feel like I can fly
when I stand next to you.

When everything was over the four simply sat there. Sweat and blood sucking their clothing tight to their skin, their breaths leaving them in heavy and haggard gasps... To their left and right stood armed military men. Their faces showed no kindness, but their eyes betrayed them. They looked sad. Like they were sorry for them.

And why shouldn't they be? The four had witnessed the worst disease to ever spread across human kind. They had slaughtered creatures with human faces and ghostly pasts not always unrecognizable. A man in a suit—maybe a lawyer, or like Nick, simply a conman. A woman in a police uniform, a man in construction. Their past lives weren't unrecognizable, nor was the decaying flesh around their faces that still looked human. But they had killed them anyways. At the time... It may have seemed right. But now... was it worth it? Was it right?

It may have been then, sitting in that helicopter, staring across the way at each other that Nick realized he had seen more than he would have cared to ever admit. That Ellis had lost more than he would ever know. He started out so damn innocent... So damn excited about this whole goddamn thing. But it seemed each day just seemed to change him a little more. He seemed to smile a little less.

But he smiled at him then. The mechanic caught him staring and he smiled—a half smile. There was a gentleness behind his eyes, but those eyes were so very haunted. Nick wanted to reach out for Ellis' hands, but his limbs were too bruised and torn that even the slight twitch of the muscles underneath surrendered all his thoughts. He would have closed his eyes had he not been afraid that this was all a dream. So he just smiled back, looking forward to so many more days ahead when that smile would bring him healing.

I only want to see
if you're ok when I'm not around.
Asking if you love me,
I love the way you make it sound.
Calling you to see...
do I try too hard to make you smile?
To make us smile?

It had been confusing... when they had reached the evac center. There was one on land and others on the sea for when they 'passed' inspection. But here on land... they were tested. Like animals, really. Like feral animals. He had never seen people move so fearfully and cautiously around other people. And he had been to St. Louis. The bad side.

After being separated, they had taken his blood, a hair sample, a urine sample, scrapped under his fingernails and washed him with something that burned for hours after. Two days later a man came into his holding cell. He hadn't seen or heard anyone since they had put him in there. The light from outside burned his irises, but he still blinked up at the man. Like an innocent child, waiting to be told everything would be all right.

"You are a Carrier. I'm sorry."

Sorry? Sorry didn't really feel right. You say sorry when you run into someone in the streets, or have to cancel a date. You don't say sorry to someone with a death sentence.

He didn't want to ask, but he still did. Just because he had to know. "The others I was with?"

"Immune."

He wanted to smile, or cry, or laugh... but he only nodded.

Was it even true? Were they really immune? Was Ellis really immune? He figured he'd have to believe it. At least then when the put the needle in his arm, he would die knowing that at least someone he cared about made it out of it alive. And although his memories with the mechanic had been short... the memories had been worth fighting for. Even if it had to end like this.

I will keep calling you to see
If you're sleeping are you dreaming and
if you're dreaming are you dreaming of me?

And far away on a vessel at sea, Ellis waited for the ghost of a man that would only ever visit him in his dreams.


A/N: The song is "Calling You" by Blue October. I've been writing this on and off for a couple weeks now.. finally just sat down and finished it... It seems sorta distorted.. but the first few parts I wrote to give the feeling that he was thinking back to everything... kinda like those two days gave him some time to himself and to think... And remember... before anyone who rages that killing a carrier is extreme, realize that the military had/has been killing non-infected and/or carriers along with infected. No, I don't think it's the right solution, but it's what worked for this short piece... so... if you have a problem with it... I don't wanna hear it. =D