A/N: I've found I have a serious problem writing for contests and other fun little writing challenges when I'm stuck with my WIPs. So...here's another one from me. This was written a while ago for the Countdown to 2012, posted on Breath-of-twilight's profile. If you would like to read some of the AWESOME entries for this writing challenge, feel free to check out her page :)

Thanks so, so much to my beta, Claire - you are always fantastic and make my writing better. Love you!

This story is already complete, with eight chapters, and I will be posting them all today in intervals. Probably relatively quickly. I will also have a banner posted on my profile later on after I've uploaded all the chapters.

Inspiration for the title comes from the Trews' song "Hope and Ruin"

Disclaimer: I do not own any characters within my writing. No copyright infringement is intended.


"It was dark, and I was over

Until you kissed my lips, and you saved me

My hands, they're strong

But my knees were far too weak

To stand in your arms

Without falling to your feet"

- Adele: Set Fire to the Rain



November 26th 2027

"Jasper!" I yell, pounding my feet into the snow with my quick steps, "Jasper!"

Just as he jumps down from the truck, I'm tackled from behind, landing in a snow bank with a breathless "oomph". I hear three shots in quick succession, and Emmett rolls off me, laughing carelessly, enjoying my misery. I sit up on my knees, and glare down at my snow-covered torso.

Oh, you'll pay for this.

"Ha, ha," I say dryly, "hilarious. I think he had it covered without the football tackle, thanks."

Emmett smiles at me, all curly dark hair, dimples, and broad shoulders, effortlessly getting to his feet. He brushes off what little snow accumulated on his jacket from the fall, and looks down at me; he knows exactly how to tweak my nerves.

"What can I say? Old habits die hard." He chuckles. "Come on, little lady, I was playing around," he coaxes, "gotta have some fun now and then, right?"

I sit there and scowl, plotting my revenge in silence.

Emmett begins collecting the bags I'd dropped, resituating what little food we'd been able to salvage from the Texaco Shell across the street. I balance on the toes of my over-sized boots, and shake out my coat, watching while he piles the meagre rations.

I wish we'd been able to get more.

"Bella," Emmett says quietly, "comin'?"

He offers me a hand, and flashes me a small smile; quirky, youthful.

I take it, my throat tight, and stand up, assessing the vulgarity of the mess around us. Blackened blood paints the white road, and three walkers lay dead between the truck and gas station; bodies gnarled and twisted in decay, eyes vacant. The smell is ten times more revolting than the sight, and I look away, shaking off my unease.

My eyes meet Jasper's, standing next to the truck with his shotgun propped on his shoulder.

"The noise will draw more out," he tells us seriously, "we can't waste time. Let's move."

Emmett tosses the bags into the truck, and once he's settled back next to the others, lowers the door. I latch it tightly, taking one last glance around before I head to the front.

"Get much?" Jasper asks when I climb into the passenger seat.

I shrug. "A bit, but half of what we can still find is expired. It's just going to get worse." I cast a sideways glance at him and brush melting snow from my hair, enjoying the numbness in my fingers. "In a few months time, I don't know what we're going to do."

He puts the truck in drive, and pulls onto the road, sighing, "Me neither."