Chapter 10

(Author's Note: The beginning of this chapter is a slightly more mature than the others, but probably nothing you haven't seen in PG-13 movies. Just so you know.)

Todd's lips were in Dee's hair when she woke up later that afternoon. Her heart picked up speed when she realized that he was cuddled up against her, one arm draped over her body and the other trapped beneath her. She didn't dare move. She had wanted this for so long. A deep familiar heat warmed her insides and she shivered happily. Her eyes roved the room as she explored the sensation of his body against hers.

Jack was still asleep in his corner of the room. Blood had matted some of his hair to his face and dribbled onto the floor, but it appeared to have dried a long while ago. His wallet was clutched in one of his hands. Dee's heart stung for the poor man.

Todd's hand involuntarily twitched and drew her attention back to him. The arm sandwiched between her and the mattress was starting to become painful. She shifted in an effort to get comfortable and he stirred. Something prodded the back of her thigh. Oh. Wow. Heat flooded her face and she carefully edged away toward the end of the mattress. She wasn't quite ready to encounter that… especially with Todd unaware of everything. She was almost able to swing one leg off the side of the bed when Todd muttered something incoherent and pulled her back to him. It poked her again. She squirmed uneasily and broke free of his grip.

He jolted awake and looked around wildly. His eyes fell on Dee and focused. She looked… a little off. He pushed back the covers and leaned up on an elbow.

" R'you okay?" he asked, his words a bit slurred.

She blushed brightly and pushed a strand of mussed up hair behind her ear.

"Yeah, I'm alright," she replied in what she hoped was a convincing manner.

Don't look, don't look, don't look… Her mind commanded. She looked everywhere but at Todd. He touched her back.

"C'mon, I know something's wrong. What happened?"

She turned to face him and her gaze was drawn to his pants. She quickly forced herself to look back at his face. He blinked at her and then realization dawned. Blood surged to his cheeks and ears and he straightened up.

"I'm just going to…" he trailed off, mouthing wordlessly and gesturing lamely toward the bathroom.

He hurriedly kicked the covers away and disappeared behind the bathroom door. Dee drew her knees up to her chest and bit her lip hard to stop from giggling. He really was adorable, especially when he was at his most awkward. She felt inexplicably giddy and it was becoming more and more difficult to hold back the giggles that wanted to erupt. So as not to embarrass him, she went to the kitchen and allowed herself to laugh a little.

Todd didn't want to leave the bathroom. He didn't want to face Dee. The problem was resolved, but the awkwardness was already there. He swiped some broken glass out of the way with a foot and turned the sink faucet. He splashed water on his face several times, grateful that he didn't have his reflection to answer to. He blotted the water away with his shirt. What else could he do to kill time? He looked around the ruined bathroom. A soft noise from outside the door distracted him. It was pretty, musical. He pressed an ear against the door.

Was that Dee? Singing? He'd never known her to sing. He opened the door a crack. Yes. Dee was singing to herself. Her voice was so fragile and happy that he couldn't help but smile, himself. He crept to the bedroom door to hear her better.

"I imagine me and you, I do. I think about you day and night, it's only right to think about the boy you love and hold him tight. So happy together," she lilted, altering the classic song as she deemed fit.

Todd's smile widened. The song brought back memories of riding with Dee and her dad on the way home from school with an oldies station on the radio. Dee always tapped her fingers to that song. He followed the sound of her voice as quietly as he could and peeked into the kitchen. She was dancing around as she sang, opening cupboards and pulling out plates. She already had a pot of beans cooking on the stove, which was surprisingly still functional.

He enjoyed the spectacle for a little while. It had been days since he'd seen a genuinely happy Dee. Why ruin it? Suddenly, she stopped in her giddy song.

"How long have you been there?" she asked with her back still toward him.

"Long enough," he chuckled and walked up to her to kiss her on the back of her neck.

She turned and glowered at him playfully.

"Long enough, huh? I could say the same of you."

His mouth quirked and he chewed his tongue.

"Dee, I'm really sorry. I didn't-"

She put a finger on his lips and grinned at him.

"Don't you dare apologize."

Jack smelled a good smell and his stomach grumbled. He pried himself off of the floor and scampered where his nose led him. What he saw scared him. The nice man was eating the confusing woman's face! He screeched and leapt at the pair, careful to get in between them. He snarled viciously at the nice man and sniffed. He didn't smell dangerous. The nice man held up his hands the way that he would usually do. What was going on?

Todd tried to edge his way around Jack, but Jack snarled and mirrored him. What had gotten into the Hunter? He didn't look like he was having one of his fits.

"Jack? Are you okay?"

The Hunter sat between them, looking bewildered. Dee put a hand on his shoulder.

"He wasn't hurting me. It's okay."

Jack looked from Dee to Todd and back again. He gestured toward Todd uncertainly and put a hand on Dee's foot. She smiled and stepped around Jack so she could plant a kiss on Todd's lips.

"Just kissing, see? He didn't do anything wrong."

Kissing. What they were doing was familiar, but he didn't know why. The confusing woman had done that to him before… it had scared him. The Dark didn't like it. It was too close. Close things bit you. Close things hurt you. Why were they kissing each other? Didn't they know it would hurt? But they wanted to do it. Should he let them? He didn't know.

What he did know was that there was a food smell very close by and he was hungry. He sniffed at the pile of food in the round thing, hoping either the nice man or confusing woman would notice. When they didn't, he made a small sad sound. That worked.

Halfway through their meal of beans, canned fruit, and spam, they heard a knock on the wall, since they had barricaded the entire door frame. Dee looked through a gap in the barricade, but it was too dark in the hallway to see anything. Todd retrieved his AK from the neatly stacked ammo supply and went to the door.

"Hello?" he asked, purposely making his voice deeper and gruffer than it was.

No answer. Dee pushed a large box that made up part of the barricade aside. Suddenly, a long tongue-like appendage shot through the gap and wrapped around Todd's ankle. Greenish smoke poured into the room as the appendage yanked Todd off of his feet and tried to pull him through the small gap. The AK clattered across the floor. Without time to think, Dee grabbed the gun and shot. A muffled roar echoed on the other side of the barricade and the tongue loosened.

Dee stood over Todd, aimed into the hall and shot again. The Smoker fell in a heap and thick smoke blinded her. Todd yanked his foot out of the way and Dee slammed the box back into place. Her arm throbbed terribly. Worse, though, was the realization that they had almost been caught in a very intelligent trap.

(Author's Note… Again: I apologize for the hiatus and the shamefully short chapter. However, you'll just have to bear with me because I just finished finals and this is the first thing that I've done with my winter break. I really do intend to stop slacking… eventually.)