Guys. I'm so fucking proud of this right now.

So instead of taking forever and a day to actually finish, I'm going to submit it in parts. This would've been a COLASAL oneshot.

If you'd like to think this was the story behind 'Nothing Left to Live For', then be my guest. But just know that it actually isn't. I started writing this a looooong time ago, and am just now getting back to it. When I wrote NLTLF, it was really just something I came up with in the span of an hour. Also, in NLTLF, Ellis and Nick were already in a relationship when his suit got totaled. In this one, they aren't.

So, there's that.

Also, you'll notice that the last safe house is totally incorrect. But I don't care :)


The suit was doing pretty good. A little blood here, a little dirt there. Nothing a good wash couldn't fix.

But now, as his worst fears were coming into horrifying clarity, Nick realized that before the day was through, his three thousand dollar beauty would be done for. The swamps were no place for such high class.

Too bad he was the only one who cared.

"Come on, there's got to be another way…" he complained. He hesitated before taking the dreaded steps out of the safe room. The place they just came from, with the planks and bridges was pretty reassuring, giving him that slight chance of hope that he and his suit could both make it out alive.

But as they slinked into a storm drain, scarily close to the ground, it was apparent that his hopes were dead.

"Nick, if you don't get'cho city slicken ass out here, I'ma throw you in the mud." Coach warned from over his shoulder.

Nick glared at the back of his head.

"Shit." He sighed as he reluctantly set foot in the freezing, dirty, disgusting water.

"Hey, man, don't worry. We're bound to find another washer and dryer!" Ellis declared, trying to cheer the man up.

Nick only sneered at the younger. If it weren't for those plump lips, and those goddamn eyes, he'd smacked him a long time ago.

They trudged through the murky waters, blowing the mindless infected to bits. Same old, same old. Nick's pants were starting to look more and more pitiful the further they went.

"Oh, shit. Lights out, I hear a Witch." Rochelle whispered to the others.

Everyone flipped their lights off, cutting their visibility in half. With the dense forest surrounding them, it was almost impossible for any sun light to breach the thick leaves.

A few steps later, grunting and snorting came from their right.


But Ellis' warning came too late for the conman, the beast barreling through them all, sending the others sprawling to the sides, as the Charger pummeled Nick into a tree.

"Shit! This thing's got me!" he choked out around the meaty, discolored fingers. The thing reeked, and every time he drove him into the water, Nick could feel something give way, water splashing, getting in his eyes and mouth, making him choke.

"We're comin!" Coach shouted, and soon, fires were shot, zipping into its flesh, making the Charger cry out. The huge, disfigured infected soon slumped in the water, and his hand slipped from around Nick. The others came rushing over, shooting off the other infected that were getting a bit too curious.

"Thank Go-" Nick was starting to stand back up with the help of Ellis, when a very distinct ripping noise was heard.

"SHIT!" Nick was pulling his coat off his body quicker than if a Spitter had hit him. "Wha's wrong, Nick?" Ellis asked, a bit concerned, one hand reaching out to him.

"Ah, Fuck!" Nick was now eyeing the gigantic rip that ran right down the middle of the jacket's back. "Are you fucking kidding me?!"

Up further, deeper in the woods, Coach heard growling.

"Nick, boy, I know this has got to be pretty unfortunate," "Ya'Think?!" Nick interrupted harshly. "But I hear a Hunter around. We best get movin." Coach finished, hands gripping around his gun in a tight motion.

Nick growled defiantly, half a mind to throw the damn thing into the water, and say 'Fuck it'.

"Hey, now, what'dya say if I help wash it when we find them washer and dryers? So'ya don't have to do all the work?" Ellis offered.

Rochelle suddenly giggled at the thought. Ellis, rubbing Stain-B-gone all over the suit till the roll was empty. Then, sewing the back together with the stitching wire in the med-kit, leaving a very distinct and sloppy trail. Making it look much like a scare crow suit. Then an image of Nick dressed up as the scare crow from the wizard of Oz appeared in her mind. She started laughing a bit harder.

Nick rolled his eyes and folded the suit in half, then threw it onto his shoulder. It made a wet plup sound as it hit his back. "Whatever." He rolled the sleeves of his dress shirt to the elbow. He then scrapped the water from his face with one hand then spat what had gotten in his mouth.

Ellis seemed to accept this answer and gave a head bob, "Alrighty then. Let's get outta this damn humidity."

They were able to avoid the Witch with ease. Apparently, she had turned while inside her car, crying away in the driver's seat. It was almost comical, with her head bopping against the steering wheel as she rocked back and forth. Then she noticed them and started growling. They hurried along and made it to the next safe room.

Unsurprisingly, the people living in the swamps didn't make it. The silence that greeted them on the other side of the safe room guaranteed that. With the approaching darkness, and since everyone knew traveling at night was a bitch, they all began to settle in.

But, as the metal door closed, and its bar snug in place, the far off sounds of an oncoming horde drew near.

"Damn, can't they leave us alone?" Ellis complained, who was just about to take a seat on the sunken in looking couch. He went over to the table and reloaded. Nick, on the other hand went straight into the only room that was in the place. The thin mattress sat on the ground, with a shitty looking pillow and a blanket.

"It'll do." Nick commented, slinging the almost completely useless wet jacket to the ground beside the bed. He took a seat on the cushion and proceeded to take his shoes off. The others had started to take down all the commons that were tearing at them through the door. Most of them, though, didn't make it that far. Rochelle had good aim with the sniper rifle. A fact that she didn't let any one of them forget.

Once, Nick could have sworn she was aiming right at his head, and before he could yell at her to 'cut it out' she fired, and a plume of smoke erupted right behind him. He hadn't questioned her skills after that.

Once the horde had gone, Ellis wiped the sweat from his forehead, slipping his hat off in order to do so. "Damn." He threw his hat onto the couch and noticed the tub with a shower curtain wrapped around it. He quickly opened the curtain and leaned in to open the tap. The faucet made a gurgle sound, and rattled violently, but soon, clear water was pumping through.

"Awesome." Ellis commented to himself, a lopsided grin adorning his face.

He turned it off and stood to find Nick. Rochelle had already taken a seat on the couch and Coach was tearing into some food that he apparently had found.

The wooden door creaked a bit as he opened it. Nick was in the middle of trying to make the worn out pillow more comfortable.

"Hey, we got runnin water, and I was wonderin, maybe me'n you try to fix and wash'ya jacket in this tub over here…?" Ellis inquired.

Nick sighed as he just plopped the pillow back onto the mattress, "Nah, its fine. Maybe at the next place." Nick, honestly, was too tired to do anything at the moment, and trying to fix the jacket was the least of his worries.

Ellis seemed to visibly squirm. He made a face of mild disappointment, "Well, can I do anythin for'ya before you go to sleep?"

Come over here and suck me off.

"Nope. I doubt we have any warm milk, or story books lying around." Nick joked.

Ellis laughed, "Alrighty then. See'ya in the mornin."

It didn't take long after Ellis left that Nick fell into a restless sleep.

Ellis had been the last face he saw at night, and it was now the first face he saw as he woke in the morning. He'd softly knocked twice before poking his head in, "Mornin, Nick. Time to get up." He spoke softly.

At first, Nick rolled over, away from the door, grumbling. But as Ellis laughed lightly and came inside, he knew it was time to get back to the daily grind. Ellis set a warm hand on his shoulder, "Come on, don't try and play sick, neither. You still gots' to go to school." Nick sighed, and nodded his head, "I'm comin." He mumbled. Ellis didn't quite like his response, so he started shaking again, "Come on, now. We found some oat meal in the cabinets." He offered.

Nick finally sat up with a grunt, rubbing at his face, "Alright, already. I'm up." He mumbled in a sleep hazy voice that lacked most of the sting it normally had. Ellis grinned, "Ok, but if I'm back in here and your asleep again-" "Ellis, please." Nick interrupted. "Ok." Ellis shook his head lightly and stood. For a few seconds, barely enough for Nick to notice, Ellis stared down at him, with some sort of satisfaction.

But Nick had noticed.

"Take a picture, Sport." Nick groggily snapped at him, brows drawn down in irritation.

Ellis only smiled at him, lifted a hand to tip his hat slightly and then silently left the room.

Nick had started noticing things like this a lot lately. It made him frustrated, because every time the Kid's hand lingered just a second more than necessary on his bandaged wounds, or he would catch him glancing back at him when they were moving from safe house to safe house, or even when Ellis would prefer to let Nick take the last bed in a three bedroom house and he sleep on the couch, all Nick could think is that the Kid had feelings for him.

And he knew good and Goddamned well that's not the case.

They were walking through a neighborhood, and they'd just left a safe house when Ellis started belting out a random story about his stupid redneck friend. Nick hadn't been in quite the mood that morning and got a little irritated.

He had made a joke to Rochelle, having believed Ellis were further away, about the Kid and Keith being 'fuck buddies'. Rochelle barely shook her head in resignation, but Nick could see the small quirk of a smile on her lips.

A second later, when Nick turned away from her to get back to walking down the path, a hand was suddenly shoved into his chest.

Ellis stood just in front of him, glaring.

Apparently, Ellis didn't think the joke was too funny, because the next thing Nick knew, Ellis is going off at the mouth about "I ain't no homo ass queer!"

Ellis hadn't talked to him for a while after that. Not that Nick really cared. He finally did start telling his stories again, and when Nick had been pounced by a Hunter, Ellis told Rochelle he'd take care of Nick, and that "We need'ta talk, anyway."

Nick wasn't sure what to make of it, but let the Kid drag him into the bathroom of the next safe house to clean the slashes on his arm and patch them up.

It started out with Ellis telling Nick he was sorry. He didn't make eye contact, but was set to work on his arm steadily. He told Nick he shouldn't have burst out at him like that, and he didn't know what exactly came over him.

The whole while, Nick sat and listened. Not that he actually cared when Ellis yelled at him, in fact he thought it was fucking hilarious, but he listened anyway.

"I knew it was meant'tuh be a joke…I just got carried away, man. M'sorry."

They were just getting back to normal, with Ellis telling his stupid stories every chance he got, and Nick, making annoyed remarks to them.

Nick half growled, half sighed, as he started getting up.

Now he's starting to see this shit. The Kid needed to make up his mind, was he into men or not?

If he wasn't, he needed to stop acting like it and leave Nick the fuck alone.

"Looks like its' gonna be a sunny day today." Ellis predicted, sitting alongside Nick as they ate their breakfast of cold oatmeal in a Styrofoam cup. The little house seemed to have a few things in the way of supplies, like bottled water, and some canned goods. Coach went ahead and rationed them out between the two back packs they were carrying. Ammo and other supplies were stuffed inside each, along with Nick's jacket in one. Nick was surprised to see the hick so adamant about helping him out with it, though not completely. In Nick's mind, the thing was beyond repair, and it'd definitely never have its white shine again.

He folded it in one of the packs so he didn't have to lug it around in the humid bayou.

What he really wanted right now was a hot shower. And a shave.

Nick absently rubbed at the growing stubble. Last time he had a shave was at that motel before they got to Whispering Oaks. There were more than enough toiletry supplies that could last them for a while. Hell, that was even one of the times he was able to wash his suit.

Too bad they lost that bag when the helicopter crashed.

Nick sighed, taking the last spoonful of the soggy meal into his mouth. "We almost ready to go?" He spoke around the food.

"Mmhmm." Coached hummed. No one commented on his larger looking portion of oat meal, and decided to let the man have his extra serving. He'd found plenty more food in the cabinets for later.

Rochelle stood from her sitting position on the ground and threw her cup in the trash bin, something that the others did that never ceased to amuse Nick. But then again, some people still needed that piece of normalcy. Even if it was still throwing things away in a trash can.

"Hey, did I ever tell ya'll bout the time my buddy Keith tried breakin in to an abandoned farm house?" Ellis began his daily rant about his idiotic friend, and for once, Nick didn't seem to care, "Well, actually, Keith thought it was abandoned, and there was really all these hobos livin in there. Man, I ain't never seen him run so hard in ma'life!" Ellis began laughing. It seemed this was one of the shorter tales that he had to tell. Short stories from Ellis were rare, and it seemed this day would be looking up.

Rochelle shook her head, "That Keith is some kind of crazy." She commented, making Ellis chuckle some more.

Once everyone had gotten their fill of breakfast, they set about getting their supplies together. Coach carried ammo, and Ellis carried the other supplies. Everyone strapped a health kit to their backs, and Nick made sure to take the extra one they'd found in the safe house and put it in Ellis' bag.

"Wait, Nick, I think we should leave that for the others that might be comin through here." Ellis began taking the health kit back out, but Nick quickly smacked his hand away. Ellis pulled his hand close to his chest and rubbed at the tender area, "Man, what was that for?"

"Don't be stupid, Ellis. There's no one behind us." Nick began reloading his magnum, taking two clips and went to put them in his jacket pocket, but caught himself. It was a motion he did out of habit, and his hands were suspended in the air for a second. He really had been wearing that thing for a while. He sighed and shoved them in his pants pockets instead.

Ellis looked at the health kit that sat half submerged in the bag. He really wanted to leave it if there just so happened to be any other survivors, but Nick sort of had a point. Ellis didn't put up much more of a fight, fitting the kit back into the bag and zipping it up.

"Let's get a move on, People." Coach announced. Rochelle undid the bar on the door and swung it open, with a loud metal smack against the outside wall.

Coach immediately took out the infected who rushed the door, making his way out of the safe room and into the mysterious looking village. There stood a few houses and even a store and a bar. They had practically everything they needed in this one little area, which reminded Coach heavily of home.

Coach had to shake his head, sending the thoughts away and continued his gruesome work.

The others followed along, searching their surroundings for movement, and infected. Coach soon found an exit through one of the houses that lead down a hill. He guided the others down the hill, taking it slowly as not to slip and fall. He remembered the time before they got to the amusement park, when they had to slink behind that motel. The short cut they took lead them down sloping hills that Coach had neglected to notice were slicked with the dew that had accumulated that morning.

He tripped and slid all the way down the slope and right into a Tank. His recovery was slow and cost them several days held up in the next safe house.

Coach was hoping they didn't need a repeat.

As they approached the bottom of the slope, Nick began making disgusted sounds, "Shit, what in the hell is that?!" Coach was about to ask what his problem was when he smelt it too.

Rotting flesh, and burned bodies. Coach looked directly in front of him, and what he once thought was just a fence, he now realized was a pin for dead people and animals. The people looked infected, but he was wondering why they had thrown the cows and deer in there as well.

"Man, tha's nasty." Ellis commented, but with him pinching his own nose, it was hard to understand what he'd said.

Rochelle made a revolted noise and quickly walked past the sight. Coach broke the trance like stare he had on one of the faces of the infected and kept moving.

As they entered a whole other town of its own, they saw just how many people lost their lives. The town was bigger than what they had expected, bearing more than a dozen little houses, and even more little shacks.

Time seemed to slow down as they had to submerge themselves in water again, much to Nick's displeasure, as they crossed through it to get to a bridge.

Nick was the first to get out of the swampy water, shaking off his feet in the grass. Ellis giggled a bit when it reminded him of a cat trying to shake off booties. Which then reminded him of the time he and Keith did such a thing.

"Ey, did I ever tell ya'll bout the time me and m'buddy Keith tapped socks on my Ma's cat?" he hardly waited for a reply as he continued, "Well, see my Ma's cat is actually pretty nice, course until you start fuckin wit'em like we did." He paused to laugh a bit. By now they had reached the top of the stairs and were going to look through the house to the right. Its front porch was screened off, and seemed ripe for the picking.

"See, I was gonna do it real slow like, to keep'em from gettin all mad, but Keith wanted to get done real fast. But my Ma's cat don't like Keith much'a none, on a count of all the other shit he done did to'em."

Nick whirled around, with not necessarily an annoyed expression, "The cat scratched him up…over ninety percent of his body." it was more of a statement than a question and it caught Ellis off guard.

"Uh, actually, yea-" "Good, end of story." Nick cut him off, turning back around to grab up a pipe bomb to strap in one of his belt loops.

Ellis blinked, not upset, or even offended by Nick, just surprised he was able to guess the end of his story. A little impressed even.

He smiled then, thinking of the infinite possibilities if Nick were psychic. If Nick could read minds, that explained why he'd win every time they played poker.

Ellis almost gasped when he had a sudden idea.

'Nick,' he thought, 'If you can hear me right now, look at me…' he stared intensely at the back of Nick's head, just waiting for him to turn around.

Though, to Ellis' disappointment, the con-man kept with his search through the house, opening cabinets and drawers with the same look of half enthused, half bored out of his mind, plastered on his face.

He could tell by that expression that Nick would soon need to take a smoke. If he didn't, things only got worse with a snapping, bitchy Nick.

Ellis looked around, and upon seeing he were the only one still standing around, doing nothing, he hurried to find something of use. Nick was already scouring the kitchen area, and Rochelle had found some toiletries, while Coach kept on the porch, checking for infected that wandered too close.

Ellis decided to check up on the porch for any goods that might be milling about. As he passed Coach, he noticed some bulky machinery in the far corner of the other side of the porch. He rushed over and confirmed that it was indeed a washer and dryer.

Nick had just settled a new found magnum into Coach's bag when he noticed Ellis coming back around with various products in his hands.

"Hey, I found some stuff to clean'yer jacket with." Ellis showed Nick the cleaning solutions in his hands brightly.

Not this again.

"Oh, uh…Thanks Kid, but I'm pretty sure-" but before he could tell Ellis he didn't really feel like cleaning the jacket or even keeping it for much longer, Rochelle rushed up to the three of them, "You all hear that?" she asked in a hushed voice.

Everyone stilled and silenced.

Far off in the distance, the sound of accumulated moans and groans, screeches and screams came rushing closer and closer.

"It's a horde." Coach's low tone pierced the murky air around them. They had to get moving. Rochelle quickly snatched the items from Ellis' hands and shoved them into his bag, "We'll have time for that latter, after we get to the next safe house. We'll make a party to come back out to search for more supplies."

And with that, she rounded them out of the house and they continued down the bridge. The next house they had to exit through had a supply of ammo that was unneeded at the time, so they hurried on through. As they went further into more swamp land, the sloshing water slowed them down, which in turn allowed the horde to gain on them.

"Man, they're gettin close." Ellis warned, searching behind him for the first signs of the horde.

"Then let's pick it up!" Coach bellowed, now going double his speed to get out of the filth water.

The four made it back onto the planks and were able to shoot the oncoming horde while they tried to slosh through the water as fast as they could. As they were able to escape unscathed, the atmosphere was uplifting.

"Man, that wudn't nothin!" Ellis chirped.

Rochelle shook her head, "I wouldn't celebrate too early, Sweetie." She warned. "We're not even at the next safe house yet."

Ellis still smiled though, his pace quickened.

They soon came up to another town of sorts, with shacks standing on high stilts. But, as they walked further and further through the water, it started rising past their thighs, and started reaching to their waists.

"Hold up, ya'll. I think we need to back up outta here." Coach insisted, already taking his own advice and moving backward.

Nick started searching for an alternate route, not at all disappointed, "Hey, I think we can get through by walking through those shacks." He said, still eyeing the structures, mapping out their course through them.

"Well, let's go, then." Ellis moved past the others in the direction of the nearest shack with an entry way. The four made their way up a ramp and were then above the filthy swamp water, keeping dry and making ground.

"Damn it…" Nick hissed under his breath. They reached a dead end in one of the shacks, "Turn around." With Nick now in the back and Ellis now in the front, he guided them out of the current shack and into another. They took the left exit instead, and Ellis was glad to see a bridge mechanism.

"Guys, I'm thinkin if we pull this it'll bring this here piece down." He gestured to the lever with his gun, then pulled his cap up and off to wipe accumulated sweat.

"Maybe so…" Coach mumbled, scratching at his chin.

"Yea, and it'll probably ring the dinner bell." Nick's comment made Rochelle give him a tired look. He returned the look with a quick smirk then went back to eyeing the exits.

"Alright, boy, pull it." Coach ordered.

Ellis nodded once then turned, pulling the metal handle with a quick jerk. Gears turned, and a dull buzz filled the immediate area, and as Ellis predicted, the bridge started falling.

He turned back around, giving the others a grin. Though, his grin faltered when a loud roar came from the waters.

"God damn it! I TOLD you!" Nick groaned, raising his weapon to aim for the first sight of an infected. Ellis huffed, starting to regret pulling the lever. If he had to go through another horde today, he'd throw a fit.

The infected started coming out of the trees to their sides and even from the other shacks they had emerged from. Rochelle wasn't in the mood, so she unhitched her pipe bomb, pressed the trigger and let it fly, getting a good ways out to their left.

The infected immediately turned and headed back into the waters, except for the few that were still interested in the four survivors. Nick took them off with his magnum, just as the bomb exploded.

After he reloaded, he gave a glance at the bridge, "How much longer?" he yelled over the mechanism and the oncoming second horde.

Ellis was swaying from foot to foot, anxious, "Not much longer, another minute'er two." The metal contraption continued to allure the horde, its loud cry echoing off the walls.

Not too long after the first signs of the second horde, Nick took down a Spitter, right before she could hawk one right at them. This was going to get bad. He could just tell.

Rochelle began firing her weapon off into the distance, bodies hitting the water like sacks. Coach went to the opposite side of Ellis to take care of the ones on that side, keeping Ellis free to keep track of the bridge.

No sooner did Nick make sure Ellis was safe from harm with a quick glance does he hear Rochelle yelling at him, "I could use some help!"

Nick went to Rochelle's side, firing at all infected that dared get close. After a solid fifteen seconds of firing, he paused to reload. His hands were calm and steady as he went through the practiced procedure. He nearly dropped his gun though, when a scream jolted him.

"AHHHHH! SHIT!" Nick turned just in time to see Ellis being dragged over and off the deck they stood on.

"Shit!" Nick cursed, running over and looking down into the murky waters.

Coach started firing off to the right under the shack, "The Smoker's under there!" he pointed out as he had to reload. Nick quickly did the same, Ellis' cries making his hands shaky and a little difficult to perform.

Once he was set, he took a leap off the deck, his body in the water at chest level and immediately sighted the tumorous infected's upper body, slashing at Ellis captured form.

"HELP!" Ellis' choked plea was more than enough to break his trance on the scene and Nick began firing into the infected, taking another step closer with every shot. Green, noxious gasses erupted all around them as the infected fell into the water, its tongue going slack around Ellis.

There wasn't much time for Nick to make sure he was ok, because infected started coming after them, albeit slowly, but in enough numbers to be worried. He heard the Kid coughing behind him and he felt the water shift as he started to follow Nick out of the waters.

They had to climb out of the lake and onto the land beside the shacks. They watched as Coach and Rochelle fought off the oncoming horde, and Nick began aiming to help them when a loud roar came from his left.

"TANK!" Ellis quickly lifted his rifle and began to shoot at the enormous beast that was now barreling at them. Nick cursed, and holstered his magnum to pull the AK from his back.

Rochelle and Coach were just getting rid of the bulk of the horde when Ellis' cry reached them. Rochelle was the first to hit the beast, and through her scope, she was able to aim right for its head.

Nick and Ellis ran backwards and never once stopped shooting at the beast. It screamed and roared, Rochelle's shots apparently making it angrier. Water splashed and Nick was all too aware that the Tank was gaining on them.

"We need to go faster!" Nick yelled over the Tank's roar. Ellis groaned and stopped firing at the Tank to turn and run, Nick following behind.

Rochelle and Coach had forgotten the bridge and were rushing out of the shacks to help the others. Once they had the Tank in their sights they began unloading into it, with its back turned, they had the upper hand.

The Tank began to groan and moan in obvious pain, its rampage coming to an end. Its shoulders slumped and with a tremendous thud it fell to the earth.

Nick and Ellis both came to a stop, gulping down air as they regained their breath. Nick looked over to the boy and noticed how drenched and utterly filthy he was and laughed. Ellis' head slowly rose to give Nick a weary look.

"Looks like both of us need to get cleaned up." Nick smirked, strapping his AK back to his back.

Ellis began to chuckle lightly, but it came out in more of a wheeze, as he examined himself.

Rochelle and Coach came jogging up, avoiding the Tank's body and the four were now a group again. "Let's hurry up and find a Goddamn safe house." Coach grumbled, his patience wearing thin at this point.

The next safe house was a more than welcoming sight, it's two stories giving them plenty of room to stretch out and get some space.

And much to Ellis' delight, and maybe Nick's dismay, with a fully operating washer and dryer, Ellis was going to be able to get their clothes clean.

"Ok, we'll only be gone for half an hour. Any longer than that, we might've needed to find shelter for the night. If we aren't back by the afternoon, you know what to do." It was a brief conversation that Nick and Rochelle had every time they split up. It lacked its grave meaning as it did the first time Rochelle had told Nick, but its implication was still the same.

Nick gave a stern nod, and watched as Coach and Rochelle headed out for a supply run. The sun still clung in the sky, and its rays cast long shadows across the land, giving the yard an eerie look. The ominous setting gave Nick a chill, so he headed back inside to find the little mechanic.

The house had four rooms, one master bedroom that looked to be the adult's room, a room that seemed to be fit for a teenage girl with the walls covered in band posters, and two guest bedrooms. The house was definitely one of the better places they've stayed at with a well-stocked kitchen and medical supplies under each sink. Nick had half a mind to argue to stay for just a day longer, and hopefully recuperate a bit.

He made a turn into the kitchen and stepped up to the doors that lead into the small laundry room.

He paused though, the light sounds of humming making him listen.

Ellis was humming some tune he didn't recognize. He smirked before opening the door.

The scent of lilac and bleach wafted around him, making him almost cough, but the sight that greeted him was enough to make him jolt. He froze up, body just barely inside when his foot stopped in mid-step.

"What, uuh…what're you doin, Kid?" Nick asked, voice full of restraint and vague annoyance.

Ellis peeked around his shoulder from where he was bent by the dryer.

"Doin laundry?" Ellis answered hesitantly, unsure of the problem.

He was doing it on purpose. He was fucking doing it on purpose.

Oh no, it wasn't just the way he was bent, no.

Ellis was wearing nothing but tight fitting short briefs.

On purpose.

"If'ya give me your clothes, I can wash'em, too." Ellis told him, standing up straight, dragging what looked to be someone else's clothes from the dryer. Probably the former house owner's. He had this innocent look about him, like he wasn't even standing practically naked in front of him. Then he started shifting.

Nick sucked in a breath, "Don'tturnarounddon'tturnarounddon'tturnaround…" ran through his head, the words scrambling together with how hurriedly he thought them.

Unfortunately for Nick, the worst part was that the hick's underwear were practically see-through, from their dip into the water.

Literally nothing was left to Nick's already hard working imagination, and he had to quickly avert his eyes up Ellis' face, daring his peripherals to even glance down.

Ellis leisurely crossed one leg over the other by the ankle as he leaned against the washer, its soft tumbling sending vibrations through his hip. He let his palm lay flat against the lid as he gave a slow exhale. Doing laundry was something so mundane, he'd actually thought he'd never have to do it again with the way things were now.

"I think I got most the stains out, but I ain't gonna be for sure until it's done." Ellis spoke conversationally.

Nick had been so focused on not looking down that he had no clue what he was even talking about, and made a scrunched face of confusion.

"Yer'suit, man." Ellis chuckled lightly, a small smile spreading across his lips. His voice was low, and the way he said it, just so smoothly and so unfazed by his practically exposed body.

It was driving Nick crazy.

He couldn't handle him and his non-flirts, not right now, with him like that. He needed to leave before he tried to put hands on him.

"Right. Thanks for that, Kiddo." He swept a hand through his dark strands and gave a sigh, "Listen. I'm bushed. I'll give you my clothes, but you gotta promise not to screw'em up… Got that?" he warned him jokingly, though the response he got wasn't exactly what he was expecting.

Ellis' bottom lip pouted, and he quickly crossed his arms over his chest, "C'mon, now. Stay up with me for a little longer. We don't ever get to talk none." Ellis protested, brows drawing in a pleading way.

Nick could only blink for a moment as he let it sink in. He smirked, briefly, and began unbuttoning his blue shirt.

"Yea, ok. Guess I can stay up and gossip for a bit." There was a part of him that knew he wasn't going to be able to control himself in this situation, that something was bound to happen.

But he was willing to risk it.

Ellis immediately brightened, his shoulders giving a slight wiggle as he laughed, "Oh man, speakin'a which…"

"Oh God, Ellis! I was joking." Nick slid his arms free of his shirt, tossing the article into a nearby bin then started on his pants.

"No! No, this is serious though! It's Coach'n Rochelle, man! Hadn't you been noticin how o'fen they keep goin on supply runs?" Ellis seemed to burst out with the statement, probably had been thinking on it for a while.

"Ellis, please. I'm pretty fuckin sure Rochelle has standards." Actually, Nick had noticed. He wasn't going to ever bring it up or anything, what they did together when they were away was none of his business, and honestly, just thinking about it made his gag reflex quiver.

"Nick, think about it! I mean, we got pretty much all we need right now. What could they possibly be searchin for out there?" Ellis pushed the issue, standing up from his lean and using his hands to emphasize his point.

Nick really didn't want to talk about it. He slipped his pants down his legs and pulled the belt free from the loops, setting it aside as he tossed the pants in with his shirt. "Ellis, for the love of God, please just drop it! I cannot have this conversation…ever!" he stated, ripping his shoes off then peeling wet socks from pruney feet.

"I get it, but I'm jus' sayin-"

"Just saying what, Ellis? Ok, so they could quite possibly be screwing each other, is that what you want to hear?" Nick gave Ellis an intensive stare, not as much mad as he was annoyed. He hated the way those words came out, even just saying them.

Ellis turned a shade of pink, looking to the tiles Nick stood on, letting his body go back into a lean against the appliance, "No…not really." He didn't whisper, or say it tentatively. It was more thoughtful.

This made him start questioning, "…Why not?" Hell, Nick could count a thousand reasons why he didn't like the idea of Coach and Rochelle being a thing, but for some reason, he really wanted to hear Ellis' view on it.

Ellis shrugged, face screwing up in displeasure, "I don' know. I mean, if they're happy together, that's all that matters. I just kinda…saw Coach like a father figure, n'shit. Rochelle was like a sister. And when mah father and sister start… Man, it just don' sound right." He shook his head, digging a hand through his dark brown mop. Ellis seemed to dislike the fact that he disliked it. Truly, the only thing that did matter was their happiness, but Ellis had hoped it would've stayed platonic.

Nick nodded in a vague agreence.

"Nothin we can do, Sport. Just let it be." Nick told him, letting himself stare at Ellis' face. The mechanic was looking away as he talked, staring at the wall beside him.

Nick's eye dilated as a realization hit him. He could possible get a little peek, just a little one, while his eyes were averted.

Fuck it.

Having made his decision, Nick indulged and let his eyes wander; roaming down Ellis' chiseled form, over supple pectorals, and hard abdominals. When they finally came to the white cotton that covered his front, air flow through his body stopped.

Absolutely everything Ellis had to offer was displayed nicely for Nick, and Ellis' trapped length were just as visible as if it were exposed to the air right in front of him. It came as a surprise to see Ellis was thick, his sizeable package taking up a nice space in his underwear.

Just as easily as he'd glanced down, Nick brought his eyes back to appropriate heights, satisfied.

Though, what seemed to kill his buzz were the shocked eyes that stared back at him.



Next part is coming right after this one. :)

Also, if anyone is interested in making me write a nellis fic for them based on a song, check my homepage for more details.