Author's Notes

Again, most of the chapter was typed on the Ipod, so signal me some typoes plz~

Thank you so much everybody for your encouraging reviews ;w; You have no idea how motivating they are and how much they mean to me. Big hand of applause to Hetalia Rin, crazyanimelover98, XxTigerleo14xX, , bobness and SamuraiSal1 for being the main people responsible for the update ;w; You guys are too nice.

Also, see if you can spot the lyrics for "Daylight" in the text! A lot of them are unaltered and you'll probably find them :D

Warnings are for swearing, mentions of suicide, violence, and sexual situations.

Please enjoy =w=

Alfred was surprised when he found that he was the first one awake. Light was filtering through the windows and illuminating a patch of wood in front of it. The entire room, bare as it was, seemed to come back to life when daylight broke out.

Stretching, the young man yawned, and looked down next to him. His two older companions were still visibly asleep, and though it was slightly disconcerting to see them doing such a thing, Alfred let them be. The bags under their eyes proved that they needed the sleep they were getting. The second thing that Alfred noticed was how tightly Arthur had wrapped his arms around his middle, but understood the reason perfectly.

He'd had a moment of weakness the other night. A moment of confusion, too. Just like everyone else, Alfred had no idea what to do. Every waking moment was a nightmare to him. He was terrified of zombies, terrified of going out, terrified of dying alone, and terrified of losing those he cared about. He used to say that he'd be ready for the zombie apocalypse, believing in those ideal fantasies of invincible heroes... But it hadn't been the same since he'd come home to find his mom eating his dad's intestines as his father slowly and painfully faded away.

Since then, Alfred had been absolutely mortified of anything even remotely dead, and was sure that even when the apocalypse blew over, he wouldn't be able to visit graveyards. He'd send Matthew to set flowers in front of their parents' graves, but he'd never be able to go.

That is, if Matthew was still alive at all.

Alfred could not be sure of anything anymore.

He turned his eyes to the handgun on the floor behind Francis and his mind began conjuring images. Some of them were pain. Others were safety. Others, the scariest, showed him sweet relief. Alfred guiltily turned his gaze over to Arthur's sleeping face, and found another kind of relief in the serene sight of his peaceful soulmate.

Soulmate. Yes, he was sure. Arthur had been around for way too long and had poked his head into too many of his affairs to be able to draw out now. He was the one that Alfred had been looking for so long. He was perfection, and Alfred swore to himself that if -no, when- they got out alive, he would marry him and make himself the happiest man on Earth. And Arthur, too, hopefully, so that he would smile this serenely more often.

Not only did he have the cutest expressions ever, but his accent was to die for, and he had the nicest body Alfred had ever seen. Far beyond the realm of the physical, though, Arthur had a way with words, the ability to twist and bend them at his will to be able to express anything at all. He was witty and his arguing was always fast-paced enough to make Alfred desire more and more of their train of conversation. He got so embarrassed about everything and Alfred thought it was super cute when he tried to hide how excited or happy he was about something.

And then there were the intimate smiles, the soft kisses, the ghosting touch of his fingers on his skin and the humming that Arthur did when he wanted to calm Alfred down after a horror movie. Alfred loved Arthur's voice, whether he used it to scream, yell, whisper, mutter, moan, laugh, argue, or just simply say 'hello'.

He suddenly wished that Arthur were awake and would hum to him to drown the sound of the groaning zombies downstairs.

Instead of disturbing his lover's sleep, though, he stood still and closed his eyes again, knowing that it did not take much to wake him up nowadays. The more time that passed, the better. He would go crazy if he listened to the clock tick. To avoid such an outcome, he closed his eyes and dared to pull Arthur a little closer. Francis' back was also stuck to his, on the other side, but he let himself and Arthur float off into a world where they'd hold each other close and never let go.

The next time he awoke, he noticed that Francis was awake and bustling already, looking through their supplies.

"What's up?" Alfred groggily grumbled, carefully peeling Arthur's arms from around him and letting him lay back down. He held his breath for a second, but Arthur really had become a scarily light sleeper and woke a second after Alfred let go, sleep still clouding his eyes.

"I'm looking for something appropriate for breakfast, and I'm going to go around again to see if I can find any kind of entertainment. I think we could do with some distraction," Francis smiled and picked out a can of peas.

"Sweet! Not-beans!" Alfred cheered in good humour and patted Arthur's cheek before getting up and going over to Francis. "What's the plan today, then?"

"We have to wait for night to fall before we can scout around, though I'm not very optimistic since yesterday's events made a great load of noise. They're probably eating each other in their haste to get upstairs," Francis shrugged. "Not like they'll even be able to reach the landing, thanks to Eyebrows."

"Shove what you have to say about me right up your ass, twat," Arthur gruffly greeted, and Alfred jumped when the noise suddenly came from next to him. Arthur had gotten a lot quieter since the apocalypse began. They'd all changed so much.

"Good morning to you too, babe," Alfred chuckled wearily, and tilted his head up. Without thinking about it, Arthur gave him a brief kiss as he sat down next to him. Only when they'd settled did they both realize what they'd done, and blushed.

It was nice. They hadn't kissed like that since forever. Since they left Lexington, actually. They'd stayed a week there, thinking they'd be safe, but had escaped by a hair's length when Lexington had been overrun. After that, there hadn't been time to concentrate on their relationship as they'd been too busy being on the run.

Last time they'd kissed, their love had distracted them and had almost gotten them killed. It felt strangely good to kiss one another after so long, though. Even more strange, their relationship had kept strong regardless of the lack of affectionate gestures. This only consolidated their mutual belief that they were made for one another.

And that they'd make it out alive together as proof of their everlasting bond.

"Here you go, you two," Francis broke the confused silence by handing them both their ration of peas. "Eat up, and have a gulp of water. Just one. Our bottles are almost completely gone, so we should all just take three gulps a day, one with each meal."

"Alright," Arthur nodded, catching the bottle of water that Francis subsequently threw at him. "Fair enough."

"Not fair at all," Alfred complained, replicating the movement gruffly. "This sucks. It's way too hard to stop once I start."

"Tell yourself that you won't go thirsty if you stop now," Arthur shrugged as if it were obvious and took a gulp of his. His parched throat screamed for more, but he was able to stop himself and cap the bottle before he could give into the temptation of liquid gold.

As he noticed, though, Alfred was having a little bit of trouble with his rationing, seemingly trying to take in as much water as he could in one gulp. Feeling somewhat sorry for him, Arthur took it upon himself to take the bottle gently from his grip and cap it while Alfred gulped the water inflating his cheeks like a chipmunk's, and gave it back to Francis along with his.

"You'll thank me later," Arthur rolled his eyes when Alfred shot him a dirty glare and licked his dry lips.

"Hey, Alfred," Francis called him before they could begin another argument. "Could you be a dear and look around the second floor for something like a pack of cards that we could play with to pass the time? We're going to be here for a while. Plus, a brief walk will do your ankle some good."

"I guess." Alfred looked unsure all of a sudden, glancing nervously at Arthur, who nodded, though he wasn't sure what Francis was up to. "Alright. I'll take a look," he finally acquiesced, shoveling his peas into his mouth and standing up with some trouble.

"Stay safe," Arthur called after him, biting his lip, and Alfred only replied with a dismissive wave of his hand.

They watched him leave in silence, and when the door clicked shut, Francis went up to lock it.

"Why's you send him away?" Arthur immediately cut to the chase, glaring after him.

"You're thinking," Francis replied just as quickly.

"Golly, I don't know. Evolution seems to have given us brains for that sole purpose, if you weren't aware," Arthur raised his eyebrow skeptically. "So really, what do you want to discuss? Is it Alfred?" A spark of worry jumped across his eyes, but it was quickly gone. "I assure you that it won't happen again. It was my fault, and I'll be sure next time to-"

"It's not Alfred," Francis interrupted, shaking his head and returning to sit by his friend. "I told you. You're thinking."

Arthur turned to look into Francis' blue eyes, bright like Alfred's, but so different. Both of them were so important to him, but they both understood him completely differently, which wasn't a bad thing. It just meant that things that escaped one of them always got caught with the other. Arthur literally could not hide a thing.

"So I have," he mumbled, looking away. "What of it?"

"What about? You went silent in the middle of our conversation last night. I was wondering what you'd begun concocting in that hard head of yours."

"Nothing substantial." And that was true, because there were only slivers of uncoordinated ideas popping into his head so far.

"What were you considering, then?" Francis tried again, apparently undeterred by his friend's attempts at evading the conversation.

"An escape plan. Aren't we all?" Arthur rolled his eyes.

"What's your plan, then? To have kept you up all night and have made you so distant, it must have been something good."

"Well," Arthur hesitated, knowing that the idea would probably not well be received. "I... I was thinking of a way that we could all get out of here without having zombies chasing right behind us, and I came to the conclusion that the best way not to be chased by zombies is not to have zombies around in the first place."

"How very insightful of you, rosbif," Francis chuckled, enjoying how Arthur's face became an interesting shade of red at his comment.

"You didn't let me finish, you damn frog," he grumbled. "I... I was considering luring the zombies away from the house. With a decoy."

"Decoy. Huh. I think that's the worst idea I've heard so far," Francis shrugged nonchalantly, and the intensity of the red in Arthur's face grew.

"What did you say, you smelly monkey?" Arthur's eyebrow twitched in annoyance. "I beg to differ. A decoy would be the smartest escape plan we could get. How else will we get the zombies off of our trail?"

"I don't know. Certainly not by throwing another zombie at them. Our decoy would have to be living, and-"

"That's why I was going to volunteer to become your decoy," Arthur interrupted, jaw locked tight. "I would... I would draw them away from the house, and when they're all following me, you'd sneak out and keep going towards our checkpoint. It's foolproof!"

"Foolproof, yes, until the part where you have to go out there on your own and be a moving target for those horrible monsters," Francis finally looked Arthur in the eye, and Arthur shivered at the intensity of his gaze. "You'll die. I won't let you go."

"I don't need your approval. I'm not going to sit here and wait for us to die out. Did you see our supplies dwindling? Is it safe to say that we won't last more than two more days without restocking? We need to keep moving."

"We can't afford to lose anybody, either."

"You won't be losing me!" Arthur exclaimed suddenly. "I'm not going to die! I'm not going to go out there and commit suicide, I'm going to go out there and save all of our lives!"

"You are going to go out there and get yourself killed. That's all there is to it," Francis shrugged, though as casual as the movement seemed, Arthur knew he was far from joking around. "I'm pretty sure that you don't get to decide if you live or die out there. It's them."

"I can take care of myself. I have so far, haven't I?" Arthur objected, a flicker of doubt lighting his eyes. "Trust me. You've trusted me so far, Francis," he quieted down a bit, and threw a glance up at his best friend. "So just... trust me once more. Just once more is all I ask."

"I trust you, Arthur. You are the person I trust most. I've known you for over fifteen years now, and I do trust you entirely." Francis' gaze went to the window. "But I don't trust them. I know you can take care of yourself and that you're independent enough to survive alone for some time, but... these things are monsters. They have no honour. They won't accept surrender. They will be as low as to gang up on you. Against one or two zombies, I would leave you to fight alone, because I trust that you can make it. But against one or two hundred zombies..." Francis shook his head. "I'm sorry, Arthur. Forgive me if, just this once, I disagree with you."

"You disagree with me all the time," Arthur huffed a bit childishly, and glared at him. "I'll make you sway. You and I know, deep down inside, that this is the only way out. With all the noise we've made, they won't leave on their own. We need to do something."

"That something is not getting you killed." Francis glared at him. Arthur held his gaze, and furrowed his eyebrows in determination.

"No. No it's not."


Arthur announced it over lunch.

They were sitting in a patch of sunlight and enjoying their small portions of sweet corn, relaxing as much as they could with the ruckus downstairs. The pack of old cards that had been their best friend since that morning was lying innocently at the side. Nobody spoke.

Until Arthur did.

"I think I've found a way out." And they fell back into silence. "I think it'll work."

Nobody replied. Neither of his companions even showed that they'd heard. Perhaps they were all dead already.

"I think we should give it a shot."

"Arthur." Francis' warning tone interrupted the Englishman. "I told you. It's a dangerous train of thought. Let go."

"What is it?" Alfred seemed to have perked up to the conversation at the mention of Arthur being in danger. Arthur thought it was sweet and slightly offensive at the same time.

"I was thinking of an escape plan," Arthur repeated with a bit more edge to his words. "If you'd care to hear it, it'd be much appreciated."

"Why is it dangerous?" Alfred immediately skipped to the point.

"It... It involves a decoy," Arthur hesitantly admitted.

"Sacrifice," Francis immediately corrected, nonchalantly eating his corn.

"Decoy," Arthur stressed, growling at Francis. "It's not a suicide mission."

"This ain't a movie, either," Alfred butted in. "I'm sorry, babe. Decoy in this situation? We're better off throwing one of us down the staircase."

"Listen to me, will you?" Arthur objected, getting more and more frustrated.

"Arthur, ce n'est pas raisonnable. Listen to yourself talk," Francis shook his head as calmly as ever.

"If you shut your bloody trap for a second, I gladly would!" the short blonde finally yelled, panting in exhaustion. "Damn it, we can't stay here!" He swept a hand at the room they were in. "We don't have any living accommodations, no proper hygiene system, just one window that we can't open during the day, no running water to drink, and nowhere to store our dwindling supplies of food. How do you expect us to stay here any longer than we have right now? I am not going to stay here and pray for a miracle that will never happen, and end up having to drink my own piss until it, too, is not enough anymore and die of dehydration. I won't be a dead body for future cleanup crews to find and study and say 'poor bloke didn't even make it out'. And... I don't want either of you to be, either." His eyes darted nervously back and forth between the two other blondes.

Both of whom said nothing to contradict his points, or agree. In fact, they both looked hesitant.

"Maybe if we just wait a little longer..." Alfred trailed off, unsure.

"Yes, maybe if we wait a little, we can become so weak that even if the zombies all left the area, we wouldn't be able to climb down the ladder and escape." Arthur shook his head. "It might seem like we're resisting against the flow of time, but in reality, this is all a race against time. We have to get out of here before we all begin rotting in place."

"You have a point, but sending you out there all alone would be crazy. Why can't we all just escape together?" Francis asked, and Arthur's heart leapt as he recognized the tone of consideration in his voice.

"There are too many zombies outside, and being a larger party would slow us down. No mention of the fact that Alfred's still hurt and will limp. With the walking dead less than two metres behind us, and not intending to stop until we do, we can't afford to be slowed down by anything."

"Sorry..." Alfred sighed at that, ashamed.

"Don't be," Arthur warned him. "It's not your fault. Even if you weren't hurt, we'd still be too large of a party to escape without being seen." He looked at them both. "Please. Please let me go. I won't fight, I'll run. I'll run towards the opposite direction until I get to yesterday's forest, and I'll scale the first tree I see. Zombies won't have the instinct to look up, and they'll keep going. I'll wait until I can't hear them anymore, maybe spend the night in the tree to be safe, and then run back and catch up with you in Saint-Jean. You two can wait until, perhaps, dusk, and then slip out of the house unseen and run towards Saint-Jean."

"Why can't we wait until you come back, and go for Saint-Jean together?" Francis questioned him again.

"How much longer can we wait? On the off chance that I have to take longer to lead them away from you, you'd risk running out of supplies. It's better if we find human contact as soon as possible, for as many of us as possible." He looked at Francis pointedly. "You may not trust them to let me get away alive, but you can trust me to come back as quickly as possible. No heroics. No loitering. Just a running loop, and we'll be back together in no time."

"Your plan is an ideal situation. So many things could go wrong," Francis remarked.

"Then I'll deal with those when the time comes." Arthur really was determined. "It'll work if we all believe it will."

"I would die," Alfred suddenly spoke up, despite being silent the entire time. "If you left... I would die."

"No you wouldn't. You'd live," Arthur insisted, sadly gazing over at him. "Please, my love, you have to let me go. I'm doing this for you."

"Don't," Alfred shook his head. "If you want to do something for me, then stay. Stay with me. If I die, I want to die with you. At least give me that."

"I can't." Arthur's response was sharp, and abrupt. And calculated. "We're going to live, I swear it to you. All of us, we're going to survive, and rebuild our lives once we get to safety. I won't take no for an answer."

"I... I love you." Alfred's voice suddenly cracked, and he turned his pleading gaze up to his boyfriend.

"If you love something, let it go." Arthur reminded him.

"Not you. I won't ever let you go," Alfred insisted.

"Which is why I'm confident that I'll return. However long or hard it is to find you again, I will return."

Alfred smiled, but Arthur knew that something had already died inside of him.


"It's dark outside. I'll go check the other sides, see if we might have some clearings," Francis announced suddenly, startling both of his companions, who were silently reading the map on the ground, sitting in the patch of moonlight, for a lack of anything else to do.

"Alright," Arthur nodded, tongue going dry. He got up and followed Francis to the door, and locked it after him.

Before he had a chance to sit back down, warm, strong hands coiled around his middle and clutched at his shirt front. Arthur's eyes stayed trained on the doorknob, even when hot breath puffed against the shell of his ear.

"So we're really doing this?" Alfred asked quietly.

"We are," Arthur answered without a doubt. "We have to."

"I don't want to lose you," Alfred shook his head, ruffling Arthur's hair a bit.

"You won't lose me, I promise," Arthur replied, slowly snaking his hands up to rest upon Alfred's, squeezing encouragingly.

"I love you so much. I still can't accept that you'll be going out alone in such a dangerous world," Alfred sounded sad, and as Arthur slowly turned around to face him, he anticipated the downcast eyes and depressed atmosphere above him.

"I won't be alone. I'll have you. Here." He took one of Alfred's hands and slid it over his heart. "And that's why I'll come back."

Alfred just chuckled and drew Arthur closer, hugging him tightly for a moment before loosening his grip and capturing his lips in a kiss.

"Thank you, Arthur. For everything," Alfred breathed, and dragged Arthur into another kiss that deepened until they moved against the wall and used that for support, both for Alfred's injured ankle, and for Arthur, who had fallen prey to Alfred's charm yet again. Unable to support them both, though, Alfred soon lowered them to the ground and straddled Arthur, taking a moment to gaze in wonder at his bright eyes, kiss-swollen lips and panted gasps, before lowering himself to kiss him again.

This time, Arthur responded despite himself, rolling his hips and arching his back off the ground, hands reaching up and latching at the nape of Alfred's neck to draw him deeper. Alfred gently cradled Arthur's face, a little bit of softness in the otherwise fierce kiss he was sharing with his lover, and caressed his cheeks with his thumbs.

"'fred," Arthur panted once they parted for air, momentarily reminding Arthur of their situation. His cheeks were flushed and he needed to catch his breath, but he was still lucid and could make out their surroundings. Alfred did not give him time to follow up, though, swooping in for another shattering kiss that destroyed his common sense. It was not long, though, before Arthur found the will to put a hand on Alfred's cheek and push him away slightly. Alfred caught his bottom lip between his teeth as he backed off a little, letting go of it only to breathe heavy breaths.

"What's wrong?" he immediately inquired, worry flashing through his eyes.

"Nothing. It's just that-" Arthur gulped down, still panting. "We can't."

"We can," Alfred insisted, lowering his head to kiss him again. "I still have a condom from back in Lexington-" He did not get very far before Arthur pushed his face away again and sighed.

"No. This isn't the place, nor the time," Arthur shook his head. "Please. Don't."

"Okay," Alfred looked disappointed, but sat back up, bringing Arthur with him. "Is something wrong?" he asked again, just to make sure.

"No... Like I said, we just can't do this here. Not like this." His eyes flickered up to Alfred shyly. "I... I want to make love to you, but once we're out of here. Once we're somewhere safe where you can hold me and I can take my time driving you wild and not fear for my life during every moment of inattention. You understand, don't you?"

"I do," Alfred immediately answered, and then hushed. He looked away. Arthur was worried at the elongated silence, before he realized that Alfred was trying to keep sobs at bay.

"Alfred?" he asked worriedly, blanching. "Darling, please. Did I say something?"

"No," Alfred's voice quivered with emotion. "I just-" he choked. "This could possibly be one of the last nights we have together, and I want to love you with everything I have, just in case you... we..." he couldn't finish, silent tears slipping down his cheeks.

"Oh, love," Arthur's throat clogged up, and he felt nauseous. "Oh, god, don't cry," he whispered, catching Alfred's tears on his fingers.

"I'm sorry. So far, I haven't been of any use to you. I just keep getting in the way and getting hurt and maybe you would have gotten further if I hadn't held you back," he sniffled pathetically.

"Don't you dare say that, Alfred. You've been of more use than you think. If you'd died off somewhere, I wouldn't have gotten this far. I've always needed you to succeed." Arthur wiped Alfred's tears off his face. "Which is why I need you now. I need you to trust me, and to never stop believing that I will come back to you."

"I'll never stop believing in you," Alfred promised, startling Arthur lightly by throwing his arms around him. "Thank you so much, Artie. I love you."

"And I love you, you big baby," Arthur smiled fondly, albeit a bit sadly, and returned the hug. "When the daylight comes, I'll have to go, but tonight, I'm going to hold you so close. I promise."

Alfred nodded to express that he'd heard, but said nothing. They remained in silence a moment, before three knocks came at the door.

Rising, Arthur left Alfred to collect himself as he went to open the door and let Francis in. His best friend strode in confidently, and as usual, his posture irked Arthur for no reason. Perhaps it was because he seemed to be taking everything so much better than everyone else.

"Took you long enough," he grumbled as he locked the door.

"I, ahh... Took my time. No rush, isn't that right?" Francis winked as if he knew something the others didn't. His eyes momentarily flickered to Alfred, who had wiped his tears away, but whose red-rimmed eyes were tell-tale, even in the obscurity.

"Right, so. What did you find?" Arthur asked, crossing his arms.

"The back of the house is clear. We can set up the ladder tonight if we don't make noise. Seems like yesterday's events have served a purpose after all." He nodded at the door. "The noise attracted all the zombies swarming around the house into the house, or at least at the front, since that's where it came from. Your crowd will thus be waiting for you on the porch, and inside the house. The most important ones to take with you are the ones that are not inside the house yet. The others won't bother us when we escape."

"Yeah, yeah, I know all that," Arthur rolled his eyes tiredly, and glanced at the window. It was completely dark outside now, and it was hard to see aside from the moonlight filtering in. Arthur was grateful for such a clear night. It would also mean a clear morning. Nothing to do but set up and wait now. The deadliest game had begun. "So. Are we setting up the ladder or what?"


"Are you alright like this?"

"Move a little. Yes, just like that. Good."

Two shadows wiggled in the darkness before settling into silence again. Then, one of them shifted, and turned around to face the other, who had his arms loosely around his waist.

"Arthur?" the meek voice called hesitantly. "Are you going to sleep?"

"I have to," his companion gruffly answered, shifting.

"Where's Francis?" Alfred asked again.

"He fell asleep in the corner a while ago, right after we came back from set-up."

"Oh." They went silent again. "I don't want to sleep."

"You have to. You have to build up your energy and heal a little. You're going to be running for your life tomorrow," Arthur insisted, and Alfred flashed him a guilty glance.

"But I don't want to waste even a single moment that I have left with you," he admitted. "When the sun comes up, you will leave. This is my last glance and it'll soon be memory."

"It doesn't have to be that way," Arthur shook his head lightly. "We'll find each other again, I promise."

"What if one of us is forced to break that promise? Nobody knows what's going to happen," Alfred looked up at him pleadingly. "I find myself wishing that the ladder would fall down during the night so that you'd stay here with me."

"Then we'd all die for sure," Arthur sighed, staring right back into Alfred's eyes. "You're afraid," he noted.

"And you aren't?" Alfred scoffed incredulously. "Then you're out of your mind."

"No, I... I am scared," Arthur admitted with a bit of trouble. "But fear is what will keep me alive tomorrow. Fear, and the thought of you." He awkwardly wiggled one of Alfred's hands up and kissed the knuckles tenderly.

"You suck," Alfred laughed a little bit nervously and replied with a kiss to his forehead. "You're so sappy."

"Come on. Humour me a little. Here I am, staring at your perfection in my arms." He kissed Alfred's cheek. "So beautiful... And despite everything, this may be the last time I get to hold you like this," Arthur smiled sadly.

"That's not a very optimistic train of thought," Alfred averted his eyes. His boyfriend's despair was infectious and soon, he too was doubting the success rate of this plan.

"I may have suggested this plan, but it doesn't mean I'm fool enough not to be afraid. Something is definitely going to go wrong tomorrow. Whether it's a tiny detail or a huge step in the entire thing, something's going to mess up." He stopped there and bit his lip. He wasn't being very optimistic, as Alfred had noted, and the lack of will could very well impede on his abilities to survive.

"So you admit that this is suicide," Alfred more stated than asked, gaze blank and shrouded in the dark.

"No. I'm just admitting that I am logically scared of what will happen tomorrow. I am human, and if you hadn't notice yet, humans tend to be scared of monsters that could very well rip them apart with their teeth," Arthur rolled his eyes.

"Well if you're scared, you shouldn't go. It's this fear of death that's kept us alive until now," Alfred quieted down, eyes downcast.

"And if I don't go, we'll be stuck here forever. It's the fear of death that will have killed us," Arthur shook his head, hair and clothes rustling against the ground.

Nobody spoke for a moment, the moans of the zombies downstairs intensifying in the pressuring, silent darkness. It was hard to believe that they'd passed so close to dying so many times before. It was even harder to believe that, despite so many close calls and months spent on the run, they were not invincible. That their lives could be over in the blink of an eye or in the time it took to for teeth to clamp down on muscle.

"It's late." Alfred finally broke the silence, drawing Arthur closer and clutching his dirty clothes in desperation. "You were right. If you're going to go through with this, you're gonna need all your strength tomorrow. Get some rest."

"No. I guess I see what you meant. I need to, but I'm trying not to sleep, because I know that when I wake, I'll have to slip away," Arthur gave a pained smile.

"Babe, just close your eyes. I'll wait for you in your dreams," Alfred kissed Arthur's forehead. For a moment, they forgot who was supposed to be comforting whom. Were they even being comforting anymore?

"No. I don't want it to get any darker than it is right now." Arthur's eyes darted side to side nervously. "The night is darkest before dawn."

"Slow down, Mr Degree in Literature. I... uhh... What?" Alfred blushed, a bit confused by his lover's words. Arthur tended to get philosophical when he delved into deep thoughts, and Alfred was ashamed to admit that he seldom understood what he said without proper explanation.

"Time. Time's flying right by us. I was afraid of the dark, but now it's all that I want." Arthur clung to Alfred desperately. "Anything to keep me in your arms longer. In the daylight, we'll be on our own, but tonight I want to hold you so close."

"Don't go." Alfred attempted to hold him back one last time, and then, weighing the silence, realized that he'd lost ever since the moment that Arthur hatched his plan.

"No. I'm going to go, and I will succeed and I will find you again so that I can promise you for good that I will never again leave your side," Arthur shook his head. "And you had better get there safe and sound, too, or I will be severely frustrated with you."

"My journey is a lot less than dangerous than yours. Concentrate on your crazy little mission, not me, alright? Don't worry about me, Artie," Alfred smiled softly, caressing Arthur's cheek lovingly.

"My name's Arthur," his boyfriend grunted, blushing lightly at the open display of affection, something they hadn't shared in a long long while.

"Arthur," Alfred hummed, readjusting his grip on Arthur's smaller body to draw him as close as he could, and embraced him as fiercely as he could. "Arthur, Arthur, my Arthur."

Arthur did not reply, but let himself go boneless in Alfred's arms. Though he fought it, he finally fell asleep to the warmth of Alfred's arms securely set around him, promising him safety and everlasting love.

Arthur wished that he would not be lied to that way, but he never could refuse Alfred anything anyway.


Arthur woke up at dawn. It was still way too early to put the plan into action, but no matter how much he tried, he could not fall asleep again. After what felt like forever of trying to convince his brain that he was safe in Alfred's hold and did not have to fear the source of the muffled moans, he finally began pushing his strong arms off of him and with a little bit of trouble, managed to get out of Alfred's grip.

"'rthur..." Alfred called in his sleep as soon as Arthur left his grasp. "C'me back..."

"Shh, Alfred, I'm not going anywhere," Arthur assured him in a soft whisper, caressing his hair and bending down to press a gentle kiss to his forehead. "Go to sleep, darling. It's still early."

"Hmm," Alfred hummed in his sleep and sighed, wiggling to make himself comfortable before stilling again. Arthur threaded his fingers through his hair until he went right back to sleep, and then stood up to stretch.

It was still slightly dark outside when he glanced out of the single window in the room. The sky was getting bright and the stars were burning out. His throat went dry because he found it way too hard, especially since he knew that when the sun came up, he'd have to leave. In a moment of weakness, he desperately wished that somebody could slow it down.

He stood there for a while, hands in his pockets, shifting his weight from one foot to the other as night shifted over to day right in front of his eyes. The moans of the zombies in the dead silence of dawn were almost like a hallucination now. Looking at the orange sky brought a strange peace to Arthur. Perhaps this is what a condemned man feels as he watches the run rise above the gallows that await him.

Brusquely tearing his eyes away from the canvas of colours, he turned to the corner where Francis was lying down, seemingly asleep. The glint of daylight in the blonde's eyes was a dead giveaway, though. He'd probably woken up to Arthur's shuffling. Needing to escape the unbearably lonely feeling in his heart, Arthur walked over to him and sat down by his side.

"Sorry for waking you," he whispered, looking straight at the wall.

"Not at all. I was too anxious to sleep well anyway," Francis assured him, sitting up and stretching.

"Sorry," Arthur repeated without actually meaning to.

They both fell into silence, Arthur unknowing what to say and his companion unwilling to disturb his peace. Whatever peace the man could find anymore. And then, Arthur spoke.

"Please get him to safety. Promise me you will see him unharmed. You'll take care of him, won't you?" he whispered, gaze blank. "When I'm gone?"

"You speak as if you're marching off to war," Francis eyed him warily.

"Perhaps I am," Arthur shrugged. "Who knows if I'll come back."

"You've been lying to him," Francis stated cautiously. "You haven't once doubted the fact that you'll return."

"He doesn't need to be worried. All he needs to concentrate on his survival and getting safely to his brother," Arthur shook his head.

"He'll never be the same if you don't make it. Or if you never return," his best friend warned him.

"I know," Arthur smiled, though the subject wasn't exactly cheery. "I never said I'd commit suicide. That is definitely not an option and never will be. There are some people left in this wretched world that care for me. I'm not blind. I know I have much to live for still." He turned his eyes to Francis, finally. "Which is why I refuse to sit here and die off. If I die, I want to die knowing that I did something. If I sit here and wait, it's suicide."

"As you wish, Arthur. Just be careful. I trust you very much, you know I do, but I don't trust those monsters out there. Please don't do anything stupid," Francis sighed, glancing at the window.

"I wouldn't," Arthur assured him quietly. "I want to come back as much as you do."

Francis did not reply. He instead watched Arthur's body language, his hunched position, downcast eyes, lips bitten through and through and his nails chewed down to nothing. He had yet to figure out so many things about his friend's complex personality, but he knew when someone was distressed.

Without a word, he threw the blanket off of himself and scooted over to Arthur's side. The other blonde did not move, so Francis took it as a green light to lean over and gather him in his arms.

Arthur was like a rag doll, letting Francis pull him close and not protesting as he usually would have at such great physical contact.

He was only human. He needed the comfort. Like an inmate's last meal.

He only moved a second later, to turn his head and bury his face into Francis' shoulder. Slowly, hesitantly, his arms snaked up and loosely wrapped around his waist, returning the hug.

"Thank you," Arthur's voice was painfully honest, uncharacteristically quiet. Fear seemed to do that to a man, even a man as strong as Arthur.

"Any time, mon petit lapin," Francis chuckled, rocking him a few times. "I'm glad we met."

Arthur only smiled and took another second of comfort in Francis' arms, and then inhaled deeply before pushing him away.

"Well sometimes, I find myself regretting the day we met. If we hadn't, I wouldn't have to listen to you croak all the time, you stinky frog," Arthur smirked, getting up and dusting himself off, then looking down at him. "Sometimes."

And he left it at that, turning around to walk back to his boyfriend while Francis smothered his amused laughter behind his hands.

Sitting down next to Alfred, Arthur stretched the last remnants of sleep out of his limbs, and then took Alfred's hand in his own. Alfred stirred as Arthur began playing with his fingers, mumbling in his sleep. His heart began to beat faster as Alfred's eyes fluttered open and immediately locked onto his. Arthur greeted him with a smile and got one in return.

"Morning," Alfred yawned, pushing himself up and throwing his arms around his boyfriend.

"Control yourself," Arthur spluttered as Alfred cuddled him sleepily, rubbing their cheeks like a kitten would. It was strangely endearing.

"No," Alfred hummed, pressing a sloppy kiss to Arthur's cheek. "I had a nightmare. That you left without saying goodbye."

"That explains why you're so clingy," Arthur grumbled, rolling his eyes, but making no move to escape Alfred's grip. "But I'm right here, so if you would be kind enough not to smother me..."

"Hmm... Love you..." Alfred smiled sleepily, then pushed himself off of Arthur, taking his hand when he moved back.

"Me too," Arthur's mouth twitched into a smile. "Breakfast?"

"Always," Alfred laughed, pushing his blanket off of himself and getting up, pulling Arthur to his feet as well. "Franny!" He turned to Francis, who was rifling through their supplies. "What are we having?"

"Well, I'm trying to count what we have so that I can split everything between our two parties. I estimate that we'll make it to the checkpoint by tonight, or if we're forced to stop, by tomorrow morning, so we don't really need much food as compared to Arthur, who will be on the run all day, and afterwards for an unknown amount of time. I divided the food in two, so it should be alright," Francis explained as the couple approached him.

"Yeah but what's for right now?" Alfred waved his hand dismissively. "I'm hungry."

"Aren't you always?" Arthur rolled his eyes. How Alfred ate so much and remained so fit always escaped him.

"Ha ha, Arthur." Alfred rolled his eyes, shoving his lover lightly. "So. What did you say we'd be having for breakfast?"

"Your pick. We've got a can of peaches and a can of chick peas," Francis picked up the two cans and showed them to the couple.

"Ooh, let's have peaches!" Alfred's eyes lit up. "Like a 'good luck' meal."

"I don't understand your logic sometimes," Arthur raised his eyebrow. "But let's have peaches nonetheless. We'll need the sugar."

"Alright." With a practiced movement, Francis opened the can and brought out their dirty mess kits.

Breakfast was a strangely silent affair, as everyone was lost in their own thoughts. The brief moment taken, the mess kits were put away, and the daylight seemed so much stronger outside all of a sudden.

"We should get ready," Arthur was the first to suggest.

"Your supplies are in this," Francis held out a small bag to Arthur. "Including both your water bottle and a couple of cans of food. A spoon is in there, too. I left you our map as well."

"Take the map," Arthur grumbled, a blush rising to his cheeks. "Wouldn't want you to get lost."

"Arthur, we can just follow the signs on the road. You need the map," Francis looked a bit surprised.

"No, you keep it. I can bloody well use signs as well," he insisted. "Can't read the bloody thing anyway," he muttered under his breath, making his companions crack a smile.

"Don't stray off the path, then, alright?" Francis warned him, pulling the map out of his backpack and setting it on the ground. "Did you need anything else?"

"Do we possess anything else, even?" Arthur huffed out. "I'll be fine. I've got my gun, and a knife, and that's all that matters in the end."

"Alright," Francis nodded, getting up and throwing Arthur his bag. "I'll go clear the coast by the ladder. I'll be right back."

"Right," Arthur nodded, seeing him go. At this point, nobody locked the door anymore. They'd stopped caring a long time ago, even before they got stuck in there.

As soon as the door clicked shut, Alfred turned to Arthur.

"Are you okay?" he asked tentatively, as if afraid.

"Of course. I'm ready." Which did not mean that he wasn't anxious.

"You don't sound ready," Alfred noted hesitantly.

"I'm just a bit nervous. Don't worry."

"Why?" Alfred asked again, and something in the innocence with which he spoke ticked Arthur off. Admittedly, he was jealous of how well Alfred was dealing with all of this.

"Well I don't know. Look at me. Here I am, waiting. I'll have to leave soon." Sarcasm filtered out of his speech gradually, and he sighed. "Why am I holding on?"

"Because life means to you. There ain't nothing wrong with that," Alfred meekly offered, backing up his words with a hug. Arthur immediately let himself go in his arms, breathing deeply.

"We couldn't run away all the time. We knew this day would come. We knew it all along," he looked up into his lover's eyes sorrowfully. "How did it come so fast?"

"If I had an entire lifetime with you, death would come too fast in the end. An eternity wouldn't be enough time to love you like you deserve," Alfred mumbled, not entirely sure of what he was saying. By the fond, surprise look in Arthur's eyes, he could tell that it was good, though.

"But love is not what I'm worried about. I know we'll be in love, even in death, but I just want to live right now."

"One and the same," Alfred immediately stated, kissing Arthur's cheek. "You love whatever lives. You live if you love. "

"That's funny," Arthur let out a string of trembling chuckles. "I swore I was the literature graduate here."

"Words from the bottom of my heart are worth every literature degree out there," Alfred chuckled along, a bit more confident.

"Then promise me this, from the bottom of your heart," Arthur whispered somberly, and even the ever-so oblivious Alfred felt the shift in the atmosphere. "You'll live, you'll find safety, and you'll be happy. And if ever anything happens to me, you'll move on, but never forget me."

"I don't need to promise that. You're gonna come back, I just know it." His boyfriend kissed his forehead.

Arthur did not have the opportunity to reply before Francis opened the door. The two immediately looked up, still hugging, and felt something akin to freezing water run down their spines.

"It's time," Francis motioned to the hallway with his head. "We should go now."

"Let's do it," Arthur agreed, getting up along with Alfred. Alfred did not speak, following behind Arthur. He never let go of his hand, even though his palm was clammy.

There was a loud noise in the hallway, coming from downstairs. The trio did not pay attention to it and headed to the room where the ladder had been set up. It overlooked the field behind the house, so Arthur would have a lot of ground to escape onto if anything went wrong. They stepped into the room silently, and headed for the window. Daylight had finally completely touched the earth. Peering out of the window, they made sure that no zombies were waiting at the foot of the ladder or nearby, then stepped back.

"I guess this is it," Arthur nodded to Francis, his heart somersaulting scarily in his chest. His stomach began to hurt, but he quickly pushed that down. He didn't need distractions right now. "I'll see you later." Wherever they ended up meeting. In this life or the next. "Thanks," he quietly pulled his hand out of Alfred's and held it out for Francis.

Francis briefly looked down at it, and then gingerly took it, bending to kiss it. Arthur blinked at him in surprise, but when Francis glanced up and winked, he couldn't help but smile.

"Don't touch me," he slapped Francis' face away without much strength, and then offered his hand again, which Francis shook properly this time, with a proud smile. Arthur smirked back, then pulled him close into a one-armed hug and a pat on the back. "Don't forget what I said this morning," he reminded him as he stepped back.

"Wouldn't dream of it, rosbif," Francis assured him, smiling softly. "Good luck."

"Thanks." Arthur then turned to Alfred, who was fidgeting nervously. "And you. I expect you to be on your best behaviour and cooperate with Francis. And slap him in the face if he does something stupid. Stay hydrated, and if your ankle begins hurting again, find somewhere safe that you can take a breather. Save your bullets, too."

"Arthur, I got this," Alfred shook his head with a sheepish smile. "Don't worry. Please. I'll be fine."

"Right then." Arthur snorted, crossing his arms, and looking at Alfred expectantly. Alfred seemed to shrink under his gaze, as if he didn't know what was expected him. Arthur did not have time for pleasantries, though. He quickly uncrossed his arms and hugged his boyfriend, taking a deep whiff of his hair. He smelled like sweat, blood, dirt and grease, but it was still strangely comforting. In a second, Alfred's strong arms were around him, pulling him close and tight. Arthur closed his eyes, imagining that the next time they'd hug like this, they'd be safe. One way or another.

But he had no time to lose. Every second counted.

Pushing Alfred away gently, he caressed his cheek briefly, and lovingly gaze into his eyes. Alfred looked back at him with a heartbreaking sadness in his eyes, and kissed his hand. No words were exchanged, and Alfred instead came forward to press a long, wet kiss to Arthur's lips. Arthur replied just as passionately, but briefly, pulling away to catch his breath and check his weapons before swinging his backpack straps over both shoulders and stepping up to the window.

"Right, well, I'm off. See you two around." He nodded at both of them, and his mouth twitched into what was supposed to be a comforting smile before he put one leg out of the window and passed his entire body through to step on the first rung of the aluminum ladder. "Goodbye."

"Arthur," Alfred suddenly stepped forward, directly at the window, and looked at Arthur pleadingly. "Please. Please, babe, please be careful..."

"I will, I promise," Arthur nodded, and hesitated a second before leaning forward and giving Alfred a soft, brief, chaste, but oh-so sweet kiss. A promise. A memento.

And then he was gone, zooming down the ladder rungs and landing safely. Alfred wanted to watch on in horrified curiosity, but he couldn't see anything past Arthur cupping his hands around his mouth and yelling on top of his lungs. A second after the noise came, Francis immediately dragged him down to the ground, and ushered him away from the window.

"Arthur," Alfred choked out, looking at Francis pleadingly. "I-I have to... I have to see-"

"Alfred, stop. We can't risk any zombies seeing us. For all they know, everybody is gone from this house already. Stay down. We'll go back once Arthur is gone," he warned him in a whisper.

"I never should have let him go," Alfred choked out, ears catching the sound of Arthur hollering outside. It was meant to be funny, the way he swore at them and called them names that Alfred had never even heard before, but he couldn't bring himself to laugh. He was barely holding back tears.

"Trust him to come back. I've known Arthur since we were children. He won't break a promise." Not on purpose, at least, he reminded himself grimly, unable to smile at his friend's antics, either. They went silent, blood chilling in the veins when screeches and moans arose from everywhere around them, howls from hell itself. Alfred momentarily wondered if they'd died and if they were serving their sentence now.

And he suddenly wished that he weren't there to listen to Arthur yell outside, taunting the zombies and drawing them out of the front of the house. He was terribly afraid, now that he couldn't see, that any second now, Arthur's smug taunting would become muffled screaming. Terrified tears pricked his eyes and he buried his face in his hands, refusing to cry.

This went on for five to ten minutes, after which a whole mob seemed to have conglomerated outside. They did not tamper much with the ladder, rattling it once or twice, to Francis' obvious horror, but left it alone and concentrated on their moving target, which seemed to have completely its mission.

"Good luck!" was the last thing that Arthur yelled loud and clear, obviously for human ears to hear only. And then nothing else. Francis and Alfred waited in bated breath for new developments, but nothing happened. Five, ten minutes later, the only moans were the ones coming from downstairs. Nothing outside.

And Alfred finally deemed it safe enough to burst into tears.


Francis and Alfred carefully returned to their safe room after a while, each vacating to their own thoughts. Francis pulled out the map and studied it again for the hundredth time, and Alfred busied himself with building a castle of cards that always crumbled at the seams. His tears had stopped falling but his heart never stopped crying.

They warmed back up by lunchtime, having had enough time to be solitary. They both knew, as they began a comfortable discussion about their escape plan, that lingering on something would do them no good. Nothing lasted in this condemned world anyway.

Happiness did not. And by extension, sadness should not last either.

"Is your ankle alright for jogging?" Francis asked as he put away their dirty mess kits away.

"It hasn't hurt too badly. I might limp a little bit." Alfred took a deep breath and swallowed a gulp of water. He imagined Arthur's hands pulling him back and he stopped after a single gulp, his parched throat screaming for more as he twisted the cap shut.

"We'll start at a fast walk, then. We'll have to sneak around a little bit, avoid tall grass in the dark, but let's try to keep our pace steady. We'll keep jogging, or in desperate cases, sprinting, for emergencies," Francis pulled the map between them. "We'll go through here. It's an asphalt road, so it'll be easier for you, and it won't make much difference since in the night, zombies will have trouble seeing us. We'll have trouble, too, though, so we should just run, instead of sneaking around."

"Francis, it's alright," Alfred stopped him before he could keep going. "Arthur trusted you. So I'll trust you, too."

Francis stared at him, the sad smile on his face, and folded the map comprehensively.

"In that case, let's leave it to nature and play a game of cards instead."


Night approached and anxiety rose within the remaining blondes. They were tense as they paced around the room, making sure their things were packed and running the plan over again in their heads. The sun was dying down, and an orange glow had been cast over everything. Neither of them had any kind of electronic device, so they did not know the time. Francis, at some point, though, decided that it was time to go, and so they did.

Alfred was surprised and admittedly a bit disappointed by how uneventful their escape was. Arthur had done his job right, and no zombies bothered them on their way down the ladder. As they walked away from the house and regained the paved road, they both noted how none of the undead were left around the house, nor on the front porch. It was comforting a little bit, to be able to slip away unseen, but the underlying fact was that Arthur had an entire pack of undead running after him so that they could escape safely.

Alfred tried not to let that get to him and concentrated on running. If he died, Arthur's efforts would have been for naught.

They met no notable resistance for the first two hours or so. Dusk turned into night, and they were still on the run. They stopped once, to rest Alfred's aching ankle on a roadside border fence, and then got back to walking when Francis spotted a few limping figures coming their way. Asides that, they met no resistance as they engaged in the long stretch of road between two residential centres.

The most dangerous part was the home stretch, thirty minutes before they reached Saint-Jean. Houses were becoming more and more common, as were their deceased inhabitants roaming the streets, and Francis briefly discussed staying the night before continuing. Their visibility was very limited in the night, and Alfred's ankle was throbbing with every step. They were slowed down by Francis helping him walk, and every form that rose out of the shadows and stumbled towards them was another tiny heart attack.

"I wonder how Arthur's doing," Alfred mumbled when the silence broken by haunted cries became too heavy to bear.

"I'm sure he's fine," Francis quickly answered, telling him to leave it at that.


Blood was staining the leaves under Arthur's feet as he ran, the intense smell of a living being drawing zombies from all around after him. The forest was alight with the moans of the undead. Arthur was panting, his side cramping and his bag of supplies noticeably missing from his back, but he tried to avoid the tree trunks popping out in front of him as he ran. He was light-headed and didn't even know where he was going. He'd used the last of his bullets a ways back and his hands were too shaky to use a knife properly.

He ran until his legs finally gave out under him, his frantic mind ordering a terrified scream, survival instinct blazing as he dragged himself across the damp leaves. The tears on his cheeks turned to full out sobs, ricocheting off the trees, loud and uncensored for he had nothing left to be ashamed of. He was going to die, alone, under the hands -and teeth- of a faceless monster.

He couldn't do it anymore. He tried so hard, but it got him nowhere. It didn't even matter in the end.

Letting himself drop, Arthur curled up in a ball, refusing to look at the shadow looming over him and cried out one last time.


"If you say so..." Alfred was unconvinced, but really couldn't afford to dabble on in such depressing thoughts.

Confrontation became necessary about fifteen minutes before they got to the city's bounds. Ironically enough, Francis could see the fences on the horizon, lit by the telltale search lights dimmed in the distance, when he pulled out his knife to stab the first kill of the night.

"How many can you see?" Alfred immediately pulled out his own weapon, ears out for the warning moans of the undead.

"They're not in big numbers. Let's keep moving so that they don't come at us in a pack." A moan rose into the night and Francis spun around to check behind them. "Merde. A bunch of them are coming at us in the back."

"Let's go then!" Alfred rushed him, limping forward and dragging Francis with him. To their ever-growing dismay, zombies seemed to be coming out of every alley, one or two at a time, but grouped together so that by the time they'd gotten on the main street, they had an entire pack, a couple of dozens of undead, stumbling and screeching close behind. Unable to jog because of his ankle, Alfred did his best to drag himself with Francis' help, who, on top of having to lead the expedition, was supporting Alfred's weight, and was exhausted out of his wits.

"Are we there yet?" Alfred voice had turned into a small squeak, pain overriding his senses.

"Almost. That's the fence we need to reach, at the end of that street, see?" It was slightly easier to spot the said fence as they got closer to the search lights, but to both of them, it seemed like forever before they even got halfway. The crowd behind them didn't help in making them feel triumphant.

"We're almost there," Alfred panted through the haze of pain as they crossed the third street before the fence. His ankle was beginning to slow him down, and to their horror, the undead were catching up by the likes of ten metres away. Both their paces were steady, though, so they kept going as best as they could.

"As soon as we get close, you need to put your hands up. Zombies are not the only threat out here, and if we don't announce our surrender, they might mistake us for looters or scouts for some rag tag team of bandits," Francis explained as eagerness turned their limp into a brisk walk towards the fence. It didn't look so far anymore. They could both see the search lights illuminating the patrols and their patrol dogs, inside the fence. They hadn't been spotted yet.

"How do we get their attention?" Alfred panted, his leg sending jolts of pain up his spine with every step. "They'll catch up if we don't announce ourselves soon enough!"

"Alright, only one thing left to do. If this gets us killed, forgive me," Francis bit his lip, and unholstered his gun. Aiming it back, he had a moment to find his target in the inky darkness of the night before firing.

The shot rang out in the relative silence of the night, and the painting seemed to come alive.

There was a split second that Francis used to holster his gun before the lights were upon them. They blinded the both of them, halting their progress as stars exploded in their vision, but not the progress of their companions in the back.

"Keep walking, put your hands up," Francis advised, shakily putting his free hand up in surrender.

"Francis, I can't see." Alfred's voice was trembling, understandably. The moans that were following them were worryingly close.

The sound of human voices reached their ears, scrambling and yelling out orders. They would not stop until they got inside, though. Alfred tentatively opened his eyes once he got used to the light, and saw the guards inside just waiting with their dogs. Why weren't they helping? Alfred had a bad feeling about it and got an even worse feeling as something screeched behind him. A second later, full blown out fear gripped his soul like the clawed hand that gripped his arm.

Alfred screamed and twisted around, blindly punching whatever was in front of him. He caught something soft, thankful that it wasn't teeth, and punched the same spot again. Next to him, Francis sounded like the was having the same problem. It was ironic how they would die so close to safety. Poor Arthur couldn't have saved them from this.

Alfred's vision was swimming, blurs of colour registering behind his dirty glasses, white dots specking his view. His mind was shutting down, terror taking over his senses. Francis had let go of him to fight off his own attackers, so Alfred attempted to blindly catch the zombie's throat and keep its face away from his as much as possible. He could still see well enough to make out the rotten jaw snapping at him, teeth glinting with blood and bits of tissue stuck between them, and Alfred realized he was crying. He was going to die.

And as suddenly as it came, the zombie trying to chew his face off was on the ground, unmoving, a bullet hole in its forehead. Taking deep breaths, Alfred retreated until his back hit the fence, able to see the zombies under the spotlights and horrified at how many there were. To his relief, more gunshots rang out, and a moment later, someone grabbed his hand. Alfred flinched and let out a small cry, but quickly recognized Francis. He was saying something, urgency in those bright, teary blue eyes of his, but Alfred couldn't hear him. Shock had taken a hold of him, and sound filtered out. In return, colours seemed to come into sharp contrast, and he could suddenly make out all the details around him.

Francis yelled, and his hearing suddenly filtered back in again, startling him.

"Come on! They're opening the fence!"

Nodding dumbly, Alfred let Francis drag him by the hand, limping heavily on the short way to the end of the rolling fence. A man in army green uniform was waiting there, and as soon as they reached it, opened it for them to stumble inside, immediately locking it afterwards. Alfred and Francis only had a brief moment of relief before hands were on them and voice barked out from everywhere.

"Freeze! On your knees, hands on the fence!"

The hands manhandled them to the fence that blocked them from the zombies outside, forcing them to their knees. Too tired to argue, the blondes put their hands up and gripped the fence. Francis let out a loud cry when a zombie suddenly grabbed the fence, shoving its teeth through the links in order to grab and eat him, but the people holding him down did not let him draw back. It wasn't long before one of the officers behind him pulled out a handgun and shot the zombie down, but it was enough for Alfred to make out the terrified tears running down Francis' cheeks. He was glad that he wasn't the only one breaking down in this situation.

"Disarm them!" The same voice ordered and the hands set to work, patting every inch of the blondes' bodies and pulling out both of their guns and the knives at their waists. "Do you have any other weapons?" demanded the voice.

"No," Alfred answered in a quivering voice. "No, we don't! Please let us go!"

"Stand," the voice commanded, and they were pulled to their feet and spun around to face the person who was obviously the base's commander. The loud booming of guns was dying down behind them, as was the moaning of the zombies that had followed them, but Alfred was not comforted in the least.

The man was tall, buff, and stood straight. Wearing the typical army uniform, Alfred recognized his insignia as that of a sergeant. By the way he was acting, he was probably the big boss around this checkpoint. He had blond hair slicked back and piercing blue eyes that raked over them for any sign of danger.

"Are you bit?" he asked, and Alfred noted that he had a small accent.

"N-No," Francis stuttered out in his stead, visibly trembling.

"Corporal Honda," the tall man barked, and a smaller man with black hair and dark brown eyes stepped up next to him.

"Yes Sir," he answered, eyes trained on the newcomers.

"Escort them to the infirmary, have Private Vargas look at them. I want a full report before daylight."

"Sir, yes Sir," the man saluted, and the soldiers holding Alfred and Francis abruptly let them go. Alfred lurched, stumbling, but before he had a chance to regain his balance, Francis had already helped him stand up and walk after the quiet man escorting them. The surprised look in Alfred's eyes spoke volumes, but Francis only answered with a sad smile.

"I promised him I'd protect you."

They may have finally reached safety, but Alfred was more devastated than ever.

Author's Notes

I LIED THERE'S ONE CHAPTER LEFT. Reason for this is... I didn't think it would be so long winded. I'm so sorry, most of this chapter was just blah blah blah. Apologies for making you wait, but this chapter is already 11 000 words long, I don't want to make it longer ;w; Next chapter, we'll see Alfred and Francis getting to Montreal, enter Matthew, settling in, and what happened to Arthur.

The French was rather easy to guess in this chapter. The only one was probably 'ce n'est pas raisonnable', which means 'it's unreasonable/makes no sense'. I had a bit of trouble, though, with Canadian army ranks, so... hope it makes sense :U

I tried to make things more interesting with metaphors and only came up with the one about the game of cards. You know. Cause a lot of card games are chance, and luck, and only a little bit of skill. (exceptyu-gi-ohdatshitis30%skill70%believin'intheheartofthecardshahahaha yolo). Well, that's that for me and meaningful writing oops.

Also, let's play a game. Spot all the references you can find of AMC's "The Walking Dead".

So hope you enjoyed this second chapter, and please leave a review! It always motivates me a lot more when I see that people enjoy what I'm writing ;w; Thanks for your time everyone, and please leave a comment, any comment you may have, as a review! 8D