A/N: Oneshot. Zombie AU! So zombies make things angsty. Angsty ShaunDes is good. That is all.

If kills my page breaks again I'm gonna rage 8l


Desmond crouched next to a bush, pressed up as close as he could get without actually forcing inside. The twigs stabbed at his skin, but he forced himself to stay still. He heard the wailing of those poor, sick beings they had been running from for weeks, and clutched his shotgun in a death-grip. His heart hammered in his chest, and he closed his eyes, fighting to control his breathing. They were surrounded, and if they didn't fight back soon they would be discovered. He'd have to act fast, and keep his head. He could only pray that Shaun was still behind him, and would have his back. He took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and sprang from his hiding place.

He blew the face off of a walker a few feet away from him, who may very well have been seconds from discovering him. The element of surprise saved him, and he was able to take out three more that were nearby. By that time, the others had noticed, and had descended upon him with feral screams.

He was relieved to hear a second firearm sounding close by, as well as a few unrestrained British curses. Once he cleared the way in front of him for a good fifty feet, he risked a glance behind him. "You holding up!?"

Shaun cursed again. "I hurt my bloody ankle but yeah, holding up just fine thanks! Nasty little bloody WANKERS—" the last word was cut off by his pistol fire.

Desmond scanned around, gauging where the most of the zombies were coming from. If he could just fight through the opposite wall of them, he and Shaun could outrun the horde coming in. He had about ten seconds before they'd be ripped to shreds. He charged. "Come on-!"

He ignored Shaun's objection and just laid into the beings in front of him, without mercy. The thoughts flitting through his mind were simple, and rapid-fire. Aim at a figure's chest and fire. Vaguely register the picturesque splattering of infected blood before turning to splatter another face. Three more in his way, dispatched as easily as the last. Don't stop to think about how many are behind, and just run—He broke from his adrenaline-fueled trance long enough to look back to make sure Shaun was behind him. The man was running as fast as he could with a hurt ankle, which was pretty damn fast considering. Desmond blasted behind the man as he struggled to catch up. "Just a little longer, I see the safe house up ahead!"

Shaun didn't waste his breath with a retort, and focused on simply moving, gritting his teeth in pain. A few hundred yards later, they stumbled through the safehouse door and barred the entrance as well as they could. They sat against the walls across from each other, catching their breath.

After a few minutes, Shaun grimaced, and pulled his leg up to nurse his ankle. It didn't look too terribly swollen, but it had slowed him down. "Shit…"

Desmond raised an eyebrow. "Did you know it's good to walk on a sprained ankle? Within reason, of course."

Shaun looked at him in disbelief. "How the hell does that make any sense?"

Desmond shrugged. "I heard it somewhere. Helps it heal, I guess."

"That makes absolutely no bloody sense. But I guess we'll see, since I haven't got a bloody choice, do I?" He frowned, annoyed. Desmond smiled, but it fell after a few seconds. However light-hearted their banter grew, the situation loomed over their brief moment of peace—injuries were never a laughing matter. Though Shaun seemed to handle himself well enough… He sure hauled ass in spite of everything.

"I hope the girls are alright…" Shaun murmured as he dozed.

Desmond nodded, solemnly. They had agreed that if they got separated, they'd meet at one of the safe houses along the way. The girls had left notes a few times, telling that they were okay, and giving a few helpful tips. But they hadn't found any for the last three safehouses. Either they were dead, or they went a different route. Desmond could only hope it was the latter. "They'll be okay. They can take care of themselves better than we can."

"Yeah… I'm getting some shuteye. Goodnight." He limped to the back of the shed-like safe house to try and set up something semi-comfortable. Desmond dozed, trying not to think too much. There wasn't anything he could do but keep moving, and just survive. Any other thoughts would just distract him, or drive him insane. Everything will be fine, he thought. Everything will be fine... He let himself fall into a deeper sleep than he'd had in days.

Shaun was up and kicking him in the side before sunrise, apparently none worse for the wear. He'd finally gotten over his caffeine withdrawal, but he was still a terrible morning person. Desmond groaned and lifted himself from his awkward position against a food pantry.

They found a few questionable-looking cans of whatever and ate whatever they could stomach. Then they headed out again. All the while they just kept heading west along the main roads, hoping they would outrun the infection. They entered a small town to hopefully find some food, but it had been cleaned out. It was just their luck that they were two of the last people to come out of the east.

Desmond tried his luck trying to hotwire a car, but the damn thing was out of gas. He grunted in frustration and kicked the side. And just his luck, the fucking car alarm went off.

The town wasn't deserted for long.

They hid at the back of a convenient store a few blocks away, hoping the zombies would flock to the car and not to an empty building. Shaun wouldn't have been too worried had he not seen one zombie galloping on all fours.

"What the bloody hell was that thing!?" He whispered harshly.

Desmond reloaded. "Are they fucking mutating, or something? That shit was faster than us."

"Well, I'd like to not have to find out, alright? So keep quiet."

Such was not meant to be. A nice infected clerk decided to come out of the bathroom and shriek at them, alerting others outside.

They ran to the roof and planned to go down the other side before they noticed, but they were coming from all over. Desmond had to convince Shaun that no, a ten foot drop to the next building would not kill him, and that it was the only way to get down without getting shredded. They ran along to the roof entrance and pried it open. It was then that one of those fast motherfuckers decided to attack Desmond and bite him on the shoulder. He yelled in pain, then threw it off him and shot it in the face. He only had about three seconds to thank whatever force had made him immune before another came up. He kicked Shaun through the door and into the building.

"Stay down there and hide, I'll draw them off!"

He vaguely registered the various curses and hoped he could be loud enough to draw them away. He shot the oncoming motherfucker in the face, and sprinted to the edge of the building and jumped.

He rolled, cursing as he landed on his hurt shoulder, then sprung back up. He slid down a ladder on the side, and fired into the nearest group of zombies. Then he started running. No way he was gonna let them get to Shaun. Not while he was alive.

He fought them off as well as he could, occasionally jumping back onto roofs when he was overrun. He fired sparingly and accurately, hoping to conserve his ammunition. Then something caught his eye. Shaun was up on the roof of the same fucking building he'd pushed him into. What the fuck!?

"What the hell are you doing, Shaun!?"

Shaun was livid. "They got inside, you stupid prat! You left me here all alone!" He was trying to keep the door shut with all his might.

Desmond's stomach dropped. Shit. "Okay, I'll cover you. Jump to the next building and hide somewhere!" He aimed at the door.

"It's not going to do much good if they're fucking everywhere, idiot!"

"Just do it!"

Shaun let go, and dashed to the edge of the building and jumped. Desmond aimed with deadly accuracy and kept the zombies off his pretty ass as he got out of there. Then he noticed some assholes were trying to climb the ladder below him, and he shot their faces off. He looked around for anything they could use, anything at all. Maybe something flammable…? There, a gas can! Maybe they could blow up that stupid car and put some debris between them and the zombies. Then run as fast as they could and lose them all. He glanced over to the other building. Shaun was doing well holding his own on the roof. They could still survive this. "Shaun, can you get to that gas can over there!?" He pointed to show where it was.

Shaun followed his finger, then called back. "Maybe? And do what!?"

"I'm gonna lead them down that alley there. You blow up the car when I say!"

"This is fucking insane."

"Just go, I'll cover you!"

Shaun climbed down the side, and Desmond cleared the area of any zombies. There couldn't be that many more, could there? Just as he thought that, the door flew off of a warehouse and several savage zombies scurried out, headed straight for him. "Awesome—" He jumped down to the ground, and ran.

He led them around to the alley and yelled. "Light it now!" But there was no answer. "God dammit, Shaun—!" He scrambled up the side of a building and out of harm's way, then yelled. "Shaun, where are you!?"

Then he saw him. The crazy Brit was fighting off a horde by himself. Desmond yelled, "Where's the gas can!?"

"It was empty! I told you your stupid plan was insane! Shit—" He fired over and over, desperate to keep zombies away from him.

Desmond thought fast. If he didn't help him, he'd be ripped to pieces in a few seconds. He threw an empty metal trash can at the horde and yelled, "Hey assholes, over here!"

He fired at the trash can to make as much noise as possible, drawing the attention of most of the horde. Shaun used the split-second distraction to wrench the warehouse door up and dive under it, then slam it down on a zombie's neck. It wasn't long though before the zombies began work of tearing through it.

Desmond fired on them, but he couldn't stop them all from getting through. And meanwhile, the rest of the horde was surrounding him. And he couldn't get to Shaun. His breath caught in his throat as he fired at them over and over, each one he brought down being replaced by another. This wasn't happening, it couldn't be happening-! They were about to die because of a stupid fucking car alarm, and it was his fault. Zombies surrounded him, closing in. He was getting ready to beat his way through or die trying when a molotov exploded next to him, sending a bunch of them screaming.

He had an opening, and took it. He took out the few zombies threatening to get through again, making his way away from the ones chasing him. Another molotov landed in the middle of them scattering them.

The motherfucker was in the warehouse, chucking a bunch of molotovs! Where the fuck did he find those!? He ran inside to find a bunch of burning zombies, and avoided the rancid smoke. There were others trying to make their way up the stairs, to where Shaun had probably set up his defense. There were no more molotovs coming down, so he opened fire on them. "Hey bitches, come get some nice, juicy brains!" His heart pounded—he was terrified. He was running into more danger, even though he'd avoided it before. But he couldn't lose Shaun. If Shaun died, he would be alone. He'd rather be torn to shreds than be left alone in this godforsaken world. He screamed, firing on the wretched beings.

He fired relentlessly, some coming right after him, and some others being too confused about what to go after. They went down easily. None of those fast motherfuckers had showed up again, but he didn't want to give them the chance. He sprinted up the stairs to the second level. He heard Shaun cry out from above, and his stomach plummeted. "Shaun!? You okay!?"

He looked around the upper level , frantically. There was a dead zombie down next to a corner, and he darted over there. Its brains had been bashed out and its putrid blood pooled around its head on the floor. He tried not to gag, considering how many times he'd seen something like it. Not enough to make him desensitized, apparently. His heart pounded, his arms shaking from the adrenaline of narrowly avoiding death himself.

He stepped around the mess and rushed down the hall. "Shaun!?" His insides tightened. What if he was hurt? Or worse? What if he walked around the corner here, and some walker was munching on his friend? He swallowed, and forced himself to breathe.

He turned the corner, and there it was. One of the fast fuckers with blood all over its mouth just fucking waiting for him. It was chewing on someone's face when it noticed him. It pounced on him.

Desmond screamed, in both terror and fury, and soon the zombie's head was split open on the floor. Desmond pushed himself up and dry-heaved against the railing. There wasn't anything to throw up, anyway. He forced himself to look up, over at the body.

It was a woman. Probably long-dead, considering how many living people they'd seen in the last few weeks, which was none. He was both relieved, and filled with terror once again. If Shaun wasn't dead, then he could still be in danger. Where the fuck was he!? He cried, "Shaun, answer me, where the fuck are you!?"

And then there was a hand over his mouth, throwing him up against the wall next to the giant window. It didn't feel like a zombie's clammy and rotten hand, so he assumed this person was less likely to kill him. He froze. Shaun glowered at him, and whispered harshly, "Shut the fuck up, or they'll hear us." His voice trembled with exertion.

Desmond's heart pounded as relief flooded through him. If Shaun was still pissed at him, he was still alive. He trembled, the adrenaline finally catching up to him. Shaun slowly pulled his hand away and flattened himself against the wall, staring out the window.

Desmond's voice quivered. "I'm sorry. I thought you were dead."

Shaun whispered again. "Well, if I were dead I wouldn't have answered anyway now, would I? Shut up!"

They stood in silence, their own heartbeats almost audible. Shaun scowled out the window, watching the walkers outside file around aimlessly. They didn't look like they were looking for a way in, meaning they were safe as long as they didn't make a noise. Shaun relaxed visibly, and spoke quietly. "We'll stay up here until there's a way out. Then we bolt, and head for the next safehouse. No stopping. We'll outrun them as long as one of those fast ones doesn't catch our scent." He took his eyes off the window and leaned up against the wall, his eyes closed.

"… I love you." The statement was almost inaudible.

Shaun frowned, and turned his head quizzically. "What?"

Desmond looked at the floor, balling his fists in the pockets of his hoodie. "N-Nothing."

Shaun pressed on. "What did you say?" He almost sounded reprimanding.

Desmond hesitated, and fought to meet Shaun's gaze. "I… I like you."

"That's not what you said."

Desmond's heart raced. He felt like he was surrounded by walkers about to eat his brains. But he wasn't in danger, not now. He was safe. As long as he stayed quiet. So there was absolutely no reason not to say it. He said it again.

"I… love you…" His voice quivered.

Shaun stared, unreadable, then turned away, looking at the floor. He brought his hand up and scrubbed his face. Desmond swallowed, waiting. For something. Anything.

Then Shaun turned back to him. "Later. Not now. We've got to get out of here, okay?" He went back to watching out the window.

Desmond's heart relented, and calmed itself somewhat. "Okay…" He turned away and tried to relax against the wall for a minute before they bolted out of there, all the while feeling his insides tightening in apprehension.

Eventually the walkers got bored (if they could even do that?) and wandered away from the entrance, and the two saw their chance. They ran from the building before the zombies knew they were there, and made their way up the road to the next safehouse with no other run-ins with flesh-eating pests.

They barred the door, and checked the back once they realized something nasty smelled from back there. It was nothing more than a few exploded cans of expired food, and they did their best to block it off from the rest of the house. Desmond found a pathetic amount of brandy on a shelf, and poured it onto his shoulder. Hopefully that shit wouldn't get infected, even if he wouldn't turn into a zombie because of it. Luckily they were able to find a first-aid kit that wasn't completely ransacked, and he bandaged it. There were a few extra guns lying around, and they gratefully refilled their magazines. They sat down at the table that was so hospitably left for them by the former owners, and took a breather.

A couple of minutes later, Shaun looked over to his companion, a look of disbelief on his face. "You're an idiot."

Desmond frowned. "Thank you. I've figured that out." Shaun had no retort for once, and they fell silent again.

Shaun wouldn't look at him. He kept examining his gun and messing with the reload mechanism. After a few minutes, the tension was too much for Desmond. "So…?"

Shaun shoved the clip in again and put the gun on the table, scrubbing his face again. "I'm trying to think of something to say."

Desmond huffed. "Well, just say what's on your mind. You're killing me here."

Shaun sighed. "I just… I really don't think we should worry about this right now. We're just trying to survive. It might get distracting." He glanced over, then back again quickly.

Desmond frowned, then broke his gaze. "Right. Just forget it. It was stupid." He got up from the table and turned to leave.

"Wait, Desmond stop—" Shaun rose and grabbed Desmond's wrist.

"It's fine, okay? I'm just being—"

And then he felt lips on his.

They were warm, and soft despite their current circumstances. Hands gripped his sweatshirt, holding him still. He exhaled a short breath when he realized he had been holding it, and slipped his hands up around to Shaun's back. He pulled the other man close as his heart pounded, the heat reducing him to panting in seconds. He felt himself being pushed into the wall, and welcomed the relinquishment of control. His lips parted and he felt a tug at his lower lip as he moaned, quietly and breathily. The overwhelming feel of another human being, combined with the heat of their bodies pressed together was enough to kill any coherent thought in his mind, and he was left with simply "fuck yes".

And then he felt hands between them, and those warm, tender lips leave his own. His eyes cracked open as the endorphin flow stopped its assault on his brain. "What?" he said with no intention of hiding his disappointment.

Shaun panted. "It's not like… I don't want to. But I…" He let go of the other man and took a half-step back. "I really don't think it's a good idea right now."

"Why, because it's not safe? That door is barred with half a ton of shit, nothing is getting through there."

"Desmond, please. I can't…" He ran a hand through his hair. "I wouldn't be able to focus."

Desmond blinked, and looked down. Yeah, it probably was a stupid idea. But neither of them could deny how fucking desperate they were by now. That coupled with the leftover euphoria of finally having done what he'd been fantasizing about for weeks left him almost speechless. "Right… Okay." He did attempt to hide his disappointment that time. He turned away again, then was stopped by a hand.

Shaun gazed at him. "Later. Maybe when it's safe. Okay?" He let go again. The contact was maddening. What a tease.

Desmond met his gaze and tried not to melt. "Y-Yeah. I'm gonna go sleep. Or something. Not jack off. Okay."

Shaun hid his face in disbelief as Desmond walked away, totally not the definition of frustrated.

They did both decide it would have to wait, because later that night a walker had decided it would be fun to bang on the door and shriek outside. Desmond had nearly screamed back as he was torn from his slumber, but Shaun had clamped a hand over his mouth before he could give them both away. They had to wait until it was safe to actually go out the door and make a run for it.

Along the way, previous occupants had left little messages on the walls or on paper, telling of their travels and where they were headed next. It was good for them, because some people actually knew what they were talking about. They warned about a big city to the west, which was now filled with zombies who would eat their faces if they went near. They decided to get off the main road and head towards a house in the middle of Bumfuck, Nowhere. The note said it was worth it—it described a "fucking bunker" that was along that road—and any chance of not getting their faces eaten was definitely worth it.

What they didn't count on was that the zombies had moved away from the city and were fucking grazing like cattle on anything that came that way. The air was rank with death, and the flat, dry land of the Midwest gave them little cover from being spotted. They would have to go around by miles in order to avoid this horde.

Occasionally they had to beat a wandering zombie's head in, but other than that, they didn't meet much opposition. The sun beat down on them, and they hadn't been able to find much good food for a few days, and they were exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before. At least they were good on ammunition.

Regardless, they were elated to see a structure over the horizon. It was an old, small farm house with really shitty insulation and a door that wouldn't stay shut unless it was locked. This "bunker" had better be within a few hours' walk or Desmond was gonna beat some heads. Some perfectly healthy ones. He did the usual sweep of the house to see if there were any zombies in the closet or something, and found a generous supply of food still left in the pantry. And running water, even! It really was the apocalypse if he had to get excited about that kind of shit. He brought a few cans of food he thought might taste good together, and noticed Shaun sitting against the wall, looking for all the world like he wanted to crawl into a corner and die.

There was no way he could be sweating that badly from the heat. He was pale and his half-lidded eyes betrayed his misery. Desmond raised an eyebrow. "Dude, are you sick? Heat stroke or something?" Shit, how was he supposed to treat that? He wracked his brain but couldn't think of anything. Shit.

"No… not heat stroke."

"Well then… was it something you ate? I thought that can looked bloated man, you might have food poisoning—"

"Look. I'm a doctor of History, not a bloody MD, you twat. I have no idea."

"Jesus… I'll try to find some stuff in the back to make you feel better, kay?" He went to the bathroom and rifled through what was left of the medical supplies. Someone had put together a nice list of what to use for what symptoms… but it was useless without the supplies. He had some Ipecac and some bandages. Maybe Shaun could puke himself back to health. He headed back to the kitchen where the man was still wallowing against the wall. Then he noticed a note stuck to the long-dead refrigerator. His eyes widened. "Hey, it's a note! From Lucy!" He grabbed it greedily.

Shaun twisted his head in Desmond's general direction. "Really now? That's wonderful." His genuine relief showed through his misery.

Desmond wasn't smiling anymore. He frowned in disbelief, then let his hand fall along with the note. He looked over to Shaun. "Rebecca's dead. She didn't make it here."

Shaun's stomach dropped. "What…? Let me read it." Desmond walked over and handed it to him. Shaun read, silent.


Hi guys. I'm really sorry I didn't write sooner, but there was a lot going on and I was scared to stop. And I didn't know what to say.

Rebecca's dead. I saw her. I had to run, I'm so sorry.

I can't stay here long because of the horde coming in, and it isn't a very sturdy house. I'm going west further, to see if I can find a better safehouse. If it's sturdy and safe, I'll wait for you there for ten days.

Please be okay.


Shaun let out a quivering breath of despair, letting the note fall to his side. "That's not fair."

Desmond looked close to tears. "She's all alone. She must be scared to death."

"Yeah…" Shaun clenched his jaw. He would allow himself to cry if they were in a better situation. This was the exact worst case scenario he had feared. He couldn't keep quiet anymore. It would be cruel.

Desmond took a deep, quivering breath and let it out again. "Okay, just get some rest, okay? I'll get some water for you. We'll stay here until you get better." He turned to draw water from the sink.

"I know why I'm sick."

Desmond filled a glass and turned. "You said you didn't."

Shaun looked away. "I lied…"

Desmond scowled. "Why? What's wrong?"

Shaun started messing with his shirt sleeve. "I didn't want you to see—" He winced, and pulled his sleeve up to his elbow, revealing a bandaged arm. He started to remove the bandage until the wound was finally in view. Desmond grimaced. Shaun's arm had a good sized chunk taken out of it, and it was oozing puss and blood. The blood vessels around the wound were blue, almost black. It seemed that the blood all over his sleeve had been his own.

"Shaun, why didn't you tell me? When did this happen!?"

Shaun grimaced in both pain and disgust. It hadn't looked nearly that nasty the day before. "Yesterday. When we were separated."

"Did you disinfect it!?" He looked around for some alcohol or something.

Shaun sighed, more from exhaustion than annoyance. "I did. But I… I didn't think it would really work, either…"

"Yeah well, if you don't treat shit like that, it's gonna get infected, and you're gonna get sick. Idiot." He shut a cupboard a little too hard and cursed.

"Desmond… I don't think it would normally get this bad, so fast. It's been a day." His voice betrayed a slight quiver.

"Well, like you said, you're a terrible doctor. Fuck, where do they keep all the booze?"

"Desmond, it won't work because I was bitten!" Shaun huffed, looking terrified to hear those words from his own mouth.

Desmond just looked back and glowered. "And you didn't fucking tell me? God damn, you scared me. If we get that cleaned up, you'll be better in a few days. Just watch."

Shaun's frown emanated pessimism. "Remember how long you were sick? You weren't. I… I don't think I'm immune."

Desmond pinched the bridge of his nose, thinking. "Look, the sickness is like a virus, right? You'll get over it. I mean, it's already been a day, right? Most people turn in like, a few hours or something. You're doing great." He opened and closed another cupboard, cursing under his breath.

Shaun wasn't convinced. He didn't answer, just looked at the floor in front of him. Desmond went on. "We'll clean that shit up properly, then you're gonna rest until you get better, okay? Don't be stupid." He went on looking for some kind of antiseptic.

Eventually he found a tiny flask of vodka in what looked like to be the son's room. Shaun was not amused. After he was bandaged up again, Desmond made a makeshift bed on the living room sofa, and ordered him to sleep while he kept watch. Shaun learned just how stubborn the other man could be when he wanted to be, and conceded. His sleep was fretful though, with him waking up every twenty minutes or so because of his boiling fever. Desmond himself had to lean up against an end table in an uncomfortable position to keep himself from falling asleep.

Early in the morning, Shaun's condition worsened still. Desmond didn't have a thermometer to check the man's fever, but he didn't need to to know how just how bad it was.

"Desmond…" Shaun's voice cracked. "I'm not… getting better."

"You'll be fine, just wait okay?" Desmond only said it to convince himself. Shaun wouldn't hear it. "Just wait, you'll feel better in the morning."

"I don't want to become one of them."

Desmond frowned in anguish. "You won't. I promise." Don't you dare leave me, you limey prick. Not after I finally told you. He gazed at the carpet in front of him, and focused on the pain of the table leg digging into his back.

Shaun stared at the ceiling. "I'm sorry."

Desmond blinked. "For what?"

"For not… telling you."

Desmond looked at the floor. "Why didn't you? I could have helped."

"I never had the chance..." He paused. "You'd just confessed your love for me. How the bloody hell was I supposed to…" He released a shaky breath that betrayed his anguish. "I was hoping nothing would happen. That I would get better."

Desmond hid his face in his hands. "Shit…" Those excuses that Shaun made, they were lies. He knew the man could focus if he wanted to. Shaun was just trying to protect him. Not only from the physical sickness he'd be exposed to, but the emotional pain as well. And Desmond had fucked that up because he couldn't keep his dick in his pants.

But he really loved him, too. And he wasn't getting better. Desmond's insides tightened painfully.

"I should have told you right away. It might have… saved you some heartache…"

"Just get some sleep, okay?" Desmond couldn't bring himself to look up again. Not now.

Shaun eventually fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion, and managed to stay that way for several hours. Desmond jerked awake at around noon, cursing himself for falling asleep. He checked on Shaun… and wished he hadn't.

The man looked dead. If not for the slight rise and fall of his chest, Desmond would have thought he was. His skin had paled and greyed, and he looked like he'd just jumped out of a pool for all the sweat that clung to him. Desmond tentatively stepped towards him, and touched him lightly on the arm. "Shaun…? You awake?"

Shaun's lips parted, his eyes remaining closed. When he spoke, his voice rasped. "Yeah."

Desmond's insides clenched. "I'm sorry, I fell asleep. I'll get you some water, okay?" He stood, but Shaun tried to grab at him, indicating that he didn't want him to.

"Des… I can't…" He took a deep breath. "I can't do this anymore."

No. That wasn't what he wanted to hear. "Yes you can. Tomorrow you'll be better. It's already noon, and you're still okay."

Shaun released a frustrated breath from his nose, and struggled to sit up. Desmond made to push him back down. "No, you can't get up right now-!"

Shaun swatted his hands away with the strength of a five-year-old, and glowered up at him. "Listen to me, Desmond. If I stay like this much longer, you're going to wake up to me munching on your face. You've got to do it."

Desmond shook his head in disbelief. "No, just calm down. You're going to be fine, okay? Just wait—"

"I've been waiting, Desmond! And I've come to the conclusion that I'm not getting better. I've accepted that." His breath shuddered as he looked at the floor. "I'd rather die now than end up like them."

Desmond stared, then broke his gaze. "No, I can't… You'll be fine,

"If you don't do it now, then I will!" He panted from the exertion, but didn't break his fiery gaze.

Desmond met his gaze. He didn't want to, but he was afraid that Shaun might attack him if he did. Shaun's look of determination faltered. "Don't be so bloody selfish." The effort leeched all his remaining energy, and he slumped, elbows resting on his knees.

Desmond stood rooted to the spot, his mind racing. He couldn't. This wasn't happening. They were supposed to both survive and be happy and… He fought to keep his breathing stable. "You can't ask me to do that. I can't do that."

Shaun's response was quiet and resigned. "I will blow my infected brains out if you don't do it yourself."

Desmond hid his face with a hand. He couldn't agree to that. So he stayed silent. Shaun lay back down, exhausted. "You should get going soon. I don't know how much longer I'll last." Desmond ignored him.

Desmond stalled with dread pooling in his stomach. It was already clear outside. He could leave anytime. But that would involve killing Shaun. He couldn't believe this could be happening. He wasn't actually doing this—

Shaun had looked so scared. And who could blame him…

He had insisted that they do it outside. Didn't want to leave any dead half-zombies for anyone to find, of course. When it was clear, Desmond opened the door and went out, ready to run. Shaun followed closely behind, struggling to stand. If Shaun hadn't stopped about ten yards from the house, Desmond would have kept going, hoping he would follow.

Shaun's eyes were vacant. "Get on with it, while we're young."

Desmond's eyes remained trained on the ground as he drew his pistol, hesitantly. He raised it hesitantly as Shaun knelt in front of him. The man couldn't even stand anymore. And he was supposed to shoot him? How could he…?

Shaun swallowed. "Come on. Lucy's waiting for you."

Desmond trembled as he aimed. She was alone. He had to find her. He took a deep breath and tried to steady his hand.

Shaun's jaw clenched. "Please don't miss. I'm anxious enough."

Desmond moved forward and aimed right up against Shaun's forehead. Shaun smirked humorlessly. "A bit hard to now, isn't it?"

Desmond's voice quivered. "I'm so sorry."

Shaun dropped all the sarcasm, and the jokes, and the walls he held up around him at all times. All that was left was genuine. "It's not your fault."

Desmond swallowed, and his gun hand clenched against the trigger. Shaun's eyes flinched. Desmond didn't pull the trigger. He just stood there, hoping his hand might move on its own. He couldn't do it.

Shaun's bottom lip trembled. "Look, I'm scared, just fucking do it, alright? Don't just stand there and—"

He was cut off with the gunshot. His head was thrown back, and he fell unceremoniously to the side. Desmond had to force himself to focus again to see what had happened. Shaun's forehead was badly burned, and the wound was torn open from the close range. He was still. Luckily he had died immediately.

It was done. Apparently. Desmond crouched next to his friend's body, a sob wracking his body. He hoped the gunshot hadn't alerted that fucking horde because he wasn't ready to move just yet.