"Now strum."

The note was sour. Ellie winced, and sighed. Slowly, she turned her head to her left where Joel was sitting. She was still cringing.


Joel shrugged. The room they were in was buzzing with the sound of the generators running in the middle of the compound. The decision to visit Tommy's for a while had not been an easy one, but Joel had needed supplies badly. He had planned to leave far earlier, but then he'd found a guitar in an abandoned house that wasn't damaged too badly, and he couldn't help himself.

He leaned forward and looked at Ellie's fingers, which were resting lightly on the fret board, "Move your second finger down," He instructed. Ellie complied, and strummed again. The note sounded a little better, but something was still off.

"I think it's out of tune," Joel murmured gruffly. He held out a hand, "Let me take a look."

The young girl handed over the guitar, watching it for a second before pulling her knees to her chest and resting her forearms against them. She placed her chin on the back of her hands.

"I'm never going to be able to do this," She muttered, "This is even worse than whistling. You're wasting your time, Joel."

Joel didn't answer her. He was busy tuning and checking each string. And at the same time, he didn't know whether or not he felt like talking. It had been weeks, almost a month and a half, since the incident at the hospital. And while Ellie was getting back to her normal self, he felt worse and worse as each day passed; and that was strange to him.

How is it that you can kill hundreds of people without a second glance, but when it comes to that little girl you can't help feelin' bad about lyin' to her?

The thought had been clawing at him every single day. Then there were the times when everything was calm, like these ones, and he could almost banish those thoughts away – and those days were beautiful. Peaceful, even.


He blinked, "What's wrong?"

Ellie was watching him closely again. He had always felt uncomfortable when she did that. Those green eyes seemed to go right through him.

"Nothing. You weren't answering me. What's wrong with you?" Ellie asked, quietly.

"Nothin'. Dreamin'," He said, looking down at the guitar. He strummed once, and deciding that the guitar was tuned enough, he handed it back to her, "Wanna try again?"

Ellie brushed hair out of her eyes and nodded, "'Course!"

"Try putting your first finger on the third string, first fret." Joel offered, sitting up and making himself more comfortable. These last couple of days, he had been feeling his age. Nothing, he thought, could be worse than that. He twisted his back and cringed.

The guitar shook in Ellie's hands. She pressed her lips firmly together and frown. She looked up at Joel helplessly, "I don't remember which one that is."

Joel stared at her. Ellie stared back. After a few moments of tense silence, Joel started laughing. It was a quiet, airy laugh, but a laugh all the same. Ellie smiled weakly. Joel shifted again, and patted to the space between his legs.

"C'mere," He said, gesturing Ellie over. She handed him the guitar and crawled over, sitting where he had patted. Joel reached over her and placed the guitar back in her grasp, "Let me show you."

Joel grabbed her left hand and pulled it up to the first fret of the guitar, "Like this. You're gonna put your first finger here, on the third string. Next one goes on the fifth, down here on the second fret. And then this one here goes on the fourth string, on the same fret. You holdin' 'em all down?"

"Yeah." Ellie nodded, pressing down on the strings. With his other hand, Joel grabbed her right one.

"And then, all you have to do is strum," Joel brought her hand down lightly. The sound was full and happy, unlike Ellie's earlier tries. A smile spread across her face, and Joel let go of her hands, "Try it."

Ellie strummed, and the same noise came from the instrument. She her grin widened and she turned around to look at Joel, "Fuckin' awesome!"

Joel smiled, and he nodded a little, "I knew you'd like to learn."

Still holding the guitar, Ellie leaned her head back against Joel's chest. The generators were still buzzing, and they could hear people talking just outside the room. Joel assumed that Tommy was probably looking for the two of them; but Joel just didn't want to move. Who could blame him?

"Thank you, Joel."

I didn't want to make a chapter with solely Ellie and her list of things she wants to do, because that would be lame. So, expect a new chapter every week or so, detailing one things that Ellie wants to do with Joel.

This might be cute. Who knows. Review!