"What do we do now?" Clementine asked, knotting her fingers together nervously. She wouldn't forget Ryan's sending her away, but she could easily forgive him. Losing Felix would have been a nightmare for them both, and even though she was young, she knew they loved each other, completely and utterly. It was obvious in their bright eyes, their warm smiles, just for the other. Plus, she was not deaf.
"Food," was all Pewdie could groan. "We need food. There must be medicines around here, but what we really need is something to eat, something to drink... and somewhere safe."
Ryan nodded, wiping tears from his face with his sleeve. The relief that Felix was alive swelling in him like a new heart growing. The sheer joy in him almost making him delirious with optimism, he declared, "We'll find it. And we'll all be fine. I promise. We'll all get through this."
Things started to pick up. Bandages and pain killers were bundled into rucksacks, along with any snack bars or anything else they could scavenge. The only thing they were missing was somewhere safe. With groans echoing through the halls, they chose to get out of the hospital, before more undead found them.
Pewdie feared it all too much.
He said nothing, but his body ached all over, like a thousand teeth scraping his skin. He said noting. Not wanting to worry them. But he knew. Knew too well what had happened. It was like he could still feel them all over him with every pained step, and yet he held his head high and gathered supplies.
Clementine ducked and jumped around so fast they nearly lost her a few times, small enough to hide and stay out of sight, and then move in an instant, unseen and unheard. Her agility gave the men hope, that if-
No, no. They would stay together, until the very end, no "if"s, no "but"s.
Outside the hospital, the day clouded over with darkness, and once more the skies split and rain splattered over them as they paced slowly through the streets, looking for somewhere to stop and make a home of. Staying in the city would mean access to any of the buildings, and therefore more chance of finding what they needed to stay alive. There were no living, so no bandits or thieves, and so if they eventually took out all the dead... there would be no danger at all.
But until then, there was still danger lurking around every corner, eyes dead and bodies rotting, fingers gnarled into claws, and reeking of the maggots eating through them. But the rain hid their scents, and so the zombies never even knew they were there.
"How about there?" Felix suggested at last, pointing ahead at the old church, the stained windows now even more stained, and the metal door open on its hinges, but more stable than any other in the neighbourhood. They could walk for hours, searching for the perfect house, but when it stopped raining they'd be found quickly, and to be honest... Pewdie didn't know how much further he could walk.
Ryan saw the safety of the church as well. The dead wouldn't be able to climb the walls, and the windows were too high for them to reach. That door could save their lives. But it would be cold inside, as all churches are. He sighed a little, but a glance to his partner let him know just how desperate he was to rest, and Clementine was miserable out in the rain, scared from all she'd been through... They could use some prayer.
As they stepped inside, drops of water hit the floor with echoes of far away splashes, and they inhaled the scent of old Bibles and seat cushions. None of them were all that religious, but in a time like this, all they could do was believe there was some reason they'd lived.
Shivering but finally able to relax, they shut the door with a mighty heave and then sank down onto the marble floor, holding onto one another and breathing in relief. It seemed as though yesterday had been years ago, tomorrow just a figment of their imaginations, and today just another day of survival. But they were grateful for that.
Clem pulled herself to her feet, paced forward slowly, eyes wide as she gazed around in wonder, her heart pounding so loud she thought she even heard it's echo. When she reached the front pew, she sat down in silence, lowered her head, shut her eyes softly, and clasped her hands together.
Meanwhile the men glanced to each other, and then reached for one another, embracing tightly, but saying nothing at first. What could be said?
Then finally, "A-are you alright?"
Pewdie sighed and blinked tears from his eyes at Cry's gentle tones, and with so harsh a reality to answer. But he wouldn't say it. Couldn't say it. "What did you say to Clementine while I was... y'know..?"
Ryan hung his head, shook his head. "I was so scared, Felix. I... I didn't want her to see me fall apart."
"As if we're not all falling apart."
"It was different." For a moment there was a pause, eyes drifting over one another, searching for the reassurance they couldn't give. "I... I thought you were dead."
Felix's heart clenched, the emotions almost overwhelming him as he saw the tears roll down his friend's face, before gently touching his cheek and smiling briefly, sorrow and vague hope in his eyes. Too vague. But there was nothing more he could do. Lips trembling, he leaned forward, kissed him softly, feeling Cry warm to him a little, but he was too nervous to carry on.
Pewdie glanced round the church as he tried not to let his fears show, but saw only the irony of it all.
"Never send Clemmy away," he whispered after a moment. "Promise me that, Ryan."
The American nodded, his guilt showing again. "I didn't want her to leave, but I couldn't leave you."
He didn't say it, but all the Swede could think was how he might have to.
"Stay with her. She needs you."
"She needs us. Besides, why are you telling me this?"
Felix just looked round at him, and sighed, his smile flickering back as he murmured, "Don't worry about it, Cry."
And then Clementine screamed.