Patient Zero.

Author; azzy
fandom; l4d2
warnings: language, tricky issues.
rating: T+/M
Beta; goodbye_sun
AN; This is a rather strange story, but just go with it 😉 Suppose this is closer to a scary story than a romance story. Happy birthday tomorrow erestorjunkie.
Summary; Ever had a dream you knew was more than that?

It’s a tricky, tricky, this little one, two
Well, if it is a lunatic we’ll name it after you
Put it in your pocket and pick it up
We’re here to entertain, show them what you’ve got

Royksopp.

PATIENT ZERO.

Nick thought the ground would open up and swallow him, or that he would at least faint. But he didn’t, he just sat there and stared at the doctor in her hazmat suit. Her name-tag said ‘Doc Willows’. Nick cleared his throat, ”Are you saying I did this?” he said with a emotionless tone.

”To the best of my knowledge. You are the origin of the infection, yes.” Willows said.

“So it’s my fault? Is that it?” Nick narrowed his eyes, and would have crossed his arms to empathize his point if it was not for the restraints, tying them to the chair.

“We are not talking fault and guilt here Mister Elwood,” Doctor Willows sighed.

“Of course not,” Nick frowned, “Wouldn’t want me any pressure what so ever, after causing the human race to nearly become extinct.” He stated acidly, “How come I am not infected then, smart ass? And just how the fuck can I spread something that I don’t have?”

The doctor sighed again and slowly sat down as silently as the huge hazmat suit would let her. “Your strain is different from what the common infected have.” He said, “Yours is closer to what we would consider a carrier.”

“Okay,” Nick nodded.

“And so, you spread your strain to whomever you came in contact with,” Doctor Willows coughed to slur his words, “Intimately.”

Nick burst out laughing, “Are you seriously suggesting that I gave the world a STD?”

And to Nick’s surprise the doc nodded, “You could say that.”

Nick shook his head, “You’re fucking crazy, man.”

Willows smiled motherly, which was answer enough.

Nick shook his head in denial, “So if I am the first, where the fuck did I get it?” He chuckled a little, “Or did I just have a biological short circuit or something?”

Doctor Willows rose an eyebrow behind his visor. “Are you seriously expecting me not to know anything about compound FOY8 & Rosehall?”

Nick looked pale, grey and tired, “Oh.” The doctor said nothing, waiting for Nick to speak more. “What do you wanna know? I was broke for fucks sake! Plus all the cool kids did it,” Nick smirked mirthlessly.

“So you figured you could earn some fast money?” Willows asked.

“I was fucking nineteen, and well, I was looking for a way to pay rent, food and the like, because despite what you might think, I don’t gamble every penny up. And I do actually need to to eat and stuff,” Nick shot back sullenly.

“…When you didn’t con your way into some poor soul’s house and bank account,” Willows hissed with badly hidden contempt.

“Did your homework I see,” Nick grunted, “Why do you even bother asking me, when you seem to hold all the answers already.”

“Because I need it from the horses mouth, so to speak,” Willows stated.

“Need it on tape is more like it, innit?” Nick growled.

“Perhaps.” Willows shrugged so her hazmat suit creaked.

“That whole, leasing out my body to the medical industry thing was before I had perfected any techniques like the one you’re talking about,” Nick stated. “But yeah, I did volunteer as a human experiment for some medical tests, for money.”

“Know what they tested on you?” Willows asked with a little sneaky grin.

“Not really. I went in there every other day for three months and had a shot and a routine check. Yanno, blood tests and stuff,” Nick said calmly.

“You really got no idea what shit they shot you up with?” Willows asked, surprised.

“Nope.”

“Okay,” Doctor Willows said, “I can tell you that this specific university project was closed down and discredited in all medical circles.” Willows took a deep breath, “You my friend, are the only survivor of that experiment.”

“WHAT?” Nick gasped.

“All the other test subjects died within a year following the experiment coming to an end,” Willows said, studying Nick’s reaction closely then carefully glancing up at the camera in the ceiling.

“That’s just fucking crazy!” Nick shook his head again, refusing to believe what the Doctor had just told him.

“Unfortunately, that is the truth. I can bring you some copies of the articles if you wanna read it yourself.” Willows looked directly at Nick, “They tried to find you and warn you, but they couldn’t. Apparently you are a very hard man to find if you don’t wanna be found, Nicholas.”

Nick smiled a little cocky “Yeah, I pride myself with that.”

“Not to mention how many times you changed your name.” Willows said drily, “Seems like Nicholas Elwood has not been around for quite some years.”

“So?”

“Your name is flagged. Had you used it, we would have found you and taken you in for additional tests,” Willows said with a angry undercurrent to her voice. She stood up from the chair and started pacing best she could in the suit. “One wonders if this whole zombie apocalypse thing could have been avoided.”

“Yeah, shelter me from guilt tripping, why dont’cha?” Nick huffed.

“Oh, but you’re getting this all wrong.” Willows smiled behind the plexiglass of her visor, “I’m glad you offer me such a unique chance to do some research that no one else even dared to dream about.”

“I see.” Nick said, not getting it at all, but he thought it best to play along the mad scientist there. “So doc, I answered your questions, it’s your turn to answer mine,” He crossed his legs because that was the only body part that wasn’t tied down. “Where are my friends? The people I came here with.”

“You don’t wanna know that.” Willows said, finally stopping her pacing and now standing directly in front of Nick.

“Wanna bet?” Nick said cocky. Raising a brow.

“Not really, no.” Willows sighed, “Okay, they were destroyed.”

“D-destroyed? Whaddaya mean destroyed”? Nick couldn’t have hidden his surprise even if he had tried, he had never expected that answer.

“I mean what I said,” Doctor Willows said, staring down at Nick in the chair.

“Liar,” Nick spat.

“If you say so.” The doctor said, “The woman was a carrier, the big fella resisted and was shot pretty quickly, and the little redneck was infected. They left us with no other solution.”

“That is such fucking bullshit,” Nick growled, knitting his eyebrows not really sure what to think.

Willows went to her chair and sat down again, they sat like that for a while, in silence. Then she nodded and smiled. “Pretty stupid of me to think I could con the conman, huh?” Her smile widened, “Alright, you give me whatever tests I need with no grief, and I will tell you what I know of your friends.”

“I will consider it, if I believe your story,” Nick said sourly.

“The big fella, Coach. Was cleared and shipped out just hours after your arrival here,” Willows said.

“And the others?”

“That is a little more tricky,” Willows admitted. “The woman, Rochelle, is pregnant. And we want to make sure that it ain’t yours. She is far to early on for any such tests yet. You should also know that we consider that baby very high risk.”

“Preggers? Wow!” Nick chuckled, “The pregnant women I have known could hardly wipe their own arse without assistance, and Ro, she was tougher than any of us.” Nick looked thoughtful, “Maybe that’s why she didn’t tell? She’d know we’d all have protected her. And let me tell you one thing, you do not shelter Rochelle unless you have a fucking death wish.” Nick moved his shoulders in an attempt to shrug. “Not my kid tho, so you can just relax, she ‘did’ have some boyfriend before this whole z-apocalyse thing yanno.”

“I don’t think she even knew she was pregnant herself,” Willows said and leaned over as much as her suit would let her. “And if you don’t mind, I think I will wait for the test results.”

“And Ellis?”

“We’re not sure if he’s a carrier like you, and that’s the truth.”

“How come?” Nick asked, “You guys have a pretty idiot safe test for that as far as I know.”

“True,” Willows nodded, “But we know that you two were lovers for parts of your time together travelling from Savannah to New Orleans, there is no reason that he shouldn’t develop the same infection as the ones who started it all.”

Nick blinked and then laughed loud and obnoxious. “Tell me doc, does he show any of the symptoms?”

“No.” Willows admitted, “Not yet.”

“Alright, and ‘do’ educate me on how this fucking virus spreads,” Nick said with as much honesty as he could muster.

“Saliva, blood, secretions.”

“So, much like AIDS, amirite?” Nick asked and the doc nodded. “This makes it quite easy really, I have had unprotected sex about as many times as I have put on a Creedence Clearwater Revival album, and I am sure I was drunk on both accounts.”

“Excuse me?”

“I have never had sex with Ro, and I never had sex with Ellis without a raincoat. Just because the world ended don’t mean that you should leave your brain behind, and seriously Ellis is a hot little package, nice ass and all. But I don’t know where he has been before, as he don’t know anything about my history on the sheets, so to say.” Nick snickered, “Way I see it, wouldn’t it suck to be in the middle of a fucking apocalypse and your cock is rotting off because you just ‘had’ to bareback on unknown territory?”

“Suppose so,” Willows said in a near whisper.

“Besides,” Nick continued, knowing he was grossing out Willows, and loving it. “You don’t want to go down on someone, or even get your face anywhere close to someone’s crotch who haven’t seen a bath in weeks, and have been smeared in blood, guts and vomit to name a few.”

“I get your point.”

“So you can let Ellis go,” Nick said.

“I can’t take your word for it, you know that. But I will keep it in mind,” Willows said.

“Alright,” Nick said, “But what if I’m wrong? What happens?”

The doc leaned back in the chair, “Why do you care? I would be more worried about myself if I were you.”

“What…” Nick growled, “…Will happen to Ellis if he is indeed a carrier?”

“He will be shot,” Willows said drily.

Nick frowned. “Aren’t you guys supposed to be the civilized ones?”

“Extermination of the virus and it’s victims are of top priority, being civilized comes in second,” Doctor Willows admitted.

Nick wanted to play it cool, he wanted to keep his game-face, but he was tired, worn, aching and hungry. “So could this mean Ellis, Ro’s baby and me?”

“Maybe.” Willows said, “Maybe the baby and your boyfriend are both cleared. We just don’t know yet.”

Now Nick was not a stupid man, and he knew what it was the doc said without saying it, and his heart sank. “I want to see Ellis!”

“Sorry. Can’t.”

“Consider it my last request then,” Nick said, feeling the strange sour taste of fear on his tongue as he said it. Never in a million years had he imagined that the rescue he had fought so fucking hard to reach, would be his death, he could just as well not have bothered to get out of bed at the fucking hotel.

“I ‘ll see what I can do,” Willows said, taking pity on the haunted look in Nick’s eyes. “But first, the bloodwork.”

-*-

Willows got her blood tests and left, but had not let Nick loose of his restraints. He was dozing off as the door swooshed open, it slightly startled him, thinking for a moment he was still out there in the infected areas.

“Good morning princess,” the man in the hazmat suit said. “I’m here to take you on a little field trip.” He walked around Nick’s chair before Nick could read what his name tag said. The hazmat fella clicked something on the chair, allowing him to use it as a wheelchair. Nick was too tired to care, and he wondered somewhere back in his mind, if they had drugged him, or if he really was this exhausted.

They rolled down long corridors, and finally though a tacky green door, and got to a window. On the other side sat Ellis, he looked sullen and grey in the unforgiving light of the rooms. Nothing like the vibrant youth Nick recalled from Savannah. As he saw Nick he got up and walked over to the glass, resting his grimy palms against it.

“I’m gonna turn on the intercom so you can hear each other,” the hazmat man said, and then he flipped the button and a dull static noise filled the room. “See ya later, stud,” he grinned as he left and the door to the hall closed behind him, leaving Nick in the chair, staring at Ellis.

“Nick!” Ellis shouted, his voice raw and sad. Banging on the plexiglass.

Nick wanted nothing more but to get up and take the kid in his arms, he looked so fucking scared. Nick wondered of the doctors had told him what his possible future could be like too? And truth was that Nick was just as scared, he just didn’t want to show it. “Hey there El,” Nick said smiling, not moving an inch due to the restraints, but even if they had not been there, the glass was.

Ellis didn’t budge, he pressed close against the glass, resting his forehead against it. Like could he reach Nick by the power of thought alone. “We’re gonna be fine,” Ellis said softly. “This time next month we will…” His voice broke as he didn’t even believe it himself. “Next month, we will.. be fine. You’ll see.”

Nick was about to ask Ellis if he believed that BS himself, but didn’t. “Sure,” he just said.

“Did you take a swing at them or something?” Ellis asked, referring to the restraints on Nick’s wrists. He smiled, even if the smile was more a nervous tick than an actual smile.

“Something like that.” Nick said, “Hey El? Remember that time we travelled trough kiddie-land?”

“Sure.”

“That was fun wasn’t it? Minus the zombies of course,” Nick asked.

“Oh yeah man, it was awesome…” Ellis said, and even if Nick often teased him with being dumb, he wasn’t really. He knew what it was Nick was doing. He shut his eyes tight, “That was something else huh? Something to remember.”

“Yeah.” Nick said with a sad smile, “That was something else.” He didn’t like the worried, sad look on Ellis, “And I still think Mustachio sucks.”

“Does not.”

“Does too.”

Ellis looked up, wishing he could touch Nick, instead of this glass. “I’m scared Nick.”

“Me too, Overalls.” Nick admitted, “Me too.”

For a moment they just looked at each other, like trying to imprint what the other looked like, both knowing the truth, they were not going to be okay. Not at all.

“Ro…” Ellis said, “Ro lost her baby this morning.”

“You knew?” Nick asked surprised.

“Sorta,” Ellis said softly, his face skewed in disgust, “I.. I don’t wanna talk about it, don’t know what I even brought it up.”

Nick rose a brow, “I know you Ellis, spill it!”

“I think I did a bad thing, Nick, like real bad.” Ellis whispered. “The hazmat fellas told me that they found that Ro was pregnant, and told me that it was sick.” He looked helplessly up at Nick, “They told me it was sick.” He bit his lip, “So I was supposed to talk Ro into yanno, not having it. And Lord help me, I did. I talked her into getting rid of the only remnant she had of her husband,” Ellis cried softly.

Nick didn’t know what surprised him the most, that Ellis was that upset? That Ro had actually been married and he didn’t know that? Or that Ellis apparently knew that the baby was not Nicks by a long-shot? “Maybe they were right, Ellis. Maybe it was not immune like Ro is.”

Ellis smiled, blinking tears out of his eyes, “Still feels wrong.”

“It’s not,” Nick stated, “Don’t worry about it.”

“I’m never having kids, man,” Ellis mumbled.

“Of course not you dope. You got me, and I am not about to sprout a uterus anytime soon.” Nick said, laughing a little.

It worked and Ellis chuckled a little, “Good.” After a moments silence, Ellis smiled, “Look at me man, crying and everything.”

“You’re exhausted, it messes with your head,” Nick offered. He knew that Ellis needed to be reassured in his manliness or something, here they were, they survived the fucking apocalypse, and then you don’t cry. You drink a bottle of booze and tell war stories, right? “But…uhm…” he paused, not sure how to ask without upsetting Ellis more, “Ro’s alright, right?”

“Yeah, they were about to ship her out last I spoke to her,” Ellis said softly.

Nick wasn’t gonna question that, or ask just where ‘ship out’ was. Could just as well be a bullet in her brain, and they gave Ellis a little song and dance, telling him that his friend was flown to safety, when in fact she was being cremated as they spoke. “I’m glad. Guess that just leaves us to be cleared, huh?”

“Wonder what is taking them so damn long.” Ellis stated.

“I don’t know,” Nick lied. Not sure why he lied, he didn’t have to lie anymore. “Hey El, lets make a bet.” Ellis looked up as Nick spoke. “Ten bucks says that you’re gonna be the first of us on that chopper out of here.”

Ellis rose a brow, Nick never bet on anything unless he was sure. Or did he? “Ten bucks?”

“Yup, all I have.”

“Deal,” Ellis said, he was about to say something more when the door on Nicks side buzzed open with an angry sound.

Willows came and placed a hand on Nick’s shoulder. “Okay then. All done here,” she said.

“Whaddaya mean all done?” Nick asked suspiciously.

“Sure you wanna know?” Willows asked.

“Yes I’m sure,” Nick stated.

“Ellis,” Willows said, getting Ellis’ attention from the other side of the glass. “I’m sorry, but we can’t quite clear you yet. Someone will be with you in a moment to take you over to the B-compound for more tests,” she smiled professionally.

“Sure,” Ellis said, running a hand through his hair.

“And Nick, you need to come with me I’m afraid.” Willows said, “I’m not quite done either.”

“Hang on,” Nick said, feeling sick to his stomach as Willows unlocked the breaks on the chair to wheel him out. “El.. Hang in there,” he said. Inwardly beating himself for not just saying what was on his mind. He desperately wanted to tell the other man how much he loved him, but the words didn’t seem to want to leave his lips. Maybe it was a good thing, maybe he would just scare Ellis if he said something this definitive? But he knew he was never ever going to see the kid again. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, he told himself. “I love you kiddo,” he said, unable to look at Ellis as he said it.

In spite of everything, Ellis actually blushed a little. Sticking his hands in his pockets, smiling that lovely dimpled, boyish grin. “I love you too,” he said.

Willows turned Nick to push him out of the door to the corridor. “Hey man, ten bucks Ellis!” Nick called over his shoulder, but he didn’t hear the answer, or even ‘if’ Ellis answered as the door closed behind him with a soft thud.

Willows whistled a little tune to herself as she pushed Nick back to the lab wing.

“Tell me the truth,” Nick said, “You owe me that much.”

“I don’t owe you shit. But, I can tell you the truth.” Willows said, letting go of the wheelchair to punch in a code on a panel, watching as the door slid open. “There is no B-compound here.”

“Suspected as much,” Nick sighed, closing his eyes, trying his hardest to not cry. But lord knew he really wanted to right now. “So he’s a carrier?”

“Indeed,” Willows said, “But, it doesn’t seem to be your strain though. I figure he must have been bitten at some point, but just never got sick.”

Nick nodded. “And that story you fed him about Rochelle?”

“True,” Willows said, “She was cleared and flown out.”

“I’m glad,” Nick said, feeling a deep rooted sorrow in his chest. He was glad two of them would make it out of there, if he could even believe a fraction of what Willows told him.

“Now, Nicholas…” Willows said, reaching for a syringe on a table, “This is gonna help you sleep a little.”

Nick looked at the syringe, and then at Willows. “No!” He shook his head. He just wasn’t ready.

“See? You’re getting all agitated. It’s for your own good,” Willows said, ignoring Nick’s protests and jabbed the needle in Nick’s exposed arm.

-*-

Someone called his name, he was sure of that. He just wished he could open his eyes.

Ellis gently shook Nick’s shoulders. “Wake up,” he said, his voice thin and high pitched with panic. “Please Nick…Wake the fuck up.”

Nick struggled to open his eyes and see who it was that was calling him. “Hannah?” he whispered hoarsely.

“No man, it’s me, Ellis.” Ellis’ voice was thick of relief, “Remember me?”

“Yeah,” Nick smiled weakly still with his eyes closed.

“Thank you Jesus!” Ellis whispered, kissing Nick on his sweaty forehead.

“I assure you that Jesus had nothing to do with it,” Rochelle said drily from the shadows.

“Pfft!” Ellis huffed, studying Nick.

Nick groaned, why was he so tired? Where was he? Oh his brain felt so muddled…Wait! Willows! Ellis! Ro’s baby! Nick opened his eyes and gasped like a drowning man. “Where am I?”

Ellis yelped surprised, “New Orleans…Forgot that?”

“Just a dream.” Nick felt an insane urge to laugh, “It was all just a dream.”

“Having nightmares?” Rochelle asked, finally coming out from the shadows. “I would too if I was as banged up as you,” she stated. “How are you feeling? Any pain?”

Nick frowned confused, and then it came back to him, the fucking tank had used him as a baseball. He remembered the strange sensation of flying through the air, knowing that it would hurt like a motherfucker when he hit the concrete, but he couldn’t remember ever hitting the ground. He just have fainted before impact. “No I’m fine.”

“Coach said he suspected you had two broken ribs, but that you should be lucky you didn’t break your back, or neck for that matter.” Rochelle said.

“I’m really thirsty.” Nick said, running a dry raspy tongue over his chapped lips. “Ellis, please,” he smiled at the kid, who jumped to his feet to get him something to drink. Nick gestured to Rochelle to come closer. “Okay you might think I’m crazy, and that’s just fine, but I need you to answer me honestly, and I promise I won’t tell the others,” Nick whispered, looking straight into Rochelle’s eyes as she squatted down on his left.

“Sure.”

“Have you skipped a period?” Nick asked.

Rochelle was about to laugh, but then saw the seriousness in Nick’s eyes. “As a matter of fact, I have,” she admitted. “Why the hell are you asking me about that?”

Nick opted for the truth, because all things taken into consideration, it couldn’t sound more crazy than any lie he could come up with right now. “Sometimes I dream stuff that happens later on. Like future stuff yanno.” He smiled, “And I dreamt you were pregnant.”

Ro smiled, a little secretive smile. “Are you even supposed to tell me then? You might change the future then,” she winked, obviously not believing him, just humouring a friend because she thought he needed it.

Nick just closed his eyes again, knowing he was right, from her answer alone.

Ellis came back, closely followed by Coach, coming to see how his patient fared. “Here,” Ellis said, handing Nick a dirty glass of cold water.

“Ellis,” Nick said, “Tomorrow, you and I are gonna get in a car, and make for Las Vegas.”

“But…” Ellis argued.

“I don’t care, Ellis. But you and I are not going to any evac center,” Nick suddenly yelled.

“Relax Nick, you took a nasty blow to the head, and…” Coach started, but Nick ignored him, and cut him off. “Ellis, promise me,” he said, staring directly at his lover.

Ellis looked up at Rochelle and Coach. “Uhm…If it means that much to you, I suppose…” He shrugged, “Sure, okay, ima go with you.”

“You two can come if you want to,” Nick said, addressing Rochelle and Coach, “But you will be perfectly safe at the evac centre here.” He smiled, “I think.”

“Nick?” Ellis asked softly. “Who’s Hannah?”

Nick rested back against the rice sack, using it as a pillow. “My Mom,” Nick said with a little smile. He wasn’t even gonna ask why Ellis would ask him that, he just figured he had mumbled in his sleep, he just had to hope it wasn’t anything too embarrassing.

Coach leaned against the wall and looked at Ellis and Rochelle, who were both sitting at Nick’s side. “You all hear the infected up ahead. There’s a bridge between us and the evac centre, if it’s even still standing,” He took a deep breath, “That bridge is going to swarm with those things, and I don’t think that Rochelle and I can make it over alone.”

Rochelle nodded. “Coach is right, we need you guys.”

Ellis looked tormented, he wanted to stay at Nick’s side, but he also wanted to help his friends. “We can’t leave them to that, Nick,” he said with a tiny voice.

Nick pinched the bridge of his nose. No, they couldn’t leave them to that, and Coach was right, he could hear a fucking massive horde of those fucking things, and then some. He owed it to them, didn’t he? Funny that he, of all people, would feel he was in debt to anyone. But after all they had dragged him here, unconscious. They had saved his life, hadn’t they? Yeah, they had. And maybe he had a chance to save theirs, maybe it was just time for him to do the right thing, instead of running like a bitch. “Okay,” he said, barely audible. “I’m gonna help you get over there. But, I ain’t going into the evac centre. We clear?” He looked up at Coach.

Coach nodded, “If you say so.”

“Thank you Nick.” Rochelle smiled, “I wish you’d reconsider about going in though, seems a little, I don’t know…superstitious of you to refuse the governments help, just because of a nightmare.”

Nick’s lips became a fine line of anger, “I’m not going in there. Period!” He could tell that Ellis held his breath, not sure if a verbal fight would erupt, “Besides,” he said a little more mellow, “It was not just a dream. Just trust me…”

Coach shifted lightly, “My wife always watched that show with them psychics, solving crimes and all,” he smiled at Nick, “Never picked you for one of those tho.”

“Look man,” Nick said, anger back in his voice. “I don’t give a shit if you believe me or not. But I am telling you that if we go there, bad things happen, okay?”

“Like what?” Rochelle asked, hoping she could persuade Nick that he was being silly.

“Death,” Nick stated. “They are gonna kill both me and Ellis for being carriers of the virus.” He stared at Rochelle, “And there is no way that I have fought my way here to die by the hands of those asshats in hazmat suits.”

“You don’t know that,” Rochelle tried.

Nick groaned, “You know what Ro? Whatever, does it matter why?”

“Suppose not,” Rochelle admitted.

-*-

Nick lived to regret his whole ‘I owe it to those people’ thought. He was running all his legs would carry him, limping and wheezing, while trying to aim as much as possible after the infected. He had to admit to himself that it was a very real possibility that he might not keep his word, that he might not make it to the other side of this flaming bridge. “Ro!” He called out, not sure she could even hear.

But, she did, and Rochelle turned around and smiled a little thin, worried smile at Nick’s state. “Come on,” she said, offering him a shoulder, “I’m not leaving you behind.”

“Ro,” Nick panted, leaning heavily against Rochelle’s smaller frame. “Willows, the doctors name is Willows.”

“Nick, now is not the best time..”

“Shut up woman!” Nick growled, “Promise me that if the doctors name is Willows, you’d believe me.”

“I promise, Nick…I promise…” She looked over her shoulder, and started to haul off with Nick faster, “But for now, just run dammit!”

“The Evac centre is overrun!” Ellis screamed from far in front of them, “What now?”

“The chopper you idiot!” Coach yelled back, pointing at the helicopter waiting on the helipad.

Ellis turned instantly and started to make his way towards the waterfront. It was either out of sheer panic, trying to run from the huge tank that was drawn to the scene, or because he heard the noise of the rotor blades from the waiting helicopter. He jumped into the chopper.

Nick was about to object, but he was also a realist, so way he saw it, he could die here, die in the water making a break for it, or die by the hand of CEDA. And, so, he allowed Rochelle to pull him aboard the helicopter. He even allowed himself to smile, feeling relieved as they took off, all of them making it over the bridge. He looked down at himself, he couldn’t see a lot of blood, so maybe his damage was internal? Or, maybe it was just those broken ribs and then some, as Coach had talked about, that was causing him this much grief.

The co-pilot of the helicopter came out into the bulk, smiling. “Wow, I didn’t think we’d find any more survivors!” he said, and then turned to yell at the pilot over the engine noise. “Doctor Willows will be absolutely ecstatic!”

Nick paled, and heard Rochelle as she drew in her breath. And for a split second they looked at each other. Nick leaned his head back against the cold metal of the chopper, and took a deep breath. He had some bullets, right? Right around a clip left. With a sloppy, slurred move, he pulled the gun from his belt and aimed at the co-pilot.

“Whoa there!” The co-pilot gasped, seconds before a bullet penetrated his brain, and he fell down, dead to the floor.

“Nick, man!” Ellis squealed.

“Trust me,” Nick said, wincing as he stood, and made his way to the helicopter cockpit.

“I know this is gonna sound crazy, but trust him,” Rochelle said, avoiding Coach’s puzzled glare.

“What the…”

“Just take this one on faith, Coach,” Rochelle said.

Nick aimed the gun at the pilot, “You’re gonna radio in, and say everything is a-okay, and then you are gonna drop us off on your way.” He turned to the others, “Who’s with me?”

“Me,” Ellis said quickly.

“Me,” Rochelle said, even if she hesitated a little.

“Oh, what the hell, count me in too!” Coach said, folding his arms over his chest. “So where we going?”

“Vegas, baby. Vegas,” Nick grinned.

The End.

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