Sotto Voce 1/?

Title; Sotto voce
author; azzy
pairring; Nick/Ellis
Fandom; L4D2
Rating; M/T+
Warnings; blood, angst, craziness, language
summary; Learning to let sleeping dogs – die.
AN; This is the “sequel” to Trust, I can however not really say if this might be a longer story, i think it might be… Thing is that i really liked the set in Trust, and so decided to work more on it, and it did turn out a rather lenghty storyline. This chapter is not betaed mostly so i could get it out fast, i didn’t want to let elphabachan feel like she was talking to herself in nickxellis 😉 And is written for erestorjunkie as a SUPER belated b-day pressie.

Part 1 – So you better run!

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Florence + the machine.

Part 1 – So you better run!

As Nick closed the door to the other safety room, he just stood there all numb. He leaned forward, resting his hands on his knees and just listened to his own breath. At least he had made it over the park, and somehow found his way through the ruined streets to this safe room. He waited for his panicked breathing to slow down, he looked up to access the room, it was small, damp and down right disgusting, and he could almost hear Rochelle bitch about it. God he missed her, and Coach too even if he was a rock of ignorance. Ellis was wrong, he had not wanted to see any of them die, he ‘did’ care. But ultimately he cared about his own ass more, where was the crime in that?

Nick pushed off the door and tossed his bloody rifle on a filthy mattress, before he started to roam though the cabinets for something edible. He found some cans with no label, and figured he just had to chance it, it could be canned beef or something, but to his demise it was green peas. ”Dammit!” He mumbled, but none the less raised the can to his mouth and ate it greedily. Beggars can’t be choosers he heard Ellis say in his head. There had been a time where he would have laughed at the stupid hick, because nothing was further from the truth if you lacked any shape and form of ethics. If you ‘really’ wanted to, you could get just about anything you wanted, with a minimum stake. But that was back when there still was a society to navigate in. He hated this shit, he had never even wanted to go camping as a kid, and here he was sleeping on filthy mattresses, eating food straight from a can. He tossed the can to the other side of the room. ”Here Ro, see if anyone comes along to pick that shit up.” He said to himself, feeling like his voice was too loud in the silent room.

He woke with a massive headache, and an ache in his bones. He was tired, but then again he had been tired for a month straight, because even if he slept, he never really slept, not for real. Nick groaned as he got up, searching the room for anything that would wake him a little more, he could hear the birds outside, so it was morning, at least he didn’t have to lay down and try to sleep again. He smiled wide as he found some instant coffee, not that it was a miracle in it self, but right now he could not have asked for more. Quickly he turned around and picked up the electrical kettle, hoping that it still worked. The power was still on, so hopefully it would boil water. He plugged it in and waited patiently, letting a breath out he didn’t know he had been holding, when he heard the tell tale sound of water boiling inside the plastic container. ”Thank you God!” He whispered. And within minutes he was seated with his coffee, his legs on the table, he stared out of the opening of the safe room door, the skies was blue, and the birds were acting like it was spring. If he closed his eyes, he could imagine it was any morning, any other morning from before this clusterfuck. With a peaceful smile he closed his eyes, only to see the snarling face of Phyllis, he opened his eyes again instantly. Why the fuck did his ex-wife have to ruin this moment? Maybe like she had ruined every other moment..

Nick took a sip of the warm coffee, being alone sucked, he liked to tell people he had always been alone, but that was not really true, he had always been the only one with his agenda, surrounded by people. Always single, but never alone. And he wasn’t sure how he liked this whole ‘alone’ thing. He had cracked bitter jokes about Phyllis to his friends all the way from Savannah, but truth was that she had left him, and the reason he hated her so, was because she had absolutely broken his heart. He had been slick, he had been confident, and they had been a team, Phyllis and he. They could take on anyone, hells he was sure they could have conned Donald Trump out of every dime if they had wanted to. That was until.. Nick’s lips was a straight line of anger. Until Morgan had come along, and he had ended up as the one on the receiving end of the con.

What he had never admitted to anyone ever, was that he had trusted Phyllis, and had not seen it coming, she had not only broken his heart, but she had crushed his ego completely. So while Phyllis and Morgan had been on a plane to Cuba, he had been playing black jack in state county. He would never ever forgive either of them for that, well Morgan was an idiot, but Phyllis, she had known exactly what she had done. He sipped his cooling coffee, She had served him divorce papers and a stupid postcard through a lawyer while he was still on the inside. He had just signed it in anger. Sometimes he wish he hadn’t. And sometimes he wished that pigs would fly, or that he would meet either those asshats as zombies so he could shoot them limb from limb. He had memorized the postcard, not sure why, but he still recalled the note scribbled down. ‘So long cowboy, SunTrust 23467 Leslie Frank. – Ph.’

And that was why he had come to that stupid town of Savannah, the SunTrust bank, it had taken him a good while to figure out, but eventually the dime dropped. The bankbox had contained 15.000 dollars and her wedding ring. He had not even gambled those money away, he had used them for hookers, trying to fuck away his anger. And that was where the end of world had found him, in a hotel the morning after kicking some skank out of his room. He had welcomed it then, he was being eaten up inside out by hate, anger and bitterness. When the world gave him an opportunity to kill everything around him, he wasn’t gonna argue.

Nick looked over at the kettle, he could do with a cup more, and then he would go. He got up and clicked it on again, and then pulled off his shirt and jacket, both smelled absolutely putrid, but it was not like there was anyone around to complaint, and had there been, then they would probably have had the same stench. Nick looked up and down his arms for scratches. He found a deep angry bite on his upper arm, but he just dressed it humming to himself. Somehow the silence and only his own thoughts to keep him company was already getting to him. He even missed Ellis’ stupid chatter about his inbred buds.

He pulled his shirt on again, and made himself a second cup of coffee, he hate to admit to himself that he didn’t know if he would ever get one again, and if, when. Funny how you tried to file away fleeting stuff like the taste of warm coffee, just in case. He hardly thought that his last thought on this earth would be of coffee.

-*-

Ellis snuck out of his safe room stocked up on whatever he could carry, he was terribly conflicted between finding Nick, and just making a run for it. He sighed and rested his forehead against the sniper scope of his rifle. Nick won out, he had to find Nick, he had to know if he was even still alive, or if he had sent Nick to his death. He felt a terrible gap inside, he felt like he had misjudged Nick after all, he ‘had’ saved his ass more than once, and had unselfishly shared of ammo and bandages. Maybe that whole thing with Coach was just the drop that made the glass overflow, it was not as much as the act itself, it was the terror in knowing they had all transformed into something else than they were before, in just a month. Nick was a deuce no doubt about it, but Ellis didn’t think he’d go around chopping people’s heads off. And maybe it was his own reaction that scared him so, that he was secretly happy that he didn’t have to deal with zombie-Coach. And he had taken that out on Nick, and called him a monster.

He bit his lip and looked over the park in the scope, searching for Nick’s body, increasingly thrilled when he didn’t find it. But he ‘had’ used him for witch bait right? If that wasn’t fuckitry Ellis didn’t know what was. But Nick had been right hadn’t he? It’s not like Ellis would have done it if he had asked him, and it had worked like a charm. Then why had he been so angry? Because he was tired of being Nick’s whipping-boy, he was fed up with the jokes, the cruel hints, and the downright nasty comments. Rochelle had told him not to take it to heart, bless her. In that way Rochelle had reminded him of his mother, always reminding him that the right thing is to forgive and forget, otherwise your spirit can’t grow. He let the rifle fall to his knee, he didn’t find Nick’s corpse, or worse, a zombie-Nick, this he hoped would mean that Nick had made it. There was only one other way around the park, the one he had told Nick to take, and that was the way he would go.

He jumped off the brick wall around the park, and started walking north-east to make it around the roadblock, shooting the few zombies that seemed to be alerted to his pretense.

-*-

Nick had left, but not without picking up a fat marker someone had left and written ‘FUCK YOU PHYLLIS’ on the wall. It made him feel ridiculous, happy and childish all in all. He scanned the area, wishing he had found more food, the coffee had woken him, but it had also just made him a little light headed.

He had no clue as to how many times he had turned and twisted in this stupid city, ”Why the fuck couldn’t she have left me that box in Vegas?” He mumbled to himself, ”Oh no, she had to chose somewhere that has ‘cousins only’ day at the clubs.” He sighed, and shot a zombie without even registering what he was doing. ”Could have been worse i suppose.” He said, smiling at another walking corpse that came against him, ”Could have been Idaho.” He pulled the trigger and watched the zombie fall, ”That’s what you get for looking like my 3 grade teacher, you bitch.” He laughed, stepping over the dead zombie. He walked a few blocks seeing remarkably few zombies, he hummed to himself in lack of Ellis’ chatter to drive the ever constant ‘buzz’ of the zombies away… He saw an open door and went in, shooting a zombie that just sat aimlessly on the floor.

Well I can tell by the way that you twitch and walk
See by the way that you baby talk
Know by the way that you treat your man
I can love you, baby, till the niiiight train
I don’t want you wash my clothes…

Hearing a noise, Nick shut up instantly. He twirled around, ”Ellis?” He asked, knowing that it was a stupid question. No answer came, and no more noise either, must have been a critter of some kind, it would make sense that rats and other scavengers came up to eat whatever they could. ”Carry on.” He grinned, and turned to the cabinets again.

I don’t want you leave the home
I don’t want ’cause I’m sad and blue
I just want to make love to you, baby
Love to you, baby
Love to you, baby
Love to you
Yeah

He snapped his fingers to keep the rhythm, funny really, he was never into the Stones, and the only song he could think of, come the end of days, was a song by those wankers. He shook his head amused and carried on singing.

Ellis touched the kettle that Nick had used earlier, it was still lukewarm, so unless there were other survivors in New Orleans, it had to be Nick who had used it, and this also meant that he had been here. But where had he gone? Ellis stepped outside in the sun again, He looked around and saw a dead zombie, shot in the head. Maybe he should just follow the dead zombies, that would lead him to Nick. He shrugged at his own stupid plan, but found that he had none better, so he might as well just go with this one. And so he walked in the direction of the cadaver, looking out for more gunshot casualties.

Not far from the door where Nick had gone into the house, Ellis stopped and listened. He heard a deep rumble, he knew what that meant. ”Nick?” He called, ”NICK!”

On the other side of the house, Nick was going through some poor sods garden shed, looking for stuff to kill zombies in creative ways, because he was almost out of bullets. He heard a vague sound, was that someone calling or was he nuts? Nah he hadn’t been on his own for long enough to start hearing shit. He came out of the gardenshed, and he heard it again. It was most definitely someone calling. ”Ellis?” He called back, getting the attention of a lonely zombie, which he just pushed away, before he ran back into the house. ”ELLIS?” He called. Nick stopped in the door, the cry for Ellis died on his lips as he saw the young man on a first store balcony, clearly torn between fleeing without breaking a limb from the drop, or letting the Tank crush him, he stared at the ground under him desperately scanning for a bush or something to break his fall, but there was nothing but concrete pavement.

Nick just stood and watched in dawning horror as the tank swatted cars out of his way, and picked up a slab of concrete throwing it in blind fury. Ellis ducked from the flying stone, but as it hit the balcony with eerie precision, Ellis had to hold on to the iron wrought fence not to fall off. And even if Nick was not close enough, he knew how scared Ellis was, like he could smell his fear from here.

And this was when Nick did something he never thought he would. He stood out in the middle of the street and waved his arms, ”HERE! I’M RIGHT HERE!” He yelled, ”THAT’S RIGHT YOU BIG FUCKER, COME AND GET IT!” He paled as the Tank turned it’s attention to him. He took aim and shot the giant zombie in the head a couple of times. Nick whimpered as a car hit close by, tossed by the Tank, but then he turned and ran, he ran for dear life, and Ellis’ dear life too. ”SHOOT IT! SHOOT THE SHIT OUT OF THAT THING!” he screamed, his voice breaking because he had to sprint from the roaring predator.

Ellis aimed and shot, emptied a clip completely into that monster, but it didn’t as much as blink. Fire! I must find some fire! He thought to himself. He spun around like it was gonna help any, and a Molotov or something would magically appear at his feet. ”Shit!” He whined, and took a deep breath jumping from the balcony. ”Ow fuck!” He cried as he heard a sickly cracking sound, like when you snap a twig, seconds before a white hot pain shot up his leg. He could hear the Tank and knew that Nick was fighting it, hearing gun shots echoing in the streets, Nick had sacrificed himself, God he had been all wrong! ”I’m coming!” He said, shuffling to get on his feet, ”Hang in there Nick, I’m coming!” He finally got on his feet, and realised to his horror that the rumble was gone, but so was the gunfire, had he killed it, or? Gritting his teeth he limped down the street, clammy hands had a too tight hold of his half empty rifle, and the pain brought tears to his eyes. ”NICK!” He screamed, ”SAY SOMETHING!”

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