Johnny sat a little way away from the dinner crowd, huddled down with half a can of something. His face was concrete trying to stomach whatever he put into his mouth and appreciate the fact that such was hard to come by; but I knew he’d rather spend more than two days trying to catch a starved rabbit that would last less than three very thinly stretched meals even for me.

“Go ahead, you’ll need the food anyway,” I tried to encourage him.

“What about you?” he asked.

“I’m already used to this canned crap,” I laughed. “Besides, I know how being around people makes you uncomfortable, so just use this to spend some alone time,” I reassured him.

But he would give me this look, like he was going to mischievously pinch me but also like he was sort of sad.

“What?” I’d smile, attempting to dispel any worry we had.

“Nah, I haven’t had canned ‘crap’ in a while anyway,” he shrugged and chuckled.

“What, can’t leave me alone?” I cheekily teased, my face turning smug.

“Yea,” he replied quietly, staring at the can in his hands. When I didn’t reply him after a while, he turned to look at me.

Passive surprise spread across his face and he chuckled. “Are you angry or in love with me now?” he asked. He reached out and stroked my cheek with the back of his fingers.

My eyes said love, but my mouth was scowling. Fine, I admit. I haven’t been the most careful of people; getting caught by cannibals, groped by idiots and coming out of all of those situations with less than a few steps away from serious injury, but that still didn’t mean I couldn’t take care of myself.

I contemplated lambasting him for worrying over me to the point where he felt like he couldn’t leave me alone, could barely trust me with my own safety; but at the same time I was deeply conflicted. I did want to carry on being the strongly independent person I had always had to be, but his care for me was… wonderful.

We had fought about this before, after escaping the cannibal farm.

I was wounded, unable to fire a gun, and thus resorted to sneak killing to survive. Tip-toeing behind a Revived, then a long screwdriver to the back of the neck, straight up to the core brain. Do it often enough and one would become almost automatically proficient in locating the soft spots of the head for instant death. The problem was the fatigue, diminishing focus, and slow kill count.

I assumed that when I was well enough to handle myself, Johnny would leave, off on his own road again, but he stayed. Trailing behind me, flicking pebbles straight at the Revived‘s rotting heads; and with his superhuman strength, make gravel fly like shotgun bullets.

“Can you just STOP?! I can bloody handle myself, okay?” I screamed.

“Not saying you can’t,” was his simple reply, which infuriated me even more.

“Then what? Why are you still here?” I barked.

“I…-I…,” he opened his mouth to say something, but struggled.

We were interrupted by a hideous roar, a Revived Beast, Johnny’s kind brought back from the dead. To prove that I could take care of myself, I charged at the creature head-on, gun prepped and anger making me focus even more.

Before Johnny could even touch the beast, I shot the monster down. A bullet to each of the knees, rendering it immobile; and a head shot. When it fell down, I jumped, doing a drop-kill with my screwdriver right into the bullet hole in its head. It stopped moving as I fired one more bullet into its cranium as a measure shot.

I turned to glare at Johnny angrily, deliriously confident with my kill. But he simply flicked another pebble at a Revived crawling towards me, rendering my whole glorious show redundant. I scowled at him, but this time was not replied with one of his shrugs. Instead he stared at me hard,trying to convey something through his eyes.

But I ignored him and pushed past him to retrieve my pack. “When I get back to my group, I’ll be their problem, not yours anymore,” I growled .

I bent down to pick up my pack, but he turned around and pinned me to a wall. His hands flat against the wall behind me, he tried to resume his sentence. But what left his mouth was only heavy breaths, frustration. He lowered his head until his eyes were level with mine. My anger dimmed a little in confusion and gradually I saw that he struggling so hard to say something.

Impulsively, I leaned in closer. I saw him panic, then force himself to meet my gaze. I saw him settle on a thought, and his decision to act on it. He sucked in a breath and moved in closer, until our noses were almost touching.

Ah, my mind said. Ah? AH?! He hesitated. My hands flew up to his collar, and for a split second, I considered ramming my head right into his. He drew back slightly, as if my thought did actually headbutt him. My hands let go, and I sank back to the wall, extremely exhausted. I looked back up into his eyes, and my mind snapped a decision as well.

Our lips met without any more hesitation, any more struggling.

Fingers snapping in my vision brought me back to the present. Johnny sat in front of me, staring right into my eyes.

“How can I not worry when you zone out like that?” he laughed. “Your fault, idiot,” I blushed and looked away. The mischievous glint in his expression returned and he leaned in closer.

“Huuuhhhhhh?” he grinned. I bit my lip back and hit him. “What were you thinking about?” his smile became even wider and his arms wrapped around my waist and drew me closer. I tried to squirm out of his embrace, giggling and protesting.

Writer’s note: Yes it’s Halloween where I’m at right now, but dang it, I just ended my semester and just could not come up with anything creepy today :(. Looks like I want to love more than inflict horror on my readers this time :p but worry not! now I have time, please expect something scary from me soon 😀 Hearts!!! (literally ;p)

EDIT: Whoops! Just noticed a contradictory up there where I say I was unable to fire a gun, yet I shot a Beast down 😛 please use a little morbid imagination and realise “my” hand would be hurting like shit and bleeding out but “I’m” too angry to notice 😛