"I still say this is a bad idea," Columbus said, face paler than usual.
"And I still don't give a fuck," Tallahassee countered. "I want to kill zombies. That store has zombies. It's a simple equation, Chickenshit."
Columbus stared at the building. It was larger than a gas station, and appeared to be falling apart. He chewed on his lip for a moment before looking back at Tallahassee. "Yeah, but," he lowered his voice, "Do you really think it's worth it? I mean." He glanced at the truck. "I really don't think Wichita and Little Rock are okay with this."
"We can hear you, you know," Little Rock said, eyebrows raised.
"Yeah." Wichita leaned out the window, fixing Columbus with a cocked eyebrow and a smirk. "Go have fun, Tallahassee. We'll be here."
Tallahassee grinned. "Well, don't mind if I do," he said, holstering a pistol, strapping a shotgun to his back, and grabbing a machete before taking off towards the building.
Columbus ran a hand through his hair and cast a helpless glare at Wichita. "Thanks a lot," he said.
Little Rock giggled and Wichita shrugged. "Just don't go," she said. "This is something he enjoys doing. Besides, he can handle himself."
"Yeah, but I, you know, I can't let him go by himself." Ignoring Wichita's knowing look, Columbus grabbed his shotgun and took off, muttering under his breath. Tallahassee was peering in through one of the front windows, and he looked up sharply when Columbus approached.
"Thought you said this was a bad idea," he said.
"Yeah, well, I'm maintaining that stance," Columbus said. "But I thought you might need, you know. Backup or something."
Tallahassee snorted. "My hero." He slide the mechete in a modified holster opposite the pistol on his hip. "Hold on to your nuts, Kid, we're going in," he said, a wicked gleam in his eyes. Gripping his rifle so tightly his knuckles were turning white, Columbus followed him.
There had obviously been a fight inside. Glass and paper littered the floor, while shelves and stands had been knocked over. The only light was what filtered through the filthy windows. It also smelled horrible - the freezer doors had been left open and the food was rotting.
Columbus slapped a hand over his mouth. It didn't matter how often he was faced with horrific stuff, there were some things he just couldn't get use to. Rotting microwave dinners was one of many. Tallahassee didn't seem to notice as he moved forward cautiously, eyes trained on a door leading to the back. Moving farward with sudden swiftness, he kicked the door in and stepped back, hand going towards his pistol.
Tallahassee frowned. "Well. This sucks."
Columbus didn't feel anything other than relief, but he tried to fake it. "I'm...I'm sorry. Buddy," he said, reaching out and patting Tallahassee on the back. Tallahassee rolled his eyes but before he could say anything, a man missing half of his face appeared in the doorway, lips drawn back in a snarl.
"Oh, crap," Columbus said, stepping backwards.
"Fuck, yeah," Tallahassee breathed. Instead of going for either of his guns, however, he waited until the zombie rushed him and neatly side-stepped it. He swung his arm around it's throat, putting it in a firm headlock, before turning and slamming it's face against the wall once, twice, until it was nothing more than a bloody smear.
Columbus stared at it's body before shuddering. "I'm sure there was a neater way to handle that," he said.
Tallahassee wiped his hands on his jeans before unholstering his pistol and holding it up. "Yeah, but would that have been as much fun?" he asked and stepped through the doorway.
"That is entirely subjective," Columbus muttered, following him inside.
As soon as they entered the back room, two more zombies rushed towards them and Columbus was happy to see Tallahassee use his gun to take them out. He wasn't quite as happy to see three zombies appear right beside him, mouths gabing open in a deep moan.
"Shit. Shit, shit," he chanted in a high-pitched voice as he aimed his shotgun and fired. The one in the middle took the brunt of it, but the two on either side fell back. Before he could step forward and finish them off, Tallahassee came up beside him and shot both of them in the head.
"Don't waste your shells," he advised, before going further in the room. Columbus quickly followed, looking around frantically. The back 'room' looked more like a warehouse, with large stacks of plastic wrapped stuff - standing taller than Columbus - arranged in no particular order. Dust swirled around their feet with each step, and the floor creaked.
"You know," Columbus said, the words a sharp pant, "we really need to get you a new hobby. Uh, anyway, maybe we should head back. I mean, you got to kill zombies, yay, but it looks like-"
"Look out!" Tallahassee grabbed hold of his wrist and jerked him forward. Columbus heard the unmistakable sound of snapping jaws before Tallahassee shot the zombie. The pistol went off right beside Columbus's ear and he winced, before looking up quickly. Sounds came from the back of the building and Columbus grabbed Tallahassee's arm.
"Come on," he said. "It's time to go!" Turning back the way they came, Columbus raised his shotgun and fired on the two zombies that stood in their way. Unfortunately, it seemed like there were plenty more just outside the door Tallahassee and Columbus had come through. Running forward, Columbus grabbed the doorknob and swung it shot.
"Good job," Tallahassee said, drawing his rifle out. "Except now we're stuck in here with fuck knows how many zombies and no escape."
"Don't blame me!" Columbus said. "Let me remind you that I didn't even want to come here. You just had to be Mr. Let's Kill Zombies."
Tallahassee brought his pistol up, a wicked smirk on his face. "Let's kill zombies."
"Oh. Goody." Columbus could feel the familiar stirrings of panic - that old familiar friend - fluttering around in his stomach. Peering into the dusty darkness, he tried to discern just where the shuffling and moans were coming from. It seemed to be coming from everywhere.
Tallahassee stepped forward, freshly-loaded pistol on one hand, rifle in the other, both pointed forward. Columbus followed his lead, fumbling with his shotgun for a moment before raising it.
"Okay, now listen up," Tallahassee said, voice low as the shuffling got closer and the moaning got louder. "You got the shotgun. You shoot first at groups to knock 'em down, then I shoot to take 'em out. Good?"
"G-good," Columbus said, taking a deep breath. He hated this. Hated it. He should have listened to Wichita and stayed in the truck.
A zombie appeared at the left, limping heavily on a leg that was missing a foot. Columbus hesitated and Tallahassee stepped forward, shooting it cleanly between the eyes. As he did so, a group of five rushed towards them and Columbus gave a little cry, raising his gun and shooting blindly. it managed to knock three down and cause one to stumble, but one continued forward, rushing at Columbus and grabbing him by the shoulders, jaws snapping at his throat.
Columbus screamed and tried to use his shotgun as a buffer, holding it with both hands and pushing forward violently. Absently, he could hear gunshots in the background before the zombie was jerked back away from him.
Tallahassee eyes were ablaze as he shoved the zombie backwards. Grabbing his mechete, he swung wildly, slitting the zombie's throat. Sluggish, deep red blood poured forth and Tallahassee swung again, decapitating the zombie. He turned, wiping blood off his cheek. "You okay?"
Columbus stared at the zombie on the floor before looking back up at Tallahassee, eyes painfully wide. "Y-yeah," he said, before jerking his shotgun up, resting it over Tallahassee's shoulder. "Get down!"
Dropping to the floor, Tallahassee rolled out of the way as Columbus blasted the zombie edging towards them. Her head jerked back, blonde hair fluttering as she fell. Staring at her for a moment, Tallahassee looked back at Columbus, whistling. "Damn, Kid."
"I know, I have no idea how I did that," he said, before shaking his head. "Come on, we've got to get out of here."
"Yeah...I think you're right," he said, but before they could move, the floor made a loud, ominous creak.
"Uhm..."Columbus looked down. Apparently, the floor just wasn't up to the shenanigans the two men were putting it through - it was beginning to creak and sink, boards threatening to snap. "Crap."
"Fucking hell," Tallahassee said, taking a very cautious step back. It wasn't quite cautious enough - with a snap, boards broke, and Tallahassee disappeared under wood and dust. Columbus stumbled back before crawling forward, looking down in the hole in the floor.
"Tallahassee!" he called out. Columbus could just barely make out Tallahassee's form, partially pinned under wood. "I'm coming down," he said, carefully swinging his legs over the jagged edge and jumping down, losing his balance and falling on his backside as he landed.
"Ow," he muttered, before scrabbling up and hurrying over to Tallahassee. "H-hey," he said, putting a hand on Tallahassee's shoulder and shaking frantically. "Are you alright?"
"Shit, stop it," Tallahassee said, shrugging him off. "I'm in enough fucking pain without you dislocating my shoulder, fuck."
"Okay, okay, sorry." Columbus raised his hands in mock surrender for a moment before surveying the damage. Two large, heavy looking boards lay across Tallahassee's legs, while a third pinned one shoulder down. "Is...does anything feel broken or anything?"
Tallahassee shook his head. "Just fucking stuck," he said, grimacing as he tried to push the wood off.
"Here." Columbus crawled around him and tried to muscle the board off of Tallahassee's shoulder but it only budge a litte.
"Shit." Tallahassee didn't sound hurt or scared; he sounded pissed. "Well ain't this some fucking shit right here," he said, squirming around on the floor in impotent rage. "Fucking hell, I'm just minding my own business, killing some zombies, and the fucking floor collapses. What are the fucking odds?!"
"Well, actually, the odds were pretty good, considering how long this building has gone without basic maintenance and, uh, you don't care," Columbus said, ending that train of thought as Tallahassee aimed a white-hot glare at him. "Anyway, what are we..." he trailed off, head cocking. Scuffling could be heard above. More zombies were coming.
"Damn it!" Columbus said, the words soft but heated. "Come on," he said. "We really need to get you out of here." He grabbed the board and heaved again, but it didn't budge.
A young teenager fell through the hole in the floor, legs broken at the knee. She snarled and crawled towards them, and Columbus shot her in the chest, sending her flying.
"Fuck, you know better than that," Tallahassee said.
"Yeah, I know!" Columbus said, grabbing the pistol and shooting her in the head. He grimaced and turned back to Tallahassee.
"Come on," he said, grabbing the board again, but Tallahassee shook his head sharply.
"Stop, stop," he said. "Listen, can't you hear? Those fucking things are swarming up there. You need to get out of here."
"I-what?" Columbus shook his head. "What?"
"I want you to take off, Kid," Tallahassee said and for the first time, he actively avoiding Columbus's gaze. "If you don't get out of here now, you're not going to be able to later."
Columbus blinked. "I'm not just leaving you here!" he said, voice raising in both pitch and volume. "No way!"
"You've got to," Tallahassee said, grabbing Columbus and shoving him back. "Get the fuck out of here!"
"No!" Columbus scrabbled forward and pulled frantically at the boards, but fear kept him from being able to use all his strength.
"Goddamn it, you're stubborn," Tallahassee said before grabbing Columbus around the nape of one strong hand, yanking him down. "Look, if you stick around, we're both zombie food," he said. "I want you to go"
"Yeah, but," Columbus hated, hated that his voice was starting to break. He could already hear Tallahassee's scornful laughter. "B-But I can't just fucking leave you here."
Tallahassee stared at him for a moment before muttering under his breath, "Fuck, don't do that," before jerking Columbus into a stark, too-rough kiss. It was closed-mouth and quick but it left Columbus dry-eyed and speechless.
"Now, get," Tallahassee said, pushing Columbus away again and this time, Columbus stayed back, eyes wide. "I don't want you here."
Columbus stared at him for a moment, mouth gaping, before turning and climbing slowly, cautiously back up to the main floor. A zombie latched onto his arm and Columbus shook it off, letting it fall below. He heard the pistol fire and took a deep breath. He wasn't leaving Tallahassee helpless. He had the rifle and the pistol. He would be okay. Once Columbus reached the top, he swung over and dodge a zombie's outstretched arms, before running to the door. Flinging it open, he shoved a zombie aside and ran for the truck.
Wichita looked up, bored expression turning alert as she looked behind him. "Where's Tallahassee?" she asked.
Columbus bit his lip and shook his head. "He's still inside," he said. "Come on, we need to go get him." Like he was really going to leave Tallahassee there. No way.
"Is he okay?" Little Rock said, swinging the door open and jumping down, holstering two pistols to her hips. Despite her sure actions, her eyes were wide, face going pale with fear.
"He's...okay," Columbus said. "C'mon, we need to get going. He's stuck under some wood and there are way too many zombies in there." He could hear the pistol firing from inside the building and starting jogging towards it. "Come on, guys. Someone's going to have to be bait."
"I will," Little Rock volunteered and spoke over Wichita's objections. "I'm fastest and besides, you two are stronger than me. Well, Wichita is, anyway." She shrugged. "I'll be the bait."
As they neared the building, Wichita grabbed Little Rock's arm. "Be careful," she stressed.
Little Rock nodded. "Okay, you guys go hide. I'm going to go in and see if I can get them out," she said.
"Okay," Columbus said. "We'll make sure none come in behind you." He and Wichita watched as Little Rock went in before going around the corner, peeking out. They could hear gunfire inside, both Little Rock and Tallahassee, before Little Rock came bursting out. Seconds later, zombies came pouring out behind her. Fortunately, they were all hobbling along, possibly thanks to Tallahassee, and Little Rock easily stayed ahead of them.
"You guys better move it!" she yelled over her shoulder as she ran.
"Come on," Wichita said and they ran inside, guns drawn as they looked around cautiously.
"He's back here," Columbus said, leading the way through the back door to the warehouse part of the building. The coast seemed clear but Columbus kept his pistol up as he leaned over the edge of the hole.
"Tallahassee?" he called down and for one, heartstopping moment, there was no reply.
"Columbus?" Closing his eyes, Columbus took a deep breath, feeling cold sweat trickle down his back. Tallahassee sounded just as angry, just as alive, as he had when Columbus left him. "What the fuck are you doing? I told you to get out of here, you little fucking-"
"Tallahassee, shut it," Wichita said, holstering her pistol to her thigh and swinging her legs over. "We're coming down." She climbed down first and Columbus followed, more slowly; he wasn't as willing to holster his weapon as she was.
When he got down, he knelt down beside Tallahassee and looked up at Wichita. "We need to hurry," he said.
"I know," she snapped, casting him a side-long glare that said, It's my sister out there. She bit her lip before kneeling down beside Tallahassee. "Come on, let's see if we can get the one over his shoulder up first." Columbus reached out and took a firm grip on the wood. "Okay, Tallahassee, you push up. On three. One. Two. Three." Together, they strained against the board, muscles already starting to ache as they pushed it off, slowly and not so carefully, and shoved it aside.
"Fuck!" Tallahassee yelled, arm moving up to cradle his ribs.
"Are you okay?" Columbus asked, hands moving forward before jerking back. "Anything broken?"
"I don't think so," Tallahassee said, sitting up very carefully and hunching over, arms around his abdomen. "Just hurts like a motherfucker. Definitely got some bruised ribs."
"Yeah, okay, come on," Wichita said, moving down to his legs. They moved one board and then the other, before Columbus squatted down beside Tallahassee and swung one arm over his shoulder. With a grunt, he picked him up, stumbled for a moment before getting his balance.
"Okay," he panted. "Okay, now this is going to hurt-"
"Already does," Tallahassee bit out, hand squeezing on Columbus shoulder.
"Here." Wichita went ahead, climbing up and holding out one hand. "Come on, I'll pull, you push," she told Columbus.
Together, Tallahassee and Columbus hobbled to the edge and Tallahassee went forward, climbing slowly. Columbus was behind him, one hand on his back, providing support and pressure as he forced him to keep going. Wichita strained to pull the man up and when he finally was, she let go, resting her hands on her knees as she panted.
Columbus came up behind Tallahassee, his own mouth agaped in a pant. "Come on," he said, getting to his feet and reaching down to help Tallahassee up. "Come on, it's just a little bit further and we'll be in the truck." Tallahassee took his hand and Columbus pulled him up, bracing his legs as Tallahassee slumped against him, before picking himself up enough to let Columbus wrap an arm around his waist.
"I'll cover you," Wichita said, pulling out both her pistols, a frown on her face as she let the way through the door leading to the store, then out to the porch.
No zombies could be seen but they could hear gunfire in the distance and Wichita hurried to the truck. "Come on," she said, cranking it up. "We've got to go get her." Tallahassee and Columbus hobbled over as quickly as they could and jumped - well, painfully slid - into the truck. Wichita took off before they'd managed to shut the door properly, heading towards the gunfire.
They came across Little Rock running just as fast as she'd started out - good cardio, Columbus thought absently - with several zombies following along behind her. Wichita pulled up beside her and Columbus opened the back door. Little Rock holstered her gun before throwing herself at him. Catching her awkwardly, Columbus pulled her in and slammed the door shut behind her. Wichita veered away from the zombies, getting back on the road they'd been on originally.
Holding one hand over her chest, Little Rock panted for a moment, taking deep gulps of air, before looking at Tallahassee. She cocked an eyebrow at him but before she could say anything, he held up a hand.
"Don't even think about it. I've got enough to deal with without listening to you," he said.
She stared at him for a moment before sitting back against the seat, hand folded behind her head. "Okay, whatever." She paused for a moment before adding nonchalantly, "I'm glad you're okay."
Wichita looked into the rearview mirror. "Are you okay?" she asked and Little Rock shrugged.
"Yeah. It was a piece of cake," she said. "But, uh, I don't think I want to do it again any time soon."
Columbus fiddled with the drawstrings of his jacket before glancing at Tallahassee. He looked closed off, jaw set and eyes squinting. He blinked and looked sharply at Columbus. "What?"
Columbus jumped, dropping the drawstring in favor of rubbing his hands on his thighs nervously. "No-uh, nothing, nothing," he said, shaking his head and looking out the window, brow furrowing. "Nothing."
As the sun started to set, Wichita made the decision to pull over for the night. They came across a small, seemingly abandoned house and, after she had Columbus checked it out for zombies, settled Tallahasse on the couch.
"We should start a fire," Columbus said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I-I mean," he carefully dodged Tallahassee's stare in favor of Wichita's. "I mean, it's getting cold and it's not like whoever lived here is going to mind a bonfire in the middle of their living room."
Wichita nodded. "Okay, deal," she said. "You and Little Rock grab our stuff out of the truck. I'll see if I can find something to have our fire in, plus something to burn."
After Columbus and Little Rock left, Wichita disappeared into the kitchen for a moment before coming back out with a large, metal pot. "This should do," she said, kicking the coffee table out of the way and setting the pot in its place. She grabbed the table and set it on its top. Swinging her leg sharply, she kicked the legs off one by one, throwing them in the pot.
Tallahassee watched her work, gaze somber. "Well, didn't you just up and make yourself the leader," he said after a moment. "You gonna keep barking orders like that?"
Wichita stood and turned, staring at him for a moment. "What happened down in that hole?" she asked, dark-circled eyes narrowed.
Tallahassee snorted. "Fucking nothing," he said. "'Cept for me nearly becoming zombie chow, I mean."
"You're lying," Wichita said, fingering her knife, her eyes turning speculative. "What happened, Tallahassee? You're moody as hell and Columbus can't even look at you for five seconds straight, so what the fuck happened?"
"Damn, girl. Getting all psychotic, are we?" He raising his eyebrows. "I just gave him a little peck to get him going. I thought I was about to fucking die, I didn't mean nothing by it." He paused, before adding, darkly, "was just playing with him."
In a flash, Wichita drew the knife up and tapped him on the thigh with it, razor-blade sharp. "Don't play with him," she said. "He's not like us, Tallahassee, he doesn't play that way. If you kiss him, you better fucking mean it."
"Fine! Jeez, I won't do anything to Columbus unless I plan on taking fucking vows, that good enough for you?" Tallahassee said before frowning at her. "Wait. You're just telling me to, what, be careful? Don't hurt him?" His lip curled. "You ain't worried about me stealing him from you?"
Wichita blinked before laughing. "Stealing? Really?" She cocked her head to one side, a smirk on her full lips. "What are you talking about, old man? You couldn't steal him from me if you tried."
"What? Then..." Tallahassee couldn't figure her out. Women were so fucking weird and Wichita took the cake.
"Columbus is my best friend and occasional fuckbuddy. Or, well. Love-making buddy is the word he uses," she said, pointing at him with the knife. "And if you hurt him...well. Don't hurt him. Got it?"
"Got it," Tallahassee said, dumbfounded. It was such a fucking surreal conversation. Was he having a fucking discussion with Wichita over Columbus's virtue?
"Good." She smiled, the threatening tone gone, and looked at the door. "I wonder what's taking them so long?"
Tallahassee stared at her for a moment, feeling something like respect well up in him. Well, okay, he'd always respected Wichita - she was a mean shot and was sure as hell smarter than he was - but her threatening skills were pretty fucking topnotch. Plus, it was good that she was so damn protective of Columbus. The kid needed all the help he could get. "They should be in soon," he said, shifting deeper into the couch and wincing at the pain this caused. Fuck, he hated being in pain.
Sure enough, Columbus and Little came in, talking quietly to each and throwing their gear on the floor. Little Rock shivered. "It's getting cold fast," she said, rubbing her arms briskly.
Columbus crumbled up some paper and tossed it in the pot before splashing in a bit of firestarter fluid. "Got this at that store. Guess it wasn't a complete waste," he said, ducking his head as he threw a lit match in. As soon as it struck the fluid, it burst into flames, starting the fire fast. "We should open the windows," he said. "To let the smoke out, you know?"
"Okay, but keep the blinds down and the curtains drawn," Wichita said. "We don't need to advertise our presence anymore than we have to."
Little Rock yawned and grabbed a thick blanket out of the bags. "I'm sleepy. Think I'll go to bed." She shed her jacket and kicked off her shoes before giving Columbus a quick hug. When she went over to Tallahassee, she hugged him and whispered, "I really am glad you're okay, you big jerk."
Tallahassee chuckled and shoved her away, not unkindly. "I like you better when you're sleepy," he said and she flipped him off before going off to the corner of the room farthest from the window and settled down, swaddling the blanket around herself.
Wichita stretched her arms up over her head and grabbed her own blanket. "Think I'll turn in, too," she said, leaning over and giving Columbus a quick peck on the cheek. Sending a warning stare in Tallahassee's direction, her face relaxed into a smile when he shrugged and nodded. Going over to Little Rock, she laid down beside the younger girl, snuggling against her. After a few moments, all was quiet in their corner.
"Guess we have guard duty," Tallahassee said, shifting minutely and wincing. "Don't think I could go to sleep now if I even fucking tried. Too keyed up."
Columbus sat down beside the fire, grabbing a long piece of pipe. Poking the fire, he blew on it, watching as the embers lit up, red and orange and yellow. The firelight lit up his face, casting deep shadows and making him seem older than he was. Tallahassee watched him for a moment before breaking the silence. "You okay, Kid?"
Opening his mouth a couple of times, Columbus paused before finally shrugging. "Yeah. I'm fine." He chewed his bottom lip as he continued poking the fire, looking forlorn and uncomfortable.
"Crazy day," Tallahassee added.
Columbus blinked and looked up at him, expression vaguely accusatory. "Yeah," he said, visibly shivering under his too-thin jacket and well-worn blanket.
Tallahassee raised his eyebrows. Enough pussyfooting around. "It was a dumb move to come back for me," he said and Columbus snorted, glaring at him.
"Did you really think I was just going to leave you there?" he asked, throwing the pipe down. "Are you fucking kidding me? Would you have left me? Whoa, wait a minute," he raised one hand. "Wait, you know, don't answer that. You probably would have."
Tallahassee chuckled. "Ease up, Kid," he said. "Calm down."
Columbus just looked at him for a moment before his cheeks reddened - at least, Tallahassee thought they did, it was hard to tell in the dim light - and looked down at the fire, a violent shiver ripping through him.
Tallahassee stared at him for a moment before shaking his head. "Okay, that's it. Get over here," he said.
"Uhm." The spark seemed to go out of Columbus, leaving him nothing more than burnt out ciders. His fingers played nervously over his jacket. "What?"
Tallahassee raised an eyebrow. "Come. Here."
Columbus blinked and stared at him for a moment before reluctantly getting to his feet and walking over to Tallahassee, a confused, slighty fearful expression on his face. As soon as he was in reach, Tallahassee grabbed his wrist - skinny, bird-like, did the kid ever eat? - and yanked. Crying out, Columbus landed hard on Tallahassee, who grunted from the pressure and eased over so that Columbus was laying beside him.
"Uhm, Tallahassee. What are you doing?"
Tallahassee snorted, reluctantly fond. "What the fuck does it look like I'm doing. I'm getting comfortable."
A pause. "D-does this have anything to do with that, you know, that kiss?" The words are muffled by Tallahassee's shoulder and he chuckled.
"Naah. You just looked so goddamn pathetic, sitting over there by yourself. Excluded from the girls' sleepover, huh, princess?"
Columbus pulled back, a flustered glare on his face. "Why are you such an asshole all the time?"
Tallahassee shook his head. "I'm just teasing," he said, before shrugging. "It's cold. Too cold to be sitting over there by yourself just 'cause you're pissed at me. Besides, it ain't exactly a hardship, having you this close."
Columbus blinked at that, meeting Tallahassee's stare for a moment longer before ducking his head, an embarrassed grin spreading over his lips, looking so goddamn endearing that Tallahassee was hard pressed not to roll him over and fuck him right there. A warning ache in his ribs kept him from doing so; instead he settled deeper in the couch, wrapping one arm around Columbus's shoulders and pressed him closer.
"Now, get to sleep," he said, a faint order in the words. Columbus cautiously leaned against him and was still. For all of two seconds, before he was moving, rolling over and curling into a near fetal position, before rolling back over and pressing his face against Tallahassee's collarbone.
Tallahassee sighed deeply. "Damn it, if you don't settle the fuck down, I'm going to push you back on the floor."
"Sorry!" Columbus said, the word a near yelp. "I'm not used to sleeping with someone who's, you know, bigger than me."
Tallahassee snorted and his arm became a steel band around Columbus. "This is good," he said. "Now go to sleep."
Columbus sighed deeply. "Okay, okay. Uhm. Good night."
Tallahassee pressed his face into soft, fluffy hair, eyes fixed on the fire. "'Night."