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Boots and Blood to End it All

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It's been a couple of months, maybe a year, since the world went tits up and humanity diminished to an inconsiderable number. It started with one, Patient Zero, then another one, Kim Namjoon, and then whoever found themselves crossing their path after that. Yoongi often thinks about the events of the day that started it all, subsequently – and with much more guilt – he thinks about how he had to kill the gnarled form of a zombied-out Namjoon. The apocalypse had happened and it happened in the most ridiculed way possible. Fucking zombies. To think that the appearance of the zombie – first a myth, a name for the over-worked people of Haiti documented by a white man, now a very real threat – had become man's reckoning. The world had unraveled around them as strife and chaos rolled over the lands like the wind rolls over the dunes in the deserts.

He snaps a photo of the bleak and yellowed landscape. Cars are strewn all around and an oil pump is gathering dust in the distance, creaking loud in the silent atmosphere. The sun makes the horizon waver and sway. It's warm for an autumn day. A gust of air blows the particles from the sandy ground into his face and he scrunches up his nose in distaste.

"Are you sure you can get it running?" He turns to his companion, Hoseok.

"Yeah, just give me a few seconds and the knife from your bag – the smaller one." Hoseok grunts and holds out his hand. There's oil staining the younger’s bare forearm, along with a few bruises that he got climbing over the wall to get into a secure compound a few days back.

He dumps the backpack onto the ground and rifles through it. He sighs when his hand makes contact with the carved antler handle. He'd picked the knife up in an antique shop somewhere along the way in the past couple of months, he can’t remember where. His hunting knife is as good a weapon as any but the small knife is utilized more and better in non life-threatening situations – like lunch, or hot-wiring a car. Such as this one where Hoseok's trying to get a motorbike running. It's a newer model, something speedy and silent as it gets according to Hoseok. The younger couldn't abandon it and Yoongi had no complaints considering they would have been walking for days through this wasteland if they hadn't come across it. The place they’re heading to is supposed to have more coverage than this. They’re currently sitting ducks in the open space of the desert-like wasteland.

He hands Hoseok the knife and watches his tattooed arm flex as he tries to reach the correct wire, nimble fingers grasping it with ease. Hoseok's always been good with his hands, in many aspects of life - be it work, art or sex.

"We'll have to go to the pump," He realizes with a grunt that the bike probably has no gas in it. They’ll have to walk to the oil pump and see if there are any cars there with gas in it.  

"Yeah, I'm trying to release the fucking wheels from the-" With a grunt and a jerk, the bike rolls forward under Hoseok's ministrations.

Yoongi grins and holds the bike still while Hoseok puts everything back where it should be. He hands the younger a random rag from his bag so that he can clean the grease off. Hoseok smiles at him thankfully and places a soft kiss on his forehead.

"I'll prepare the hose; make sure you have the bolt cutters." He motions with his head and Hoseok nods. The younger picks up his large bag – that has the cutters hanging from the side, and his bat –decorated with rusting red and silver, dried blood and nails. He lets Hoseok take the bike and they push it steadily towards the pump that's being cast in the shadow of the setting sun.

He feels uneasy; it’s been too quiet lately. Since they’d left the compound last week, they hadn’t seen a single zombie anywhere. That can mean two things and Yoongi likes neither of them. One: it could mean that there’s a hotspot of people nearby, a focal point the zombies are being drawn to; or, two: it means that there’s hunters nearby that had cleaned up the space. Either way, it means people and people bring trouble. They can’t trust anyone these days and nobody trusts them in turn.

He briefly recalls the settlement they came across at the beginning of their nomadic life. The people there had welcomed them in and they’d accepted it, still too inexperienced and naïve. Then the people planned to use them as zombie bait and had locked them up in one of the trailers for safe keeping. It was ridiculous and Yoongi thanked the lucky stars that there was someone sane in that settlement that let them go before they could be attacked. They hightailed it out of there as fast as possible and they’d been on the move ever since.

Though, that doesn’t mean they hadn’t come across decent people in their travels. People like them, just looking to live from day to day with those closest to them. Those people never asked them to stay; they knew that Yoongi and Hoseok were on a mission of their own. They just fed them and sent them away with a vehicle and some water if any could be spared.

A hand touches his elbow and he flinches out of his thoughts. He looks to the side where Hoseok is eyeing him curiously.

“What are you thinking about?” The younger asks with a somewhat sad tilt to his mouth. Hoseok’s frowns are more frequent these days than his smiles. And so Yoongi cherishes every smile that he can get from the younger.

“Just – everything, I guess.” He admits with a heavy exhale. “About this whole world going to shit and about how I could have probably stopped the apocalypse from happening if I’d had the right words.” It’s always there in the back of his mind. He could have stopped Namjoon, but by the time he’d thought to do so – it was already too late.

“Hey,” Hoseok stops, his frown deepening and Yoongi avoids the eye contact. “We talked about this. It’s not your fault. It happened as it did and there’s no sense in dwelling on it, yeah? We just have to survive. Move forwards, try to build a life somewhere safe.”

“Surviving.” He mumbles to himself as they continue moving at a slightly slower pace. He doesn’t want his life to be about surviving. He wants to live. But, as Hoseok always says: survive first, live later. If anything, he’s glad he has Hoseok at his side. If not for the younger man he – he doesn’t like to think about it. And he tries his best to protect Hoseok at all costs. And to protect himself because he knows Hoseok shares the sentiment.

“Well, guess now we know why it’s quiet.” Hoseok stops the bike just shy of the first few cars that look intact. The full moon is in the sky by now and Yoongi had somehow missed the exchange. The blue light basks the pump with its rays and gives it a ghostly glow. All along the chain link fence surrounding the pump and the building compound next to it zombies cling to the metal. The groaning and moaning of the undead disturb the silence of the nigh along with the clinking of the metal. There must be people inside, enough of them that the zombies hadn’t noticed them yet.

There’s got to be at least forty of them scattered around the fence. No way Yoongi and Hoseok could take them all on. They see the lights come on in the building through the boarded up windows and the zombies stir, become more aggressive as they crash against the fence.

Idiots, Yoongi thinks to himself. He turns to Hoseok and the younger’s face is pinched in distaste again. Yoongi knows that Hoseok wants to help but the younger knows they can’t risk their lives for some strangers they’d come across. They didn’t come this far by ignoring their self-preservation instincts and risking their lives for idiots who don’t know the basics of zombie survival.

He holds up two fingers and points to the vehicle on their left. Hoseok nods and points to his eyes. They crouch and hide behind the bike as Hoseok wheels it behind a large van. He unhooks the hose from the side of his bag and unscrews the lid of the gas tank. He slides the hose in and sucks at the other end to get the fuel going. He lowers the hose below tank heights and waits for it to start flowing before he puts the other end of the pipe into the tilted bike. It’s not their first time siphoning fuel from cars. Sometimes they get attached to a particular vehicle that’s quiet and efficient and they keep it until another one catches their interest.

It’s a quiet affair but Hoseok, who’s keeping watch, looks extremely uneasy. Yoongi knows the guilt is eating away at him because they’re powerless to help these people. His gaze softens and he runs a thumb over Hoseok’s scarred knuckles where he’s gripping the bike. He’s expecting the other to return the soft look but instead, when Hoseok turns to face him, he has determination dancing along his features.

“We might not be able to save them but we can give them a chance.” Hoseok whispers as the fuel stops flowing.

“Don’t you dare do something stupid,” He hisses back.

Hoseok shakes his head and rights the bike, dusts it off and pulls the helmet out of the compartment on the side. There’s only one so Yoongi’s going to have to hold on tight. The helmet itself is some ridiculous lightmode thing that shines red. If they plan on keeping the bike, they’re going to have to find other helmets. But right now, Yoongi switches backpacks with Hoseok so that his, that is smaller one, is between them and the bigger one is on his back. He tucks the bat safely into the Velcro rings on Hoseok’s bag where he usually keeps it. They’ve been on the road for a while now; they’ve picked up some handy things along the way.

Hoseok counts down with his fingers and then starts the bike. As Hoseok said, the bike is deathly silent, nothing more than a hum of the machine can be heard. And then, then Hoseok revs up the engine and the growling of the zombies stops.

Yoongi’s heart is racing as they hear multiple footsteps coming their way, slow enough but approaching none the less. He knows what Hoseok is doing now. He’s going to drag them away from the pump, give the people inside some time to get into one of the cars and drive away.

He hugs Hoseok tighter and the younger lowers the face shield down with a snap and starts the drive.

It’s exhilarating in a way he can’t quite explain. He feels the wind biting at his exposed skin but he’s afraid to open his eyes and look. And yet, he squints at the surrounding. Hoseok is driving around the compound, making sure to get all of the zombies on their trail and chasing after them. Once the younger’s sure all of them are following, he takes off back to the road and further down the straight path.

The slow creatures were no match for the bike; Yoongi let the breath he was holding out. The undead followed relentlessly but they never managed to catch up. He knows Hoseok’s probably grinning as they cross a bridge into a greener part of the country. The zombies gave up some ten kilometers back and now they just have to watch out for the upcoming ones that roam the woods.


In Yoongi’s opinion, the forests were the most dangerous. Hoseok would argue that malls that looked abandoned were worse but Yoongi was persistent in his reasoning. The forests had too much ground that couldn’t be seen clearly, too many nooks that the zombies could get into. And there’s also the possibility of people setting up traps in them. The looters, people who hunted other people for sport and entertainment – to get their belongings and feed their pet zombies, were one of their biggest problems.

Yoongi has seen a lot of shit in his life, but one of the most horrid things was seeing a looter group handling zombies on leashes with iron muzzles on them. He’d been sick to his stomach the entire day after that. Partially from anxiety that they’ll get caught and partially from disgust that someone was so disrespectful towards the once-people. His policy was a quick and efficient killing for the dead. He took no satisfaction in what they had to do to survive. And the looters had absolutely no regard from them. Out of all the groups of people, they were the worst. Not even the settlers could be compared to the looters. They pillaged when they wanted to, killed when they felt like and did unspeakable things to the undead just because they could. Just because it was ‘either them or me, and I’m alive’. Yoongi doesn’t think that the looters know what it means to be alive. For him, being alive is being human and the looters were obviously monsters. Even now, he feels bile rise at the gruesome scene they’d witnessed once while camping on top of a building.

He felt the bike slow down underneath him, bringing him from his disturbing thoughts and memories. They’d cleared the forest and were stopping in front of a town just as the sun is about to break horizon. He feels bad for Hoseok; they’d been driving the entire night because he didn’t want to stop at the forest to get some rest. They have to find a safe space here to catch some shut-eye.

“Think there’s someone here?” Hoseok asks absentmindedly.

He can imagine the darkened circles around the younger’s eyes; the need for sleep rushing through their veins. He hums, “Probably. The tire tracks look fresh.” He points over Hoseok’s shoulder at the skid marks leading behind a corner of a building. He tilts his head when he sees that the marks swerve a little before disappearing.

“Looks like they crashed.” Hoseok takes off the helmet and his shoulders sag.

“Come on,” He dismounts and walks over slowly, hand on Hoseok’s bat. “Maybe they had something of worth on them.”

“Yeah, and maybe-” Hoseok grips his shoulder, “They brought trouble instead.”

Yoongi turns to look at him. The younger’s eyes are bloodshot, his tan somewhat paler in comparison to how golden it used to be. It makes Yoongi sad, to know that this world isn’t where Hoseok should be. That the younger should be flourishing somewhere, cherished and loved and pampered and maybe doing all that to Yoongi in return. But instead they’re here. These are the thoughts he often has, and they bring a pout to his mouth.

He reaches out and cups Hoseok’s cheek with his bony fingers and wide palm. “We’ll need water soon.” He scrubs a bit of dirt off Hoseok’s face, just above his eyebrow. They’ll need to find a place with a water supply and have a quick wash too.

Hoseok’s distracted enough by his words that the younger doesn’t react immediately when Yoongi rushes towards the crash site. It stands to show how tired Hoseok really is that he doesn’t immediately follow.

Yoongi clings to the corner building near the crash. He peers around the corner cautiously, ears and eyes trained to spot any movement. There’s smoke coming out from under the hood but it’s white, probably steam then. The alleyway is a dead end and there’s a body smashed to the wall, squished between the brick and the car’s front end. The body’s still moving, a zombie then. Yoongi drops his bag just as Hoseok reaches him after, presumably, stowing away the bike somewhere safe. They’ll probably be exploring the small town on foot for now. He gives it to Hoseok and exchanges it for his own again. He digs around and finds the belt he’d stashed away recently, the one that holds the sheath for the large hunting knife. They hadn’t had to kill anything in a while. He takes it out and starts approaching the clawing zombie at the end of the alley.

The creature stirs persistently, reaching for Yoongi with bent arms and torn fingers. Its guts spill out from where the car is imbedded in its abdomen; flies are gathered around emitting a persistent buzzing noise. He feels the bile again; it’s acidic in his throat. He’s careful despite knowing Hoseok’s got his back. The younger gets his bat out as Yoongi stays put a couple of meters away from the zombie snapping its chipped teeth at them.

“Get the hands down so I can finish it off.” He says, voice heavy and loud in the almost-silence. Hoseok nods mutely and waits for the moment to slam both of the creatures hands down onto the bent hood at the same time. Hoseok holds them down with surprising strength and Yoongi makes quick work of passing around the younger and getting close to the zombie.

Its lifeless eyes stare at him, half of its face is ripped off, it seems to have been a dude once. He grimaces and brings the knife to its forehead with one hand and slams down onto its hilt with the other. The large knife digs into rotting flesh like it’d dig into butter. The zombie twitches a couple of times before it goes still.

He pulls the knife out and gives it to Hoseok. He’s never had the guts to do the next part. Each isolated kill gets a cremation and a decapitation. It’s a thing they do, for reassurance and to pay respects. To cut off the head is always a way to reassure the thing stays immovable. A guy, a nomad, once told them that guns don’t last long in this kind of situation. That mid-range brawling weapons were the best. That’s why Hoseok had taken to the bat but Yoongi firmly believes that anything will do if the situation is dire. They’d also seen how the hunters do it. The hunters, the ones that clean out places and raid until there’s nothing left, usually disable the zombies by severing the spinal cord and then they decapitate them. This is followed by a victory pyre where they burn the bodies – no respect to it. They dance around it like drunken fools and toast to the smell of death.

“I’ll back the car up.” He hushes as Hoseok does the decapitation. He kicks at a piece of glass on the concrete idly with his scuffed boot. He’s too distracted to notice that there’s a person still in the car. He lets out a short yell when the curious, but slightly delirious, eyes turn to him.

“Fuck!” He screams just as the person lets out a weak ‘hi’.

Hoseok’s in front of him in an instant, one hand over his chest and the other holding out the knife towards the person stuck in the car.

“Put that away, I can’t exactly hurt you.” The man says with a weak laugh and then coughs, splattering blood coming out with the saliva.

Hoseok lowers the knife but his hold on Yoongi he doesn’t falter, neither does the tension in his shoulders lessen.

“What happened here?” He asks, grasping Hoseok’s wrist and then sliding his hand into his own. This helps ease the younger a bit but only by a fraction. Hoseok’s still guarded and Yoongi can’t blame him.

The man shrugs. He’s pale in the face, almost ashen and he’s sweating profusely. The reason is, quite frankly, obvious. Yoongi winces when he steps out and sees that the man’s leg is broken at the thigh. It’s an open break; the bone sticks out through the meat of the thigh and the material of the jeans. Blood is oozing out of the wound gratuitously, soaking everything around it and making a puddle on the leather seat.

“Me n’ a couple of others were passing through the town. We thought the air was clear but then a couple of Zs came outta nowhere and we weren’t paying attention. I crashed into the thing and took the next turn, trying to-” The man breaks off into a nasty coughing fit; Yoongi can hear the man’s lungs tearing. “Trying to shake it off… took the wrong turn I guess, crashed into this here wall.” Another sad and weak laugh.

Yoongi’s gut clenches. It doesn’t look like the man’s artery was cut in the crash, it’s a miracle really but there’s no way they can help him. Another in a long line of cases that can’t be helped by them. These just keep stacking up, towering over Yoongi, mocking him and calling him names. He doesn’t like to think about all the people they’d seen in trouble and ignored but sometimes, it creeps up on him. Especially at times like these.

“Why’d they leave you?” Hoseok gives the knife an easy twirl of the handle, ready to call bullshit if the man so much as thinks about lying.

“Said it was my fault; that I shoulda watched out better. They’re right, yeah. And, they didn’t have the medical supplies to deal with this mess.” The man points to his leg and Yoongi sees Hoseok wince bodily. As much as the younger likes to pretend it doesn’t bother him – it’s a different kind of sight to see in a still living, coherent person.

“Well, we don’t either.” Hoseok says decisively. And they don’t. They have a shoddy first aid kit they pilfered from a drug store somewhere and a couple of extra bandages, they'd recently run out of hydrogen.

“You have that knife there.” The man says, eyes suddenly clear and intent, boring into them.

Hoseok’s grip on the handle turns white-knuckled. They – they’ve never been asked to do this before (not by a living and breathing person at least). Yoongi feels tears spring to his eyes as he sees the man look at the knife longingly. He can’t imagine the pain this guy must be going through to want the easy way out. But – but it’s the only way out. A mercy killing.

“Hoseok-” He utters uselessly, he doesn’t have anything else to add.

“How far off are your people?” Hoseok asks, stepping closer to the car.

“They shouldn’t be far out, but they’re not nice people. You should wait a couple of hours before heading out of town.” Another cough wracks the man’s body. The sudden movement jogs the broken bone and a soft squelch of flesh is followed by a harrowing scream of pain.

He turns away harshly, hands coming up to cover his ears as if that will help.

“Now! Please, do it now! Help me!” The man shouts at Hoseok, blood flying out of his mouth.

Yoongi can’t watch as Hoseok takes those final steps and then there’s silence. Somehow, the silence is worse than the screaming that still echoes the ghost town. His chest hurts like hell and he clutches at it. There’s another thud that sounds like a body hitting the ground and in a brief moment of panic he thinks it’s Hoseok. That somehow, the tides had turned and that Hoseok’s now lying dead on the ground. He spins around so fast he gets dizzy and warm, familiar, hands cling to his shoulders.

“Hey, hey. It’s me, it’s okay.” Hoseok says softly and steadies him.

He blinks rapidly at the younger male and feels the relief wash over him like a tidal wave. He lets out a sob and clutches Hoseok to himself. Behind the younger, the man with the broken leg lays on the cracked tar. It wasn’t Hoseok. Hoseok’s still alive and unscratched. But the injured man is dead.  

“Seok, you-” He can’t say it, can’t expel the words out of his throat.

“I helped him. I did what he asked me to do.” Hoseok whispers but he sounds unsure and on the verge of tears. It’s been ages since he’d last seen Hoseok cry. But he thinks this is worth shedding a tear or two for. He lets them drop and they sink into the material of Hoseok’s ratty denim jacket.

And later, instead of one, they burn two bodies in the back of the alley. The smell is unbearable but they stay until the dead turn to dust, ashes to ashes, as they do each time.      


They mill around the small town for a bit until they find a small department store. It looks mostly raided but they’re here to get some sleep and not look for clothes. Though, halfway through, he spots a decent leather jacket that looks warm and decides to take it since they’ll be driving the bike from now on. Hoseok finds a sports store and grabs two regular helmets they carry to the furniture store. All in all, the town is still mostly intact aside from the broken glass that can be found virtually everything. So they take a nap, snuggled up under the slightly bloody duvet.

And then they rifle around other stores trying to find water and canned goods. They come up with a couple of cans of beans and corn and two large bottles of water that had somehow gotten shoved behind a freezer and forgotten. In the end, they decide to spend another night there and head out in the morning


The sun peeks above the buildings as Hoseok rolls the bike over to where Yoongi is waiting for him in the middle of the road. There’s something attractive about the way the younger straddles the beast of a machine that sends pleasant shivers down his spine. It’s been entirely too long since they de-stressed. The atmosphere between them seems almost stilted, both of them succumbing to the depression that is the end of mankind.

He shakes his head and gets on the bike behind Hoseok. “Let’s find something fun to do in the next town.” He says, demands really.

Hoseok nods his and turns the bike on. They take it slow, joy riding more than anything. Yoongi admires the river the road follows and fears the crows that circle overhead like vultures. The wind is chillier than yesterday so he hugs Hoseok tighter, leans when they enter a curve. One of Hoseok’s hands briefly squeezes his own in reassurance, enough to keep him warm for now. They’ll have to stop somewhere to get some food in them. Maybe they end up fishing in the crystal-clear river when they stop next. 

He’s almost dozing by the time they reach another ghost town. The buildings in this one are tall, concrete and stoic like large sentinels guarding the entrance to the city. There are vines growing along the walls, intertwining with the cracks. The buildings are surprisingly graffiti-free and Yoongi plans to change that as soon as possible. He’s a little giddy at the prospect and he drums his fingers along Hoseok’s waist. He can feel Hoseok squirming as they slow down.

“Think we’ll find anything here? The place looks like it had been dead even before the apocalypse.” Hoseok mumbles with a curious tilt of his head. It seems as though the younger is committed to this idea of sudden fun and Yoongi is, frankly, a little excited.

The tar is in its usual state of disarray, weeds growing out of it, cars littering the streets –some expensive and some not. Thankfully, no zombies to be spotted but Yoongi keeps a hand on the hilt of his knife anyway. Hoseok maneuvers them between the cars at a snail’s pace. The town has branching streets unlike the one they were before, it’s not just the main two streets. This is potentially dangerous because there’s more places for the zombies to be and people to camp at.

A brief flickering in the distance catches his eye. He taps Hoseok’s shoulder and points in the direction. He feels a little silly, like they’re maybe rushing into danger but if this place has electricity then there’s a possibility it has running water as well. Hoseok speeds up and they find themselves in a lit up part of town, the bulbs shining relentlessly even though it’s well passed noon now, probably.

The street is decorated in fairy lights and neon signs; it looks like a red district kind of place. Yoongi jumps off the bike and peers through the nearest shop window. The glass is cracked and dirty but it’s obvious the store’s been raided.

“Hey, Yoongs.” Hoseok calls, voice chipper and brighter than it had been in the past week.

He turns to look at the younger with a tilt of his head. “What is it?”

“About that fun you wanted to have,” A brilliant smile makes it onto Hoseok’s face as he nods his head in the direction down the road.

Yoongi’s momentarily distracted because he’s cataloguing the smile to see where Hoseok’s pointing to. But when he turns, he spots a bright sign that reads ‘ARCADE’ in big, bold letters. He grins right back at the younger. They rush down the street after parking the bike somewhere safe, excited at the prospect of the games actually working.

The inside is dimly lit, cobwebs stretching across the space. There’s faint music coming from deeper in the room – some old pop song that makes Hoseok wiggle in his spot as he tries not to dance. They’re cautious, back to back, as they scan the area for zombies or people. After the initial sweep with their flashlights pointed at dark corners they put them away and start surveying the games.

Yoongi’s eyes are immediately drawn to the old machine in the corner that spells out Donkey Kong. He beelines for it and makes sure to pick up some coins from one of the ones that are cracked open- money has no value now but these machines still need it to start.

“Oh, holy shit, that’s an old game.” Hoseok comments, coming to stand behind him and taking off his backpack as he gears up for the game. He lets Hoseok take the bag as he cracks his red knuckles.

“I haven’t played this since I was a kid. Arcades went out of business really quickly back home.” He hums, smiling to himself as he presses the buttons. The sound is somewhat distorted but it’s still functioning. He plays like he hadn’t ever stopped and Hoseok hooks his head over his shoulder to watch, palms comfortably on his hips. The younger is warm and Yoongi gets distracted fairly quickly by the proximity of their bodies.

He yells out in distress as he fails the level. Hoseok laughs at his dismay and he turns around to pout at the taller male.

“You made me lose,” He accuses petulantly.

Hoseok cages him in against the game with strong arms. “Hey, it’s not my fault you’re easily distracted.” The younger grins, wolfishly this time.

Yoongi feels fuzzy on the inside. It always amazes him how Hoseok manages to make him feel like this time and time again. He shouldn’t be surprised anymore but he is. Even after the shit they’ve been through, Hoseok never doubts him or his calls, never leaves him hanging and never fails to tell him how much he loves him.

“I love you, you know.” Yoongi whispers like it’s a secret, like it’s the first time he’s saying this to Hoseok. But it’s not, neither a secret not the first time; he’s said it countless times already.

Hoseok’s hand comes up to thumb at the scar on his collarbone he got during a wild encounter with a couple of druggies at the beginning of things.

“I wish we had a place of our own.” Hoseok says idly, fingers raising gooseflesh over Yoongi’s skin.

“You wanna become settlers?” Yoongi asks, leaning back against the machine and giving Hoseok more skin to trace with delicate digits. He feels the first licks of arousal in his belly.

“I want to become domestic.” Hoseok hisses with a little giggle.

Yoongi’s mood lifts at the sound, it’s music to his ears and he’d missed it as much as actual music. “What? A little house with a white fence, a big comfy bed to sleep in and a garden of roses in the back yard? The whole suburban package?” He teases gently but realizes that sounds like paradise even to him.

Hoseok pretends to think it over, “I also want a dog.” Yoongi laughs, endeared at the prospect of Hoseok running around with a fluffy puppy.

“He’s gonna be the prettiest puppy on the block.” Hoseok continues with a concentrated look on his face. “And all the old ladies with their yapping mutts are gonna be jealous of our baby boy.” The younger sounds smug as he announces this.

Yoongi laughs, short and joyous. He’s so giddy about this imaginary life they’re living it actually makes him happy for a moment. “I thought I was your baby boy?” He quips, a hand coming up to run through the younger’s dry hair. His roots are showing, he’ll probably need a haircut soon.

Hoseok bites his bottom lip to try and prevent the salacious grin that’s threatening to overtake his face. “Of course you are, baby.” Hoseok leans closer to him, his breath warm and smelling a little like canned corn. “But he’s gonna be our kid, our baby.”

God, Yoongi should not be aroused while Hoseok is talking about a damn non-existent dog that’s their adopted child but the younger is so close and so warm and inviting. And Yoongi’s very close to getting hard.

“Who said it’s gonna be a he, huh?” He says just for the sake of responding and prolonging the suffering that is the lack of feeling of Hoseok’s lips on his own. He’s almost convinced that they’re going to fuck here, in the arcade – on the machine – where that cardboard cutout of Solid Snake is watching them from the corner.

Hoseok steps that much closer, hands moving to grip both of his hips- ready to lift him up onto the machine and kiss him silly. And he’s going to let him; it’s not the worst place they’ve had sex at. Not even the most questionable one either.

“I missed you,” He whispers against Hoseok’s mouth, lips barely grazing.

“I’ve been here, baby.” Hoseok reassures him but it’s not the same. Nothing’s been the same since the apocalypse began. They haven’t been the same but maybe they’re just trying to make a bigger deal out of it than it is.

God, he missed Hoseok’s passionate kisses. The chaste and shallow pecks had nothing on the way Hoseok would push him against things and devour his mouth. And he was about to re-live that. He was about to grip the younger’s hair and smash their lips together – he was about to but then a loud crashing noise interrupts them and they break apart.

His body’s going on automatic. He grabs the bag and takes out the knife as the light streams in through the open door where someone is running towards them.

“What the fuck is-” Hoseok starts saying, bat ready to swing when several zombies crash through the door.

“Fucking run!” The figure, person, shouts at them and they scramble back.

In his haste he slams his shin against one of the fallen machines and curses loudly. Hoseok’s hand is around his bicep in an instant, guiding him to the back room first. His lungs hurt; you’d he’d be in better shape considering all the zombies but Yoongi’s never been the one to run from them.

Hoseok pushes him out the back door, the emergency exit, but they find the alleyway is blocked by a truck. There’s no way out of the alley and now they’re stuck. There’s white noise in his head as his sight swims, they’ve never truly been stuck anywhere. Hoseok turns him around with a firm grip and presses their lips together desperately.

“I love you.” The younger says and Yoongi’s beginning to think the other’s going to do something idiotic.

“What the fuck are you doing?!” He shouts as Hoseok runs and hides behind the open door. They’re coming, he can hear them and soon enough the person being chased barrels out the door and heads towards Yoongi. It’s a girl and she’s carrying an axe with a shattered handle.

“Fuck!” She screams when she sees the truck and stops next to him. “Why the fuck would you lead us here!?” She raises her fist like she’s going to hit him and he brings up his knife to her throat.

His heart’s beating loudly and there’s the taste of blood in his mouth, he might have bitten into the meat of his cheek too forcefully. “Back the fuck off.” He says; his voice is strangely calm even though his insides shake and rattle inside his skin. His chest hurts as he looks at Hoseok who’s gripping the bat so hard his knuckles are white. His shin hurts as well; he thinks he might be bleeding.

The first zombie bursts through with a snarl and a flailing motion that sends it crashing into the opposite wall of the narrow alley. Another follows and Yoongi wonders what the fuck is Hoseok doing. But then he gets it. There’s about five of them from what he’d initially seen. A group of zombies dressed similarly that might have died together in an office. Hoseok’s going to let the first three come to Yoongi and this woman and he’s gonna take the rest.

The girl grips the shattered axe handle and twirls it until the blade is facing the oncoming zombie. Yoongi steels himself, takes a deep breath and prepares the knife, drops the bag.

“He’s going to slam the door after the third one. We have to take them out because he won’t be able to hold them off long.” He hisses out quickly and the girl nods minutely.

The zombie seems disoriented for a few moments, aberrant movements of limbs that look awkward but dangerous. The, it straightens up and charges for them. With a war cry she smashes the axe into its head and it falls down. The next one lets out a gurgling noise and shuffles faster, heading for the woman trying to decapitate the fallen. Yoongi makes quick work of kicking it away and going for the brain but then the third one joins, much quicker than the two. It releases a snarl that sends Yoongi’s blood into a frenzy of fear. He almost freezes but then the door slams and Hoseok is shouting his name.

“Yoongi! YOONGI! DO SOMETHING!” The younger’s voice shreds as he screams and Yoongi’s arm lashes out automatically.

The zombie recoils as he kicks it in the chest and then the other is back up again, still stumbling around almost blindly but heading for him no doubt. The woman, still struggling on the floor, pushes the laying zombie and the one coming for Yoongi trips over it. It ends up on the floor as well and then the fast one is back again. This time Yoongi’s ready for him and he lets it get close enough before he grips the thing's arm and twists it. There’s the sound of a sickening crunch and rotting flesh giving way to a strong grip. A putrid stench permits his nose and he gags but isn’t deterred. He slams the struggling zombie against the truck and pins it with his body before bringing the knife up and stabbing it in the head. It’s as difficult as any other time and the thing struggles before falling limp.

There’s another sound of flesh squelching and separating and he lets the dead body drop to the ground. He hears Hoseok grunt and remembers that the younger’s still trying to hold off two, possibly three, zombies with a shabby wooden door. His blood freezes in his veins when he sees that one’s already smashed a hand through the wood.

He quickly assesses the woman’s state. She’s doing fine, both zombies on the ground, one still struggling. “Are you okay?” He asks her just to make sure.

She nods, a hand coming up to wipe the sweat collected on her pale forehead. “I’m fine, go.” She twitches her head in Hoseok’s direction.

He nods and jogs over. “What’s the plan?” Hoseok grunts as the zombie slams into the door and Yoongi leans against it as well to help as they formulate and attack plan.  

“There’s two, we let them in and then see what they’ll do. Surround them and take them down.” Hoseok’s face is red from excretion and Yoongi wishes he’d killed the damn zombies sooner so Hoseok would have to struggle less.

“On three then.” He calls loud enough so that the woman can hear as well. He leans back and lifts his weight off the door, Hoseok’s biceps bulge as he forces it closed again.

He takes several steps back and sheaths the knife, picks up a pipe that he’s been eyeing since they ran into the alley. It’s cast iron, maybe belonging to a fence or something seeing as there’s several more where this one laid. He grips it with both hands.

“One,” The woman comes to stand next to him, gripping the axe again. “Two.” Hoseok picks up his bat. “Three.” Hoseok careens back and uses the door to hide himself as Yoongi slams the pipe against the others of its kind, making a loud noise to draw the zombies away.

They stumble into the alley and, distracted by the noise, head his way. The first one lunges at him and he dodges it easily, letting it slip against slick blood coating the floor and letting the girl get it. In a twisting motion he turns and brings the pipe down onto the zombie’s head. Hoseok’s by his side again, bat coming down to smash its skull in. The rusty nails tear through flesh with surprising efficiency and Hoseok’s merciless until there’s only a stew of bone fragments and rotten brain matter left.

The woman cries out and Yoongi turns to see her on the floor, hand sliced up by a shattered bottle near the wall. The zombie’s crawling towards her; its legs have been broken. Yoongi hobbles over to her, his shin seriously starting to hurt and the adrenaline is slowly leaving his system now that the risk of death is lesser. He kicks it away with his good leg, the iron plating in his boot and the force of the impact make his foot dig into waning, soft flesh. He grimaces and forces the scrabbling thing away. The woman gets up hurriedly and stands behind him as he slams the pipe onto its head, the smooth iron imbedding itself into bone. The crunch is always the same. He feels the vibrations of the impact run through the pipe and shake his muscles. The thing releases another slew of inhuman noises and tries to lash out at him.

“Get the knife, c’mon.” Hoseok’s voice is gentle again, a little gruff from the screaming.

Yoongi gives the pipe to the woman and then he goes through the motions of putting the blade of the knife through the infected brain. Another few twitches and then silence, murky yellow eyes rolling back.

He looks at Hoseok, sees the same sorrow in his steely gaze as always. He wipes the knife on the zombie’s shirt and puts it away.

“You’re hurt.” The woman, accent thick now that she’s not screaming, says and points to his leg.

Hoseok’s head snaps his away, eyes analyzing his form and landing on his shin. “Yoongi-” And he can hear the fear and panic in Hoseok’s voice, loud and clear.

He rushes to the younger, takes his face into his bloodied hands. “Look at me, hey.” If Hoseok goes into panic mode they’re going to be stuck here for a while and they can’t afford that, not with the possibility of there being more zombies around. “I’m fine. No one got me. I slammed into a machine earlier; it’s probably just a bad bruise and a cut. I’ll bandage it when we get somewhere safe.” Hoseok’s shaking like a leaf. “Look at me. Breathe.” He instructs and puts one of Hoseok’s hands on his chest. It’s not often Hoseok gets this freaked out but it’s also not often they land themselves in such a mess.

“Thought-”Hoseok chokes after a single word and Yoongi feels him exhale. The tremors stop soon after that and Hoseok drops the bat in order to clutch him to his chest.

“It’s fine, we’re fine.” He murmurs as the woman shuffles around, poking the bodies and checking they’re dead.

Hoseok’s fingers dig into his back and then release him. “Don’t scare me like that.”

“We’re good, Seok, we’re good.” He chuckles faintly as Hoseok pulls back.

“C’mon, we gotta get rid of the bodies.” Hoseok grunts and runs a hand through his hair, leaving it more grimy than before.

“Get rid of them?” The woman pipes up and right, she’s still there.

Yoongi grunts, “Right, uh. We usually burn any dead, uh, dead-er zombies we come across. Like a burial, or just to make sure they don’t rise again.” He explains vaguely. “I’m Yoongi, by the way, and this is Hoseok.” He points to the younger and the other nods in greeting.

She drops the axe with a grimace and takes a pipe with her instead. “The name’s Vanya, nice to meet you. Sorry about the, er, zombies. I didn’t know you’d be in there.”

Yoongi sighs, there’s really no blaming her. It happens sometimes and they’d probably have run into them anyway. Hoseok comes forth and wraps a hand around his waist.

“It’s okay, just – help us get them into a pile.” The younger says and pecks his cheek. “Go see if you can move the truck so we can get some oil from it to spread he fire better.”

Yoongi sighs and nods. He goes back out through the arcade, limping a little but he has no time to dress the wound now. The sun is past the high noon position; they’ve been there for a while now. The street’s still as empty as it was before so he sneaks around. The truck door is open and the key’s still in ignition. It’s parked perpendicular to the alleyway and the owner probably left in a hurry. He turns the key and the delivery truck rumbles to life. He doesn’t really know how to drive a truck but he figures he just needs to move it a bit. The truck jerks forward and he steers it for a bit before he slams on the break and tugs the key out. He grunts and puts his leg up on the dashboard to survey the injury. The skin’s slashed and it looks nasty, it’ll definitely take some time to heal but it shouldn’t pose a problem for them. The jeans are ripped and bloodied and he’ll need new ones.

“Are you okay?.”

He jerks away, hand coming to the handle of the knife but it’s Hoseok. He hisses, “Don’t scare me like that. God.”

“Sorry, I realized you don’t know how to drive a truck so I got worried.” Hoseok smiles sheepishly. “Come on.” The younger offers a hand and Yoongi takes it, lets Hoseok bring him down from the cabin.

“That looks bad. Does it hurt?” Hoseok asks as they make their way to the truck’s gas tank.

“Yeah, a little. It’s gonna be fine after I bandage it as long as I don’t touch it.” He says and pops the cap of the fuel filler. “Get the canister from the cabin.”

Hoseok shuffles up the stairs and retrieves the item requested. Yoongi does what he does best and Hoseok guards him. They go through the familiar set of steps but this time with another person there. But even as she leaves, they stay. Ashes to ashes.


Vanya takes them to where she’s been camping for a few days now. She’s got a tent set up in a bank vault, smart but not practical. There are bills piled onto the floor next to what appears to be a fire pit. The irony of it doesn’t escape Yoongi at all.

She offers them stew- honest to god, rabbit stew with potatoes. They don’t question it nor do they refuse it. They can live on canned foods for most of the time but every once in a while they try to catch some meat. He always feels bad but survival of the fittest and all that.

“So, how far have you two travelled?” She asks as they chow down on the spicy stew he’s never had before.

Hoseok hums, much more relaxed now that they’re inside and safe. “Not far enough to be out of this shithole.”

She snorts, a derisive sound like she thinks they’re a joke. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but… the rest of the world is as shitty as this place.”

“How do you know?” He asks, voice curious as he tries to curb Hoseok’s huffy protests.

“I have a plane, I’m – I used to be a military pilot, I was in the base when the virus reached us. I took an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet and fled the scene.” She explains and tosses a wad of bills into the fire to ignite it a little where it dimmed. It’s colder in the vault than it is outside. “I was trying to reach the base north of here to refuel but I had to land because I’d overestimated my fuel supply. It’s parked near the fields on the crop duster landing strip.”

“How’d you come across the Zs?” Hoseok asks through a mouthful and Yoongi shoots him a stern look.

“I was snooping around when I heard a group of looters enter the town. They didn’t look like they’d be stopping but I made the executive decision to hide in an office building that so happened to have a panic room. Next thing I know, I’m pressing a button and out come those fuckers.” She grunts angrily like she’s berating herself for the stupidity of her actions. “I knew better than that but – shit happens, I guess.”

He hums and places the bowl down, finished with eating and for once feeling full. Hoseok does the same then turns to him. “Come on, leg out, I need to bandage it or it’ll get infected.”

Vanya puts away the bowls, they’re more like large, tin cups, as he hikes up his pants and rummages around the backpack for the first-aid kit.

“I think we’re short on disinfectant, though.” He mumbles when he doesn’t feel the familiar shape of the bottle in the small bag.

Hoseok grunts and browses around his bag as well. “Nothing here either.”

“Here, use this.” She offers them a bottle of something clear that looks suspiciously like vodka.

“Vodka?” Hoseok asks with a suspicious frown.

She snorts, “Not quite but close enough. A type of schnapps.”

“Is this safe to pour on wounds?” He asks dubiously, he’ll accept it but he wants to be sure.

“Back in my country schnapps cured more people than the doctors ever did.” She says jovially and Hoseok snorts, takes a swig from the bottle to test it out.

“Oof, strong shit.” The younger grimaces and pours it on his leg without warning.

He hisses when the liquid makes contact with the wound, the sting almost unbearable and bringing tears to his eyes. He wants to grit his teeth but he’s scared he’ll chip them if he grinds too hard. Hoseok, despite the bold pouring of the hellish liquid, takes great care with wrapping up the wound and checking Yoongi over for other injuries. Aside from scraped knuckles that he got somewhere along the way, he’s fine. God, after all this time Hoseok still treats him like he’s made of glass. It brings warmth into his chilly heart.

“How long have you been together?” She asks and Yoongi startles out of his revere. He feels a little silly that she’s asking them about their relationship when they’ve barely made it alive out of that mess today.

“We – we’ve been friends for a long time.” Hoseok says with a fond smile and the look in Vanya’s eyes is almost nostalgic. “It’s been a while for us, even before this apocalypse thing.”

“It’s good to see there’s still love in the world,” She hums happily and tosses another piece of wood into the fire. “Makes me hopeful.”

“Yeah,” He thinks, yeah, as he looks at Hoseok who still has a warm hand wrapped around his fair-skinned calf, rubbing mindless circles into the skin.


 

 They leave in the morning. The giant block buildings are behind their back when Hoseok turns around and snaps a picture of him. He raises an eyebrow and Hoseok chuckles and lets the Polaroid develop.

“You match the color scheme.” The younger say with another laugh as he looks at the picture.

Yoongi rolls his eyes but he sees it, the dull green and brown of his outfit and the abandoned wooden playground behind him match well. He snorts and puts the photo away into the little leather-bound notebook he carries around.

“You could have told me to pose better.” He grumbles and Hoseok reaches out to place a hand on his cheek.

“You always look great.” The younger says honestly and he feels his cheeks heat despite the morning chill in the air.

“Fuck off. You won’t be saying that when I’m a zombie.” He grunts, it’s half-teasing and half-serious.

“No, I suppose I won’t. But that’s because that’s not going to happen.” Hoseok reassures and pulls him in for a swift kiss.

The almost-thing they had in the arcade’s made him want more and he deepens the kiss for a brief moment before letting Hoseok go back to starting the bike. They’re gonna have to find a better place to stay at soon because Yoongi might just want to scratch that familiar itch.

“C’mon, time to hit the road.” Hoseok says, voice low and raspy and Yoongi wants him so much more. They’re gonna have to find a better place soon.


 

The bike comes to an abrupt stop, the back end lifting as the front end stops on the spot. He gasps and his stomach swoops as Hoseok grapples to lower the foot rest. His vision is restricted by the face guard but he knows they’re not stopping for anything good. His heart beats loudly and for a moment, he doesn’t want to let Hoseok go.

“Yoongi, get the bat.” Hoseok’s voice is muffled but Yoongi hears him loud and clear.

He dismounts quickly and unhooks the weapon, taking out his knife while he’s at it. Hoseok follows him shortly, dumping his helmet to the ground.

The scene is far from quiet or peaceful. The cars on the streets are set aflame, emitting heat and the stench of burning rubber. They’ve obviously been pushed around and straightened so that they make a pathway towards what’s at the end of the road.

The younger takes the bat from him and pushes him slightly behind. “Watch my back, something strange and bad’s going on here.”

“D’you think it’s looters?” He mumbles and looks around, heart in his throat.

“I – we would be hearing them right now if they were still around. But they must have passed through here.” Hoseok responds.

The fire trail leads to a cemetery next to a wooden church with a small steeple. The fire’s making him sweat under his dirty shirt and he wishes he’d picked up a spare somewhere. He might look around for one in this place.

“Oh fucking hell,” Hoseok breathes out quietly and his grip on the bat slackens. Yoongi watches it clatter to the ground as Hoseok raises both hands to cover his own mouth.

“What…?” He starts but then turns his eyes towards the end of the road where a big wooden cross is standing proudly and on it a – a man. Crucified.

He feels bile rise in his throat again, the stew from yesterday coming back, when he moved his eyes downwards and sees zombies clawing at the bottom of the cross with skin-less fingers. He grips Hoseok’s bicep. “They… they’re skinned.” The zombies are rotting muscles and bone exposed. He’s dizzy with the sudden rush of disgust he’s experiencing.

“Yoongi – we – the man, he’s alive. We need to get him down.” Hoseok sounds frantic and panicked again and Yoongi really doesn’t want to deal with this but they kind of have to. But they’re not trying to die. They won’t do it if it’s too dangerous.

There’s only three zombies, though. They’re mutilated, disrespected and violated from what Yoongi can see and they deserve the mercy of a swift death. He prepares for it, orders his stomach back in place and all the food he’d eaten to settle down. His mouth is dry and his palms are sweating where he grips the knife with both hands.

They always work best as a team, Hoseok and him. Yoongi draws away attention and Hoseok delivers the blow to knock them down then Yoongi finishes the job. But they don’t have much space to move now, not with the cars and their blazes of glory that mark the place as looted.

“One, two then we deal with the third one?” Hoseok asks as he picks up the bat again. The younger’s a little paler than he should be so Yoongi concludes Hoseok must be feeling as sick as he is. He nods and goes first. If he can get the zombie down quickly then Hoseok can hold the other two off with the longer ranged weapon.

Yoongi goes into a crouch; the heat around them is too much for the zombies to notice the shift in the air. Yoongi’s not sure if they’re hardwired for body heat, sound, or scent but there’s too much going on and it’s good cover. There’s a truck parked near the cross with a crate on it. Thankfully it’s not on fire so one of them will be able to use it as a ladder later. But for now, he focuses on the main mission.

He holds out three of his fingers to indicate a countdown. The first finger goes down and he squats, legs slowly straightening out. On the second one he raises his knife and on the third he propels himself forward silently. His hand meets bloody muscle as he holds the zombie still so he can imbed the knife into the side of its head. Hoseok’s right behind him as he takes the second zombie down with his bat. The third lunges for him but Yoongi’s there shoving it away with a check of the shoulder. The heaviness of the bag makes it difficult to move but Hoseok’s helping him in a second as the zombie recoils back to snap at him, the structure of its face clearly visible.

As Hoseok is finishing off the second zombie, he turns around and empties the contents of his stomach onto the ground. His knees feel weak and the acidic taste scorches his throat as he coughs, nose and eyes leaking despite his best efforts to keep his snot and tears to himself.

“Baby,” Hoseok runs a hand down his bent back in a comforting gesture. “Hey, it’s okay. Come on, shit, don’t cry.”

“I’m not crying,” He wipes at his face with the bottom of his filthy shirt, smears grime down his cheeks. “Fuck, that’s – that’s fucked up, Seok.”

“I know, fuck, I know.” Hoseok hugs him despite the fact that he smells like vomit and smoke. “Let’s just get the guy down and try to find somewhere safe.”

“Yeah and where is that?” He asks, bitter about everything and anything all of a sudden. He didn’t deserve this shit, neither did Hoseok, nobody did.

“You know what I mean.” Hoseok sighs, tension leaving his shoulders and Yoongi sags a little as well.

“Sorry, yeah, just…” He waves vaguely at the dead, skinned zombies on the ground.

“I know. It’s – it’s not okay but we’ll be fine, it’ll be fine.” Hoseok gives him the bat and shimmies up the truck.

And maybe if Hoseok keeps saying it, it’ll come true. Maybe they’ll be okay. But there’s very little hope for them all. Yoongi’s just too selfish, still clinging to life, not willing to let go. Not of his life, nor of Hoseok.

“Yoongi…” Hoseok calls and his voice sounds upset again.

He looks up and sees the younger frowning. “What is it?” He asks and steps closer to the, relatively short, cross.

“He – he’s not gonna make it. Get ready to catch him.” The younger jumps over to the sturdy cross on the side where the guy’s not.

Yoongi gulps, another mercy killing. He hates those with passion but knows it’s the right thing to do. This man’s suffered enough already, the least they can do is shorten his sentence. From where he’s standing it looks like only his hands have been nailed to the cross and in Yoongi’s book that’s something a person could possibly survive because it doesn’t look like he’s been hanging for too long. But he must be missing something then.

He gets one of the metal tables with wobbly legs that have been left near where the looters’ camp probably was and drags it to the base of the cross. He’s a little too short for this but Hoseok, clutching onto the cross with one hand and lowering the skinny man with the other, manages to get him down enough that the man only free-falls for a bit before Yoongi’s catching him and stumbling back slightly. They almost go down but Yoongi manages to steady the table. His hands clutch at the man’s back and he feels the slick feeling of blood. He stays put until Hoseok’s down and helping him get off the table.

When he inspects it, the cross seems to be littered with protruding nails that the man had been stuck to. There are holes of varying sizes on his back and Yoongi might just puke again. He holds it in and tries to get the man conscious. But the guy’s barely breathing, passed out from blood loss and shivering, body temperature already dangerously low.

“We – we have to do it.” Hoseok says remorsefully.

“Doesn’t make it any easier.” He grits out, hands clenched into fists at his side. “Just – do it quickly, yeah?” He runs a hand through his hair and frantically wishes for fresh air to breathe in. Air clean and crisp, not tinged with the scent of decay and mould.

When they’re burning the bodies in their own little ceremonial pyre they get startled by an approaching man.

“That’s a brave and noble thing you did there.” The man calls.

Yoongi’s hand goes to the hilt of his knife, too smart to trust too easily. “Who are you?” He asks with squinted eyes as Hoseok shifts next to him uneasily, fingers probably itching for the bat that’s out of his immediate reach.

“I’m Father William, I saw what you did. The two of you are very courageous.” The man, and now that he’s said it, Yoongi does notice the white collar peeking from the black shirt.

“Not courageous, just idiotic enough to believe people deserve better in death.” Hoseok grumbles and tosses his ripped jacket into the fire.

“The bravest of men often are idiots.” The Father smiles at them somewhat sourly. “I’d like to offer you a stay for the night and some food and water. The both of you look like you could use a shower.”

“You have running water?” Yoongi, eyes wide and hopeful, asks.

“Not exactly, but the outside shower collects and runs on rain water.” The man motions for them to follow him.

They might be idiotically falling into a trap but Yoongi would lose an arm for some running water that will clear away the stench of death from him. So they follow the man into the wooden church.


 

They shower outside under the stand with the barrel painted black. The liquid lukewarm and somewhat yellowed but still clean. They’re both under the spray to conserve water, naked and hurrying in case someone comes by. Yoongi thinks it’s funny how they’re out behind a church fully in the nude and he doesn’t give a single fuck about it. He’s become desensitized to things like privacy, it’s a commodity but at the same time – there’s so little people around that even in the wide open space of a once-busy interstate, it feels private somehow.

Hoseok nudges him under the spray to rinse out his hair, slim fingers tangling in ebony locks. He hums with satisfaction; it’s really been too long. He leans back a little, a suggestive and tentative movement that has Hoseok dropping his hands to his shoulders to knead at the tense muscle.

He feels the younger skim his nose against the side of his neck, leaving gooseflesh raised in his wake. Yoongi realizes he misses this, he really does, but they don’t get to have moments like these often and it can’t really be helped. He supposes they should work on that but everything’s still too fresh – the wound barely stopped bleeding, the dust not settled yet. Hoseok’s fingers dance along his sides where his ribs are showing like the keys of an accordion. He giggles at the thought and feels Hoseok’s smile against the smattering of sun freckles on his shoulder.

“This is nice,” Hoseok hums and presses a chaste little kiss against that same spot.

He nods, wet hair smacking into his eyes and he huffs. He brings a hand up to throw them back. “Wish we had more moments like this.”

“We have been busy lately, always on the move. We should find a nice house and settle for a while maybe. Get our fill of the domestic life while we’re still young.” Hoseok chuckles against his skin, breath washing over wet skin and sending chills down his spine.

His stomach knots at the though. It’s so appealing but so dangerous and idiotic – and yet, there are still butterflies in his stomach at the though. This is the second time they’ve discussed this in such a short span of time. Maybe it’s because there’s been more danger than usual but he doesn’t think that’s it.

“I want a mansion.” He says firmly with a little smirk. He’d always dreamed of a cozy little place somewhere remote but close enough to a town but now, when they can practically choose, he wants to go big.

“Yeah? Nice and big, with a pool and fifteen bedrooms?” Hoseok teases gently, hands splaying tanned fingers over his pale stomach.

Hoseok’s always so warm and Yoongi soaks it in while the sun starts setting. “Yes, not that we’ll need all fifteen but it’s nice to have a few extra if we get guests.” He jokes easily. It’s always so easy with Hoseok; to talk with, to be with, to travel with. But maybe they just complement each other too well.

“You gonna go borrow sugar from the neighbors? Go shopping, no, scavenging with the housewives, huh?” Hoseok nips at his earlobe and Yoongi squirms.

He scoffs, “What? Why am I the househusband in this scenario?” He’s not offended, not really, they both know Yoongi would much rather stay inside than go anywhere but he’s in a playful mood.

“No, you’re right. I’ll stay home with our dog and grow a nice garden, both food and flowers. And you’ll go around with your tinkering hands and fix shit for people and bring back meat and then you’ll play me the piano while I cook dinner.” Hoseok’s voice floats over him and he lets himself soak that up as well as the younger’s body heat.

“That’s much better.” He sighs, he misses the piano. All the ones they’ve come across have either been out of tune or smashed and on fire.

“Think it’d be bad if I fucked you in the church?” Hoseok’s lips ghost over his neck briefly before the younger’s teeth clamp down onto the sensitive spot.

Arousal shoots down his spine hot as lightning. He slaps a hand over Hoseok’s to keep himself from squirming. Yes, it would definitely be bad if they fucked in the church but Yoongi finds himself slipping into the needy state very rapidly.

“Fuck, Seok, don’t start some you can’t finish. I will be mad.” He quips firmly and peels himself away from Hoseok even if the open space around them makes him feel exposed in the best way but it’s too weird with another person so close to them.

“What are you gonna do, scrunch up your nose and pout at me?” Hoseok’s face is brighter than it’s been even in the arcade. He’s beautiful, Yoongi knows this, but it’s always a thing to behold. “Yeah, like that.” The younger pokes his nose and he realizes he has, indeed, been pouting.

“Oh, fuck off.” He swats him away but Hoseok just closes in again, face determined.

The kiss is more of a desperate and hard press of mouths together than anything. Yoongi feels it in his bones and he wants to open up to it but they can’t, not right now. Soon, though; he’ll make sure of it. He realizes the water’s run out and feels bad but the priest had said that they need it more than he does at the moment and it looked like it was gonna rain soon anyway.

“Come on, let’s go in. I’m getting hungry.” He murmurs against the younger’s lips. Watches the other close his eyes for a moment before shaking his head and nodding.

“Yeah, yeah.” Hoseok mumbles and they towel off with stiff terrycloth that looks like it hadn’t been used in a while.


 

The priest had oh so charitably provided them with clothes to spend the night in. They didn’t usually change for the night, aside from shedding a few layers but it was nice to get warm sweatpants to sleep in; the material soft and the pants a bit too baggy on him. They looked good on Hoseok, though so that was a plus.

The man sits them down in a back room that functions as a kitchenette, dining room and a bedroom. There’s a simple broth on the table with a couple of mismatched plates and spoons. There’s also bread that’s homemade that brings saliva into Yoongi’s mouth; he hasn’t had bread in what feels like forever.

They watch the priest say a prayer before they dig into the food. It’s a quiet affair after which the priest gives them coffee and Yoongi practically inhales the beverage. He kisses Hoseok’s cheek unthinkingly when the younger slides his cup to him as well. Getting rid of coffee was hell on him the first month.

He turns back to the priest who’s looking at them with those same nostalgic eyes Vanya had. They’re blue and sad but also somehow awed and humbled. He blushes and frowns down into his cup. Right, this guy’s a priest, he thinks; and the two of them are dudes who like dicks - each other’s exclusively.

“Do you do this often?” The priest, William, if Yoongi recalls correctly, asks with a hand motion to the outside where the pyre is still burning out.

Hoseok nods, “Every time we have to. We – we don’t go around killing them if they aren’t a threat to us but every once in a while we’ll come across scenes like this one… well, not quite like this but still bad enough that they warrant intervention.”

“It’s a mercy killing,” Yoongi sighs, shoulders slumping as Hoseok kneads at a sore spot between his shoulder blades. “The looters were here recently, I’m sure you know. They always leave messes and people in pain. The man on the cross… there was no helping him.”

The priest nods then suddenly looks ashamed. “I – I wasn’t brave enough. I didn’t even try to help him, any of them. I hid in the tornado shelter out by the field when I heard them arrive.”

Yoongi observes the man; he seems older than them yet still young with no graying hair but a steadily receding hairline at the forehead. The lines on his forehead are deeper than they should be, his hands calloused and rough with dry skin.

“I thought the Church was against euthanasia, especially one as crass as what we do.” Hoseok says idly but with underlying tension that implies that the church is against other things currently present.

The priest scoffs, “The church is also against the rising of the dead unless they’re Jesus but here we are. What you did, do, is more honorable than what I’ve done in all my years with the Church.”

“We do what feels right. These people, they didn’t ask for this and those who enjoy treating the dead like they were never even alive are the real monsters. We deal with them if we have to, quick and efficient and we burn the bodies because we can’t bury them.” Yoongi clenches his hands around the tepid mug; it’s flashy red with white Helvetica font scripture reading Keep calm and WWJD. He wants to cringe but he’s not rude.

“You should move,” Hoseok suggest after some contemplation. “Find a settlement or a group to travel with. It’s not safe to stay here on your own, Father. There are settlements west of here that’d gladly take in a man of faith.”

The man shakes his head then nods it. “I know, I’m well aware but this church has become my home. And I – I don’t know if I’d survive the trip.”

“Fresh bandage,” Hoseok whispers to him as the priest continues talking and Yoongi grunts then takes out the first aid from his bag and gives it to the younger to change the one on his shin. He lifts his leg and puts it on Hoseok’s thigh.

“We could escort you? Though, we’re not good in confrontation with people. Just the dead ones.” Yoongi says with a sour smile.

“And even if you don’t want to go, you should find a group to travel with. Teach them, tell them what we do and then do the same. Spread the word, bury the dead that have been disrespected like the ones here, you know… do some good instead of sitting around.” Hoseok throws out carelessly and Yoongi watches the man cower in shame. But Hoseok’s right. If the priest truly wants to help then he shouldn’t hole himself up.

“He’s right. It’s easy to say we did well and to admire us and, woe is me, I wish I could help and then not actually do anything. You need to make a conscious effort.” Yoongi laments wisely and scoffs at himself internally. It took an apocalypse to get him to start moving and he hasn’t stopped since. The candle on the table casts shadows around the room and Yoongi watches the emotions play along the priest’s features like an animation.

“You’re right, yes.” The man nods then checks his pocket watch. “It’s getting late, I should get to sleep. Maybe I’ll start packing tomorrow, we’ll see.” William gives them a tight-lipped smile and retreats to the bed in the corner.

Hoseok finishes tightening the bandage and pats his knee affectionately. They’ll be sleeping in the church in the pews. He doesn’t mind, they’ve slept in worse places. It’s a shelter for the night and it locks, that’s all that matters.

“Goodnight,” They call as they leave the room.

They settle for the night on the wooden seats that creak if they move around too much and let restless sleep take them.


 

He used to dream a lot when he was younger. They were dreams of action sequences so outrageous not even the greatest movie-maker could make them come to life. He used to dream entire lives up, adventures and people that help him along. He dreamed and then when things went south in his dreams he’d realize he was dreaming and make things go his way. He wishes now he could do that here as well- either wake up or shout what he wants to happen out loud. He had dreams of zombie apocalypses as well; back when he was a teen and spent an entire week binging zombie shows and movies and reading zombie fiction. He was always the man on a mission in those dreams. He was the one somehow involved in stopping all of this, in finding a cure, making the world better.

In reality, the zombie apocalypse is boring when you’re not the main character. It’s an endless stream of empty landscapes and abandoned cities. No greater purpose that would make you motivated, no goal driving you forward. Just the instinct to survive and your own will to live.

 

They set off in the morning, leaving behind folded clothes and their own tradition that the priest will hopefully help spread.


 

They’re following the river when they see them.

The looters have set up camp on the bridge they need to cross in order to move to the next town. They have trucks, sixteen wheelers, set around them in a square, forming a fortification of a sort. There’re people on them keeping lookout and he fears they’ve been spotted but so far nobody’s come charging at them.

“Seok-” He starts but Hoseok’s already turning the bike around.

They’re just far away, concealed by the sparse trees behind a bend of the road. Hoseok’s about to pull away when there’s suddenly shouting and commotion.

“Fuck, wait. I have to make sure they’re not gonna chase us.” He grapples with the bag on Hoseok’s back and pulls out the smudged binoculars. He wipes at the glass hastily and puts them to his face.

The people look like they’re pushing someone around, a small-looking guy probably in his early twenties. Four burly men throw him around like a ragdoll, the guy ricocheting off of the guys like a bouncy ball. The men are shouting and jovially enjoying the torture while the guy appears to be crying and trying to reach out to someone behind the solid wall of muscle the men form.

Suddenly other people join them, dragging someone behind with rope tied around the person’s ankles.

He gasps as they throw the tied up person over the edge of the bridge, upside down. The men lower the rope just enough that the person’s head reaches above the water. The river is fast, and there’s rain coming. The river will swell and the person will drown if the blood pounding in their head doesn’t make them pass out first.

Then they take the guy and tie the rope around his middle. At this point, Yoongi wants to leap out of his seat and shred them all apart with his bare hands but he can’t. He can only grip Hoseok’s hand with pale knuckles and watch silently from afar as they throw the other guy over as well, right side up so that he can watch his friend drown slowly bit by bit.

Yoongi realizes it’s starting to drizzle as the rain collects on the lenses of the binoculars. He sucks in a breath and makes a decision he probably wouldn’t make if he wasn’t so emotionally unstable at the moment.

“Hide the bike in the trees, we’re waiting them out.” He jumps off the bike and waits for Hoseok to follow behind.

“What happened?” Hoseok hisses and kills the bike, wheeling it behind a large bush.

“They – some poor people ran into them I think, I don’t know but now they’re hanging off the side of the bridge and if the river fills with rainwater one of them will drown while the other watches. They look young, Seok, barely out of their teens.” He feels like he could punch something but the nearest objects are the trees and Hoseok and that’s unacceptable. He settles for kicking at the ground, sending a molehill scattering angrily.

“Fuck, that’s so fucked up.” Hoseok runs a hand through his hair and Yoongi knows this is a motion to conceal the way his hands shake. “You think they’ll leave before nighttime?”

He nods, fairly certain. “Probably, it looks like they cleaned up and are ready for the move and with the rain coming in they’ll want shelter.”

“We should be getting that as well.” Hoseok sits down onto the hard ground and buries his face in his knees.

“The last town’s too far to make it without getting soaked and we need to pass there if we want to get to the next one.” He reasons, trying to keep his voice level because he knows he’s right but he also understands Hoseok’s reluctance.  

“I know.” Hoseok sighs loudly. “Just, sit down and we’ll wait.” The younger pats the hard ground next to him that’s getting damper by the moment.

He grunts and instead sits down onto Hoseok’s lap. The younger lets out a surprised chuckle as Yoongi cuddles closer. The days are going to get colder from now on and Yoongi knows they’ll have to either settle until the worst is over or find better clothing.

Trivial things run through his head as the night descends and the rain starts pelting furiously in the silent air. The looters don’t move. The trucks are still there and the water level is rising.

“Yoongi, they’re not leaving.” Hoseok hisses as they peek over the hillside for the fifth time in the past half an hour.

“I know,” He quips back, nerves churning in his belly. They have to do it either way; they need to cross that bridge and they need to save the two guys hanging off the bridge. It’s been four hours since they sat down and they can’t light a fire in fear of being seen. He’s freezing, shivering inside his leather jacket. Hoseok rubs his hands up and down his side but the younger’s equally as cold as he is so it doesn’t help much, thought he does appreciate the thought.

“We’re going anyway, we’ll leave the bike and head down the river with them, hide somewhere and wait them out. They’ll probably think the water took them.” He sighs and takes only what he needs, his knife and a couple of bandages. The one on his leg is getting soaked and the rain water is not very good for the still-fresh wound.

They hide their things behind shrubbery and under fallen leaves. Hoseok pulls a bandana over the lower half of his face and Yoongi pulls down a beanie over his hair to keep it out of his eyes. They descend the hill, hiding in the trees and rolling their steps to keep silent.

He’s barely breathing, the rain mixing with the nervous sweat that’s beading at his temples. His hands tremble a little around the hilt of the knife as they break the tree line and start the slow crouching walk towards the two people.

Hoseok’s behind him, keeping an eye out as Yoongi focuses on locating the places where the ropes are tied. He sees the thick knots tied around the railing of the bridge a little further down and he ducks between the opening and onto the outer side of the bridge. He sees the turmoil in Hoseok’s gaze even through the darkness of the night.

He tries to send reassurance with only his eyes and he must have succeeded because Hoseok continues down to keep watch. Yoongi turns back and sees the silent figures being splashed with water every now and then while swinging back and forth wildly.

Hoseok starts pulling the ropes up and Yoongi grapples to help. The upside-down kid goes first. He’s passed out when they get him up enough for Yoongi to whittle away at the rope to make it look like an accident rather than a clean cut of a sharp knife. He helps Hoseok heft the guy over the railing and lean him against the bars while they pull the other guy up. This one is struggling a little because he can’t seem to realize that it’s not the looters pulling him up. Yoongi understands and tries to restrain him when the kid kicks out at him, almost sending him into the river. The metal of the bridge is slippery and he latches onto the bars as the kid seems to realize they’re not the bad guys here. The kid’s got duct tape over his mouth and Yoongi motions for him to keep quiet as he tries to cut the rope near the part tied around the guy. They throw those parts into the river and let the water carry them away.

By the time they’re done and Hoseok is carrying the unconscious kid over his shoulder down the riverbank, Yoongi is soaked all the way through to his underwear. His boots sink into the soft soil up to his ankles and he grimaces.

“Where are we going?” The conscious kid hisses out quietly and Hoseok shushes him. The younger’s struggling with the added weight and Yoongi wishes they could both carry the guy but it’d be inefficient and it would take them too long to get away.

Once they’re at a safe distance Yoongi turns to the kid with a glare. “What were you thinking? Why were you in their way?”

The kid puffs out his cheeks, the guy can’t be more than twenty years old. “We came across them a few weeks back. We joined them but we couldn’t – we didn’t have a choice at first and then, Tae, he – he didn’t want to do it anymore. We tried to get away but then they didn’t let us leave and hung us at the side of the bridge.”

“I’m assuming this guy’s Tae, and you are?” Hoseok hefts the lanky guy higher over his shoulder for a better grip.

“Jimin,” The kid crosses his arms over his middle as if to lessen the sore pain of the rope-burn.

“I’m Yoongi, that’s Hoseok. You’re lucky we were around and in a good mood.” Yoongi grunts, “Fuck, you should have known. They’re looters.” He hisses and it comes out harsher than it should.

“How would we know? Huh? Why are you assuming we’ve been travelling around much? We came from a settlement we could no longer live in because-” The kid stutters, “R-reasons.” The guy’s blonde bangs hang into his eyes as he suddenly looks at the ground with renewed interest. “We were told the looters were bad but everyone believed it was just rumors.”

“Rumors can often be warnings.” He sighs; they’re just kids, he shouldn’t be angry with them, they didn’t know any better. “Sorry, just – looters always make my blood boil.”

“Why did you save us?” Another voice suddenly joins the conversation and he sees Hoseok jump as the boy over his shoulders comes back to consciousness.

“Because no one should suffer at the hands of the looters.” Hoseok responds and lowers the tall guy onto the floor gently. The kid’s still a little wobbly so Hoseok keeps an arm around him and Jimin rushes to the guy’s other side, tears sparkling in his eyes.

“Tae,” Jimin whispers and the taller’s head lolls to the side to rest against the shorter’s.

“’m fine, Jiminie, just tired.” The guy sags against their shoulders and Hoseok sighs.

“Gimmie.” Hoseok hefts the lanky kid up into a bridal carry this time as they walk.

“My hero,” The kid mumbles with a boxy grin, albeit a weak one and a sob catches in Jimin’s chest.

“I’m sorry, Tae, I should have helped you. I should have saved you, I should have fought them, I should have-” Jimin’s hysterical rambling stops when Yoongi puts a heavy hand on his shoulder.

“You did all that you could. No sense in crying over spilt milk, yeah? He’s fine now, you’re both fine and we’re getting away.” The rain’s still falling heavily as Yoongi waits for the reply.

“But if you hadn’t come along-” Jimin wheezes out tightly, hands clutching at Yoongi’s jacket sleeve.

He shakes the kid off, unable to look at the desperation in the kid’s eyes. “But we did, and you got lucky. So next time, you should know better and learn from your mistakes. Yeah?”

Jimin nods eagerly then his eyes turn sad again. “We- we don’t have anyone to travel with anymore. H-how are we going to do anything alone now?” The kid’s voice is shaky at best and Yoongi feels sorry for them.

It’s obvious they’re from a settlement with a cushy lifestyle. They weren’t raised on the streets like Yoongi and Hoseok; they’re not adapted to surviving in harsh environments with next to nothing. And now, Yoongi gets to make another decision that’ll probably influence them badly down the road.

“We’ll escort you to the next town. We’ll teach you the basics but after that, you’re on your own.” He grits out, trying to tell himself he doesn’t want the company, that he doesn’t crave people around him – that Hoseok and him aren’t looking for a group to travel with. Because Hoseok is enough and Yoongi does love him but he misses the company sometimes, even though he’d never been much for socializing.

“You – you’d do that? For us?” Jimin whispers, disbelief coloring his words.

“Sure, just don’t get into any more trouble while we’re with you.” Yoongi shrugs his shoulders easily but the look Hoseok gives him indicates that the younger knows exactly how Yoongi is feeling. It should be weird how well Hoseok knows him but it’s really not.

They hide out in some old concrete drain pipes that have been abandoned near a construction site. Tae (Taehyung, as Yoongi later learns) spends the night drifting in and out of consciousness with Jimin fretting over him. Yoongi observes the two younger guys for as long as he can, keeping a watchful eye before waking Hoseok up to take watch instead. The younger nods and lets him settle his head in the younger’s lap as he drifts off to gentle fingers carding through his dark locks.


 

“So, if there’s no hydrogen peroxide, any high-percentage alcohol will do?” Taehyung asks as he weighs the two bottles of vodka in his hands.

Yoongi nods. They’d stopped at a small town to get the two a car and to stock up on supplies for them. The town doesn’t look to be too demolished and they find some good stuff there – including: two bags for the newbies, some clothes for them to change into, medical supplies and more canned food.

“Now, for fresh meat you’ll want to hunt. Hoseok’s showing Jimin how to use the bow and arrow now but you also want to know how to cook it. Also, never go for large animals like sheep or cows. Sheep especially can hold parasites in them and the meat can be infected and then you’ll get infected and die.” He motions behind the house to the barnyard where some abandoned sheep are grazing on the yellowed pasture.

“Better get used to the vegetarian life, I don’t think I can skin and gut animals.” Jimin comes into the house looking a little green around the edges. Hoseok comes in behind him holding a dead rabbit proudly with a silly grin on his face.

Socializing is doing so much for Hoseok already and it’s only been three days. The younger was always much more company-dependant than him.

“You’ll get used to it. It’s not the worst thing you’ll see out there.” Yoongi grunts and tosses Hoseok the knife so he can get the meat clean. “Go get some eggs from the coop, I miss scrambled eggs. Make sure they’re warm, if they’re cold then they’re old and you’ll get salmonella.”

“And if they’re warm?” Jimin tilts his head. 

“Freshly popped out.” Yoongi shakes his head at the frown on Jimin’s face. The kids really had no idea about life.

Taehyung shudders, “Gross.”

“That’s life for you, kid.” Yoongi turns to rummage through the cabinets of the kitchen for a pan and a pot. “Go to the pantry and see if they have any spices, I can’t eat unsalted meat again.” Out of all the things in the kitchen, he misses spices the most. Admittedly, he also misses fresh vegetables and anything other than chicken and rabbit but spices really make a meal.

“They got salt, paprika, pepper and uh – curry?” Taehyung calls.

He bends down and finds the pans and pots finally. He takes them out and puts them on the counter that has blood smeared across it. He frowns at it and takes a rag to wipe it down. “Bring everything but the curry. “

“Not a fan?” Taehyung grins at him, voice not distant anymore as he enters the kitchen.

“Nope.” He hums and hands Taehyung a couple of plates to wipe down. “Go around the house and see if you can find anything useful. But, no trinkets you can’t use!” He knows the temptation of seeing fine jewelry that means nothing anymore. He turns to the sink and flinches.

“Ugh,” He takes a rag and removes the severed hand from inside it. He tosses it out the window and lets the, thankfully running, water wash the blood away. He pours some soap and scrubs the sink before he notices something sparkling just on the edge of the drain. It’s a silver ring and he reaches for it. He thinks back to his words of ‘no trinkets’ but somehow he can’t let this one go. He pockets it and lets it rest heavily in the cargo material.

In a stroke of luck, he finds a box of rice tucked into the back of a cupboard and he has to stand on his toes to see it. He reaches for it and flushes when he realizes he can’t get it. Defeated, he turns around to fetch a chair and sees Hoseok leaning against the door with a smile on his face.

“Fuck off.” He grunts, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Need some help, baby?” Hoseok strides over to him confidently and Yoongi gets chills watching his legs move.

“No,” He pouts petulantly as Hoseok cages him in against the counter and reaches behind him. It’s really not fair; Hoseok’s barely taller than him. It’s been a while since he’d been bothered by something so trivial; it brings him back to the old day.

“Awh, come on, you don’t want to make rice?” Hoseok tilts his head in an infuriatingly cute way.

Yoongi snatches the box out of his hands and clutches it to his chest. “Go away.”

“I’m sure you don’t want that; do you, baby?” Hoseok leans down, hand cradling his jaw as he places a kiss to his pouting mouth. Yoongi’s eyes flutter closed at how easy this all is. It feels domestic, the kind of feeling he’d craved. And even if they’re here only for the night, he treasures the moments they spend together in this place.

“Hey, I found the – uh, oh. Um, sorry. Eggs.” Jimin babbles before turning around and exiting the kitchen.

Hoseok snorts against his cheek and leans back. “Need any help?”

Yoongi smiles, “Put some water in the pot and put the rabbit in the oven. I’m making scrambled eggs.”

“Scrambled eggs for lunch?” Hoseok quirks an eyebrow.

“Fuck your nutritionist norms! I eat what I want when I want!” He kicks out playfully and Hoseok, as always, dodges before pecking his cheek.

Jimin knocks on the door, “Found eggs!”

Yoongi laughs at the young boy’s antics and moves the preparations for the food along.

They eat in the ridiculously large dining room that has a hardwood table and a few chairs too many. There are antlers mounted on the wall and a deer head above the fireplace that’s staring them down. Yoongi would have felt uncomfortable if he weren’t immersed in the way Hoseok had been retelling their stories of before to the two younger boys. The guys, for the most part, were also entirely taken by Hoseok’s animated way of talking.

It had been too long since Yoongi had seen Hoseok so excited to talk about the past. The past was always gloomy for them; it brought bad memories that overshadowed the good ones. But here and now, with these two young adults that were willing to learn from them, Hoseok regained the spark in his eyes if only for a moment. Yoongi felt like he owed the two his life.


 

There’s an orchard behind the house and Yoongi goes out after they’d all cleared out of the dining room to do their own things. Taehyung and Jimin had retreated to one of the bedrooms for some much needed sleep and Hoseok had gone to see the animals and to set the sheep free from the fenced off part of the barnyard.

He walks between the apple trees, picking up a few green apples to take back inside. It’s been a while since they’ve had fruit that wasn’t dried and dehydrated. He throws one behind himself and as expected, a familiar pair of hands catch it.

“How do you always know?” Hoseok chuckles and nears him.

“I know your breathing, every third breath it hitches a little because something’s bothering you.” He flushes with the intimacy of the knowledge. He turns around and Hoseok looks at him with fondness in his eyes.

“That’s cute.” Hoseok coos a little and bites into the apple.

“Shut up. What’s bothering you?” He returns persistently and takes a bite out of Hoseok’s apple.

The younger sighs. “We’ll be reaching the city soon.” Hoseok chews on his next bite thoughtfully. “Then we’re sending them off on their own.”

“You don’t want to.” He states; he knows full well that Hoseok doesn’t want to. If he were being honest to himself, he’d admit that he doesn’t want to either. But he’s never been honest with himself so he doesn’t say anything about it.

“No, not really. They’re not ready – they don’t know where to go.” Hoseok looks at him like he’s saying he’ll kick his kittens into the river.

“Seok… neither do we. We’re just moving, constantly, just us. It’s how it is. How it’ll be until we find a safe haven of a sort. They – does your little fantasy have room for roommates?” His heart clenches, his imaginary mansion filling with squeaky laughter and ridiculously loud sneezes.

“Well, there are fifteen bedrooms in it.” Hoseok smiles but it’s sad. He knows he can’t argue with Yoongi.

“I’ll make you a deal. We tell them where to go, and we go there but we take the long way. If they’re still there when we arrive, we add them to the imagi-mansion.” He gives in, he’s weak and they’re lonely and it’s so hard to watch out for enemies when everything around you could potentially cause your demise.

Hoseok nods a few times in quick succession. “I – I think that’d be good.”

“That way we can – I don’t know, we can see if they’ll be a burden or if they can hold their own in a fight. If they learned from the experience, you know.” He rambles a little. He wants to just go inside and tell them they’ll be coming with them but they need to learn. Life needs to teach them what it taught Yoongi and Hoseok a long time ago.

Hoseok nods again, “Yeah, yes. Good. They can do it. We’ll teach them well.”

I hope so. Yoongi thinks and grasps Hoseok’s hand in a firm grip of reassurance and promise.


 

“Are you sure this place is safe?” Jimin looks at them then frowns down at the map.

They’d given them a paper map of the area they were in and pointed to one of the next big cities where they could supposedly find shelter with some people who are offering a haven. There’s nothing like that anywhere for free but they needed to get them there.

“Yes, absolutely. It’s where we’re going.” Hoseok smiles a little, tight-lipped and fake but the younger doesn’t notice.

“Then why can’t we go together?” Taehyung whines and throws himself over Yoongi’s shoulders.

“Because we have some business to attend to before so we’ll just meet you there.” Yoongi explains, again, for the fifth time.

“And we can’t come with why?” Taehyung tries again.

“Ugh, because you can’t!” Yoongi finally shakes him off. “Do you want to die?!” He threatens but Taehyung just pouts at him very persistently and Yoongi feels his eye twitch.

“Look, we promise we’ll get there. It should take you about two weeks tops if you keep the car, stay off the main roads and fill the tanker up like I showed you. We’ll be there in three at most. Wait for a week and if we’re not there, then we’re probably dead.” Hoseok pries Taehyung off of Yoongi and the younger just latches onto him instead.

“I don’t want you to die.” Jimin looks down at his feet with a little whine.

“We won’t, and make sure you don’t either. Because if you’re not there by the time we arrive, we’re moving on.” He squeezes Jimin’s shoulder reassuringly and the kid nods a little, finally lifting his tear-filled eyes to them fully.

“I promise we’ll be there.” Jimin’s voice is steady even though he’s shaking a little. Yoongi admires his bravery.

“Good.” He pushes the younger a little. “Now go, you have two weeks. Better start early.” He grins as the two scramble around to get the car started.

“See you in no time!” Taehyung shouts as they speed off down the dirt road leading out of the city suburbs.

Hoseok sighs and leans against his side. “Do you think they’ll make it?”

“I’ll be very sad if they don’t.” He admits, voice soft and hands reaching for Hoseok’s own.


 

That night they find a perch on one of the tallest buildings in the city that is still sturdy. They like to hang out in high places when big cities are in question because the risk of zombies is lesser there. The cities can’t be cleaned out as easily as towns can so there are still zombies roaming around. They haunt the streets like stumbling apparitions, some underground in the tube tunnels and some forgotten in office buildings or locked behind home doors. The city is deathly silent up here but Yoongi knows that on the lower levels of the building you can hear the zombies shuffling down the streets.

He’s leaning against the edge of the building and Hoseok’s sitting next to him. His forearm is pressed firmly to Hoseok’s thigh. The younger is as warm as always, even through the layers of clothing. It’s a chilly night, they’ll have to sleep somewhere inside, but Yoongi’s still not too cold.

He can’t help but think about Jimin and Taehyung out there, alone and almost defenseless. They’d sent them into their death, he’s sure of it. The pang in his chest makes itself known again – the one he relates to loss.

“You’re over thinking it.” Hoseok hums and jumps down from the ledge with grace accumulated through various experiences of free-running up walls when it was necessary.

“I can’t help it. They’re going to die and it’ll be our fault.” He leans his forehead against the dirty concrete; the moss and lichen dig into his palms.

“They were really sweet. It’s gonna be fun travelling with them.” Hoseok tries. Yoongi appreciates it, appreciates all that Hoseok does for him (them), but he’s not so easily convinced. He never realized how much Hoseok and him needed someone to keep them company; how much they needed the bright-eyed pair to bring something new to their travelling journey. For the longest time it has been only them and the growing silence. One can only do so much in a zombie apocalypse.  

“Yeah, it is.” He looks down at the dark city. There’s only the silence where once cars passed in a rush. He thinks he’s been in this city before but it’s hard to tell without all the ruckus and clamor around.

He’s lost in thought (about them, the journey, everything really) when Hoseok plasters himself to his back. The younger’s arms come around to bracket him and he stiffens before relaxing into the hold, slumping against the ledge.

“How about I take your mind off them for a bit, hm?” Hoseok whispers against the back of his neck, voice low and husky.  

Yoongi’s knees almost buckle at the tone. Oh, yes. He’d like that very much. His very blood sings at the thought but he won’t give in that easily. “You been thinking about this?” He teases and perks his ass out a little as Hoseok tries to get even closer to him.

Hoseok hums, “Ever since the arcade. God, wanted to take you right there in that fucking room.”

Yoongi keens in the back of his throat. “Fuck yeah. I was so ready to drop my pants for you.”

“But, baby, you’re always ready to do that anyway.” The chuckle Hoseok lets out sends hot arousal straight to his dick.  

His face heats and he can feel himself starting to sweat a little. It’s been too long since Hoseok had talked down to him like this. He whines and struggles to get out of his jacket, suddenly warm under the collar of heavy leather despite the nighttime chill.

Hoseok leans back and helps him take it off. “You wanna get naked or should I just pull your pants down and fuck you fully clothed?”

He grunts and his dick twitches, it’s too cold to be buck-ass naked but he does love the idea of Hoseok fucking him fully clothed. They have all the privacy they need but he still feels like he should keep his shirt on – mostly because it’s one of Hoseok’s from before and he rarely wears it.

He struggles to drop the baggy pants down and steps out of them and his underwear. He throws the hoodie off as well and that leaves him in only the short-sleeved shirt that’s a little wide in the collar area and his combat boots. He hears Hoseok moan behind him and he answers by wiggling his ass, desperate to be touched.

“Fuck, where’s the lube?” Hoseok grunts and jogs over to one of the bags to rummage through the pockets.

He shivers as the breeze caresses his naked ass and then whines for Hoseok’s attention. “Seok, please, it’s fucking cold.”

“Patience, baby.” Hoseok’s voice has already taken on the tense edge it gets when he’s trying to restrain himself. Yoongi likes noticing this, it means Hoseok’s not as unaffected as he likes to pretend he is.

He rests his head on his crossed arms and waits, hips swaying left and right and his half-hard cock bumping against his thighs. He was starting to get lost in his thoughts about the night sky again when Hoseok returns, warm hands cupping his ass cheeks.

He smiles against his arms and turns his head to the side. “Took you long enough.”

“Not my fault you keep a bunch of useless junk in your bag.” Hoseok snarks back. “Now hold still, your swaying dick is distracting me.”

“Why don’t you suck it then?” Yoongi grins as sharp pain spreads over his ass, Hoseok’s palm kneading at the flesh harshly.

“God, you’re such a brat in bed.” Hoseok’s voice sounds fond despite the words and Yoongi knows he’s loved.

“Don’t see no bed, Seok.” He moans out as a dry thumb traces his rim. His insides quiver in anticipation, stomach churning. He wishes they’d had time for another shower but they needed to move from the house as soon as possible. It was too tempting to stay there indefinitely; to make a nest for them and build a new life together. It isn’t the time for that yet, it’s not the place for it either.

Hoseok smacks his palm against his ass again and Yoongi feels precum leak out of the tip of his dick. It’s been so long since they’ve last done this, (probably not that long in retrospect), that even such a little thing can get him fully hard. He whines and Hoseok digs bruises into his hips with deft fingers capable of so much.

“You gonna be good or am I gonna have to do something about it?” Hoseok breathes against the nape of his neck; it’s one of the younger’s favorite spots to mark. Teeth nibble at the skin there as Yoongi considers the offer.

It’s always nice to have Hoseok taking the control away from him, making him a mess but they’re outside and the night air is getting colder so he’d like to get it on as soon as possible. They could find a bed somewhere later and fully indulge in all of Yoongi’s favorite positions.

“Well?” Hoseok nibbled at the skin of his shoulder where he’d stretched the shirt to the side before biting down lightly but enough to sting.

He hissed, knees weak and erection throbbing. “I’ll be good, just get me ready.”

“Oh, once we find that perfect house, baby, I’m fucking you into every flat surface we can find. Every bed, every carpet, every table.” Hoseok groans at his own words and Yoongi feels him fumble with the bottle of lube. A slick finger quickly finds his hole and presses in gradually.

“Imagine waking up in the morning, God, you’re still loose and I bend you over the counter and fuck you while you try to eat.” Hoseok seems to have thought about this particular thing a lot. Something like that doesn’t sprout out of nowhere and while Hoseok is creative in bed, this has more meaning to it that your usual ‘dress you up and mess you up’ fantasy.

Yoongi can definitely see himself enjoying it – especially if the way his dick throbs at the words is any indication. He moans, saliva slipping out of the corner of his mouth as Hoseok presses the pad of his finger against his sweet spot. There’s buzzing in his ears but he needs to have Hoseok talking again.

“You – you t-thought about this before?” He has to make a conscious effort to keep his tongue in his mouth, missing something in the wet heat as Hoseok adds another finger and starts scissoring them.

“All the time, it’s one of my favorites. Fuck, Yoon, you’re so pretty.” Hoseok praises him and he feels over the moon with the words and the fingers in his ass.

“How pretty?” He asks, just to be a brat.

“The prettiest, baby boy, nobody’s prettier than my good boy.” Hoseok coos and places soothing kisses down his spine, over the shirt material and along the numerous little scars and scratches he knows are there.

“Ain’t nobody else around, Seok.” He giggles, the sound leaving him before he can think about stopping it.

“Doesn’t matter, you were always the prettiest to me.” Hoseok reassures him with a twist of his fingers before the third one joins the party.

He moans and the sound echoes around empty buildings. The feeling of the open space around them sends a thrill tingling along his skin. His hands grip the concrete, nails digging into the crumbling ledge.

“Come on a-already,” He demands, voice high and whiny. He missed this so much. Missed Hoseok filling him up, encompassing him whole and surrounding him with words of praise. It always was and still is one of the best feelings to him, nothing could compare. Except for the feeling he gets when Hoseok tells him he loves him, that’s also a good one.

“You feeling neglected, baby? I’m sorry for not taking care of you for so long. Promise I’ll do better, doll.” Hoseok purrs into his ear and pulls out his fingers.

He whines when he feels the head of Hoseok’s dick pushing past his rim. It feels ridiculously good and Yoongi tries to rock back but Hoseok’s got a good grip on his hips so he stays still and wiggles in place instead.

“S-Seok, come on, c’mon, take care of me, make me feel good.” He pleads and, oh god, he wants to see Hoseok but he doesn’t want to end up on the cold floor. He cranes his neck back, tears springing to his eyes when he sees how bitten Hoseok’s bottom lip looks, how hard he’s trying to control his composure.

“Seok, lemme hear you, please.” He reaches out a hand and Hoseok indulges him by intertwining their fingers.

“What do you wanna hear, baby? How much I love you? How beautiful you are? How proud of you I am?” Hoseok whispers reverently. Yoongi wishes he could see him better; could see the sparkle of his eyes and how dilated his pupils are. But he can only imagine these things because the moonlight isn’t nearly enough and they hadn’t thought to start a fire before.

He whines again and tugs on the younger’s hand. Hoseok bends over his back and kisses him hotly, knowing exactly what Yoongi is asking for. Hoseok’s always been attuned to his needs and wants, in bed especially. Hoseok pulls his fingers out and Yoongi clenches around nothing. He wants to protest but he knows he’s not going to be empty for long.

He hears Hoseok whisper faintly as he enters him, a string of words he can barely make out but they sound a lot like ‘you deserve so much better’. His heart aches and he cries out as Hoseok’s hips slam flush against his ass. It hurts a little because they might have rushed the prep but he loves how full he feels. Loves how Hoseok is cooing against the back of his head into his dark hair.

“Move, Seok.” He demands with a clench and Hoseok picks up the pace. The sound of skin on skin fills the empty night. He feels the younger’s dick deep inside, dragging against his walls and he shifts to get the angle right. He sees stars and tears slide down his face as Hoseok grips his neck for purchase.

“You’re crying again, aren’t you?” Hoseok chuckles and it sounds so strained, makes Yoongi strangely proud. “You always cry when it’s good. You cry so prettily, though, and I’m a-always good, fuck.” Hoseok’s hold grows a bit tighter and he gasps.

“Baby, Yoon, God, I love it when you’re messy.” Hoseok keens and Yoongi purposely sobs to emphasize how good he feels. And he does, he feels so good. He’s high on endorphins, soaring through the fucking universe and feeling like the good old days when they had the safety of their flat at their disposal. When they had all the time in the world and nothing was trying to eat them alive.

He makes the mistake of looking down over the ledge as Hoseok pounds into him. Even in the dark, it’s dizzyingly obvious how high up they are. Fear mixes with arousal, a dangerous cocktail he hasn’t indulged in so long.

“Close, Seok, I’m close!” He whines, pushing himself backwards into Hoseok who’s a solid line of warmth over his back. He feels the coil tighten inside his belly, the unbearable heat churning and making him keen high in the back of his throat. Hoseok’s relentless in his thrusting, the hips powerful enough to have Yoongi scrabbling for purchase against the ledge. If it weren’t for Hoseok’s hold on his neck and hips he’d be careening over the side of the building.

“Come on, baby, touch yourself for me.” Hoseok orders, voice strung out and tense as he lets out little grunts with every harsh thrust.

Yoongi immediately shoots out a hand down between his legs. The first touch makes him hiss, he’s so sensitive he can feel it all the way to his toes when pleasure sparks along his nerves. His ribcage is getting tighter, it’s getting harder and harder to catch his breath but he grips himself firmly and spreads the sticky mess over the length. He dips a thumb into his slit and sees the universe explode behind his closed eyelids as Hoseok basically gnaws on the side of his neck. It’d be funny if he weren’t in the throes of an earth-shattering orgasm.

He feels his mouth move and he must be encouraging Hoseok somehow but he can’t gather his thoughts for the encouragements to be coherent so instead he whines at the oversensitivity and lets Hoseok chase his orgasm. The younger must be close and Yoongi mourns that Hoseok will have to pull out.

As expected, Hoseok’s dick slips out of him and Yoongi contemplates turning around and dropping on his knees but instead he whines and closes his legs, remaining bent over.

“Yeah?” Hoseok chuckles then moans as his legs slip through the mess of lube between Yoongi’s thighs. “Fuck, baby, you know just what I want.”

“S’not hard when you always want me.” He grins a little at the sappy remark and Hoseok hums in agreement. He looks down and sees the younger’s cock slipping between his thighs. Hoseok’s trembling a little and Yoongi’s getting cold so he clenches his legs a little and Hoseok’s hips stutter.

“Yoon.” Hoseok gasps as he comes in thick ropes over the rooftop and the ledge.

The younger’s breath is labored as he drapes over Yoongi’s back, his jacket providing some cover for Yoongi’s scantily-clad sides. He feels the contentment filling his core, a familiar warmth that had been a constant in his life for so long now.

“You okay?” He asks because Hoseok’s taking a bit too long to come to his senses.

“As good as I can be when I can’t get the love of my life the life he deserves.” The response is unexpected and Yoongi stiffens.

He shrugs Hoseok off gently and turns around. They’re both caught in this weird little moment with their pants down. He puts his dirtied palms against Hoseok’s wet cheeks and thumbs at the high cheekbones.

“What’s brought this on, huh?” He asks gently, voice still a little hoarse.

“It’s not out of the blue, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Hoseok huffs and sniffles. “We’ve been wandering for how long, huh? I want you to be happy, Yoongi. I want to give you the life we’re always talking about.”

“You don’t have to give me anything.” Yoongi squishes his cheeks and Hoseok giggles a little. “We’re working on it, yeah? We’ll make the life we want where we want when it feels right. And- and I am happy. I’m happy I have you with me.” He brushes the hair off of Hoseok’s forehead.

“The circumstances might not be ideal but we’ll get there.” He promises. “We’ll get our safe haven.”

And there they are, standing on top of a high-rise building that once was a center of the city, with their dicks out and their hearts bleeding in the face of everything around them. But Yoongi believes in them, if anyone can do it it’s definitely them. They’re strong but stronger together and as long as they’re together, they’ll be okay.

“Yeah, we’ll be okay.” Hoseok mumbles against his lips as they share another kiss.