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Holy Hell It's Cold

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He washes his hands, methodically, gazing absently at the crimson streak that’s being washed down the drain. Thank Coke he made it outside just in the nick time, otherwise they would be down to an all-time low of two bunker dwellers by now – and that’s something he won’t allow, no matter how aggravating Tom can be at times.

Even Dave hasn’t made that much of a fuss over the bunch of savages whose remains are now scattered all over the bunker’s rooftop; not after they tried to crack Tom’s head open, and would have succeeded in their attempt too, hadn’t it been for David’s timely intervention. Like he always says, a hand grenade is a man’s best friend, which is precisely why he carries one in his pocket at all times.

Casting a quick glance at his own reflection in the tarnished mirror hanging over the sink, he takes a couple of calming breaths and turns the tap off. It wouldn’t do for him to show any sign of weakness; not when both his companions are still in shock, although to a different extent, as is to be expected. He strives to project his usual aura of world-weary irritation mixed with a healthy dose of cynicism, even as he marches down the corridor and into Tom’s room.

“Go make yourself a cuppa,” he tells Dave, who still looks as white as the swathes of bandages he himself wrapped around Tom’s head. “I will sit with him now.”

For a split second, Dave looks like he’s about to protest; then he merely nods his head, and relinquishes the hold he’s been keeping on Tom’s hand ever since they brought him down here. “Right-o. Cheer up, Tom, you’ll be as right as rain in no time at all – won’t he, David?”

“I’m sure he will,” he agrees, and it’s more for Dave’s sake than Tom’s, he supposes. “Until the next time he forgets to bring a gun when he goes outside,” he mutters as soon as Dave is out of earshot, and Tom does a valiant attempt at rolling his eyes, only to immediately wince in pain.

“I’m not like you, David,” Tom murmurs, with some difficulty. “I couldn’t just, you know – shoot another human being. It’s – it’s just not on.”

“I think now is not the time to discuss the morality of self-defence, do you?” he cuts him off, somewhat sarcastically, though not quite. “You know Dave will never let me live it down if I allow you to talk yourself to death.”

“That’s – that’s not even a thing,” Tom manages at length, though it’s clearly taking him a lot of effort. “I don’t want to die,” he adds, almost as an afterthought. “You’re not going to let me die, are you, David?”

“Who do you think I am, one of the old gods?” he snorts, glaring down at him for good measure. “Now stop being an idiot, and take your pills.”

Whatever’s that odd pang he feels as he watches Tom obediently chug a glass of water to wash down his handful of painkillers, he does his best to ignore it. He won’t allow himself to go soft; not with those two to look after, and the outside world such a dreadful, constant threat trying to seep in through every crack.

With a small shrug, he helps Tom settle back against his makeshift pillow, tucking the blankets for him before taking his place by his bedside. He’s been suffering from insomnia for decades now, so it won’t make that much of a difference for him to spend the next few weeks watching over Tom as he nurses his head injury.

“David?” Tom’s voice is barely audible now, and he has to lean in to catch the rest of his sentence. “Is there any way you could – hold my hand, just this once?”

“Oh, for Coke’s sake,” he grumbles, even as he scrapes his chair closer and reaches for Tom’s hand.