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Brains: A Love Story

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Jared had always kind of thought that he’d last longer when the zombie apocalypse came.

He was pretty buff, you know? And he totally pwned at Left 4 Dead 2. Jared still maintained, if only to himself since he couldn’t really talk much anymore (and anyway the other zombies were more interested in trying to eat his brain than chatting about old times) that if he’d just turned on his television before walking out the door on the day the epidemic started, he would even now be one of the human survivors who kept trying to shoot him in the head.

When he’d thought about it, Jared had kind of assumed that zombies didn’t remember anything about their old lives. That really wasn’t true, though. He remembered most things; they just didn’t seem to matter much anymore. All he cared about now was finding brains to eat. It wasn’t a bad unlife, really. The whole – body parts falling off thing, yeah, that was a bit disturbing, but it’s not like he could feel pain, and brains were unexpectedly delicious. It was kind of restful, being a zombie. The human survivors looked so stressed and scared all the time (especially right before he bit their face off). He felt sorry for them.

Not sorry enough to stop eating their brains, though. Mmmm. Delicious.

* * * * *

Jared stared through the thick glass window at the group of humans he’d followed back to their hideout. He was pretty sure he could have figured out a way to get in back when he was human, but his IQ had gone the way of his pulse. They’d have to leave sometime; he knew that much, and then he’d have them. Maybe. These ones were tricky.

Jared had been following this group of humans for a while. Normally he’d have given up by now and moved on to easier prey, but he’d become kind of fixated. There was this one human in the group – and. It was silly. But the thing was, ever since Jared had first seen him, he’d just known that his brains would taste amazing.

He even knew the human’s name. The other day he’d been chasing the group down what used to be Pine Street, and one of the other humans had yelled, “Jensen! Catch!” and thrown the delicious-looking one a gun. Luckily for Jared it was pretty hard to nail someone in the head while running backwards, but even so Jensen was a surprisingly good shot. It had been easier in the old days, Jared thought ruefully. Back then nobody had known how to shoot; it was like scooping fish out of a barrel. And then scooping the brains out of the fish. Yum.

Anyway, the whole shooting thing, combined with learning Jensen’s name, distracted Jared enough that they managed to get away. Whatever, he’d get another chance soon. He had a good hiding spot, he was pretty sure they didn’t know he was watching them.

Sure enough, around late afternoon Jared heard the sound of bolts being pulled back. The crudely fortified door to the hideout creaked open a little, and one of the humans poked her head out and looked around cautiously. She didn’t see Jared. Ha.

“Clear,” she called softly to the others. Jared waited: if he made his move now they’d all just dash back into the hideout and he’d have to wait even longer. Jensen brought up the rear, and Jared tensed. Wait. Finally, they were far enough in the open. Jared sprang at the group.

There were panicked yells, and the humans scattered in all directions. Yes! Jared pelted off after Jensen, exultant. He could almost taste victory, and it tasted a lot like sweetbreads.

Jensen was fast though, damn it. Jared lost him around a corner, and he snarled in frustration. So close! By the time he tracked Jensen down again he’d probably be holed up somewhere Jared couldn’t get him.

Then he smelled the blood, though, and heard the excited calls of zombies closing in for the kill.

Jared skidded into the old parking lot, and took in the situation. Jensen was lying on the ground. He was clutching his leg, and that was where the blood was coming from. Judging by the fresh stains on the fence Jared’d had to climb over to get here, Jensen had ripped his thigh open doing the same.
There were four zombies surrounding Jensen, and they looked hungry.

Oh hell no. Jared had claimed Jensen! No other zombies were allowed to eat him! It was okay though, Jared was kind of a bamf. He waded into the knot of zombies and started to lay the smackdown. He grabbed the zombie who was about to nom on Jensen’s face and ripped its head off. That could be a snack for later; right now he had ass kicking to do. The three others turned on him, recognizing a threat. Jared threw one over his hip, hard enough that it skidded a few feet across the concrete. He punched the next one in the face and caved in its skull – heh, that was pretty cool – and then whirled and grabbed the last one, which had been trying to sneak up on him from behind, and bit through its spine at the neck. Tasty. The one he’d hip checked had gotten up and was coming back for more, but its face had kinda gotten shredded from the concrete and one of its eyes wasn’t really there anymore, so Jared had a definite advantage and finished it off pretty quick.

Jared paused to savor the moment. Finally, he could eat Jensen’s brain! He’d been working and scheming towards this moment – well, as much as zombies could really scheme – for, uh. Well, for a while. Time sense wasn’t really all that important to a zombie.

Except – Jared hesitated. That was weird, there was no point wasting time, but. Jensen’s eyes were wide and filled with pain. Jared vaguely remembered pain; it had sucked. Jensen’s face was pale, and he was clutching at his leg. There was a pool of blood under him, soaking into the concrete and looking almost black in the fading light. Jared didn’t bleed anymore either.

It occurred to him that maybe he hadn’t been so mad about those zombies attacking Jensen because he wanted to eat Jensen’s brain, but because he didn’t want anybody to eat Jensen’s brain. Maybe that anxious feeling Jared had whenever he saw Jensen wasn’t hunger – it was love.

Apparently Jared had been staring for a while, because Jensen said, “Just eat me already, you bastard!” His voice was tight and pained, and Jared suddenly felt sweeping empathy. Poor Jensen was in pain and afraid. Jared knew what to do, though. He knelt down beside Jensen and patted his leg soothingly. “Braaaaiiiins,” he said, trying to convey, “Don’t worry, you’ll be a zombie soon and everything will be okay.” Jensen didn’t seem very comforted though. That was alright, Jared had lost a lot of shades of tone when his vocal cords had started to rot. Jensen would figure it out pretty soon anyway.

Jared pulled one of Jensen’s hands away from his leg. Jensen fought it, but Jared figured he just didn’t understand that he wouldn’t be needing blood soon. Jared considered his captured wrist for a moment, and then bit down hard, trying to make sure he got a lot of zombie-making saliva in there.
“OW!” Jensen said, jerking his arm away. Jared let him, he’d done what he needed to. He sat back, pleased with himself. “Motherfucker!” Jared forgave Jensen for all the swearing. He probably just couldn’t wait to be a zombie.

Jensen slumped back against the wet ground. “Great,” he muttered. “Just great.” Jensen was happy. That was good. “I’m going to turn into a fucking zombie. I hate my life.” He wasn’t trying to staunch his wound anymore, and Jared was glad that Jensen seemed to have gotten the idea. He thought it was sort of sad that Jensen hated his life, but it made him even more sure that he’d done the right thing. Jared bet that Jensen wouldn’t hate being a zombie.

He was a little concerned that Jensen might have gotten the wrong idea about what being a zombie entailed, though. Zombies didn’t fuck, you kind of needed a blood supply for that. Eating brains was pretty fun though, Jared hoped Jensen wouldn’t be too disappointed.

After a while, Jensen closed his eyes.

After a little while longer, he opened them again, and sat up.

“Braaaaaiiiiiiinnnns,” Jensen said happily, and Jared thoroughly agreed.