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Love Is The Only Thing We Have Left

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You were positive that your current actions would gain you an hour long lecture from Karkat about just how unbelievably moronic you are. You smile at that, stupidly thinking that that hypothetical argument would be silly and unnecessary. You sometimes seem to forget just how serious your situation was, and just how dangerous those things were. You couldn't bring yourself to take Karkat's possible reaction seriously.

You knew your way around the Safe Zone more than anyone else, and the only one that could possibly get close to beating you at it would be your boyfriend, Tavros Nitram, who constantly followed you through the complex and dangerous set of tunnels underneath that part of the city that connected to the outside of the Safe Zone, mainly because he wanted to make sure you would not do anything as stupid as actually step outside it, and would only explore on the inside. Nothing more.

But he wasn't here with you right now, and that had been your intention. He wasn't supposed to know you were slowly making your way through the secret sewer that lead outside the Safe Zone, a loaded gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other and a bright grin across your face. You hoped his anger would be brief and would make room for his sure to come surprise, excitement, and happiness. You just hoped you could make him smile. He didn't do much of that these days, with news of those things getting dangerously close to the Safe Zone and almost breaking in a few days before, as if the motherfuckers were starting to actually gain some sort of consciousness and prepared an organized ambush. You shook your head at that, not wanting to think about it. You didn't like the despaired face he wore when he sometimes looked far into the distance, to the bit of street he could see right outside the Safe Zone from the top of the house you shared with many other people. You also didn't like the idea of those things breaking in and hurting Tavros. Ripping his skin. Make him one of them and forcing you to kill him. You didn't want to think about it, and you were happier than ever at your incredible ability to ignore glaringly important problems like those at will. It was your only talent.

You slowed your pace down as you got closer to the exit of the tunnel, turning off the flashlight and readying your gun just in case. You knew those creatures weren't smart enough to find their way to these sewers, but you had to make sure you wouldn't get hurt and fuck everything up.

Once the afternoon orange sunlight became visible and the tunnel came to an end, you stepped outside and looked around quickly, a concentrated frown in your face. You climbed up the wall towards the actual street and took cautious glances around before relaxing a little, and started to make your way around the neighborhood. You took out a wrinkled piece of paper from your pocket and read the address, thinking that it was such an amazing miracle that your Tavros had lived just a few blocks from the now Safe Zone. He had been blissfully lucky and had gotten out of the mess unharmed rather quickly. Unlike you, who lived several blocks away from that place and had stayed locked up inside your house for weeks, eating the canned food you so luckily had stocked up just because your mother never did learn how to cook and canned goods were so much easier to deal with when attempting to cook a dinner.

Her corpse had laid rotting in her bed for all that time you were locked inside, her head crushed after the dozens upon dozens of blows you delivered to her skull just to prevent her from turning into one of those things. You don't like thinking about that either. You had not been able to move a muscle for hours after that, your eyes fixed unnaturally wide on her nonexistent face.

You hurried your pace as you noticed it was getting a bit darker, and you cursed at yourself for actually being dumb enough to go out at this time of day of all the others you would have chosen. You guessed you didn't really have a choice now. You focused on finding the house Tavros had pointed out had been his when you had asked, the little fucker giving you his address as he thought nothing of it, probably just a little glad he could say the name of his street and his house number, feeling as if he was giving it out while doing some sort of errand like he did so during the times before the breakout. He would definitely get angry at himself for not suspecting you would be stupid enough to use that information to venture outside and find it.

After a few minutes of cautiously making your way through the neighborhood, oddly not finding a single creature, you spotted the pretty house almost at the end of the street. You grinned widely as you went over your imaginary list of things you would look for in his house, before breaking a window with your flashlight and crawling through to step on the living room’s carpet, for a moment forgetting that noises attracted those things like bees to a colorful flower. You were too excited to remember something so vital as that.

The first thing that hit you was the painfully normal scent. It smelled sweet, like rotten flowers and fruit, but it also still smelled of the wood polisher his father must have used just before the news spread like wildfire when the virus broke out, despite it being a few months ago.

You gripped the gun even tighter as you peeked into the kitchen and searched the living room, opting to actually venture inside the kitchen to search for a plastic bag that you immediately used to stuff a few framed pictures of Tavros’ family that littered the living room. You eyed the stairs before making your way up with the bag in your hand, having left the flashlight on top of the small kitchen table.

You stood at the top of the stairs for several seconds, looking both ways into the two open rooms at either sides of you before peeking in, only catching your own reflection on the bathroom mirror, which made you gasp before squeaking, and catching a glimpse of the poorly lit master bedroom. You guessed the closed door right in front of the staircase was Tavros' room.

You slowly twisted the doorknob with your hand, taking sharp glances around the small room before deciding it was empty and stepping inside. You tried to turn on the lights but it obviously didn't work. You made your way to Tavros' bed instead, and found a plush toy sitting by the pillow on his undone bed. You smiled sadly at the mattress, the sudden thought of a much calmer life coming to you. You wonder what it would have been like for you two to have met under different circumstances. You wondered what it would have felt like to make love to him calmly in his own bed, his father probably out running errands, Tavros’ voice flowing freely out of his mouth to accompany yours instead of having to stifle gasps when you dared do it in your shared room with at least two more people sleeping inside it, the rest of the people in the house sleeping in rooms close by. You did that very sporadically, when the urges were too much to ignore. You weren’t aware your roommates weren't deaf or stupid and would always wake up to those noises, rolling their eyes through thick blush as they tried to block out the quiet gasping. "Fucking homos" they would mutter afterwards among themselves. But they wouldn't tell you or him anything, petty fights over those sort of things not seeming something necessary or like the right thing to fight over. You all were dreading for your life constantly. A pair of definitely not straight guys sleeping together wasn't all that important anymore to the majority of people, surprisingly.

You quickly stuffed the stuffed bull plush inside your plastic bag before looking around and going through his things, finding a deck of Fiduspawn cards that he sometimes rambled about, telling you how much he missed playing with those. You looked around for a while more before sighing, not knowing what else you could add to your bag in this trip. You figured you could always come back now that you knew the way, with some tips as to what Tavros missed the most. You thought you probably covered the basic things. You began to think it was starting to get dangerously dark.

You turned around and started to make your way out of the room, closing the door behind yourself after the brief thought that maybe closing it would prevent any creatures from going inside if any entered the house. You wouldn’t want your boyfriend's room to be polluted by those disgusting sons of bitches. You wouldn’t forgive yourself.

You quickly made your way out of the house through the main door after unlocking it, closing it behind you, stopping on your tracks when you came face to face with about five creatures that had been waiting for you outside the house. You didn’t even have time to think about how they had consciously decided waiting for you was a smart thing to do, allowing them more space to chase you with their unnatural speed for a creature that used to be a human being. Your swallow thickly, your blood going cold.

This had been a bad idea after all. They were too many. You thought about the gun you had stuffed inside the bag just to make it easier to go about Tavros’ things. You slowly began to reach for it, a quick glance shooting down to the bag to search for it before you blindly darted your hand into it to get it out, and you began to sprint towards the Safe Zone before you even had tightened your grip around it, hearing the rapid footsteps trail behind you horrifyingly fast and loud. You began to pant immediately, your eyes wide and your blood racing and filled with adrenaline, a wave of burning cold panic going through your body to keep you moving, your mind instinctively ignoring any thoughts that didn't involve figuring out how to get out of this alive.

You ran the blocks as fast as you could, surprised in the back of your mind that they hadn't yet caught you, not realizing that it might have something to do with your really long legs.

Right before you found the trench and jumped down to it, you forced yourself to stop, gun so tightly gripped in your hand that your knuckles went even whiter than usual, your eyes trying to fix themselves on the creatures as rapidly as you could, the thought that you simply could not let those things find their way to the Safe Zone through your little secret passage overwhelming you. You had to eliminate them. You had to prevent a catastrophe. You had to die if it meant preventing Tavros from getting hurt from that mistake.

You manage to shoot one of them directly in the forehead as it launched forwards, just before one of them tackled you backwards and you both fell down into the almost dried up open sewer trench. your head basically slammed against the concrete. You didn’t even let yourself pass out. You lifted your arms and legs as you pushed that thing off of you with all your strength just enough to help you get some room to shoot it in the head, not hesitating before you did so. You got up immediately after that thing fell backwards with the blow to then run the opposite way from the tunnel as the other three ran after you dangerously close.

You tried to turn your head around as you ran and had to slow your pace down considerably to attempt another shot, being lucky enough to hit one of the creature’s shoulder before finding its cranium, blood and brains splattering over one the others that was running right behind it. It got slowed down by the limp body in front of it enough for you to fix your attention on the other one, but it was too close, terrifyingly close, and it tackled you to the ground before you were able to aim. It began to drool and screech on your face as you tried to push it off, whimpers beginning to escape from you as you felt that it was way stronger than the last one that had caught you, and you felt it shake and twist violently as it tried to reach the skin of your face and rip it off with its blackened teeth. You screamed for help. You were way too far from the Safe Zone to be heard. And even if you were heard by the guards at the door, they wouldn't rescue you. You had been already catched, and they didn't even need to guess that. The way you screamed was far too familiar.

You gathered up the rest of your energy as you attempted to push the thing off of you, hearing the other one running towards you, and you managed to force your hand up to its head as you tried to not let it get any closer to your face with your other hand pressing strongly against his chest. You tried to aim. You found its temple. You closed your eyes and pulled the trigger. You felt a revolting mixture of meat and blood splatter on your face. You pushed the creature off immediately with your eyes still closed as quickly as you could, your free hand trying to rub some of the wet, gooey stuff off your face before opening your eyes once again to come face to face with the other monster, feeling it almost embrace you with its violent, forceful arms as it wrapped them around you, letting you smell the sickening stench of rotting meat and sweat just before you felt its teeth break your skin and dig hungrily into the flesh between your shoulder and your neck, and you cried out a ripping scream both from the pain and the utter terror, feeling that thing try to rip your meat right before you forced yourself to blindly aim the gun at his head, not caring if it hurt you along with it, and pulled the trigger before it was even successful at eating a piece of you. It still almost left the flesh hanging under your shirt. But it would probably heal under any other circumstances. But you knew better than to even nurse those thoughts.

You wouldn't be human for long enough to even see the blood begin to dry up.

You stood there in shock, blood covering you, pain shooting through your body like bolts of white electricity, your breath shaky and erratic, your eyes wide and your tears trailing down your cheeks and helping drag some blood off of them.

You stood there for almost a full minute before you let the gun drop to the hard concrete and you eyed the bag on the floor, and you began to walk towards it slowly, painfully, until you picked it up with violently shaking hands and you made your way slowly to the tunnel to drop it at the entry, hoping that maybe Tavros would see it if he ever got that far into the tunnel, if he got worried and assumed you did something horribly stupid and he went out to find you, something you wished desperately he wouldn't do. But at least he would find those things, and maybe think twice before doing something stupider. Looking for you outside the Safe Zone.

You let yourself sit beside the bag, back against the tunnel’s wall, your breathing ragged and exhausted, and closed your eyes to wait for the moment in which your mind would start to race like some crazy highway until you would forget who you were, why you were there, and would forget what the word human even meant. Before the hunger for human flesh would become so great you would eat anyone close enough to you. Even their brains after crushing their heads with your own bare hands.

You felt sick and had to move to your knees and palms to vomit, your shoulder hurting from the convulsing and pressure.

You sat back down even more exhausted, and you closed your eyes again as you began to sob.

You didn't want to die. You didn't want to turn into one of those things. You didn't want to leave Tavros. If you could only receive another sweet kiss from him, one of those soft kisses that told you more than he would ever say; that let you know he loved you more than anything and anyone, that told you he would give his life for you if he ever had to do it, that told you you meant the whole world to him and he would rather die before letting you go. Love was such a miraculous thing, and so strong now that there was nothing more important than that, since it was the only thing any of you had. It was all  anyone had now that they only spent time waiting for their imminent death. The only thing that gave them enough strenght to keep on living.

You sat there and sobbed until you couldn't keep going, even if you tried. Your eyes ached like they hadn't ached in a long time, not after you had to kill your mother with your own hands and had to see her body twitch and shake under your blows. You stared into the distance then, seeing the dark, concrete wall of the tunnel, noticing it was very dark. Just a few minutes more and there would be no more sunlight left. You sat there for a few more minutes, a frown beginning to tug at your thick, bushy eyebrows.

Why weren't you a monster yet?

You stared with a concerned look on your face, and ventured your fingers through your shirt to check if it had even bitten you. The bumpy surface of your skin proved it. The pain and stinging it caused gave you even more reasons to believe so. Why weren't you a creature? You ran your fingers through your hair as you began to breathe harshly again, confusion consuming you whole, your eyes searching the dirty, hard floor for any kind of answer. It always took less than 10 minutes for a human to become a creature. You had been sitting there for over half an hour.

You stood up with a lot of trouble, feeling your legs almost giving in from how sore they were. You touched your hands to your face and something clicked in you, and you almost gave a hysterical laugh from pure incredulity. 'Are you fucking shittying me?' You wanted to say out loud, but you couldn't even speak. You hadn't transformed. You soon realized you most likely weren't going to either.

Maybe you had imagined it bit you in your panic. You crossed that thought out yet again. You took off your hoodie and your shirt and checked the horrible wound, just to make sure, just to ease your confusion. You definitely were bitten.

You stood there for a few seconds before you took your hoodie back in your hands and began to spit in the cloth, beginning to rub the moisture into your face and scrub the dried up, rich blood off your skin. You kept spitting and rubbing until you were almost certain you had gotten most of it, and threw the hoodie to the ground before putting your shirt back on. The hoodie had received most of the fluids and your black shirt was clean apart from the huge stain that had formed around your shoulder. At least the shirt was black, so it wouldn't be immediately obvious, or not as obvious as a pale face covered in blood, at least. You grabbed the plastic bag in your hands again, and started to walk into the almost pitch black tunnel, remembering you had left the flashlight at Tavros house. You doubted you would run into anything, including a creature. You suddenly guessed it didn't matter anyways.

You hadn't turned into one of them. You guessed another bite wouldn't do anything. Or at least you hoped so.

You walked until you ran into the heavy door that let into the sewers of the Safe Zone, and opened it up with a great deal of pain from your shoulder from the strain. You crossed the door and closed it quickly, and made your way to the exit, finding a wall similar to the one at the other end, and climbed it with difficulty as you tried to suppress a groan of pain.

You quickly made your way through the streets, hoping you wouldn't find any soldier on patrol, hoping they wouldn't find you oddly suspicious, hoping they wouldn’t notice your wound, hoping they wouldn’t finish you off before you could explain and they gave into panic. You knew it wasn't likely. You couldn't stop the sickening fear anyways that was making almost painful butterflies pool in your stomach and made you shake from something else than the cold you were now feeling.

You made your way safely to the house, finding all the lights on. Of course, it had barely gotten dark an hour ago or so. You breathed in as you got ready to rush inside, thinking you would hide the bag under your bed, would avoid Tavros if he was there, and would rush to the bathroom to wash up and bandage your wound.                                 

Thankfully everyone seemed to be gathered in the living room chatting and eating, and though they noticed you step inside, no one spoke to you besides a hello and a shrug at your lack of a response. You cringed when you realized Tavros was there, and you bit your lips painfully hard when you heard him stand up and follow you. You quickly shoved the bag under the small bed you shared with him and searched for a change of clothes, picking one of the other two shirts you had and grabbed some pajama pants, rapidly turning around to get out of the room, running into Tavros.

He stared wide eyed at your probably puffy face, and you prayed harder than ever that he wasn’t also staring at any trace of blood you had missed.

"Gamzee... What's, wrong?" He asked quietly, slowly starting to walk towards you.

"Nothing!" You blurted out far too quickly, and rushed past him before he even had a chance to go after you, almost pushing him.

"Gamzee?" He called again, but you were quick to lock the bathroom door behind you, and you began to strip. You could feel him standing at the other side of the door for a while, but you knew he would leave eventually.

You got out of the shower several minutes later after scrubbing every trace of blood and meat you could get from your hair, trying to ignore the inmense pain. You felt so thankful that the Safe Zone still had electricity and water. It was almost a miracle. It didn't matter if you had to share the small bathroom with 10 people. You couldn't care less when you had this privilege. You kind of wished the water came out at least a little bit warmer, though.

You searched the cabinets for bandages and alcohol, and quickly disinfected your wound, not knowing if it made a difference, holding back silent cries of sharp, deep pain. You bandaged your shoulder as best as you could, and stared at yourself for a while in the mirror. You looked presentable. You could get away with a few lies.

When you finally got out of the bathroom, you headed directly to the bedroom, wanting to sleep it all off. You got to your bed and sat at the edge, and heard footsteps approaching that quickly entered the room, and Tavros was standing there with such a worried face you got a tight knot in your throat.

"Gamzee..." He said again, and rapidly sat next to you on the bed, not wanting you to get away. He looked into your face and you tried to ignore him, feeling his warm hands creep up your face and brush it with his knuckles. "What's, wrong?" He asked once again. "You were, crying." He said with a sad tone, and you wondered if it was because you haven't cried in his presence in a very long time. You know he knows something very bad happened. You were quiet, stubbornly quiet, and licked your lips over and over again viciously. "Gam-"

"It's nothing, Tavros." You assure him, and actually manage to give him a faked smile. He always was able to see right through those smiles when you were this bad. He seemed to be a bit hurt by your lack of honesty.

"...You can, tell me, Gamzee." He spoke softly as he brushed a humid strand of hair behind your ear. You were looking into his face, wanting to hug him, to cry into his shoulder.

"I don't wanna go and done talk about it." You mutter then, weakly, trying to smile again, feeling tears prickle your eyes. You knew that answer was probably the right one. He most likely wouldn't push it. He seemed to think through your words, his face unreadable. He finally smiled at you this painfully sad smile, and you knew he wished he could do something, anything, to prevent you from feeling pain. You breathed out a sob at that, not being able to contain it. He almost immediately pulled you into a hug, making you bury your face into his neck, and you found more tears to shed. You cried for seemingly endless minutes, soaking his shirt with tears and snot, wrinkling his shirt with how tightly you were gripping and pulling it, knowing he was crying as well from the way he tried to suppress gasps and quivers. You guessed it was from the loud and desperate way in which you moaned, whimpered, and bent over your stomach from the emotional pain. You knew that sort of despairing sobbing was always disturbing and hard to listen to. You felt guilty.

You eventually gathered the strength to let him go, and you quickly tried to wipe your nose before he could see it dripping. He pulled his sweater sleeve over his hand and lifted it to your face, and before you could protest, he started to wipe off your tears, and dried what remained of the wetness under your nose.

"I'm sorry." You mutter then, shakily. You knew he couldn't possibly know just how sorry you were about many more things he thought you were probably sorry about.

"There's nothing, you have to apologize for, actually. But, it's okay..." He smiled to you then, soft and sweetly, and you saw his eyes red and watery. Even like that he looked beautiful. You swallow hard before speaking again, your words coming out serious.

"I love you." He looks at you in this way that always made your insides melt, and he slowly leaned in to your face, tilting his own and aiming for your lips. You almost kissed him. You almost kissed him, but something clicked in your head once again just before your lips touched, and you moved your face away from his. You knew that despite not being a creature (yet?) you still had that thing's poison running through your damned veins. And you knew enough about those things to know that saliva was enough to pass the virus around. He looked confused and a little hurt when you looked at him again, but he quickly decided on pressing his lips to your forehead instead. He whispered against your skin.

"I love you too."

You let him kiss your face before you decided to lay down, exhaustion weighing over you, and he soon changed into more comfortable clothes to then cuddle into your warm body to sleep. He spooned your body and held you tightly, his nose pressed against your hair and breathing out hot air that soothed you.

But you couldn't sleep. Even after the rest of your roommates entered the room and eyed you funny before turning off the lights for good.

Another thought went through your mind.

You were still infected, and the virus might just take longer to kick in in you. You couldn't sleep. You couldn't sleep beside him. You couldn’t risk it.

You waited until you felt his breathing evening out and heard him snore lightly, and carefully got out of bed, trying to not wake him. You put on your shoes and looked at his sleeping form for a moment before walking towards the door, grabbing one of Tavros’ sweater that was too big for him anyways in your way out, unaware that he was quietly watching you just as you left the room. Unaware that he ended up hugging the pillow after waiting for you to come back for a full hour.