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Soon, They Run

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The mall is emptier than either of them expected.

Well, all the malls are empty now. They’re trashed and destroyed from the first weeks, plundered for anything of any worth whatsoever. Every now and then, however, things can be found, stashed away in hiding places that people never returned to. It’s the reason why Jimin and Jungkook still visit the malls of whatever cities they stop at—they’re usually worth it.

Usually, though, they’re also filled with zombies. The undead tend to crawl the halls, attracted to any noise or movement that they notice. This town has been unusually quiet, however; for the most part, the both of them haven’t had much trouble getting around the place. They’ve been able to stay in the same location for almost an entire week, already.

This part of the mall seems to be empty. They’re definitely in one of the bigger stores at the ends—Jimin isn’t sure what it used to be. The signs are destroyed, worn, and tattered from the panic of the first months, and time took care of the rest. Still, he and Jungkook snuck by a huge department store that was crawling with zombies earlier, and they’re not going to risk going anywhere near that end of the mall.

The ground floor of the mall is almost completely trashed. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that they won’t find anything of use there. Even the second floor is pretty bad, despite still having more of interest than the first floor did—it’s harder, and more dangerous, to carry things downstairs.

“Jimin!” Jungkook calls across the department store that they’re currently combing through. Too long has been spent dwelling in silence, and Jimin jumps in surprise.

“Fuck you,” he hisses across the shop. “That was loud.”

“Not as loud as you were last night.” Jungkook sounds annoyingly smug.

Jimin just rolls his eyes and ignores the childish response—a lie, by the way, since they always have to be as quiet as possible during the nights.

“Did you find something?” he asks instead.

“Yeah, come here.”

Jimin finds Jungkook sitting on one of the display beds—the comforter is long gone, but the sheets are still there, and he’s dragged a pillow over from one of the displays. Jimin climbs on without taking off his shoes, same as Jungkook.

“It’s comfortable,” he says, surprised.

Jungkook grins widely, pleased, and wraps an arm around Jimin’s waist to tug him close, laying back against the sheets. “Isn’t this nice?” he breathes against Jimin’s hair, kissing the top of his head. “It’s like a date.

The concept of a date is bittersweet to both of them, since they had barely known each other before the end came. They were just classmates, at first—it took months to become more, to become this.

Jimin wouldn’t trade it for the world—and he knows what it’s like, to lose the world. He knows how much it would be worth to get it back. Still, they both lament the fact that they never had the chance to date conventionally. To go to restaurants, to the movies, or to just make out in each other’s bedrooms.

Jimin settles against Jungkook’s chest, kissing his collarbone and wrapping an arm around his waist.

“Yeah, a little bit,” he admits. “We’re too busy moving usually to just cuddle and kiss.”

They don’t move for a long while, both of them thinking about what they’ve lost—what they’ve gained.

“We should probably get going soon,” Jungkook finally says.

“Yeah,” Jimin hums in response, although he just cuddles closer instead.

Neither of them move until they hear a crash in the distance, something from elsewhere in the mall. Maybe it’s someone else, or an animal, or a fluke—still, the noise is dangerous. It’s time to run.


They don’t make it out.

Their agreed-upon plan when they hear zombies in any large building is to escape through the nearest fire exit. Front doors are always broken down and easy entrances for zombies, but the side exits have held up most of the time. The only issue is where they tend to open up to—alleyways. 

The alley they stumble out into seems safe at first; it’s only when they’re running towards the opening toward the street, still hand in hand, that they see the first zombie wander in. A moment later, two more wander in together after the first, effectively cutting off an easy escape.

Jimin drops Jungkook’s hand in favor of the crooked piece of rebar that he always keeps sticking out of his backpack for easy access. From the corner of his eye, he sees Jungkook pull out the long-handled hammer that he prefers.

“God, I hope there aren’t many more outside the alley,” Jungkook mutters, and Jimin cracks a smile at the words.

“We’ll have our hands full if there are.” The forced jokes are second nature by now.

They nod at each other once, and then spring forward simultaneously; Jimin goes for the right one and Jungkook goes for the left, as always. Whoever takes out their zombie first gets the third one; they go for the ones on the outside to try to confuse the middle one into hesitating while trying to decide which piece of fresh meat it wants first.

His first swing catches the zombie in the side of the head, but doesn’t manage to take it out—it just stumbles back a few steps before it heads towards him again, this time with a dent in its face and a gouged cheek. The torn flesh hangs down, but there’s no blood. It must have been rotting for a while. The second time, Jimin gets it straight in the crown of its skull. As the iron smashes down onto the head of the zombie in front of him with a sickening crunch, he hears Jungkook cry out, and his heart stops. He whirls to help before the zombie he had just taken out even hits the ground.

Jungkook’s first target is down already, but he tripped somewhere—on the arm of the zombie he took out, maybe—and now the third is on top of him, snarling. Jimin can’t see anything other than the snarling, rotting thing on top of the only person left in this shithole of a world for him and he panics. He swings as hard as he can, catching the zombie in the head with so much force that he splits its skull open at the ear and throws it off of Jungkook.

He hits it again for good measure, panic driving him to swing his rebar into its skull over and over despite knowing that it’s already dead, there’s nothing he can do now—and then freezes when he feels a hand close over his wrist.

“Jimin,” Jungkook murmurs. “It’s gone.  We need to get out of here before the rest come for us. We weren’t quiet.”

Jimin doesn’t want to. He wants to stop here, to inspect every inch of Jungkook and make sure that he’s okay, but he forces himself to nod and smack his piece of rebar against the ground a few times, just to get the gunk and rotten skin off of it as much as he can. It won’t be going back into his backpack of supplies until he can clean it off better.

They have to get moving. Jungkook was right—the noise they made will certainly attract more.

Together, the two of them run away from the bodies and the mall. They put as much space as they can between themselves and the zombies, sprinting until they can’t hear anything but silence. They make their way to their current residence much more slowly after they stop running. Even a small fight takes too much out of them. 

The streets are almost empty as they run, littered only with small debris that has blown into the streets over time. It must have once been a nice neighborhood, but at this point the half of the yards are overgrown and filled with weeds, and the other half have died from lack of rain. They don’t pass many zombies—the only ones they see are far enough away that they don’t have to fight.  There are no humans.

There are very rarely humans.

Their current residence happens to be in the middle of a small, upper-class neighborhood. The house that they’re staying at is completely gutted and utterly trashed, but it does have one important attribute—an almost entirely flat rooftop. Months ago, when everything started, one of the first things that Jimin and Jungkook had learned about the zombies is that while they are exceptional at sniffing out humans’ hiding places, they can’t actually climb.

Since then, their nighttime respites have almost exclusively been houses with rooftops flat enough to stay on and trees tall and strong enough to sleep in.

They sneak into the house together and crawl over the huge cabinet they’d shoved in front of the stairs to make their way to the bedroom that has the easiest access to the rooftop. It had been a child’s room at some point, and it’s still filled with dust-covered toys, old blankets and a stained carpet. The clothes from the closet have been strewn across the floor, either by the original owners or by someone who was ransacking the place. They pick their way across the room—Jimin has always felt weird about tramping over other peoples’ property, even if it’s likely that the whole family is long dead—and out the window. Jimin pulls himself onto the roof first, then takes Jungkook’s hand and pulls him up afterwards. Their extra things are still sitting in the bags they’d left them in on the roof; they leave the supplies that they don’t take with them on scavenging trips here when they go out.

It’s when Jimin is leveraging him up to the roof that he notices that Jungkook is holding his other arm close to his chest.

“Jungkook?” Jimin asks. His voice falters despite himself, and he feels his heartbeat pick up.

Jungkook takes a deep breath and holds his arm out.

Both of them gasp at the sight. It’s gouged deep at the wrist; the injury has torn through the loose cloth that Jungkook always keeps wrapped around them in an apparently futile attempt to keep them protected from harm. The cloth is bloody and needs to be discarded, and Jungkook is lucky that the cuts aren’t deep enough to have severed an artery.

“I don’t remember it happening,” Jungkook says, his voice laced with fear. “I remember falling, and I remember the zombie on top of me, but I don’t remember how this happened. What if it got me? What if—Jimin, I can’t be up here with you.”

Jungkook’s is quickly dissolving into panicked terror, and Jimin watches as his—what, boyfriend? Lover? Who knows what to define their relationship as in these times, when everything just seems so damn temporary—as Jungkook lets himself become consumed by the fear of what might have happened in that alleyway.

Jimin feels sick, like he could fucking throw up and scream and cry all at once, but he forces himself to take measured breaths. “Yes you can, Jungkook,” he insists. “We don’t know that it was the zombie. What if it was just all of those rocks on the ground? You could be fine.”

Jungkook laughs, humorless. “Do you want to risk both of our lives on that? I don’t. You can’t just let me turn like that. Jimin—we’ve made this decision before. We’re going to have to make it again.” 

It was a while ago that they used to travel with a third. It lasted a few weeks, but they’d grown close in that period of time. Then their third was bit and the two of them were forced to make the decision shoot him to prevent him from turning. They had agreed not to travel with additional people after that.

“I won’t make it about you!” Jimin shouts, and Jungkook shuts his mouth. Jimin takes a breath, forcing himself to calm down some. “Jungkook, you said it yourself. You don’t know what caused that wound on your arm. It isn’t obviously a bite, and I’m not going to spend the rest of my life terrified that I might have killed you needlessly.”

Jungkook stays quiet for a minute, looking down at the wound of his arm. “Jimin, I’m scared,” he breathes. “I don’t want to turn. What if it is a bite?”

Jimin bites his lip. He wants to say that they’ll take care of it if it is a bite, but what if they don’t know until he turns? Would he force Jungkook to turn, just for him to keep his hope that he won’t have to shoot Jungkook for a little bit longer? He doesn’t know if it would be right to ask Jungkook to hold out for him.

“I just—I don’t want to have to put you down unless we’re sure,” Jimin says. “Do you think it will take longer than a night?”

Jungkook just shrugs, helpless “I don’t know how long it will take to turn, if it is a bite. I need to be restrained during the night.”

Neither of them admit that they both believe that it probably happens much more quickly than a full night.

“Then I’ll get some rope, or at least some sheets we can use to secure you. There’s a chimney pipe sticking out of the ceiling over there. We’ll keep you secured, so that you don’t have to worry about what happens.”

Jungkook seems to think about it for a moment. “I don’t want to turn,” he says slowly, voice shaking. “But I don’t want you to have to do something that you may regret. If I get too sick during the night, though—you have to do it, okay? Promise me.”

It’s the worst feeling in the world, convincing himself to open his mouth.

“I promise.” The words feel like they’re pried from his throat when he says them. It’s the hardest thing he’s ever done.

“Alright.” Jungkook offers him a smile, and it looks fake, but he’s trying his best. “Find some stuff to tie me up, then!”

He tries to make it sound slightly teasing and suggestive, Jimin thinks, but he misses the mark by just a few degrees. Still, Jimin nods and swings himself off the roof and back into the window of the house that they’re staying in. He forces himself to keep from thinking about the reason that he’s looking for the restraining materials as he searches the house. There’s nothing useful in the garage—honestly, any real rope has probably been pilfered long ago. Instead, he pulls the sheets off of the bed of the little girl’s room, along with a set that he finds in one of the closets.

“No rope, but we can twist these up and they’ll work just fine,” Jimin says.

It takes no longer than a couple of minutes before Jungkook is bound to the small chimney pipe sticking out of the roof. The twisted blanket goes around his stomach and is tied into a large double-knot behind him.

“You’ll never be able to get to sleep,” Jimin points out, frowning.

Jungkook pulls at the sheets a little bit, testing their strength. They hold up. “I doubt I’d be able to sleep anyway,” he mutters.

Jimin doesn’t say anything out loud, but he doesn’t think that he’ll be able to sleep, either.

“I’ll stay up with you,” he says instead, placing a hand on Jungkook’s knee to leverage him so that he can lean in to kiss him.

Jungkook seems momentarily surprised by the kiss, but he quickly melts into it, lips soft against Jimin’s. Jimin presses in, parting Jungkook’s lips to lick into his mouth. He relishes the soft noise that Jungkook makes as Jimin kisses him.

Jimin allows his hand to slide up Jungkook’s leg, thumb caressing his inner thigh. Jungkook shivers at the sensation, even through the fabric of the thick jeans that he’s wearing. He curls his finger in one of Jungkook’s belt loops and moves to straddle his thighs, settling down on Jungkook’s lap as he kisses him.

Jungkook presses up into Jimin’s kiss, hand caressing his cheek as he kisses him back. Jimin loves the soft, needy sounds that Jungkook makes as he kisses him back, pressing up into Jimin’s touch.

Then, all of the sudden, Jungkook stops. He pulls back, and Jimin loses the sensation of Jungkook pressing eagerly against him, of Jungkook’s lips against his and the taste of him against his tongue. Jimin pulls back to frown at him, worried.

“I don’t know if this is the best idea,” Jungkook manages, voice shaking. “Especially when we don’t know how fast it will happen.”

Jimin licks his lips and nods slowly, deciding not to argue against him. He’s already made it hard enough for Jungkook, forcing him to try and last the night despite what may be happening to him in this very moment. He pulls back and leaves Jungkook’s lap, instead forcing himself to sit in front of him, cross-legged. He does his best to smile.

“All right.”


It’s a long night.

Neither of them sleep, but neither of them speak to each other much, either. Jungkook leans against the pole that he’s tied to, taking deep breaths. Either he’s trying to fight off the sickness that’s caused by him turning, or he’s fighting off the panic of if he’s turning.   

He can’t help the thoughts repeating in his head, the cycle that starts by thinking about all of the time they’ve spent together and ends with the conviction that it hasn’t ben enough time. The wishing that he’d noticed Jungkook earlier at university—they’d only shared one class together, but still.

Instead, they’d only become partners when the end came as unlikely allies, just because they’d happened to see each other when everything was chaos and the world was going to shit. They’d made a pact to look for their families together—and they’d failed to find either of them.

Getting together had been a long process, and they’d almost separated from each other permanently due to how fucking hard all of it was. But they’d gotten their shit together and realized that they can’t afford to lose the time that they had.

Jimin is terrified that they’d run out of that limited time already.

God, he isn’t prepared. He isn’t ready to lose Jungkook; he has nothing and no one else left.

By morning, they’re both completely exhausted, and Jungkook is surely sore and stiff from sitting in the restrained position that he is. He doesn’t look like he’s about to turn into an undead creature, but he doesn’t really look very great either. It’s worrying.

Jimin is the first to break the tense silence between the two. “How are you feeling?”

“Like shit.”

“Like you’re turning?”

Jungkook shrugs, helpless. “Like I had a really terrible night, and like my arm might be infected. But I don’t know—shouldn’t something have happened by now if I was really bitten?”

Jimin tries to suppress the surge of hope at those words, because that’s exactly what he had been thinking. Neither of them had watched someone turn, but the rumors held that it should only take a few hours. When Jungkook had agreed to wait the night, he had given in to the thought that he would, in all likelihood, end up turning if he’d been bitten.

“I’m going to untie you now,” Jimin decides.

Jungkook looks nervous, but he nods slowly. Jimin kneels down behind him and tugs at the knot—honestly, he probably should have tied it tighter, but he hadn’t been able to bring himself to do it at the time. 

As soon as he’s untied, Jimin moves to sit in front of Jungkook and pulls the injured arm into his lap. He tugs off the old rags that they’d left wrapped around his forearm, and Jimin curses the fact that they didn’t take them off sooner. He has to tug at the gross cloth where it sticks to the injury a few times, and he murmurs an apology when Jungkook winces.

Before he pulls it off all the way to get a good luck at the injury, Jimin lifts Jungkook’s hand to press a soft kiss to the palm of his hand. Jimin can see the hope sparkling in Jungkook’s eyes as he meets Jungkook’s smile with a small one of his own.

He tugs the disgusting rag away and lets it fall to the rooftop. They’ll have to rip up some newer fabric that they find in the house for rags. Underneath, the wound is pretty disgusting—it’s red and puckered, and there’s some gunk oozing from it that makes Jimin fairly certain that it’s gotten infected overnight.

It looks pretty serious, and Jimin’s breath catches as he realizes how much effort they’re going to have to put into cleaning it up, but he’s seen grosser. There’s not really a chance to feel queasy from wounds and gore in the new world that they live in.

Most importantly, however, is the fact that it isn’t rotten. The flesh is not rancid, and there are no signs of spreading. Jungkook isn’t turning.

He feels Jungkook’s free hand on his cheek and looks up at his—fuck it—boyfriend with wide eyes. Jungkook looks blurry through his vision, and Jimin realizes that he’s crying a little bit.

“I was so scared,” Jimin whispers to Jungkook’s silent question. “I didn’t want to be alone in this kind of world. I didn’t think that I could.”

Jungkook nods. “I know. What a shitty night, huh?”

The both of them dissolve into watery giggles, slightly hysteric due to the stress that they’ve been through in the past several hours. It felt like it had lasted a lifetime.

“Yeah,” Jimin agrees, and pulls Jungkook into an eager kiss.

Jungkook responds easily, no longer resistant now that they’re not afraid of him suddenly turning and harming Jimin. He allows Jimin to straddle his lap again, to lick into his mouth and taste his boyfriend. Jungkook whines softly as Jimin pulls back to press a kiss to the corner of his mouth, then his cheek. He trails kisses down his jaw and to his neck.

Jungkook makes a breathy noise as Jimin kisses his throat—he’s always been a little bit ticklish there, so Jimin trails the kisses to his collarbone instead. He runs the tip of his tongue along the skin there, grinning when Jungkook whines.

“I’m so fucking glad to get the chance to do this again,” Jimin murmurs, nipping at soft skin.

Jungkook shivers and nods quickly—it’s adorable, really. He’s always so eager.

Jimin smiles and pushes his hand up Jungkook’s shirt, caressing his waist. He slips his pinky under the waist of Jungkook’s jeans and traces his hipbone with his thumb. Jimin treasures the slight shiver that he can feel run through Jungkook.

He rolls his hips down against Jungkook’s, satisfied at the sound that Jungkook lets out as a result. He repeats the motion—once, twice, hips rolling slowly enough for the both of them to appreciate every moment of the sensation. 

Jungkook’s arms are around his waist, holding him close, and Jimin laughs when Jungkook whines and protests when he pulls away from his touch. Still, Jimin tugs out of his reach enough to instead crawl down his body. He pops the button on Jungkook’s jeans with his free hand and relishes the quick intake of breath that Jungkook makes at the realization of what Jimin is planning.

Jimin looks up at him, cocking an eyebrow. “This is good, right?”

“Yes—please, Jimin. It’s good.”

Jimin can’t help the small chuckle that he lets out as he leans in to kiss Jungkook’s hipbone, right above where his thumb is. He presses his lips to the skin, and then his teeth, gently. Above him, Jungkook bites his lip.

Jimin usually doesn’t leave marks—but today he finds that he wants to. He needs to mark Jungkook, to have his own special proof to himself that Jungkook is still his, that he’s not gone. He sucks at Jungkook’s hip, working lips and teeth against hot skin until there’s a mark dark enough for him to be satisfied. He pulls away with a small flick of his tongue, looking down at his work with pride.

“Lift your hips,” he murmurs. 

Jungkook allows him to pull his jeans and underwear down just far enough to free his dick from his pants. Jimin doesn’t waste time in wrapping his lips around the head, pressing the flat of his tongue to the tip.

Jungkook lets out a strangled noise, hand falling to Jimin’s hair to wrap his fingers in the strands. Jimin smiles around his mouthful, eager to allow Jungkook to take control of his movements.

He slides his lips down Jungkook’s length, humming in the back of his throat as he takes as much as he can. Jungkook makes an aborted noise, moaning in the back of his throat at the sensation. He wraps his hand around what he doesn’t fit into his mouth, working it as he moves his mouth. 

Jungkook moans again, fingers tightening in the strands of his hair. Jimin pulls off and kisses the tip one more time before he runs his lips down the shaft of soft skin, tongue trailing lightly after.

“Good?” 

Jungkook nods eagerly and tugs at Jimin’s hair, dragging him back to the head of his cock. Jimin acquiesces, wrapping his lips back around and sucking softly. He pushes Jungkook to his finish like that, working him with his hand as Jungkook comes into his mouth.

He wipes his lips when he finally pulls off with a wet pop, a thread of spit connecting his bottom lip to the tip of Jungkook’s dick that stretches before it finally breaks. He takes a deep breath, smacking his lips as Jungkook does his best to pull himself back together.

Jimin crawls up Jungkook’s body to press kisses to his cheeks, and then another one to his lips. He cradles Jungkook’s face in his hands, feeling the curve of Jungkook’s smile against his own. He’s so goddamn in love it’s stupid.

Jungkook reaches up to rest his hand on Jimin’s, but his arm brushes against Jimin’s and he ends up wincing instead.

Jimin pulls back, frowning at the sight of Jungkook’s infected arm. “We really need to do something about that,” he says.

He pulls one of the bags with their extra supplies towards them. Miraculously, he finds an old first-aid kit that they’d swiped from one of the houses on the block about a week ago when they first arrived in the area. He has no idea how it was missed, but they’d taken it gratefully. Along with the kit, he pulls out a flask of clean water and a bottle of vodka that they found a while back. It’s gross and hot and kind of heavy to carry, but alcohol is rare nowadays, and neither of them could really say no to the idea of a few drinks after some particularly rough nights.

Jimin takes a swig straight from the half-empty bottle, relishing the burn that settles in the pit of his stomach. He passes it to Jungkook, who takes his own drink, then makes a face as soon as he chokes it down. Jimin can’t help the fond laugh that bubbles from his lips; Jungkook isn’t good at drinking liquor. Before everything happened, he’d apparently stuck to the fruity drinks in bars, to sweet things that were filled with far more alcohol than they looked. Jungkook had liked how quickly he’d gotten wasted on them.

“Alright, I’ll try to be a bit sparing with the next part,” Jimin mutters, and pulls Jungkook’s arm out to expose the wound.

He uncaps the water flask and pours as much as he dares over the wound, trying to get the dirt out of it. He uses the bedsheet that he’d tied Jungkook with the night before to pat it dry. He wants to scrub out the vestiges of dirt, but Jungkook is clenching his teeth at the slightest pressure, and he doesn’t manage to accomplish very much. Instead, he grabs the bottle of vodka next.

“Brace yourself,” he says, and then pours.

Jungkook makes a high-pitched whine through clenched teeth, all of the muscles in his jaw locked. The alcohol flows over the wound and Jimin doesn’t envy how much it probably burns.

For several moments, Jungkook just breathes. “You know, you didn’t have to waste our liquor on my arm,” he manages.

“I did,” Jimin says. “I don’t want to risk this infection getting any worse. What if we end up having to take off your arm or something? Antibiotics aren’t a thing anymore, Jungkook. Infections are dangerous.”

“All right,” Jungkook agrees. “That makes sense. But next time we want to get wasted and there’s no vodka left, I’m blaming you.”

Jimin laughs at that; Jungkook really is adorable. “That’s fine.”

He finds the antibacterial cream. It’s some cheap, off-brand kind, but this stuff is more valuable than gold in their new world. He smears it liberally on Jungkook’s cut, and then grabs the sheet and rips it into strips. Based on something he read a long time ago in another lifetime, they should boil them in hot water before he wraps them around Jungkook’s arm, but they don’t have enough water to boil, much less a place to make a fire up here.

He realizes idly that they’re going to have to start making preparations for cold winter nights soon. Sleeping on rooftops won’t cut it once the freezing cold starts to hit. Maybe they should begin to travel further south.

He wraps the bandages firmly around Jungkook’s wrist, making a face as they start to stain after only a few moments. He ties a little knot to secure it, and Jungkook shakes his arm a few times to make sure that they don’t instantly come lose.

“We’ll change that in a few hours. Maybe put some more cream on it,” Jimin decides.

“We were going to get moving today, though,” Jungkook points out. “This place is getting more dangerous.”

“Yeah, but this is a pretty full house, and they have the rags to spare. It’s safe on this roof, and I can go back to that mall tonight to find us some more supplies. We’ve got enough food to allow us to spare another day or two here,” Jimin says.

Jungkook offers a weak smile, then leans up for a kiss. “Thank you,” he murmurs. “For everything.”

Jimin wraps his arms around Jungkook’s waist and presses his forehead to Jungkook’s.

“Don’t worry,” he assures. “We’ll get running soon. Just not yet.”

Soon.