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Scenes from the End

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"So, this is what? The end?" she asked, not opening her eyes. She couldn't bear looking at her surroundings right now.

He just shrugged.

The tears had long stopped by now. There was only so much you could cry when everything just... fell into ruins. Literally.

"Josh, talk to me."

"It's not like there's much to say," he said, his voice sounding both annoyed and scared.

Donna knew that he needed some time alone right now, but it wasn't like she could give it to him. Not while they were locked in this bunker, not knowing what was happening outside.

Okay, so probably not much was happening outside. Ever again.

"Do you think CJ is okay?" she asked.

She opened her eyes; in the dim light, he looked weary, but he answered. "I can only hope she is."

"And Toby, and Leo, and the President..." she trailed off and fought back thoughts about the people who had pretty much no hope of still being alive - her family, her friends outside of work. Those that didn't have a chance to begin with.

Josh stood up, visibly exhausted, and walked over to the corner in which Donna had huddled herself into a blanket. It wasn't particularly cool in the bunker, but the grey walls, the dim light and the huge empty spaces did not make for a comforting atmosphere.

There should have been dozens more people in this bunker. There had been plans for this situation. He sat down next to her and lay a hand on her shoulder.

Donna rested her head on Josh's shoulder. The situation was dire, but there were some, very few, positive sides that she tried to focus on. They were alive and safe. She wasn't alone. There was more food and water available to them than they ever needed. They had electricity. Someone had put a lot of time into preparing for this.

She tried not to think of the empty space around her. So many people that could have been saved.

*

"Do you think you can repair it?" she asked for what seemed like the hundredth time. Maybe it even was the hundredth time.

"I don't know," he answered again. He wasn't an electrician, not even close to it. He used to pay other people to do this stuff for him. Josh plugged the cable into another outlet, causing an array of sparks to fly.

"Don't break it," Donna said after taking a step back from where he was kneeling.

"I am not trying to! Besides, its already broken."

It was the radio. Well, actually, Josh thought, it was a much more complex machine than a radio, probably designed by NASA. But it was here for them to communicate with the other bunkers. Only, it didn't work and he had no idea what was wrong with it. Still, after seven days in this gloomy bunker, anything was better than sitting around, reading the books someone with a bit of foresight had put here for the survivors to read while slowly going insane from the lack of sunlight. And it kept Donna happy that he was fiddling with it. It was the hope she needed.

Donna sighed. "Why doesn't it work?" she asked quietly, again for the hundredth time.

Josh couldn't answer her. He would have liked to know the answer himself. The United States should have been prepared for this. A nuclear war... the threat had always been there. Someone had built these bunkers for exactly this situation. And now the device for communicating with the other bunkers like this across the country didn't work. And it wasn't exactly like they could go outside and get help or anything like that.

*

"You haven't even kissed me yet."

Josh shook his head, wondering whether he was awake. "Come again?"

Donna sighed. "I said, you haven't even kissed me yet."

"Um, yeah," he said.

"Josh, we have been stuck in an underground bunker after nuclear warheads destroyed the whole continent with only each other for two weeks now and you haven't even kissed me yet. I am, quite literally, the last woman on Earth for you."

"Do you want me to?"

Donna rolled her eyes. She couldn't believe Josh sometimes. "You know that I have wanted exactly that for years."

There was nothing Josh could say to that.

"Anyway, I don't want you to do that because I want it, I want to know whether you want it," she continued.

Josh couldn't help it, he had to laugh. "Seriously? You have to ask me that?"

"Apparently, yes," she replied, getting mildly annoyed.

"Gosh, Donna, I am trying to... I don't know, let us come to terms with what happened here. I wasn't really thinking about this all that much. Millions of people are dead out there!"

He didn't sound angry; he sounded beat and frustrated and so tired. There was a long pause. In the faint light, Josh could see Donna's eyes fill with tears. He had been an insensitive asshole to her again. As if she could forget what had happened.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"Don't be."

*

At first, they had slept on beds next to each other in the room that had been set aside for the inhabitants to sleep in. It wasn't as big as they had thought; it had been meant for people to take shifts in. But after a while, they started to rearrange the bunker to their needs, closing the doors of the big rooms and settling into one of the smaller ones. They moved two beds into the room, next to each other and with no space in between. They had tables in there and books neatly arranged so they looked a bit like bookshelves. Donna liked making things at least a bit more homey than Josh would have ever thought possible in such a space.

They weren't going to leave anytime soon.

Donna woke up at night, or what they called night anyway, a lot. She had bad dreams, though she usually couldn't remember what they were about afterwards. It was probably for the best.

Josh just slept without dreams, no more than four or five hours a night. When Donna bolted awake, he would stroke her back until she fell asleep again.

*

Six weeks after their flight to the safety of the bunker, Donna was, once again, waking up in the middle of the night. He stroked her arms and back and whispered things like "Everything is fine" and "It's okay" to her, as he usually did. He kissed the top of her head and stroked her hair.

"Do you do this every night?" she asked.

Josh didn't answer at first. Donna usually didn't notice that she even woke up. "Yes," he then simply said.

"It's not going to be okay," she said and turned to face him.

"No." Nothing would ever be okay again.

Donna nodded. "At least you're here."

Josh didn't know whether he was supposed to say anything to that. He stroked her hair again, gently tucking it behind her ear. And then he kissed her. Of course he had wanted to kiss her.