"The city?" The words left his lips, laced with a combination of venom and confusion. Anger rose in the young ape and Blue Eyes made an instant decision to move as far away from Ellie as possible. He would have left her completely alone and not turned back if she hadn't reached out to grab his large hands as he made an effort to return back to the colony.

Neither Blue Eyes nor his father had dared to return to the city after the war. Like many human inventions, the formerly bustling town offered nothing but a reminder of the devastation that had affected both apes and humans alike. He couldn't understand why Ellie could possibly feel any desire to return to the place that had produced so much wickedness and evil. Did she miss her human life so much? Was it an attempt to find some sort of trace of humanity? Did she want to seek out a human colony?

Fueled by betrayal, Blue Eyes pulled his hands away from Ellie's hold a little too harshly. "No. Never go there again." His sky-colored hues narrowed into angry slits as he turned his broad back to her, confused and filled with so many questions. The suspicion that so many of the other apes had felt towards Ellie seemed justified now and Blue Eyes felt furious with himself for allowing her to just walk into his life like that. Had she been planning to use him all alone? Use the colony until hope in the form of other humans walked back into her life? Right now, Blue Eyes wanted to walk away from her and forget her forever but his head was filled with so many unanswered, painful question. The large ape only managed to take one step forward before he turned his focus right back to Ellie, his eyes demanding answers.

"Why Ellie go back?!" Despite his attempts to stay calm, the young ape's emotions were overwhelming and the tone of his voice was morphed by anger. For the first time in days, Blue Eyes stated at Ellie with something other than fondness and he could tell from her surprised expression that she didn't understand the source of his rage. "Ellie want to find humans?"

He hadn't intended to sound so lost and out of control. He hadn't intended to show this intense level of care but his distress was all too obvious.

Almost instantly, Ellie's small feet shuffled forward, closing the distance between them. "Blue Eyes, no!" Understanding brightened her dark-brown eyes and she held onto his strong forearms despite his resistance. Although the young ape had originally been reluctant to show any kind of affection towards the girl, their friendship was no longer a secret. Even his father seemed to sense their natural closeness and there was no doubt that Ellie's presence alone was enough to lift his moods. While he couldn't speak for her exactly, Blue Eyes was starting to feel that Ellie felt the same way about him, too. So why did she want to leave?

"No, it's not like that. It's nothing like that!" Angry at both himself and his human companion, Blue Eyes shook his head, stubbornly refusing to listen to her explanations. "I haven't been back in four years, Blue Eyes. My mother was always too scared to return in case someone attacked us but my home is still there and I...I miss it. I just wanted to see it again, just one more time." Frustrated, Blue Eyes tightened his fingers into tight balls when Ellie attempted to intertwine their digits again. The natural suspicion that he'd felt towards all humans when Koba was still alive had all but completely disappeared upon meeting Ellie and the ape couldn't help but wonder if he was thinking too much with his heart rather than his head. At the same time though, the sincerity in the human's large brown eyes was difficult to ignore and Blue Eyes finally rolled his broad shoulders and allowed himself to relax into Ellie's desperate hold. He didn't uncurl his fingers just yet but his light eyes finally met the human's brown ones as her little fingers squeezed his wrists, pleading for him to listen. "I don't want to leave the colony, Blue Eyes." A barely audible sigh escaped Ellie's pink lips but the ape was close enough to her to be able to feel her warm breath on the hairs of his broad chest. A little pink colored her tanned cheeks and her brown eyes shifted nervously to the ground as she finally spoke after a considerable pause. "I don't want to leave you."

An uncomfortable silence hung heavy between them and Ellie took a step back to allow Blue Eyes a little space to breathe. While she hadn't stuttered or hesitated in her admission of what was essentially her fondness for him, the sky-hued ape couldn't quite work out just what it all meant. She didn't want to leave because of him. She didn't want to leave him. What exactly did that say about their friendship? They had only known one another for a short amount of time but there was no denying the confusing emotions that were present whenever they were together.

Truthfully, Blue Eyes had no clue what to do now. He didn't know how he was supposed to respond to Ellie's confession and he could express his thoughts verbally no matter how hard his brain searched for a solution. The tension between practically had a physical presence and the young ape couldn't stop himself from moving away a little more but only after he reached out and brushed the soft pads of his fingertips against the back of Ellie's hand. She seemed to freeze as if a bolt of lightening jolted through her entire body and finally their eyes met again.

"Lets go. Must be quick."

Even though their journey had barely taken an hour, it seemed like the ape and his human companion had been traveling for days by the time they'd reached the outskirts of the formerly great city. While Ellie's eyes lit up on their approach, Blue Eyes felt nothing but contempt for the place that had offered him nothing but horrible memories and his already foul mood had taken a terrible nose dive at the brunette's excitement. Rather than focussing his attention on the tall, dilapidated buildings around him, Blue Eyes only paid attention to Ellie, his lips pursed in a frown as he struggled to understand her delight. This place was a symbol of nothing but hate. Even as a human, she had to understand that.

It seemed incredible that Ellie hadn't picked up on his discomfort but the girl continued to increase speed despite the young ape's most furious looks. Soon, her muscular legs had picked up enough speed to turn into a run and eventually Blue Eyes was forced to keep up with her in his confusion. She seemed delighted to be here and the sheer thought made him uncomfortable because while Ellie's cheeks glistened pink with excitement, the young ape couldn't take a single step forward without looking around a dozen times, terrified that a lost colony of humans would jump out and desperately attempt to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.

It was only his trust for the girl that kept him going. His trust for her and the still-fresh memories of his father's own life in a human home. Blue Eyes had little curiosity where this life was concerned and Ellie's excited exclamation at her old home failed to raise any kind of enthusiasm in the light-hued male. The house seemed just like any other. Old. Forgotten. Suffocating.

In all honesty, the young ape wasn't even sure why he'd followed the human inside of her former home but his cautious steps mirrored her smaller footprints carefully. Danger threatened the pair even in the silence of the old city and just one look at the home's old picture frames had Blue Eyes reaching for Ellie's shoulders instinctively, his soft yet powerful squeeze reminding her that this was not the home she'd once known in the happier years of her life.

Surprisingly, the girl seemed to understand but her reaction was not one that the ape had expected.

Rather than simply reassuring him of her self-control, the little brunette turned around to face him almost at the exact same time that her hand had reached out to confidently take his much larger one in it's soft, warm grip. Just like before, Ellie squeezed his large digits with a strange determination and without a word, the human tugged her companion and friend up the home's steep stairs.

Blue Eyes didn't understand why he kept holding on. All of his primary instincts instructed him to release the girl and bark at her to get out of this potential deathtrap but his heart blocked out his head's desires and instead he mirrored her footsteps, his light hues fixed on their contrasting fingers as they walked up the stairs to her family's former sleeping area.

For the first time since their arrival in the city, Blue Eyes had placed his full focus on something other than safety but it was impossible to remain fixated on ghouls and monsters when Ellie's small hand felt so warm and lovely against his own. For once, he didn't question the delight that came as a result of her touch and instead of flinching at her affection, he returned it. Gently, his much larger thumb traced the back of her hand and while Ellie continued to walk up the stairs, the young ape was certain that she had flinched. A quick look up at her confirmed her surprise and Blue Eyes felt his stern expression relax when he noticed her private smile.

He didn't want to let go of her hand. There was no audience this time, no questioning eyes and no confusion on his part. While he was still not at all comfortable about spending time in the city, Blue Eyes was starting to fully believe that Ellie's desire to come back lay in sentiment and sentiment only. He would have wanted to see his old home too, if it was still an option. It wasn't easy to let go of all of those memories.

The last of his suspicions were finally pushed away when the dark-haired human pushed open an old dusty door and released his large hand upon entering. A little spin of his stomach made him light headed but overall Blue Eyes retained control as he entered the small room, his light hues squinting at an invasive ray of light from the ceiling window.

"This was my room," Ellie explained without prompt and the young ape's gaze finally drifted from the girl in order to take in his very new surroundings. His expression remained somewhat stoic as his light eyes took in the human's form. She lacked the confidence that he'd seen in her now. Her brown eyes filled with transparent tears as she lifted a dusty old photographs and her legs crumbled beneath her despite her strength. If it had not been for the comfortable mattress that she seemed to collapse onto with ease, Blue Eyes would have caught Ellie in his arms but instead he approached her slowly, cautiously. He didn't want to ruin her own private, personal moment with the fond memories of her parents.

Blue Eyes stayed silent for a moment, unsure of what he was supposed to say or what he was supposed to do as Ellie wiped desperately at her watering eyes. The room seemed so small and so very different from the reality that now faced her in the colony and a horrible guilt filled the pit of his stomach. There was no cold here, not even after four years of abandonment and endless pillows and blankets covered the girl's old bed. Blue Eyes looked over everything carefully, stopping only when Ellie patted the space on the bed beside her. Quietly, he walked over to join her, staying far enough away so their bodies wouldn't touch even though he longed to feel the heat of her skin against his own body.

"This… this is what I wanted to come back for," the girl beside him sniffled as she thrust the photograph into his larger hands without warning. Carefully, Blue Eyes took the frame and ran his padded thumbs over the sides, rubbing the dust away as his concentrated gaze took in the similarities between Ellie and her mother and father. There was no mistaking that the family in the photograph were related, just like there was no mistaking the fact that Ellie was shifting closer.

"Your family... Sorry."

Quiet words left the young ape's lips but Ellie simply shook her head lightly at her companion's apology. Instead, her small hands reach out to link their fingers together once again and this time Blue Eyes didn't even try to protest. His hand gripped hers almost a little desperately, enjoying this new-found warmth and the sensation her touch caused. The young ape felt like his heart thudded aggressively in his chest but if Ellie had heard anything then she certainly wasn't about to comment on it. Instead she stayed quieter and moved closer and closer until there wasn't any more distance to close between their bodies. Blue Eyes inhaled sharply when he felt her covered breasts push against his upper arm but he said nothing, terrified that anything he could possibly put together would sound completely inappropriate right now. Ellie spoke instead.

"No, it's… you don't need to be sorry." A trembling hand reached to smooth away her tears and Blue Eyes felt a pang of regret for not completing the motion first. He focused on squeezing Ellie's hand instead as she managed a lazy smile, her red eyes and pink nose not making her look any less appealing. "I just… I'm just really glad that you came with me." She spoke into his skin. Her mouth pressed over a hair-covered area of his bicep but Blue Eyes still felt the warmth of her breath and the vibrations of her voice. He was completely lost for words when their eyes finally met but naturally, the young ape moved his head forward, ready to press his forehead against Ellie's before quickly pulling away in a panic. She had certainly felt his surprise but she didn't say nothing and instead rose almost as quickly as he did but only after she stuffed the photograph under her shirt. "We should probably go, though."

Ellie's words were both comforting and suffocating.

Despite enjoying her touch, Blue Eyes had been looking for an escape from this uncomfortable situation and he rose the moment Ellie shifted, nodding in agreement to her proposal. "Yes. We go. Colony wait."

Their walk home was just as silent as before and had it not been for Ellie's bold gesture of reaching out to touch his forearm, Blue Eyes doubted that there would have been any contact whatsoever. He was glad of her touch, though. It was impossible to ignore the occasional sniffle that left the young human's nose and even when they joined the colony for dinner, Blue Eyes could see the outline of the picture frame underneath Ellie's loose shirt. It was so very similar to the photograph that he had seen of his father with his humans but he still didn't dare seek Caesar out for this emotional emergency. Instead, he stayed with Ellie as dinner came to an end.

"Did you really think that I wanted to leave?"

Her question took him by surprise and Blue Eyes all but stopped in his tracks. He had been on his way to accompanying Ellie back to her hut when the human had surprised him with the unusual question that had stunned him into a strange silence.

Truthfully, a panic had swept through him in that moment and it was an emotion that Blue Eyes still couldn't explain. In retrospect, Ellie's visit to her home had been utterly innocent but that initial panic had frozen his heart. Blue Eyes didn't dare admit it though and his light hues quickly focused on the ground as he pushed open the curtain of Ellie's little hut so she could enter first.

"Maybe." His answer came almost unpleasantly but Ellie's expression didn't transform into a scowl.

Brown eyes held his own lighter ones in return as the girl passed her friend in silence, nodding in understanding as he followed her inside of the hut and proceeded to work on the little fire. This time, Blue Eyes rose to leave quickly but Ellie didn't ask him to stay so he could teach her to sign. Instead of education, the petite brunette reached for his hand with a different need in her eyes. Fear. Sadness. Blue Eyes couldn't quite place her emotions but her brown eyes glistened with tears even in the darkness. "Stay with me. Please." She may not have pleaded but her tone was desperate and Blue Eyes remained still in the dim light of the fire, his large hands moving to his head in frustration as he shot confused looks between Ellie's little bed and the outside world of his people.

"Please, Blue Eyes. I just… I need… I need someone…" This time her tone was a little more persistent. He couldn't ignore her eyes or the way her hot hands clasped over his hair-covered palms and pulled him towards the bed. The one look that he shot towards the entrance of the hut was only to confirm that the curtain ensured their privacy and indeed, they were completely alone. Blue Eyes knew that such a thing shouldn't have been his primary concern but his feet refused to move as he watched Ellie kick off her heavy boots and slip out of her tights jeans. Her eyes were still red-rimmed from tears but there was something else in her face ; a deep blush in her cheeks and a want in her dark orbs.

This was wrong.

Blue Eyes knew that. The feel of Ellie's little fingers clamping over his wasn't natural but the young ape couldn't deny just how good it felt to have the young woman tug him towards her bed. His eyes found her legs naturally in the darkness, taking in the muscle with the appreciation of a man. "Ellie…" his voice was soft, lacking protest. Still, it was enough to panic his human companion and for a moment, Ellie unlinked their hands and allowed herself a moment to build the perfect sleeping station. She sat down first, her head lowered even as she reached out to beckon her companion to join. "It's comfortable."

Blue Eyes didn't doubt that. The young ape was sure that the blankets would provide warmth and that the heat from Ellie's body would keep him up into the early hours of the morning. He knew that this was wrong but it felt so terribly right so slowly, cautiously, the light-hued ape slipped into the bed beside his human companion.

For a moment, they did absolutely nothing.

The silence between them was deafening and Blue Eyes was certain that he could hear Ellie's heartbeat in the darkness beside him. Like him, she lay perfectly still. It was an unnatural position for an ape but an even more unnatural one for a human so after a few torturous moments, he felt her move. Slowly at first but finally a little hand draped itself across his chest. This may have felt wrong but her touch felt like a bolt of lightning straight to the heart and Blue Eyes didn't think twice before lifting his large palm to cover hers. They stayed like that for the longest while, simply touching each other and enjoying the feel of the others' hands before exhaustion finally lulled both human and ape into a deep, comforting sleep.