A/N: Hope you enjoy it. This was inspired by a short comic strip I read. This isn't part of the 'My Home' Universe. It's a standalone one-shot. Let me know what you think.
She pressed her back against the cold concrete wall, taking in deep breathes. Had it been minutes, hours, seconds? She didn't know anymore. All she could hope for was that she lost them. Hope that the distraction worked and she was finally in the clear.
Her chest fell up and down, relief finally settling in. Three months of peace and following the directions of a wandering dweller shaman put them directly in the path of a massive horde. Them. She hoped, she prayed he was okay. All seemed hopeless until he veered off with a flare and a chiming monkey with drums.
She wanted to go with him. They went everywhere together. Not this time. This time he must have seen no other choice since he pushed her into an old coal chute, sliding back into the lower levels of the crumbling building. The move turned out to be irrelevant as she landed at the rear of a group of zombies.
They chased her back through the halls that she and her partner spent the early part of the morning running from the horde that chased them into the building. The building, the ruined city outside, the ruined world, Kim hated all of it.
Ever since the accident, ever since the tragedy of Dementor's and Senor Senor's plot, ever since the virus spread across the globe, nothing was ever the same. All the dreams that filled her mind, the adventures of college and life after Middleton High, all under the rot of the virus. Buried by bodies and bodies of the dead.
It wasn't just the dead either. Whatever pockets of civilization she ran into, they were usually one extreme or the other. Nut-cases. Savages. Warlords. Cults. Nothing worth saving the day over anymore. Kim spent most of her days running, surviving, and chasing a false paradise. Kim gave up on the world a long time ago.
But as she winced at the pain from her wounded arm, she knew those days were over. Even with her bat, grappling hook, and sixteen styles of kung-fu she knew, it meant nothing if one of the dead scratched or bit her. And that's exactly what happened.
As she glanced down, she could see her blood dribbling down from where one of the dead managed to grazer her with its nails, swiping at her unseen from a boarded window. She'd always imagined that if the dead managed to kill or infect her, it would be because she took a wrong turn or tussled with one, not being swiped at from one she could have easily avoided.
Kim blinked back tears, banging her head up against the wall behind her frustrated with herself.
He distracted the horde and pushed her to safety so she could live. He lead the horde itself up through the building until he would be trapped all so she could get away.
Yet, even though she managed to get away from the small rear of the horde and lose it, she let her guard down and rested near an open window. That's all it took, letting her guard down for a minute and the process had begun. A mistake. Breaking a simple stupid rule. Going near a window or boarded entry. She cursed herself.
Looking down at the wound, she could see her outer veins starting to discolor into a sickening purple, the virus beginning its journey through the rest of her body. In a few hours, she would be racked with pain until she would fall unconscious. Then the virus would take over her brain, taking control, and turning her into a drone of necrotized flesh.
She knew well enough how the virus converted its victims. She had watched it dozens of times. The most haunting and torturous was her family's turning. Watching her mother and father writhe in bed while the disease took its hold over their minds. Her brothers turning into rabid animals. The town she loved, the high school she took classes in, all destroyed.
She lowered her bat and reached for a handkerchief she kept in her cargo pocket. An old piece from the past fell out clanking to the ground. It was her Kimmunicator, a memoir to her old past and an old friend who fell long ago.
She reached back in until the sounds of slouching footsteps forced her to grab her bat. Wait? What was the point? At this point, she was already dead. She just had to wait for her body to take over. As she gripped the bat, the choice was not to survive or die but whether to die respectfully in peace and become a mindless walking pile of flesh or to be eaten alive in disgrace.
Since no other living person was around, it wasn't like she could be mercied. She didn't have a pistol. Her heart raced and her grip tightened around the worn wood of the bat, splintering in her skin. She waited, the sound of dragging feet just around the corner, her heart pumping the virus faster, quickening its effects, the pain starting to throb through her body. She raised the bat in self-defense.
She stopped when an all too familiar face slipped around the corner. His face, tired and worn, soft amber eyes bleeding life by the day. Those all familiar orbs that she knew since she was but a small child when all they had to worry about was the unimportant duties of preschool.
He turned to her, his dirtied freckled face covered in specks of old blood and guts from an undead he'd probably cut down. In his right hand, lazily gripped, hung a rusted crowbar. His bright blond hair, now frayed like hers just shorter and dulled from the constant stress.
The look on his face when he spotted her sitting up against the wall was one of surprise and shock. He must have thought she had escaped the building. It was when his eyes traveled up to the superficial scratch on her arm, that her stomach sank, her heart cringed, his face heartbreaking, repulsed by her wound and its implications.
She looked away, mortified. She was the hero that saved the world. She stopped all the villains and their plots until that fateful summer between their sophomore and junior years of high school. When the virus spread, her best friend, her sidekick, swooped her away, holding her together as they fled into a broken, dying world.
For the next two years, Ron would go from a goofy sidekick and turn into a man that Kim never knew existed inside her best friend, becoming her love in a lonely world. While she would be the sword traversing through the darkness, he remained her shield. While she shattered at the death of her family and at large, the world, Ron's losses shook him but struck a foundation of resolve that Kim could fall gently to. Even when Rufus succumbed a year ago, Ron only hardened his resolve.
And now that Ron had seen her wound, as superficial as it was, she meant nothing. Death cradled her in its arms, waiting for the inevitable. She knew what look came next. It was the same look he had developed over the last two years or so. Whenever they met others who'd been infected, Ron became cold, a mysterious side that intrigued Kim to her core yet she didn't want to know. He would mercy those without hesitation, as quickly and as painlessly as he could.
So Kim waited for the blow of his crowbar against her skull. She waited for the mercy her best friend, her lover, her boyfriend, would bestow on her so she wouldn't be fully transformed into a mindless flesh-eater. With the seconds passing unceremoniously, Kim for a moment thought she had passed on.
A sigh from Ron's lips opened her eyes but fear only let her take a subtle glance at him. To her surprise, a frown tugged down at the corners of his mouth.
"What? What is it?" Kim asked, fearing for a moment that Ron had shut down.
For the briefest of seconds, Ron's eyes flickered as if life inside himself perished away. The glimmer came back as he looked back at her, sliding up his sleeve revealing several bite marks. "I... I got bit too," his face sank into despair. Everything he ever held in finally spilling out through the cracks now forming. The very reason for forming that wall was about to die.
Kim realized that Ron didn't look disgusted because of the scratches on her arm. Ron felt to blame since he had pushed her down the chute to save her, sacrificing himself in the process. She realized that Ron intended for only herself to survive but, fate desired a different outcome for the two heroes, and Ron recognized that.
A tired smile crossed Kim's face, "Hey stranger..." she patted the floor next to her.
He slowly slipped beside her, wrapping his bloodied arm around her shoulders. She shot him a smirk, "We really do go everywhere together, don't we."
"As long as it's with you, I don't mind at all."
"Let's fall asleep together, one last time," Kim rested her head on his shoulder.
"Yea, together one last time, KP," Ron replied.
Kim relaxed as his warm body comforted and soothed her fear. She didn't know if the rising warmth was the virus acting, slowly taking over, or the feeling of love and sleep drowning her one final time, staving off the cold, concrete floor. Quietly she gave in to the warmth, never knowing if sleep or the virus had taken control first.
Her final conscious, coherent thought was Ron and the future that never was.