Disclaimer: I don't own Half-Life.


001. Disease

Zombies were milling around all over beneath them. Headcrabs screeched and hopped, futilely attempting to reach them on their perch far above in the warehouse. Gordon sat cross-legged, carefully reloading a clip into his pistol, green eyes flicking over the shambling forms below them. Next to him, Alyx sat with one knee tucked up under an arm, drinking sparingly from their canteen.

"We should probably head out sometime soon," she murmured, catching his slight nod out of the corner of her eye.

Craning her neck, she could see the pale yellow outline of their car. The hazard lights flickered on and off.

"Battery's gonna run out if we leave it sitting there."

Gordon frowned slightly, following her gaze.

Somewhere down below, a zombie bellowed in fury, raking its claws against the wall below them. With a grimace of irritation, Gordon lowered his pistol and blew its headcrab off with a few well-aimed shots. The remainders of the horde didn't seem to mind that their comrade had fallen.

"Less mouths to feed," Gordon muttered, watching them stumble over the crumpled body. Slowly, he got to his feet, turning to Alyx.

She let out a deep breath. "You ready?"


002. Bathroom

"So how do you do it?" Alyx asked, returning from behind the bush.

Gordon blinked. "What?"

She leaned against a nearby tree, smirk on her face. "You know what I'm talking about."

"Um..." -by God, he looked a little flustered!- "there's a..."

He gestured vaguely at the area below his waist.

"...Hatch," he finally managed to say.

Alyx leaned in closer to him. "Are you blushing?"

Gordon turned his head, pointedly not looking at her. "I'm gonna go get the car," he said, quietly.


003. Delirious

Gordon lifted his new (and now highly-favored) shotgun, blasting away at a pair of zombies that groaned as they shuffled towards him. His companion- the priest- was nearby, also firing away with a shotgun, only with a better aim and a chestful of laughter. Pausing to reload, Gordon gave the odd man a wary glance. The laughter made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. He wasn't a man who trusted others even before the Black Mesa incident, and surely wasn't one of those now. What if this seemingly crazy- hell, downright terrifying- person was leading him right into the maw of the Combine?

No time to think about that, Gordon thought to himself, as a new group of damned souls shuffled into view of his flashlight.

There was a slight chittering noise from behind him, quickly drowned out by the bark of the shotgun. He threw a cursory glance behind him- nothing. Grigori was further ahead now, plowing through the zombies while shouting some quote from the Bible.

Gordon's ears pricked at a strange sound that he'd not heard before. It was sort of like a shriek, or a bird-

Something sharp and painful punctured the back of his neck, and instinctively, he twisted around, finger already pulling on the shotgun's trigger.

The unfamiliar noise stopped as soon as he'd fired. Blinking slowly, he realized that he'd killed something. It looked like a headcrab, but it was black, and hairy.

He was able to raise a hand up to the wound on the back of his neck, and think, I've never seen a black headcrab, before a rush of dizziness overthrew his senses, and darkness claimed him.

Gordon awoke with a groan, pushing himself into the land of the conscious as quickly as he could. Immediately, he tried to pull himself up from the prone position he'd found himself in. His head swam, and his entire body felt like it was on fire. Above him, he saw the still-dark sky.

A voice drifted through the foggy haze that was his world.

"Be still, brother. You should be dead by now."

"What happened?" Gordon tried to say, but all that came out of his throat was a gasping moan.

"This must have been your first encounter with the poison ones."

Poison what? Confusion bogged down his already sluggish thoughts. Something poisoned me?

There was a cool hand on his forehead, and he leaned into it, realizing that his breath had degraded to shallow panting.

"I say, be still. There will be lasting effects if you do not allow your body to heal."

Gordon realized that the HEV suit was whispering in his ear- something about neurotoxins and medical attention.

His vision began to clear a little, and he saw Grigori hunched over next to him, holding something small and thin in one hand.

"What... what is-" his tongue felt like a five-pound weight wrapped in cotton.

"You are lucky I have stock of the antitoxin on hand, or you would be dead by now." Grigori showed him the object- an empty hypodermic needle. "It will be a few hours before you will be able to walk again. Sleep now, my brother."

And so, he slept- to the lullaby of muffled shotgun fire and a Savior's laughter.


004. Autumn

There wasn't much of a difference between the seasons in City 17, save that it snowed for a few months and was warm for a few later on. There wasn't a way to tell the difference between days. The Combine kept a calender of their own, all numbers and hyphens.

It didn't mean Alyx didn't grow up without holidays to look forward to. There was Thanksgiving, which they celebrated on the day of the first snow. There was Christmas, which took place at the first spotting of a blooming flower.

Alyx knew that it was spring when Christmas finally came around. When the days got warmer and heat radiated from Dog's shoulders, she knew it was summer. Winter, of course, happened when it snowed.

Autumn was the season most dear to her heart. She enjoyed the colors that the trees turned before shaking off their leaves. Days got shorter and the nights got colder. The world turned, and autumn reminded her that while all other things ended, the days continued on and on. Forever.


005. River

"Holy- this water is cold," Alyx hissed as she felt the biting chill dig into the skin around her ankles. Gordon was a few paces in front of her. Using the Gravity Gun, he was clearing away a pile of logs that had gathered along the riverbed, blocking their path to White Forest. As quickly as she could manage, Alyx scrambled out of the water and onto a nearby rock, stomping her feet a little to ward off the intense chill.

Gordon did not seem phased at all and simply continued his task, patiently moving the logs one by one instead of punting them all into dozens of random positions. A ways behind them sat the car, rumbling softly.

Frowning, Alyx sat down on the rock and took her shoes off, shaking the rather large amount of dirt and pebbles that had gathered in them along her travels. Keeping a close eye on her surroundings, she then wrung the water out of her socks.

"Ready?" Gordon asked softly, turning towards her.

Alyx stared. "Done already?"

"The car'll get over the small stuff."

They looked at each other. For the first time, Gordon seemed to realize that her feet were bare. He blinked at them, obviously confused, before making his way over to her.

"Hypothermia," Alyx pointed out sagely, "starts in the outer extremeties."

"I thought that was frostbite."

"Maybe. Let me hitch a ride, would you?"

So, Gordon ended up piggybacking Alyx to the car, her shoes and socks held in one hand and Gravity Gun in the other.

He didn't seem to mind much.


(A/N: I have always liked writing little stories, small glimpses of another life. I'll be releasing these little 'ficlets' in groups of five, unless I have an exceptionally long one (re: over 1000 words). Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Let me know what you think.)

(EDIT: Apparently FF.n doesn't like it when I simply want a double-space between one ficlet and the other, so I've placed little rulers. Hope they aren't too irritating.)