Consequences

Disclaimer: I do not own Warm Bodies or anything related.


A steady stream of rain trickled down Julie Grigio's window. It seemed fitting, really, it fit with her current mood pretty well. She stared out, her eyes in the direction of the center of the city, where R was still unconscious. It had been two and a half days since everything happened, since his body miraculously came back to life. A day and a half since her dad forced her to go home.

"Don't sulk."

Julie half-glared over at her friend sitting across her bed. "I'm not sulking, Nora," she said with a indignant tone.

"Sure, sure," Nora nodded in false belief in her. "Should I go fetch you a tube of ice cream and a sappy movie?" she teased.

"Nora," Julie threw her a warning look, even as a smile ruined her threatening tone.

"Talk to me, Jules," Nora begged. "I haven't seen you this quiet since your mom..." the older woman trailed off with a guilty expression.

"It's alright. It's nothing really, just thinking..." Julie sighed.

"Yeah, there's a lot of that to be done, isn't there? With everything that's happened to us, to you," Nora nodded. "Anything specific? Or should I say, anyone? Maybe a certain dark haired zombie-boy?" she smiled playfully.

"...Maybe," Julie relented and a glance back at her friend.

"I'm sure he's fine!" Nora shrugged.

"How can you say that? He was a zombie, then suddenly he wasn't a zombie, and then he got shot, and now he won't wake up and the doctors don't know why," Julie sighed once more.

"I'm sure he just needs time to recover!" Nora argued.

"That's what the doctor said..." Julie's eyes dropped to the pillow she was smothering.

"Then believe them!"

"I'd like to," Julie didn't say anything more for several minutes. If her eyes hadn't been open and staring out into the gray world outside of the room, Nora would have thought her friend had fallen asleep. She wouldn't have blamed her, all her worry was making her friend more tired than usual. Nora didn't remember Julie getting so worked up over Perry, but then, back when everything between them was still bright, she had tried to stay a bit distant from them, still feeling the guilt in what she had done to them years ago. Maybe Julie just felt too much, gave her heart too completely, even if the girl herself didn't know she did at the time. "He told me he loved me..." Nora almost thought she imagined Julie speaking again, so quiet was her voice.

"Really?" Nora's eyes nearly bugged out. "Love?"

"Yeah..." Julie nodded slowly.

"...And?" Nora probed eagerly, leaning forward in anticipation.

"And what?" Julie looked over to her friend and raised a brow.

"How do you feel for him?" Nora's eyebrow rose. "I mean, we both know he certaintly has got looks going for him..." she teased.

Julie ignored her friend's tease and thought about it. "I... I'm not sure," she shook her head. "It's all so sudden. I mean, I guess I have pretty strong... feelings for him... but it was kind of hard thinking that way about a corpse," she shrugged.

"But he was never really like the rest of them was he?" Nora reminded her. "And he's alive now, he's human," she added slowly.

"Yeah..." Julie relented, trying hard not to smile. "I um, well... I don't know. I guess I might, but is it because of how many times he saved me? Or what? L-Love can't just... happen, can it?" Julie's eyes bore a hundred questions as they searched Nora's for answers.

Nora sighed and glanced at the patterns on Julie's bed idly, searching for the words Julie wanted to hear. "No one can really know for sure. Some say you can fall in love the second you look at someone, something deep from within, your eyes look passed appearance and just feel. Sometimes, I guess love can come without any provocation," she smiled thoughtfully. "And maybe the very fact that whatever it was that happened between the two of you started to heal other zombies, maybe it's more of an answer than I can give you? I guess you just need to trust in that?"

Nora and Julie remained silent for a moment, both deep in thought. It wasn't until Nora started to hear a very faint, very soft snore from her friend, that she realized that this time the younger woman had fallen asleep. "Goodnight, Julie," Nora smiled at her friend's sleeping form, then after pause, looked out the balcony door window. "Goodnight, ...Addy..." she whispered. Funny how after so many years she still missed her little brother so much. Perhaps all this talk of love reminded her that deep in her heart, her love for her lost brother had never left her, no matter how hard she tried to forget. Love is never something easy to let go.

The next day, Julie started awake, her eyes shifting around. Somehow she imagined she was in a big 747 jet, like she had been in her dreams. Stretching her arms above her she reached forward, smiling at the John Lennon poster taped to her ceiling. "It's easy if you try," she read quote. "Try, huh?" She shut her eyes momentarily, and then forced herself out of bed. Nora had left some time in the night, it seemed. Julie felt a bit guilty, she had fallen asleep when she and Nora were talking last night. Stifling a yawn, Julie went to her closet and threw on jeans and a simple blouse before finding her jacket and heading downstairs. As usual, her father was nowhere to be found, he had always been the incredibly early riser and after years of opportunity, she had never managed to wake up as early as him and see what he did each morning.

Grabbing a cube of Carbtein and grimacing after popping it into her mouth, she headed out, straight for the clinic to check on R. Walking in she smiled fleetingly at the nurses around the tent and ducked through the curtains of R's side of the infirmary. He was still motionless but he definitely looked better today. He was still deathly pale, but he no longer hand the ugly black protruding veins or the dark circles around his eyes. His chest rose and fell in a steady rhythm and she was happy to find him hooked to a heart monitor. She was happy because of how comforting it was to see the steady beat of his heart being recorded by the old machine. Julie sat down by his side and could not stop her hand from reaching forward to brush his hair gently. He was still very warm, but not quite as much as a few days ago.

"R?" She tried, waiting for his eyes to open. "You going to wake up any time, mr. zombie?" She asked with a half-hearted smile at her teasing. "Come on, shrugger. It's not nice to keep a girl waiting, you know..." she said and sighed when he didn't react in the least. "Please wake up, R, it's boring without you... M is getting ansty," she smiled again. "He's recovering almost as quickly as you now, a lot of them are... so you need to wake up, okay? Show them how to heal?" She said softly. She fell silent when she felt silly talking to someone who wouldn't respond. Her eyes fell back to the cement beneath her shoes.

"J-Jul...ie?" Julie's eyes snapped back up to R's face and found him trying to open his eyes.

"R!" Julie jumped up and hovered over him.

R's eyes opened finally and his clear blue eyes stared up into a matching set. He smiled weakly. "Hi..." he said simply and gasped when the girl practically flung herself onto him. If he hadn't been so disorientated, he might have blushed. Hold on, blush? Huh, wasn't that a spectacular concept!

"You're awake!" She laughed. She pulled back with a gasp of her own when a noticeably painful groan escaped him. "Sorry!" She said and blinked when he pulled her back into the hug. She smiled and felt herself melt slightly. His arms, he felt so warm, so unlike the couple times they had hugged. It felt too good maybe. "How are you?" She asked after pulling away.

"...Alive," R smiled a bit lopsidedly. It was the most endearing thing she had ever seen. She would have kissed him then and there if they hadn't been interrupted.

"Ms. Grigio?" The familiar voice of doctor Martinez made them look over. "I thought I heard voices. R, it's good to see you awake," the kind doctor walked over, smiling warmly at them. Clearly she had come to accept R far better now than when she first met him. "You gave us quite a scare when you blacked out," she went on. "May I?" She said to Julie, who stepped back from the bed. Martinez leaned in with her pen light and smiled at the results. "Your reaction to the light it a lot faster now, this is good. Tell me, how do you feel?" She asked him, replacing her pen light with a normal pen and grabbing a clipboard near the bed.

"Hurts a bit... dizzy... and I'm uh, ...th-thirsty?" R answered, sounding very unsure of himself. And why shouldn't he be? These were feelings he hadn't felt since he became a zombie.

"We'll get you some water in a moment. How much does it hurt?" Martinez questioned.

"...Not sure. Not a lot... I guess?" R told her, frowning in frustration.

"Hmm, well, you're healing very nicely. In fact, you're rate of healing is the fastest I've ever seen, though I suppose it could be due to whatever it is that brought you back? Your healing rate might return to normal once you're done healing completely? We'll just have to wait and see." Martinez paused as a nurse returned with a glass of water and the doctor watched in silence as R downed the cup in one single motion. "In any case, you're free to go now, so long as you be careful and don't stretch your arm out. You may heal faster than a lot of us, but you're still injured," the doctor warned.

"How... long?" R still felt dizzy as his eyes swept the room slowly.

"How long have you been asleep?" Martinez questioned. R nodded. "Three days," The doctor answered, watching her patient's eyes widen as they snapped back to her.

"Three days?!" R questioned.

Julie had been silent throughout the interaction and felt her own eyes widen at R's outburst. It was the most emotion she had ever heard in his voice so far. "You were in really rough shape, R..." she said quietly. "You looked worse than when you were still... dead,"Julie explained lamely.

"Your body needed time to recuperate," doctor Martinez explained. "Sometimes comas are our bodies way of healing without our own selves getting in the way and making it harder," she explained it as simply as she could.

"I see..." R nodded in understanding.

"Are you ready to get outta here?" Julie questioned. "This time you can look around the city without having to worry so much... you might even see some familiar faces," Julie smiled mysteriously.

"Mm-...May I?" R asked the doctor.

"You're free to go," Martinez smiled. She watched as Julie Grigio helped the former zombie out of the bed and snatched his clothes from the table nearby.

R felt a curious heat splash across his cheeks as Julie helped him place his shirt back on. He could feel the softness of her fingertips, and the heat of her body so close to him. He could smell her light perfume and see the goosebumps over her skin as he bent down slightly to help her. His impressive height was making it a little challenging. Their noses brushed against each other and they both blushed. "Thanks..." R muttered. Julie cleared her throat and backed away slightly, glancing around them to make sure no one saw. She nearly cringed when she saw a knowing look on Martinez' face. She took R by the hand and tugged him out.

As they walked, they felt relief that no one was looking too closely at them. A very select few people knew about R but it seemed like they were making a point not to make it obvious. The walk was slow and they remained mostly silent, simply enjoying each others company. Perhaps it was still slightly awkward for both of them. There was something happening between them, and even though R had stated clearly his feeling for her, and Julie had begun to realize that she might even return them, it was still quite a bit to process. Even so, Julie had refused to let go of his much larger hand as they walked, comforted by the innocent intimacy and the feeling of heat from his palm and fingers.

R heard a very pleasant chirping above his head and looked up to see two birds flying around each other, dancing in the air as though they were in love. Then again, that might have been the romantic side in him. Man, M was right, he was such a girl sometimes! He watched the birds collect near a patch of flowers in the distance. Julie must have seen it too for she looked over at him, pointed at them, and smiled. "Ready to stretch your legs?" She asked him.

"Huh?" R blinked curiously, not really finding the connection.

"I'll race you over to those birds," she smiled. "Come on, run with me," she suggested.

"Okay," R smiled back. He's do anything if he were doing it with her. He blinked when Julie took off then and willed his legs to move. It was slightly surprising how quickly and easier his body responded to him now. In no time as all he was jogging after her, watching her golden hair bounce behind her in silky waves. He noticed that, while he still sort of lumbered, his gait was a lot smoother than before, if still a bit awkward. Suddenly R felt the most pain he had ever felt. It was a searing pain that gripped him so tightly his scream only managed to escape his throat in a choked gasp. The ground came rushing to meet his face.

"You keeping up there, R?" Julie questioned and glanced back. When she didn't see him near her she stopped and turned. Her eyes widened when she spotted him collapsed on the ground, his face as white as she had ever seen it and a clearly pained expression on his face. "R!" Julie gasped and ran out. "What's happened? What's wrong?" R was clutching his legs and Julie could hear him breathing hard.

"Hurts... body... hurt..." he wheezed. Julie ignored the groans of pain as she knelt down to help him off the floor, and helped him back toward the clinic which, luckily, was very close by.

"What's wrong with... me?" R asked doctor Martinez after Julie had helped him limp over to the clinic.

"We'll have to run some tests, right now I can only speculate," Martinez answered, checking over his limbs where he clutched. "I don't see anything outwardly wrong with you, besides being too skinny and still much too pale," she went on. "One moment," Martinez left them alone for a few minutes.

"Does it still hurt?" Julie asked, her voice wavering slightly in concern.

"Yes..." R groaned as he lay slumped against the bed.

Moments later Martinez and a nurse returned. After running a few fat and muscle scale tests with odd little hand-held devices, Martinez nodded as if being proven correct about something, and perhaps she had been. "As I suspected. You're body's muscle to fat ratio is critically low. You have much too little fat and your muscles are severely atrophied," she explained. "It's not surprising that your health would be in such conditions. We'll have to put you on a special diet and you're going to need to start rehabilitation immediately," Martinez told him, watching her patient nod weakly. "You should start to see some improvements in a few months, though with how quickly you seem to be healing, maybe a lot less," Martinez smiled sympathetically. "It looks like your stitches opened a little, we'll have to sow them back up too."

R resisted the urge to groan. Funny how that was coming from a former zombie. This was going to be a very long, challenging month...

TBC...


A/N: As you can probably already tell, I'm trying to write this story as realistically as I can. You'll also notice very little cursing in this story. Personally, I think it's really not all that necessary. If you don't like that... what's wrong with you? lol.

Shout-Outs:

A New Perspective: Well thank you lol considering I've written more stories than I can count, I'd hope I wouldn't have written this badly. Still, if you ever spot any mistakes, please let me know!

GreenNatureGirl: "Rulie" is a nickname my mom uses for my dad! Thanks. Glad you like it!

Surely Sherlocked: And I look forward to your input :P

Fang-Delight: I plan on updating regularly, but don't hold me to that!

4MeJasper: I thought it'd make sense that R would have some issues and need medical treatment, you know? After being dead and all...