This is a Ianthony AU story, where Ian, Anthony and the Smosh Games crew (Mari, David, Joshua and Sohinki) live in a post-apocalyptic world, ruled by zombies.
If you watch "The Walking Dead" you'll understand perfectly the story. I think you'll understand it anyway if you've never watched it. The basic things you should now, if that's your case are: if a zombie bites you, you'll get a fever, then die and become a zombie yourself (the time it takes for a person to die depends of the person… it can take hours for some, minutes for others); the only way to die and not come back as a zombie is to be shot or hit in the head, in order to stop your brain from working (that's how you can kill a zombie as well).
The story won't focus on Mari, David, Joshua or Sohinki, but they'll be mentioned. There's major character death involved, so be aware. Also, this is my first time writing Ianthony and English is not my first language. If you find any mistakes, make sure to point them out.
At first, there was only darkness. The complete absence of light and sound was peaceful, welcome. But, just as all peaceful moments since the earth descended into madness, it was short-lived.
As he sucked in a deep, gasping breath, he found himself shot back into reality like a bullet from a gun. The world came crashing in around him, in a symphony of writhing, burning pain so unexpected that, for a moment, it consumed him completely.
And then Ian found himself screaming, thrashing, fighting to free himself from a menace only he could feel, its grip tight around his body.
A soft, familiar voice close to his ear stilled him almost instantly.
"It's me, Ian. Be still, I don't wanna hurt you."
He felt himself being jostled and hoisted into position, heard Anthony grunt with the effort of it, and realized he was cradled in his companion's arms. The pain was radiating through him from some point in his middle, rolling across him in waves, but he knew he was safe in his arms.
"It's alright. You'll be alright, Ian."
He could hear Anthony's mumbles into his hear getting fuzzier and fuzzier. His brain couldn't process the words being spoken to him anymore as he felt the darkness slithering in behind his eyes and, for a while, there was peace.
When he next opened his eyes, the world was still. The air was cold and the light was grey, the kind of pale watery shade that came with early morning.
He was settled in Anthony's lap, his ear pressed against the slightly older man's chest. He could hear the pounding, erratic drum beat of his heart and the soft rushing sound of air leaving his lungs.
The pain, Ian noticed, was still there but it had changed. Mutated. The sharpness of it had faded, settling into a vicious ache deep in his bones.
His head felt sluggish as though his skull had been stuffed with cotton. But he managed to lift it, despite the dull ache in his neck, and found that they were in a small room. It seemed to be a cabin of some sort, little more than a shed, with wooden walls and floors. There was a small window on the wall above them and through it he could see the soft grey morning sky.
Anthony was slumped against the wall, his eyes closed and his jaw clenched. Ian could see pain etched into every line of his face. His eyes opened as Ian sat up, grimacing as his hand clutched his companion's shoulder for support.
He was baffled when his fingers came away wet, dark and shiny in the pale morning light. He raised his gaze to Anthony's, lips forming words that wouldn't come, blue eyes questioning brown chocolate ones silently.
And then, with the sharp scent of Anthony's blood in his nose, it all came rushing back so hard and fast that he felt like he was choking.
The war had come to them, their little group, slithering through the night like a snake in the grass. It was chaos, hell on earth. Gunshots. Screaming. Blood. Dirt. Moaning zombies and grasping hands, a whole herd of them. Smoke, he couldn't see through all the smoke.
Several cries. High pitched screams.
Joven, Sohinki, Mari, David... Anthony. Ian could hear them wailing at the top of their lungs but he couldn't seem to find them. He couldn't seem to find any of them.
And then, there had been nothing but pain.
As he looked down to his side, he saw blood soaking through his shirt, spreading out in a wide arc around the ripped material and the torn flesh underneath it.
A memory flashed behind his eyes, clear as a bell. A zombie shuffling through the smoke, stumbling forward and grasping at his shirt, his hips, a sharp pain, the feeling of falling, and then nothing.
It was the slippery feel of his best friend's blood on his fingers that brought Ian back, drew his blue orbs to the ragged, ripped flesh of Anthony's shoulder. The realization settled in his chest, a heavy, hard knot under his own ribs.
"We were-" his voice broke and he swallowed the rest of his sentence, unable to finish it.
He didn't need to. Anthony nodded his head stiffly, just once, but it was like a punch to the gut.
So this was how it ended. This was how his story, their story, came to a close. Ian's eyes met Anthony's, his lips trembling as the sorrow washed through him, settling cold and heavy in his chest.
Anthony shook his head, looking pained, "Hey, don't cry." he pleaded.
A quick bubble of laughter escaped Ian's lips, rolling out on a choked sob. His best friend was such a typical man; a time like this and crying still made him slightly uncomfortable. His shoulder and arm ached as he lifted his hand to wipe away the tears streaking down his cheeks, nestling themselves in his beard.
"What about-what about everyone else?" Ian asked, his voice barely more than a whisper.
Anthony's uninjured shoulder hitched up in a shrug.
There was a bite to his voice, an edge of bitterness and pain as he replied, "I don't know. The herd got between us. I couldn't see a damn thing."
Ian felt himself nodding, letting the words sink in through his muddled brain. They sat in silence for what seemed like an hour but was probably just a few moments.
"What-what do we do now?" he asked slowly, his voice trembling. "How long do you think we have?"
Anthony met his eyes, chewing his bottom lip, "I have no idea. How are you feeling?" he asked, with a worried expression.
"It hurts," Ian admitted, childishly, the pain flaring down his spine as he sat up straighter. "It-it hurts a lot. And my head – my brain just feels so…"
He couldn't find the words but the other man nodded and Ian figured he understood. Another quiet moment passed.
"Ant, do you think it'll be a long wait?" he asked shakily, filled with dread at the thought of sitting in that room for hours, waiting to die…waiting to become one of them.
Anthony couldn't meet his eyes, looking away. After awhile, he finally shot Ian a steady look, Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed hard, "We don't need to wait." he said, hesitantly.
As the words left his mouth, his trembling fingers brushed aside the hem of his shirt and, with some effort, pulled out his handgun.
It was dark and ominous in his hand, like a black hole that seemed to suck up all the light in the little room. Ian physically recoiled when he realized what Anthony meant with those words, what he intended to do.
Puzzled chocolate eyes darted across his face and then quickly away as the gun was sat down on the floor between them.
Ian stared at it, expressionless.
"Do you think you can do it?" his companion asked quietly, his voice coming out hoarse.
The blue eyed man knew Anthony was hurting just as bad as he was but he hid it well.
"I don't know," he answered honestly, unable to look away from the cruel weapon. "I don't know if I can even lift it."
Anthony nodded for him to try and he reached out, wrapping hesitant fingers around the base of the gun. The metal was cold but it seemed to burn his palm as he lifted it from the floor.
He could feel the other man's eyes on him as he tried to lift it, tried to turn it in his own direction. But he couldn't. He didn't have the strength.
Anthony saw his hesitation and reached out to take it from him, sliding it from his hand.
"Do you want me-" he began, then stopped to swallow hard, "do you want me to do it?"
His words took Ian's breath away. He sat, gazing at Anthony's features for a moment.
"Do you-do you think you could?" he asked him, his voice unsteady.
He observed as Anthony thought about it. And then he saw him wince, his eyes squeezing closed as if he'd been slapped across the face. Ian ached for him, unshed tears clawing at his throat. But he couldn't cry. He needed to stay strong, for his own sake and for the sake of the man holding him.
He then opened his mouth to tell him he didn't have to do it but before he could speak, Anthony's eyes opened and he nodded, his face tight and his expression determined as he told Ian, "I'll do whatever I have to."
Ian sat watching, wordless, as Anthony checked the number of rounds left. He saw him grimace, just the quickest flinch, before meeting his blue orbs again. There was a hard, resigned set to his companion's normally pinkish face that hadn't been there before.
"Okay?" Ian asked shakily, staring deeply into the other man's eyes and he nodded just once, nostrils flaring as he sucked in a deep, ragged breath.
"Would it-would it be easier if you waited until I passed out?" he asked uncertainly.
"I might not…might not be strong enough if we wait that long," Anthony told him through clenched teeth and Ian could see how the pain was wearing on him, weakening him.
Their eyes met again and he instantly knew the answer to his question.
But he wasn't sure how to face the end of his life. Even as the dead walked among them, even as death knocked at their door and slithered through their ranks, it had remained nothing more than an abstract concept. It was something to look out for, like dark clouds on the horizon.
"I-I'm not ready to die," he said softly, his gaze catching on his hands.
He curled his fingers into a fist, watching the skin pull tight over his knuckles, and then stretched them out again.
His hand was trembling like a leaf, hovering in the air between them like an injured bird fighting to take flight. Without a word, Anthony covered it with his own, bringing it to rest on his knee as he closed his fingers around Ian's.
"That makes two of us." he confessed, his fingers tightening around the blue eyed's.
It seemed like no time had passed but Ian noticed the light streaming into the room had grown warm and bright. It looked like a beautiful, sunny day outside. Through the window above Anthony's head, he could see the clear, cloudless blue sky stretched over the green treetops.
It didn't seem right. It seemed as if the day should be grey and rainy but he supposed that the shining sun was proof that life would go on, was going on, without them.
Still, they sat in silence, hands clasped, clinging to each other, staring at the gun on the floor between them. Silent.
Aware of the warmth of Anthony's hand on his, he met his eyes across the small gap between them. He'd felt the other man watching him and could only wonder what was going through his mind.
There was so much to say, so much Ian never had the courage or the time to tell him. And now the words wouldn't come, couldn't be found through the pain and growing fever gripping his brain.
"It wasn't supposed to be this way," he said carefully, pressing his lips together as tears filled his eyes, "There's so much I wanted to-"
Anthony shook his head, withdrawing his hand from Ian's, who missed the comforting weight of it, almost instantly."You don't need to-"
"Yes, I do. We won't have another chance. I just – just wanted you to know that..."
Anthony cleared his throat, wincing as he shifted his weight against the wall and jostled his injured shoulder, "Don't worry about it. I know, man. Me too."
"I-" Ian began, but soon was stopped by a pair of warm lips pressing themselves onto his. The kiss was soft, and it didn't last long, but it was enough to make
Ian's resisting tears start to fall and fill his features again. Anthony wiped them with his hand and then kept it there, tracing the shorter man's jaw.
Ian felt a clenching, squeezing sensation in his chest. He focused on the floor again, on the gun.
"I'm sorry for disagreeing with you, yesterday." Anthony said, slowly. "I could have prevented this all if I wasn't so god damn stubborn."
Ian knew the other man blamed himself for their current situation. He had been sensing trouble and wanted to keep moving, to find another place for the little group to hold up in, but Anthony disagreed, and insisted that they should stay where they were. The group thought it was best to follow Anthony's plan. And then, the herd came, ripping them apart at the middle of the night.
Hand on his arm, the blue eyed man with the bowl haircut leaned forward and pressed their noses together, saying in a shaky voice, "Ant, you couldn't have known. None of this is your fault."
"None of this." he repeated softly, wishing he could find more to say to him.
It was getting worse. Ian knew they didn't have long now if they were going to do it. The pain was spreading through his muscles, rising up from his bones to ooze through his blood. It had a grip on his brain and his chest, constricting his heart and his lungs until it was hard to breathe.
He took a deep breath, fighting the urge to scream, to drag himself to the door, to fight against death. Because there was no fighting it anymore. It was here and the time was now.
He nodded to himself, ignoring the pain that rocketed down his spine as he sat up straighter, "I'm ready."
"You sure?" Anthony asked, his voice barely more than a hoarse whisper.
Ian saw the other man's teeth clench, his muscles trembling with the effort of lifting the gun. And though it hurt in every way, he managed to wrap his own fingers around Anthony's wrist, helping him center the gun on his forehead.
"You-" a shudder ripped through him, sending his teeth chattering, "you'll be right behind me?"
The brown eyed hesitated for a moment, a million unreadable expressions flashing across his face. Then, Ian saw it soften, saw his whole body sag. But just as quickly as it had come, the moment passed.
"Right behind you." Anthony stated, barely aware of the tears streaming down his own cheeks as he tried to force his lips to turn upwards, to give his best friend one last smile. Ian felt fear and pain and sadness…but also, a strange peace now that the end was near. And Anthony was there, he was smiling to him, he'd be right there with him the whole time.
He looked past the barrel of the gun and into Anthony's wet, red-rimmed brown eyes…and then the world he knew faded as darkness consumed him.