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Quarantine, Day Twenty-two, Entry Two


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#1 Guest_AlphaMonkey_*

Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:17 AM

Notebrains:

1. A short chapter in honor of Colleen's birthday. Yep, our girl turns 28 today. :D (I mentioned her birthday in an earlier chapter. ;) )

2. Some more warm n' fuzzies from our hero and his goofy sidekick. Yay!

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Quarantine Day Twenty-two
Entry Two


“So… now what?” he asked.

The hard part was over, and now it was time for the “woefully awkward” portion of the program. We stared at each other for a second or two, Jeff scratching the back of his neck, me staring at the ground and shuffling my feet a little. It was an odd, little nervous habit I’d picked up somewhere along the way.

I looked up and shrugged, then jammed my hands into my pants pockets. Damned if I knew the answer to -that- question. “I… don’t know… I think this is usually where the people hug and stuff.”

“You want me to hug you?”

“Gee, don’t make it sound like a huge chore or anything.”

He reached out and put a hand on my shoulder. “Coll, seriously.”

At this point, I didn’t have much left to lose. This… disaster had been going on for three weeks and there was no end in sight. Three weeks of being on the run, fighting dead people who just wouldn’t stay dead. Nothing could ever really prepare you for that sort of thing, and those of us still alive were just trying to survive it all as best we could. Some people were holding up better than others. I wasn’t one of them. I was sick and tired of it all, and I just… wanted a little comfort. Was that really too much to ask? Was it?

I’m sure he heard me sigh, even if I did my best to hide it. “I… could use one…”

A faint smile formed on his face, and then I felt a hand on each of my shoulders as he gently pulled me in, folding me into a tight hug. It felt good. Warm and reassuring… even though we were both grubby and disgusting, and stank like hell. Jeff was about a half foot taller than me, which apparently made the top of my head an inviting target. He planted a brief kiss on the top of it.

“I only ordered the hug,” I said to him. “I’m not paying for the rest of that.”

He chuckled. “It’s a package deal. No extra charge.”

I rested my head against his chest, my arms laced together behind his back, and squeezed. It was a simple thing, just two friends sharing a quiet moment – those were all too rare these days. But somehow… somehow it meant more to me. Maybe it was just the situation, the stress and the hardships just making everything seem more significant, more… real. I couldn’t know for sure, but I promised myself… I promised myself that I’d try my best to never take those sorts of things for granted ever again.

“Jeff?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m sorry.”

He ruffled my hair with his fingers. “I know. So am I.”

“Damn it, it just sucks.”

“What does?”

“This. All of it. It’s just… so hard, y’know? I’m sick of being lonely, I’m sick of being miserable. I’m sick of living out of a backpack. I’m tired of being constantly chased around, of having to hide in empty malls, abandoned office buildings, never knowing if I’ll even live through the night. I just… I hate it.”

“I know. We all hate it,” he said, giving my left shoulder a firm squeeze. “But it’s easier when you have other people to be miserable with.”

“I… I’m aware of that. I know it’s why you’ve been sticking close these past few days, even if no one else would if they were in your shoes. But… what happens when you find your unit?”

It was a question I’m sure he’d thought about himself a time or two, and it was a question we both knew didn’t have an easy answer. As messed up, and as utterly confused as things in Malton were right now, he was still a soldier, and I was still a cop – albeit a pretty lousy one. And we both had jobs to do, both had responsibilities to the people who wore the same uniforms we did. Jeff had gotten split off from the rest of his platoon, but if he could find them again, or if they found him –

He knew what I was talking about, and like I said, I was pretty sure he’d asked himself that question a couple of times before. Judging by his response, I guessed he hadn’t liked the answers. “What do you mean?”

But dancing around the subject wouldn’t help anything. “You know what I mean,” I said to him, pushing back until we were standing at arm’s length from each other. “What happens if you find what’s left of your platoon? Or if some random Lieutenant just happens to swing by and drafts any able-bodied trooper he can find… and then decides to take you, too?”

He snorted briefly at the joke, then flashed me a half-smile. “Cute.”

I was pretty sure I knew the answer before I’d even asked the question. And while the answer probably wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear, I can’t say I didn’t expect it, either. It wasn’t the first time I was on the receiving end of something like that, after all. “You’d leave me behind, wouldn’t you?”

“Coll, I-“

“It… it’s ok. Look, I know you’ve got to follow orders. If they send you somewhere, you go. Trust me, I know what it’s like to have my friends go away because the Army, or the Navy, or whoever, said they had to. I never held that against them, I won’t hold it against you. It’s just… as we’ve seen, I don’t always do so well on my own.”

“Let’s not worry about it right now, ok? We’ll think of something.”

The words sounded pretty hollow, to be honest. I knew he meant them, and I knew that if he had any choice at all, he’d stick by me no matter what. It was something I’d forgotten for a while but was starting to remember. But, see, that was the trick: he might not -have- a choice in the matter. This mess was bigger than just us, and at times like this, you couldn’t always just do what was best for you, or what was convenient for the people you cared about. We both knew that.

Of course, if he wanted to entertain the idea that he might not have to leave me behind to fend for myself, I was willing to indulge him for a little longer. I even helped by changing the subject. “So… now that that’s out of the way, what’s next for us?”

He shrugged, and took the bait. “We’re resupplied, equipment maintenance is done. And since we can’t leave, there’s not much else to do except socialize with the locals. Or are you still averse to human contact?”

I shot him the tiniest of grins. “I’ll tag along.”

#2 Guest_Theodur_*

Posted 23 September 2006 - 10:01 AM

Happy Birthday, Colleen! :D

As for the chapter itself... I think an Aww pretty much covers it. About time those two finally made up for real! Now go out and kick some undead butt! ;)

#3 Guest_AlphaMonkey_*

Posted 24 September 2006 - 07:47 PM

Happy Birthday, Colleen!


CN: "Yay, me!" :wink:

Yeah, I do things like that. I pick actual birthdays for my characters. It's silly, but I find it fun. :wink:

Anyway, in the storyline, she's still only 27, but in the "real world," she'd have had another year tacked on. Poor thing's getting old. :wink:

As for the chapter itself... I think an Aww pretty much covers it. About time those two finally made up for real! Now go out and kick some undead butt!


As soon as the weather clears up, they'll be moving on. Colleen wants to stay in the mall. She thinks it'll be safer, but Jeff doesn't seem to be too inclined to let her.

#4 Guest_VigaHrolf_*

Posted 29 September 2006 - 02:02 PM

Notebrains:


1. A short chapter in honor of Colleen's birthday. Yep, our girl turns 28 today. :D (I mentioned her birthday in an earlier chapter. :) )


Happy Birthday Colleen! Welcome to 28.

And I know, I'm behind schedule.

“So… now what?” he asked.


Well, sex is out of the question. :lol:

I looked up and shrugged, then jammed my hands into my pants pockets. Damned if I knew the answer to -that- question. “I… don’t know… I think this is usually where the people hug and stuff.”


*checks the script* *looks at the two of them* *checks the script again* Damn it Theo, stop switching my pages!

:lol:

At this point, I didn’t have much left to lose. This… disaster had been going on for three weeks and there was no end in sight. Three weeks of being on the run, fighting dead people who just wouldn’t stay dead. Nothing could ever really prepare you for that sort of thing, and those of us still alive were just trying to survive it all as best we could. Some people were holding up better than others. I wasn’t one of them. I was sick and tired of it all, and I just… wanted a little comfort. Was that really too much to ask? Was it?


No. No, not at all.

I’m sure he heard me sigh, even if I did my best to hide it. “I… could use one…”


She's a hug addict. :)

A faint smile formed on his face, and then I felt a hand on each of my shoulders as he gently pulled me in, folding me into a tight hug. It felt good. Warm and reassuring… even though we were both grubby and disgusting, and stank like hell. Jeff was about a half foot taller than me, which apparently made the top of my head an inviting target. He planted a brief kiss on the top of it.


Inara: "Glad you two made up.. and the dirty factor? Wow. Yeah. Hygenie is a nice thing until you run out of resources. Thankfully, everyone else stinks, except those of us who've bathed recently."

I rested my head against his chest, my arms laced together behind his back, and squeezed. It was a simple thing, just two friends sharing a quiet moment – those were all too rare these days. But somehow… somehow it meant more to me. Maybe it was just the situation, the stress and the hardships just making everything seem more significant, more… real. I couldn’t know for sure, but I promised myself… I promised myself that I’d try my best to never take those sorts of things for granted ever again.


*nods* It is the stress and situation making you think that, but this isn't a bad thing.

“I’m sorry.”

He ruffled my hair with his fingers. “I know. So am I.”


And they've made up.

“This. All of it. It’s just… so hard, y’know? I’m sick of being lonely, I’m sick of being miserable. I’m sick of living out of a backpack. I’m tired of being constantly chased around, of having to hide in empty malls, abandoned office buildings, never knowing if I’ll even live through the night. I just… I hate it.”


Tommy: "No kidding. It's all falling apart, all around us. Nothing is secure, even the little fort I'm in. And you just want to find a way to keep it all together, but you wonder if it's possible. And you wonder how long the people around you are going to be able to keep it together."

“I know. We all hate it,” he said, giving my left shoulder a firm squeeze. “But it’s easier when you have other people to be miserable with.”


Tommy: "And not just for the back watching."

“I… I’m aware of that. I know it’s why you’ve been sticking close these past few days, even if no one else would if they were in your shoes. But… what happens when you find your unit?”


*cringes* Yeah, that one isn't going to be pretty. Of course the same could be asked about Coll... I mean, if she runs into a Captain or something, trying to rally the officers on the force...

It was a question I’m sure he’d thought about himself a time or two, and it was a question we both knew didn’t have an easy answer. As messed up, and as utterly confused as things in Malton were right now, he was still a soldier, and I was still a cop – albeit a pretty lousy one. And we both had jobs to do, both had responsibilities to the people who wore the same uniforms we did. Jeff had gotten split off from the rest of his platoon, but if he could find them again, or if they found him –

He knew what I was talking about, and like I said, I was pretty sure he’d asked himself that question a couple of times before. Judging by his response, I guessed he hadn’t liked the answers. “What do you mean?”


:D

But dancing around the subject wouldn’t help anything. “You know what I mean,” I said to him, pushing back until we were standing at arm’s length from each other. “What happens if you find what’s left of your platoon? Or if some random Lieutenant just happens to swing by and drafts any able-bodied trooper he can find… and then decides to take you, too?”

He snorted briefly at the joke, then flashed me a half-smile. “Cute.”

I was pretty sure I knew the answer before I’d even asked the question. And while the answer probably wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear, I can’t say I didn’t expect it, either. It wasn’t the first time I was on the receiving end of something like that, after all. “You’d leave me behind, wouldn’t you?”


Tommy: *grimaces*

Inara: *grimaces*

“Coll, I-“


That's got to be killing Jeff.

“It… it’s ok. Look, I know you’ve got to follow orders. If they send you somewhere, you go. Trust me, I know what it’s like to have my friends go away because the Army, or the Navy, or whoever, said they had to. I never held that against them, I won’t hold it against you. It’s just… as we’ve seen, I don’t always do so well on my own.”


Bran: "The job isn't exactly easy."

“Let’s not worry about it right now, ok? We’ll think of something.”

The words sounded pretty hollow, to be honest. I knew he meant them, and I knew that if he had any choice at all, he’d stick by me no matter what. It was something I’d forgotten for a while but was starting to remember. But, see, that was the trick: he might not -have- a choice in the matter. This mess was bigger than just us, and at times like this, you couldn’t always just do what was best for you, or what was convenient for the people you cared about. We both knew that.


Inara: *grim faced* "It is bigger than you or I or any of us. It's trying to save as many as we can, preserve as much life as we can. That's the duty we picked up when we put on the uniform. None of us expected this, but... it's what we got. And as long as we're carrying our badges... we've got to do our duty."

Of course, if he wanted to entertain the idea that he might not have to leave me behind to fend for myself, I was willing to indulge him for a little longer. I even helped by changing the subject. “So… now that that’s out of the way, what’s next for us?”

He shrugged, and took the bait. “We’re resupplied, equipment maintenance is done. And since we can’t leave, there’s not much else to do except socialize with the locals. Or are you still averse to human contact?”

I shot him the tiniest of grins. “I’ll tag along.”


Inara: "Well, you may be getting kicked out soon if you take her along." *attempt at a teasing tone*

Good stuff Alpha, nice and bittersweet.

VH

#5 Guest_AlphaMonkey_*

Posted 02 October 2006 - 04:19 AM

Happy Birthday Colleen! Welcome to 28.


CN: "It sucks here! I hate it!" :D

Well, sex is out of the question.


JG: "For... multiple reasons, yeah."

She's a hug addict.


JG: "Thankfully, she tends to surround herself with people who like giving and getting them almost as much as she does." (Hugs CN) "There are exceptions, though."

CN: "Pffft. Yeah. Right. Someone who doesn't like hugs? Believe it when I see it."

Tommy: "No kidding. It's all falling apart, all around us. Nothing is secure, even the little fort I'm in. And you just want to find a way to keep it all together, but you wonder if it's possible. And you wonder how long the people around you are going to be able to keep it together."


JG: "Well, part of it is... that you have to trust people to be able to find a way because they don't have any other choice. When it's 'find a way to work together or die,' most people choose the former."

Tommy: "And not just for the back watching."


CN: "Yeah. Going out there alone... dangerous... but also... lonely. And that's probably even more dangerous than not having that extra set of eyes."

*cringes* Yeah, that one isn't going to be pretty. Of course the same could be asked about Coll... I mean, if she runs into a Captain or something, trying to rally the officers on the force...


Except Colleen is probably less likely to follow those kinds of orders, whereas Jeff almost certainly would.

That's got to be killing Jeff.


Well, his personal mission now that Clara is safe is to protect Colleen. And that may just come into conflict with his "official" mission. And making the choice between doing your job or doing your duty to a friend... never an easy thing.

Inara: *grim faced* "It is bigger than you or I or any of us. It's trying to save as many as we can, preserve as much life as we can. That's the duty we picked up when we put on the uniform. None of us expected this, but... it's what we got. And as long as we're carrying our badges... we've got to do our duty."


CN: (Sighs) "You're right. None of us expected this. I didn't. And I'm not equipped to handle it. I wasn't trained for this, and I don't know what to do. And this badge? Doesn't help a whole lot at a time like this. So, you know what? I'm sorry I'm not the supercop you are. I'm sorry I don't fit your amazingly high standards of just what a law enforcement officer should be like..." (Sighs again)

#6 Guest_Coutelier_*

Posted 03 October 2006 - 11:18 PM

1. A short chapter in honor of Colleen's birthday. Yep, our girl turns 28 today. :twisted: (I mentioned her birthday in an earlier chapter. :twisted: )


Don't have birthdays for my characters, though I know that Aerie's a Capricorn (I made NPC's in The Sims once - a fine indicator of just how rich and full my life is), can't remember all of the others.

I looked up and shrugged, then jammed my hands into my pants pockets. Damned if I knew the answer to -that- question. “I… don’t know… I think this is usually where the people hug and stuff.”


Edwin: Please don't... I have already thrown up the entire contents of my stomach today...

Imoen: Good. You'll have to start throwing up your own internal organs then.

At this point, I didn’t have much left to lose. This… disaster had been going on for three weeks and there was no end in sight. Three weeks of being on the run, fighting dead people who just wouldn’t stay dead. Nothing could ever really prepare you for that sort of thing, and those of us still alive were just trying to survive it all as best we could. Some people were holding up better than others. I wasn’t one of them. I was sick and tired of it all, and I just… wanted a little comfort. Was that really too much to ask? Was it?

I’m sure he heard me sigh, even if I did my best to hide it. “I… could use one…”


Edwin: Wait! how about a handshake instead?

A faint smile formed on his face, and then I felt a hand on each of my shoulders as he gently pulled me in, folding me into a tight hug. It felt good. Warm and reassuring… even though we were both grubby and disgusting, and stank like hell. Jeff was about a half foot taller than me, which apparently made the top of my head an inviting target. He planted a brief kiss on the top of it.


The smells bound to be getting bad by now, but they say you get used to any smell within just a few days.

“I only ordered the hug,” I said to him. “I’m not paying for the rest of that.”

He chuckled. “It’s a package deal. No extra charge.”


Oh yeah, that's what they say, but then suddenly a bill shows up even though you were told installation was free. Then you call up to complain and you're left on hold for half an hour listening to f*!*!*! Greensleeves... but I digress.

“I… I’m aware of that. I know it’s why you’ve been sticking close these past few days, even if no one else would if they were in your shoes. But… what happens when you find your unit?”


I don't think a soldier has much choice about what happens then.

It was a question I’m sure he’d thought about himself a time or two, and it was a question we both knew didn’t have an easy answer. As messed up, and as utterly confused as things in Malton were right now, he was still a soldier, and I was still a cop – albeit a pretty lousy one.


Edwin: Yes, what was your job in the force? Were you the one responible for setting up all the traffic cones? Or was that too physically demanding?

Imoen: Like you're Mr Universe... I was unlucky enough to see you naked once. More wobbly bits than the Blob.

Of course, if he wanted to entertain the idea that he might not have to leave me behind to fend for myself, I was willing to indulge him for a little longer. I even helped by changing the subject. “So… now that that’s out of the way, what’s next for us?”


Edwin: Oh, bickering followed by even more bickering I expect.

Imoen: Well... some people argue all the time but they're still friends.

He shrugged, and took the bait. “We’re resupplied, equipment maintenance is done. And since we can’t leave, there’s not much else to do except socialize with the locals. Or are you still averse to human contact?”

I shot him the tiniest of grins. “I’ll tag along.”


Good story. Now I've got to go and shoot the dog because it's annoying me be repeatedly opening the door to my room.

#7 Guest_AlphaMonkey_*

Posted 05 October 2006 - 06:19 PM

Don't have birthdays for my characters, though I know that Aerie's a Capricorn (I made NPC's in The Sims once - a fine indicator of just how rich and full my life is), can't remember all of the others.


Well, it's one of those things that started as a gag, but then evolved into... well... a running gag. Just like how I give my characters middle names.

Imoen: Good. You'll have to start throwing up your own internal organs then.


And then maybe he'll DIE!

YES!

:?

The smells bound to be getting bad by now, but they say you get used to any smell within just a few days.


CN: "I ended up breathing through my mouth. We probably both did."

JG: "Yeah, you weren't smelling so good, there. It's ok. Everybody stinks at this point."

Oh yeah, that's what they say, but then suddenly a bill shows up even though you were told installation was free. Then you call up to complain and you're left on hold for half an hour listening to f*!*!*! Greensleeves... but I digress.


CN: :) "Yes. Yes, you do."

I don't think a soldier has much choice about what happens then.


CN: "No... no they don't. I... I understand that. I mean, I understand, on a rational level, that it has to be that way. That it's not up to him where he goes or what he ends up doing, but..." (Sigh) "I don't... really want to be alone out here."

Edwin: Yes, what was your job in the force? Were you the one responible for setting up all the traffic cones? Or was that too physically demanding?


CN: "Nope. I used to pull over annoying pricks like you, search their cars for drugs and haul 'em off to Central Booking where they could spend a night in a holding cell with a 6'6", 300 pound black guy named Bubba. Hope you like getting penetrated."

Good story. Now I've got to go and shoot the dog because it's annoying me be repeatedly opening the door to my room.


(Gasp!) Oh no! :)




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