CH14
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By midnight, Jordan has steadily built a nest in the cramped living room. The TV is still running; he’s watched almost a whole season of the old sitcom So This is How You Build a Life, which he’d seen when it had been on the air in his childhood. He’s been staring sightlessly at the TV for the last hour, his mind preoccupied with worries about Sebastian never returning. Because. Jordan has watched just as many zombie apocalypse movies and shows as the next person and it’s starting to become clear to him… that they don’t actually help at all.

And more importantly, he just doesn’t want to be alone in a city full of zombies.

Sighing, he stands up and stretches out his back. He put the remote on the coffee table, picking up the discarded blanket and throwing it on the couch. Rubbing his hands through his hair, he exhales harshly. 

The chip bowl is empty—an affront, truly. He picks it up and wanders off to the kitchen, bragging the bag still on the counter and pouring in the last bits of chips into the purple glass bowl. He looks at it, silently, his brows furrowed as he tries to figure out if he truly wants to keep eating now. It’s late, surely it would be better to just go to sleep. But. He wants to be awake in case Sebastian. 

”Shit,” he mutters and puts the bowl on the sink, throws the empty bag into the trash. Then he stares at the very nearly full trash bag and wonders what the hell they’re going to do with it? Throw it out on the street? Bury it? Find an incinerator and destroy it? Just set in on fire on the roof? What even are the options here?

He closes the cabinet and presses a hand to his eye, wincing. Grabbing the bowl of chips, he stalks back into the living room and throws himself down on the couch, turning the volume on the TV up again. He bites down sharply on a chip, the blankets pulled up to his chin, and resolves to not think about it anymore. He’ll wait until Sebastian gets home, and ask him. (Maybe Sebastian will even finally reveal how the hell they’re meant to survive longterm in the middle of a large city. Eventually, their supplies will be depleted and then… what?)

The sitcom, familiar as it is, goes a long way toward calming him down. Soon, his drowsiness takes over and he sinks deeper and deeper into the couch, his eyelids slowly lowering until all he can see is darkness. And even that doesn’t last.

The next thing he’s aware of is someone talking to him. He turns, growling lowly as he pulls the blanket up over his head to hide from the light. Something grabs at his shoulder, shakes him, and he swats it away. It returns, the devious thing. Jordan frowns, sleepily nuzzling his pillow, and groans.

Slowly, a voice becomes audible. Jordan finally manages to force his eyes open the tiniest bit when he recognizes Sebastian’s voice, ”—ke up, Jordan. It’s morning. You need to move to a proper bed, at least. Maybe brush you’re teeth.”

Jordan blinks up at him, turning his head so he has a better view. Sebastian is standing by the couch’s side, not so much looming over him as just standing there. It takes a moment for Jordan’s blurry vision to even out and clear as he actually wakes up, and as he does so he frowns again. ”When did you get back?” he mumbles, annoyed that he had missed it, despite everything. 

Sebastian smiles at him, letting go and stepping back to give him some space. ”Just now. It’s just after seven in the morning. I ended up taking the opportunity to visit more people then I’d expected, since the roads I need were actually pretty clear.”

”People?” Jordan pushes himself up, leaning against the armrest and furrowing his eyebrows. Sebastian, he met with… people? That was what he had to do?

”Yeah,” Sebastian nods, flopping down next to Jordan. He kind of stinks, now that Jordan is actually awake to notice it. He glances at the other man, cataloguing the blood on his hands, the dirt on his cheeks, the tired look in his eyes. His hair is the kind of greasy Jordan associates with an extreme workout. He frowns, turning to face Sebastian. Sebastian catches his movement and smiles gently at him. He says, ”It’s people that will help us survive. We won’t be able to go very far alone, and I… I wanted to make as different choices from last time as I could.”

Jordan’s eyes fold, and his mind whirls. People? That’s… good, right? It means Sebastian isn’t completely uncaring about what happens to others? It should mean… he’s not cold-hearted? Unless Jordan is wildly wrong about what Sebastian meant by people. ”In your dream…” Jordan licks his lips and glances at Sebastian, looking away when faced with Sebastian’s unwavering attention. ”Did things go badly?”

”Very much so,” Sebastian mutters, finally looking away. Jordan breathes, feeling his heart thumping loudly in his chest. Sebastian adds, ”I didn’t stay in this city. And you didn’t either. And we met months later. Things didn’t… turn out well, though.”

Jordan lowers his gaze to the floor. A thought has a occurred to him, ever since Sebastian told him about the dream. Jordan doesn’t really—he doesn’t actually want to know. But the words did I die are on the tip of his tongue anyway.

His eyes find Sebastian’s hands. They’re dirty, blood on the nails and filth in his hair. He looks worn-out and exhausted, as if he’s run a marathon. The rough hands are curled into loose fists, and Jordan softly clenches his own. For a second, he almost reaches. But—no. He’s not going to do anything until he actually knows Sebastian. So for now, he simply stands up and says, ”I’ll make a quick breakfast and then you can get some sleep, okay?”

Sebastian smiles quietly at him.

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