[b Misc Features:] Short dirty blonde hair and full beard, brown eyes, tall and slim
[b Current Inventory:] Ruger 10/22 w/ optical scope + 25 bullets, 6" hunting knife, pocket flashlight, Swiss army knife, lighter.
[b Name(s):] Roamer, zombie, biters, lurkers.
[b Average Speed:] 2-3 MPH/3-5 KPH.
[b Stamina:] Low.
[b Intelligence:] Low.
[b Misc Info:] These are you're bread and butter undead. They are slow, shuffling, decaying pieces of meat who alone are no great concern to an aware person. However they tend to migrate in herds and attack en masse. Be wary of all buildings, vehicles and generally anywhere; these have a habit of being anywhere and everywhere.
[b Name(s):] Sprinter.
[b Average Speed:] 8-10 MPH/13-16 KPH.
[b Stamina:] Average.
[b Intelligence:] Low.
[b Misc Info:] Fresher and more acrobatic as a result. When people first turn, they are likely to be akin to these more able undead. Speed is their only main difference to the previous category, so if there is a herd do keep in mind that some will move much faster than their shuffling brethren.
[b Name(s):] Stalkers/Jackals.
[b Stamina:] High.
[b Intelligence:] High.
[b Misc Info:] As yet, these are the most persistent and aggressive undead to come across. They have an inert ability to seek out food and their heightened sound and smell make up for a below average sight. If you are being hunted by one, take it out quickly. Although they travel alone often, a few of these chasing you and you are in a very large amount of trouble. They are highly mutated infected, with clawed hands and a thicker skull. As present, killing one without a firearm is unheard of.
[b Name(s):] Wheezers/Chokers/Coughers.
[b Stamina:] Low.
[b Intelligence:] Average.
[b Misc Info:] They gain their name from the nerve-gas like emission caused by an over-active stomach. Whilst it's speed is so low, it cripples it's prey - the living - by expelling a gas similar in fashion to nerve-gas. Thus gas causes nerve spasms, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breaths whilst it also permeates clothing, meaning you should strip off to some fresh clothes if you encounter one - or at least wash them. With such a weapon at hand, it's also advisable not to shoot one in the stomach. Though not tested, theoretically it could explode.
[b Name(s):] Siafu/Ants.
[b Average Speed:] 7-8 MPH/11-13 KPH.
[b Stamina:] Average.
[b Intelligence:] Average.
[b Misc Info:] Always found in groups of eight or more, [i 'Siafu'] - given from the African driver ant known for its large colonies - is the name given to a throng of children once they have turned. Known for more athletic, jinking movement given their young and sprightly age, they are considered by some to be shy and withdrawn. Some people say they use this child-like hiding to draw in prey who believe they are approaching innocent lost children. Overpowering by pure numbers, they do have small sharp talons and their skin can be caustic at times. The visible perforated hernia is the only assumed weakpoint.
[b Name(s):] Loggers/Flotsam.
[b Average Speed:] 6-8 MPH/9-13 KPH.
[b Stamina:] Average.
[b Intelligence:] High.
[b Misc Info:] Typically dwellers of the sewers - where they earned their unfortunate name of loggers - these hive-mind-esque infected are known for their incredible fits of rage and being possessive of the territory they inhabit. Typically seen in groups no bigger than five, they aren't seen during the day though it is not known if they spend it in some kind of hibernation or simply retreat to the dark shadows beneath the city. They sense of smell and knowledge of orientation make up for a lake of sight - make sure you bring some caustic materials with you to distract them. A good dismemberment can't hurt either.
[b Name(s):] Streps/Necros.
[b Average Speed:] 2-3 MPH/3-5 KPH.
[b Stamina:] High.
[b Intelligence:] Above-Average.
[b Misc Info:] Due to a high rate of decay, streps are one of the more fatality inducing undead - even if they don't move at a particularly quick speed like sprinters or have long claws like a stalker. A word of care; Do. Not. Touch. Them. Given their advanced state of decay, contact with these hellish ghouls exposes the victim to skin-eating bacteria which bolsters a typical fatality rate from 30/40% up to 50/60%. Thankfully they are not you're typical urban-dweller, preferring wooded areas, grassland or subterranean terrain with the loggers. Should you encounter one then do take note of the soft plate in their chest.
[b Name(s):] Tumblers/Arachnids/Gears.
[b Average Speed:] 7-8 MPH/11-13 KPH.
[b Stamina:] Low.
[b Intelligence:] Low.
[b Misc Info:] A rather terrifying if strange infected, tumblers are named after the tumbling spider which cartwheels to get away from predators. Although this creature doesn't perform acrobatics with a neat dismount at the end, it is very fast. It's limbs are barely connected to it's body, and through an unknown but assumed chain of brain chemistry, it manages to fling it's appendages in the direction it wishes to move, the bones grinding and clicking like gears as it throws itself at it's prey in a short but quick burst of energy. It should be noted that if you can put enough obstacles or distance between you and it, then you will escape as it's attack requires so much energy it cannot be kept up for long. Be hesitant - it often lies dormant in buildings where it could be mistaken for just another body.
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Gareth had paused and set down the now battered axe which hadn’t been great to begin with. He figured it was the best they had after everything and he shouldn’t complain. He eyed Elizabeth and Gareth, expecting a lecture or something similar. Gareth set his eyes on Elizabeth and as much as he hated to admit it, she had a point. He and Simo were the strongest of the group and he sighed out. They needed supplies and Gareth eyed Simo, pausing for a moment. He couldn’t control two adults, and he wouldn’t ever confess that he was simply afraid for his little sister. He reached his hand out and shook the other man’s, firmly.
[i “Alright. There’s a town about a forty minute walk from here, that’s our best bet.”] He muttered before setting the last of the logs back and looking to Elizabeth.
Tasia has kept herself busy, eyeing the chickens. It seemed stupid but she had grown rather fond of the little feathered beings but she knew full well when they stopped laying eggs they would end up as dinner. Tasia set the bag of feed aside and knew it wouldn’t last forever. Her eyes trailed up towards the house and she raised an eyebrow when she saw Gareth and Simo shake hands, under Elizabeth’s watchful posture. Elizabeth was a formidable woman and at times, Tasia wanted to be like her. Strong, unbowed by everything. Tasia shifted a little to the other outhouse, rifling through some things and seeing what she could find, nothing of great worth to them, save a couple of dusty old blankets but it was better than nothing.
The house was warm thanks to the fire and she eyed the coffee cups, cleaning them out to the best of her abilities. She knew that she should make herself useful and look through cupboards and drawers for what spare clothes they could use to bundle against the cold. Gareth had ducked in then and gave her a sheepish smile,
[i “Me and Simo are heading out.”] He remarked and Tasia knew it would happen sooner or later but going anywhere was dangerous.
[b “Take some of the bottled water and canned food, in case you get stuck.”] Tasia murmured and leaned on the counter.
[i “We’re coming back, don’t worry.”] Gareth said with a small smile as he watched his sister, [i “I promise.”] He said before heading upstairs to put on some extra layers. Tasia watched him go and chewed her lip, it was still early so with any luck they would be back by nightfall.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Letting the warmth of her lips linger on his cheek, the heat of her hand on the other, Simo remained at the counter a little longer as he watched her leave. It was silly to be so wrapped up in her like he was, and he would admonish himself for the juvenile infatuation. A more sensible and reasonable person would know that trying to form a relationship in these dire times, after only a few days of having some safety and shelter in this home, was a remarkably dangerous thing to try. Group unity was important, not individual pleasure.
With a grunt he shifted from his place at the counter, turning to head up the stairs to speak with Elizabeth, yet there she was on the last staring at him.
[+firebrick “I was just-“]
[+purple “You’re an idiot, you know that?”] She cut him off, heading off the final step and over to the kitchen to put a little of the coffee into a new cup.
[+firebrick “What?”] A little taken aback he turned, following her movement to the counter where she looked up at him, lifting the cup to take a sip. She would wait, take another drink, and with a bit more energy from the dark brew she looked at the bearded man once more.
[+purple “An idiot. That’s what you are.”] Realisation took him then.
[+firebrick “You heard?”] She would only roll her eyes at that.
[+purple “Course I did. You knew the girl was innocent, that she was a little fragile. And you knew her brother was a protective little bastard. And yet what do you do but start dating her!”]
She spoke calmly but the tone was clearly one of dissatisfied mothers chastising their child. Elizabeth hated shouting at people. She knew they thought of her as a bit of a work hound, constantly on them to get jobs done. It was partly to keep her own resolve strong in these times. But it also kept them in place, with some authority and order to work with rather than pure anarchy.
A deep sigh let her as she looked up at the tall man like she couldn’t think of what to do to punish him for being such a fool.
[+purple “Look Simo, I get it, I get why you did it, this whole thing is scary and all, but...”] Again she sighed and rubbed at tired eyes as she swept the cup up off the counter again.[+purple “Well, what is done is done. But, for my sake, just try not to upset Gareth anymore please. With it being only us four, I don’t want two of us at each other’s throats. Okay?”] The thoroughly ashamed Finn only nodded his head, eyes down on the counter where his finger brushed the edge, the epitome of the child at the end of a scolding.
The pair would go on to talk about the need to head out, to collect supplies whilst the snowfall was light and minimal. It was agreed that Gareth had to go out – he was their best shot, the fittest, the strongest since Simo’s night run from the dead. Elizabeth would stay, as she was neither a good shot nor could she carry all that much. Unfortunately, this left them on the decision of who went with Gareth. When the pair came out to the man, Elizabeth would be the one to speak first.
[+purple “Look, we need to bring in supplies. And with you two being such big, strong alpha males,”] she mocked them here, of course,[+purple “I’ve decided you both need to go out so that we can bring back as much as possible.”] Simo kept his eyes anywhere but Gareth now.[+purple “First thing first; you shake hands and we move on. Because without supplies, we will all die, and I’m not dying because you two have a little grudge over nothing. So, shake.”] She folded her arms over her chest as if that was final. It would take a moment, but begrudgingly the beaded Finn put out a hand.
Usually, Tasia would enjoy winter and the fresh graze of cold it brought, usually followed up with Christmas celebrations but this winter brought nothing but concern and worry. Sickness could be brought on by the freeze, food would be scarcer and trying to keep heat would become a real struggle. Optimist? Tasia figured clinging to what little hope they had was the best way to try and get through this. His hand was warm atop hers and relaxed slightly. Simo was right.
Warmer clothes, dry logs and gas were paramount and she wasn't sure the food they had stocked up would see them through. She didn't want him to wake Elizabeth but she knew the other women was the pinnacle of logic right then and it would be wise to get put her organisation skills into effect. Tasia leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek, letting it linger for a moment,
[b "I'll put some logs into the shelter, try and keep them dry."] She said to him, reluctantly leaving his presence.
The cold outside was biting and she tucked further in the thick coat she wore, heading around the back of the house to see Gareth furiously splitting logs. She was silent as she started to move the cut and uncut logs into one of the back sheds,
[i "Tasia."] She heard Gareth but didn't stop what she was doing. It was only his hand on her shoulder that caused her to pause. Tasia exhaled a cloud of condensation.
[i "I'm sorry."] Gareth's apology rang in her ears and Tasia just nodded,
[b "I know."] She replied quietly and continued her work, Gareth splitting the logs, his continuous axe coming down something of a comfort.
[i "Did you sort the chickens?"] Gareth asked and Tasia paused, realising that amidst everything she had forgotten.
Tasia shivered slightly as she headed down, the snow under her feet crunching and she avoided the burnt remainders of the pyre they had set Mark upon, although the area still felt a little warmer as she scattered some of the dwindling feet for the clucking birds.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her caring more nurturing side had come forth and he was left stumbling between grateful and saddened by its re-emergence. She was natural as a carer and yet he didn’t want her to play that role as a default. Whatever issues Gareth and he had would have to be quashed between them, because in a group of four it would not do if half were at war, and over such a thing as a little midnight warmth.
[+firebrick “You are ever the optimist you know?”] Her warm palm caressed over his cheek and his head leaned into its soft embrace. It was a small gesture of hers that kept him mindful that things were not entirely hopeless. The movement of his head left him looking out through the window and he eyes the small flecks of snow with part remembrance and part despair. Winter had arrived it seemed. A little nostalgia tugged at his heart strings though he turned his dark eyes back to Tasia, his hand coming up to cover hers on his cheek.
[+firebrick “We will need to get more supplies.”] If she wished to push aside this topic about him and Gareth, to say it would ‘work itself out’, then sadly it would come to talking of their present situation at a larger scale.[+firebrick “We will need more clothes, gas bottles for the cooker, food and water, and logs for the fire before they become too wet.”] A long list and one that had no item less important than any other.
[+firebrick “I should get Elizabeth, ask her what she thinks.”] It was a forlorn statement, as he quite liked to just remain here with her hand on his cheek.
Tasia didn’t know how to answer his question. Gareth had been in a good relationship before all of this, had lost his wife when this first came about. The outbreak had taken a lot from him, her eyes shifted slightly to Simo’s dark ones, registering the sadness when Mark was brought up. She knew it wasn’t pleasant but Mark had asked and in a weird way they had granted his last wish. There was a difference between the living and the dead though.
[b “Then we won’t argue.”] Tasia murmured quietly, watching him for his reaction. She knew things were difficult and everything was a heavy burden but she didn’t think she could cope with Simo blaming himself for everything.
[b “Gareth will calm down... it’s been a rough few days for everyone.”] Tasia was approaching this like a nurse, like the healer she was at heart. She had to try and use her logic, Gareth wasn’t like this, he was a better man. She gave Simo a weak smile, forced to try and assure him that everything would be alright.
Tasia reached up and brushed her hand over his cheek gently, feeling the heat from his skin as a reminder he was real and alive. It seemed like such a foolish thing to question, but these days, it was all they had.
[b “It’ll work out.”] She mumbled.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat There was little for him to tell her that she wasn’t telling herself right now. She was a smart woman; she would know all obvious questions and have answered them herself. To reiterate things wouldn’t help her. Then, when she told him it was not his fault, that it wasn’t wrong what he had done to Mark, he looked up at her. There was a sadness behind those dark eyes, mouth opening a moment as it to reply but he hesitated.
Her hand brought warmth and a little comfort. It pushed him to say something rather than just be there in silence. He had never liked silence, at least in times where it could be helped.
[+firebrick “I wonder if it is me he has a problem with. Maybe he would be like this, even if the world wasn’t like this.”] He spoke in such a defeated tone that it made him feel quite pathetic. Was this what life was to become? To sit around and feel pity?
A soft exhale and a shake of his head and Simo was chastising himself mentally.
[+firebrick “If you had asked me a few weeks ago if I would be arguing about relationships in an undead apocalypse, I would have thought you mad. We have enough to worry about, and now this? Seems… silly, no?”] He was speaking rhetorically, speaking to himself, but he looked down to her hand and placed his other hand atop hers, the warmth all the more apparent.
Tasia was a little lost right then. As much as she wanted to be strong like Gareth, or careful like Simo, it was difficult because she felt she had some sort of duty in the group. She was there to help and to heal and she couldn’t get rid of the sense of betrayal. She looked to Simo as he spoke and thought over his words. They didn’t warrant that reaction, she concluded. But was the reaction purely because of Gareth jumping to a million conclusions and escalating them in his mind? Probably. She didn’t know why she was apologising on his behalf, she was embarrassed by Gareth’s behaviour.
Tasia diverted her full attention to Simo when he approached and searched his face with her pale eyes. It took a while for his words to sink in and she sighed out through parted lips.
[b “I know.”] She confessed quietly, she wasn’t ashamed of her emotions and she never had been, heart firmly on her sleeve and it had always been that way. She had always been easy to read. Her shoulder had been doing better, thankfully and her main concern was Simo’s mental well-being and Gareth’s. Gareth lashed out when distressed, Simo seemed to just shrink into himself.
[b “It wasn’t your fault with Mark, either.”] She said to him, [b “It wasn’t wrong.”] It was what Mark had wanted and she was worried about Simo, since that night something had shifted within him, written blatantly in how he looked and his words earlier. Tasia placed her hand atop his, a way of some comfort right then because she knew her words would likely mean nothing and wouldn’t just cure his guilt straight away. He would likely hold onto it for the rest of his life.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat A look between determination and disinterest was all Gareth would get from the tall Finn, staring back at him blankly as he left his threat and then headed off by himself. There wasn’t a fight in Simo to go after him, to talk this out or defend his actions – whatever actions the brother deemed him to have committed. A week or two before and perhaps it would have been different.
For now, the quiet foreigner followed Tasia inside and over to the table, taking a seat with a soft sigh. Looking over at her as she apologised his head shook gently.
[+firebrick “Sorry for what exactly?”] It was not something he liked to hear, someone apologising for other people’s actions. It just was not done in Finland, perhaps that was why it perturbed him so much.[+firebrick “Did we do anything so… severe, that deserves [i that] reaction?”]
Looking at her he saw the worry in her gaze. Was it for him? For her brother? For herself, torn between the pair? He didn’t like being a cause for such stress, just when things were getting to a good point, or at least on a positive upward trend. To that end, he stood up, moving over to her but keeping the countertop between them.
[+firebrick “It isn’t wrong, you know, what little we did.”]
Gareth looked somewhat taken aback by Simo’s sudden appearance and for a moment he looked lost, angry and vulnerable as he stood there, he didn’t expect this reaction. There was noticeable flinch at Simo’s comment. Emotions were running dangerously high and Gareth wrenched his wrist free from his sister’s grasp, rougher than he needed to be.
Tasia looked at Simo, concern flaring in her gaze at the man and his current state. There was something off about him, defeated almost and she it we lip.
[b “No one is killing anyone.”] Tasia said finally, finding her voice stuck somewhere in her throat. It was more of a plea than a command and she looked to Gareth,
[i Watch your fucking back.”] Gareth said finally, fizzing from head to toe. He turned his stern gaze to Tasia, for a fleeting second she thought Gareth might threaten her too.
[i “You’re better than this Anastasia.”] He muttered before shoving past them to go burn off some steam.
Tasia watched him, a little shaken up by the events as she turned to look at Simo. She was embarrassed, she felt stupid and foolish and like she was a child. She didn’t know what to say and she headed inside, wrapping her arms around herself as she paused for a second and looked to Simo,
[b “You don’t look so great.”] She murmured, trying to brush off what had just happened but his comment about Mark hadn’t gone unnoticed.
[b “No ones killing anyone, he’s just... upset.”] They were all dealing with what had happened to Mark in different ways but she knew it was best not to feed the fire with Gareth. He was a liability now with his temper and Tasia had no idea how to cope with it. She tested some of the coffee and took a sip. Tasia looked back to Simo, she was worried about him. She wasn’t sure if Gareth was even safe to be around at this stage.
[b “Sorry.”] she apologised on her brothers behalf.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat [+firebrick “Kill me, huh? Going to shoot me Gareth? Or do you want me to do it? Maybe use a knife, like I did on Mark.”] Stood in the doorway, Simo looked rather tired and his eyes sunken, dark pools under darker eyes. Thankfully, he was dressed as he looked at the siblings and saw the opposing looks on their faces as they turned on him.
His sleep had been fitful. Not enough to wake him nor were there any words spoken in his dreams. It was just the kind of restless sleep that left someone feeling more tired than they had been the night before. When he had awoken to an empty bed, the window illuminated, he wondered if perhaps he had fallen asleep and the talk with Tasia had been just a figment of his imagination. He did not dwell on it though, up and dressed and out to the kitchen in a shuffle, finding the cup of coffee on the counter, steam still rising from the surface.
A look around brought no obvious sign of where Tasia was, and he took the moment to take a sip from the cup, the warm liquid and its sweet aroma inviting him to sit and finish the drink. However, the talk outside had brought him to the doorway, hearing the threat from Gareth and immediately putting together just what was being discussed.
Joints aching, he seemed sluggish as he stepped away from the doorway and took a few more steps closer to the siblings.
[+firebrick “The world has fallen around us, and you want to kill me? I wonder what you would have done before this…”] He sounded as tired as he looked, his voice a touch more gruff than usual, though he looked at the other man with pure distaste. Whilst this apocalypse had pushed everyone to the edge, he hadn’t expected it to come to murder – especially over nothing.
Tasia smiles, sleepily are him. She wouldn’t understand the Finnish if he did mutter and she watched him relax in the silence. Moments like this felt so normal, like the outside world was fine somehow. It was a welcome little paradise. Before she could put up any fight, she slipped under the embrace of sleep. And for the first time in a long time, she was comfortable and warm.
It was the light that filtered in from the window that disturbed her, scrunching up her face as she suddenly remembered she was in bed with Simo, and her brother would be up and about soon. She heard footsteps up stairs and sighed, sitting up and scraping her hair back. She looked to Simo and smiled softly, managing to take a pause and press a kiss to his forehead before exiting the room, still hopping into one boot. Gareth was already in the kitchen, eyeing her curiously.
[i “Where were you?”] He asked and narrowed his eyes and Tasia shrugged,
[b “Checked on Simo. Rough day yesterday.”] She said him, avoiding his eyes as she set the water to boil.
Gareth wasn’t stupid but he also knew she could be telling the truth and he eyed his sister.
[i “Good. It would be stupid to jump into bed with someone while the world is falling to shit, plus Simo is not right for you. Not your type.”] Tasia was doing her best to block him out, almost dropping the coffee as she eyed him. Her type? She sighed a little and shook her head at him.
[b “Don’t worry about it.”] She muttered, peeved slightly at his remark but she couldn’t say anything without giving up the secret. And Gareth was not a forgiving man.
Tasia refixed the braid in her hair, pouring herself a strong coffee and glancing over Gareth.
[b “M’gonna sort the chickens.”] She said and set the coffee down with a ‘tak’ before heading out into the snow, her shoulder feeling stiff. She shivered some and glanced over as Gareth followed.
[i “What did I say?”] He asked and Tasia paused for a few moments with her back to him.
[b “Nothing.”] She said to him but Gareth was like a dog with a bone.
[i “Is it the Viking? Do you- Like him?”] Gareth pressed and Tasia sighed out a cloud of hot air. Tasia felt torn immediately as she turned to face Gareth. Her expression must have said it all.
Gareth frowned and ran a hand over his face, an anger rising and Tasia watched him.
[b “Nothing happened.”] She said to him but Gareth had put two and two together. Everything made sense, the looks, the moments together and then this morning.
[i “I’ll kill him.”] Gareth said quietly. Tasia grabbed her brother’s wrist,
[b “Stop it, don’t you dare!”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her soft admonishment of his worrying mind was greatly welcomed, even if he was swiftly subdued by the lightest of kisses. Confirmation that he was over thinking was what he needed. It helped him to realise he was in that period of the day, just before sleep, where his mind became far too active with trepidation and doubt. Thankfully she was here to distract him with her gentle touches that acted as reminders he wasn’t alone, at least not then and there.
[+firebrick “Fine, fine, I’ll shush.”] He said jokingly as she pulled back to rest on the pillow, shuffling his body a little further down the bed to lay his head down more easily, arms loosening his grip about her petite figure, though only so he might turn on his side to face toward her. With the window closed over, very little light coming through it, the scant light from the fire in the living room was his means of looking on her.
Keeping his mind from running away from him, he instead focused on her, smiling softly as she traced along his bearded cheek and down to his strong jawline. His own hand came up to join hers, pressing her palm to his face for a moment as he simply enjoyed the small moment between them. It was much as it had been in the outbuilding, just a silent giddiness between two adults.
[+firebrick “I should apologise beforehand; if I mutter in my sleep, English or Finnish, feel free to push me out the bed.”] A gentle chuckle, a hand at her side squeezing lightly, his nerves at asking her to stay with him that night melting away with their light humour.[+firebrick “I hope you sleep well Tasia… thank you for being there for me today.”] With quiet thanks given, he closed his dark eyes over, hoping to find sleep soon and not restlessly turn as he did most nights.
Tasia knee Simo wouldn’t take the compliment, and she wasn’t expecting him to but there was something freeing about speaking it out loud. She smiled a little when he mentioned taking the compliment and being quiet and she shifted slowly, so she could place those pale eyes on him.
[b “Sometimes.”] She said to him and leaned up to press a soft kiss to his lips. Going through the days and not knowing what would happen, who they would lose, what new hurdle would be out in front of them and having to keep everything hidden from Gareth was no easy task.
Raise rested her head back on the pillow and watched the man before her, as if he were a hazy dream that might blow away with the littlest breeze. All of them were haunted by their own demons from their time spent dealing with the dead. Tasia wasn’t sure she would ever forgive herself, even if everything went back to normal tomorrow, she would still be chewed up inside. These weren’t nightmares that went away so easily.
And Simo and Gareth, they had done the most unspeakable thing for the sake of kindness and Mark’s body lay in ashes outside, mixing with the snow no doubt. Snow would bring about a whole new set of problems that everyone had to prepare for.
[b “We’ll be alright.”] Tasia said, voice quiet just in case they roused suspicion from upstairs. She was pretty sure Elizabeth knew, that woman never missed a detail. Gentle fingers mapped their way down Simo’s cheek, each line committed to memory. Tasia wouldn’t call her emotions love, that was far too terrifying in this world because death was just a hairs breath away and breathing down their neck but there was a connection with Simo. She wouldn’t deny it. She wouldn’t deny him.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her question was quite unexpected by Simo. His hands about her tensed for a few seconds as he considered what she meant. He didn’t take any offense from it, nor did he think she was mocking him in the tone she took with him. Part of being a foreigner was having to consider these two points before answered most questions put to him, especially if a person’s words were followed by laughter.
[+firebrick “I don’t think I’ve been brave.”] He was quick to reply to that remark, to let his voice grate, a rasping sentence that sat thick on his tongue. He hadn’t meant for it to come out in that way, as an outright denial of what was a quite sweet thing for her to say. He let out a soft sigh as she curled into him and her warm breath washed over his skin.
[+firebrick “I am doing what you are doing; surviving. In a way, I guess that is brave, but I wouldn’t say it is more than anyone else.”] He continued to brush his fingers through her hair, to glide along her arm and idly caress her as if they were post-coitous and calming down, hands unable to leave her be.[+firebrick “I should just say [i ‘thank you’] and be quiet, shouldn’t I?”] He asked, believing he had investigated her words too deeply and taken it too literal.
A soft laugh left his lips, her warm figure pulled in tightly and his cheek brushed against her forehead, unable to lift her head to kiss her quickly. It was peculiar to feel so at ease, but he knew it wouldn’t be forever, and so he would take delight in whatever time he had with her.
Tasia enjoyed the feeling of being entangled with Simo like this. It was warm and safe, it made the rest of the world simply melt away somewhat. She smiled softly at his words, she supposed he was right. She did her best in the little situations but in the grand scheme of things what use was she?
Tasia hopes he was right when it came to him being alright, he at least seemed a little more distracted now, a little more relaxed and she stroked his chest in a quiet trance.
[b “How do you do that?”] She asked him, his tone quiet and soft. He was remarkable sometimes and she so badly wanted to know how he did it.
[b “How do you make everything seem alright, even when it isn’t?”] She had a small laugh at that because no one knew when everything would ever be alright again.
She just wanted to be close to him, and they were close like this. It was a tender moment. Gareth would kill them both if he ever found them like this, she knew that much. Tasia just needed to make sure that for now, they had the privacy of one another. She would do her best and if the worst did happen then she would accept all of Gareth’s anger just to lessen it for Simo. He had been through so much.
[b “You’ve been so brave, Viking boy.”] Tasia said with a smile playing on her lips. It was true, he had faced so much the past few days and here he was, breathing and alive. Tasia shifted and buried her face in his neck, content.
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