Title: And monsters see me
Sequel to: I see monsters (found here: 1 2 3.1 3.2 4 5 6)
Summary: It’s the End of the World as they know it. Again!
Rating: Adult; NC-17 for eventual Adult themes.
Genre: Apocalyptic/Plague/End of the world scenario
Warning: Character death everywhere!
The farmhouse was so cold. How cold? He figured Russian Winter cold. The North Pole cold. Deep Space had nothing on this Godforsaken place.
New Hampshire: Deep Winter. The lake frozen for weeks; impossible to fish now. Outside was a whiteout. Every word he spoke had its own mist to ride upon. His fingers were constantly numb. His leg clenched and contracted. The pain gnawed at his thigh from the inside, clawing to be free of him.
He’d been shuddering violently under the blankets for hours. All he wanted was sleep. A brief respite from winter’s violence, but sleep was impossible. Cameron had managed it easily. She had a way about her, zipping around all evening and keeping busy until she was tired enough to fall into bed and cast Zs into the ether before her head hit the pillow. Right now he hated her for it. House did couldn't scurry away his energy like her, not with a useless hole in his leg that winter had taken for its mortal enemy.
House hated the house. The fucking leaky roof dripped ice cold droplets down his neck and the floorboards creaked constantly, like bad sound effects from a '50s horror movie. His evenings in this dark December found him huddled near the fire and shivering terribly as he worried about the food stores. They were getting dangerously low. She’d told him not to think about it, but it was all he could think about. Be a realist, Cameron, wake up, wake up! She wanted to avoid logic at all costs and it was almost unbearable now. Now he realised he’d been in a losing battle. She was an idealist to the core and you couldn’t fight that. It was impenetrable.
They were running out of food; fact. There hadn’t been a rabbit in weeks; he was running out of ammo and they were so God damn fast when he did see one, swerving at the last minute, that the second he let off a shot it scared any potential wildlife in the immediate vicinity away.
His Vicodin supply was running low. But they’d decided they were staying put until the worst of winter was behind them. The cities were impossible to even bear thinking about; the disease of the rotting corpses. They needed winter to decimate the bacteria before they could even think about going anywhere near one. But small, unfamiliar towns were dangerous too.
She’d accused him of becoming paranoid. They hadn’t seen anyone since the Mall. She’d accused him of cabin fever. She’d accused him of cowardice. So you shot a kid; he’s long dead; get over it. Maybe not in those exact words but he decoded. He'd been reading between here lines ever since he'd seen the headshot. And she was the worst kind of bitch for choosing her moments to be a realist - only when it suited her.
Cameron’s gentle slumber mocked him. Each peaceful snore was an insult. He’d have rolled away from her hours ago if she wasn’t the only thing keeping him from slipping into a hypothermic coma. So he hugged tighter. An she roused.
“You okay?” Cameron’s words were so soft and warm, he wanted to cup his hands around them to thaw out his fingers. She cleared her throat and let out a quiet, feminine yawn. For every inch of her that drove him insane her basic femininity was always a draw. She was always appealing, even during her most inept and illogical moments.
Am I Okay? No I am not. Damn you for sleeping. Damn you for leaving me on my own in the cold and the dark. We have no food and you won’t accept it. It won’t be ‘Alright’
“It’s too cold to sleep,” he said witheringly. “How can you sleep?” his teeth chattered. His breath ghosted desperately over her shoulders. His muscles gave involuntary spasms.
“I don’t know; just try not to think about anything.”Seconds later Cameron was out for the count, again.
He closed his eyes and missed his iPod for a while, in an attempt to pull his mind from the cold. What else? Cable TV. Any TV. He missed the sensation of a full stomach. He missed Pay-Per-View Porn and Princeton. He missed his bike. He missed his guitars.
He missed his piano
He missed Wilson. He missed Wilson desperately; achingly; he’d never known anything like it, the sorrow that he felt for the loss of his friend. An extremely intricate, important piece of him had expired forever, and forever was a fucking long time.
The last time he’d been as low as to concoct Wilson had been seventeen days ago; exactly.
‘I think you should move on to another town,’ Wilson mused; thoughtful and calm. ‘I don’t know if you’re going to see January at this rate.’
Always in shirtsleeves.
Always with folded arms.
Always looking into the middle-distance.
Always contemplating something - the space-time continuum, the theory of relativity, the infinite complexities of the impact death had on a friendship - any of these things, all of them or none of them. House didn’t know what but it was something gargantuan, because Wilson never looked at him anymore. So, House ignored Wilson. Well most of the time. Sometimes, when he was desperate and hungry and cold – he engaged. He engaged with the lie.
“Go away.” Always said, never meant.
‘Maybe I’m not a figment of your imagination, did you consider that? Maybe I’m a ghost.’ Wilson kicked at imaginary bits of nothing on the dirty, threadbare carpet as he walked slowly up and down behind House.
Always in French brogues.
‘I’m so cold. And you can’t help, so go away’
Wilson smiled at the middle-distance. ‘You need a puzzle.’
“I need a space heater. I need drugs.” House poked the meagre fire.
‘You have drugs. What you really need is to start working together. You barely speak to her anymore.’
“Have to ration the pills,” House ignored Wilson’s nag about Cameron. “My stash won’t see me through till January.”
‘Then go get more.’ Wilson sighed. ‘All the drugs in the world are yours now anyway, but they're the least of your worries. You need to hit the road again. You need food.’
House shuddered; it had nothing to do with the cold. “It’s too dangerous.”
‘How do you know? You have no idea. Humanity could be rebuilding itself out there and you won’t even look.’
“Who are you talking to?” Cameron asked from the kitchen.
Wilson was gone with the interruption. House missed his friend instantly. He had no control over it. Wilson wasn’t just there when he needed him. He would appear sporadically; extreme moments of physical or mental stress.
It was all in his head, he knew that, but he didn’t talk to her for two days anyway.
She could feel House shuddering, but what could she do? She was cold too; she was exhausted. The more he withdrew the more she had to do on her own to keep them alive.
House was becoming an extreme contradiction, trying to push her away with his words as he clung tightly to her. Ignoring her for days then expecting sex. She rarely refused him because his irritability always turned to tenderness for those moments. She could never deny him then.
But he was starting to worry her. The drugs didn’t help. The booze didn’t help. The oversized days of deep silence, didn’t help their situation.
In their first months together, after the virus, he’d been varying extremes of himself. There had been good days and bad days. But winter was starting to get to him. It was starting to get to her too. Being cold all of the time was awful, but it wouldn’t last forever. It wouldn’t even last months.
They were probably through the worst of it.
Snow had engulfed the small holding two days ago. House was panicking now because he figured they were stuck. Soon the food would run out.
She could hike to the next town. Easily. But when she’d raised this option, he’d been alarmed. He didn’t want her to go on her own and his leg wouldn’t allow him to make it that far in the snow. The fear her idea had raised in him, so naked in his features, had terrified her.
She was sure that hiking to the next town was the only option. She was heading out in the morning, with or without House’s blessing.