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waiting for the world to end

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+

 

The dust storm is raging outside, shaking the walls of the diner. Ashley and Andy are spooned together for warmth, but the two of them are shivering beneath the three ratty blankets.

Ashley’s been staring at the back of Andy’s neck for ten minutes now. “Are you asleep?” he eventually whispers, barely audible over the vicious howl of the wind.

“No.”

They stay quiet for a long, drawn-out moment.

“I thought the apocalypse was supposed to be hot and full of fire,” Ashley comments humorlessly, cupping his hands and raising them to his mouth in a vain effort to warm them up through his thin gloves.

Andy merely shivers in silence, turning his head to look up at the ceiling. Ashley watches his thick, dark eyelashes casting shadows against his cheeks for a long time before Andy speaks. “I should be getting ready for school right now,” he finally says, his eyes fluttering closed. His adam’s apple bobs in the dim light as he swallows.

Ashley laughs once, a short, loud sound in the quiet room. “School, huh?”

“Fuck off.”

Ashley lets it go, no matter how curious he is - he knows next to nothing about Andy, after all. Not his age, last name, past life or really anything else. If he’d had to guess, Ashley would have said Andy was maybe twenty-one or twenty-two, but the hint that he’s school age brings the number down closer to eighteen. He’s not even sure if Andy is his real name.

However, if they’re going to be spending time together in the future, he knows it’s best not to push for more information.

Ashley rolls onto his back, staring up at the rafters. The wind outside provides a steady white noise. Out of his peripheral vision, he sees Andy curl up tighter under the blankets, tucking his arms to his stomach.

They lie in the frigid room in silence for a long time.

“Were you scared? When it happened?” Ashley eventually asks in the dark.

He’s thinking back to the panic and the terror sweeping over the city, the government transmissions and the pileups on the interstate as everyone tried to flee. The mass suicides.

There’s a long pause. For a minute, Ashley thinks maybe Andy has fallen back asleep.

The response is quiet when he finally says, “No. I thought it was beautiful.”

 

+

 

The afternoon brings sun, but through the dust and soot, even that doesn’t do much to warm the Earth’s surface.

Ashley is standing outside the diner, dirty goggles he stole from someone at his last camp protecting his eyes against the harsh wind and a black bandana tucked up over his mouth and nose.

He starts off towards the forest, his footsteps muffled by the constant wind. The trees are all bent over from the onslaught.

Ashley coughs and readies his crossbow as he enters the tree line. The brush offers a bit of shelter, but not much. He steps quietly and stays vigilant out of habit; not that there’s much use for stealth these days, since the animals are all starving and disoriented anyways.

After about two hours hour of walking, he’s only shot a squirrel and a rabbit. He’s looking at his compass and debating turning back to the when he catches sight of movement out of the corner of his eye. He whirls around, arrow nocked, and sees a man propped up against a tree, one thin arm raised. Ashley freezes.

Another survivor.

“Please,” the man says, barely audible. His eyes are sunken and bones clearly visible, long, dirty-blonde hair lying wild and matter around his gaunt face. He’s dressed in what looks like a canvas jacket coated in about an inch of grime. His lips move again, but whatever he says is lost to the roar of the wind.

Ashley keeps his crossbow levelled, looking around. “Are there others with you?” he asks simply, voice muffled from the bandana.

The man shakes his head, then coughs, his frail body heaving. “It’s just me.”

“Fuck,” Ashley curses after a long pause. Against his better judgement, he lowers the crossbow to his side and uses his free hand to toss the man the squirrel. It lands at his feet.

The man looks up at Ashley for a long moment, then slowly, he leans forward to grab it by the tail. “Thank you,” he says.

Ashley nods, knowing the man can’t see his expression beneath the goggles and makeshift mask. He watches as the man tucks the limp squirrel into an empty-looking pack.

As Ashley backs up, he raises his crossbow and turns back the way he came.

 

+

 

A part of him always wonders if Andy will still be there when he returns, but when he walks into the diner, Andy is sitting at the counter sorting their rations.

“Get anything?” he asks, not looking up.

Ashley pushes his goggles up to his forehead and tugs his bandana down. “A rabbit.” He sets it on a booth table with a light thump. “More dust than meat,” he grumbles, “It was half-dead when I found it. How are we doing with rations?”

Andy looks over at him. “We’ll make do. We need more water, though.”

“How much left?”

“A week, maybe two if we really stretch it out.”

Ashley sighs. “Shit. And food?”

“A month and a half, if we continue as we have been.”

The two are suspended in silence.

“Okay,” Ashley finally says, “Okay. We can work with that. We’ll go scavenging tomorrow, see if there’s anything left in town that we missed the first time around. Maybe that convenience store has something.”

Andy lowers his eyes and shakes his head. “We need to move on again.”

“Maybe,” Ashley nods after a moment. “There could be vehicles somewhere in town. I don’t know about gas, but...” he sighs again. “We’ll figure it out.” Softer, he adds, “We have so far.”

Andy meets his gaze, looking impossibly young, and Ashley hurts for him.

“I’ll start a fire in the shed out back,” Andy says quietly, breaking the moment. “We can cook the rabbit. It should make a couple meals.”

“Okay,” Ashley replies, wishing he could say more. “We’ll pack tomorrow and head out when the wind dies down.”

 

+

 

The wind doesn’t die down for two days.

They’re lying in the back room on the afternoon of the first day, bodies pressed together, both awake and not talking about it when Andy says, “Did you have a job?”

Ashley considers his response. “No,” he says carefully, “I was at university.” He closes his eyes and listens to Andy’s breath for a long time.

“I was in grade eleven,” Andy finally says. “I’m sixteen.”

Oh. Ashley swallows. “I’m twenty-three.”

“I was in a band,” Andy continues as he pulls the blankets up to his chin, shivers wracking his body. “I was with them, when it happened. I think… I think everyone else died in the first week. I left before I could know for sure.”

Ashley exhales softly. He knows Andy doesn’t want to talk about it, so he leans his head forward, nose tucked against the nape of Andy’s neck, and they lapse into silence.

 

+

 

The second day brings even less light than the first; a sure sign that they’re in the middle of the worst of it. The dinner’s walls seem to shudder through the most violent gusts, dust creeping in through the cracks in the walls and the tarps covering the windows. Ashley is always coughing, throat parched, but he and Andy don’t dare take more water than strictly necessary for survival.

Andy is sitting on top of the counter by the till, wiry legs crossed as he carves a drawing of some kind into the wood surface with his switchblade. Ashley is sitting at one of the less-destroyed booths, legs up on the tattered, dirty linoleum as he eats his portion of cold canned lentils with a spoon.

“What are you carving?” he finally asks.

Andy shrugs and doesn’t respond.

The lentils are truly repulsive. Ashley eventually sets the half-finished can aside, covering the top with a thin piece of tinfoil he found in the back room in order to keep the dust out. “Want some?” he offers to Andy.

“No.”

A particularly hard blow of wind hits with a loud bang, then the wind dies back down to the usual howl.

“It’ll be over soon,” Ashley says. “We’ll walk into town, gather supplies and find a way out of here.”

Andy nods silently, listlessly stabbing at the counter.

That night, Ashley listens as the windows and door in the main room cave in from the wind, covering the whole front of the diner in dust and grit.

The next morning is blessedly quiet. The two of them wake up shivering, covered in grime from the previous night.

Ashley shakes out the blankets as best as he can and rolls them up to fit in his duffel bag. “Ready?” he asks when they’ve packed up their meager belongings.

Andy hoists the bag of rations onto his back and pulls his bandana over his face. “Let’s get out of here.”

 

+

 

They walk leisurely through the main street of the small town. Most of the abandoned buildings haven’t fared much better than the diner. The sun is shining dimly through the haze, ever-so-slightly warming the frozen ground.

“Stores first, or houses?” Andy asks, swinging his machete by his side. His face appears impassive behind his sunglasses.

“We already checked these stores on our way in,” Ashley motions to the row of dilapidated buildings. “I say we carry on West and search the houses there.”

Andy nods. They continue walking in silence. Every so often they’ll see a body, usually frozen and covered in layers upon layers of dirt.

When they reach the suburban section of the town, the two of them split up to search the houses faster.

“I’ll take this side, you take those ones,” Andy says, starting towards the first house on the right side of the street. Ashley nods and heads to the left.

Ashley methodically searches the houses, but finds next to nothing useful in any of them. He takes a relatively warm-looking blanket from a closet in the first house - seeing as they have relatively limited space, he uses it to replace the worst of their three blankets in his pack. The non-perishable food has long since been taken, as well as any weapons or vehicles.

The story is much the same for the consecutive houses, with the exception of the fourth house, in which Ashley finds two empty water bottles in a cupboard, as well as two facecloths. The fifth house carries a stench of rotten food, and he searches it as quickly as he can.

Once he’s done his row, Ashley stands outside in the street to wait for Andy.

When he doesn’t come out within five minutes, Ashley walks over to the doorway of the modest home and looks in. “Andy?” he calls.

“In here,” comes the faint reply. Ashley follows the voice to a bedroom near the back of the house. Andy’s sitting on the dusty queen-sized bed, a family photo album lying in his lap, holding a picture.

“Don’t do that to yourself,” Ashley tells him, reaching over to flip the book closed and toss it on the floor. He pretends not to notice when Andy folds the photo he’s holding and slips it into his rucksack.

 

+

 

The two of them make their way back to the main street to finish scouring the stores for a second time together.

“I’ll do the barber shop, you do the café,” Ashley tells Andy. “We’ll meet by the convenience store.”

Andy just nods and sets off. Ashley walks into the barber shop, stepping over broken glass and an inch of dirt piled up in the doorway.

There’s not much left inside; the chairs have all been destroyed by weather, and the mirrors are all broken. He sets about rummaging through the drawers and cupboards under each station.

Five minutes later, Ashley exits the shop with a small pair of fine hair cutting scissors and a comb he didn’t take the first time around. There was a straight razor, too, but no shaving cream, so he didn’t take it. Neither he nor Andy seem to grow a lot of facial hair, anyways.

Andy is walking towards him. “Nothing,” he says as he approaches.

Ashley holds up the grooming supplies. “Are you ready to get pampered?” he jokes.

Beneath his mask and glasses, it’s possible that Andy is cracking a rare smirk. “Really?”

“Yeah. You’re getting shaggy.” Ashley turns to walk down the cracked road to the convenience store, and Andy follows.

 

+

 

They decide to hold up in the empty convenience store for the night. Andy is busy sorting their supplies and packing it all up in a way that’s manageable, and Ashley is out in the nearby forest assessing the natural resources.

The small puddle he finds isn’t clean enough to drink by any means, but he breaks the ice on the surface and scoops some up in the empty bottle in order to wipe down later.

When he returns to the store, it’s getting dark out again. Andy has set up a makeshift bed out of blankets at the back of the back hallway, and their bags are leaning against thewall, ready-packed for leaving the next morning. The building is warm in comparison to the gelid temperature of the diner - warm enough that Andy is down to bare feet, his socks and shitkickers off to the side.

“Find anything?” Andy asks.

Ashley shakes his head. “I got water to wash down, though.” He strips off his leather jacket for the first time in about a week, then sets it down on top of his pack. “You want me to cut your hair?”

Andy looks at him for a second, then nods.

It’s easily the most vulnerable Andy has ever been around him, Ashley thinks, idly observing him as he strips off his jacket, followed by his sweater and t-shirt until he’s half naked. Ashley pretends not to look, pretends not to watch the way his shoulderblades move under his skin as he undresses and sits on the ground, hunched over slightly. Ashley wants to run a hand down the bumps of his vertebrae.

Instead, he gets into a kneeling position behind Andy with the scissors and comb and says, “This might not turn out pretty.”

“I don’t care.”

Ashley tentatively runs a hand through a large chunk of hair on the side of his head, following it with the comb a couple times. It’s grown down to his collarbones throughout the past months, and Ashley tries not to think about what that means as he holds the chunk out and saws through it with the sharp scissors.

The dark brown tuft drifts to the floor with an air of finality.

The haircut doesn’t look half-bad when he’s done with it. A little choppy, but functional. Andy thanks him quietly, running his fingers through it, then wordlessly puts his shirt, sweater and jacket back on.

Ashley pulls on his own dirty jacket and silently goes to lie down on the blanket on the floor, pulling the two others over top of himself. He looks at the ceiling for a long moment, looking at the various pipes and patches of water stains. It’s not long before Andy joins him in the makeshift bed, but it’s a long time before he can fall asleep.

 

+

 

Ashley wakes up before Andy the next morning. The room is cold and the two of them are curled together, sharing body heat under the blankets. Andy is still sleeping peacefully, his breath blowing warm and comforting against Ashley’s neck, and Ashley wants him.

Of course he does.

It’s the end of the world, all his friends are dead and Andy is still sixteen motherfucking years old.

Ashley will not let himself think about this.

Instead, he says, “C’mon, princess. Wake up. Time to go.”

 

+

 

By some miraculous twist of fate, they manage to find a car with half a tank of gas left in the parking lot behind the store. There’s a moment where Ashley thinks it’s not going to start, that they’ve used up their miracle for the day, before the car roars to life under his hands.

Ashley whoops, “Yeah, baby!” and Andy’s mouth twitches up into a semblance of a pleased smirk.

So they drive West through the country, following a map Andy took from behind the convenience store counter. They don’t stop until the car’s fuel light switches on and Andy says, “There’s a bunch of farm houses up ahead, we can stay in one of those for the night. One of them is bound to have another vehicle of some sort.”

Ashley turns in to one of the long driveways. They make it to the first grain silo just as the car starts to die, then they take their belongings from the trunk and walk the rest of the way up to the house. The absence of the sound of crickets in the field is eerie.

The door to the house is locked, but it’s weak enough that Ashley’s well-placed kick just above the handle breaks it open.

“Home sweet home,” he says, turning to look at Andy, who is staring at him with a tinge of pink high on his cheeks. “What? You’ve never seen a man kick down a door before?” he mocks. Andy shakes his head in exasperation and brushes past him, pushing the door out of the way so he can enter the house.

It’s still daylight, and the two of them do a search of the farmhouse, finding a couple cans of beans, one can of tuna, one tin of evaporated milk and one small can of cherry pie filling.

Ashley props the broken front door back into place and they sit together on the small, dusty couch to share a celebratory can of kidney beans

Once they’ve eaten their fill, Andy holds up the tin of cherries and says, “Dessert?”

Ashley laughs. “Yeah.” He gets up to grab spoons from the kitchen and comes back to Andy licking cherry filling off his fingers.

Andy snatches a spoon from him and digs into the can. The sound he makes after the first scoop is downright pornographic and Ashley knows there’s a god somewhere who is testing him.

He levels his breathing and takes a scoop of filling. After weeks of cold lentils, it feels like the best thing he’s ever eaten.

Andy takes another scoop and licks the spoon clean and Ashley is painfully reminded of the fact that he hasn’t properly jacked off in a month, maybe more, hasn’t really even wanted to until now, not since he started focusing all of his efforts on survival.

Ashley swallows and averts his eyes. This isn’t the time to get a boner.

They eventually polish off the can and Ashley gets up, says “I’m gonna head to bed early. D’you want the upstairs room or the downstairs one?”

Andy looks at him and stands up, too. “Doesn’t matter.”

“I’ll go downstairs,” Ashley offers.

When he takes a step backwards to turn and grab his bag, Andy follows. They share a long, silent look.

Ashley has the time to think, what? and then Andy shoves him up back against the wood wall beside the front door, hands gripping Ashley’s biceps and kisses him ferociously.

Ashley recoils in shock, instinctually grabbing Andy and pushing him back, those piercing blue eyes blown wide.

“What—?” he chokes out.

Andy shrugs with a devilish grin.

“We can’t—“ Ashley says after a moment.

For the first time Ashley has ever heard, Andy laughs. “We can.” He ducks in, bringing their mouths together, and Ashley kisses back.

Andy’s lips are soft and a little cold, a little chapped from dehydration. He tastes like cherry pie and it feels so right and wrong all at once.

“Andy—“ Ashley tries to say, mumbled between them. He isn’t sure what he’s trying to say.

“Stop thinking,” Andy pulls back to say against his lips. “Just stop.”

They end up fucking hard and fast against the wall, gasping for breath, hands scrabbling for a hold. Somehow Ashley’s got one hand around the back of Andy’s neck, holding him close, the other thrust down the front of Andy’s pants and Andy is grabbing him by the hips, crushing their mouths together.

“Fuck,” Ashley breathes, pressing Andy’s thighs apart with his knee.

“Yeah,” Andy rumbles in that fucking sex voice, grinding down on him for friction. “Yeah.” He rolls his hips, eyes fluttering shut in a quiet moan and Ashley almost fucking loses it right there. He seals his mouth over Andy’s in another harsh, biting kiss.

It’s an awkward angle, messy and not enough, but Andy quickly comes into Ashley’s hand with a cut-off growl anyways. Ashley bites the side of Andy’s neck as he follows suit.

When they’re done, Ashley can’t look him in the eye. Andy’s still panting against his neck and holding his shoulders when Ashley backs up, says, “I can’t be here.”

He grabs his crossbow off the table, walks out of the farmhouse and doesn’t think about any of it.

 

+

 

He comes back to the house five hours later with three rats, a squirrel and a vole, but can’t bring himself to go inside. He blames himself for what happened.

He’s sick, he‘s decided, sick to the fucking core. Andy should still be learning pre-calculus in high school, not fighting tooth and nail to survive in this fucked-up world with some older stranger like Ashley as a companion.

This was all a mistake.

He’s stewing in guilt, sitting on the front step in the dark and carefully skinning the squirrel when there are footsteps behind him. Andy stops and says, “There’s a motorbike in the shed.”

Ashley doesn’t pause in his work, doesn’t stop, doesn’t look Andy in the face. “Gas?”

“Half-tank. We can siphon some from the other cars and tractors. You know how to ride, right?”

Ashley nods.

“Great. We can leave tomorrow morning.”

He walks back inside, footsteps fading. In the darkness, Ashley looks down at his bloody hands, feeling disgusted for a different reason.

 

 

+

Chapter Text

+

 

Two months later.

 

This was all a mistake.

This is what Andy tells himself over and over as they hop from town to farm to town, the two of them on the motorbike, never staying in the same place for long.

It’s been two months. They sleep back-to-back now, and Ashley never smiles or jokes anymore. Andy feels like he’s spending twenty percent of his days surviving until tomorrow and the other eighty percent of his days making up for what happened between him and Ashley.

Two months ago, things were just starting to feel normal between them, and then Andy went and fucked it up within ten minutes.

Now, he can’t even look at Ashley without feeling what his hands felt like, without seeing what he looks like when he comes.

This was all a mistake.

 

+

 

“I’m going hunting,” Ashley announces. The most recent dust storm has just settled down outside the empty gift shop and he’s got his crossbow in hand, bandana covering half his face.

Andy looks at him and nods silently in acknowledgement. He watches Ashley pull his goggles on and slip out the door, and he’s alone again.

The thing no one ever talks about in relation to the word ‘apocalypse’ is boredom.

Lately, Andy has taken to carving up the buildings where they’re staying just to pass the time, using his favourite switchblade to draw designs and pictures into the walls and tables.

Andy thought things would get better after two months passed since he as good as attacked Ashley at the farmhouse, but it seems like they’re only getting worse. Ashley has been spending more and more time avoiding him, and there’s only so many times he can count and recount their rations.

Andy sighs into the decrepit building, pulls his knife out from his jacket pocket and sets to work.

 

+

 

One month later.

 

Ashley wakes up hard as a fucking rock.

He’s on his back, dick straining against his zipper, tenting his pants underneath the blanket.

Shit.

They’re sleeping in an empty library at the moment, right between two shelves of books. It smells like paper and dust. It’s still dark outside from what he can tell - the one functional window in the building is filtering in dim moonlight.

Ashley exhales and turns over. He tries to ignore it, to go back to sleep, but he’s hot and so hard and—

Ashley looks at Andy again, at the shadows of his brow, the straight bridge of his nose, where his hair is growing out from where Ashley cut it a few months ago. His eyes are shut, eyelashes fanning out on his cheeks, breathing coming slow and even. He’s definitely asleep.

Ashley’s sick. He’s unbelievable sick to even be considering this, but it’s been three months since he’s been touched and he’s so fucking hard and now he can’t stop thinking about those sounds that Andy made that night at the farmhouse.

Stupid. Stupid. That’s what got him into this whole fucking mess in the first place. Ashley rolls over, trying to ignore the erection that just won’t die.

Ashley thinks about killing rabbits, about dead bodies, about dust storms and clipping toenails, which turns into Andy’s boots and Andy’s pants and Ashley’s hand down Andy’s pants—

Fuck. He’s so hard it hurts.

Ashley tells himself that he’ll be quick. Quick, and quiet, and Andy won’t ever have to know.

He turns his head to steal another glance at Andy as he sleeps. His mouth is ever-so-slightly slightly ajar, bottom lip shiny in the minimal light from the moon.

Ashley turns his gaze back around and tells himself he won’t think about Andy at all.

His hand drifts down to the fasten on his pants, holding his breath as he carefully, quietly undoes the button and zip. Even the slightest touch feels like heaven as he gets his right hand curled around himself. It’s a bit too dry, so he licks his palm and tries again and yeah, that’s better.

His mind wanders to his first time, in the car of some generic hardcore chick after a crappy show. He’d been seventeen, turning eighteen and he hadn’t known what the hell he was doing.

The memory has worked to get him off in the past, but suddenly, imagining himself fumbling around with some random chick in her dad’s jeep isn’t exactly doing it for him.

He settles into the memory of his first time with another guy instead; it was backstage with the closeted singer of some band he used to idolize, and he was down on his knees as the guy gasped and moaned. He reimagines the weight of the singer’s cock on his tongue, the feel of it in his mouth, and then he looks up at the guy and suddenly he’s imagining sucking Andy’s cock, Andy’s voice and Andy’s moans—

Ashley comes on his stomach with a cut-off gasp.

Fuck.

He lies there for a second, feeling electrified, eyes closed as he catches his breath. He’s hot and a little sweaty in the cool room.

It takes a second for him to come down, the buzz receding, and oh, god. He feels like a huge sack of shit. Because it’s one thing to jerk off a sixteen year old and pretend it never happened, but it’s another thing to jerk off a sixteen year-old and then jerk yourself off to the memory of him three months later while he’s in the room.

He exhales, head falling to the left, and he’s thinking about grabbing a sock from his bag to discreetly wipe the come off before it dries when he opens his eyes.

Andy is staring back at him, eyes dark in the glint of the moonlight.

Ashley’s heart stops beating.

There’s a long pause. Andy’s just looking at him, his face blank and his pupils blown.

Ashley is just about to get up, get his stuff and never come back when he sees the gleam of white teeth in the darkness.

Andy’s smiling.

He only has a half-second to process this, as Andy’s mouth is immediately on his and he’s being kissed again, hot and messy.

Andy leans back a bit, laughing. Really laughing.

“What the fuck,” Ashley mumbles, confused, and then Andy’s leaning back in to close the distance.

“You could have fucking asked me,” Andy teases. “I watched you.” He bites at Ashley’s lips, adding tongue, and swings a leg over Ashley’s thighs until he’s straddling him, one hand on his chest and one in his hair. He may be sixteen, but he’s done this part before. Ashley’s not sure that should be as hot as he’s finding it. He's confused and not really kissing back, just letting Andy do all the work as he lays there and wonders what the fuck is happening.

Andy’s mouth makes it’s way down his jaw and neck, and then he leans in to Ashley’s ear and whispers, “Did you think about me?” Ashley can’t help but nod, and Andy chuckles in his ear, deep and throaty before moving back to his mouth. “C’mon, I’m horny. I want you to touch me.”

Andy pulls his shirt of over his head in one fluid motion and suddenly there’s so much pale, smooth skin on display that Ashley doesn’t know where to look. He settles on trailing his hands down Andy’s flat chest before settling on his hips as they kiss. He’s still not totally convinced this isn’t a dream.

Andy moans, and Ashley’s dick twitches. “Fuck,” he breathes between them. “Jesus, how are you still wearing pants?”

Andy’s hands come down to his own crotch and he deftly undoes the fastenings, yanking the dirty material down his skinny thighs. He leans to one side, supporting himself on one arm to awkwardly get them down to his ankles and then rips them completely off with a frustrated grunt.

He’s naked, now, hard cock jutting out as he reassumes his position on Ashley’s lap. Ashley can feel his own dick stirring again, oversensitive, as Andy leans down to kiss him. “Touch me,” he repeats.

Ashley doesn’t need to be asked a third time. This is Andy in his lap, hot and willing. They’ve gone through everything together. He won’t deny himself this, not this time.

Ashley swipes a hand through the mess on his stomach and reaches between their bodies to grab Andy’s cock, stroking roughly. Andy makes a choked-off moan against his mouth, breaking the kiss as he rocks forward into Ashley’s fist, and it'll be a bitch to clean up later but the slide is so fucking good.

“Fuck, just like that,” Andy groans, panting slightly. “Oh my god, Ashley.”

Ashley’s head falls back and his hips rock up to meet Andy’s ass despite himself. “Fuck,” he exhales. “Straight out of a fucking porno.” He sits up and lets go of Andy’s cock to grab his hips to get some proper friction, thumbs resting over the bones, fingers on the curve of his ass. He’s effectively smeared his come all over Andy’s skin, but neither of them seem to care. The grinding is hot and messy, interrupted by sloppy kissing.

“Fuck,” Andy breathes in a low rumble, breath ghosting over Ashley’s lips. “Fuck, I’ve wanted you for so long,” he says, and it’s so, so easy to forget this is a bad idea. He tilts his head up and Ashley leans in, licking over his adam’s apple and sucking on his jugular. Andy’s hands tangle themselves in Ashley’s hair, hips rocking all the while.

“I’m— I’m gonna come,” Andy says, biting his lip and meeting Ashley’s eyes.

“Do it,” Ashley murmurs in his ear, wrapping a fist around his cock, and he does.

Ashley watches Andy’s brow crease, a low, guttural sound emerging as he comes with a shudder, hot and wet into Ashley’s fist. Ashley strokes him through it, the two of them trading messy kisses.

It’s beautiful.

“Fuck,” Andy says once he’s done, hunched over and spent. “Fuck, that was good.” Ashley tilts his head up with a hand under his chin for a kiss. “You want me to do you?”

Ashley shakes his head, rubbing along Andy’s spine. “Another time.”

 

+

Chapter Text

+

 

“We’re going to have to talk about this, aren’t we?” Andy says quietly, one long finger tracing a mindless pattern on Ashley’s left pectoral.

They’ve been staying at the library for the past four days in order to wait out the downpour of acid rain, spending their time sleeping and having sex whenever possible.

Ashley finally nods and says, “Yeah, we do. We can’t stay here forever.”

“We can go back to one of the farmhouses,” Andy offers. “The bike can make it if we drain some of the other cars in town.

Ashley just shakes his head. “No,” he says solemnly, looking up at the ceiling. “We’re not going back. The map says there’s a city around a hundred miles southwest of here.”

Andy frowns slightly, nosing at Ashley’s bicep. “A city means people, Ash. Other survivors.”

“I know,” Ashley says, pressing a kiss to the top of Andy’s head. “I think it’s time.”

Always forward. Never back.

 

+

 

For the first time in a long time, it’s bright out when they leave the next morning. The sulfurous rains have knocked the ever-present soot and dust out of the air for now.

They’ve left everything unnecessary behind in order to free up space for more gas cans - everything that’s not food, water, weapons or blankets is lying on the floor of the library as Ashley revs the bike’s motor and they speed away.

Andy’s grip on his waist gets progressively tighter as the city can be seen growing on the horizon, but Andy revs the bike up to full throttle anyways.

As they reach the borders of the city, the roads grow wider and the abandoned, grime-coated cars more tightly packed. Ashley skillfully weaves through the parked vehicles, carefully ignoring the stench of death that filters through his bandana.

“Look,” he hears Andy say in his ear as they approach the huge welcome sign. “Survivors.”

Ashley slows the bike down to assess the situation. In the middle of the road, there are three men standing beside a parked SUV. He feels Andy’s hands clutching at his waist as they drive closer.

“Hey!” one of the guys calls out with a jaunty wave. He’s tall and skinny, dressed in a leather jacket with what looks to be a disposable paint mask over his mouth and nose and a black bandana around his forehead.

Ashley pulls to a sideways stop five feet away. Deeming it temporarily safe to breathe, he pushes his goggles up to his hairline, then pulls his bandana down and raises his hands in clear surrender. Behind him, Andy does the same. Ashley’s heart is beating a mile a minute when the three men approach the bike.

“Is it just the two of you?” the oldest of the bunch asks. He’s wearing smeared black makeup of some kind around his eyes, giving him the effect of a post-apocalyptic clown.

“It’s just us,” Ashley replies. “We have food and some water.”

“Weapons?”

“A machete and a crossbow. A couple knives.”

The third man, nondescript but with dark, floppy hair rounds the back of the bike, poking at the bag under Andy’s seat.

“Jake,” the clown-man snaps, and he withdraws.

Ashley can feel Andy’s chest rising and falling against his back, his breath coming hard and fast. Ashley moves one hand back to touch his thigh in a calming gesture.

The man in the paint mask is busy admiring the bike. “She yours?” he asks happily.

“She is now,” Ashley carefully replies. The man laughs, the sound bright and startling.

“Look,” clown-makeup says, shifting his weight. “There’s another dust storm rolling in, and we need to get back to shelter. We’re in no place to turn you down if you want to come with us - we’re not just going to leave you here to die. We can discuss rules and shit later.”

There’s a moment of uncertain silence between the two groups, and then Andy surprises Ashley by speaking up.

“We’ll come,” he says with absolute certainty.

 

+

 

After the initial adjustment period of living with other survivors, Andy and Ashley quickly make themselves at home in the abandoned hospital.

It’s a massive building, filled with enough leftover medical supplies and bedding to last for years. At first, it’s hard to share food with the others, but clown-makeup - Jinxx, as they’ve come to know him - assures them that they have a rationing system. Everyone has to pull their own weight, which means weekly scavenging trips around the city, as well as hunting and collecting water from the homemade purifiers. Everyone has their own room and their own bed.

Ashley had quickly chosen a room on the first floor by an exit in order to have a quick escape route, and CC - the paint-mask guy who first greeted them - had given him a knowing look. Andy immediately insisted on occupying the room right next to his.

Adjusting to sleeping apart is unexpectedly hard after cohabiting for six months, and tonight is no exception. Ashley wakes up in the middle of the night, staring at the ceiling and imagining the warmth of Andy’s body next to his. The hospital is warmer than he’s used to, and he often wakes up sweating in the night these days.

He strips off his damp shirt and lays there for a half hour, listening to the restless shuffling from the next room. An eternity passes and then there are footsteps, Andy appearing in the open doorway to his room.

“I can’t sleep,” he says, deep voice rough from disuse. He’s shirtless too, dressed in yellow hospital pants slung low on his narrow hips.

Ashley exhales. “Me neither.” He shuffles over on the bed, an unspoken invitation, and Andy shuffles over to join him, automatically assuming the position of little spoon.

They lay there on top of the covers for a long time in the moonlit room, just breathing. Another half-hour passes and Ashley is no closer to sleep. He’s absently running his fingers over Andy’s ribs, now less alarmingly pronounced than they were before.

Andy swallows and says, “Ash.”

“Yeah?”

“I can’t sleep.”

Ashley sighs. “Me neither.”

Andy rolls over so they’re face-to-face and licks his lips, puts one long-fingered hand on Ashley’s muscled lower stomach and says, “Can we--?”

Ashley’s mouth quirks up into a gentle smirk. “Do you want to?”

“Yeah.” Andy’s hand drifts lower, over the trail of hair below the dip of Ashley’s navel. He rests it there for a moment, then sits up. Ashley rolls over onto his back, just watching Andy. His expression is neutral but his eyes are dark, and his face looks both impossibly young and old all at once.

Ashley’s broader hand comes to rest on top of Andy’s. “We don’t have to right now.”

“I want to,” Andy says quietly. His gravelly voice is enough to make Ashley’s dick take interest.

Andy’s hand roams lower, fingers catching in the waistband of Ashley’s pants, and Ashley takes the hint to clumsily get them off, shoving them down his legs and kicking them off the bed, now completely naked. Andy smiles and shifts so that he’s on all fours above Ashley, arms on either side of his biceps.

Over the past few weeks of them getting together, Ashley has vaguely made note of the fact that Andy likes to be on top; a constant, whether they’re making out, grinding like horny teenagers or jacking eachother off. He theorizes this might be out of a need of control, but Ashley doesn’t care. He’s quite the power bottom. (This observation, of course, usually leads to unwelcome thoughts of Andy riding him at inopportune moments during the night.)

Ashley’s wandering train of thought is violently jerked back on course when Andy spits in his hand and grabs ahold of Ashley’s cock, stroking with just the right amount of slide.

Ashley exhales shakily, says, “Shit.” He feels himself hardening fully beneath Andy’s ministrations. Andy flashes him that sharp, devilish grin, leaning in for a bruising kiss before backing off entirely.

“I wanna,” he says abortively, and then he’s moving down Ashley’s body, making eye contact as he kneels between his legs, still stroking his cock. “Can I—?”

Ashley realizes what he means and nods fervently, manages to choke out a “Yeah.”

Andy wastes no time in starting to lick around the base, teasing, and Ashley’s abdomen jumps as he inhales a sharp breath. Then Andy looks up, meeting his gaze with those fucking blue eyes, and closes his mouth around the head.

Ashley swears he could come from that visual alone. “So good, baby,” he groans, half unintelligible. Andy’s mouth twists into a smirk and he pushes down farther, hot and wet and a bit messy. Ashley’s hands come up to grip his shaggy hair.

Andy pulls off a bit and mouths along the length for a while, says, “I’ve never actually--” and then cuts himself off.

“What-- Never?” Ashley asks softly. Andy shakes his head, looking the slightest bit unsure. He resumes stroking with one hand, the other coming to grip Ashley’s left hipbone. “Jesus,” Ashley says. For a first-timer, Andy sucks cock like a fucking professional.

There are footsteps down the hall outside of the room and the two of them freeze. Now is not the time for CC to bust in and ask if they want to play a midnight round of Go Fish. Ashley thanks his lucky stars he remembered to close the room’s blinds last night.

The footsteps fade, and Andy lets out a breathless little laugh, his hand setting up a faster pace as he leans back down. Ashley watches him lick around the head, says “Yeah,” grips Andy’s hair a little tighter and leans his head back against the hospital pillow. “Oh, fuck, fuck--”

He feels more than sees Andy’s head starting to bob up and down, getting lower and lower on his cock until he gags and lets up a bit, saliva slick and shiny on his lips. This continues for a while longer, until--

“Andy, I’m gonna--” Ashley warns him with a groan. Andy pulls up most of the way but not off, meets his gaze, and Ashley comes undone. His chest heaves as electricity shoots down his spine and Andy works him through his release, the pale hands on tan his hips like burning brands.

Andy pulls of and Ashley watches in disbelief as he fucking swallows, making a face at the taste. He laughs, climbing up on the bed to kiss Ashley. He tastes like come, but it’s the end of the fucking world and Ashley finds he really doesn’t care all that much.

“Fuck, you really never--?” Ashley pants between heated kisses. Andy shakes his head against the crook of Ashley’s neck, his face hot. “What the fuck. That’s some innate fucking talent, Jesus Christ. First time I tried to swallow I coughed come everywhere.”

Andy laughs next to his ear, pressing a kiss to the corner of his jaw. “I liked it,” he says softly, hips rocking down.

A minute later their bodies are pressed together, Andy hard and rocking urgently against his stomach, breath hitching as he makes needy sounds low in his throat. “Fuck, Ash.”

He holds Andy’s waist as they move together, tilting his head up to press their mouths together. He bites down on Andy’s lower lip just to hear him make that low, choked-off moaning noise, thinks about properly fucking him and the sounds he would make.

Andy mumbles curses against his lips, says, “I’m close.” He whispers against Ashley’s skin; touch me, touch me.

Ashley does. He reaches down to the small of Andy’s back, lower, over his ass and beneath those stupid yellow pants to nudge between his cheeks. He gently runs the pad of his middle finger over Andy’s entrance and Andy stills as he shudders and comes between them with a rumbled groan.

“Shit,” Andy says after a long moment, collapsing bonelessly on top of him.

Ashley laughs, his arms coming up to hold Andy’s ribs.

They can clean the mess up later.

 

 

+

Chapter Text

+

 

Over the next few weeks, things at the hospital settle into a comfortable routine. Ashley leads hunting parties, Andy and CC sort through supplies, and more importantly, the two of them finally have the bright idea to pull two beds together in order to sleep in the same room. Things are predictable for a while; easy, even.

On the day of the thirty-seventh day since they arrived, things go to shit.

“So what’s the deal with you and Ashley?”

Andy looks up at CC’s curious expression with a slight frown. The two of them are sorting through last night’s finds in an empty room on the second floor.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you two are always together. You even sleep in the same room together,” CC shrugs. “And not that I’m a voyeur or anything, but some of the noises that come out of there are not PG-13.”

Andy schools his face into impassivity. “I don’t know what you mean.”

CC rolls his eyes and does an annoyingly loud impression of a sultry moan that Andy thinks is supposed to be him.

“Stop! Stop.” Andy groans, willing the pink tinge to fade from his cheeks. “Jesus. Okay, so what. We’ve fucked around a couple of times,” he relents. “It’s nobody’s business.”

CC grins, tossing a can of chickpeas back and forth in his hands. “I bet he’s a great lay.”

Andy shoots him a plaintive look that says ’I would rather be anywhere but here.’

“What?” CC says innocently. “What’s a little gossip between bros? I haven’t fucked anyone since before. And I’m not going to sleep with Jake,” he adds in disgust. “I’m dying out here. I’m permanently thirsty, in both senses.”

Andy sighs. “Ashley’s good,” he admits. “Great, really. He’s got experience, or whatever.”

“But?”

“But what?”

“There’s always a ‘but’.”

Andy sets a can of peaches to the side with the rest of the fruit. “He’s got this fucking hangup about our age difference. Which is bullshit,” he grumbles.

CC stares at him for a second, uncomprehending. “Age gap?”

“I’m sixteen.” CC’s mouth drops open and he cocks his head, silent for a long moment. Andy glares at him, daring him to say something.

“...Oh.”

“So, yeah, there’s an age gap. Seven fucking years,” Andy says sullenly. “I guess he feels all guilty and gross about it, but I don’t know how to get him to stop feeling that way. He’s not, like, raping me or anything.”

CC pauses for a moment and then carefully says, “I mean, technically—“

“Do you really want to talk to me about technicalities right now?” Andy cuts him off with one arched eyebrow. “It’s the end of the fucking world, CC. Who gives a flying fuck about the law?”

“That’s fair,” CC shrugs. Suddenly, the sound of the stair door banging open echoes down the hall, followed by a ruckus of footsteps. “They’re back,” CC smiles. “How’s it go?” he calls, “Find anything?”

The hairs on the back of Andy’s neck stand up as the footsteps stop in front of the doorway. An unfamiliar voice says, “I don’t know, why don’t you tell me?”

Andy whips around to see a giant, hulking man blocking the exit.

 

+

 

The first hint that something’s off comes when they reach the hospital door and find it knocked off its hinges.

Jinxx stops the party with a raised fist, and says, deadly calm, “Jake, go around the other entrance with Alex and see if there’s anyone on the ground floor. Ben, guard the main doors. Ashley, come with me to the supply room.”

They’re just creeping their way in - Ashley racking his brain, trying to remember if Andy was in his room or upstairs or in the common room - when the first yell sounds from upstairs, followed by two gunshots from the main floor.

Andy.

Ashley’s heart drops into his stomach and he races up to the second floor, ignoring Jinxx’s yell. He breaks into the second floor hallway, crossbow raised and sprints towards the commotion down the hall.

“Little faggot,” he hears someone say from the storage room, followed by the repeated sound of flesh hitting bone and a horrible, choked off cry. When Ashley soundlessly rounds the corner, a beefy man is throttling Andy by the neck and slamming his fist into his face again and again. There’s blood on the floor

Ashley sees red. He doesn’t even register shooting the arrow until it’s buried in the back of the man’s head with a sick thunk sound and the man keels over, a dumb look on his face. Ashley is already at Andy’s side amongst the knocked-over cans before the body hits the floor.

Andy!” Ashley shakes his shoulders, gripping his biceps. His face is a mess of blood and his nose is definitely broken. Andy’s not moving, his arms limp at his sides, and Ashley’s veins run cold.

He dimly recognizes the sound of his own voice yelling Andy’s name over and over, checking for a pulse and he can’t find it, he can’t find it

“Ash,” Andy gurgles faintly. His eyes aren’t focusing. “Ash, he—“

Ashley almost sobs in relief. “Fuck, are you okay?” he asks, frantically patting Andy down. “Shit, shit.”

“I’m okay,” Andy rasps. “They— Is CC—?”

“He’s not here,” Ashley shakes his head. “I don’t know—“

Another shot echoes through the building, followed by a scream from downstairs.

“What’s—?”

“I don’t know,” Ashley repeats, “I don’t know.”

He holds Andy through the worst of the noise, terrified that someone else will come into the room. When the action finally dies down, he whispers, “Can you stand?”

 

+

 

They make it out of the hospital half an hour later using a back entrance, Andy being halfway carried by Ashley as they flee. They don’t see anyone they know alive, and they don’t take anything with them.

Thankfully, the red bike is still parked faithfully beside the building, just where he left it when they arrived more than a month ago. Ashley hauls Andy up on the seat, gets on, says, hold onto me as he revs the engine to life and they peel out of the parking lot.

He doesn’t look back once.

 

+

 

They make it seventy miles out of the city before the bike runs out of gas, forcing them to pull over on the side of the highway. He could refill the tank with the last gas can, but Andy is falling over on the back of the bike and barely able to hold onto Ashley by the time they stop, so he decides to rest.

“I’m sorry,” Ashley keeps saying as he drags Andy off the bike and lies him on the dead, dirty grass, “Baby, I’m so sorry.”

Andy’s breath is coming out all wrong and his mouth is slack, dried blood coating his cheeks and forehead. His left eye is bruised and red like it’s bleeding from the inside, halfway swollen shut.

Ashley strokes his fingers over Andy’s jaw, kisses him, says “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

They lie there by the side of the road for an hour, Ashley using his filthy bandana to wipe the blood off Andy’s face. His nose is badly broken and the cut above his eye won’t stop leaking blood. There’s a collar of dark bruises around his neck.

All of a sudden, the wind picks up, bringing with it a fresh wave of dust. Ashley immediately pulls his goggles off and clumsily fastens them over Andy’s eyes. “It’s a storm,” he says. “We have to— We have to get into the trees for shelter.” Andy gives no indication of hearing him, and Ashley ties the bandana over his own face, grabs Andy by his armpits and drags his dead weight away from the road just as the wind starts to get worse.

The dust and soot burns at his eyes as he drags Andy’s limp body into the forest, setting him down beside a fallen log and lying on top of him, covering both of their heads with his jacket to keep the worst of it out.

They lie there for about three hours until the storm dies down, Ashley whispering nonsense the whole time. He carefully pulls back the jacket and looks around in the eerie silence, peeling his goggles off Andy’s eyes. The two of them are coated in about a half-inch of grime.

Andy’s lips part slightly, his pale eyes cracked halfway open and he murmurs, “What happened?”

Ashley buries his face in Andy’s neck and holds him, says, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, this is all my fault, I’m so sorry baby—“

“Ash,” Andy says softly, “It’s okay.”

Ashley just shakes his head. “The bike is almost out of gas. We only have one jug left and we’re stranded on the highway.” He realizes he’s crying into Andy’s shoulder, shoulders shaking. “I don’t know if anyone survived.”

“It’s okay,” Andy says after a moment, his voice a faint vibration, “It’s okay. We’ll figure it out. We have so far.”

 

+

 

One month later.

 

“Hey,” Andy says quietly, coming to sit next to Ashley.

“Hey.”

They sit on the stoop of the gas station in silence, the setting sun staining the world orange. Andy tucks his knees up to his chest.

Things have been rough for the past four weeks. Andy’s mostly healed up by now, although his nose is badly twisted and will never be the same. Ashley still hasn’t touched him since they left the hospital, not even a light kiss - Andy knows he blames himself for bringing them into the city, and by extension for what happened. He won’t even sleep next to Andy anymore, won’t look at him or talk to him other than to plan when and where they’re going to leave to next. Andy can’t help but to feel like it’s his fault for getting hurt in the first place.

“Are you okay?” he breaks the silence.

Ashley says, “Yeah. I’m fine.” They sit there for another couple minutes, watching the sun go down, and then he says, “I’m going to go to bed.”

“Okay,” Andy replies softly, watching him stand up and go back inside.

He stays outside until it’s completely dark, wondering where things went so wrong.

 

+

 

The next day, a dust storm comes, preventing them from moving onto the next town as planned. The two of them are stuck inside for hours without speaking. It’s torture. By the time the storm eventually dies down enough to go outside, Ashley is out the door and as far away from Andy as he can get.

Andy follows him. “Do you really hate me that much?” he accuses.

Ashley turns around, his expression one of barely-contained rage. His voice is quiet and threatening when he says, “Go back inside. I don’t want to do this right now.”

“No,” Andy shakes his head. “No. You don’t get to fucking do this. We’re survivors, okay? Doesn’t that mean anything to you? We have to stick together, and yet you can barely even tolerate me!”

“I don’t—“

“Ashley,” Andy pleads, hating the way his voice breaks, “Please. You won’t even speak to me anymore.”

Ashley stares a hole in his chest and slowly says, “I can’t lose you, not after what happened.”

“Fuck you, then,” Andy growls. “Fuck you! You call this keeping me? Not even being able to look me in the eye? Because that’s not a proper fucking alternative.”

He spits in the ground at Ashley’s feet and storms back inside, going into the dingy bathroom. He slams the door and locks it, sliding down to sit against the wall. His eyes well up with unshed tears despite himself. God, this is pathetic.

He doesn’t come out for another hour, not until he hears Ashley going to bed in the other room.

 

+

 

It’s late at night, and Andy can’t sleep.

They’re in an abandoned pet store this time around, Ashley sleeping in the back room and Andy behind the register. He’s been awake for an hour this time. It’s not unusual for him to be unable to fall asleep these days.

Andy knows it’s a bad idea as soon as he gets up from his blanket and shuffles towards the back room, and he knows it’s a terrible mistake as he nudges the door open.

Ashley is on the floor, blinking himself awake at the intrusion, reaching for the knife beside his blanket when Andy says, “I thought maybe you loved me.”

There’s dead air between them. Ashley sits up, drops his arm and says, “What?”

Andy shrugs miserably. “I used to think maybe you loved me,” he repeats. He stares down at Ashley, at his shaggy hair, his strong arms and rough hands and his face, angular with malnourishment. He knows what those lips feel like pressed to his, what those hands feel like against the soft skin of his stomach.

“Go back to bed,” Ashley says softly.

Andy shakes his head and steps further into the room, leaving the door open behind him. “I can’t do this anymore,” he says. “Either you start talking to me again or I’m leaving tomorrow morning.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Ashley protests. “You couldn’t—“

“I managed just fine before we met,” Andy calmly interrupts him. “I can do it again if I need to.”

“Andy,” Ashley sighs, the name heavy on his tongue, as if he’s searching for the words. “Andy, what we did was a mistake,” he finally says. “At the farmhouse—… We never should have done that.”

“Yeah? And what about the sixty times after?” Andy questions him, eyebrows raised. “Were those all mistakes, too?”

“Yes,” Ashley says, looking like it pains him. “I never should have kissed you. I took advantage and—“

“I kissed you! I practically fucking jumped your bones.”

Ashley pauses for a second and says, “It doesn’t matter. It was wrong.”

“Jesus Christ,” Andy laughs. “Fuck, you must have really hated it when I sucked your cock.”

Ashley recoils as if burnt, says, “That’s not—“

“Not what? Not the point?” Andy mocks him venomously. “What’s your fucking point, then?”

“You’re sixteen years old,” Ashley bites out. “You don’t know what you want.”

“Fucking cunt,” Andy spits. “Fuck you.”

He leaves the room, leaves Ashley’s shocked face and walks out into the night.

 

 

+

Chapter Text

+

 

Andy walks. He walks, and walks, and he doesn’t know where he’s going so he walks some more. The sun is just starting to rise when he hears a loud rumble from behind him.

He doesn’t need to turn around to know that it’s Ashley, pulling up beside him in the car they were using.

“Asshole,” Ashley says, rolling along beside him. Andy doesn’t stop, doesn’t look. “Hey, fuckface!” he snaps, “I’m talking to you, okay? I’m talking. Just like you asked.”

Andy reluctantly stops and turns to face him. Ashley turns the car off, leaning out the window.

“I’m sorry,” Ashley says after a long moment of the wind blowing between them. “I was an asshole. And I said some things I shouldn’t have said.”

Andy just looks at him, unimpressed.

Ashley sighs, opens the car door and steps out, coming to stand in front of him. “I’m sorry,” he repeats, this time earnest. “Please don’t go.”

And Andy shouldn’t forgive him. He shouldn’t be looking at Ashley, at his lips and his beautifully dark eyes and he shouldn’t be forgiving him, not after all of that.

“Fuck you,” he says weakly, swallowing. “Fuck you.”

Ashley laughs and steps forward to pull him into a hug, says I’m sorry against Andy’s ear, and Andy lets it happen.

“I thought I could keep you safe if we didn’t— If we weren’t—…” he tries to explain, pulling back to look Andy in the eye. “But I couldn’t—… Not if you were gone. It’s the end of the fucking world, Andy.”

“I know,” Andy says. “I’m sorry, too. I shouldn’t have called you a cunt.”

He meets Ashley’s lips halfway.

 

+

 

Two weeks later.

 

The weather has turned bad again, but the two of them have holed up in another gas station out in the middle of nowhere. They’re spooned together from head to toe, Ashley’s left arm casually draped around Andy’s middle as they fall in and out of sleep.

“Ash?” Andy says over the noise of the wind blowing against the building.

“Yeah?” Ashley murmurs.

“I’m glad we found each other. Even if it’s the end of the fucking world.”

Ashley smiles softly and presses a kiss to the back of Andy’s neck.

Outside, the dust storm rages on.

 

 

 

+