Bitty and the Frogs are running North along River Street, each carrying a backpack filled with food and the other supplies they’d scavenged on their trip back to campus. They can see the puffs of their breaths as they jog; their footsteps falling together in a quick, steady rhythm as they head back towards the Haus. Bitty hopes this run will be enough to keep them from having to go back for a while. Crossing the river to raid the commons has been getting riskier than any of them are comfortable with, even with the system they’ve got going. Bitty in the center - he may be fast but he’s small too. Dex and Nursey run ahead, their hockey sticks poised and ready for a clean head shot. Chowder flanks them, watching all their backs as they make their way back to the Haus.
Bitty jumps and Nursey lets out a shout. “On your left!” he adds before charging in front of Dex to take a swing at a staggering figure lurching out from behind an abandoned car. It’s a Chad. Bitty reaches forward and grabs the sleeve of Dex’s jacket, pulling him just out of biting range as Chowder rushes forward, stick raised, to back up Nursey. The two boys alternate swings until they’re sure he isn’t getting back up. It’s disconcerting how good at this they’ve gotten. They used to be squeamish about it. Even once they figured out that the LAX bros were infected and not just assholes, it took a while for everyone at the Haus to get used to taking them out. Not even Chowder gets squeamish anymore.
“Nice follow through,” Dex mumbles to Nursey as the boys readjust their packs and resume their pace towards the Haus. Chowder snorts and rolls his eyes. Dex tries so hard, but his flirting is the absolute worst.
“Thanks,” Nursey mumbles back as he goes in for a friendly shoulder bump. Unfortunately, the supply-laden packs have thrown off everyone’s center of gravity. Nursey’s not so light bump sends Dex stumbling through a nearby fence. Chowder reconsiders his assessment. Dex’s flirting is the second worst. Unlike Nursey, he had yet to inflict any bodily injury.
Chowder looks up to see if Bitty’s in the mood to join in chirping. And…no, he’s not. Of course, the outbreak’s been hard on everyone. But it seems to have hit Bits and Lardo harder than most. Chowder was lucky. Farmer’s two houses away in the fortified SWVB House. Holster and Ransom are together holed up in the attic. Dex has Nursey and an air mattress on the floor of Chowder’s room. He can’t imagine how hard it must be for Bits and Lardo to have their guys on the outside. He can’t think about how he’d feel if he couldn’t see Caitlin…
Chowder keeps quiet and lets Dex and Nurse partake in their elaborate courting ritual. The longer he can go without worrying about them hooking up on the air mattress the better.
Bitty’s just started to cross the street back to the Haus when they hear shuffling. It’s another Chad. The boys start towards the front door of the Haus, yelling for Ransom and Holster to back them up. Before they know it there’s the telltale swoosh of pucks and debris flying from the reading room and the solid thump of them hitting Chad. He finally stalls in the middle of the street as the boys reach the house.
Dex peaks through the window once they’ve reach the relative safety of the living room. “Knocked out but still breathing,” he murmurs, leaning to get a better look. “Looks like Chad C.”
“Unbitten,” Holster supplies as he descends the stairs.
“Still an asshole,” retorts Ransom as he follows.
“Should we go and get him?” Chowder asks, leaning against Dex to try and get a look.
“No, another Chad is picking him up,” Dex says as he lets the curtain fall shut.
“Fuckin’ LAX Bros.” The boys look up. At the top of the stairs, partially hidden by Holster, is Shitty. His hair is long, pulled back into a small bun and he’s rocking a full beard instead of the ‘stache. But he still looks good. Healthy at least.
The Haus goes quiet for just a moment before descending into chaos. The Frogs drop their bags and dart up the stairs, shrieking loudly, to tackle Shitty. Bitty watches as they laugh and tumble down a fews steps. Lardo’s at the top of the stairs now with a small smile on her face. The tension that’s been sitting in her shoulders the past month is almost all gone. She smirks at him and walks towards the boys. Bitty’s wondering what on earth that girl is smirking at when he’s stopped short.
Jack. He looks so, so tired and more than a little beat up. But he’s here, safely home. Bitty’s spent the past month with an unbearable weight on his chest, wondering about his boy, and it’s gone in an instant. Jack smiles softy.
Bitty feels like sobbing as he watches Jack come down the stairs. They’re nearly chest to chest when Bitty reaches out and rests his hands at Jack’s collarbone. Jack reaches ups and puts one hand over Bitty’s and one on his cheek.
“Jack.” Bitty breaths out his name, barely a whisper, and presses his nose into Jack’s sternum. The world may be ending just outside their door. But as Jack presses soft kisses into Bitty’s hair, the sound of the Frogs gagging in the background, things seem a little more alright for just a bit.