I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Lana could see it in his eyes, the pulling away from her emotionally. She'd seen that look plenty of times in her life, probably more than anyone else if only because most people stopped trying after the first few failures. They moved and her pack was heavy with survival gear though her heart was heavier with the distance in Connor's eyes. Still, she couldn't do anything about it except continue onwards as best she could so she smiled and the smile was genuine if not bright. His thoughts were elsewhere though as they moved and she slipped away from him far easier than she would have liked. She headed down instead, well aware that those floors may be crowded with walkers and this may be the stupidest idea she'd ever had.
Her feet made small noises as she scuttled down the stairs and eventually found what she wanted. One well oiled lockpick later and she was inside, closing the door and letting her eyes adjust to the dark room. Nothing was in here. No moans, no gurgled breathing. No walkers. She sighed softly with relief before pulling out her lighter and lighting up the room faintly. She frowned and set to work moving throughout the room, grumbling softly to herself. Carefully, she examined the machinery in what amounted to a boiler room. The pipes were in excellent condition, probably renovated just before the outbreak. Upkeep had been ignored, but who could blame anyone for that?
A few adjustments here and there, a large wrench and some terribly unladylike curses later, Lana gave the room a once over, gave up the water heater for lost, and exited carefully. She was sure to close the door behind her, wishing she could lock it, before bounding up the steps to apartment 42F. Sliding into the shower of the apartment without saying anything, she turned the knob and moved her ear to the tiled wall. "C'mon, c'mon." Lana whispered. There was mild clanging and a soft hum and then the glorious sound of water running. It was murky at first, but then cleared. She shouted out with happiness. Lana stopped up the tub and let the water slowly fill while she did a victory dance. They wouldn't get hot water, but they'd have enough to help Stennis recover. Hopefully.
Eater of Breakfast Foods
Lainey watched as John left the room, waited a few seconds before standing up and crossing over to Stennis. She'd wanted to hover over him as every instinct in her body was telling her to, but she felt uneasy doing so around John. He was a complete stranger, made more scary by how he may be reacting to the Outbreak. Rob had obviously been unstable, but those were usually easy to see and somewhat easy to deal with as they made themselves known quickly. It was the calculating, quiet ones that scared Lainey the most. She hoped John wasn't like that, but knew she wouldn't be anywhere around him without a weapon and an escape route, at least not for a while.
She crossed the room, sitting on the bed next to Stennis and laying the back of her hand against his forehead. He was warm. This was not good. Glancing back at the door, Lainey shrugged off her jacket and laid it over the footboard of the bed, pulling back the blanket they had covered him with before laying down next to them, her back to his side and covering them both up. She rested her head on his arm, holding the length of it against her chest and sighing softly.
He was unconcious and she somehow felt like she was taking advantage of him, as Stennis never seemed like the cuddling type, but it had been a long, long time since she'd been able to just lay next to someone and try to forget the end of the world as it kept happening around them.
Lainey must have fallen asleep for a moment, she was jolted awake as John entered the room and she stood up immediately, the blanket falling behind her. She smiled nervously at his comment, pulling her jacket back on and fixing Stennis's blanket, an awkward silence filling the room.
"Well, I should really go find Lana and-" Lainey began, but was cut off as Lana and Connor entered the room, said nothing and Lana walked quickly to the bathroom while Connor sat down in a chair, both exuding 'don't talk to me' vibes.
Absently, Lainey ran her fingers through her dirty hair, glanced down at her filthy clothes and decided she should probably resume finding supplies. Grabbing her bag and crowbar, she nodded at the 2 men and glanced back at the unconcious form of Stennis before stepping out and walking across the hall to the nearest apartment, beginning a search for clothing. She'd found several pairs of underwear before, which was great, but she knew that Lana would need new clothes and Lainey could probably use a change herself, as well as the men. She found the only bedroom in that apartment and after pushing the door open slowly, she heard no walkers and set to work emptying the closet into an open duffel bag she'd found on the floor, abandoned with clothes and some personal items inside.
A noise filled the quiet apartment and she froze, trying to place it. Suddenly, she put 2 and 2 together and let out a loud woop before she was able to stop herself. That was running water!
"Lana you're a freaking genius!" She shouted as she scrambled back into the other apartment, dragging the heavy and clothing-filled bag behind her.
Two Sides of One Coin
Connor turned his head away from the window as he heard Lainey shout and he tilted his head slightly as he stood. There was nothing he could see out in that darkness anyway. He found Lana in the bathroom with a tub slowly filling with water. He smiled slightly at her dance and walked over. "I'm sorry; about the way I behaved... before. You probably think I'm a real dick." The boy smirked slightly and gave Lana's shoulder a squeeze. "I should probably explain." Connor moved and sat on the ground beside the bathtub, tapping the tiles beside him invitingly.
He then reached inside his shirt and pulled out the ring attached to the chain around his neck. "I never told any of you this; because I didn't think it was important. I had a girlfriend, before all this shit began. But she... she turned. I had to..." He sighed softly and didn't finish his sentence. "And it kind of feels like I didn't get to finish things with her, properly anyway. I don't know. I thought if I didn't get emotionally involved I wouldn't care. But despite my best efforts I've found myself developing feeling; strong feelings... for you. And I get scared thinking what may happen to you, especially if I'm not here. Like with that guy..."
His fist clenched and he looked away slightly. "I thought Sten was an idiot by sending you with that psychopath. I was right. I shouldn't have let him do it. But I trusted him. Fat lotta good that did me." He shook his head. "I don't know how I'm supposed to stay with this guy." But at the same time he couldn't leave him, he couldn't leave Lainey alone with John or Sten in his current condition. And he couldn't leave Lana full stop. Not now.
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Lana took in the sad story about lovers separated by the end of the world and then hugged Connor. "I'm sorry that happened to you." She said softly before pulling back. "And I don't intend to replace anyone. It'd be impossible and stupid to try." A small smile flitted across her face. "Sten is part of our group, and he did his best to rescue me. If it weren't for that psychopath, Sten wouldn't be injured in the first place." She chewed on her bottom lip. "We'll be stuck here for a little while. Why don't you take some time to just...think. I'm going to focus on helping Sten get better." And with that, she rose and headed out to find a suitable container for her use.
Starting a fire was easy enough, but getting it to stay fed was difficult. Luckily, she found a barbeque on someone's patio with a tank of propane gas. People overlooked the simplest things sometimes. She found a large pot and filled it with water. Within half an hour, she had a boiling pot of chicken broth, courtesy of some boullion cubes she'd hoarded. It wouldn't fill, but it would taste glorious to Sten. Then she boiled a smaller pot for cleaning his wounds and situated herself as his nurse. She stripped him unabashedly and cleaned him head to toe. Lana fed him broth and when he began to grow heated, she forced a couple of fever reducers down his throat. When she saw how restless the others were on day three of Sten's inner fight, she urged them to continue clearing the building and gathering supplies.
"No sense sitting about and wasting all this time. When you guys are done, you can even have baths before we split the supplies." Lana smiled. "But, you all stay together. For safety's sake."