Not Out of The Woods Yet

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Ray awoke, feeling a slight stiffness in her neck. Unlike Zack, she found it difficult to sleep anywhere other than a matress. She caught herself thinking about their old home. A pit forming in her stomach. Where were they supposed to go now? Would they ever be able to live peacefully? Zack had not killed for a while but the fact was he was still a criminal. He had undoubtedly killed people in the past and the authorities and citizens of (REDACTED) county would not rest until they had his head on a pike. Ray knew this. She knew that wishing for a quiet life with the man she cared deeply for was near impossible. This made her surprisingly emotional and squeezed his bandaged hand tightly. However, he was completely sound asleep. Still groggy from yesterday. Ray buried her face in his shoulder, as if she was trying to hide from the cruelness of the word around her. Eventually Zack felt a wetness forming on his sleeve. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "Ray? What are you doing?" he inquired. She straightened up, rubbing her eyes. He may not have been the sharpest but he could still tell that something was up. "You were crying, weren't ya?" She blank, hesitantly shaking her head. "What the hell for? We're fine for now, right? So why are you blubbering so damn loud? Can't you see a guy's trying to get some shut eye here?" He crossed his arms, annoyed on the surface but truly worried on the inside. "I'm sorry, Zack." Her apology made him slightly more irritable but he tried a more gentle approach. Or as gentle as he could be, anyways. "Don't apologize. Just tell me what's wrong." Ray was shocked at first by the suddeness of it all, but she eventually caved and told him exactly what was on her mind. "To tell you the truth, I'm kind of scared." she lowered her head, holding her hands in her lap. He thought of grabbing them and holding them to calm her down. To reassure her. He wanted to pull her into his arms and tell her to stop worrying and that he wasn't going to let those "bastards" get a hold of either of them. But he didn't have to. Ray's bright blue eyes crinkled. Tears feel down her cheeks as she pressed herself against him. Crying loudly into his chest. "why is everything so difficult? Why can't we just be left alone?" She sobbed.

 Seeing Ray like this...So fragile, so vulnerable reminded him of his much younger self. Back to his days at the orphanage. Painful days where he felt alone, sad, and confused. Distrusting of everyone around him. He remembered how vulnerable he felt. Having to bury the body of a kid he had talked to "just the other day" and catering to the adults every command. He remembered his days of solitude back when Gray took him to the building. Where he stayed on floor B6. Killing anyone that appeared happy that was brought there. His only source of enjoyment. Zack took a deep breath and slowly wrapped his arms around her. He wasn't quite sure why he did this however. Up until this point, Zack rarely showed any sort of affection towards anyone. He didn't even know the meaning of the word itself. It felt as though his body acted on it's own accord. As though he wasn't in control of the situation. Yet, it felt good. She was warm and small. Ray's eyes widened at this. She hadn't been hugged in a long time. She couldn't even recall the last time her parents had done it before their marriage ended in bloodshed. Ray slowly wrapped her arms around Zack's waist, holding on tightly, as if they were the last two people on Earth. She sat up. Resting her hands against his shoulders. Looking him dead in the eyes. "Please, Zack. Please don't die. No matter what." A look of shock melted into a confident smile. He ruffled her long silky blonde hair. "Come on, Ray. What the hell do you take me for?" She smiled back. rubbing the tears from her eyes. Which somehow made her look more alive than her usual emotionless self. It was exciting for him. Finally seeing her act like a human rather than some emotionless doll like when they first met. Though unlike the usual rush of adrenaline he'd get from seeing someone happy and having his usual impulse of wanting to destroy it, he wanted to protect her. He had grown fond of this new side and would do anything to see it more. "I'm not planning on dying anytime soon. So don't you go dyin on me, either. Got that?" He said in a slightly serious tone. "Yes." She beamed. 

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