Ok, so just so everybody’s clear: this is depressing. It’s the ending no one wants to see, but it is what might await our Bonnie and Clyde.
Yes, this is short. Most of the comments thus far have mentioned this, and it is intended. I’ve extended it slightly now, but not extensively. So if you think this is short and abrupt, that’s what I wanted.
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Roxas knew, from the moment the sun rose over the skeletal remains of the Vegas strip, that it was going to be a terrible day. He could feel it in his bones, in the stiffness of muscles despite the plush comfort of the bed they were sleeping in, and in the way his arm and shoulder felt numb, even though they hadn’t needed to kill anything in the last week. He and Axel were squatting in a penthouse suite at the Mirage, personally taking advantage of the liquor cabinets in all the rooms while they celebrated two years on the road. They hadn’t seen any infected for miles as they drove through Death Valley into Sin City, but when Roxas heard an unearthly scream characteristic of a zombie in the afternoon, he shrugged and went out to debrain the thing.
And this was how they died, out on the Vegas strip with the sun bearing down on them from above, and zombies on all sides.
It shouldn’t have been a problem. A couple of the zombies had mutated infections, so they were a little faster and more difficult to deal with, but he and Axel had faced much worse odds.
When Roxas shot the last one point-blank between the eyes, watching and reveling for a few moments in the disintegrating grey matter and blood, he looked over to check on Axel and was startled by what he saw.
Axel had been bitten.
There was no doubt about it; his shirt was torn and drenched in blood, gushing between his fingers where he held the wound. His skin was covered by a thick layer of sweat already, blood trailing down his arm and dripping quickly to the ground.
Roxas watched in horror, not wanting to face what he had to do, as the blood vessels in Axel’s eyes started popping, white slowly blooming in red.
“Kill me!” he demanded. “What are you waiting for?”
Shaking uncontrollably, Roxas pulled out his handgun – the one Axel had given him, the one he’d used to kill Xigbar, the one he’d nicknamed Absalom – but found he couldn’t pull the trigger. For the first time in his life, or at least since his first time holding a gun, he hesitated as he witnessed the infection take over the man he . . .
“I-” Roxas stuttered, his mouth dry in the desert heat. “I can’t.”
“Kill me!” Axel screamed desperately. “You promised you would!”
Roxas’ hand shook harder as moisture pooled in his eyes; he wiped them away angrily. This was the price he paid for his emotions. Axel’s movements became jerky, the whites of his eyes now completely red, still screaming things both intelligible and unintelligible; he bent over and vomited, black blood pouring over the street, signaling the second stage of infection. It wouldn’t be long now.
“I-I,” Roxas swallowed, hoping Axel was still in there somewhere. “I love you,” he choked, forcing it past his throat and tongue; the confession tasted like bile and blood.
Axel paused, staggering for a second; then he screamed, eyes blood red and mindless, teeth and mouth caked in black blood, and Roxas knew he was dead. He fired a single shot, catching him right between the eyes, and watched his body crumble.
Roxas stared, his body quaking as tears coursed over his cheeks, unnoticed. In his last moments, he had let Axel down; he’d allowed him to experience the horrific pain of infection and death despite whole-hearted promises to kill before it got too far. Suddenly he was awash in anger, anger at Axel for getting himself bitten, anger at himself for being so weak, anger at the knowledge that he’d just been forced to kill the man he loved, at the realization that this was, well and truly, the end. He knew he wouldn’t make it much farther, not alone and not in this state of mind.
Then Roxas put the gun to his own temple, and fired a second time.
The thing about Bonnie and Clyde is that they had other people to tell their story, to turn it into ballads and rap songs; to publish poetry and newspaper articles; they had photographs, proof of their existence.
No one knew Axel and Roxas had died, and most probably didn’t care; no one wrote ballads in their honor or even knew their story, though Axel did leave a journal behind of their escapades, hidden under the mattress of their penthouse suit. The bombs destroyed that evidence of their existence too, barely a few months after the last shot Absolom fired.