for katemonkey: the oc, post-apocalyptic.

"She hasn't moved in, like...forever." Summer's forehead wrinkles in the old familiar way, but the bruise across her cheek is new. So are the little cracks in her bottom lip, teensy tiny slashes of deep pink. Ryan misses the gloss, the high butterfly shine of her mouth. Her eyelashes, though, are as long and dark as ever and they flash briefly and she's saying, "— yo, Chino, you in there?"

Ryan scrunches his face and leans in, pressing his palm firmly against Marissa's forehead. She's greasy with sweat and fever and her hair trails across the back of his hand, tickling. She isn't getting any better. She's not talking, not eating, drinking only when they drip water into her mouth. He takes his hand away, careful not to look like he's doing it fast or like he's disgusted, not with Summer watching with her fear like a cloak.

"Seth and his granddad should be back soon," he says. It's been three and a half days and this is the first time he's said that, so Summer hasn't had time to get cynical about it yet. She nods, wearily, and rubs a hand over her hip as they walk outside, away from Marissa and the sharp smell of sickness. "This thing freakin' hurts," she tells him, but her voice is flat as plaster. Ryan swallows hard. He doesn't drink much water these days.

"Here, let me take a look." She shifts into his hands and he tugs down her pants a little, slipping his fingers under the strap of the makeshift crossbow holster she's wearing. Her skin is hectic, hot, and he thinks about fashioning her a shoulder holster instead of this hipster, maybe one across the back, just so he can stop thinking about the softness of her breathing. Ryan tears a strip from his already questionable t-shirt and wraps it around the strap before letting it go, and she sighs when the cloth hits her skin again.

"Thanks," Summer says, and reaches up to wrap her arms around him, and it's almost not a surprise to him when they start to kiss each other. She's so tiny, and the crossbow against her thigh bumps into him. If he bites his lip he'll bleed and maybe he could press that against her mouth, cover up those deep painful slivers of pink, make her look a little bit like the girl she used to be. But Summer makes a noise against his tongue, pulls away and tastes his blood and goes, "ugh, Ryan, what the hell?" and the crimson colour's gone in one, two swipes of her tongue and that's it. That's it for them, and it's all there's ever gonna be.

She stumbles back in to Marissa with mumbled excuses and he doesn't watch her go. He gingerly presses the broad side of his tongue against the unwhole tears in his lip and thinks about how to get Marissa to eat, because it might be another three and a half days before anything else happens at all. She might lick her lips too.

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