Sick (Always There)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Everything was blurry and red. A dull ache resonated from every inch of her body. But, all she concentrated on was the warmth of Russell beside her, and his face. He was staring up into the sky, waiting. The thundering of footsteps. And then, the last thing she heard, spoken from the one she loved,

"Fuck you for what you did."

There was a certain comfort in the barrel of a gun.
They weren't crazy. They weren't any different from most people. She was a little girl with ambitions, and he was the deputy of the Ogden Marsh police department. They had loved, had lost, had been in much more remorse than they should have. They were Russell Joseph Clank and Lynn Leo Roberts.

No, they weren't crazy. They were just a little sick.


Submitted: October 14, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 14, 2011




In a way, she was always there. When she was young (well, younger than now) she was there. Out in her yard, out in the field, out walking the dogs. A very active little girl, and very nice. She wasn't taught to keep away from strangers, because around these parts, there were no strangers. Besides, who would feel the need to be afraid of a police officer, let alone the deputy?

As she got older, she was still there. Always. It wasn't the type of always that got annoying. She didn't act like other kids; she didn't feel like she was one. That was partially his fault, though.

When they first met, he wasn't sure how to act around her. Couldn't cuss, he knew, but what else? He'd been an only child, so it wasn't like he had a niece or a nephew. Then again, he wasn't really old enough to. None of his friends had children, either. Thus, instead of trying to act like something else, he acted like she was just one of his friends. Of course, he refrained from cussing, doing things kids shouldn't see or do.

She wasn't a kid at all; maybe that's how she was smart enough to destroy his morals.

Frowning hard, she realized the irony in that. Now, walking down the deserted road, she wished she had been the only thing that drained him of his morals. The virus… it had taken him. She didn't doubt it.

What she doubted was that she could leave him.

There was a certain routine to Lynn (or, Leo, as she was called) and Russell's life. She awoke every day at the crack of dawn (sometimes before it was even light out) and rolled out of bed. Some fifteen minutes later, she would be dressed, hair combed, face washed, teeth brushed, and fed by her own doing. The collars would go on the dogs, they were too old to run away, thus leashes were unneeded.

When the dogs had done their business, she would bring them back inside, and let them into her mother's bedroom to wait for her to awaken. And then, the walk would start.

The gravel road crunched hard underfoot and the stench of summer hung in the air. Off in fields there were crops growing, scattered here and there. The walk was going to be long, though Leo could care less. This was a peaceful walk; no birds chirping, no dogs barking, no people talking; nothing. This walk gave her time to plan the day out. She could plan the breakfast she would make for him, plan the lunch, and decide whether or not she should bring him something extra.

Her life did sort of revolve around him. Then again, if she didn't take the time to plan out all of this, who would? Definitely not Russell, himself. He had enough on his hands. For some reason, that made her laugh. To an outsider, it would seem like all he did was sit behind a desk all day and drink coffee.

How stereotypical.

Now what did he do? He did lots. More than any cop should have to do. This wasn't his job.

It was his life.

Russell's house was a nice little place. As most people, he kept a key under the welcome mat, something Leo had learned long ago. She didn't really understand why he didn't just give her a key.

Leo bent down to shove the mat aside, take the key from the porch wood, and then unlock the door. Inside, she placed it back under the mat, and replaced it into its regular position. There was some stray trash on the floor, some things here and there. Russell wasn't a messy man, but he was not particularly clean.

After cleaning up a little, she exited the living room into the small kitchen. There was a multitude of pointless things on the table, but Leo didn't intend on spending much time cleaning it up. It was a large table, and only two people ever ate at it. Him and her. When there was a pot of coffee boiling, it was time for the hardest part of her morning. Waking Russell up.

Russell was a heavy sleeper, to a certain degree. In the sense that once he was asleep, you could get him to wake up, but he was a zombie to the world. Sometimes, Leo couldn't help but wonder how he had managed to get to work before she had come into his life. She was almost like his mother (though, only in the mornings).

She carefully made her way into his room. Almost always, clothes would be strewn on the floor, and there was always a mess on his bedside table (or around it, when he accidentally knocked stuff off). A lot of the time, Leo shook him awake, and he would groan and tell her to go away. She knew better, though. He needed her here to get things done. Once he was partially awake, she would lean down and very quietly tell him that he had five minutes.

Then, she would take the time to pick up some of the clothes and throw them in the basket she kept in the laundry room. After all the clothes she could see were in the basket, Leo would take said basket and put it back in the room (every Sunday those clothes would be washed and hung to dry). She would check on the coffee on the way back to his room, and almost always find him curled up in his blankets again.

Sparing an extra minute, she would take the time to find a dirt free pair of jeans, and a wrinkle free uniform shirt. In one of drawers, she'd root around for a nice clean white undershirt, and set that out with everything else. Finally, Leo would find a pair of socks, and go on a search for his boots (which were never where they should be; often kicked into random corners). Of course, Russell would still be asleep by the time she had everything out and ready.

And, then, there was the truly fun part.

When Leo yanked back the blankets to uncover a still very sleepy Russell, she found exactly what she expected. In a white undershirt and a pair of boxers, laying in a ball with his face planted into the pillow, he snored ever so slightly. Long ago, this bothered her, but she had learned to deal with it. As usual, she attempted to shake him awake. Of course, Russell showed no signs of moving.

With a sigh, having already guessed this would happen, Leo grabbed his arm, and struggled to pull him up. Russell didn't really fight it. He just held out on helping her with getting himself into a sitting position. Kid was too thin, this was her work out. When Leo had finally managed to prop him up, the worse part kicked in. Reaching over, she picked up his pair of jeans, and lightly slapped his chest.

"Come on," she said, placing the jeans on his lap, "I'm not putting your pants on for you." There was an air of reluctance about his movements when Russell took the time to put his pants on, though he plopped back down onto the bed the second he finished buttoning and zipped the front. Then again, Leo expected nothing else. If Russell had actually gotten up to finish dressing himself, it would have been a miracle.

So, instead of Russell doing it himself, Leo was forced to help him pull off his shirt from yesterday. She allowed him to lay down a little as she went off to put the shirt with the other dirty clothes, and again had to pull him up (with a little less resistance than before) in order to replace the shirt with the clean one. As Leo reached to get said clean one, she couldn't help but look at him. She frowned in disdain at his stomach. He was very thin. Sure, he was by no means puny. He was actually rather muscular. But, he was very thin. Maybe she should make him a little more food per serving...

Finally shaking herself from her worries, Leo pulled the new shirt over his head, and set to work with putting his uniform shirt onto his shoulders, and buttoning it up. By the time his shirt was fully buttoned, Russell seemed to be much more awake. As she smoothed his collar, Leo looked him in eye and said,

"You're gonna put on your own shoes, I'll go get a cup of coffee for you," she smiled, "And I'll bring you something good for breakfast at the station around seven."

Walking away, she laughed a little at how she acted so much like his mother.

Just like every other day, Leo made sure to come into the station at around 12 to bring Russell his lunch. He didn't have the time (nor the skill to make even a sandwich without messing up) to make it himself. So, naturally, he turned to the one who made him breakfast, too (as well as dinner).

The sheriff was out for the time being, which made her feel a little less cruel about feeding Russell but not him. He never really seemed to pay much mind to her, but stray glances sometimes made their way to her eyes, and she would always smile in invitation for him to join the two of them. Almost always denied, of course, but it was worth a try.

Leo knew Russell inside and out, and she knew exactly what to bring him. Nothing that took too long to eat, nothing that was too overboard, and something that actually tasted good. What she knew he really liked, despite the extremely typical idea? A sandwich, some chips, and (if he got lucky) something extra to really brighten up the day. Something sweet, of course.

Russell had a sweet tooth.

Times like these, you had to be careful. Especially them. With David and Judy in the house, and Becca waiting in the car, Leo found herself on the one side of the house that had no windows. No one could see them.ThatRussell had made sure of. He could only go so long before needing to say this,

"If we don't manage to get out of here," he stopped, and had to lean down to kiss her on the forehead, "I love you."

Paper bag in hand, Leo shoved the door open, and scanned the room for the one and only Russell. Nothing. Dropping the bag on his desk, hoping nothing had been damaged, Leo did a quick once-over of the entire room before going back to sit at Russell's desk.

"Russell?" she called out, not expecting a reply. She got one, though.

"Bathroom!" she smiled a little, and sat back hard. No more than a minute later, Russell exited the door in the back and walked through the archway to the front office. With an extremely satisfied look on his face, he plopped down in the chair opposite Leo, adjusted his hat, and said, "Somethin' good?"

"Your favorite," she said, smiling and motioning for him to go ahead. "Turkey and cheese." Russell smirked, and grabbed the bag from the center if his desk.

"Y'know what I think?" Russell said, taking a little bite, wiping his mouth, and looking over at her. Leo made a sound of questioning, reaching over to steal a chip from the little bag. "I think it's about time that I…" He stopped, and Leo raised an eyebrow.


"Teach you to shoot." Leo's eyes grew wide, and her mouth fell open. She coughed a little, and leaned forward.

"Really?" she asked, immediately excited. She leaned forward a little more, eyes sparkling unnaturally. And when Russell nodded, she nearly fell of her chair. "Oh, thank you!" She smiled brighter than usual, leaving Russell slightly puzzled by her enthusiasm.

"I have Saturday off and …" he stopped, and shrugged a little. "Well, I figure that since your birthday's coming up, soon… Might as well give you something fun." Suddenly, Leo's entire demeanor changed. Her smile faded, and she glared a little at him. Russell raised his eyebrows in question. She sighed, and flicked her nose into the air.

"My birthday was three months ago," Russell stared, and blinked, and waited. It seemed that quite a while had passed before he managed to bring his thoughts together, and say,

"Oh," Leo looked at him, waiting for something else. "Sorry. Happy late seventh birthday." And she said nothing. An air of awkwardness drifted over them, and she sighed. Putting her forehead in her hand, Leo said,



"I'm eight."

Over the past year, Russell had made sure to remember her birthday. When she turned nine, there was suddenly something to laugh about in that conversation. In a way, Leo and Russell always managed to find something to laugh about. In the past few days, though, there had been nothing. And when the bomb hit the car, leaving smoldering piles of metal, drowning out Judy's cries, they found something to laugh at in the irony.

The day was nice and warm. It hadn't rained in a while, but the sky was still cloudless. Everything was quiet. Until, of course, they began. Russell had to drive out a little ways to find a nice place far from any towns or houses so as not to disturb anyone. There wasn't much terrain to work with, no woods other than the swamp (which was unusable).

So, when they finally came to a place they could actually use to set up something, it was already the afternoon. The first thing they did when getting out of the truck, Russell set up a couple cans and they stopped to make quick work of lunch before starting with him actually teaching her.

The first half hour was spent very blank, Russell showing her how to hold the gun, how to cock it, and everything she need to know before actually shooting. He was a cop; her safety was what he had to make sure of. So, after learning everything she needed to know before actually shooting, Leo got to the hardest part of all. Actually doing it.

The first few shots were okay, not the best. Slowly, very slowly, though, she was getting closer. Up until, finally…

Bang~! The bullet flew, and so did the can. Knocked hard off the log it had resided on, the can fell far from its pedestal, and everything was quiet. Leo's breath stopped, and she stared hard at where the can once was. Russell, on the other hand, stared at her, waiting for her to move. To speak. To just do something. And when she finally did,

"Russell?" she turned to him, blinking a few times.

Yeah?" he was still waiting for her to move, or show any expression, really. She seemed rather emotionless.

"I just hit it, didn't I?" Russell just nodded, waiting, still. And, he was pleased when a grin slowly spread across Leo's face, and her eyes glittered with joy. "Oh, thank you, Russell!" She said, and he opened his arms for the inevitable hug. He was knocked back a little when she hugged him so tightly, but he hugged back.

Russell wasn't aware of how long the hug went on; Leo wasn't aware when she felt that feeling of bliss settle into her stomach as she pressed her face into Russell's midriff. Of course, when it ended, Leo was reluctant about it. She didn't really understand what it was about that hug that made her feel the way she did. Maybe it was the fact that it was the first time they had been in such close proximity. Maybe it was the warmth that she felt from his arms. Or maybe it was the way that he, too, seemed to enjoy it so much.

As for Russell, it was only when he had to let go did he realize just how tightly he had been holding her. And he, too, did not wish for it to end. She was so small, so sweet. Oh, so ... huggable. What he found so attractive about hugging her, he wasn't certain. But there was something. Maybe it was the way he knew that that was all he should do.

All he could do.

Those shooting lessons really paid off. Lying hard against the gravel of the road, Russell by her side, her arms were outstretched as she very carefully aimed at the freaks chasing another man. The truck over the both of them provided a warm, strangely haven-like feeling. And when the bullet of one of the freaks collided with the man, Leo saw her third death that week.

The sheriff had given her these two guns (the one she was holding and the one that sat secure against her side) and said that now she was part of the force. Yet, she still couldn't handle this. She'd have to get better at it.

After shooting a few more rounds, Leo found herself pretty tired. Having been out for more than an hour, Russell knew it was about time to call it a day. He intended on taking Leo home and maybe even going into the station to put in a few extra hours. The chief had been generous enough to give him both Saturday and Sunday off, shooting for more weekends like this could be nice. Perhaps pushing it, a little, but nice.

A few minutes after he and Leo sat down on the log, he sipped a little at the soda she had presented to him, before turning to look at her, about to propose they go home. Russell had expected her to have a tired look on her face, maybe even an amused one. Instead, he found one of pure concentration. He blinked,


"Russell, how old are you?"

"Huh?" he looked at her in pure confusion. Leo's concentration didn't waver, though. She just asked again,

"How old are you?"

"Twenty seven," Russell said, eyebrows raised a little. He was genuinely surprised by such a random question. Of course, to Leo it didn't seem random. Russell could almost see the gears turning in her head.

"And what is the legal age of consent?"

"Eighteen." That look of concentration became more evident, and he stared at her in waiting. When she said nothing, he said, "What?"

"It's going to be ten years until I'm eighteen, and by then you'll be thirty seven." The concentration broke, and her eyes became dull and sad. "So much for my plan." Russell made a noise in the back of his throat. A sound meaning something like, "Explain?" Leo sighed, shook her head, and then said,

"I planned out most of my entire life with you by my side. But, I realize that you are too old to..." she seemed to try to think of the proper way to say it, found it in, "'wait for me,' as people might say." When Russell didn't comment, she looked over at him to find a look that asked her for more.

"As much as this sounds like a little kid's dream, I always kind of figured you'd be 'the one', y'know?" Still, Russell waited. "The person that passes all the milestones of becoming an adult with me. First kiss, having sex, marriage, owning a home, having children..." She had yet to learn reasons why saying such things should make her feel embarrassed, thus she had no hesitation when saying them.

Of course, Russell knew that certain things didn't seem right with this plan. Did she really expect such things from him?"

Although, because of the age difference I'm realizing that most of these things are impossible. By the time it is legal for you to do either the second or third, you will be old enough to have already married." she sighed and shook her head. Russell thought over her words, and choked a little upon realizing just what the second and third were. "And I can't ask you to do either thing before I become of age. You are, after all, a man of the law."

Everything became silent. Russell really didn't know what to say to something like that, and was lucky when Leo did it, instead.

"I guess my plan to spend my life with you wouldn't work out…" she sighed, and once again, things settled into silence. Some five minutes later, she stood up and turned a little to look at him. "We should get home."

There were tears in her eyes.

Even with all the bad things happening to them, to the town… Leo couldn't find it in herself to cry. She just kind of figured it was that since Russell was still there, there wasn't anything to cry about. Not yet.

When Russell pulled a gun on the sheriff, she made a move to stop him. But he slung the gun over onto his back, and grabbed her shoulder to pull her against him.

"My side?" she closed her eyes and put an arm around him, "Shit, I didn't know there were sides." She smiled, pressing her face into his own side. When they walked, they walked some fifteen feet behind David and Judy. At one point, she did very quietly ask why he was doing this. He bent down a little, and put a hand on her cheek.

"I'm doing this so that we survive, okay?" she nodded a little, and he smiled. That smile, the smile that left her a little weak. Weak enough that he could pull her into a hug. She almost didn't mind when he pulled away, stood up, and yelled,

"Move!" to the two, who had stopped. He wasn't gone just yet, he was still right there. With her. With the gun.

The next morning, Leo got up early like every other day. She got dressed, let the dogs do what they needed to, and walked to Russell's house. The only difference was that, unlike her usually cluttered mind, she didn't really think about anything. There wasn't anything left to plan. She would do every day like the last, until Russell didn't need her to. It wasn't going to be easy; having to get up every morning out of habit, without really having anything particular to do. She wasn't accustomed to being bored.

When she arrived at Russell's, she spent a little extra time with straightening things up. It was a Sunday, and he had the day off. If she didn't have the "there's always something you need to do" attitude, Leo probably wouldn't have even bothered coming. Of course, she knew there were many things Russell could do. Sure, he wouldn't want to. He would want to lie in bed until noon, because he never got to anymore.

How lazy.

"Fucking heavy…" Russell muttered, and swung the gun off his back. She turned her head a little, and was able to step back a little before he let fly one… two bullets. It almost made her laugh.

Heavy, right. Lazy.

"Russell!" Leo said, shaking him ever so slightly. His back was facing her. He groaned, and she was certain it was going to be another day where she would struggle to pick him up into a sitting position and force him into getting dressed. "C'mon!"

"It's Sunday, I don't have to go in today!" he groaned, curling up a little more. "Go away!" Russell, in a way, knew she wouldn't. Of course.

"No! You've got things to do!" she sighed, and shook her head. Attempting to gather all her strength, she grabbed his arm and pulled…

And was yanked over onto him. Within a matter of seconds, Leo found herself pulled over Russell and into his arms. His chin connected with the top of her head, successfully trapping her against his chest. His blanket was tossed over her, and she was completely engulfed in warmth. When she felt her eyes drifting closed, she immediately panicked and opened them wide. She didn't like the feel of it being past five in the morning, and she was still lying in bed. Sure, it wasn't HER bed, but it was a bed! It made her feel … lazy.

"Russell!" She growled, pushing against him. It was no use, she already knew. Russell was much stronger than she was. After all, he was twenty seven.

This thought brought tears to her eyes, again. Russell was surprised when she suddenly stopped fighting, and looked down to find her willingly pressing her face into his chest. It was almost cute. Except, that the look on her face was of pure sadness.

"Hey," he muttered, placing a hand on the back of her head. "What's up?" Leo sighed, and shook her head.

"This is the closest thing to being with you that I'm gonna get, huh?" she smiled weakly, and reached up to swat away a tear. "Russell… how much longer are you even going to need me to wake you up every morning?" He really wasn't sure how to answer this. He had never really put any thought into it. In a way, Russell kind of figured that he might never lose her. But, the way she put it… he knew would have to, eventually.

He was wrong.

Being able to cuddle up in a warm bed and press her face into Russell's chest again… That was something she desired greatly.

"I'm not right, am I?" he said, almost too quietly. Leo dropped down to her knees beside him, and touched his arm.

"N-no." she said quietly. She wiped a little blood from under his nose, and said quickly, "You're fine… You were just punched, this from the blood." Russell shook his head.

"I know the truth." Tears welled quickly in her eyes, and she wrapped her arms around his waist to press her face into his chest. She shook her head hard, and he placed a hand on the back of her head. David very lightly shook his head, and Russell looked down at her then back to his eyes, "Can I walk with you guys? Just a little while longer? Please?"

Neither was sure just how long they stayed like that. Leo felt like a slacker, but she couldn't bring herself to fight against it. Feeling Russell's warmth against her body, knowing he was right there… It was heaven. Knowing that eventually he wouldn't be? It hurt.

Russell, himself, was too preoccupied with thinking of other things to be concerned with time. Leo seemed genuinely upset with the fact that she couldn't spend the rest of her life with him. She was so young, but she seemed so sure. Leo was a smart girl, but did she really know what she was talking about?

"The person that passes all the milestones of becoming an adult with me. First kiss, having sex, marriage, owning a home, having children..."Was that really something he could have provided, even if he was younger? In truth, he doubted it. He could do the kiss, the sex, but marriage? It didn't seem like something hecould do. Children? He had never even thought of having kids. In truth, he was really living his dream with the life he had, now.

At this point, she really didn't care what the chief saw. She had many doubts that she was going to actually live through this. And with Russell's current state? She could care less. So, when they stopped to take a break from the long walking, she didn't hesitate to grab Russell and quickly walk only so far before turning to talk to him.

The entire conversation was in low tones, she needed nothing more right now than this. Just a moment more with the one she loved.

Leo had never been so surprised in her life than when Russell suddenly shifted and moved his hand from her back to her chin. When her eyes were brought up to his own, she found a strange sincerity in them. His pale blue eyes were surprisingly dark, and his face was soft.

And when she found his lips against her own, she almost found herself panicking. When he pulled away, she was terribly dazed and he smirked a little. In a very breathy tone, she said,


"You told me you wanted me to be your first kiss, right?" Leo blinked a couple times, and nodded very slowly. Everything was fuzzy, other than Russell's smiling face. With minor hesitation, she whispered,


For some reason (Russell was pretty sure it was because of the fact that he was infected) he, too, didn't care that the sheriff was probably watching. When Leo pulled him away to talk, all he could manage to do without choking was to listen to her talk. And as she said that they should probably get back so that the sheriff didn't ask anything, he reached forward and grabbed her wrist.

Without thinking about anything else but her, he picked her up and kissed her hard. The sheriff probably saw it. He probably didn't like it. But, really, neither cared.

Russell didn't really know what led to something like this. He had kissed Leo only one more time, just one, but somehow something in him changed by that second kiss. Something fell apart, because he turned over onto his back and pulled her on top of his chest. And, by this time, he sure as hell was glad that he closed the curtains and blinds on the window above his bed.

How bad would it look if a shirtless little girl was seen hugging an equally shirtless deputy Clank? Pretty terrible, he assumed. Yet, somehow, he couldn't find it in himself to stop this. Because the way she looked right now, so very beautiful, it was impossible. Absolutely impossible. Severely.

He just couldn't.

"Russell," she whimpered. It popped him out of his trance, and he laced his arms around her waist, "it hurts…!"

"It's okay," he whispered, pulling her close. "The pain will go away. I love you." She cried out a little, and put her arms around his neck a little tighter.

"I love you, too." And he kissed her.

Lights flashed overhead. Leo pressed herself into Russell's side, and very gingerly touched the gun at her own. She didn't really listen when Russell explained something about the highway to the sheriff. Though, she found comfort in his voice. She always did. What she did hear, though, made her eyes go wide,

"No, they'll be focusing on me." She leaned hard against his side, and tried to tune out the inevitable. "I'm gonna die here no matter what. So, let it mean something. Let it mean that you three made it. Give me that." Leo shook her head, and whispered that she loved him.

"Oh fucking yeah." he whispered, smiling a little. He got up, and Leo reached out.

"Wait." she whispered, and sighed. She reached back and gave both of her guns to David. "I'm not going to just let you go alone." Russell dropped to his knees, and put a hand on her shoulder.

"No," he whispered, "you can't. I want you to grow up." She narrowed her eyes, shook her head, and put her hands on his cheeks.

"I told you I wanted to spend my life with you." she said, and smiled weakly. "If I die with you now, I will have."

Russell grabbed her and pulled her to duck behind the stray car. He made quick work of getting rid of the bullets and shoved the gun into his belt. And, of course, one thing remained to be done.

Leo's eyes met his own, and she smiled a little. Not the fake smiles she had been tossing about lately, but a genuine one. She had spent her whole life with him. That's all she has asked for in her love.

"Russell?" she whispered, and he nodded. "I love you."

"I love you, too, sweetie." He reached over and pulled her close. With deliberate slowness, he kissed her one last time, and said, "Stay as much behind me as possible, okay?"

Everything was blurry and red. A dull ache resonated from every inch of her body. But, all she concentrated on was the warmth of Russell beside her, and his face. He was staring up into the sky, waiting. The thundering of footsteps. And then, the last thing she heard, spoken from the one she loved,

"Fuck you for what you did."

There was a certain comfort in the barrel of a gun.

They weren't crazy. They weren't any different from most people. She was a little girl with ambitions, and he was the deputy of the Ogden Marsh police department. They had loved, had lost, had been in much more remorse than they should have. They were Russell Joseph Clank and Lynn Leo Roberts.

No, they weren't crazy.They were just a little sick.

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