When he woke up, he knew in the back of his mind he should be rationally wary about the fact that he had no idea where he was. But a sense of comforting familiarity in the confusion overwhelmed him and he found himself smiling at how good it felt to feel.
"Oh, look who's finally awake."
His head snapped up from the pillows and he winced at the incoming headache, wide eyes landing on a figure sitting in the corner of the room, no light giving way to who the hell they were. He heard wood creak and then somebody was coming at him with remarkable speed for a walk, bare feet slapping rhythmically against the tiled floor as they strode to him.
Before he had the sense to warn them to stop, before he could properly reach for the handgun under his pillow that he was almost certain wasn't there anymore, the figure stepped into the only spot of light in the room and when he saw her face, he cried.
It was Carla. She was standing, body alert and frigid at the sounds of his distress, at the foot of the bed and already bringing her arms out to calm him. He leaned into her touch like he was starving, grabbing every inch of skin and clothes he could and held on to her tighter than he ever had, like he should have that night she was taken from him.
"Hey, hey~you're alright. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you." She whispered soothingly in his ears, humming a small tune that had Boone leaning farther into her chest so he could feel the vibration of her chest against his skin.
"You didn't. I'm just, uh. Bad dream, I guess." He found himself letting go, arms and fingertips instantly going cold at the loss of her warmth. "Why are you up so early, anyway?"
Her breath washed over his back in a low chuckle, shifting her body so that she was squatting in front of him, legs on his and feet wrapped around his ankles as she put a cold hand on his bare chest and pushed him back against the pillows.
"I like watching you sleep, Sabes," she hissed playfully into his ear.
The fact that he hadn't felt the need to correct her on his name, the fact that he somehow knew it was right made his head fuzzy. "What-"
"Shhh,'' she whispered. He could feel the smile on her lips as she softly nipped at his ear, dragging it through her teeth as she moved to tower over him again. "You're the most beautiful man I've ever met, you know that? But you just-" she dipped her head, tongue lancing across the hot skin of his neck, lips leaving a steaming trail until they'd found her favorite spot, and she bit down on the tender patch of skin. "Just stop talking, okay?"
"But, I-" the moan of pleasure as her teeth applied more pressure to his skin drew all the words from his throat.
She chuckled, hot and slow against his skin as she ghosted her lips over his own. "That's better. Do that again, baby. For me?"
He couldn't wait a second longer, hands cupping both sides of her face as she threw her lips against his own. His own moans were overlapped with hers, and they were both smiling wide when they pulled away.
He brushed her brown locks from her eyes and stared. Just sat and stared wide eyed at her beauty, a beauty he could never fully grasp, one he couldn't fathom as something even possibe as the smile spread wider across his lips. "I love you so much, Ezra."
Her soft grey, almost white eyes filled with wonderous admiration, tears of pure bliss forming at the brims as she breathed out a short gasp.
"And I you, Sabian."
The name, his name somehow couldn't have sounded better coming from any other pair of lips and he wrecklessly dove back for more.
"Why are you always on my case? I told you we'd go when we got the money, Carls! We can't just up and leave on nothing!"
An anger she'd never felt before, an anger that wasn't even hers turned her blood cold. "This isn't just about moving, Craig!"
"Oh yeah? Then what's this?" He snatched the old postcard from her hands, shoving the front picture of Vegas in her face. "Or this?" He snatched the souvenir flip lighter she'd gotten him for his birthday last year, flipping it in his hands until the "Ultra Luxe" embordiery was clearly showing. "Or these!" He gestured wildly to the piles and piles of framed photos, all of the strip, the Vegas lights at night adorning their wall.
"You don't listen to me! For fuck's sakes, you never listen to me! I begged you not to go. To leave the NCR, to stay with me at the Strip and we could figure out how to spend the rest of our lives together there! But then you let Manny get in your head and then before I knew it, I had to say goodbye to everything I ever knew and move halfway across the Mojave for-this danky old hotel room where the shower only works 30% of the time!"
"News flash, Carls: We. Are. In. A. Post. Nuclear. Apocalypse. We don't have the privilege to take advantage of easy living, no matter how much you hope and dream and draw up all these fantasies in your head."
"I had running water, a home, a family, a job back in Vegas, and I threw it all away! I left it all behind, for-" she stopped short, rage rapidly replaced with guilt at the way his face twisted into the saddest expression she'd ever seen him wear.
"For what?" She winced, closing her eyes tight at the crack in his voice, now thick with emotion. "For me? You were going to say for me, weren't you?"
The tears spilled down her cheeks as she turned away from him, head buried in her hands as she helplessly sobbed. "My mother was right. You haven't the slightest idea how to love me right." She didn't know why she'd said it, decided it was best to kick him while he was down and the regret burned her heart to ash as she quickly whipped around to see him already trying to duck out the door. "No, Craig, I-" she grabbed on to his arm, only for him to yank it fiercely away. "Please, I'm sorry, I-I didn't mean-"
"Just leave it alone, Carla." The door was slammed behind him and the emptiness of the room couldn't even compare to the bone-numbing loss she felt at the realization this was the first time he'd used her actual name.
She fell back onto her bed in a heap, curling in on herself and sobbing to the point she could barely breathe, and with breathing gone there was absolutely nothing left in her to feel, except for this endless pit of emptiness and loss.
She'd found herself in the kitchen eventually, something Ezra realized she'd never do because she was shite at cooking, but she didn't have a lick of control as her hands moved for her, beating the farm fresh eggs, flour and cake mix Craig had managed to score from a special caravan.
She heard the door open just as she was pulling the cake from the oven, and she quickly shut the oven door with the heel of her foot as she padded barefoot into the living room, eyes down as she took a deep breath. "I-I'm so sorry, Craig. I didn't mean a word I said, you've been nothing but amazing to me, and I don't regret a single thing being with-"
He was still standing in the doorway, eyes down at his boots and a pool of blood under his feet as it dripped in a steady pool from his nose and a cut in his eyebrow. She gasped, setting the cake down on their coffee table and running up to him, pulling him from the rain outside and shutting the door hurriedly behind them as she shoved him toward the bathroom. She forced him to sit on the toilet seat as she wet a rag, crouching down in front of him and putting a hand gently to his head, lifting it up so she could see him.
His eyes were bloodshot and she wasn't sure if that was from the alcohol or if he'd been crying, or both. Her heart panged with guilt again and she bit hard on her lip to keep it from trembling as she gently wiped the blood from Craig's cuts. He sat absolutely still, staring at a spot on the floor next to her head and she hadn't dared say a word either, fixing a bandage to the cut on his brow and handing him an ice pack for his nose. She wordlessly helped him stand, ushering him back out to the living room where she left him standing as she walked to the corner of the room to crank the surprisingly still functional furnace higher. Stepping back behind Craig who still hadn't moved from where she left him, she carefully grabbed the hem of his soaked shirt, lifting it up and over his head, unclasping the buckle of his jeans before guiding him to sit on the foot of their bed as pulled his pants off his legs, untying his boots and rolling his socks off to follow.
The silence between them spoke volumes and she had to feel him, touch him again before it consumed her. She silently climbed into the bed beside him, wrapping her arms around him and putting one hand to the side of his head, pushing it down to lay over her shoulder, her cheek resting against him. They sat in silence for what felt like hours, which in reality was probably only a few minutes, her absently stroking her knuckles against the curve of his spine, cradling him and rocking bath and forth slightly before she heard him finally take a breath.
"She was right, wasn't she? We're not, this isn't-" he let out a long, shaky sigh and gulped before he continued. "This isn't right. We're not doing this right-we don't love each other right."
She hummed in sympathy, but it didn't touch either of their hearts. "I think we love each other, Craig. We just don't love each other enough."
The silence, an answering goodbye in every form surrounded them again and stayed with them for the rest of the day until Craig got up to leave for work, and she was woken in the middle of the night by rough hands grabbing her and bodily dragging her kicking and screaming from that smelly, dysfunctional hotel room she'd never learned to love.
She opened her eyes one last time, and she was laying flat against a makeshift gurney, staring at the tattered, bloody tarp of a tent with two different doctors standing over her.