Stepping out into the world where they were vulnerable was always a hard pill to swallow. Ray took a breath to steady himself, but his hands were already shaking and his heart was already beating an impossibly fast rhythm in his chest. There was no keeping calm. Not when he was putting himself and his boyfriend right into the middle of the action.
The Tripods were growing closer, still, but they hadn’t yet noticed Jerry or Ray as they very thoroughly scanned the area. Their booming footsteps were beginning to make the ground tremble, and Ray had to hold out one of his arms just to keep his balance. He squeezed Jerry’s hand and pulled him into a bit of a slow run, darting behind ruined sheds and trees when the opportunities arose. The Tripods were keeping up, their mechanical legs clicking and whirring as they continued their search. It almost seemed as though they knew about Ray and Jerry - like they were specifically after the two of them.
Ray knew better than that, though. They were just doing a thorough sweep. He glanced behind his shoulder quickly and a twist of pain ran through his chest as he watched a mechanical arm on one of the Tripods completely tear through the last basement they had hidden out in. If they had stayed there any longer, they would have been done for.
Just as he was about to turn his head back to look in front of him, a loud, terrifying noise broke through his eardrums and he immediately stopped in his spot, frozen with fear. He knew that trumpeting sound far too well.
That was the sound a Tripod made when it…
Swallowing harshly, Ray looked forward and was horrified to see that they were standing directly in front of a Tripod that had it’s lasers ready to fire.
"Jerry get back!" He screamed, all but pushing his boyfriend around to the other side of the shed. It bought them a few seconds to sneak around the back and run off towards the road before that same shed became a pile of splintered wood where they had been standing.
Adrenaline coursed through Ray’s veins and he found himself running much quicker than Jerry was. He grabbed his hand once more and pulled him along, making sure that he kept up even if it meant pushing him a bit harder than he was used to.
Lasers went off behind them, sometimes hitting close to their heels and other times they came from the sides. Either way, Ray managed to get them around all of the direct hits, regardless of the close calls.
He spotted a river not far up ahead. If they could sneak behind some trees and evade the Tripod’s sight for just a few seconds, they could carefully make their way to it and hide down in the water until the machines passed. It was a long shot, but it was the only shot they had right now and he was going to take it.
Silently Jerry cursed himself for falling asleep. It had been his duty to watch out for these damned Tripods but no, he had to give in to his body’s exhaustion and sleep. The ground trembled unnaturally as these metallic demons roamed about and Jerry nearly fell a couple of times. He was so thankful when Ray took hold of his hand and squeezed back as they went into a run. It was a pace that Jerry could keep up with, but he could feel his chest becoming painful at both the exertion as well as his anxiety.
Like Ray, Jerry feared that these Tripods were somehow on a mission to find just them, as though they were the key to everything — life perhaps! He held Ray’s hand tight, drawing as much strength and courage as he could from the man he loved. When Ray looked back though, so did Jerry out of instinct and he nearly went pale at the sight. They had been so close to death. Once more there came a spike of panic in Jerry that nearly caused him to cry out. He feared death so much.
Then came the Tripod’s trumpet and Jerry clutched his ears. If Jerry didn’t think himself terrified enough, the tall figure of the Tripod appearing before them certainly did it and for a moment Jerry swayed, ready to pass out, but Ray’s voice snapped him out of it. They both fled around the shed and then towards the road. He didn’t need to look back to hear what had become of that shed.
As the anxiety and panic collided within Jerry’s chest, he slowed and grief overtook him. He was just too tired. But once more he found strength in Ray’s touch and was pulled along. He pushed himself harder to get to safety, knowing that if either of them relented for even just a moment, they’d both be done for. That river was their only hope and he jumped into it with Ray, hoping to find him once they were in it, for Jerry was barely hanging on as it was.
Ray let out a noise of shock when Jerry suddenly lifted him off of his feet and he found himself laying across his boyfriend’s arms in bridal position. He was a bit confused at first, and shot Jerry a wild look, before he was carefully placed back on his feet. Then it all made sense. He blushed and pushed at Jerry’s shoulder as he chuckled.
"Look at you, a real ham. A cute one at that." Ray joked, grabbing Jerry’s collar and pulling him into a deep, passionate kiss. It couldn’t last too long, however, because getting out was a top priority and time was running out.
"Alright baby, let’s get outta here." He stated after they broke apart, and he was trying so hard to stay strong. They were leaving their shelter and heading straight out into the danger. He took a deep breath and nodded, before leading the way out of the basement. "Stay close behind me. I love you, Jerry."
"Hey, it’s a tough job but someone has to be," Jerry replied with a little laugh that was silenced by that kiss. Oh yes, how he did miss the calm of an everyday life! And to think, last week Jerry had been silently complaining about the boredom of routine and now, he was running for his life, ever fearful that his life or worse, that of Ray would suddenly end.
"It will be all right," said Jerry, finding his courage once more as Ray’s unbelievable amount of strength had helped him to focus once more. He hated leaving these shelters as it made him feel small again, but at the same time, hiding beneath ground was like a rat. Suddenly he yearned for that one place in Mexico where in order to get there, he had to travel under a mountain.
He gripped Ray’s hand as he followed him out. “I love you too, Ray.” He looked out at where the Tripods were advancing and felt himself grow sick again. They were getting closer and now the sounds were starting to weaken Jerry’s resolve again, but a quick shake of his head put him to rights. “We’ve got to get out of sight!”
Ray could hear the mechanical whirring of the Tripods grow louder, their footsteps booming deep enough to resonate in his chest. He swallowed thickly, looking directly into Jerry’s eyes and giving him a reassuring smile. “It’s okay, baby. You trust me, right?”
He sounded so calm, but oh was there fear running through his veins. His hands were trembling but he kept them from Jerry’s view. He wanted to give off the complete demeanor of confidence and hoped that Jerry would be comforted by it.
In a swift motion, Ray reached up and swiped the tear away from Jerry’s cheek. He then replaced his thumb with his lips and kissed the gentle skin.
"We move now, okay? While they’re still far enough away that we can have the lead. We take shelter once we lose them, preferably in another basement, and we rest. Just like we’ve been doing. Piece of cake, right?"
It wasn’t exactly a piece of cake, but they could make it. They’d been doing it the past few days now - just running from basement to basement and resting where ever possible. It was the only thing they could do, since they didn’t have any way of defending themselves.
"Grab anything that means something to you, and let’s get moving. We’ve got this, okay?"
"Of course I do!" replied Jerry, returning the smile. "Why else do you think I’m here? Well, that and I love you…" He laughed softly, touched by Ray’s words. Just hearing his voice and feeling his warm body against his was enough reassurance to calm the fear that resided in Jerry’s heart. It would never fully go away because of these damned Tripods, but at least there was hope, and oh how it was shining through the eyes of his boyfriend.
"Right, we have to keep ahead of them. We can’t waste too much time." He nodded and put on a serious face, not realising just how scared his boyfriend was. "Yes, piece of cake. We can do this. We’ve managed to outwit them and stay alive this long. Just, we do need food, Ray and getting some medical supplies wouldn’t be a bad idea either."
He went and grabbed his pack and carefully rolled the blankets before stuffing them into the duffle bag. “I did find some non-perishable foods and grabbed a canopener. Cold spaghettios… with franks!” He chuckled a little and kissed Ray. “Thank you. I, I’m sorry I lost my head.” He then picked up Ray and started carrying him towards the stairs. “Well, I got everything that means something to me… especially the most important, but heavy, one.”
Jerry grinned at Ray before setting him down. What he wouldn’t give for just another romantic night with him like they had before these awful Tripods came. At least Ray appreciated him. Ray understood him and treated him like he was something special rather than just a burden. “Come on. Before these bastards catch up.”