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Fanfic / Two-Step

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Yes, this is Nick. After a sunken boat, an encounter with a Witch, and a separation from his teammates, that is.

"Of course I'm alive. I'm not an idiot. ...Those goddamn assholes couldn't wait two days for me to catch up."

A Left 4 Dead 2 fanfiction by Disrupted Original that takes place after the ending of the game. Apparently the survivors were slated to be brought to a fleet of cruise ships. The author takes this idea and runs with it, having the cruise ship crash and/or sink into the ocean. The game's party of four becomes separated from each other. This story follows Nick as he tries to reunite with them.

The fic is not so much a story about a zombie apocalypse as it is a story about Nick's slow change from complete asshole to a somewhat decent human being.

This fanfic is now complete, at 43 chapters, and can be read here.


Two-Step provides examples of:

  • Afraid of Blood: Anyone in the military who has to deal with Carriers.
  • Arc Words:
    • 'Say hey, Daisy Mae. How many children have died today?'
    • 'Turn the page, wash your hands.' Same arc, arguably: 'Hope is just a word with a hole in it.'
  • Ax-Crazy: In 'The Catalyst' (chapters 38 and 39), Nick basically goes into full on crazy commando mode as he ends up working himself free of his ziptie restraints during a sample-taking, kills the doctor who has done nothing but help him by strangling her with his IV line, slashes the throat of one guard with a scalpel, shoots two more, and THEN purposely infects one of the shot guards with his blood as she was begging him for help. Oh, and with a Slasher Smile on his face, too. 'Crazy' doesn't begin to describe it.
  • Badass and Child Duo: While Terry and Sean are more teenagers than kids, Isaac definitely counts when they're with Nick.
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  • Beard of Sorrow: Well, several months of not shaving does that to a person.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Rob, unless you're a zombie.
  • Break the Haughty: Seems to be the road Nick's going down right now. Nick was a handsome, narcissistic, smug jerk ass who only looked after himself before the infection. Suddenly he is scarred, half blind, alone and desperately trying to reconnect with his companions.
  • Breather Episode: The chapters spent in Eight Springs.
  • Character Development: Nick gets loads of this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The military satellite phone.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Gregory's noisemaker technique to get rid of zombies comes back into play when Nick uses it to draw out all the zombies so the military will be forced to shoot the zombies instead of him and the boys as they escape Washington D.C.
  • Crapsack World: Well, it is a zombie apocalypse. Except now it's winter, and the further north Nick travels, the worse it seems to get.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Nick's plan for getting out of Washington, D.C. Infiltrate a military encampment, disable six of their seven Hummers, hotwire and steal the last one, and then pick up and escape with three kids and a dog? Sure, why not?
    • As of the latest chapter, 39, it seems most of Nick's escape plans fall under this...
  • Death Glare: Losing an eye seems to have made Nick an expert at this.
  • Deadly Road Trip: It's a given, considering it's a zombie apocalypse. With the harsh winter, mutating zombies, the military and other dangers, it's been taken up to eleven.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Christopher and Amanda are introduced before even Nick is. But Christopher doesn't last too long before getting infected. And after Amanda tries to kill Nick, he leaves her for dead, as he probably infected her on accident already.
  • The Determinator: Nick, who was willing to risk getting a brain hemorrhage after a nasty fight with a charger rather than sit and wait for his wounds to heal. To a lesser extent, Rob.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Nick might be half-blind and starving to death, but he doesn't take well to sympathy. Giving it, on the other hand...
  • Downer Beginning: The story begins with Christoper and Amanda walking down a road piled with dead bodies. They were stuck on their yacht for a month and had no idea how far the Infection had spread, or the damage it had done.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: An understatement. And even then, the rewards aren't all that happy.
  • Eye Scream: Only exacerbated by the fact that Nick got the wound by saving Coach's life.
  • Evil Gloating: Luke did this to Terrance. And Kyle did this to Nick.
  • Friendly Sniper: Isaac, a kid version.
  • Great Escape: The entire four-part, four chapter arc called "The Catalyst."
  • Handicapped Badass: Even with just one eye, he can still kick a lot of ass.
  • He's Just Hiding: In-universe example. The note Nick found at Eight Springs makes it clear that Ellis is clinging to the hope that Nick isn't dead.
  • Hidden Depths: Nick, while never quite dropping his grumpy stoicism, still became attached to his dog and two of the three kids from Washington- a huge change from his attitude in the game.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It's never blatantly revealed, but rather hinted that a pair of survivors Nick runs into would have liked to have him over for dinner.
  • Improvised Weapon: Nick kills a Charger with a cake knife. The absurdity of this is not lost on him.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Isaac's only form of humor is making painfully terrible zombie puns. Guess how the others react.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Nick, but the same would be true for any survivor in the same situation. He's just harder to get along with.
  • I Will Find You: In Chapter 42, Ellis finally finds Nick and takes him to the saferoom Nick has been trying to reach for months.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nick, of course. Sean also has shades of this.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Kyle. Barratt comes after a very close second, but his extremely abusive behavior can be just be barely excused for his fear of being infected by the carriers, and well as attempting for subduing the captured carriers so they won't fight back and potentially infecting someone. Which leads to...
    • Jerkass Has a Point: In-Universe, Barratt warns Dr. Sijan about the dangers of trusting carriers, and of more importantly, never turn your back to one. Unfortunately for Dr. Sijan, she did just that.
  • Just a Kid: Spoken by Nick after Sean saves him from dying of a bullet wound.
  • Karma Houdini: Kyle. He drugged Nick, threw Rob out to the snow and abandoned him and sent Nick off to a CEDA/Military research facility, which is basically a Fate Worse than Death for carriers. He was last seen getting ready to go to Maine to find the safezone Ellis and the others were in, as Nick told him there's a safezone there. Kyle's plan is to find other carriers there to pick up and give them Nick's fate.
  • Kick the Dog: For one brief, shining moment, it seemed like Nick was finally, FINALLY going to make it to the safezone. WITH Rob in tow. And then Kyle happened.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Barratt seems to be ESPECIALLY fond of doing this to people after he's tazed them. Kyle did this to Nick after he woke up from a drug-induced sleep, doing some Evil Gloating about abandoning Rob and describing what will happen to Nick when he is taken to the research facility.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Along with the above Kick Them While They Are Down trope, Barratt also has this tendency to not to refer carriers not by name or gender pronouns, but by their designated numbers and "it". Cue him being infected by another carrier he was beating to death and turned into a zombie. To push the karmic justice even further, Nick started to refer zombie!Barratt as an "it" as he made his escape from the facility.
  • Left for Dead: Nick does this to Amanda early on after she tries to kill him.
  • Licked by the Dog: Nick is adopted by/adopts a stray dog named Rob and three boys from Washington, D.C.
  • The Load: Played straight with Christopher and Amanda. Totally averted with Rob and the boys.
  • Madness Mantra: "Say hey, Daisy Mae..."
  • Mercy Kill: Nick to Christopher, when he inadvertently passes the zombie virus to him.
    • This was also Gregory's intention when he murdered a train full of children. He was also crazy.
  • Misery Builds Character: The entire fic seems to be BUILT on this trope. And damn does it do a good job.
  • Morality Pet: Terry, Sean, Isaac, and Rob are this for Nick. Especially Isaac.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Except for the zombies. Nick is struggling to overcome a handicap and not starve to death, while actually seeking out other people, as opposed to his 'lone-wolf' attitude at the start of the game. Also after Terry's death.
  • Papa Wolf: Nick grows to be this for the boys.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Terrence.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Nick.
  • Scars are Forever: Nick can certainly tell you that.
  • Scar Survey: With a face like Nick's this trope was bound to happen eventually.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Nick is this in the very beginning and throughout his journey his PTSD has gotten worse. Other survivors can be this as well.
  • Slasher Smile: Nick gives one to the female guard he ended up shooting as she was begging for help...shortly before infecting her with his blood.
  • Snowball Fight: Issac tries to do this with Sean but instead Nick with a snowball. Few seconds later, Sean throws a snowball at Nick, this time intentionally. Cue Funny Moments.
  • Snowed-In: In the movie theater.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Tanks are too dense and disproportionate to swim.
  • Teen Genius: Sean, who is an experienced medic at age fifteen.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In chapter 28, after all the shit Nick's been through the past twenty eight chapters, the gods above must have smiled on him, when he finally, finally gets laid by a fiery red head.
  • Traumatic Haircut: When they shave Nick's head at the military research facility.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Isaac, the twelve-year-old sniper.
  • Two-Faced: Nick, naturally, though he's a rare heroic version of this, despite his grumpy stoicism and his early jerkass tendencies.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 23. May induce shock and profuse crying.
    • Chapter 33. "I will fucking KILL YOU, Kyle."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nick angrily asks Coach and Rochelle in the epilogue why they left him behind in North Carolina.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nick apparently has a fear of water from nearly drowning on a cruise ship and a 'really-he'll-piss-his-pants' fear of Witches. For good reason.
  • You Are Number 6: After being taken into the research facility, Nick is "C-315-024" or just "315."
    • There's also the unnamed Carrier who infects Barratt after a struggle, known only as "909."