For the first time after the war’s end and the reveal of the Reader’s relationship with Negan, she is forced to encounter Daryl and Maggie at the Hilltop
The sun was already turning softer as the dawn began to slowly set in and drowned the trees and all that surrounded them into a warm light as the truck rushed past them.
Normally you liked this time of the day that made all seem a little more peaceful but at this point, on this day, this time was just an indicator of you getting closer to the Hilltop, the place you wanted to be the least in these moments.
Between your legs still stood the big, black sportsbag that held all your and Negan’s personal belongings in you had taken several hours ago from the Sanctuary, before you even knew that you were about to take off to the Hilltop first before going back to Alexandria.
You weren’t even sure whose glorious idea it had been to make the big detour to the Hilltop instead of just driving back, you only knew that you couldn’t stand the idea, even worse, you were afraid of it.
Tara, Rosita and Aaron, along with the new people from other communities were talking quietly here and there and just as occasionally as you heard them talking, you could see Tara’s, even Rosita’s, cold glances wandering over to you.
Aaron was the only one of your old friends in here who didn’t treat you like a complete stranger or even enemy, he was still pretty reserved and talked as little with you as he could, but in comparison with the other two, especially Tara, he was being kind.
You gulped as you looked down to the sports bag and fumbled once again nervously on the loose black threads on its belts, knowing that sooner or later you would arrive at the Hilltop and you would have to see all those people who wanted you nothing else than gone.
And next to all them was this one person ghosting through your mind, that made it harder for you with every moment and every foot this truck drove.
The encounter on the battlefield with your half-brother had been enough for you, his coldness, his harsh and sharp, even hatred filled words, his crossbow that had pointed at you, all this still send harsh shivers through your body.
It had been about two weeks, maybe a little more or less since then, but not even nearly enough to make him calm down just a tiny bit.
You knew as soon as he would see you, see the bag and what was inside, that his blood would boil up and make him lash out again.
Hell, after everything you could understand that he was angry and needed time and space, and you were able to give him that but in his anger he was being blind as well, and that was your problem.
You had saved him from Saviors when this war had begun, you had always tried to find a way out and you weren’t Negan’s little minion.
If he’d only see that, you would be fine.
And next to all this stress with Daryl, there was also Maggie at the Hilltop and next to Negan you could imagine being the person she wanted to see the least.
The cars were driving a lot faster than usual, obviously trying to make the detour work out and as then the car began to jerk slightly as the underground got rockier, your eyes darted at the front window and caught within moments the tall, wooden walls of the hilltop.
Heavily gulping you stared back down, your body sensing the way the truck was driving up the Hill until the squeaking of the rustic gates sent ice-cold shivers through your body.
Unknown voices mixed quickly with familiar ones outside the truck, people walking around and stopping nearby, ready to help unload the supplies the trucks were bringing into the walls of their home.
Then, the engine of the vehicle hushed and the truck came to a stop even though every inch of your body had wished for it to go on and on forever so you wouldn’t have to face this whole mess.
Tara, Rosita and Aaron, along with the other three people began to get up from their seats, while you remained like stuck to the wooden bench, not knowing what to do now.
You didn’t want to face them, especially not Maggie and Daryl.
And no matter what you do, something would be wrong about it.
If you would go outside now, help carrying the stuff like it was nothing, you could already hear those voices say what a respectless fuck you were for just walking around in front of Maggie who was carrying the unborn baby of Glenn who’d been killed by the man you had fallen for.
Just by the man who was still their enemy in their eyes, especially in Daryl’s who would feel provoked by this as well.
And If you would stay inside, protect yourself from just another destroying encounter that would in the end get nobody just anything than more distress, no matter who it was, somebody would call you a spineless coward.
But even though there almost nothing you hated as much as being called cowardly, right now, being called that was the better option to one or even more fights that would most certainly sooner or later emerge.
Already beginning to move on you saw tara walking with a cold stare out of the truck, already carrying a small basket in her hands before the corners of your eyes caught Aaron stopping right next to you.
Looking up you met his glance, his eyebrows pulled questioning up as you let out a tight and uneasy breath.
“Shouldn’t I better stay inside?”, you asked, already trying to read a reaction off of Aaron’s face before he answered.
“They’re gonna come and take things in and out, they’ll see you either way”, he said, giving you a small nod before he shoved himself past your legs and stepped outside the truck as well.
Shivering you tightened the grab you had on the belts, as if you were trying to find something to hold onto while your mind was filled with muddled thoughts.
This was a lose-lose situation for you and the more you thought, the more you knew deep down that if they would find you in here, not doing a single thing, you would turn into a bigger target or they would think even less of you than they already did.
They saw you as a traitor either way, but a traitor who was now not willing to even work was probably even worse than the provocative traitor who crossed paths with those people.
So even though every inch of your body tried to keep you on this bench, every bit of the pain that was left tried to keep you inside the truck and every bit of the fear tried to keep you from standing up, you finally got yourself onto your feet.
Slowly you got on your knees, shoving the black sports bag beneath the bench as much as you could so no one would think it belonged to the supplies that were meant to be carried out.
And then you grabbed one of the boxes with some tools, moved the truck’s tarp a little open before taking a deep breath and shutting your mind out to not let your fears make you run as far as you could into the truck.
Warmth was the first thing you felt when your feet hit the earthy ground, the very last sun rays dancing over your face as you tried to let them fill you with some lightheartedness as your slightly dazzled eyes began to get used to the light outside the dark truck.
People were buzzing around, carrying boxes in and outside the trucks, unknown faces mixing with familiar ones as your alert glance forced you to search for Daryl’s face.
And as they gladly didn’t find him, they instead caught Aaron and a group of others who were carrying some boxes as well as they made their way up the impressive stairs of the Barrington house.
With quick feet and trying to catch up on them you rushed over the uneven ground, doing your best to not trip until you finally stood behind the last member of the small group as they walked inside.
The chilly air of the old mansion let some goosebumps spread over your skin, just like the very first time you had stepped into its inside that already laid so far in the past.
Step by step you got further inside, reaching the stairs as you had do take care that none of the people who rushed down the stairs were taking you right with them.
Your stomach tightened, your body tensed up and it just got stronger as you heard this one familiar female voice that let your blood freeze within seconds.
Of course she was in here.
She was the leader, it was part of her job to tell the people where she wanted them to carry the supplies the Hilltop needed.
A cold shiver ran down your spine as you realized that you were about to see her again and even worse, she was about to face you again.
The very last time that had happened, you had cowered crying and whimpering over an unconscious Negan, cradling his blood-soaked body against yours as you held him and tried everything in your might to stop him from bleeding out until Rick had said those two words that had saved your world and had let hers break apart.
While your mind was trying to figure ways out how to get as fast as possible outside this house, your body kept moving and your feet kept taking you up the stairs while you fingertips rigged nervously into the cardboard material of the box in your sweaty hands.
And then you saw her standing next to Enid as soon as you had reached the stair’s top, while both of them were too busy explaining to another group where they had to carry the supplies in their arms to notice you.
You knew it was ridiculous, of course it was, but still you tried to hide yourself at least a little behind the blonde man who was walking right in front of you, trying to procrastinate just another awful encounter for a little longer.
You had enough of them behind you already and even though, or maybe even especially because you knew that there was no way past facing her, you wanted to keep the turmoil that was rising in your body as calm as you could for some longer, even if it were just seconds.
For a moment Maggie’s face lightened up as the other men stepped away, revealing the baby bump that was slightly hidden behind the wide shirt she was wearing but that still showed that she was at least somewhere at the beginning or maybe even in the middle of her last trimester.
Her eyes caught Aaron who was leading your group closer over to her, her voice boomed through your head as her friendly tone greeted him while you knew that this was about to hush sooner than you liked.
Your eyes trailed nervously through the room, your body shivering as your eyes suddenly caught Enid’s whose were staring right at you, coldly, while a harsh gulp ran down her throat as she seemed to realize that Maggie was about to find you too in the matter of seconds.
And then, she did.
For the matter of a second, not more.
Just that and her whole body seemed to tense up, all the muscles in her face formed it into a serious expression while she turned completely cold within this tiny second.
And within this second you tensed just as much up as well, the pressure on your ribcage seemed to press all the air out of your lungs as you were forced to step closer towards her as her glance wandered to Aaron for a moment, then she forced herself back to concentrate on the men and women in front of her and in front of you.
You could feel your own pulse pounding in your ears as there was only the blonde man in front of you left and you could see that Maggie was tensing up as well while Enid was still keeping an eye on her as she was speaking to a woman who was talking about whatsoever.
Your body felt like it was burning up as you saw the blonde stepping away and before you could prepare yourself any more or could look at her you heard her voice.
“Stairs down, first room on the right side”, that was all she said, her voice firm and strong even though there was a slight stirring inside that revealed how much was going on in her.
And then your body forced you to look up at her, her eyes darting right into yours as they screamed out the stirring that had sounded through her voice as well.
Those words had been not only the first ones from her to you after the war’s end, or even after finding out about what you had with Negan, they were the very first ones after Glenn had died.
And by the look in her eyes, you knew that she actually wanted to say something else.
She wanted to growl, maybe even yell at you, asking you what the hell was wrong with you for falling for him and for turning up at the Hilltop now.
You could hear her imaginary voice yelling about what Negan had done to Glenn, to the father of her unborn child, about how you could even look into the mirror anymore.
But she didn’t.
The woman who had once been a close friend just like all the others that had been part of this family, was now looking at you as if you were the completely opposite.
And right now, it felt like Carl had been wrong with saying in his letter to you that no matter with who or where you were, you would be part of this family.
Right now, it felt like you weren’t part of it anymore at all, regardless of how much you wanted it.
So you just stood in front of her, knowing that anything you would say would make it all just worse while a harsh gulp traveled down your throat, your lips pressed tightly on one another while the pain filled glance which you tried to keep as strong as possible began to trail off as you just gave her a small nod.
The next thing you found yourself doing was stumbling down the stairs, doing your best to keep the calm face expression on to not let anybody see the mess that was actually going on in you.
You made yourself through a group of a few more busy people until you had found the room you were searching for and began to step inside as you already saw Aaron and two other men laying their boxes down.
Slowly you walked in, your glance searching for a place to leave your carton on before you saw the taller one of the men walking over to Aaron, placing a hand on his shoulder before he calmly rose his voice.
“Been a while already but I didn’t get the chance to say it yet…I’m sorry for what happened to Eric”, within these words your breath stopped for a moment, your mind processing within seconds what that must mean.
You knew that a lot of people had fallen on both sides, you had heard about what had happened to Tobin or to Francine and even though you had known that there had to be more, you hadn’t thought of Eric.
You hadn’t seen him around since you were back at Alexandria, but since you had barely stepped a foot outside the infirmary, you hadn’t caught any suspicion, nor had you heard Siddiq or anybody else talking about it.
And now, now that you heard it, you didn’t only feel incredibly bad for what Aaron must have gone through, you felt horrible for not noticing it earlier as well and it made you ask yourself what else you didn’t know yet.
“Thank you…it’s okay”, Aaron said, giving the tall man a small, forced up smile while you let out a tight breath and laid the box onto a small table before Aaron’s glance caught yours.
Gulping you looked at him, another tight breath falling from your lips as you stepped a little closer.
“Aaron, I didn’t know”, you said, almost exhaled as you let pressed your lips on one another, trying to search for the right words,”I’m sorry.”
“Thank you”, you just heard him answer as he gave you a small nod, clearly not too sure how to behave as well before he exhaled shivering and turned around, leaving you alone in the big room.
Just moments later you walked out of the mansion again, breathing in the fresh air as if it would urge the tension out of your body while you began to make your way over to the trucks that were parked along the side of the Barrington house.
People were still carrying boxes of supplies in and out if the trucks, even though it gradually became less busy around the vehicles.
You tried to loose yourself some more up as you made your way through a few trucks, intending to go back to the one which had gotten you here and see if you had anything left that was meant to stay at the Hilltop.
Your breath was becoming less tensed again, your ribcage rising and falling with less pressure before it suddenly stopped by the sight in front of you.
There it was, the truck you had searched for and there he was, the person you had hoped to be able to avoid in every way possible.
Your mind raved, questioning if you should just turn around and go to another truck as long as he hadn’t seen you before fate took this decision away from you.
Just as you thought it couldn’t become worse you saw Daryl grabbing the dark belts of the sports bag you had placed beneath the bench and began to pull it out with puckered brows and a questioning glance in his eyes.
A tight breath left your lips as your heart began to pound relentlessly against your chest while you knew that you had to do anything, right now.
“Wait, no. This is-”, you called almost unwittingly out, your body taking this job away from you as Daryl’s glance snapped up by the sound of your voice just as the sports bag hit the earthy ground.
His eyes glared up within seconds, the glance in them revealing to you that someone must have warned him at least about the fact that you were here before his hands ripped on the zipper and revealed Negan’s white shirts and some grey sweatpants.
“Oh I see”, Daryl snapped, his breath growing unsteady within moments just like yours grew heavy and uneasy while your mind tried desperately to figure out what to do and how to handle whatever he was about to throw your way.
“Ya have the damn nerve to get here and then-”, he growled, stopping for a short moment as he stared angrily at the bag before letting his eyes snap up to you again,”You got his damn stuff with ya?!”
“Daryl, I-”, you said, your voice breaking as your mind turned into a muddled mess, “I didn’t plan to come here,…I didn’t plan to-”
“I don’t give a damn about what ya planned”, Daryl cut you furiously off, his eyes burning into you,”You’re a disgusting backstabber no matter what.”
“I’m not. Be angry at me, alright. But I’m not a goddamn backstabber”, your voice was uneasily, even trembling slightly as the agony in your body rose with every passing second.
“You are”, Daryl growled loudly, just before his fists balled and the desperation in your body wasn’t able to be held back anymore as you rose your shaking voice.
“I saved you from some goddamn Saviors when this shit war began, I fucking tried to get Carl to you in that bomb night against Negan’s plan, I-”, you said, stopping as you let out a tight and frantic breath ,”I made mistakes and I get that you’re fucking mad at me for being with him but I don’t ask for more than that you listen to me for once. Just fucking believe me that I tried to find a way out, I didn’t hookwink you.”
“Doesn’t that all mean anything?”, you added, the tremble in your voice even stronger than before.
“No”, Daryl snarled as he glared at you,”Not if ya want that asshole after all.”
If there was any hope left in you, it sunk even more right at these words but as you saw into Daryl’s eyes, you knew that he wasn’t done yet.
“You’ve seen it. He killed Abraham and Glenn with this shit bat. He let ‘em kill Oliva. He fucking put me in that damn cell and let me grub dog food. He made me clean that fuckin’ piss up after he burned that guy’s face. You’ve seen it”, Daryl snapped even louder, his words letting even more pain burn in you as he heavily breathed and glared at you, “He’s a damn monster…and so are you.”
His voice cut like a sharp razorblades into your skin, poisoning your body and mind with more hopelessness.
Negan wasn’t a saint, you knew that, and you weren’t gonna justify the horrible deeds he had done but right now, Daryl was acting as if he had never done anything cruel.
As if he had never killed without a second thought.
As if he had never brutally shot or slaughtered someone down or even tortured someone.
You had seen him do all that as well.
You had seen him killing without batting an eye.
You knew he had tortured Randall back at the farm as well.
After all, Randall had deserved all that for staying with a group of rapists, he had deserved to go through hell but at the time the torture had happened Daryl hadn’t known about all that.
Daryl would have done it with someone threatening but still innocent as well.
Negan had a lot of blood on his hands, but Daryl’s weren’t clean as well.
So you got it, you got that he hated Negan after everything, you got that he was mad at you for being with Negan, but in these moments he was being just plain unfair.
“Said it before, say it again. You ain’t my sister anymore, you’re fucking dead to me”, he added with a growl, snapping at you as if he wanted the razorblades to cut even deeper.
“Then I must’ve already been that a long time before you knew what I had with Negan, huh? If not, why would you’ve driven that damn garbage truck into the Sanctuary while you knew I was inside”, you asked, your voice by far not as firm as you wanted it to be but rather shaky.
By the glance in Daryl’s eyes you knew that there was an explanation, whatever it might be, in your favor or not, but just like you saw that, you saw as well that Daryl wouldn’t give you an answer to it.
“Just get yaself back to that asshole”, Daryl snapped, obviously trying to get around giving you an explanation, his body rising with frustration and anger as Daryl stepped closer again, ready to lash out, ready to take this argument to a more painful stage.
“Ya know what? Merle was right about ya all along…you’re a weak bitch”, he growled and with the sound of Merle’s name out of Daryl’s mouth the razor-blade sunk completely into your skin.
That was it.
Merle was a bête noire for you.
All you ever saw in him was a racist and sexist asshole who was taking your brother away anytime your Mom and even your grandparents tried to get him to come on the right path again.
But anytime he was with you all for a little longer, every time things seemed to become alright, Merle showed up again and pulled him right back into his bullshit.
Every single time.
He made Daryl feel like he owed him something, like he wasn’t worth enough to be taken care of and like simply the fact that he was closer related by blood to him than to you was making Daryl have to stick to him.
It had always been a special kind of relationship you’ve had to Daryl, it never really felt like you had an older brother, it also wasn’t the same sibling relationship you’ve had with your younger sister.
It was different and often it felt more like you had to take care of him than the other way around, even though he was so much older than you.
Either way, you had always been close and even if it had always left you frustrated, angered and even shattered on the ground when he was leaving with his older brother, you had always blamed Merle, not him.
Just this one time, when he had left with Merle while you had lived at the prison, that had been the time where you had blamed Daryl as well.
After all this time, after all these events that had let you feel like Daryl had finally seen what Merle had done and after your group had seemed like the family Daryl needed, you had felt more than betrayed when Daryl had left with Merle instead of staying with you and the others, even though you had even tried to figure a deal out.
It had felt like you had been once again the second choice after Merle.
As if no matter what he did, no matter how close you were to Daryl, he was gonna choose him over you.
After he had returned, you had gradually begun to figure things out and had begun to feel again that you weren’t the second choice after all.
But now, this sentence that had just fell from Daryl’s lips was taking you right back, was breaking up old wounds and was letting you feel like you were losing your half brother once again to someone who was already long dead.
“So now Merle’s the sacred fucking god again?”, you asked with a growling but even more desperate and confused tone as you couldn’t control the anger anymore this whole situation and the simple thought of Merle flared up in you.
“He’s at least better than you”, Daryl growled back, coming closer again as his chest rose and fell heavily up and down again, an outbreak of the vulcano that was seething in him close.
“At least he knew what family meant”, Daryl snapped back, giving the fire in you even more fuelwood.
“Merle didn’t know shit about family and you know that”, you growled back, your voice beginning to become strained as you tried to appeal to the part in Daryl, somewhere deep down in him that knew the truth, “He le-”
“But he didn’t get his’ killed”
And with that you stood ramrod on the spot, within a second not able to move anymore as involuntary tears shot up in your eyes and the worst kind of pain rushed through your veins.
Your body began to burn in agony as Daryl’s words about your biggest regret boomed through your head, the weak spot he wasn’t poking now, he was beating it up.
Your lip quivered as your mind forced up pictures of your family, of the walkers that were all over them and left not even enough to let them reanimate.
Of the packed bags in your old home’s hallway that were turning blood red as the thick blood of the puddles were soaking their fabric.
Of exactly those ready bags your family could have safely and soundly grabbed and taken with them, if your family wouldn’t have waited for you, if Daryl and you had been just a little earlier, if you had done anything just a little faster, just packed your clothes you had at Daryl’s faster, just run to Daryl’s bike a little faster, just any little thing.
Whenever Merle had begun to say that it had been your fault, Daryl had been the one to tell him otherwise when you had been too grief drowned and weak to.
Deep down you knew Daryl was now just saying this in his anger because he knew this was gonna hurt you the most, and still it had his wished effect on you:
Tears that began to roll down your face and dropped into your quivering lips, pain that was making it unable to move for you while the first inexorable sob was traveling up your throat even though the determination in your body tried to fight it.
You didn’t want to cry, you didn’t want anybody to see you this weak but your body and and your memories really didn’t care about that.
And Daryl, Daryl just stood there and looked coldly at you, his glare burning into while a heavy scoff left his lips.
You weren’t able to say anything, you were just as defendless as you were helpless whenever it came to the topic of your family’s death.
In all this time, Negan had been the only one next to Daryl you had revealed this part of your past to and now Daryl had busted it out after all these years again, not caring that there were people around you that would hear it too.
The people who had stopped walking after they had heard Daryl’s loud voice, the people who were now looking at the both of you and which you were blending in again just now.
Your clouded eyes only caught how Daryl let out another scoff before he turned around and rushed away, leaving you alone with the bag in front of your feet and the people who were now beginning to walk and work again.
Your body was trembling, stuck somewhere between icy coldness and boiling heat as you leaned with another small sob down and began with shaking hands to pull the zipper shut again.
With a harsh gulp you grabbed the belts, trying to keep more tears from falling down your cheeks before you felt more tight and trembling breaths rumbling through your chest as you heft the bag inside the truck and slipped through the tarp yourself.
That was enough for you, you had done your part, you had helped and no one was getting you outside this truck again before you were arriving back at Alexandria.
You didn’t care if this meant that you were fleeing from any problem, you had tried to face it but that what had happened in response had given you the rest.
First Maggie and now Daryl.
You weren’t supposed to be out there, hell, you weren’t even supposed to be on the compound of the Hilltop.
No one wanted you here and you didn’t want to be at this place as well, you just wanted to leave it.
You just wanted to stop yourself from going through torture after torture.
And no one could blame you for that.
No one was coming into the truck to carry something out or to get something inside, they seemed to be done with this vehicle and for today, this seemed to be your only luck.
You tried to muffle your sobs that were still forced up by your body, just like the pictures and sounds you’ve had to see and heard the day your family died.
That what was left of the ones you utterly loved.
The blood soaked bags.
The sounds of the gorging walkers that were feeding on your family’s bodies.
Daryl’s hand that grabbed yours to drag you out of the house before the walkers could get the both of you as well.
The thought and the awful fact that you could never even bury them.
All this kept your tears coming, kept your body shaking and kept your heart pounding with a painful harshness until the quiet sobs turned into whimpers.
Your tears were already tried up when Tara, Rosita and Aaron along with the three others got back into the truck.
You stayed a little hunched over on the bench, trying to keep it together and trying to not let them see what a mess you still were even though you knew that there was no way they didn’t know about the fight.
By the time the engine finally started again you felt like you had never liked its zooming sound any more than in these moments as it indicated that you could finally leave this place behind.
But before your thoughts could leave it behind as well, Merle sneaked one more time up in them as your eyes darted at the gun in Aaron’s holster and symbolized yet another boasting difference between the both of you.
While you had given guns a wide berth before all this, Merle had always wielded them around as if they were some harmless toys that were just there to boast his self-esteem or to actually keep other men from him after he had fucked something up.
But long after the world had gone to shit, you had been the one to kill Merle’s walker, you had done it just so Daryl didn’t have to and just like you had done that, you had tried to keep yourself calm whenever Merle had been around at the prison even though he had been one of the only people, if not the only one who could bring your blood to boil within seconds.
You’ve had to admit that Merle cared in some odd way about Daryl, that he had shown the slightest sign of being redeemable, even though you could never get to take to Merle, not after everything that had happened, not after all the pain he had given you and didn’t even feel sorry for.
And as Merle finally slipped out of your mind, you realized that it would be a long drive until Alexandria.
You wouldn’t be there before the early morning hours so you just tried to do what you did before you heard that you were driving to the Hilltop.
Just trying to think of that damn moment you could huddle up to Negan and feel him cradling you against his chest.
Just this one thing you could look forward to.
Your body was aching from all the sitting on the wooden bench when you finally saw Alexandria’s sign enlightening in the truck’s headlights.
Relief began to wash over you, even a small smile grew on your lips as you knew that it would be a matter of a few moments until you could finally find some rest again.
The next thing you saw yourself doing was getting yourself out of the truck, the black sports bag in your hands while the cool night air hit your skin in a blissful way.
For a short moment your eyes caught Rick as he was walking towards the truck, beginning to check on everyone and asking Tara and Aaron a few things before he grabbed a box to carry it towards his house.
You took a deep breath before your feet began to carry you towards the infirmary, your legs still wobbly from the long drive while you swung the bag’s belts over your shoulder.
The streets were only enlightened by the fair moonlight as you made your way closer and closer towards the infirmary until you finally stood right in front of its door.
With a relieved smile on your face you grabbed the metallic handle and slowly opened the door, hoping to not wake Negan up from his sleep.
You really just wanted to lay down next to him, just that.
If you would wake him up, he would immediately see that something was wrong with you and even though you were calm again, you knew that this layer had only the chance to become as thin as a paper sheet over the drive.
And even though you longed that much for it, you knew that if Negan would take you in his arms and ask you to tell him what had happened, you would break out in tears again and after all, seeing him all ruffled and concerned about this dumb fight would just let you feel worse.
This wasn’t something he should worry about now, the only thing he should do was concentrating on recovering.
You would tell him, of course you would, you couldn’t nor wanted to keep some secrets from him, but you would do it tomorrow, when you were levelheaded enough again to not have a full on emotional breakdown.
Slowly you made your way over the wooden floorboards, letting out a few curses under your breath whenever they squeaked slightly beneath your shoe soles.
Finally your hand wrapped around the handle to the door that would lead you to Negan, before you slowly opened it and slipped inside, careful to not smash the big bag against the walls.
Just as you looked up, hoping to find Negan sleeping peacefully, your breath stopped for a moment.
He was there, he was sleeping in the bed like always but what made everything in your body whirl up were the things that were boasting around his wrists.
Silver handcuffs that tied him to the bed, the thin, metallic chains connected to them leaving only enough freedom for him to lift his hands in the slightest way.
Within seconds your pulse began to pound in your ears, tightness spread out all over your ribcage again as your eyes wandered over the metallic cuffs.
The last morning before you had taken off to the Sanctuary he hadn’t even been strong enough to sit himself up nor able to be the slightest threat possible, these goddamn cuffs weren’t necessary.
If they were anything, they were there to display power.
Within just a few more seconds your heartbeat increased and your eyes got irritated as they didn’t find something leaning against the wall.
Lucille was gone, even though the bat had been completely out of Negan’s reach.
A harsh gulp travelled down your throat as you began to realize that Rick must have used the time you weren’t there, used it to do or take the things away from Negan he couldn’t do while you were by his side.
And with the anger Rick still had towards Negan, who knew how he would use Lucille against him.
With a tight and uneasy breath you slowly felt the belts of the bag sliding down your arm, then down your hands until it met the ground with a soft thud that still boomed sharply through your muddled head.
Again you had to take in a punch in the gut and right now, it felt even worse as it destroyed the moment you had clawed on since you had stepped into the trucks at the Sanctuary.
It screwed you once again over and destroyed the small layer of calmness you had built up.
You needed answers, now, and the only person who could provide them for you right now was the man who was still outside, carrying boxes to his house.
With heavy footsteps and a just as heavy breath you walked over the streets, trying to keep yourself controlled and trying to not let the fantod the whole day had grown in you take over, especially as your eyes caught Rick walking alone over the streets.
“Rick, I need to talk to you”, you said as loud as you could to get his attention and as he stopped by the sound of your voice and a sigh left his lips you knew that he was aware of why you were walking up to him now.
Clenching his jaw he turned around to you, his hands gripping tighter into the small carton he was carrying before he let out another deep sigh.
“There’s nothing to talk about, (Y/N)”, he said sternly, his eyes meeting yours in the faint light.
“There is. Why’s Negan handcuffed and where’s the bat?”, you asked, trying to keep your voice firm instead of letting it break like it threatened to.
This day had brought you enough, you just wanted it all to end, you just wanted to have a tiny bit of peace after all.
You didn’t want it or this night to become just another continuation of painful moments.
“’Cause he’s a prisoner and that…thing-“, Rick scoffed out, his jaw clenching again before his brows puckered slightly as he rose his voice again ,”They’ll stay on him.”
Desperation began to settle in your body as you let out a trembling breath, knowing that you couldn’t stop now.
“You didn’t put them on him before as well, why now?”
“’Cause I got the chance to, couldn’t before ‘cause you were mount guarding over him 24/7“, Rick growled, snideness clearly audible in his voice as you could feel yourself growing uneasier.
A part of you wanted to growl back, a small part of you even wanted to yell about the simple way everybody was looking at you without a chance to explain yourself but the bigger part in you knew, even after this day, that this wouldn’t get you far.
You had to soft pedal, you had to keep calm and most of all you just wanted the growing distress and agony to leave your body instead of letting it tremble like they did right now.
“Could you please uncuff him?”, you asked with a slightly shaking voice, almost feeling ridiculous as you spoke those words out but they were your only chance.
“Why should I do that, (Y/N)?”, Rick asked, his face grimacing in lack of understanding and even frustration as he walked a few steps towards you.
“’Cause he can’t even sit himself up…that’s how weak he still is, there’s no need for those cuffs”, you responded, heavily gulping and growing more restless before you rose your voice again, “If he was a possible threat to you, I could understand, but he’s not. He’s a weak and injured man and those cuffs will just make it worse.”
“You won’t change my mind”, he said sternly, just as a deep sigh left your lips and you began to realize that you wouldn’t get those damn cuffs off of him, at least not tonight.
The only hope you had was that Siddiq would say something against them, would tell Rick that they were restricting him or were giving him a harder time to treat Negan, especially the wound on his hand.
And after all, there still was another topic you had to check off.
“Then at least please tell me where the bat is”, you asked, gulping as you already knew that this wasn’t something Rick wanted to hear out of your mouth.
“What-”, he began, grimacing even more frustrated as before as his fingers pinched the bridge of his nose while he shook his head before he looked beyond belief at you ,“He killed Glenn and Abraham with that thing. Is that even clear to you?”
“And ‘cause he cares about this thing you just throw everything over board? He beat them to death with it, he-”, Rick growled out, stopping before he shook his head angrily again before glaring at you, “And this right here shows me that I can’t trust you with it.”
You looked unbelieving at Rick, the frustration growing in your body as you let out a scoffing sigh.
“What? Do you think I’ll throw it around and try to kill you all with it?”, spoke the pain and desperation of the day out of you, that was now just stronger as you saw the way he looked at you and grew even more as you heard his voice again.
Your eyes filled with more hurt as you looked at him, he was angry, of course he was but this was a step too far.
It was jinxed, at least it felt that way.
And as if you weren’t able to find a way that would let you make it right with both sides.
You didn’t want to have to choose any over the other even though the situation was forcing you to and you didn’t want to settle into a goddamn villain- nor victim role, you just wanted a damn chance.
You gulped, your glance trailing for a moment to the ground as Rick seemed to begin to notice the effect his words had on you.
A sigh left his lips that quickly mixed with a scoff as he turned around and walked a few steps before he suddenly stopped again.
“That damn thing is in the storeroom of the armory, and it will stay there”, Rick growled out before he let out another sigh, “Michonne told me. ‘bout your talk.”
With that, your glance snapped up again, remembering the first talk with one your old friends that had given you a little bit of hope that it would become some day better again.
But at least for now it didn’t look like it, right now stared Rick unbelieving into your eyes as if he couldn’t recognize you as the person he had once been close friends with.
“Tell me one thing (Y/N). Is he worth it? Is he really worth it?”, Rick asked, his glance goring through you as you looked right back into his eyes, knowing that you weren’t gonna give in now.
With a mix of frustration, pain and simple exhaustion you found yourself standing in front of Negan’s door again, your nerves even weaker than you had thought they’d become as you slipped once again into the room.
A sharp shot of pain rushed once again through you as your eyes caught the handcuffs, right before you leaned down to grab the bag and slowly walked towards him and to the chair on the other side of his bed.
Lowering the bag to the ground you let out a small strained breath, just before you heard the drowsy sound of a familiar voice.
“Sweetheart?”, you heard Negan dozily mumble, just as you turned around and looked into his sleepy eyes that were glancing in the faint light at you.
”Hey”, you just mumbled quietly, forcing a small smile onto your lips before you heard the small clinking of the cuff’s chains as Negan moved his hands slightly.
“I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have gone”, it blustered rattled out of you, your glance wandering to the chains as you gulped harshly.
“I was here before and then I…I tried to persuade Rick with the cuffs but…Lucille’s in the armory-”, you began again, your muddled mind cutting you off as it forced you to look back up at Negan’s face.
”Just come here for a moment, alright? Missed my girl”, Negan’s raspy voice asked with a sleepy grin and a quick wink, obviously trying to distract you as his words still began to loose you up, just like the sound of his voice and the simple fact that you were finally in this room.
Slowly, you sat down next to him as he shifted as much as he could to the side, dragging his hand over to him until the metallic cuffs didn’t allow him to move more.
”I’m sorry”, you mumbled again, feeling how the day and now the night as well were pressing in on you as a lump developed in your throat.
”That shit here’s not your fault”, Negan mumbled as he glanced down to the cuffs and even though he was seeming more than calm now, you knew that he had probably spent the day and night letting masses of curses about Rick rumble out of his lips, you could even imagine him yelling furiously at Rick to not touch Lucille when he had taken her.
A shivering breath left your lips as you slowly and reluctantly nodded, looking up at him again as you felt his eyes wandering over you.
”But next to that crap…I could use a damn welcome kiss”, he said as he gave you a small, uplifting grin, “A blowjob too but a damn kiss will do for the start.”
He chuckled quietly, grimacing slightly in pain as the rumbling of his laugh was hurting his throat’s wound before the grin slipped back on his lips.
Finally feeling a little lightheartedness rolling back into you, you leaned down to let your lips capture his, your hand moving up to cup the side of his jaw as his beard stubble tickled your fingertips and a contend growl rumbled through Negan’s chest and vibrated against your lips.
Slowly, you let go of his lips again, your forehead still leaning against his as you felt the scenario coming up you had thought of before walking for the first time into the house this night.
Negan’s touch didn’t only comfort you, it brought the longing in you up to let go and whirled your emotions back up only to slowly create more cracks in the thin layer of calmness.
A shivering breath left your lips, your nose tingled slightly as you could feel some tears trying to force their way up into your eyes.
”Baby, what’s else wrong?”, Negan asked, half serious, half with a deeply worried undertone as a tight breath fell from your lips and your emotions pressed the truth out of your body.
”I’m just burned out… feel like I can’t anymore”, you mumbled, your voice shaky and your eyes beginning to cloud with tears before you breathed sharply in and sat yourself up, Negan’s concerned eyes darting at you.
“And I should be strong for you now and I’m messing it up”, you mumbled, your voice pressing through the lump in your throat as your head dropped slightly just as you heard his voice again.
“You’re not, that’s bullshit, you’ve been strong for me all these fucking days”, you heard him firmly say, even though there was still the softness of the worry clearly audible in his voice before you glanced up at him.
“There’s more, huh?”, he asked, his eyes wandering over his face as you knew that you weren’t able to hold it back anymore, you couldn’t even wait until later.
“We made a detour to the Hilltop”, it blustered shakily out of you and with these words, you unleashed the storm that had caused havoc in you.
There was no way of keeping your emotions in line anymore, you weren’t even truly in control of yourself anymore, it just all got out as if some urge in you thought that this was the only way for you to find at least a little peace.
The cold behavior of your old friends.
The encounter with Maggie.
The fight with Daryl.
It all got out.
And the latter of the people you had mentioned, had even been unknown to Negan until now.
Merle had always been a topic you weren’t wild to talk about and till now, you had just suppressed him, but the poisonous mix of Daryl’s mention of him and your family’s death had turned the tables.
So accompanied by the tears that had already taken your eyes and cheeks as their new home, Merle slipped out of your lips again, not everything about him, but just the most important things that lead to your tearful reaction.
The rest was for other times, for other countless hours you would be able to fill with him or else of your yesterdays and for the times Negan and you would still spend unraveling the puzzles of each other’s pasts some more.
So for now, it was just these important things, especially because you doubted that you could take anything more after Daryl’s words had let you shatter on the ground.
And that was also why you found yourself huddled up next to Negan, your face pressed into the curve of his neck, his arm trying to hold you against him as much as the cuffs allowed while his lips pressed some soft kisses on your forehead and temple, just like countless of soothing words and arguments against Daryl’s accusations fell from his lips, along with his familiar curses.
Dawn was already beginning to slowly set in as your tears had dried, your breath was calm again and you began to hear Negan’s deep voice once more.
“Why don’t you show me what you got back from home”, you heard him ask as his head leaned against yours.
“As some distraction, huh?”, he added as you shifted slightly and began to sit yourself up next to him, realizing that this was probably the best thing to do right now if you wanted to keep your thoughts off of Daryl and anything that surrounded him.
“Okay”, you said, your voice still strained from the crying as you gave Negan a nod and looked into his softened eyes that began to have a little less concern filling them.
Slowly, you got up from the bed, and grabbed the dark belts of the bag before you could slide it until it hit the side of the bed.
Leaning down you began to open it, your body feeling slightly drained as heaved it up to place it on your lap to have a better look in it.
“Your tons of white – and a few grey shirts…sweatpants-”, you began to mumble with a tiny grin as your hands slid through the things in the bag and got a few of them out to have a better access to the objects hidden beneath the clothes.
”Normal pants..”, you continued as Negan’s chuckle let a small grin form on your lips just as you caught the red cloth underneath another bunch of white shirts.
“Oh and I got you the red scarf”, you said, the small smile dancing around the corners of your lips as your fingers laced around the fabric and pulled it out until Negan saw it.
A big grin began to plaster on his lips, a small chuckle leaving his mouth as he looked with a wolfish and roguish glance in his eyes at you.
“Us”, he corrected you with a wider grin before he rose his deep voice again, “You know what great shit we can do with that thing?”
His throaty laugh rumbled though his lips as he saw how you let a small chuckle out just before he grimaced in pain as soon as the laugh rumbled some more through his injured throat.
“Got the wound worse?”, you asked, worry laying in your voice as Negan slightly shook his head.
“Nah it’s fine, think it’s just the healing process”, he mumbled, before he gulped slightly, “Doc’s gonna look over it tomorrow anyway.”
You gave him a small nod, your eyes sticking for a moment on the white bandage that was still boasting around his neck before Negan got back on his mission to distract and cheer you up with the things you had gotten from the Sanctuary.
“That’s my favorite shirt”, he said with a small grin, nodding over to one of the countless white ones you had laid over his lap.
“What?”, you asked, your brows furrowing in slight confusion as another throaty chuckle fell from Negan’s lips.
“I’m not shitting you”, he said grinning, his tongue sliding for a short moment over his lower lip, “That shit’s fucking soft, softer than the others.”
Quickly, your fingers slid over the shirt, your fingers moving over the soft fabric as a small chuckle left your lips.
“What?”, he asked with another chuckle after you had given him next to the laugh a slightly irritated look, all while his brows perked curiously up.
“Didn’t think the big bad wolf would pay attention to the softness of his shirts”, you chuckled quietly and with a teasing undertone just before he let out a laughing snort.
“Fucking dare you to tell that anyone else”, he chuckled, the smirk still all over his lips as his eyes wandered over your face, relief mixing into his glance as he still saw the bit of lightheartedness he had managed to slip back into your body.
“Well, I’d also have some other ideas but…”, Negan mumbled after you had shown him the rest of the stuff you had gotten back before he gestured with his head towards his side, ”Now I know I can’t hold you but for the rest of the night, why don’t you use me fucking ruthlessly as your pillow?”
You gave him a nod, a soft smile laying on your lips as you packed the bag up again and placed it next to the bed.
Finally you laid next to him down again, hooking your leg around him to keep you on the bed, your hand resting on his chest while your head leaned against his warm neck just the way you had wished you could do it for the whole time you had been in the truck.
“Ah, this is good”, Negan exhaled with a content sigh as you cuddled up to him and his comforting scent began to shroud you again.
”Thank you”, you mumbled into his shirt, as you felt Negan’s hand caressing the small of your back as much as it could.
”There’s no fucking need to thank me for that”, Negan grumbled back, his head tilting slightly as he leaned it against yours, “especially not ‘cause I’m also the damn reason for it.”
For a short moment it got silent, but before you could tell him else you heard his voice again, now, different to before tensed and with a bit pain sounding through.
“I’m fucking sorry you gotta go through this because of my ass.”
“It’s not your fault”, you said, now quick enough to not let him drive himself deeper into this.
Raising your head you looked up at him, giving him a soft smile while your fingertips caressed slightly over his chest, trying to show him that you meant what you said.
Him giving himself the fault for all this was the last thing you wanted, nor did you ever considered him as the problem for the issues you had with the others.
Of course, they acted this way because you were with him, but that didn’t make it his fault for you, not in any way.
“It really isn’t”, you mumbled reassuring, your eyes still darting at his as he gulped slightly, the muscles in his cheek twitching uneasily by the pain it caused before he gave you a small nod.
“Don’t waste time for thoughts like that…just concentrate on recovering, alright?”, you said, softly nodding towards the bandage around his neck as you waited for a reaction of his.
“Alright”, he mumbled a little reluctantly back, before you leaned slightly in to press some kisses over his rough jaw and nuzzled your nose into his stubbly cheek the way you knew he secretly liked it.
And so you gave him comfort and solace, just like he had given you the utter most of it before.
Just like you both always did.
(The gif isn’t mine/ it was originally posted by dancing-at-the-funeralparty)
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