Summary: While Negan talks to Michonne, the reader has no clue about their fatal conversation until she comes back from work and finds a bleeding and crying Negan in his cell…
Agony struck through your body as you writhed in your disturbed sleep, the screams in your head forming into a horrific orchestra, determined to bring you down and drive you crazy until a deep, soothing voice began to interrupt them and sound through to you.
It grasped you, taking you to tear you out of the nightmare’s grasp while a familiar warmth began to engulf you tighter, bringing your consciousness slowly back as the dream still tried to pull you back into its darkness.
“Baby? Hey….Baby, wake up”, Negan’s voice mumbled, bringing you closer to the surface of finally waking up again until you broke through it and began to sense what the horror in your head was doing not just to your mind, but to your body as well.
You were trembling like an aspen leaf, your chest rising and falling through sharp breaths that cut through your throat and got disrupted by the taste of salty tears that trickled down your cheeks as a wave of icy coldness and boiling heat mixed within your veins.
“Shh…hey, it’s over. Everything’s fuckin’ fine. I’m here, Sweetheart”, Negan’s voice sounded through to you once more as you were finally able to open your eyes, glancing at his face that was only softly enlightened in the moonlight but which gave enough light to show the concern that had taken charge of his features.
Pants were still leaving your trembling lips as his eyes caught yours, running over your face in worry as his hand reached up, his thumb stroking softly over your skin to get rid of the salty tears.
Still in panic your glance wandered in restlessness over his face, his throat, his body, checking that he was fine and trying to prove to yourself that the nightmare hadn’t shown the truth.
There were no screams, he wasn’t torn up, there was no thick, dark red blood covering him, trickling down on the pile of rotten corpses that belonged once to the people you loved.
He was alive, not a hint of blood on his body, nor on the prison suit and there he was, laying right beside you, holding you in his arms and pulling you deeper into his embrace to comfort you.
“Hey, look at me, Baby”, he mumbled, trying his best to hold your gaze that still wasn’t sure enough that he was actually safe and sound, “It’s okay, everything‘s okay.”
Finally, you got yourself to look into his eyes as you slowly began to calm down and felt his thumb continuing its calming brushes over your wetted cheeks .
Slowly, you began to nod, sniffling slightly before he you watched him leaning in in the faint light until his lips could caress soothingly over yours, keeping them captured until he felt you melting into him, yearning for the kiss and his touches as if they could force the rest of what the nightmare had left in your bones out of your body.
His lips had just left yours as you sunk against him, burying your face into the crook of his neck as the fear got hold of you again and urged you deeper into his embrace, as if he would vanish into thin air if you let go.
“I love you”, your still trembling lips mumbled against his skin as you felt him tightening his arms around you before a set of warm lips placed on your temple.
“I love you too”, he mumbled back, pressing another kiss against your skin as you cuddled closer into his embrace, “So fuckin’ much.”
You stayed this way for minutes, engulfed by Negan’s arms as you were calming your body and mind down, slowly getting the trembling under control as well as the mess the nightmare had formed on your head.
“You wanna talk?”, you heard Negan eventually mumble as you found yourself sitting next to him on the edge of the cheap bed, feeling how he wrapped his blanket around your shoulders as you glanced reluctantly at him, not sure if you should worry him even more.
But before you could think more, he let out a deep sigh and pulled you closer, recognizing the signals you were sending him.
After all, that man knew you and he knew that look.
“Was about my damn ass, huh?”, he grumbled, wrapping his arm around your waist as you longed for his warmth that set a clear contrast to the iciness that was radiating from the cold cement ground against the soles of your feet.
“You…the others”, you mumbled, gulping heavily as you tried to keep the pictures out of your mind before you slowly leaned your head against his shoulder and felt him resting his against yours.
“Well, now it’s over and fuckin’ done…I don’t die, that’s not how it works”, Negan mumbled, a soft, supportive chuckle in his voice, meant to cheer you up as his hand reached up and stroke for a moment along your cheeks.
“You tell me when you need your man to loose ya up, right?”, he added, his hand that was still cupping your waist squeezing it playfully as he finally elicited a small chuckle to fall from your lips as well.
“Yes”, you mumbled against the blue fabric of his prison suit as you huddled closer up to his tall frame,”But for now…can you just hold me?”
“Oh I can do that sure as shit”, he mumbled back as he loosened his hold on you for a moment to scoot back on the bed and eventually open his arms for you.
“Thank you”, you said, giving him a small but grateful smile as you climbed back into the bed, ”Thank you for being there.”
“No damn need to thank me…that’s my job, isn’t it?”, he grumbled with a small chuckle as you got closer to him, “Come here.”
Quietly, you let yourself fall next to him again, feeling how he wrapped his arms around you and grabbed your leg carefully to hook it over his, making sure that he could hold you as close as possible.
”There you go”, he mumbled as he pulled the blanket back over your bodies, tucking you in along with him as you nuzzled your nose into the warmth of his neck, breathed deeply and contently out before allowing yourself to close your eyes again without having to fear that those pictures rushed up again.
“You got no idea how much you help me with that”, you mumbled against his skin, feeling how he leaned his head back against yours, pressing a kiss to your forehead before a questionably hum left his lips.
“You help me deal with this”, you muttered in response as you cuddled into his comforting warmth ,”You make me stronger.”
The gravel was crunching beneath your shoes’ soles as you made your way towards the infirmary, the lack of sleep dragging on your body while you tried your best to stay awake.
The extra strong coffee you had made yourself at your old home was still lingering on your lips, letting you hope that it would kick in soon while your heavy eyelids sent you a whole different message.
You had woken up at least five more times that night, not crying and trembling like the first time after the nightmare, but with enough restlessness stuck in your body to have a hard time falling asleep once again.
Each time Negan had been the one to let you sink back into those sleepy depths again, just with holding and caressing you until your body relaxed again in his arms and allowed you to get at least a little sleep.
Without him there, you were sure you wouldn’t have been able to get more than an hour sleep, sure, it still wasn’t much, but you were grateful for every damn minute, especially after a nightmare as horrific as the one that had haunted you this last night.
You knew that these things wouldn’t just completely vanish because someone loved you, that’s just not the way it works but since you had him with you, they were at least a little less frequent and much easier to deal with.
Especially, because you also knew how these nights were without someone by your side and thinking back to them let an icy shudder run up and down your spine.
You huffed quietly as your tired eyes finally captured the infirmary from afar, reminding you of the extra hours you probably had to add onto your usual shifts once again.
A cold was going around, nothing threatening but strong enough to let a few people lay pretty low in the bed’s of the infirmary, joining the two workers who had hurt themselves working on the bridge and who all needed to be taken care of.
And since the consequences of your involuntary participation in the fight between Daryl and Justing had let you lay just as low as the patients at the infirmary for two whole days, it was your turn to take over the extra shifts at the infirmary.
You hadn’t returned to Rick’s big project above the river, not because of the fight, but because Siddiq needed you in Alexandria.
You could still see the disappointment written over Rick’s face as he got the news, taking with you also a bunch of others from the bridge that just added onto the problems that had emerged after the fight.
Justin’s sudden and gruesome death along with the vanishing of a bunch of other saviors were just a few of the things that had let he situation escalate, tearing a giant crack into the alleged pace that had rested between the communities.
You could tell how important the bridge was to Rick, building something for the future, for the future that Carl would have wanted.
And now you were looking at the nearest future in front of you at the end of the path, hoping that you wouldn’t have to take yet another extra shift.
You got less time to be with Negan because of them, shrinking your time with him to a minimum before you were forced to sleep if you didn’t want to walk around as dead as the walkers outside the gates the next day.
It wasn’t just dreading on your nerves, you could tell it was dreading on his too, even though he was trying to stay strong for you.
Still, there always was this underlying darkness that kept welling up from time to time, trying to pull him into its depths and take him in.
Until now, you could always manage to pull him out again, one way or another, and let him see the light again but this shrunk time didn’t contribute to it.
And even though you tried to suppress it, tried to stay positive, if you were honest, there was a painful and wrenching fear lingering deep down in you that one day, you might not be able to pull him out of this darkness anymore.
“You want me to eat? Well, I want you to stay and talk to me”, Negan mumbled, glancing from the sandwich to the woman who was staring disbelieving and annoyed at him.
He needed to do this, he needed to be seen as a human again, not just the monster behind bars.
He needed to talk.
“I mean, I I’m proof that you’re making a civilization, right? I mean, that’s what your boyfriend says, so hard to be that if I’m dead from starvation”, he added, watching the annoyance on Michonne’s face growing some more before her huff echoed through the room.
“First, (Y/N) wouldn’t let you do-”, she began, stopping as she stepped closer to the bars, narrowing her glance as a shudder ran down Negan’s back.
“She doesn’t know, does she? You didn’t tell her about this…this little game.”
“No”, he responded in a growl, feeling an uncomfortable iciness spreading over his body. He wasn’t gonna let anyone pull her into this, especially not if this conversation would end up to have consequences for him.
No, fuckin’ sir.
”Don’t pull her into this”, he added in a rasp, hearing another annoyed snort falling from her lips as she clenched her jaw and stared at him, as if she was prepared to attack.
“Second, I thought you said you weren’t on strike.”
“I’m not if you stay and talk to me”, he mumbled, going for a second try, trying to read something off her face in the faint light before Michonne made a sudden movement, grabbing the edge of the chair and pulling it towards her.
“I’d say it’s about 20 minutes before the sun hits that bar.
That’s all you get. Then, you’re gonna eat every last bite”, she growled, a glare in her eyes as she plopped down on the chair, “You wanna talk? Let’s talk.”
“Sarah, you have to eat”, you mumbled with a small sigh as your glance wandered over the girl in the bed in front of you, coined by the thick cold she had caught herself.
Her eyes were slightly swollen, a cloudy glance stuck in them, her nose was reddened by the countless times she had wiped it, the blonde hair was hanging in strands around her face while the rest of her body was buried beneath thick blankets.
“At least a little”, you added, placing the soup on the nightstand by her side as you slowly caught her shaking her head while a painful cough rumbled through her throat.
“I’m not hungry.”
“I know…I get it, but you have to try, at least a few spoons so your body can get some strength back”, you mumbled, a slightly pleading tone in your voice as you felt like you were playing a record back over and over again.
“Okay”, she finally muttered after a few more silent moments, ultimately grabbing the bowl and the spoon before slowly and hesitantly taking a few first gulps.
Giving her a thankful smile you turned around to go on with your work, hoping to not catch one nasty cold yourself before you heard Siddiq’s voice echoing through to you.
“(Y/N)? Need your assistance over here.”
“I’m grateful at least one of the women I’ve loved doesn’t have to see me like this”, Negan mumbled, feeling his heart sinking a little by those words as he leaned against the cold wall and glimpsed at the woman behind the bars.
Till now this damn talk had been all easy for him, now, slowly, the hard one emerged and urged uneasiness into his bones.
“What do you mean? As opposed to the asshole that you were before?”, she huffed, giving him an snide glance from her position on the old wooden chair.
“God, she was…she was an angel”, he continued, ignoring the remark as his throat threatened to grow tight, throttling his air a little as he let out a deep sigh.
“She deserved better than she got…(Y/N) does too…wish I could give her more.”
Her eyes filled with all kinds of remarks he could figure out just too well but instead of speaking them out she remained silent for a moment before finally opening her mouth again.
“What happened to her? Your wife?”
“What used to happen”, he answered, the invisible thread spinning tighter around his throat as a cold shudder ran down his back, “Cancer.”
“We would’ve loved to have had a kid…”, it fell from his lips, urging the old memories and thoughts further into his mind before new ones mixed in and let him once more realize what could be…or rather what could have been if shit would have turned out in some damn other way.
“If things were different…I’d love to have kids with (Y/N) too”, he mumbled, his voice shivering slightly as it filled with emotion before he gulped thickly and glanced back at Michonne.
“Kid like Carl…”, he mumbled, seeing the twitch in her muscles, revealing what his mention elicited in him even though Negan could feel the sting in himself as well.
That kid had been something special, someone he would have loved to mentor some more…to actually have him like him.
”You got lucky.”
“I think about him every damn day.
But he’s still here.
In everything we do.
I look around, and I see him everywhere”, she said, her voice thick with emotion as Negan moved a little closer and sighed quietly.
“Do you see him in this cell?”
“Haven’t slept well, huh?”, you heard Siddiq ask as he shoved the rest of his utensils back into the drawer, glancing at you as soon as it crashed back into the counter.
“Woke up a couple of times”, you mumbled, leaving the nightmare part intentionally out as you met his glance and saw him nodding slowly before a small smile grew on his lips.
“Go take a nap upstairs.”
”Really?”, you asked a little astounded as he began to nod once more.
“Yeah, half hour can do wonders sometimes…I know that”, he mumbled, letting a small chuckle out before he nodded back towards the patient rooms,”And I’ll be fine for that time, seems like we got a little break now, so use it.”
“Okay”, you responded, feeling how your body was already yearning more for a bed as soon as the opportunity seemed to unfold itself,”Thank you.”
A content groan left your lips as soon as you fell onto the bed, stretching your tired limbs out as soon as you settled into its middle and rested your head onto the soft pillows.
Another hum left your lips as you closed your eyes, hoping to get the best out of the half hour while the soft blankets and pillows let a small part of you remember the nights with Negan in his large bed back at the sanctuary.
The luscious black sheets and countless pillows that got only topped by the way Negan’s arms wrapped around you at night and kept you in his embrace.
If you were honest, those strong arms were something you were missing right now too, no matter how big and comfy the bed was.
A small huff left your lips as you opened your eyes just a little, glimpsing at the digital clock on the nightstand that let you remember to just use the time you had.
So instead of letting your thoughts run free some more, you cuddled into the pillows, humming quietly before closing your eyes again and allowing yourself to drift a little off.
“She made me…not weak”, Negan mumbled, a hard gulp traveling down his throat as he shifted over the cement ground, feeling how the cold stone of the wall pressed into his back as he ran a palm over his thick beard, “And now…with (Y/N)…”
Another sigh left his lips, filled with tension as he glimpsed up, catching the Michonne’s glance just for the matter of a second.
”Before her…I thought having someone you love with you in this…in some way it does make you weak…the dead harden us, y’know”, he mumbled, letting out a bittersweet chuckle as the woman behind the bar just stared at him, not disinterested, but rather as if his words began to let something stir within her.
”You feel like a shell of a fuckin’ person walking around, well that keeps you alive ‘cause you’re in some damn way not as vulnerable or fuckin scared, whatever”, Negan scoffed lightly, gulping as he felt the stinging pain of the past trying to bite his ass, ”My wife’s death put me in that kinda bubble…that’s what got me through for some time…”
Another deep sigh fell from his lips, the difficulty of talking about her and the pain connected to her death pressing in on him before he glanced up at Michonne and caught her eyes.
”And I can tell you’ve gone through that phase too, in some way.”
She stayed quiet, her glance intensifying by his words that told him he was right, even though she didn’t say a word, didn’t move an inch.
”And then, well then if you’re lucky you meet someone who makes ya feel alive again”, he went on, seeing how she kept staring at him as another small chuckle left his lips, ”That fuckin’ bubble bursts and shit’s scary as fuck, dangerous too ‘cause…as I said, it makes you vulnerable as hell.”
”Then why did you get together with her? Why are you still with her when it makes you so vulnerable?”, she suddenly spoke up, startling him a little by her abrupt response and the snapping even a little venomous sound.
”I’m just a human too, even though you probably see that different”, he said, breathing through as he glanced at his hands that fumbled on the loose threads that surrounded the fabric covering his knees ,”That temptation to feel shit again was bigger in the end. She trumped that.”
“And now, well now I guess part of me was wrong back then…sure loving someone makes you vulnerable…maybe weak too, ‘cause she’s my raw fuckin’ point…but that strength she gives me…that outweighs that weakness…gives you a reason to keep going”, he mumbled, feeling a little warm sneak up deep within him as he talked about her.
”And if I’m honest, when I got her with me I often catch my damn self not even giving a single flying fuck. Not fucking caring if it makes me weak or strong…that’s what she’s doing to me”, he quietly chuckled, having to admit even to himself how big her impact was on him, especially in this dark time ,“I’m just happy to have her.”
“What’s your point?”, Michonne growled, her voice sharp as she stared down at him on the cold cement ground.
”As much as Ricky the prick is a pain in the ass to me, to you he’s probably in some way what (Y/N) is to me.”
”Negan, what do you want to tell me with this?”, she added, the growl in her voice still clearly audible as he glanced up at her and made sure that she looked him in the eye for his next words.
”We’re the same.”
Siddiq had been right, the half hour had helped, letting you feeling at least a little more awake through the next few hours until you found yourself back in the kitchen, cleaning the bowl Sarah had finished much to your gladness.
Siddiq stood next to you, sorting in the new meds and bandages into the drawers before he stopped to glance outside, sighing quietly as he propped his hands onto the wooden counter.
Distracted by him you glanced up as well, catching a set of four men and women coming from the gates, carrying a few small boxes that gave away the place they had come from pretty quickly.
”Coming from the bridge, huh?”, Siddiq mumbled, quiet enough that it could sound like he was speaking to himself before you slowly nodded.
”I liked working there”, he added, letting out a small sigh as he shrugged his shoulders and gave you a small crooked smile,”Was a bit of a challenge.”
”Yeah…I liked it too”, you mumbled, thinking about the opportunity to be in the woods, another set of surrounding than all the same walls in the infirmary for a few hours a day.
“Maybe if the cold beats retreat we’ll get to go there again…at least for some shifts”, you said, turning off the water and reaching out for a small black towel to dry the bowl in your hands up while Siddiq remained quiet.
”What?”, you mumbled quietly as he still hadn’t said anything back, before he slowly shook his head.
”Heard they’re pulling even more people back…heard rumors Carol’s taking her team too and besides, Eugene told me the waters been becoming harsher from the rainfalls, some kinda roulette game if the bridge’s gonna hold or not.”
A sigh left your lips as soon as Siddiq’s voice hushed, leaving you torn about the thought what must be going on in Rick in these moments, standing in front of the alleged shards of his heart project.
”Shit…feel sorry for Rick”, you mumbled, catching Siddiq nodding quietly before he shrug his shoulders and pushed himself to loose the tension that had begun to spread over his face before he glanced back at you.
”Maybe it still works out, who knows.”
”Yeah”, you mumbled, giving him a small smile before you glanced back outside, finding the men and women that slowly got completely out of your view, descending behind a few of the rebuild houses.
Within just a few moments Michonne replaced them, walking down the street with fast steps that let her dreads dance over her shoulders as she stumped over the blacktop.
Your glance followed her for a second or two before you glanced down again to the sink, hoping that at least on this day you could leave on time to return to Negan.
“We don’t have your bat, Negan”, Michonne’s voice echoed through the cell, a firm tone in her voice as an ice-cold shudder ran down Negan’s back, taking his body in within the matter of milliseconds.
That couldn’t be true…no that couldn’t be fucking true.
“But…but she said Lucille’s at the armory-”, his voice brought out, shivering as he thought back to the things (Y/N) had told him after confronting Rick.
She wouldn’t lie to him.
No, fuck no she wouldn’t do that.
She had been the one to take Lucille with her on that goddamn day at the hill, she had been the one to make sure the bat could stay a little in his room at the infirmary…so what the fuck had they done after he had been imprisoned…what the fuck had they done to her?!
Heavy breaths left his lips as he stared at the women behind the bars, his brows puckering in desperation while a small, sly smile formed on her lips as her voice echoed through the cell again.
“See you tomorrow”, you said, a smile spread over your lips as you shoved your jacket over your arms while your glance wandered from the descending Siddiq to the clock that finally showed you that you could leave as planned, with enough time left to make a short stop-by at your old home to get some new clothes for the night and maybe even hop into the bath for a quick shower.
A content sigh left your lips as you finally slipped outside and walked down the porch’s stairs before a familiar voice stopped you from going any farther.
“(Y/N), Wait”, Michonne’s voice made you turn around to her as she approached fast until only a meter parted you.
“We have to talk…about Negan”, she said, the firmness in her voice immediatley letting a shudder run down your back as you stared in confusion at her, waiting for her to say something.
“I know you didn’t know but I want you to do so now,…in case something like that happens again”, she said, a sigh leaving her lips as she glanced at you while the restlessness in your body grew.
“He refused to eat, only gave in when I agreed to talk to him.”
”He didn’t eat?”, a coldness shook through you, sending an awful mix of emotions through your veins, an odd feeling of disbelief filling you up even though you could tell she was saying the truth, ”For how long?”
”Since yesterday, but it’s ended now, hopefully”, she sighed, your mind still trying to sort everything she had just said before you heard her voice again.
”You should check on him, either way…the sooner the better”, she mumbled, her voice as firm as before, ”Didn’t take everything I said very well.”
”I don’t know what he’s doing. But in case he’s throwing a tantrum, I can’t have that. Don’t need him to drive the guards crazy.”
Those last words of Michonne kept echoing through your head as you rushed down the streets, your shoes’ soles hitting the blacktop with fast steps while your breath grew quicker and sharper, daring to slice cuts into your throat.
How the fuck hadn’t you noticed he wasn’t eating?
Or had there even been a chance for you to do so?
He always got the meals during the day, the plates were each and every day already gone when you got there.
Your head was an only mess, trying to figure out what exactly Michonne could have told him while his refusal got clearer to you, it made sense, even though it was hard to admit.
That damn darkness was creeping up again, the memories of what he’d lost, the knowledge of how people were seeing him now, like a monster behind bars.
and that was just a small part of it.
Your heart pounded up into your throat, your pulse echoing through your ears as you finally approached the brownstones, not sure what to exactly await before the odd glance the guard was giving you just let the uneasiness in you grow.
“Well, thank god you’re here”, a huff left his lips, pushing you to furrow your brows in worry and confusion before he slowly shook his head and pulled the keys out of his pants pockets.
“See for yourself.”
The moment the door to the house opened your heart skipped a beat, letting the blood in your veins freeze as a rush of panic and concern washed over you.
Cries bounced off the walls, deep, heart wrenching sobs that belonged to the man you loved.
All out of sudden your feet began to run, to rush through the house, shut out everything around you as you stemmed the door to the cellar open and got hit by the uncovered sound of his agony filled sobs and whimpers that let your heart break a little more with each second you were exposed to them.
You couldn’t think, couldn’t even perceive the way you stumbled down the stairs even though your shaking and fast legs dared to let you fall with each step.
Everything in you had blacked out until you caught the metal bars appearing in front of you, showing you the fitting picture to the sounds that reechoed through the cell.
There he was, almost vanishing in the faint light, cowering in the middle of the cell, his hands buried in his short dark hair, his body slightly teetering back and forth as tears streamed down his cheeks and wetted his thick beard as the sobs let his chest rise and fall in a threatening fast rhythm.
“Negan…”, fell from your lips, quietened by the lump that was forming in your throat, urging tears into your eyes as you stared at the picture of misery in front of you Negan had turned into.
“I won’t open the door until he’s on the bed. Rule is rule. Don’t know if he’s fakin’ just to attack as soon as that door’s open”, you suddenly heard the guard’s voice sound through to you, adding with those three sentences a boiling anger to your deep worry that formed into a threatening glare that snapped towards the guard.
“You can’t fucking possibly think that?! Get that damn door open”, blustered out of you, not as aggressive as the emotions in you tried to push it but breaking and panicking by the thought to not get to him.
A sigh left the guard’s lips, his brows pulled into a deep frown before he clenched his jaw and pushed the key into the lock, pushing the door just enough open for you to slip in.
The anger in you wanted to shoot him one more glare for this petty act, but instead the worry in you took over, pushing you through the gap in the door before you found yourself sinking to your knees in front of him.
The tears began to blurry your view as your lips gaped open, letting restless breaths fall from your lips as you slowly reached out to him, placing your hand on his shaking shoulder as you suddenly heard his broken voice sounding through to you.
”Lucille’s gone”, he sobbed, confusion rushing through your mind as soon as he spoke up once more, ”She…she’s out there again.”
”I thought she’s in the armory…”, your trembling voice mumbled as you shifted closer to him, remembering what they’ve had told such a long time ago, after you had taken her with you from the tree on the hill, after Negan had been imprisoned, while your mind was working flat out now, trying to find answers even though there was no way.
”Was”, Negan whimpered, his broken voice sending painful stings through your body as he finally looked up at you, showing in the faint light enough for you to see his red rimmed eyes that were swollen from the still flowing tears, ”Said she got lost on a weapon transfer…they didn’t fuckin-…fuckin bother to look aft-”
”Oh my…”, only fell from your lips, the agony that was taking him in was settling over to you as well, forming a whirlwind of pain within you that grew and picked up pace with each second.
“Come here…”, you mumbled, feeling your voice trembling as you wrapped your arms around him, pulling him into your embrace before his shaking body melted against you, his face burying into the curve of your neck.
His hot tears met your skin as you cradled him, your hand reaching up to caress through his hair, trying to comfort him as well as you could before something wet touched your fingertips, letting you flinch away before your eyes stared in the faint light at your fingers whose tips were covered in his thick, red blood.
A shivering breath fell from your lips, your mind trying desperately to figure out why he was bleeding, why blood was trickling from the wound on his forehead you hadn’t been able to see in the faint light.
Heavy pants began to shake through your ribcage, letting it rise and fall against Negan’s slumped shape in your embrace as your eyes wandered in panic through the cell, before the sunbeams streaming through the gaps of the metal bars on the windows highlighted a spot on the stone wall that shook a wave of pain through you.
Blood was sticking to the stone, shimmering threateningly in the light while your heart seemed to stop for a moment and a wave of nausea washed over you as realization kicked in.
He had done this to himself.
he had bashed his head against the wall.
”Negan, wha-”, your voice couldn’t bring the sentence to an end before it broke, the lump in your throat growing to a size that made it harder and harder for you to speak.
Panic began to rush through you as your mind kept trying to tell you to keep a cool head and be strong for him even though nothing seemed harder than this in these moments.
You should know how to deal with this, you should.
But this was the man you loved in your arms, still sobbing and whimpering, his body trembling in your embrace while the blood of his self-inflicted wound was sticking to your fingers and was still slowly trickling down his forehead.
Tears blurred your view again as your body began to tremble harder, enough for Negan’s whimpers to stop for a moment and loose his own shaking body out of your embrace.
You wanted to say something, not only ask him why even though you secretly knew the answer, but rather comfort him and find a solution that would let his pain vanish.
But while a wrenching fight was happening between your wild running emotions and your mind, Negan slowly backed away, enough for his tears clouded eyes to capture your face that was still taken hostage by shock, pain and a good ounce of disbelief.
“Don’t cry”, his trembling lips brought out, his face wrenching in agony as his trembling hand reached up and brushed over your cheek that had become home to the first tears that had rolled down your face against your will ,“I…I don’t want to you cry because of this-”
“Negan, you bashed-…you harmed yourself, I-”, it blustered out of you even though you wanted to say anything else, ”I’m just-”
New tears trickled down his face as he tried to suppress another sob to erupt his chest while his hand fell from your face.
“I’m sorry”, he whimpered, lowering his head as suddenly all the alarm clocks in your head clicked on and let the urge to stay strong and keep a cool head for him to overcome the wild running emotions of pain.
“No, no, don’t Negan…you don’t have to feel guilty, okay? Don’t do that…”, you said, trying to keep your voice as steady as you could as you reached out to him, softly cupping his face to lead it up until you could glance at him.
“Okay?”, you mumbled again, brushing your thumbs over his cheeks to get rid of his tears and give him some soothing touches before you slowly saw him nod.
“I love you”, you quietly mumbled as you leaned in, kissing him softly, hoping that it might calm him at least a tiny bit.
“I love you too…I-” he mumbled against your lips, his voice breaking as new tears welled up in his eyes and throttled him.
“Shh…It’s okay”, you mumbled, keeping your voice soft as you caressed his face even though you were fighting against the tears that tried to find their way into your eyes as well ,”It’s okay, Negan.”
You gulped quietly before you pulled him back into your embrace and cradled him tightly, kissing the top of his head while you tried to not only calm him but yourself down so you could help him instead of breaking out in tears.
“We’ll calm down now and find a solution…okay?”, you quietly mumbled into his hair, nuzzling it as you cradled him tightly while small whimper left his lips.
“There is no-”
“There is”, you cut him off, softly but firm enough to sound persuading, hoping to shut down his negative thoughts,”I’m here, alright?”
Your fingers ran through his hair, the tips still daubed with his blood as you caressed them over his scalp, teetering him softly back and forth while the feeling of new tears pressing against your skin let you rise your voice again.
You weren’t sure how long you exactly stayed this way on the cold cement floor, his trembling body melted against yours, his face buried into the curve of your neck while you cradled and caressed him, trying to calm him further down while the constant shroud of tears in your eyes kept taunting you.
Softly, you pressed another kiss to his hair, nuzzling your nose into his dark locks while your fingers suddenly touched the blood on his forehead again, letting you flinch slightly as you knew that you couldn’t stay this way forever.
Who knew how often he had done that to himself, who knew what that could have as consequences.
Hell, you needed to be strong now, you had to take care now and check him as well as you could and maybe distract him a little with treating his wound would help at least a tiny bit.
“We…we need to get that cleaned up”, you eventually mumbled, gulping to get rid of the rest of the lump that had been lingering in your throat,”Alright? And then we’ll take it from there.”
Seeing Negan trying to lift his weakened body up and slumping himself over to the bed broke your heart all over again, the hurt glance in his eyes only contributing to it as you sat down on the squeaking mattress.
Your hand patted his softly before you bent down, your still trembling fingers reaching past the thin book and the few magazines you had been able to bring him, even though it had taken a lot of persuasion and discussions with the guard.
Finally, you got to the bit of medical utensils you had deposed here when you had still taken care of his cut wound before grabbing them and shifting back closer to him, enough to let him feel your closeness.
“Okay, there we go”, you quietly mumbled as you sprinkled disinfection liquid onto a thin cloth, glancing softly at him before you carefully reached up to dab the cloth over his wound.
Negan flinched slightly by the sting the disinfection was eliciting before lowing his head slightly to make it a little easier for you.
It did, treatment wise, but hell, it also made it harder.
With that, you saw the wound in all its gruesome glory.
Saw what he had done to himself.
A small gasp left your lips, almost sounding like a whimper you couldn’t suppress as a stream of light hit his wound, enlightening it as you tried to concentrate even though the voice in your head began to count how many times he must have bashed his head against the wall to get to this wound.
Every time your mind added another bash a stinging pain shot through your body, making it harder for you to stay focused, making it easier for the tears that kept shrouding your eyes.
It had to have been at least five times…if not more and you were afraid that there may be more injury lingering beneath the wound than your eyes could perceive.
Another shivering breath left your lips as you tried to remove the blood before you felt Negan’s still slightly shaking hand reaching out to you.
Lightly, it grasped yours that still rested on the mattress, squeezing it gently like it already had done so often when trying to comfort you in the past.
Lowering your hand from his cleaned wound you laid the cloth next to the bed, just to reach up again and cup the side of his face to let him glance at you.
For a moment, you were torn, unsure if you should ask him how often he had done this or let it be, avoiding the risk to well up pain and stress again that would ruin the bit of calmness he had achieved by now, especially because you weren’t sure if this information would be worth much in your hands.
You decided for the latter, hoping that you could ask Siddiq later on to take care of his physical health and for now, trying to take care of what seemed much more urgent.
His mental health.
“I’m sorry you have to-”, you heard him mumble, his voice breaking in the end as you shook your head softly and brushed your thumb over his cheek.
“Shh, it’s okay…it’s okay…don’t worry about me now”, you muttered, feeling how more thoughts pressed in on your mind, the rest of his talk with Michonne, or even more what had led to it, the hunger strike.
An urge in you wanted to know about those things but you kept pressing them back, telling yourself that you should take care of them on the next morning, when the situation had calmed a little down and distanced itself.
For now, there was only one thing that had directly led to his behavior and his breakdown, or at least it had been the one to trigger it and finally open the gate for all the darkness that had already so often tried to captivate him.
God, you knew how much the bat meant to him, what kind of memories were stuck in it and not only that, but also what an emotional crutch it had been for him through the apocalypse and its troubles.
You had to find a way to get her back, somehow.
You glanced back up again, looking with agony in your veins at the man in front of you who seemed like he was slowly breaking apart, giving in to the pressure that had been lingering over him over the last year and a half.
It elicited a fear in you that crawled through your body, nestling in beneath your skin as you reached out to him and bit new forming tears back.
“Come here”, you softly mumbled, shifting back onto the mattress until your could lean into the pillow and guide him closer to you.
Within seconds he allowed himself to fall back into your embrace, bury his head into the curve of your neck as his large and tall frame huddled up to yours.
You cradled him softly against your body, running your fingers through his hair, while your arm wrapped tightly around him as your mind spooled back to the reason for this all, just as much as the urge to help him.
“I’ll try to find her-”
“No”, he cut you off, his voice still coined by the sobs and whimpers from before as he rose his head from your shoulder for a moment and let his bleary but determined eyes glance at you ,”No, you won’t go out there for me when that shit herd’s roamin’ around.”
You stared at him, unsure and a little desperate in what to do now before you breathed through and gulped softly, nodding as you knew that this wasn’t gonna be the way to go, at least not right now.
You guided his head back into the curve of your neck, brushing over his hair before you sighed softly and tried to let your head work as well as it could in these moments, before you rose your voice again.
“You know what? Maybe Michonne didn’t say the truth, maybe she’s still somewhere here. Maybe she just didn’t want you to know”, you said, keeping your voice as soothing as you could as he shifted slightly in your embrace.
“You think that?”, he asked, his voice raspy as he nuzzled his face closer into your neck while a small ounce of hope seemed to create within the desperation that had taken hostage of his voice before.
“I think it’s more than possible…why should they leave her behind when she’s one of the things they can have power over you with? I know that’s nothing great to hear…I know…but I’m sure they wouldn’t want to miss out on that opportunity”, you mumbled, not only to calm him but also because you felt like this could actually be true.
There was much that could simply get lost, but something as powerful and meaningful as Negan’s bat? The possibility was small.
“So yeah, I think she could still be here…”, you added as you could feel his breath growing a little steadier as you teased your fingers through his hair, pressing another kiss to his forehead as you leaned your head against his.
“I love you, Negan…I love you so much”, you softly mumbled, feeling how the lump that was still lingering in your throat was pressing in on you again as you cradled him tightly and felt how your worry about him took some more charge over your body as the urge to just function was slowly vanishing
A soft ‘I love you too’ was the only thing that got a tiny smile for a moment on your lips before new tears formed in your eyes as you nuzzled your nose into his hair and caressed him softly.
You kept cradling him, holding him tightly in your embrace until you felt him beginning to slowly relax, the exhaustion the sobs and the hunger strike had brought into him mixing with the bit of calmness you had been able to create.
With the passing time, his breath grew steadier, his body melted against yours and his head sunk a little deeper into your neck until you could tell that he had fallen asleep by the time everything outside had turned pitch black.
Just then, just when you were sure he was somewhere in the depths of sleep you allowed the tears that had lingered in your eyes to break out and roll down your cheeks, releasing the tension and pain that had been stuck in your body.
You knew that you had to find a way to help him as soon as the sun would rise again, but right now a part of you was just thankful that he seemed to be at least swinging in a peaceful sleep.
It was an odd mix of emotions that streamed through your body, fear and deep worry mixing with shock and a bit disbelief that still let part of this whole scene seem surreal while you quietly sniffled and tried to somehow handle the fact what he had done to himself hours before in just this cell.
Eventually, your last tears dropped into his black locks as you closed your eyes and nuzzled his hair, hoping dearly that better days would await the both of you as you held him just as soothingly and tightly as he had held you in the last night.
(The gif isn’t mine/ it was originally posted by dancing-at-the-funeralparty)
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