For the first time after the war’s end the Reader has to return to the Sanctuary without Negan
The sun was shining softly through the infirmary’s windows as its sunrise danged over your skin, beginning to wake you gradually up.
With each moment you were diving more out of the depths of the sleep and began to become awake, all while feeling how Negan’s chest slowly rose and fell beneath your hand, your face nuzzled against the curve of his shoulder while your legs were entangled with his as his still weak arm was wrapped around you as best as it could.
A small smile began to grow on your lips as you opened your eyes, realizing that the past night had been the very first night after you had been back at Alexandria that hadn’t let a nightmare haunt you.
For the first time you felt some lightheartedness wash through your body after your eyes fluttered open, finally feeling anything else than the ugly feeling a nightmare left on you.
You sighed quietly but contently as you heard how Negan softly hummed in his sleep before a small satisfied growl rumbled through his chest and let it vibrate against your fingers while your still sleepy mind decided to stay just like that for some more moments.
Slowly, you moved just a few minutes later up, leaning slightly down to place soft kisses on Negan’s skin, beginning just above the white bandage before starting to carefully make your way up.
His warm skin felt blissfully against your lips, the beard stubble tickling you slightly while you reached his jaw, then the sensible spot behind his ear as you felt him shifting slightly beneath you.
A low, content growl rumbled through his chest and up his throat as you could feel him beginning to wake up.
“Morning”, you quietly and softly mumbled into his ear, a small smile planting on your lips as you enjoyed the peaceful moment.
“Mornin’, Baby”, Negan’s raspy morning voice mumbled, the small smirk on his lips audible through his voice as you felt his still weak arm trying to pull you a little closer.
“Think I’m still fucking dreaming”, he mumbled as you ran the hand that had rested on his chest a bit down until you reached the edge of his shirt.
“Why don’t you push those damn pants a little down and sweeten our damn morning some more…just to wake us fucking thoroughly up”, he mumbled grinning as you backed a little away, his sleepy eyes darting wolfishly down.
“Tempting but I gotta pass”, you mumbled drowsily chuckling back, “Not gonna get your blood pressure up and risk breaking those stitches up again.”
You nodded at his throat, a theatrically pout forming on Negan’s face as he huffed slightly before he bit his lower lip and smirked slightly at you.
“They’re already long in there, gotta have healed that crap enough for some fun…and you got your hand already at the right spot”, he grumbled, shifting slightly as you could feel his lower stomach moving beneath your hand, your fingers feeling his warm skin as they laid right between the shirt and the grey sweatpants that were riding low on his hips.
Seeing and feeling Negan longing for your touch while showing you more than clear how much he wanted you let your confidence grow.
So slowly, you began to softly tug and toy with the short and dark curls that peeked out of the sweatpants, low growls leaving Negan’s mouth as he tried to lean more into your touch.
“Fuck…goddamn tease”, he quietly growled with another huff just as you with a small grin on your lips stopped in response to his remark.
“No don’t fucking stop…move your hand right in there”, Negan mumbled groaning with a small, throaty chuckle, figuring your little plan directly out while his eyes darted at you.
“We’ll see later when I get to change those bandages again, maybe you got luck”, you mumbled with a small grin as you leaned down to peck his lips, humming contently into the kiss.
“Fucking hope so”, he mumbled chuckling against your lips, the grin palpable before you leaned slightly back.
“Gonna get us some breakfast, sounds good?”, you asked softly smiling, already sitting yourself some more up.
“Fucking good”, Negan mumbled before a small cough left his lips and let him flinch up in pain as it rumbled through his throat.
“Apropos they’ve healed it enough”, you mumbled sarcastically as you nodded to his bandaged throat and stood up from the bed.
“Hmm”, Negan grumbled, even though the small grin was still lingering on his lips as you leaned one last time down to let your lips meet his.
Minutes later there was no sign of anybody in the kitchen, nor in the whole house to be clear, and somehow it gave you some relief.
You still hadn’t really talked to anybody about everything that had happened, not only because you were spending as good as all your time with Negan, also because any time you dared to take a step out of this house, pairs of eyes burned into you, already letting you know that they wouldn’t want to hear anything you’d like to say and explain.
The only person you had talked to was Siddiq, but only because he was Negan’s Doctor.
Michonne was till now the very only person of your old friends who had taken a tiny step towards you by telling you even hours before Negan had woken up that you should talk but by now a bunch of more days had passed and you slowly got the feeling that she might have changed her mind.
And all of it hurt, every single bit of it.
Their glances, sometimes even glares, their silence and cold behavior towards you that had hit you with all their force even though you had only spent few minutes outside.
You could feel your glance wandering over and over again to the door as you began to make some oatmeal, your body tensing up whenever your eyes wandered to the window and caught someone walking closer towards the infirmary.
Your jaw clenched slightly as you cursed yourself in your head while you tried to keep yourself busy with mixing some berries you had found in the freezer into the oatmeal, just to gradually let their juice turn it into a lilac mess.
Finally on your way back to Negan’s room you could feel yourself loosing up again as the tension washed gradually out of your body.
After all you had started this day with a great morning mood, feeling better than on any other day since you were back at Alexandria and you weren’t gonna let anything else ruin this for you now.
“There’s my girl again”, you heard Negan’s voice still drowsy voice say as you walked back into the room, his eyes darting at you as a grin played around the corners of his mouth.
“Here I am”, you said with a chuckle, directly feeling the effect his glance and even his grin had on you as they let the rest of the tension vanish and made you feel the previous lightheartedness again.
“Even got us a little new variety”, you said with a small grin as you placed the two bowls on the nightstand.
“Hell yes”, Negan chuckled before he his glance glimpsed towards the lilac oatmeal and an even louder, throaty chuckle rumbled through his chest, “Fuck, now that looks like some kinda unicorn puke.”
“Hope it doesn’t taste that way”, you chuckled back, almost letting yourself fall onto the chair next to the bed before your eyes caught Negan as he began his try to sat his body up,
“Fuck”, he growled with a strained breath, the muscles of his arms tensed while the thick vein on the side of his neck swelled, showing the immense effort of his that still wasn’t enough as he got himself nothing more than an inch up into the pillows.
“Wait, I’ll help you”, you said as you leaned up and wrapped your arms around his torso to push him carefully up while you gladly knew after the while of already helping him how you had to handle this big man properly.
“Still can’t even sit my fucking self up”, he growled under his breath as you leaned a bit back and adjusted the pillows behind him, trying to make it a little more comfortable for him before you looked with a small sigh at him.
You knew how much he hated it to be this weak, to not even be able to do the simplest tasks himself and to have to ask for anything and everything.
And you hated it too, obviously for other reasons but the very last thing you needed was him stressing himself even more, after all this would have the complete contrary effect to his whole healing process.
“You’ve lost a ton of blood, that’s normal even after this while”, you calmly said, giving him a soft smile as you saw his jaw clenching tightly ,”And that’s coming from Siddiq, he should know.”
You could see Negan forcing up a smile for you, before you nodded over to the bowls.
“We’re gonna eat the unicorn puke now or not?”, you asked with a grin before some relief washed over you as you saw a genuine smirk pulling the corners of his lips up.
“Sure thing”, he chuckled, the sound of it that bright and honest because eating was finally one of the things he could mostly do alone again without needing anyone’s help.
So as you were beginning to eat the oatmeal your eyes caught Negan’s injured hand softly and still weakly grasping the bowl, his left hand beginning to let the spoon dig into his breakfast.
And even though he was shaking and several curses left his lips whenever he was leading the lilac oatmeal towards his mouth, you let him do it his way.
He needed that for himself, maybe even to not feel as helpless and bodily weak as he actually was.
“You’re smiling more, that fucking great waking up shit you pulled, something’s different about your fucking mood”, Negan chuckled after a while, scratching the last bit of oatmeal out of his bowl before he perked his brows grinning up ,“Did you have some fucking wet dream ‘bout me?”
A soft chuckle left your lips as you placed your empty bowl on the nightstand, shifting slightly as you let your feet rest on the edge of the bed and shook your head.
“Nah not quite…first night without a nightmare after…you know what”, you mumbled, seeing him shakily placing the empty bowl next to yours before his glance darted back at you.
“Hope they stay the fuck back then”, he said as he let his hand slowly slide over the mattress towards you until his fingers could caress over the sensitive skin of your ankles .
“Well then I’m even fucking more curious ‘bout what kinda great mornin’ it’s gonna be when you wake up from a dirty dream”, he mumbled with a wide grin, his teeth sinking slightly into his lower lis as his wolfish glance captured yours.
“You’ll see”, you teased with a chuckle, still feeling his fingertips circling over your skin as Negan’s eyes followed their movements.
The wooden floorboards squeaked softly beneath your feet as you made your way back to the kitchen, carrying the two empty bowls in your hand before you rounded the last corner and stemmed the kitchendoor open.
A small, almost inaudible gasp left your lips as your glance caught Michonne standing with her back towards you at the kitchen counter, her hands searching through a drawer while she didn’t seem as if she had noticed you entering the room.
You gulped, the thought of turning on your heels and leaving the room again shooting for a tiny millisecond though your head before you cursed yourself for only thinking that way and pulled yourself together.
You were no fucking coward.
Gradually, you made your way towards the kitchen counter, just before she turned around and caught your glance.
“Morning”, you mumbled with a soft smile as you began to lay the bowls into the sink, still seeing her from the corner of your eyes.
“Morning”, you heard her say, her voice calm and kind but still as reserved as the last time you had talked to her.
An uncomfortable silence began to set in, the kind of forced up silence that no one liked to be stuck in with anyone.
Feeling how our jaw clenched uneasily you began to clean the bowls up, the sound of the flowing water filling the silence only for a bit until it got completely quiet again and your mind tried to figure out how to start a conversation or how to at least escape this awkwardness.
“How have you slept?”, you suddenly heard Michonne ask, the words and the sound of her voice revealing that she was also just trying to find a beginning.
“Good…you?”, you finally said, turning your head towards her with a small smile before you grabbed a towel and began to dry the first bowl up.
For another few moments, silent fell between you again after she had just given you a small nod before she raised her voice again.
“You haven’t been much outside till now”, she said, leaning herself against the kitchen counter while you let out a small sigh and finally looked up at her again.
“Well uhm…Siddiq can still use my help and-”, you said, stopping before you forced yourself to continue, “I don’t think anyone wants me there.”
Your glance stayed on Michonne, trying to figure out what she was thinking about your answer but as she didn’t respond, you gave yourself a big push to dig a little deeper-
“Does the offer with the talk still stand?”, you asked, your hand running for the felt hundredth time over the already dry bowl that was by now rather a crutch you could hold onto and keep your hands busy with.
“Well, we’re talking now, so I guess yes”, she finally answered, a bit nervousness washing into your body as you knew that you couldn’t screw this chance up now.
If Michonne listened to you, maybe even believed you, you felt like you might have a chance that some of the others would do so as well.
“I talked to Gabriel”, you suddenly heard her say before those words let thousands of thoughts pop up in your head.
Gabriel never understood how you could get into this with Negan and while you couldn’t even blame him for feeling that way, you also knew that he had believed the things you told him.
You could still remember the doubts he’s had at the beginning, the doubts if you were actually helping him because you were his friend or simply only because you had a guilty conscience.
But after a while, especially after he had come back from his escape trip, you had seen that he believed you, hell, he even knew about Negan’s promise to you to try to stop the war.
And just like he knew that, he as well knew that Negan had just spared him after his second try to escape out of the car because you were there with him.
And he must knew that you had been an influence in Negan’s decision to give Rick even on the battlefield the chance to stop.
So if anyone could show them that you hadn’t hookwinked them, it was Gabriel.
You were no hero in this story, by far not, but you weren’t a villain as well.
You were tensed when Michonne stopped for a moment, still not knowing what Gabriel had said to her before the sound of her rising voice let a small shiver run through you.
“So I believe you when you say you wanted to stop it”, you suddenly heard her say, your eyes widening slightly as you thought for a moment that you hadn’t heard right.
A small smile formed on your lips, a wave of relief washing through you just before you saw her nodding towards the door in the direction of Negan’s room ,”I just don’t understand-”
She stopped, her jaw clenching slightly as you let out a tight breath, feeling how you dug your fingertips into the fabric of the towel you were still holding while you knew that this right now, was your chance.
Even if it was just a tiny one.
“It just developed…”, you began, those three words already letting you know that this wasn’t gonna be easy to explain.
Taking a deeper breath you looked at her and shifted uneasily against the kitchen counter, trying to find a way to go on.
“I denied it for a long time I just-…at some point I couldn’t do that anymore..lie to myself”, you continued, trying to read something out of her face or her eyes but they stayed only attentive to listen to you, no emotions displaying in them as if she wanted you to go on until she’d allow herself to judge.
“I know he’s done cruel and fucked up shit, I know, I’ve seen it and I won’t justify them, not in anyway”, you said, gulping slightly as you looked for a small moment to the bowl in your hands before glancing up again.
“But he’s not just that, he’s not evil and he’s no psychopath…he doesn’t just seek out for blood like Simon did and…hell, he’s not like the Governor”, by the last name, you could see her flinch slightly, her glance showing that it obviously brought some memories back up but that’s what you needed.
You needed them to fully understand that he wasn’t like any of them.
“He didn’t do it the right way but when he said he wanted to save people, he didn’t lie”, you said, and just as you could already see her clenching her jaw you continued.
“He’s gone through some shit, just like we did”, you said, a tight breath leaving your lips as you looked at her,”And that whole shit let him think this was the only and right way to keep people alive even though it wasn’t”
“Does he know that you think that way?”, she asked before you could add anything else, her eyes wandering over your face as if she wanted to see if what you were about to answer was the truth.
“Yes”, you said, keeping your voice firm to make sure that she understood just before you could see her nodding and if you weren’t taking anything wrong, she seemed to believe you.
You bit your lips slightly, knowing that you couldn’t end this conversation that way, you still needed them to show her or at least tell her that Negan was able to redeem himself.
“Either way…I just-…this whole thing is not the end of the line, people can change their sights on things again, so can he”, you said and just as you tried to grasp some hope you saw her looking straight into your eyes, her voice firm and determined as she raised it again.
“That’s why he gets to see us changing this place…he’s gonna see what he did wrong. For the rest of his life, from his cell”, her words let cold shivers run down your spine, the image of Negan behind bars you had tried to suppress began to force its way up into your mind.
Another tight breath left your lips, just before you heard her voice again.
“And that’s a done deal”, she added, as if she wanted to make sure you understood.
“I know”, you said as you glanced up at her, the words almost getting caught in your tightening throat before they left your lips.
There still was a tiny hope in you that someday, at least the part “for the rest of his life” would change.
You knew they would keep him for a long time in this cell, but maybe, maybe there was a chance that once he had shown to them that he was redeemable, they would change this life long sentence into a shorter one.
You didn’t even know if you were just grasping hopeless straws just to keep yourself going, in a woozy dreams a few nights ago you had even seen yourself letting him go and even though you knew you couldn’t do that, you knew just as well that this crazed dream showed how heavy his sentence weighed on your shoulders as well.
“They’re taking off to the Sanctuary in about an hour…so if you wanna get anything personal over here, taking the trip wouldn’t be too bad”, you heard Michonne ripping you out of your thoughts.
The thought of going back to the Sanctuary without Negan was sending an uneasy shiver through you, but Michonne had a point.
“Yeah, I’ll give it some thought…Negan needs some new sweatpants and shirts anyway”, you said, giving her a small nod as you already began pondering.
“Michonne, we need you on the crop field, Rick wanted to discuss something”, you suddenly heard a male voice say as the door sprung open, revealing a man you had seen the very last time on the battlefield.
“Okay”, you heard Michonne say, before she looked with a small smile back at you, “Guess I’ll see you some time later then.”
“Anything happened? You’re usually faster back”, you heard Negan ask as you carefully began to unwrap the bandage around his neck, feeling his glance darting at you as he perked his brows a little up.
“Talked to Michonne”, you said as you began to slip the rest of the white fabric off of him, revealing the stitched wound that still looked dangerously fresh even though it already had been a good while.
“And?”, Negan asked, as you walked over to the counter, threw the used bandage into the trash and crammed up the salve Siddiq always used along with a new bandage out of one of the counter’s drawers.
“It was okay…for the circumstances”, you said as you walked back to him and placed the bandage on the nightstand before giving him a soft smile,”At least she believes that I wanted to find a way out.”
“Alright”, Negan said with a small smile as you began to clean the wound and eventually swirled the cap off the white tube before your thoughts wandered back to the trip to the Sanctuary, which you weren’t even sure about anymore just by looking at Negan’s wound.
“Something else wrong? You’re tensed”, Negan asked, his brows perking up again as you let out a tight breath and looked at him, knowing that you couldn’t keep that information from him.
“They’re taking off to the Sanctuary again”, you said as you leaned down to softy and carefully smear the salve onto his injured skin while you felt him tensing up and you very well knew that this tension wasn’t just caused by the wound.
Losing the Sanctuary and his position as leader was still weighing hard on his shoulders and even though you were trying your best to soothe this pain, you knew that this was about to last for a long time, especially because he knew what else was waiting for him as soon as this injury would have healed.
A cell instead of the pretty apartment.
A simple and most likely awfully uncomfortable bed instead of the large one at the Sanctuary that was adorned with countless pillows and soft, dark sheets.
People looking down at him instead of him being the one who was in charge of them.
His beloved bat completely out of his reach instead of resting on his shoulder.
Walking up and down the same few meters in the cell instead of strutting through the hallways of the Sanctuary.
And there was so much more.
“And?”, you eventually heard him ask, as you leaned back and looked at him.
An odd mix of uncomfortableness and tension but also curiosity was displaying in his eyes as they wandered over your face, searching for an answer.
“I’ve thought for a moment that I could get some of our stuff”, you said, clenching your jaw slightly before you let out a tight breath,“The sweatpants and shirts for you run out so I guessed it’d be easier to get some of your own things…and I still got some of mine there too…Carl’s letter, clothes”
“And what speaks against it?”, he eventually asked, surprising you a little bit before his brows perked up as you didn’t reluctantly shifted over the floor and grabbed the fresh bandage.
“Hmm? I can see all those fucking thoughts buzzing through your sweet, pretty head. So what is it?”, he asked again, now not letting go of your glance once he had caught it.
You gulped, feeling how Negan raised his weak arm and laid his hand on your hip to let you sit down right next to him on the edge of the bed.
“Going alone back there after everything that happened… “, you eventually said, his glance still darting at you as you looked for a short moment to his hand that was now resting on your thigh before you looked up at him again,”And well, leaving you here with them all.”
“I think I’ll get through it”, he said, his lips curling into the familiar grin ,”And over there, those fuckers won’t do anything to you, just do your thing.”
The grin stayed on his lips and mixed with an uplifting smile as you could feel his thumb stroking slowly over your thigh.
“So get that stuff you want.”
“I’ll be fine, I can’t even move from the fuckin’ spot”, he said with a soft chuckle, before his eyes captured yours as he saw that you there were still some doubts buzzing around in your head ,“Baby, I ain’t gonna lie, I understand you, I wouldn’t fucking move from your damn side too but you need some time outside this shit room.”
“Don’t need you to feel caged up…and well, maybe you can sneak us something nice in here”, he said as he softly chuckled and winked jokingly at you while you felt how you persuaded yourself more and more of the idea.
Maybe it really was the right thing to do, after all you would have to go there earlier or later to pick those things up and if Negan was feeling fine, you might as well be able to do it now.
“Alright?”, he asked before you gave him a small nod.
“So when are they taking off?”, he asked as you could still feel his soft movements over the fabric of your pants.
“Shouldn’t be too long anymore”, you said as your glance wandered over to the small digital clock on the countertop.
“Well then get your sweet ass over there before it’s too fucking late”, you heard Negan chuckle before your glance captured his again.
“Okay, but I’ll finish your neck first”, you said, nodding to his wound that still boasted unbandaged on his throat.
“Gonna tell the Doc that you already did that one damn bandage”, Negan said, shortly after you had finished his bandage just a few minutes later.
Nodding, you grabbed the salve from earlier and moved over to the counter just before you heard Negan’s voice.
“Hey, didn’t say you could just fucking leave me without a damn kiss”, he complained with a chuckle as you turned snorting back around and saw him looking widely grinning at you.
“Or a quick fuck”, he added, before you let out a chuckle and moved over to him.
Leaning down you let your lips meet his before you felt how Negan hungrily claimed them while a content growl rumbled up his throat and vibrated against your lips.
“Didn’t plan to leave you without that”, you mumbled with a small grin against his lips as you saw the smirk on his lips widening.
“The kiss or the quickie?…Or fuckin’ both?”, he teasingly asked, biting his lip as you shoved his chest playfully and grinned against his lips.
Every step closer to the front door felt like heavy metal boulders were tied to your feet and you knew that those boulders would just become heavier as soon as you would leave the house and make your way towards the trucks.
Your mind was already trying to figure out how to act around them until you grabbed the front door’s handle and threw all those thoughts over board before you’d rack your brain completely.
People were buzzing over Alexandria’s streets, some familiar some complete strangers that must have moved here from the Kingdom to help rebuilding this place.
You hadn’t seen Alexandria this vivid in a long time nor had you ever seen this many people here at once.
For the first time since you were back you saw everything at day not at night like you had seen it when you had walked right next to the men that were carrying an unconscious and blood overflowed Negan.
There were indeed a few houses that were completely destroyed by the flames from that one night while others were just partly damaged and were adorned with the coal black ashes on their walls.
Your hand tightened around the belts of the big, black sports bag you had found back in the house that would soon be home to the clothes and other personal things you would take from the Sanctuary right back to Alexandria.
And just as you could feel your fingers beginning to nervously play with the loose threads on the belts you found yourself walking closer and closer to the truck.
Aaron, Tara and Rosita were the only people of the ones that were rushing around the trucks that looked familiar to you, while the others must have been helpers from other communities as well.
Heavily gulping you made your way towards them, already tensing up some more until you were that close that you could see them noticing you.
A tensed “Hi” from your side and a quick and cold nod of each of them but Aaron who actually greeted you back, later you found yourself in one of the trucks, staring at the wooden floor while tried to keep your mind occupied by fumbling on the bags belts.
There were only three unfamiliar people next to the three and you in the truck, a man at the driving wheel and a blonde woman and a brunette man who sat next to your old friends and almost symbolically build a wall between you and them, along with the boxes of glass that must have been for the destroyed windows of the Sanctuary.
Moving on from the bag’s belts your fingers began to play with the tiny diamonds of Negan’s bracelet for you, your fingertips rolling them to and fro between them while you tried to form a list of things in your mind you could take from the Sanctuary.
A small grin forced itself up on your lips as you thought about the last moments before you had left Negan’s patient room, still hearing him telling you with a big grin on his lips to not forget his red scarf.
And exactly that grin told you along with the wolfish glance in his eyes that wrapping the red fabric around his neck wouldn’t be his intended use for it.
You bit down your lip, trying to keep a little of the amusement of the grin in your body as you caught yourself realizing that he hadn’t even asked for more or specific things you could bring back and your suspected reason for it seemed to be the same why you also had a hard time going back.
As soon as this was done, as soon as you would have the bag packed and leave the apartment, it was over.
It would have something final and ultimate, just like it would have it for Negan as soon as you would give him those things from the place he still called home whenever he spoke about it.
As unrealistic and impossible as it was, here and there you could still catch the hope in his eyes that he could go back, even though either of you knew that this wasn’t going to happen.
You clenched your jaw slightly as your thoughts just buzzed around the apartment, the uneasiness growing even more as you knew that this place had been a home to you as well.
More of a home than Alexandria felt like now.
It wasn’t the burned houses or the unfamiliar people, it was the feeling of not being welcome, of maybe not even being right there.
The only person that made it feel like home right now was Negan in his patient room and you knew that the apartment would feel odd and uncomfortable as well without him.
This all created a feeling in your whole body you couldn’t even properly describe, all you knew was that you wanted to get rid of it .
“We’re in about a half hour there”, you heard the man at the driving wheel say after something that felt even more than the couple of hours that it normally took to come across the distance between the two communities.
“What’s that bag for?”, you suddenly heard Tara ask as her voice let your glance snap up, before it caught her face that nodded towards the bag that still stood between your legs on the floor.
“Gotta get some stuff back to Alexandria”, you said with a small tight breath before you clenched your jaw slightly ,”…and some new clothes for Negan.”
You knew that his name out of your mouth would provoke something in them, but still you had to say what you were about to do.
You couldn’t risk to have them ending up looking into the bag and thinking you were bringing stuff for Negan you weren’t allowed to bring back or even have them taking it away.
It took milliseconds for Tara’s glance to turn even colder, her brows puckering as the muscles in her cheeks and her lips twitched angrily.
“Tara”, you heard Aaron say, his voice calm as he reached out to her.
“Aren’t you ever ashamed?”, she hissed, her voice as sharp as a razor blade as her glare gored through you and caused the by now almost familiar shiver of uneasiness and tension.
You gulped, her glance still darting at you before a scoff left her lips as you first didn’t answer to her snarky question.
“Would you believe me if I’d answer?”, you asked, trying to keep your voice as firm as you could while you forced yourself to look at her.
Clenching her jaw Tara stared at you, her eyes still as cold as ice and just like you were already expecting, she didn’t answer, she just looked away from you.
The last half hour in the truck was unsurprisingly filled with an icy atmosphere. Your eyes were focused on the see-through part of the tarp that let you witness how the surrounding area was becoming more and more familiar with each moment you kept driving.
Your hands were back a fumbling on the bag’s belts, expressing the tension that began to build up until it got ultimately topped as your eyes saw the Sanctuary’s fences and its tall building becoming closer and you eventually felt the truck stopping and the engine hushing.
“Hey. You got the glass?”, you heard the voice of D.J. say, the Savior that had also been at the gates the last time you had entered these walls before the last battle took place.
“Yeah, got two other trucks coming a few minutes later, just so you know”, the man at the wheel said before the gates opened and the truck drove onto the Sanctuary’s compound.
Your stomach wrenched and your ribcage seemed to press all air out of your lungs when your eyes caught more and more of the Sanctuary and everything that was emotionally tied to it.
The voices of your old friends and the new people mixed as they began to talk about where to start first, where to get the glass and where it might be most needed.
Then, the truck stopped again just as your glance caught one of the Sanctuary’s main entrances and by sitting right at the trucks end and the gap that in the tarp that was used as exist, you knew that you had to be the first one to walk out.
Feeling how a tight breath left your lips you grabbed the bag’s belts and stood up, your legs not only wobbly through sitting for so long but also by the thought of jumping out of the truck.
And then you did.
Hearing the earthy ground scrunching beneath your feet, you grabbed the bag tighter and made yourself walk a few steps to let the others get out as well.
People were all over the place, working on the damaged windows or on new made vegetable fields along the walls.
Some eyes wandered over at you, a little confusion or even surprise in them as if they were wondering what you were about to do here.
Somewhere in between the new crops you could see Laura getting up on her feet before she made her way over to the trucks, her glance brushing over you before she walked towards Aaron and Tara.
Looking around, you knew that they hadn’t found someone to lead this place yet and you were sure that it would stay for a while this way if not maybe Negan’s former high ranking saviors would take the lead together over.
A little helpless you stood there next to the wall, unsure what to exactly do next.
Just going to get yours and Negan’s stuff without even asking if you could help them would provoke them even more even though you doubted as well that they wanted you there with them.
So you awkwardly waited until Laura had stopped talking to them and finally saw Aaron walking towards you, already carrying a box with new glass in his arms.
If anyone of them was going to give you a proper answer, then him.
”Do you-”, you began just to get stopped as you waited until he looked at you ,”Do you need my help here?”
”Think it’s better if you get your stuff first. We’ll get along”, he tensely said, his voice sounding kinder then the words did before he gave you a quick nod and kept walking.
Gulping you looked for a short moment after him before you knew that this was the time for you to get inside and get it all done.
Minutes later you found yourself walking through familiar hallways.
Even though you had rarely walked through them alone, you caught yourself finding your way easily through the labyrinth of the first floors until you could get to the stair case that directly led up to the floor of your and Negan’s old apartment.
Taking a deep breath you slipped into the staircase that was just as faintly enlightened as always, even though the way up felt harder than ever before as soon as you made the first step up.
Tightening your grip on the bag you climbed up the stairs, passing floor by floor while you tried to keep the memories that wanted to slip into your head from succeeding.
The room alone would already give you a hard time and for your mind’s and heart’s sake you didn’t need to start this whole nostalgia thing even earlier.
And then, the last heavy metal door laid right in front of you, behind it the more than familiar hallway you had walked through uncountable times with Negan.
Clenching your jaw you scolded yourself, trying to pull yourself together before you eventually grabbed the door’s handle and stemmed it open.
Step by step you got closer to your old room, your heart beginning to pound harder before you finally stood right in front of it.
The heavy wooden door was still as impressive as when you had first seen it and even though your mind had imagined over and over again how it would be to be in the apartment again, it had only a few very small times switched to the moment you had to open this door and step in.
And it was even harder than you had thought.
”Fuck”, you cursed, half about yourself and half about what was about to wait for you before you grabbed the door’s handle and quickly pushed it open, as if you wanted to use the method of pulling a patch quickly off to reduce the pain on the door.
And this might have worked for the door but as soon as you looked into the familiar and homey apartment, you knew that you were already damned to stay in here for a little longer.
Everything was like you had left it.
Every little thing.
The only thing that had changed was a bit dust that had already found its way onto the furniture but the rest was exactly the same.
You knew you should get this over with fast, you exactly knew that this was most certainly the more painless way to deal with it all but you already knew you couldn’t.
You couldn’t just check it off like it was nothing.
If anything was displaying the journey of the last months, whether it was the general journey of it all or the journey of hating Negan with all your guts to turning to feel the very way you felt now for him, then it was this damn room.
This room was packed with memories, obviously also some painful ones but the positive were outweighing them by far, especially the ones you had made over the last time.
Shifting uncomfortably over the dark wooden floorboards, you realized more and more through what kind of torture you were about to put yourself.
Trying to keep your mind occupied you forced yourself to think of the imaginary list you had made in the truck and the very first bulletpoint on it were clothes.
Slowly, you began to open the closet’s doors until you got the full insight into it and could gradually begin to grab the clothes you needed.
Unsurprisingly most of them were Negan’s famous white shirts, a few lonesome grey ones hiding in between them, while you felt a small grin forming on your lips as you shook your head about the unbelievable amount he’s had of them.
You had worn them too here and there, and just like everything else, the way you had worn them had changed over all this time too.
At first with annoyance when he had made you move over to the apartment after an attack and didn’t have anything else than lingerie or one of his white shirt over here to let you sleep in, to wearing it after nightmares had left your own sleeping clothes soaked in cold sweat and the shirt would take their place until Negan could get you new ones the next morning, to feeling comfort when you quickly pulled them over after a shower and felt his scent enclosing you.
Trying to keep the small grin and the bit of amusement it brought you in your body, you moved on to his boxers, grabbing those you’d liked to see best on him before your eyes caught some red fabric peeking out behind his underwear.
With a soft chuckle you eventually pulled the familiar red scarf out of the closet’s back, Negan’s wolfish remark echoing through your head before you folded it and laid it securely into the bag.
A bunch of shirts and your own clothes later you found yourself back on the leather couch to let your glance wander beneath the coffeetable in order to find out if it had something you needed as well.
But instead of something useable you found yourself sinking deeper into the soft and by the sun rays that streamed through the big windows slightly heated leather, that still was as comforting and comfortable as before.
“Hey Sweetheart”, you heard Negan say with a big grin on his lips as he shut the door behind himself, his brows perking with a chuckle up as soon as he caught the books and magazines spread out on the coffeetable.
All of them served as a timekiller for the already long while you had to stay in the apartment, just to not be seen by any of his people to make it look like you had gotten a punishment since Negan couldn’t bring himself to punish or hurt you just in any way, even if you had killed some of his man the day the war started.
”Now you’ve moved to the couch?”, Negan asked with a chuckle as he slid his leatherjacket off his arms and nodded over to you.
“Yeah”, you chuckled, before you held the magazine in your hand up.
“Wanna know how to make your very own sun hat?”, you joked with a small laugh as you caught Negan walking still widely grinning over to you, right before he picked one of the magazines on the coffeetable up and flicked through it.
“Spring fashion…what the fuck”, he chuckled with a small groan before his eyes widened and he turned the magazine in his hands to reveal an odd neon pink and orange gown ,”Holy hell who the fuck would wear that crap.”
Laughing you looked up at him, remembering having the exact same reaction when you had thumbed through the magazine and found this awful dress boasting on one of its glossy sites.
“Just fucking imagine seeing some dead fucker wearing that shit. I’d laugh my ass off instead of killing that asshole. That shit would make me punch my own fucking ticket”, Negan laughed as he let himself fall next to you, tossing the magazine back on the pile of mags that had a wild mix of all possible topics, from fashion to outdoor adventures that were actually a lot more entertaining than the awful gowns in most of the glossy fashion magazines.
“Ah wait, then you haven’t seen this one here yet”, you chuckled as you leaned forward and grabbed one of the magazines from your “read” pile before you flipped through it and found the page you were looking for.
“Je-sus”, Negan scoffed before he throatily chuckled as he looked at the metallic outfit that looked like someone was trying to animate aliens to beep them up into their ufo.
Chuckling, you tossed the magazine on the pile again and leaned yourself back, only to feel Negan’s arm as addition to the comfortable leather.
Seeing him from the corner of your eyes smirk slightly he curled the arm around you and even though you had a hard time admitting it, it felt good, even natural if you had to be completely honest.
So you allowed him to pull you a bit closer just before you heard his throaty chuckle again.
“That one would for fucking sure look good on you”, he chuckled, biting his lip and rising his brows suggestively as he showed you the shortest and most revealing dress he seemed to be able to find.
“Shit, Negan”, you chuckled groaning as you nudged your elbow playfully into his side before you heard him let out another throaty chuckle.
“What’s with that book?”, he asked as he nodded over to one of the three books on the table that had as exception a small bookmark laying in between the sheets at its beginning.
“It’s alright but it hasn’t really caught me yet, so I might try myself through some to keep me busy”, you said with a small and soft chuckle, just before you looked at him and saw the grin playing around the corners of his lips.
“I’d know one you’d fucking like and which would keep you busy for sure. Probably wouldn’t be able to put it down”, Negan said, as he pulled you a little closer, his eyes roaming over your face and letting something rise in you you were already trying to deny.
“Alright, so what is it about?”, you asked, trying to keep yourself from letting any other feeling create in you and also to trying to actually find out what that book was.
You could need some proper time killer and making fun of the horrible stuff in those fashion magazines wouldn’t last for too long anymore.
“Some great guy, charismatic as shit”, Negan chuckled, before he continued ,”Real good at baseball, got some beachball sized balls…in every kinda possible way and-”
With that he looked at you, the smirk widening as the corners of his lips slightly twitched and made you nudge him a little harder into his side.
“You’re screwing with me”, you chuckled just as you heard his booming laugh sounding through the room as he looked at you.
“Nah but I’d like to do that”, he added with a grin as you shook your head with a chuckle about him and felt him letting you sink a little more next to him.
“Got something else you think would keep you busy? Now in all fucking seriousness”, he asked, his free hand running over his salt and pepper stubble.
“Mhmm?”, he asked as you did’t directly answer ,”Saw you doodling some stuff on some papers…you could try drawing some kinda nude study of me.”
“So much about seriousness, huh?”, you teased as you looked into his grinning face.
“Oh that was serious”, he chuckled teasingly before he gave your waist a small squeeze.
“I’ll think something up for ya”, he eventually said before as looked back up into his eyes,”Trust me?”
Just to tease him you perked your brows up, just as a small revenge for his remarks from earlier.
”Come on”, he chuckled just before you laughed quietly and gave him a nod.
“Yeah, I do.”
It ended up being even more magazines and books, an empty notebook to doodle stuff in or write the things down that needed to get out of your head and even some intern stuff of the Sanctuary that needed to be done after you had told him that when you couldn’t do anything outside the room you might as well make yourself useful on some other way.
The idea of the books was in the end what got you now back on your feet, even though both your mind and your body longed to lay longer on the soft, black leather.
Slowly, you made your way towards the tall shelves, crouching down to get to the books that were still beaded in a line on the dark wood.
There was one book Negan had found and excitedly told you about, one he told you he’d always wanted to give a try even before the world had gone to shit but had never got himself to actually do it.
You could remember some pinpoints of the story from the short summary on the book’s back.
A successful athlete who was father of a sick child for which he suddenly couldn’t provide the treatment for after his career abruptly ended and who began to head for the gutter and had to eventually slip into criminal circles to get the money to save his kid.
You could remember beginning it and actually liking it, but the events of the war had made you stop reading it and had never let you continue as well.
So now you knew that you were about to face some harder times together as soon as he would have switch the infirmary to the cell and maybe he could fill some time with reading something he always wanted to try anyway.
Either way, maybe it could cheer him at least a bit up.
Your fingers slid along the book’s backs, trying to find the black book with the sliver fonts on its side before your eyes caught the silky looking cover.
Quickly you pulled it out and laid it into the bag before your eyes caught the cover of the DVD you had watched with Negan in that one night in which he had just decided to tune out along with you.
During the time of your acted punishment it would have brought too much attention to carry a TV inside the apartment but in that part of the night everything had just fallen perfectly in line.
A small smile pressed into the corners of your lips as you remembered the night after you had made up with him and had bonded stronger than ever before and in which you had felt as lighthearted and happy as you could.
Diving deeper into your memories you suddenly remembered the bars of chocolate you had began to eat in that night of which one had stayed surprisingly untouched and probably still laid in Negan’s nightstand.
Forcing yourself up on your feet, you grabbed the bag and walked back to the bed, sat yourself onto its soft mattress and reached out to Negan’s nightstand before slowly opening it just as your eyes caught the few things that laid in the drawer.
The chocolate bar, the oil and some cloth he always used to clean Lucille up, some white bandages to wrap around his wrist and the massage oil he had used for your aching back.
As planned you took the chocolate, but added the massage oil and the oil for Lucille as well to the things that found their home in the bag.
You weren’t even sure if you would be able to use these things once you are back in Alexandria, but your nostalgia and hope that you could make the best out of the situation urged you to let them slide into the bag and cover them a bit with Negan’s shirts, just in case.
Just as you closed the nightstand’s drawer again the list of things you definitely had to take with you popped up in your head again and with that something that didn’t lay in Negan’s drawer, but in yours.
Slightly gulping you climbed over the bed, reaching out for the drawer before you opened it and saw the white paper sheet that had your name weakly and a little scrawly written on it.
You softly took it into your hand and pushed the drawer shut again before you found yourself sitting in the middle of the bed while your eyes got a glimpse of the letter’s the last sentence.
”After all this, I hope you’ll get the life you wish for, I really hope you’ll be happy. You deserve it.”
You heavily gulped, trying to keep the lump in your throat from developing before you scolded yourself and let out a deep sigh.
You were going to be happy and you were going to be happy with Negan, no matter if there was a goddamn cell involved or not.
You were gonna make the best of it, regardless of how hard it might turn out to be.
And some day, some day they would listen to you, maybe even your half brother Daryl to which last encounter on the battlefield you didn’t even want to think back.
Either way, you would try to make it all better, even if it was gonna take a lot work and time and even if you had to force yourself countless times to stay positive.
With that thought you found yourself sinking down onto the mattress, your skin feeling the soft fabric of the sheets while your fingertips brushed against the comfy pillows as the familiar scent enclosed you for a few moments.
And neither your mind nor your body fought against the urge to just be a tiny bit at peace for a moment and dived back to the morning after the movie night.
Warm breath ghosted over your face as you slowly began to slip out of the deep sleep’s grasp, slowly beginning to realize that the warmth that was surrounding you was his, just like the soft touches.
“Morning, Sweetheart”, you heard him say as you slowly opened your eyes and saw him looking with sleepy eyes at you, his lips curled into the mix of a grin and a smile as he leaned down to let them caress over yours.
Waking up this way, with him kissing you awake was still something new to you even though a lot about his closeness and touch felt deeply familiar.
“Morning”, you mumbled with a smile against his lips, feeling him pecking your lips again before you could feel him leaning down to press a kiss on your neck, just to teasingly scratch his beard stubble over your sensitive skin, his grin already revealing that he exactly knew what he was provoking.
“Shit Negan, that tickles”, you drowsily chuckled as you squirmed beneath him just as you heard his laugh.
“Like that?”, he teasingly asked as he scratched his bread stubble once again over the side of your neck, letting you break out in small giggles once again.
“Yeah”, you laughed, trying to wiggle yourself free just before you felt his arms tightening a little more around you.
“Oh you asshole”, you chuckled as he scratched his stubbly cheek once again over your skin, letting you squirm and laugh beneath him.
“Think I can live with being that kinda asshole”, he chuckled against your skin before he looked up at you with his messy bedhead and the sleepy but with playful amusement filled eyes, a bit of the relief that you finally had settled everything still displaying in them along with the lightheartedness of the morning that belonged just to you and not the war or anything else.
“Yeah I can feel that”, you said with a chuckle, already catching yourself how you began to lose yourself in his eyes once again.
You kept laying there for a few more moments, just like that before you knew that you had to go on, you couldn’t keep on dwelling in the past even if it was tempting.
With a deep sigh you forced yourself up into a sitting position again, just before you went down your list of things you needed.
You only headed over to the bathroom after that, checking if there was anything you had left before you found yourself standing in the room and looking around, your mind trying to find something that you could get so you could stay a little longer before you had to realize that you had checked the whole list off.
And then you found yourself standing with the bag in your hands at the heavy, wooden door, your glance wandering over it before you heavily gulped.
So that was it.
Hell, at the beginning you would have betted anything on never missing this whole place, you would have been glad to be anywhere else.
And now you stood there, with a thick lump in your throat, thousands of nostalgic memories rushing through your head while you most definitely knew that your opinion from back then had developed into the opposite.
And in some odd way, this room was the place where you had seen the real Negan with all his sides and especially the ones he wasn’t showing anybody else than you.
If you would even try to start to counting all the events up that had happened in here you would stand some more days right there on the spot.
But after all, not everything about this was bad, you were alive, Negan was alive and that was after everything not self-evidently.
This room wasn’t the same without him and that was the point, you had him and that mattered more than any room, any place, any person that talked shit about you or him.
And with that thought you could finally grab the door handle and stem the heavy door once more open before leaving the room behind yourself.
The sun was still shining brightly when you found yourself back on the courtyard, people still buzzing around as you shoved the bag into the Truck, right beneath the bench where you had sat earlier.
A little uneasily you looked around, trying to figure out what to do before you saw Aaron walking around the corner and right back into your direction.
“We need some people who carry the glass from Block A to C. Could you help?”, he asked as he arrived, small strained breaths leaving his lips and some sweat glistening on his skin as evidence for the work he had already done.
With a small smile you gave him a nod, glad that he at least wasn’t as cold as Tara before you made your way over to Block A.
The boxes with glass were spread all over the cemented ground, people picking them up one by one as you made your way closer.
Just as you leaned down to grab one box your eyes caught one of the persons you had completely suppressed.
In unusual casual clothes, with a flannel and some jeans instead of the black dress she had worn till the end.
Turning your face to the box instead of to her you remembered your last cold and silent encounter after Negan had left them for you and right now, you really didn’t need to meet her in any kind of way again.
With a small strained breath you heft the boy up, catching from the corners of your eyes how she had caught you in the room as well before you headed over to the entrance.
The people that streamed in and out making it not easier for you as the box in your arms got heavier with each step.
Concentrating on the box with glass you maneuvered your path through the people and some more boxes before you heard a familiar cold voice again.
“What are you doing there?”, you heard Tara’s voice hiss, just as cold and snarky as before while you looked up at her and caught Amber from the corner of your eyes walking right in these moments past you, her glance brushing over Tara and you before you spoke up.
“Thought I could help. Aaron asked me”, you said as calm as you could, just to see Tara nodding slowly before she clenched her jaw and made her way back to Block A.
Huffing you made your way over to C, your mood falling just by the thought that Amber out of all people had seen Tara scolding at you and could with that most certainly put two and two together and see that you had problems with your old group.
Something that must be like a good fodder for her and something she might have just waited for after everything she had already done to make it harder for you.
Clenching your jaw slightly you moved into C, and found a place where to put the glass.
With a tight breath you stemmed it up on a small counter, just before you heard the crinkling of some glass beside you as it got put down as well.
“Looks like anybody gets what they deserve, huh?”, you heard her voice say, with the same disgusting relish you had expected it to be.
Looking up she caught your glance as you stayed cold and mostly calm, surpassing your urge to scoff and even spat something at her as you by all means didn’t want to give her the satisfaction she was yearning for with that remark that couldn’t only be be darted at you, but most certainly also at Negan’s life sentence as well.
Your eyes caught the bruises and small wounds she had from working again, something that wasn’t anything she had done for a very long time and which were now along with the normal and even partly dirt stained clothing replacing the black dress and the jewelry.
You found her shifting beneath your glance on the arguments against her that were laying right on her body before you looked up again, trying to keep yourself levelheaded.
“Yeah, probably”, you just said back, the tone of your voice slightly snide, your glance still cold as her brows began to pucker angrily before you turned around and made your way outside.
It didn’t took too long anymore until you found yourself back in the truck, the last step of leaving the Sanctuary as your home behind was done when you found it becoming smaller and smaller through the window in the truck’s side.
It still felt odd and even oppressive but you had something to look forward to.
In a few hours you could walk back into the infirmary and find Negan peacefully asleep, could sink down on his warm chest, hook your leg around him to keep yourself on the narrow bed while his rising and falling chest could dandle you into a peaceful sleep.
And that was pretty much all you wanted right now.
“So you rescheduled to go to the Hilltop first now and get the supplies from the Sanctuary there?”, Aaron asked as he shifted slightly on the bench and looked to the truck’s front.
By the sound of this sentence you flinched slightly up, your body tensing even more as you heard the “Yes” leaving the lips of the man at the steering wheel.
You could hear your pulse pounding in your ear just by the thought of the Hilltop and especially even more by the thought of that one person next to Maggie you would be forced to meet again.
(The gif isn’t mine/ it was originally posted by dancing-at-the-funeralparty)
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