Summary: After living through the night after Negan’s self harm in the cell, the reader’s hopes for a better day get destroyed as Maggie visits Alexandria and Rick’s fate is sealed at the bridge…
Sun beams enlightened hazel eyes, letting them light up in their warm tone, enhancing each of their features and the flow of their colors as they always did around this time in the morning, when the light intensified and streamed through the metal bars on the cell’s windows.
But there was a difference to those other mornings, one that still had the ability to let an ice-cold shudder run down your spine.
Those eyes were just as captivating as always but at the same time the glance stuck in them displayed each moment that had happened last evening and the following night.
They were still slightly reddened, the rings beneath them dark and the rest of his features still coined by the tears that had flown over them in the last night.
They were dried by now, just like the blood on his forehead wound that still looked as horrific as last night, despite your tries to take care of it.
Part of you still didn’t want to believe it, even though you deep down knew that everything about this was true, every single bit.
And just as much as you knew this, you knew that you had to find a way to help him out of this pit of darkness he seemed to have fallen into.
A small sigh left your lips as you felt his hand cupping yours a little tighter, letting his fingers intertwine with yours a little more as you shifted closer against him. The first hard part of this morning laid behind you, the first careful attempts to talk to him properly, not just about Michonne’s conversation with him and that what had followed, but also the reason she had decided to visit him.
A tiny bit of this talk seemed to have already paid off as you glanced for a moment at his breakfast that was gone by now, leaving only a few bread crumbs on the white plate beside the bed behind.
It was just a tiny step, but at the same time it felt like a big and mighty one.
You still weren’t sure how often he had done this to himself, how often his skull had met the cold stone and the agony just thinking about it just like the fear of triggering something in him hindered you from asking further.
”It’s almost time for your shift…you should call the guard down”, Negan mumbled with a heavy gulp, even though you could tell he was trying his best to keep his voice firm.
”No, you won’t stay here for me and get yourself into trouble, not gonna happen”, he cut you off, pushing the thought about staying with him that had ghosted through your head away before it could fully unfold.
”Siddiq would understand…I’m sure of that…if you feel like you need me here with you, I’ll stay”, you said, your voice soothing as you glanced at him and caught him gulping heavily as his eyes wandered over the gray cement ground.
”Still, you’d get some kinda problems for fuckin’ sure…I’ll be fine…as long as I can have you back in that bed here tonight I’ll be fine”, he said after a couple of silent moments, squeezing your hand lightly as he glanced up and forced a weak smile onto his lips.
You still looked at him with doubt, feeling like you didn’t want to leave him alone right now even though his words began to push you slowly into a different direction.
”I’ll be fine, Baby”, he mumbled once again as gulped, “I…I won’t do it again.”
His voice was quiet even though he tried to put firmness into it as he grasped your hand tighter and glanced for a moment at you.
You wanted to say something, put all those thoughts that were swirling through your head into sentences but instead you leaned in and reached with your free hand up to cup the side of his jaw, softly caressing it before you slowly leaned in.
Your forehead rested against his, careful to not hurt his wound as you closed your eyes for a moment and let your fingertips toy softly with his thick beard.
You could feel him moving a little until his hot breath was brushing over your lips before they eventually captured yours, gently even though some small, needy growls still rumbled though his chest and vibrated against your skin as his warmth took you in.
”I love you..so damn much. You know that, right?”, you softly mumbled as your lips parted again, feeling like he needed to hear those words more than ever before.
”Yeah…I love you too, Sweetheart”, he rasped quietly, pulling you into his embrace until your face could bury into the curve of his neck and his arms could wrap tightly around your figure, allowing him to lean his head against yours and softly nuzzle his nose into your hair.
You could feel yourself melting into his hug just as much as he melted against your body, cradling you and keeping you deeply in his embrace as you closed your eyes for a moment, knowing that you had to leave this moment of comfort, earlier or later.
The walk to the infirmary was harder than ever, feeling bad conscience poking you with each step you took even though part of you knew that there was no way Negan would have let you risk just getting an ounce of trouble for neglecting your shifts for him.
Still, your thoughts were cycling around him, around the self-inflicted wound on his forehead, the horror that must still linger inside him and around the fact that he was alone again, alone with that horror.
But instead of being able to get back into the cell with him and make sure his demons weren’t flaring up again, you found yourself at the end of the endless seeming path to the infirmary as you shoved your jacket off and tried to get rid of a bit of the tension right along with it.
You could feel Siddiq’s eyes wandering over you, his brows furrowing slightly as you could tell that your first tries of loosing up were more than unsuccessful.
”Everything okay?”, he mumbled as he leaned himself against the kitchen counter, still eyeing you as if it would give him answers.–
”Yeah I just-”, you began, stopping as you felt your throat tightening and thoughts of last night washed up again.
“Can you take a look at Negan?”, you reluctantly mumbled after a few silent seconds, feeling the fear creeping up in you again that his wound might be worse than it looked, that he could have hurt himself more than you thought.
“What’s the matter?”, Siddiq asked, moving a little closer as you could already feel your body beginning to cramp by the thought of having to speak part of last night’s events out again.
“He uhm-”, you said, gulping as the barrier in your head stopped you for a second from ending your sentence ,”He…he bashed his head against the wall.”
The words felt like poison to your body, biting into your skin, stinging in your mouth, twisting and wrenching your heart in the worst way imaginable while a horrific mix of boiling heat and icy coldness washed over your back.
“Purposely”, you added in response to the confusion on Siddiq’s face while this one word just increased the effects of its poison.
“I’m not sure how often exactly,…must have been a few times, I-”, you went on, feeling your throat lightning with each words as yo twisted your hands nervously, “,..I cleaned the wound and… and I don’t think he’s got a concussion but I’m not one hundred percent sure.”
You glanced at him, saw the concern that was displayed on his features before you breathed shivering out and gulped quietly.
“He doesn’t know I’m asking…I just-”,you began again, the whirling up thoughts stopping you once more before Siddiq already took charge and gave you a small smile.
“I’ll take a look.”
“Thank you”, you breathed out, forcing a smile onto your lips as well before Siddiq sighed quietly and stepped a little closer as he ran his palm over his dark beard stubble.
“How about you get a little out for a bit?”, he asked after a small pause, glancing carefully at you as if he wanted to test the waters before he rose his voice again,“Got Will at outlook B, got himself hurt when he tried to repair some loose bars…looks like he’s got a wound on his forearm but I can’t tell more just from a few words nor if he’d need to come home. But I’d need someone to take a look at it.”
You pondered, sighing quietly as the thought of being this far from Negan in his current state let the restlessness inside you whirl up once more.
“Think you need to calm a little down too…that could be a way”, he added onto it, seeing the doubt that was painted all over your face.
You knew he was right.
You knew he was but still you hesitated, wrestling with your ongoing thoughts, even though you knew just as well that Negan would want you to go and especially not stay back because of him.
To be honest, if he would find out you did, it could just make his feelings and fears worse.
Silent moments passed until you gulped quietly and began to slowly nod, remembering Negan’s words from this morning.
You were gonna be back with him tonight, just like he said.
“Yeah…”, you eventually mumbled, looking into Siddiq’s eyes as you caught him nodding slightly,”I’ll just let Negan know, just to be sure…then I’ll get on my way there.”
The car vibrated beneath you as you drove over the abandoned country roads, following the paths that were here and there vested with guidance sings that showed you the way.
The med bag and a half loaded gun on the passenger seat shifted from side to side as you turned into the next road, taking care to not miss a sign and risk having to drive a detour.
Gas was a rare becoming good these days, leaving only a few cars available for each community and one of them was transporting you through the forests and overgrown fields in these moments.
You couldn’t fully tear your thoughts from Negan as he kept swinging through your head.
You were still deeply worried, even though he had done nothing else than encourage you at your little detour to the cell before you had swung yourself into the car.
You tried to keep that in mind, tried to let the small smile he had put on his lips for you calm you, just like his warm hand that had engulfed yours and squeezed it softly as he had told you to take care before rasping those three words that had as always elicited this special warmth in your depths.
They had been the last ones he had told you before you had left and they still echoed through your head and acted soothing on you even though you couldn’t deny the worry that was washing up again and again, flooding your mind until you forced yourself to concentrate on your upcoming job.
After all, maybe you should use Siddiqs advice and use this opportunity, earn some strength which you could help Negan with in the end as well.
Hell, use even Negan’s words, even though a part of you feared that he had put on a show or even just chocked back his agony to not burden more concern onto you.
This was still the man who had harmed himself last night, and the more you reminded yourself of it, the more you wanted to turn around and head back to Alexandria.
But instead, the car began to softly shake as you turned into the last road on your way, the blacktop already coined by nature’s forces it was constantly exposed to, letting the car shake a little more as your eyes caught Will’s outlook and the small house beside it from afar.
Shadows danced over the ground of the cell as Negan stared to its cold cement surface, sniffling quietly as he rubbed his eyes that must be as red and swollen as a damn monkey’s ass from all the tears that had broken out of him again.
He hated this shit, of course he did, even more than the damn stinging salve Siddiq had daubed onto his wound but this all was still far from how much he hated what he was doing to his girl.
He was putting her through pain and he knew it.
He had most certainly heard it last night, when she had thought he had fallen asleep in her arms and small but heartbreaking sobs had erupted her body.
Only the memory of it shot painful venom into his veins, leaving him with an ugly but still certain feeling that he couldn’t do this anymore to her.
Shit, he couldn’t see the damn tears in her pretty eyes anymore which he had forced into them, he couldn’t see the way she was losing sleep over him and woke up with more worry, he couldn’t live with the feeling that he was the reason for her pain.
Maybe he didn’t have to do this much longer, the shadows that had danced over the ground belonged to two people Negan knew, one of which he had last seen on the day of the battle, who had begged and screamed for his death.
She was on her way down here in those moments, he could already hear her footsteps.
Maybe he was just minutes away from leaving this damn world and doing for fucking once the right thing, making the way free for (Y/N) to finally be happy without any sorrow and worry.
The door creaked as it opened and the widow finally stepped in, glancing at him as if part of her couldn’t believe that she had actually reached her destination while the rest of her stared with hatred and disgust down at him.
Maybe it wouldn’t take much to drive her over the edge, just some egging and provoking here and there, mention the night he took the life of her husband, the way he cracked open that man’s skull and popped out his eyeball, maybe even lie and say he enjoyed that shit.
That whole crap should be enough to make her do it.
Make her do it before his girl got back.
She didn’t have to see this, she didn’t have to see this happening.
And once it was done, when she’d find him it would hurt like hell and the thought of it wrenched him apart, but soon, when his body was already rotting in the ground and the most tears had been cried, she’d realize that he was right.
He was just a burden.
She was better off without him.
“Alright, that’s it…but I’ll still get you back to Alexandria”, you mumbled not more than a half hour later, fixing the last bit of his bandage as he shifted uncomfortably on the worn off chair he had plopped himself earlier on.
“Really? Think that’s necessary?”, he grumbled, puckering his brows as he stared at his covered wound and huffed quietly.
His blue eyes were scanning over the cloth, as he ran his hand through his dirty blonde hair that was sticking out from the multiple times he must have already done it before he glanced reluctantly back at the small house.
“Yeah, that bandage is fine for the first bit but I want Siddiq to look over that…and I don’t think you should be out here with that kinda wound”, you mumbled back, pushing your used utensils back into the leather bag before glancing up at him.
“Okay”, he finally said before he heft himself slowly up from the wooden chair and let out a strained groan, “Just gotta get my stuff.”
“No, you gotta rest. Stay, I’ll get it for you.”
“Alright, there we go”, you mumbled as you got him into the passenger seat after placing his bag of clothes in the backseat, hearing him groan quietly as he fell onto the fabric and adjusted himself a little.
“Thanks”, he said, a sharp breath falling from his lips as he shifted his arm into his lap to give it a little stabilization before you shut his door with a dull thud and moved over the driver’s side.
Moments later you started the engine, letting the car zoom and shake slightly beneath you as you began to roll down the street again.
“Thought you’d be much more tense”, Will said after a small while as he leaned into the backseat, fumbling on his walkie as you let your brows pucker in confusion while you turned your head and glanced a little questioning at him.
“Hmm?”, you mumbled, looking back at the street as you the corners of your eyes caught him running a palm over his short dirty blonde beard stubble,“Now I didn’t think you’d be so calm with Maggie coming to Alexandria.”
With that an ice-cold shudder ran down your back as your head snapped towards him, your eyes burning into him as you tried to figure out if this was real or if you had just hallucinated his voice.
“What?!”, it left your lips almost without your own notice, your eyes only looking back at the road for a split second before you stared back at Will.
“You don’t know? Must’ve been a half hour before you got here”, he grumbled, holding up his walkie as he cleared his throat, “Got a shitty connection out here but enough to figure out she arrived…thought you had a walkie with ya too.”
“No, no I don’t I-”, your voice broke off as panic began to wash through your veins, adding onto the tension that had been lingering the whole time within you.
She hadn’t been in Alexandria for all this time, she wasn’t visiting for some cookies and a nice cup of tea.
She was there for Negan.
Your foot began to press down onto the gas pedal, simultaneously to your up-speeding heartbeat as your brain began to visualize your deepest fears that could happen right in these moment.
You shouldn’t have driven out.
You shouldn’t have fucking driven out.
If you hadn’t you’d be there now, you’d be there to keep her away from him.
He needed you and you weren’t there to protect him.
You were in this fucking fucked up car, in the middle of fucking nowhere.
“(Y/N), you gotta slow the hell down”, Will mumbled nervously, shifting uneasily in the seat beside you as you shook your head and glanced for a moment at him.
“She could be doing what fucking ever to him right now, I won’t slow down”, you said, half panted, your voice filled with panic you couldn’t hold back anymore.
Part of you tried to keep yourself under control, the other, the one that seemed to take over right now, put terror in each and every of your cells.
You knew her, you knew what she was capable of, she’d kill him if she got the chance.
That’s all she ever wanted.
“Will, I need you to give me your walkie”, you said, trying to grasp a clear thought before you already saw him shaking his head from the corner of your eyes.
“No, forget it (Y/N), not until you go down from that damn gas pedal”, he said, trying to keep his voice firm as you let out a stressed sigh.
“Alright, if you don’t hand it over, could you please ask if they know where she exactly is? Please, Will”, you said, your breath shaky as you slowed a small bit down for a moment, hoping to persuade him before he huffed slightly but finally got it up to his lips.
His voice boomed through your head even though he was talking lowly, your heartbeat pounded and echoed through your head as you waited for an answer coming from the other side.
But it didn’t.
“Told you we got a shitty connection out here”, he grumbled as he lowered the walkie again while the fear in you seemed to fill you up until you threatened to burst.
“Fuck”, you cursed, pushing the wheel slightly as your foot pressed down on the pedal again while a lump began to slowly grow in your throat.
Just last night he had hurt himself and now, shit, now someone tried to do what fucking ever to him.
What if you weren’t there on time.
What if Michonne wouldn’t hold her back or if it wasn’t enough?
You couldn’t lose him.
You couldn’t lose Negan.
Your nervously sweaty becoming palms pressed against the wheel, your foot growing heavy on the pedal while the walkie began to rustle, not even full words streaming through it, only loose vowels that were as good as impossible to fully combine.
“Sounds like some shit’s going down”, Will grumbled to himself, only letting you grow more uneasy as the trees rushed fast by you, letting them look like a green blurry mess beside you until you suddenly caught figures and horses with a carriage appearing at the horizon that just had to be from Alexandria.
They were blocking the road as they were buzzing around the carriages, fast and as restless as your racing heart.
Your car got closer and closer until you were forced to gradually slow down, especially as you began to slowly recognize them.
Beneath others, there were Diane and Michonne, from afar it looked like you could even see Carol and then, then you saw someone else.
Your heart skipped a beat as you skimmed over her, catching the crowbar in her hand that let a whole different nausea wash over your body.
She was coming back from Alexandria, she was with Michonne…so had she been at his cell? Had she hurt him? Had she-
Before you could grasp another thought the panic of losing Negan took over your mind, mixing the most terrible emotions within you and letting you feel like you blacked out for a moment as your senses only perceived their figures shortly before you, the stopping car beneath you, the sharp sound of the car’s door as you crashed it back into its frame and the way your feet hit the blacktop.
Eyes were fixed on you, on your in panic and anger trembling body, on your eyes that had already become watery, on the heavy breaths that let your chest rise and fall rapidly.
Your glance wandered over the crowbar, over its clean surface that didn’t let one ounce of relief run through you.
That didn’t mean shit, especially not to a mind as full of panic as yours.
Every single emotion rushing through you just got worse with each step as one special pair of eyes were fixed on you as you stomped towards them, focusing on you and wandering in a glare over your face.
For the first time after one and a half year.
“What the hell did you do to him?!”, it blustered out of you, half angrily panting, half with your voice threatening to break at the end of the question while your whole body formed into an agony mess, fearing whatever the answer may be.
Maggie’s glance narrowed some more as you stood before her, her lips pursed in an angered manner before the sound of her voice let every cell in you shudder.
“Nothing”, she snarled, the tone in her voice cold as this one word echoed through your head and couldn’t decide if it should elicit confusion or relief, ”Wanted to kill him but you know what? He’s already so much worse than dead.”
She huffed, her face pulling a thicker frown onto it as she stepped closer to your suddenly frozen self and clenched her jaw tensely before a tinge of satisfaction spread over her features.
“He begged me to kill him. Let that sink in, (Y/N). He begged me crying and sobbing on his damn knees to kill him.”
No, that couldn’t be true.
She was just messing with you, right?
Just trying to drive you wild to hurt you.
But her voice sounded genuine, that painfully genuine that part of you tried to avoid seeing it, even though her eyes spoke the same language.
What she was saying was the truth…and after knowing what had happened last night, after knowing how fragile he was at the moment…even this one part in you that tried to deny it lost its fight.
“He wanted me to do it because he couldn’t”, she growled, the hint of satisfaction still painted on her face as you first recognized the single tears that had begun to roll down your cheeks, along your features that were still frozen in shock and pain.
“He’s so pathetic and weak he couldn’t-”
Her voice still echoed through your ears as she got cut off by the sound of nearby shots and louder becoming growls of the dead, before a mess of voices and information prattled in on you within just a couple of moments, visualizing a horrifying picture even though its mass only let you catch pieces of its puzzle.
Diane panted about a shootout at the camp between some Saviors and the departing Kingdomers with consequences that ended bloodily, with deaths especially on the latter side.
Daryl who you hadn’t even recognized till now was running closer, with eyes searching panicking over the forest, growling over splitting up with Rick so he could lead the herd further away from the communities and the bridge, all while the disturbing loudness of a mass of undead growls and the closeness of the bridge didn’t bode well.
Something had went wrong.
The fast footsteps of Michonne and the rest of the group boomed over the earthy ground, seemingly letting it quake every second as they ran.
And you ran with them.
You were torn. Completely and utterly torn.
Back in Alexandria was Negan, your mind was rushing around him, visualizing what must have happened between him and Maggie while each more moment your mind made up hurt you more.
He wanted to die.
Negan wanted to die.
The man you were loving had begged someone to kill him.
You couldn’t wrap your head around it while your body was far ahead of it.
It was wrenching in agony, similar but still different to the pain you had felt under that tree on the hill, with his blood sticking to your fingers as he threatened to bleed to death.
Still, your feet were running.
Scared about what might happen at the bridge that could change everything while you knew at the same time that there was no way you could return now to Alexandria.
Part of you wanted to split up, split into two, get one part of yourself to Negan while letting the other one run towards the bridge.
The decision was made for you as your eyes caught the bridge, caught a mass of dead bodies stumbling over it while its end within the trees couldn’t be seen, while your hand instantly and driven by your instincts reached to your gun holster, lacing your fingers around it, ready to use it if you had to.
“What was that?”, Carol shouted through the growls as another shot filled the air before your eyes ran over the bridge that filled more and more with walkers that had a very certain goal in their eyes.
“It’s Rick”, another voice shouted as you caught him near the end of the bridge on the other side of the river, pressing his hand onto his side that was soaked in dark red blood while his hand with the revolver was still high up, darting at the walkers in front of him until his glance fell for a moment on the group of people by the river’s side.
Shock rushed through your veins as you stared at him, catching how Daryl’s figure showed up beside you while your fingers still rested around your gun that tingled from the stress that seemed to multiply with each passing seconds.
“Move north, break up the rest.
Bring some guns!”, you heard Maggie shout, footsteps echoing over the ground as more people rushed towards the river.
Instead of following her lead like the others behind you your glance stayed fixed on your friend on the bridge as you saw him glancing down at you and Daryl, confusion and shock spread over his face as you could see him puckering his brows softly in concern as he shook his head and moved his blood covered hand as if he wanted to stop you all, as if he wanted to signal that it was okay this way.
From the corner of your eye you could catch the others running through the woods closer towards the bridge while your glance stayed focused on Rick and the walkers that stumbled closer, stretching their arms toward his figure as only meters parted them.
For a second you got dragged out of the trance this whole situation had thrown you in as Daryl threw his crossbow from his shoulder, grabbed a bolt and cocked it into its bowstring before rushing back to let it shoot towards the closest Walker to Rick, almost tearing the rotting head apart as it hit its target.
Your eyes stayed fixed to your half-brother as your fingers finally pulled the gun out of its holster, your glance meeting his as he pushed in another bolt.
For the first time since he knew of what you had with Negan, you seemed to have a little bit of the old connectedness back as neither of you needed words to know what you were going to do. Together.
Your hand grasped the gun tightly as you rose it up, darting at the walkers before Rick as you pulled the trigger, releasing bullets that brought down walkers as much as Daryl’s bolts did.
Rick glancing back and worth between the both of you and the walkers, bending as he had to give in to the pain his wound was forcing up in him while his eyes got fixed on something within the dead for moments.
Slowly, he glanced a last time at the both of you as you reached the end of your weapons’ capabilities, gulping softly as he nodded grateful towards you while he rose his colt, his arm shaking threateningly as his blood began to cover the silver surface of his gun before his finger moved to the trigger.
And he pulled it.
For a moment, the world seemed to stop spinning as the bridge turned into a giant fireball, enlightening the air as its heat hit your skin and brought your blood to boil.
Rick had blown himself up.
He had blown himself and the bridge up to save all of you.
The realization of who you had just lost began to kick in as your lips began to tremble and tears began to slowly fill your eyes, blurring your view of the burning walkers that began to fall down the remains of the bridge into the wild water of the bridge that was as effervesced as the feelings that were streaming through your body.
“No”, left your quivering lips as this day turned more and more into a living nightmare.
Your glance was fixed to the burning bridge that began to be covered in thick, black smoke that rose up onto the sky until the corners of your eyes caught Daryl’s head sinking in pain and utter grief.
Your head turned towards him as you felt your throat tightening while the first tears began to roll down your cheeks, catching his shoulders beginning to shake as he spun his body slowly away from the place that had become the death of his best friend.
You wanted to say something but instead his teary glance only met yours for the matter of seconds, filled with a pain that you had seen rarely in his eyes before he sniffled as turned once for all away, grabbing his crossbow tightly as he made his way into the woods, slumped in like a wounded animal with nowhere to go instead of away.
Away of the bridge.
Away of the one place that had been supposed to be part of the future Carl had wished for.
Away from the place that had turned out to be the opposite.
Rick was gone and you still couldn’t believe it, couldn’t fully grasp it as your mind rushed through the years you had known him, from the moment he had shown up at the campsite to this very last moment on the bridge, leaving you with a feeling of grief you had hoped to never feel again.
Still, you did.
Rick Grimes was dead.
You couldn’t remember much of the way back, it was like a cloth torn apart my moths, leaving blank spaces that couldn’t get filled.
All you recognized was your heavy foot on the gas pedal, the trees rushing past you, mixing into a mess of green and brownish spots until you caught Alexandria’s gates.
From then on, cries and murmurs mixed with one another, your eyes caught Michonne as she parted herself from Carol, still crying and whimpering as she vanished alone in her home to sink into her deep cut grief, Alexandria’s residents stood either in shock by another or cried silently, all while you stumbled panicking towards the brownstones.
You had just lost a close friend and you still couldn’t grasp it, couldn’t realize it.
All you knew was only that you couldn’t lose Negan as well.
Agony was dominating your body as you got closer to the tall houses, fearing that he might have harmed himself again or worse.
With every damn time someone hurts themselves, their dread towards it sinks, with every damn time someone hurts themselves, their ability to take a step further becomes more likely.
What if Negan had reached that point already?
What if you would step down those stairs and see him there, dark red blood trickling down his skin and staring with dead eyes at you that had just this morning looked with deep running love at you?
What if you had already lost him but just didn’t know it yet?
You fought against those thoughts, tried to keep the little flame of hope up in you as you reached the houses and found yourself rushing down the stairs, trembling and afraid of what was to come.
Your panicking glance bounced around the room like a pair of table tennis balls, searching for his figure as soon as you reached the end of the stairs before you did.
Slumped in he sat on is bed. Alive.
Still, your eyes scanned over him, searching for wounds but all you could catch was the injury of last night and the empty yet hurt expression that was spread all over his face, up until the moment his eyes met yours.
The moments between this once glance and the time that passed until the guard had opened the door and let you slip inside had been as torn apart as the time you had spent in the car back home.
Almost as if it hadn’t happened.
Still, you stood in front of him now, trying to make him look at you as he gulped and glanced at you, his eyes swollen and red from the crying even though an odd expression laid over his face, as if he was pretending that nothing of what you had heard had happened.
“What’s happening outside? Sounds like one hell of a mess”, he asked, obviously trying to bring up as much firmness as his sobs dreaded voice could, forming into words what his facial expression had already told you.
He was trying to be strong for you right now, you could see it right there and then in front of you as the man you loved tried to keep the threateningly rickety scaffold he was upright for you.
You couldn’t lie to him now, not even withhold it.
Not now that he knew something was going on, not in these circumstances.
In the end, it would just make it worse, besides the fact that you were by far not emotionally stable enough in these challenging moments to decide completely rationally.
“Rick’s dead”, it blustered out of you, the words seeming so impossible as you spoke them out, as if it wasn’t real, almost, as if you were telling a lie.
Painful stings pelted onto your body as you brought as short as you could out what had happened at the bridge, unable to go in detail as your body feared more agony that only waited for its moment to sneak up.
The words left your lips almost as if they didn’t belong to you, they just flew out as your eyes stayed fixed to Negan’s face, each muscle that twitched, each dried tear on his skin.
Tears clouded your eyes as he reached out to you, pulling you trembling closer until he could wrap his shaking arms around you, trying to comfort you even at his lowest.
His touch was soothing as you gave in to it and its caresses for a couple of moments, before you had to tear yourself from him as you got to the part that you feared the most, the part you had to tell him even though your whole body twisted even only thinking about it.
“Negan,…Maggie was there too”, you mumbled, indirectly revealing your knowledge to him as your voice was breaking in the end while his face fell in the matter of seconds, breaking the thin shield of calmness he had put on for you before it twisted in agony, wrenching you apart as you caught tears beginning to force their way into his eyes, unable to be held back anymore, as his shoulders slumped in like the ones of a hurt animal.
“I…I’m sorry”, he whimpered, his head lowering as the sob shook through him, shooting painful stings through your veins as you stared at him in pain.
“I should be dead…I have to be dead”, he mumbled, turning slowly away from you as your throat tightened again, his tears and words forcing a thick lump into your throat.
“No”, it broke out of you with as much force and strength as you could bring up before his tearful eyes glanced for the matter of a second up before they stared back to the ground as a shudder let his shoulders shake.
“’Cause…’cause I’m just a fuckin’ burden, you’d be better off without me.”
“No, no Negan I wouldn’t-”
“You should go…”, he mumbled shakily, “Maybe if I try that crap again I’ll get it done myself.”
The pain that got elicited by those words was indescribable, mimicking knives that dug into your body and turned and twisted until you were an agony filled mess, with more tears filling your eyes and a shock running through you that let your lips gap open but didn’t allow to let words flow out of it at first.
“Negan, stop saying that”, you finally said, your voice hitching through the tears that began to choke you ,”And I won’t leave you.”
“You should be able to mourn now,…you should be able to lean all the fuckin way onto me and not have to fucking worry even fuckin’ more”, he said, his voice as broken as the man in front of you before he shook his head as more tears rolled down his cheeks and got entangled in his thick beard.
“Heard you crying last night…when you thought I was sleeping”, he brought out, adding more shock to the agony whirling through your body as you tried to step closer to him before his weak voice echoed off the cold walls once more, “You shouldn’t suffer because of me…you-…you deserve to be happy and I can’t give you that.”
“That’s not true”, you chocked out, reaching towards his shaking hand until you could softly grasp it,”Negan, you make me happy.”
“No, no, all I do is make you worry-”
“I worry because I love you. That’s part of the deal…you’d worry about me too”, you said, your voice coined by the thick lump in your throat as you carefully moved closer until you could reach up and softly place your hand on his neck while the other still grasped his fingers , “If you love someone you worry about them when they’re not feeling well..but that doesn’t mean they don’t make you happy.”
A shivering breath fell from your lips as you couldn’t prevent the most urging tears to make their way down your cheeks, letting you sniffle quietly as you tried to keep the rest of you as much under control as you could.
“And I think in some way you know that…”,you gulped, trying to catch his glance as your fingertips caressed over the trembling skin of his neck ,”All this shit here is just fucking with your head.”
Negan’s face wrenched in pain as you glanced through tears clouded eyes at him, feeling him shaking beneath you as it broke completely out of him, sobs rumbling through his chest as you tried to push yourself out of the shock that froze your bones.
Negan began to slump in even more, trembling like an aspen leaf as your hand left his and instead allowed you to wrap your arms around him, pull him into your own shaking embrace until his head sunk into the curve of your neck and his quivering arms slung around your body.
His hot tears and his panting breath hit your skin as you dandled him back and forth in your arms, your hand caressing through his dark hair as more tears ran down your cheeks as you somehow tried to comfort the broken man in your arms.
“I can’t lose you”, it broke whimpering out of you, pulling him deeper into your embrace as you cradled him, closing your eyes as you leaned your head against his, nuzzling your nose into his hair as he slowly tightened his arms around you as well.
The sun was already going down when you found yourself sitting on the side of the bed, still holding him as he leaned against your side, sniffling as his face stayed buried in the curve of your neck and his shaking breath hit your skin.
Your fingers ran through his hair, drawing slow circles as your lips pressed to his temple, softly and careful as you tried to keep more tears from coming up again.
“I need you here with me, Negan”, you quietly mumbled as you held him closer, feeling how the lump began to press in on your throat again no matter how much you tried to fight it, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Negan shifted closer, his arms still trembling as he slung them a little more around your waist as you tried to keep your voice from breaking.
“I don’t know how to get through those nights with the nightmares, I don’t know how to live without you, I-”, you said, feeling how your voice broke either way before you felt him slowly beginning to lift his head from your shoulder until he could glance at you.
His eyes were still swollen from the tears, his lips still trembling as you reached up, cupping his jaw as you caressed your fingers along his beard, chocking back more tears as you caught his glance and breathed softly out, “Negan, you’re my everything.”
His face relaxed a little by your words while your thumb gently stroke over his cheek, wiping away the last tears as you quietly gulped.
“If I could, I’d take all that damn pain from you onto me…I really would but I can’t…”, you mumbled as his still clouded hazel eyes ran over your face, “I can’t just fix everything but I…I can help you through it…but you have to want it…”
He swallowed thickly, his eyes wandering for a moment to the ground before they met yours again as a quivering breath fell from his lips.
“I want it…I just don’t wanna-”, he stopped, unable to put the rest into words even though you could figure it out yourself.
“I love you”, he brought out, his voice thick with emotion as you softly nodded and began to lean in, trying to grasp some hope even though you still knew how fragile he was.
“I love you too”, you mumbled back just before your lips softly captures his, feeling him melting into your touch the moment you met while he held you a little closer than before.
It was just a short, sweet kiss, but still it seemed to bring a little comfort into both of your bodies before your lips parted again but his face remained close to yours.
“Let’s lay down, alright?”, you carefully asked after a couple of moments, trying to shift this whole situation a little before you could feel him slightly nod.
You slowly moved back into the pillows, letting him move against your side as you pulled him back into your embrace, into the very same position as you had already laid in last night.
Slowly you moved in to nuzzle your nose into his hair while your fingertips caressed over his arm, slowly tracing up and down the prison’s suit fabric as you slowly began to feel him relax a little.
“Everything will get better, Negan”, you mumbled, moving your hand slowly up to brush over his beard, caressing it softly as you heard the first peaceful sound leaving his lips since you got back.
You tried to grasp it, let it give you some more strength even though there was still an unbelievable amount of distress lingering within you.
Still, you tried to push it away for a moment and take a breath, to focus on helping the man in your arms.
“And you know what? As soon as things have calmed down, I will try to find Lucille…maybe she’s even still here…and I’ll try to figure things out, maybe we can make this all a bit better…get you out of here just for an hour or so to work or maybe just get some things inside here…but it will get better, okay?”, you mumbled as your fingers ran along his jaw before you pressed another small kiss to his forehead.
You could still hear the mess that was happening outside stream inside the cell through the windows, hear the grief the people outside were experiencing which was lingering in you as well, only pushed back by the mission to take care of Negan even though you knew it would break through earlier or later.
But next to all this pain and stress, as you finally heard him say “okay” quietly back, a part of you eased a little.
You knew this wasn’t it with this one word, by far not.
The rockiest of the roads you already had to overcome as a couple laid in front of you now, densely cluttered with large and sharp rocks that were ready to turn this path into a harsh and merciless test.
Still, you refused to let the hope in you vanish.
You were going to do everything in your might to help Negan through this, stand by his side along this rocky road until and beyond he would reach its end.
No matter if it would take weeks, months or even years…
(The gif isn’t mine/ it was originally posted by dancing-at-the-funeralparty)
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