Taking a deep breath and holding back her tears Fallon entered the tent Shay was dying in. Her eyes found a pile of red rags next to the graying body of her little cousin. The tears instantly fell from Fallon's eyes, there was no way they could be held back. Every emotion on her body was trumped by the overwhelming feeling of utter sadness her movements, again, felt like they were in slow motion. Fallon bent in front of Shay as she wiped the tears from her face, she used her good arm to get onto the floor. Taking a close look at Shay's fragile, and tiny body Fallon could tell there was still some shallow breathing.
"Shay, can you hear me," Fallon made her voice as strong as possible.
Her voice quivered and threatened to give out just at those few words; words she never thought she would utter. A quick inhale of a breath from Shay made Fallon jump forward, angling her body over her younger cousins. Shay's hazel eyes fluttered open for a quick second at the sound of Fallon's voice, giving a little glimmer of life back to Shay.
"Shay, you don't have to say anything... I... I... just want you to know I'm right here... and I am not going anywhere," Fallon paused to wipe the tears from her face again "You're a... Shay I love ya so much..." Fallon's voice cracked.
All the will power Fallon had was drained from her body the second Shay took another ragged breath. Through blurry eyes Fallon got the courage to look at the wound on Shay's leg; a scratch running from mid shin to her ankle was why Shay was burning up. As if that wasn't enough there was a fresh bullet wound to Shay's midsection leaking blood onto the surrounding area.
"Oh God Shay... what happened what happened to you... got damn it," Fallon cried.
Fallon pulled herself closer to the little girl so she could use her good hand to wipe the blood caked hair away from Shay's pale face. Her eyes fluttered open again quickly finding Fallon and shut again as if she were too tired to keep them open. Shay's skin was on fire, which meant the infection has already taken ahold of her. Fallon prayed that the bullet wound would kill her before the infection did... she couldn't watch Shay die twice. Her chest slightly rose up and down just barely noticeable, it would have been missed if Fallon wasn't paying such close attention. There was just so much to say but not enough time to say it all.
"God Shay... I love ya so much... and I'm so glad I've gotten ta know you over the past year and a half. You'll never know it but, you got me through a really rough time in my life," Fallon paused to take a breath and to wipe her raw face once again "The day you showed up on my doorstep and Jesse told ya to go away I never would have thought we'd be here... well I don't think anyone would have thought that..." she let out a low chuckle at the memory. "Jesus, there was still so much for you to do, so much for me to show you and just so damn much you still had to learn," Fallon gripped the smooth cloth of the sleeping bag so she wouldn't punch the nearest thing.
A wet hack racked Shay's tiny body, making Fallon cringe at first. Shay's blood stained lips looked unnatural compared to her paling body making Fallon come to from her daze.
"We can't have you lookin' like that," Fallon's voice rasped as she looked for a clean towel to use.
Not seeing anything to her liking, Fallon felt the bubbling anger start to build in the pit of her chest. Who ever was in here before didn't have the decency to clean up just a little so the girl didn't have to go in a bloody mess of a room. Glancing back at the cousin for a quick second Fallon saw the crimson stain starting to spill down her chin and the side of her cheek. She shifted her eyes down to the fabric makeshift slug that Hershel gave Fallon to keep her arm from hanging around; that'll do. Fallon lifted the the tie from around her neck, ignoring the searing pain, and pressed it to her younger cousins face, gently wiping up the blood from her face. As Fallon pulled away her hand three quick gasps came from Shay's chest making her jump. The overwhelming feeling of dread and fear was being replaced by a sense of acceptance of the fate of Shay.
"Shay, it's okay... yo...you don't have to hang on for me, I'm guna be just fine, if you are ready you go ahead and you... I know this hurts," Fallon's voice was rough from the crying "You know I love you, and I sure as hell know you love me... god Shay I'm so sorry I wasn't here for you," Fallon let her head drop and let the tears fall from her eyes dripping onto the red towels surrounding Shay.
Fallon glanced through her blurry vision, up at Shay who's breathing was getting shallow. With every passing second Fallon could feel the hole in her chest growing, sucking every ounce of joy from her body and replacing it with numbness. She wiped the blood from Shay's mouth one last time; it couldn't be much longer.
"Shay it's okay," Fallon took a shaky breath "Just let go,"
As if Shay could hear what she was saying, the air was released from Shay's lungs and her chest didn't rise again. Fallon shut her eyes letting the remaining tears fall from her eyelashes. She removed the fabric that was balled up in her hand and placed it over Shay's face. Taking as deep a breath as she could manage Fallon started to crawl to the tent flap. Every movement felt like she was trying to run under water, even the bright sunshine felt dim as she crawled out onto the grass. People were talking all around her, but their voice came on seat ears as Fallon crawled to the nearest tree, not trusting her legs to carry her anywhere.
"Fallon," a pause "Fallon, its Rick..."
She laid her red rimmed eyes towards him.
"I can't imagine how you feel right now. I am so sorry for your loss, Shay wa.. is a great kid and you did everything you could for her," his voice was soft. He looked back at the tent sympathy in his eyes and all over his face. "I have to tell you something and you aren't guna like this,"
Fallon pulled her eyebrows together and snapped her head up towards him.
"Fallon... I don't know how to put this lightly," he ran his hand through his hair to push it back "The... the brain needs to be killed," his voice was a whisper.
The numbness in her body was immediately replaced by pure anger, her bison going red. She balled up the fist of her good arm and swung at Rick, hitting him in the jaw.
"I just watched my cousin die and you want me to do it again... go fuck yourself Rick," she snapped.
"I thought you would want to do it," he moved his hand from his jaw and sat down on the ground next to her.
Fallon clenched her jaw "Now,"
"If you want," his voice was soft again.
Daryl wanted to go up to Fallon the second she came crawling out of the tent, but something stopped him. He knew she would want to be alone for just a little while before being bombarded with these people telling her how sorry they are. When he saw Fallon punch Rick Daryl wanted to run over there and take her away. Now, Daryl hasn't felt the urge to punch Rick since he told him about Merle being left to rot in Atlanta, but now he felt and overwhelming urge to beat his face in.
"Shame ain't it," his older brother walked up to Daryl.
"Mhm," Daryl mumbled.
"Better cheer her up little brother," Merle said as he slapped Daryl on the back before walking away.
Daryl started after his brother with his fist tightly clenched, how dare he try and make a joke. The flap of the tent opening again made Daryl snap his head over just in time to see Fallon come out. She was ghost white, the front of her shirt covered in too much blood. Even from this distance he could see she was breathing heavy and the look on her face was something nobody should ever have to see. Everyone was staring now as she leaned up against the undoubtedly crying. It pissed him off that everyone was staring at her as she cried her eyes out. Quickly he closed the distance lets between them and blocked everyone's view of her.
"Hey, ya wanna go somewhere you could be alone," Daryl asked as gently as he could manage.
"Yeah," she choked out in a voice so different from her normal one.
"Where," he asked trying not to touch her.
"Can you get Jesse and Trev," she eased ignoring his question.
"Yeah." He answered shortly.
He didn't want to be annoyed that she asked for them, but he was and there was nothing to do about it. Logically, he knew it made sense for her to want them, but emotionally, yeah emotionally, he wanted Fallon to want him around. When Daryl reluctantly found Trev and Jesse both men had tears in their eyes.
"Uhm Fallon wants you guys," Daryl said as normally as he could manage.
Jesse looked over at him with his brow furrowed before letting his face go back to normal "Thanks man," Jesse's normally loud voice was less than a whisper. "Come on Trev," he patted his brother on the back signaling him to move.
Jesse passed Daryl first and gave him a nod of appreciation, but as Trev started to pass he stopped and turned.
"Daryl, if Jesse looked confused about anything you just said it wasn't cause he has a problem with you it's cause he was surprised that she talked to you so quickly," Trev used his pointer finger to wipe underneath his eye.
"Oh," he answer not sure if he should say anything else. "That a good thing..."
"Yeah... really good... she must really like you," Trev answered before walking towards Fallon.
Daryl looked away from them and back at his camp site, maybe he should move closer to everyone else... He glanced back at the rest of the group walking around trying to to pay attention to the grief of the three of them; maybe not. Daryl pulled his crossbow up onto his shoulder and headed for his campsite, not will to look at these people anymore; them and their fake sympathy.
Jalissa found Rick standing by their tent completely lost in thought, his head cocked slightly to the side and his eyes facing to the ground
Every time she tried to look in the direction of Fallon or even the tent where Shay was, Jalissa's heart felt it was going to explode. She couldn't even imagine how any of them felt. Shay was just so young and full of life even in a world like this there was still so much for her to do. A's jalissa thought about Shay and her death a thought crossed her mind that didn't when Shane first brought her back in his arms. Shay wasn't just bitten she was shot in her stomach, how the hell would she have gotten shot? Everyone here that had a gun was great with it they wouldn't miss by that much, would they?
"How's Fallon," Jalissa finally asked after a few minutes.
"Holding up as well as could be expected," he said to the ground still looking away from her, his voice sounding distracted.
"What did you say to her to make her punch you," Jalissa asked turning his face to look and see if there was a mark.
"It was nothing, she is just upset and I was the first person to talk to her... I don't blame her," he answered finally letting light blue eyes fall on her.
"Oh, okay," she answered with a skeptical undertone in her voice that Rick surly would puck up on.
"Don't worry about it, okay," his voice was soft.
He turned his head and placed his lips lightly on her hand before giving it back to her. This automatically made Jalissa giggle and look away from her gentleman.
I have to talk to Hershel in a bit, could you so me a favor and look out for Carl... his mother isn't doing a great job of that," Rick let out a long sigh as he spoke.
"Uh yeah, I can do that," she paused to consider the consequences of what she was going to say next "But don't you think you should talk to him... I mean his friend was just killed," she tired to say that as gently as possible.
For the first time she saw a hint of anger cross his face before speaking "I'll talk to him when I'm done with Hershel," he paused "I did try and talk to him, he wasn't ready to talk about it... I don't want you to think I'm not concerned about my boy," his voice was sharp.
"No, no I... I didn't think that... I just didn't know... Rick I'm sorry I know you care but... I'm sorry forget I brought it up," she stuttered out
"Its fine, it's nice to see you're concerned about my son too. Comforting in a time like this," his tone was back to normal as he stretched out his undoubtedly sore muscles.
"I am concerned.. its the only reason I brought it up," she looked up at him.
Rick let a half smile form on his face "I'm glad,"
After a quick kiss Rick set off towards the farm house leaving Jalissa to find Carl; wherever he was. After about ten minutes of looking she finally found him sitting behind a hay bale next to the broken down windmill on the property.
"Can I sit with you," Jalissa asked as politely as she could not wanting to push the kid.
He mumbled something that sounded like a yes and shifted his body over.
"Thanks," she said as she took a seat.
They sat there for a long time before either of them decided to speak again, and it was Carl who broke the silence.
"Are you and my dad like together," he asked looking up at her his eyes red rimmed.
"Uhm...," her voice was unusually high pitched "Well do you want us to," she asked dodging Carl's question.
"Well, when your around you make my dad happy and he hasn't been happy like that in a while, so if you make him happy then yeah," Carl answered.
She was about to respond, happy that Carl approved of her, when someone started yelling about walkers in the barn. Instantly Jalissa's heart dropped at the mention of walkers, so she took a deep breath and looked over to the barn. Shane was yelling about everything and how keeping these things near them was just asking for danger. She'll never forget what he said next, and honestly she was surprised Fallon or Jesse didn't flip the fuck out on him.
"We already had a fucking kid die here, if we keep these... these things near us it's just a matter of time before it happens again," Shane yelled with an overwhelming amount of anger.
"Shit..." Jalissa mumbled underneath. "Um, Carl come with me but stay back,"
She a flick of fear in her stomach told her this was the wrong decision, stay back and hang out with Carl. She darted her eyes back to the barn and saw Shane kicking and pushing on the doors, amping the zombies up.
"Fuck," she whispered
With fear running thick through her veins, Jalissa forced herself up and started running for the crowd of people by the barn. She could hear Carl's footsteps behind her, making her even more on edge. When she got there the scene unfolding wasn't something she'd ever thought would happen. She watched as Rick brought a walker to the farm on a leash they use to catch rabid dogs; her mouth dropping at the sight.
"What the fuck is that," Jesse asked with a scowl on his face.
"I have no fucking clue," Fallon answered dragging her ice glare away from Hershel.
"You think this is fucking normal! You think people can come back from this," Shane yelled as he aimed and shot the walker three times in the chest. "That's not fucking normal," he aimed and shot the groaning walker in the head. He turned and looked at everyone with a wild look in his eye. "It's time we take control," he stomped to the padlocked barn door and busted it open, Rick shouting at him to stop every step of the way.
Knowing where this was headed, Fallon headed in Jalissa's direction.
"Give me your gun," Fallon said at her harshly.
"Are you sure you wan..." Jalissa was cut off as Fallon snatched the gun from her grasp.
Fallon turned on her heel, quickly, and grasped the gun in her hurt arm using the other to cock it; not caring about the searing pain that shot up and down her arm. The warm metal of the gun feeling awkward in her hand compared to the feel of the wooden handle of her axe. Fallon raised the gun and shot walker after walker as they filed out of the barn, with each body she brought down the better she felt in that second. After the last walker fell Fallon lowered the gun and turned her head to look at Hershel, the old man was on his knees agony on his face as he looked at the pile of bodies. Her lips twitched into a smile as she watched the old man struggle with the massacre of the barn walkers. A quiet shuffle from inside the barn made Fallon look away and bring her attention back to the barn.
"Mom!" Beth yelled at the rotting walker the stumbled out of the barn.
Shane went to aim at her, but Fallon jumped forward placing her hand on his arm to lower it. He glanced sideways at her with a bewildered look.
"I got this one," Fallon grumbled with so much hate in her voice.
He let Shay die in a tent outside because she was bitten by a zombie and not just shot. He let her die in excruciating pain because he didn't want to help her at all, he didn't even want to see her. Now, she was going to male him feel a fraction of what she feels. If she were really evil she would make him do is as she held his daughter at gun point, but that would take too much time.
"This your wife Hershel," Fallon asked as she stared down the advancing walker.
"Please just leave her," he begged.
"It's funny," she giggled she aimed at the walker "That you think I wouldn't do this after what you did to my family you selfish sonofa bitch, even as a walker this lady is to good for you,"
Fallon pulled the trigger letting the bullet hit her in the chest, knocking the walker back a step.
"Please Fallon! Stop just leave her," Hershel yelled.
Fallon turned and tossed the gun back at Jalissa, making sure to put on the safety of course, and picked up her axe. She swung it around her hand and griped it tight as she stepped to the walker. She brought back her good arm and swung at the walkers arm cutting off the arm, black blood spilling onto the floor.
"Oh I'm sorry, I missed.. let me try again," Fallon grunted as the anger in her stomach bubbled over.
She looked the walker up and down with sneer on her face. The anger had her hands shaking as she raised the axe again, swinging for the head this time. With a wet thunk the blade of the axe embedded itself into the forehead of Hershel's zombie wife making her fall to the floor in a puddle of her own black blood. With a hard yank she pulled the axe from her head with out a second look turned on her heel and walked away.
Fallon wasn't a vengeful person, at least not since the accident, but this crossed the line. When she was far enough away from everyone she let the axe slip from her hand and hit the grass. As the realization of what she just did started to dawn on her, Fallon's knees started to give out. Before she knew it she was on the floor her fingers digging into the ground as she let the tears fall from her eyes once again.
Fallon yelled, she screamed in a way she never has before as if every ounce of her soul was pouring out of her body. She pulled her knees into her chest and let the tears drip off her face onto her blood covered clothes. She felt strong arms wrap around her shoulders and pull her close.
"Fallon, hey look at me," Jesse's voice whispered in her ear.
She turned her head and met Jesse's re rimmed blue gray eyes with her bloodshot green ones. She placed her head on his shoulder as he pulled her close with his tattooed arm.
"I know it doesn't seem it now but it's going to be fine," he tried to comfort her, but she felt the tear hit her exposed shoulder.
"Nothings guna be the same," her voice was rough making her own southern twang sound foreign.
"Never," he agreed as he wiped the hair away that was sticking to her face.
"God Jesse, what are we guna do," she asked.
"Live through it, but don't forget," his voice was soft.
"How could we," she rasped.
"Good question," she felt him turn his head "Hey someone's here to see you, I'll talk to you on a little bit," she felt him get up letting the cold rush back to her body.
"But wait," she quickly turned after him only to be met by the eyes of Daryl. "Hey,"
"Hey," he mumbled as he looked down at her.
She patted the ground next to her, wanting him to sit with her. He laid his crossbow down next to him and took the spot next to her. With his presence she already felt the cold start to melt away, but even he couldn't do anything about the gaping hole in her chest.
"You okay," he asked, already regretting it as it left his mouth.
"I've been better," Fallon turned to look at him.
Daryl nodded bit kept his mouth shut, and for the first time since she met him she was glad he didn't have anything to say. Just him sitting there with her was enough for now, she laid her head on his shoulder, she didn't have to look to know his muscles clenched at her touch.
"Thank you Daryl," she whispered as she turned her head to lay a light kiss on his cheek.
Fallon pushed herself up from the ground, with an odd look from Daryl, and signaled for him get up to. It was only midway through the day and there was a lot to do still; Shay was being buried today no if ands or buts about it. After Shay was laid to rest then and only then would she deal with the issue of Hershel.
"You don't gotta do this," Daryl grumbled as he got up.
"If I don't I'm guna sit here and cry all day... Shay wouldn't want that..." Fallon choked out as she pushed back the tears that were stinging the back of her eyes.
"I'll get Jesse, Trev, and Merle to help," Daryl looked right at her as he said it his voice strong.
His offer to help made the tears spill from her eyes "Thank you,"
Daryl smiled as he walked towards where the group was now congregating. When he got back he managed to bring the people he said plus Jalissa, who promised Rick was coming later, Carol and Shane. With everyone helping it didn't take long for the hole to be dug, the people who didn't help with Shay were busy burning the bodies for the barn walkers; except for Hershel's wife, of course. Fallon looked down into the now finished hole and back at the tent; it was time.