Daryl watched as the girl he just saved again passed him, giving a slight wave, as she made her way over to the man, and he used the term man loosely, with the bleach blonde hair. Discreetly, he watched as she flailed her arms about, probably telling the gay guy about what just happened.
"Whatre you smilin' ' bout little brother," Merle asked.
"Nothin'," Daryl answered using his hand to wipe his face, he didn't even know there was a smile on his face…
He turned his body away from Fallon and Trev to face his brother, why was he even looking at her in the first place? She did save him from that fat ass walker, but the bitch managed to get herself in trouble while doing it; real smart. He shifted his perpetually squinted eyes in her direction again; she did know what she was doing though… the only woman he's met so far that could handle a weapon correctly. He sucked in a breath and let the thoughts of Fallon disappear, there wasn't a point in thinking about what this woman does or doesn't do.
"Let's go little brother, headin' out," Merle yelled from somewhere behind him.
Without a word Daryl started walking to his old light blue pickup, before getting in he took one last look in the direction Fallon was in; this time she was looking right back at him.
Fallon watched as Daryl averted his gaze from hers, grabbing and fumbling at his truck door. She wasn't expecting the guy to be looking back at her and apparently he wasn't expecting it either. Fallon looked away from Daryl, her eyes immediately finding Shay who was of course talking with the two other little ones. Excusing herself from Trev she started towards the little girl the sole of her boots skidding over the tiny rocks on the pavement.
"Lori, Carol I just want to thank you again for watching Shay for me," Fallon said as she approached the two women.
"It's no problem, she wonderful," Carol answered with a smile her blue eyes still watching the kids.
Fallon smiled and watched as Shay pretended that she didn't know Fallon was there to get her.
"Um Fallon can I ask you something," Lori asked.
Carol's eyes went wide as she snapped her head to the side "Yyyeah," Fallon answered dragging out the word.
"Did you give Shay a hunting knife to carry around?" She asked.
"Yeah, well I didn't want to but she wanted one just in case and I wasn't going to tell her no if she feels safer with it,"
"Don't you think she's a little young?"
"I don't think age matters anymore," Fallon crossed her arms and angled her body towards Lori.
"But she can't possibly know how to use that,"
"You be surprised. It was her decision, not mine, and if it ain't mine then it sure as hell isn't yours," Fallon snapped.
Lori put her hands up in defense "I'm sorry it's not my place to say,"
"No it ain't," Fallon shook her head "Shay lets go,"
Shay ran up to Fallon with Sophia right on her tail "Fallon can I ride with Sophia!" Shay asked her hazel eyes bright making it almost impossible for Fallon to say no.
Fallon let out a long breath acting like she was going to say no "If Carol says yes then it's okay with me,"
"Fine with me," Carol answered "Come on kids, over to the car," She ushered them in the direction of the car she was in.
"Fallon, I'm sorry I didn't mean to upset you," Lori said before Fallon could walk away.
"It's okay, just when it comes to Shay I get a little testy," Fallon answered.
"Any mother would, or mother figure," she corrected herself "You are doing a great job with her,"
A genuine smile crossed Fallon's face "Thank you,"
Rick's eyes followed Lori as she got into the car with his former partner and friend, a familiar ache racking his chest. The wound was still fresh and it didn't help that he had to see them every day, granted they didn't show any affection when he was around, but he still knew in the back of his mind. He ran his fingers through his short dark hair taking a deep breath to calm himself. The store was almost a complete waste of time, like he thought from the start, but they did find some band aids, a couple tubes of toothpaste, two bottles of water, and a shit ton of empty boxes they could store things in.
"Hey, are we headed out now? That's what every ones saying?" Jalissa asked.
"Uh yeah, yeah come on," Rick answered letting the girl take the lead to the car.
Jalissa was a nice girl, like a genuinely nice person, he could just tell from the brief conversation they had in the car; this world needed more people like her. Hell, this world needed more people in general, but if they were like Jalissa it would be a much better world. He didn't know why he told Jalissa all of the things he did, he hasn't confided in anyone like that since things with Shane were good. There was just something about her that he immediately trusted.
"Here let me get that for you," Rick jogged forward and opened the door for Jalissa.
"Thank you Rick, you didn't need to," She smiled at him.
"Welcome," He returned with a light smile.
She got into the car and Rick shut the door before getting into his side of the vehicle and starting the car. He pulled the car back onto the back road they were traveling on before making sure everyone followed before he got too far ahead. He glanced back over at Jalissa and she was spinning the meat clever that she always carried around with her in her hands.
"What's with that thing? Don't you think that's kind of an odd choice," Rick asked in a joking tone keeping the conversation light.
"What this?" She asked holding up the blood spattered weapon at him.
"Hey, watch where you point that thing," Rick said with a chuckle.
"Sorry," She answered, he could have sworn she was blushing. "But the deal with this thing is, right before Fallon found me, and saved my ass, I got my first and only walker kill with it, and I just can't part with it, it really has grown on me," She looked at the clever as she turned the handle back and forth, the sun reflecting off the metal.
"Oh, I understand that it's like a sentimental thing,"
"Yeah," She pointed at him her dark eyes wide "Exactly,"
He chuckled at her reaction and gave a slight shake of his head, she was a funny girl and honestly he needed someone funny to keep his mind off the depression; he was glad it she decided to take the ride with him.
"Where's Shay," Jesse asked after a long awkward silence in the car.
"I left her at the store," Fallon answered sarcastically, earning a hidden laugh from Trev.
"Real funny Fall," Jesse answered, she could hear the scowl on his face.
"You really think I wouldn't know where Shay is?" She paused "She's with Carol and T-dog, she wanted to ride with Sophia," Fallon let the guys know.
"Oh," Jesse answered.
"I'm glad she found some friends, she needs to be a kid sometimes ya know," Trev chimed in.
"I agree, she's like a little adult and I love her for it but she needs to be a kid too," Fallon agreed.
Trev loved how much Fallon cared for that little girl, Fallon would run through a walker infested field naked with no weapon if she had to, if it could make a better life for Shay. Trev stepped on the gas to keep up with the light blue pick-up, the engine breaking the awkward silence that took over the car again. The light blue pick-up… Trev furrowed his brow trying to remember who that monstrosity belonged to… it had to be the redneck brothers, probably the quite one. Daryl, he thought, the one that saved Fallon before, the one she tried to save too. She would never have done anything like that before but Fallon changed after the accident, most people would after what happened, but she really changed, for the better he might add. At the thought of the accident Trev's hands clenched the wheel his knuckles turning white from the squeeze. He hated thinking about the accident… it brought back feelings he didn't want to feel ever again, but now everything was coming back… everything he didn't want…
"Trev," Fallon's voice interrupted his thoughts "Are you okay,"
Trev blinked his eyes and shook his head trying to push away the thoughts "Yeah, fine," he answered his voice lower than normal.
He knew both his brother and Fallon knew what he was thinking about, that's why both of them shut up and let it be. Trev and Fallon still haven't talked the whole thing trough yet, but that was for another day; not cars in front of them started slowing down and coming to a stop and Trev followed suit.
"What's goin' on," Fallon asked.
"Don't know can't see anything yet," Trev answered.
"Probably a roadblock," Jesse chimed in straining to see what was in front of them.
They met the rest of the group up in front, Fallon standing in the outskirts of the group and away from Jesse. Through the tiny crowd of people Fallon first found Shay, who was busy chatting away with Carl and Sophia, then Jalissa who was up in front by Rick. Jalissa signaled for the Fallon to come up towards her; Fallon held up a finger telling her to wait one minute and the other girl nodded. Fallon made her way over to Carol, making sure to hold her weapon close to her not wanting to accidently hit anyone.
"Hey," Fallon said quietly to Carol.
"Hey," She answered a smile brightening her sad face.
"I hope Shay wasn't any trouble,"
"Oh, no. Honestly, she keeps Sophia in line and they have a lot of fun together so what more can ya ask for," Carol answered with a laugh.
"Well I'm glad to hear it," Fallon smiled "I'll take her off your hands if you want,"
"No, no it's fine, let the kids be kids for a little while,"
"You sure? I don't want ta take advantage,"
"I barely know she's here, it's really fine Fallon,"
"Okay, and thank you again Carol, just send her over when you can't take it anymore,"
"Will do," The woman smiled.
Fallon waved at Shay as she passed, but didn't get a wave back from the distracted little girl. Fallon pouted for a second before realizing it was a little weird to be mad at the kids for having fun and being kids. She just wasn't used to being ignored by Shay, but she guess it was something she was going to have to get used to; unfortunately.
"We got a roadblock, we can't get any of the cars through and forget about the RV," Jalissa let Fallon know as she took a place next to Jalissa.
"Awesome," Fallon answered leaning her axe on the ground.
"Maybe we could find something useful in these cars, everyone take a look around but keep a look out," Fallon brought her attention to Rick in time to hear that. "Dale?"
The old man nodded and climbed on top of the RV, arming himself with a hunting rifle; guess he was the designated look out. Fallon saw Jalissa's eyes linger on the sheriff for a second longer, and wanting to give her some privacy she looked away from the two. Her eyes found the crossbow wielding redneck that was making his way up to where she was standing.
"Better be careful out there I'm not guna be there to save your ass," Fallon said sarcastically at him as he passed her.
He quickly turned, surprise all over his features for a second but quickly turned back to his mask, before turning back with a grunt and a grumble under his breath. She giggled; Fallon thought it was funny how he got so mad over that.
"Think ya meant to say that the other way around," He called back to her.
Fallon smiled and shook her head. "What was that," Jalissa asked.
"What? That? Oh, nothing he saved my ass twice and I returned that favor once, but I still owe him one, I just think it's funny to bother him about it," Fallon told the other girl.
"Oooohhhh," Jalissa nodded and raised her eye brows.
"Funny, but it's not like that, I have a boy…." She paused not knowing if she actually had a boyfriend.
"A boyfriend… Wait did you and Jesse break up?" Jalissa asked her eyes wide.
Fallon almost didn't want to answer the other girl, she didn't want Jalissa getting any ideas about Jesse; not anytime soon anyway. "I don't know,"
Fallon spun on her heel and started into the never ending row of cars, hearing Jalissa's footsteps close behind her.
"If you are broken up I'm sorry," Jalissa told her.
"Thanks," Fallon answered.
Fallon peeked into the window of a green rusted out old car, but quickly looked away seeing the dead rotting bodies of a family inside. She glanced over at Jalissa who had her hand pressed to her mouth; of course this was the car they found shit in.
Fallon stomach turned as she reached for the sunbaked handle of the tiny car "I'll open the trunk,"
She pulled the door open, the smell of the rotting bodies hitting her in the face like a wrecking ball. Instantly she gagged quickly side stepping away from the smell and the car. Fallon's dark green eyes watered as gagged again and again; not even being able to look at the car.
"I got it I got it," Fallon waved Jalissa off even though she was still doubled over "I just wasn't expectin' the much of an odor," Fallon scowled and spit on the ground.
Slowly, Fallon forced herself back to the car and stuck her hand inside making sure to keep her nose out of the vehicle. Her fingers found the latch keeping the truck closed and pulling upwards, hearing the truck latch open she scurried away from the car and kicked the door shut.
"I did makeup that looked like this a few times but I never actually thought about what it would really smell like," Fallon told Jalissa as she got up and stood next to her.
"Don't think anyone ever should think about that," Jalissa admitted a frown on her face.
Jalissa wrapped her hand around the suitcase and pulled the bag out, it hitting the floor with a thump. "Maybe we should just leave this stuff,"
"Normally I would agree with ya, but honestly we gotta do it there really is no other way," Fallon agree with Jalissa she didn't want to disrespect the dead but times have changed and this that necessary.
"Fine," Jalissa's voice squeaked.
Fallon flipped the case towards her and opened it revealing all kinds of clothes and a hidden water bottle. Fallon looked up at Jalissa a small smile on her face.
"We found somethin',"
"Yeah, I guess we did," Jalissa's voice cracked she was still really uncomfortable with this and Fallon could tell.
Jalissa furrowed her brow "You hear that,"
"No what?" Fallon glanced up at Jalissa.
"WALKERS!" Dale yelled from the top of the RV.
Fallon's eyes went wide and her heart started to race, her eyes darted around looking for Shay, but she couldn't see the little girl.
"Under the car! Fallon! Get under the car!" Jalissa snapped at Fallon her hands grabbing at Fallon's boot.
"No!" Fallon answered back.
She scurried forward on all fours my eyes frantically searching for Shay. The pebbles on the floor pressing into the skin on her hands and knees as she moved down the road looking for her cousin. Finally, she found her; she was underneath a car with the other two kids all of them looking scared. She darted her eyes around, searching for cover before the walkers could find her; Fallon rolled underneath the car to the right of her puling her axe close and keeping her eyes on the kids. She calmed her breathing enough so that it wasn't obnoxious, but there was nothing she could do about the frantic beating of her heart. Fallon kept her eyes glued to the car in front of her as the feet of the walkers passed, not even blinking when one stopped in front of the car she was under. She didn't know how long she waited underneath the car before all the walkers were gone, but when they were she pushed herself out the other side and went to run for Shay. A hand wrapped around her mouth and pulled her down to the ground and another strong arm around her waist holding her still.
"SHHHH," Jesse whispered in her ear removing his hand from her face. "There's two more,"
She snapped her head to look at him still trying to wiggle out from his grasp, when she heard an all too familiar scream echo through the empty street. Shay! Fallon balled up her fist and punched Jesse square in the stomach causing him to release his grip around her waist. With a swift move she stood up and ran in the direction Shay was in, her eyes found the two girls sliding down the hill walkers following closely behind.
She sprinted forward jumping over the rail, but losing her footing and rolling down the small hill sticks and rocks cutting up her arms.
"Get up come one," Rick's voice rang in her ear as he offered his hand to her.
She didn't care what the hell happened to her right now she had to get Shay now! She and Rick ran forward at the same pace both their eyes darting back and forth through the forest.
The two tiny voices yelled from up in a hole in the ground surrounded by water hiding them from view but not completely covering them. Fallon jumped down the hill the water splashing and covering her legs up to her knees.
"Walkers where are they!" Rick asked his voice frantic yet calm at the same time.
The gut wrecking scream rang for each girl's lips caused both Fallon and Rick to turn, the water sloshing beneath their boots. Two freshly turned walkers were stumbling toward them snarling and snapping their teeth with each step.
"Gimme your knife Shay," Fallon asked the petrified little girl. "Shay!"
The girl jumped and fumbled at her belt reaching for the hilt of the knife. Finally her thin fingers wrapped around it and pulled it out shoving it at Fallon. Rick's wild blue eyes found hers, as she handed him the knife.
"Take the girls I'll handle this," he commanded through his huffing.
"Fine, be careful," she huffed back not in any mood to argue.
He nodded and ran towards the walkers as Fallon grabbed the hands of the two kids dragging them from their hiding space. Using all of the strength in her arms Fallon pulled the two girls through the water and the tick mud on the bottom of the pond. Once they got out of the water Fallon gripped both girls' hands harder, her eyes searching the forest for anymore stray walkers.
"Stay close girls," Fallon directed through her ragged breathing.
She push both girls behind her making sure they were close before trudging up the steep hill. Her eyes peeked over the edge, searching the surrounding upper area for more walkers. Unfortunately, for them Fallon found two stray walkers headed for the hill. She spun around and pressed her back to the leafy dirt covered hill.
"Shit," She whispered through clenched teeth, her eyes still locked on the girls.
Fallon knew she wouldn't have a chance at taking on the walkers with the two girls with her, but she might have a chance if she could get the girls to a safe place. Fallon sucked in a breath and slid down the rest of the hill.
"Shay you remember what I told ya 'bout gettin' in trouble," Fallon's voice was strained as she spoke.
Shay nodded her head, still much too scared to speak a word.
"Do it and don't ya dare look back you hear me! Sophia same goes for you," She paused and looked back up the hill hoping the walkers weren't close. "Go! Now!"
"But Fallon! What if you," Shay couldn't finish the sentence.
"Don't think like that, I'm guna be fine," Fallon paused again not sure about how to assure the girl "Here," She lifted the thin chain with an open heart pendent off her neck and handed it to Shay "I'll come back for this. Please you have to go" Fallon's voice was panicked as she finished the sentence.
She pushed the two girls forward and watched as they ran back towards the road, in the opposite direction of where the walkers were. Taking deep breath and shutting her eyes for just a second she climbed up the hill, ready to face these little fuckers. The first one noticed her immediately, instantly changing direction and absently shuffling in her direction. Fallon tightened her grip on the handle of her weapon and spread her feet getting into the right stance; she lifted the axe over her head a swung at the monster approaching her. The blade hit the graying skin of the walker slicing a gash in the forehead of the mindless beast, too early. The zombie advanced on her and taking a step back and dodging the swiping hand she pushed the blade into the walker's chest knocking him backwards. She regained composure and brought the blade up again this time hitting the walker on the top of the head, the vibration of the blade cracking bone rattled the handle of her weapon. Fallon pulled back on the axe, but as she did the crack of the wooden handle filled her ears.
"No," She said in a quiet disbelief.
She held the broken half of the handle in one hand her gaze on the other half stuck into the head of the walker. Throwing the broken half aside she quickly bent and picked up the remaining half, now only as big as a hatchet. The second emancipated looking walker was advancing slowly on her as she decided what to do. She eyed the half of axe she had then looked at the distance she would have to run to get back to the rest of the group. Sprinting forward she raised the broken axe and smashed it against the side of the skinny walkers head; the monster falling to the ground silent, just like the dead should be. Taking a deep breath she turned herself and ran back to the highway, her legs and arms hurting from the fall down the hill and god knows what else. Feeling like this was the longest run of her life she prayed to god that the two girls, and Rick, made it back safe, because she is to blame if they didn't. Finally, after Fallon's lungs started to burn the rail of the highway came into view, and with every last ounce of strength she had in her legs she climbed up the hill and threw herself over the rail.
"Where…. Are… the… girls," She managed to say through her gasping.
"We're missing Sophia," Shane answered when nobody else said anything.