The crossbows and the knives

Chapter 3

It was oddly loud when Madeleine woke up in the morning. She could hear people talking and walking around. Having been on her own for so long she was no longer used to this much noise.

She was about to get up when she remembered last night’s events and immediately stopped her movements, carefully listening for any sound coming from within the perch. When she heard none, she stretched her entire body and for the first time since being on the run, she actually felt kind of rested.

“Shit!” Mady cursed when she looked at her watch and saw that it was already ten in the morning. No wonder she felt rested, she had slept incredibly late!

She immediately rummaged inside her suitcase, looking for something suitable to wear. When she was fully clothed, she exited the perch and went looking for the others. She spotted Carol as she entered the room adjoining cell block C and felt rather proud for still remembering the woman’s name. Madeleine decided to go speak to the woman later, but first she really had to go find the restrooms again.

As she was making her way through the corridors, she felt a hand touching her shoulder. Acting on instinct and forgetting her whereabouts, she grabbed the hand and twisted it as she turned around and came face to face with the sheriff. Realizing her mistake, she immediately let go of his hand.

“Ouch,” he hissed, rubbing his right hand with his left one.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” Madeleine immediately apologized, feeling blood rush over to her cheeks. That’s great, Mady thought sarcastically, first I impaled Daryl and now I twisted Rick’s hand. I’m really being a very polite guest.

“It’s alright,” Rick quickly reassured her, “At least I know that you can look after yourself,” he joked which made Mady relax a bit. He then became serious again, “Where have you been? I’ve been looking for you everywhere!”

“I overslept, woke up just five minutes ago,” Madeleine replied, embarrassed about it.

“Carl and I looked through each cell, we didn’t find you,” Rick explained but she interrupted him.

“Yeah,” Mady replied, “I actually slept in the perch,” she confessed.

Rick looked at her dumbfounded but then shook his head.

“So, I spoke with the council,” he announced after regaining his thoughts, “they agree with you staying here but I have to talk to you about-” Mady cut him off.

“That’s great and all,” Mady gabbled, “but I really, really need to pee. Can we talk about this afterwards?” Her voice was now very high pitched.

Rick laughed loudly, but nodded and she disappeared inside the restrooms.

Well, she won’t be that bad to have around, Rick mused, at least she will bring some laughter and after the last interaction with the Governor, we surely need it.

Two minutes later, Madeleine popped in front of him again, now smiling.

“So, what was it that you needed to tell me?” She asked, feeling more awake now that she had splashed some water on her face.

Rick didn’t answer, instead he led her back to the room next to cell block C. They sat down around one of the tables.

“As I said, the council agreed to let you stay with us, but as there is a lot of work to do around here,” he paused, looking at her joyful face.

“Okay, I get it, I need a job,” Mady caught on quickly, “what do you need to me to do?”

“We usually let people decided that,” he replied, still astounded about the young woman’s cheerfullness.

“Come on,” she teased, a side smile now appearing on her lips, “just name it,” Mady voiced, a challenging look taking over her face.

“Alright,” Rick replied, chuckling, “well, we actually need more people to do the laundry, sometimes to kill the walkers by the fences, too.”

“What about the watches at night?” Mady inquired.

“You’re up for that?” Rick looked surprised but Madeleine merely nodded. “Yes, we need more people for the watches, I just didn’t think you’d be up for it,” he admitted.

“Why not? Looking all G.I. Jane with binoculars and guns, walking around the perimeter, sounds fun!”

“I will talk to Daryl, he’s in charge of that,” Rick assured her, standing up, “In the meantime, simply do your other tasks.” Mady was still sitting down, a proud smirk on her face. Yes, doing the laundry and killing the walkers by the fences would be kind of boring, but taking watch at night was totally badass, Madeleine thought.

“How old are you?” Rick suddenly asked, bringing back Madeleine from her thoughts.

“Twenty-two,” she replied, looking suspicious. “Why?”

“Nothing,” he said shaking his head, “Just wondering why you’re so cheerful.” He was about to leave, when he heard Mady reply:

“You would be too if you were as pretty as I am,” Madeleine sassed, disappearing inside cell block C and leaving an awestruck Rick behind her.

Yeah, her cheerfulness was certainly needed here, especially to some people, Rick pondered, his thoughts drifting towards Daryl.

Back in cell block C, Madeleine found the Greene sisters talking with each other inside one of the cells. As the Mady approached them, she saw that youngest one was holding a baby.

“Is it yours?” She asked Beth, kind of surprised to see a baby in the middle of an apocalypse.

“No,” Beth exclaimed loudly and beside her, Maggie laughed so hard that she had to hold her sides. “It’s Rick’s,” Beth replied, amused as well.

Mady was thinking really hard, trying to remember everyone she had seen yesterday but she could not remember anyone having been introduced as Rick’s wife or girlfriend.

“Dad would kill you if it was yours,” Maggie teased Beth as she jokingly poked her sister on the ribs. Beth blushed furiously but didn’t reply.

“Do you want to hold Judith,” Beth offered Mady after her sister had calmed down.

“No,” Mady snitched, panicking at the idea, “I’ll probably crush her like an egg,” she said seriously but both sisters started laughing again.

Mady stared at them both, wondering why in hell everybody laughed when she spoke around here. Did she have such a weird accent? Granted, her English probably wasn’t the best, considering that even though she had been born in the US, her mother had taught her French first since that had been her mother tongue.

She cleared her voice in order to regain their attention, “do you need help with the laundry or with the walkers by the fences?”

“The laundry has already been taken care of today,” Maggie replied, “we’ll take care of the walkers after lunch.”

Madeleine thought about this for a few seconds, seeing that her morning was free, before an idea popped into her head. “Are there any tools around here? And wood, perhaps?”

Maggie looked confused but answered nonetheless, “I think there is workroom next to the communal showers, you might find your luck there.”

“Great, thank you,” Mady replied, already leaving cell block C.

She finally found the workroom Maggie had mentioned, which actually took quite long since Mady had forgotten where the showers were.
Inside she found everything she had needed except for wood, but as her eyes wandered around, she saw two tables. Well, this will definitely work, Mady thought, rubbing her hands in excitement.

About ninety minutes later, Mady was done. She had hammered her fingers twice and bruised her leg when one of the tables fell over, but otherwise she wasn’t particularly hurt which was a surprise. However, as she now looked at her handy work, she noticed that she had fucked up. There’s no way I can carry this back to cell block C alone, Madeleine contemplated.

As she stepped out of the room, looking for help, she saw Michonne walking by. She quickly approached the skilled woman from behind, grabbed her hand and dragged her towards the workroom.

“What the fuck Madeleine,” Michonne exclaimed, looking around the workroom, her arms crossed in front of her.

“I need your help,” Mady pleaded and she even considered batting her eyelashes.

“Alright, what do you want?” the older woman asked, sighing loudly.

“You’re too small,” Michonne complained as both women walked through the corridors, Mady’s makeshift bed between them.

“No, you’re too tall,” Mady joked, sticking out her tongue and earning herself a desperate look from Michonne. At barely little more than five feet, Madeleine was indeed particularly small, but she hated being teased on her height.

When they reached cell block C and after many weird looks from people they met on their way there, Mady started walking backwards to the stairs.

“Nope,” Michonne declared when she understood Madeleine’s intentions, “I’m not gonna help you carry that upstairs, no way!”

As Madeleine was about to plead with the woman once again, Beth and Maggie appeared and so did a grin on Mady’s face.

“Beth, can you please help Michonne?” Mady asked the blond girl who looked at her curiously. “And can you help me, Maggie?”

Maggie and Beth looked at each other, silently deciding whether to help or not, but after a few seconds, both shrugged and did what they were asked to.

It was way more complicated to get that thing upstairs than Mady had previously imagined. It wasn’t that heavy, but its large size made it hard to manoeuver and Madeleine was sure that she wouldn’t have managed to get it upstairs with Michonne’s help alone.

“Pfew,” Mady breathed once they were upstairs and placed the wooden thing on the ground in order to gather their forces.

“What is that anyway?” Maggie asked as she crunched down, resting her hands on her thighs.

“A bed,” Madeleine simply replied.

“What?” Michonne suddenly yelled, looking at Mady who now had a rather scared look on her face. “You made me help you get this monster thing upstairs when there are already so many beds here?!”

“Please, calm down,” Mady whispered, hoping that no one else had heard them, “The other beds are too small,” she explained.

“Oh, so you need a large bed because you are so damn fancy,” Michonne retorted and Maggie was trying very hard not to laugh now.

“It’s not for me,” Madeleine admitted.

Maggie now wore a curious look, “for whom then?”

The very pale skinned woman blushed a deep shade of pink and pointed a trembling finger at the perch.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Beth, Maggie and Michonne all scoffed at the same time.

When the four women had managed to get the makeshift bed inside the perch, which was a rather difficult task considering that the room wasn’t exactly big, it was already lunchtime.

Outside, Mady saw Carol stirring something inside a large pot, probably soup.

“What are we eating today?” Maggie asked as she breathed in the delicious smell.

“Tomato soup and some rabbits that Daryl caught this morning,” Carol replied, tasting the soup and nodding at the taste.

He surely is a badass hunter, Madeleine mused, Daryl could probably make it through this world alone… It was an advantage to have someone like him on your side all things considered, but as she used to be a vegetarian, Mady still shuddered at the mere thought of hunting.

Minutes later, everybody started pilling up around the table and Carl appeared, holding his sleeping sister.

“Didn’t see you this morning,” Carl stated as he sat down next to Mady and handed Judith over to Beth. The blonde seemed by far to be the most talented babysitter from the group.

“I have been busy,” Madeleine replied vaguely and through the corner of her eye, she could see the Greene sisters laughing silently.

Carl smiled and his dimples showed, “Well I hope you are well rested because you have fence duty this afternoon,” he said gesturing towards the fences where zombies were gathered in groups.

“Please,” Mady answered, her sarcastic side now showing through, “I could do it in my sleep,” she teased before taking a sip of her drink. Carl started laughing at once which did not go unnoticed by his father, who had just arrived with Daryl. Rick stared at his son for while before a big grin spread on his face and he turned to face Mady, giving her a thumbs up. Seriously, what’s wrong with this people, Mady contemplated, self-conscious about how nice everyone was being with her.

Madeleine had pretty much finished eating when someone touched her shoulder. She was about to give this person the same treatment she had given Rick earlier this morning but managed to hold back her impulsivity. As she turned around, she came face to face with Daryl.

“Can I talk to ya,” he demanded rather than asked. Damn, did she love his southern accent…

“Yeah, sure,” she replied, getting up. Daryl led her towards the door, probably seeking somewhere more silent to talk.

Madeleine was walking behind him when he suddenly stopped and she almost bumped right into his back, cursing something unintelligible.

“Rick said ya wanted t’ take night watch,” he said, facing her again.

Well, no chit-chat, then…

“Yep,” Madeleine replied, popping the last letter.

“Alrigh’,” he continued, looking at her dubiously, “Yer on watch with me tonigh’ at ten.”

“Is that a date?” She taunted him, batting her eyelashes flirtatiously and she almost couldn’t contain her laughter as his face turned red and he looked down, avoiding her teasing gaze.

“Just meet me in the guard tower,” he grunted after a while, leaving.

“Don’t forget the flowers,” Mady yelled after him and she saw that he was blushing even more now. Damn, he’s too much of an easy target, she thought playfully.

“Why are you smilling,” Maggie asked, a mischievous look on her face, as she appeared in front of the brown haired woman.

“Nothing,” Mady replied though her grin didn’t entirely leave her.

“Uhuh,” the Greene sister mumbled, not believing her friend, “I doubt that grin will last after this afternoon.”
Maggie had been right; they had been killing walkers by the fences for about two hours now and Mady surely no longer was in the good mood she had been earlier. The sun was beating her down and her right arm was starting to hurt from the repeated movements.

“That’s a nice dagger,” Carl said after a while, eyeing her weapon, “where did you get it?”

“You know Harry Potter, right?” Madeleine asked, wondering if the boy was not too young to have been part of that fandom.

“Duh, everybody knows Harry Potter,” the boy chortled.

“Well, this is a replica of the dagger Bellatrix uses to kill Dobby,” Mady gleefully voiced, staring at her own dagger in awe.

“You are so weird,” Carl giggled and Maggie who had been listening to the conversation joined in as well.

Rick had told her that the group was in a rather foul mood at the moment because of some Governor that had attacked them. However, from what Mady had experienced up to now, they all seemed to be rather easygoing.

After the amount of walkers by the fences had decreased significantly, they decided to get back inside and call it a day.

Maggie and Carl went back to their respective cells. “Going to take a nap,” Maggie whispered, stretching out her arms and Carl nodded in agreement.

Sleeping was certainly tempting but Madeleine preferred to shower first, she wouldn’t feel comfortable to sleep while covered in sweat.

An hour later, she was comfortably tucked inside her sleeping bag, in the perch. She had once again forgotten to get herself a mattress and right now, she didn’t feel like leaving the comfort of her makeshift bed.

“Shiiiit,” Mady cursed as she woke up, hours later, “I’m sleeping too damn much!” She checked her watch and was scared to see that it was already eight o’clock.

She quickly got dressed again, putting on black tights and a comfortable black dress, securing the belt with the knives around her waist and fixing her gun on the holster around her right thigh. I must surely look badass, Mady mused as she put on her tall black boots that were rather used by now. It was kind of weird to wear boots at this time of the year, but Mady had quickly learnt that they kept her from getting her legs scratched or even bitten. Besides, it will probably be cold during watch tonight, Mady thought.

Before leaving, Madeleine remembered to bring the white package with her.

When she went back outside to have dinner, she spotted Maggie sitting by herself as most of the people had already eaten.

“Why didn’t you wake me,” Madeleine asked, uncomfortable at having slept this long. Rick will surely think that I’m a useless, sleepy koala, Mady scolded herself as she started eating some leftovers.

“I just woke up ten minutes ago, thought you would have woken already,” Maggie replied once she had swallowed whatever she had been eating.
Madeleine nodded and they ate in silence, both being rather hungry.

Rick then appeared, holding a hunting and a sniper rifle in his hands. “Which one do you want for tonight?” He asked Mady, presenting both weapons on the table.

“I’ll take the sniper, I’ve never used the other one,” Madeleine replied, eyeing the strange weapon. Besides, the hunting rifle didn’t appear to have a scope and there was no way she would be able to aim properly without it.

Rick silently gave her the weapon and was about to leave again but he stopped and spoke again. “Thank you,” he told both women. Mady gave him a confused look, and he explained further, “for making Carl feel like a kid again. I saw him laughing today when you all were by the fences.”

Madeleine was about to reply to Rick’s words but Maggie beat her to it. “He deserves it,” Maggie simply stated. All of them knew it was the truth.

As Rick was about to leave once again, he turned back towards Madeleine, a side grin on his face. “Your watch started two minutes ago, by the way,” he announced in a mocking voice.

“Shiiit,” Mady yelled and in less than a second, she was up on her feet, frantically running towards the tower. Daryl’s so gonna kill me, she thought in panic.

Madeleine ran up the stairs and opened the floor trap, breathing very hard as her ribs felt like they were burning.

“I’m so sorry,” she breathed once she saw Daryl by the window in front of her, “I was talking with Maggie and forgot to check the time,” she apologized, bending forward and pressing her hands against her thighs as she tried to catch her breath.

“Don’t know what yer talkin’ abou’,” he answered, eyeing Madeleine curiously. Her face was flushed, her hair was a mess and her chest was heaving furiously. Best not to start thinking about her chest, Daryl chastised himself and he felt blood rushing to his cheeks. “ ’s still five minutes to ten,” he added after a while.

“What?” Madeleine uttered, looking at Daryl in disbelief. She then took a look at her watch and cursed as she noticed that Daryl was right, “that little fucker is gonna pay for this!”

“Wow, woman, calm down,” the southern man drawled in his thick accent. “What cha talkin’ about?” He inquired as he saw that Madeleine was still fuming with anger.

“Rick,” Mady spat out, “he told me I was late for watch,” she complained, sulking. Daryl then started laughing which angered the young woman further. “Oh, no,” she blurted out all of sudden, “not you, too. Everybody here seems to start laughing the moment I speak!”

She now stood up and wiped invisible dust off her shoulders, raising her arms in sarcastic despair, “you’re all a big, crazy squad!”

Daryl thought that her angered state was rather entertaining, the way she stood there looking at him like a cat who had just gotten her fur wet. “Can’t help it,” he shrugged mockingly, “yer just too damn funny.”

Mady gave him death glare but decided to ignore him, for now. She spotted a pair of binoculars on the ground, next to what appeared to be Daryl’s bow and some sort of plastic bag.

“This is fancy,” she purred appreciatively as she joined Daryl who was staring out of the window. The binoculars had infrared night vision which made it a lot easier to see through the darkness. “Makes me feel all G.I. Jane.”

The comment earned her a smirk from Daryl, which luckily for him, she didn’t notice. “Gotta step outside,” he whispered next to her, “the windows are too damn dirty,” he complained as he opened the door and walked out to the surrounding balcony.

“I know things which are way dirtier,” Madeleine commented as she followed Daryl outside and heard him choke on her words. Worse than a teenager, Mady smirked.

Outside, they stood leaning against the guard-rail looking off into the darkness, both with their binoculars.

“Sooo,” Mady droned after they had been silent for over twenty minutes, which truth to be told, made her rather uncomfortable. “What’s your blood type?” She popped the question out the blue.

“My blood type,” Daryl repeated, stunned at her peculiar choice of question.

“Just trying to make some conversation here,” she defended herself, “you do not seem to be much of a talker.”

“O negative,” he replied, still looking through his binoculars.

“Damn, you’re a universal donor. I’m AB positive, in case you were wondering,” she informed him in a conversational voice.

“I wasn’t,” he said curtly.

From the corner of his eye he could see Madeleine frowning which made him laugh.

“Glad to amuse you,” she grunted, still rebuffed by his reply. “What are we looking for, anyway,” she inquired as she now adjusted her binoculars.

“Herds of walkers, cars, anythin’,” he vaguely replied, still not paying her much attention which was starting to irritate Madeleine quite a bit.

They talked a bit after that, or rather Mady talked and forced him to reply. When she asked how his wound was, he said that Hershel had stitched it up yesterday and that it wasn’t something to worry about. It went on like this for a while, Madeleine asking all the questions and Daryl giving short replies.

“Why d’ya always wear dresses,” he asked her as she was about to speak. His question seemed to take her aback because she took a few seconds before replying.

“Live and die at your finest,” she replied, not looking at him as if there was more to it than she was willing to say.

Daryl was about to comment when she suddenly started to look around for something inside her cross body. “Here,” she said, handing him a small package, “figured you might like them.”

He dubiously took the small package from her hands, seeing that they were in fact cigarettes. “Thanks,” he muttered, surprised by her kind gesture as he took a lighter from his pocket and proceeded to light one of the cigarettes.

“Did you get me some flowers,” she cooed as she looked at him inhaling the sweet poison. Damn, he can make even the most disgusting of habits look hot, Madeleine meditated.

“The bag next to crossbow,” he drawled in between smokes.

Madeleine immediately went back inside. She wouldn’t admit it, but she would be extremely surprised if he really had really gotten her flowers.

When she grabbed the bag, she noticed at once that there weren’t any flowers but the content was even better. Berries!

“Thank you,” she said once she was back on the balcony. Madeleine then held the guard-rail for support as she went tiptoe and brushed a light kiss on Daryl’s left cheek before moving back, distancing herself from him again. He felt uncomfortable at her gesture, not used to that kind of behaviour.

They both went back to watching the woods surrounding the prison, their silence only broken by his smoking and her eating.

“Why d’ya like these damn berries so much,” he asked, this time turning around to look at her.

She was very small but she clearly didn’t look like a child. Apart from her size, her body was the one of an adult woman. Her long, brown hair was fluttering slightly in the wind. Yer growing too damn soft, Daryl reprimanded himself.

“That’s a funny story,” she admitted, as a smile crept over her lips and she turned to him. “See, I always liked candy,” Madeleine told, “Always had candy in my bag and everything. My boss was always complaining about my habit, saying that it would ruin my body,” she scoffed. “But then shit happened and since I can’t find candy anywhere anymore, gotta replace it with berries.”

“Why woul’ yer boss mind that?” He questioned, perplexed as a frown obscured his face.

“I was a stripper,” she blurted out, looking all serious. Daryl immediately started laughing beside her, clearly not believing ti. “No, seriously,” she furthered, “I really was a stripper.”

“Ya?!” He exclaimed, still laughing, “no way ya coul’ have been a stripper!”

“Why,” she teased, “is my body not good enough,” Mady sassed and she saw as his cheeks immediately grew red.

“That’s, no,” he stuttered, looking all embarrassed. It was a funny sight, Madeleine thought, seeing someone like him all flustered. And rather cute, as well, she mused. “I didn’t-”, he continued but he was interrupted when Madeleine walked closer to him, looking playful.

Mady stood on the tip of her toes and tousled his hair, a side grin illuminating her face, “I know,” she simply whispered, the corner of her lips still turned upwards. Her hand then slid down his cheek and he could feel her breath against his skin. She had this malicious look on her face, the one women always have when they know they’re in power.

She let her thumb brush over his cheekbones and he froze under her touch, his breathing stopping...

“Hey guys,” someone suddenly yelled as they opened the trap door. “We’re here to take over watch,” Maggie announced as she stepped inside the room and Glenn came out of the trap after her. The Greene girl saw how close Daryl and Madeleine were standing and became all mischievous, poking Glenn on the ribs.

At once, Daryl moved away from Madeleine, looking extremely uncomfortable which made Mady scoff. He was so damn shy!

“Great, I was getting really tired,” Madeleine exclaimed and pulled off a very fake yawn. Glenn was looking at the both of them, looking very confused while Daryl just eyed her from the corner of his eye, wondering what the hell she was doing.

He then made his way towards the trap door while pointedly avoiding looking at the intruders. Madeleine silently followed him but she couldn’t evade the knowing smile Maggie sported.

As Madeleine started descending through the trap door, she saw the short haired woman wiggling her eyebrows and Glenn finally caught on, grinning like an idiot.

“Have a good night,” Maggie shouted as Madeleine was halfway trough the ladder and she heard Daryl choke beneath her.

Their walk back to cell block C was quick, Daryl walked some steps ahead of her and Madeleine almost had to run to keep up with him. Well, this is awkward, Mady thought sarcastically.

However, he slowed down when they got inside, probably trying not to wake up the others. Madeleine instantly became aware of the swiftness he moved with, which was rather surprising considering his stature. Mady, however, couldn’t avoid the clicking noise the heels of her boots made when they touched the floor.

He went upstairs and Madeleine followed him close behind now. However, he stopped short on his feet when he opened the perch’s door and saw Mady’s handiwork.

“What the hell’s this?!” He hissed, looking at Madeleine, instantly knowing that she was the culprit.

She felt quite insulted that he didn’t recognize what it was. “It’s not that difficult to see,” she pouted, crossing her arms.

As he was still looking at her like she had grown a second head, she decided to state the obvious. “It’s a bed,” she said, “I just forgot the mattresses,” she added after a few seconds, her voice lower and disappeared.

When she was back, she was difficultly carrying two mattresses that she had found in one of the unoccupied cells. “Here,” she declared, once she hazardously managed to throw both mattresses over the makeshift bed, making a shitload of noise in the process which angered Daryl. Sighing contently, she sat down on the right mattress.

“See, I made you a bed out of the goodness of my heart,” she whispered, sarcasm heavy in her voice as Daryl was still looking all grumpy, his arms crossed over his chest. “The least you could do is say thank you,” she added bitterly.

“Well, thanks,” he grumbled, still not making a move towards the bed. Madeleine was about to ask what his problem was, when she guessed it.

“Oh, I’m not leaving,” she indicated, grinning mischievously, “so if you want to sleep on a comfy bed,” she drawled, as she let her hands stoke the mattress, “you’ll have to put up with me,” she finished, eyeing him up and down, grinning as she saw how rigidly he was standing there.

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