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Of Better Angels

Sliped Through

I walked down the stairs and to the make shift kitchen in what had become our common room. I rummaged through the Boxes of rations trying to find something I could fix that would fill a person’s stomach. “Are you finally eating?” Carol asked as she came down the stairs. “No” I said simply opening up a box of grits and pouring it into the now boiling water. “Then what are you doing?” She asked slyly I felt like a child hiding a secret, their faces get small and their eyes big they avoid your face and speak veg. I muttered lowly under my breath “what was that?” she asked amused I sighed and pulled out a long spoon we had gathered back when we were able to raid the abandoned houses “I though Daryl might be hungry…so….you know…..” I said she chuckled “well you know they’ve let Merle walk around now” she said in a hinting matter “Mmm” I groaned “Might as well fix that rat bastard something to eat too” I grumbled Carol nodded and smiled “proud of you” she said before walking on by “I don’t have a choice…” I sighed going back to stir up the grits.

It didn’t take long for the grits to cook, they were pretty basic, and more or less not something one would choose to eat on, but was probably wildly considered a luxury to everyone else who was less fortunate and surviving without a huge prison for shelter and surrounded by friends. In my hands I held the two bowls, I headed first to find Merle, before I changed my mind but he was a bit harder to find than what I had thought. I back tracked and eventually found him in the Common room. As I walked in we eyed each other like fighting dogs, just waiting for an ok to tear at each other’s necks the fur on the ridge of our backs raised. I couldn’t find anything nice to say initially so I just set the bowl of Grits in front of him at the table. “How kindly of you” Merle said sarcastically “how do I know you didn’t lace it with something” He spat. I rolled me eyes “prisons full of rat poison and go knows what else” he added “you taste some first” I looked down at him dully “fine, go on and be hungry” I said reaching for the bowl but I then stopped. Merle liked having Control over those around him, what he needed as a good taste over his own medicine, his own pluck. “on second thought…I’m not wastin and perfectly good box of food because your rednecked ass is to chicken to eat a bowl of hot cereal” I barked sliding the bowl to him “eat it…an’ that’s an order” I said turning around quickly and walking away not giving him a chance to argue with me. I headed up stairs with the other bowl to Daryl’s cell.

When I walked in He seemed to be in deep thought I cleared my throat loudly before walking over to his side. He looked up at me in kind of a daze. “Here, Carol told me that you and Merle didn’t have much luck hunt’n” I said, He took the bowl and nodded “we probably would had if merle would have listened to what I was trying to say, or if we hadn’t been biting each other’s heads off the hol’ time” He said stirring the spoon around in the grits, “thank you” He added looking up at me. I shrugged and sat down on the floor. Daryl eyed me, “the hell have you been eating” He asked after taking a spoonful. I looked to the side, Maggie T shirt was bagging on me like a 2X on a skeleton model. And Maggie was a slim girl. “a little here and there” I muttered Daryl put the spoon back in the bowl and handed it out to me “here then take some” He said I glanced at him and shook my head “I can’t, like really I can’t…makes me sick to” I said pushing his hand back “sick?” he asked I nodded “I haven’t been hungry in a while, I haven’t even thought of eating, it’s not normal, and food hurts my stomach” I muttered. “It’s probably jus’ my nerves though” I added quickly as I got to my feet, I dusted off my pants and started to leave from Daryl’s room.

Carl came running into the Common room, “Dad!” He called Rick stood up “what is it? “ “Andrea!” Carl said running back out “come one” He called, Rick glanced back at us all and as if on cue we each grabbed a weapon and followed the boy. Rick led us out side of the safety cave and into the C Block quad. Daryl after him with his Crossbow armed and ready behind me trailed Merle, then me, Michonne, and Beth. Sure ‘nought there was Andrea coming through the grass fields of the Prison were the gate had been busted open. She pushed in front of her a walker, tamed in Michonne’s tokened style, armless and jawless. She walked through the walkers without a problem. We all quickly took formation, Carol and Glenn on the cat walk, Merle ran to the farthest Car closest to the gate and took cover aiming his machine gun, Daryl stood behind Rick as the hunch down behind Glenn’s truck. Once we were aware no one was shooting at us we darted across the basketball courts towards the gates, I had my machine gun held as high as my bad arms would allow “Are you alone!” Rick Demanded as Andrea was now in earshot. “Open the gate!” she called the numbers of the walkers making her uneasy. “Are you alone!?” Rick yelled again placing his back against the fence near the gate, He wasn’t going have it opened until she answered him. “Rick!” Andrea called out “answer him Blondie! Damn!” I yelled raising my Machine gun a bit more. As she got close enough Rick could see it was just her, for some reason Andrea never just did what you asked her to do. And I thought I was prideful. Rick gave Daryl the signal Daryl ran to the lock “Open it!” he called to Merle as he pulled free the chains. Quickly Merle slid open the gate allowing Andrea to let loose her captive walker and run inside. Merle quickly closed the gate behind her.

“Hands up, turn around!” Rick called to Andrea she seemed shocked and wasn’t moving fast enough “turn around now!” Rick called turning her around he pressed her against the Fence that wasn’t lined with walkers on the other side. The Sherriff in him kicking in fast. Daryl and I stood on either side of her with weapons raised, the equivalent to Prison guards I guess you could say. Rick began to Search Andrea when a walker latched it’s self onto the gate, she screamed and Rick swiftly pulled away from the gate and out of the walkers arm span. “Get on the floor!” Rick called forcing Andrea to the ground. Maggie, Daryl and Merle aimed their weapons at the walkers from all angles of the fences, and I kept mine on Andrea. “I asked if you were alone!” Rick barked “I am!” Andrea breathed as Rick ripped her backpack from her back and tossed away from her. I lowered my gun as Michonne walked out form her cover closer to us. Carol and Glenn ran out of the Cat walk and into the, Carl walked closer as well. However Daryl and Merle kept up watch with Maggie. Andrea looked over them all in amazement. “Welcome back, get up” Rick said pulling Andrea to her feet.

Rick Lead Andrea inside out Cellblock, into the Common room. I followed behind them eying her up and down. I didn’t feel we could trust her, then again, I’ve never trusted her. But even still she was still one of us, or at least she used to be. Carol walked down the stairs and looked up at her. Andrea rushed down the stairs and gave Carol a hug, I watched her like hawk and the rest of us entered the common room down the stairs. Daryl sat on the table next to me, we glanced at each other and then to Andrea. Undone, knowing she had been in Woodbury. “It’s good to see you we thought you were dead” Carol said. “That’s right we never told her, Andrea was in Woodbury…” I thought looking at Carl, and Beth, and Hershel. None of them knew. Pliny stood behind Carol glaring at Andrea. With his arms crossed. More and more I wondered where he came from, there just wasn’t enough time to properly ask. Maggie tore her spiteful eyes away from Andrea as Andrea’s eyes wandered to Hershel “Hershel…oh my god” Andrea breathed her eyes going to his leg. Carol backed away from Andrea, Pliny circled around and stood at her side, I arched a brow as his poster was somewhat protective. “I can’t believe this” Andrea gasped looking around the area, and looking over us. We were bruised, worn, weathered, beat up, beat down, battle made. “where’s Shane?” she asked “oh no thank you we’re all fine, it’s good to see you too” I muttered bitterly bending down to lean on Daryl’s back wrapping my arms over his shoulders, my knee of the mad lest bent on top of the bench to the table, using my other leg to stand on and support my weight. Daryl snickered and reached up to grab my hand. “Where’s Shane” I said sarcastically under my breath, I was so busy being Contemptuous that I hadn’t notice what I had just done.

No one answered her question, Daryl looked over to Rick who looked off to the side. “And Lori?” Andrea asked. At this we all flinched, maybe not all of us on the outside, but still we did. Rick looked at Andrea with hollow eyes before looking down at his feet. “She had a girl Lori didn’t Survive” Hershel said. “Neither did T-dog” Maggie added in. “I’m so sorry” Andrea said looking around at all of us. Her eyes landed on Carl who looked at her as if she had been a stranger as she walked towards him. She stopped walking as He backed up one step. “Rick..god” she gasped, but rick had almost the same reaction, then again he knew she had relations with the Governor and had no plains in trusting her right away. More so, He didn’t want any more fuss about his loss, he was already going insane behind it, it didn’t want any more reminders. “You all live here?” She asked looking at all of us again. “Here and the cellblock” Glenn said dryly. “There?” Andrea asked pointing to the gate that blocked the two rooms. “Well can I go in?” she asked taking two steps forward. “We won’t allow that” Rick said quickly blocking her path. She stopped stunned I am not an enemy” he said. “we had that field, Courtyard, until your boyfriend ran tore down the fence with a truck and shot us up” Rick said. “And sent a bomb of walkers, and a herd of them form the damned forest because of all the noise…” I added understatedly “he said you guys shot first” she stated I laughed indifferently at how stupid her words sounded “he’s ly’n” Rick said simply. “He killed an Inmate who survived down there” Hershel said. “We liked him. He was one of us” Daryl said “Shot up Bree like Swiss cheese” Glenn added in “I wasn’t shot up like Swiss cheese….” I said in my own defense…but in reality I had about 4 or 5 gunshot wounds. Andrea looked mildly shocked. “I didn’t know anything about that” she said turning to look at Maggie “as soon as I found out I came” she said. “I didn’t even know you were in Woodbury till after the shoot out!” she said quickly “that was days ago” Glenn answered unamused by her attempts to justify her actions and the company she kept. “I told you I came as soon as I could” She said again. Michonne walked up from behind me and Daryl, she looked furious as she leaned on the gated wall, Maggie looked at Andrea in disappointment, they’d never got along after she helped Beth try and commit suicide, but she expected for out of her than this.

“What have you told them?” Andrea said spiteful manor as she turned around to face Michonne “Nothing” she said in an almost indifferent way “I don’t get it I went through Atlanta with you people and know I’m the odd man out?” Andrea retorted looking at us all I raised my head to glare at her. “You dipsy little princess” I said slowly causing her to glare back at me “he almost killed Michonne and he would have killed us” Glenn said Andrea pointing to Merle “with his finger on the trigger isn’t he the one who kidnapped you?” she asked. “Who beat you!” she added. “And how the hell did you know about that? Or rather when did you find out about that?” I shot back, causing Andrea to turn to me, I stood up right “your booty call was still the man who lead all this into motion…Merle might had took them but Your man is the one who used it to his benefit…” I barked mad, hell she made me stand up for Merle. Daryl grabbed my arm and pulled me in front of him sitting me down on his leg that was propped up on the bench. Andrea shook her head and covered her mouth and nose. “I cannot excuse or explain what Phillip had done” she said slowly “oh Phillip, is that the fuckers name…” I muttered hoarsely “calm down” Daryl said lowly to me squeezing my waist. “But I am here trying to bring us together” she added. “We have to work this out!” “There’s nothing to work you!” Rick jumped in “we’re gonna kill him, I don’t know how or when but we will” he added Andrea shook her head “we can settle this, there is room at Woodbury for-for all of you!” she called “you know better than that” Merle said to her “what makes you think this man wants to negotiate?” Hershel asked. “Did he say that?” he added. Andrea turned to him “hell no” I answered for her, she glared at me, “why don’t you shut up!” she said to me “No” she sighed answering Hershel “then why’d you come here?” Rick asked “because he’s gearing up for war, the people are terrified, they see you as killers, and they’re training to attack” Andrea said.” I tell you what, next time you see Phlilip, you tell him I’ma take his other eye” Daryl said, and you could bet that was a promise “we’ve taken to much shit for too long, if he wants a war he’s got one” Glenn said. “an’ we’re talk’n blood, brains and balls” I added in a malicious tone. Andrea looked between Glenn, Daryl, and I “Rick” she said Turing to face him “if you don’t sit down and try to work this out I don’t know what’s going to happen, He has a whole town.” She said but Rick looked unmoved. She huffed “look at you, you’ve lost so much already” she said facing the rest of us. “you can’t stand alone anymore” she said “as long as we’ve got one another and stand true to that…we are never alone” I retorted. “Andrea you gotta get us inside” Rick said “No there are innocent people” Andrea said as Rick stormed out. She huffed as if to say “the nerve of him”.

Daryl and I stood on the cat walk and watched as Michonne, Pliny and Andrea walked towards the gate. “You’ve poisoned them” Andrea said bitterly “we just old them the truth” Michonne sighed as she stopped walking. Andrea halted “I didn’t choose them over you I just wanted a life” She shot back “once we came to Woodbury you became hostile” she added Pliny rolled his eyes “because she could see it” Pliny said slowly “see what?” Andrea barked her eyes darting between the two. “That you like so many women before you had been under his spell” Pliny stated pragmatically “from the second you laid eye son him” Michonne added. “That’s not true!” Andrea breathed “and you still are” Michonne said with a bitter smile. “I am there because those people need me!” Andrea said. I scoffed and turned to Daryl “how long do you think she’s been telling herself that?” I asked him he just shook his head “and what about these people?” Pliny asked Andrea sharply. “I’m trying to save them too” She replied, Michonne and Pliny glanced at one another, they didn’t believe it much “didn’t realize the messiah complex was so contagious” Michonne said to him as they both looked back at Andrea “go to hell, both of you” Andrea murmured walking off “He sent Merle to kill me” Michonne said looking off, Andrea stopped walking “you have sent him to kill you too if you had come with us, but you didn’t did you?” Michonne said “no, you chose a warm bed over a friend” she added. Andrea looked down at her feet “that’s why I went back to Woodbury, Exposed him for what he is” she said. “Figured it would hurt you” Michonne added “come on” Pliny called tugging on Michonne’s arm with that the two walked away. My eyes were glued to Andrea. “Just how’d we become so low on her list of priorities?” I asked Daryl scoffed “since when have we been one of those Priorities on the list?” he asked right back, I sighed and shook my head as we headed back inside.

“Too much shit is going on my mind feels like a cyclone “I said as I sat in Daryl’s cell watching him fashion more arrows. “And you thought it was back three years ago” he said. “Looks like normal now” I sighed as he handed me the finished arrow to put in the pile. I stood up and walked to stand in the entry of the cell leading against the wall. I glared as I saw Andrea come up the stairs “who the hell let her into the cellblock?” I thought “you can’t leave without meeting little ass kicker” Carol called to her scooping Judith up in her arms. “Can I hold her?” Andrea asked with a smile on her face. I felt like an anger wolf mother as Carol put the baby in Andrea’s arms. “Got her?” Carol asked. The Baby started to cry as it was placed in Andrea’s arms. “Let me guess, Daryl named her ass kicker” Andrea said, I smirked and looked back at him amused. “That’s not really her name?’ Andrea asked Carol smiled down at the baby “Judith” she said softly “Judith?” Andrea repeated looking down at her. “Hey Judith, how precious are you?” Andrea said in a baby tone, rocking Judith back and forth. It was quiet for a moment “what happened to Lori?” Andrea asked as she and Carol looked at one another. “During the C section, Maggie…Carl had to” “Oh my god” Andrea breathed “T-dog died leading me to safety” Carol finished. “And Shane?” Andrea asked Quickly Carol looked up at Andrea, in Carol eyes you could see even she thought Shane got what he deserved. “Rick killed him” she stated plainly. Andrea looked disgusted “the night we left the farm, the whole Randall thing was a lie, Shane tried to kill Rick” Carol explained, Andrea shook her head “No Shane loved Rick” she said, Carol looked at Andrea in a ‘yeah well’ way “Shane loved Lori” she said Andrea looked down “Ricks become cold Unsteady” Andrea said, I glared harder and went to walk out but Daryl had gotten up and grabbed my arm “get back in here you’re puffing up like an angry cat again, stop eves dropping” he whispered to me highly amused as he pulled me to him. “Just one good hit, right to her snobbish little face…that’s all I’m askin for” I grumbled. “He has his reasons” Carol said. “The governor you need to do something” Carol said getting to the point. Andrea became defensive and handed her back the baby stating “I am” pointedly “you need to sleep with him, give him the greatest night of his life, get him to drop his guard then when he’s sleeping you can end this” She said I covered my mouth as I started to laugh “damn” Daryl whispered “didn’t know she had that in ‘er” He added I shook my head “she’s a woman scorned we all have it in us” I whispered, peeking my head out of the cell a bit to see what was happening. Unfortunately just as the conversation seemed like it was getting good, Andrea decided to finally shut up and it was time to send her on her way.

Outside, Rick had given Andrea one of the old Police cars to get back to Woodbury in. Glenn had driven it up to the quarantined part of the Quads and got out leaving the door open and the key in the ignition. “Can you spare it?” Andrea asked “yeah” rick said slowly not really wanting to look at her. As Andrea walked up to the car she looked at all of us. Rick, Michonne, Pliny, Me, Daryl, Maggie, Glenn, and even Carl looked at her with hardened hearts. We did not look like the same people she’d known back in Greene farm, and far from the people she had met in Atlanta. Nor did we have anything more to say to her “well take care” she said before getting into the car. “Andrea” Rick called she looked up at him, He handed her a round of ammo and a fair sized hand gun. She looked as if she were eating her words “Be careful” He said stiffly “you to” she said simply before starting the car up Merle ran to the gates to unlock them, as we all stood with loaded guns behind her, she looked out of the rear view at all of us, we looked as if we were on the front lines, Daryl as up ahead of the rest of us our equivalent to the military Pointman in a way. Hershel was up in the cat walk with the sniper gun. Even Carl brandished a high level gun, like he had been using it all his life. “Go!” Merle called as he pushed open the gates as Andrea rode o through he made quick business of closing them back up. We watch Andrea ride off through the walkers in the secondary courtyards, “why is no one ever runs over those bastards…” I muttered annoyed.

Night well and we sat around the lower level of our cellblock. We’d created a small control campfire and everyone had just ate, well almost everyone. I sat down next to Michonne, Maggie was on the stairs, Rick had went up to get baby Judith, holding in his arms Beth began to sing, she wasn’t the best of singers, but the silence was nerve racking and tonight her voice sounded like some star on the radio as she sang what used to be a hit song. Rick walked closer so that the baby could hear as the singing bad her stop crying. But it brought tears to my eyes as I heard the lyrics but I covered it up well. Rick walked past me and Michonne and went to stand next to Daryl and Hershel who were leaning against the wall. “So we hanging on?” Daryl asked “she’s in a jam” Rick said talking about Andrea “we all are” Hershel added in. “Andrea’s persuasive” He continued. “so what we gon’ do?” Daryl asked “I’m going on a run” Rick said “I’ll go too” Daryl offered “No you stay here keep an eye on your brother” Rick added. “I’m glad you’re back really, but if he causes a problem it’s on you” Rick warned. “I’m going to take Michonne” He said “you sure that’s a good idea?” Daryl asked “well we’ll find out” Rick replied. I tried to focus on their conversation, because if I became a bawling mess one more time I felt like I could just want to shoot myself, it wasn’t like me, it wasn’t like me at all. “And Carl, he’s ready” Rick said “you hold it down here” Rick added taking his eyes off of little Judith “you got it” Daryl replied. When the conversation died all there was, was Beth singing her song. “Fallen behind in this big blue world” she sang I shut my eyes tightly Michonne looked down at me. “Bree?” she whispered. I got up as calmly as I could and walked up the stairs to the upper level, far enough away towards the cells to that I could not be seen from the lower level. I covered my ears and paced back and forth taking deep steady breaths trying to calm myself down. “Bree what’s up?” I heard Daryl say as Beth continued to sing. I kept pacing and didn’t answer him. “Bree?” He asked but got the same reaction. “Bree come on answer me” He said walking to me he grabbed me and stopped me from my pacing, he turned me around and my face was in his chest. “That’s was our song we danced to the first dance as husband and wife…at the reception….Russell and I” I said softly. I felt ten times too small as Daryl wrapped his arms around me and sighed. “It’s gonna be alright” He said “oh you gotta, hold on, hold on, you gotta hold on, I’m standing right here, you gotta hold on, take my hand” She sang as I gripped the back of Daryl’s shirt tightly ignoring the pain that surged through my gunshot arms. At this he held me tighter, and put one hand on the back of my head as I turned it to the side, I could hear his heart beat as he started to sway us side to side with the rhythm of the song. I closed my eyes I could feel myself calming down.

“Down by the Riverside motel, it’s 10 below and falling By a 99 cent store she closed her eyes And started swaying” I sang with Beth softly through a hoarse crackled stammering voice. “But it's so hard to dance that way when it's cold and there's no music well your old hometown is so far away but, inside your head there's a record that’s playing, a song called Hold on, hold on” she kept singing, Daryl danced me around quietly holding my head to his chest, I stopped singing with Beth and listened dot his heart beat and his breathing, I focused on his touch, and the warmth of his body. Slowly I was feeling a bit better, a bit stronger, even in the pain as we danced around. It tickled me pink and the sadness was changing. I pulled my head away from his chest and looked up at him, he looked at me as if I was going to burst into tears, but slowly a smile forced on my face, and I wrapped my arms around his neck, his arms found my waste and nestled in it above my hips, and we danced. He gave me a crooked relieved smile and leaned his forehead down to mine. I laughed once softly and smiled as we danced that typical slow dance, it require no major steps, basically just baby steps, the one that everyone can manage to dance even if they lack rhythm. It was so simple, and yet so sweet in being that, this man didn’t look the type to. He to chuckle a bit as we danced. Neither of us knowing we had moved close enough to the railing to be seen form the lower level. Neither of us knowing or caring that the others would see. It really didn’t matter, not right now, not tonight. “You really got to hold on Take my hand, I'm standing right here and just hold on.” Beth sang, as we were lost in our own little world. Daryl had finally forgotten about Merle even if it was just for a second, and Russell had all but washed away from me as we Held on to one another. There just holding on still swaying long after the song had ended.


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