Dixons Don't Cry
Day 64 - Part One
"Do you think that was the right thing to do?" I asked Uncle Daryl as we drove.
We had just stopped to get Dale's RV fixed, when Jacqui said that Jim didn't have anymore time. I wasn't close to him, but it was hard to see someone who was just a plain good guy suffering, to see anybody suffering like that really. He wanted to be left to turn, and Rick let him. Everybody had paid their respects to the dying man; I had crouched next to him and kissed his cheek, and gave a final, meaningful nod to wish him the best.
"Ain't neva the right thing, shoulda ended it," Uncle Daryl said back.
I sighed and looked out the window. We were nearing the city quickly, to the CDC and our last hope. "I don't wanna become one of those things," I said.
"You'll shoot me, right?" I asked him, looking at my uncle with my head tilted slightly. It was a blunt question, but we didn't beat around the bush with each other. While my dad and I usually joked or danced around a subject to avoid upsetting each other, Uncle Daryl and I always seemed to be straight to the point and blunt with questions. Especially now, life was too unpredictable to dance around questions.
He turned his head to me, seriousness in his eyes. He glanced back at the road every few seconds, but I knew his focus was me. He pointed his right hand pointer finger at me. "You listen here," he said," ain't nothin' even gonna get 'chu while I'm here, don't eva think otherwise."
I looked at him for a second, before nodding. "Okay," I said softly, nearly a whisper.
It was silent for a while between us, before Uncle Daryl quietly spoke up," If ya ever are, I'll make sure ya don' turn, sweetheart. I won't let ya become one of those things."
"I'll do tha same for you," I whispered back. I looked to him and he nodded. I scooted over to the middle seat from the passenger, and laid my head on his shoulder. He was warm, and smelt like the comforting mixture of sweat and woods and Uncle Daryl. My daddy smelt similar, only the extra smell of the Skeeter's Bar he always went to was added in. Even with all the changing in the past two months, the smell still hadn't changed, and that was enough to comfort me, just like the feel of his leather vest against the side of my left cheek.
"I love you, Uncle Daryl," I whispered to him. These words were not spoken often in my family, they were mostly implied. Only a Dixon could love a Dixon, and Dixons didn't express love with words or hugs or pussy shit. We expressed it by doing nothing, but simple nods and slaps on the back. These past few days of crying and hugs have been out of character for us, and even now, expressing my love for my uncle, was strange.
But he said it back," I love you too, Contessa May," and squeezed my thigh before silence rose once more.
We drove in silence for a while, before finally we started driving through the city. Tension began to rise as I looked outside and saw how deserted it was, there was no signs of any activity anywhere. That wasn't a good sign, and apparently Uncle Daryl thought so too.
"You keep that crossbow on your back. Keep your guns out," he told me, and I nodded.
The RV pulled to the side and Uncle Daryl pulled off behind it. I grabbed my crossbow and handed Uncle Daryl his. We both got out of the truck; I grabbed my crossbow and handed the other to Uncle Daryl. I slung my crossbow over my back and pulled out my two handguns. Uncle Daryl kept his raised in the air with one hand and had grabbed a rifle from the back with the other hand.
The group started to walk to face the CDC. "Oh shit," I breathed out as I took in the sight.
The CDC stood tall, with sandbag walls surrounding in the front. Bodies lined the street and lawn and pavement, bodies of military personnel. Random civilian bodies were everywhere too, but mostly military. As we kept walking the path to the CDC, nothing but bodies littered the ground, smelling awful. I squeezed my guns tight, alert to everything surrounding me. I stayed close to Uncle Daryl in the back, covering our people just in case, though nobody--not even walkers--were around.
We made it up to the doors of the CDC, where all the shutters were locked down. Rick rattled the door handle of the shutters.
"Nothing?" I asked as we approached.
Shane started pounding on the door, to no avail. "There's nobody there," T-Dog said.
Rick said sharply," Then why are the shutters down?"
"Walkers!" Uncle Daryl shouted, and I turned sharply to see them. There were a hell of a lot more than we could handle. Everything became a panic as the walkers had everybody's attention along with getting the fuck inside.
"We gotta leave!" I yelled, debating on shooting or not.
"Baby come on," I heard Lori say.
"You led us into a graveyard!" Uncle Daryl yelled at Rick, turning to him. I kept an eye on the approaching walkers, fear rising. We were cornered.
"He made a call!" Dale shouted back.
"He made the wrong call!" Uncle Daryl yelled back.
I turned to face them as Shane got in his face. "Just shut up! You hear me? Shut up! Shut up!"
"Can somebody just figure out what the FUCK we're going to do!" I shouted. "We aren't going to live with you guys fucking arguing!"
"Shut the fuck up, Tess!" Shane screamed at me.
"Hey! Don't talk to my niece that way or I'll stomp you!" Oh God the testosterone.
Shane turned to Rick," You're not to blame. You hear me, no blame!"
"She's right. We can't be here, this close to the city after dark," Lori said.
"Fort Benning, it's still an option Rick," Shane tried to say.
He was quickly shot down," On what? No food, no gas. That's one hundred miles!"
"One-twenty-five, I checked the map!" Glenn piped up, now next to me. His arm brushed mine and he looked to meet my eyes. I swallowed the lump of worry in my throat and nodded at him, receiving a quick one back.
"Forget Fort Benning!" Lori shouted. "We need answers tonight, now!"
Tensions rose higher as Rick tried to get us to stay, but Lori begging him to go and Shane rounding us to head back to the cars.
"Come on," I said, nudging Glenn and we started to walk, but what Rick shouted had us turn back to him.
"The camera! It moved!"
Shane grabbed Rick, trying to explain to him his insanity at thinking anything was in that building, or that the power was on.
"It's gears, okay? They're just winding down. Come on man, listen to me! Look around this place, it's dead, okay?" Shane said, grabbing him and shaking. "It's dead, you need to let it go, Rick!"
I turned back to face the cars. "Uncle Daryl," I whimpered," Uncle Daryl!"
"Shit," he said," Tess! Get behind me, get your guns ready!"
I did as he asked and stood in front of Sophia and Carol. I looked Carol in the eyes and told her," You keep her close, got it? You stay behind me!" My voice was hard, but you could hear the fear in it. Carol nodded, and I looked down to Sophia. "You stay with your momma, got it?" She nodded, whimpering in fear. I stood and turned back to the walkers, standing next to Glenn. We both raised out guns, ready.
Rick was shouting to the camera ad Shane was shouting at him. Everybody was panicking and the kids were crying and it was practically the other night all over again.
"Please! We have women, children!"
Walkers were now in view. I turned back to Sophia and took my knife out of its sheath. "What are you doing?" Carol asked as if I was crazy.
"You take this and protect yourself if they come to us, ya hear me? If you can, get the brain, you got me?" I asked the little girl as I put it in her hand.
"Are you crazy?!" Carol shouted at me.
"I'm giving her a chance!" I screamed back. She was my friend, but the stakes and tension was so high.
"She's a little girl!" Carol cried out.
"You're killing us! You're killing us!" Rick was shouting as he pounded on the door. Everyone was in a panic, even Uncle Daryl as he ditched his crossbow for a rifle.
I turned back and nodded to Glenn, and we both prepared to shoot just in case, as Rick continued to shout.
The doors started creaking as the shutters raised, and we turned in shock to the door. The shutters were raising and a blinding white light washed over all of us as gas exhausted and the door raise. My jaw dropped in shock. Rick had been right.
We were all frozen for a second before Shane broke the silence," Daryl and Tess, you cover the back." We both hang back as we enter. I grabbed my crossbow and raised it as Uncle Daryl does with his rifle.
"Hello? Hello?" Rick shouts in the empty lobby.
Dale turns and says," Close those doors. Watch for walkers." I nod.
All of us enter into the extremely large lobby. It’s completely empty.
Rick asks again," Hello?"
We hear a gun cock and I quickly turn to the sound, crossbow ready. All the rest with guns do the same, Glenn was shaking a bit besides me. A man in a white shirt with a tired face is standing in a doorway, a machine gun in his hands. He has light hair and eyes, and stress lines cover his face.
"Anybody infected?" The man asks.
Rick replied to him," One of our group was. He didn’t make it." I winced at the mention of Jim. He was likely a walker by now, on the side of a road and rotting away.
The man lowers his machine gun and asks," Why are you here? What do you want?"
Rick simply says," A chance."
"That’s asking an awful lot these days."
Jenner looks at every one, his eyes passing over all of our tired, worn faces. There's a long silence before he finally speaks.
"You all submit to a blood test. That’s the price of admission."
Rick nods," We can do that."
Jenner drops his weapon. "You got stuff to bring in, you do it now. Once this door closes it stays closed."
Quickly, we all run out to go grab out bags from our cars, taking down the couple walkers in our way. We run back in and the doors shut behind us. We go to the man and follow into an elevator. He starts pressing buttons onto a control pad on the wall as we file in. "Vi, seal the main entrance. Kill power up there." There's a beep and a clang, and we begin going down. It's silent in the elevator. I'm pressed in between Uncle Daryl and Glenn, which felt pretty awkward. Glenn and I had a weird time and connected earlier, and I wasn't sure how that made me feel. I felt Glenn nudging my hand with his and almost smacked him to get him to quit it. My uncle was right next to us holding a weapon for God's sake, if he caught any funny business--even confused and not really funny-funny business--he would kill the little Asian boy.
Rick holds his hand out for the man to shake," Rick Grimes."
The man ignores the hand and replies," Dr. Edward Jenner." Rick dropped his hand.
It was silent for a second, before Uncle Daryl asked," Doctors always go around packin' heat like that?" I snorted quietly and elbowed him.
Jenner replies," There were plenty left lying around. I familiarized myself. But you look harmless enough." Jenner looks down to Carl and gives a small, small smirk," Except you, I’ll have to keep my eye on you." Carl smiles at him and Jenner chuckles. I crack a smile at that too.
The elevator stops after a bit, and we all exit, following Jenner down a long hallway. "Are we underground?" Carol asks.
"You claustrophobic?" he asks her.
"Try not to think about it," he tells her, his tone lacking consideration. I breathed out as I walked next to Uncle Daryl and Glenn, right in between both of them. Seriously, why does this keep happening? Why am I even worried about it? We just held hands, that was it, I told myself, but my cheeks felt warm.
We enter a large dark room, and Jenner says loudly," Vi, bring the lights up in the big room." And the lights come on. He turns his head to our group.
"Welcome to Zone 5," he says and continues walking to the middle of the room, right in the center of a rounded group of desks and computers. We all trickled in behind him. Uncle Daryl stays behind but I continue walking with Glenn, looking around the room. A large screen in up and the round desks all have papers and documents, but only one seems like it was in use.
"Where is everybody? The doctors, the staff?" Rick asks Jenner, though I think it's obvious the answer.
Jenner faces our group in the center of the circle. "I'm it, it's just me here." Silence falls over our group. Y heart sinks and I look to Glenn. His expression reads the same as mine: hopelessness.
"What about that person you were speaking with? Vi?" Lori asks, stepping a bit closer.
Jenner looks at us as he says loudly once more," Vi, say hello to our guests. Tell them... Welcome."
A monotone female computer voice rings throughout the room," Hello guests, welcome."
"I'm all that's left, I'm sorry," Jenner says. My heart drops. There was nothing left here.
"Blood tests, now," Jenner says and motions for us. We each take turns, and I'm the second the last to go, right before Andrea. I sit in the chair in front of Jenner and eye his needle. He noticed.
"Afraid of needles?" he asks.
I look away from it as he brings it closer to my left arm. "A bit squeamish," I admit to him as I grip tightly to the arm of the chair in anticipation.
"I'll make it as quick as possible," he tells me, and I feel the pinch in my arm as he starts to draw blood. I feel a bit woozy afterwards, but Uncle Daryl helps me up after a band-aid is placed on the spot.
"Ya'lright?" he asks and I nod.
He starts to take Andrea's blood, and she questions," What's the point? If we were infected, we'd be running a fever by now."
"I'm already breaking every rule in the book by letting you in here. Let me just at least be thorough," he tells her. The syringe clicks, and Jenner is done.
Andrea stands but she nearly blacks out, and Jacqui quickly catches her and helps her up. "Are you okay?" Jacqui asks her.
"Mhm," Andrea replies, regaining senses. My head was still spinning too, and I leaned against Uncle Daryl.
"She hasn't eaten in days, none of us have," Jacqui tells Jenner. He looks at each of us and then nods.
I laughed loudly as I finished the last of the pasta. It was officially the best thing I had ever eaten in my life. Jenner had hot cooked food--without a fire-- and alcohol. Everybody was having a good time, and I was laughing next to Glenn on the counter behind the table as Dale was trying to convince Lori to let Carl try some whine. I sipped on my own glass as I smiled watching the display.
"What’s it gonna hurt? Come on. Come on," Rick tells his wife, and she finally agrees.
We all laugh as Dale hands Carl a glass with a little bit of whine in it. "There you are, young lad!"
Everyone watches as Carl takes a drink and his face scrunches up. "Eww!" he says, and we all burst out laughing. I subconsciously lean into Glenn as I laugh, holding my wine in my right hand. He laughs too and takes another small sip.
"That's my boy, my good boy," Lori says as we all laugh.
"Yuck, that tastes nasty!" Carl says after shaking his head.
"Alas! This, my friend, is the most delicious delicacy of all!" I say to the little boy as I lean forward, raising my glass at him and my eyebrows. He sticks his tongue at me and a snort, downing the rest of my glass. I reach for the bottle and pour more whine into my bottle.
More laughing occurs and Shane tells him," Well, just stick to soda pop, bud."
"Not you Glenn," Uncle Daryl says as he leans over the table and fills his glass with more whine. He was sitting at the other counter since there was no room at the table.
"What?" Glenn asks confused and I snort into my drink. Glenn had only drank a little half of his first glass, where as I've already downed two glasses, probably drained half the bottle we had to ourselves over on the counter.
"Keep drinkin', little man," Uncle Daryl says as he pours himself and glass at the table, and looks to us over on the counter," I wanna see how red your face can get." He teased him, and everybody starts laughing again.
"Come on Glenn, don't be such a lightweight," I tease him, knocking my shoulder with his.
"How can you drink so much?" he asks in disbelief.
Uncle Daryl snorts as he walks over to us and ruffles my hair, making me squeal and smack his hand at the attack, but I still laugh. "Drinks like a Dixon, she does. Eighteenth birthday came around a year before all this shit started. Merle bought her a six pack of Bud Light and fuckin' girl drank all six by herself before bed!" Uncle Daryl tells everyone with a snort.
Carol looks to me as I laugh at the memory and asks," You're only nineteen?"
I grin and raise my glass," I'll be twenny in December."
T-Dog jokes," Underage drinking."
Rick points at me and says jokingly," You're lucky I don't report ya!" I rolled my eyes as we all laugh and raised my glass to Rick, and we does to me.
I look to Glenn. "Come on, don't be a pussy, down that sucker," I tell him. He takes the drink and downs it right there and slams it on the counter, and everybody jokingly cheers. I fill Glenn's glass up again and he does it once more as Rick taps his glass with his fork.
The table goes silent as Rick says," It seems to me we haven’t thanked our host properly."
T-Dog says as he raises his glass," He is more than just our host." I raise mine along with the others and Dale shouts cheerfully," Hear hear!"
Daryl: Here’s to you, Doc, booyah!
Dale echoes Uncle Daryl," Booyah!" i laugh into my drink and lean into Glenn again who is laughing too.
Rick says to Jenner," Thank you. Thank you, Doctor." His tone is in that completely grateful Rick tone, the same when he thanked me and Glenn for what we brought back from our last run in Atlanta.
This time it is T-Dog who echoes my Uncle Daryl," Booyah!" I laugh again and finally raise my glass, the alcohol buzzing in my system.
"Booyah!" I shout out too, and more go around through small chuckles.
We clink glasses together in agreement, all smiling at Jenner, who looks less than thrilled.
Shane suddenly speaks up," So when are you gonna tell us what the Hell happened here, Doc?" The room quiets down as Shane speaks, the mood dropping. "All the—the other doctors that were supposed to be figuring out what happened, where are they?" I glare at Shane. Did he have to do this now? When we were all having a good time? Deputy Dipshit is in the building people.
Rick looked sternly at Shane," We’re celebrating, Shane. Don’t need to do this now." I took a long drink of my wine, the mood already dropping to a ultimate low because of Shane. There was no going back now, not when Deputy Dipshit is involved.
Shane shakes his head and says," Whoa, wait a second. This is why we’re here, right? This was your move—supposed to find all the answers. Instead we—," he chuckles," we found him. Found one man, why?" We all looked to Jenner. He was right, it didn't make sense at all. Why was it just him?
Jenner sighs a bit. "Well, when things got bad, a lot of people just left, went off to be with their families. And when things got worse, when the military cordon got overrun, the rest bolted," Jenner says, looking at all of us. My hope began to drop from where it had picked up over the course of the hot meal and wine.
"Every last one?" Shane asks skeptically.
Jenner explains," No, many couldn’t face walking out the door. They… opted out. There was a rash of suicides. That was a bad time." I shuddered, unable to understand how people just give up, how they don't even try to live and go on.
Andrea speaks up and asks Jenner," You didn’t leave. Why?"
"I just kept working, hoping to do some good," Jenner says simply. There's a bit of a pause before Glenn groans to Shane.
"Dude, you are such a buzz kill, man." I lift my glass to Glenn as I sat in my seat slouched, the mood completely gone. Glenn clinks his glass with mine in agreement that Shane sucks, and we finish the last of our glasses.
NotesSo close to the end of season one! Ah, still so much to do! I could have continued with this chapter, but I like to keep each of my chapters less than to around 4,000 words, but if you want a bigger one as a special thing, totally let me know, I'd love it if you'd love it!
My big question for you guys: How do you like the Glenn romance? I think it's fun to write, since the two are pretty different, but cute nonetheless. Tessa isn't an affectionate sort of girl, but naturally, the two closest in age gravitate towards each other, am I right? You'll have to wait and see what goes on with that, if they end up together ;) Message me if you have any questions!
PS: Dear Terminus, you're screwed. Ahh! Can't wait for Season Five, I have so much inspiration for this fic! Tessa is here to stay and kick ass. Vote and comment XOX