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I'll Keep You Alive If You Show Me The Way

Chapter 11: A New Place to Call Home

We had cleared out the entire hotel, it was small one so it didn't take too long. We decided to take the third and final floor to stay in, since it was the cleanest. I had changed into a tank top and shorts I had found in one of the wardrobes. I pulled on a cardigan and grabbed a blanket. I sat in the window of the room I had taken, watching T-Dog, Glenn and Rick across the road, burning the bodies we had found in the hotel. I sat in a state of confusion. Wondering what I was doing. Where there many people left? How did this all start anyway? I just remembered seeing the news reports of looters. Nothing out of the ordinary really, until the biting started. It had to of started somehow... was it like rabies?

I sat deep in my thoughts for a long time. I heard Glenn cheering. He stopped in the doorway that was exactly opposite my window. Grinning, he announced that there was a windmill outside and that Hershel thinks he could fix it. I hadn't the heart to tell him that it was a waste of time and energy, the dead would find us before he could finish it. So I watched him run off screaming. I heard Maggie shushing him as I turned back to look out the window. I had taken down the wooden boards and now they lay on the floor. Drops of water started to hit the dirty glass. I watched the droplet strip the dirt away from the window. I sighed and pulled the woolly white blanket tightly around me.

The last time I had been here was for my sisters birthday. She chose it because she knew not many people would be out here. We were as noisy as we wanted, running up and down the halls, opening champagne bottles in the halls. The manager didn't give a fuck, in fact I'm pretty sure he ended up partying with us. I smiled at the memories.

"Oh, y'smilin'."

I rolled my eyes hearing Daryl come into the room. He pulled an armchair close to the window sill.

"Y'gon' tell me what happen' out there?"

"No. I'm fine, Daryl."

"What about Rick?"

"What about him?" I muttered.

"Y'both looked pretty pissed," he said, before taking a swig from a bottle of beer. Where'd he get that?

I shrugged my shoulders. He put the bottle down, stood up quickly and grabbed my shoulders. He shook me.

"Quit shruggin' y'damn shoulders and talk to me!" he spat. I pushed him away. He didn't budge.

"Fuck off, Daryl," I felt anger course through my veins. Why won't he just leave?

"No, y'gonna kill yaself. I can tell," he said, almost softly. He sat back down in the armchair.

I shut my eyes and took a deep breath in. I had thought about it. Hell, it never left my mind. I opened my eyes again to see him watching me closely.

"I just don't see the point anymore," my voice cracked.

He nodded slowly. I looked down at the bruises on my knees and the new white bandage around my thigh. We sat quietly together. He offered me beer and I declined, knowing that if I started I'd never stop. There was a tap at the door. We looked up to see Maggie.

"Sorry... Harleigh, I brought you some tea..." she said, timidly.

I smiled as she walked around the bed to hand me the mug. There was no milk so I set it to cool beside me.

"Thanks, Maggie," I whispered.

She nodded and left us alone again. I hugged my knees to my chest while silence fell again. I liked this. I liked that I felt I was sitting alone but really I was sitting with Daryl. The silence was broken again by Glenn.

"HARLEIGH!" he cried. I looked over at the door with a raised brow.

"There's chicken."

"There's what?!"

"CHICKEN!" he yelled at me.

"Is it safe!?"

"Hershel already checked!"

I stood up, jumped over the bed and flung myself at him. He caught me and embraced me into a hug.

"Oh my god," I whispered. I actually felt like crying I was so happy.

"It has to defrost first," he told me pulling away. I frowned.

"How? Is there a freezer working?"

"I'VE NO IDEA! I think there's a generator or something somewhere! Who cares!" he threw his hands up in the air before running away again. I turned around and bumped into Daryl's chest. I gave him a genuine smile and snaked my arms around his waist and hugged him. He didn't hesitate to hug me back this time. I felt him laugh.

"What?" I asked not pulling away. He simply chuckled, unhooked my arms from him and left down the hall

xxx

I looked up at the sky hoping it wouldn't rain. I had just put several wooden posts along the perimeter, if it rained it would wash the loose clay away and the posts won't stand. I was now tying barbed wire from one post to another. I had started at dawn and now it was late afternoon. Beth and Maggie were on lookout and had been observing my work all day. They offered to help but I knew I'd get agitated having to tell them what to do. The perimeter was rather large since I wanted the windmill inside. I'd say it was a bit bigger than a football field with the hotel in the middle.

The hotel was small enough, really it was a big house. I patted the dirt around the bottom of the posts hoping to secure the clay and threw the shovel on the ground. I had found the wooden posts in the basement, what the hell they were doing there I didn't know but I wasn't question our luck. We were, in fact, incredibly lucky. We hadn't seen a walker since we got here yesterday, we had food and soon a working mill. There was also a well but Rick wanted to check it out first. Apparently on the farm a walker had fallen into one of the wells, contaminating the water. I looked up from the barb wire to the sound of gargling. I watched as a female walker stumbled out of the trees towards the perimeter.

"I got it!" I heard Maggie yell.

"WAIT!" I called holding out a hand. We watched as the walker stumbled towards the barbed wire I had already put up. She walked into it but kept walking until her top half separated from her bottom half. I pursed my lips as her legs collapsed but her torso fell forward and dragged itself towards me. I walked over to her and pushed my foot through her skull.

"I'll finish up," Daryl said walking over. I nodded. "Go help the women in the kitchen."
I raised my eyebrow at him.

"Bake me some cookies," he joked. I scoffed at him, smiling.

"I'll put rat poison in your food, Dixon."

xxx

"Will you cut the onions?" Lori asked.

I nodded washing my hands with bottled water. I then took out a wooden spoon and placed it between my teeth and started chopping. Lori and Carol gave me odd looks.

"Does that actually work?" Beth asked. I took the spoon out for a second to reply

"No, I do this as part of a ritual."

The girls laughed and went back to whatever they were doing.

"What y'doin'?"

I knew it was Daryl without looking up, he seemed to always be asking me that at least four times a day.

"Cuttin' onions,"I mumbled, my speech muffled by the spoon.

"Uh-huh... I fixed the perimeter... ain't no biters gettin' us."

I nodded. I heard him chuckle.

"Wha' ya laughin' a'?"

"Y'look stupid."

I took the spoon out of my mouth.

"Stupid huh? You cut the damn onions then."

"No tha's y'job."

"Daryl's afraid of onions," I chanted to myself.

I could tell everyone else was trying not to smirk. He rolled his eyes, pushing himself away from the door frame and entered the kitchen. He took the knife out of my hand, refusing to take the spoon. I shrugged and sat on the silver counter isle beside Carl.

"Don't hack! Slice!" I instructed him. I felt awesome getting to tell Daryl Dixon what to do.

"You're an onion, Daryl," I said.

"What?" he asked, rather defensively.

"Dear god, you've never seen Shrek?!" I gaped at his back.

I looked down at Carl who was smiling. I put my arm around his shoulders. He hugged me back as I began to swing my legs. It was so peaceful right now. Like nothing would go wrong ever again. Part of me told myself not to be so stupid, while another part of me said shut up and enjoy the moment.

"Do you want me to do anything?" I asked Lori as she walked past me.

She smiled and shook her head just as Daryl backed away from the onions. I smirked as he turned around with the back of his hand covering his eyes.

"T'hell with ya," he grumbled at me. He took his hand away and blinked a few times. I cracked up laughing. I couldn't believe he was even in the kitchen.

"How's it going ladies-" Rick came in and stopped on spot seeing Daryl. He nodded. "Daryl."

Daryl nodded back, not making eye contact. I grinned happily at him, receiving a slight smirk in return.

"Chicken's steaming," Lori smiled at Rick. He nodded again.

"I'll go set the table," he said starting to search drawers and cabinets.

I was tempted to offer Daryl an apron but I knew that would be pushing it. I hopped off the counter and left the kitchen since I wasn't needed there anymore and began to climb the many stairs to the third floor.

"Harleigh!" Glenn called.

I turned into his room. He and Maggie were sitting cross legged on his bed facing each other.

"Yeah?"

"Look what we found!" he grinned, holding up an ipod and a gameboy. I frowned.

"Is the windmill working?"

"No... Some of these are half charged!" he patted the bed for me to join them. Grinning I sat down next to Glenn. There were two laptops on the bed also.

"I found magazines too. We can chill out after dinner," Maggie smiled.

Sweet technology. I missed you so much. We talked for the next hour. About games, celebrities, TV shows and movies. It felt... normal. Like everything really was ok. We were just three friends hanging out in an ordinary world. We were interrupted by Hershel knocking at the door. He told us dinner was ready and we followed him down the flights of stairs chatting to him about 'the good ol' days'

The girls, Daryl and Rick had pulled all the white cloth tables in the dining room together. I admired the room, I knew Lori, Carol and Carl had spent the whole day scrubbing and turning tables up the right way. Some one had even bothered to fill a vase with flowers. Candles were lit for light up along the sills of the boarded up windows. The dining room used to be beautiful, it was more of a conservatory than an actual room. The windows were long, only inches away from the ceiling and ground. The walls were white contrasting with the dark wooden floor. A usually bright room was dull now. I tried to ignore the blood splattered on the walls. I stood to the side watching as everyone made their way to their seats. Times like these I'd realise I was still kind of an outsider. I picked up a plate filled with food and turned away to leave.

"Hey? Where you goin'?" Rick asked. I turned around and pointed to the ceiling indicating to my room.

"Nuh-uh. We're a family and we're going to eat like a family," he smiled.

I raised an eyebrow in confusion. I glanced at Daryl who gave me one quick nod. I didn't say that my family never sat together at dinner, that would just ruin everyone's mood. I made my way over to the table and sunk down in a seat between Glenn and Rick. I still felt ridiculously awkward.I played with my food a bit. Both Rick and Glenn were turned away from me, deep in conversation to the person beside them. Everyone was chatting happily while I sat hoping the earth would swallow me whole. I was sitting with people that I had been through a lot with and just didn't feel comfortable.

My eyes fell on Daryl, he wasn't talking to anyone either, he just ate in silence. That relaxed me a bit. Eventually I started eating the food on my plate. It was just steamed vegetables and chicken. It was a bit dry but anything's better than sharing a tin of raw beans. Glenn finally turned to me and I forced myself to join in with his and Maggie's conversation. After dinner was finished the three of us raced back upstairs, since Hershel and T-Dog offered to clean. We burst into Glenn's room, practically fighting over who got what. While they bickered over the ipod I grabbed a laptop. Turning it on I actually screamed as the screen lit up.

"Is it working?!" Maggie asked. Once I nodded she punched the air with both fists. I flopped down into the armchair in the corner. Luckily it didn't need a code. Daryl appeared in the doorway.

"What y'doin'?"

"Starting to believe in God again, Daryl that's what."

He looked at me funny.

"Come join us?" Maggie asked quietly.

He grunted and entered the room. He pulled the other armchair over towards mine.

"OH GOD!" I yelped, slamming the laptop shut. Maggie and Glenn's heads snapped towards me.

"Found their porn stash," I put it on the floor and slid it away with my foot.

They laughed, presumably at the look on my face as I tried to erase my memory.

"Hey, Harleigh, did you have a crush on this guy? I sure did," Maggie said. She held up a picture of a familiar celebrity. I had long since forgotten his name.

"Damn, I was obsessed with him," I laughed, taking the magazine from her.

"I wonder if he's a walker."

"Maggie," Glenn scolded.

"Let him bite me any day," I mumbled.

I realised I had said it out loud when Glenn and Maggie laughed. I laughed along too. I got up and grabbed two of the gameboys.

"Fight me bitch," I said, throwing one to Daryl. He looked at the device in his hands in confusion.

"Are you kidding me?!" I gasped. He looked up.

"What?"

I shook my head and sat down next to him again. What a sad life Daryl must have had. I wouldn't know what to have done with my time without video games. I turned on the gameboy for him. I looked at the screen.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" I laughed. Daryl looked at me in confusion.

"What?" Glenn asked.

"It's a motherfucking zombie killin' game."

Daryl didn't stay very long, way out of his comfort zone. I stayed in the room for a while till I got the notion that Glenn and Maggie wanted to be alone. I hugged them goodnight and went back to my room. I patted Sam who was fast asleep on the foot of my bed. I noticed a trunk resting against the bed. I knelt down in front of it and lifted it open. Inside were slippers, a nightgown and blankets. I dug past them and my hand hit pages. I almost screamed with joy as I pulled a book out of the trunk. Not just any book, but my favorite book of all time. I knew this book like the back of my hand, every chapter, paragraph, sentence and word. I knew the characters as if they were my best friends. Seemed sad to some that I would practically live inside this book.

"What y'doin'?"

"I found a book!" I smiled up at him. He walked over to me and took it. Flipping through the pages, he grunted. I rolled my eyes.

"Because it has no pictures?" I asked. His eyes flickered to mine. I got up off my knees and took the book off him.

"Can you read, Daryl?"

" 'Course I can," he muttered.

"What y'doin', Daryl?" I asked him. He shrugged.

"Nothin' I guess."

"Why don't you relax? What did you do before you went around the county killin' shit?" I asked flopping down on the bed.

The only light in the room were some candles and the emergency exit in the hall. He shrugged his shoulders. I took my torch out of the beside cabinet.

"Would you... like me to read to you or something?" I asked awkwardly. He remained silent.

"Sorry, stupid question-"

"Nah, ain't got nothin' else to do."

He walked around to the other side of the bed and sat down.

"Hey Daryl?"

"Yeah?"

"What happens now? Are we gonna spend the rest of our days in this hotel or will-"

"Leigh, one day at a time. Read."

I sighed and opened the first page and began to read.

Notes

fillerish
Serious shit goes down in next chapter >:)

Comments

I'm super sad because I've realized this may never get updated. It's legitimately the best story on this site

wolvesyroses wolvesyroses
1/17/16

Oh I really love this story. I hope it gets updated >< please update!

Gilyflower Gilyflower
3/25/15

This is the most amazing story ever on this site ever please update. Harleigh is amazing and you are a great writer.

reddeadwalker reddeadwalker
10/21/14

Amazing writing, as always.

SierraaDixon SierraaDixon
3/22/14

Holy crap please update!!! This is one of the best I've read in a long time!!!

elissa_mirinda elissa_mirinda
3/16/14