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

Chapter 24: To Ashes

I sat up from the floor of the truck. The back door was open, allowing a light breeze in. Daryl was leaning against the side looking down at Rick while they talked. I hugged Daryl's jacket closer to me, really not wanting to get up. But I knew I had to. I sat up and rubbed my eyes.

"Morning," Rick greeted from outside the truck.

I flicked a nod in his direction, still rubbing my eyes.

"Whatterwedoin'?"

"Going back to the prison."

"What? What about the run?"

"The run is a disaster, Harleigh. We nearly died last night."

"We need more supplies. I'm fine. You guys are all fine. Let's get it done," I shrugged.

Rick analyzed me for a second then raised an eyebrow at Daryl.

"Leigh, those guys are after us," Daryl sighed.

"So? Does that mean we hide in the prison and starve ourselves?"

"Harleigh, one of those guys was raving on about how you killed his brother... they are after us... you," Rick explained slowly.

"Yeah? What's new? C'mon according to you there are several people out there that are after me. Doesn't scare me. We got people to look after, who need us."

Rick looked uncertainly at Daryl.

"Well they're after her, so I guess if she's okay with it..." he shrugged.

I beamed at him. He returns with a half smile.

"Alright then," Rick nods and walks off to talk with Michonne.

I roll my eyes in his direction.

"He just don't wanna lose more people, Leigh," Daryl said, reading my mind. "Neither do I."

"You won't it's all good!" I smiled.

Maybe I had a confidence boost because of how my mind always had an idea. Whether I knew about it or not.

He frowned at me. I stood close to him and grinned up at him. He flinches back slightly but relaxes in seconds. Other girls would be insulted that a guy flinches every time she stands near him. But this is Daryl. He's just the way Daryl is.

"Don't be so serious. Think about it how much crap have we gotten out of alive? Sure, bullet here, bite there... We're going to get back to that prison and we'll be ok and have supplies."

"Yeah? How d'y'know that?"

"Because I'm awesome."

He smirks a teeny bit raising his eyebrow out me, total amusement plastered on his face.

"Y'gonna get y'self killed," he half jokes.

I shrug my shoulders and glance around for any signs of the others. I look back up at Daryl. His face is in a right state from being beaten last night. I placed my hand lightly on his waist, reach up on tippy toes and kiss his cheek.

"Did you put stuff on those cuts?" I asked him.

He shook his head, blushing lightly. I smile to myself. Daryl was kind of innocent if you thought about it. I grabbed the first aid kit from the front seat and sat down in front of him. I moved his hair out from his eyes so I could dab disinfectant on his forehead.

I bit my lip, he has such wonderful eyes... Snap out of it Harleigh there's no time to be a girly mush. There are people out here trying to kill you and possibly experiment on you... What were they gonna do? Throw me to walkers and see how many bites I could take? Being bit isn't exactly the most pleasant experience ever, I don't plan on letting it happen again. So basically the Governor was after us as well as whatever was left of Danny's group, including the guy who says I killed his brother. Now there's something I don't remember. Who else? We could deal with those guys...

"Y'alright?"

"Yeah, just thinking..." I replied with a small smile.

He reached up and brushed my fringe to side, making my whole body seize up.

"Don't hurt y'self," he jeered.

Damn, here I was thinking he was going to say something sweet. He retracts his hand quickly, hearing Rick call us. We stood up and hopped out the back of the truck. Rick and Michonne were looking down at the map folded out on a tree stump. Rick clasped Daryl's shoulder.

"Michonne knows a place west of here."

Daryl nodded.

"You guys ready to go?"

"Yeah," I replied for both of us.

Rick nodded a strode off to the truck, followed by Michonne. I looked down at Carl.

"What's wrong?" I asked, noticing how quiet he was.

"I keep messing up," he mumbled.

I crouched down to his level.

"You've done nothin' wrong Carl."

"We could've died last night because of me."

"You didn't know they were in there... No one did. We're all okay now aren't we?" I smiled at him.

He pauses for a moment and nodded, receiving hair ruffle.

"Now, run along."

He laughed a little and joined Michonne and Rick in the front of the truck. Daryl and I hopped into the back. Daryl tapped the side of the truck and the engine started up. We sat down on the floor beside some of the supplies we had found.

"You feelin' ok today?" Daryl asked, after moments of silence.

I leaned against his shoulder. The muscles in his arm tensed.

"I'm a little tired," I shrugged.

Daryl nodded in agreement. The truck pulled to a stop and we all got out. Rick had parked in the woods were the truck was hidden from the road. We trudged through the mud to the road. Daryl made sure to cover our tracks. Once he was finished we all walked to the town Michonne knew about. It didn't look too good, two blocks in and we noticed an entire street was burnt to a crisp.

"Stay close," Rick advised.

He and Daryl led us down the street. Guess we were going to check out a dangerous place for a kick? I could still hear fire crackle around us, I couldn't see any flames. Some of the charred debris was still glowing a smoldering orange. This had happened only a while ago. Which meant...

"The people who did this are still here," I whispered to Michonne.

She nodded, she had figured that out too.

"I don't think they know," she said, looking ahead at Rick and Daryl who were getting further and further away from us.

I grabbed the back of Carl's t-shirt. He looked around, surprised. I placed a finger to my lips. He nodded and fell into place beside Michonne. I jogged forward, catching up with Rick and Daryl.

"Rick," I called turned slowly.

"This isn't safe, let's leave," I murmured.

Rick looked over at Daryl who shook his head. I furrowed my brow. Well. okay, fine then assholes get yourselves killed.

"C'mon, Harleigh," Rick ordered.

The volume of his voice made me flinch. I glanced around the surrounding area, my hand flew to my bow. An odd feeling of panicked fear spiked my insides. It had been a year since I felt this afraid. We were so dead. We're dead... Some one's here. Every nerve in my body was screaming to run and get the hell out of there.

"Guys seriously I don't like this..." I whispered, wide eyed.

I was really freaked out. I was rarely scared these days. They continued to ignore me.

"Daryl-" I grabbed his arm.

"Harleigh! Shuddup!" he spat shaking me off.

I felt anger boil inside me.

"Listen to me! We gotta go!" I snarled.

"C'mon Rick," Daryl grumbled.

He reached out to Rick's shoulder and turned him away from me .I looked back to Michonne in desperation. I was way too scared right now. I knew it had to be something bad I was THAT frightened. I sat down in the middle of the road and folded my arms like a child. Michonne and Carl were just walking up beside me as Daryl and Rick turned round again.

"Harleigh," Rick sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Not taking another step unless it's a step closer out of this damn street," I told him.

"Dad, I think you should listen."

"This is a short cut isn't it Michonne?" Rick asked.

Michonne nodded slowly. I'm guessing she told him there was some shop or whatever nearby.

"Short cut to hell," I muttered.

"No arguin' 'bou' it. We get wha' we need," Daryl said walking over to me, swinging his crossbow onto his back.

"Not getting up."

I felt my body leave the ground. Had he just picked me up?! He did!

"Put me the fuck down right now!" I growled up at him as he carried me like a bride down the ash road.

"Be quiet, Leigh some one might hear you," he mocked.

"Jesus Christ, I hate you so much Daryl Dixon," I spat, punching his chest and beginning to squirm.

He smirked a little.

"Daryl stop please, I'm scared," I admitted.

He stopped walking and looked down at me. He dropped me to my feet. I gazed at the ground, I felt like a wimp. But this place wasn't right.

"Nothin's gonna happen t'ya Leigh," he said, softly.

I shrugged as the others caught up with us.

"HEY!" A voice shouted behind me.

I whipped around and backed into Daryl's chest. I felt his arm fall around my waist as the crossbow appeared above my shoulder. Rick held up his shot gun as Michonne unsheathed her katana. Rick stood in front of Carl, protecting him.

"You shouldn't be here!" the voice said. A dark figure was emerging through the dusty fog.

"Quick! Leave!" It said, getting closer.

"Any closer and I'll shoot!" Rick warned them.

"Wait a minute," I mumbled squinting at the man. "Nathan?"

"Who the hell are you?" The figure asked, finally they were close enough to see clearly.

It was Nathan. His dark hair was longer and he was sporting a slash from his forehead diagonally across to his jaw. He looked like he had been down a mine, he was blackened with ash.

"Shit. Harleigh?"

"Yeah..."

He raised his arms, seeing all the weapons pointing at him.

"Harleigh you, gotta go now. What the hell are you doing?" he spat.

"Well I wanted to turn around," I muttered.

Daryl retracted his arm from me. Rick and the others lowered their weapons slowly. But not Daryl.

"Who the hell are you?"

"Uh, Nathan. Obviously."

"I know ya, donnae?"

"Yeah, I guess," Nathan said, waving him off and looking back at me.

"Go."

"What's going on?" Rick asked, looking from me to Nathan.

"I'd like to know too," Daryl grumbled. Nathan looked around.

"I'll tell you all I know. But we gotta get out of here," he bravely grabbed my shoulder, ignoring the loaded crossbow in his face he steered me around and pulled me down the street.

The others jogged after us.

"Where are you staying?" he asked me.

"We have a truck outside town."

"Alright, we'll go there," he let go of my shoulder and let me lead him back to the truck.

Once we reached it we all piled into the back. We took a second to catch our breath. I noticed how Nathan was covered head to toe in soot.

"Did you do that?" I asked referring to the street we met in.

"Kinda. Can we sit down or something? Everyone standing makes me uncomfortable," he muttered waving his hands around.

He grabbed a cardboard box and sat down.

"You guys looking for supplies?" he asked as we all slowly sat down.

Rick nodded. We all stared at the man in black. He tried to brush some of the dirt off himself off.

"Y'gon tell us what d'hecks goin' on?" Daryl snapped impatiently.

Nathan nodded.

"Right okay, what do ya wanna know first?"

"Why are you covered in ash?" Carl stated.

"Oh right, right yeah," Nathan said, running his hand through his hair."Testing out new weapons."

"New weapons?" Rick asked.

Nathan nodded.

"It's uhhh complicated?" he scratched the back of his head.

"Good lord, y'gonna tell us anythin' at all?" Daryl spat.

"Start from when you went into Woodbury," I said, quietly.

I was dying to know what had happened to my old malfunctioning group.

"Right, right. After you left. Lemme think," he said frowning at the ground.

He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand.

"After you left, we went into Woodbury. It seemed pretty cool. Looked normal. Unaffected by the outbreak. At first we understood why the guards were aiming guns at us. We could have been a threat. But then this dude with a freaking blade hand walks over and starts yelling about how there were more of us. I told him that this was it. He didn't believe me and slashed me... That's what this scar is," he points to the fading scar across his face.

"Your sister sold you out. Said you had run. Maybe she thought the place was safe, maybe she didn't want me to be chopped to bits. Honestly, I think it's because she's a selfish cow."

"Hey," Daryl warned.

"No, no she was," I shrugged.

Nathan glanced at Daryl warily.

"Right so then these guys bring us to a room, tell us they're checking us for infection, right? That's cool, that's understandable. We take turns to be checked out. We're waiting for ages then that blade dude comes in, fuckin' grabs me again. Demanded to know where you went. I asked what the big deal was.

Next thing I know Sarah's dragged in, beaten to shit. Raving on about how you survived a bite or something. Mad, I know. So Mr. Blade starts kicking the shit out of Ty. Sarah blurts out that you went back to the hotel. All this time I hadn't noticed this other guy's just standing there. Calls himself the Governor. Cunt."

He pauses for a moment to think.

"So, I figured I needed to get the hell out of their soon. But it's hard. Next thing we know there's people attacking Woodbury. Y'all know 'bout that I'm guessing,"he smiles, knowingly.

I was always fascinated about how much he took in.

"The Gov starts yappin' on about going to war, yadda yadda. Then, I'm freaking grabbed by a man and he put me into a car, there's a woman in the front seat. Turns out they don't work for the Governor."

"Wait... what?" I asked, frowning.

"Yeah. There names were Helen and Frank. They had asked to stay in Woodbury. They planned on recruiting people with out being detected... So they take me back to a house in the middle of nowhere and started questioning me about you."

"About me?" I asked.

"Mmm. They knew all about you. I guess they were there when your sister spilled the beans. Basically what I'm tryna say is that Woodbury isn't the only survivor camp..."

"Woodbury's gone," Rick told him.

Nathan's mouth formed an "o" at this new information.

"I guess the others think I'm dead right? Can't wait to see the look on their faces!" he grinned.

The others looked to the ground.

"Nate, they're all dead," I whispered. "The Governor tried to take us out... He shot his own people."

"The one's that went to fight?"

"Yeah..."

"Jesus, how's Sarah?"

I glared at him.

"She's dead."

He looks at me with complete shock.

"What? How?"

"I just told you!"

"Yeah the people who went to fight."

"She went... Why wouldn't she?"

"He told us he wouldn't make her!" Nathan spluttered. "She was pregnant..."

I stared at him with my mouth wide open.

"She wha'?" I breathed.

Nathan nodded his head slowly.

"We ain't takin' y'back with us," Daryl muttered, while I devoured this new information.

"Why the hell not?! You have to, PLEASE," Nathan begged as I began to process the fact that the Governor had killed my niece or nephew.

I'm going to take his one good eye out and shove it down his throat.

"Why do you want to leave your rescuers so bad?" Rick asked, suspiciously.

"Rescuers?! HA! Those fuckers are NUTS!"

"Keep quiet, we don't want anyone to hear us," Michonne whispered a warning.

"They're so called scientists. Shit ones too. Testing on me! Nearly lost my leg back there," Nathan grumbled, nodding his head back towards the town.

"I say we let him come back with us," I announced.

"What?!" Daryl snarled.

"He put his life at risk and took beatings for me. It's the least we could do," I shrugged.

"We ain't stealin' some crazy scientist's pet, Leigh!"

"Test subject. Thank you very much."

"You still haven't explained the street," Carl whined.

"Oh right... They've been working on these bombs that detect if somethings near. They're also suppose to detect heartbeats. So that means if a walker comes into it's field it'll blow. It obviously failed,"he rolled his Caribbean blue eyes.

"Where are they getting the materials to build these kinds of things?" Michonne asked, frowning.

"Beats me. They take some stuff from hospitals I guess... All I have to do is test them out."

"Have you tried escaping?" I asked.

"Oh yeah... This is the farthest I've been from them. They're crazy. They've been on the airways luring people in."

I looked over at Rick. I had been right. When we were driving to the hotel, Rick and I had heard them. I convinced Rick not to go ... I had been right. Rick nodded at me.

"They're running loads of experiments. Trying to find an antidote, vaccinations and ways of fighting off the biters. There's a good few of them but I mainly had to deal with Frank and Helen... They told me that they almost gave up, then they heard about you. Stupid right? No one survives a bite."

Daryl cleared his throat, grabbing my attention. He shook his head slightly at me. It told me he didn't trust Nathan... but I did.

"It's true, Nate," I sighed. His pale green eyes widened.

"You're kiddin'?"

"No," I rolled up my sleeve and showing the newest bite, the one I got saving Hershel.

Nathan stood up fast knocking down boxes. Daryl held up his crossbow just as quickly.

"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOIN' HARLEIGH?!" Nathan bellowed down at me.

I stared up at him as he rolled up his sleeve to revealing bruises and needle punctures.

"If they catch you ... Christ, you'd be tortured to death. We gotta get the hell outta here."

"We are. Y'ain't commin' with us," Daryl said, still aiming the crossbow at Nathan.

"Harleigh. You trust me, right?" Nathan asked, ignoring Daryl.

A loud crack fills my ears and Rick slumps to the ground.

Notes


i am crying omfg Becca asked me to upload this because she hurt her eye and nOW SHE'S WEARING AN EYE PATCH bahahahahaha so I get to call her philip now :D ughh funny funny. aaaaand she probably hates me right now hehe sorry about the rick thing guys but what can ya do?Thanks for all the feedback you guys are awesome :) can't wait to hear more :D

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