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

Chapter 28: Eat The Living

"Stay away from that fence! ... whatever your name is," I yelled at a little boy.

Walkers were still gnawing at the metal links, determined to get in.

"His name's Billy," Charlotte told me.

"Yeah, well Billy better stay away from the fence or I'll cut his hands off," I said, loud enough for him to hear.

The blonde boy turned around wide eyed, stepping away from the fence. Charlotte giggled beside me, we sat on the grass watching the other children play with a basketball Daryl had found somewhere in the prison. I hated baby-sitting but everyone else was busy and I wasn't allowed do anything in case I put myself in danger... When have I EVER put myself in-never mind. But I had been stuck behind the prison fence for what felt like years.

"YOUR MAJESTY!" Nathan called walking down the yard towards us.

"Hi Nate," I sighed, bored.

Judith gurgled in my lap.

"Can I hold her?" Charlotte asked.

"Sure, be careful though," I said, passing the small baby to her.

"I need you to come with me," Nathan said, now beside me.

"Kinda busy, what's up?"

"I'm gonna try find a cure!"

I glanced up at him, shielding my eyes from the sun.

"Are you crazy, how do expect to do that?" I asked.

"I just can," he shrugged.

"Well, you gotta wait 'til some one takes over here," I mumbled, scanning the trees.

I was always paranoid that some one was lurking in the woods, ready to shoot one of the kids.

"Alright, just come up when your done playing mom."

"Shuddup," I grumbled.

He left. After five minutes I grew uncomfortable being so out in the open.

"Guys, we're gonna head up closer to the prison."

The small group of children groaned as I picked Judith up.

"C'mon! There's a basketball hoop up there. Bet I can run faster than you guys!"

That always worked, I had used it about seven times now. Charlotte and I watched as the kids raced each other up the hill towards the gate. Carol pulled it open letting them hurry in. Daryl stood beside her, smirking. Carol grinned at me.

"Are you having fun?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah, loads," I replied sarcastically, passing Judith to her.

As soon as my hands were free, Charlotte's small hand found mine.

"Why don't you go play?" I asked her. She shook her head.

"Billy is too rough."

"Punch him back," I grumbled.

"Harleigh," Carol sighed.

I rolled my eyes, catching Daryl smirking again.

"I'll ask him to be more careful, okay?"

Charlotte nodded, her fiery hair glistened in the afternoon sun. She latched onto my leg, hugging me tightly.

"I love you, Harleigh," she said, peering up at me.

Shocked was an understatement. I barely knew this child and she trusted me with her life. That scared the crap out of me. What could I do to keep her out of danger? With luck, she'll grow up in the safety of the prison... but what if we had to move? What if I lost her like Carol lost Sophia? I wouldn't be able to keep going. She still had faith in the world, even after whatever they did to her in the asylum. She gave me hope, what if something were to happen and I lose hope? I smiled down at her brown eyes.

"I love you too."

She grinned happily at my reply.

"Now let's go kick Billy's butt in basketball huh?"

"YEAH!" she laughed, latching tightly to my leg.

I carried her like that over to where the other children were. Carol and Daryl followed, sitting down on the benches. Charlotte released me from her grip and ran after the ball. I plopped down on the bench beside Carol.

"Why are they so full of energy?" I complained.

Carol chuckled.

"That little girl sure has taken a liking to you."

"She's sweet," I couldn't help but to smile.

Was this what it was like to be a mom? I didn't know but it felt great.

"Has she spoke about the asylum yet?" Carol asked.

"No," I mumbled.

I was still trying to erase my memory of what I had seen.

"Neither have you," she continued.

I kept my eyes on the ball flying around the yard.

"Harleigh, I think you should talk about it. Both of you and Nathan. He seems strange..."

"Think that's just the way he is," I shrugged. "It was just weird in there.."

She left it at that, not wanting to push me. Carol knew when to stop, unlike Rick who continued to pester me with questions. I understood of course, he wanted to keep everyone safe.

"Have you guys nothing to do?" I asked.

Daryl and Carol shook their heads.

"If I don't get out of here soon I'll throw myself off one of the towers," I sighed, rubbing my face.


I groaned, Nathan approached us smiling like he had found chocolate. I'd kill for chocolate right now.

"I said come with me!"

"I'm still-"

"Carol and Daryl are here aren't they? Now c'mon we're gonna save the world."

"Your enthusiasm annoys me," I muttered.

He chuckled, grabbing my hands and pulling me to stand up.

"Wait, whateryadoin'?" Daryl asked, standing up as well.

"Using Harleigh, she'll be ba-"

"Nuh uh! Y'ain't doin' nothin' t'her! We're keepin' 'er away from those creeps so they couldn't do weird shit to 'er!"

I felt odd being around Daryl, we hadn't really spoken since the other night when I basically threw myself at him. Not that we were ignoring each other, we were just both busy.

"It's different. If it'll shut you up you can come too," Nate said, dragging me towards the door.

Daryl grabbed his crossbow and followed us inside. Nathan led the way down the corridors and into a room.

"Alright, where did you get all this shit?" I asked, looking at all the equipment lying around the room.

"I went back to Woodbury."

"You did what? Nate goddamn you are going to-"

"Shut up. You sound like my mother," he smirked, kicking two chairs over to us. We both sat down.

"That guy, Milky-"

"Milton," I corrected.

"Yeah, him. He had been trying to do something, took down notes," he held up a familiar notepad. "Now hold out your arm I'm gonna take your blood."

I hesitantly held up my forearm and he pulled a needle out of a duffle bag.

"You're not afraid of needles are you?" he asked, pulling the wrapper case off.

"No," I mumbled.

Nathan started laughing, hysterically. I blushed and bit my lip.

"Hey, shut up," Daryl warned.

Nathan's mouth snapped shut and he nodded.

"Sorry," he chuckled. "There will be short prick-but you're used to that, right?"

I raised my eyebrow at him.

"I'm kidding," he added, quickly glancing at Daryl.

Daryl huffed a sigh and stood up, causing Nathan to flinch. Daryl walked around him and started looking through drawers in the room. Nathan took my arm gently his his hand. Daryl turned back around at the sound of my gasp. I felt the cool metal slide under my skin and drag out my blood. Nathan took it out and placed it on the table, throwing a packet over to me. He then started fumbling around with the drawers in the desk. I shakily tried to open the packet. Daryl crossed the room and snatched it off me. He tore it open and took out a plaster and placed it on the tiny hole in my arm.

"Think that's all I need for now," Nathan said, not looking up from piece of paper he was scribbling on. Daryl grabbed the top of my arm and steered me out of the room. Once the door shut his hand slid down to mine. He didn't look at me as we walked back through the corridors and dropped it again once we were out in the open.

"Feelin' okay?" he asked, his eyes surveying the area.

I nodded my head.

"HARLEIGH!" Charlotte yelled, throwing her tiny body into my arms.

I swung her up onto my hip, feeling Daryl's hand on my back to stop me from toppling over.

"Heya sweetie," I smiled at her before kissing her cheek.

I put her back down and she ran off again.

"Leigh, I don' wan' ya goin' in there by y'self," Daryl said, watching Charlotte gallop around with the other children.

"Why not?" I asked. He hesitated staring blankly at the trees lining the prison fence, squinting through the Georgia sun.

"Y'fraid'a'needles," he smirked.

I knew it was something more than that, but I didn't push it.

"Am not," I grumbled.

I looked up from the ground seeing Beth in the corner of my eye approaching me. Maggie was following her behind, calling her back. I frowned as Beth neared, hands on her hips.

"Are you alright?" I asked.

"Could you do something for me?" she asked, sweetly.

Her eyes darted up to Daryl then back to me.

"Sure," I replied, hesitantly.

Beth took my hand and led me away from Daryl towards Maggie.

"I need, uh... girl supplies," she whispered quietly.

My mouth made an "o" shape.

"I'm too embarrassed to ask one of the guys... Maggie won't go... I don't wanna say it to anyone else. You can go, can't you?" she asked, nervously.

"Sure, but I gotta ask Rick if I can actually leave."

"I'll go with you," Maggie offered. I nodded.

"I'll go too. I want to," Beth said firmly.

"Beth no-"

"Yeah you can," I shrugged.


"What? She can't stay cooped up here forever!"

"What's going on?" Rick asked, striding over.

Beth glanced at the ground, turning red as Hershel, Glenn and Daryl joined him.

"We're going on a run," I said, quickly just as Nathan appeared outside.

His eyes found the forming group and he strolled over, hands in his pockets.

"You're not leaving this prison, Harleigh we already spoke about this," Rick sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Well we gotta get something."

"What is it, we'll get it."

"I think we can do it ourselves, thanks," I replied, feeling annoyed.

Rick paused momentarily and nodded. As soon as he gave the signal, Glenn and Daryl started arguing with him.

"Y'can't send them by themselves!" Daryl barked, pointing at the three of us.

"And why not?" I asked, raising my brow.

"Well... y'girls," he shrugged. I scowled at him.

"We're goin', by ourselves."

"I'll come too," Glenn said.

Beth's eyes met mine, she had remained silent and crimson.

"No. We know how to defend ourselves," I sighed.

"Beth sure doesn't," Hershel pointed out.

"I'll keep her safe."

"I think we should let them go," Nathan added.

"Thank you, Nate!" I grinned.

He gave me a quick wink, receiving a scowl from Daryl.

"Can't send women out by 'emselves! Ain't right!"

"Oh for crying out loud. Look, I get that you guys want to keep us safe but what happens if something happens to one of you guys out on a run? We need to fend for ourselves. I'll bring Sam, if a pair of balls is that important," I spat, shoving past Daryl and Glenn.

I went inside and grabbed my leather jacket, machete, revolver, bow and arrow. Doing things like this reminded me of the times I'd forget my car keys. Simpler times but it used to tick me off how forgetful I was. I turned to see Maggie in the doorway.

"That was awesome," she gleamed. I smiled a little.

"I'm just sick of sitting around doing other people's laundry."

Maggie nodded.

"Michonne's coming along too."

"Alright," I said, slinging my bow onto my back and following her outside.

"Harleigh," Nathan said jogging over.

"Hey, thanks for sticking up for us," I smiled.

"No problem. Sorry to be pessimistic but... if some one gets bit... take blood," he said quietly, slipping a packaged needle into my hand. "Before you say I only let you go in hopes of an experiment, you're wrong. Thought of it afterwards."

So, Nathan can now read minds.

"But no one will," he smiled. "Still, be careful I need you."

I laughed. "I'm gonna go now."

I strolled over to Michonne, Beth and Maggie.

"Right, no one fuck up. I'm trying to prove a point," I said to them quietly.

They nodded, smiling with amusement. I then called Sam, who bounded over in seconds. I climbed in behind the wheel of the SUV. We rolled out of the prison towards one of the many nearby towns. We remained quiet, I could almost feel Beth's nerves radiating off her. I glanced back at her in the mirror.

"You'll be fine, we get in and out again."

She smiled gratefully and nodded. Silence fell once again as I focused back on the road. The engine was smooth a quiet, just as I wanted. Nothing is allowed go wrong on this trip. I still couldn't believe they were so reluctant to let us leave. Especially Daryl's reason. When I get back I'll give him a piece of my mind. Michonne let out a short giggle. It was so quick and unexpected that I thought my ears were playing tricks on me. It wasn't until Maggie starting laughing that I knew I hadn't imagined it.

"What?" I asked, baffled as Beth started too.

"I dunno! Just... can you believe them?" Maggie laughed.

"Stop, I thought I was literally going to kick some one's balls up into their throat," I mumbled.

They laughed even louder.

" 'I'll bring Sam, if a pair of balls is that important'," Maggie quoted.

I cracked a grin at my own smartassness.

"They better watch their backs when we get back," Michonne added.

We quietened down after that, only smiling when we caught one another's eye. I drove the car into an unfamiliar town, stopping outside a pharmacy. Our buckles clicked open simultaneously and we climbed out.

"At least we don't have to deal with paying for parking," Michonne commented through the silence.

We all jumped at the sound of shuffling. My eyes scanned the area, searching for what was making the noise. I glanced down at Sam who remained calm by my side. Must be a bird.

"Michonne and Beth you go in, Maggie and I will stay here... Make sure no one is around. Call us if there's any trouble," I instructed.

Michonne unsheathed her katana, the scraping of metal sang through the air. She edged inside, Beth behind her, gun held up and ready. I frowned as the shuffling turned to knocking. I glanced at Maggie.

"It's coming from the trunk," she whispered.

I flicked my head for her to follow me to the back of the car. I raised my machete.


Maggie flung open the boot, a high pitched scream caught me off guard causing me to drop my weapon, it fell under the car. I threw myself on the ground and crawled under the vehicle, my fingers curled around the handle.

"Shhh, shhhh. It's ok, it's ok, you're fine!" Maggie was saying.

I frowned and slid back out from under the car. I stood up slowly and brushed myself off. I was nearly tackled to the ground again by a red blur.

"CHARLOTTE!" I screeched.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Harleigh!"

"What are you doing here?!" I demanded.

She was shaking her head, face buried in my stomach.

"I didn't wanna be left alone."

"Carol would have looked after you!" I snapped. I grabbed her shoulders and brought space between us.

I crouched down to her level and gave her the sternest look I could muster. Tears began to trickle down her lightly freckled cheeks.

"I was scared!" she sobbed. I sighed a little.

"Lottie, no one in that prison is gonna do you any harm," I said softly.

She nodded her head slowly and sniffled. I pulled her in and hugged her tightly, glancing up at Maggie.

"But what about you?" Charlotte whimpered. I leaned back again and looked at her.

"You needn't worry about me. Don't I have Michonne, Maggie and Beth with me?"

"But they're not the officer or Nathan or Carol or-or Daryl."

"They're doing a pretty good job now aren't they? I'm okay," I smiled.

She nodded slowly, seeming unconvinced. Michonne and Beth were back outside now. They looked to Maggie for an explanation, she shook her head and they got into the car.

"C'mon, we're going home see? Not a scratch on any of us," I opened the door for her and she climbed into the middle.

I looked down at Sam.

"You guys gonna have to put up with this mutt," I apologised, lifting him in as he was hesitant to sit on people.

I got in behind the wheel and began the short trip back. Carl opened the gates for us and he followed us back up to the prison. Our whole group came out of the prison, watching as I put the brake on. I got out first.

"What y'all starin' at?" I asked, frowning.

Carol's worried expression was what made me nervous.

"What's going on?" Maggie asked.

My eyes darted to every face of our group.

"Where's Daryl?" I asked, slowly.

"Harleigh... maybe you should sit down," Rick mumbled.

I shook my head.

"Just, c'mon, what's happened?" I asked, my voice barely audible.

Silence shortly fell.

"Charlotte's missing."

To say that I was relieved was an understatement. They all seemed shocked when I smiled and let out a happy sigh.

"She's in the back," I explained. "Hid in the trunk before we left."

Carol's hand flew to her heart as little Charlotte slid out of the back of the car followed by Sam. She giggled as he licked her face. Rick approached her slowly and crouched down in front her.

"Sweetheart, you're not in trouble. But next time make sure to tell some one where you are alright?" he said, getting straight to the point. She nodded and quietly apologised.

"Will I go get Daryl?" I asked, a little too eagerly.

I needed to thank him for going and searching for her. Rick nodded his head.

"Yeah, I'll go with you."

We set off on foot, seeing as we both had weapons on hand. Rick led the way to where Daryl had disappeared into the woods. Thankfully I still remembered tracking tips off Daryl and followed his trail. We were hacking through walkers in seconds. Rick swept their heads off the shoulders with his axe while I embedded my machete into several skulls, yanking it out with satisfactory results. We soon came across a stream.

"Shit," I mumbled.

Rick glanced at me, breathing heavily, eyes squinted in an attempt to shelter them from the sweat rolling down his forehead. I wiped mine with the back of my hand, placing my machete into it's holster.

"I dunno which way he went after this," I continued, my eyes searching the trees lining the stream.

Rick began evaluating the situation. The only sounds were the trickling water and the leaves brushing against each other in the breeze.

"I don't want him out here all night by himself. I don't care if he's done it before, it isn't safe," Rick said, between breaths. "He couldn't have just vanished."

"He may have crossed over to the other side, but it looks untouched," I voiced my thoughts.

"Wait, what's this?" Rick whispered.

I glanced at the ground where he was pointing. He walked over to it and held it up to me. It was a cut rope, covered in muck. My eyes flew up to the trees, a torn net hung above us.

"This was some kinda hunting trap," I said.

Rick nodded.

"This way."

We slowly began to follow a new trail. This trail had several different foot prints, maybe five. The prints were on either side of a long. wide, deep line, as if some one had dragged a bag of potatoes...or a body... along the ground. Rick registered this just as I did and we picked up the pace to a jog and then as panic set in, a sprint. We seemed to run on endlessly through the trees, I nearly ran into a few. The familiar feeling of branches and twigs snatching at my clothes brought back old memories of being alone in this very forest. It just made me feel even more uneasy. I smacked into Rick's back as his heels dug into the dirt. He reached behind him and put his arm around my shoulders, pulling us down to a crouch. He edged closer to whatever he had spotted a head. I crawled up beside him behind a bush.

"The meat on this one will be tough to cook! You boys shoulda warned me before goin' out! I woulda had the water boiled!" A woman's voice was saying.

I looked over at Rick who's face had drained of colour. The hell was going on? I went to sit up and look over the leaves hiding us but Rick held me down firmly. I looked at him with confusion. He shook his head and moved over slightly so I could peer through a thin part of the bush. My heart jumped to my throat. Daryl was bound to a deck chair, a potato sack over his head. He wasn't moving.

"Sorry, Ma, weren't expectin' it," a man's voice sounded through my shocked senses.

I blinked a few times, trying to remain calm. Really every nerve in my body was screaming bloody murder as my fight or flight senses kicked in. I reached behind me, quietly slid an arrow out of my quiver. Rick's hand fell on my wrist. He shook his head. I pulled my arm away from him a took a cigarette lighter out of my pocket. I held the arrow between my knees, crouching so it didn't touch the ground. I cuffed my hand over the lighter, flinching as every click failed to light a flame. Rick's head went back and forth from Daryl and I as if watching an intense tennis match.

Finally a tiny flame lit the shadow of my hand. I placed it under the arrow. Smoke began to rise as the wooden arrow began to glow orange. The fire caught on and I loaded it quickly onto my bow. I stood up and aimed at one of the three tents. It soared through the air, punctured a hole in the roof and everything went quiet. Rick yanked me back down to the ground before anyone saw me. Blood pumped through my veins as I willed the tent to burst into flames. I spotted more smoke and nearly fell over with happiness. A long flame licked the tree nearest the burning tent. Curses and shouts were heard from the camp.

"TO THE WATER, TO THE WATER!" The woman screeched.

A whole herd of humans galloped past us, spears in their hands. Rick threw himself over me, as if shielding me. We remained quiet until the camp emptied itself. Rick looked down at me wide-eyed, still covering me from the potential threat. I swallowed and glanced at the small space between us.

"Uh... You go get him, I'll make sure they don't come back," Rick said, sitting up slowly.

I nodded, climbed to my feet and hurried into the clearing. The fire was now spreading. Smoke filled my lungs causing my eyes to water. The smell of burning plastic filled the air. I loosened the rope around Daryl's neck that was tying the brown sack tightly to him. I pulled it over his head. His eyes flickered open.

"Harleigh? Wasgoinon?"

I kissed his forehead.

"You're a stupid moron, that's what's going on," I smirked. "I might just leave you like this."

"Where's Charlotte?"

"We've got her,"I told him untying his hands.

I pulled him to stand up, he wobbled slightly. A bruised had formed on his forehead. I covered my mouth to stop me from inhaling too much smoke. I led Daryl out of the clearing, called Rick and we fled the scene as quickly as possible. We reached the prison and I followed Daryl up to his room, waiting with him to get checked by Hershel. Carol told us he was in the other block. Before she went to find him she gave me a cloth and a basin filled with cold water.

"How many times have I saved your ass Daryl Dixon?" I asked, smugly.

I dunked the cloth into the water and rung it out before slapping it onto his forehead. He grunted and put his hand on the cloth holding it to the bruise.

He scowled, putting his feet up on the bed.

"I saved y'double that!"

"Oh yeah? Let's count."

I picked up a stone on the cell floor. I scraped H and D onto the cell wall.

"Second time we met-"

"I had that under control... and that was Carol not me."

"Fine... The time you fell in the forest," I scraped a line under H.

"I rescued y'from the house 'nd the mall."

Two lines under D.

"I got you the first time with Danny."

Line under H.

"Helped each other the second time."

Line each.

"The time at the hotel," I mumbled, as if ashamed.

Point for Daryl.

"When you were shot, one for me."

"I stayed wicha when y'were bit."

"And today."

We both had five each. Four little lines dashed by one.

"Well, I be damned," I mumbled, already feeling a competitive tension rising in the room.

I looked away from the wall to him. He smiled slightly back at me.

"How many asses have we saved together?" he asked.

I rolled my eyes.

"Let's not start that."


I crossed the tiny cell and sat down on the bunk.

"Y'know, if some day this all goes to shit-"

"Daryl,"I groaned with a sigh.

"Leigh, y'know s'well me that it could. If it does, we ain't leavin' each other. Y'got it? I got y'back y'got mine, right?"

I smiled and nodded.

He gazed at the wall for a moment.

"Was I some one's dinner tonight?"

"Yup," I laughed.

He crinkled his nose.

"Good lord, cannibals too."


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

wolvesyroses wolvesyroses

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

Gilyflower Gilyflower

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

reddeadwalker reddeadwalker

Amazing writing, as always.

SierraaDixon SierraaDixon

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

elissa_mirinda elissa_mirinda