The car and the truck were both full before they left. They'd filled them with anything they could get their hands on. The third bard, the one filled with walkers, was rammed with amazing finds. Though the smell was overpowering, Heather wrapped Merles bandana round her face, once again relishing the smell of smoke and petrol. Passing the 'fresh' food section however, the group found a gold mine of non-perishable foods. There was two whole shelves of dried fruit, all packaged to last years. Cans and cans of beans and vegetables, Heather really couldn't believe their luck as she continued to load boxes into the back of the truck.
It wasn't just food, there was a huge BBQ that Daryl and Glenn had heaved into the bed of the truck, securing it with a tightly knotted rope. Anything they could fit they took, shovels, rakes, buckets, seeds, if they could lift it, it was going to the prison.
"We'll come back, soon." Daryl said before they left, looking at the still stacked shelves.
"We got real lucky with this one." Heather answered, smiling at the younger Dixon.
The ride back to the prison was less quiet. Through a few well aimed questions she found out Eric was as obsessed with SCI-FI as she was. They spoke in length about their favourite novels, and Heather almost genuinely cried when he talked about never watching Star Wars again.
"The prison has electricity...Daryl you can convince Rick to screen it? Movie night!!" Eric was getting excited now, she watched as he practically bounced in his seat, earning him a dirty look from Daryl.
"Ain'twastin' that for your nerd night." Heather couldn't help but laugh, the sound filed the truck, Eric joined in and she even saw Daryl smirk as she continued to giggle.
"Next time we’re raiding houses I'll look for a copy...there's gotta be a portable DVD player that runs off batteries right?" She whispered to Eric, just loud enough for Daryl to hear. This time she actually heard him laugh, enjoying the noise more than she should. As they drove towards the prison, with a truck full of supplies, the windows down, Heather couldn't help but feel hopeful, something she was scared of, vbt the feeling crept over her and she let it, loving the idea of safety washing over them.
The journey felt shorter on the way back, before Heather realised they were pulling up to the prison, following Glenn driving through the gates, she waved at Michonne pulling them open. Heather had barely jumped out of the truck when he grabbed her, his stump finding the small of her back as he enveloped her in a hug.
"What are you doing up?"
"Ain'tgonna stay locked in ma cell." She smiled into his vest, his smell even stronger than from the bandana.
"I told you we'd be fine." He hadn’t let her go, his fingers were playing with the dry ends of her hair as he told her to shut up.
"He's been pacing the yard like a caged tiger." Michonne was behind her, a small smile on her lips as Merle finally let her go.
"Thanks for watching him...how long did he actually stay in bed for?"
"Was up and annoying us about 10 minutes after you left" Heather laughed, watching Merle as he talked to Daryl.
"Sorry." Heather winced at the idea of Merle, bouncing around, driving the rest of the prison crazy.
"No need to apologise...pretty sure the only thing warming anyone to Merle is how much he loves you."
Heather scoffed. She'd never really thought about it like that...love. Merle and Heather had been through more in the last few months than families go through in life times, they depended on each other. But love? Heather looked over at the man who was now slapping Daryl on the back, a huge grin spread across his face.
Of Couse she loved him, she'd known it from the moment she'd been separated from him at Woodbury, she needed him now. The nights spent alone, the days spent fighting just to get back to him. But Heather hesitated at the idea of love. This new world created new feelings, and made everything powerful. Was it just knight in shining armour syndrome? The world was ending and Merle was keeping her safe. She'd avoided thinking about it before, there were a lot of distractions. But now, standing in the prison yard, with their new found home and friends, Heather was suddenly hit with the idea of a future with Merle.
Before she could think anymore, a hand waved in front of her eyes. Shaking her head she turned to Glenn beside her.
"World to Heather..."
"Sorry...did you say something?"
"I was saying, Rick wants us to go back. Not now, couple of days. You up for it?"
"Don't wanna leave it too long, yeah I'm coming." She was still staring at Merle as he continued to talk to Daryl, wincing every now and then when he pulled at his stitches.
"Good." He followed her eye-line, shaking his head.
That night they ate well, not caring that supplies were something that wouldn't last forever, just caring, that for once, they were warm, safe and full. Heather didn’t retreat to the cell that night, once Merle had eaten, his eventful day of waiting for Heather to return finally caught up with him. She smiled as he made his excuses, but watched him carefully as he winced at every step.
"He's fine." Daryl said as she watched him "Jus' needs to heal up." Heather nodded, affording Daryl a smile.
"I know...doesn't stop you worrying does it."
"This might?" She turned to Glenn who was fiddling with the cords on his backpack, tugging it open he pulled out a bottle, he got a well earned raised eyebrow from Daryl.
"We deserve it. After today? We..." But Daryl didn't let him finish before he was leaning over, grabbing the bottle of wine out of Glenn's hand.
"I ain'tsayin' we don't deserve it...just questionin' your decision makin'." He gave Glenn a pointed look "CDC? Said you weren’t evadrinkin' again."
Glenn laughed, loudly, again earning him a few glares from the rest of the prison. He was still laughing when Maggie bought over mismatched mugs for all of them, decanting the deep red wine into each.
"To the prison." Glenn said, raising his mug high with a huge grin on his face.
"To Andrea." Maggie added, a sombre look on her face.
"To Lori, to T-Dog." Glenn carried on, his grin now fading.
"To Dale, Jaqcui, Sophia and Amy." Daryl joined in.
"Ottis, Patricia, Jimmy." Maggie was tearing up, biting her bottom lip as Glenn threw an arm over her shoulders, pulling her towards him,
"To Thomas." Heather added, looking to the ground.
They drank, sure they'd forgotten people, unable to keep adding names to the ever growing list of the friends.
"This ain't some pity party is it?" Daryl was already filling up a second mug, moving to fill Heathers in her hand.
Glenn was nodding along, holding out his mug to be filled up.
They drank late into the night, Glenn emptying the bag full of wine he'd swiped that day. As they drank, they all revealed more about themselves. Heather laughed loudly when Glenn spoke passionately about video games, revealing that the first time he shot a zombie was in Resident Evil, prompting a 20 minute argument about what was the best zombie killing video game.
"Ain'tkillin' real life walkers enough for you?" Daryl interjected, "Anyway, Heathers right, it's Left for Dead."
Once she started to fall asleep in her chair, Heather decided it was probably time to go to bed. She said goodnight to the three survivors, slurring her thanks to Glenn for the wine as they all laughed, struggling to keep awake themselves.
Merle was fast asleep in his cell, his stump curled beneath his head as she watched his chest rise and fall, his breath coming steady in sleep. Removing the dirty clothes she'd worn that day she pulled on the huge t-shirt she wore for bed, pulling away the sheets of her cot she looked over to the other one, occupied by Merle.
She let the covers fall over her cot, making her way slowly toward Merle she tripped over his boots. Falling into the side of his bed. Righting herself she took another look, he was still asleep as she crawled into the bed next to him.
He stirred slightly, adjusting his body to allow Heather to get under the sheets with him. She aligned her face with his, smiling as he slowly woke, his eyes fluttering open.
"Wha you want sugar?" He asked, his voice raspier than usual.
"Nothing....just, nothing." She continued to stare at him as she adjusted himself in bed, she sat up ever so slightly to look down at him, swaying as the room spun around her. Merle studied her in the dim light from the walkway. "You feeling okay?" Her eyes raking over his injuries.
"What's the matta with you?" He asked, squinting up at her.
"Nothing." She said, giggling involuntarily.
"You been drinkin'?" He laughed, sniffing at her breath.
Giggling more she just bit her lip, letting her hair fall into her face as she looked down at him.
"Get some sleep English...ya drunk."
"And...ya don't wanna feel any worse in thamornin." He pushed her down onto the mattress his hand resting on her shoulder as their roles were reversed, he was now looking down at her "Where'd ya get it anyway?"
"Thought he was wit the farmers daughter."
"He is?" She answered, not seeing what Merle was getting at.
"Than what yadoin' late night drinkin' with him?"
"Why?" Heather pushed herself up on her shoulders, bringing her face closer to Merles. "You jealous."
He didn't reply, just looked at her, his face unreadable as propped herself up.
"Go ta sleep English..." Merle started to pull his gaze away from her, but stopped, Heather gripping his hand with her own.
Pushing herself up with her elbows, closing the small distance that was between the two of them Heathers lips met Merles. It was a cautious kiss, Merle didn't move, just allowed her to continue. It was over in seconds as Heather pulled away from him, still in the exact same position. She stayed propped up on her shoulders for a while, looking uncertainly into his eyes, biting her lip as he continued to look down at her.
"Go ta sleep Heather." He said, not looking at her now, before collapsing on the other side of the bed, hid back to her.
Heather fell back onto the bed, releasing a long, drawn out breath, staring at the prison ceiling above her.
I hope you like it :D
comments/ratings etc are always welcome, let me know what you think