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Tethered

Chapter 8

Chapter Eight


Merle slept in the next day, Heather climbed over his sleeping form, again being very careful not to wake him. She ate breakfast with Maggie who looked tired.

"You okay?"

"Fine..."

Hershel came limping down the stairs, putting a stop to their awkward conversation. He looked over the two of them talking, taking a seat a table away from them.

"Hungry?" Heather asked, getting up and heading over to the vat of oats.

"Thank you, Heather."

"You sleep okay?"

"I've had better."

"Looks like everyone had it pretty rough." Hershel ate his breakfast, Maggie washed her bowl up and walked out, without saying a word.

"Like I said...everyone had a rough night." Hershel laughed.

"Heather...can I ask you something?" Hershel and Heather hadn't really spoken. He was kind and polite, always the first to ask how she was but they had never really had the chance to have a conversation. She nodded.

"It's about Woodbury...The Governor."

"Right."

"He...he tried to kill you?" Hershel had finished his breakfast but was still looking in his bowl.

"Yeah, he uh...he told Damien to drive me somewhere and shoot me."

"For being assaulted." he was being very careful with the way he spoke, Heather could tell he didn't want to upset her.

"Yeah..."

"If he knew you were here, do you think he'd come for you?"

"Honestly? While I was in Woodbury I was completely oblivious. I was blinded by how grateful I was. The town was a home to me. I was accepted and welcomed. We were a community." Heather could feel herself tearing up, the memories she had of Woodbury now tarnished by what had happened. "It was all lies though. Merle's said as much. That The Governor wasn't who he said he was, that stuff happened that I didn't know about."

"But you...what would he do to you."

"I don't know...but I can't imagine it would be good. Hershel, this isn't something to be taken lightly, this war with Woodbury. They have ammunition, plenty of it."

"I know...I just, I wanted to know...I don't know."

"Maggie...and Beth? I understand." Hershel looked at her now, his blue eyes sad.

"I need to know if he's callous....viscous?"

"I'm sorry Hershel, I don't know what to say."

"Don't worry Heather, you don't have to say anything."

Rick joined them after a while, scratching his beard as him and Hershel dodged around an awkward conversation. Heather tried to see the meaning behind the looks they would occasionally give each other but gave up quickly, taking a bowl of oatmeal up to Merle.

He was sitting on the side of the bed when Heather walked in, head held up by his good arm, staring at the floor.

"Morning..."

He didn't react, just continued to stare at the floor.

"You hungry? Got you some breakfast."

"Thanks Sugar." Still nothing, Heather sat beside him, placing the bowl of oatmeal on the floor between his feet, directly in his sightline.

He looked at her now, eyes searching Heathers, his eyes were so sad, Heather found it hard to look at him, unsure of what was in his head.

"Merle..." His fingers were under Heathers chin, raising her head so she was again looking into his eyes. His hand stalled there, fingers tracing her jaw as he continued to look straight into her
eyes.

"Heather...you helping me today?" Her head whipped to the door, where Carol stood a heavy bag balanced on her hip.

"I...yeah of course I am." Her head turned back to Merle, who's hand had fallen to his side, his gaze back on the floor. "You with Daryl today?"

He grunted in reply, not looking at Heather again, though his eyes lingered on the space she had sat in for a long time after she'd left.

Heather was on washing duty with Carol today, they had already set up the rest of the prison with plenty of ammunition. Now they were waiting, doing the everyday jobs that needed doing, despite their not-everyday situation.

Carol and Heather talked of anything but the battle they both knew loomed over their lives. Carol talked about Judith, and how happy she was, how completely and utterly unaware of what surrounded her.

"Merle likes her." Heather added, after a few minutes of silence.

"Yeah...I'd noticed. He's changed."

"Merle?"

"Mmmm...before, he was vicious. I don't know if it was the drugs, but he...he's different now. Don't get me wrong, he's still, erm, quick tempered." Heather laughed.

"That's putting it lightly."

"I think that's down to you." Carols hand patted Heathers as she folded a pair of over washed jeans.

"Thank you, but I'm sure I can't take all the credit. I think this world, I don't think anyone could stay the same. I was so spoilt before, I never wanted for anything. Merle's changed me as well. He's made me stronger, I think."

"We all shape each other, I guess we all need each other now more than ever."

"You think he's going to be okay here? Merle?"

"I think he can...for you."

Merle was absent for the rest of the day, Heather worked hard with Carol, making sure to keep her mind occupied. Even when they sat down to eat for the evening Merle was nowhere to be seen.

"Daryl?" Heather hardly spoke to the younger Dixon brother, if she did it was normally in the presence of Merle.

"Yeah?"

"Have you seen Merle?"

Daryl looked up from his dinner, his eyebrow raised.

"Ain't been with me all day. Said he was with you."

Heather almost laughed, Merle was like a teenager.

"Of course he did."

"I'll go find him." He didn't even finish his dinner, putting the plate in front of Carl he nodded to Heather before he left the room.

Merle came back late that night, Heather was already in bed, fast asleep. She woke when he practically fell into bed, kicking his shoes into the corner of the room. She heard his jeans fall to the floor, his belt still attached hitting the metal frame of the bed as they fell. Heather sat up, Merle reacted by pushing her back into place, his arms snaking round Heathers waist. He didn't say anything as his head dropped to her stomach. It wasn't comfortable, the metal of his new arm dug into her back, she was practically propped up in bed. Knowing her back would hurt in the morning, she ignored it and let Merle sleep, eventually falling off herself.

Merle wasn't there when she woke up the next morning, and true to her predictions last night she was stiff. Pulling on a threadbare t-shirt and jeans Heather walked down the stairs, greeting Hershel and Rick who were in deep conversation. She didn’t stop to find out what it was they were talking about. Checking the prison, Heather couldn't find Merle.

She checked everywhere, or at least everywhere she was brave enough to look. Back up in the cells she stood in the doorway to her unused room, the blankets still folded on the end of her bunk.

She heard Daryl, shouting, from somewhere in the prison. Following his voice Heather walked along hallways she hadn't even seen before. Leading her further into the prison. Rick and Daryl were stood in a dark room, which Heather assumed was once some kind of boiler room.

"What's wrong?" She asked, the two men turned to her, both of their faces grim.

"I can't find Merle or Michonne." Heather nodded in agreement.

"I've been looking all morning."

"They've gone."

"Come on." Rick was trying to get Daryl to leave.

"He was in here. Said he was looking for drugs." Heathers heart fell, she had no idea how low
Merle had sunk. "Said a lot of things, actually." Daryl looked at Heather, his eyes dark as they didn't leave her face.

"Like what?" Rick finally caught his attention.

"Said that you were gonna change your mind."

Heather had no idea what the two men were talking about, but Daryl was already bolting out of the room, as Rick made a futile attempt to stop him.

"Daryl, Daryl wait up...where are you going?"

"Goin' to get my brother back."

"Back? Back from where...Daryl please."

He didn't stop, so neither did Heather, as she followed him through the prison grounds to the gates Rick followed all the way.

"You should stay." Rick said, as they opened the gates, Daryl not paying them any attention.

"Why? If Merle is gone I'm going to get him." Rick just studied her, not bothering to argue as they both continued to chase Daryl through the woods, who was now looking at the ground, tracking something Heather couldn't even see.

They hadn't been running for long when Daryl stopped.

"Yeah, he took her here.They mixed it up..." He said, pointing at the ground.

"Damn it! I'm going after him." Rick was ready to move when Daryl held out an arm.

"You can't track for shit."

"Then the both of us."

"No, just me." The men continued to argue, both completely forgetting Heather was there.

"I'll go." Their heads whipped round, almost as if they'd forgotten about her all together.

Daryl laughed. "And what do ya think you're gonna do."

"Get him back."

He didn’t laugh now, his blue eyes found Heathers, who didn't back down.

"Fine." He said before turning towards Rick "You need to be ready. Your family, too. They're gonna come back here." Rick gave Daryl a look that Heather couldn't read. The two men
stared at each other, before Daryl nodded, signalling that Rick could go back to the prison.

In silence Daryl carried on through the woods, not even turning to check if Heather was following him. She struggled to keep up, Daryl would dart through the trees, his feet so light, Heather swore he didn’t make a sound. Heather on the other hand broke every twig she could, making so much noise she was sure they'd be attacked by walkers at any moment.

Finally they got to the road. Where they continued to run, not stopping for anything, both of them intent on saving the person they both needed most in the world.

Notes

Comments

Your writing is really good, I love the relationship between Merle and Heather can't wait to hear more of the story. Please update!!

Amy cook Amy cook
5/14/16

Finallyyyyyyyyyyy hahah! I loved it!

rachelloyd rachelloyd
4/28/16

@rachelloyd


I'm workin' on it...and I have ANOTHER day off tomorrow so it will probably be up then!

Hopefully things won't be too awkward!

:D:D

xoxo

WasHangerlane WasHangerlane
4/26/16

Yessssss it finally happened and now ol' Merle is all shy hahaha. Please update super soon, I need to see what changes between the two of them! x

rachelloyd rachelloyd
4/26/16

@rachelloyd


Thank you thank you thank you!

It makes me so happy to read all y'all nice comments n stuff, and to see that you're enjoying it, hope you like the new chapter, even if there isn't a lot of Merle

xoxo

WasHangerlane WasHangerlane
4/14/16