After The End
“Son of a bitch. They’re alive.”
Rosie’s gun was grabbed in an instant at the two men who watched Rick, Herschel and Glenn smugly. She clutched it in her hand, making sure it was visible without yet being pointed at them. She would wait until Rick had his pointed.
They stepped in closer, allowing the door to swing shut behind them and momentarily unaware of her standing to their right behind the bar.
“We heard voices,” the thinner one commented, a cocky smile taking over his face. He looked well-kept, his clothes relatively clean and his face free of dirt and walker blood. “Didn’t think for a second they would be coming from actual livin’ people.”
“Well, well, well,” the larger one had finally noticed Rosie and she cringed as she felt his eyes rake over her top half. “A pretty lady.”
She kept quiet, glaring at the two as they both smiled at her and made her skin crawl.
“May we?” the thinner one directed this at Rick and took a seat at one of the tables in the middle of the bar, motioning for his friend to join him. They both sat lazily, one at the table and one at the bar between Rosie and Herschel, in stark contrast to Rosie’s group who were all on edge, fingers on weapons. “I’m Dave. That scrawny-looking douchebag there is Tony.”
Tony chuckled from where he sat on the barstool, facing the others but still keeping an eye on Rosie to his left. “Eat me, Dave.”
“Hey, maybe someday I will,” Dave responded, making his friend chuckle and making Rosie roll her eyes. She took a tentative step back, noticing as Tony whipped his head to glance at her. He winked and licked his lips, making her frown in disgust.
“I’m Glenn,” Glenn spoke up and it frustrated Rosie how relaxed he and the others seemed to be now. “Nice to meet some new people.”
Rick poured clear liquor into a few shot glasses, passing them around to Glenn, Dave, Tony and keeping one for himself. When he raised his eyebrow at Rosie, she just shook her head slightly.
“You don’t want one, sugar?” Dave asked her, catching her small movement.
She glared at him for a moment before speaking. “I don’t drink,” her voice dripped with thick venom.
“What’s that then, sweetheart?” Tony nodded his head towards the glass of vodka she had been drinking earlier.
“Sorry, I meant I don’t drink with assholes,” she spoke, her tone even and cool. The two men laughed loudly, making her uneasy in the otherwise quiet town.
“Looks like we got ourselves a feisty one, Tone,” Dave said between laughs, a wide grin on his face as he looked at her once more. “What’s your name, sugar?”
“Sure as shit ain’t sugar,” she responded and Dave’s grin grew bigger.
“What about you, fella?” Dave turned his attention to Herschel.
“I just quit,” the older man responded, suddenly noticing how the stranger next to him was inching closer to Rosie.
“You have a unique sense of timing, my friend.”
Rosie rolled her eyes as Dave made a toast, seeing through his fakery in an instant. She frowned as Rick and Glenn threw their shots back, Tony taking the opportunity to stand from his stool and laze against the bar, carelessly making his way closer to her. She caught Herschel’s eye and nodded her head in an attempt to reassure him that she was okay.
“I ain’t gonna bite ya, honey,” Tony smirked at her when he noticed her taking a few steps further, bringing her out from behind the bar and closer to the exit. “Hell, ya can even sit on my lap if ya want.”
“No, thanks,” Rosie said with disgust, holding her gun tightly by her side.
Her posture straightened considerably, just as Rick’s did, when Dave pulled a small pistol from his waistband, noticing Rick looking at it. “Not bad, huh?” He said, holding it in his palm and glancing up at the man. “I got it off a cop.”
“I’m a cop,” Rick said and Rosie was glad to hear that his voice had cooled down considerably.
“This one was already dead,” Dave smiled and rose as he spoke, tucking the gun back into his waistband and sitting back down while Tony looked at Rick lazily.
As Rick made small talk, trying to see where the men had come from, Glenn still seemed comfortable enough as he relaxed on the bar. Rosie’s eyes narrowed when she caught Tony and Dave exchange a glance, before Tony turned his attention back to Rick. She was relieved that they weren’t watching her as closely anymore, allowing her to sneak closer to the door. She frowned when she noticed the sun beginning to set. She turned back to the conversation just as Rick informed them of their plan to head to Fort Benning. She groaned inwardly, unhappy that he had told these bastards where they were headed. Her brow lifted, however, when Dave told them that Fort Benning was now a dead-end and overrun. She glanced impatiently at the door behind her again, anxious now as Dave and Tony enquired about their camp.
Glenn went to answer, but Rick cut him off with a look before giving them a vague answer. She narrowed her eyes and her stomach knotted tensely as Dave attempted to get more information out of them, his tone a little too casual. The air grew thick with tension as everybody slowly turned to the same page.
Dave continued to throw them questions, one after the other, and Rosie stood stiffly as Tony moved, heading to the wall next to the door just a few feet from her. He tugged his pants down and the sound of liquid splashing onto wood hit her at the same time as the stench of urine.
Her nose crinkled involuntarily with disgust as she turned around instinctually, not wanting to catch a glimpse of his body.
“You got a farm?” Dave questioned finally and their silence had all but given them away.
“You got girls?” Tony asked, his back still to them but he turned his head to wink at Rosie. “Haven’t had a piece of ass in weeks.”
She turned away, hatred filling her body, and caught Rick’s worried eye. It was at that moment that she realized she was stood with Tony and Dave between her and her group. Her eyes widened with panic but she stayed quiet and attempted to move back behind the bar in an effort to slip in behind Herschel.
“We’ve said enough,” Rick said firmly.
“This farm, it sounds pretty sweet, don’t it sound sweet Tony?”
“Yeah, real sweet,” his voice was much closer than she was expecting and she tried picking up her pace until a thick, blubbery hand gripped onto her shoulder.
“Where you goin’ honey?” A revolting voice filled her ear and sent shivers down her spine. And not the good kind of shivers. She struggled as his hand moved so that it rested across her collarbone, holding her in place like a vice, his other gripping her waist. His fingers were digging into the exposed skin between her tank top and jeans, the flannel shirt she was wearing over the top stuck between their two bodies. She fought the urge to vomit as his disgusting stench filled her nose and she squirmed again, trying her hardest to wriggle out of his arms. He laughed at her attempts, his fingers wandering south of her collarbone and dangerously close to her breast.
“Let go of her,” Rick’s voice boomed and she looked up with relief as she saw her three saviors with their guns pointed. Herschel and Glenn both had their guns pointed at the pair, while Rick’s was aimed at Dave who now also had his drawn.
“You sure you can’t make room for a few more?” Dave’s voice was slightly teasing.
Rosie’s breath hitched in her throat as Tony’s hand let go of her waist only to be replaced by something cool and metallic. She glanced down to see the sharp tip of a knife tracing across her skin, teasing her. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying not to think about the trail it lead across her side, tickling her.
“Let me go, asshole,” she muttered, staying as still as possible.
Tony laughed in her ear and she shuddered as he grinded his bottom half into her backside.
“Stop,” Herschel said loudly, desperately. Dave and Tony only chuckled in return, relishing in the power they held over the men.
“Tell you what,” Dave started. “We let her go and you take us back to your camp.”
The room was silent and Rosie knew that no matter what happened to her, Rick, Glenn and Herschel were not going to let these men anywhere near Lori, Maggie or Beth. She took a deep breath and counted down from three before shoving her elbow as deep as she could into the cushiony stomach of Tony behind her. He let out a surprised yelp as he stepped backwards, giving her the chance to make her escape, but not before she felt a sharp stinging in her side. As the man stumbled backward, she glanced at her side to see that he had given her a shallow slash across the ribs, tearing her tank top. Though it wasn’t deep, it stung and blood started shooting out of the gash.
“Rosie!” Glenn’s voice pulled her gaze from her wound and she quickly slipped behind the bar, clutching her bloody side. She found herself leaning against the bar, gritting her teeth in pain as the stinging made itself known. She was so caught up in the sensation, that she didn’t notice as Rick and Glenn took down the two men with single shots to the foreheads.
The men were next to her in a second, their voices panicked as they saw the sheer amount of blood that coated her hands where they remained against the wound.
“Let me see it,” Herschel’s voice was the calm that she needed and she peeled her hands away to expose it.
“It’s not deep,” she panted, wincing as Herschel slowly fingered the length of the wound. It began under her armpit and crept downwards, diagonally crossing her prominent ribs.
“She’s right,” Herschel muttered to the others. “It’s not deep, but we can’t have her losing too much blood.”
Rosie was already shrugging off her flannel shirt. She balled it up tightly and clutched it to the gash. The pain was becoming bearable and she swiped the painkillers she had jokingly chucked to Herschel earlier. She emptied two onto the bar with her free hand before throwing them into her mouth and washing them down with the bottle of water she had found stashed under the bar.
“Let’s get a move on,” Rick said, his voice sounding tense. “Are you okay to walk, Rosie?”
She nodded and threw him a determined smile. “It’ll take a lot more than an asshole with a knife to bring me down, Rick,” she said and she could swear that Rick’s mouth twitched like he wanted to smile.
The men began to edge closer to the door and Rosie followed, discarding her blood-soaked flannel when she was satisfied that the bleeding was much less profuse. She leaned down and snatched the knife Tony had used on her, tucking it into her boot, and watching as Rick and Glenn took the guns from the two bodies.
As she carefully rounded Dave’s feet, the light of oncoming headlights hit her face, causing her to squint and duck instinctually.
“Car! Car!” Rick hissed at them, also lowered into a crouch as he moved closer to the door. The four of them knelt against the wall, listening intently as car doors opened and closed and footsteps were heard.
Rosie’s heart sunk as she realized that these were more of their group. She shot Rick a panicked stare, only to see that his face had gone stoney. She listened as the men outside spoke of hearing shots. Their voices got closer and closer until they were just on the other side of the wall. She had her gun back in her hand, gripping it tightly as the men called out for their dead buddies once more. She grew uneasy, knowing that walkers wouldn’t be far behind after the gunshots had broken the silence of the quiet town.
Rosie peered around Rick, seeing the silhouettes of two men through the drawn blinds on the door, knowing it was just a matter of time until they tried to enter the bar. She tried to control her breathing, knowing that it was loud and uneven as she grew more and more worried. Her mind flickered to Daryl, knowing that if she made it out of this, she would have hell to pay with him.
It was completely dark now as the men’s shadows moved past the door and closer to the windows sitting between Glenn and Herschel. The voices moved further away until they had disappeared completely and Rick slowly and carefully stood up, signaling for the others to stay crouched.
Rosie watched with bated breath as the man looked through one of the curtains before beckoning for them huddle together.
“Why won’t they leave?” Rosie complained in a hushed tone.
“We can’t wait any longer,” Rick agreed before tilting his head in the direction behind him. “Let’s go out the back and get to the car.”
They all nodded in agreement, beginning to make a move before a sound could be heard outside. Rosie gently threw herself back to her position, just as the others did. Rick was peeking out of the window, having found a position where he could watch the small group of three men without them seeing him. She shifted slightly so that she could see just past him.
“… We’re lookin’ for Dave and Tony and no one checks the damn bar?”
Panic bubbled in Rosie’s throat as she felt sweat pool at the top of her spine. She nervously tapped her foot until she heard the approaching footsteps, moving fast and determined. Rick raised his gun just before the door opened. Before she knew what was happening, Rosie was watching as Glenn launched himself at the door, settling in front of it and blocking their entryway. She quickly joined him, hoping to make it heavier in case the men tried to force their way through.
“Someone pushed that shut,” the voices outside began to sound panicked too as they grew more quiet. “There’s someone in there. Yo is someone in there?”
None of them responded.
“If someone’s in there, we don’t want no trouble! We’re looking for our friends! We don’t want any trouble, we’re just looking for our friends. If something happened, tell us.” The voice was much calmer now.
Rosie and Glenn both looked at Rick, silently questioning their leader. He looked extremely on edge and as though he didn’t know what the right call was. Rosie willed him to stay quiet.
“Dude, I’m tellin’ you, nobody is in there.” Another voice from outside. Rosie hoped they would agree and leave.
“I’m telling you, they’re in there. They might know where Dave and Tony are.”
It was silent for a few moments.
“They drew on us!”
Rosie threw a shocked look Rick’s way as his voice boomed confidently in the small space. She squeezed her eyes shut, knowing that there was no way back. All she could do was ready her gun and get in a position where she would be able to spring up with ease.
Rick’s voice broke as he raised his voice, trying to convince the other men to leave, but he was interrupted by bullets hitting glass as the windows shattered above them. Big chunks of glass fell on Rosie and Glenn and she immediately raised her arm over her head. Rick was up in an instant, shooting at the men.
“Get out of here!” He yelled down to them and Rosie immediately sprung into action. She grabbed Glenn’s arm and pulled him through the bar, checking back to make sure that Herschel was bringing up the rear before she launched herself behind the wall that lead to the staffroom. Glenn was behind the bar and Herschel was opposite her and she was relieved to see that their clothes and skin were clean of any blood. She quickly checked herself, noting that the arm she had raised over her head was scratched up from the glass. Her cheek was stinging and she raised her hand to swipe at the wetness there, pulling the finger away to see crimson blood. The glass must have nicked her on the face as well, only adding to the colourful injuries she had received in the past twenty minutes.
The gunfire ceased and the four of them stayed crouched, tense as hell. Herschel wordlessly slid a discarded rifle across the floor to Glenn, who clutched it to his chest with a grateful nod. Rosie made sure to check that Herschel was still armed, relieved to see he had a small pistol in his hand. She quirked an eyebrow, realizing that he must have brought it from the farmhouse.
Rick was calling out to the men again, trying desperately to understand where they were, if they were even still there. Rosie’s heart was beating like a drum in her chest as she glanced behind her to the closed door, knowing that it was the key to their freedom. Without a second thought, she was up and launching herself at it, relieved to find that it wasn’t locked. The other side was dark with night and the rotten stairs that were situated below the door creaked as she made her way down. She looked up to gauge her surroundings, disappointment hitting her when she realized that she wasn’t outside but in a separate area to the bar. Dusty tables and bar stools stood in her way and she navigated around them. Her head snapped up when she heard the sound of a glass bottle hitting the pavement and she saw the door that lead out onto the street. She narrowed her eyes and slowed her movements as a man’s silhouette passed, having not yet realized she was there.
She wheeled around when the creaky steps sounded behind her only to find that she was aiming her gun at Glenn. She breathed a sigh of relief and watched as he joined her on the flat ground and she nodded her head to the door.
“One of them’s out there,” she whispered and Glenn nodded, his eyes wide with fear and adrenaline. She noticed his gaze flicker to her cheek and she touched it again, wiping at the wet blood. “I’m fine,” she whispered in reassurance.
After a few moments of watching the back door, Glenn raised his gun and shot at the window, scaring Rosie half to death. She put a hand to her racing heart as the glass shattered and sent him a momentary glare that he didn’t notice.
“Glenn! Rosie!” Rick’s voice yelled from where they had left him.
“I’m alright, we’re alright,” Glenn yelled back and Rosie guessed that they had given up on being sneaky. She heard Rick’s and Herschel’s footsteps clattering loudly to join them and she peered out of the smashed window.
With a nod behind her, she made her way out of the back of the restaurant as familiar moaning filled her ears. She took down the lone walker that had found them in the alleyway and crouched behind an overturned dumpster. The others followed her wordlessly, and it was then that they heard the sound of an engine.
“Pussies,” she spat when she realized they were taking off.
Rosie had been insistent on leaving Randall impaled on the fence, begging to be eaten by walkers. She wanted no part in saving the life of a guy who was with a group that would have done unspeakable things to her had they gotten the chance to. She knew that Rick had the deciding factor, however, and she only watched as he and Herschel tugged Randall off of the fence and supported his weight until they reached their car. She had kept on guard, taking down walker after walker, not caring about the loud gunshots after the night she had had. Once it was safe, she had lifted herself into the passenger seat, not wanting to be any closer to the kid in the back.
It had been light for almost two hours when Rosie started to see the farmhouse in all its glory. Her sights had started to dim not long into the car trip and she knew it was because she wasn’t used to losing so much blood. She was feeling faint and dizzy, leaning her forehead against the cool glass of the window. Rick had asked her twice if she was alright, but she hadn’t been able to answer the second time. She was too focused on not throwing up. She wasn’t unaware to the concerned looks he had been shooting her though. She let her eyes finally shut as the car slowed down for the last few yards before pulling to a stop.
Sounds of the car doors opening made her wrench her eyes open. As soon as she did, she was greeted with a fierce glare from Daryl as he rounded the front of the car to reach the passenger door and he forcefully pulled her door open just as she lifted her face from the glass.
“Who the hell-” He started to yell but Rosie lifted a hand up, wincing at the headache that was beginning to pound in her ears.
She slowly dragged her legs over the seat until they rested on the dirt drive and pulled herself into a standing position. As soon as she was on her feet, she was falling. The hot ground came up to greet her face but Daryl caught her just in time. She let herself fall limp in his arms as he picked her up bridal style.
“What the hell, Rick!” He yelled, causing the sheriff to pull away from his embrace with wife and son and stare. “What’s wrong with her?”
All eyes fell on Rosie’s half-unconscious body and a few gasps could be heard.
“I’m fine,” she managed to say weakly, letting one of her hands fall onto her forehead. She moved it to cover her eyes, the sun stinging them.
“This better not be her blood!” Daryl started again, his eyes taking in the sight of her ripped shirt, caked in dry blood. “’Cause if it is, Rick, I swear to-”
“It’s my blood,” Rosie interrupted weakly, and she felt the vibration of an animalistic growl in Daryl’s chest as he held her to him. She was positive in that moment that if he hadn’t been holding her clingy body, he would be jumping across the hood of the car to lay a punch into Rick.
“Bring her inside and I’ll stitch her up,” Herschel said sternly, turning away from Maggie and gesturing to the house. “She lost a bit of blood, but she’s exhausted and dehydrated too.”
Rosie started to well and truly fade into unconsciousness as Daryl let out an exaggerated sigh and began to move. His rhythmic movements lulled her into a dull sleep.
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