The Fall of Humanity
There wasn’t a whole lot of talking while they climbed the rest of the way up to the roof and then walked across several rooftops, through one building, and down an outdoor staircase. As they were half-running down the stairs Glenn radioed someone in his group to warn them he was coming back, but that he was bringing back a couple of guests.
Down in the alley there were four walkers shambling around. Buffy surveyed the small area and its undead occupants before she put on a burst of speed. Across the courtyard and to their right a door opened suddenly and two people in improvised riot gear and wielding baseball bats came running out. By the time the two new people had managed more than a few steps outside the door she had already decapitated one walker and was about to drive the stake of her Scythe into the of the head of the second. The last two received their second and final deaths by way of the aforementioned baseball bats before the five of them ran inside.
Shortly after getting inside and locking the door a blonde woman backed Rick up against a table, holding a gun inexpertly to his head looking incensed. “You son of a bitch! We ought to kill you!”
Without thinking Buffy suddenly had the woman on her knees, one hand bent behind her back, while the gun clattered to the floor and away from them. A smaller knife had appeared in her other hand and its sharp blade was resting against the unknown woman’s throat. Her eyes had widened in shock while Buffy’s own eyes had narrowed in annoyance more than anything else.
“Care to explain why you felt the need to threaten a live human being who your friend just risked his life to save? And don’t give me the he attracted the walkers with gunshots BS, because that’s not a good reason. We all attract them from time to time and your little stunt didn’t improve anything. Especially since you were threatening him with gun.” Buffy’s voice was ice cold and in complete contrast to her ostensibly youthful clothing and hairstyle.
Evidently she had not seen Buffy because she was more than just a little bit startled by her sudden arrival. Although how she had missed Buffy slicing and dicing two animated corpses was anyone's guess.
“What?” The older blonde’s voice was a little bewildered and confused, but the anger was still there underneath it all.
“Your friend, Glenn, risked his life to save Rick, Officer Dumbass over there, from the walkers who are currently feasting on his poor horse.” Buffy turned her head towards the rest of the group before she continued. “Yes, he really did ride into downtown Atlanta on freaking horseback and straight into a herd of walkers, and then he proceeded to draw in even more of their friends by shooting inside an armored tank.”
Turning back to the woman she was still holding in an armlock she said, without waiting for a reply to her first question and instead asking another. “Are you going to behave or do I have to cause some real physical damage to you instead of just denting your pride?” To prove her point she tightened her grip on the woman’s arm and bent it even more upwards so her muscles would strain even more than they already did.
“I’ll behave! Ow! Let me go!” Buffy did let go, and in the same smooth motion she made sure to be out of arm’s length, just to be on the safe side. Little Miss Anger Management clearly had a hot temper, and getting into an actual fight with her would sooo not be fair.
Before anyone else could say anything a muted gunshot was heard from above them. Not long after there was a second gunshot and then a third. Buffy frowned, she hadn’t seen anyone while she and Rick followed Glenn over the rooftops earlier.
“Oh god, is that Dixon?” Andrea asked in disbelief while rubbing her arm and shoulder while looking angrily at Buffy.
“What is that maniac doing now?” One of the guys with a baseball bat from the alley asked in exasperation. A fourth muffled gunshot was heard and the entire group left for the stairs to investigate what this ‘Dixon’ guy was shooting at up on the roof.
Yes, her blonde airhead cover was probably blown to pieces, but seriously? That Andrea woman’s behavior was uncalled for, and it certainly didn't help that Buffy detested guns. In any case the act wouldn't have lasted particularly long. It had been years since she had bothered to play the part for more than a little while and even then it was only to trick particularly stupid vampires and demons if she was in the mood to prolong the foreplay to the actual fight. Add in the apocalypse and the chance of anyone believing the act had gone done substantially. Regardless, there was another gun toting’ dumbass upstairs who might or might not need to be dealt with. Only time would tell.
Up on the rooftop a man in his early 50’s was standing on the ledge shooting at the walkers down on the street with a scoped rifle. As soon as the group from downstairs came out on the roof two men, a Hispanic man and a black man who had been introduced as Morales and T-Dog along the way, began chastising Dixon for wasting bullets and attracting even more walkers by making loud noises. Buffy had absently connected Morales and T-Dog with the two men who had been killing the walkers in the alley.
The argument quickly escalated into a fight, complete with Dixon spouting insults and trying to make himself look better than the rest of the group. Given his language and what little she'd seen of his general attitude this was probably his version of hell; he was stuck in a walker infested city with four other men, only one of whom was white, and three women - including one with a very dark complexion. She mentally filed him away as white trash who she needed to keep an eye on.
While everyone were distracted with the scuffle, Buffy walked behind the rest of the group and helped herself to Rick’s handcuffs, without him noticing, before walking in front of her latest problem person and put on her best cheerleader smile right as he was talking about a change in leadership.
“Hi!” Her smile was bright enough to blind the sun, but it had more teeth than when she’d done this to Glenn and Rick earlier down on the platform. “We haven’t, like, been introduced yet, but I’m Buffy and I just, like, met some of the people from your group. Officer Not-So-Friendly back there showed up at the same time.”
She conveniently pointed out Rick, who was still very obvious in his uniform and matching hat, to the now shocked Dixon. Not that she blamed him, it had to be perplexing to suddenly be face to face with the epitome of the dumb blonde in the middle of a fight for dominance at the end of the world.
“He had the bright idea to ride an actual horse into the city and right into a herd. Dumb, right?” She executed a perfect teenage ‘adults are such idiots’ eyeroll.
While she’d been talking she had moved closer to the man without him being any the wiser, and before the shock could wear off she grabbed the arm holding the rifle and twisted it just so that he lost the weapon. When it was out of his hand she completed the twist and got his arm behind his back, clicked one half of the handcuffs on around his wrist before quickly grabbing the other arm and finishing the process.
Buffy dropped the act again and gave a much more genuine grin. “I guess this means that I’m in charge.”
Merle Dixon finally found his voice again. “What the hell, woman? Uncuff me!” The angry words rolled off Buffy as she put her knee into his back and put the small knife from earlier against his jugular vein. The man’s struggles to free himself ceased immediately.
“Nope. You’re clearly a problem that needs to be dealt with and this is as good as any way to do it. So be a good boy and be quiet, the adults need to have a little chat.”
She turned towards the rest of the group, knife still held steady against the vein in his neck; it was little worse for wear after Dixon had thrown a few punches. T-Dog was on the ground and Morales had gotten a fist in the midsection, but thankfully they did not seem to be seriously injured. The rest of them were either angry, confused, exasperated, or a combination of the three. Buffy could live with that.
What followed was a short discussion over how to get out of the building they were currently trapped in and then through the increasingly large herd around the block. After checking out the flood tunnel underneath the building on Jacqui's suggestion and it turned out to be a bust, they were back to scratch when Buffy suddenly thought of something else.
"What about the backdoor we got in through? There's a bus blockage there so it should be relatively safe to go back there, up into the next door building and see if we can't find an exit there, or if necessary in the next building over".
After some more arguments it was agreed that that was what they were going to do. Glenn was sent to check on the state of the alley, armed with one of the baseball bats from before, while the rest of them stayed hidden away from the doors and the walkers who kept trying to get through the second door. Buffy made sure that all of them were armed with something in addition to a gun. Now was not the time to make an unnecessary racket.
Dixon, who people alternately called Merle, kept insulting everyone and using both sexist and racial slurs. After a short while Rick got annoyed enough that he found a pair of socks and a belt; the socks were separated and one was effectively stuffed inside Merle's mouth and the other was tossed away to the side while Rick used the belt to tie the first one in place. Most of the remaining group grinned in relief at that, no one had been interested in the tirade, but then Glenn returned and they were running out just as they heard the sliding doors in front of the building shatter and the walkers groaning loudly in anticipation of food.
There were another two walkers in the alley but they were quickly dispatched by Buffy and Glenn, and the group was soon up the stairs. Once they were inside the new building, and had made sure the door was both locked and blocked by heavy furniture in case some of the walkers decided to pursue them, they slowed to a walk while looking around carefully. Glenn, Buffy, and Rick had run through here earlier but that didn't mean that there couldn't be people - alive or undead - hiding somewhere. No matter how unlikely it was, it was better to be safe than sorry.
About an hour and several missteps later and they were out on the street. Which was when the next argument began; what did they do now? Get a car, get out of town and back to the Quarry Camp, or get a car and drive further into the city to fetch Buffy's friend, Rime, and all their supplies?
It didn't take Buffy long to break up the argument with an alternative as to what they should do next, and it said quite a lot about the group's lack of real leadership that they allowed what appeared to be a teenage girl to order them around with very little debate. It made her curious about the state of the actual camp and whoever was in charge there, and if he or she was a proper leader or just someone who had ended up with the job by default because there was no one who was really suited for it.
Buffy decided that she along with one or two of the group would go and get Rime and their stuff, while the rest of the group would go ahead to the camp outside the city. The returning group could simply pick a car and hotwire it, there were certainly enough abandoned vehicles to choose from and a suitable one might even have keys. The roads should be easy enough to get through from here on and out if they were careful.
Unsurprisingly there was a clash of opinions over whether it was smart to split up and then who should go with Buffy to 'protect' her, even if no one actually used those words. There were short memories all around apparently, except for Glenn, Andrea, and the still handcuffed and gagged Merle who had all either experienced Buffy's ability to defend herself first hand and then watched her proficiency to attack if she had to, or witnessed it twice in Glenn's case.
In the end she picked Glenn because he was fast and even tempered, and by his own admission had already been on several supply runs in the city by himself, indirectly indicating that he was able to get around without getting hurt or killed by walkers or other live human beings. The lack of interruptions and objections from the rest gave it credibility. To Buffy's and everyone else's surprise, Andrea volunteered herself as the third person, citing that she needed the experience. Which, okay, good point. Although she made certain the woman understood that Buffy was in charge and that her word was law, and that there would be repercussions if she caused problems.
A deal was struck; Morales, T-Dog, Merle, Jacqui, and Rick would return to the Quarry Camp as soon as they got themselves a working car, and Buffy, Glenn, and Andrea would return to the furniture store and Rime. Depending on the situation over there, the number of walkers outside, how long it would take them to actually get there, and how long it took them to move everything into a car they would return to the camp either later in the day or the next morning.
They split from Morales' part of the group with them going one way and Buffy's the other. Buffy, Glenn, and Andrea walked to the astonishment of the last two, but she insisted. They were headed further towards downtown and using something as noisy as a car would only draw the walkers straight to them. Probably hungry and desperate humans as well. No, it was better to walk. It also meant they could drop into various shops along the way and hopefully find more provisions. The drawback being, of course, that they could only carry so much while still being able to run, but a little food and medicine was better than nothing and could make all the difference later on.
Mentally Buffy kicked herself for not bringing her backpack when she'd left that morning, but done was done.
After over three hours, entering about half a dozen shops and four offices where they managed to acquire some food, water, a few first aid kits, a couple changes of clothing, and even a few bags to store it all in, they arrived at Buffy's base/temporary home. There had only be a couple of incidents where they had been forced to kill walkers to get away but Buffy's Scythe had made quick work of them and they'd gotten away easy enough.
This chapter takes place during the Walking Dead episode "Guts" (01x02).
This is a merged and expanded version of the 'Watch the Fall of Humanity' chapter 5 (Guns and Gunshots), chapter 6 (Handcuffs), and chapter 7 (Travel Arrangements).