Well, hi there. Yeah, it's been a long time. Sorry about that, but I'm back at it with writing now. So, thanks to everyone for sticking around and enjoy the long awaited chapter six! -xoxo, Lovely
Lots of Love for galwidanatitud, celia azul, Jeirinxoxo, belladu57, Esm3rald, ThePriss, KEZZ 1, Valley Of Winds, Loverofcreepythings, YouOmiMoney, silverfoxkurama, & guest for your reviews. And everyone for 99 favs and 122 follows!
-Where the Arrow Flies
-Paring(s): Rick Grimes/OC/Daryl Dixon; slight Glenn Rhee/OC
-Rated M for gore, violence, mature language, triggering elements, and adult situations
-Disclaimer: I don't own The Walking Dead. The canon characters belong to Robert Kirkman. I only own the original characters introduced.
"Acting on impulse"
Sometimes, Alexa really fucking hated not acting on her gut feelings. Especially when it could have prevented the scarring sight of the brutal scene before her now.
From the moment they entered the surprisingly empty stairwell, something was greatly wrong. But she didn't bother voicing her concerns, figuring they would fall on deaf ears anyway. The men—mostly Daryl—were too hellbent on getting to the roof. So, the young woman was prepared on finding Dixon dead from a possible heat stroke or being snacked on a pack of ravenous zombies.
Instead, in front of her was..
Rick's handcuffs still locked to the pipe. Dale's saw a few feet away; both covered in drying, clotting blood. And laying palm up beside it..was Merle's severed hand.
Romanov's gag reflex barely reacted anymore since coming in contact with the most foulest and gruesome stages of death in the past month. But this..triggered bile and the little bit eaten that morning threatening to rise like a faucet just from the savage imagery of how the scene occurred alone.
Glenn, Rick, and T-Dog stood in dismayed shock alongside her. She pondered for a moment if they were also silently experiencing the same nauseating threat. But Daryl, on the other hand, was the most expressive out of all of them. And who were they to blame him? Merle was his family—his only family, as a matter of fact. Now, he was missing yet again.
"..I know that feeling all too well." Flashbacks of 'that time' caused the archer to grimace.
She'd been utterly alone while suffering from grief; the very emotion that won't allow her to get too close again. That caused the gaping hole in her heart to slowly eroded each day, resulting in her becoming even more anti-social. And as if the constant dull ache weren't enough, the creation of a semi-toxic phantom of her brother later formed in her head to replace the void. Whispering helpful, comforting words one minute to pushing her fragile psyche over the edge in the next.
All of those problems..just from no one being there for Alexa as she broke down mentally and emotionally.
Distracted by her constant turmoil, dark eyes regarded her quietly.
Concern for the girl continued to strongly plague Glenn. After being the first person she confessed the reasons for her current world-weary demeanor, honor filled him at the rare privilege. He felt like a soldier being knighted by a queen. And along with his newly presented 'title', a strong protectiveness blossomed.
The young man also witnessed firsthand the raw emotions hidden behind impassive remarks and snide smirks. Seen the fragile girl that blamed herself for not being able to save her brother and his lover. Who tried several times to end her life when the guilt grew to be too much. Who desperately clung to him, whimpering in her sleep the name of her brother..her—
Firm hazel orbs turned his way, startling him from his inner thoughts. Believing she felt his stare, a shy smile was given while his pale cheeks burned in embarrassment. His mouth opened to explain himself when suddenly her pack was handed over without comment. Confused, he took it wordlessly. Harley popped his head out then, curious of where his master was going.
They watched Alexa hopped down from the short catwalk they were standing on, heading towards the distraught Daryl. The others watched as well, curious as to what she was planning.
Stopping beside him, her hand reached inside her opened jacket for something, but didn't get far. The click of an arrow being pulled taut halted her movements.
"What the fuck do ya' think you're doing?" Daryl's angry voice growled low, appearing very much like the rabid animal people often times compared him to. Romanov, on the other hand, just released a tired sigh, unperturbed by his threat.
Grimes took a step forward, ready to stop her; T-Dog doing same and ready to return the favor after they helped him during Merle's violence. But Romanov was no damsel. She didn't need either of them saving or protecting her. She hadn't made it this far in the current zombie-riddled world relying on other people, after all.
"Easy, Cowboy." she drawled after seeing him move in the corner of her eye, calm and soft. Lifting her head, blue grays observed the metal tip of the arrow before slowly traveling up the length of the tracker's crossbow to land on his dark blue ones. He couldn't stop the involuntary breath he sucked in, gaze widen a tad.
A strong hardness swam in her eyes, void of any fear. Not even one flicker to show she was possibly faking her toughness. Instead, the archer was just causally staring death in the face and didn't seem to give a single damn whatsoever. Daryl instantly recognized the lack of expression, having seen it done by his brother countless times before.
The reason Alexa didn't fear death was because..she gladly welcomed it.
Curiosity about her grew inside him which made him frown deeply. He shouldn't be fascinated by the odd woman partly responsible for his once trapped but now missing older brother..but he was.
Seeing she had his full attention, her hand slowly reached into her jacket again. Daryl tensed some. Only to relax a moment later as a folded navy blue bandanna was removed, not a hidden weapon such as her knife. She then offered the item to the man poised to kill her.
His crossbow lowered, much to their companions' relief.
Dark blues eyed the cloth suspiciously. "..What the hell you giving me that for?"
"What a good question." Romanov silently agreed. She gave a mental sigh, not truly knowing the complete answer herself. This all was very unlike her after all. Lately, everything she seemed to do went against what her newfound 'survivor' self vowed not to do anymore. What phantom Mishka—if not, strangely absent at the moment—would be scolding her incessantly about..
"Don't just easily give out your kindness! It only take encountering the wrong sort for it to be your damn undoing!"
And she couldn't take anymore risks. Her luck was no doubt running short.
So, she should revert back to her usual stolid self right then and there. Toss the cloth at him in annoyance, acting as if the whole interaction was troublesome to her, and walked away. But this time the archer just couldn't. It was like when meeting Rick all over again! Her morals were telling her to help him.. gain his trust even! Which was not good in her eyes. It was bad enough she placed her trust in two people already. But having three?! 'Two is company, three's a crowd' wasn't a popular saying for nothing.
Then why in the hell was she about to take another idiotic leap?
"Because..I see myself in him." Alexa reluctantly admitted, "He could easily become like I am." And she didn't wish that for him or even her worst enemy after what she's had to endure.
So, the young woman would later blame her next actions on many things—like those horrid memories and her out-of-control emotions—whenever remembering.
Daryl stiffen as she lightly grasped his hand be, placing the bandanna in his opened palm; her calloused fingers brushing against his rough exposed skin.
"I imagine.." Her usual apathetic voice was now gentle with sympathy. "You wouldn't want to leave your brother's hand exposed to the elements."
Her two steadily becoming close companions quietly observed the peculiar scene, experiencing similar and different emotions together. Both were equally stunned after having seen their impassive friend step unprovoked towards the temperamental man. Much less touch him and offer a small amount of sympathy.
But Glenn was also slightly calm. He knew if Dixon reacted violently again, she could handle herself just fine. Remembering instantly Alexa's first meeting with Merle which he considered one of her many bad ass moments since their reunion.
Rick, however, struggled to resist the strong urge to pull her away from him as if he was a ticking time bomb. Which in a way, he kinda was. Daryl was impulsive and short-tempered just his older sibling; seemingly some prominent Dixon traits. And just like Rhee, he hadn't forgot she was a scrapper but also remember the reason for the large bruise on her back hidden by her jacket. He didn't want a repeat of that violence again..or the panicked worry at seeing her hurt and unconscious.
After a tense moment, Daryl roughly pulled his hand away. "Yeah, but I shouldn't have to even in the first place." he sneered, his tone all but accusing. He then stepped around her to retrieve his brother's hand.
The archer rolled her eyes, resign to his harsh statement. It was true, after all. This horrific result was indeed partly her fault. She hadn't object to Merle being handcuffed—hell, she enjoyed it since the asshole deserved the cruel treatment after his wrongdoing.
She could not deny nor take back her past decision; not that she wanted to anyway.
So, what was done was done.
"Best not to dwell on the past.."
Hazel eyes observed the female zombie she just killed. Her mandible appeared to have been torn from her face, exposing the tongue so that it hung in the air like some grotesque dog. Blue grays glanced down to the side. Harley sat happily doing the same.
Romanov cooed sweetly, "..You look far cuter when you do that than her, Har." The pup's tail wagged happily at the compliment. Glenn who stood quietly by the open doorway to the small office spoke up then,
"That's..really fucked up, you know that?" She glanced his way and shrugged indifferently, knowing as such and not about to give a false apology either.
He stared at her for a second before shaking his head, sighing. What an odd friend he had..
After retrieving her arrow, the companions headed back to meet the rest of the group. After following a splattering trail of his blood as if in a morbid retelling of Hansel and Gretel, they were led into an office building with undead sprinkled here and there. Grimes then suggested split into two groups with one lingering back to also find any manageable supplies, killing two birds with one stone while they were at it. Daryl scoffed but allowed it, wanting to search for his missing and bleeding out brother with as less people as possible. It was a smart tactic in case he was double crossed and needed to fight back. Resulting in, the former classmates being paired off and told to return back at the stairs after thirty minutes.
So far, unfriendlies were all that were found with none of them being Merle.
Running a hand through short blonde locks, a frustrated huff escaped Alexa. What a hassle she willingly volunteered herself into. She felt more tired doing all that occurred the past day than being constantly on the run for a month. Definitely once this whole ordeal was finished, she was officially returning back to being alone; her debt to Rick wiped completely clean.
But that seemed easier said than done. The former appeal of solitude still wouldn't return and it bugged the hell out of her. The archer mentally frowned, pondering. So what the hell was actually keeping her rooted in her current situation like a formidable old tree?
The uncomfortable feeling of being watched came over her then, hairs on her arms raising some.
Glenn was watched her again, doing so every now and then since that morning. It was as if she were a newborn kitten with its' vigilant mother keeping a close eye to make sure it caused no trouble. Which was fucking annoying and unnecessary. She didn't need a damn bodyguard. His focus should be on his surroundings and possibly spotting Merle. Also, one slip up like that often led to a quick and certain death if not fully cautious nowadays.
"..What?" she barked into the quiet air.
Her old classmate startled from being caught in the act, shifting his sheepish eyes to the other side. "N-Nothing."
"Stop being timid and just speak your mind, Rhee." was ordered in a crisp drill sergeant manner from her.
A moment of silence stretched between them. His voice came out softly then as if speaking to a wary animal. Which in a way he was because the woman was as hostile and unpredictable as one.
"How are you?"
Alexa couldn't stop the exasperated eye roll, struck with a deja vu once again. He was as bad as Rick with his constant repeating. Those peas in a pod seemed destined to meet now. But she wasn't surprised by it. It was what Glenn was quickly becoming well known for to her. Plus, his increased worry was expected after seeing her moment of temporary weakness the previous night.
And that wasn't good in her eyes.
Because if he started caring too much, it would lead to future problems that she wanted no part of. A flashback to Lori and Shane's tense interactions came to mind.
Intimacy—being and falling in love or in strong like with—was more frightening to the young woman than facing off a horde of starving Unfriendlies alone. Slowly trusting someone was one thing, but that was another story she never wanted written in her already hectic story.
She held back a shutter at the very thought. "I've seen firsthand what that kind of love can lead a person to do now.."
"..I'm fine." Alexa deadpanned finally, keeping her gaze on her pet sniffing around ahead of them.
Rhee resisted the urge to eye roll. "I beg to differ.." his mouth couldn't stop from slipping aloud softly under his breath. And due to their closeness and the lack of background noise, she heard him easily. She stopped in the middle of the long hallway and turned to fully face him in all her oddly discouraging five foot five glory.
Arms crossed, her pale pink lips pulled up to form a condescending sneer. "Then please enlighten me of my true thoughts and emotions, oh wise one." was her mocking request.
"I don't need to." he remarked in a sharp voice, having suddenly grown a backbone with her. A brow even lifted in surprise from her, wondering where the sudden boldness came from. Romanov soon figured it might be due to her earlier words about him no longer pussyfooting around with his true thoughts. Even so, she didn't back down from the challenge, needing to get the last word in. It was a terrible trait of hers that's gotten her into trouble before in the past.
"Oh, really? Why's that?" The young man's dark eyes narrowed down at her, wondering if she was playing dumb or just being stubborn; no doubt both probably.
"Because you gave me a front row ticket and backstage pass to that show last night."
An unladylike snort was given. "No, you weren't invited. You snuck in pass security is what you really did." she corrected in a harsh whisper.
"Well, your security lead me to you!" Rhee countered back, continuing their metaphoric way of speaking. Meanwhile, her 'security' now helplessly watched them bicker, whining softly as he sensed the hostile tension building.
"Well, you didn't have to fucking follow!"
"You would've died if I hadn't!" The archer crossed the short distance between them to get the young man's face, snarling angrily her next words.
"And as I said last night, that wasn't—"
Her aggravated whispering suddenly cut off. Eyes widen to big saucers and were unable to close or process what she was seeing. Heart beating increasingly faster now. Her small body stood stock still, frozen from sudden shock of being taken off-guard. Bewildered thoughts and questions flitted through her mind, trying to understand the lack of sudden response.
And the cause for her external shutdown?
Was her late brother's friend grabbing her face and crashing their lips firmly together.
Sky blues watched the second hand swiftly sweep around for the third time.
Those two were late.
Rick currently stood by the stairs alone. He volunteered to go back while T-Dog and Daryl waited for his and others' return. They were also unsuccessful in locating Merle, but were no doubt close. The place the other men waited showed Merle had taken down two walkers one handed with Dale's wrench as his choice instrument for killing.
"Toughest asshole I ever met, my brother. Feed him a hammer, he'd crap out nails." Daryl had remarked proudly of his older sibling afterwards. He shook his head in remembrance, having replied then any 'tough' person could pass out from blood loss still.
Another minute passed. Alexa and Glenn must have gonna pretty far into the building, he lightly assumed to push away blossoming uncertainties.
A deep frown soon formed. "I'll give those one more minute." he told himself, resisting the urge to tap his foot in a nervous fashion. His stomach began to twist in knots with worry. Right after, the officer ended up caving in; the extra time was even close to being up either. He just decided to find or met them halfway.
Grimes hurriedly headed towards the direction he saw them take last, sending up a silent pray that they hadn't encounter any sort of bad end.
Blame his ingrained teachings from years on the force to always defend civilians. His moral concern for his two newest close companions even.
But if honestly admitting to himself, his steadily growing protectiveness towards the archer was the true cause..
Glenn's hands were warm. Feeling almost as if they were burning against her now flushed cheeks. He thankfully didn't allow them to travel any further; the kiss as well. Didn't forcefully coerce her with his surprisingly soft lips into participating. His tongue remained hidden and nowhere her lower lip to tease for entrance. He stayed as much of a gentlemen as he could after doing such a stupid thing without her consent.
Romanov hated to even acknowledge this..but it wasn't too bad of a kiss either. She found it similar to when a little boy experienced one with his very first crush for the first time ever. Filled with such pure innocence and sweetness were his sudden tender actions..
Which was absolutely fucking terrifying.
Because the startling answer was—it meant he liked her. A lot.
The realization slammed into her all at once like a charging bull, making her mentally exclaim a four letter expletive starting with an f.
So much it seemed, he stupidly braved kissing her during a heated argument. Knowing damn well the outcome could result in him being physically hurt in many possible ways. The only reason she didn't right then was because the discovery of how he already cared too much stunned her.
After a few moments, Glenn pulled back, eyes remaining closed, and rested his forehead against hers.
"I-I'm so sorry. That was uncalled for and I shouldn't have down that." He met her wide eyed gaze. His voice and expression gentle with utter fondness. Fucking hell. "But..I just couldn't let you repeat that sentence again."
Hazel orbs had to close to block him out, taking a deep breath to calm down and not hyperventilate.
How long had he felt this way? Since college perhaps?
"God..this explains so much." Anger soon replaced the fragile calm, rising inside her like molten lava out of a volcano. But it was mostly directed at herself. She was a fucking idiot! An oblivious fool, unable to read all the clear warning signs beforehand.
'The only way to further avoid this is to leave..' Mishka's voice returned to whisper sudden advice. She gasped inwardly in surprise at how right the phantom was. The young woman instantly disliked it though; the returning thought of leaving creating nausea. But could she manage these sudden turn of events? Rejecting him was easy..it was the unknown aftermath that unsettled her.
Dark eyes peered at the unresponsive girl warily. "Alex—"
"Alexa? Glenn?" an all-too familiar voice appeared out of the quiet.
Their heads snapped to the left and to Romanov's odd horror, found the officer standing in the hallway with them now. His sky blues quietly observed them. Taking in their closeness, Glenn's hands still on her face, her flushed cheeks, and started to assume and piece together what happened.
Panic consumed the archer and got her moving again; her 'flight' instinct smacking her hard.
'Run!' shouted Mishka, pushing her more.
Nimble hands shot forward and roughly shoved her former classmate away, making his stumble some. Her fleeing body stormed passed him and Grimes, head facing down. Alexa couldn't even look at either of them, especially Rick. But if she had, she'd have seen the concern but conflicted emotions swirling in the older man's gaze.
He reached out to stop her when her voice harshly shouted,
"Don't!" He recoiled his hand as if struck by a venomous snake, eyes widening as the vicious tone wavered brokenly as it was repeated. She sounded like she was close to tears. "Just..don't." He complied, heart squeezing painfully, and allowed her to leave the long passageway, much to her relief; her beagle trotted close behind without command.
As soon as the archer was gone, an angry Grimes rounded on the younger boy fast. His arm shot out and slammed against defenseless Glenn's chest, his back impacting hard against a wall with a loud thud. No doubt getting any hidden zombies still lingering around attention. But he didn't care about that at the moment. He wanted answers.
"What the hell did you do?!"
"I—" Glenn stammered, falling silent for a moment as shame scrunched up his face. "..I kissed her."
His answer infuriated the older man even more. "And why would do a stupid thing like that?"
"We were arguing and she wouldn't stop—Fuck! I don't know! I just responded, okay?! Yeah, it was a fucking shitty way to do it," A hurt look that only someone desperately in love with someone expressed then crumpled his facial features further; tears glossing his dark eyes. "But..it just hurt hearing her say such sad things..when she's such a strong person."
Rick gave him a look demanding what it was she was speaking of. Rhee hesitated before sighing with defeat. "..She almost killed herself—tried to drown in the quarry—and said I shouldn't have saved her last night." Blue eyes widen, releasing him as he took a step back in shock. The younger man rubbed his chest with a grimace, adding softly. "It wasn't the first time either that she's tried."
Alexa tried to kill herself? And more than once?
This information shouldn't be surprising to him, he had to remind stunned self. Because as stoic and resolve as Romanov was, even the struggle and grief of the slowly dying world could start to sooner or later effect her as well. He'd seen a small glimpse of her actual fragility back at that farm. But Rick felt in his gut there was more to the story than Glenn was telling. Since meeting, he strangely longed to know who she was—her origin story. He had wished to patiently wait for her to trust him more and then eventually of her own accord tell him.
But the idea of finally—and possibly—understanding who the archer truly was was far too appealing to him. He felt like Eve being tempted with the forbidden golden apple..
Rick licked his dry lips and swallowed before asking low, "But why?"
Dark browns raised, narrowing a tad. "Because she lost her brother...her twin."
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