The halfers were everywhere. Pooling out of doors along the corridor and tumbling down a flight of stairs to the sickening ping of bones cracking against metal. From the outside the pharmaceutical building had seemed secure. Rae supposed it really was secure, everything locked up tight, a dark maze filled with hungry little mice and she was the cheese.

She spotted a long window in the distance, the mid afternoon sun shining brightly like a beacon to guide her out. She squeezed the grip of her Glock and her last bullet fired, shattering the glass. The narrow corridor filled with a hazy ringing that silenced the groans of the half dead but made the tiny hairs on the back of her neck stand to attention.

A chill ran down her spine and then she jumped. For a heartbeat Rae thought it was all over as flesh ripped along the side of her body. She chanced a look as she scrambled to her feet. There were no teeth marks but there was blood and lots of it. She held tightly to the injury, stumbling along from the halfers until she reached the chain linked fence she had climbed over less than half an hour before. Climbing up the second time was almost impossible. She threw her rucksack first then heaved herself over with a graceless landing and a cry of pain.

Rae didn't look back at the gathering horde but she could hear them rattling the fence in a desperate attempt to pursue her. She jogged and walked, weaving between cars and cover as quickly as she could for as long as her legs could carry her.

She eventually stopped in the middle of a long street lined with detached houses, once perfect lawns now long overgrown and soccor mom SUV's still waiting to rush kids to school before the first bell. Streets like these filled her with a deep set melancholy. All these people, gone. Rae didn't think she'd ever get used to it.

She glanced around for any signs of danger, spotting a halfer clawing lazily in an upstairs window. Feeling somewhat secure she leaned against the abandoned ice cream truck that was sitting in the middle of the road. Even the strong odour of milk long since turned bad wasn't enough to ruin the relief she found in her lungs filling up with a steady stream of air and her legs turning from jelly back into solid. She didn't know how long she stood next to that truck regaining her senses but when she looked down her hand and her clothes were soaked with red. She allowed herself a couple of tears but that was all. She didn't have energy to cry right now, she'd save it for later, or never, whichever one came sooner.

She popped her head in through the hatch of the icecream truck to see if there was anything salvageable and was pleased to discover a box filled with stale cones and a big tub of sprinkles that had all congealed into rainbow glue. She held the items awkwardly in the crook of her arm as the other hand held pressure on her wound.

Walking further wasn't much of an option, it would be dark soon and she needed to tend to her wound. Rae needed to decide which house to find shelter in and pray it was already empty. She picked the house on the end of the street, the corner plot would give her views over three roads and she liked to feel like she wasn't trapped even if it was only an illusion.

The two story house was enclosed by a white picket fence, the drive empty and the gate latched up tight. Rae left her cones and sprinkles on the doorstep before sneaking around the entire perimeter, peeking in windows and listening out for noises. There was only silence so she tried the front door, jangling the handle to find it locked. She pressed her ear to the wood listening out for any movement brought to life by her attempted break in. There was still only silence. Satisfied, she flipped over the door mat then the assortment of blue and green plant pots gathered around the front of the house until she found a spare key and breathed a sigh of relief. Thank God.

The door opened with one long heart stopping creak. In the silence of the street the sound seemed tenfold and paranoia made her wonder if the dead would hear it all the way back at the factory. Of course the noise probably wouldn't carry much past the front gate but a morning of halfers snapping at her feet was making her skittish. She pushed the door open just enough to slip inside.

The door led into the lounge and beyond that she could see a large kitchen diner and a flight of stairs along one wall. Rae explored carefully from room to room. There was no disarray in any of the furniture, no missing photographs from the walls or clothes strewn about the bedrooms as if the former occupants had tried to pack in a hurry. Maybe they had been out of town when the world ended? Or maybe they had just never made it back. Either way this place offered the sanctuary she needed.

She found a spool of electric blue thread and a box of sewing needles in the kitchen then she gathered a small first aid kit from the bathroom cabinet. She tipped everything onto the double bed in the master bedroom before peeling off her shirt. The skin where her flesh had been sliced was dirty. She hadn't washed in the days it had taken for her to reach that pharmaceutical factory. Rae could only imagine the germs that were working their way into her bloodstream as they prepared to poison her. Sometimes she thought it wouldn't be the jaws of a halfer that got her in the end but some miniscule bug that had been all but eradicated by modern medicine and sanitation.

She took two paracetamol to help prepare her body for the pain of what came next and with gritted teeth she cleaned and stitched as best she could. Which was pretty much terrible. Her stitches were large, hesitant, messy. She gave up after closing the worst of the wound and hoped a bandage would do the rest. After a long time spent lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling while her body calmed down from the shock of what it had just endured she pulled herself up to search through the dresser for fresh clothes.

The women's clothes were far too large and even though the mens jeans were too long they had a slim enough waist to make them suitable if she used a belt. She could easily cut the ends off in the morning but right now all she wanted to do was eat and sleep. She pulled on a mans green flannel shirt. The feeling of the clean brushed flannel against her skin was comforting. She pressed her nose to the cuff of her sleeve to inhale the faintest trace of lavender. She savoured the fleeting feeling of being clean and safe before grabbing her cones and making her way to one of the other bedrooms.

This room had the best view of the street and she'd pushed the single bed up against the window to help her keep watch but more than that it was to bask in the fragments of light that sank into the room from the night sky.

Rae scooped the rainbow sprinkles onto broken pieces of sugar cone and it wasn't worst thing she'd ever eaten nor was it anywhere close to filing her tummy or injecting some much needed strength back into her veins.

With a heavy sigh she settled into bed and pulled the cover up to her chin promising herself that tomorrow she'd make it home and this supply run would fade to nothing but a bad memory.


Morning had broken through the window but Rae had been too exhausted to notice the light filling the room. The thing that brought her back to the land of the living through half glued eyes was the sound of that squeaky front door bursting open followed by several muffled men's voices. She froze, clutching tight to the blanket..

"I'll check upstairs," a voice called out a little clearer as footfalls began to thud one by one on the carpeted steps.

Rae rolled off the bed, biting back the pain in her side as she popped out one of her haphazard blue stitches. The pain made the room spin, her breath holding in tight, zipping up the cry of pain she wanted to scream.

She was too slow to get away, the room she had picked for its view of the streets was the first along the corridor and the door swung open. Bang.

There was no flash of steel on the man's axe as he raised it above his head. It was all matt and dirty, layers of blood and grime clinging to any part that might have been shiny. He held it suspended for a heartbeat that seemed to last a lifetime before it would come smashing down on her skull. Rae winced, preparing herself for her last moments and focusing on the only thought that crossed her mind. Nobody will ever know. She'd be gone and they'd never know what happened to her. She hated that more than anything.

The axe whooshed inches from her face to wedge in the nightstand next to the bed. A blast of air sucked through her teeth filling her lungs in heartstopping relief. Rae's eye's locked with his.

"I thought you were a fucking roamer," the man sniggered, glancing from her face, along her bare legs. "You alone?" There was something predatory in the way he asked her that.

She licked her dry lips and suddenly the pain in her side seemed more bearable. She couldn't go down like this. She was injured but it wasn't over. Her eyes skirted to her glock sitting empty by the side of the bed. He didn't know it was empty. All she had to do was get away. She dove for it feeling the last of her stitches popping from her skin.

Donnie's boot landed hard on her forearm, pinning it to the floor before she could raise the weapon to threaten him. "What the fuck's wrong with you?" he demanded, snatching the pistol from her fingers with a hard yank and shoving it in the waistband of his jeans.

"Get away from me," Rae screeched, suddenly possessed like a trapped animal. Her legs flailed wildly, uncoordinated in her panic. "I'm not going with you."

He didn't flinch, he heaved out an irritated sigh and grabbed her by the back of her shirt, manhandling her down the stairs until he flung her on the road outside.

"Look what I found," he announced as he forced her to her knees in front of a group of men who were standing by a van and a scattering of motorcycles in the middle of the street. Realisation began to weigh like lead in her stomach. She'd thought she'd been careful coming all this way out to find supplies. She'd thought she could avoid running into the Raiders.

Feeling light headed and wearing nothing but a shirt and panties Rae had never felt so vulnerable in her entire life. No, that was wrong. She'd felt like this before and it had almost destroyed her.

One of them cocked his head to the side, a slow smile filling his face as he swung his baseball bat onto his shoulder. "Alright Donny, no need to fucking hurt the fucking girl." His gaze danced carelessly over her body before he knelt down right in front of her, his eye's at a height with hers, his breath blowing hot and steady across her face, "good fucking morning doll."

Rae looked away from him and the devilish grin that had her heart racing.

"Bitch tried to shoot me," Donnie kicked her leg hard enough to make her sway but not so hard that it hurt. She was too numb for it to hurt.

"Is that fucking so?" he tugged on the end of her ponytail so her eyes could lock with his. Espresso brown, dark and dangerous until he tilted his head and the sunlight ignited a faint spark of green enough to soften them back down.

Rae jerked her head away from him. She knew the score with the Raiders, they were anything but soft.

"Not much of a fucking talker? Don't matter much to me doll. I might even fucking prefer it."

"I've nothing to say and I'd rather die than go to Jacob!" Rae spat, both hands clutching her side.

"Who the fuck is Jacob?" his face was next to hers again with those dark eyes studying her.

Who's Jacob? Rae felt a stab of confusion, any words she might have muttered couldn't pass the tip of her tongue. She was slipping, the sounds of the street muffled, the lines of the man's face blurred. She felt the hard press of his arms, the smell of leather, a floating feeling and everything faded to blackness.


Negan stopped the girl from going face first into the tarmac. It was the least he could fucking do when she had a face as nice as it was. He picked her up bridal style to carry her to the truck even if he could already see the patch of blood that was slowly staining her giant ugly as fuck shirt. Roamer had probably taken a tasty chunk right out of her. What a waste, a goddamn crime to humanity. Before he ended things with one hard blow to her tangled red hair he at least needed to be certain. It wasn't everyday that he found a woman like this.

He laid her out in the truck, she was all long creamy legs that on any other day would have made his cock beg for freedom against his zipper but half dead unconscious girls weren't his style today or any other fucking day.

Negan ripped open her shirt with a well practiced tug. The buttons sprang free and his throat went dry at the sight of all that satin smooth skin. Alright, maybe half conscious girls weren't his style but he still had eyes, he was still a fucking man, he nodded his head to the side appreciating the treasure map of barely there freckles that were sugar coating her. Then he grimaced at the horrific sight of her purely functional old lady bra that had seen better fucking days and had probably been white a couple of shades of grey ago. A fucking waste.

After he'd sufficiently checked out the goods it didn't take an expert to see her injury wasn't a bite mark. His gaze swept over her body again, slower this time. If he left her out here she wouldn't have much chance of survival. Even if her wound didn't fester she was obviously too weak to find food or fend for herself. But he didn't need any fucking justifications. Donnie had dropped this leggy redhead at his feet and there was no fucking way he wasn't taking her home. He could definitely find a space for her in the Sanctuary. Right in his bed.

"Take her to Carson," he slammed the door of the truck closed and poked his head through the passenger window, "and don't fuck this up." He glared at Mike long enough to watch his adam's apple bob with one big nervous gulp. Good, he smacked his hand on the hood, knowing with certainty that Mike would be doing whatever the hell it took to get that redhead to safety.

After watching the truck pull away he caught the glare that Dwight gave him, but fuck Dwight. Dwight and Sherry had made their bed and now she had to lie in it. They knew what they were signing up for. When he took a wife she didn't just fucking walk away and she certainly didn't fuck around behind his back. That wasn't how shit worked in the Sanctuary. It wasn't some pussy assed democracy. If people wanted safety then they lived by the rules and if the women wanted an easy life with all the fucking perks then they lived in his bed and did whatever the fuck he wanted until he decided not to want it anymore.

"Come on fuckers, see what else you can find me but I gotta say I think Donnie might be the star of the fucking day today."

They still had plenty more daylight and he wasn't going to waste it playing nursemaid to some piece of ass no matter how nice it looked.

"Roamers," Dwight shouted, nodding his head down the street to where a whole fucking gang was ambling along like they might stand a chance.

Too fucking perfect. Negan clenched his hands and found them distinctly empty.

If there was one thing in this whole fucked up world that he always kept close it was Lucille. He glanced to the right and there she was, forlorn and abandoned in the middle of the fucking tarmac.

How the fuck had he managed that? Negan didn't throw Lucille down for some random pussy. He'd make it up to her though. He rolled his shoulders, loosening up, promising to make it up to her. Lucille was thirsty and she liked to crack skulls as much as he did. He'd decided long ago that she would be the only one he'd ever care about in this fucking mess. The only one.

A/N- Thank you for reading the first chapter. I'm excited to write my first Negan fic (and a little nervous too!) All feedback is very much appreciated :)