AN: Hey... Sorry about the wait. I was planning to write a lot this summer but that ended up just not happening but I figure late is better than never. To be honest you can probably give thanks to the fact that I was just wandering FF when I happened upon my story in someone's favorites list. It was really surreal and the motivation for finally finishing this chapter. Thanks so much to all the people who have reviewed and favorited this story so far, it really means a lot to me.
Dammit. Harry just seemed to be settling in to the rest of the group and now something like this happens.
Some random woman appears out of the middle of nowhere with baby supplies and the knowledge that Glenn and Maggie had been kidnapped by some strange settlement close by.
Not only was this bad to begin with but it could seriously scare off the teen just when he seemed to be settling in. And what to do with the woman, they'd just taken in another member but it was under completely different circumstances. Harry was a kid and was obviously running out of the luck that had kept him alive this far but Michonne was a fully grown woman and was more than capable of surviving until she found someone that was willing to take her in if that was what she wanted.
But of course, they could use her help if they were to take on this 'Governor' person to get back Glenn and Maggie.
Rick sighed, looked down at the woman from where she was sitting on the floor, holding her injured leg and glaring at her sword from its position on the table behind him. Rick had sent Carl and Harry outside with Judith so that they'd be safe in case this woman ended up being dangerous though it had the added bonus of keeping Harry in the dark while they discussed what to do with Michonne.
"Why?" Demanded the ex-sheriff, "Why would you come here and tell us this? What could you get out of it?"
"I want the governor dead and I don't care how it happens." Answered Michonne in an equally fierce voice, "I figured the people who were kidnapped would have a group that might help me."
A small hope started within Rick's chest, if that was really all that the woman wanted then she may end up being an asset to getting back Glenn and Maggie rather than another obstacle for them to conquer.
"And you know the location of this Governor's camp, where he's holding Glenn and Maggie?"
"And you'll not only help us to fight and free them but you'll leave us alone as soon as you have your revenge?"
It sounded too good to be true and Rick had known since long before the world ended that when something sounded too good to be true, it often was.
"What's the catch? Why are you so eager to kill this man?"
Michonne let out a soft groan of frustration as she looked up at the man in front of her, "He's not a nice man if you can tell by the fact that he randomly kidnapped two of your group and he happens to have the person that I was traveling with convinced that he hung the moon. I just want to take my revenge for him trying to kill me and to reveal him for who we really is."
"Fine." Snapped out Rick decisively, "But if this is a trap or you betray us let it be known that we won't hesitate to put a bullet in your head."
"Same goes for you." Responded Michonne.
Rick gave one last glare at the woman before striding outside to check on the kids, Harry was still a flight risk and he wasn't sure that Carl would be able to handle it if Harry really decided that he was going to try and escape.
Harry looked down at the tiny lifeform in his arms nervously, glancing back up at Carl to make sure that he was doing everything right.
The teen still wasn't quite sure how Judith had ended up in his arms but Carl had been insistent despite the slightly panicked claims that came from Harry that he had no idea how to handle children and that he would probably hurt her by accident.
Instead of reprimanding him for some fault in holding of Judith, Carl only smiled encouragingly.
"I told you that she's not made of glass, as long as you're careful there shouldn't be a problem."
Harry nodded quickly before turning his attention back to the baby, too afraid to even take his mind off her for long enough to form a proper response.
If he was honest with himself than he would have to admit that despite his anxiousness over holding the baby, it felt really nice to have this sort of contact with another human being again. The sort where he knew that the person couldn't hurt him and he was able draw warmth and kindness from the touch.
Suddenly, Harry heard the door from the prison open and he looked up in terror to see Rick walking towards them. Rick, whose baby he was holding and who he had absolutely not received permission to do so.
Seeing a different kind of fear enter into Harry's eyes, Carl frowned but leaned over to take Judith into his arms.
Harry looked straight down at the concrete beneath his feet as Rick approached, eyes wide and breath coming in shorter and shorter gasps.
"Harry." Came the voice from just in front of the teen, causing the teen's head to jerk upwards in shock of the proximity. Harry accidentally made eye contact with the older man and found that he couldn't look away from the expression that he found. It wasn't the anger or violence that he had come to expect from those around him but a legitimate and serious concern that he found there.
"Harry calm down. I'm not mad at you and I'm not going to hurt you." Said Rick as he cautiously took another step towards Harry.
The teen took a hurried step backwards at the motion before accidentally tripping and falling down onto his butt.
Harry knew that he was over reacting but he just couldn't deal with Rick right now the pure uncertainty that he brought with him. In an attempt to calm himself down, Harry took his head and pressed it in between his knees with his hands over his head, the action allowed a sort of false isolation why he closed his eyes.
Gradually, Harry's panicked breaths returned to normal and he became more fully aware of what had just happened. A deep sense of shame and embarrassment swept through his body, making the blood run to his face as he took in how he had just acted.
He had a full on panic attack for no reason other than the fact that Rick, who had been nothing but so kind to him since they'd met, was walking towards him and Carl while Harry was holding Judith.
It was no wonder that the people in this group didn't trust him enough to look after himself, he was falling apart at the seams. Merlin, when had he become as weak as to crumble to the ground the moment someone tried to touch him.
He didn't use to be like this, he'd had a rough time while living with the Dursley's but he'd still been able to function like a normal human being. It wasn't like he was even with the people who hurt him anymore, no, instead it was when he was finally maybe safe that he was weaker than ever.
He couldn't be like this anymore, thought Harry resolutely, I have to be strong. It was with this thought that the teen slowly raised his head to look up at Rick and Carl, his face suddenly burning even hotter as he took in their twin expressions of concern.
"S-sorry." Whispered Harry as he got to his feet.
"No," Said Carl resolutely, surprising Harry who had expected Rick to speak first, "you went through a hard thing and you have nothing to be ashamed for."
Rick nodded in solemn agreement before continuing, "Harry I know that this is hard for you and that in time you will be fine but that time isn't now and that's alright. I hope that you'll be able to see yourself as a member of the group before long and Judith is part of that group, I have no issue with you holding her and I never will.
Harry momentarily gaped at the two before realizing what he was doing and quickly shutting his mouth.
"Thank you." Responded Harry, a whole lot quieter and weaker than he had meant for it to come out.
Seeming to realize that he needed his space to take in what Rick had said Carl turned to his dad and asked what he had found out from the strange woman that had appeared at the fence.
"It seems that Glenn and Maggie have been kidnapped by a man who calls himself the Governor." Imparted Rick with a slight degree of hesitation, "The woman is named Michonne and has a vendetta against the man and is willing to help us get them back."
"They were what?" Exclaimed Carl loudly, causing Judith to murmur softly in her sleep from where she was nestled in his arms, "We're going to go get them back right?"
Rick nodded solemnly, "I'm going to get together part of the group and we're going to go and get them out."
"What if it's a trap?" Asked Harry, concerned for Glenn, even though he had only met him for a short time he seemed as though he had been a very nice man.
"If they're planning on trapping us then they've chosen the wrong group to target." Responded Rick with a sort of seriousness about him that made Harry feel as though there was a real truth in his words.
"I want to help." Stated Carl.
"What? No. You're too young and even though I have no doubt that you would try your hardest you would be a distraction and pull the group down." Answered a surprised Rick.
"You know I'm good with a gun, I could help."
"I said no not because I don't believe in your skills Carl but because you'd distract the rest of us with you being there and make our rescue less likely to succeed. That applies to you too Harry."
Harry nodded as Carl scowled at the rejection, he hadn't expected Rick to let him leave the prison anyway, and no matter how nice they were he was still technically their prisoner.
Though, Harry noted, he was finding that the longer he stayed the less he found that he wanted to leave.
Harry watched as the last of the rescue group loaded up onto the trucks and drove out the gates from his place outside, near the prison.
Had he really meant what he had thought before? Sure the group was nice but that didn't mean that they still couldn't hurt him, or, Harry admitted the more likely scenario, they could be hurt by someone else and cause him a different type of pain.
Harry had seen it happen time and time again where people got attached only to have their loved ones ripped away from them at a moment's notice, taking their will to live with them.
Here he was, already attached to Glenn, not wanting him to be hurt, when he should have distanced himself and not let himself be touched by his kindness. At least some of the group that went out to rescue Glenn and Maggie wouldn't be coming back, he knew this in his head and yet his heart ached at the mere possibility.
Once again he cursed himself for letting them squeeze their way into his heart so easily. He had friends, people who he had to get back to in England, and he had to survive for them and the possibility that they were alright, he couldn't afford to die trying to save someone else.
And yet even as he had the thought, he found himself glancing over to where Beth stood, holding Judith in her arms and knew that he was already too late to distance himself.
Maybe if he was already so invested it would be alright to let them in a little bit, what harm could that cause that he wouldn't be experiencing anyway at this point.
AN: Thanks for reading, please leave a review! I'll try to be a little faster in updating than I was last time.