Disclaimer: I own nothing related to The Walking Dead.
Summary: Shooting someone in the shoulder is not exactly the best way to get to know a person. This is, unfortunately, just how New York refugee Rebecca Sumpter and hot-tempered country boy Daryl Dixon meet. Daryl/OC
Author's Note: First chapter of my first Walking Dead fic. I already have a few chapters of this written and ready to go, so I'll keep it at a weekly update, that way I should always have a chapter ready to go. The title of this story comes from The Black Keys song Act Nice and Gentle. The song really has nothing to do with the story, but somehow, the title works for the story.
Act Nice and Gentle
Rebecca was speeding down I-85, her tan jeep peaking at 78 mph, the black asphalt disappearing under her tires. Alice in Chains blared from her speakers, and she kept time with her palm against the steering wheel. She managed ten miles before she had to slow way down to ease her way around a group of abandoned cars. Steering the Jeep on the shoulder, she by-passed 4 cars, their hoods crunched and tangled, connecting them all.
She'd been driving for days. The trip from New York to Atlanta, under normal circumstances, should have only taken around 15 hours. Along the way, though, she'd had to stop for supplies, bathroom breaks, and meals-out-of-cans. Every time, she'd had to fight off at least 1 or 2 walkers; the most she'd taken on on her own had been 10. After that incident she'd raided a place called Al's Gun Shop in some tiny little town in Virginia called Moneta, just outside of Roanoke. The size of the town likely accounted for the remaining stores of guns and ammo. It'd caused an ache in her heart to give up her double barrel, but after the run-in with just under a dozen walkers, she hadn't had a choice. They'd been grabbing at her, and there was no possible way for her to stop and reload, having to brain the rest with the butt of her shotgun, wielding it like a ball bat. The double-barrel, which she'd named Nora, still rode in the back of the Jeep among her stores of food and t.p. Another thing she'd made sure to stock after the first time she'd had to go Rambo and wipe her ass with a few leaves after her first trip into natures restroom.
The exit sign for 248A, riddled with bullet holes and swinging in the wind, loomed ahead, and she felt a tiny shrivel of hope rise in her chest. When she'd evacuated New York, managing to sneak passed the hordes of soldiers that were 'decontaminating' New Yorkers, she'd headed straight for Atlanta. Rebecca'd been told that Atlanta was a safe zone. Granted, she'd been told by a man standing on a street, wearing a sandwich board with the words 'THE END IS HERE' printed in large red letters, but hey, who was she to question the hard-core bible thumpers?
She sped along the exit-ways, punching off the stereo as she slowed and pulled into the city. Immediately, she slammed on her brakes, coming to an idling stop.
The street marked West Washington was completely jammed with mangled wreckage. Civilian vehicles, army vehicles, she could even see a fucking tank in the distance, clogged the street, leaving no room for maneuvering. Rebecca felt her heart sink to the bottoms of her feet.
This was no safe zone. Rebecca switched off her Jeep and grabbed her rifle, then hopped out, her booted feet slapping against the cracked pavement. She checked the mag of her M16 (Samantha), thankful to find it fully loaded. The stench of rot filled the air, assaulting her senses. Rebecca stuffed her keys into the pocket of her olive cargo-shorts and walked to the back of her Jeep.
She opened the back and slung Samantha across her back, unzipping the military-style duffel bag that sat in front of her boxes of food rations. She grabbed a set of .38 semi-automatics -Seth and Jonah- out of her bag, and tucked them into the back of her shorts, tugging her once-white A-shirt over the weapons. Rebecca snatched a box of cartridges out of her bag-o-goodies, adding them to the other various contents of her pockets. She wandered into the city, keeping Samantha across her back, clutching a piece of metal pipe about the size of her leg in her hands, ready to swing-away if need be.
The farther she wandered, the more any remaining hope she'd had in her dried up.
There was nothing but death here. Whether it be the walking-dead, or the permanently dead, nothing remained here.
Bodies littered the streets, rancid, bloated under the blazing Atlanta sun. Walkers were every-fucking-where. Rebecca stepped as quietly and as quickly as she could, but they were beginning to notice her. Sense the blood that rushed through her, smell her flesh. She tightened her grip on the pipe, knowing to wait until the last possible moment before putting one of the guns to use; better try and fight them off by hand than draw more with the loud reports. Rebecca didn't know what she was looking for. She should have just turned around, climbed back in the Jeep, and kept driving. But to where? A smaller town, perhaps. She kept on, a white knuckle grip on her blunt object, being as stealthy as she possibly could.
The city was quiet, save for the mindless groans and grunts of the walkers. Rebecca had been to Atlanta once before, 3 years ago on vacation. Then, the city had been bustling. People had milled about, not frantically, or impatiently like the New Yorkers she was use to, but they'd still been everywhere. The memory was a stark contrast to this gutted waste of a city.
She was coming up on the tank, and strained her ears in the vain hope that someone, someone living, might be inside, but there was nothing. Making a circuit around the tank, she spotted a large duffle on the ground, a bag very much like the one she had in the back of her Jeep. Rebecca toed the back with her brown boot, and sure enough, there was a familiar clank of metal on metal. Tucking her pipe under her arm, casting a glance around for walkers- they were still a few blocks away, but they'd definitely noticed her- she squatted down and unzipped the bag.
"Holy fuck," she whispered to herself. Inside the bag was an arsenal that rivaled her own.
"Oh shit," she heard someone mutter a few feet away from her, and her head snapped up as she grabbed Seth from the back of her shorts. Rebecca aimed her .38 at the Korean who stood a small distance from her, and he took a step back, holding his hands up.
"Don't shoot. I-I just came for the bag," he said, then a little more confidently, "that's our bag." The kid was wearing a faded red ball cap over his shining, sweat-soaked black hair. His eyes were wide, and unless the kid was a great actor, there was real fear there. Rebecca stood, put the safety back on Seth, and returned him to his place next to Jonah.
"Take 'em then," she said, giving the bag another nudge. Relief was evident on his face as he moved forward, snatched the bag up, and turned, beginning to sprint in the other direction. "Grab the hat and come on!" he said over his shoulder. Hat? The fuck about a hat? It was then Rebecca noticed the deputy's stetson laying on the ground. She found herself snatching it up and following him. He was the first living person she'd run across in weeks-short of Bible Thumpin' Bob, as she'd named him- and Rebecca had questions. She ran after him, holding onto Samantha so she wouldn't bounce painfully against her back (she was a heavy bitch) and followed him into a gated alley. Walkers veered in their direction, but she pulled the gate closed behind them. Holding it with her forearm, Rebecca turned, hat and pipe under her arm, to come face to face with a man wielding a crossbow.
"Oh for fucks sakes," was her only response before rolling her eyes and scanning the area for something to wedge against the gate to keep it shut. Eyeing the distance between the ground and the lock hatch, Rebecca realized that her pipe would be long enough, and strong enough, to keep it shut. The walkers weren't pressing hard- they would run into the gate and bounce back a few steps, before drudging forward again. Dropping the hat to the ground, she wedged the pipe there and took a few cautious steps back. A walker ran into the the gate, and it rattled, but the pipe held.
Rebecca turned and saw that the man was still pointing his crossbow in her face, and the Korean kid was hovering behind him, the bag of guns still hoisted oh his shoulder, making him lean heavily to the left.
"Would you mind getting that out of my face?" she asked, crossing her arms across her chest.
"You know where my brother is?" he asked, a thick, deep drawl dragging his words out. Rebecca saw the kid roll his eyes and shake his head.
"What in the fuck are you talking about? Brother? Dude, I just rolled into town about 15 minutes ago," Rebecca peered at him over the tip of his bow. "Have you gone in the head a little? I know quite a few people who have, and I don't blame you in the least. I'm kind of jealous, actually. Wish I could go crazy and just be done with it." The kid was pressing his lips together, trying not to laugh. Rebecca was pressing her lips together for an entirely different reason. Sometimes, her brain and her mouth refused to cooperate with each other, and she just didn't know when to shut up. While she'd been talking, though, the crazy man had moved his crossbow a hair at a time, out of her face.
He didn't seem to notice the man in the uniform and the hulking black man moving stealthily down the alley toward them. Rebecca and the kid had both noticed, but the man with the sandy brown hair and the rather large mole hadn't, so when the law-man (she was going by the uniform, here) dropped a hand onto the crossbow toting man's shoulder, he jumped about a foot in the air, his body going ridged, his hands forming fists. Unfortunately for Rebecca, one of those fists was still wrapped around the trigger of his crossbow, and pointed in her general direction.
The bolt went into her shoulder and lodged there, pain immediately lancing through her entire upper body. Her eyebrows shot up, and she just looked at the quivering arrow sticking out of her person for a few seconds, before screaming. It was a short, but piercing scream. The fresh wave of blood and the noise put the walkers on the other side of the gate into a frenzy, and they were bouncing off the fencing at an alarming pace, like kamikaze bumblebees. Rebecca, chest heaving, fixed the insane man with the glare.
"What the fuck, dude," she seethed with gasping breaths. "You fucking shot me!" she rushed forward, and he backed away from her, hands raised in the hair, crossbow held over his head. Rebecca backed him to the wall, and began kicking his legs with all her might. "You shot me! Dick!" He was dancing around, trying to avoid the fury of her kicking feet, but she kept on until someone grabbed her 'round the middle and hauled her back.
"Let go of me!" she yelled. "He fucking shot me! I'm gonna kick the shit out of him!" There was a low chuckle in her ear.
"As amusing as seeing Daryl get his ass kicked would be, he shot you by accident." It was the law-man who had hold of her, and she kicked at his legs. But, of course, he had experience restraining frantic women, so she couldn't land a single blow.
"That makes it okay?" She jerked hard in his arms, and another shock of pain went through her. "Fuck," she whimpered, "that fucking hurts." She shot another glare and the insane man, Daryl. "Dick," she repeated. The law-man set her on her feet, and she clutched her shoulder with her good hand, and backed away from them.
"We can't linger here," the law-man told the group. The tag on his wrinkled, tan-and-brown uniform shirt read 'Grimes'. "C'mon," he said to her, "you can come back to camp with us. We'll get your arm fixed up." Rebecca grit her teeth together as a fresh wave of pain hit her at the reminder. It was the best option. She'd never be able to get her arm doctored on her own.
"My Jeep, though. I've got to go back for my Jeep. All of my food rations, my weapons, my clothes, it's all in there. I've got to go get it."
"Where'd you leave it?" the hulking, dark-skinned man asked.
"Right at the mouth of the city. On West Washington, I think it was," she told them. Grimes hesitated.
"Alright, Glenn, T-Dog, you guys go for the Jeep, meet us back at camp." He turned back toward the rest of us, mouth open to speak, but Rebecca cut him off.
"No, I go with my Jeep," she said firmly. "No offense, but how do I know you won't take off with all my shit?"
"You just got shot," the one she assumed was T-Dog said, "you wanna run around with a bunch of geeks, spouting fresh blood?" He shook his head. Rebecca jerked her head toward Daryl.
"He can come with me. Watch my back. He is the dick that shot me, after all. Besides, I've got Samantha if it really comes down to it."
"Samantha?" the kid, Glenn, said, confusion in his voice.
With her good arm, Rebecca reached behind her slowly, and brought Sammy around front, giving her a pat. "This is Samantha." Grimes let out a low whistle.
"Fine, then," he said. "Glenn, go with Daryl and... I'm sorry, we didn't get your name."
"Rebecca," she told them, "Rebecca Sumpter."
"Go with Daryl and Rebecca, get the Jeep. Then back to camp." Everyone but Daryl seemed to agree with this plan.
"What about Merle?" he asked, sounding a little petulant. He had his crossbow in front of him, pointed toward the ground, and he was glaring around the little group.
"Your brother's name is Merle?" Rebecca asked, and he shot her a glare. She quickly told herself to shut the hell up, and pressed her lips together again.
"We'll all keep a look out for him," Grimes assured Daryl.
Daryl let out a loud snort, then set off down the alley, away from the gated walkers. Rebecca and Glenn followed close behind, Rebecca keeping Samantha close to her chest with her good arm. Glenn quickened his pace, heading up the front. He seemed to have a higher knowledge of the routes and side streets and led them to West Washington. They only met two walkers, Daryl dispatching both quickly.
The reached the Jeep and Rebecca slipped Samantha's strap from around her shoulders carefully, setting it in the back on top of her gun bag. She fished the keys out of her pocket, and automatically strode around to the drivers side, cradling her bad arm against her body. The arm that still had the arrow sticking out of it.
"You outta let me pull that out," Daryl said, looking at her from the corner of his eye from where he stood by the drivers side mirror. She let out a sigh, blowing the hair out of her face.
"Yeah, alright," she said. "Go ahead." Rebecca leaned against the side of her Jeep, her hands resting on her thighs.
"Got a t-shirt or somethin' you don't mind parting with?" he asked. "The bloods gonna start flowing again soon as I pull it out." Rebecca blew her breath out between her teeth.
"There's a towel in one of my bags," she said, and Glenn started rooting around in the back of the Jeep, looking for said towel. He found it in the first bag he looked in, then came rushing around the Jeep, handing it to Daryl.
"Sorry," Daryl muttered, bracing one hand on my shoulder, wrapping the other hand around the arrow. Rebecca wasn't sure whether he was apologizing for shooting her, or this new pain. Both, maybe. Then he was pulling it out, and she was closing her eyes, grinding her teeth together, trying not to cry out. The new blood would be enough of a draw to the walkers, we didn't need anything else to bring them down on us. A searing, burning pain throbbed around the wound, and Rebecca looked down to see the bolt coming out of her flesh, and Daryl immediately pressed the faded blue towel against her shoulder, trying to ebb the fresh flow.
"Keep that there," he said, then took the keys from her hands. Rebecca couldn't find it in herself to protest. She just climbed into the passenger seat as Glenn scrambled into the narrow backseat. She rolled her eyes when Daryl jumped into the driver's seat Dukes of Hazard style. The Jeep started right up, and with a muted rumble, Daryl accelerated, turning them around, heading back out of town. Rebecca pressed the towel against her shoulder, and leaned back against her seat.
"So where's this camp Grimes was talking about?" she asked after a few moments of tense silence. Daryl cut his eyes to her, keeping a white knuckled grip on the steering wheel.
"Out at an old quarry, about 20 miles from here," Glenn supplied from the back seat.
"Thank you, Glenn," she said over the seat. Rebecca looked back to Daryl who had his eyes fixed on the road. "I'm sorry about your brother," she said to him. His head snapped in her direction. "Even if you are a dick, I'm still sorry."
"Thanks, I guess," he grumbled. Rebecca leaned forward, reaching for the radio slowly. She punched the power button with her thumb and 'Them Bones' continued mid-song. Daryl's face twitched slightly, and he gave her a brief, somewhat surprised look. She just shrugged with her good shoulder, and closed her eyes, leaning back again.
Author's Note: Well... what's the verdict? What do you think of Rebecca? I'm kind of fond of her, myself. I'll post chapter 2 next Friday, and we'll see more of Rebecca's back story, along with a few other things.
Review, if you'd like. And you really should. Every time you read, and don't review, a fairy dies.
Think about it.