AN: SORRY! I kept thinking of things I had to add and this chapter got longer and longer and so I have not even WATCHED a single episode of this season yet, let alone written a single word. But here is the end of Safe. It's over, it's finished, and it makes me kind of sad.
Chapter 10: Anywhere
Rick stopped Glenn when he went to follow Daryl to the barn. Hadn't let him anywhere near. When Daryl emerged and gave his report of what Randal had to say Glenn had sneaked away to check and very quickly wished he hadn't.
Randal had been beaten all to hell. He was bleeding and whimpering in the corner, big cuts on his arms and legs that Glenn was fairly certain hadn't been there before. Glenn ducked back out of the barn before he made himself sick.
He found Daryl at his little campsite, making preparations to go out hunting.
"The fuck was that Daryl? The kid looked like the secret police got him. Surely there was another way." Daryl bristled.
"You think I enjoyed it? Think I like hurting people?"
"NO! No, I could never ever think that. I'm a little shocked that you even knew how."
Daryl crumpled, all of his bluster whooshing out of him in a deep sigh. He gave a humorless chuckle and said the one word that really explained everything.
Glenn stared at him horrified and Daryl rushed to explain. "Naw, he didn't. . . Merle never laid a hand on me. But he'd tell stories. Detailed stories. Things he'd done, things he'd seen others do. It scared the fuck out of me when I was a kid."
Glenn nodded and moved closer, resting one of his hands on Daryl's slumped shoulder.
"You don't have to be that guy Daryl. You don't have to do Rick's dirty work just because you know how. You are a better man than that!"
Daryl brushed him off and slung his crossbow across his back, turning toward the woods.
"The fuck would you know about it?"
"He's using you Daryl. He's using you to do what he doesn't want to and you're letting him." Daryl snorted.
"And you ain't? I seen you with that Greene girl, kissin' and talkin' all quiet. She know you come to me when you get a hankerin' for some strange? Or does she just not care 'cause I ain't really competition?"
That doused Glenn's anger like a bucket of ice water.
"Is that what you think?" He wasn't shouting now, his tone was sad and almost strangled. "Do you think I care so little for you? There is no competition Daryl. You've already won."
Glenn reached a hand out and settled it on Daryl's elbow. "I haven't touched her since I kissed you."
Daryl shifted but didn't pull away. "You two are awfully cozy." He sounded skeptical.
Glenn risked a few steps forward. "I know. I'm sorry. I do love her. She's my friend, really the only one here that's my age. There are so few of us now. We get along well and I like her company. I should have made my feelings for you more clear though. I want to be with you Daryl. I love her as a friend, a fellow human, a sister even, but I am completely in love with you."
Daryl spat at the ground. "Horseshit." He pulled away roughly. "I'm not some dumb high school girl. I ain't gonna stay here and make nice with her, turn a blind eye just cause you say lovey dovey shit and make empty promises." He started to walk away. Glenn wanted to throw something at the back of his head.
He settled for shouting at him instead. "You are such a fucking coward."
Daryl spun around and stalked back to Glenn, crowding him back into a tree. "You don't know shit."
Rather than shrink back, Glenn pushed forward. Molding himself into Daryl's body and wrapping his fingers around the other man's ribs. "I know you're running away again."
Daryl didn't move to break away, but his face went from flaming mad to a frightening ice cold in an instant. "You got no hold on me boy. Run back to your little girlfriend."
Glenn smashed his lips inelegantly against Daryl's, realizing with surprise that it was the first time they had kissed since in the barn just after the funeral. Daryl was frozen for a moment, but quickly got with the program, fumbling with Glenn's fly. Glenn stilled his hand, cupping it with one of his own.
"Wait. There is something we need to make absolutely fucking clear first." Daryl's eyes focused on his, and for a moment he just looked so lost that Glenn felt a wave of guilt. How had he not noticed this before? How had he not seen that their intimacy was hurting Daryl? Well, he could fix that now. He would fix it now if he had to beat Daryl over the head with the truth. "I am with you. This thing we are doing? It's exclusive, and I hope, for the rest of our lives. I am not with Maggie and haven't been with her since that day in the barn."
Expressions were fighting each to take over Daryl's face. Hope and disbelief, joy and wariness. Glenn decided to help him out by kissing him again, slowly backing the other man toward the open tent flap. Daryl might not be completely convinced yet, but Glenn had always been better at doing things than saying them.
Glenn woke alone at mid-morning, Daryl having slipped out around dawn to do manly Daryl things. He stretched languidly and considered for a minute rolling over and going back to sleep before the sounds of the camp work already in full swing intruded and drove him out of the tent.
Things were tense that day on the farm. With the exception of Dale who ran around campaigning for Randal's survival, no one said a word about their prisoner or what was likely to happen to him that night. Glenn went about his chores automatically, trying not to think too hard about the whole rough situation. He avoided Maggie at all costs only to have to suffer through a very uncomfortable conversation with Hershel about how he was probably good enough to sleep with the man's daughter. He left the heirloom Hershel had foisted on him in the top of Maggie's jewelry box and hid in the disused greenhouse on the very edge of the property for the rest of the day, under the guise of salvaging old gardening tools.
He didn't see Daryl at all until the meeting that night, when everyone gathered in the living room like the damn neighborhood watch to vote whether Randal should live or die. Afterward Dale stormed off before Glenn could apologize and try to explain himself. He sought out Daryl instead, needing the other man's steady presence to remind him why it had to be done.
Daryl hadn't gone far. He was on the gloomy section of the veranda, just past the point where the porch light really reached, leaning back in an old rocking chair with one of his feet on the banister. Glenn hopped up next to his foot and played with the laces and toe of Daryl's boot until his fingers found the small round hole on the side and he realized that it was the foot he'd shot. Glenn dropped it like a hot coal and quickly put his hands in his lap causing Daryl to chuckle. Glenn managed a small smile in reply.
"I'll stop spending time with her if it bothers you." Daryl looked at him questioningly but Glenn was pretty sure he understood. Glenn decided to clarify anyway. "Maggie. I won't spend my free time with her if it worries you. She's very important to me, but I care more about us that I do about my friendship with her."
Daryl nodded but said "No. You were right. We're all family now. I trust you. The way I figure it, the Greenes are just as much our family now as Carol 'n Dale 'n Rick. We gotta stick together even if it means a little uncomfortableness. That's what families do."
Before Glenn could think what to respond, Rick cleared his throat on the porch steps; Daryl nodded and went to follow him toward the barn. Glenn stopped him with a hand on his arm "You don't have to do this. Rick's in charge, it was his call. Let him be the executioner."
Daryl shook him off, but not roughly. "No. I voted for that boy to die. I think I made the right call, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself knowin' I made a choice like that and then shied away from the hard part. I need to own it."
Glenn nodded. He understood, but he couldn't bring himself to follow the two men. He hoped Daryl didn't think less of him for it.
When they disappeared into the barn Glenn collapsed into the vacated rocking chair and pushed off with his toes.
"I can't decide whether it's better or worse that it's not one of the other women." Glenn jumped to his feet and spun around.
Maggie was on the bench at the very edge of the veranda with her back against the house. Even knowing she was there he could barely see her. It was too dark and she was partially hidden behind the woodpile. A million denials sprang to mind, explanations for what she had heard, but he only said "I'm sorry."
She tilted her head back against the wall so all he could see was the delicate point of her chin and waved off his apology with a careless flick of her hand. "He's not wrong. Friends are by far our most valuable commodity. We're a family of sorts and we really can't afford to be at odds with each other over petty squabbles. I do love you Glenn. I'll probably keep hoping you change your mind, but your friendship means a lot to me. I won't get in the way. I'll be damned if I'm going to let Daryl fucking Dixon be the bigger person."
"Your friendship means the worl-"
"Still," she cut him off. "I don't think I'll feel much like talking to you for the next few days at least."
Glenn knew a dismissal when he heard one so he hurried away. He was more than halfway there when he realized he had been making a beeline for Daryl's tent. He felt a moment of uncertainty, unsure if he was presuming too much since they technically had only been an actual item for one day, and wondering if his presence would even be welcome when Daryl was done with the things he had to do tonight, but his steps barely faltered before he quickened his pace along the same path. If he wasn't wanted Daryl would make absolutely no bones about telling him so.
He was nearly to the tent flap when he heard Dale scream.
Dale's death hit them all hard, but it seemed to be just the kick in the pants they had all needed. After the decision was made to find some other way to deal with Randal, the tension that had been ratcheted up so high the previous week seemed to dissipate completely. Still no one really talked about Randal, or what there plans were for him beyond assigning people to feed him and hose out his latrine bucket, but everyone seemed to have a purpose now, and they all threw themselves into their various chores gladly in an effort to get the farm ready for winter.
There was a lot more work to do, beyond the day to day business of staying alive, now that they had decided to batten down the hatches for the upcoming winter. They did patrols around the whole property, looking for gaps in the fences and killing the few walkers that managed to slip through. Glenn and the Greene girls raided the fields and orchards of all the nearby farms looking for late fruit and leftover harvest that Lori and Patricia could turn into jars upon jars of preserves. T-dog, who as it turned out was a horticulturist, took over the small unused greenhouse and started a seed store, saving enough good crop that they would be able to plant something for themselves come spring.
Maggie was still sore at him, but Glenn hardly noticed. He spent all his free time now hanging out with Daryl, no longer concerned that he was intruding. Mostly this consisted of Glenn watching Daryl work between the adrenaline-fueled supply runs he now seemed to go on twice daily.
He was sitting in a lawn chair four days after they buried Dale, watching the perfection of Daryl's muscled ass in it's form hugging jeans and ruminating on the fact that he doesn't really miss boobs as much as he thought he would.
"They're awfully cute together." Andrea dangled a lukewarm beer in Glenn's line of sight as she plopped into the remaining deck chair and turned to watch as Daryl and Carl worked under the hood of an old station wagon salvaging parts. Glenn nodded his thanks and popped the cap off with the blunt edge of his hunting knife.
"Rick asked us to keep an eye on him while he an Lori have a parenting pow wow. Something about Carl stealing Daryl's back-up pistol. He's being a big help though, hasn't whined once. Must feel guilty."
Andrea watched them for a moment with a frown. "I hate to say it, but maybe we should get him a gun of his own. The way the world is we can't exactly afford to wait to teach him how to shoot when he's grown up."
Glenn took a moment to process what she said as he was distracted by Daryl reaching far back into the engine and flexing his rear in a particularly enticing manner. When he realized what she had said he looked over at her and thought about it for a moment. He didn't disagree. Hell he thought it was a damn good idea.
"Maybe I'll give Rick that pink gun. I don't think I could shoot it again anyway." Andrea snorted and nudged his shoulder with her own. They sat enjoying the view for nearly an hour before T-dog came to get Daryl for the second attempt at dumping Randal someplace far enough away that they would be safe.
"Head in the game Glenn."
Glenn shook himself and strengthened his grip on his machete. Now was not the time to be day dreaming. Not when there was a potentially murderous ex-prisoner on the loose. They were quickly losing the light and if he and Daryl couldn't find the kid he doubted Shane and Rick had a snowball's chance. He said as much to Daryl.
Daryl gave Glenn a long look. "Something stinks about this."
"About Randal getting loose?"
"About the whole thing. Shane is the most paranoid son of a bitch I ever have met, and my daddy thought the government had little cameras in his shower head. You telling me that a big, trained fighter like Shane who half expects someone to attack him when he goes to take a shit was punched by a tied up, hungry, tired kid like Randal and blacked out long enough that Randal had time to get away?"
Glenn thought of the implications of that until Daryl asked for his flashlight and headed back toward the scant trail they had seen earlier.
"two sets of tracks here, Shane followed him a lot longer than he said. There's blood on this tree."
Pieces started to fall together in Glenn's head. He could kind of see the vague outline of what Daryl was trying to show him but something niggled in the back of his mind, like he was missing something.
A walker lunged out from behind a nearby tree and got it's arms around Daryl.
Glenn didn't hesitate, he tackled the geek . It wasn't until he was standing over the the damn thing that he realized the zombie was Randal. Daryl wasted no time in examining the body and quickly proclaimed there were no bites on it anywhere. Randal had died of a broken neck. Glenn was so confused by the lack of walker involvement that it took a minute for that to sink in.
"Shane killed him"
"You think he...Rick?"
"Shane sure as hell didn't take him to find Randal."
"We need to warn him." Glenn made a move to go deeper into the woods, but Daryl pulled him back by the arm and started back toward the farm instead.
"Rick knows. He'd have to be a fool not to and that man ain't no fool. We need to get back. They'll work it out one way or th' other." A loud gunshot sounded through the woods and Glenn flinched. "We'd best be getting back."
Glenn moved ahead, so it was instead him tugging Daryl through the underbrush. "We need to hurry, we need to warn everyone about what Shane did."
Daryl picked up the pace. "Naw, they'll all know if one of 'em comes back alone. Hell, most of them half suspected something like this might crop up after Otis, but no one wants to be the one to stir the pot. If they both come back it means Rick's convinced he isn't a threat anymore. Man ain't stupid, just a little soft."
Glenn faltered. "Otis?" But even as he said it it all clicked into place. The gun, Shane's injuries, and his radical attitude change when he got back from the high school. Glenn felt like a complete idiot. Daryl gave him a raised eyebrow, like he was just figuring out something obvious. "So what do we do?"
"Not much we can do. If Rick comes back, then the problem's solved for us. And if it's Shane by himself, well, I guess everyone will have a decision. No one's gonna wanna shoot Shane. We've lost to many able bodies already. It's just a question of who can live with pretending they don't know what he's done, and who can't.
Glenn drew up short so that Daryl managed to get several paces ahead of him. "What about you?"
Daryl turned and waited for him to catch up. "Well, Shane is dangerous, there ain't no denying that. I don't much like our chances with him. But then, winter's comin' up fast, you and I could make a go of it easy, but Carol probably couldn't take it, and Lori and the Greene girls would be more of a hindrance than a help even if we could convince them to come, which I doubt. 'Sides, I know you won't ditch 'em, and I sure as hell don't plan to ditch you. Or Carol for that matter, two of you are the only ones worth half a damn in the whole of the world. I figure we wait, lay low, come spring we see what's what, maybe slip away, maybe don't."
Committing himself for several months in the same place was tantamount to a marriage proposal from Daryl. Glenn caught himself grinning despite the shitty situation.
Everyone was gathered in the farmhouse when they got back. Daryl didn't let on about what he suspected, even agreeing to go out looking for Rick on Lori's request up until they actually got outside and saw the massive horde of walkers descending on the farm.
After the decision was made to try and save the farm, Daryl was quick to act. He vaulted the railing of the porch and started for his motorcycle. Glenn followed, but as he reached the bike Daryl hastily waved him away.
"Too dangerous with two, bike isn't as easy to maneuver, I gotta worry about you while I worry 'bout the walkers, I'll just get us both killed. Go with Maggie. She may be good with a gun but she hasn't seen as many of them as we have, she may well spook. Meet 'cha back at the highway worse comes to worst." Glenn hesitated, but Daryl pulled him in for a swift kiss before throwing the bike into gear and tearing off. Maggie pulled up behind him a second later in the little green hatchback
It feels like hours that they are driving around the farm, battling undead, but in reality it's a little less than 10 minutes. Maggie held up admirably, she didn't start to fall apart until they were fleeing down the road, and even then it was to plead that they go back and search for the others. He told her to pull over so he could drive while she calmed down.
"I love you. I should have told you a long time ago." It was true. He did love her. He needed to reassure her of that. Even if he was in love with Daryl, he loved Maggie too and would die protecting her if need be. She nodded and started to breath more slowly so turned the car back on and pulled away from the shoulder.
Maggie was silent for several minutes before she asked tentatively "Did you just say that to get me to stop freaking out?"
Glenn risked a glance over at her but quickly trained his eyes back on the road. "No. I'm still with Daryl, but I do love you. No matter what happens, who made it out or who died, I want you to know that I am here for you."
Maggie looked on the verge of tears again so Glenn reached over to take her hand and give it a gentle squeeze. She watched their joined hands for a few minutes. "I'll wait for you, if you want. If you just need to get Dixon out of your system I understand, I could wait as long as I knew I was going to get you back."
Glenn gave her hand a parting squeeze and pulled it away. "I'm sorry. It's not like that with Daryl. It's not just a sex thing, when I'm with him I feel... I'm so so sorry for hurting you. I'll always be here for you but without Daryl I'm just. . ."
She gave him a sad smile. "I think I understand. I'll take that friendship if it's still on the table. I'll take what I can get. I just feel safer when you're around."
Glenn didn't think he had ever felt as relieved in his entire life as he did when he saw Daryl in his rear view. The bike quickly overtook them, Carol waved happily from her perch on the back, and lead them all the way back to the highway. The elation of them all being together though is short lived when T-dog says he saw Andrea go down.
It was an uncomfortable, sleepless night to say the least. After Rick's impassioned confession and commencing his new system of martial law, things were unsettled to the point that no one made a single sound for hours. No one even put on a pretense of trying to sleep. Maggie hovered close to Glenn but didn't touch him. She even scooted over to make a bit of room when Daryl returned from checking the perimeter on Rick's non-verbal order. Daryl looked surprised, he hadn't even been near them when she gave up her seat, but he back-tracked a bit from his course to sit on the opposite side of the fire and dropped down between them with a nod.
Glenn for his part, mulled over their situation and everything Rick had said. Rick may have not sounded the most stable when he said it, and Glenn might still be slightly put out that Rick had decided to keep the the truth about the infection to himself, but on the whole, Glenn still trusted Rick. Besides, Rick had given them a goal, and where there was a goal, there was a plan.
The sky was just barely beginning to lighten when Glenn came to a conclusion.
"Rick's idea isn't bad." All eyes swerved toward him. A few looked skeptical, Hershel and Maggie both managed to look hopeful, but mostly everyone just looked tired and defeated.
"Think about it. The number of zombies isn't infinite. They aren't breeding or springing up from the ground. The zombies are restricted to the number of people that were on this continent when Wildfire hit." Some of the looks he was getting shifted to confusion. Lori rolled her eyes.
"Tell me you aren't suggesting we shoot everyone in North America. That plan's a little crazy even for you." Glenn decided to ignore her sarcastic tone and treat it like a legitimate concern.
"I'm saying we don't have to. They're decaying! They get weaker every day. How long does it take for an unembalmed corpse to decay down to bones? Five years? Maybe? And the walkers will decay even faster. They are completely exposed to the elements. They wander around blindly until bits of them fall off. We go some place moist and warm and they'll disintegrate even faster. Maybe three years, or two."
Now Rick looked hopeful, but Carol was still unimpressed. "You heard Rick. EVERYONE is infected. Any one of us could turn into one of those monsters."
Glenn was shaking his head before she was even done speaking. "I'm not saying we don't have to be careful, we will probably have to be careful the rest of our lives. We definitely need to start putting bullets in the brains of everyone who dies without waiting for them to turn. But how many walkers could that be? How many living people are there that could be turned into fresh walkers? Maybe, if we are really lucky, a couple of thousand spread out across the whole US. Ten years from now we will be able to go for years without running into a walker. We just need to find a place to hole up and wait this thing out. Some place with high strong walls and a well and enough space inside that we can be self-sufficient. Start making our own food."
T-Dog nodded his head in agreement. "Yeah, this area's pretty rural. Not a lot of looting. If we had a place we could stockpile supplies we could probably collect enough to feed us all that long."
"There's a bunch of big warehouses in Stockbridge. It's not really the kind of place people gather, might be worth checking out." Maggie chimed in from the other side of Daryl. She had moved closer to the fire. " We could clear out a few and build a fence fifty yards out to keep the walkers from surprising us before we can make a proper wall."
"Or we could go to the big mall outside of Mableton." Beth added "It hardly has any windows, we could board up all the doors and the zombies wouldn't know we were even in there."
Rick came in from the outskirts to take control of the conversation. "Alright then. Does anyone have anything to write with? We'll make a list of places we might be able to hole up and start making plans to scout them out in the morning. I think the top of that list should be West Central prison. If we are where I think we are then it's less than a mile from here."
Everyone started offering up survival plans then (some sensible and some bat-shit insane) as Lori jotted them down on the back of the insurance forms retrieved from the truck. The mood was hardly jovial, but everyone looked just a little less hopeless so Glenn considered it a win. Daryl scootched closer and nudged Glenn with his shoulder. Glen turned to offer him a smile which quickly became more heated when he saw the wicked gleam in Daryl's eye.
"ya' know, that pickup has a nice long bench seat in it." Daryl stood and stretched and started to casually meander towards said pickup. Glenn nearly fell flat on his face in his rush to follow.
AN: Finally! I have ideas for season 2, which I plan to write from Daryl's POV, but sadly, I still haven't seen it. I might have to switch up the format a bit too, rereading this I thought my following the show while not quoting the show was a bit disjointed. I will try to clean that up in the sequel! :) Reviews are much appreciated!