AN: Okay I just literally pumped the rest of this chapter out like 5 mins before a biology test I have to take lol so sorry if the ending kind of seems rushed and ignore any grammatical errors!
I have to make this AN short and sweet, so just enjoy the chapter already lol
It was a hard night for him.
He couldn't remember the last time he got a crappy night's rest. It was comforting when Harli was there, but spending all night worrying about her, for some reason or another, was quite agonizing. Even a couple dreams haunted him. Worry was always something that he never had an easy time coping with, and he couldn't help but feel, down in the pit of his stomach, that something was wrong. Something was definitely not right about that morning. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, whether it had something to do with Harli or not, but just the feel of something made him anxious.
"Daryl," Daryl turned at the sound of Rick's voice, who walked up to him humbly, like always, "I'm gonna head down the tombs and check up on the others. Make sure everything's alright. I'm sure Harli would like it if you came along."
"Yeah, sure." Daryl nodded and swung his arm down, yanking up the strap of his crossbow and tossing it over his shoulder.
Daryl and Rick both walked to the gateway that led to the tombs, Rick pulling it open with his key. He let Daryl in first and shut the door tightly behind him, walking after his old right hand man through the clammy halls. The two walked side by side, and then Rick looked to Daryl, "I was trying to find Tyreese, I needed his help. He said he needed to go check up on Karen first; that was over an hour ago."
"You think somethin' might've happened?" Daryl looked over at him questioningly and Rick shook his head,
"I don't know..."
At the sound of Tyreese's missing status, Daryl couldn't help but quicken his pace towards the tombs where the three sickling's were held. Rick kept pace with Daryl as they opened yet another door, getting closer to their destination with each step. The creaking sound of the walls was still eerie, no matter if the innards of the prison were safe. The cool, clammy atmosphere clasped to Daryl's skin, making it sticky and uncomfortable. He continued to ignore it and followed his hunter's instincts, weaving back and forth through the stagnate hallways.
Daryl slowed when he came to the tombs that were designated for the sick, hearing nothing but silence in them. Harli was usually a social butterfly around everyone, a natural chatterbug to keep people occupied and calm in these certain types of situations. Unless she was gone or had left outside, it was oddly quiet in the particular area. But there was a distinctive smell that wafted throughout the cellblock, and Daryl knew it all too well. He just couldn't put his finger on it while thinking of Harli; so he continued on through the grim halls.
He stopped at a door and stared inside, seeing a figured huddled up in the corner on the bed. Daryl narrowed his eyes and turned to look at Rick, who was already headed out towards the doorway that led outside. Upon seeing Rick in his own mindset, Daryl turned back to the cell before him and wrapped his hand around the bar. He tugged on it a bit, happy to see that the door was locked. But the way she was sitting on the bed and sleeping the way she was, it was particularly odd. Daryl pursed his lips and gave a little whistle, waiting for a response afterwards. After she gave no immediate response, or even a motion of awakening, her spoke to her.
"Hey Harli," He spoke quietly, but his gruff voice in such a desolate area picked up loudly.
Harli jolted, and Daryl came to be surprised when her shaking hand pointed her pistol straight at him. Her eyes were wild, and Daryl soon found half her face covered in blood. It was the half of her face covered by her hair while it was dipped over her knee, and it was hard to pick up at first. But now her blood was glaring right back at him, and his heart boiled up into the base of his throat. His piercing blue eyes stared at her, and he watched as her eyes switch from fearful, to recognition. Harli's gun dropped from her shaking hand and bounced onto the stiff bed, her hand pressing up against her mouth.
"D-Daryl!" Daryl's skin crawled at the weeping tone in her voice, and instantly, his hands whipped out his keys. With one turn, he tore the door open and trampled on inside the cell.
Harli lunged from her bed and crashed against his hard body, her bloody arms wrapped around his neck. Her face dug into shoulders and he felt the warmth of her breath smack up against his skin. She sobbed while tears rolled down her cheeks and soaked into his clothes. Daryl wrapped his arms around her comfortingly; he knew something was wrong just by the smell of the air. Harli trembled in his arms and her crusty, bloody hair scratched up against his arms. With whatever strength she had, she held onto him as hard as she could, not wanting to let go for fear of what might happen to her. Daryl felt so guilty; he should have made her stay back in their room with him.
"Harli," Daryl managed to pull her away and he sat down on the bed with her, holding her face in his rough hand. She sniffled and he watched a heavy tear drop off her chin, but his eyes soon went from her terrified eyes to the blood on her face, "What the hell happened?"
Harli's lips trembled and she closed her eyes, her quaky fingers reaching up to her head, "Somebody... somebody shot me last night..."
Daryl's chest immediately burned at the thought of someone who has the balls to walk in and try to take what was his. He pulled at her face gently so she could look at him again, "Who did it? Who the hell was it!?"
Harli avoided looking at him straight in the eyes, and Daryl could see the utter shameful look on her face. He pulled at her face again and when she looked at him, he felt so defeated. Those green eyes he took so long to rebuild were threatening to shatter once again, "You tell me who did this to you, and I swear, I'll make their death nothing but a long, painful process."
Harli closed her eyes and let out a light sigh, a hard lump rolling down her throat slowly, "It was dark... I didn't see their faces..."
"Faces?" Daryl asked curiously and his eyes narrowed, "There was more than one?"
"Two... I think..." She mumbled and before Daryl could speak again, he heard his name being called from the end of the hallway.
"Daryl!" It was Rick's voice, and Daryl knew the tone of it all too well. Daryl's jaw tightened and he looked over his shoulder briefly, before looking back at Harli.
"Stay here, I'll be right back." He pulled away from her shaky hands and grabbed up his crossbow, hauling the strap over his shoulder.
Daryl rushed out of the cell and hurried through the hallways, and then the grim sight before him made him slow. Two large trails of blood stained the floors and the drag marks extended all the way out the doorway. There, Daryl saw Rick and Tyreese standing, as well as Carol much further away from the two men. But what really took Daryl's attention was the god awful, familiar smell that was so faint in the tombs. And as he looked down to the ground, he finally realized the source of the scent. Smoke rolled off two burned bodies and curled up into the air, a few dying crackles coming from the singe, charred skin of their corpses.
Daryl could feel his hands beginning to tremble. Not from shock, but from utter rage. He kept it internal the best he could. Whatever had happened, whatever the person who did such a heinous act tried to accomplish, it was almost Harli. Harli could have been the third burned body lying next to these two poor souls. But somehow, she had managed to stay alive, and Daryl was bound to find out how she did so. Like Rick always said, Harli was far too stubborn to die.
Daryl and Rick exchanged quick eye contact before looking back at the charred bodies.
A gasp echoed through the air and as Daryl looked over, he was Harli slide down to her knees, her hands clasped over her mouth. Daryl marched over to her side and dropped to one knee, "I told you to wait back in your cell!"
Harli didn't reply to him and only stared at the two burned bodies before her.
"You found them like this?" Rick asked Tyreese, who stared wildly down at the bodies. It didn't take Daryl, or Harli, long to realize that Karen and David lied before them.
"Came to see Karen..." Tyreese then pointed at the blood trail leading to the corpses, "Then I saw the blood on the floor... and then I smelled her..." Tyreese's calmness didn't last long as his rage took over from his lost lover, "Somebody dragged 'em out here and set 'em on fire! They killed 'em and set 'em on fire!"
Everyone was quiet, not knowing what to say in those moments. Tyreese then stalked over to Rick in a hostile manner, and once Daryl felt the tone set by the larger man, he was behind him in a second, waiting to pounce if Tyreese so much as touched Rick. But Tyreese did not strike Rick, only stared at him hard, "You're a cop...You find out who did this and you bring them to me, understand! You bring 'em to me!"
Daryl didn't like the unstable man so close to Rick, for fear that Tyreese would strike him in his rage. Daryl reach out and latched onto Tyreese's thick shoulder, "We'll find out who did-!" Tyreese ripped himself from Daryl's tight grasp and Daryl chew on the inside of his cheek. He was not in the mood to deal with Tyreese being unstable.
"Do I need to say it again!?" Tyreese barked at Rick, who tilted his head down to avoid Tyreese's raging glare.
"No... no..." Rick mediated and shook his head, "I know what you're feelin'... I've been there. You saw me there, it's danergous-!"
"Karen didn't deserve this!" Tyreese shouted and his eyes grew bigger, "David didn't deserve it! Nobody does!"
"Alright man-." Daryl grabbed at Tyreese again, and as soon as his hand landed on Tyreese, the larger man reeled around and grabbed up Daryl by the collar of his vest.
Daryl's hands latched onto Tyreese's large arms, but his strength was outmatched as he was shoved back and slammed into the barred door. Rick and Carol hurried after Tyreese to get him off, but Daryl threw out his hands and kept them at bay. They would only cause more trouble, and the only way to handle the situation was to be calm. Daryl lowered his arms and let Tyreese hold onto him, his back already aching from being slammed so hard into the door. He saw the turmoil in his eyes, the hurt and confusion that came with the death of a lost, close loved one. Daryl had gone through it for months.
"We're on the same side, man..." Daryl said back at Tyreese. Rick took a couple steps towards Tyreese to take the lead,
"And look... I know what you're goin' through, we've all lost someone." Tyreese only kept staring at Daryl as Rick pushed on, "We all know what you're goin' through... but you gotta calm down."
As soon as Rick's fingers touched Tyreese, he whirled around and shoved Rick back hard, "You need to step the hell back!"
"No!" Carol tried to mediate between the two, but Rick stood his ground and looked Tyreese in the eyes,
"She wouldn't want you bein' like this-!" No sooner than when Rick's words rolled off his tongue, Tyreese's large fist slammed into his face.
"Stop!" Carol cried as Rick fell to one knee.
"Tyreese!" Harli managed to get to her feet, hurrying towards Rick, who looked up to Tyreese.
Tyreese's fist crashed against Rick's face once more, and with it came blood that dripped from Rick's lips. Daryl jumped onto Tyreese and pulled him away from Rick, doing everything in his power to keep Tyreese from striking Rick once again, "Harli, get back!"
Harli knelt down by Rick, but before she could check his facial injury, he jumped back to his feet and marched towards Tyreese. With all his strength, Rick rammed his fist into the man's face and the force of his momentum caused Tyreese to hit the ground. Daryl stepped away from the heat, knowing that the only way for this situation to be resolved was now through violence. He watched Rick lunged forward and pin his boot into Tyreese's side, kicking the large man over on the ground. Rick proceeded to stand over Tyreese and laid his fist into his face, over and over again.
"Rick!" Daryl knew it had to stop before Rick beat the poor man to death. After Rick refused to get off Tyreese, Daryl wrapped his arms around Rick and held him down, "That's enough!"
"Let go of me!" Rick shouted,
"Let go of me!" Rick shoved Daryl back, managing to get him off. Daryl was ready to jump in again if Rick continued, but Rick only look back at Tyreese, then to his shaky, bloody hand.
Tyreese rolled back over to his side and sobbed; now feeling both internal and external pain. Harli stared with remorse at the downed man and then looked to Rick, who didn't seem to grasp onto the situation very well. Rick straightened himself out and turned towards the doorway next to Harli, not saying a word as he left the four to themselves. Carol stood, not knowing what to say in the wake of the devastation that Rick had left behind.
Daryl sighed and looked down at Tyreese, who squandered in his pain and misery. Daryl knew he wanted to be left alone for a while, so with that, he left Tyreese to himself. He noticed that Carol had already left, the woman being easily spooked by the violence that unraveled before her. Harli leaned against the wall, her hand on her head and her face writhed in pain. Daryl put his hand on her shoulder, and he pulled away once she flinched. She closed her eyes and sighed, rubbing her shoulder where his hand originally was placed.
"I'm sorry." She apologized and Daryl shook his head,
"Don't be..." He grabbed her shoulders softly and pulled her along with him, "Come on... let's go get you cleaned up."
"You say this is a gunshot wound?" Hershel asked as he sat on his small stood with Harli planted on her bed in front of him. Upon seeing her wounds, Hershel didn't protest in Harli being so close to the cellblock. And After Daryl explained the current situation, Hershel insisted that she stay close for her own protection.
"Yeah... it happened a little while after I fell asleep last night."
"So what happened?" Daryl asked and Harli's eyes looked to him from their corners as Hershel examined the right side of her head.
"I don't remember much..." Harli said with much disappointment as she stared at the ground, "I woke up to hear some fumbling and thumping around in the cells down the hall. Then I heared footsteps coming towards mine, and then a person stood at my door. I kept asking who they were and what they wanted... but all they said to me was 'I'm sorry'."
Harli winced at Hershel's hand, which dapped at the cut on her head with a wet towel, "What about after?"
"All I remember was a sharp pain in my head..." Harli's jaw tightened at the horrifying, blurry memory afterwards, "I remember the smell of gasoline... how cold it was outside... and then, someone said 'Drag her over here'."
Harli uncomfortably rubbed her arm and closed her eyes, trying to remember every bit of detail that went into the fateful night before. She felt a hand on her knee and opened her eyes, trailing the muscular arm all the way up to Daryl's crystalline eyes, "Why didn't you come back here if you got away?"
"I could barely see where I was going, and on top of the panic and pain, I doubt I would've made it far..." Harli said shamefully, "I could barely walk, let alone think with a bullet wound in my head."
"Well, it doesn't look too serious." Hershel said and leaned back on his stool, "The bullet grazed your temple. Whoever shot you wasn't too good a shot or obviously couldn't see that well with the moonlight out last night. But, it's going to need some stitches before it gets infected."
"Great..." Harli sighed and Hershel laid a dirty towel down on the bed. Harli took the initiative to lie down, tilting her face so the left side on her head was exposed upward. She saw Hershel grab up a needle and thread from his first aid kit, and at the sight of it, her skin crawled.
"Try not to hit me this time, darlin'." Hershel mused and Harli huffed with a small smile,
"Can't make any promises."
"She won't touch you again, Hershel." Daryl grabbed onto her hand and held it in his own, "I'll make sure of that."
"She felt too bad about it last time." Hershel laughed as he threaded his needle, "I don't see her doin' it again this time."
"Can't be so sure 'bout this wildcat. She got shot in the head and still got away." Daryl said amusingly as he looked over at Harli and she only pouted back at him. Hershel continued to chuckle to himself,
"I know what she's capable. Harli is just a rose with some sharper thorns here and there." With his needle threaded, Hershel's blue eyes looked down at her, "You ready?"
Harli swallowed hard and took a deep breath, nodding her head and closing her eyes. Hershel looked at Daryl briefly before leaning forward and resting his steady hand on her head. He dabbed a cool cloth on her wound, and then, stuck the sharp end of the needle in through the two flaps of open skin. Harli's shoulder jolted annoyingly, and all her muscles tightened in her body. As Hershel began to weave and pull, Harli groaned and hiss with each prick. Her hand squeezed Daryl's as hard as she could, doing her best to relay her urge to retaliate with a hand into her grip on Daryl. Daryl stared at Harli's pain ridden face, his heart dropping into the pit of his stomach during the entire session. The grip on his hand was unlike any of her strength he felt with her, and he knew that pain wasn't her strong suit. He always promised himself he wouldn't see her like this anymore. But lately, his promises were running drier and drier each day.
Harli coughed a couple times in her throat, careful not to disturb Hershel's mending. But Hershel slowed for a moment, studying Harli from under his thick brows, "You haven't been coughing much."
"That was the first time this morning, actually." Harli pointed out and Hershel's lips drew thin,
"First time this mornin'?" Hershel stopped his stitching for a second and placed his hand on her forehead, "You don't feel like you're runnin' much of a fever, neither."
"Really?" Harli asked, her eyebrows drawing together both confusingly and curiously.
"Does that mean she ain't sick anymore?" Daryl asked and Hershel looked to him,
"I can't rule that out..." Hershel looked back to Harli's wound to get it finished, "But it is quite odd. Some of the others that are sick right now are starting to experience more severe symptoms. High fevers, heavy coughing, and all over stomach pain and fatigue. But Harli, after over the twelve hours since diagnosis, hasn't experienced the severe symptoms yet."
"Maybe the shock of being shot in the head scared them away?" Harli said and Hershel shook his head,
"I wouldn't rule out the sickness quite yet. If you do have it, then it's taking longer than the others to hit your immune system hard." Hershel said, and with one final, quick tug, he ended the stitching, "Well then... that didn't take as long as I thought longer."
"Thanks Hershel." Harli stayed down on the bed and reached her hand up to touch the stitches. Her hand was stopped by Daryl,
"Don't touch it."
"Alright you two, don't kill each other now." Hershel smiled and stood to his feet, putting away all his medical supplies in one sweep. He turned back to them, "After I examine Rick's hand, I'm callin' a council meetin' with whatever's left of us. Harli... you're welcome to join us if you'd like."
"Thanks again, Hershel." Harli leaned up and as soon as she did, her head began to pound, but she did her best to conceal it.
"I left you some pain medications. Take one once every six hours." Hershel expressed and Harli nodded,
"Yeah, I know."
"See you in a bit, doc." Daryl said and Hershel turned, walking out of the room and shutting the door behind him.
Harli sighed and lied back on the bed lightly, careful not to jog her head. She closed her eyes and kept her hand at bay from touching her stitched wound. The throbbing nature of her head annoyed her to no end, but with pain medication already in the pit of her stomach, she waited patiently for it to kick in. A shuffle beside her caused her eyes to crack open, and she saw Daryl on his feet with his back to her. She watched his careful movements thoroughly, and before she knew it, he was already turned around to face her. He held a bowl in his hand and a cloth in the other.
"Sit up." Daryl's raspy voice commanded and Harli did so, pushing herself back up to a sitting position. Her eyes narrowed in annoyance as she sat on the edge of the bed and Daryl pulled up the stool that Hershel originally posted himself on. Daryl dipped the cloth into the water and rung it out, handing the bowl to Harli so she could hold it. She held it in her lap and then took a breath once she felt the cool cloth hit her burning face. Daryl rubbed it softly on the bloodier side of her face, careful not irritate her or her skin. He knew all too well how annoying it was to get dried blood off the skin.
Harli stared at Daryl as he cleaned her up, seeing the underlying look on his face. He was good at hiding what he really felt, but Harli knew him better than anyone. She could see that he was a bit irritated, not at her, but at himself. And Harli knew exactly what was bothering him.
"It's not your fault, you know..." Harli said, causing his eyes to look from his task to her. He then looked down at the bowl and dipped the cloth back in, ringing it out and holding it over his lap to fold it.
"Yeah, it's never my fault, huh?" He said with a scoff, followed by the shake of his head, "Not my fault for not keepin' you as close as I should have."
Daryl reached his hand up to continue wiping the blood off her cheeks, but Harli snatched his wrist and stopped him. He stared into her hard green eyes, "Stop blaming yourself for all that's happened to me..." She pulled the cloth from his hand and rested it on the bed, taking up his hand in both of hers, "When we left the farm... that wasn't your decision, it was mine. What The Governor did... there was really nothing you could have done, and you knew nothing about the situation until Michonne showed up that day. The runs we've been on in the past few months; I put myself in those dangerous situations, not you. And last night... no one knew it would happen. No one thought any of that would happen."
Daryl let out a sigh and looked away from her, but Harli grabbed his face and made him look at her. She shook her head, "Don't make me slap the living sense back into you."
He leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers, Harli feeling his hand brush up against the side of her face that wasn't damaged. Upon feeling his delicate touch, she felt so relieved to be in his hands again, to be so close to him again. She didn't hesitate to kiss him back, but the sudden realization that she held a deadly virus in her body made her rethink her desires. Harli pulled away from him and looked back into his eyes, "Daryl, I'm sick..."
"I don't care." He said plainly, "I've already been exposed to the damn sickness plenty. Kissin' you ain't gonna make no difference to that."
Daryl grabbed the cloth back up in his hand and re-dipped it in the bowl on the bed. After ringing it out, he pressed it up against her face once again to get her somewhat clean. He saw Harli smile, "I was just going to take a shower... would have been way easier. And you know... I would enjoy your company if you came along."
Daryl huffed with a small smile, seeing the glazed over, medicated look on her face, "Hardly any time for that, don't you think?"
"Something fun to do to pass the time before council." Harli only shrugged in reply to him. Daryl sighed and moved the bowl and cloth to the large desk behind him.
He then grabbed Harli up and she gasped from suddenly being lifted up from the bed. Daryl held her tight and laid her down on the bed, making sure her head lied softly down on the pillow. She stared up at him, waiting for him to do something, and especially something in particular. He leaned down, only inches from her face, "You're gonna stay here while I go get you some food. And if you leave, I will drag you back here, willing or not, and lock you up."
"Yes sir..." Harli rolled her eyes and Daryl got off the bed, disappearing behind the closed door within a matter of seconds. She groaned and laid on her side, closing her tired eyes to wait patiently for Daryl's return.
After somewhat of a good meal, Harli got on a change of clothes and finished cleaning herself of most of her blood. She wrapped her hair up in a braid and stretched it to hand over her neck, re-securing her loyal gun and knife on her hip. After making sure she had Merle's old black bandana tightly wound around her wrist, she turned to the door and stepped outside. There, Daryl waited for her patiently, and upon seeing her exit the room, he pushed off the wall. He handed Harli her bow, and she took it gladly to throw the strap around her shoulder.
"You act like you've never seen me naked before." Harli said as they walked towards the tombs. She heard Daryl scoff beside her,
"Just tryin' to give you some privacy."
"Yeah, but that's no fun." She smiled and followed him to the council room in the middle of the prison. Daryl looked back at her,
"Well then... maybe after this council... I'll take you up on that offer."
Harli continued to smile and follow after him like a lost puppy. Since the incident, Daryl was nowhere but by her side the entire time, and it was so refreshing to see him acting the way he was. It had been a long time since he had shown any concern for her and it absolutely felt great. She hated that she had to get hurt the way she did for his concern to break through his tough exterior, but she was still happy that it happened. Things were somewhat back to the way they were, and getting Daryl back to his usual nature was uplifting. He never fully showed his real self to those other than Harli.
Daryl stopped at the door to the library and raised his hand, knocking his knuckles lightly on the wooden door. A shuffled sounded inside and the door opened a few seconds later, Hershel staring at the two, "We've been waitin' for you."
"Sorry, was tryin' to get Harli situated after what happened." Daryl said as he entered the room, Harli close in behind him.
"It isn't a problem..." Hershel said as he shut the door behind them, "How are you feelin' Harli?"
"Better," Harli replied as she set down her bow and sat in between Carol and Daryl, "It doesn't hurt as much as I thought it was."
"Well, the bullet only grazed the thin skin on your skull." Hershel hobbled back over to his seat and sat down.
"We heard what happened." Michonne said and Harli looked over at her, "Glad you're alright."
"Yeah," Glenn drew at Harli's attention next, "I can't believe someone would do something like that."
"It's alright guys. I'm alive and all that matters now is what this council will do next."
"Let the meetin' commence." Hershel said and clasped his hands together, staring at each one of his members grimly, "I have some bad news concernin' the health and welfare of our fellow survivors. As of this morning... the sickness has spread."
"How is that?" Carol asked a bit confused and Hershel shook his head,
"Whatever it is, its bouncin' from one person to the other." He let out a disappointed sigh, "Everyone who survived the attack in cellblock D... Sasha, Caleb... and now others."
"Jesus..." Daryl said, obviously surprised at the fact that so many people had become sick overnight.
"Those were the people you mention to me earlier?" Harli asked Hershel and he replied to her with a stern nod.
"So what do we do?" Carol asked.
"First things first," Hershel continued, "Cellblock A is isolation. We keep sick people there like we tried with Karen and David."
"Yeah and what the hell we gonna do bout that?" Daryl asked about that particular situation, "One of our own... killin' those two, as well as tryin' to kill Harli. We can't just let that go."
"I'll ask Rick to look into it. Try to make a timeline of who's where and when." Carol vouched, but then looked at Hershel, "But... what're we gonna do to stop this?"
"There is no stopping it." Hershel said with much certainty, "Don't you get it? You have to go through it."
"And it just kills you?" Michonne asked by a book shelf and Hershel turned in his chair to face her,
"The illness doesn't... the symptoms do." Hershel took a deep breath, "We need antibiotics."
"We've been through every pharmacy nearby." Harli said and Daryl nodded,
"And then some."
"That veterinary college at West GC Tech. That's one place people may not have thought to raid for medication." Hershel said matter-of-factly, "The drugs for animals there are the same we need."
"That's fifty miles.. too big a risk before." Daryl said with his face deep in thought. But then he jumped to his feet, "It ain't now. I'm gonna take a group out. Best not waste any more time!"
"I'm in." Michonne stepped forward to the challenge and Hershel looked to Michonne,
"You haven't been exposed. Daryl has... you get into a car with him."
"He's already given me fleas." Michonne shook her head.
Hershel laughed and got to his feet ecstatically, "I can lead the way. I know where everything's kept!"
Daryl and Harli immediately looked at each other briefly, the two knowing exactly what kind of hazard that brought. Daryl looked back at Hershel, "When we're out there. It's always the same... sooner or later, we run."
"I can... draw you a map..." Hershel said with much defeat. Daryl nodded and turned to leave the room, but Hershel stopped them, "There are other precautions I feel we should take."
"Like what?" Carol asked and Hershel looked to her,
"There's no tellin' how long it will be until Daryl and his group return. Wouldn't it make sense to us to separate those who are the most vulnerable? We can use the Administration building: separate office-separate rooms."
"Who is the most venerable?" Glenn spoke his first words, causing everyone to look at him. Hershel shrugged,
"What about the old?" Glenn asked again, Hershel knowing he was talking mostly about him. Hershel nodded,
"Them as well..." Hershel knew that he was the only older person who wasn't sick; therefore, he would be alone. "Let's get our ducks in a row. We don't have any more time to waste."
The council ended and both Daryl and Harli hurried their way back towards cellblock C. Without time on their side, Daryl had to quickly figure out what type of plan to establish if they were to get in and out of the college effectively. Casualties weren't going to be an option this time.
"Get all your stuff ready for the trip. I don't know how long we might be gone for." Daryl said as he began to ready a backpack full of supplies just in case they got stuck for however many days.
"I'm going?" Harli asked a bit confused as she walked up towards him. Daryl looked over at her,
"Yeah, why wouldn't you?"
"I don't know..." Harli walked over towards the bed and sat down on the edge, "I'm a flight risk. You heard what Hershel said... I'm a ticking time bomb."
"I want you to go." Daryl wrapped the strap of his backpack over his shoulder as he stared at her, "I ain't leavin' you here. Not after what happened last night. Whoever it is... they could take a shot at you again and this time, they might not miss."
Harli looked down at the floor in deep contemplation, kicking her toes against the cold, concrete floor. Daryl walked over and put a hand on her shoulder, "You're one of the fastest ones we got, not to mention one of the smartest. It ain't gonna do me no good worryin' about you the entire time I'm out there. I'd rather have my partner by my side and doin' us some good."
"Alright..." Harli said as she stared into his bright blue eyes, "I'll go with you. But if something happens-."
"Nothing will happen." Daryl insisted, but a glint in his eye made Harli curious. Daryl suddenly stared at her hard and serious, "But, if we get into a corner at any time, I'll do my damned best to get everyone out... but you're my top priority."
Without another word, Daryl left Harli to herself to get ready to go out on the run. Harli stared at the door that he left through, hearing the last of his words echo through her ears once more. With a sigh, she stood to her feet and gathered up her old black backpack, stuffing in items and supplies she thought she would need. She then counted all her arrows in her quivers, making sure she had enough that would most likely last her through the entire run. But with the help of her knife and pistol, it wouldn't hinder her arrow supply too much. Harli took a deep breath and looked around the room one more time, waiting for her brain to tell her she was forgetting something. But after seeing nothing else she thought she would need, she left through her bedroom door and took to the outdoors.
The fresh air felt nice in her lungs, hating how stuffy the inside of the prison had become after the sickness took over. Harli hoped that while she was out in the open, for however long she would be gone, her body would fight away the virus that kept itself dormant. As much as she wanted to go with Daryl, be by his side rather than waiting for her demise, she couldn't help but imagine what could happen out there. She could go into coughing fits and disturb their unnoticed position, she could easily begin to feel the severe symptoms and be lugged around on a thin thread while they desperately tried to find antibiotics, or out of nowhere, the sickness could kill her within a matter of hours and she could possibly return as a Walker. It scared her, but her fears couldn't keep her from doing her job. Daryl was right; he needed her help when it came to speed, intelligence, and fighting experience. They needed all the help they could get to save all the people now sick in the innards of the prison.
Harli walked around the corner where the vehicles were usually kept, seeing the jet black Dodge Charger that Zach had kept running sitting before her. Michonne stood next to the car, watching whoever was tinkering with the engine underneath the open hood. Harli pulled off her backpack and set it down next to the car, hearing the two conversing.
"Yeah, and Harli over there." She heard Daryl say as he nodded towards her, Michonne turning around to see Harli walking up behind her.
"You're comin' along, too, huh?" Michonne asked curiously and Harli nodded,
"Don't really have a choice." She said with a smile as she eyed Daryl, who tinkered with the oil dip stick in the engine.
"Bob's comin', too." Daryl shoved the dip stick back into the compartment of its oil rig, "Still... it feels like we could use another person. Need all the manpower we can get."
"Who else isn't sick?" Michonne asked and Daryl shook his head,
"Well, we don't ask Rick. He wants to stay here with Carl and Lil' Asskicker. Keep them safe." Daryl finished what he was doing under the hood of the car and snatched his leather vest from above him, "Plus, there's plenty of stuff he can do here."
"So who else we got?" Michonne asked more to herself rather than Harli or Daryl. Harli crossed her arms and bit at her lip,
"What about Tyreese?" Harli suggested and both Daryl and Michonne looked at her, "He's not sick... and he's pretty good when it comes to that hammer of his."
"He doesn't seem all that fit to go with us." Michonne said as she looked over at Daryl, "After what happened to Karen."
"Yeah well... Harli's got the idea." Daryl tossed his angel winged vest back on, "He's the only one we got, and we're going need all the help we can get without cripplin' this place in the matter of man power."
"We sure we wanna take this guy?" Michonne narrowed her eyes and Daryl nodded his head,
"Ain't got a choice..." Daryl turned around and walked towards the cellblock, leaving the two women to each other.
"Wanna come with me?" Michonne asked and Harli tilted her head,
"Gonna go get some gasoline and oil. Get this car ready to go." Michonne walked towards the storage room at the back of the vehicle retainer, "Like Hershel said, we can't waste any more time."
They were in the car before they knew it.
Tyreese had finally accepted Daryl's offer in helping them recover medication, so the car was now full with their team. With Daryl piloting the Charger, Harli sat in the passenger's seat while Michonne sat door seat behind her, Bob in the middle, and Tyreese sitting passenger behind Daryl. Harli insisted that she would sit in back with Bob and Tyreese, but Michonne said it would be fine if she did. Harli couldn't help but smile at the slightly uncomfortable look on Michonne's face after being squeezed back there with the two larger men. She hated being so close to people, let alone, squeezed up against them in the back seat.
Daryl pushed the car up to eighty miles an hour, rushing down the desolate highway towards the college. Leaves covered the roadway after fluttered up from its generated wind as the fast car passed them by. Trees rushed waved at them from the cool wind of the air, and Harli was half expecting to see some Walkers. But it was odd to her that they saw none. It had already been almost an hour since they left the prison, and the car ride was beginning to get stale and quiet. Daryl exchanged a few small words with Michonne in the back, but it was more of a one sided conversation on his part.
Daryl reached down towards the radio and turned it on, tuning it back and forth with the twist of a nob. He looked over at Harli, and for a second, nodded towards the glove box, "Why don't you hand me one of them CD's right there..."
Harli reached into the glove box and grabbed up a booklet of CD's, but she stopped when something caught her attention. But it didn't just catch her curiosity, it caught everyone else's as well. They all stared at the radio and Daryl leaned forward, trying to listen in as closely as his keen ears would let. A scratchy voice spoke through the white noise, its words barely audible over the waves.
"Is that a voice?" Bob asked and Daryl threw up his finger, hushing him up and returning to the tuning. Daryl desperately tried to get the voice to become clearer, but he was having a hard time tuning it. He looked up at Harli and she stared back at him, equally confused and surprised at the voice. The two then looked back down at the radio as Daryl bounced back and forth between stations, trying to determine the best one that made the voice clearer.
But no one seemed to be paying attention to the road.
At the last second, Daryl took a quick glimpse back at the road and grabbed the steering wheel, ripping it to the left. Harli gasped and looked up, seeing Walkers now littering the road ways. She grabbed onto the handle above her and held on tight as her body threatened to toss side to side. Daryl did his best to dodge the Walkers before them, barely hitting them as he swiped on by them. The car swerved and screeched at the high speeds it was coming down from, and a break in the Walkers gave them some sort of relief. But Harli's eyes widened at the sight before her, and Daryl pressed on the breaks as the car hurriedly came to a dead halt.
Everyone stared in shock at the Walkers before them. It wasn't just a few, or a couple dozen, there was hundreds, maybe thousands of them now standing before the five man team. Walkers slammed up against the car, clawing at the windshield and windows all around them. A few attempted to crawl on top of the hood to get at them, but they slid off and back to their feet in their attempts. Soon, the interior of the car began to get dark from all of the Walkers crowding up against the windows.
"Grab somethin'!" Daryl shouted and slammed his hand up against the back of Harli's seat, looking behind him once he tossed the car in reverse. He shoved the accelerator to the floor and the car sped backwards, mowing down and shoving away the Walkers that crowded around behind them.
But soon, the car came to a dead halt once again and Harli felt herself lurch forward. She panted with adrenaline and she looked through the window, seeing Walkers hurrying back towards the vehicle. Michonne leaned forward and pointed, "Go to the left!"
Daryl pushed the car back into drive and slammed his foot back down on the gas. Harli could hear the tire's spinning, but they were not going anywhere anytime soon. Daryl twirled the steering wheel back and forth, trying to get the car back on the road so he could get the hell out of there. But the vehicle would not budge, they were absolutely stuck.
"It's jammed up!" Daryl shouted and looked at everyone in the back seat, "Alright, let's run for the gaps right there! You make a run for the woods and you don't stop for nothin' you hear me!?"
He stared into everyone's fearful eyes, seeing mostly uncertainty in them. But he couldn't waste any more time, they had to leave now, "Now!"
Harli and Michonne were the first out of the jammed up car, Michonne tearing her katana from its sheath and Harli sliding the knife out from her belt. Harli booted a Walker in the chest and ran, plunging her knife into the heads of any Walkers that threated her safety. Michonne slashed and stabbed, staying next to Harli as they mowed a path down for those behind them to hopefully follow. Harli looked over her shoulder just at the sound of gunshots, seeing Bob putting Walkers down with a quick pull of the trigger. Daryl wasn't far behind Harli and Michonne, crashing the end of his crossbow and the sharp blade of his knife into Walkers that got between him and Harli.
"Ty!?" Harli heard Bob shout loudly over the ghastly snarls of the Walkers. Harli's keen eyes looked past him to see Tyreese still in the car, "Ty!?"
Daryl slid up next to Harli, looking back to see Tyreese finally exiting the car. Walkers crowded up next to him, their hands attempting to touch his skin with their grimy fingers. Tyreese's broad arm brought down his hammer, breaking open the skulls of many Walkers. Bob hurried his way through the crowd, trying his best to reunite with the three that were almost safe. Harli grabbed Bob's arm and pulled him towards them, their eyes all looking back to Tyreese. He was being overrun, and Daryl almost ran forward to help him but Harli stopped him.
"Go! Go!" Tyreese shouted back at them, and for a few moments, no one would budge.
Daryl pushed them along, hurrying them along to get them away from the danger as fast as possible. Walkers weren't far behind them as they all rushed into the forest, Daryl making sure that Harli was close to him at all times. He led them through the thick brush, trying to find a safe place that would lead them away from overwhelming danger that threatened all their lives. He did not want to leave Tyreese behind, but saving him might have cost them all their lives.
Everyone tore through the woods, Walkers now coming from all directions. The group fanned out from each other and took down Walkers that were in their way. Harli kept half wanted to take out her bow so she could avoid close contact with the corpses, but wasting arrows now, of all times, would not be a smart decision. Bob stayed close to Harli, only having his gun hooked to his hip. Even he knew that using his gun now would only cause them more problems, so staying close to the woman that killed silently was his best option. But once Harli's knife got caught in a Walkers head, she stumbled to the ground with it and heaved with all her strength to get it out. Bob lunged forward and pistol whipped a Walker that threatened Harli, the two nodding at each other in thanks.
"This way!" Daryl shouted at them, and Harli finally got her knife from the Walkers head and followed suite. Harli rushed up behind Daryl down a deer trail, the four breaking out in a clearing of nice brush. They ducked down into another patch of brush to get out of sight and sound from the Walkers. Daryl looked behind him, bringing Harli up in front of him so he could keep an eye on her. And as Bob and Michonne cleared next to him, Daryl heard a rather loud shuffle coming from a thicket behind them.
"Hold up!" Daryl stopped and turned around, walking slowly towards the thicket. He quickly reloaded his crossbow with a bolt, raising it up and pointing it out in front of him. The rustling became louder, so now, Harli, Michonne, and Bob now readied for what was about to come out at them. Harli had her bow out and ready, arrow docked with her fingers on the string.
Walkers came rushing out of the brush towards them, and Harli and Daryl raised their bows and ready to fire. But a thump stopped them from firing, and soon, one of the Walkers fell to the ground. There stood Tyreese, his chest heaving with breaths. The large man fell to his knees and doubled over, his body covered with stale Walker blood and guts. Harli fired her arrow at the last standing Walker, and Daryl and Bob hurried forward to get Tyreese to his feet.
They got him up and out of the way just as another horde of Walkers crashed through the trees behind them.