Disclaimer: Don't own

Pairing: Rick/Shane

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Written for a prompt on twd_kinkmeme. Shane apologizes to Rick after their fight in 18 Miles Out.

"It's time for you to come back."

Rick says it and Shane shakes holding in a laugh.

Back to what—the old ways, his old self, to Rick and Carl and Lori—he doesn't know. He wants to ask but Rick is looking at him, eyes like ice, just as blue, like those raspberry slushies they ate in summer, and he reaches his hand out for his gun. Tucks it between his pants and belly. His belt holds it high in place.

"I'm sorry," he tells Rick, eyes on the pavement. He sees his face, again, wild and bloody and what have I done.

And underneath that, the first flare of triumph. Of you don't know me anymore. Rick and Shane in requiem: key of broken glass and battered fists.

He doesn't feel sorry for anything these days. He's not sure if he can, if it's too far beyond his grasp. He remembers Otis, that hurt and that sting, nails pounded into his chest, his heart the hammer. This is nothing compared to that. He feels like a scarecrow, almost, empty inside except for straw.

"I'm sorry," he repeats, louder this time, deeper. Added emphasis mean to trick. Himself or Rick, he doesn't fucking know.

He lays his palms on Rick's cheeks. It's different than before, just a few weeks earlier, Carl bleeding and crying on Hershel's bed. He doesn't like the scratch of Rick's new beard under his fingertips, corners of his mouth when he leans in, cautious, and kisses Rick. He tastes sweat, blood between them, blood from the blow Rick landed on his lip. Knuckles that split the skin in two, gum to teeth. It aches as he presses forward.

"Shane," Rick starts and it's not a rejection, more a question, an absolution, but Shane kisses him again, quick, to shut him up.

"I'm sorry." Wishes he had more to say. Something different. But nothing else quite sums up all he's done. Nothing he can put into words that what he did with that wrench can't make undo. There's no moving past that, not really. He knows he's never going to forget it. Not the way it made him feel.

Rick nods. The movement is tiny, but to Shane it's a tremor that rocks the earth. Forgiveness, he feels it, in how Rick takes his bottom lip between his teeth. How Rick kisses him back. First time ever.

It's nothing like how Shane used to dream. The cut on his hand opens, irritated by all of Rick's stubble, and spreads blood through Rick's beard. It's gentle, soupcon of copper, salted iron, knock of their incisors together until Shane tips his head to find a better fit. Then it's good, perfect, almost. Two of them panting when they pull away.

"Alright?" Rick asks, and Shane is, will be, likes the curl of Rick's fingers around his neck.

"Good as," he says, grinning. Feels reborn, pieces of one picture made into something new. Clay sculpted (shattered) up by Rick.

They stand there, pale autumn sunlight and tranquil world, until Randall punctuates the silence with a kick