Author's Note: Hello all! I've been thinking on how to write this story out for quite some time and now that I finally got parts of it worked out in my head, I decided to try it on this site.

This is going to eventually evolve into a Daryl/OC story but for now it's just going to be a friendship between Rick/OC.

Please feel free to read and review! I need all the pointers I can get.

Obviously I don't own anyone or anything in this, just the OC. Enjoy!

Most days she wakes up feeling sick. The bile rises to her throat before she even has time to open her eyes. This never happened before the end. It was something she had become accustomed to and in ways, grateful for the fact that it reminded her of another day alive.

She had been alone, wandering the empty town for supplies and weapons that would keep her alive even longer. Her brother had disppeared a few weeks ago after their camp had been ambushed. She ran one way, he the other. The end of him was eminent until she went back to camp and only found her stuff there. She made it her goal to find him.

She was alone until she met him.

He had seen her digging through cars on the interstate, dressed in a pair of shorts and a tshirt that was bloody and torn, hinting that she might not be what he thought she was. He couldn't just turn around though, not until he made sure if she was human or not. He figured it wouldn't hurt, seeing as he didn't notice her carrying any weapons other than a small hunting knife that was strapped to her thigh.

He got out of his car slowly, not wanting to risk scaring her by his sudden movements, though he realized she hadn't even heard his car get as close as it was. He knew scaring her could very well mean his own death and he wasn't prepared for that moment. Not after all he had gone through to get this far. She noticed him instantly, turning around when his boots hit the pavement and moved her hand to her knife, all the assurance he needed to know she was alive and well, for the most part.

"I couldn't help but notice you up here." he stated, raising his hands to show that he meant now harm, "Do you need help with anything?"

She didn't answer but in stead took a step back as the man took a step forward. He was dressed in a sherriff's uniform but that didn't seem to set her at ease, something that he was admittidly happy about. At least she was still cautious of people, still weary of anyone who came close to her. She knew how to survive and from the looks of it, she had been doing it alone for quite some time.

"My name is Rick," the man offered, pulling the hat he was wearing off his head to reveal perfectly trimmed chestnut hair, "Rick Grimes. I'm not going to hurt you."

"How do I know that?" she answered back, letting her hand falter slightly before she dropped it to her side. Her voice was soft, hardly any trace of the deep southern accent he was so used to, and he had to strain to hear her words through the brief wind that graced their prescense.

"I have no reason to." he said, "I have weapons, food and a means of transportation. What good would come from hurting you?"

She seemed to think about his statement before she hopped off the car she was standing on top of. She was much shorter than he was, probably not standing much higher than 5'4" with copper hair that was pulled back into a ponytail.

"Where did you come from?" she asked him as she inched closer, "I haven't seen anyone else in...a long time."

"Down the road a ways," he replied, putting his hat back on his head as she stood next to him, "I'm looking for my family."

The answer seemed to perplex her, how honest he was and how the determination was evident in his voice. She hadn't met a good human being since her brother disappeared and with him, she thought he was the last. She had a gut feeling about Rick Grimes though. He took her silence as a submission and carefully chose his next words.

"I was going to head into Atlanta, see what I could find there. My wife has family there." he explained, watching the girl as she nodded and bit on the inside of her lip, "Are you with anyone else?"

He knew that she wasn't and in a way, he felt like he was messing with her by asking the question. But he had to know if there was someone else hidden in the cars that could, at any moment, stop him from his destination.

"No," she said, shaking her head slowly, "I'm alone."

He nodded this time, "You're welcome to ride with me, if you want. God knows I could use the company."

She hesitated, letting her weight drop to her left leg and she balanced and looked around at their surroundings. She was nervous still, she wasn't expecting to meet anyone, let alone a good hearted man who was in search of family.

"How long have you been alone?" she asked him before taking a step in his direction.

"Couple days now."

She nodded again, "I'd have to go and grab my pack. It has all my stuff in it."

He felt himself smiling as he nodded again, thankful that he was able to find someone who looked just as lost as he was. He watched as she weaved between a few cars and disappeared, only to reappear minutes later with a large pack on her back and a seperate back pack in her hands. He met her halfway and took the backpack from her hands, seeing how she limped slightly, something he hadn't noticed before.

"Were you bit?" he asked her as she walked slowly to the opposite side of the patrol car.

She looked up at him, shaking her head.

"I got...injured around the time everything started happening. Left me with a nasty scar and a limp." she explained, turning her shoulder a bit so he could see a flash of red skin that started midway up her neck. There was no telling how long the scar went on.

Rick nodded and opened his car door, waiting for her to get in opposite of him before he got in himself.

"Do you eat meat?" the young woman asked him as he started the car back up and carefully began driving.

He turned towards her, confused by the question, then nodded. She offered a small smile then pulled the backpack onto her lap. He watched in amazement, as he kept his eyes on the road, as she dug through her bag and pulled out a tube of beef jerky. She handed it to him, first opening the container so he wouldn't have to take his hands off the wheel. He took it graciously and nodded at her again.

"I've been rummaging through abandoned super markets and houses for a few weeks and tried collecting whatever food I could find." she said quietly, "I don't eat meat but I kind of hoped I would run into someone who did. Figured it would be a nice way to break the ice."

Rick found himself smiling again as he chewed on the meat.

"Thank you. That's very kind of you to offer up what little food you might have." he said to her, seeing her nod from the corner of his eye.

"My name is Heather." she told him, holding her hand out in his direction.

He set the tube of jerky between his legs and used his free hand to shake hers. He noticed how quickly she removed her hand from his and turned her attention back to the road, her hands always fidgeting in her lap. He couldn't believe that someone as young and frail looking as her could survive on her own for as long as she did. It wasn't just luck, he told himself, she had to have some sort of skill that would help her get this far.

"Have you been travelling on foot?" he asked her after nearly an hour of silence.

She turned towards him and nodded, "Mostly. I would come across a working car every now and then but it wasn't really worth it when you ran into car graveyards. Even worse when you run into a herd or other people would see the car. It's safer to go on foot. For me, at least."

"Herds?" Rick questioned, finding himself get more and more uneasy as he found out more about the life he now had to live.

She nodded again, pulling a bottle of water out of the backpack. She opened it then handed it to Rick before pulling one out for herself. He thanked her and took a swig, then set it down.

"The walkers sometimes end up in large groups. I can't figure out why they would move together like that, it seems odd to me. The only thing I can think of is maybe they're just following each other. Or a sound they heard at some point. All I know is, don't find yourself stuck in the middle of a herd, whether they're dead or alive." she explained to him, her voice taking on a serious tone as she looked at him.

"You've seen other live people?"

"At first, we would run into groups and we would stay with them for awhile...but you can't trust anyone these days." she sighed, turning back towards the window.

He wanted to question her more, figure out what kind of groups she had run into. He thought maybe she had run into his wife and son but then discarded that thought and shook his head.

"You didn't seem too cautious of me..." Rick stated, tightening his hands on the steering wheel.

He was surprised to hear her laugh lightly.

"You looked about as scared as I felt back there." she admitted, "I don't believe that you're a bad person or would do anything to harm anyone else. I don't trust you now, Rick, but I know that if I can trust anyone, it would be you."

He took pride in the fact and smiled at her.