Chapter Eleven

As Merle awoke, he realised he was surprisingly comfortable.

Something about that struck him as odd and unfamiliar.

His sleepy brain slowly coming to alert, he sensed someone creeping up behind him as he lay on the bed. Keeping his eyes shut, biding his time, he waited until he heard the light step come sufficiently near…

…instantly he half turned, artfully grabbed the wrist of his assailant and used their own weight to tip them over his hip and onto the bed beside him. Merle had them pinned beneath his body and his stump pressing down on their throat before he realised the attacker seemed rather slight and unresisting. He looked down into wide startled eyes and a face that was even paler than usual.

"Ghhghh…" it wheezed.

Aw… shit.

Merle lifted his stump off the woman's throat and she gasped, "Your arm!" He looked down and noticed he was leaning heavily on her chest. He quickly slid it off onto to the mattress beside her. "What the hell were you thinking?" she rasped out. Merle hadn't thought he'd pressed that hard, but he'd never done this to a woman; he supposed they were a bit more fragile.

"Thought ya was someone else," he shrugged. Wha' tha fuck did tha woman expect, sneakin' up on him like that?

"Really? Friend or family?," she asked sarcastically, reaching up to clasp her throat before wincing at the movement and changing to press her tit instead, "Ahh God, you git, that really hurt! These aren't bloody airbags, you know. They're not designed to have your great meaty elbows smash into them!"

"Ya wan' me ta kiss it better, darlin'?" he grinned, trying to lighten the mood. Not like he fuckin' meant ta hurt her…

"Oh, geroff, you big oaf!" She sounded exasperated and pushed at his bare chest with her free hand; she completely failed to move him even slightly.

"Dunno 'bout tha', kinda like ya where ya are," he tried to tease, waggling his eyebrows at her suggestively.

She snorted, only half amused. "Well flinging me about and squashing me is not the best way to get me into bed," she responded tartly, before pausing awkwardly as she remembered where she was, "at least, not for that. Now, come on, let me up, or I'm going to avenge my bruised boobs with some bruised balls."

He sighed and rolled off her, folding his arms behind his head. He was surprised when she stayed where she was for a moment, one hand still pressed to her tit, while the other moved up to rub her throat. She looked a bit shaky and Merle frowned; dammit, he'd said he hadn't meant ta hurt her, why'd she have ta make such a big fuckin' deal outta it?

She don't know you from fuckin' Adam, brother. She don't know wha' shit ya thinkin' when ya got her pinned down onna bed like tha'.

He watched her warily as she sat up slowly, sitting cross legged on the bed. "So," she said in a matter of fact voice, "can I expect such delightful treatment every morning?"

"I wasn't gonna hurt ya," he snapped, more irritated than comforting, "jus' heard someone sneakin' up on me is all. Didn't know who tha fuck it was." Merle could feel her staring at him, so he kept his eyes stonily fixed on the covers in front of him. Suddenly she sighed, uncrossed her legs and stretched out next to him on her stomach, resting her chin on one of her hands.

Merle lifted his eyes to the now excellent view down her vest top, and his mind began to wander. She really did look pretty damn good when she weren't wearin' her zombie fightin' gear. Mebbe he could talk her outta them? Or mebbe he could 'accidentally on purpose' get rid of tha fuckin' nasty things when she weren't lookin'…

"So, did you learn to do that when you in the Army?" Merle was sufficiently distracted from his reverie to answer honestly.

"Weren't in tha fuckin' Army," he sneered, "I was a Marine. An' naw, I picked tha' shit up in juvie."

"Makes sense," she didn't sound surprised, "I don't suppose you want anyone there sneaking up on you when you're asleep." She paused as though debating her next question, then said cautiously, "Were you in prison as well?"

Merle didn't see any point denying it, but he watched her reactions carefully. "Yeah."

"May I ask what for?"

Always so fuckin' polite.

"Ya can ask." Merle was curious as to how far she'd be brave enough to push it.

"Alright, look, cards on the table, okay? I don't really care if, I don't know… you were banged up for stealing or something like that. Normally I wouldn't consider it any of my business. However, after our little contretemps just now I just... I just want you to tell me if you were put away because you were violent, if you… hurt people."

Lucky there could only be one thing she was talkin' 'bout, Merle thought, 'cause I'm fucked if I know what a con-tra-tomp is.

Merle unfurled his arms from behind his head and slowly leaned forward so he was on eye level with her. "Ya should ha' asked me tha' before ya gimme yer gun…"

He gave the woman credit, she held her ground as well as her breath, and he was now close enough to see the lines of blue and grey-green around her pupils as they dilated. He held her gaze firmly as he answered what he guessed was her real question.

"…I done a lotta things, an' I ain't gonna apologise ta yer nor nobody fer a single fuckin' one of 'em, but I ain't never harmed no women, an' I ain't plannin' ta change tha' now."

It wasn't entirely true, but it was true enough fer wha' she meant.

She studied him, as though she could read the truth in his face. Merle knew that was a mistake; he'd met enough people who could convince you the sky was red with purple fuckin' spots and not even blink, but he wasn't going to tell her that now. The tension built for a few seconds between them as they held each others stare. Jus' a few more inches an' he'd be close enough ta…

She opened her mouth to speak, and he dropped his gaze with interest as her pink tongue flicked out to moisten her lips.

"Do you want some breakfast? It's hot."

The tension apparently broken, Merle grinned and playfully reached for her wrist in an attempt to pull her closer. "I'll say ya are…"

Her face broke into a smile and she caught a couple of his large fingers in her small hand, surprising him by keeping hold of them loosely. Merle felt odd, the two of them kinda holding hands like this, but he took the opportunity to brush his rough thumb over that velvet skin of hers anyway. "Flattered as I am, Merle, it's something even better. How would you feel about sort-of bacon and eggs?"

"I don't know 'bout better, but it sounds good." His eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Why's it sorta bacon an' eggs?"

"Because it's not proper eggs and it's not proper bacon, but I'm pretty sure I can make it palatable since the cooker is working. Plus I found some long life orange juice; I've had an incredibly lucky streak on food supplies this morning. Are you in?"

"Guess I can try it," he said mock grudgingly.

She scrunched up her face in mock disgust. "Please Merle, control yourself! You know us Brits find these excessive displays of enthusiasm very distasteful. Now, I'll go start it and you can come down when you're dressed." She let go of his hand and rolled off the bed, and had started to go downstairs when Merle was struck by a sudden thought.

"Hey!" he called, and she turned at the top of the stairs, an inquisitive smile on her face. "Wha' would ya ha' done if I'd said I beat up on women, or some shit like tha'?" he asked curiously.

After a moment's surprise her face instantly became serious and considering, but Merle was starting to get her measure; there was definitely a glint of humour in her eye. "Ooh, I don't know, nothing fancy. Probably offer to make you a breakfast no man could resist and then just poison it." Smiling wickedly at his bemused expression, she turned and started down the stairs again, calling back to him, "Now don't take too long, will you? I want you to eat it while it's nice and toxi… I mean hot! Nice and hot."

His bark of laughter followed her down the stairs.

Merle was in a fuckin' good mood. He had a hot woman making him breakfast and, although still itchy, his arm was barely burning now; a few more antibiotics and painkillers would soon knock that out. He knocked back the said pills dry, then pulled on his jeans and managed the fly one handed; he'd got used to that at least. Since his t-shirt was covered in dried fuckin' blood he debated putting on his waistcoat, but there didn't seem much point. He heard some noise downstairs, and realised she was singing. He tried to make out a few words.

"…Toniiight… Ah-tomic!... Ahh-aah-tomic!... "

Huh, at least now he'd heard her sing, he knew she wasn't fuckin' perfect.

Putting on his socks he shoved his feet into his boots, making sure one of them still contained a hunting knife, and began to make his way down the stairs, admiring the work she'd done on his stump while he was sleeping. He was sort of surprised at himself that he'd trusted her to do it.

Did it up pretty good; not tha way a proper field medic would ha' done it a course, but she'd taped tha secondary dressin' in firmly but not too tight, like ya should… though he didn't know why she'd been bitchin' 'bout them fuckin' bandages when she had these. Still, lil' woman had still helped him out, ya had ta give her tha'. Fuck it, he'd have ta find out her name a' some point; even he didn't feel right jus' callin' her woman all tha fuckin' time.

If Merle was honest with himself, he felt a tiny bit bad about those bandages, even though she hadn't reacted as badly as he expected. The truth was he hadn't ruined them deliberately; his dizziness had caused him to overbalance when trying to wash his feet, and when he caught himself on the bed he'd knocked the bandages into the dirty water. Of course, given he'd already fuckin' puked up his guts in front of her like a goddamn pussy-bitch, he let think it was deliberate; the last thing he wanted to do was lose what was left of his pride…

…Merle paused on the stairs and frowned as he looked harder at the wrappings on his wrist.

Wha' tha fuck was wit' tha shape a these things? Were they some specialist shit? Kinda looked like…

...she wouldn't.

She wouldn't fuckin' dare.

She had.

She fuckin' had.

Tha' fuckin' BITCH!

"WOMAN!" he roared as he ran down the last few steps.

He heard a surprised but good humoured shout from the employee area "Oh my God, Merle, what?! I left you for, like, two minutes?! How can you be pissed again already? Oh, is there some bipolar situation here that I should be aware of?" Merle entered the employee lounge as she turned to him from the counter, where she had set out some contents from a nearby cupboard. Merle fought to maintain some control over the red mist that threatened to descend, and held up his bandaged stump to her blank look.

"What. in tha fuck. is on tha end a my fuckin' arm?!" he yelled. She winced and smiled crookedly, and Merle suddenly knew she'd been waiting for this moment.

"I'm assuming this isn't a trick question?" she asked, her eyes slightly wary. Merle snarled and moved forward, gripping the edge of the table between them and effortlessly tossing it into a corner of the room. That apparently put some fuckin' fear of God into her, since she looked shocked. "Alright, Merle! Alright! We're both adults here, let's use our words, shall we? Yes, I bandaged your wound with the resources available…"

"Don't ya dare, don't ya fuckin' dare call these… these things resources!" he hissed from between clenched teeth.

"They are not things, they are sanitary towels, Merle, and completely hygienic. You needn't make it sound as though they're impregnated with evil lady-parts lurgi on the production line." His confusion must have shown on his face, as she added cautiously, "Umm... lurgi is like cooties. Now, okay, yes, I bandaged your wound with sanitary towels, but what else could I do? You destroyed the only proper dressings I had!"

Merle closed his eyes, grinding his teeth and breathing deeply in a last ditch attempt to keep a grip on his temper.

Tha's tha price a ya Dixon pride, brother. Ya know she wouldn't a pulled this shit if ya'd told her tha truth 'bout them bandages. Hell, she pro'bly would'a got all sympathetic on ya ass an' given ya tha' goddamn kiss an' all…

Merle growled. Anglin' fer pity fucks. No, worse, pity fuckin' kisses! Had it come ta this fer ol' Merle?

"Take 'em off," he ground out finally, holding out his arm and trying not to think too hard about what was on there… or where they usually went… and what for…


"Fuckin' hell, woman! Take these fuckin' things offa me 'fore I beat ya ass!"

She sighed and walked forward, before lightly clasping his forearm in both hands. She spoke calmly, looking him right in the eyes. "If you want me to take it off I will…"

"Get tha fuck on wit' it then!"

"…but, let me ask you first; what will we replace it with? I don't have anything that would be a suitable alternative."

"Who fuckin' cares?"

"You'll fucking care," she responded calmly, "because you'll get it infected. Then you'll be sick again and we both know you don't like that. It makes you pissy..."

"Pissy?!" Merle finally exploded. "Jesus fuckin' Christ, woman, I get pissed! Pissed! See, like right now; I'm not upset or pissy or even a lil' bit goddamn huffy, I'm fuckin' well pissed!"

Unbelievably, she seemed to be holding back a smile. "…and aggressive. And I'll care because I've sacrificed some of my precious and rapidly diminishing supply of feminine hygiene products to try and help you, and I'd like to delay as long as possible the necessity of shoving the nearest and most absorbent looking woodchuck into my pants."

Tha fuck? Merle stared at her round-eyed, anger taking a back seat for a moment as he tried desperately to block the images that conjured up in his mind. "D'ya know what a woodchuck is?"

She looked uncertain, and said cautiously, "Uh…is it… is it not sort of like a chipmunk?"

He snorted in disgust. "It ain't like a chipmunk."

Goddamn city folk.

"You know, Merle, it's not like anyone else is going to see them," she said eagerly, trying to take advantage of the side-track, "and we can make looking for proper bandages our top priority…"

"Gimme my breakfast, woman," he cut her off, not wanting to think about what he was letting her get away with. Bein' too fuckin' soft again, tha' was always his problem.

"Are there any magic words you think are missing from that sentence?" she asked pointedly.

"Gimme my fuckin' breakfast now!" he snapped. She didn't look scared, merely raising a disapproving eyebrow and turning back to the food. Merle dragged the table out of the corner and sat down at it, sullenly watching her as she sorted things and began cooking, his anger simmering away below the surface. Idly he wondered if putting her over his knee and giving that sweet ass of hers a spanking would count as harming her. However, the idea of her face down over his lap with her creamy buttocks turning pink under his hand led to other ideas, which most definitely did not involve harming her or even remaining pissed at her at all, so he shut that line of thinking down and fixed a frown on his face.

No way he was gonna let some bitch think she could fuckin' handle him.

The plates and cutlery she set out were largely mismatched but clean; probably stuff different employees had brought from home. She poured them both out equal portions of orange juice and left it on the table, and since his cup was larger he quietly added more to his when her back was turned. He was surprised when she also gave them glasses of milk. He didn't think it had shown on his face, but she must have worked out something.

"It's UHT. I had to open it for the eggs, and it won't keep in the heat now it's open. We might as well use it up." Merle just stared at her, and she said nothing further as she turned back to the cooker, frowning unhappily a little. He drank the milk down in one go, saving the juice to wash down his eggs.

After all, he might need it; fer all he knew, she could be a fuckin' terrible cook.

As it turned out, she seemed to have managed to create what looked to be some fairly passable scrambled eggs, and she spooned a generous portion onto his plate. However, Merle wasn't letting her off the hook just because she could heat some goddamn eggs. "Where's tha fuckin' bacon?"

"Wait a minute!" she snapped, "I've only got two…" she bit off the rest of the sentence sharply, and Merle felt his temper flare again, though she at least had the decency to look embarrassed when she sat down at the table with what appeared to be a large box of seasoning. "They're bacon bits," she explained almost apologetically. "I thought about mixing them in with the eggs but they're quite salty and I wasn't sure….hey, what are you doing?!"

Merle had taken the box from her hand and tipped it over his eggs. I wasn't quite half full, so he had a fair covering of bacon over his eggs. "Merle, that was for both of us!" she exclaimed, looking upset.

"Well, now i's fer one of us, ain't it?" responded Merle viciously, finally sensing his vengeance to be at hand.

So ta speak…

Merle watched as her face changed from upset to anger; he realised he hadn't really seen her angry before, even with the gun stuff yesterday. It was a whole other level. Her eyes sparkled and cheeks flushed, which looked good on her, but her lips were compressed so tightly together that the skin around them went completely white. When she spoke, her voice was cold and quiet.

"You selfish shit. Why would you do that? All I've done is help you, and you…" she seemed to lose control of her ability to speak for a moment.

"Listen bitch, I didn't fuckin' ask ya ta help me," Merle interrupted, "I don't owe ya nothin'!"

"Did I ask you for anything? Did I? I haven't even asked you to be grateful that I saved your gormless arse from being eaten! But you can't even treat me with a little bloody respect, can you? Well, you know what, Merle? That's fine. I'm done." She picked up her plate and glass, and stood up. "You can fuck off, Merle. You can just fuck right off."

"Well, fuck you too, princess," yelled Merle, as she stalked from the employee lounge and out of sight, "ain't no skin offa my prick." When he was sure she was not going to respond, Merle turned back to his breakfast and began to tuck in, looking forward to the taste of victory.

It turned out victory tasted like sitting alone while trying to choke down eggs ruined with too much salty bacon and a disturbing sense that he had done something wrong.

Still, he cleaned his plate, leaving not a scrap behind. Merle was a fuckin' Dixon, and the important thing was that you won.

You didn't have to enjoy it.

Merle deliberately left his plate and glass on the table for her to clean up and wandered through to the main shop. She wasn't around; must ha' gone upstairs ta sulk on her bed like a typical pussy. Well, fuck her then.

By the looks of the drag marks, sometime earlier she'd helpfully pulled the geeks from yesterday into the little office and shut the door on them, so hopefully they wouldn't stink up the place too much. He lay down on a deep-cushioned couch which could take his size comfortably, enjoying the cool semi-darkness provided by the shutters. Maybe he could sleep off the churning sensation in his gut, given he was determined not to go and talk to that uppity bitch. It probably hadn't helped his stomach that he'd drunk her milk as well. After all, weren't his fault she'd left it ta go ta waste…

He closed his eyes and… wait, he could take some a his stash. Couple o' ludes would be good right about now.

He looked around, and realised the bags were still up with her and swore. Still, mebbe he shouldn't top up too much wit' tha antibiotics an' painkillers still floating around in his system.

He relaxed back into the cushions and let his mind wander, waiting to doze off. He didn't want to admit it but even with the antibiotics and a decent night's sleep, he still wasn't firing on all engines. If only he could get rid of this sick feeling he had now…

That ain't breakfast fuckin' yer up, brother; ya know ya've eaten worse than tha' in yer time. Yer ain't feelin' right cause ya know yer done fucked up wit' tha' girl there, lettin' ya shitty temper get tha better a ya.

Fuck that shit. If anyone had fucked up it was her. Merle just couldn't understand, what the hell could she have been thinking? She knew he was going to get mad, he'd seen in her face that she was expecting him to react badly. It was her own fault, and it was only his fuckin' self-control that had saved her. She didn't know what a goddamn lucky escape she'd had; if she'd been a man he would have kicked her teeth right out the back of her fuckin' throat.

Control? You? Shit, who yer think ya foolin'? An' if she were a man, she pro'bly wouldn't ha' given a fuck once she thought ya'd tossed them bandages, an' now ya'd be dealin' wit' a worse infection on an' empty stomach. She might not even ha' opened tha' fuckin' door ta tha alley… mebbe tha's what's makin' ya sick, brother, knowin' tha' ya owe her an' ya jus' treated her like dogshit…

Merle's guts twisted a little more. I didn't ask fer her help, an' an empty stomach might be fuckin' better than this. He closed his eyes, determined to doze off until she came in search of his company. Hell, maybe she'd even apologise; perhaps then he could suggest how she might show ol' Merle just how sorry she was, real personal like…

Jesus, an' you think Darylina's fucked up 'bout women.

It had been nearly four hours now, and Merle hadn't seen her since breakfast.

However, for the last few hours he'd been deliberately ignoring the few bangs and scraping noises that were coming from upstairs. She was definitely up to something, not that he was going to go up there and make her think he was interested in whatever shit she was getting herself into.

Still… wha' if she don't even know I'm still pissed at her? Mebbe she thinks I'm just sleepin'… guess I could go and cuss her out a lil', let her know I ain't no walkover…

There was a particularly loud bang from upstairs.

What in tha fuck is she doin'? Shit, mebbe I should go check it out. Don't wan' this place fallin' on my fuckin' head.

Merle made his way upstairs, and was surprised to find it completely deserted. He was about to call out when he noticed that the door to the roof was open and a large fire hose had been trailed from outside into one of the bathtubs, which now held a decent amount of water. In fact, so did the other three display bathtubs.

Wha' tha fuck had she been up to?

He looked at the door leading out onto the roof. Bright Georgia sunlight streamed in, and he could hear a faint breeze blowing across the roof. No birds though. They didn't bother with high places anymore; all the food was down in the streets. Despite the warmth of the day, Merle felt cold.

C'mon, ya fuckin' pussy. Grow some hair on them balls an' git up on tha' roof!

Merle steeled himself and went through the door, grabbing his leather waistcoat on the way. It wouldn't do much but some of his skin was still a little raw. He noticed as he passed that from the look of it, she had pried off the padlock with the crowbar. Tough lil' bitch, ain't ya? he thought as he strode out blinking into the glare.



The roof was so similar to the one in Atlanta it was fuckin' eerie. The same flat concrete expanse with a few rusty metal pipes, the same steel door he had walked out of onto it. It had one other similarity which unnerved him further…

…he was the only person there.

However, she'd obviously been there. The hosepipe that led into the building stemmed from a round metal water tank drum, one that must be there in case of fire rather than for rainwater. She'd attached the hose and run out the water. Merle was secretly a little impressed with how she'd spent her time. The roof had a few odd things scattered over it, obviously leftovers from earlier refurbishments. Some two by fours, an old wooden door. The oddest thing was the rusting metal ladder though.

The ladder had been put across the gap between their current building and the one next door, providing a precarious bridge to what looked to be a small shopping mall.

Like the roof he stood on, its door was also set in a raised frame emerging from the roof of the mall.

Like his door, it was open.

She'd gone across by herself? Dammit, could she really have been so pissed she'd gone an' left him? Merle was surprised by how much that annoyed him. Women, always fuckin' over-reacting…

Fuck brother, wha' d'ya expect, throwin' her 'round an' actin' like a total asshole ta her? Probably gone an' got herself dead 'cause a y'all. Ya ain't no different than yer ol' man.

Merle's mind rebelled at the thought, but then he remembered he'd seen her bag was still by her bed. She wouldn't have left without it, so she must be planning on coming back. But what if she'd managed to get herself in trouble? He sighed in irritation.

Too fuckin' soft, I've always said it.

"Woman?" he called softly, trying not to alert anything else that might be about. No response. "Goddamn fuckin' women," he muttered to himself, and went back inside to get his gun. Tucking it into his pants, he returned to the ladder and stepped cautiously onto the low wall that formed the edge of the roof. It wasn't a huge gap between the buildings, and with two hands he could have jumped it easily if he had to.

But I don't got two hands no more, do I, Officer Friendly? Ya cunt.

Slowly, he edged out onto the ladder, testing each rung before putting his weight onto it. Eventually he reached the other side, and stepped down relieved onto the roof. There was no sound coming from the doorway, which looked pitch black compared to the blazing rooftop around him. Slipping the knife out of his boot, he approached it slowly.

Suddenly, he was distracted by a bright flash of light in his peripheral vision. Turning towards the north-east horizon, he heard a distant thunder-like rumble and, after a few seconds, saw black smoke pour into the sky from some distance away. Merle walked over to the edge of the roof and watched as the dark cloud rose higher and higher, wondering what could have caused such a big ass explosion; it was too small for them to be napalming the city again. He tried to think what was based out that way; perhaps fuel a dump at one of the military checkpoints had gone up…

He was so distracted he didn't hear her until she came flying out of the door.

His head whipped round in time to see her leap dangerously onto the ladder and begin to scramble across, panting in terror. "Wha' tha hell are ya doin'?" he yelled, jogging over as she was about to clamber off the other side. Startled, she turned too quickly, catching the ladder with her crowbar and knocking it off the lip of the roof. They both reached for it as it fell and they both missed, watching in what seemed like slow motion as it caught halfway down on a window ledge on the mall side, just out of reach.

"Goddammit!" Merle looked up, ready to cuss the woman out for her clumsiness, but he was frozen into silence as he saw the blind horror in her face and the slow shake of her head.

Then he heard it; the moans, the shuffling of feet… lots of feet…

He turned his head, knowing what he was going to see and not wanting to see it all the same.


In the darkness of the doorway he somehow saw movement, black shapes moving within in that jerky, inhuman way. He turned away and saw she was still watching him. "Jump," she whispered, her eyes on his, almost pleading, but he knew the likelihood of him making it with one hand. He turned away from her, facing the door and watching the ragged outlines move faster as they saw him, smelt him. He knew, he knew

I'm gonna die.

He turned back to look at the last human being he would ever see, and his heart wrenched that it wouldn't be Daryl.


He didn't know why there was a part of him that didn't believe it. Hell, he should have expected it.

She was gone.

I'm gonna die…

looks tha' way, brother…

yeah, but I'm gonna die like a fuckin' Dixon.

He tucked his knife into his belt for easy access and pulled out the gun. Holding out the gun one handed, as each geek staggered eagerly out into the sunlight he quickly fired bullet after bullet into their brains.

"Take tha' ya fucks!" he yelled. "Ya wanna take ol' Merle down? Fuckin' try! OORAH!"

five bullet's left…four…three… they were still comin'…two…one…

He tucked the gun back in his pants and pulled out the knife, moving quickly round as another dozen spilled out on the roof. They began to follow him as he led them around the roof and pipes and then back, before slamming the door shut and jamming the gun into the hinge. He leapt out of reach of the nearest one's hands and quickly started backing up and around again. At least now he only had to deal with the ones that were already on the roof, though he knew with just a knife that was still too many.

"C'mon, you motherfuckers, c'mon!" he muttered to himself, waiting for an opening, the adrenaline raging through his system. He wasn't gonna lay hisself down and die fer 'em.

Something caught his eye at the back of the group. Some of them seemed to have fallen, and they weren't getting back up. Some of them even seemed distracted and confused, and were turning away from him. He took his opportunity, and stabbed two of them sharply in head before the others turned their focus back on him. He was already out of reach by then of course, and was angling for his next victims when he heard her.

"Here zombie zombie zombie! Come on, guys, over here!" she called.

Merle was stunned.

Wha' tha…? She came back? She came back!

She stood on the low wall of the roof, tapping her blades on the edge to attract her attention. He could just make her out over their heads, and saw she was wearing her leather jacket. Some more zombies turned away, and another two took his knife to the back of their head before he had to dance out of their reach again. Then another two fell at the back of the group.

Christ, there were only three left. He might not actually fuckin' die today.

One geek lurched at him, and he moved into its grasp and jabbed up into its brain through it jaw. He then threw his shoulder into it and forced it back at the last two coming towards him. It caught the first one in the legs as it fell, knocking it back staggering into its fellow. As it tried to regain its balance, Merle grabbed its arm and swung it out of the way, jamming his knife into the side of the head of the second geek. Unfortunately, throwing the other aside with his knife hand had affected his grip, and as the handle was covered in more gore it slid from his grasp.


The other one had recovered and was coming back at him, arms outstretched. He grabbed one grasping arm and pulled it in as he simultaneously kicked it hard in the chest. As he hoped, its arm came off in his hand, providing him with the weapon he needed. Swinging its own shoulder down on its skull, it tumbled to the ground as he pounded its head into a bloody black pulp.

Eventually he slowed and stopped, finally dropping the arm beside the destroyed corpse of its owner. Sensing a presence beside him, he turned to find her standing by him, sweaty and grinning.

"Oh my God, Merle! You beat a zombie to death with its own arm," she said, sounding impressed. "I think you win the Best Zombie Kill award forever!"

Merle stared at her. Now the adrenaline was wearing off, he could actually start to process things other than his own survival. She was standing with gore dripping from those crazy ass blades of hers, grinning madly, and for reasons he couldn't even begin to fuckin' guess at for now, she wasn't wearing any pants.

She came back… fer me…she didn't have ta but she did... tha' fuck?

Obviously unnerved by the fact he was just standing there, silently staring at her, her face fell at little. "Oh…are we still fighting? Each other I mean. Because I think based on this I can make a very strong case for us being a good team…"

Merle grabbed her round the waist and kissed her hard.

Ooh cliffhanger! And you've had another long wait, for which I apologise. I found this very difficult to write as I did not enjoy Kate and Merle fighting one bit; however, it's certainly not going to be all hearts and flowers just yet. I am going to try and get the next chapter in before the third season returns though.

Reviews are, as always, insanely appreciated!