I know, it's been forever and I'm a bad person. Not Governor bad perhaps, but bad. Axel bad. Maybe even Tomas or Martinez bad. But I've been busy and I just had real trouble with this chapter for some reason, not sure why. Maybe because Merle is a little mean in it, or maybe my Merle muse was pissed about his inspiration getting killed.

Anyway, here we are again. Anyone still reading? Anyone? Anyone…? Bueller…?

Chapter Fifteen

Holy shit, another one! Bitches comin' outta tha goddamn walls!

Mus' be my fuckin' aftershave.

Yeah, guess they can't stay away from ol' Merle… though fer preference he'd stick wit' bachelorette number one, despite tha fact that fer reasons beyond his compre-fuckin'-hension she'd already engaged this scraggy piece a tail in conversation. Damn, if he wasn't so fuckin' behind tha times he wouldda jus' tol' ol' Shitney Spears here that this was their place now, an' ta get tha fuck out before Lady Penelope here was all… was all…

tha fuck? Did she jus' fuckin offer ta help this bitch?

He stared down at her hard, and given the way she was avoiding his wrathful fuckin' eye, it seemed she had. Merle bit back an exasperated sigh.

Jesus, ol' Merle didn't need two women clutterin' up tha fuckin' place unless there was a hot threesome on tha cards…

"…Hey! What's that on your stump? Them bandages look like…."

Well fuck. Woman mighta tried ta cut her off, but she weren't dealin' wit' no dummy. Hell, he was even more pissed now the new bitch'd noticed tha shit wrapped 'round his wrist, 'specially when he'd almost fergot it himself.

At least Sugartits was lookin' guilty; that mebbe good fer some fun later…

Merle turned his eyes back to the stranger… Shawnee he thought she said, or some other wannabe-Cherokee Princess crap. Still, while the woman was stood there flapping her mouth politely, wasting time with all that bullshit talk, Merle was instead taking in the stone cold evidence of his eyes.


As his foggy brain began to put the pieces together, he could barely hide his mounting excitement.

Young, but wit' shitty skin… thin, fidgety wit' it… long sleeved top coverin' up her goodies in this heat, an' her backpack clutched all precious-tight ta them itty-bitty titties… yeah, ol' Merle knew his own…

Bitch was a damn junkie wit' a stash, an' whether she wanted ta or not, she was sharin'.

Fuck, still talkin'? How long were they gonna keep yappin' wit' this podunk Pocahontas? Time ta drop a subtle fuckin' hint that they should move this shit along.

"…I'm Merle, she's too goddamn nice, an' you're fuckin' grateful. Le's get movin'."

Apparently he was too fuckin' subtle, 'cos Pussy Golightly jus' went right ahead an' fuckin' ignored him…

"I promise you, Shawnee, Merle really does grow on you. He can be very charming when he wants..."

Oh really? Tha's right, darlin', yer stay too damn chicken ta catch my fuckin' eye, cause I'm 'bout two seconds away from… well now, sugar, suddenly feelin' a lil' friendly? Ya wanna feel up any other parts a ol' Merle ya go right ahead…

"…My name is Kate."


Kate? Katie. Yeah… that was her fuckin' name.

He liked it. Kinda suited her.

And at least he'd been spared some awkward attempt to con it out of her without being too damn obvious. That came as something of a relief, which in turn came as something of a slight shock… Merle didn't often worry about whether he might upset people. Hell, normally he went out of his way to.

I's cause ya owe her, he thought, gotta give her some respect. Not much, but some.

Still, no need fer her ta know that. Uppity enough already, don't want ta give her more ideas.

"Tha's right, Merle an' Katie, zombie fuckin' rescue service," he said shortly, ignoring the fact that Katie seemed to be studying him with renewed interest, "now le's get tha fuck outta here!"

"Ya'll call 'em zombies?" asked Shania, or whatever the fuck her name was, "Father Ray called 'em tha unsanctified."

"Zombies, walkers… who tha fuck cares?" he snapped back, though Merle was slightly surprised at himself; like the others, he'd always called them 'walkers' back at the camp.

Mus' be Katie rubbin' off on him. Huh, mebbe later she could be talked inta rubbin' him off instead…

The woman in question interrupted his thoughts.

"Unsanctified? What does that mean? Did he think it was… err… irreligious people who were becoming zom… er, the unsanctified?"

"Yeah," nodded Shawnee, and Merle noticed her eyes were moving quickly and calculatingly over the bags full of weapons and supplies as she talked, "thought this was tha Rapture. Thought we was bein' tested. Tha's why he wanted ta help me. Ya'll got supplies?"

"Guess we do, since we're takin' tha guns," he answered firmly, making sure she understood he wasn't going to take any shit about it from her, "Ya wanna stick wit' 'em, ya stick wit' us."

"Sure," she replied, her flickering eyes lifting to his and coldly studying his face. Merle didn't trust her for a second, but he could almost feel the rush of whatever she had in that bag easing through his veins, and he wasn't going to let that get away.

"Merle, could I have a quick word with you? Shawnee, why don't you go and fetch whatever you want to bring with you, while Merle and I discuss transporting these bags."

Katie grasped his arm and Merle was surprised and distracted enough to allow himself to be gently tugged over to a distant corner. Shawnee went back into the storage room, still clutching her backpack. Merle felt a slight twitch of anxiety as the bag left his sight, but Katie was already talking in a hushed voice.

"Merle, are you sure about this? About her?"

Merle took his nerves out on her, not removing his gaze from the door where Cherokee Rose Lee had disappeared.

"Ya didn't wan' her ta come wit' us, ya shouldn't have fuckin' invited her."

"I didn't invite her, I said we might be able to help her."

Merle searched his memory…

Aw shit.

Well, better this way; make it easier fer him ta get his hands… fuck, hand on that there stash.

"Yeah, well, she might have supplies a her own or somethin', know somethin' useful mebbe. We can use her."

Katie didn't look convinced, but she nodded, "Alright, but I think we should keep an eye on her, and maybe not leave her alone with the guns. I don't want to be, you know, a snob, but I can't help feeling she looks… well, a bit dodgy."

Merle grinned, as much as at her fuckin' pointless discomfort in judging the skank as her choice of words; 'course she was white trash, ya could tell by lookin' at her, same as anyone could tell by lookin' at him.

"Looks dodgy, huh?" He took his chance and leaned down to her ear, trapping her against the wall with his good arm, "That mean I don't?"

She scoffed and swatted a hand at his mock threatening posture, before angling her head to speak into his ear. As she did so, her hair brushed against his cheek and he took the opportunity to breathe her in a little.

Woman, soap, a lil' sweat an' leather… good smells.

"Strange as it may seem on such a short acquaintance, I trust you. I don't trust her."

"Said we could fuckin' use her, not trust her. Listen, she's gonna earn her keep, jus' follow my lead."

Katie nodded, and Merle was pleased she obeyed him so easily; he found things were easier all round when people did what he said without question. They turned to face Shawnee fully as she came back from behind the security door, carrying a cardboard box containing what looked like cans and crackers, her backpack now tucked under her arm and her eyes still shifting back and forth, back and forth...

Merle studied her in return, reviewing his own plan in his head. Weren't ideal, but then neither was tha situation. Wasn't jus' that he was missin' his fuckin' hand, but he was more damn run down than he knew how ta handle. Fuck, he needed ta lie down, an' fer once he didn't even care if had company or not. He jus' wanted ta close his eyes...

Jesus! Push through, ya fuckin' pussy! Worse than a fuckin' bitch wit' yer whinin'.

As for the squaw here, he knew she was trouble, but she had what he wanted, and Merle needed to make sure she knew who was in charge.

"Alright, this is how it i's gonna be. We gotta buildin' across tha alley. Gotta go across on a ladder. I'm gonna go 'cross an' get some rope I got, throw ya back some. Gonna loop tha bags onta it an' secure it at both ends…"

"There's only six bags," Shawnee interrupted, "we could just take turns takin' 'em across…"

"Listen, Dances wit' Walkers, ya wanna go an' fuckin' paint wit' all tha colours a tha wind by yersel', ya feel free an' welcome. Ya wanna come wit' us, then shut tha fuck up when I talk."

Merle paused, as though waiting for her response; Katie seemed a little surprised by his aggressive speech but neither woman spoke immediately. Shawnee's ditch-water eyes narrowed, and Merle knew he'd made an enemy.

Hell, brother, she ain't gonna have no damn love lost fer ya when ya steal her shit neither.

"We should follow my husband's plan," Katie said soothingly, "he knows what he's doing."

Holy shit, fergot we was married! An listen to the fuckin' Good Wife here! Not that he needed the fuckin' help, but Merle shot her a tight smile, and took the other woman's irritated look as the consent of the outgunned and outnumbered.

"Now, like I was sayin', we thread tha bags on tha rope. Then yer gonna drag 'em across fer us; Katie stays on this side, steadies tha rope. I'm on the other. Ya try an' pull anythin', if yer lucky one of us shoots ya. Yer unlucky, an' both of us do. Understan'?"

"I understand," she replied coldly.

"Fuckin' A. Le's go."


To Merle's surprise, the operation went fairly fuckin' smoothly.

Given he'd worked it out on the fly, he found he'd actually thought it out pretty well. Sure, once he'd crossed over himself, he'd had to pretend to take a while to find the rope, buying time to get his strength back like a fuckin' pussy, but eventually he'd flung it over. Katie looped the bag handles through easily before fixing it up to something on her side. He in turn tied the rope around a sturdy bed leg, and watched as that bitch Shawnee resentfully struggled across on the ladder, tugging the first bag alongside her.

Pretty fuckin' impressive, bro, he thought to himself. That scrawny Sacagewea there ain't gonna have tha spare energy ta pull any shit right now, an' there weren't no way she'd be able ta run off wit' their guns before bein' stopped by one of 'em. An' what if she did? They'd lose jus' one fuckin' bag is all. Hell, even if she dropped a bag off tha ladder, they had a good chance a haulin' it back; an' if she dropped off tha ladder, then who tha fuck cares?

Ya might care, brother, he thought, noticing that she now wore her backpack. Gotta think about that bro, gotta think real careful. Ain't neither one a tha ladies gonna appreciate yer pharmaceutical panty raid, though pro'bly fer different reasons.

Yeah, he was gonna have ta step pretty fuckin' careful.

By the end of the job though, Shawnee had made no attempt at trouble, and when he saw the bags around him full of guns and new supplies, he was perilously close to being happy.

However, when Katie didn't immediately join them back on home ground, he felt nervous. No, not nervous… curious. Yeah, curious. He looked out of the window to find Katie standing calmly by the opposite window, waiting with a smile as though expecting him to be looking for her. For some reason it made him surprisingly irritated.

"Tha fuck ya hangin' aroun' fer? Getcha ass over here!"

"I will, but I just want to have a final scout around the other shops. There might be something useful..."

"Woman…" he started warningly.

"Won't be a moment…"

"I ain't draggin' my ass over there again…"

"Of course not," she said reasonably, "You stay there, look after Shawnee and the guns, have a bit of a rest, okay? Back in a mo'." and with that she was gone…

… leaving Merle fuckin' furious.

Have a rest? Have a fuckin' rest? Who tha fuck did she think she was talkin' ta, orderin' him around like a nurse at a fuckin' rest home?! He was forty-fuckin'-two!

If Merle had mastered anything over the years, it was the ability, when absolutely essential, to function practically with a degree of outward calm while rage boiled within. With a sudden burst of focus, he told Shawnee to sort all the salvaged goods save the guns into ordered piles, with clear, concise instructions, and even clearer threats…

"…Ammo here… food over there… sundries that pile... what tha fuck d'ya mean, what are sundries?... yeah, them… did I say touch? Ya reach towards them goddamn guns again I'mma break yer fuckin' arm..."

Merle didn't feel at all guilty about bullying Shawnee; he had a feeling about her, and his instincts about people like her had been honed to a fine edge through years of experience. He knew if she sensed even a hint of weakness, she'd be dangerous.

Sure, maybe his physical threats towards her were empty ones unless she really got out of line, but she didn't know that, and as long as she believed him and didn't try something stupid, all three of them would stay healthy a lot longer. Normally, Merle wouldn't be that worried about a scrap of skank like her, but even he had to acknowledge he wasn't the strongest he'd ever been, and he'd need to sleep and heal sometime. That meant relying on Katie…

…thinking of her, his anger flared up again.

Fuckin' Katie an' her goddamn rest! He didn't need to be babied. Typical woman, yer only gotta let'em put on a fuckin' band aid an' suddenly they think they gotta kiss everythin' better for ya. Well he wasn't a pussy needin' her ta pull out his splinters. An' when she came back, he was gonna fuckin' tell her that ta her face.


Where tha fuck was she, anyway?

It was damn near an hour she'd been gone, and Merle was getting irritable. Not worried, obviously; he barely knew the fuckin' woman, and she wasn't his fuckin' responsibility. Hell, been a long damn time since he took responsibility fer a woman, an' be even longer before he was dumb enough ta do it again.

However, it might be she found somethin' dangerous, an' it'd be fuckin' stupid not ta wanna know what risks mebbe out there. Or she mighta found somethin' good, an' it'd be damn foolish not ta make sure she was plannin' on sharin' wit' ol' Merle. Hell, she practically owed him after his bright idea in tha vent. Would she have wanted ta stay up there like a goddamn unwanted TV dinner?

He looked over at Shawnee; she had left her bag on the floor near to her while she was sorting the last few tins, but now she was finally finished and moving to pick it up.

Time fer shit ta go down.

"So… one last bag to go," he said, holding out his hand to her backpack. Shawnee's eyes widened then narrowed, her faced becoming closed.

"What d'ya mean?"

"Ya know what I mean."

"It's just personal stuff. Clothes."

"Ain't nothin' yer could be thinkin' 'bout wearin' that I ain't seen before."

"It's underwear."

Merle grinned, but there was no humour in it.

"C'mon now, angel, who ya think yer foolin'…?"

His voice dropped lower… a little more insinuating, a little more threatening….

"…We both know girls like ya don't waste time wearin' panties…"

He'd barely finished speaking when she lunged at him to claw his face, but she didn't know he'd both wanted and expected such a response; better to provoke an attack and get it out of the way when he was prepared, than let her chose a time when he wasn't. Once she found out who she was dealing with, she wouldn't try it again.

Almost casually he raised his leg as she reached him and planted his boot in her chest; shoving her back, he watched without much sympathy as she fell to the floor, slightly winded.

"Put those claws away, kitten," he said calmly as he snatched up the bag, "ol' Merle ain't no-one ta fuck wit'."

"Ya fuckin' bastard!" she hissed, panting slightly. "Ya sonofabitch! That's my stuff!"

"An' now I's mine," he grinned, carefully maintaining awareness of her presence while he opened the zip of the bag.


"Well, well, well… lookie here," he mocked, "seems some rep-pro-bate done stole yer clothes an' replaced 'em wit' a nice stash a illegal narcotics. Ain't that a big ol' pig sack?"

He ignored her bared teeth as he sifted through the goods… pills an' powders an' needles, oh my! Not that he was that keen on tha needles a course, he didn't normally use 'em since he didn't want some fag disease. Still, needs must an' all that shit. It was tha end a tha world, an' Dixons couldn't never be choosers…

"Show me yer arms," he rasped, looking back to her. When she didn't move, he took a measured step towards her, holding her eyes. After a moments debate, she lifted a sleeve.

Merle studied the rows of track marks with interest, and some residual disgust. He had never liked needles, not since…

He pushed the thought away… no time fer that now.

"This ain't all yers then. Who'd ya steal it from? Yer dealer?" Her expression gave nothing away, so Merle took another shot in the dark. "Not yer dealer then. Yer pimp?"

At the slight flicker of something on her face, Merle knew he had hit his mark. His lip curled, and reaching into the bag, he pulled out a bottle of pills and threw it to her. She glanced down at the label.

"Take three," he ordered.

"Three? But that'll kill me!"

"Huh, I ain't that lucky. An' ya know it won't, ya must a built up some resistance. It'll just knock ya out fer a while. Don't try any shit neither, I'm gonna watch ya real close."

She stared at him a moment, and then Merle was both impressed and repelled with how her whole attitude shifted instantly.

"Baby," she purred, suddenly stretching out her body in a way she obviously considered seductive, "whatever yer into, yer can do it when I'm awake. I promise, I'm much more fun that way…"

Merle snorted. "Listen, Shawskank, I wouldn't fuck ya wit' my brother's dick, an' his needs tha fuckin' exercise more than mine."

"Fuck you!"

"Yeah, I understood tha offer, I jus' weren't buyin'. So, why don't ya be a good lil' girl fer ol' Merle an' swallow…"

Shawnee did, her hate filled eyes staring daggers at him. Merle said nothing and they watched each other in silence for a few minutes, each waiting for the drugs to take effect.

Merle idly wondered what he would have done if she'd refused.

He didn't like ta think he woulda forced her, but on tha other hand, he wasn't no pussy, an' shit that needed ta get done got done wit' him around. Not that he'd ever really enjoyed beatin' up on people smaller than him, not when he could jus' as easily intimidate 'em. Shit, saved 'em time when they jus' acknowledged his superiority from tha start… that an' a trip ta tha hospital …

Still, he'd never put his hands on a woman like that though, never hit 'em or nothin'. Pushed 'em around mebbe if they got a lil' wild, ta keep his balls unkicked or stopping his eyes bein' gouged outta his head, shit like that, but never real hard stuff like ya could do ta a man wit'out feelin' guilty...

Still, he kept his eyes pitiless as hers began to droop. He'd been rolled and infected too many times to believe there were any whores with hearts of gold out there.

Jus' whores.

Not Katie though.

Even now when he was pissed at her, he couldn't really see hisself pushin' her away like that. Not that he could imagine her screechin' an' kickin' an' actin' crazy like them other women he'd had, or Shawnee. Too fuckin' calm fer that; what was that Brit word fer it? Reserved, that was it. Though after that kiss he was pretty sure he could have Katie clawin' at him, or at least his back.

Yeah, there was definitely somethin' fiery hidden away under that calm exterior… an' the fact that it was hidden kinda made him wanna hit that fine shit a lil' bit more. Be more work ta fuck her than a slut-junkie like this, but she'd been prepared ta kiss him again in that damn vent before he screwed up, so mebbe not that much more…

Shawnee's eyes closed though she was still sitting up, if swaying slightly. He approached cautiously, squatting down in front of her. Her eyes snapped back open, but he saw her unresponsive pupils remained dilated.

"Gonna kill ya… she whispered harshly, slurring the words, "ya an' yer slut… sh'ain't yer wife, I know…"

Merle squatted down in front of her, and grabbed her chin in his hand, forcing her head up to look at him properly.

"Mebbe she is, mebbe she ain't, but ya even look at her cross-eyed an' we'll see how good yer are at swallowin' yer own teeth." His mouth twisted, "Way I hear it, yer'll earn more wit'out 'em anyway…"

Shawnee made as if to spit at him, and Merle quickly pushed her head away before she could muster the coordination to do so. She was unresisting, and keeled over to the side, her head making a distinct thud on the thinly carpeted floor.

Merle waited until he was certain she was out, before he half dragged her over to a couch and left her there. Most likely she'd be out until morning at least. He certainly hadn't been going to leave her awake and alone with the guns while he went after Katie, and somehow he'd sleep a little more soundly later knowing she wasn't wandering about the place.

He picked up the stash and carried it upstairs, hiding it under the pillow on his bed for now. As he sat down on the edge of the bed, a wave of weariness washed over him.

Damn woman, makin' me chase her ass all over tha fuckin' place.

To prove to himself that he wasn't as curious about what had happened to Katie as he might think, and to get some energy in case there was trouble, he snatched up a small tin of pineapple chunks and opened it, slurping back the juice before eating the deliciously bright yellow pieces. He couldn't even remember the last time he'd eaten pineapple.

Satisfied, he walked over to the window, planning to toss the tin into the alley. However, when he looked down he saw a tall, gaunt figure staggering beneath the ladder. Thinking quickly, he threw the tin over to the furthest end. It plinked down onto the concrete and, attracted by the noise, the ragged figure turned and ambled away, growling to itself.

"Go get it, boy! Fetch!" Merle chuckled quietly, before clambering up onto the ladder and making his way quietly across. When he dropped softly down on the other side, he saw there were a few more bags of various goods placed near the window, clearly waiting to be taken across. Katie had obviously been busy, though she was nowhere to be seen.

He listened for a few moments, trying to assess the situation, before hearing faint sounds of movement from the shop. Sliding his knife out of his boot, he stalked silently through the door and nearly had himself a goddamn heart attack.

Was it okay? I do hope it was worth the wait. Please review and let me know, you know I love you guys and your wonderful reviews.