A/N- Thank you all very much for the reviews! I'm sad to say that I've lost my muse for this story! This will be the last chapter but hopefully I will continue later. On a more positive note I'm happy to say that I have started a new story and hope to see you all there. I had a lot of fun writing this and your reviews made my first story ever a great experience! Happy reading!
Haile wiped at her face 'that's what you get stupid' she thought angrily to herself. She needed to talk to Dale-she really did feel bad about not siding with him after everything he'd done for her. With that in mind she got up off the ground and went to find him.
"Andrea?" She called to the blonde "You seen Dale?"
"Yeah, he walked off talking to Daryl by the field." She hesitated. "You ok?"
"Of course!" Haile replied in a falsely bright voice turning to look for Dale.
After leaving Haile Daryl had walked aimlessly for a minute then somehow ended up running into Dale.
"Watch it old man." He snarled.
"Daryl! Wait I want to talk to you!" Called Dale as he started to walk away.
"I ain't gonna side with you." Stated Daryl
"It's not about that."
"Alright what you want then?" He asked more than a little confused. Dale had never really talked to him or given him the impression that he thought Daryl was worth talking to.
"Haile." Started the old man before Daryl snarled at him.
"Nothin' to talk about."
"Hear me out." And with a nod from Daryl he continued "She's not a bad person. And...I don't think her marriage was a happy one-even before he left her." He looked a little hesitant "There have always been signs about a child-we checked her trunk..."
"What was in her-?" Started Daryl
"If she wants to share that's up to her. My point is she really didn't seem to have anything pointing to a husband. As if all she cared about was her little girl. She cares about you though."
At this he snorted "Whatever old man. She don't care bout me."
"I won't break her confidence Daryl." Said Dale sternly "But I promise you she does. I think you both owe it at least to yourselves to talk to each other. Please, just consider talking."
"You're crazy." Brushed off Daryl and stalked off.
About ten minutes into her search for Dale screames pierced the night air. She knew that voice "Dale!" She shouted running to the area she heard the anguished sounds coming from. Daryl swiftly passed her and when she got there she screamed clutching the mans hand.
Everything was a blur-Daryl had apparently killed the walker that had done this, but that was no consolation. Dales intestines were spilling out of a large open wound in his stomach; she knew instantly that there was no hope.
"Dale! Oh god please no!" She sobbed clutching at one hand and putting the other on his face. "I'm soo sorry. Please!"
He gave her a strained half smile "Be happ-." His voice hitched and gurgled as she screamed.
"No!Dale!" She shrieked. Suddenly she heard Daryl's voice saying "Sorry brother." And a loud shot ringing in the air. She didn't even realize that anyone else had gotten there- all she felt was Daryl's strong arms pulling her back and carrying her to a tent.
She woke suddenly looking around confused. She wasn't in her tent, in fact from the look and smell, this was Daryl's tent. She looked around crinkling her nose before she remembered the night before. Haile quickly and quietly snuck from his tent and ran to her own, glad that no one was around.
Once she was in her tent she zipped the flap shut-she did not want to be disturbed. Looking over in the corner at her big blue bag she sighed before pulling it toward her, and unzipping it.
She had gotten too complacent, too sure that they were safe, that nothing would go wrong. She pulled on a pair of thick faded black skinny jeans-less material for the walkers to get a grip on- before pulling on a fitted black tank top, and quickly pulling on her combat boots that went just below her knees and lacing them up. She reached behind her to comb her hair with her fingers and then swiftly french braided it. Reaching into her bag she pulled out leather arm and wrist guards staring at them before pulling them on and snapping them shut. The next items to be fished out of her bag were some of her own design; spring loaded switchblades that attached to her wrists, rigged with wire and a ring. If she flexed her hand back far enough the ring would pull the wire, causing the blade to flip out underneath her wrists. They were slightly dangerous as she was always worried about accidentally releasing them and hurting someone, but at this point she thought it didn't matter. She was not going to get close enough to touch anyone at camp and the gear was useful for close and silent killing.
Haile sighed again shoving a dagger loosely in its sheath inside each of her boots. Her knife belt was next; full of throwing knives, she wasn't too sure why she was bringing it, after all she really had only managed to stick a knife once. Lastly for the knifes came a small short short sword on a homemade sheath on her back. The short sword was kind of a joke-she had had it long before the outbreak happened and it wasn't all that sturdy. But aside from her original guns it was the only weapon she had for awhile. There could be no hacking with it as that would only cause the handle to break, but she had learned over time quick jabs to the face or under the jaw of the walkers worked just fine for the little sword. Sighing she slung her trusty rifle over her shoulder and put the gun with the silencer into the top of her pants. She grabbed all the clips she could find and shoved them along with the rifle ammo into a small back back she had kept in her bag of clothes. Quickly fishing around her bag of clothes she pulled out a few pants and shirts similar to what she was wearing, along with a few pairs of socks and underwear and a small form fitting leather jacket, and stuffed them into the bag as well. Grabbing the locket out from under her pillow she clipped it around her bra strap before shoving it into her bra.
This was it. She was leaving. Haile shook her head to keep her tears from falling. She would see what they were doing about Dale, and if there was a funeral she would stay for that. But then she was gone; she had wasted enough time here and not out there looking for Taylor. Hopefully they would give her a few bottles of water and some food.
She walked out of the tent and habitually looked around for Dale and Nika. Her breath caught as she realized what she was doing and how pointless it was. Bringing two fingers up to her mouth she whistled loudly piercing the stale air smiling softly as Nika came bounding out of the woods.
"I'm ready to find Taylor girl," She whispered to the dog
"How bout you?" The dog probably happy for any attention licked her face affectionately. "Well I'll take that as a yes."
Standing with Nika by her side she made her way to the house to ask about Dale. Pushing the door open she stepped inside only to be met by a sudden shocked silence that she decided to ignore.
"Will Dale be having a funeral?" Haile asked stonily.
"Well of course, but Haile are you sure you-" Lori started but was quickly cut off.
"When?" She asked harshly in no mood to answer questions.
Carol walked up to her and put a comforting hand to her shoulder seemingly not daunted by all of her weapons. "Little over an hour."
"Thank you." Haile nodded before stepping out onto the porch.
"Hey crash." Glenn's hesitant voice came from off to the side and she jumped.
"Shit Glenn, you trying to give me a heart attack?" She muttered halfheartedly.
"Sorry." He said as she walked over to him and plopped down.
He stared at her for a moment before reaching into his pant pocket. "Listen, umm, yesterday Dale," at the mention of the dead mans name his voice cracked "He asked me to hold onto this." And he pulled out Dale's trusty watch. "He told me he wanted me to keep it safe...for you when you needed it." He whispered as he placed it into her trembling hand.
Haile looked at the watch shaking "What?" Her voice croaked.
Glenn looked confused as he answered. "He said the group was broken and he didn't know if it could be fixed. But then... he said he was sure that you were on your way. I don't understand what he was talking about, but he gave me the impression that you would."
She shook slightly looking at the watch before undoing the clasp and placing it on her other bra strap and slipping it into her bra. "Thank you." She managed trying to keep herself together.
They sat in silence for a few minutes before Maggie came out onto the porch. Swiftly she knelt and gave Haile a quick hug before she and Glenn wandered off. Haile leaned against the house letting out a shaky breath. This was going to be harder than she thought. She had made friends, allies here, and even though she knew her daughter was more important it was going to hurt like hell to leave them.
"So. You leavin'?" A gruff voice stated. It wasn't really a question.
"Yeah." She said subdued "I need to find Taylor."
"Why-" Daryl scratched his head "Why didn' you say anything? Bout your kid...an' yer husband."
"Honestly?" She looked up at him and he nodded "I never planned on staying. And it hurt a lot you know? I didn't want everyone's sympathies and well meant but useless comments on how she's probably dead." She sighed "As for Scott? I'm ashamed to admit I was relived he was gone. The only reason I wanted to hope he's alive is for Taylor's sake. This is going to sound horrible and maybe I'm heartless but, I was just...just never happy. He's not a bad guy see? And he loves me I know that. And as much as I love him, I haven't been in love with him for a long time. Funny that," she snorted to herself "Who knew that you could love a man without being in love with him. I never got the balls to tell him though...I just figured that someday I would magically be in love with him. Once the outbreak happened, aside from being out of my mind with worry about Taylor, for the first time-I felt free. It was like a giant weight had been lifted and I could be who I wanted without having to worry about his approval or hurting him. I'm still married on paper Daryl and its not like there's divorce courts popping up right now. But, in my heart, I haven't been married for a long time. That's no excuse I know, but, I am sorry."
Daryl looked at her for a minute his face unreadable before sitting down and clumsily wrapping an arm around her shoulders. She looked up at him surprised but he kept his gaze straight ahead. He looked sort of uncomfortable and she guessed he was out of his element.
"I know what it feels like to want somethin' ya can't have. An' then ya get it and sometimes it's better'n anything ya cin' imagine. Stuff like that ya don' wanna' give up on." She didn't need to know that he was talking about the group and how he felt in it. He had never felt like he belonged-except with Merle- and being here, in a group, he was needed, and if somewhat grudgingly respected. It was something he tried to talk himself away from but the foreign things he had started to feel here were, for the most part, nice.
"Thanks Daryl." She whispered
Dale's funeral passed in a blur and after everyone had moved on talking about Randall she stood by Dales grave.
"I'm soo sorry Dale." Haile whispered "I promise-" her breath hitched "I promise I'll try my hardest to be happy." She sniffled wiping roughly at stray tears on her face. "Thank you." She murmured placing her hand on the freshly turned dirt. "For everything ge-" She couldn't quite bring herself to call him genie-after all genies don't die. "Love you old man." Letting a single tear fall down her face and drop onto his grave she stood brushing her hands on her pants. It was time to say goodbye.
Suddenly she heard T-dog shouting and she took off running- he didn't sound like he was being attacked-but she'd be damned if she'd let the group lose another. When she got to T there was no sign of walkers but Randall was missing. "Fuck." She whispered she couldn't just leave them when a potential killer was out there. Not to mention if he managed to find his group.
"The barn was locked from the outside!" She heard someone say.
"He must have slipped the cuffs." Said another in a slightly disbelieving voice.
After a quick search of the farm it was revealed that they could find Randall nowhere. Just then Shane burst through the woods shouting.
"He jumped me! Fuckin took my gun." He shouted
All hell was breaking loose and she decided to stick with Daryl and Glenn-after all Daryl knew how to track and something wasn't right with Shane. She ignored all arguments for her to stay-after all once Randall was taken care of she could leave.
They found Randall alright-a walker Randall. It was a close call for everyone but in the end Glenn put him down.
Daryl examined the body closely flipping him this way and that. "He ain't got no bites." He stated.
"We'll he's got to be scratched somewhere." Glenn returned.
"Naw I'm tellin you his necks broke. He died from that."
It was pretty obvious to Haile what happened and she could tell Daryl thought so to. Even Glenn seemed to be thinking about it-although it obviously made him uncomfortable to.
She muttered to herself "He who makes a beast out of himself gets rid of the fear of being a man."*
"What?" Asked Glenn and Daryl together.
"Samuel Johnson- he was an author. But it fits. Think about this for a second. T told me that he used to be fucking Lori when they thought Rick was dead. He fell in love with her and Carl. Then out of nowhere Rick returns and not only takes Lori and Carl back but manages to instantaneously be in charge, another thing that was previously 'his'. He's been slowly losing himself. He doesn't want to be afraid but he is. He's turning off all emotion and is taking out anything he deems a threat to him, Lori, and Carl." She finished as a gunshot rang out in the night.
"We need to get back." Glenn said urgently and they took off.
Upon arriving at the house they found that Rick and Shane were still not back.
"Turn off the lights!" A voice whispered frantically.
Standing out on the porch she felt her heart leap into her throat. Hundreds upon hundreds of walkers were on the horizon heading toward the farm.
They decided the best course of action was to go out and distract the walkers and lead them away from the farm. Haile had no car anymore so she opted to stay at the house and take care of any that got to close, but somewhere along the line their plan went to shit. There were too many walkers, the barn was on fire, and trying to leave had Patricia ripped from Beth's arms by a swarm. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Andrea go after Carol. Giving a shrill whistle Nika came bounding through the walkers.
She managed to grab Carol and quickly shout to her "Follow Nika! She'll clear a path to Rick! Nika Rick!" The dog was off and Haile gave Carol a shove sending her after her. She turned quickly looking for Andrea but she was nowhere in sight.
The walkers were everywhere and there was no opening to run through. "Just gonna have to make a path." She muttered pulling her gun from her pants. Quickly she dispatched twelve in a row but now the clip was empty and she didn't have time to fumble with her bag. Slipping the gun into her pants again she flexed her hand back pulling the ring and activating the blade at her wrist, she felt a cold hand on her shoulder and turned quickly ramming her blade into its head. Blood and brain matter splattered her when she pulled the knife back out. Reaching down she pulled a hunting knife out of her boot for her other hand. Over and over she smashed her blade into skulls and sliced with the hunting knife. She tried to ignore the squelching sounds as she ducked under an out reached arm. She was wearing out quickly having not fought this many before ever and not fighting any since she got there.
Haile stumbled but managed to catch herself before hitting the ground when she felt a slippery hand on her boot. She froze remembering the feeling from the gas station before she cursed and kicked at the things head caving it in. Another managed to grab her arm and she turned driving her hunting knife into its forearm, pinning it there, before driving her switchblade into its head. Just when she thought all hope was lost she heard Daryl's motorcycle.
"DARYL!" She shouted at the top of her lungs relived when he swiftly turned the bike.
"GET ON!" He roared at her raising his pistol at her before shooting.
She heard a thump behind her and realized that he had just saved her ass more than once before jumping on the back of his bike holding tight around his waist.
"The others?" She hollered in the biting wind
"Don' know! We'll head to the highway! That's where they'll meet!" He hollered back.
They drove for a bit before coming upon Glenn, Maggie, and Beth and as soon as the vehicles had stopped she wasted no time jumping off the bike and hugging them, her eyes bright. They to, were heading toward Sophia's sign as Dale had once told her about it she felt no need for questions. Once there they were met by Rick, Hershel, Carol, Carl, and to her relief Nika.
"Good job girl!" Haile praised kneeling down and giving her a hug.
"She brought me all the way to Rick Haile." Carol sounded amazed and slightly shell shocked. "Even came back for me when I fell."
Haile grinned up at the older woman "That's cause she's a bad ass!"
"How did you guys find each other?" Rick asked motioning between her and Daryl to the truck Glenn had been driving.
"Saw this guy swervin' all over the road. Figured he had to be Asian." Cracked Daryl with a grin.
"Ahh yes Sensei is apparently a really bad driver." Piped in Haile a smirk on her face as she looked at Glenn.
"I told you both! I'm Korean!" He huffed good-naturedly.
Suddenly as Rick was reaching insanely high panic levels because Lori was no where to be found- T-dog pulled up, with Lori, and Beth spilling out of his car.
It was a tearful reunion and once again they had lost people. Patricia Haile had seen devoured but the others...she hadn't realized how many had been lost. Jimmy was dead, as was Shane apparently. She had had to break the news that Andrea was missing and she and Daryl offered to go back only to be rebuffed by Rick. They were not to separate. As Haile prepared to argue; she had been planning on leaving anyway after all, the sound of a vehicle coming up the road had everyone scrambling for weapons and to hide.
Before Haile could make up her mind the vehicle had stopped and she drew her gun and raised it toward the man stepping out of the cab. It wasn't loaded but he didn't know that; hopefully she wouldn't have to use it.
"Get on back in your truck and turn around." She shouted
The man put his hands up in the air "Please we don't want trouble! We've got a child in here and two other men! We just want some help!"
Haile's hands shook as she took a step forward-she knew that voice.
And then a happy screech pierced the air "Mommy!"