Title: The Lucky One
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Summary: A snapshot of the growing relationship between Michonne and Andrea at the beginning of winter.
It was sometimes hard to think of yourself as lucky, when all around you the world descended into chaos and madness, and you roamed, aimless and without a purpose beyond living to see another sunrise. However, as Andrea wrapped a warm blanket around her shoulders and lowered herself onto the soft shag rug that lay in front of a large fireplace, Andrea couldn't help but feel more than a little lucky.
Five hours before she'd had little to no feeling left in her hands as she and Michonne had trudged through ankle deep snow. The weather had been getting steadily cooler since Michonne had saved her during her flight from Hershel's farm, but the appearance of snow was an unwelcome surprise that they had not yet equipped themselves to deal with. They had added layers to their light summer clothes as they scavenged their way across Georgia but, in the snow, by the time noon had come around they were stiff, freezing, and in serious trouble.
They had stopped for a quick rest – which was all they could spare in the frigid weather. Andrea had rested her body against an old, but sturdy, fence post while Michonne and her pets stood a few meters away. Michonne's sharp, dark eyes had scanned the road around them, alert and vigilant, looking for walkers even as they rested, and in the familiar silence Andrea had tilted her head to the side and looked back, over the top of the wooden fence.
"What is it?" Michonne asked, looking over at Andrea only to find her staring raptly down at the ground.
"What's got your attention?" Michonne asked, clarifying her earlier question. She nodded her head down at the white powder that seemed to have fascinated Andrea. "You see something or has our morning constitutional made you to lose yourself in thought?" she continued, the last part of her question coming out as a lowly, amused drawl.
Andrea stared at her for a moment, trying not to look amused by Michonne's words, but the truth was she wanted to nurture and encourage the teasing Michonne had recently taken to doing. It warmed her up inside when she saw Michonne's lips curve up in a smile, no matter how small it was. It comforted her. It reminded her that there was a person behind Michonne's stony surface, and that made her feel not so alone in the world. She wanted to keep those moments, to protect them; she wanted to learn how to bring about more.
"It's probably nothing," Andrea said after giving in and smiling at Michonne. "But … it looks like maybe it could be a foot path."
Snow obscured the finer details of the ground, but there was a slight depression that carried on into the trees beyond the fence.
Michonne's brows knitted together at Andrea's words and her lips pressed tightly together as she looked down one desolate stretch of road and then the other before turning to walk the short distance over to Andrea.
She looked over the top of the wooden fence, stared at the ground for a few seconds and then looked back up and over at Andrea.
"Paths lead to somewhere," Andrea said softly, holding Michonne's intense ebony eyes. "We can't stay out in the open for much longer. I can barely feel my fingers," she continued, trying not to let it show in her voice just how concerned she was about that. "It's more of a sign of civilization than anything we've seen all day."
Michonne turned and looked down the road in the direction they had previously been traveling.
"Okay," she said, nodding her head decisively, committing herself fully to the idea now that she had agreed to it. "If it's a path there should be a gate," she stated and she walked to the left a few paces until she was standing directly before the disturbance in the uniform fall of the snow that had caught Andrea's eye.
Michonne moved her gloved hands over the wood, displacing the snow that had fallen on top of it, then she stilled for a second before turning to face Andrea.
"Let's go," she said, flicking her wrist do undo the latch her fingers had found, and then pushed the gate open, holding it gallantly like a door as she waited for Andrea to walk through.
The path had led them into the backyard of a farm style house. The sparkling snow that covered the ground had been undisturbed which suggested no walkers had been by since the snow had started to fall hours before. Though it seemed promising from the outside, they had no idea what awaited them inside of the house or out front, but they knew that death would find them if they stayed outside for much longer, so, weapons at the ready, they had approached the house.
"Did you miss anything on your three other checks of the place?" Andrea asked when she sensed a presence behind her.
Michonne was a silent person – she talked little and moved with an almost supernatural stealth – but over the time they had been together, the close and constant quarters they kept had allowed Andrea to develop a sort of sixth sense when it came to Michonne. There was no sound or scent that alerted her when Michonne was close, she just felt it, she just knew.
"Yeah," Michonne replied as she walked over to where Andrea was seated on the rug before stopping in front of her, still standing so that Andrea had to angle her head up to see her, like a five year old looking up at their kindergarten teacher. "Not sure I want to give it to you now though," she continued, arching a dark eyebrow at Andrea.
"It?" Andrea breathed out curiously, wondering what Michonne could have found. They'd already thoroughly gone through the kitchen and the pantry, and they'd catalogued all of the clothes and usable tools and objects in the house. "What is it?" Andrea asked, her blue eyes sparkling with interest as she gazed up at her companion.
Michonne's lips quirked up slightly, and her midnight gaze softened.
"After dinner," Michonne said a few seconds later, an impish light coming into her eyes as she did.
She knew Andrea wasn't going to like that.
"Brat," Andrea declared, slapping Michonne lightly on the thigh. "You can't keep me in suspense."
"I'm hungry," Michonne said, looking completely unmoved by Andrea's chastisement and her plea.
Andrea looked over at the cans she had warming over the fire.
"It'll be five more minutes," she said dryly. "Can't rush perfection," she continued, smiling a little, and the welcome sight of Michonne's smile greeted her again.
"Greedy," Michonne said, staring down at Andrea blankly for a moment before an amused glint came into her eyes and she silently lowered herself down on the rug beside Andrea.
Michonne drew her pack into her lap so that she could retrieve whatever she'd put in there, and Andrea tried to not literally jitter beside her with excitement. In the life they lived now, not dying, finding a warm blanket, or coming across an untainted can of spam, was what constituted a beautiful surprise, so Andrea was excited to see what kind of discovery could have prompted Michonne's teasing good mood.
"It seems one of the owners had a secret sweet-tooth," Michonne said and Andrea's eyes immediately drifted down to her hands just in time to see a Twinkie package emerge from the dark recesses of Michonne's pack.
"It's disgusting how much pleasure the sight of that gives me," Andrea breathed out covetously.
"There's more," Michonne told her, and the groan of delight that escaped from Andrea brought a full smile to Michonne's lips.
"Do you want me to beg?" Andrea asked when Michonne simply held the tantalizing package in her unmoving hand.
"After dinner," Michonne replied and Andrea's eyes narrowed at her.
"Brat," Andrea repeated gently as she resigned herself to waiting until after dinner for a taste of the treats Michonne had found.
"Sticks and stones will break my bones," Michonne replied in the driest tone imaginable as she stared at Andrea expectantly, awaiting her evening meal.
"Cheeky brat," Andrea amended, and Michonne shrugged her shoulders as if she didn't have a care in the word.
Andrea handed Michonne a plate they had scavenged from the kitchen that already had a serving of rice on it, then she turned back to the fire.
"Would you prefer the kidney beans in sauce or the pinto beans in sauce?" Andrea asked grandly.
"Pinto," Michonne said, not surprising Andrea in the slightest.
The difference between the two types of beans was negligible, but the kidney beans would provide slightly more energy and so Michonne had left them for Andrea. At one point in time Andrea would have protested against such unnecessary chivalry, but she had learned better the longer she spent with Michonne. Her companion used words sparingly, but she communicated all of the time in other ways. This was one of the ways; this was how she showed Andrea she cared.
"What?" Michonne asked as Andrea gazed at her wordlessly, a little smile playing across her pink lips.
"Nothing," Andrea said as she handled the heated cans of beans carefully with a pair of modified tongs. "You're just a real gentleman sometimes," she murmured, looking over at Michonne for a moment before looking down again, concentrating on pouring the beans onto Michonne's plate.
When Andrea looked up again she found Michonne watching her thoughtfully, and despite herself she blushed slightly.
"If you think I'm a Gentleman," Michonne breathed out, drawing Andrea's eyes back up to her, "You must have gone out with some real losers."
Andrea narrowed her eyes at Michonne and glared for a few seconds, but she couldn't maintain the expression and smiled, then shrugged.
"Accurate," Andrea breathed out grinning. "Sadly accurate," she added, looking down as she shook her head.
She was silent for a few moments after she spoke, pondering what to say next. She knew what she wanted to say, what she maybe even longed to say it, but she wasn't sure whether it was wise, given the situation they were in. She didn't know much about Michonne. She knew that Michonne was intelligent, and brave. She knew that she was suspicious and shrewd, but also protective and caring. She knew what she had observed, but she knew next to nothing about Michonne's past, about her beliefs.
The smart thing, the pragmatic thing to do would have been to hold her tongue and let it pass. Michonne wasn't going anywhere and neither was she. They'd have time to get to know each other better. Given Michonne's reticence to talk it would probably take a considerable amount of time before Michonne opened up, but time was one thing they had, and Andrea was certain it would happen eventually.
Unfortunately, Andrea had never really been one to always do the smart thing. She was a creature driven by emotion, and though she knew it wasn't always to her benefit, it was who she was, and she didn't want to hold her tongue. She wanted to speak and see what would happen.
The little things Michonne did for her indicated to Andrea that the other woman was as happy to have found her as Andrea was to have been found by her, and so she thought it unlikely that Michonne would take drastic action. For better or worse they were tied together. They depended on each other, they needed each other. Saying what she wanted to say might make things a little awkward between them in the short term, but there was also the possibility that it could make things 'for better' in the long run, and Andrea was willing to risk being a little uncomfortable for the possibility of that outcome.
"My taste in women is better," Andrea continued a short time later, her lips curving up in a smile though her tone and the look in her eyes as she glanced over at Michonne were almost shy. "Didn't help with the relationships lasting any longer," Andrea continued, looking away again, bringing her spoon to her plate to play with her food. "But most of them could help me select a wine when we went out for dinner."
Michonne was quiet after Andrea finished speaking, and the blonde continued to toy with her food, anxiousness stopping her from being able to eat. Michonne wasn't one to rush her words, but the personal nature of what she had just revealed made the silence that followed her words fray Andrea's nerves more than usual.
"You're going to have to come up with new criteria to assess potential mates," Michonne said eventually.
Andrea lifted her head and turned it to the side to meet Michonne's beautifully dark gaze for a moment, then she looked down and her lips curved up in a mysterious little smile. She'd already come up with new criteria. Sword wielding skills had replaced a connoisseurship of wine, and Michonne more than met her old – and still applicable – preference for intelligence, confidence, capability and brashness.
"Probably," Andrea breathed out, Michonne's mild response to her revelation relaxing her enough that she could finally take her first bite of dinner. "Any suggestions?" she asked, a teasing note entering her voice as she glanced over at Michonne.
"A pulse," Michonne deadpanned without looking up from her food.
"That was actually always one of my criteria," Andrea commented dryly, and Michonne's lips curved up before she took a bite of food.
"Discerning," Michonne murmured.
"Brat," Andrea said for the third time that evening.
"Is that one of the criteria?" Michonne asked without missing a beat, her eyes shining brightly with amusement as she looked over at Andrea.
Andrea stuck her tongue out at Michonne and then pointedly looked away from her and focused her attention on her dinner. Michonne didn't say anything in response to her playfully childish reply, but Andrea could feel Michonne's eyes on her as she began to eat, and it made her flush with warmth.
She still had no idea whether Michonne was attracted to women, but at least she now knew that Michonne didn't have a problem with her sexuality, which was a relief.
Skin tingling and heart beating faster than usual from being studied by Michonne, Andrea couldn't help herself from taking a quick glance up. Their eyes met only for a briefest of moments before Michonne looked down, breaking their gaze, but a moment was long enough for Andrea to have seen the affection in Michonne's eyes as she looked at her. It was long enough for her to see the speculative look that had been in Michonne eyes. It was long enough to make her hope that she wasn't alone in her desire for them to become closer.
Later that night
Andrea awoke and blinked into the inky darkness of the master bedroom in confusion, uncertain what had woken her from the first decent sleep she'd had in she couldn't remember how long, when a shiver ran through her body and she instinctively clutched the comforter to her to ward off the cold.
The living room of the house had been pleasantly warm with a fire blazing in the fireplace, but with the central heating no longer working, the top floor of the house was chilly. After experiencing the top floor of the house without the warming beams of sunlight that had lighted it during the afternoon, Andrea had seriously contemplated sleeping in the living room by the fire, but the call of a real bed was too much to ignore. She'd simply pulled another layer of scavenged clothing over the two she already wore and made her way to the queen sized bed.
Curling into a fetal ball to retain warmth, Andrea closed her in preparation for sleep, but before she could relax and fall back into slumber, something tickled her senses and she rolled over so that she was facing the door to the room.
It took her eyes a few moments in the darkness, but shortly after she turned over, Andrea spotted Michonne sitting on the floor by the bedroom door, her back resting against the wall, her knees drawn up and her katana resting between her legs.
"What are you doing?" Andrea asked groggily as she observed Michonne.
When Andrea had declared that it was time for her to go to bed, Michonne had nodded once and said, take which ever bedroom you want, and Andrea had nodded her head and smiled wanly at Michonne before she headed for the stairs, resigned to the idea of sleeping without Michonne beside her for the first time in weeks – and trying not to read too much into the fact that Michonne had opted not to sleep beside her for the first time after she had revealed that she'd had romantic relationships with women in the past.
"Can't keep an eye on you if I can't see you," Michonne replied, in that gruff but affectionate tone of voice that always made Andrea melt a little.
Andrea was still and quiet for a moment as she thought over Michonne's response, trying to decide how she felt about it and how she wanted to respond.
"You could as well be comfortable then," Andrea said finally, looking over at Michonne. "Get in," she offered softly before lifting the edge of the comforter in invitation.
Michonne remained still as a statue where she leaned against the bedroom wall.
"You've got to be freezing," Andrea continued. It looked like Michonne had a blanket draped over her shoulders, but Andrea knew that wouldn't have helped ward off the cold much. "And you need to sleep," she went on when Michonne remained still. "For the love of god Michonne," Andrea exclaimed a few seconds later, a little irritation and hurt showing in her voice. "We've been sleeping beside each other for weeks. I'm hardly going to start molesting you now."
Michonne breathed out roughly through her nostrils at Andrea's little outburst and then muttered, "I'm not worried about my virtue."
"Good," Andrea muttered softly. "Then get into bed."
"Who's the brat now?" Michonne muttered staring in Andrea's direction without moving.
"After that question? Still you," Andrea replied with a smirk that Michonne could just make out in the moonlight.
A minute passed without any reply or movement from Michonne, Andrea sighed softly and snuggled back into the bedding, resigned to going back to sleep alone in the bed – and trying not to read too much into it, despite Michonne's assurance that it wasn't because she was now uncomfortable being so close to her. However, as she closed her eyes, Andrea heard a faint creaking from the floorboards and she knew that Michonne had moved. A few seconds after that Andrea felt the mattress depress as Michonne took a seat on the edge of the bed, and she lifted the comforter welcomingly once more.
This time Michonne accepted the invitation and slipped under the comforter.
As had become custom between them over the past few weeks, Michonne positioned herself behind Andrea, and then carefully arranged the comforter over them before she draped her arm over Andrea's waist. Michonne's hold on her was looser than Andrea was used to at first, but after a few minutes Michonne exhaled audibly and she tightened her hold on Andrea, drawing their bodies closer together.
"Goodnight … brat," Andrea breathed out. She could feel Michonne's body finally relaxing behind her, and she knew that Michonne was now prepared to actually sleep.
"Takes one to know one," Michonne stated dryly and a smile spread across Andrea's lips.
The warmth from Michonne's body seeped into her, relaxing her and comforting her, and with a feeling of contentment and peace that she hadn't felt in a very long time, Andrea's eyes closed.
It was sometimes hard to think of yourself as lucky, when all around you the world descended into chaos and madness, and you roamed, aimless and without a purpose beyond living to see another sunrise. However, lying in a warm bed, in a secure house, with her stomach full and a soft mattress under her as Michonne held her tightly in her arms; Andrea couldn't help but feel more than a little lucky.