A/N All characters belong to the writers and creators of The Walking Dead. Except those that arose from my own twisted imagination.
Chapter One: Escape from Woodbury
They didn't realize they had lied to the wrong girl. The things that they had made her do…the Governor, Dr Milton, that scumbag Merle and his sadistic henchmen. They lied to her, told her they were helping her daughter. They were supposed to be giving her antibiotics. It was just pneumonia; it was simple enough to cure. But instead, that sick bastard Governor had used her to see how the biter virus evolved in children. He had lied to Danielle, forced himself on her in exchange for the sugar water he assured her has really penicillin. Allowed Merle, Cash, Tripp and the other scum to abuse her, all the while knowing that idiot Milton wasn't doing jack shit to help her little girl.
Thankfully, Danielle was a good listener and remembered everything. It was during the times when she was shackled to the bed in Merle's house, trying to ignore the fact that Cash, Tripp or one of the others was taking his turn sweating on top of her by listening to Merle and the others talk in the kitchen, she learned about the prison. That there were other survivors out there, Merle's brother being one of them. Being good with a bow and fast with a knife, Danielle was on the team that ran out for supply runs. She planned on taking that opportunity to get herself and her Abigail out of Woodbury and heading straight for the prison. Maybe those people would be able to help them.
Then Abigail died, reanimated and the first thing the Governor did was have Merle take her to Milton so he could experiment on her. They put her little girl in a cage, pulled her teeth and treated her like a god damned lab rat. That night was the night Merle forced her to her knees in front of him and she finally fought back. She grabbed her hidden weapon bag, the one she stole from the armory, and ran. She hit the woods and headed in the direction of the prison. Merle and his crew had cleaned out the majority of the biters from the immediate area and it would take a while for Merle to get the strength to alert that she was gone. She ran hard, her breathing ragged, for a full hour before the adrenaline wore out and she collapsed to the ground. Hearing the shambling in the distance, she pulled herself up into the tree to hide from the biters moving in. She stayed there all night, sleeping some but mostly waiting for dawn to come so she could see and run again. She didn't allow herself to cry.
Glenn and Maggie were on watch in the tower. Since escaping Woodbury, Glen refused to let Maggie out of his sight. She said she was ok but what the Governor had done to her had obviously traumatized her. She shivered all night, even though the hot Georgia summer was on them and the prison wasn't exactly air conditioned.
Glenn looked out over the grounds. A few more walkers were heading out of the woods towards the prison fence and there would soon be enough to have to deal with them again. It was easier to take them all out as a group than dealing with them piece meal. Daryl had come up with that idea. All they had to do was get them close to the fence and walk the line to take them out. Saved on arrows and ammo. Plus, it was less noisy than the gun.
"Glenn, I'm going downstairs to let Axel and Oscar know they need to walk the fence again," Maggie started out the door but Glen grabbed her hand.
"I'll go with you." She squeezed his hand and shook her head.
"I'm a big girl Glenn. Someone has to be up here to keep watch. I'll be right back, ok? I promise." She kissed him and left the tower control room. He watched the door for a moment before turning back to the window. There were a lot of walkers today. They were growing in numbers. Hershel said that they were probably being forced out of the big cities and spreading out. As he watched the woods on the south field, he saw something odd. He grabbed his binoculars for a closer look. A woman, not a walker but an actual woman, was stumbling out of the woods. She limped but appeared to try to run while holding tightly to her black backpack. The walkers hadn't noticed her yet but they would. Glenn ran down the stairs and into the cell block. Rick was sitting in one of the cells with baby Judith. Carol was playing cards with Carl, Beth and Hershel. Daryl sat up on the landing, cleaning one of his guns. All of them looked up when Glenn ran in.
"There's someone coming!" Rick laid the baby down on the bed and picked up his shotgun. Daryl grabbed his cross bow and ran down the stairs. They followed Glenn out of the cellblock, locking the door behind them.
"How many?" Rick asked.
"Just the one. A woman. She ran out of the woods and was trying to head this way but she wasn't moving too fast." Daryl snorted in amusement.
"Probably dead by now. Those walkers'll be all over her in a second." The three men saw that Maggie, Axel and Oscar were already at the fence, herding the walkers to them and stabbing them in the head one by one.
"Do you see anyone alive out there?" Rick asked as he joined them. Axel nodded, stabbed another walker and pointed.
"They're over there. I think they're laying down in the grass but I'm not sure." Daryl looked and saw a body on the ground, crawling towards the prison, dragging a black bag. He wasn't that keen on having another person join them but he didn't want to stand by and watch someone get eaten alive either. He ran to his motorcycle, started it and revved the engine.
"Cover me!" He called to Rick. Glenn ran to the gate to open it and Daryl roared out to the field towards the figure. A few of the walkers turned towards the sound of the engine but Daryl hardly noticed them. When he got closer, the woman slowly got to her feet. He stopped the bike next to her and she climbed on, still clutching her bag. She put one arm around his waist and collapsed on his back.
"Hang on!" He yelled over the engine and raced back towards the prison gate. Once they were back inside and the gate was secured, both Glenn and Daryl helped the woman off the bike. Her eyes were closed, her lips dry and her skin was sunburned. She had several fresh bruises on her face and what looked like a handprint on her upper arm. Her clothes were torn. Glenn took her backpack as Daryl picked her up. At first glance, she didn't appear to be bit. The scratches were probably from the brush but she would have to be secured first.
"Don't take her to the cellblock," Rick warned as he followed them back. "Put her in one of the cells in the hall until we know who she is." Glenn ran ahead with Maggie.
"I'll get Hershel!" Rick whistled and Maggie turned to catch the keys to the cellblock. Axel and Oscar followed closely behind Rick and Daryl.
"Is she gonna make it?" Axel asked, worried. Rick glanced down at her and shook his head.
"I don't know. She needs water, that's for sure." Oscar nodded.
"I'll get it. We'll bring it with the doc." He opened the door to the prison and Daryl carried her inside. They headed towards one of the nearest cells and he laid her on the cot. She hadn't moved since he picked her up. Rick turned towards the sound of Herschel arriving with Oscar and both Rick and Daryl backed out of the cell. Axel hung back, a worried look on his face.
"Is she bit?" Hershel quickly checked her over and shook his head.
"She's not been bit but she needs water. She's severely dehydrated." Oscar handed him a cup and Hershel held the woman's head up and poured water in her mouth. Her lips moved and her eyelids fluttered but she didn't swallow. He tried again and this time, she lowered her head to the cup, sipping at the water. She sat up suddenly, eyes opened wide and grabbed Hershel's arm. Both Daryl and Rick made a move to restrain her but Hershel waved them back.
"She's alright." To the woman, Hershel patted her hand and helped her take another drink.
"It's ok. You're fine now. Just don't drink too fast." He let her take the cup and she quickly drank it.
"Can I have more please?" Her voice was parched and her lips barely moved. Hershel took the cup from her and handed it to Oscar who left to get more water. The woman laid back on the cot, watching the men warily. Hershel rose slowly, leaning on his crutch. He backed out of the cell. Oscar returned with more water and she sat up to take the cup from him. Once again, she quickly drained the cup and handed it back to Oscar.
"Thank you." She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and looked at her surroundings.
"Did I make it?" Rick frowned.
"Make it where? Where were you heading?"
"The prison. They said in Woodbury that people cleared the prison." She looked dazed but Daryl quickly drew his gun.
"You're from Woodbury? What…did that Governor send you here?" She turned and focused first on the gun and then on Daryl. She shook her head.
"I escaped. That place, the people running it, it's fake. It's not a safe haven." Daryl lowered the gun slightly and frowned.
"We know that. We got two of our people out of there but no one else seemed fixed on leaving." Rick raised his hand.
"First things first alright? What's your name?"
"Danielle. Danielle Robertson." Rick entered the cell and kneeled in front of her.
"Why did you decide to come here?" She glared at him.
"How about instead of the interrogation, we finish with the introductions?" Her voice was hoarse but forceful. "I've had enough of men ordering me around, forcing me to do what they want and I'm not putting up with that shit any longer. If you want the story, I'll tell it but I want names." She rose slowly, keeping one hand on the cell wall to steady herself. Rick backed out of the cell to give her room.
"Ok, that's fair. I'm Rick Grimes." He motioned to Hershel. "This is Hershel Greene," he nodded behind him, "That's Axel and Oscar." Oscar was stone faced but Axel raised his hand and offered a slight smile. Danielle jerked her chin towards Daryl.
"Who are you Mountain Man?" Rick suppressed a grin as Daryl stepped forward gun lowered but still drawn.
"Daryl Dixon." Danielle's eyes widened and she stood taller.
"Merle's brother. He said you were here."