Hey ya'll, here it is! Chapter 25, and the last chapter in this story! Wow, what a ride it has been. I've loved writing this story, and I hope you guys have loved reading it as much as I've loved writing it. I will be doing a sequel, the name of which will be in the message at the bottom of this chapter. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Walking Dead or the characters. I only own my main characters.
Daryl sat on his motorcycle staring out among the herd of walkers. She was out there somewhere. "Well well well Little brother,"
"I ain't got time for you." Daryl muttered as his eyes scanned the walkers.
"How'd you manage to lose the one thing you love?" Merle scoffed.
"She ain't lost." Daryl muttered as he looked at every walker from his safe distance. Maybe she was running through the crowd, trying to find him?
"Sure, that's why you're making sure nonea them dead bastards is a red head right?" Merle teased.
"Fuck off." Daryl muttered.
"Just like you, finally get what ya want, and go gotta go an' ruin it. Grow up little brother, learn to keep the things you got, otherwise you ain't gonna have shit at all."
"Was' that mean?"
"Figure it out little brother. Can't keep askin' me every time somethin' goes wrong. Gotta man up and take care of it yerself." A sudden scream snapped him out of inspecting the walkers and he quickly rode over to where he had heard the scream, and let out a semi disappointed groan, it was Carol who looked relatively unscathed.
"Hurry up, I ain't got all day!" he called as he slowed down next to her and she hopped on quickly before he took off, weaving through the walkers, he felt Carol clinging to his waist and wondered why he hadn't realized Liz hadn't been holding on, why he took the sharp turn when he did. He shook himself out of that though as he rode off of the farm, not looking back.
I flipped the gun around in my hand, knowing that there was no way I could beat two walkers to death with a gun and a left arm that wouldn't move, but I had to try. I was about to bring the gun down, fully aware I was most likely going to die when two gunshots rang out, blood splattered on me and I gasped as the two walkers fell to the ground.
"That's going to bring them right to us." Hunter told me and I stared at him in shock.
"You- how- where-"
"I was in here looking for Carl when Jimmy came in, he didn't see me and I didn't want to get in trouble so I hid under the bed."
"Under the bed?" I asked.
"The bed lifts up and has more storage space under it, my grandpa had an RV just like this." He explained. "What happened to your arm?"
"I fell off Daryl's bike, I think it's dislocated." I told him as I got into the driver's seat. I turned the key and sighed in relief as the RV came rumbling on. "This thing has no power steering; I'm going to need your help Hunter." I looked at him and he ran over to me. With his help I was able to get away from the burning barn. I ran over a couple walkers, and Hunter shot a few out the window as we drove towards the house.
"Wait!" someone shrieked and we both looked in time to see Heather waving her arms.
"Mom?" Hunter asked and I slammed on the brakes. She ran around and opened the door, holding her hand over her neck.
"Mom, what happened?"
"N-Nothing, nothing, it's a scratch, that's all." She shook her head.
"Heather were you bit?" I asked and she shook her head before wincing.
"Ah, no." she told me. "Of course not, let's go."
"Mom…" Hunter frowned as blood started to pool under her fingers and drip down her arm. "We can't take you."
"What?" she asked in shock.
"You're going to turn."
"Well… Maybe I won't." she offered with a small smile.
"Heather you're dead already." I told her softly.
"So, so what, you're going to kill me, is that it? You'll kill me right in front of my own son? Or will you kick me out of the RV, leave me here to get torn apart by those things?" she nodded to the walkers outside and I looked down. Neither seemed right to do in front of Hunter. "I didn't think so."
"Heather, don't make this any harder." I told her.
"Harder than what?" she demanded. "What's your big plan? You gonna kill me? Make a move." She held her hands out, revealing the bite wound on her neck.
"Mom, I love you." Hunter said catching her attention, she looked at him before he raised the gun and pulled the trigger. I stood there staring at the twelve year old next to me before he moved forward and opened the RV door. "Help me." He ordered me and I helped push her body out to the Walkers who grabbed at it immediately, he shot three more of them before shutting the door and then moving to the wheel. I sat down in the driver's seat and started to drive again while he helped me steer. No words were spoken between us for awhile.
"You should have let me-"
"She's my mom." Hunter said softly. "She was my problem."
First light broke as the barn crumbled to nothing, completely engulfed and eaten by the flames. I had drove Hunter to the church where I had met parker, the parking lot was empty and we sat there for a little while, trying to decide what to do.
"Can you move your arm?" he asked and I shook my head.
"No, help me take this jacket off." He walked over and helped me remove the jacket, slowly around my good arm, and then even slower off of my bad one. "Oh fuck, it's dislocated." I whispered.
"How do you fix it?" he asked and I sighed.
"I'm gonna need your help still." I told him and he nodded. I showed him how I had to keep my arm at a 90-degree angle, and the turn it so my hand was laying across my stomach. He helped keep my arm at the angle, and then turn it so my hand was pointing away from my stomach. I could feel my shoulder sliding back into place and I tensed up, before yelping in pain.
"You've got to be quiet." He told me and I nodded.
"I know." I told him, and he turned my arm so my hand was laying across my stomach. I bit my lip and he turned it out again. We went through it one more time before my shoulder popped into place, and I let out a satisfied groan. "There's an ace bandage in my backpack." I told him and he went to get it. He helped me wrap up my shoulder and then we both sat there for a little while.
"I can't believe I really shot her." He whispered.
"Hey," I touched his shoulder and he looked at me. "You did what I didn't have the balls to do." I told him and he nodded softly before looking down.
"She was infected."
"Yeah." I agreed.
"She wanted to go back to the entire group even though she was infected." He looked up at me. "I- I couldn't let her- you know?"
"Commere." I held my good arm open and he moved into it, burying his face in my right shoulder. I could feel hot tears rolling down his face.
"What's going to happen to me?"
"Hey," I told him as I stroked his hair. "Ain't nothin's gonna happen to you. You've got me." I told him. "I ain't never gonna let nothin' happen to you." He looked at me and I nodded. "You trust me?" he sniffled and wiped his eyes before nodding.
"You never stopped looking for us, and you made sure we," his voice cracked a little. "We got back to our-" he hiccupped. "Moms."
"It's okay to be upset, it's okay to cry." I told him. "You do what you gotta do, I'm gonna try to figure out what to do next." He nodded and sat in the seat next to me.
"Did you see Cal?" he asked. "Did he make it out?"
"I don't know."
"What about Sophia?"
"I'm- I don't-" I shook my head as tears started welling up in my eyes. I let out a slow breath of air and then looked at him.
"What if we're the only ones?"
"We're not." I told him sternly. "Listen to me, the others- they're crafty motherfuckers, okay?" he nodded uncertainly and I looked at the church.
"It's weird to think we keep ending up here." Hunter muttered and I looked from him to the church.
"When me and Sophia got lost, we ended up here. When you got lost looking for us, you ended up here, and the group was just down the highway the whole time." He shrugged. "I mean, why didn't they come here too?"
"They were waitin' for ya'll to go back to the highway." I told him, before I realized something. "I think I know where they're going to go." I told him after a moment. "Come help me."
Hershel, Carl and Rick stood behind the truck, watching the lone walker wander down the highway. They didn't know how many were around, and to shoot it would be too risky. The entire horde could come shambling out of the forest at any moment.
"I don't know how much longer we can stay here." Hershel whispered to Rick.
"I- I'm not leaving without mom." Carl spoke up, with a note of finality in his voice.
"So we're just gonna walk away?" Rick asked Hershel. "Not knowing if my wife, or your girls are still out there? How do we live with that?"
"You've only got one concern now-" Hershel told Rick, before nodding to Carl. "Just one. Keeping him alive. Nature may be throwing us a curveball, but that law is still true." Rick thought for a moment, understanding what Hershel was saying, but not wanting to admit the older man was right. After a moment, he sunk down to his knees to be face to face with his child.
"Carl," Rick spoke gently. "It's not safe here." Carl was immediately disappointed by his father's decision, Rick could tell just by the look on the boy's face. "I'm sorry. We'll-" Rick stopped talking when he heard a motorcycle approaching. He looked to the side before standing up, they watched as Daryl came rolling down the freeway first, Carol on the back of his bike, after the motorcycle was Maggie and Glenn in what used to be Shane's car, then T-Dog, Lori and Beth in the old blue truck, followed up by the yellow mustang, with Cal, Parker and Sophia. Daryl's bike rumbled to a stop and Carol hopped off the bike, running to the mustang, Sophia jumped out covered in blood and dirt but was grinning the biggest grin Carol had ever seen.
"I killed four of them mommy!" she announced as her mother hugged her tightly.
"Oh thank god!" Lori called as she ran to Carl; Maggie bolted past her and threw her arms around her father, Beth right behind her.
"Where's you find everyone?" Rick looked at Daryl who was looking over the group of survivors.
"Well these guys' taillights was zig sagging all over the road- figured he had to be Asian driving like that." Daryl told Rick, making Glenn roll his eyes.
"Good one." He chuckled.
"Where's the rest of us?" Daryl asked and Rick looked over the group quickly before realizing what Daryl was really asking.
"We're the only ones who made it so far." Rick replied.
"Shane?" Lori stood up looking worried. Rick just shook his head.
"Andrea?" Glenn asked.
"She saved me then I lost her." Carol told Glenn.
"We saw her go down." T-Dog spoke up.
"Patricia?" Hershel asked.
"They got her too." Beth told him. "Took her right in front of me, I was-" she started to sob again lightly. "I was holdin' onto her Daddy. She just-" she trailed off crying again as Hershel wrapped his arm around his youngest daughter and pulled her into a hug. "What about Jimmy? Did you see Jimmy?"
"He was in the RV. It got overrun." Rick told her.
"And Heather?" Lori spoke up.
"I didn't see her, I thought she went with ya'll." Cal nodded to Lori.
"No, I- No." she shook her head.
"What about Hunter?" Carl spoke up.
"What about Lizzie?" Sophia asked and everyone looked to Daryl. He didn't say anything, just looked towards the highway where they had just come from.
"There's a chance she got Heather and Hunter and got out of there." Rick told Daryl lowly.
"I'm gonna go back." Daryl stepped towards his bike.
"No." Rick told him sternly.
"We can't just leave-"
"We don't even know if they're there." Lori told him.
"She isn't. None of them are. They're either gone somewhere else, or, they're dead." Rick announced. "There's no way to find any of 'em."
"So we're not even going to look for them?" Glenn asked.
"We gotta keep moving. There have been walkers crawling all over here." Rick told the group.
"I say head East." T-Dog spoke up.
"Stay off the main roads." Daryl suggested. "The bigger the road, the more walkers. More assholes like this one. I got 'em." He nodded to a lone walker heading up the highway as he picked up his crossbow. He shot it down easily and he walked over and yanked the bolt from its eye. "Ya'll make good time if you get headed now."
"Wait- you aren't coming with us?" Lori asked and everyone stopped getting into cars to look at Daryl.
"I ain't goin' nowhere without Liz." Daryl shook his head.
"Daryl, I get it, I do." Rick told him lowly. "I did anything to find my family, but-"
"Then you know Liz is the only family I got." He told Rick who stared at him for a moment.
"Daryl, we need you."
"What'd you have me do?" Daryl asked. "Jus' go without her?"
"There's a chance we could find her on the way, and there's a chance she didn't make it. The later of the two being the more realistic." Rick told him softly.
"Naw, not Liz. They ain't got her, she's too tough."
"Now I know she can handle her own against a couple of them, but a whole horde?" Rick asked and Daryl looked down, before turning and kicking one of the cars on the highway.
"She's still out there!" Daryl shouted at Rick.
"We can't stay here, and we can't go without you." Rick told Daryl softly.
"That ain't fair man." Daryl said softly and Rick nodded.
"I know it's not." He told Daryl. "But we need you." Daryl clenched his jaw as he stood there for a long moment, before he bowed his head in defeat and got onto his bike.
"Hey guys," T-Dog said suddenly and everyone looked at him. "I thought you said the RV was overrun?" they looked out at the highway where T-Dog was looking and saw the RV driving down the road.
"Do you think they'll really be there?" Hunter asked as we got close to the traffic accident, coming from the other side of the road.
"If they aren't, we'll check town." I told him and he nodded, we approached the pileup and I smiled as I saw our group standing there looking at the RV in shock. "Looks like we don't gotta go to town." I told him as he helped me stop the RV. There was no point in trying to make it go down the steep hill to the other side of the freeway. By the time Hunter and I stepped out of the RV, Daryl was halfway across the highway.
"Your shoulder!" Hunter reminded me but I paid him no attention as I ran towards Daryl. He caught me as I threw my arms around him, ignoring the sharp pains that ran down my arm when I did. He held me tightly against him for a moment, before cupping my face.
"Thought I lost ya'll." I told him and he let out a shaky laugh, before pulling me into a kiss.
"Don't ever do that 'gain." He muttered to me and I laughed lightly.
"What? Scared I didn't make it?" I asked with a smile.
"Nah, I knew you did. You're a Mason." He winked and I laughed before kissing him again, then I turned to Cal who had jogged over. I let go of Daryl to hug him and he held me tightly for a moment.
"I'm sorry I freaked out at you." I told him softly into the hug.
"I'm sorry I never told you." He told me.
"Where's Heather?" Lori asked as she and Rick walked over.
"She didn't make it." Hunter told her and I looked over at Hunter.
"Did you take care of it?" Rick asked me.
"I did." Hunter told him and Rick looked at Hunter and then to me. "She was bit; she wanted to come back to the group anyway. I know that couldn't happen."
"You- I'm sorry." Rick looked astonished at Hunter who shrugged as he looked down.
"Parker," I looked at him and he looked at me curiously. "Drive the RV for a bit huh?" I tossed him the key.
"Sure thing Lizzie." He nodded.
"I'll take the Mustang, Hunter, come with me." Cal told Hunter and he nodded before following Cal. I went to the RV quickly to grab the denim jacket and Daryl followed, watching as I struggled with the jacket.
"What happened?" he asked.
"I dislocated my shoulder when I fell off the bike." I told him and he winced. He helped me pull the jacket back on before looking me over.
"You sure you don't wanna ride in the RV for a ways?" he asked and I shook my head.
"Ain't you concerned about me ridin' with Parker?" I asked and he frowned lightly, before shaking his head.
"I trust you." He told me and I smiled, wrapping my arms around his chest.
"I wanna ride with you." I told him. He nodded and then wrapped his arm around my shoulders; we walked out of the RV and went to the bike. Carol and Sophia rode with Hunter and Cal, T-Dog rode with Lori, Rick and Carl, so we left the old truck behind, and Hershel and Beth rode with Glenn and Maggie while Parker pulled up the rear in the RV.
We rode for a long time, driving east, we didn't hit any towns for awhile, and I was concerned we wouldn't before nightfall, when there was a honk from Rick's truck. We all pulled to the side and looked back at him. Everyone got out of their cars and Daryl nodded to Rick as he walked over to us.
"You out?" he asked.
"Running on fumes."
"We can't stay here." Maggie protested.
"We can't all fit in one car." Glenn pointed out. "I mean, maybe we can all fit in the RV, but it'll be a tight squeeze."
"We'll have to make a run for some gas in the morning." Rick decided.
"Spend the night here?" Carol asked.
"I'm freezing." Carl protested.
"We'll fit as many people as we can in the RV," Rick nodded at the RV. "Kids, women, anyone else that will fit."
"What about everyone else?" T-Dog asked.
"We'll build a fire." Lori offered.
"If you go out lookin' for firewood, stay close." Daryl told her. "Only got so many arrows, how you doin' on ammo?"
"Not enough." Rick shook his head.
"Liz?" he looked at me.
"Merle's gun's got a full clip, and I've got another box of rounds for the rifle in the RV." I nodded to it and he nodded.
"We can't just sit here with our asses hanging out!" Maggie announced.
"Watch your mouth." Hershel said to his older daughter and I smiled lightly. Twenty two and still being told not to swear by her father. I touched Daryl's arm and he looked at me.
"I'm gonna go get my rifle." I told him and he nodded. I walked over to the RV and stepped inside, I got my rifle, and loaded it before putting it over my shoulder and walking outside.
"We'll set up a perimeter," Rick was saying as I stepped out of the RV. "In the morning we'll find gas and some supplies. We'll keep pushing on."
"Glenn and I can go make a run now." Maggie offered. "Try and scrounge up some gas."
"No, we stay together." Rick told her. "God forbid something happens and people get stranded without a car."
"Rick we're stranded now." Glenn said softly.
"God, we can do this." I sighed as I looked at Glenn. "We can't just say it looks bad, and give up." I told him and he sighed.
"I know it looks bad." Rick admitted. "We've all been through hell and worse, but at least we found each other." Daryl looked over at me and I smiled to him. "I wasn't sure- I really wasn't- but we did. We're together. We keep it that way. We'll find shelter somewhere, there's got to b a place."
"Rick, look around, okay. There's walkers everywhere, they're migrating or something." Glenn objected.
"There's got to be a place not just where we hole up, but that we fortify, hunker down, pull ourselves together." Rick insisted. "Build a life for each other. I know it's out there we just have to find it."
"I think Rick's right." I nodded to Rick. He nodded to me and sighed.
"Even if we do find a place," Maggie spoke up. "And we think it's safe. We can never be sure for how long. Look what happened with the farm. We fooled ourselves into thinking that was safe."
"We need somewhere better. Somewhere with walls where we ain't just out in the open." Cal told her.
"We won't make that mistake again." Hershel agreed with Cal.
"We'll make camp tonight over there," Rick pointed to an area right off of the highway. "Get on the road at the break of day."
"Does this feel right to you?" Carol asked me and I nodded.
"What if walkers come through, or another group like Randall's?" Beth asked Rick.
"You know I found Randall, right?" Daryl frowned speaking to Rick. "He had turned, but he wasn't bit."
"How's that possible?" Beth asked as I remembered Glenn and Daryl telling us that they had found Randall.
"That feels like an eternity ago." I muttered to Daryl who nodded and then wrapped his arm around me when he noticed me shiver lightly.
"Still wearin' that damn skirt." I looked down at the now filthy, slightly torn in some places skirt I had been wearing since Dale's funeral. My shirt that had once been white was now an ugly shade of brown from walker blood, sweat and dirt. I looked back at him and let out a small laugh and he smiled lightly.
"Rick, what the hell happened?" Lori asked.
"He musta got scratched or somethin'." Parker offered.
"Man you were there, you know there weren't no scratches." Cal scoffed.
"Shane killed Randall." Daryl spoke up and I looked up at him. "Just like he always wanted to."
"And then the herd got him?" Lori asked. Rick was silent for a long moment.
"We're all infected." He announced and we looked at him.
"What?" Daryl finally broke the silence.
"At the CDC," Rick continued. "Jenner told me. Whatever it is, we all carry it."
"And you never said anything?" Carol asked her arms around her daughter's shoulders.
"Would it have made a difference?" Rick asked.
"You knew this whole time?" Glenn asked.
"How could I have known for sure?" Rick demanded.
"It makes sense though, why Jenner wanted our blood." I pointed out.
"You saw how crazy that-"
"That isn't your call." Glenn cut Rick off. "Okay when I found out about the walkers in the barn, I told, for the good of everyone."
"Well I thought it best that people didn't know."
"Why?" I asked. "I mean, is- is it even possible?" I looked at Parker who sighed.
"I'm not that kind of Doctor Lizzie, I dealt with ear infections and strep throat." He shrugged. "Writing prescriptions for Viagra, that type of thing."
Rick was walking a little ways away from the group, to clear his thoughts after unloading a bombshell like that on us. Everyone stood there awkwardly for a moment or two and finally I cleared my throat. "Okay, kids, why don't ya'll find some firewood, stay where Hershel can see you." I told them and they nodded. "Remember, dry stuff, you know, Beth, why don't you help them by finding some good sized rocks and such, make us a fire pit huh?" I asked and she went to help the kids.
The structure we were making camp in looked like a building, it was made of stone with stone walls, but it had no roof, no floor, nothing that looked like a house. It was old, even before the Walker apocalypse. Hunter helped me find some extra blankets in the RV, and we took them outside. He also showed me how the table could be pushed down, and the pillows from the boots were used to cover the table and turn it into another bed.
"That's really clever." I was telling him and he nodded.
"Like I said, my grandpa had one like this." He told me. We got some food and brought it out, cooking it on the fire Cal helped the kids make, and everyone ate silently. I walked over to Daryl who was at the fire, poking at it with a stick, with Carol whispering to him urgently.
"We're not safe with him," I heard her say. "Keeping something like that from us, Why do you need him, he's just gonna pull you down."
"No," Daryl softly replied. "Rick's done alright by me."
"You're his henchman." She told him and I sighed darkly, but stayed silent, wanting to see where this went. "You deserve better. And I'm a burden." She muttered. Daryl looked over at her with a frown.
"What do you want?" he asked.
"A man on honor." She told him.
"Rick has honor." Daryl told her before tossing the stick into the fire.
"Hey," I walked over and Carol looked up at me. "I ain't never liked Rick before all this," I told her. "But over all this time, he's earned my trust, and respect. Sure, I'm a little pissed, but he's kept up goin' this far hasn't he?"
"I think we should take our chances." Maggie told Glenn.
"Don't be foolish," her father told her. "There's no fuel, hardly any food, and no ammo." We grew silent as some leaves rustled, Daryl stood up taking his crossbow off his back and I did the same with my gun.
"What was that?" Beth asked.
"Could be anything." Daryl told her. "Could be a raccoon, could be possum-"
"Or a walker." Glenn added.
"We need to leave," Carol started getting hysterical as Rick walked over. "What are we waiting for?"
"Which way?" Glenn asked and T-Dog pointed in the direction the sound had come from.
"It came from over there." Maggie confirmed.
"Back from where we came?" Beth asked.
"Yeah." Her sister nodded.
"The last thing we need is for everyone to go running off in the dark." Rick told them.
"Rick's right." Cal nodded. "It's a stupid idea."
"We don't have the vehicles; no one's traveling on foot." Rick continued. A branch snapped in the distance and a few people jumped.
"Don't panic." Hershel told them.
""That's good advice." Cal said as he put his hand on Hunter's shoulder.
"I'm not sitting here to wait for another herd to blow through." Maggie continued, before looking at Rick. "We need to move, now." She told him.
"Calm down Greene, no one's slept in near two days, we're all getting' a little hysterical." I told her.
"No one is going anywhere." Rick told her lowly.
"Do something." Carol pushed as Sophia stared up at her mother from the ground.
"I am doing something!" Rick told her sharply. "I'm keeping this group together. Alive. I've been doing that all along, no matter what. I didn't ask for this. I killed my best friend for you people for Christ's sake!" silence hung in the air at Rick's confession. I had assumed the herd had gotten Shane. I looked at Daryl who stepped closer to me, everyone stared at Rick in shock and some in slight horror. "You saw what he was like." He looked at all of us. "How he pushed me, how he compromised us, how he threatened us." He nodded to me and I looked down, before looking back at him and nodding. He looked to his wife and son, Carl couldn't take his eyes off his father, and Lori could look at him. "He staged the whole Randall thing, led me out to put a bullet in my back." He was speaking to his wife at this point who still wouldn't look at him. "He gave me no choice." He insisted. "He was my friend, but he came after me. My hands are clean." Carl started to sob into his mother's chest and she hugged him, before shooting Rick a dirty look. No one said anything for a moment. "Maybe you people are better without me." I looked down, going over everything he had said. I understood why he did it to be honest, killing Shane. I think deep down other people knew why he did it too, but none of them were ready to admit it. "Go ahead, I say there's a place for us but maybe- maybe it's just another pipe dream. Maybe I'm fooling myself again. Why don't you- why don't you go and find out yourself. Send me a post card!" Rick shouted and Daryl looked around at everyone. I looked at him and reached over and took his hand. He rubbed his thumb over the back of my hand and I looked back at Rick. "Go on, there's the door. You can do better? Let's see how far you get." Everyone looked around at each other, but no one said anything, or made any move to leave. "No takers? Fine." Rick nodded. "But get one thing straight- you're staying, this isn't a democracy anymore." He looked us all over again, before he turned and walked away to wherever he had been before coming in and making his speech.
No one spoke for awhile, until Sophia started to fall asleep on her mother's lap. "Come on Sophia," Carol stood up. "Lori, we should get these kids to bed."
"Yeah what's the deal with the RV?" T-Dog asked.
"Women and children in the RV." Hershel told him.
"Liz, you goin' with them?" Daryl asked me and I shook my head.
"No," I told him. "But I'll go walk them over there and grab my backpack from the RV." He nodded and then looked over at Glenn.
"I'll take first watch, you get some sleep huh?"
"Who's going to take watch at the RV?" Carol asked.
"I will." Parker stood up. She nodded and he walked over to the RV and climbed on top, I stepped into the RV with everyone while they tried to figure out sleeping arrangements and I got my backpack and Daryl's out of the closet before walking back to where everyone was laying out on the blankets Hunter and I had found in the RV.
"Hey," I said softly to Daryl who took his backpack from me. "Here."
"Thanks." I sat down next to him and he looked over at me.
"Do you think, if we'd have gone on our own, we'd have found Merle?" I asked and he sighed.
"It don't matter." He shook his head. "You saw what we've been through, all of us. They needed us."
"I know." I nodded and he looked at me.
"You ain't thinkin' of leavin'…?"
"No, no, of course not." I shook my head. "I'm just thinkin'." He nodded and wrapped his arm around me, I leaned into his side and sighed as he ran his fingers through my hair.
"Get some sleep." He told me.
"What, here?" I asked.
"I'll keep an eye on ya." I thought for a moment before I nodded. I laid my head on his lap and soon fell asleep. I woke up two hours later when he shook my shoulder lightly.
"What?" I looked up at him.
"Come on, we're movin'."
"Where?" I grumbled as I stood up.
"Just come on," he led me closer to the fire and I saw my sleeping pad laid out on the ground.
"Cal's usin' mine." He told me and I nodded, before looking around.
"I'll be right back."
"I gotta take a leak." I told him, not caring how completely un feminine I sounded saying that.
"You want me to go with ya?"
"No, I don't want you to come with me, why would I want you to come with me?" I asked before holding up a hand. "I'll be back in a minute." I stepped over to him and kissed him gently before walking out of the structure. Glenn nodded to me as I walked by and into the trees. After taking care of business I was walking back when I saw Rick over by the water. I paused and looked around, before walking over to him. "Hey." I greeted him softly as I walked over to him. He looked over at me as I sat down next to him and then looked back at the water. "I'm sorry." He looked over at me.
"For what you had to do to Shane. Be honest, I thought about doin' it myself a few times." I admitted and he looked at me. "Shit, I'm sure plenty of us did." I shrugged. "But that don't make it any easier on you."
"We were in high school together, we were best friends." He told me softly and I nodded.
"I thought you were going to come over and tell me that you, Daryl Cal and Hunter were leaving." He admitted. "Maybe even bringing everyone else with you."
"Hell no." I shook my head. "We may not of liked each other before all this, but, you done right by us. Whatever you need, whatever you decide, I'm with ya." I stood up and he watched as I brushed the back of my skirt off. "You should come get some sleep." He looked up at me.
"I don't know where to go. What to do…" he shook his head. "What if there is nothing."
"Rick, we'll figure it out. You've gotta… You just gotta have faith. You gotta have it for us, you gotta have it for you, but most of all, you gotta have it for your kid." I knelt down again. "Shane ain't here anymore. That kid's yours, it always was, but, no one's gonna say different now." I put my hand on his shoulder. He seemed to think again before nodded. I stood back up and he straightened up and followed me back to camp. He nodded to Daryl who was putting a log onto the fire.
"You okay?" Daryl asked softly and Rick sighed before looking at me.
"Yeah." He nodded as he looked back at Daryl. Daryl nodded and I walked over to the bed roll and he laid down on it, I curled up next to him and he wrapped his arm around my side before I fell asleep.
The next morning we were up at dawn, cleaning up camp, getting everything back into the RV, getting into our cars and deciding where we'd be going. Glenn had found his map in the RV and we had it laid out on the hood of the Mustang.
"It looks like there's a town not too far from here," Glenn pointed to the town on the map. "If we siphon some of the gas out of the RV and put it into your car, we should make it."
"I'll go get the hose." T-Dog offered before going to the RV.
"Okay, we'll look for supplies, gas, food, water and clothes." He told us and we nodded. "And ammo if we can find any." He added as he looked at his gun.
"Whatever you think is best." Lori agreed as she stood next to her husband, rubbing his arm slightly. He looked at her and then wrapped his arm around her, before looking at the map again.
"Hey," I walked over to Cal who was showing Hunter how to use a knife properly.
"Hey." He said to me.
"Can I talk to you for a second?"
"Yeah, buddy, why don't you go see Sophia." He nudged Hunter's shoulder and Hunter smiled lightly before walking over to Sophia.
"How's he holding out?"
"He misses her, but he doesn't talk about it much."
"Look, I just wanted to say, I get why you didn't tell me." I looked up at him and he sighed.
"It's not because I didn't want to."
"No, I get it." I nodded. He sighed and then wrapped his arms around me.
"I'm proud of you." He told me as he hugged me.
"Proud of you too." I told him. He gave me a slight squeeze before looking over at Daryl who was watching us.
"You told him?" he asked and I scoffed lightly.
"Fuck yeah I told him."
"Hey guys," we looked over at T-Dog who nodded to us. "We good?"
"Yeah, we're good." Cal nodded and then looked at Daryl. "I got Hunter now, can't spend all my time lookin' out for this troublemaker." He nudged my shoulder and I rolled my eyes.
"He's an idiot, ignore him." I told Daryl who gave me a small half smile and then looked at Cal.
"I get it" he nodded.
"Keep an eye on her huh Daryl."
"Don't even need ta ask man." Daryl nodded before looking at me. "Come on troublemaker, we gotta git." I rolled my eyes before taking Daryl's hand. I ruffled Hunter's hair as I passed him and followed Daryl to the motorcycle.
"You really think I'm a troublemaker?" I asked and he snorted.
"Oh yeah. But, you know, you're your father's daughter." He shrugged. "You're a Mason."
"So you think you can handle me makin' trouble?" I asked and he turned and looked at me before he grabbed my waist and pulled me towards him.
"I can handle anything you throw at me."
"That's what us Dixon men're built for. Handlin' trouble." He told me before he kissed me. When the kiss ended he helped me get into the bike. "Let's go troublemaker." He teased and I wrapped my arms around his middle.
"Oh honey, you ain't seen nothin' yet." I teased him back before he started the motorcycle and rode to the front of the line of cars, riding east towards town, and whatever we may find there.
Hey ya'll, I hope you all liked the ending! Yeah, that's right, that's the last chapter for Don't Stop Believin', but don't worry, like I already said, I'm going to do a sequel, the title of which will be "Rusty Cage". I felt like it was fitting. Anyways, thank you so much to everyone who messaged or reviewed, favorited or put on your alerts lists, or to any of ya'll who didn't do any of that and just read the story. Thanks to everyone reading this I guess is what I'm saying. I hope ya'll will read the sequel, because I've got some good stuff coming to these characters.
Don't forget to look out for "Rusty Cage" coming out soon!
Please don't forget to review!