Disclaimer: I have no claim or ownership on anything you see here or anything related to The Walking Dead. If I did, I think life would be much different for me. That credit goes to Robert Kirkman, Glen Mazzara, etc. Hole to Feed belongs to Depeche Mode. Maybe one day I'll be clever enough to have something cool.

"We are here... we can love... we share something... I'm sure, that you mean the world to me... when you get what you need, there's no way of knowing... what you'll have is another hole to feed..."

"Ain't sleepin' in no cage."

Rick forced out a chuckle at Daryl's choice of words after the rest of the group had dispersed to their own cells, leaving the two alone. He should have figured his second-in-command would feel that way, even if he himself hadn't felt this safe since those days on Hershel's farm, practically a lifetime before. "So what are you going to do?" the former sheriff drawled, honestly curious, leaning his hip against the railing, his arms crossed over his chest.

The redneck hitched his crossbow higher on his shoulder and nodded his head up the concrete stairs. "Take th' perch. Good ta have sumone out like that anyway," he replied. "Y'know... just in case."

Rick gave a nod and ran a hand through the waves in his hair, scratching his fingers over the back of his neck. "Think I'll make another sweep. Better to be safe than sorry, y'know? Just want to be especially sure we're secure here... no surprises."

Daryl snorted. "Whutever y'need ta tell yourself, boss. Y'know y'just can't sleep."

Rick shrugged and pushed himself off the railing, his hand immediately resting on the Python at his hip. "Just give the signal if you notice anything off, alright?"

Daryl gave a nod. "Y'got it," he replied before pulling himself up the stairs, effectively ending the conversation.

Rick heaved a quiet sigh and scrubbed a hand over his face, the gold band on his ring finger catching the thick stubble on his cheeks. He glanced down the corridor, his hand over his mouth, taking mental note of how many of the cells were occupied. The exhausted leader rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger as he slowly moved out of the cellblock, quietly shutting the door behind him, letting himself be covered in darkness, only the light of the moon managing to peek through a barred window. Alone with his thoughts, he did a headcount of the surviving members of the group in each cell... Maggie and Glenn. Beth and Hershel. Carol and…

He shook his head at the thought of his now estranged wife. She was going to give birth any day now. He could see she was worried about that, the stress showing more and more with each passing day, her brown eyes sinking deeper, worry lines becoming more obvious. He knew he should be concerned too. He knew that she wanted him to care, share the mountain of worries with her as a husband should. But he couldn't bring himself to even try. It was just too exhausting on top of everything else as he went through the motions, stuck to routines. And then the added fact that it probably wasn't even his child she was carrying...? That the father of the baby was…

He scoffed quietly, not allowing himself to complete the thought as he gave a kick to the concrete floor, the scuffle echoing in the dimly lit corridor before his back slid down the rough wall, catching along his bloodstained shirt.

Shane, the voice screamed in his head, making him wince.

Every night, his thoughts always came back to Shane, even all these months later. He managed to push thoughts of the man out in the light of day, but when he was alone and the sun set…

How had theyfallen so far? The man had been his brother in every way besides blood. Best friends since they could walk… Partners in their career… Shane had been the best man at his damn wedding for Christ's sake… And he had betrayed him... he had betrayed him in every possible way. Shane had forced Rick's hand all for the possibility of a life that was no longer there… that really should have never even existed in the first place...


Cady tossed and turned on her cot, her eyes squeezed shut, the scratchy woolen blanket pulled to her chin. It was just so cold. And damp. How the hell was she supposed to sleep in a prison cell? How did anyone manage to? She turned her face into the pillow and immediately gagged at the smell of ancient sweat and who knew what else?

The brunette flipped onto her back, staring at the bottom of the empty cot above her. It didn't help that she had to sleep alone. She'd never been good at that, even before all of this. She threw an arm over her eyes, thinking back over the past year. She recalled the group she had originally fallen in with before...

Cady shook her head, shoving the memories to the back of her mind. It served no purpose to dwell on what was past. She sat up, rubbing a hand over her face before pulling her dark, uneven locks back with the rubber band hanging loosely from her wrist. She could hear T-Dog's soft snores in the cell beside hers, the soft mumbles of Carl talking in his sleep further down. She pushed herself off the cot and stretched, reaching her arms towards the ceiling, trying to ignore the exhaustion in her limbs, the screaming reminder of the hard day they had all just suffered for this small reward. Moving towards the bars, she gently pushed them open and flinched at the shrill screech the iron made, slicing through the silence.

"Th'fuck y'doin'?"

Cady rolled her eyes and her gaze travelled up towards the harsh whisper from the second floor. Daryl stood with his crossbow, his shoulders tense even as he slowly lowered the weapon. "Can't sleep," she murmured quietly, knowing he could still hear the hushed tones, even from a distance.

"Y'even fuckin' try? Coulda only been in there no more than 10 minutes," he retorted, crossing his bare arms over his chest after he set the crossbow against the railing, his biceps flexing slightly, automatically.

Cady sighed and moved up the stairs to join him. "You ever try sleeping in a cell?" she replied, bumping his shoulder gently before carefully sitting down on his blankets, her knees pulled to her chin, clasping her hands around her calves.

Daryl scowled. "Mattera fact, yeah, I have. And don' remember invitin' y'ta have a sit with me," he growled.

The brunette gave him a winning smile. "Don't remember asking for one either."

The redneck scoffed but sat next to her, close, but sure not to touch, stretching his legs in front of him, leaning back on his palms. "So, whut? Y'think 'm goin' ta tell ya a bedtime story or sumthing? Sing ya a lullaby?"

Cady chuckled. "No, I just figured I would keep you company for a second." She glanced around the cell block. "Everyone accounted for?"

Daryl nodded. "Got 'em all in cells. 'cept Grimes."

She darted her gaze to meet his. "Big or little?"

He snorted and scratched his nose. "Rick."

"And where is our fearless leader?" Cady asked, picking at a hole in the knee of her jeans.

"Why? Y'gon' see if ya can help yerselves get sum sleep?" the hunter replied with a small smirk, waiting for her reaction.

Daryl bit back a laugh as the girl's green eyes flashed at him. "You making a suggestive joke there Dixon? Didn't know you had it in you."

He shook his head. "Didn't say nothin'." He sniffed loudly, his eyes flicking to the window. "Think he went out in the hall. Heard the door."

Cady chewed her lower lip absently.

"Y'alright?"

Deep green met bright blue and Cady felt a smile pulling at her lips. "Best be careful, Dixon... might think you care or something."

He left out another snort. "Jus' not used to y'bein' all quiet an' shit. Usually can't get y'ta stop talkin'." Daryl's fingers played at a loose button on his shirt. "Really though... are ya?"

Cady rubbed her hands over her face and pressed her palms together in front of her mouth. "Are any of us?"


Rick shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts, forcing the image of Shane from his brain... the blood over his former partner's mouth... the glazed, out of focus eyes... he couldn't even recall what his old friend had looked like in normal days, before everything changed...

"Daryl said he thought you were out here... You should be sleeping."

Rick's stomach jumped at the quiet intrusion and glanced up to see Cady standing over him, her green eyes filled with concern. He hadn't even heard her enter the hallway. He gave the brunette what he hoped came across as a genuine smile, his lips stretching over his teeth. "Could say the same about you."

Her own mouth quirked into a small smile as she moved to sit beside him, their shoulders touching, her back against the wall. "I have a feeling it's going to be hard for me to get a decent night's rest here, no matter how safe it may be," she told him in a hushed whisper. She held out her hand, resting her knuckles on his knee. "Brought you something."

His eyes flickered down to the jerky she was offering before shaking his head and pushing her hand away gently. "I'm not taking your food. You need to stop tryin' to take care of me. I'm a big boy."

She cocked her head to the side. "Rick, you need to eat."

"And I did eat," he replied, moving his arms to rest over his knees.

He could almost hear her eye roll as he fixed his own gaze on the wall across from them. "Rick, you had maybe a spoonful of beans at dinner. No, I'm sorry, less than that because you gave Lori most of your share. Like you always do."

Rick narrowed his eyes and set his jaw. "I don't need a lecture," he muttered, his voice an ominous growl.

Cady ignored him, shaking her head. "If you keep going the way you are, you're not going to make it. Not sleeping… barely eating… that's no way to live. We need you. Especially if you're going to have a baby soon-"

"Thought I told you I don't want to talk about that," he interrupted, his voice hard and cold. "Not with you."

"Rick-"

"Cady!" he growled, whipping his face towards her. "I will not discuss this with you."

The girl set her jaw, her gaze locked on Rick's, the light of a challenge behind her eyes. "You don't scare me, Grimes," she told him calmly. "You might manage to lead the others by some sort of fear and intimidation, but I'm not them." She took a deep breath before continuing. "Someone needs to take care of you if you are too stubborn and righteous to do it yourself." She lowered her gaze to the floor. "You have to stop worrying about the rest of us and take care of yourself." She lifted her gaze and rested her hand on his cheek. "Please-"

The former sheriff cut her off, pressing his chapped lips to hers, swallowing her quiet plea. She let out a quiet whimper as his left hand moved to the back of her neck, his fingers digging into the satin of her skin hard enough to bruise. The jerky tumbled to the floor from her fingers, the hand on his cheek moving to fist in the back of his hair, her fingers tangling in the overgrown curls. Rick let out a grunt at a flash of pain as she pulled. His teeth cut over her lower lip and she hissed at the sting as he hauled her onto his lap. He moaned softly as the metallic taste of her blood burst over his tongue, her lip split. Her other hand fisted in his shirt collar as she rolled her hips against his, his stubble rubbing the sensitive skin of her chin raw.

Rick knew this had to stop. Just like he knew it should have never started. He knew it was all wrong, even as his right hand slid down to the button of her jeans, popping it open, his hand sliding into the denim, his fingers stroking her roughly over what he knew would be soaked cotton without hesitation. It was always wrong, always dangerous. He knew that and was sure Cady did as well, but neither ever brought up the subject of stopping. He had worked to resist her since the first time they locked eyes, even if he hadn't known it. He was married. And it would never work. She was better than this. He had resisted, telling himself that he loved his wife, even as the tiny brunette spitfire managed to become his left flank and Daryl his right. But then Shane…

Rick snarled against her mouth, his fingers pressing even harder against her, sliding the cotton underwear over her clit, making her hiss, her own fingers tightening again at his scalp. He tried to block out the thoughts, the painful memories, focus on her touch, her taste. But they pushed through, like a poison. The night of the fire had changed everything. His best friend was dead. Murdered not once, but twice, like some sort of cruel joke. And then he confessed to Lori... He would never forget how she shoved him away and the way she looked at him. So much hatred... betrayal... distrust... His confession to the group not only about Shane but about the virus itself. He had never felt so alone. Until he had looked at Cady... She had looked at him with such blinding trust, such understanding... faith he needed, but wasn't sure he even deserved. He just couldn't fight anymore...

"Rick..."

His eyes shot open as he was thrown back into the present. He met her gaze, her hands framing his face on both cheeks. He swallowed audibly before pressing his mouth back to hers. He moved his left hand, his fingers roughly, but deftly pulling the rubber band from her hair, the endless waves flowing into his palm. His wedding ring seemed to weigh even heavier on his finger as his hand tangled in her locks. He ignored the weight as he shoved the fabric of her underwear to the side, slipping the fingers of his other hand into her heat, parting her folds and rubbing the pearl of her clit, feeling her whimper against his mouth, a sound that stoked the fires in his belly and reminded him what it felt like to be a man... made him feel a power that Lori no longer could.

He knew it was selfish. He knew she deserved better than this. Better than a broken man on a cold, moon gray concrete slab in a prison, using her to try to forget, taking advantage of her trust. But he wouldn't be the one to pull away, not now. A better man would stop. A better man would pull away and tell this girl that he was married, that he couldn't do this anymore, that it should have never even started. But he wasn't a better man. Not anymore. He hadn't been better for a long time. The minute the knife had plunged into Shane's chest all those months ago… that moment had changed Rick into someone he barely recognized. He wanted to give her the version of himself that could love her, the version of himself that he had wasted on Lori for over a decade, but that man was gone. That man had been dying since he himself had gotten shot on that road in Kentucky all those months ago. He took his last breath as Shane did and had been replaced with this shell of a man.

Rick hissed and was brought back to the present again as Cady's nails dug into his neck and her shallow breathing echoed in his ear, her pelvis bucking against his hand as she soaked his fingers, her teeth worrying his earlobe.

"Rick, please," she begged hotly, her palm resting over his strained erection in his filthy jeans. He knew why he couldn't stop this. She was like his drug. It was the only time that he didn't have to think about what the world was. She helped him forget, even for a second how much the world... his world had gone to shit. She trusted him, even though each night he felt like he was destroying her, breaking her. Was this what Shane had with Lori? Was that why he hadn't been able to let go?

"Stop," she whispered. "Stay with me."

His blue eyes flashed to her green orbs, taking in the pink in her cheeks, shuddering as he felt her hand pop his own buttoned fly and lower the zipper, pulling him from the confines of the stained denim. His fingers moved to wrap around her wrist, halting her movements.

"What..." she murmured, a look of confusion settling over her features that he was stopping, puffs of breath ghosting over his face.

"Not here," Rick whispered, pulling them both to their feet, her jeans dangerously low on her hips as he tucked himself back in place, his eyes darting up and down the corridor. He met her gaze and jerked his head to the left. "This way," he muttered, his fingers still wrapped around her wrist as he dragged her down the hall. He hauled her into a closet, shoving her back against a wall of shelves, leaving the door open a crack, forever vigilant to their surroundings.

Cady let out a hiss as she felt a stab in her hip. She reached down, wrapping her fingers around a cleaning brush. "You sure know how to make a girl feel special, Grimes," she muttered, tossing the item behind him.

He replied with a huff that may have been a chuckle before pressing his mouth to hers, swallowing any other complaints as he shoved her jeans and underwear off her too slender hips. He hauled his cock out of his jeans, his own pants sliding just enough before sinking into her roughly, making her gasp into his mouth. His fingers bruised her thighs as he sunk in and out of her, his thrusts brutal, unrelenting.

Cady's head fell back, slamming against the shelf, her hands scrabbling for something to hold onto as Rick moved his head to her shoulder, sweat dripping onto her skin, mixing with her own. He roughly pulled at her shirt sleeve, tearing the fabric as if it were paper before sinking his teeth into her flesh, trying to muffle his grunts as she clutched him between her thighs.

"Fuckkkkk," she yelped, squeezing her eyes shut, the shot of pain only fueling the desire as he almost broke the skin.

"Shhhh," he shushed her, his hand moving to her neck, his thumb pressing against her throat. Her breath hitched as he cut off her airway, his thumb pressing against the skin. Her hands moved his hair and she pulled his head back, forcing him to meet her gaze. She gasped for air as his hand moved to slam the shelf behind her, shoving her body even harder as his thrusts became impossibly faster. He slammed his mouth over hers, taking... conquering... they could both taste the blood from the contact as his teeth cut over her lip all over again. He squeezed his eyes shut as bursts of white light formed behind his eyelids, his release shooting through him, emptying into her. He barely registered her own hoarse cry as she contracted around him, milking him. His knees felt weak and his body seemed to suddenly lose strength as he collapsed against her, pinning her to the shelf.

They struggled to catch their breath, Rick's forehead against her shoulder. Slowly, he finally managed to lift his head and kiss her with a gentleness that hadn't been there even moments before.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, just like he always did. He couldn't stop what he was doing, but that didn't mean he didn't regret what it meant for her. "Didn't hurt you, did I?"

Cady shook her head, pushing her fingers through his hair. "Bruises heal," she replied, her voice just as soft.

Rick slowly helped her to her feet, slipping out of her and taking a step back. They both situated their clothes in silence, avoiding each other's gaze.

"This is the last time," Rick promised himself, not for the first time. He looked at her again as she pulled her hair back. He swallowed and turned towards the door, moving to go back to their cell block and let her get some sleep. He froze when he felt the gentle touch of her fingers on his wrist, right below his watch. Slowly, he turned to face her.

"We're going to be okay, Rick," she promised him. "Things are looking better already, right?" she asked hopefully.

Rick swallowed heavily. He wanted to believe her, reassure her. "I hope so," he finally answered.

They froze as they heard the scrape of a footstep in the hall. Rick quickly pulled his gun out of his holster and moved towards the door, Cady close behind. He shoved open the door, his gun at the ready. He let out a sigh of relief as he recognized Daryl's crossbow at the ready and lowered his gun carefully.

"Alright?" he asked.

The redneck slowly lowered his own weapon. "Thought I heard somethin'. Thought I'd check it out." His gaze drifted between Rick and Cady, a knowing look in his eye. "Y'all okay?"

Cady cleared her throat. "Just had some things to discuss about tomorrow," she replied quietly.

Daryl nodded and met Rick's gaze. "Lot to do in the morning."

The leader nodded. "We should all get some sleep. Don't think we have much to worry about tonight."

Cady and Daryl murmured their agreement, moving down the corridor. Cady glanced back when she realized Rick was still at the closet. "You coming?" she asked as Daryl disappeared back in the cell block.

Rick nodded. "Right behind you."

She bit her lower lip and nodded slowly before breaking the gaze and moving through the doorway Daryl had passed through only moments before.

Rick sighed and shook his head, leaning against the doorframe. He squeezed his eyes shut and pinched the bridge of his nose. He could only hope that finding this prison was the beginnings of a streak of good luck... he wasn't strong enough for much more bad.

-End-

Author's Note: This is my first published foray into The Walking Dead land. Figured I'd give Rick Grimes some love. Angsty love maybe. This was mostly inspired by the scene in 3.01 "Seed" when Rick is sitting alone against the wall in the prison. I've been working on it for awhile. I may develop more of a story using Cady, but I don't know. Give it a spin, let me know what you think, and please review.

PS, thanks Valerie E. Mackin for reading over this for me. You're the best.