*Author's Note* 03/28/17
A little note before you decide to read this fanfic. Take Me Down to the Fighting End has been in the writing process for 4 years, 2 of those years a hiatus in between because of lack of motivation and writing inspiration. Why am I telling you this? I'll be the first to admit that my writing was not up to par when I started this story. I also had no guideline or plan for the story as I do now. On Feb 10th 2013, I just wanted to make a fanfiction for the hell of it, for the fun and see where it goes. Now, there are things that I wished I'd done differently, scenes I should have changed and things I could have added. That being said, where I am now so far into the story rewriting is not feasible. This isn't published work that goes through several iterations before its read to the public, I posted it as I went. I've thought about it many times but I knew if I rewrote the beginning chapters, links would be broken and it wouldn't flow the way I would have liked. However, I work with my mistakes. You make do with the hand you are dealt. Before you read this story, I will promise you the writing does get better. I myself have a short attention span when looking at fanfics, if the first chapter doesn't capture me, I skip chapters, if it gets better then I'll roll with it. So I hope you'll treat this story the same way. If not? Then thank you for stopping by!
Regards, lil Miss Peppers
First story posting. I've been wanting to write a Walking Dead fanfic for a while now, and thought I'd start. I am literally writing this as I go so I might be as surprised as you are at how this story progresses. I'm rating this as Mature for future chapters. This story takes place at the end of Season 2. Anyway, I hope you enjoy! Reviews are welcomed along with suggestions. :)
I do not take credit for any of the characters with the exception of Elena Lima and Toni Galvin.
Elena walked in silence and shuffled through the leaves and weeds, stepping over fallen branches and protruding roots. She adjusted the rifle around her shoulder and gazed forward toward Toni. Neither of them had said a word for hours as they walked through the forest, both exhausted and hungry.
Elena had to force down the bile that came up her throat, the rage of emotion threatening to swallow her up again. How long was it? Five? Seven days since it happened? She wasn't sure.
Elena stopped and leaned against a tree, feeling the hunger weigh down her motivation again. "Toni," she said weakly. "...Please, we need to rest."
Toni looked over to her, his shotgun lowered. His face had been vacant with emotion for so long, Elena couldn't remember what his smile even looked like anymore.
"Five minutes, then we keep moving."
She took in a deep breath and let herself collapse on the cold ground, bringing her knees to her chest.
She wish she knew what was going on in his head. Where were they going? What were they going to do now that they were out of food and the nights were getting colder? Elena rubbed her hands together and looked down. Dried blood stained her fingers and were buried under her nails. Her mind wandered as she felt an ache in her chest and her head begin to throb.
Toni then stood in front of her. "Let's go." He jerked his head to the direction they were walking.
Elena abruptly came back to reality and tried to stand up but suddenly wavered, her vision becoming dizzy. She grabbed for the tree to steady her balance. The dehydration was getting to her.
Elena opened her eyes, Toni holding a bottle of water in front of her. There was only a quarter left in it.
She shook her head. "That's the last we have. I'm okay, I don't need it."
"Take it," he replied rather impatiently. "If you faint I'm not dragging your ass around."
Elena stared at him. It was the first real emotion he had shown to her in the past few days, even if it was unfavourably angry. She didn't want to argue with him and took it, uncapping the bottle. As soon as the water touched her lips, her self control broke and she chugged what little was in there.
Toni turned away from her and continued walking.
She dropped the bottle from her lips, surprised at how the desperation of sustenance had consumed her. Capping the empty bottle, she shoved it in her duffel bag for future use, if there was ever a chance they found more.
She jogged after Toni to catch up with him before he left her view. Her headache was still there, but less evident. She tried not to think about how much her stomach was growling, and when was the last she ate anything. Two days ago? Did that ripe banana in the bottom of her bag count the morning before?
Both her and Toni froze at the sound that echoed from the distance. Elena half expected to be hallucinating now from malnutrition, but seeing as Toni had stopped also, she knew otherwise.
"Toni, that was..." She trailed off, the verge of excitement enveloped her.
It had to be a car. And there had to be people driving it. People that were alive. People that could help them.
Her mind stopped at mid thought. The last time they found others that were alive, nothing good came out of it. Besides Toni and her.
Toni started heading to that direction in a fast pace, surprising Elena However, she didn't say a word and followed close behind, worried he might change his mind and turn away from what could be the only hope they had.
Her movements were slow, her body threatening to shut down. How long have they been walking since they heard the horn from a car? The most they discovered was the road that broke through the forest and were now following it down the path. It became apparent now that Toni wasn't following the sound to find other possible survivors, but rather looking for the road.
"Toni...those could have been people. Maybe they have food-"
Toni shot her an angry look. "Remember the last time we went to people for help?" She didn't answer him. "Do you?!"
Elena bit her lip, tears stinging her eyes. "...Toni, we're desperate."
"Shut up and keep moving."
Having no choice, she did and chose to just stay quiet until she heard movement coming at her side. Her breathing hitched as she spotted a man fumbling over toward her, his hands raised and half his face gone. He hissed at her as he came closer.
"Elena!" Toni raised his shotgun toward the man.
Elena backed up and raised the crowbar in her hand, looking over at Toni momentarily when her heart stopped. "Behind you!"
Toni turned at the last second, when a woman reached out to him, her teeth snapping. He fell backward, his head hitting the pavement hard. The woman fell on top of him. Toni held the shotgun his hand, using it as a shield.
Elena ducked just when the man swiped at her, and threw the crowbar into his head. When the man collapsed she went down with him. She looked back at Toni quickly and held the crowbar tightly, trying to retrieve it out of the man's skull. She was thrown back when the crowbar slid out, some blood squirting on her. She scrambled up on her feet quickly and with a cry swung the bloodied crowbar into the woman's head. The woman went limp on him, making him grunt from the extra weight.
"Toni? Toni?" Elena began pulling the dead weight of the woman off and looked over him for any bites. She looked into his face, his eyes half closed. She saw a smear of blood on the road beneath him and reached for the back of his head. "Shit."
She grabbed his shotgun and threw it over her shoulder alongside her rifle. Grabbing his arm, she wrapped it around her neck and tried to pull him up. She fell back on her knees at the first try, feeling how much the lack of food had an effect on her. She tried again and was able to get on her feet, half dragging him. Without thinking, she began walking, worried there were more of those things in the forest. She didn't know where she was going or what she was hoping for, she just kept moving.
"What was that?" Beth whispered when they heard a strange noise.
Daryl stood from his seat by the fire. "Could be anythin'." The group stood with him, now on the alert. "Could be a raccoon. Could be a possum."
"A walker?" Glenn inquired. No one answered.
"We need to leave," Carol said, growing panicked. "I mean what are we waiting for?"
"Which way?" Glenn whispered.
"It came from over there," Maggie answered.
"Back to where we came," said Beth.
The group looked in the direction of the road. Rick glanced back at them, standing his ground.
"The last thing we need is for everyone to be runnin' off in the dark. We don't have the vehicles. No one is travelling on foot," Rick said, his voice cold and his expression hard. He turned when another noise sounded.
"Don't panic," Hershel whispered.
Maggie looked toward her father. "I'm not...I'm not sittin' here and waitin' fer another herd to blow through." She turned toward Rick, holding the shotgun tightly in her hand. "We need to move now."
Rick grew impatient and gave her a heavy glare. "No one is goin' anywhere."
Maggie stared at him in desperation but said nothing, her eyes wide with fear.
Carol was looking at Rick. "Do something."
He turned on her fast. "I am doing something!" He gestured his revolver to the ground. "I'm keeping this group together. Alive. I've been doing that all along. No matter what." He shot his eyes back to the group. "I didn't ask for this! I killed my best friend for you people for christ sakes!"
Carl stared at his father with surprise as Lori held him, stroking his hair. No one said anything.
"You saw what he was like. How he pushed me. How he compromised us. How he threatened us." Again, no one said a word and Rick continued. "He staged the whole Randal thing, led me out to put a bullet in my back. He gave me no choice! He was my friend but he came after me."
Carl began crying, wrapping his arms around his mother for support, sobbing in her chest.
"My hands are clean."
It was silent as he dragged his eyes toward the faces of the men and women that stood in front of him. He looked up at T-Dog, perched up on a wall, but he wouldn't meet his gaze.
"Maybe you people are better off without me. Go Ahead." He gestured to the road behind him. "I say there's a place for us but maybe-maybe it's another pipe dream maybe...maybe I fooled myself again. Why don't you go and find out yourself. Send me a postcard!"
Daryl watched him carefully, then back to the others.
"Go ahead, there's the door. You can do better? Let's see how far you get." Rick waited. "No takers? Fine. But get one thing straight. You're stayin'. This isn't a democracy anymore." He stared them down, switching his gaze to his wife, Lori, who looked at him as if he were a stranger.
Each member of the group kept there composure but no one dared speak out and that was enough for Rick to know the discussion was over. He slowly turned, walking away from the camp.
Like it or not, he was the leader. He was the only one who would step up to the authority to lead this group to safety where ever they can find it. He was sick and tired of the stares he got, questioning his call, whether it was the right one or not. The pressure was enough to make him snap. If they didn't agree with him then they can go off and handle surviving their own way. He didn't care anymore.
He stepped out on the road, looking beyond when he spotted something.
"Walker!" T-Dog warned.
Rick heard fast footsteps behind him as Glenn, Daryl and Hershel reached his side. Daryl lifted his crossbow and began approaching the figure out in the darkness. Rick began walking too, his revolver ready in his hand. He didn't want to use it though, not in the night. He couldn't risk the sound attracting more walkers.
The figure was walking toward them but there was something odd about it. It was dragging something. Something big.
"Wait," Rick whispered and grabbed Daryl's shoulder.
Daryl looked at him in confusion, but hovered his finger away from the trigger.
It was the voice of a woman, her voice not nearly a shout but loud enough so the men could hear from the distance.
The figure then fell.
Rick and Daryl began jogging forward, Glenn and Hershel close behind. The closer they got, the more they could see that it was a woman and a man.
Elena tried to get back up, but Toni's weight was too much for her. He was limp, and unconscious. She looked toward the four men that approached her, seeing two of them with their weapons raised at her as they approached.
She lifted her free hand in surrender. "Don't shoot! We're not one of them. Please."
"Have you been bit?" She shook her head at the man that was holding a revolver toward her face. "Have you been bit?" he asked more loudly.
"No," she answered verbally this time. "We were attacked. He hit his head...I don't..."
Elena was starting to shake, afraid. What if they were bandits? She didn't know these people. As soon as she had seen the light from the distance, Elena didn't think, just kept moving. Protecting herself from those things was easy enough for her, they were slow and not very smart, but she had to think twice about these men. Toni was unconscious, and she was too weak to fight them if she needed to.
"Please," she pleaded. "We have no food, no water...We have no where to go."
The man with the revolver seemed to falter for a minute.
"Rick," the older man spoke toward the man that had asked her the question. They stared at each other, having a silent conversation.
Elena inhaled, looking over toward the man that aimed a crossbow at her, his eyes narrowed toward Toni. They moved to her, and she felt herself shrink back.
"Rick, maybe...maybe we should help them." An Asian boy wearing a hat stepped in.
The man presumed as Rick looked back toward her. "Take their weapons."
Reluctant for a moment, Elena wasn't sure about giving up the only things she had left to protect her. But what choice did she have?
She pulled the assault rifle and shotgun off her shoulder including her duffel bag and Toni's, setting them in front of her, showing them that she would comply. The man with the crossbow, slowly bent down to retrieve them, his aim never wavering.
Rick and the old man went forward, grabbing Toni from her and supporting him as they began moving. The Asian boy came to Elena's side, and tried to help her up. She took an awkward step forward and found herself leaning hard against him.
"How long have you been out here?" the boy asked.
"I don't know...," she whispered.
Elena took in the water more greedy than she meant to. To her it was like a gold mine, and for once she felt happy. She was relieved when the men took them to the camp to find there was more with them. Four women, a black man and a little boy. They couldn't be bandits. They were just survivors trying to find a safe haven much like her group before had been.
The women were hospitable toward her. Elena assumed it was because she was a woman as well. People tend to lower there guard on this fact. However, they kept an eye on Toni. Elena didn't blame them. Toni was a big guy and rough looking. But in his unconscious state, he was harmless.
Elena took a breather, pulling the bottle away from her lips. "Thank you."
The younger woman named Maggie nodded to her.
She looked toward Toni who was being looked after by the old man, Hershel. "Is he going to be okay?"
"He might have suffered a mild concussion. And with the malnutrition he needs the rest," Hershel spoke softly.
"When's the last time you two have eaten?" Rick asked.
"Two days, I think," she replied. "We lost a lot of our supplies."
"Walkers attacked you?" The Asian boy, Glenn said.
Elena furrowed her brow in confusion. It was a good name to call those things she had to admit. "No. There was more of us. Seven. Including me and Toni. We were running low on food...came across these men. They had trucks full of supplies. We thought they were rescuers or something. People who were safe..." Elena's voice broke. "They...they killed everyone, stole our stuff. Toni and I were the only ones that got away."
"Bandits," Rick whispered.
"Your boyfriend here is goin' to need stiches. An' we're not exactly equipped with any medicine."
"He's not..." She stopped herself from correcting him, feeling it unnecessary. "My bag," Elena said to Hershel. "I have bandages and antibiotics in there. Enough."
Rick looked toward Daryl. He lifted up her bag, dropping it beside Hershel. Unzipping it, Hershel looked surprised.
"We managed to take some stuff from a pharmacy at one point," she explained. "Look I don't mean to burden you more than I have, but please let us stay the night. Until the morning. Keep our weapons if you need to, just let us stay."
Rick stared at her for a long time. Glenn gazed at him. "Rick..."
"You'll stay 'til the mornin'." And with that he walked away.
"You're not really considering leaving them here, are you?" Glenn asked Rick.
Rick only had a couple of hours of sleep and rubbed at his eyes, avoiding the morning sun. He couldn't remember when was the last time he had a decent nights rest. "What room do we have for them? Two new mouths to feed and what not." However, he didn't feel convinced of his own words either.
"They won't be able to survive out there!"
"He's right," Daryl spoke. "Guy got clocked in the head. The girl don' look like no fighter either."
Rick rubbed his hand over his mouth in thought. The decision was his ultimately, he made that clear last night. The girl kept coming into his mind. She couldn't be older than twenty-three, maybe twenty-four. She asked for their help, pleaded him, even gave up her weapons without a second thought.
Had Dale been here, he would be trying to convince him that they were still human, that leaving them would be barbaric. But could Rick really risk it?
"Put down the gun, man!"
Everyone shot their heads back toward the camp, hearing T-Dog's voice. They ran where they spotted him, aiming his gun toward the man they helped last night, fully awake and angry. Both Rick and Daryl aimed toward him.
"Put the gun down or I swear to God I will shoot you," Rick ordered.
"Toni!" Elena yelled and ran to his side. "What are you doing?!"
"Who the hell are these people?!" he yelled back.
"Put the gun down! They helped us. They helped you. Put it down."
"The hell you talking about?" Toni gazed at her momentarily, feeling a pain in the back of his head.
She grabbed his arm. "Last night, those things attacked. You hit your head. Now put the fucking gun down."
Toni lowered the gun, then shot his sights back on her. "Are you an idiot? We don't know these people."
"I had no other choice," she whispered.
"Remember the last time we trusted strangers?" He looked down on her. "Your sister died."
Elena could no longer look him in the eye, inhaling a shaky breath.
Toni looked back toward Rick. "Our guns, where are they?"
Rick still aimed his firearm at him. "You can have them when my group leaves."
Toni took a step forward. "You son of a-"
"Stop!" Elena grabbed his arm and he shrugged her off roughly.
A scream suddenly broke.
"Guys! Walkers! Walkers!" shouted Maggie.
Everyone became slightly disoriented at the new found danger, but sprung into action. There was several of them making their way toward the camp, attracted by the noise of their altercation.
"Do not shoot unless you have to!" Rick told everyone.
Elena jumped for her crowbar that had been set aside. She looked around as the walkers began closing in, forcing the separation of many of the groups members. She spotted a walker heading for the woman with short hair, known as Carol, and threw her crowbar against its skull. Carol looked up at her, eyes wide when Elena felt something breeze behind her, and something dropped to the floor. She looked behind, a dead walker at her feet, an arrow in it's head. She looked toward the man named Daryl, who was already trying to load another arrow into his crossbow.
"Carl!" Lori screamed.
Carl was dodging another walker when he tripped onto his knees. He panicked and tried to scramble onto his feet as the walker came closer.
"No!" Rick yelled, running toward him.
Toni suddenly jumped at the walker from behind as he snapped at the boy. He grabbed his jaw and the top of his head before twisting it, hearing a crack as he broke it's neck. "Go!" Toni shouted at him and slammed the butt of his gun into the skull of the walker until it pierced through it's skull, smashing it's brain.
Carl jumped to his feet and ran back toward his mother, who hugged him tightly toward her as she backed away from the walkers that kept coming.
Elena swung at another, missing and stabbing the curved part of the crowbar into a nearby tree. In the awkward angle, she couldn't pull it free and jumped back, abandoning it. The walker stumbled after her, tripping over its own legs and as it fell, grabbed her ankle. Elena fell forward onto the leaves and kicked her feet at the walker. It held onto her ankle and reached, grabbing a hand full of her pants, pulling itself toward her.
Adrenaline was pumping harshly through her veins and she tried to get away, looking around for any sort of weapon when she spotted the dead walker Daryl had killed with an arrow. With all her strength she grabbed at it, ripping the arrow out of the walker's head, and stabbed it into the walker crawling up her. It's grasped on her loosened and it stopped moving.
Elena was breathing heavily, kicking at the walker so it fell off her.
"There's too many of 'em."
"Everyone back to the cars!"
"Get movin'!" Elena felt someone grab her arm and pull her up onto her feet, shoving her forward. She looked back, seeing Daryl pull and take the arrow she had used to kill the walker.
Toni grabbed at the crowbar Elena left, pulling it with as much force as he had, breaking it out of the trees bark. He ran toward the direction Elena went.
Everyone began running towards the cars, killing their way through the walkers as much as possible. Elena looked around, searching for Toni when she spotted him behind.
"Toni! Your left!"
Toni took longer than he normally would to react at the walker on his side.
The walker dropped, a bullet to his head. Toni looked toward Rick, who nodded his head. A pay back for saving his boy. Toni followed suit as everyone filed into the cars. He squeezed in with Rick into his truck along with Lori, Carl and T-Dog, just after he made sure Elena got into the car with Hershel, Maggie, Beth, Glenn and Carol safely. Everyone started their engines, Daryl up in front on his motorcycle and began down the road, the group leaving the dead behind them.