Author's Note: This is weird, this is different, and I offer no excuses or apologies. Thanks to Rhanon Brodie for telling me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear.
The shower spray was freezing, but at least it was still running. After the morning that Maggie'd had, it was a welcome and refreshing cold that cleared her head. Hard, backbreaking work getting the prison yard in order for planting, then overseeing repairs on the fence, all while keeping a watch out for the ever-present danger of walkers and who knew what else that was always lurking around the corners these days.
With the Governor and his pair of goons still not accounted for, everyone was on edge, and these quick, stolen moments were the highlights of Maggie's time.
Her senses were on high alert, straining to catch the smallest of sounds over the hissing of the showerhead. Just as she'd rinsed the last of the soap from her hair, she heard the muffled, near-silent slap of careful feet against the wet floor right behind her. Before she could turn, rough, firm fingers gripped her shoulders, digging deeply into the tense, knotted flesh.
"You should know," she murmurs. Her shoulders slumped at the familiar touch, half of her tension draining from her on the spot. "You were there for most of it. Anybody know where ya are?"
"No, but I made damn sure they won't be comin' around here for a while…we've got time."
"What'd ya tell 'em this time?" Maggie asked, curious. They couldn't use the same excuses over and over, or someone would definitely catch on. They'd been lucky, so far; with the influx of new people into the prison, new routines were being established every day, and it was hard to keep track of everyone, even in such an enclosed space.
Those same work-toughened fingers ran an impatient line from Maggie's shoulders down the valley of her spine to slide and grope their way over the slick curve of her ass. She hissed through her teeth as two fingers dipped briefly between her legs before continuing their exploration around the side of her thighs. They dug into her legs, pulling back forcefully, and the wet slap of skin on skin echoed around the shower room before fading.
"Just somethin' t'keep 'em occupied and away from here. Details ain't important."
"You're not talkin' much today," Maggie replies. She started to turn, wanting to offer something, maybe comfort. Everyone here had lost so much, even just recently, but this was different. This was someone Maggie shared something with, someone she'd been able to talk to lately without feeling ashamed or afraid of anything she'd been through. This was someone who'd been through all that and more and came out so absolutely amazing on the other side.
But the talks were usually one-sided, with Maggie getting out what was worrying her. There wasn't usually much reciprocation by way of words.
"Somethin' else happen, anything I need t'know about?" Skilled fingers, so deadly when it came to killing, worked their way over Maggie's slick hips, following the water as it sluiced between her legs. Her breath came faster now, hitching a little at each deft movement.
"Nothin' earth shatterin'. Stupid people doin' stupid stuff, same as every damn day."
Teeth grazed the back of Maggie's neck, and she whimpered. Then the fingers slid up, grasping her waist and turning her until her back smacked against the half-wall, and those same teeth nipped at the underside of her breast. She bit her lip to hold back the noises she wished she could simply release. But, no…too many ears in the prison.
"Nothin' ya wanna talk about? It doesn't always have t'be me that—"
"Did ya come here to chat, or did you come here to fuck?"
Maggie sighed at the brusque response. She wasn't sure what she'd expected, but it really shouldn't have been anything other than what she was hearing.
"Y'know why I came here…why I always come here."
"Gonna say my name when ya cum like ya did last time?"
Maggie groaned with guilty pleasure as the hot, perfect tongue slid slowly up the length of her slit. Fingers, weathered and hard on her hipbones, braced her progress as she slid bonelessly down the dripping wall.
"Make me cum like ya did last time, and I'll say any damn thing ya want me to."
Dinner time was when everyone gathered together after a day of working. Breakfast was self serve, lunch was done in shifts, but dinner was when most everyone who wasn't on watch could come
Spread out over several of cafeteria tables, the group seemed so small to Maggie sometimes. Sure, their total numbers were scratching at sixty these days, but with all the new folks trying to integrate, Maggie's make-shift little family was spreading itself out to welcome and incorporate the newcomers into their home. Made her feel a little exposed sometimes, not having everyone always around.
At the next table, she watched Beth feeding Judith while her own food cooled on her plate. Next to Beth, Hershel leaned across the table to discuss something quietly with Rick. At the top of the stairs to the next level sat Daryl, still on watch even as he ate. Never missed a thing, that man, and it was a foolish person to think they could put something past him.
His piercing gaze swept over Maggie, and she could feel a burning, shameful blush creeping up her neck. She was so absorbed with watching his vigil that she actually jumped when Glenn sat his plate down next to her.
"You alright?" he asked quietly, concern pressed into his weary face.
She smile and placed a perfunctory kiss on his cheek. "Fine, just wanderin' through my thoughts."
He returned her smile tiredly. "I know that feeling. Did you happen to wander across what I asked you last night?"
She knew her smile slipped a little just then, and she knew that Glenn noticed as well, but neither of them mentioned it. "I have thought about it, I just…I need a little more time. Things are so…"
"I know," he sighed, picking up his fork. "Take all the time you need, Maggie. Just…promise me you'll really think about it?"
"I will, Glenn."
They were thankfully interrupted by Michonne's arrival across the table. The woman offered little in the way of conversation, but her brusque silence could be pleasant enough. No one lingered too much over dinner these days, anyway.
Ten minutes later, most everyone was finished eating and moving their separate ways to settle in for the night with the closing darkness. Michonne stood, lifting her plate, and glanced at Maggie.
"We're on watch tonight, front gate. Don't be late this time."
Maggie moved to follow her, but Glenn caught at her hand.
"I'll see you at shift change, yeah? I'm on after you. And…if you get a chance, will you think about trying again?"
Her eyes flicked from Glenn's earnest, loving gaze to track Michonne's progress across the small cafeteria, not wanting to lose her in the small crowd. She spotted her next to the window that was being used to return dirty dishes which would be washed by whomever was on cleaning duty tonight. Her eyes followed the wary, proud woman's stalk through the crowd as she headed for the hallway that led out to the front yard.
Realizing she was delaying the inevitable, Maggie wrenched her gaze back to Glenn, back to the man who'd gone through hell for her and lived to tell.
The man whose ring was on her finger.
"Two more days, Glenn. Give me two more days to think about it, and I swear I'll give you a straight answer."
Maggie dutifully kissed him and turned to hand in her own plate and fork. As she was passing the bottom of the stairs on her way out, Daryl caught up with her.
"Lemme walk ya out."
Maggie shrugged, bemused by his abrupt offer. "If ya want to."
They moved along quietly enough, passing fewer and fewer people as they headed out of the prison proper. When they finally reached the last door outside, Daryl paused, opening it cautiously and glancing around before allowing Maggie to follow him outside.
"Was there a reason you offered your escort service tonight?" she asked him, not quite looking him in the eye.
"Ain't escortin', I'm offerin' advice, an' I don't do that but once, so listen good th'first time, a'right?"
She'd almost gotten used to his gruff manner of speaking, but for Daryl, this was a long conversation already and certainly not the one she'd expected.
He took a breath, still watchful of their surroundings as they made their way across open space to the tower.
"Know what Glenn asked ya. Doesn't matter how I do, I just do. An' I know what you've been doin', meetin' up in th'shower an' such. If yer gonna break th'kid's heart, do it clean. No more'a this sneakin' around an' lyin' bullshit. You talk to him straight, 'cause this kind of high school drama is exactly what we don't need fuckin' everything up right now."
Maggie had no response. They'd reached the bottom of the watchtower by now, and she heard Michonne shifting overhead.
"Ain't tryin' t'tell ya how t'run yer life, it's yer decision. Don't care what ya do with yer spare time, but it ain't right what yer doin' t'him, an' ya can't keep him in th'dark forever. Be better if ya tell him than lettin' him find out. S'all I'm gonna say."
With that, Daryl turned and headed back the way they'd come, firmly shutting and locking the door behind him. Suddenly tired, Maggie climbed the stairs with leaden feet and a painful knot in her stomach. When she reached the top, her eyes scanned the platform until she found Michonne settled into a chair set in the deepening shadows of the far corner.
On the other side of the fence, five or six stray walkers roamed aimlessly while another half dozen struggled perpetually against the fence. Maggie placed her chair next to Michonne's facing slightly away for a better view of the woods.
"Heard what Daryl said to ya."
"Yeah, I figured you did."
There was a pause, and Maggie forced herself not to turn and try to gauge the other woman's expression.
"What did Glenn ask you?"
This wasn't the reaction Maggie was expecting, and it took her a minute to gather her thoughts.
"He wants t'have a baby. Wants to actually try. When he first brought it up, I thought he had to be joking, but he's serious. We haven't even had the ceremony yet, and he wants ta try t'have a kid. Just the thought of that after Lori…I couldn't…" She stopped talking, swallowed the lump forming in her throat.
"I told him I needed t'think about it."
Michonne didn't answer right away, and the sun finally finished sinking along the horizon. As the night deepened and the last of the daylight faded, a brilliant, nearly full moon crept its way up into the sky, flooding the rolling, open prison yard and the edge of the woods with light clear enough to watch by.
"What're you gonna tell him?"
"I still don't know. I know what I want, but…well, you were listenin'. What I want isn't what's best. I've gotta tell him the truth, I owe him that. I just…I can't stand the thought of hurtin' him that much."
More silence greeted this admission, silence that stretched on so long that Maggie wondered if Michonne was going to react at all. Minutes rolled by, and the other woman didn't so much as move.
"So, ya gonna ask him to keep ya?"
"No," Maggie replied softly. "No, I definitely don't deserve that. An'…I don't think that's even what I'd want anymore. I don't…I won't do that, no."
The silence this time was different, almost as if Maggie could feel the tension radiating from her watch partner. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Michonne stretched out an arm and pulled Maggie to her without so much as turning her head from her task. Maggie sighed, relaxing for a moment and returning the unexpected comfort. She briefly laid her head on Michonne's shoulder before straightening up and returning to her watch.
The hours passed in silence, save for the moaning of the walkers and the rustle of the treetops in the breeze. Well before dawn, Maggie was alerted to their relief when she heard the click of the prison door's lock, and she and Michonne greeted Daryl and Glenn at the bottom of the stairs. Michonne went ahead as Maggie and Glenn exchanged a brief hug.
"I'll see ya when ya get done," Maggie murmured, and Glenn nodded, heading up to his post. As Daryl moved to go past her, Maggie reached out a tentative hand.
"You were right, earlier. I'm gonna tell him."
Daryl nodded, waiting, figuring she'd stopped him for more than to just congratulate him on being right.
"I just…how'd ya know? I mean, we were always so careful, an'—"
"Th'two of ya always disappeared at th'same time, Maggie. Ya might blend into th'crowd for th'others, but I know who's where most of th'time, an' you two usually went off m'radar t'gether."
"That's it?" Maggie asked.
"That, an' no one got a shower before dinner 'cause someone reported clogged water pipes. But then you two both showed up t'dinner, an' yer hair was wet. Both of ya. Unless th' two of ya suddenly got some plumbin' skills we never knew about, figured ya weren't fixin' th'pipes."
Maggie had no response, simply nodded and moved on. She found Michonne waiting for her inside, and she took the time to close and lock the door before facing her.
"Clogged water pipes? You didn't think they'd figure that out?"
Michonne gazed at her silently a moment before answering. "Figured it was a problem that could wait til morning to get fixed, something that might've possibly cleared up on its own. Didn't hear you offerin' up a better idea."
"You're right, I'm sorry."
"No more lies now? No more excuses?"
"No more lies, I promise."
Michonne regarded Maggie tiredly for a moment before offering her a rare, brief smile. "We've got a few more hours until you drop your ton of bricks. Let's go make the most of it."