The Walking Death

Fandom: Harry Potter x The Walking Dead

Rating: M

Pairing: Shane/Harry.

Warning: AU, OOC, Slash, angst, violence, gore.

Summary: What would the Master of Death do if the world ended in zombie apocalypse?

Disclaimer: Why do I have to keep writing this? Everyone knows if I own any of these then I wouldn't be here writing fanfics now.

Author Note: For this chapter, some of you might find a similarity in a small flashback story with another TV show. Yes, I borrowed the plot and I wonder who would notice it. *giggles*

I wanna say sorry for taking so long to update. I've been very busy lately and finally fell sick from exhaustion. Fever, migraine, nausea, low blood pressure, fainting spells…the whole package. Geez… In fact, my blood pressure hasn't gone back to normal yet so I've to be very careful if I don't want another fainting spell…. =_=

Hopefully, the next chapter wouldn't take this long to update. Thank you for your patience all this time. Enjoy~!

Beta Reader: forever-stained-crimson.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

Chapter 17

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

Maggie looked at her father sitting on Beth's bedside, holding her hand. She was upset and brokenhearted. Glenn had been acting weird since they came back and she had pulled him aside to talk earlier. It had an unexpected result.

She was scared when she found out that he would have been shot if not for her father and Rick. What she didn't expect was for Glenn to blame it on her love confession from the other day, saying that all he could think about was her and how he had to stay alive for her, only thinking about himself when others depended on him and instead of it being a good thing, it was the worst thing. He rejected her.

"Has she eaten?" Hershel asked.

Maggie shook her head. She was angry with him. "You were drinking," she accused.

"That was the least of my worries."

"You left and I didn't know what to do!" she cried, taking out her frustration and anger on him.

He was silent. Maggie looked at him with scorn and left the room.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

"Want me to take watch?"

Shane looked over his shoulder to see Andrea approaching him. "Yeah. Relieve T in a few hours. I'm gonna take the graveyard."

"And then what? We just send him on his merry way?"

"According to Rick and Hershel."

"If he finds his people and leads them here we'll have a war on our hands."

"Then it's a good thing we've got a powerful wizard to erase his memory first, huh?"

Andrea sighed, looking at him. "Your ever consider a lighter touch? Abandoning the search for Sophia, taking out the walkers in the barn, lying to Lori today…those were the right calls. It's your presentation that leaves something to be desired."

"Dale send you?"

"I see you pushing everyone away, including Harry. Why? They need you," she said.

"I thought you hated Harry?"

"I do. I don't trust him. He's keeping secrets when he shouldn't and he's a selfish coward with messed up priorities," Andrea said bluntly, "But that doesn't mean I can't see what effect he has on you. He's good for you."

"And you don't think there's something weird about that? With how good he was with me and how I just went along with his messed up ideas? You know how I was with strangers before."

"No. I saw a good match and you're going to throw it away for whatever reason. We all have our boons with Harry and his secrets and lack of help but you were right there with him so I don't understand what your problem is."

Shane looked away from her. "I'll always be the odd man out. The same as you."

"I've made my peace," Andrea shook her head.

He snorted. "Have you? The way I see it, you and me, we're treated the same way. Everyone's always trying to take the gun out of your hand. These folks, they want to play house. They wanna pretend that Rick and Hershel know what they're doing. Let me tell you something, they're bound to get us all killed."

"Then we have to stop that."

"They don't listen. And we're just gonna…sit here and wait for it. But you and me, we're the only ones who see it coming," Shane snapped. "Don't know what I was thinking handing the leadership over to Rick…"

Andrea was silent at the painful truth as she watched him stride away.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

"We need to talk about Shane."

Rick looked up at Lori from his place on the cot. They had gone back to their tent as soon as the discussion at the house was over.

"What's he done now?" he sighed.

"He thinks the baby's his," Lori told him, watching him pause. "No matter what, it's yours."

Rick nodded, thinking, "He'll accept that."

"You're gonna have to make him. He won't listen to me. When I went looking for you, he came after me…"

"Well, of course he did."

"And lied to me to get me back here, said you were already back."

"What…"

"You saw what he did at the barn. He threatened Hershel. He's been out of control and angry for no reason since…I don't know, but he's scaring people and he's scaring me…" she sighed, "He says you can't protect us, that he's the one who's been keeping us safe all this time…the barn and everything…he says he's not gonna break us apart, that he doesn't want to steal what's not his…but he thinks the baby is his…I'm afraid…he wouldn't hesitate to claim the baby…"

Rick frowned deeply.

"He's getting out of control, Rick…Just look at his reaction and what he suggested earlier about leaving that boy to the walkers. He's…I don't know…he's getting dangerous…and he wasn't like that before Harry…"

"Harry? What does this have to do with him?" Rick interrupted, confused.

"I'm not sure, but I think he's doing something to Shane, changing him into someone he's not…you know he can do that, he has his magic. I mean, he easily suggested erasing someone's memories…"

"For our safety."

"Yeah, but what else could he do? I mean, look at Shane. Does he act like the man you knew before? Was he always so angry and dangerous? Until two days ago, he was fine and then yesterday, he suddenly changed."

"Well, you said it yourself, he was fine two days ago. If Harry did something, it would've been way before that…"

"Maybe or maybe not. I mean, two nights ago they…had sex, remember? What if Harry did something to him at the time?"

"Are you listening to yourself, Lori?" Rick laughed incredulously. "Is that what this is about? You don't like Shane being with Harry? Are you jealous?"

"Rick! It's not like that at all! Shane and I agree that what we did was a mistake," she quickly assured him. "It's just…we don't know what he's capable of, alright? And it's not just me either; everyone in the group is suspicious of him."

"What? No…"

"Look, Rick. I know you want to see the best in a person and you feel like you owe him for saving Carl. I do feel like that. But other than that, he has done nothing but lead our group from one danger to another since he arrived. Just ask the others, they'll tell you the same. Besides, do you really want to risk him doing something to Shane, your best friend? At this point, the way he's acting, Shane's gonna break us all apart and I don't think he realizes that…that he wants that…"

Rick opened and closed his mouth, exhaling. "Look, if what you're saying is true then…why? Why would Harry do something like that? What's his reason?"

Lori shrugged. "Beats me. How should I know? I'm just telling you my concerns…everybody's concerns."

Rick sighed again. "Even if that was true, not that I believe it, what can we do? Alienate him until he leaves? That's not an option at all."

"Why not? Why are you so willing to trust him?" Lori was upset.

Rick looked at her in disbelief, like he couldn't believe she was stupid enough to ask that question. She was offended. "You mean other than the fact that he can do whatever he wants with his magic like you've been accusing him of all this time? How about being the only doctor we have? You're pregnant, Lori! We're going to need him! We can't afford to alienate him just because you don't like him!"

Lori opened her mouth to say something but then closed it again when she couldn't find any comeback because he was right. She didn't look happy at being called out, though, so she turned away from her husband with a huff.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

Harry looked up from his perch on the farm fence when he heard footsteps. He saw Maggie running towards a tree not far away before stopping to regain her breath. There was a pained look on her face and her eyes were rimmed with red. A soft sob escaped her. She looked up and saw him there and blanched.

He smiled wryly at her and waved.

Maggie sighed and smiled back, walking towards the fence. "Didn't notice you're there," she said.

"I needed some time alone," he shrugged.

"Yeah…Me too…" she sighed.

"What's the matter?"

"Oh, nothing…just being stupid and falling for a guy who thinks loving me back is a bad thing," she said bitterly.

Harry had to keep himself from flinching rather violently. That really hit a nerve.

"Glenn?" he asked carefully.

"Who else?" she snorted.

"Well…Glenn's always been a glass-half-full kind of guy. His words, not mine," Harry offered.

She laughed, "Yeah, I guess so…called him a rotten egg once…"

Harry raised an eyebrow.

"I was angry he when told your people about the barn," she smiled. "You guys must be angry with us too…for keeping a secret like that."

"It was dangerous…but it's not like you didn't keep everything under control. Besides, I'm the last person who should be angry about keeping secrets," Harry shrugged.

"Yeah. I saw how they treated you for keeping the girl's death a secret…"

"Yeah…" Harry had to look down at that.

"I understand, though. Kind of…I mean, it's not like they were going to just take your word on it. I bet that at least one of them would've wanted to find her body as proof. Especially Lori since she seems to hate you so much…she seems like the type that would do everything to prove you wrong…"

Harry snorted in agreement and then sighed tiredly, "It's really exhausting, huh."

"Yeah…"

"Just give Glenn some time…I'm sure he'll come around and grovel on his hands and knees for your forgiveness," Harry said.

She giggled. "Well, I'm not going to let it be easy for him."

"Good," Harry grinned.

Now, if only the same thing would happen to him.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

The day turned into night without any more confrontation with the other members of the group or any of the Greene's. Harry still stayed in the tent. He had intended to move his things out earlier, but when he came back to the tent, he found that all of Shane's things were gone. That was another cut to his heart.

He had no idea where the man stayed after he moved out of their tent. He had probably gone back to the RV since he didn't see any new tent at the camp. No, Harry was busy trying to force himself to sleep so he wouldn't spend the night crying his heart out, not that he thought he had any tears left after that morning.

The mattress was too big for him and he could still smell the lingering scent Shane left behind from two nights ago. He spent hours staring at the tent's wall with his back to the empty spot beside…behind him before falling asleep. It was torture. Just like last night. Only without the crying and tears.

The next several days passed by quickly and with tension among the group members. Each of them had problems of their own to be busy with and most of them had a problem with their resident wizard. By that time, everyone already knew about the break up between Harry and Shane, though they didn't know the cause. Well, most of them didn't know. They could see how much Harry was affected by the break up, though, and they were torn between feeling angry at him and feeling sorry for him. Harry spent his days away from them as much as he could to avoid the contempt and pitying looks sent his way. He occasionally spent a little time with the Greene's to check on Beth but Hershel handled that one most of the time. The old man felt guilty for leaving when his family needed him the most.

There was an awkward tension between Shane and Rick because their leader now knew about the affair between Shane and Lori before his return and also because each man believed that the unborn baby Lori was carrying was theirs. Both men avoided each other and spoke only when it was needed but never once did they mention the baby or more precisely, the parentage of the baby. It made the atmosphere around the camp even more uncomfortable because the two men they considered leaders of the group were at odds and they were mostly oblivious to the real cause.

"Maggie told me about what you did for her," Hershel said.

Harry looked at him in question.

"About you helping her to get closure by calling her mom and brother back…" Hershel hesitated, "I want to thank you…Maggie feels much better now…she's letting go, but I need you to not do it again."

"So, you don't want to…"

"No. If I see them, I wouldn't be able to let go. I'd go back to holding tightly on to the past and you've seen what it has done to us. Besides, you didn't have the right to do that, to pull them back from their rest, their peace…" Hershel said heatedly.

Instead of being offended like he expected Harry to be, the wizard only smiled at him.

"You're a wise man, Hershel," Harry said. "You're right. I didn't have the right to do that, no matter if I intend to help or not. You don't know how many people have drowned in grief and turned suicidal because they kept calling their dead loved ones back and then realizing that it wasn't the real thing."

"And you still did that to Maggie?" he looked angry.

"Because she needed it," Harry shrugged. "And I knew that she was strong enough to know that it was only a one-time thing for closure. I knew that she wouldn't take it for granted and drown herself in sorrow because she still has a family that loves and needs her. She's that strong."

The look on Hershel's face softened. "Yeah, you're right. She's strong…stronger than me in that aspect…"

"Beth on the other hand…I wouldn't do that kind of thing for her. At least, not yet. She's not strong enough yet," Harry said. "You better not tell her about this…that reminds me, I need to tell that to Maggie too."

"I'll tell her later," Hershel nodded in agreement. "Thank you, Harry."

"You're welcome," Harry smiled.

Hershel returned his smile but then he also looked troubled and seemed to hesitate.

"What is it?" he asked.

"I've noticed the tension between you and your people…"

Harry couldn't help but twitch at the words, showing what he felt about the situation. Hershel sent him a pitying look, making Harry want to hate him.

"If they make you feel singled out…you're welcome to the couch in the living room, it's not much but we don't have a spare room anymore and…"

"Thank you," Harry cut him off, "Thanks…I think…I'll accept your offer." He bet that Shane must've been feeling the effects of sleeping on the RV floor by now because the man had been crankier lately. Harry mentally slapped himself on the back of the head. Even now, he was still concerned about the man. But he couldn't help it and still felt hope that things would get better between them.

If he were honest with himself, he would admit that he avoided the group, not because he was feeling guilty like the others thought, though that was part of it, but mostly because he was angry. He could feel it in himself, the anger and hurt that was clawing at him. He was angry with Lori for doing what she did, turning Shane against him and using her unborn baby to do it. He was disgusted. He was also angry with Shane for leading him on and just throwing him away the moment he became an inconvenience to him. So, yeah, he was angry and disappointed. But most of all, he was angry with himself for being a fool.

He should have known better than to just open his heart so easily to a stranger because, in the end, that was what Shane was. A stranger. They didn't know each other. Their relationship, if you could call it a relationship, was built on secrets and desperation caused by the end of the world. Harry blamed it on a decade of loneliness, never having someone to himself after leaving Britain, and after months of nothing but walkers, he was back to being that foolish Gryffindor that thought everything in the world was just fine and dandy, that even with the apocalypse, happiness could be found just around the corner.

Harry snorted at his own idiocy. Snape would have had a field day sneering at and insulting him for this. Now, he avoided everyone, especially Shane and the Grimes, because he was afraid he would do something terrible in a moment of anger and jealousy.

"Harry! Dad!"

The men turned around to see Maggie running towards them with a wide smile on her face. It was the first happy smile they had seen on her since the incident at the barn.

"Beth's awake!"

Both men jumped to their feet. Beth had been asleep for the last few days, even after the sleeping potion Harry had given her wore off. After checking her over and over, between him and Hershel, they concluded it was probably a psychological reason that Beth was still in shock and would come out of it when she was ready. Hershel had to hook her up on an IV to make sure her body got all the nutrition she needed. Afterwards, they could only monitor her vitals carefully while Patricia and Maggie tended to her more private needs religiously.

Together, the three of them went back to the house in a haste. They found Patricia, Jimmy and Otis waiting in the room with Beth sitting on the bed. They made a way for Harry and Hershel when they saw them.

"How is she?" Hershel asked.

"She just woke up a few minutes ago," Patricia told him.

"Beth…"

"Daddy," the girl whimpered into his arms as Hershel immediately hugged her.

The girl looked tired with red-rimmed eyes, messy hair and a general disheveled appearance. Harry took a seat on the other side of her bed, drawing the father and daughter's attention.

"Let Harry check on you, okay, Beth? I need to know that you're all right," Hershel said.

Beth sniffed and shook her head. "Can you do it please, Daddy?"

"I…of course," Hershel looked apologetically at him.

Harry shook his head and just smiled in understanding. He stood up. "Well, I'll take my leave then since my service is not needed. But I do recommend some meals for her. Other than the IV, she hasn't eaten any real food for days."

"I'll fix something up for her," Maggie said immediately.

Having said that, Harry left the room. Maggie caught up to him and touched his arm to get his attention.

"Harry, I'm sorry about Beth…"

"No, I understand," Harry cut her off, "She didn't request your father because she has something against me, Maggie. She just came out of her shock and right now, she's feeling sad and lonely and she needs her family to feel safe. That's why she asked for your dad. I understand…I did have some patients like that before…you know…mostly children."

"Oh, right," Maggie smiled sheepishly. "I just don't want you to think…you know…especially with the way your people treating you right now. I know it's not my business but…"

"I appreciate it," Harry grinned and patted the hand on his arm gently. "Now, go get something for your sister to eat, all right?"

The news about Beth's recovery from her shock spread in no time. The women were especially happy and turned into mother hens. The men were just relieved, said some good wishes to the Greene's and then went back to their own duties. Hershel said she was fine, though she needed more rest and it was clear she was still grieving so they left her alone after some well wishes.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

Maggie was preparing some light meals with Lori's help. She was hesitant when the woman offered before because of the way she treated Harry but she never did anything offensive towards her family, if anything she had been kind and helpful. And from what she had seen, the worst things she did to Harry were some hateful glares and some accusations, though she didn't know whether they were baseless accusations or not because she didn't know the group's history.

Honestly, she could understand why Lori was being so hateful towards Harry. The woman was scared because Harry was an unknown. Not only that, he had this power that could do who-knows-what and he was also immortal so if he was proved to be a danger, they couldn't deal with him like her dad and Rick did to the men at the town and trying to would only backfire on them.

Maggie didn't believe that Harry was that kind of man, though. Her dad had told them about Harry's life story after the wizard had told him and his group and from what she heard, the man was nothing but a self-sacrificing hero. But not everyone saw him the same way. Some people, like Lori, only saw the power and feared and hated it and then blamed it for everything that went wrong. That was human nature, to hate what you feared. Maggie didn't think it was her place to talk some sense into her, though. She was an outsider here. The last time an outsider tried to stick their nose into someone else's business – also known as the "Barn Incident" – things fell apart and people got angry and reckless and, in the end, endangered everything they had worked hard for; normality and a safe haven.

She peeked at Lori while cutting the tomatoes. The woman was cutting the chicken. From the way she worked, Maggie bet she wasn't a great cook like she pretended to be…or maybe she didn't pretend and just thought she was good. Maggie mentally shook her head viciously. Now that was resentment on her friend's behalf talking.

'You're not that kind of girl, Maggie. Let it go. It's none of your business,' she told herself. 'Better go back to minding your own business.'

"Did Rick say anything to you about Glenn when they got back from town?" Maggie asked Lori.

Lori looked up at her. By this time, everyone knew Shane and Harry weren't the only couple with problems. Well, they were an ex-couple and from the looks of things, Glenn and Maggie were almost there too. Though she didn't know what their problem was, but she noticed it started not long after the boy came back from town with Rick, Hershel and Randall.

"Just that it had gotten pretty bad," Lori said while continuously working.

"He's not the same," Maggie sighed, "He says he froze. Blames me. Says I got inside his head."

"He came back, that's what matters. Men have to do certain things, you know that, and they're either gonna blame the little woman as the reason they do them or the reason they don't," Lori shrugged, "I'll tell you something. What happens out there happens out there. And we…we're just trying to keep it together till they get back."

"Things were good. And maybe I…"

"Glenn's a big boy. He makes his own choices. I mean you…" Lori tilted her head at her, "Do you have anything to apologize for?"

Maggie shook her head in denial.

"Tell him to man up and pull himself together. Just don't say 'man up.' It never goes well," Lori laughed and Maggie had to smile at that one.

She sighed. "Let me just get this to Beth."

"You go on. I got it," Lori said, taking the food tray with her. She found Beth lying on her bed, staring into space silently. "Knock, knock," she said to gain her attention.

The girl sat up in a sitting position when she heard her enter the room. Lori placed the tray on her bedside table but Beth just sat there silently. Her eyes were rimmed with red. She still looked like a mess.

"How about this? You eat up all your food and we'll get you up and out of here and go take a walk. What do you say?" she tried to tempt the girl. "You'd do good to be outside."

"You're pregnant?" Beth asked instead. Lori looked at her but before she could answer, the girl spoke again, "How could you do that?"

"Uh, I don't really have a choice," she replied.

"You think it'll make a difference?" the girl asked again.

Lori hesitated because she knew it wouldn't make much difference, whether it was a good difference or a bad one. In fact, she feared it would only make the situation worse for them, but she lied anyway, for both of their sake.

"Of course it will. You eat something," Lori told her with a smile before leaving the room.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

Harry returned to the camp to fetch his things from the tent. Hershel had told his family that he would stay with them and Patricia had already prepared a pillow and a blanket on the couch for him. When he got out of the tent, he found Daryl was watching him with a frown. He smiled at the other man.

"Where are the others?"

"On their guarding posts," Daryl said, "The 'leaders' are out patrolling since walkers love to wander to this farm. What's with the bag?"

"Hershel offered me his couch to sleep on if I feel more welcome with them than here," Harry explained as he stepped closer to the man.

Daryl snorted. "Damn right you're more welcome there. People here at the camp are slowly losing their minds."

"I think you can crash on the floor next to my couch if I talk to Hershel," Harry grinned teasingly.

"Sorry, but my cot's more comfortable. Besides, if anyone has a problem with me they can talk to my wizard-made arrows first," Daryl smirked.

Harry huffed out a laugh. "I gotta go back to the house. See you later at dinner?"

Daryl nodded. Ever since the barn incident, Harry and Daryl spent dinners together while the group still had their homely dinner ritual with the Greene's. Maggie had invited him and Daryl but he didn't want to cause any awkwardness with the group there and the redneck wasn't about to leave him alone so they had dinner together around the campfire while everyone was inside the house. Moving to Hershel's couch wasn't about to change that routine.

Looking at the unreadable look Daryl had on his face, though, Harry couldn't help but ask, "What?"

"You know, you can always stay with me," Daryl said.

"You're sharing a tent with T-Dog or Glenn, depends on whose turn it is for the night watch. Looking at the situation, I don't think either of them would appreciate me staying with you guys."

"I can always go to the highway and find some tents for us. I'm sure there are many left there. We can camp over there, away from these people," Daryl said, nodded his head in the direction of where the ground was higher at one side of the farm. "It's not like they're gonna miss us. This people have been weird with me, too."

"Weird?"

Daryl shrugged. "I might not be a wizard, but my blood still has magic so I'm still one of the freaks. Carol also knows we're family. Dunno if she told others or not."

"Oh, Daryl…I'm so sorry to hear that…" Harry said, feeling hurt on the older man's behalf.

"What's there to be sorry about? They're just a bunch of idiots who left my brother behind. He lost his hand no thanks to them," Daryl groused. "So what about that tent?"

Harry didn't even hesitate when he answered. "All right. I'll tell Hershel about it and thank him again for his offer. But are you sure you wanna camp over there? It's beyond the protection of the wards."

"So? Just tell the old man. I'm gonna find us a tent."

"See ya later then," Harry chuckled as he walked towards the farmhouse to find Hershel.

"Saw Andrea run to the house with the Greene girl earlier. That Lori bitch is there too," Daryl called after him.

"Thanks for the warning. I'll make sure to never turn my back on them," Harry grinned when he got another amused snort from the man.

When he returned to the house, Harry frowned at the shouting he could hear from upstairs. He placed his duffel bag on the couch and was about to go upstairs when he saw Lori and Andrea in the kitchen looking tense. He bit his lips in indecision for a moment before approaching them.

"Anyone know what the shouting is about?" he asked tentatively.

Both women looked up at him and scowled. Andrea looked hesitant at first but answered reluctantly, "Beth stole a knife from the tray of food Lori brought her but refused to eat. Her intention was pretty clear. Lori told Maggie about it."

"Oh…" Harry didn't know what to say.

"What?" Lori asked at the look Andrea sent her.

"This could've been handled better," Andrea said.

"How so?"

"You shouldn't have taken the knife away," Andrea said again, this time disapproval clear in her voice.

"Excuse me?" Lori asked again incredulously.

"And they said I'm a cold-hearted bastard who lets people die on purpose," Harry drawled, earning two glares from the women.

Andrea looked back to Lori. "You were wrong, like Dale taking my gun. That wasn't your decision. She has to choose to live on her own. She has to find her own reason."

"Want me to tie a noose for her?" Lori asked sarcastically.

"If she's serious, she'll figure out a way," Andrea argued.

"Doesn't mean I can't stop her or let her know that I care," Lori shot back.

"That has nothing to do with it, Lori. She only has so many choices in front of her, and she believes the best one is suicide."

"Like you before?" Harry asked at the same time Lori said, "That's not an option."

Andrea glared at him. "Of course it is. She doesn't need to be yelled at or treated like a child."

"She needs a loaded gun, right?" Lori mocked. "You'll understand if I don't send you in there."

"I came through it," Andrea snapped.

"And became such a productive member of the group," Lori scoffed. "Let Maggie handle this her way."

Andrea frowned. "I contribute. I help keep this place safe."

"The men can handle this on their own. They don't need your help," Lori said.

"I'm sorry. What would you have me do?" Andrea mocked back.

"Oh, there's plenty of work to go around," Lori said again.

"Are you serious?" Andrea shot her an incredulous look.

"Wait a minute," Harry interrupted. "Am I hearing this, right? We're in the middle of zombie apocalypse, everything is falling apart and you're arguing about…what? Men handling the guns while women should cook dinner and do the laundry? Seriously, Lori? Not only are you a racist, you're sexist too?"

"She puts a burden on the rest of us, on me, and Carol, and Patricia and Maggie. Cooking and cleaning and caring for Beth. And you're just the same, wizard. Instead of helping to keep this place safe, you just walk around being useless," Lori spat before looking back at Andrea. "And you sit up on that RV working on your tan with a shotgun in your lap. You both are just the same. You don't care about anyone but yourself."

"No, I am on watch against walkers," Andrea said angrily. "That is what matters, not fresh mint leaves in the lemonade."

"We are providing stability. We are trying to create a life worth living," Lori turned her nose up.

"Are you kidding me?" Andrea's voice raised in disbelief. Harry couldn't blame her.

"Look, I went after Rick. I took down two walkers. Don't act like you're the only one…"

"After crashing Maggie's car! Ever apologize for that?"

"Crashing her…you're insane."

"No, you are," Andrea cut her off. "And you're the one that's self-centered, the way you take it all for granted."

Lori looked angry. She got in Andrea's face and growled, "My husband is out there for the hundredth time, patrolling to keep this place safe. My son was shot. Don't you dare tell me that I take this for granted!"

"You don't get it, do you?" Harry said softly.

"What do you mean?" Lori glared.

"Your husband came back from the dead. Your son too. And now you've got a baby on the way," Andrea pointed out. "The rest of us have piled up our losses, me, Carol, Beth, even Harry lost his entire race! But you just keep on keeping."

"We have all suffered…" Lori said weakly, starting to see her point.

"Playing house, acting like the queen bee, laying down rules for everybody but yourself," Andrea said with a sneer and jeering in her voice. "You know what? Go ahead. Go in there and tell that little girl that everything's gonna be okay, just like it is for you. She'll get a husband, a son, baby…" A pause. "A boyfriend."

Lori's head snapped up to look at her so fast that Harry was kind of disappointed her neck didn't snap. Okay, that was evil of him but…damn! That last part just ignited his anger and jealousy. The blonde-haired woman smirked at a speechless Lori.

"She just has to look on the bright side," Andrea said mockingly.

Lori didn't dare to say anything and Harry didn't move as Andrea walked past him. When she was out of sight, Lori glared accusingly at him. He raised an eyebrow.

"What? I didn't tell her anything. If you didn't notice, she kinda hates me and avoids me lately. These people are sharp, you know. They can figure things out on their own," Harry snorted. "Providing stability Merlin's wrinkled arse. You're the one who turns people on each other here because you don't like the way things are and destroy the peace."

"What? How dare you…!"

"I know about the ultimatum you gave Shane, you know," Harry said again. "I can't help but think…if that's really his baby or Rick's or you just don't care and use your unborn baby to have it your way, to get everything you want… I have half a mind to shoot you with a paternity spell to find out who the father really is, you know. What do you say? It certainly would help to erase everyone's doubt, right?"

Harry had never seen anyone turn that white so fast before. He left before she could say anything. He wasn't about to let her have the last word. Call him spiteful, vindictive, whatever…because that was what he was nowadays when it came to one Lori Grimes.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

Andrea knocked softly a couple of times before opening the door tentatively. Maggie and Beth were sitting on the bed. Both girls were sporting red and teary eyes. Maggie came to the door.

"Hey," she said in greeting.

"You can't sit on top of her," Andrea half-whispered.

"I can't leave her by herself," Maggie said tiredly.

"You're gonna have to. You're exhausted. Go get some air. I'll sit with her," Andrea offered. Maggie hesitated. "Go ahead. Wash up, get something to eat. I got it."

She still hesitated, but then she nodded at Andrea. "Okay. Thanks," she said.

Andrea stepped aside to let her out with a smile. She entered the room and closed the door behind her. Sitting on an antique looking chair, Andrea did nothing but stare at Beth with a smile. The girl looked uncomfortable and a little sheepish at the same time.

"Aren't you gonna say something?" Beth asked softly.

Andrea didn't reply. After a pause, she walked over to the door on the other side of the room and opened it.

"Is that what you want?" Andrea asked.

Silence. She sighed softly when Beth didn't look up.

"The pain doesn't go away," she said again "You just make room for it."

Then she left her alone.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

Harry went to Jimmy's bedroom where a spare cot was pulled out for his latest patient, Randall. The boy was unconscious still. He had been keeping him in a deep sleep since day one, and only let him wake up when it was time to eat, together with a restroom break, because no one felt comfortable with a teenage thug around. They were afraid that he would take off when no one was looking, find his friends and bring them back to their little safe haven.

He checked on the boy's injury. It had been healing nicely. They would be able to let him go the next day at the earliest or maybe the day after tomorrow at the latest. When he finished checking on the boy, he found Maggie on the porch with a plate of a half-eaten sandwich and a glass of orange juice.

"Hey," Harry approached her. "I heard what happened. How's Beth?"

"Crazy," Maggie said.

Harry chuckled.

"I'm serious," she frowned, "She wants to kill herself and she…she asked me to go with her…"

"Oh, Maggie…" he pulled her into a comforting hug.

"How could she say that? How could she…" she choked with emotions.

Harry shushed her. "It's okay…shush…she's just…she's grieving. Everyone's been there. She's only experiencing it now because your father had been trying to protect you all this time. It just…reality finally sinking in and she's grieving. She'll come through it. Believe me. You just have to be strong for her."

"Did you ever think about doing it, Harry?"

"Sometimes…but then I remembered all of the people who sacrificed their lives so I could live, my parents, my godfather, even my most hated professor and many others…and I change my mind every time," he replied. "Though I don't really need suicide. Somehow, I just keep finding myself dying one way or another."

"And then coming back," Maggie said.

"Yes. And then coming back," he chuckled.

Maggie looked up at him. "It must be really hard for you…"

"I got use to it," he shrugged.

"How old are you really?"

Harry looked at her amused. He decided to humor her. "I'm thirty."

"You don't look thirty."

"Well, part of being an immortal is being ageless. Imagine if I live until I'm a thousand and keep aging," Harry shuddered. "I stopped aging somewhere in my early twenties."

"That…would make you the enemy of all of us women," Maggie smirked.

Harry laughed. "Yeah…hey, maybe that's why Lori hates me so much," he said in good humor.

Maggie giggled. "How many times have you died before?"

"That's an unusual question. All throughout my life? Well…uh…" Harry tried to remember, "I dunno…six or maybe seven times? Or is it more than that? I don't really remember." Maggie raised an eyebrow at him. "What? It's not like I'm really counting. Who counts how many times they die anyway?"

"Good point," Maggie conceded. "Can you…can you bring people back?"

All of the humor in Harry fled at the question. "No," he answered seriously. "Even if I could, I wouldn't do it."

"Why? Your people are extinct. Wouldn't you want to bring them back if you could?" Maggie asked again.

"There are things like natural order. In my journey to look for some answers, I've learned that you don't mess with death. It would bring nothing but misery and disaster everywhere. Just look at Voldemort, the terrorist my people faced. He feared death so much that he tried everything to make himself immortal. He didn't die when he was supposed to and his continued existence brought nothing but chaos and death to others," Harry explained solemnly.

"Another example is my ancestors. The Peverells defied Death. According to legend, they cheated Death and now look at me, paying for their 'gifts from Death'. There are consequences when you cheat Death and those consequences are severe. I saw a girl live when she was supposed to die from her cancer. She suddenly became healthy. The reaper that had been hovering over her for months just disappeared. It didn't make any sense."

"What happened?"

"Well, I got curious. So I investigated it. Turned out, her father made a deal with a being that I won't tell you about to save his daughter. Because she miraculously lost her cancer, her doctor left the hospital early for the first time in months with his fiancé who happened to be a brain surgeon at the same hospital and had always been waiting for him faithfully to go home together. Half of the nurses weren't needed because the girl didn't need so much attention anymore. They were just waiting for a further check-up the next day. So the nurses went home for the night. One of them got into a car accident right in front of the hospital. She was bleeding and everything but the most fatal injury was the one on her brain. She needed an immediate surgery, but where was the surgeon?"

"She went home with her fiancé, the little girl's doctor…" Maggie said in realization.

"So the nurse died. The nurse happened to be a newlywed. Her husband came running into the hospital in less than an hour from the other side of the city after he was informed about the accident, just in time to see his wife die but not enough time to say goodbye. Two hours later, the husband was brought back to the hospital because he was in a drunken driving accident. He died on the table. The other car he crashed into had three victims inside. A father, a mother, and a little ten-year-old boy. They died on scene."

Maggie gasped.

"The next day, the hospital received another patient. Nurse Morgan went home to find her house being robbed. She was left with several stab wounds for hours before her neighbor checked on her because the open door looked suspicious. It was touch and go for her. For a while, we thought she wouldn't make it. She never recovered the motor functions in her right arm, half of her liver had to be removed, she got wicked looking scars and she had to resign from her job. I heard the robber was caught after that. Apparently, he had been watching her for a while now and got her schedule. She wasn't supposed to be home that night. It was supposed to be an easy in and out robbery."

"All of that because a little girl lived?" Maggie asked in disbelief.

"All of that and more," Harry said. "Before all of these tragedies, there were no reapers around those people that died that night. I know that because I have my reaper radar active all the time to help me with my job in the hospital. That means I can see reapers everywhere I go and I can sense it when someone's dying and about to leave the living world. That girl felt wrong to me after her recovery. She made me uneasy, my skin scrawled whenever she was near and I had to restrain myself from lashing out at her."

"Why?" Maggie gasped again.

"Because she wasn't supposed to live and everything about her felt wrong and it made me want to correct that wrongness. But there was only one way to do that. I was so relieved when she was released a week later. That girl…wherever she went, she would bring nothing but chaos and disaster around her. Because she was an anomaly. Her very existence defied the laws of life and death. When a reaper comes for you, you go with it, peacefully or not it's up to you, but you don't deny Death. The only death that could be changed is the one where free will is involved."

"Free will?"

"It's something that God granted to mankind," he grinned cheekily before turning serious again. "And when I say involves free will, I mean death by free will, meaning suicide. When it comes to suicide, death tends to be uncertain. A reaper would come when someone decides to off themselves but if they change their mind, before it's too late, the reaper would leave."

"And if it's too late?"

"Then they die or, depending on the suicide method, slip into a long, long coma until the day they're supposed to die or if they're lucky, they would wake up before that. But that rarely happens, the coma I mean. Mostly they either die or live."

"Is that why you didn't help the previous members of your group before?" Maggie asked carefully.

Harry's look turned painful and guilty. "No. With Jim, yes, that was the reason. As was Jenner. With Amy and the others at the camp back then…it came as a surprise. It was the first night I joined the group after months of being accompanied by nothing but walkers. I let my guard down because of my immortality and became careless."

"Wait, if the girl was an anomaly, what about you…oh, was that why you said that? That day after you helped Beth with your potions, after Lori confronted you…you said…"

"Yeah, that's why," he said with a wry smile.

Maggie looked uneasy because of this.

"Don't worry, Maggie," Harry said. "I…I'm planning to leave. Don't tell anyone, though."

She looked at him in surprise. "But…"

"I don't want to take that risk anymore…after everything that happened…" Harry lowered his eyes. "Besides…I had already planned to leave before, only I found a reason to stay. Now that I've lost that reason…"

"Is it because of Shane? I noticed things have been bad between you two. You wanna talk about it?" she asked in concern.

"I think everyone noticed that," Harry smiled sadly, "It's the same with you and Glenn. He thinks loving me is a bad thing."

"Oh Harry…"

This time, it was Maggie who pulled him into comforting hug. The wizard returned the hug, taking comfort while he could because this probably was the last time he would get it. They pulled away after awhile.

"I better go back to Beth," Maggie said, "Don't want to leave her too long. Andrea's with her but still…"

"Okay. Leave the dishes to me," Harry said when Maggie reached for the plate and glass, "Just go. I'll take care of it."

"Thanks," she grinned before taking off.

Harry took the dishes to the kitchen. To his surprise, Lori was still there. She glared at him and stomped off. He shrugged and just washed the dishes when he heard shouting from upstairs and something breaking. He ran towards the stairs and he could hear Maggie shouting for him from Beth's room. He climbed the stairs two at a time and made a beeline to the room. Maggie and Lori were inside.

"HARRY!"

"Maggie?"

"Beth's inside with broken glass!" she said tugging urgently at the bathroom's doorknob.

Harry could see Lori moving from the corner of his eyes to where she found a fire poker, but Harry just waved his hand as he strode inside and the door slammed open with a powerful force. Maggie didn't even look surprised, instead she immediately ran to her sister's side. Lori looked at him in annoyance but Harry didn't care as his attention turned to the bleeding wrist Beth was sporting and then his eyes glowed.

"I'm sorry," Beth whimpered.

"Oh my God…" Lori looked at the wound in horror.

"Harry!" Maggie looked scared.

"Nothing. No reaper. It's okay," Harry assured her and turned to Beth. "I take it you've changed your mind?"

She nodded and then cried. "I'm so sorry…"

"Come here then," Harry guided them towards the bed.

-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-

Andrea ran as quickly as she could towards the house after she heard what happened. She slowed to a stop in front of the house just as Maggie stormed out to meet her. Lori followed her but stopped at the door.

"Where were you?" Maggie demanded coldly.

"I heard. Is she all right?" Andrea asked.

"She would be if you had stayed with her. Where were you?" she asked again.

"How bad is she?"

"It wasn't deep."

Andrea paused to think. "She wants to live. She made her decision."

Fury lit in Maggie's eyes at her words. "She tried to kill herself!"

"No, she didn't."

"Harry's treating her right now! With the very magic you deem useless! My father's in there hovering over her worriedly. He doesn't need the stress!"

"She'll live."

Maggie stopped her when she tried to walk towards the house. Andrea looked surprised. "Stay away from her," Maggie said. "From both of us. Don't you dare step foot inside this house again."

Then she turned away and strode into the house, leaving a shocked Andrea behind. Lori gripped her arm before she went inside.

"I'm not gonna say she was right, but Beth has made her choice. She wants to live and now she knows it," Lori told her. "And sometimes you have to cross the line."

Maggie just hummed at her emotionlessly and walked inside. Clearly, she dismissed what Lori said. Andrea looked at Lori who didn't know what to do or say. They were still at odds and it was clear in Lori's eyes that she also blamed this on her. In the end, she nodded and turned around. A hurt look crossed her face and she held back the tears as she kept on walking farther away from the house.

~ To be continued ~