A loud clicking noise caused Carl to blink his eyes open. Warm sheets were tangled around his legs and the bright morning light filled the room they laid in. Next to him, propped up against the headboard was Negan who held his new polaroid. It was far from new considering how beat up and cracked it was, but it still worked. One of Negans men found it a few weeks back and since then Negan had used it. He took photos of Carl any chance he got. While he was reading or eating. When he got out of the shower or walked back into the room. Carl was sick of it and Negan knew it.
"I was sleeping." Carl rolled over, looking up at Negan. "Creep." He pulled the phogo from Negans hand and watched it slowly develop. "Why did you take a picture of this?"
"You looked beautiful." Negan set the camera down and reached over, grabbing the photo back. "I wanted to make sure I could remember how beautiful you looked years later."
"I'm gonna be here." Carl sat up, the sheets pooling around his hips. "You don't need a photo to keep me around. I'm not going anywhere." Carl pulled the photo away and dropped it into the trash can, climbing into Negans lap. "You're stuck with me."
"Things happen." Negan all but whispered. "I know they do. You know it, too." He glanced down at the photo that lay on top of papers and used napkins. "Is there anything wrong with keeping it?"
"Keeping it means you think I'll leave." Carl kissed him softly. "And I'm not leaving. You don't need a photo because I will be with you the entire time. Okay?" He ran his fingers through Negan's hair.
"Okay." Negan breathed out, leaning up and kissing Carl. "But I'm not gonna stop taking photos." He brushed some hair behind Carls ear.
"Why?" Carl grinned.
Negan picked up the camera and snapped a photo of Carls smile. "Because I like keeping little moments like this in my pocket. Helps me remind myself why I keep going." He pulled the photo out and started to shake it.
"Sappy." Carl grinned, flopping down next to him, grabbinf the camera. He rested his head on Negans shoulder, holding the camera above them. A bright flash blinded them both before the camera slowly spit out a photo. Carl laid the camera down and held the photo in his hand. "I get it, though."
"Yeah." Negan looked over at Carl. "Its nice... when things get real bad it reminds you who you do it for." He rubbed his knuckles against Carls arm. "And its been years since I've had a reason. I can't let it go. Not for a second." He was holding on too tight but he couldn't help it.
"You aren't letting me go." Carl looked over at him. "I'm here, Negan. I've lived through so much. Don't plan on losing me any time soon."
Nine months later, the morning light didn't shine so bright throughout the room. The once chipped and faded camera now lay on the floor, broken bits of it mixed in with shattered glass and shards of wood. Negan hadn't had a moment to capture in what felt like years. He had nothing to come home to and nothing to live for. In his hands were multiple crinkled photos of Carl on different days.
Negans knees ached as he knelt on the ground, looking down at them. Nine months ago Carl got bit and died. When he left for home he refused to let Negan take a photo of him. Carl died only days later when Negan attacked Alexandria. He had left Rick alone for nine months, sending his men out for supplies and to kill a few walkers just to keep the numbers down.
There was no more war or fighting. Negan hardly left his room. He ate and slept and did a few check ups on the workers every few days. There was no life or fight left in his body. Negan had been on auto pilot since the day he found out Carl died. Carl was one more thing he had lost. One more thing he couldn't protect. The guilt and loneliness was eating him alive.
"Sir?" His door slowly opened. "There are a few survivors outside that we need to interview. Alexis says they seem fine but none of us know for sure... after all-" There was a dry laugh. "You are the boss."
Reluctantly, Negan stood up and dropped the photos on the ground with the rest of the trash. "Yeah, I am." He picked up his bat and walked towards the door. "It isn't as glamorous as you would think."
Downstairs was a family. A mother and a father and a son. The mother had short blonde hair and blue eyes while the father had long, curly hair and green eyes. Between the two parents was a son. He had long brown hair like his father, but it was more straight, and a deep brown eye. The boy was missing his left eye and had scars covering his face.
"A gun messed up." The woman breathed out when she noticed Negan was staring. "It wasn't a zombie accident. Hes safe. We all are." She played with her hands as she looked up at Negan fearfully. "We try to get him to cover it up-"
"Stop." Negan breathed out, walking towards the boy. "He doesn't need to cover it up." Negan raised his bat and pressed undernreath the boys chin. People around him gasped but he only smiled. "Its badass."