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Caged

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Caged Chapter One

Kate closed her eyes as she laid in the motel room that Viv's band of women were staying at. It had been seven to eight months since the fall of the farm and since she had been separated from the group. Seven to eight months since Alice, Sutton and Lucy had saved her in the woods.

It had been a month now since she gave birth. That she had been keeping track of in a journal. It had been a month since she gave birth and her baby, a boy had been stillborn. A month since they had, had to put the baby down because he had turned in her arms and almost bit her.

"Katie?" A sleepy voice asked from beside her in the bed and she turned to look at Lucy, the redhead who had been keeping her company in a not so friendly manner. Something that had started out as comfort long before she had even lost her son. Way back when she had convinced herself Zac was probably dead. That would have had to been three months after the fall of the farm.

"Yeah," Kate said as she gave a smile to the woman and leaned down to kiss her on the lips.

Lucy smiled as she kissed Kate back briefly before pulling away to yawn, "Are you okay?" she asked raising an eyebrow. "I mean it's three in the morning and I don't think you have slept a bit. I have felt you tossing and turning all night."

"I just keep thinking about Lennon," Kate said honestly as she thought of her son. Lennon was the name she had chosen to name him and the name on the marker that Viv had put on his grave. "I keep seeing him as he turned in my head," she frowned feeling tears in her eyes. "The blood on me after you had to put him down. I just feel so awful because he should have been here. He shouldn't have had to be put down and maybe him being taken is my karma for even getting pregnant when the world fell to shit."

Sitting up Lucy shook her head, "It wasn't karma. Those things just happen and without the right stuff now they happen a lot more. Hell we are lucky you are even alive," she whispered knowing that Kate had came close to hemorrhaging after giving birth. They hadn't realized it until after Lennon had changed and Kate had almost fainted after his burial and taking down several walkers as they ran through the woods for safety.

Kate frowned more as she rested her head on Lucy's shoulder, "Well it feels like it was karma," she whispered as she slid her arm around her lover. "It feels like I got what I deserved."

Frowning Lucy kissed Kate's forehead, "And you are wrong," she whispered as she pulled Kate closer to her so their naked bodies were touching. "You didn't deserve that and I wish Lennon was still here. I wish he was waking us up at god forsaken hours or even calling zombies to us which says a lot."

Laughing at Lucy's words Kate yawned and sighed. She knew Lucy was right deep down but she wasn't sure if she could admit that out loud. She had lost the last thing of Zac she had left remaining. She had lost Zac altogether and that crushed her even if being with Lucy did help the grief at times.

"I love you," Kate muttered to the woman beside her as she drifted off falling asleep in the woman's arms.
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Avery awoke in the bed she laid in at the house where the group was staying at. They had been on the run all winter and it seemed to her they kept going in circles. Maybe they were though no one else had said it out loud yet. Feeling the bed shift some she turned on her back making out Daryl's form as he slipped into the bed beside her.

During their months on the run they had become closer. Closer than they had gotten on the farm where she had admitted she liked him and taken his virginity after his spiral over Sophia's death. Being on the run they had learned the ins and outs of each other and Avery knew without a doubt she loved the man and she hoped he returned the sentiments though she doubted he'd say the words out loud if he did but then again she had never really said she loved him. She had just said she liked him and a part of her was almost afraid of saying the word love out loud to him.

"How was the watch?" she asked him as she felt him move closer to her. "I mean are there more walkers showing up?" she asked knowing they could never get settled somewhere for long. Whenever they did they were driven from their places by a big group of walkers.

Daryl made a face at Avery's question, "We will probably have to leave in the morning," he said honestly as he slipped an arm around her waist. "Go back to running again," he whispered before kissing her cheek.

Smiling when Daryl kissed her cheek she turned her head and kissed him on the lips, letting her body move closer to his. It had been awhile since they had been intimate. It wasn't that she didn't like sex or even sex with him because she did. She liked sex with him better than she had with Jeremy or Shane and he even let her set the pace. He knew the issues she had and why she had them.

They just weren't intimate much though because the running made that hard and somehow they weren't like Maggie and Taylor or even Jessica and Glenn who it seemed could do it on the drop of a dime anywhere. Daryl just wasn't the kind of guy who'd push her up against a tree and fuck her senseless. It was something Avery had to admit she liked about him even if it had made her feel guilty that she had basically fucked him senseless the first time she had sex with him.

"I need you," Avery muttered into Daryl's mouth as she felt his hand slip under the hem of her shirt, an action which caused her to shiver slightly.

Hearing her say she needed him Daryl kissed her harder as he pushed her shirt up some more. Pulling away from the kiss he slipped her shirt off and threw it to the floor.

Avery smiled up at Daryl once her shirt was off and she reached up sliding his angel wing vest off of him and then undoing the button down shirt he had on. It was only after it was off that she moved up to kiss him, her arms wrapping around his neck as she pulled him down over her.

Feeling his hands go to her jeans she kissed him deeper as he undid them then slid them off along with her underwear, a moan coming out as his hand slipped between her legs were she knew she was already wet. Just kissing him it seemed was enough to ever get her in the mood and going.

"You're so fucking wet," Daryl muttered in between kisses as he continued to rub her, feeling her getting wetter at his touch. He knew she would be wet but to be honest he only did this to get her going. He wasn't in the mood for slow. It had been a month or two now since he had been inside of her and he wanted her hard and fast. He wanted her sore in the morning.

Hearing Daryl's words Avery moaned into his mouth as her hips moved up some, "Because you make me that way," she whispered as she reached up and quickly undid his pants sliding them off along with his boxers. Once he was naked she kissed him harder biting down on his lip as she moved them into a sitting position where she straddled him, a moan coming out as she felt the tip of his cock right at her entrance.

Moving down on him Avery pulled away from the kiss as a moan escaped her lips and her head fell back some. He felt so nice inside of her and god she hated that it had been so long since he was inside of her. She only hoped they could find somewhere safe for longer than a day or two so she could be with him more often.

Daryl smirked as he felt Avery move down on him and he let his nails dig into the skin on her waist, "You feel really good," he told her as he leaned his head down and kissed her neck, biting it some as he did so.

Avery shivered as he bit her neck lightly and she began to move on him. Her movements weren't slow though. No she was riding him and she was being fast and hard about it. It was when his movements matched hers that she chewed on her lip hard, especially as his teeth went farther into her skin. She liked it when he bit her like that.

"Fuck," she muttered out softly as she closed her eyes and kept her movements up. Her arms wrapping around his back the closer she got to her orgasm. An orgasm that eventually made her lay her head against his bare shoulder afterwards so that she could catch her breath and give her heartbeat a chance to calm down.

Holding Avery in his arms Daryl smiled slightly. It wasn't something he did often but in these moments especially when he was holding her and knew she was safe it came just a bit easier to smile.
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Waking the next morning Kate jumped in the bed as she heard screams coming from outside. Getting out of bed in a hurry she dressed quickly feeling a panic in her chest as she saw that Lucy was gone. After she was dressed she reached for the gun on the nightstand and threw open the door, freezing at the sight before her.

The front of the motel was surrounded by walker's and as she turned around she felt her heart drop as she saw Viv on the ground being eaten. She was already gone though as there was no movements from her.

"Are you just gonna stand there or are you gonna shoot?" Lucy asked as she opened the door to Viv's room to see why Viv had been screaming. She had come out to get something from the car and now..now she was just gone. The moment she had opened the door she had seen Viv on the ground surrounded by walkers who were feasting on her as well as walkers slowly making their way out of the woods and then she had seen Kate frozen in their doorway.

Hearing Lucy, Kate looked away from Viv as she raised her gun and started shooting at the walkers coming towards the motel. From Viv's room she could hear Lucy shooting too as she heard Alice come out and gasp.

"Viv!" Alice screamed as she took off out of the room and headed to where the dead girl was before Lucy could stop her. Viv had been her favorite in the group. Viv had been her own lover.

Hearing Alice scream for Viv, Kate turned her head seeing Alice barely make it to Viv. The moment she did reach her though one of the walkers who had been over Viv moved and lunged for the brunette almost biting her arm.. It was after the almost bite that Alice reached for a knife she kept in her pocket and pushed the knife in the skull of the walker. Kate just stood there for a second before walking towards Alice and Viv's dead body.

"Are you okay?" Kate asked as she grabbed Alice before Alice could fall to the ground beside Viv and the dead walkers.

Alice laughed as she shook her head, "Do I look okay to you?" she said as her eyes landed on the dead woman on the concrete. "My girlfriend is dead and I almost joined her," she frowned as she shook her head. "I almost wish I had joined her."

Frowning Kate felt her heartbreak. She had lost a woman she had grown close to. A woman who she respected even. "We have to leave her," she told Alice knowing the plan had been if any of them got bit the remaining members would leave before the other turned or killed their self. Though she doubted Viv would turn. She was too far gone body wise to turn.

"I know," Alice spoke as she gave Kate a smile. "You and Lucy have to do it. Lucy knows where the keys to the car are."

Kate sighed as she shook her head, "We aren't leaving you behind. Now come on," she said as she held onto Alice still and lead her down to Viv's room or what had been Viv's room. Getting there she stopped when she saw Lucy standing in the doorway. "Get the keys Luce," she spoke as she kept a grip on Alice not wanting the woman to go anywhere else.

Nodding Lucy went inside the room and found the keys to the car. She was half glad they had two cars because the set for the other car was on Viv's body and she wasn't so sure she could face going to the body and getting them.

"Where is Sutton?" Kate asked as she watched Lucy grab the keys to the car.

Lucy froze when Kate mentioned Sutton. "That's why I was visiting Viv. She didn't come back from her run last night," she admitted as she turned to face Kate. "She more than likely ran into those fuckers and knowing that little bad ass she tried to take them all on."

"Oh," Kate whispered as she felt her heartbreak even more knowing Sutton was gone too. They had lost two women today. Two women and almost a third if Alice hadn't saved herself. Seeing Lucy walk out of the room and down to the car Kate followed behind,her grip on Alice loosening.

Once they made it to the car she helped Alice get in the back not caring that the woman had seemingly went silent. She was sure she had been the same way her first few nights without Zac and then again the first few days after Lennon died.

Getting in herself she buckled up as Lucy started the car and drove off. She couldn't face to look back at the motel at their sense of safety and security being gone.

After Lucy had driven away from the motel Kate closed her eyes and felt tears go down her cheeks. The safety she had felt was now gone and she almost felt like she did when Lennon had died. She almost felt like she deserved this pain too.

"We'll be okay," Lucy spoke as she looked over at Kate briefly. "We'll find somewhere safe and maybe another group and we will be okay."

Wiping her eyes Kate nodded her head as she laid back against the seat. She wanted to believe that but it was hard to believe that.

Alice too remained silent from where she sat in the backseat. She wasn't so sure she could believe Lucy's words not after they lost Viv. Viv had been their leader and she had helped them survive months on the road. Now they had no leader and nowhere safe to go. They were lost and they'd never be okay again.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Two

Avery who had been standing on the porch of a house they were going to check out jumped slightly when Rick opened the door a little too loudly. She had been lost in her thoughts. It had been three weeks since she had last been with Daryl and it had also been three weeks since they had been able to stay anywhere overnight without having to move. The herd they were running from kept getting bigger and it was moving faster now too.

Watching as Rick and T-Dog handled the two walkers that were standing right at the doors she followed Daryl inside, keeping her gun up just in case they came across anymore walkers as they checked the house out. When they got to one of the rooms Avery watched Daryl slow some as a noise came from the other side of one of the doors and Daryl raised his crossbow.

Holding her gun a bit tighter Avery moved closer to him and the moment the door on the other side opened she was relieved to see that it was only Rick who they had heard. After that Daryl put down his crossbow some and just shook his head. Avery too put her gun down and she continued to follow behind him as they maneuvered their way around Rick to keep checking the house out.

Following Daryl upstairs eventually Avery looked behind her to see that T-Dog was also coming up the stairs as well though once they made it up the stairs T-Dog went in one direction while she followed Daryl in the other. When they made it into one of the rooms she raised an eyebrow as she saw an owl perched on a chair in the room and as she saw Daryl walk towards it with his crossbow held up higher she knew he was probably going to shot it.

The moment he did she felt her stomach turn and she bent over slightly trying to keep herself from getting sick. This wasn't the worst thing he had killed and yet just seeing him kill it was enough to make her want to get sick and find the nearest bathroom.

Daryl who had picked up the owl turned around to face Avery and he looked at her confused when he saw her bent over, "Are you okay?"

"Just felt sick all of a sudden," Avery shrugged as she stood back up. Her stomach was still churning but she didn't feel the need to go find the nearest toilet as bad as she had before. "I think it's beginning to go away now."

"You probably just need to eat," Daryl told her as he walked past her to leave the room. "I just hope this owl can feed everyone," he said as he examined it as he left the room

At the thought of eating the owl Avery again felt her stomach churn more and she leaned against nearest wall trying to get her shit together. Taking deep breaths she closed her eyes. She hadn't gotten sick since this whole thing started and she really hoped this wasn't happening now, though Jessica had been sick last week and she had ridden with Jessica and Glenn a lot.

Shaking her head when she felt well enough to walk out of the room Avery headed down the stairs and when she made it down she watched as she saw the rest of the group coming in and she followed them all into the living room. Once in the living room she walked over to where Daryl was in one of the chairs and sat down in front of him.

Feeling Daryl nudge her with his leg Avery looked up at him to see him holding some of the owl out to her. Taking it from him she made a face as she put it in her mouth and began to eat it. All the while she could feel her stomach doing somersaults and she had to think of anything she could that wasn't food. If she thought of food she'd literally throw up.

After she swallowed she looked up seeing Carl come in the room and sit down beside Beth which just made her smile some. She was sure the youngest Grimes boy had a crush on the blonde and she was sure Beth was dating Zac though neither had admitted to it or even done anything around the group yet to out themselves but Avery had noticed they'd go missing around the same times or sometimes Beth would do watches with Zac, usually when Hershel was already asleep and she was sure on one occasion she saw Beth sneaking out of Zac's room. Though no one else seemed to know or suspect. If they did they never said anything anyway.

Seeing Carl lay some cans on the floor she raised an eyebrow as she watched him opening the cans too. From where she sat she could see it was dog food. She guessed at this point the owl was seeming more appetizing because the thought of eating dog food just made her stomach churn even worse than the owl had.

Looking at Rick as he moved from the window he had been standing at Avery watched as he went to Carl and picked up one of the cans Carl had been opening. When Rick threw it she jumped slightly and looked down at the floor. Obviously Rick wasn't desperate enough to eat dog food or have the group eating it either.

Being brought out of her thoughts when T-Dog made a noise to get the groups attention Avery stood up and as she did she made a face seeing a group of walker's coming onto the property. Running outside along with everyone else she watched as they got into cars and she followed behind Daryl getting onto the back of his bike.

Slipping her arms around his waist she held onto him tight as he rode away from the house with the rest of the cars following behind him.
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Getting out of the car he had been driving Zac sighed. They were in the middle of nowhere on some Georgia back roads and he wasn't even sure how long they had been driving since they left that house but it had felt like forever. Then again most things now days felt like forever.

Shutting his car door he watched as Beth got out of the passenger side with a weapon in her hand and she walked around the car. She along with Carl we're going to be watching for walkers. Walking to the main car where most of the group was Zac came to a stop beside T-Dog who was looking down at a map.

"We’ve got no place left to go," T-Dog spoke as he examined the map more. They were quickly running out of options and places that they could go to for shelter.

"When this herd meets up with this one, we’ll be cut off," Jessica added in as she looked down at the map and pointed to the places where they had run into the herds at. "We’ll never make it south."

Daryl leaned against the car as he looked at the group members, "What do you say, it’s about 150 head?"

"That was last week, could be twice that now," Glenn answered as he looked back at Daryl.

"This river could have delayed them. If we move fast, we might have a shot to tear right through this," Hershel spoke knowing they could maybe get past it.

Zac shook his head as he too pointed to the places where Jessica had earlier, "Yeah, but if this group joins with that one, they could spill out this way," he told Hershel as he looked at the older man.

"So we're blocked," Jessica muttered before running a hand through her hair.

Looking down at the map now Rick pointed with his hands as he told the group what they could do, "Only thing to do is double back at 27th and swing towards Greenville."

T-Dog shook his head no at that suggestion, "We picked through that already, it’s like we spent the winter going in circles."

"Yeah, I know," Rick nodded as he turned to look at T-Dog. " At Newnan we’ll push west. Haven’t been through there yet. We can’t keep going house to house," he said as he eyed Lori who had stayed in one of the cars. It was nearing her due date and he knew they needed to find somewhere before she gave birth. "We need to find some place to hold up for a few weeks."

After that Zac watched as T-Dog asked if they could go to the creek and fill up on water. Water that they could boil later. After Rick agreed Zac went to his car to get some jugs to put water in. After he had them he shut the trunk, surprised to see Taylor standing beside him.

"Figured I'd come too," Taylor said as he gave Zac a smile and took one of the jugs.

Smiling as Taylor took one of the jugs Zac followed him and a few of the others down to the creek, "You rarely do this type of stuff," he said knowing that usually Taylor didn't like going on runs or doing anything that required a lot of work. Taylor was more the stay at home type...if they had a home that was.

"Maggie may have said she finds it hot when I do things for the group," Taylor confessed as he felt his cheeks getting hot. "And you kind of have seemed sad these last few days. I have been wanting to ask if you are okay."

Zac groaned, "I really do not want to know what Maggie finds hot or not," he teased as he rolled his eyes. At Taylor saying he had seemed off he sighed, "I have just been thinking of Kate lately I guess," he frowned as he mentioned his wife.

"Do you think she is still alive?" Taylor asked once they made it to the creek.

"I..I don't know," Zac answered honestly as he bent down and opened one of the jugs. "I hope she is but then again I also hope she isn't if that makes sense," he said as he put the jug under the water to get some water in it. "If she's alive then that means she has probably had our baby and I wasn't there to see it and I'll kick myself for not going after her but if she's dead then that means the baby probably is too and that makes me sad but at least then I won't have the guilt of not going to look for her."

Opening the jug he had Taylor bent down as well, "You shouldn't feel guilty either way. If you had went back you could have gotten yourself killed and anyway Rick shot down that idea," he said remembering that both Daryl and Zac had wanted to go back for Andrea and Kate and Rick had said no. "If Kate is alive what will happen if we run into her again?"

"What do you mean?" Zac asked watching as Taylor put his jug in the water to get water in it as well.

"I mean are you going to get back with her or stay with Beth?" he asked his voice going softer at his question so no one else could hear.

Zac froze as he heard Taylor's next question. He hadn't expected that anyone knew of him and Beth. They had been trying to keep it a secret for as long as possible, especially since she was only seventeen. "How...I...You know?" he asked keeping his voice low now.

Taylor nodded his head yes, "I think everyone knows but Hershel is blind to it," he said as he pulled the jug out of the water and closed the lid on it. "But you don't have to worry. I'll keep it a secret that you confirmed it to me," he said before walking away and back towards where the cars were.

Watching Taylor leave Zac pulled his jug out as well and put the lid back on. As he stood up he followed behind Taylor in silence. He was surprised that Taylor knew and he was also conflicted on what his answer would be. While he loved his wife and he was sure he always would Beth was slowly working her way into his heart and under his skin and he wasn't sure he was ready to give that up.
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Standing outside of a prison that Daryl and Rick had came across when they had went hunting for food while most of the group was at the creek, Jessica watched as Rick cut the fences with a pair of pliers. As he did that she saw a walker coming towards the group and along with Glenn she ran over to kill it.

"Watch the backside," Rick spoke through gritted teeth to the group that was still behind him. He had finally cut a hole in the fence and the group members needed to get in safely.

Lori nodded, "Got it," she told him as she kept an eye on the back as everyone else moved inside. Slipping under the hole eventually as well Lori turned to see that T-Dog was still behind her and Rick was telling him to hurry.

Jessica crinkled up her nose as she now stood on the other side of the fence. After everyone got through she watched as Glenn and Daryl tied the hole in the fence back together so no walker's could get through. It was after they got the fence all tied up that everyone started to run towards one of the main gates around the prison courtyard where there were zombies. Tons of them that she knew would need to be taken care of before they could eventually get inside the courtyard safely.

When they made it to main gate she bent over to catch her breath and collect herself for a few seconds.

"It's perfect," Rick spoke as he eyed the prison in front of them. It really was the perfect place for shelter and for Lori to give birth. "If we can shut that gate," he said as he spotted an open gate near one of the guard towers, "prevent more from filling the yard, we can pick off these walkers," he told the group as he pointed to the walkers in the yard. "We’ll take the field by tonight."

Hershel who had heard Rick's plan just looked at him, "But how do we shut the gate?" he asked knowing it would be no easy task with all of the walkers in the yard.

"I'll do it," Glenn volunteered as he felt Jessica behind moving closer at his words. "You guys cover me."

Jessica shook her head after Glenn spoke, "No," she stated her voice still coming out a bit labored from running. "It’s a suicide run."

Turning to look at Jessica, Glenn sighed, "I'm the fastest."

"No," Rick said as he pointed to Glenn and Jessica. "You, Jessica ,Zac, and Beth draw as many as you can over there," he said pointing in one direction of the yard. "Pop them through the fence," he said knowing they could at least get good headshots if walkers came close to the fence.

Looking at Daryl, Rick pointed to the other tower, "Daryl, go back to the other tower," he said before spotting Avery as well. "Avery you’ve become a pretty good shot, take your time, we don’t have a lot of ammo to waste," he spoke as he walked closer to her and leaned in. After he was done talking to her he walked to where Hershel was. "Hershel, you, Taylor and Carl, take this tower," he said referring to the tower that was actually on the side of the fence where they were.

"Alright," Carl spoke as he nodded and soon ran with Hershel and Taylor to the tower they were supposed to go in.

Running to the gates Jessica started yelling for the walkers as she tried to get their attention. When some would come over she'd use the knife she had and stick it through the holes in the gate. It was a process that was repeated numerous times and each time she did it she couldn't help but glance in the yard where Rick now was. She just hoped and prayed nothing happened to him.

Standing on top of the guard tower with Daryl, Avery held the rifle in her hand and looked through the scope as she saw Daryl shoot an arrow at one of the walkers. It was after that, that she started to fire the rifle making a face at the kickback on it. It was different than what she was used too because she hadn't used a rifle much.

After one of her shoots she made a face as Rick skidded to a stop and she knew she had almost shot Rick. "Sorry," she called out to him before watching as he took off again.

Jessica sighed as she tapped on the gate some more when one of the walkers who had been close to it turned away. She knew he was being attracted away by the gunfire.

"He did it," Avery told Daryl as she watched Rick go inside the tower after he had closed the gate. Maybe they actually could take this yard.

At Avery's words Daryl soon yelled out to Taylor,Carl, and Hershel, "Light it up," he said knowing they had to take care of the remaining few walkers in the yard.

After hearing Daryl yell light it up Jessica put her knife away and reached for her gun. Putting it between the holes in the fence she started to fire watching as everyone else around her did the same. With everyone shooting at these walkers now their mission to take the yard was soon becoming a reality.

Eventually before she knew it all of the walkers were dead and she put her gun away. Walking to the towers she watched as Avery and Daryl came back and Carl, Hershel, and Taylor came down from the tower they had been in.

"Fantastic!" Avery smiled feeling almost like she was on a high from all the shooting they had done today and the progress they had made.

Daryl smiled some as he walked behind Avery, "Nice shooting."

"Yeah," Avery nodded as she continued to walk to the main gate. Getting there she saw that Lori had it opened and she gave the woman a smile as she walked into the yard, "You okay?" she asked her with an eyebrow raised.

"I haven’t felt this good in weeks," Lori answered Avery. It was half a lie and half the truth. Lately she just felt as if everyone hated her and as if she was a burden to the group. They all knew now about her affair with Shane and she felt as if they blamed her for Rick murdering his friend.

"Oh! Oh, oh! We haven’t had this much space since we left the farm!" Carol laughed as she walked behind Avery and Daryl.

Jessica too laughed at Carol's words and turned to look at Glenn. Seeing him putting down a walker who had obviously not been shot in the head she just laughed. Today had been a really good day for their progress.
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Taylor smiled to himself as he sat beside Maggie at the campfire they had made in the prison's yard. After the day they had he was tired and also just a bit hungry. Eating food from the bowl he had he closed his eyes, "Mmmm… Just like mom used to make," he sighed as he opened his eyes. He had been joking but the thought of his mom had made him a bit sad. It was hard to believe just how long she had been gone now.

Turning to look at Maggie he saw her smile and he gave a smile back. As he smiled at her though his mind went to Natalie. She too had been gone for so long and he found he was beginning to forget little things about her. Things that usually made him happy when he thought of her. That was why he vowed that he'd never lose Maggie no matter what.

"Tomorrow, we’ll put all the bodies together," T-Dog said as he looked at the others who sat around the campfire with him. "We want to keep them away from that water. Now, if we can dig a canal under the fence, we’ll uh have plenty of fresh water."

"The soil is good, we could plant some seed, grow some tomatoes, cucumbers, soybeans," Hershel added in before looking at Rick who was walking around the main fences that were farther up near the prison. "That’s his third time around. If there was any part of it compromised, he’d have found it by now."

Looking at Lori after her dad spoke Beth smiled, "This will be a good place to have the baby. Safe."
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Avery who had gotten away from the rest of the group walked to where Daryl was standing on top of an overturned vehicle. He was on watch and she knew if she didn't bring him food he'd never eat. Making it to the vehicle she climbed up but let out a groan finding it difficult. It was after her groan that she saw Daryl hold his hand out and she took it allowing him to pull her up.

Once she was on the vehicle she handed him the food, "That’s not much. But if I don’t bring you something, you won’t eat at all," she told him as she voiced her thoughts from not too long ago.

"Guess little Shane over there’s got quite the appetite," Daryl joked referring to Lori's pregnancy.

Avery just laughed at his words, "Don’t be mean," she spoke as she shook her head. "Rick’s gotten us a lot further than I thought he would, I’ll give him that," she nodded knowing that after Shane had died she may have been wary on how Rick was going to do without Shane. "Shane could never have done that," she said knowing that Shane probably never could have done what had been done today.

Looking away from Daryl she heaved a sigh and reached back to scratch her neck some. It was bothering her now after using the rifle.

Daryl watched Avery as she scratched her neck, "What's wrong?"

" It’s that rifle, the kickback. I’m just not used to it," Avery admitted as she finally started to massage her back.

"Hold on," Daryl told her before putting the bowl with his food down. Licking his fingers off he reached out to turn her around after and soon he began to massage her shoulder. When she turned to look at him he couldn't help but blush as he realized how affectionate with her he was being so publicly. He still hadn't got used to the whole public aspect of their relationship even if he could do the private stuff very well.

Moving his hands off her he sighed, "We better get back," he said knowing they should head back to the campfire.

Avery shook her head and turned around to face Daryl again, "It’s pretty romantic," she teased as she moved in and acted like she was going to kiss him. "Want to screw around?"

Daryl just laughed at her words which in turn made Avery laugh, "I’ll go down first," he told her as he started to get off the vehicle.

"Even better," Avery muttered sarcastically.

Turning his head to playfully glare at her he shook his head, "Stop," he said before getting off the vehicle and reaching up to help her down.

After she was done from the vehicle she walked back to the campfire in silence beside Daryl. She was feeling sick again after eating but she was doing her best to not show it.

When they finally made it to the fire Avery smiled as she heard Beth singing a song that she believed was called Parting Glass. Sitting down she smiled more when Daryl sat beside her. It was when she sat down that she heard Maggie start to sing along with her sister. Avery hadn't known either Greene girl could sing until tonight. Maybe that was why Taylor and Zac liked them.

Rick who had finally came back to the group bent down and watched as Carl handed him a bowl of food. Taking it he held it out to Lori who told him that she had some already but he kept it held out to here anyway until she took more. She was pregnant and needed all the food she could get.

"Beautiful," Hershel said after Beth and Maggie got done singing.

"Better all turn in," Rick told the group as he stayed bent down. "I’ll take watch over there, we’ve got a big day tomorrow."

Taylor looked at Rick feeling confused by the man's words, "What do you mean?"

"Look, I know we’re all exhausted.This was a great win," Rick said knowing what they had done today was good progress. "But we gotta push just a little bit more. Most of the walkers are dressed as guards or prisoners, looks like this place fell pretty early," he revealed telling the group what he had noted on his numerous times around the main fence. "Could mean the supplies may be intact.They have an infirmary, a commissary."

"An armory?" Daryl asked from where he sat.

Rick looked over at Daryl, "That would be outside the prison itself, but not too far away. Warden’s offices would have info on the location," he answered as he looked at the rest of the group again. "Weapons, food, medicine, this place could be a gold mine!"

"We’re dangerously low on ammo," Hershel told Rick as he looked at the man from across the campfire. "We’ll run out before we make a dent."

"That’s why we gotta go in there," Rick nodded slightly, "Hand to hand. After all we’ve been through, we can handle it, I know it," he said sounding confident. "These assholes don’t stand a chance," he smiled as he looked down at Carl before standing up and walking away.

After Rick walked away Avery sighed and reached for her backpack. Pulling out a sleeping bag she stood up and unfolded it. Once it was unfolded she eventually slipped inside and laid down. As she closed her eyes she felt an arm go around her and she smiled as she reached out to put her hand over Daryl's arm. It was at least a small baby step in tons of other small baby steps but he was coming around slowly it seemed to being affectionate with her in public.
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Waking up in the backseat of a car, Kate groaned as she turned to look at Lucy sleeping beside her. "Luce," she whispered to get the other woman's attention. "Lucy baby time to wake up," she said as she leaned in to kiss the woman's neck softly.

"Gross," Alice muttered from where she had been in the passenger seat. "Just fucking gross."

Kate turned to look at Alice and she rolled her eyes, "You never heard any of us complain when you and Viv would be all lovey dovey in front of us."

At the mention of Viv, Alice went silent. She had almost wished Kate hadn't brought the woman up. Three weeks had passed since her death and she still had not come to terms with that fact.

"I'm sorry," Kate frowned after Alice had went silent after she mentioned Viv. She knew she shouldn't have. She hadn't even been able to speak Zac's name out for months after she had been parted from him. "I shouldn't have brought her up."

Alice shook her head, "You weren't thinking," she smiled trying not to dwell though her mind was beginning too. "Lucy isn't going to wake up any time soon by the way. She took my watch last night so that I could sleep."

Groaning Kate eventually slipped out of the backseat and got out of the car. Getting in the driver's side she turned on the car, "She'll only get an hour of sleep. We have just enough gas to drive an hour then we're going to have to walk on foot the rest of the way to Woodbury," she nodded knowing they had been following signs for Woodbury since last night.

"Good luck waking up her up," Alice muttered as she buckled up as Kate took off from the side of the road they had been parked on.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Three

Standing at the fence outside of the prison Taylor took a deep breath. He was a bundle of nerves mainly because he had agreed to be one of the ones going in to take out the walkers with Rick. Maggie had agreed and there was no way in hell he was letting her go if he wasn't going either. He was afraid if she went alone that something would happen to her and he couldn't lose her like he had lost Natalie.

"Ready?" Hershel asked as he stood beside Rick at the fence.

After Hershel asked Rick that, Taylor took an even deeper breath as the gate was open and T-Dog stepped in, killing the first walker. Going in with everyone else after that, Taylor stayed on alert watching around him to make sure no walkers got too close to bite or scratch him.

As the group continued at a slow pace their backs to each other in a circle formation Taylor lifted the knife he wielded and soon began to take down walkers that would cross his path. It was as they walked he could hear the others on the other side of the fence making noise to draw walkers there so they could also kill them off, much like they had done yesterday when they had taken the yard.

Watching as Rick who was in front of him knocked down a walker Taylor noticed the walker wasn't dead and as Rick moved on Taylor bent down and stuck the knife in the walkers head before moving on.

"Don't break rank!" Rick yelled as T-Dog ran over to pick up a shield that had belonged to one of the prison guards. After that he watched as Maggie ran over to the walker T-Dog had knocked down with the shield and he called out for the girl who soon joined the group again. They were now almost to the main doors of the prison. "Almost there," he told the group that had came with him.

As he went to open the door he turned when he heard moans and saw another gate on one side of the prison that was open and full of walkers. A bunch of walkers that could come out after them. Putting his hand up for the group to be quiet he stayed leaned against the wall for a bit.

Taylor who was breathing heavy by now leaned against one of the walls beside Maggie and as he turned his head he watched as two walkers dressed in full out riot gear came out of one of the alley ways of the prison before two more came out just a bit closer to where the group was.

Seeing Daryl fire his crossbow he saw the arrow bounce off the face mask and land on the ground. He almost wasn't sure if there was going to be a way to kill those guard walkers. As he stood there after that Taylor made a face seeing one of the guard walkers come out of the door that had him and Maggie on one side of the column and T-Dog and Rick on the other.

Backing away slowly he watched Maggie start to go after that walker as he turned to take care of one of the prison inmate walkers that had been coming close. He knew that after today he'd be feeling it tomorrow but everything they were doing right now was for their group. For their family.

After he had taken care of the prison inmate walker Taylor stood up and turned to help Maggie with the guard walkers now and as he did he watched as Maggie took her knife and stuck it through the walker's neck which seemingly killed him.

"See that?" Maggie asked as she turned to face T-Dog and Taylor who were now just staring at her.

Once Maggie had spoke Taylor grabbed one of the guard walkers and watched as T-Dog stuck a knife through its throat. After it had died he dropped it in time to see Daryl do the same to one of the guards right as Rick kicked the remaining guard walker down on the ground.

Making a face Rick took the face shield off the walker Taylor almost threw up at the sight as the walkers skin peeled away and he just lay there basically skinless still trying to get at Rick. Once Rick finally put down that walker Taylor watched Maggie go to kill one more walker and then he looked around to see the yard around them full of dead walker bodies and everyone here in the group was now covered in blood and guts.

As the group headed towards the gate where the others where Taylor heard Rick say stop and he turned to face the man, "Looks secure," he spoke knowing it seemed safe enough right now.

"Nothing will lead to that courtyard over there," Daryl said pointing to one of the courtyards. "And that’s a civilian," he spoke pointing to one of the dead walkers on the ground that they had just killed.

T-Dog who had heard the last thing Daryl spoke rolled his eyes, "So the interior could be overrun by walkers from outside the prison."

"Well, if there’s walls down, then, what are we gonna do? We can’t rebuild this whole place," Taylor said knowing there was no way they could just rebuild a prison. They didn't have the means or the way.

Rick who had let the others talk, finally spoke revealing his plans, "We can’t risk a blind spot. We have to push in," he nodded knowing they had to go inside of the prison first.

Hearing Rick, Taylor sighed but eventually followed everyone else inside the prison. It was darkish inside and things seemed a mess but he could at least tell they were near a cell block. Chewing his lip nervously he walked around the part they were in checking for walkers and as he walked near where Maggie was he saw Rick going up into the guard tower like thing in this cell block.

As Rick went up Taylor moved closer to Maggie and kept his knife raised just in case he needed to use it. In case there was a walker up there in that guard tower thing. Though when Rick came down safely and also carrying a set of keys Taylor followed him to the doors that were blocking them off from the main cells, doors which Rick unlocked.

After they were unlocked Taylor stayed close to Maggie as they began to check out the cells, making sure there were no walkers in them. Seeing a few dead bodies in some he just made a face knowing they'd have to clean them out before everyone could actually sleep in here.
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Walking into the block where the cells where Avery watched as T-Dog carried out one of the last dead bodies and she made a face as she looked around her. It was gross but she was sure the storage units they had stayed in sometime over the winter had been a lot worse than this prison seemed to be.

"What do you think?" Rick asked as he came down the stairs from the second level of cells and looked at the group that was coming in.

"Home sweet home," Glenn replied sarcastically as he walked beside Jessica as they looked for a cell to sleep in.

Rick laughed at Glenn's words, "For the time being."

"It's secure?" Lori asked as she looked around, one hand resting on her swollen belly.

Rick nodded at his wife's question, "This cell block is."

"What about the rest of the prison?" Zac asked from where he stood towards the back of the group of people who were obviously still taking in their surroundings.

"In the morning, we’ll find the cafeteria, and the infirmary," Rick answered knowing they all just needed to rest for the night before doing anything else.

Beth made a face as she looked towards Rick, "We’ll sleep in the cells?"

"I found the keys on some guards. Daryl has a set too," Rick said as he looked down at the keys in his hand that he had found on the dead guard that had been in the tower when they came in the prison.

Daryl shook his head, "I ain't sleeping in no cage," he said not wanting to sleep in a cell. "I'll take the perch," he nodded before walking up the stairs and laying his stuff down in a corner at the top of the stairs.

Following behind Daryl, Avery headed upstairs and chose the cell across from where Daryl put his stuff. Once she was in her cell she put her stuff away and sat on the bottom bunk bed letting her head lean back slightly. Yesterday and today had been taxing and to know that some of the group was going out again tomorrow was enough to make her feel as if things would never settle down even when they had shelter, though at least Avery understood the need to go out tomorrow.

"You feeling okay?" a voice spoke and Avery turned her head to see Daryl standing in the entryway to her cell. "I mean I know you were feeling sick again this morning."

Avery nodded her head as she remembered this morning vividly. She had been the first one awake thanks to her intense need to get sick and she had gotten sick. She had wound up getting sick three times but eventually it had settled and at this moment she was feeling a bit better.

"I am feeling better now," she finally answered him as she stood from the bed and went over to him. "I think whatever I had passed," she nodded hoping that it had indeed passed.

Daryl gave her a smile and then looked around to see if anyone else was around. Not seeing anyone around he leaned in and kissed her softly on the lips.

Kissing Daryl back Avery smiled on his lips some and when she pulled away she slipped her arms around his neck, "Better be careful doing that. Someone could see us kissing," she teased before pulling him into another kiss.

"Stop," Daryl muttered against her lips feelings his cheeks get warm as she teased him and he knew he was blushing. He swore eventually this girl would be the death of him. Pulling away from the kiss he chewed on his lip as he looked at her. "You're going to have to get a damn sheet to put in front of your cell door little girl."

Avery rolled her eyes when Daryl called her a little girl, "I wish you'd stop calling me that," she said knowing she had always hated the nickname he had given her back at the quarry. "I'm a woman I think you know that better than anyone else," she teased. "But why am I going to need a sheet?"

"So I can be with you," Daryl answered as he looked down into her eyes. He knew it had been three weeks since their last time together and he missed being with her. He missed being inside of her because it was those moments he felt the most connected to her. It was then that he knew she was his woman even if he still couldn't call her a woman for some damned reason.

"The others could hear us," Avery spoke as she locked eyes with him.

Daryl just sighed, "We're experts at being silent," he shrugged knowing no one had heard them at the house three weeks ago and that place had, had thin walls as well.

Avery laughed at his words, "I'll see what I can do about that sheet," she nodded before pulling him into another kiss.
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Following behind Maggie as they claimed one of the cells on the lower level Taylor watched as Maggie sat down on the bottom bunk bed.

"I’m so exhausted, I don’t even care," Maggie said to Taylor as she watched him sit down beside her. Today had been tiring on her and she knew tomorrow would probably be just as tiring and taxing on them but at least right now they could rest for a bit.

Giving Maggie a smile Taylor reached out and grabbed her arm gently, "Let me see you," he said before checking one arm and then the other before gently touching her back and checking it.

Maggie gave Taylor a confused face. "What are you doing?"

"Checking for scratches," Taylor answered as he continued to check her back. He just wanted to know that she was safe. After he had checked her back he smiled, "You're okay," he nodded before pulling her closer and kissing her shoulder and neck gently.

Maggie smiled some at Taylor's gestures and she slipped her arms around his neck feeling him slip his arms around her too. "I love you," she whispered before giving him another smile.

"I love you too," Taylor told her as he returned the smile. "I love you and how bad ass you have become," he said trying to joke slightly though the way she had handled the walkers had been pretty damn badass.
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Lucy who was carrying a backpack on her shoulders looked at Kate and Alice, "We're going to have to make camp somewhere soon," she said knowing it would be getting dark before long. "We've been walking for hours now and we need to rest for the night."

Hearing Lucy, Kate nodded and she veered off the road, going into the woods. As she walked she kept her eyes out for walkers and she was glad when she didn't see any.

Lucy followed Kate and she smiled in relief when Kate eventually came to a stop in the middle of the woods. Taking the backpack off her shoulders she unzipped it and got the tent out. "Want to help me set the tent up Alice?" she asked as she looked at her friend. "Kate can start the fire while we set the tent up."

"Okay," Alice nodded as she looked at Lucy. Walking to where Lucy was she helped her friend set up the tent though neither said anything to the other. "So how long do you think it will take us to get to Woodbury?"

"Probably two days maybe three at the most now that we are walking," Kate answered as she came back from gathering wood. "Unless my girlfriend plans on walking faster," she teased as she winked at Lucy before bending down to start the fire.

Alice raised her eyes at Kate's words, "Girlfriend? I didn't know you two had put a label on your relationship," she smiled knowing they had both been hesitant too especially since Kate was married and there was a slim chance she could always run into her husband again.

Kate was about to protest that they hadn't but then she knew she had just called Lucy her girlfriend and maybe deep down that was what she wanted. She wanted Lucy to be her girlfriend. "I guess we just did," she said as she caught Lucy's eye and saw her smirking.

"Yeah I guess we did," Lucy said once she had finished putting the tent up. Walking to where Kate was still fooling with the fire she helped her and eventually it started. "All you needed was a bit of a fiery touch," she teased referring to herself as the fiery touch since she was a natural redhead.

Watching Lucy and Kate together Alice frowned more but she sat down in front of the fire, "What if you find your husband?" she asked after some silence. "Will Lucy still be your girlfriend then?"

"My husband is dead," Kate answered certainly. She had thought Zac was dead now since three months after being away from him and maybe that was what had made it easier to be with Lucy. Made it easier to want to be comforted by someone else and if she thought Zac was alive it would just make her feel guilty but she wasn't sure if it would make her give Lucy up. Lucy had been her anchor now through the biggest loss she had suffered and she felt like she was so tightly woven to Lucy now.
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Jessica sat in the cell she was sharing with Glenn. It was morning now and she chewed on her lip, "Do you want to go with the group today?" she asked him as she raised an eyebrow.

"I thought about it," Glenn admitted as he gave her a look. He had been cutting out on doing too much for the group. He knew Jessica was still afraid of losing him and he didn't want her worrying about him.

"Can you stay with me please?" Jessica asked as she leaned in to kiss his cheek. "The next time the group does something risky you can go but I want you to stay with me today," she nodded not sure she liked the thought of him going around in some dark prison. She wasn't like Avery who could always rely on Daryl coming back. Jessica feared losing Glenn still and she knew that probably made her weak.

"You promise I can next time?" Glenn asked as he gave her a sheepish smile.

Nodding Jessica laughed at his smile, "I promise."
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Zac stood around the table as he examined the stuff they had found while trying to get into the prison yesterday. Most of it looked like typical riot gear that a guard would wear and it almost excited him to see it.

" Not bad," Daryl spoke as he looked at the stuff on the table. The stuff they had taken off the walker guards.

"Flashbangs, CS Triple-Chasers. Not sure how they’d work on walkers, but we’ll take them," Rick said as he held some of the items in his hands.

Picking up one of the helmets Daryl made a face seeing walker skin was still inside of it, "I ain’t wearing this shit."

Zac picked up a pair of gloves that also had walker skin still stuck to it and he made a face as he held it out from his self, "We could boil them," he suggested.

"Ain’t enough firewood in a whole forest, no!" Daryl shook his head standing firm in his decision. "Besides, we’ve made it this far without them right?"

Before Zac could say anything back he turned as he heard footsteps and he saw Carol coming into the room.

"Hershel?" Carol asked as she looked at the man who Lori had asked to see.

"Everything alright?" Rick asked looking at the woman who was sharing a cell with his wife.

Carol nodded, "Yeah, nothing to worry about," she said giving Rick a smile. When Hershel walked towards her she lead him to the cell she shared with Lori.

After Carol had left Zac smiled some as he saw Beth walking to the main doors of where their cells were. Walking to her he gave her a bigger smile, "How are you?" he asked knowing they hadn't had a chance to be alone since finding the prison.

Beth shrugged, "I'm okay, just getting used to sleeping in a prison," she laughed as she looked up at him slightly since he was a bit taller. "If I can I may slip into your cell tonight," she whispered afraid anyone including her dad could hear her. "I miss just being near you," she confessed though she did miss the other stuff they did, even if they hadn't had sex yet. It was something she felt she wasn't ready for and Zac seemed to respect her wishes.

"Are you sure?" Zac asked her as he moved a bit closer. "I mean the prison is kind of close quarters."

"Not as close as the storage units were and we were able to sneak around there," Beth grinned before kissing his cheek quickly. "Stay safe on the quest into the prison today," she told him before walking off. She,Lori,Carol,Jessica,Glenn,Carl, and Avery were all going to stay behind while everyone else went to go find the infirmary and cafeteria.
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Taylor stood inside the area with the main cells. Hershel had finished talking to Lori a bit ago and now the group was getting ready to head out. He had to admit he was scared but at least the group had a lot of people so maybe that would keep anything too bad from happening.

Rick who had been helping T-Dog put on a vest smiled some as he saw Carl trying on one of the helmets. Once he had finished helping T-Dog he walked over to his son, "You won't need that," he said before taking the helmet from him. "I need you to stay put."

"You're kidding," Carl said as he looked up at his dad. He had wanted to go out with everyone.

Rick shook his head, "We don’t know what’s in there. If something goes wrong, you could be the last man standing," he said joking some towards the end. "I need you to handle things here."

"Sure," Carl smiled agreeing when his dad put it like that.

"Great, let’s go," Rick said as he soon lead the way out into the corridors.

Following behind Zac and T-Dog, Taylor heard Carl shut the main door and he kept his attention ahead of him. Eventually he felt his heartbeat pick up as Daryl unlocked a door that lead to the other parts of the prison and Taylor followed behind the people in front of him as best as he could as they began their way deeper into the prison's labyrinth of corridors and hallways. It was so dark in here that even with flashlights they couldn't see that well still.

Holding his flashlight he made a face as he looked at the dead walker bodies that littered some of the hallways. When they reached the end of one hallway Taylor got out the can of spray paint he had been given and spray painted an arrow that would help them find their way during later trips.

After he did that he turned around and bumped into Maggie who let out a tiny scream. Putting his hands on her shoulder he shushed her and then continued to follow the rest of the group down another hallway.

Rick who had been leading the group was about to round another hallway when right as he did he shined his flashlight and saw a group of walkers heading their way, "Go back, go back!" he said harshly as he backed up and the group took off running back the way they had came.

Taylor who was leading the way with Maggie kept running until they rounded one of the corners and came face to face with walkers and they turned around with the rest of the group trying to find a way out down another hallway. Right after they rounded another corner though Taylor grabbed onto the back of Maggie's vest as more walkers came out blocking their way of catching up with the rest of the group.

"In here!" Taylor said frantically as he pulled Maggie into a room and shut the door. The walkers couldn't open the door so luckily they were safe.

Rick who had found a place to hide crouched down with everyone else, noticing that Taylor and Maggie were gone, "Where is Taylor and Maggie?"

"We have to go back!" Hershel insisted knowing he wasn't going to leave his daughter behind.

"But which way?" Zac asked not sure when exactly they had lost Taylor and Maggie.

Standing up after Zac asked what he did Rick soon lead the group down the halls to go find Taylor and Maggie.

"Maggie? Taylor?" Hershel called out as he turned to look down one of the hallways. Not getting a response he turned and kept going.

Not hearing the walkers outside the door anymore Taylor opened the door that he and Maggie had been hiding in and turned to look around him, "Rick?" he called out not seeing the group either.

"Dad?" Maggie asked after she had stepped out of the room where they had been hiding.

Hearing Maggie saying dad, Hershel turned around to follow the voice, "Mag? he asked as he continued down the hallway where the voice had came from, stepping over dead walkers as he did so. "Mag?" he asked again as he walked over one walker but right as he put one foot down he felt hands around his leg and then the walker took a bite which made him fall down and scream.

Maggie who had heard the scream took off running with Taylor and right as she rounded the corner she saw Rick shoot a walker and her dad laying on the floor, "No! No, daddy! No!"

Taylor ran to Hershel and with Rick's help they both picked the man up right as walkers who had obviously heard the gunshot came towards where they were. Once they both had a hold of Hershel, Taylor heard Rick call out for Daryl who got in front of the group to take care of the walkers in front of them and as they turned around with Hershel,Taylor felt his eyes widen when he saw walkers behind them too.

"We’re blocked!" Rick hollered before turning and going back the other way and eventually they turned down another corridor though he could hear the walkers following them.

As they went down this new corridor Taylor kept his grip on Hershel even when they made it to a room that had double doors. Watching T-Dog break the chain that had been on it before opening the doors he and Rick soon lead Hershel inside. Going towards the middle of the room he helped lay Hershel down as Rick hollered for Daryl to shut the door so no more walkers could get in.

Standing up once Hershel was laying down Taylor watched T-Dog put something between both door handles to keep it closed and he went towards one of the backpacks to grab a bed sheet. They had came prepared in case something like this had happened. It was something they had all agreed to as a group over the winter if any of them had ever gotten bit.

Holding onto her dad Maggie felt tears going down at her cheek as she tried to calm her dad who kept saying oh god over and over again. Watching as Rick took his belt off Maggie held her dad's face in her hands and when Rick grabbed for an axe she tried not to look.

"Only one way to keep you alive," Rick spoke as he looked down at Hershel who Maggie was holding down and trying to console.

Reaching out for Hershel, Taylor too helped to hold him down as Rick took the first swing. The sight of blood made him a bit queasy and he did his best to ignore it as Rick who was beside him kept chopping the leg until it was off.

"He’s bleeding out," Rick told the group after he took a moment to compose himself from what he had just done and the sight of the leg and blood.

Daryl who had been on the floor to help hold Hershel down turned away for a bit after the leg had been cut off and when he turned back he made a face seeing four people standing up behind a window in the room, "Duck," he said to Rick as he stood up and picked up his crossbow.

Holding his crossbow and flashlight towards the men he just looked at them as they looked back at them and advanced closer.

"Holy shit!" One of the men behind the bars on the other side of the room spoke as a man with a crossbow and flashlight advanced towards them.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Four

Zac who had been sitting on the floor looked up in surprised when he heard a man's voice say holy shit and he shook his head when he saw the five prisoners on the other side of the wall. He had gotten too caught up in what was happening with Hershel to even notice them.

"Who the hell are you?" Daryl asked as he kept his crossbow on the men.

"Who the hell are you?" One of the prisoners spoke as they kept their eyes on the man with the crossbow as well as the scene that was unfolding in the middle of the room.

Rick who had watched briefly Daryl's exchange with the men turned back to Hershel, "He’s bleeding out, we gotta go back!" he spoke knowing they needed to get back to their cell block. Grabbing for Taylor he put his hand on Hershel's wound and then looked at Maggie as well, "Come around here. Put pressure on the knee! Hard! Hard! Push, push!"

As Taylor and Maggie helped with Hershel's wound Zac stood up and walked to where Daryl was as he took out his gun holding it on the prisoners.

"Come on out of there," Daryl told the men as he never once looked away from them. "Slow and steady," he spoke watching as they obeyed his words.

Tomas who was the first one out looked down at the floor and the man on it who was bleeding, whose leg he had seen them cut off, "What happened to him?"

"He got bit," Daryl answered harshly.

Tomas heard the man with the crossbow answer him and he reached for the gun he wore in the front of his pants, "Bit?"

Seeing the man reach for his gun Zac held his gun higher aiming it at the man now and once he did he watched as the man trained his gun on him as well.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, easy now," Daryl said to the prisoner who had his gun on Zac. "Nobody needs to get hurt."

Ignoring the situation with the prisoners Rick looked at Maggie, "I need you to hold this," he said as he looked at the bed sheet which was covered in blood. "As hard as you can."

After Maggie took a hold of the bed sheet Taylor stood up and looked at the prisoners, "You got medical supplies?" he asked before walking into the room they had just exited.

Big Tiny watched as the man who had asked about the medical supplies walked past him, "Wow, where the hell do you think you're going?" he asked just watching as the man ignored him and started to search the room he and the other prisoners had just exited.

Keeping his gun trained on the men Zac turned to where T-Dog stood at the door as he heard it moving under the weight of the walkers who were still trying to get into the room where they were at.

"Who the hell are you people anyway?" Tomas asked as he raised an eyebrow.

Axel shook his head, "Don't look like no rescue team!"

Rick who with the help of Maggie tried to carry Hershel finally looked up at the prisoners, "If a rescue team's what you're waiting for, don't," he answered them as he saw Taylor wheeling them a table from the room he had been in searching. Putting Hershel on it he looked at the others, "Come on, we gotta go!" he told them as he along with the help of Taylor and Maggie began wheeling the table towards the door. "T the door!" he yelled out to let T-Dog know to open the door.

"Are you crazy?" Oscar asked hearing the man tell someone to open the door. "Don't open that!"

T-Dog heard the man and he moved the thing he had put in the door to keep it shut, "We got this," he told him as a walker came in not long after. Pushing the prison guard walker against the wall he soon killed it like they had done yesterday. By sticking it in the neck with his weapon.

After the door was open Zac slowly backed out of the room though he kept facing the prisoners when doing so not once letting his gun lower and in front of him he could see Daryl doing the same with his crossbow.
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Taylor who was helping Rick and Maggie push Hershel down the dark corridors as the others followed watched as Rick would lead them one way and then they'd run into a walker or a group of walkers that Daryl would have to put down and then they'd turn around and try another way.

He hadn't remembered the way here being this long but then again maybe it had been and he just hadn't been paying attention. All he knew was he wanted to get back to their cell block mainly for Hershel's sake. They could help him more there then they ever could in that cafeteria or in those dark corridors they were now navigating their way through.

Hearing Rick tell them to stop after awhile Taylor turned his head to see the prisoners shadows on the walls and he swore he could hear one of them say to follow the flashlights. Rolling his eyes he knew that was the last thing they needed. To be followed back to their cell block by a bunch of prisoners.

When the prisoners finally rounded a corner to where they could actually see them Taylor heard Rick whispering for them to go again and they did and then it wasn't long before they were coming up to the door that would eventually lead them to their cell block.

Seeing Daryl get in front to open the door that lead to the corridors Taylor and Rick both pushed the table from the back while Maggie stayed at the front.

"He's losing too much blood," Maggie spoke her voice cracking some as they walked the short distance where the gate to their cell block was. Now all they needed was for it to be open so they could get to the cells.

"Open the door! It’s Hershel!" Rick yelled out so their group who had stayed behind would know to let them in. "Carl, come on!" he said watching as his son eventually opened the door for them and they wheeled the table into their cell block where they got Hershel situated into one of the cells as quickly as they could manage.

"He got bit," Rick spoke as he looked at the people who were now in the room.

Beth frowned as she looked down at her dad, "Oh my god," she muttered already fearing the worst. "He's gonna turn."

"Did you cut it off?" Lori asked her husband.

"Yeah," Rick answered her as they eventually found a way to get Hershel on the bed properly.

"Maybe you got it in time," Lori spoke before moving the bed sheet away from Hershel's leg. "Oh god," she muttered as she took in the wound.

Carol who looked at the wound bent down and reached her hand down to stop the bleeding, "I need bandages."

"We used everything we had," Taylor told her as he shook his head.

"Well, get more! Anything!" Carol told Taylor as she looked at him briefly.

Lori turned to look at her son who was near the entry of the cell, "Carl, go get the towels from the back, right next to my bed!"

"Is he gonna die?" Beth asked as tears started to form in her eyes. She really didn't want to lose her daddy.

Avery who was standing next to Beth pulled the blonde to her in an effort to calm her down, "No,no,no," she told the girl as she forced a smile. "He's going to be okay," she whispered hoping he'd be okay. Hell she half hoped she'd be okay as well because the sight of the blood was starting to make her feel sick and she wasn't sure why. She had seen blood numerous times now since this all started. It just seemed like everything was making her sick now.

Bending down to where Carol and Lori were working with Hershel, Rick looked at the two women, "You think you can stabilize him?"

"I need to keep his leg elevated," Carol answered as she looked around the room. "Get some pillows!" she spoke hoping someone would go to get her pillows.

"He's already bled through the sheets," Maggie spoke as she saw all the blood on the sheets.

Taylor looked down at Carol, "We could burn the wound to clot the blood," he suggested. "I can start a fire."

Beth shook her head as she heard Taylor's suggestion, "Oh god no, please don't do this," she muttered before leaning closer to Avery.

"No, the shock could kill him," Carol said after Taylor's suggestion. "It’s not gonna stop the arteries from bleeding. We need to keep it dressed and let it heal on its own.," she finished seeing Carl come back with the towels and soon she and Lori started to try to stop the bleeding.

Watching the two women Taylor then looked at Maggie who stayed at the entrance of the cell. She half looked like she was in shock and he wanted nothing more than to comfort her but he didn't know how too right now.
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Zac who had stayed out in the part leading from the corridors to the part where the cell block was looked over at Daryl when he heard the prisoners coming closer to coming out of the corridors. It had taken them some time to get here though Zac couldn't help but wishing they hadn't even made it.

"That's far enough," Daryl said as he watched the prisoners walk out of the corridors. He had his crossbow trained on them and he'd use it if he had too.

Tomas smirked as he nodded his head seeing the cell block, "Cell block C. Cell four, that’s mine, gringo. Let me in," he said as he continued inching closer to the two men who stood in front of him though his eyes were trained on the one with a crossbow aimed at him.

"Today’s your lucky day, fellas. You’ve been pardoned by the state of Georgia, you’re free to go," Daryl told them not once letting any of them out of his sight.

Tomas looked at the man and raised his eyebrow, "What you got going on in there?"

"Ain’t none of your concern," Zac muttered as he spoke up finally.

Shaking his head Tomas reached for his gun again and pulled it out as he walked towards the man who spoke now, "Don’t be telling me what’s my concern," he said seeing the man with a crossbow move and come closer to him now.

" Chill, man. Dude’s leg is messed up. Besides, we’re free now! Why are we still in here?" Big Tiny asked as he looked at Tomas not understanding why they couldn't just leave this prison.

Daryl nodded at the one man's words, "Man's got a point."

"Yeah, and I gotta check on my old lady," Oscar agreed as he looked over at Big Tiny. He hadn't checked in on her in months. Since before they had been put in the cafeteria.

"Group of civilians breaking into a prison you’ve got no business being in, got me thinking there ain’t no place for us to go!" Tomas continued as he shrugged still not backing down.

Daryl just glared at the man, "Why don't you go find out?" he asked him hoping that eventually he'd just give up this fight.

Axel who had stayed silent looked between Tomas and the man with a crossbow as well as the other man in the room, "Maybe we’ll just be going now."

"Hey, we ain’t leaving!" Tomas spoke still refusing to just go.

Pulling out his gun Zac held it on the man who kept being stubborn, "You ain’t coming here either!" he told him as he walked closer watching as the guy finally lifted his gun and held it on him as well. It was the second time today he had stood on the other end of that gun.

"Hey, this is my house, my rules, I go where I damn well please!" Tomas said as he looked between both of the men who had their weapons aimed at him.
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Beth who had been leaning against Avery as she watched Lori and Carol work with Hershel moved some as she heard raised voices coming from somewhere, "What was that?"

Turning to look down the hall as he heard the voices Rick sighed, "Prisoners, survivors. It’s alright, everybody stay put," he assured them as he turned to walk away and go help to take care of the situation. As he did he could hear footsteps behind him and as he reached the doors he turned to look, seeing Taylor had followed him. "Do not leave his side! If he dies, you need to be there for that," he whispered not wanting Taylor to come with him this time. He needed to be here with Hershel. "Think you can do this? Maggie will be there."

Taylor swallowed hard at Rick's words taking in the reality of them, "I got it," he nodded knowing he could do that. He had too. Maybe that was what he could do for Maggie.

"I can bring Zac in here.." Rick said knowing he could bring Zac back in if Taylor wasn't too sure. "Or you have Glenn and T-Dog here as well."

"I got it," Taylor repeated this time sounding much more firmer in his words.

Rick nodded, "Good," he said before turning to continue towards where the voices were coming from.
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Zac had kept his gun raised during the entire argument with the prisoners and he could feel his dislike for them growing by the minute or well his dislike for the one who refused to leave. The one who just didn't want to give up and leave the prison. It was taking all he had not to let his finger accidentally slip so he could put a bullet into the man's brain.

"There ain’t nothing for you here, why don’t you go back to your own sandbox?" Daryl grunted out as he looked at the man who just refused to leave.

"Hey, hey, hey! Everyone relax, there’s no need for this," Rick spoke firmly as he finally arrived and came up in between Zac and Daryl to stand in front of the prisoners as well.

Tomas looked at the man who had just arrived, "How many of you in there?" he asked as he tried to look around the man to see if he could possibly see in.

"Too many for you to handle," Rick answered his voice staying firm as he answered.

"You guys rob a bank or something?" Tomas asked as he looked at the three men standing in front of him. "Why don’t you take him to a hospital?"

At the man's questions Rick looked to Zac and then Daryl before answering, "How long have you been locked in the cafeteria?"

Tomas had to think before he could answer that, "Going on like ten months," he stated finally after doing the math.

"Riot broke out," Big Tiny added after Tomas spoke. "Never seen anything like it."

"Attica on speed, man," Axel added in.

Andrew nodded as the others talked, "Ever heard about dudes going cannibal, dying, coming back to life? Crazy."

"One guard looked out for us, locked us up in the cafeteria, told us to sit tight, threw me this piece, said he’d be right back," Tomas continued as he remembered the events as if they were yesterday.

"And that was two hundred and ninety two days ago," Big Tiny finished up knowing he had kept track.

Axel turned to look at Big Tiny, "Ninety-four according to my..."

"Shut up!" Tomas growled as he looked at Axel briefly.

"We were thinking that the army or the national guard should be showing up any day now," Big Tiny finished after Axel's and Tomas's words.

After the men finished talking Rick finally spoke again, "There is no army."

"What do you mean?" Tomas asked clearly confused by the man's words.

"There’s no government, no hospitals, no police. It’s all gone," Rick said as he looked at the prisoners in front of him. Men that had clearly been way more sheltered to everything that had happened since this all started.

Axel took in the man's words and made a face, "For real?"

"Serious," Rick answered as he nodded his head yes.

After awhile of silence Big Tiny frowned slightly, "What about my mom's?" he asked knowing there was no way she could have defended herself in all of this.

"My kids, my old lady!" Oscar added in as he thought about his own family now as well. Stepping towards the three men he shook his head, "Yo, you got a cell phone or something so we can call our families?"

Zac looked at the prisoners perplexed after that last question, "You just don't get it, do you?" he asked knowing they still weren't grasping the reality of the situation here.

Rick shook his head before continuing to talk, "No phones, no computers. As far as we can see, at least half the population’s been wiped out. Probably more."

"Ain't no way," Tomas said finally still not wanting to believe these men's words.

Rick shrugged, "See for yourself," he said as he pointed towards the doors that lead to the courtyard.

It was after Rick said that, that Zac watched as the prisoners headed for the door and he,Rick, and Daryl all followed suit. When they reached the doors Zac watched as Rick opened the doors and eventually they all went outside where the bodies of the walkers still laid strewn about from when they had taken them down on their mission to take the prison.

"Damn, the sun feels good," Oscar muttered as they walked outside and he took in the feeling of the sun on his body. It had been too long since he had felt it.

Axel looked around him as they walked out into the courtyard and he took in the dead bodies lying on the ground, "Good Lord, they’re all dead."

Tomas just smiled as he looked at the fences that surrounded the courtyard, "Never thought I’d be so happy to see these fences."

"You never said. How the hell did you get in here in the first place?" Andrew asked as he turned to look at the three men who were now following behind his group.

"Cut a hole in that fence over there by the guard tower," Daryl answered him as he pointed towards the fence they had used.

Andrew turned to look at the fence before speaking again, "That easy, huh?"

"Where there’s a will, there’s a way," Zac spoke up as he turned to look at the man.

Andrew rolled his eyes at that, "Easy for you to say."

Big Tiny who had picked up a stick looked down at one of the dead bodies on the ground and he poked at it curiously, " So what is this like a disease?"

"Yeah, but we’re all infected," Rick answered honestly as he looked at the man who was standing beside him.

"What do you mean, infected?" Axel asked as his crossed his arms over his chest. "Like AIDS or something?"

Daryl turned to look at the blonde man who spoke, "If I was to kill you, shoot an arrow in your chest, you come back as one of these things. It’s gonna happen to all of us."

After a few minutes of silence Tomas shook his head, "Ain’t no way this Robin hood cast’s responsible for killing all these freaks," he said not believing they had taken all of these things down.

"Must be fifty bodies out here," Andrew added in.

"Where'd you come from?" Tomas asked curiously as he raised an eyebrow and looked at the man who he presumed to be the leader.

Feeling the man's stare on him Rick looked down, "Atlanta," he answered as he looked up finally.

"Where you headed?" Tomas asked as he walked closer to the man trying to figure him out as he did so.

Rick turned to face the man who was coming towards him, " For now, nowhere."

Tomas just nodded as he looked around before pointing off in the distance as he turned slightly, " I guess you could take that area down there near the water. Should be comfortable."

"We're using that field for our crops," Rick answered as he nodded and looked down where the man had pointed.

"We’ll help you move your gear out," Tomas continued ignoring what the man had said.

Rick shook his head at that, "That won’t be necessary. We took out these walkers, this prison is ours."

Tomas laughed at that, "Slow down cowboy," he said as he eyed the man in front of him.

"You snatched the locks off our doors," Andrew added in as he came to stand by Tomas.

"We'll give you new locks, if that's how you want it," Rick suggested knowing they could do that for them.

Tomas raised his arms out slightly, "This is our prison. We were here first," he reasoned as he still stood by his position that they had a right to be here.

"Locked in the broom closet?" Rick asked as he leaned into the man some. "We took it, set you free, it’s ours, we spilled blood."

Tomas glared at the man, "We’re moving back into our cell block."

"You'll have to get your own," Rick told him through gritted teeth.

"It is mine. I’ve still got personal artifacts in there," Tomas reasoned as he again reached for his gun which caused the man with the crossbow to come closer to him. "That’s about as mine as it gets!"

Axel and a everyone else seemed to move in at that and Axel spoke up as he looked at Tomas and the man who seemed to be the leader of the other group, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, maybe let’s try to make this work out so everybody wins!"

"I don't see that happening," Tomas spoke after Axel said what he did.

Rick nodded, "Neither do I," he agreed at least finding something they both agreed on.

" I ain’t going back into that cafeteria for one minute," Tomas said honestly. That cafeteria had almost driven him mad the first time around.

Turning to look at Tomas, Axel chewed his lip, "There are other cell blocks."

Zac rolled his eyes at that suggestion, "You could leave. Try your luck out on the road," he mused as he moved a bit closer to the man who was being the most stubborn. The one he wished Daryl would put an arrow through.

Tomas glared at the man who spoke before looking at his fellow prisoners, "If these three pussies can do all this, the least we can do is take out another cell block."

"With what?" Big Tiny asked knowing they had nothing to use.

Tomas turned to look at the man in front of him, the man he still assumed was the leader, "Atlanta here will spot us some real weapons. Won’t you boss?"

Rick had to take a few seconds to think before speaking again, "How stocked is that cafeteria? Must have plenty of food, five guys lasting almost a year?"

"It sure as hell don’t look like anybody’s been starving," Daryl added in harshly as he looked at the prisoners.

"There's only a little left," Tomas lied as he looked back at the other groups leader again.

Rick shrugged at that answer, "We’ll take half. In exchange, we’ll help clear out a cell block."

"Didn’t you hear him? There’s only a little left!" Andrew muttered as he looked at the man.

"Bet you’ve got more food than you’ve got choices," Rick spoke as he moved closer to the man who had said that. "You pay, we’ll play. We’ll clear out a block for you, then you keep to it."

Thinking over the man's words Tomas finally nodded, "Alright."

"Well, let’s be clear. If we see you out here, anywhere near our people, if I so much as even catch a whiff of your scent, I will kill you," Rick warned all of the prisoners knowing he meant every word he had said.

Tomas swallowed but again he nodded, "Deal."
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Avery closed her eyes as she laid down on the bed in her cell. Everyone had eventually cleared out of the cell where Hershel was and right now the only ones in there were Lori and Carol who were keeping vigil and also watching to make sure he didn't lose more blood.

At the thought of blood Avery groaned and closed her eyes tighter almost feeling like getting sick again, something she had done once she had got back to her own cell.

"You okay?" Jessica asked as she stood in the doorway of her sister's cell. She had left while Glenn and T-Dog had went to search for more supplies in the prison, see if they could find something Hershel needed. "I heard you getting sick earlier when you came back here."

Opening her eyes Avery looked at Jessica, "If you count wanting to hurl at the littlest things as not being okay then no," she answered as she shook her head. "But if not then yes I am fine."

Jessica went inside Avery's cell and looked down at her sister, "You think you have a bug?" she asked as she bent down to feel her sister's head. "You don't feel hot."

"I think it may just be lack of getting enough food," Avery answered as she smiled up at Jessica. "Hopefully it will pass if we ever find enough food for everyone," she said not really sure if she could take much more of puking or even dry heaving.

"Yeah..maybe," Jessica stated as she chewed her a lip, a thought crossing her mind though she wasn't sure if she should tell Avery just yet what it was. Maybe she'd give it a few more days and see how things went. "I just know if it's a bug I am gonna hate you for getting me sick," she teased knowing during the winter they had all just keep passing germs around.

Avery laughed softly at her sister's words, "You can't hate me Jessie. I'm your sister..the only one you have left. You have to love me forever."

Fake glaring Jessica just sighed, "If you say so."
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Zac followed everyone back into the cafeteria and he couldn't help but wish he had kept his gun close to him. He hated coming back this way especially after the last time and what had happened to Hershel but then again they had too, to get the food and they'd probably have to come this way to clear out another cell block for these people, people he was wary on even letting stay but if Rick was okay with it who was he to complain?

"Pantry's back here," Tomas spoke as he pointed to where the pantry was and he headed back there.

"You never tried to break out of here?" Zac asked as he came out of his thoughts. He knew he'd at least try if he was stuck in this god forsaken cafeteria for ten months.

At that question Oscar spoke up, "We tried to take the doors off. But if you make one peep in here, then those freaks will be lined up outside the door growling, trying to get in," he said as he turned to look at the man who had asked the question. "Windows got bars on them that he-man couldn’t get through."

"Bigger than a five by eight," Axel spoke as he crossed his arms again.

Big Tiny shook his head, "You won’t find me complaining. Doing fifteen. My left leg can barely fit on one of those bunks."

"Yeah, they don't call him Big Tiny for nothing," Oscar said smiling just a bit at that.

"You're done jerking each other off?" Tomas asked from where he stood at the pantry. "I'm getting sick of waiting back here."

Rolling his eyes Zac followed the group again as they all finished walking to where the pantry was at. Once they made it there Zac just looked around as he took in all the food they still had left.

"That's what you call a little bit of food?" Daryl asked sarcastically as he walked into the pantry where he shined his flashlight in Tomas's eyes. He knew just from looking there was more than just a little bit of food.

Tomas shrugged as the man with crossbow walked past him, "Goes fast," he answered before hearing the man mutter an mmhmm. "You can have a bag of corn, some tuna fish."

"We said half. That's the deal," Rick interrupted reminding the man of the deal they had made in the courtyard. "What's in there?" he asked pointing towards a door that was right beside him.

Big Tiny made a face as Rick started to open the door, "Don't open that," he said warning the man before hand but the man opened anyway and started to cough and gag before he shut the door finally which made all the prisoners laugh.

Tomas just shook his head as a smile played on his lips, "He wanted to know."

"Can't wait for my own pot to piss in," Axel mused knowing that would be one perk to going to a cell block. No more having to use the damn freezer that everyone else used too.
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Taylor chewed on his lip as he stood outside of the cell where Hershel was and where Maggie was also now at again. Lori and Carol were still sitting vigil at his bedside and so far there had still been no real change to Hershel's condition.

Turning to look at Taylor, Maggie left the cell and walked over to him, pulling him into a hug, "It was stupid of us to let him go," she spoke as her voice wavered some, tears wanting to come out but for now she held them in. "We cleared this whole cell block, just the five of us."

"Could have happened to anyone," Taylor told her as he held her closer to him. He still felt horrible that Maggie was having to go through watching her father suffer like this.

Maggie swallowed a lump in her throat before speaking again, "What are we gonna do without him?"

Taylor pulled away from the hug after Maggie said that and he just looked at her not sure how she could have even said that. "Hey, stop it," he muttered as he looked into her eyes. "Alright, stop it. He’s still here," he reassured her knowing that for now Hershel was still alive and why give up on him just yet?

"What if he does wake up?" Maggie asked as she looked into the cell where her father lay. "Then what? I mean, he can’t even walk… All we do is run," she said said before looking back at Taylor.

"Hey, this won't break him," Taylor told Maggie as he put his hands on her shoulder. He knew Hershel was a tough man. He had dealt with losing a wife and step-son and while that had been traumatic in a different way he had still came back. "He's got you and Beth."

Maggie listened to Taylor's words and she frowned some, "Am I the only person living in reality here?" she asked knowing there was a chance her dad may not make it.

"We've been through so much already," Taylor said as he shook his head.

"You're expecting it too," Maggie whispered as she closed her eyes. What she took from Taylor's words was that he too was expecting her father to die.

Taylor shook his head, "I'm not expecting, alright? I'm just preparing," he said as he tried to give Maggie a smile. "Why don't you go check on Beth?" he suggested but saw hesitance from Maggie. "Go on, I'll watch him." It was after he said that, that he watched as Maggie finally walked off to go check in on her sister.
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Jessica went back to the cell she shared with Glenn and seeing Glenn was gone she eventually reached for the bags they had which she began to go through looking for something she had once picked up on a run during the winter. Pulling out the box she bit her lip as she looked at the pregnancy test in her hands.

"You think you are pregnant?" Glenn asked as he stood in the entryway watching as Jessica had rummaged through their bags. She hadn't noticed him mainly because she had been too interested in obviously finding that pregnancy test.

Jessica jumped slightly as she heard Glenn but then she shook her head, "Not me," she said wanting to clarify that she wasn't pregnant though she had, had that one scare during the winter which had prompted her to get this while on a run with Glenn. "Avery."

Glenn felt his eyes widen at Jessica's words, "Avery and Daryl are having a baby?"

When Glenn asked that Jessica reached her finger to her lips to tell him to be quiet. "Avery's been getting sick a lot. She claims it could be because she isn't eating properly but I don't believe it. If it continues I'm going to give her this."

"But..Avery and Daryl having a baby.." Glenn muttered as he sat down on the bottom bunk bed. "A second baby for the group.." he said again trying to wrap his mind around everything. "Daryl a dad..Avery a mom...two crying babies calling for walkers..."

Jessica just laughed at that, "I know it's a lot to take in, maybe a lot for the group but we can do it. We would have done it if Kate was still here," she said knowing Kate had been pregnant. "In fact Kate's baby would have been here by now."

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Five

Zac smiled as he and Rick arrived back at the cell block door, "Food's here!" he said excitedly as he watched Carl open the door for them.

"What you got?" Carl asked as he looked at Zac carrying two boxes full of food and his dad had some more boxes that he was carrying.

"Canned beef, canned corn, canned cans!" Zac answered as he walked down the cell block to go put the stuff away and he could feel Rick following him. "There’s a lot more where this came from!"

Rick who was following behind Zac watched as Lori came out of the cell where Hershel was, "Any change?" he asked as he stopped to look at her.

"Bleeding is under control and no fever, but his breath is labored, his pulse is way down and he hasn't opened his eyes yet," Lori answered informing her husband of Hershel's condition.

Hearing Lori's answer Rick turned around as he looked at Taylor, "Take my cuffs, put them on him. I'm not taking any chances," he said knowing he wasn't going to risk anyone if Hershel died and then came back.

Taylor sighed but reluctantly reached down and took Rick's cuffs from where he had them in his jeans. Once he had taken them he watched as Rick took the food he was carrying over where Zac was putting the stuff away thanks to Carl and T-Dog's help and soon Rick and Lori had went off to talk on their own too.
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Once everything had been put away Zac eventually found himself outside the cell block again as he, Rick, and Daryl all watched the prisoners look at the weapons they had laid out for them to use.

Picking up one of the weapons Tomas examined it before holding it out some, "Why do I need this, when I have this?" he asked as he looked down at his gun.

"You don't fire guns," Daryl answered the man as he shook his head. "Not unless your back's up against the wall. Noise attracts them, really riles them up."

"We’ll go in two by two," Rick spoke letting everyone know how they'd go about their job. "Daryl will run point with Zac, and I'll bring up the rear with you," he said before looking towards Andrew. "Stay tight, hold formation, no matter how close the walkers get. "Anyone breaks ranks, we could all go down, anyone runs off, they could get mistaken for a walker, end up with an axe to the head."

Daryl who heard Rick's words nodded, "And that's where you aim. These things only go down with a head shot."

"Ain't gotta tell us how to take out a man," Tomas said as he looked at Daryl.

Zac heard Thomas's words and spoke up, "They ain't men. They're something else."

"Just remember, go for the brain," Rick reiterated wanting to make sure they remembered that point if anything else.
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Taylor who had been in the cell with Hershel for awhile finally walked over to where the man lay and he took the cuffs that Rick had told him to use. Reaching for Hershel's hand he put one cuff on Hershel and he put the other around the bed, making sure that Hershel couldn't get loose if he did come back. If things took a turn for the worse.

Turning when he heard footsteps he saw Maggie coming back to the cell and giving him a look after seeing her dad handcuffed, "We had to," he told her.

"It's just for precaution," Carol added in as she gave the younger woman a smile.

At their words Maggie just nodded, she had for a second been scared that he had already died, "You think maybe I could have a minute alone here?"

"Yeah, do you want me to..." Taylor started but was stopped when Maggie interrupted him.

"No, just...by myself," Maggie said knowing she needed time alone with her dad. She needed to say goodbye just in case and also tell him it was okay for him to go if he was hanging on for her and Beth.

Carol stood up, "Of course," she said before exiting the cell.

"I'll be right outside," Taylor said to Maggie before he too left the cell. He had wanted her to know that he was there in case she needed him.
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Avery who had finished putting a sheet up over the door of her cell made a face as she ran to the toilet and got sick yet again. After she did get sick she stayed in the floor and closed her eyes as she felt tears wanting to form. She wasn't sure what was wrong with her but she just wanted it to stop. She wanted to feel better and she hated that she was so upset with how she felt when Hershel was just down stairs fighting for his life.

Opening her eyes again she turned when she saw the sheet open and she watched as Beth came into her room.

"I just wanted to make sure you were okay," Beth smiled or at least she tried too as she looked at Avery. "I heard you getting sick from down in my cell."

Nodding Avery just stayed in the floor, "I'm fine Beth," she said trying to reassure herself more than the blonde. "Anyway you should be more worried about your dad than me."

"My dad's going to be fine," Beth spoke her voice coming out confident. "He is a Greene and we're fighters much like you Hanson's are," she said knowing she had learned that over the months. "I don't even think a shot to the head would kill you guys."

At that Avery laughed, "I'm sure a shot to the head could kill us. That is kind of fatal."

"Sometimes it's not," Beth shrugged as she ran a hand through some of the hair that was falling out of her ponytail. "I should go check on my dad again," she said before leaving the cell.

After Beth was gone Avery laid her head against the cell wall. She wished she were half as strong as Beth saw her or as everyone else saw her. Truth be told she still considered herself the weak girl who couldn't fight off her dad.
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Walking beside Daryl as they walked the dark corridors Zac was on high alert for any walkers. Behind him he could hear one of the prisoners complaining.

"Man, it's too damn dark in here," Big Tiny complained knowing they didn't have enough light to see.

"Gotta hold it up high out in front of you," Daryl spoke as he looked at the man briefly. "You're gonna hear' em before you see 'em."

After Daryl said that they walked a few more steps before Zac heard one of the prisoners scream out that a walker was coming which made Daryl shush him. Watching the end of the hallway Zac watched as two walkers slowly made their way around the corner though before any of his group could do anything the prisoners ran at them screaming and the scene in front of him was almost comedic as the men tried to fight the walkers, hitting them every where but the head.
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Taylor who stood outside Hershel's cell held the pocket watch that the man had given him several months back in his hand. He was wrapping it around his fingers and then unwrapping it. It was the only thing he could do to occupy his time as he waited to see if Hershel would wake up or not. It was the only thing that made him concentrate on something else.

Hearing a door at one end of the cell block open Taylor looked up and raised an eyebrow as he saw Carl coming towards the cell a bag in hand. "Thought you were organizing the food?"

"Even better," Carl smiled to Taylor before entering the cell where Hershel and several others were at again. "Check it out," he said as he laid it down and watched as his mom and Carol went through the bag.

"Where did you get this?" Lori asked as she looked up at Carl.

Carl looked at his mom, "Found the infirmary. Wasn't much left, but I cleared it out!"

Lori felt her eyes widen at her son's words, "You went by yourself?"

"Yeah," Carl answered as he felt all eyes on him after he said that.

Hearing the boy's response Taylor shook his head as he thought back to his children who he had lost. What Carl had just did was a damn risky move.

"Are you crazy?" Lori asked as her voice went up some.

Carl just shrugged shaking his head, "No big deal, I killed two walkers."

"Alright," Lori muttered as she pointed down at Hershel's leg which Carol was bandaging up. "Do you see this? This was with the whole group!"

"We needed supplies, so I got them!" Carl defended not seeing the bigger issue with him going to get that.

"I appreciate that, but..." Lori started only for her son to interrupt her.

"Then get off my back!" Carl responded as he just glared at his mom.

Taylor who had listened to that whole exchange made a face, "Carl! She's your mother, you can't talk to her like that!" he said knowing the boy should give his mother a break. The woman was trying and doing her best.

"Listen, I think it's great that you want to help but..." Lori again started but watched as her son ran from the cell.
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Zac again walked down the darkened corridors after the two walkers were taken care of. An act that had been done by his own group.

"It's gotta be the brain," Daryl grunted out as he watched a walker approach where they were standing. "Not the stomach, not the heart, the brain!" he said before shooting an arrow into the walker.

Axel nodded, "I hear you, the brain," he repeated as he watched Oscar take down another walker who was coming at them.

"Like that?" Oscar asked after getting the walker in the head and watching it go down.

"Uh huh," Daryl nodded soon watching Axel take one down as well.

After Axel took down the next walker Zac watched as another one came that Rick killed and then he heard Rick telling them to stay in tight formation, no more prison riot crap. It was after he said that, that Zac watched as a lot more walkers came down to where they were at and they all began to take them down, this time with no more comedic scenes from the prisoners trying to fight the walkers.
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"These bandages will help prevent infection," Carol smiled as she finished wrapping up Hershel's leg.

"That's good. It's good that he taught you all this stuff," Taylor nodded knowing it was good that during their months on the run Hershel had taught Carol all this stuff.

Carol looked at Lori quickly then to Taylor, "He didn't teach me everything," she said as she shook her head. "I need your help with something."

"Now?" Taylor asked surprise clear in his tone.

"Yeah, now," Carol answered as she stood up.

Raising an eyebrow Taylor just looked at Carol, "What is it?"

"Not here," Carol answered him again as she started to walk out of the cell.

"I can't leave Hershel," Taylor said knowing he couldn't leave Hershel. He had promised Rick he would stay here.

"This is important," Carol told him as she turned to look at him.

Taylor shook his head at the woman's instance, "Carol, I can't.."

"Go on," Lori spoke up interrupting Taylor. "We got it."

"No way," Taylor said again not wanting to go.

Beth turned to look at her sister's boyfriend, "We'll be fine."

"We're not gonna be gone long," Carol added in hoping that would get Taylor to come with her.

"Rick said for me..." Taylor again started only to be stopped by Maggie.

"We're fine," Maggie reassured Taylor as she nodded and gave him a smile. This was her giving him consent to go.

Taylor heaved a sigh after Maggie spoke, "Alright," he agreed before leaving the cell with Carol.
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Zac raised an eyebrow as he looked up at Big Tiny after Big Tiny showed off the bite wound on his back. During their showdown with the walkers earlier the man had tried to run and hide and he had gotten bit, a fact that was found out after Rick and Tomas had went to look for him and killed the two walkers that had him cornered.

"I don't feel anything, it's just a scratch," Big Tiny spoke trying to tell the others he was okay.

Rick looked down unable to meet the man's gaze, "I'm sorry man."

"I can keep fighting!" Big Tiny responded as he looked at Rick.

"You cut that old guy's leg off to save his life!" Andrew spoke up wondering why Rick couldn't just cut off something to save Big Tiny.

Rick turned to look at Andrew, "Look at where the bite is!"

"Guys, I’m fine! Just… I’m fine. Look, look at me, I’m not changing into one of those things," Big Tiny spoke knowing he wasn't turning. He didn't feel sick, he felt completely fine.

"Look, man, there's gotta be something we can do, we could just lock him up," Oscar suggested as he put his hands on his hips.

"Quarantine him!" Axel added in.

Andrew just shook his head, "We gotta do something! Why are you just standing there, we gotta save him!"

"There's nothing we can do," Rick stated knowing there was no saving Big Tiny.

"You son of a bitch!" Andrew muttered.

Zac heard Andrew and then he watched as Big Tiny started to talk again only to be stopped when Tomas stabbed him in the face and then the man just kept stabbing him over and over again and by the time he stopped Zac just stood there in shock. Tomas was covered in blood and Big Tiny was dead and the man who had killed him hadn't even batted an eyelash.
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Walking along the prison's fences with Carol, Taylor watched as the woman kept eying the walkers as if she was looking for the right one.

"That one," Carol stated as she watched a female walker coming closer to the fence.

Taylor turned to Carol as the walker reached the fence and they both came to a stop, "Everything you're saying is completely sane, you wanting to use a walker for practice is a sane thing I mean it. Okay? I'm just, trying to wrap my mind around it."

"Lori's overdue. She had Carl by C-section, she's probably gonna have to have this one the same way. Hershel had a little bit of experience with this kind of thing, but he's not gonna be able to do it anymore. I need experience! And we have plenty of cadavers," she said referring to the walkers roaming around.

Looking down Taylor shook his head, "Like I said it's completely sane."

"I need to learn how to cut through the abdomen and uterus without cutting the baby," Carol spoke as she eyed the walker in front of her. The one she'd be using for her lessons in teaching herself how to do a C-section.

"Why not?" Taylor asked sarcastically as he moved to put the walker down only to be stopped when Carol grabbed his hand before he could.

Carol just shook her head, "I'll do it."

After Carol said that Taylor moved away from the fence watching as Carol put the walker down and he moved away drawing the other walkers down the fence so that Carol could get that walker to use without having to worry about the others getting her instead.
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Walking down the corridors Zac stayed in front of Rick and Daryl but behind the other prisoners. He could hear the two men behind him talking about the look in Tomas's eye when he had killed Big Tiny and he couldn't help but feel proud when Rick told Daryl that if Tomas made one wrong move he'd give him a signal. He kind of hoped Tomas would just so they could get him off their hands. He seemed like the worst out of all the inmates.

When they finally arrived at the cell block entrance which contained a set of two double doors Zac watched as Daryl handed the keys over to Tomas.

"I ain't opening that," Tomas said as he shook his head.

Rick turned to look at Tomas who was still covered in blood, "Yes, you are. If you want this cell block, you're gonna open that door. Just the one, not both of them. Because we need to control this."

Tomas took a breath and hesitantly walked to open the doors. He could hear walkers on the other side already, "You bitches ready?" he asked after he unlocked the door but it wouldn't budge. "I got this," he spoke after a few more attempts and this time he opened both doors, watching as walkers came into the room.

"I said one door!" Rick yelled as he moved to help kill the walkers.

Tomas just shrugged at Rick's words, "Shit happens."

Zac who watched the men's exchange then began to take on walkers as they came at him or into the room. He wasn't sure how many he had taken down when he heard Daryl call out to him to mind the gap and out of the corner of his eye he saw Daryl run towards Rick's direction.

Moving to where Daryl had been Zac continued to take down walkers and each time one didn't bite him he felt accomplished. That he was one less walker down to worrying about being bit.

Eventually after all the walkers were taken care of Zac turned to see Rick and Tomas having another exchange of words.

"He was coming at me, bro," Tomas spoke trying to defend why he had thrown that walker at Rick.

Rick just nodded at the man's words, "Yeah..yeah, I get it," he told him him as he held his axe tighter in his hands. "I get it. Shit happens," he muttered before raising his axe and putting it Tomas's head.

"No!" Andrew screamed out right as Rick raised his axe and put it in Tomas's head. Raising his bat he charged at the man only to watch him turn to face him after Tomas had fallen dead on the floor.

"Easy now," Daryl spoke as he held his crossbow higher watching as Rick kicked Andrew down to the ground and soon the boy went running out of the room with Rick saying he had got him before also running out of the room. Turning to see Oscar still standing there Daryl ordered the man to get down on his knees which he did.

Axel also got down on his knees and looked at the two men left in the room, "We don't have no affiliation to what just happened!" he said pleading his case. "Tell him, Oscar!"

Oscar just shook his head, "Stop talking man."

Taking his gun out finally Zac held it to the two men on the floor. He knew Daryl had his crossbow trained on them but he just wanted to be safe.
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Jessica who had been in her cell with Glenn made a face when she heard Beth screaming from down the hall for help and before she knew it she left her cell and ran to where Hershel was, getting there just in time to see Lori performing CPR on the man. Waiting with baited breath she stood next to Carl, feeling someone come up behind her and she turned to see Glenn.

It was when she turned back around that she jumped slightly in horror watching as Hershel lunged up wrapping his arm around Lori who was pried away by Maggie though the moment Lori was away they all watched as Hershel's eyes opened briefly and then he closed them, his snoring filling the room. He had escaped death.

"That was close," Glenn whispered as he leaned into Jessica, his eyes landing on Carl who had raised his gun just in case he had to shoot.
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"We didn't have nothing to do with that," Oscar said as he looked at the two men who were threatening him. Rick had came back without Andrew and now Rick held a knife out to him while Daryl still kept his crossbow in place and Axel was a few feet away being held at gunpoint.

Rick just looked at the men, "You didn't know?" he asked not believing that they didn't know. "You knew! Daryl, let's end this now!" he said knowing they had to kill these men.

Axel started to cry some when Rick moved towards him this time putting another gun in his face, "Sir, please, please listen to me!" he said as he shook his head. "It was them that was bad! It wasn't us!"

"Oh that's convenient," Rick growled out still not buying their words.

"You saw what he did to Tiny! He was my friend!" Axel continued still trying to plead his case and save his life. "Please! We ain’t like that! I like my pharmaceuticals, but I’m no killer! Oscar here, he’s a B and E and he ain’t very good at it neither! We ain’t the violent kind, they were! Please! Please, I swear to god! I wanna live!"

Turning to face Oscar again Rick held his gun to the man this time, "What about you?" he asked wondering if the man was gonna plead for his life as well.

"I ain’t never pleaded for my life. And I ain’t about to start now. So you do what you gotta do," Oscar said resigned to his fate at this point.

Watching as Rick finally put down his weapon Zac heard him tell him and Daryl to do the same and soon they lead the men down to their new cell block which was cleared and full of dead walker corpses.

"Oh man! I knew these guys, they were good men," Axel exclaimed as he looked around him at the dead bodies strewn everywhere.

"Let's go," Rick spoke as he looked towards Zac and Daryl.

Oscar watched as the men started to walk away, "So you’re just gonna leave us in here? Man, this is sick!"

"We’re locking down the cellblock. From now on, this part of the prison is yours. Take it or leave it, that was the deal," Rick informed them knowing the deal hadn't changed even with Tomas and Andrew gone.

Daryl just looked at Oscar, "You think this is sick? You don't wanna know what's outside," he said before frowning at the images in his head.

"Consider yourselves the lucky ones," Rick said before finally actually walking away.

"Sorry about your friends man," Daryl said as he followed after Rick.

"Word of advice," Zac said as the two men looked at him. "Take those bodies outside and burn them," he finished before following Rick and Daryl out of the cell block.
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Taylor who was standing outside the cell where Hershel was looked up when he heard foot steps coming down the hall and he could see Rick and Zac both coming back.

"Hershel stopped breathing," Carl informed his dad. "Mom saved him," he said as he smiled at what his mom had done.

Taylor nodded at Carl's words knowing he had been informed of what happened when he got back, "It's true," he confirmed watching as Rick and Zac both went inside the cell. Taylor wasn't blind and he saw Zac put his hand comfortingly on Beth's shoulder.

Turning his head he again was faced with two more of his siblings and their lovers as Avery came to the cell and pulled Daryl into a hug and Jessica and Glenn both came back to check in on Hershel. The only two people missing right now where Carol and T-Dog.

"Still no fever," Lori spoke to Rick as she heard her husband come in the room, though her eyes never once left Hershel.

Nodding at Lori's words Rick finally walked closer to Hershel, watching as the man slept. It was while he watched him that he saw the man start to rouse and everyone seemed to move in closer. When the man's eyes opened Rick couldn't help but smile some.

"Daddy?" Maggie asked her voice cracking slightly when she saw her father open his eyes.

"Daddy!" Beth smiled as she moved in beside Maggie so that she could be closer to her father.

As Hershel woke up Taylor just smiled as he stepped farther into the cell and he watched as Rick took the cuffs off him and once the cuffs were off Hershel reached for Rick's hand giving Rick a smile which Rick returned though eventually Rick replaced his hand with Beth's and he followed Lori out of the cell.

Going to where Maggie stood at her father's bedside Taylor let his hand rest on her back to let her know he was here and that he'd be with her even now that her dad was okay.
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That night as he laid in his cell Zac sat up slightly as he heard the door open and he watched as Beth came in clad in only her nightgown. "I figured you'd still be with your dad," he said as he watched her shut the door behind her.

"Maggie's with him tonight," Beth said as she walked farther into Zac's cell. "I..I wanted to come and see you," she said her voice cracking slightly. "What happened to my dad today got me thinking."

"Oh?" Zac asked as he raised an eyebrow watching as Beth eventually sat down beside him.

Beth looked down blushing, "I..I'm ready to have sex with you," she admitted as she finally looked up again and looked into Zac's eyes. "I don't wanna die not having had sex with you."

"And you're positive?" Zac asked as he locked eyes with Beth, his hand going to rest on her cheek. "This is a huge decision."

"I'm positive," Beth spoke as she leaned in to kiss Zac on the lips. "I want to have sex with you," she muttered in between kisses knowing she was sure of the decision she had made.

Kissing Beth back Zac slowly but surely took the lead with her and their kisses soon changed from slow and gentle to hot and fevered and as that happened he let his hand slide up and under her nightgown as he pushed her back towards the bed where he laid over her.

Hearing her moan out as his hand brushed across the crotch of her panties Zac smirked feeling that Beth was already wet and he pulled away pulling her night gown off and throwing it to the floor. After it was off he kissed her again letting his lips trail down her neck and eventually to other places too.

Beth closed her eyes as Zac's mouth explored her body, all things he had already done during their time on the run this winter. The moment her panties were off she let out a tiny moan as she felt his tongue connect with her wet flesh. She was trying not to be loud because the last thing they needed was to get caught. The last thing she wanted was for people to find out about this.

"Zac..." Beth whimpered out as she pulled on his hair. "You're going to make me come too soon," she said knowing this wasn't how she wanted to reach her end.

Hearing Beth, Zac moved out from between her legs and he came back up to her, "Are you really positive?" he asked letting his hand find it's way between her legs and he started to rub her as he waited for her answer. "I..I guess I just need the reassurance."

"I'm fucking positive," Beth said as she moaned out again as Zac rubbed her. While he was doing that she reached up and undid his shirt, pushing him back some so she could pull it off and once it was off she pulled him into a kiss. A kiss that lasted through her taking his pants and boxers off and was only broken when Zac once again asked if she was sure after he lined himself up at her entrance.

Again with her words of encouragement it seemed like Zac was going to take her virginity and when she felt him inside of her she grimaced some knowing it hurt slightly even if he had fingered her before.

"You okay?" Zac asked onto her lips as he felt her tense up around him.

Beth nodded as she pulled away from the kiss, "Just go slow..please," she told him as she locked eyes with him.

"I can do slow," Zac smiled as he leaned down to kiss her again and he kept his hips still for the longest time and when he did start to move inside of her it was slow and gentle and he found his lips wondering to her neck where he left feather soft kisses on her skin. "I..I..I love you," he whispered on her skin knowing with all of his heart that he did love her. He was in love with Beth Greene.

"I love you too," Beth stated as she started to match Zac's movements and she let her head fall to the side as he kissed her neck. It felt good to finally tell Zac she loved him. She had known she had loved him several months ago but had never said it in fear that he didn't love her back. She had been scared he was using her to fill Kate's absence in his life.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Six

Kate breathed heavy as she ran through the woods with Lucy hot on her heels. She wasn't sure how long they had been running but she was sure they had gotten away from the walkers they had been running from, the walkers that had caused them to lose Alice. Coming to a stop behind a tree Kate reached out and grabbed Lucy to stop her as well, "I think we are safe now. We need to stop and rest, then we can go back for Alice."

Lucy shook her head, "Alice ran the other way Katie," she said knowing it'd be useless. "We'd never find her or even know which directions she took after she got separated from us. Alice is on her own now."

"But she doesn't have a gun," Kate muttered as she looked helplessly at Lucy. "She can't protect herself without a gun."

Reaching out Lucy put her hands on either of Kate's cheeks, "She'll be fine babe. She has to be because Alice can't die," she smiled trying to reassure herself with her own words. She didn't want to think of Alice dying because then that meant she had lost everyone from her group, she had lost all of the friends she had made before Kate. She couldn't think of them all as dead, she just couldn't.

"Alice can die. My husband is probably dead," Kate spoke as she frowned at the thought of Zac's death. "We've lost everyone," she whispered feeling tears stinging at her eyes, wanting to come out. "Luce, we have lost everyone."

"We still have each other," Lucy smiled as she leaned in to kiss Kate, still trying to reassure her as best as she could. "We have each other," she spoke again as she pulled away from the kiss. "We'll be okay as long as we have each other, we just need to continue our trek to Woodbury now."

Kate who was just about to open her mouth and agree paused when she heard a noise from somewhere in the distance and she looked up just in time to see a helicopter falling mere feet away and she felt Lucy pull her back so that they didn't get hit if there was any flying debris.
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"We should check it out," Kate spoke as she looked at Lucy. It had been minutes maybe twenty to thirty now since the helicopter had crashed and Kate knew they should at least check to see if there were survivors. "There could be survivors."

Lucy heaved a sigh and stood up, "I'll go check," she offered though the moment she had spoken she heard footsteps behind them and she turned quickly, seeing two women approaching them. Two women who had walkers in chains behind them. "Who the hell are you?" she asked as she raised an eyebrow, letting a bit of her feisty red head personality show.

Kate who had also turned around froze when she did so because she felt like she was seeing a ghost at least in one of the women. There was no way it could be but she couldn't stop herself from asking, "Andrea?" she questioned as she examined the blonde woman in front of her, half sure she looked just as pale.

"In the flesh," Andrea answered before coughing some more and walking towards Kate slowly. "I...the rest of the group?" she asked keeping her voice soft.

Kate shook her head, "I got separated from them the night the herd invaded the farm. I was taken in by another group but now it's just me and Lucy," she informed the woman who she hadn't seen in months, seeing a look of knowing pass in her eyes and it was then Kate realized Andrea too had been separated from the group.

"Well now that you two have got reacquainted can I go check the helicopter crash now?" Lucy asked a little impatiently.

Michonne shook her head after she had tied up her walkers to a tree, "I'll check," she said before walking past Lucy and heading to the crash site.

"Is she always that bossy?" Lucy asked the blonde woman who Kate had called Andrea.

Andrea just nodded her head before chuckling, "Michonne may be bossy but she saved my ass," she told the redhead before turning her attention back to Michonne who was now checking out the crash scene.

"Someone's coming!" Michonne informed the women as she ran back to them after checking out as much as she could.

"Any survivors?" Kate asked curiously as she looked at Michonne.

"Two dead, not sure about the other," Michonne answered as she turned her attention back to the scene at the helicopter crash where two cars seemingly stopped. She couldn't make out much from where she was hiding but she could hear one of the men giving the others orders.

Kate who was trying to remain as quiet as possible looked over when she heard Andrea cough and she felt her heartbeat a little faster hoping the men who were now all around the crash scene hadn't heard and found them.

Hearing a walker approach them as they all watched the scene unfolding at the crash site, Lucy started to reach for her knife but stopped when she felt Kate's hands on her and she turned to face her girlfriend who shook her head before pointing to one of the men who was walking around and taking down walkers with an automatic weapon.

"They're saving them," Andrea spoke after watching the men drag a body out of the helicopter. "We should show ourselves."

Lucy shook her head at that suggestion, "Not yet," she said as she looked at the blonde. She hated to admit it but she wasn't getting a good vibe from these people and they had a shit ton of weapons. They could all be dead in a heartbeat and she wasn't looking to die today.

Michonne smirked at Lucy's response, knowing it would have been the same she would have said. It wasn't a smart move to show themselves just yet. Turning back to the men in front of them Michonne watched curiously as the man who had been giving out orders walked towards the man who had been cut in half by the helicopter. When he reached for his knife and bent down, stabbing the man she made a confused face not sure why he would just senselessly stab a dead man.

Kate swallowed hard as she heard the two walkers that Michonne had tied to a tree start to get more agitated and make more noise and it seemed now the noise they were making was being heard by the men because she could see them approaching though it was right when she turned her head to look at Michonne that she watched Michonne reach for the sword that she wore around her back and slice the walker's heads off as if it was nothing.

It was only when the man who seemed to be in charge told the others that they could roll out, that Kate let out the breath she hadn't even realized she was holding in though she regretted that the moment a noise sounded behind them and as soon as Michonne reached for her sword Kate herself again was sure she probably looked as bad as Andrea when she heard a voice she was sure she knew. A voice she had hoped never to hear again.

"Uh uh uh," Merle muttered to the woman who had a hold of her weapon and who was about ready to strike. "Easy does it, girl," he told her as he smirked some. "Mine's a whole lot bigger than yours. Now put down your weapons," he warned watching as the woman slowly lowered her sword. "That's it, nice and easy and let me see your hands," he added on watching as eventually all four women raised their hands. "Now spin around, nice little twirl around," he added on watching as the four women turned to face him.

Turning to face the source of the voice Kate released a breath realizing her fears had been confirmed. She was now face to face with Merle Dixon a man who she had really believed to be dead because he had cut his own damn hand off, though now as she looked him over she saw where his missing hand was he had a knife fashioned as some sort of stump.

"Holy shit," Merle exclaimed as he saw two faces he knew quite well among the women he now had in front of him. "If it ain't blondie and the Hanson boy's wife," he muttered still feeling bitter at Zac who had been one of the ones to leave him on the roof. "You're both looking good," he said almost sarcastically as he heard a walker advancing on him from behind.

The moment he felt it's hands on him though he turned slightly, letting the tip of his knife go right up and under the walker's throat and then it fell to the ground. Standing up he looked down at the four women who he know held at knife and gunpoint before narrowing in on Kate and Andrea. "Now, how's about a big hug for your old pal Merle?"

Andrea who had been silent and mostly in shock during all of Merle's speech felt her entire body go limp before she fainted.
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Kate who had somehow fallen asleep woke up though everything was still dark and then she remembered the events from earlier. After Andrea had fainted the rest of them had been blindfolded and had their hands tied and now they were in the back of some car and she could hear an unknown man talking, though it sounded a lot like the man who had been giving orders.

"Have Stevens prep the infirmary," The Governor spoke into the walkie in his hand.

"How many?" Milton asked after hearing The Governor tell him to have Stevens prep the infirmary.

"Five," The Governor replied back. "One with multiple fractures and severe burns. Another in and out of consciousness, probably shock and dehydration."

"And the other three?" Milton asked curiously.

"The other three are fine," The Governor replied back.

"Females?" Milton asked wanting to know if they were bringing in females or males.

"Four. Found them hiding in the woods," The Governor said smiling at that. "Bringing a homework assignment for you, so open the lab."

At the last statement, Milton felt a huge amount of curiosity now, "Do tell."

"At the gates in five minutes, get off the radio," The Governor told him.

"Well, what is it?" Milton asked again unable to get rid of his curiosity.

"Now,Milton!" The Governor replied not wanting to tell him right now.

After the main man had went silent Kate chewed on her lip, "Lucy?" she asked softly wishing she could touch or even feel her girlfriend right now.

"I'm here," Lucy whispered back hoping her words did enough to soothe Kate who sounded worried. Lucy hated to admit it but she herself was worried. This wasn't the predicament she had wanted to find herself in. In the back of some car bound and blindfolded.
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"Why are we being held here?" Andrea asked the nurse who had been examining her. "We want to leave!"

Doctor Stevens looked at Andrea, "You're not well enough and it's dark, you should stay the night."

"Where are we?" Kate asked from where she had been leaning against a wall. Michonne had taken the seat and Lucy was sitting in the floor.

Doctor Stevens looked around the room before looking at the four women, "That's not for me to say. He'll talk to you."

"Who?" Michonne asked wondering who the woman had meant would talk to them.

Walking into the room Merle looked at Doctor Stevens, "Go check on your patient Doc," he told her knowing she needed to check on the man they had brought in. "Bet you was wondering if I was real," he said as he eyed both Kate and Andrea. "Probably hoping I wasn't. Well, here I am. I guess this old world gets a little small towards the end, huh? Ain't so many of us left to share the air right?" he asked as he sat down in a chair that he had pulled into the middle of the room. "You know, when they found me, I was near bled out, starving, thinking to myself a bullet might make a good last meal. Take myself a nice long nap after, wait for Daryl on the other side. Either of you two seen my brother?"

Kate shook her head being honest, "Not for a long time."

"Makes two of us," Merle replied as he looked at the brunette who he swore was pregnant though not showing the last time he saw her and now she didn't look pregnant still and there was no baby. He could only guess what had happened.

"He went back for you," Andrea added in. "Him and Rick. You were already gone."

Merle laughed at that before removing the knife he had made for himself, showing Andrea and the others his stump, "Yeah, well not all of me."

"Oh god," Andrea exclaimed at the sight of what Merle had done to himself.

"Yeah, Rick, he's that prick that cuffed me to the roof top," Merle muttered as he put his knife back on.

Kate chewed her lip briefly before speaking up, "He..he tried. Daryl saw that."

"He's always been the sweet one, my baby brother," Merle spoke his jaw clenching slightly. Daryl had always been the one who cared more, let his feelings get in the way of things.

"He wanted to keep looking," Andrea said as she locked eyes with Merle. "Then things happened, people died. A lot of them, Jim, Dale, Jacqui, Zoe, Ezra, Sophia...Amy."

"Your sister?" Merle asked hearing the last name Andrea had listed.

Andrea just nodded her head, "Yes."

"She was a good kid," Merle spoke sounding genuine. "I'm sorry to hear it."

"There were more, a lot more. We had to leave Atlanta, we wound up on a farm," Andrea finally continued. "Daryl, stepped up, became a valued member of the group," she smiled knowing part of that change was probably because of Avery helping him to be less of an asshole at times.

"Now he's dead," Merle added in figuring that was what Andrea would say.

Kate shook her head, "We can't say that for sure. We got run off by a herd."

"How long ago?" Merle asked as he made a face.

"Seven..eight months," Kate answered not really wanting to remember because it was reminder of what she had lost. "Andrea and I were separated from the rest of them, got left behind. We know what it feels like."

Merle stifled a laugh as he held up his hand with the knife on it, "I doubt that."

"What do you want from us?" Andrea asked wondering exactly what the game was here.

Standing up Merle walked to where all four of the women were now in close proximity to Andrea's bed, "There she sits, four walls around her, roof over her head, medicine in her veins, and she wants to know what I want from her," he spoke before shaking his head. "I plucked you and Kate as well as your two mutes out of the dirt, blondie. How 'bout a thank you?"

"You had a gun on us," Michonne said finally speaking for the first time since Merle had been in the room.

Merle laughed, "Oh, she speaks," he smirked before looking at the redhead. "What about you red? You speak as well?" he asked just seeing her giving him a glare. It was after she glared that he looked back at the other woman who had mentioned guns. "Well, who ain’t had a gun on ‘em in the past year, huh?" Merle asked before looking around the room and the people in it. "Show hands, ya'll! Anybody?" he asked again before looking at the two men who were guarding the door. "Shumpert? Crowley? Ya'll had a gun on ya'll? Hell, I think I'd piss my pants if some stranger came walking up with his mits in his pocket. That'd be the son of a bitch you'd really want to be scared of."

"Thank you," Andrea spoke finally thanking Merle like he had wanted. Watching Merle nod Andrea just chewed her lip, feeling Michonne glaring at her for giving into Merle.

It was when Merle got what he wanted from Andrea that Kate watched him go to the door in the room right as the man who had been giving out orders from earlier came into the room, whispering something to Merle that made him nod and say sure thing.

"How you feeling?" The Governor asked after he finished talking to Merle. The blonde who had been sickly at least had now moved from the bed and she seemed a little better.

"We want our weapons!" Michonne demanded as she looked at this new man who she was guessing was in charge.

"Sure," The Governor nodded his head. "On your way out the front gates."

Lucy rolled her eyes, "Show us the way. You've kept us locked up in this room."

"You see any bars? The Governor asked as he eyed the redhead. "You're being cared for."

"Under guard," Lucy replied as she looked at the two men who had been on guard since they were placed in this room.

"To protect our people," The Governor told her as he shook his head. "We don't know you."

Andrea put her hand on her hip, "We know enough about you to want out of this place. We watched you drive a knife into the skulls of two dead men, what the hell was that all about?"

Kate couldn't help but share a look with Lucy when Andrea asked that. It was apparent to her that Michonne and Andrea had no clue that you didn't have to be bitten to turn.

"They turned," The Governor answered so nonchalant.

"They weren't bitten," Michonne muttered through clenched teeth which just made Merle and The Governor share a look.

"It doesn't matter. However we die, we all turn," The Governor finally spoke as he shrugged. "I put them out of their misery. It’s not easy news to swallow at first but there it is. Now, you’re not prisoners here, you’re guests. But if you wanna leave, as I said, you’re free to do so. But we don’t open the gates past dusk. Draws too much attention," he said before eying the blonde. "And you especially, you need a solid night of sleep. You wouldn’t last another day out there in your condition. Have you brought over to my place in the morning, hand over your weapons, extras ammos, food for the road, some meds, keys to a vehicle if you want one. Send you on your way, no hard feelings," he spoke as he turned to leave the room, hearing everyone following behind him.

Once they were at the front of the building he opened the door to reveal his town to the four women, "Welcome to Woodbury."

Kate paused briefly as she stepped out onto the porch of the building they had been in. Hearing him say that they were in Woodbury she raised an eyebrow. This may have been their destination but she hadn't been expecting this nor had she been expecting to feel so weird about the place even if the back of her mind did tell her that at least it seemed safe.

After he had given the women time to take in the town The Governor walked off the porch, "Come with me," he said as he soon lead them to gates which were guarded by two men.

Merle who had also followed climbed up onto the gate and looked at one of the guards, "Go relieve Pete at the back gate. I’ll take the spotlight."

"Are you military?" Kate asked as she looked around still trying to take everything in. From the guns to the walls around the place it reminded her of military scenes in all those old video games Zac used to play.

The Governor shook his head, "Hardly. A couple of feds but by and large, we're self trained."

"That's heavy artillery they're packing," Kate said as she turned to face the man who seemed to be in control.

"Some men arrive with guns, but most of the weapons are scavenged over time," The Governor answered as he smiled.

"And the other side of the town, the rest of the streets, they're all guarded like this? It can't be," Andrea spoke not wanting to believe any of this was real.

The Governor nodded, "It can and it is."

Merle who was still on the gates looked down at the road, "Got us a creeper,Governor," he called out seeing an approaching walker. "May I?" he asked turning to see if he could shoot it. When the Governor nodded he thanked him before aiming his gun at the walker.

"Governor?" Lucy questioned as she scrunched up her nose and folded her arms over her chest. "They call you that?"

"Some nicknames stick whether you want them or not," The Governor said as he turned to give the redhead a smile.

Lucy shook her head, "Buzz is a nickname, Governor's a title. There's a difference."

Kate who was silent again looked up as the spotlight came on and she watched Merle shoot at the walker before yelling out that he had got it but that it had brought friends. Seeing him shoot two more times Kate then heard Merle yell clear.

"We’ll get them in the morning. Can’t leave ‘em to rot, creates an odor, makes people uneasy," The Governor spoke as he eyed the four women.

"What people? There's nobody here, it's a ghost town," Andrea said knowing since they had been here she hadn't seen anybody minus the guards and the doctor who had treated her.

"This way," The Governor spoke as he lead the women towards a house. Once they were inside he opened the door to one room and then turned around before opening the door on the opposite hallway. There was only one bed in each room so he knew they'd need two rooms, "You’ll be more comfortable here. It’s not the four seasons, but there’s a hot shower. Water’s limited, so keep it short. We got food, water, fresh clothes, hope this works."

Hearing the man Lucy walked into one of the rooms and watched as Kate followed behind her as Michonne and Andrea went into the room across the hall. The rooms looked cozy enough and she guessed they could work for one night.

As the blonde woman got settled in the room she was sharing with her friend The Governor turned to face her friend, "I know you’d feel better with your sword, more secure but you’re safe here."

"We appreciate it," Andrea told the Governor as she watched Michonne glare at him. " What about the pilot? Will he make it?"

"Well, doctor Stevens is doing all she can. Now I know you got a lot more questions, but I’ve got work to do. My man will be outside the door if you need anything else. I’ll see you tomorrow," The Governor smiled as he looked into both rooms before leaving.

As the Governor walked away Lucy gave the guard an uneasy look before shutting the door.
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"This place just gives me an uneasy feeling," Lucy said as she climbed into bed next to Kate after they had both showered opting to take one together as to help save water. "It..it just seems so creepy."

Kate smirked as she turned around to face Lucy, "You know this is a change from the optimistic woman in the woods who was trying to convince me Alice is alive, though after running into two people I once knew I don't think I need much convincing that she could make it."

Lucy laughed as she let her arm slide around Kate's waist, "Hard to be optimistic when this place feels like a prison," she mused as she looked into Kate's eyes. "And that Governor dude just seems off."

"Or you are just paranoid," Kate whispered before leaning in to kiss Lucy on the lips. "You really shouldn't be so paranoid," she muttered in between kisses, her hand soon finding it's way up and under the shirt that Lucy had on.

Shivering at the contact Lucy kissed Kate back, pulling away long enough to take her shirt off, "I'll try not to be so paranoid," she spoke before kissing Kate back and let her own hand trail up and towards Kate's shirt which was a button down that she unbuttoned.

After her shirt was unbuttoned Kate let it fall off, not once breaking the kiss and instead her kisses became more passionate, especially as she began to strip Lucy out of her jeans though she kept her panties on her for now. "Do...more...than..try," she whispered into Lucy's mouth.

When Lucy moaned out an agreement Kate just bit down on the other woman's lip letting her hand slide inside her panties where she began to rub her, feeling her getting wetter than she already was.

"Katie," Lucy hissed out as her eyes closed and her hips moved upwards.

"What?" Kate asked innocently as she pulled away from the kiss. As she did so she let one of her fingers dip inside of Lucy's wetness. "What do you want?"

Moaning again Lucy let her head fall back into the pillow as she felt Kate's finger slowly trying to work her over, "I...fuck..I want you," she said as she opened her eyes finally and looked up at Kate with lust filled eyes. "I need you baby."

"You don't have to tell me once," Kate muttered quickly taking Lucy's panties off and undoing her own jeans and sliding them down with her panties. Normally she'd go down on Lucy first but tonight she didn't want to wait. She wanted Lucy, needed her, especially after the day they had both had.

Once they were both naked Lucy nibbled on her lip as she watched Kate maneuver her way between her legs and she once again closed her eyes as she eventually started to match Kate's movements.

Kate could feel her breathing getting heavy after awhile and the closer she got to her orgasm the faster she went, her toes starting to curl as the familiar feeling started to build up in the pit of her stomach. The moment she reached her end she moaned out Lucy's name over and over again though she kept moving until she knew that Lucy too had reached her own ending.

Once she had Kate let herself collapse on her lover and she sighed, her breath hitting Lucy's neck, "We're gonna have to shower again in the morning," she laughed slightly before yawning.

"Eh as long as we share again I'm not complaining," Lucy said as she shivered when Kate's breath hit her skin. Holding Kate in her arms she went silent as she listened to Kate's breathing soon even out and she didn't care that Kate had fallen asleep on top of her. The only things on Lucy's mind was how much this place didn't sit well with her and the reunions Kate had, had today. It was a painful reminder that Kate's husband really could be alive even if Kate wanted to say and claim he was dead.

Lucy wasn't sure what she'd do if they ever ran into him but she was afraid even with their girlfriend status that Kate could ditch her and go back to her husband. She could lose the woman she loved, the woman who she was sure she'd die for.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Seven

Lucy couldn't help but scrunch up her nose as she, Kate, Andrea and Michonne walked down the streets of Woodbury the next morning. It was very much a town with residents now out but she still couldn't help but feel uneasy like this was too good to be true.

"It's real," Andrea stated as she took in the sights around her. The people, the security. It was like a private little town thriving in the middle of the world falling to shit.

"You four have been out there for a long time," Rowan smiled as she turned to look at the women. "While you were, the Governor was doing this."

Andrea couldn't help but watch as Rowan waved to a heavily pregnant woman who was on the semi busy streets of Woodbury, "How many people do you have here?"

"Seventy three," Rowan answered. "Eileen's about to pop, so her kid will make seventy four."

At Rowan's words Kate who had remained silent looked down. She really couldn't help it but seeing the pregnant woman and hearing she was about to pop had made the sadness she still had from losing Lennon fresh. Maybe if she had been here when she went into labor they could have saved him. Maybe she'd still have her son.

"Still a work in progress," Rowan continued talking. "But Rome wasn't built in a day."

Lucy rolled her eyes at that comment, "That's a bold comparison."

"I think we've earned it," Rowan defended as she turned to look at the redhead. "Walls haven't been breached in well over a month, we haven't suffered a casualty in the inside since early winter."

"How's that possible?" Kate asked curiously as she finally broke her silence, coming out of her thoughts of what-ifs.

"Our Governor set a strict curfew. Nobody out after dark," Rowan spoke as she answered Kate's question. "Noise and light kept to the bare minimum. Armed guards on the fence and controlling the perimeter to keep the biters away."

Andrea made a face at the last thing, "I saw what your patrols do on the way in last night," she admitted. "They had a dead one strung up like an ornament."

Rowan came to a stop at Andrea's words, "I won't make excuses, those men put their lives at risk every day to protect this town. We've lost more than a few friends out there. Everybody copes in their own way but I'll raise it with the Governor," she nodded before walking off.

After Rowan walked off Lucy just turned to Kate and gave her a look. She half hoped Kate was just as suspicious of this place as she was.
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The Governor stood in the infirmary room with Doctor Stevens as he listened to the pilot talk, telling them about his group.

"Things were orderly, the fences held, people were protected. Food supplies were lasting. Then one of the men inside got bit, not sure how. He went haywire, panic swept through the camp. Someone opened the gate to escape, others were bitten and infected. These people went crazy. The whole place went to hell in a few hours. My team grabbed whatever supplies and vehicles we could abandoned our post."

After the pilot spoke, the Governor heard him cough so he gave him some water, "How many of you escaped?"

"Maybe it was ten in my group. We got maybe fifty miles from the post before getting jammed on the highway. I took the bird up in the air to scout ahead. She took a beating in the riot, but we had no choice. My guys?"

At his question the Governor just shook his head no. "Let me go find the rest," he offered as he watched a pained expression pass the pilot's face. "Bring them here, where they'll be safe. They're out there, waiting for you, exposed. Tell me where they are and I promise if they're still alive I'll bring 'em here."
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After leaving the infirmary the Governor soon headed over to Milton's laboratory, "Did you finish your homework?" he asked as he walked inside.

"Unfortunately," Milton spoke as he glared at Merle who was standing beside him. "The dogs eating it already."

"What the hell you call me?" Merle growled out as he glared at Milton.

The Governor looked between Merle and Milton with his eyes finally landing on Merle, "Hey, where are we? Back in the schoolyard? You want to take his lunch money while you're at it?"

Merle couldn't help but look down quickly, "Sorry, governor," he apologized though it was muffled.

"Maybe I've wasted my time with you," the Governor sighed as he shock his head. "Maybe you haven't learned anything at all."

"He was trying to smoke in here," Milton added in just to add it in.

"And you expect better?" the Governor asked as he looked at Milton. "Keep poking the bear and you're bound to get mauled, remember that," he nodded before looking back at Merle. "Tell me about the girls?" he asked referring to the two women that Merle knew.

Merle rolled his eyes before answering, "Names are Andrea and Kate."

"What, you know them?" Milton asked curiously as he raised an eyebrow.

"They from that group in Atlanta?" the Governor asked knowing Merle talked about the group that left him a lot.

Merle nodded in response, "Yeah. Same one left me on the roof, forced me to mutilate myself."

"Do they know your brother, Daryl?" the Governor asked as he locked eyes with Merle. If there was one other thing Merle talked about more than the Atlanta group it was his brother.

"Yeah, they did," Merle answered knowing they did indeed know Daryl.

"Then talk to them again, see what else you can find out," the Governor said before seeing Merle nod and walk away. It was after that, that he turned to Milton. "Show me something!" he demanded before Milton lead him to one of the walkers they had brought in last night. One of the walkers that had been on chained. "What do you make of it?"

"Oh, pretty impressive really," Milton smiled proudly as he looked down at the decapitated walker body. "Major kudos for ingenuity. You take away their arms so they can't grab, you take away their jaws so they can't bite. Take away their ability to eat, they lose interest in doing so. They're no longer in attack mode, you can be in their presence without a threat. They become...docile, in a sense," Milton said as he told what he had found out.

"Lurkers," the Governor muttered almost to himself.

Milton nodded, "Mmh, docile. Or lurkers, you know? Whatever you like...."

"Why keep 'em?" the Governor asked curiously.

"Repellent," Milton answered.

"Camouflage," the Governor theorized as he walked a bit closer to the bodies. "Walk with the biters, they think you're a biter. Low profile, that's smart," he said as he saw Milton nod. "They're still pretty thin. If they're not eating, why don't they starve."

Milton scrunched up his nose at that question, "They are....starving. They just do it slower than we do."

"Feels like we're trying to impose logic on a chaos," the Governor mused.

"That is not a bad thing," Milton spoke not seeing the issue there.

"No?" the Governor asked as he locked eyes with Milton. "What does it buy us? More questions, more theories, no answers."

Milton pursed his lips as he shrugged, "Not yet! If I could talk to those women..." he trailed off knowing he wanted to talk to them or at least the set that had, had the walkers on chains.

"Merle's handling it," the Governor said almost matter of fact.

"I don't want to question your judgement, governor..."

the Governor laughed at that, "Sure you do," he said honestly. "That's why I need ya. That and your tea," he said as he watched Milton walk off to get him a cup of tea and he followed behind him.

"Ah, well then," Milton said as he reached his tea kettle and he poured the Governor a cup of tea. "With all due respect letting Merle talk to those women is an unsupervised mistake. Now you've always said every tool kit needed a hammer, but do you really feel a hammer's the right tool for that job?" he asked before handing the cup of tea to the Governor.
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Sitting in the Governor's apartment later that day Kate moved uncomfortably in her seat as she looked across the table at Lucy. She knew Lucy hadn't wanted to come to this but Kate had talked her into it, saying Michonne and Andrea would be here too, though she really hadn't expected some geeky looking dude named Milton to be here either.

"Eight months?" the Governor asked as he grabbed the last bit of food he prepared and walked over to the table. "Hard to believe you ladies lasted so long out there."

"Because we're women?" Lucy asked almost offended by his statement.

The Governor shook his head as he offered Lucy a smile as he sat down, "Because you're alone."

"We had each other," Lucy shrugged as she looked at Kate and smiled slightly. If she kept looking at Kate then maybe she'd be okay.

"Two against the world," the Governor sighed as he shook his head. "It's long odds."

Lucy turned her head to the Governor and shot him a glare, "We manage," she said not revealing that they had, had others too at one point. "And they managed too," she finished as she turned to look at Andrea and Michonne.

"Oh, we're impressed," the Governor replied as he again offered Lucy a smile but she seemed like a tough sell.

"Very," Milton added in finally talking.

"Survival in the wild is tough sledding," the Governor spoke again as he looked away from Lucy and at the other women. "Wake up every morning on the ground, wondering if today's the day. Will it be quick and final or slow and...well without end? Will someone have the good sense to kill my brain, or will I come back as one of them?"

After the Governor finished, Milton swallowed the bite of food he had in his mouth before speaking again. "Do you think they remember anything, the person they once were?"

Andrea shook her head at that question, "I don't think about it."

"Milton believes there might be a trace of the people they were, still trapped inside," the Governor spoke as if to justify why Milton had asked what he did.

"Like an echo," Milton clarified as he looked at the blonde woman. "Surely, it must have crossed your mind."

"One time yeah," Andrea admitted honestly albeit a bit sarcastic. "Right before it tried to bite me."

Milton raised his eyebrow at her words, "And then you killed it? I say it only because no one here likes to refer to them as him," he said seeing Andrea became visibly upset. "Or her...the two you had in chains, who were they?" he asked as he turned to look at Michonne. "The way you controlled them, used them to your benefit. You did know them, didn't you?"

"Let them eat," the Governor scolded as Milton just kept on.

Blushing Milton nodded his head, "My apologies."

After a really long silence Kate spoke up in between bites, "So what you have here, you expect it to hold? What if a herd comes through?"

"It'll hold," the Governor said as he looked at Kate.

"What's your secret?" Kate asked curiously as she took a drink of her water.

The Governor smiled at Kate's persistence, "Really big walls."

"That soldier had walls too and we all know how that turned out so..." Andrea trailed off as she laughed silently.

"I guess we do," the Governor nodded considering Andrea's words. "The real secret is what goes on within these walls. It's about getting back to who we were, who we really are. They're just waiting to be saved. And people here have homes, medical care, kids go to school, adults have jobs to do. There's a sense of purpose, we're a community."

Milton smiled as the Governor talked, "With a lot of guns and ammunition."

"Never hurts," the Governor smiled at that add on.

"And really big walls," Andrea added in sarcastically.

"And men willing to risk everything to defend them. Compromise our safety, destroy our community. I'll die before I let that happen."

After another awkward silence Lucy ran a hand through her hair, "Looks like you're sitting pretty at the end of the world."

"Do I strike you as the kind of man who sits pretty?" the Governor asked honestly. "You reap what you sow. We're the seed, now that winter has passed, it's time to harvest."

"Time to hope?" Andrea asked sounding almost a bit hopeful.

"We're going out there, we're taking back what's ours! Civilization. We will rise again. Only this time we won't be eating each other," the Governor said hoping his words helped.

Andrea smiled slightly and reached for her cup as she looked at everyone else, "To civilization then."

After Andrea's toast, Lucy heard a knock on the door and she watched as the Governor excused himself before going to answer it and she kept her eyes glued to him as she watched him open the door to reveal that man named Shumpert. The one who had been guard on their rooms last night.

She couldn't help but wonder what the two men were whispering about or why when the conversation ended that the Governor looked slightly pleased as he turned around but then slowly masked his face back to a neutral one.

"Sorry to cut breakfast short but this can't wait," the Governor apologized as he looked at all four women.

Michonne stood up and just glared at the Governor, "We want our weapons!" she told him knowing she wanted her weapon while she was here. Just in case.

"Well, we can make these meals to go and your weapons will be waiting outside but you should take time to relax. Get your strength back," the Governor spoke trying to get Michonne to change her stance. "Have a look around. Who knows? You might like what you see."
______________________________________________________________________________

"You like this place don't you?" Lucy asked as she walked around Woodbury with Kate. They had split from Andrea and Michonne who were also exploring.

"How can you tell?" Kate asked as she gave Lucy a smile, reaching for her hand.

Lucy took Kate's hand, "The way your eyes light up say a lot," she nodded because they did really say a lot. "I've only ever seen you look that way when you look at me or when you talk about Zac."

"Don't you like it?" Kate asked curiously as she ignored the comments Lucy made, especially the one's about Zac.

"Not really," Lucy admitted as she squeezed Kate's hand. "It just..something doesn't sit right. I just think we should go back out there. Try our odds again."

Kate stopped walking at those words and she dropped Lucy's hand, "But we could die out there Luce," she said not sure if she wanted to die. "This place can keep us safe. Hell maybe if we had been here when I was pregnant with Lennon then he could have been saved or maybe I would have known sooner that something was wrong."

"Maybe but we weren't," Lucy replied as she shook her head. "And we won't die out there. We made it this far."

"We had others then," Kate argued. "Viv, Sutton, Alice...but they are gone now and it's just us. We could die if we don't find somewhere safe and here seems safe to me."

"And here seems too good to be true," Lucy spoke her voice firm. "There has to be somewhere else safe. If you want somewhere safe I will find it but it's not here."

Kate laughed bitterly at Lucy's words, "You won't even give it a try first to see," she snapped out not even sure why this was causing an argument but it was. "Just give it a try for me? Please."

Instead of answering Kate verbally, Lucy just shot her a tiny glare before walking off.
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A soldier paused from his work as he stood in the middle of his camp watching a car heading towards it. "Vehicle approaching, corporal," he said informing the corporal that there was a car coming.

The corporal nodded his head, "Alright, stay alert."

The soldier heard him and watched as the car came into their camp and it was then that he and his fellow soldiers raised their gun at it, even when the person shook a white looking fabric through the window and asked them not to shoot.

"Identify yourself," The corporal spoke loudly so the person in the car could hear.

At that the Governor put on his best smile and got out of the car, "Hey, hey, hey! We found your guy, Wells! Lieutenant Wells? His chopper went down."

"Well, where is he?" The corporal asked as he looked the man over.

"We got a little settlement," the Governor spoke as he smiled at the man. "Now he's badly hurt, but he's alive! And the other guys didn't make it, I'm sorry. But Wells, he told me I would find you here! He wants me to bring you to him!"

The soldier who had been the one to spot the care turned to another soldier behind him, "They found Wells, they got him, they found him!"

Smirking at that the Governor nodded, "We sure did!" he smiled as he pulled out his gun and shot the corporal who had also turned around when the soldier did. "We found you too!" he added on as his men popped up from behind the trees and grass surrounding this place and his smirk grew more as his men started shooting, killing off all the soldiers that had been here.

Walking close to a soldier that he spotted crawling on the ground, the Governor reached down when he was within distance and took the man's gun and raised it up, beating the man in the head with the butt until he was dead. It was after that, that he hollered out for his men to check if the others were all dead and he turned to see that one of his men was looking at him shocked.

"Never waste a bullet, son," the Governor told him before looking back at his men. "Pick up the rest of these weapons," he ordered out hearing one of his men say a yes sir. Standing there after that he looked around before spotting a soldier who had only been hit in the leg and was trying to escape. Raising the gun in his hand he shot the man until he died and then he turned to face the man who earlier had been looking at him shocked.

"Go put a merciful end to that young man's day," the Governor said before smirking again. "Let's see what uncle Sam brought us, shall we?" he asked as he looked at a few of his other men before going to look at the vehicles and weapons that would now be theirs.
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Lucy who had been on her way to go apologize to Kate slowed down in walking as she watched the gates of Woodbury open and a few military vehicles come in and she walked a bit closer to the crowd that was gathering around as the Governor and his men got out and she turned her head to briefly see the Governor go over to talk to Merle and Milton and then he came back to the front, where most of the people were now gathered.

Moving towards the back some as she felt a bit uncomfortable being in the middle of all these people Lucy just crossed her arms waiting for whatever the Governor was going to say.

"We brought in five new people yesterday," the Governor spoke as he looked at the people crowded around him and the vehicles they had just drove in. "One was a helicopter pilot with a National Guard outfit. Even though he's clinging to life, he told us about his convoy on the highway, his men. I promised I'd bring them back here alive but they didn't have our walls or our fences. Biters got there before we did," he lied though he made his words sound sincere enough that his citizens would believe him. "Now, the men had trucks, trucks had weapons, food, medicines, things we need. Now, we didn't know them, but we'll honor their sacrifice by not taking what we have for granted. Won't be long before dark so go on home. Be thankful for what you have. Watch out for each other."

Once the speech had ended Lucy just shook her head and looked around at the people leaving, people who seemed to buy everything the Governor said. Uncrossing her arms she turned on her heels, seeing Michonne sitting off on a bench looking as unimpressed as she felt and she knew then that maybe she wasn't alone in hating this place. If only Kate could see that.

"If only," Lucy muttered to herself as she walked back to where her and Kate were staying and she went inside, soon plopping down on the bed, not moving until Kate came in the room.

"You still mad at me?" Kate asked as she shut the door behind her.

Lucy sat up as she eyed Kate, slowly moving towards the end of the bed and reaching for Kate, to pull her down into her lap. "Not mad," she spoke as she kissed Kate's shoulder blade. "I just wish you'd see this place isn't all sunshine and roses."

"And I wish you'd see it could be....could be nice," Kate sighed as she wrapped an arm around Lucy's neck. "Can't you just give it a day or two?"

Pondering Kate's question Lucy heaved a sigh, "For you, I guess I could," she admitted though she felt uneasy about agreeing to it but she would for Kate. "But only a day or two and if I hate it, we leave."

"Deal," Kate smiled before leaning down to peck Lucy's lips.
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Later that night, the Governor closed his blinds as he held a drink in his hand and took a few sips. Walking past the bed where a naked Rowan was still passed out he stopped in front of a picture and he looked at sadly for a bit before continuing his walk towards a door.

When he reached that door, he took out a key and opened it, going inside and sitting down in the chair in the middle of the room. Once he was in the chair, the Governor looked in front of him at the wall where several fish tanks were. Fish tanks full of heads. Several heads but the newest additions were the heads of the two walkers that had been on chains as well as Pilot Wells.

Just staring at them silently he raised the drink that was still in his hands to his lip and he took another sip.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Eight

Avery held her stomach as she sat on the floor of her cell. It had been seven days now since Hershel's accident and he was slowly getting better and the group was slowly adjusting to the prison. They had even decided to move their vehicles into the prison as well instead of just leaving them on the road and maybe it was a good thing Daryl had left this morning for that because if he hadn't she would have just woke him up when she had gotten sick.

It seemed even having food wasn't helping her to not get sick and she was beginning to get worried because she had never had this happen before. Constantly getting sick, constantly losing whatever contents were on her stomach and she hated trying to fake like she was okay because if she didn't fake it then Daryl would worry and she didn't want to worry him.

Hearing the door to her cell open and the sheet move slightly, Avery turned her head to see Jessica coming inside and she raised an eyebrow, "Please tell me my getting sick didn't wake you up?" she asked knowing she'd feel bad if it had.

Jessica shook her head no, "No, I was up anyway but hearing you get sick today reminded me I had to give you something."

"Give me something?" Avery asked nervously as she watched her sister who had her hands behind her back.

"This," Jessica spoke as she held out the pregnancy test box to Avery who just looked at it confused. "I know you and Daryl have sex Avie...are you telling me there isn't a possibility?"

Avery just listened to Jessica and she sighed because she knew that yeah there was a possibility. All she had to do was think back to that night when they had been staying at the house and Daryl had came to her after his watch was up. They had, had sex after awhile of not being together and it had been unprotected and usually they had been so good about protection even if their first time had been unprotected too.

Standing up she reached out and took the box from Jessica's hand, "C..can you leave or turn around or something?" she asked not wanting her sister to watch as she took the test.

Jessica nodded and she turned her back doing her best to tune out what Avery was doing. Though when Avery said she could turn back around she did, only to find her sister sitting on the bottom bunk bed and holding the test in her hands.

Sitting down beside Avery, Jessica reached for her free hand, "You'll be okay," she whispered knowing Avery looked scared shitless.

"I'll be okay when I know this is negative," Avery frowned as she squeezed Jessica's hand. In all honesty though she had a sinking suspicion that this test wouldn't be negative. This one would be positive and the signs were all there. Her sickness and she was late, a fact she had just realized. Ever since her scare on the farm she had been on time but now. now she was late again.

When things went silent Avery sat there for a few more minutes before turning her hand that held the stick over and she took a deep breath before looking down at it.

"I..I..I'm pregnant," she whispered under her breath before turning to look at Jessica and feeling like she was probably paler than a ghost. "I'm pregnant with Daryl's baby....and holy fuck I'm pregnant."
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Zac stood outside in the courtyard, helping Glenn, Daryl, Rick, T-Dog and Carol move their cars into the prison, something they hadn't done yet though they should have days ago but things had still been touch and go with Hershel who seemed to be doing better and Zac swore Beth mentioned something about him wanting to try to walk today. First time since the accident but at least they had found him some crutches.

"Okay, let's get the other cars in," Rick spoke as he watched Carol drive off with the truck. "We'll park 'em in the west entry of the yard," he said as he turned to look at Daryl and Zac.

"Good," Daryl murmured at Rick's words. "Our vehicles camped out there, look like a giant vacancy sign," he mused and Zac had to chuckled to himself because that had been his thoughts as well.

Rick nodded at Daryl's words and looked around, "After that, we need to load up these corpses so we can burn them," he said as he looked over at corpses left over from when they had taken the prison.

"It's gonna be a long day," T-Dog sighed after Rick said what he said.

"Where's Taylor and Maggie?" Carol asked as she walked to the group after parking the truck.

"Up in the guard tower," Glenn answered.

Rick scrunched up his nose, "Guard tower? They were just up there last night."

At Rick's words Zac as well as everyone else looked up at the guard tower.

"Taylor! Maggie!" Daryl called out loud enough for them to hear him. After he had done so it didn't take long for the door to the guard tower to open and Taylor stepped out, looking down at everyone.

"Hey!" Taylor called out as he buttoned up his pants, a blush rising on his cheeks. "What's up guys?"

Zac couldn't help but laugh at the state of Taylor when he came out of guard tower, no shirt on and messing with his pants. He was sure it was apparent what they had been doing, especially since everybody else down on the ground was laughing at them.

"You comin?" Zac yelled up at his brother teasingly.

Taylor just looked back at Zac confused, "What?"

As everyone else laughed again Zac spoke through his laughter, "You comin? Come on, we could use a hand!"

Nodding as if realization hit him Taylor moved back towards the door where Maggie was now standing, "Yeah, we'll be right down."

Shaking his head Zac turned around with Carol, Rick, Daryl, and Glenn and they all began to walk towards the other cars but they stopped when they heard T-Dog.

"Hey Rick!" T-Dog called out trying to get Rick's attention.

Rick heard T-Dog and when he looked up, the smile he had on his face was gone when he saw Axel and Oscar approaching the group. "Come with me," he said to the group with him as they met the prisoners halfway. "That's close enough. We had an agreement," he warned Axel and Oscar.

"Please, mister," Axel pleaded as he eyed Rick almost desperate. "We know that we made a deal," he sighed as he saw two more group members join the ones already standing in front of them. "But you gotta understand! We can't live in that place another minute, you follow me? All the bodies, people we knew! Blood, brains everywhere! They're ghosts!"

"Why didn't you move the bodies out?" Daryl asked as he crossed his arms and looked at the two men.

"You should be burning them," Glenn added in after Daryl spoke.

Axel shook his head, "We tried! We did!"

"The fence is down on the far side of the prison. Every time we drag a body out, those things line up. So dump in a body and just running back inside," Oscar said trying to explain things better than Axel could.

"Look!" Axel started talking again as he looked at everyone around him. "We had nothing to do with Tomas and Andrew, nothing. You trying to prove a point? You proved it bro. We'll do whatever it takes to be a part of your group, just, please, please, don't make us live in that place!"

Rick shook his head no, "Our deal is not negotiable. You either live in your cell block or you leave."

Oscar looked over at a disappointed Axel, "I told you this was a waste of of time. They ain't no different than the pricks who shot up our boys," he said before turning to look at Rick's group. "You know how many friends' corpses we had to drag out this week? Just threw 'em out like...Those were good guys! Good guys who had our backs against the really bad dudes in the joint like Tomas and Andrew. Now we've all made mistakes to get in here, chief, and I'm not gonna pretend to be a saint, but believe me..we paid our due. Enough that we would rather hit that road, than to go back into that shithole."

After Oscar spoke Zac couldn't help but share a glance with Rick and with Daryl and both he and Rick saw Daryl shake his head no.
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Taylor crossed his arms as he stood huddled with the group as Daryl locked the prisoners between the first two sets of gates, along with a car and as Daryl walked over to join them he heard Axel yelling out, obviously not liking what they had done but they had to do it, especially since it seemed they were gonna have a debate over this since T-Dog actually felt sympathetic for the prisoners,

"Are you serious?" Rick asked as he looked at T-Dog. "You want them living in a cell next to you? They'll just be waiting for a chance to grab our weapons, you want to go back to sleeping with one eye open?"

"I never stopped," T-Dog answered honestly as he held Rick's gaze. "Bring them into the fold. If we send them off packing, might as well execute them ourselves."

Glenn scrunched up his nose, "I don't know, Axel seems a little unstable."

"After all we've been through? We fought so hard for this, what if they decide to take it?" Carol questioned as she crossed her arms.

"It's just been us for so long..." Maggie mused out loud. "They're strangers. I don't...it feels weird all of a sudden to have these other people around."

"You brought us in," T-Dog argued as he looked at Maggie.

Maggie looked away from T-Dog's gaze, guilt written on her face, "Yeah, but you guys turned up with a shot boy in your arms, didn't give us a chance."

"They can't even kill walkers!" Taylor argued finally not sure if they were worth adding in for that fact alone.

"They're convicts, bottom line," Zac shrugged as if that should explain everything.

T-Dog sighed as it seemed he was getting nowhere, "Those two might actually have less blood on their hands than we do."

"I get guys like them," Daryl spoke as all eyes fell on him. "Hell, I grew up with them. They're degenerates, but they ain't psychos. I could have been with them just as easy as I'm with you guys."

"So you with me?" T-Dog asked curiously after Daryl finished speaking.

Daryl shook his head no, "Hell no! Let 'em take their chances out on the road, just like we did!"

"What I'm saying..." T-Dog started only to get stopped by Rick.

"When I was a rookie, I arrested this kid. Nineteen years old, wanted for stabbing his girlfriend," Rick explained as he started his story. "The kid blubbered like a baby during the interrogation, during the trial, suckered the jury. He was acquitted due to insufficient evidence, and in two weeks later shot another girl. We’ve been through too much. Our deal with them stands."

Taylor couldn't help swallow hard at Rick's final words and how much he meant them, because even as much as he didn't want them in the group the thought of sending them off sort of did unsettle him some.
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Lucy raised an eyebrow as she walked with Michonne towards the vehicles the Governor's men had brought in recently and she sighed. Lucy really wasn't sure how many days she had been here now, she had started to lose count but she hadn't really adjusted to it or gave anyone the chance.

The only other people she had even let semi close was Andrea and Michonne but more so Michonne because Michonne was like her, Michonne distrusted Woodbury and the Governor as much as she did.

When they made it to the vehicles Lucy slowed down, looking at the bullet holes on the side of them as Michonne ran her finger over one of the holes. Staying silent still though, she watched as Michonne went on top of one of the vehicles and she stayed on the ground.

After Michonne messed with some sort of weapon like thing at the top Lucy watched as Michonne bent down and wiped her hand on something and as Lucy moved in to get a closer look she scrunched up her face seeing that it was blood. It had to be semi fresh blood though because it had been able to be wiped up.

As Michonne got down they both rounded the corner but came to a stop as they came face to face with the Governor.

"Pretty amazing," the Governor said as he looked at both Lucy and Michonne. "If we had more ammo, we could cut down a whole pack of biters. I hear you girls are leaving today. That’s a shame, we could use a soldiers like you two," he nodded as he walked a bit closer to Lucy and Michonne.

"You seem like you're holding your own," Lucy shrugged as she did her best to keep her emotions in check. "Even the National Guard was overran."

The Governor looked at Lucy as he edged in closer to her, "No amount of training can prepare you for the world today."

"You'd think one soldier would drive away, especially against something so slow," Michonne reasoned which took the Governor off of Lucy's case.

"Those men were heroes," the Governor smiled. "Not the kind to leave anyone behind. If only we'd gotten there sooner, and you two were with us..."

"Lots of bullet holes," Michonne continued as she locked eyes with the Governor. "You think biters figured out how to use weapons."

The Governor laughed at that, "They must have encountered bandits weeks ago. It's ugly out there, but then you two know that better than anyone."

"It's too bad what happened to Wells," Lucy replied as she felt the Governor look away from Michonne and back at her. She hated the way it felt as if he was seizing her up.

"It is," the Governor agreed. "Doctor Stevens couldn't revive him. Merle put a bullet in his brain."

"And no funeral?" Lucy questioned as she ran a hand through her hair.

The Governor shook his head no, "We cremated him, quietly. These people have been through so much, I figured, thank God, at least no one knew him."

"Thank God," Michonne replied back sarcastically as she walked away from the Governor and Lucy followed behind. As they walked away Lucy couldn't help but feel like she wanted to just bolt and run now but she knew they couldn't.
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"Move the cars to the upper yard. Point them facing out. They'll be out of the way but ready to go if we ever need to bail," Rick spoke to his group as they continued to try to clean up the yard. Turning to T-Dog he sighed, "We'll give the prisoners a week's worth of supplies for the road."

"Might not last a week," T-Dog added in not liking the idea of sending them off.

"Their choice," Rick shot back.

T-Dog shook his head at that, "Did they really have one?"

"Hey! Hey," Rick said as he came to a stop in front of T-Dog. "Whose blood would you rather have on your hands? Maggie's, Taylor's or theirs?"

"Neither," T-Dog said honestly as he walked off.

Zac who had been walking behind Daryl, got on the back of the bike that Daryl soon climbed on and started up.

"Twin cylinder, is that a triumph?" Axel asked curiously as he looked at the two men.

"Don't even look at it," Daryl grunted out not even looking up at Axel.

"Didn't want it it bored out?" Axel asked as Daryl continued to mess with the bike. "Sounds like it could use a tune up!" he yelled over the sound once Daryl had got it started and he watched the man on the back put his arms around Daryl's waist. "I'm pretty handy with a wrench! Heads are leakin'! I know my bikes!"

As Daryl drove off, Zac rolled his eyes as he heard Axel holler out the last bit even as they got farther away from him.

"Man will you just stop?" Oscar warned as he looked at Axel. "Have some balls."

Axel shrugged as he looked down sheepishly, "Just sayin," he said as he watched the Korean man lock them back up between the two front gates again.
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Avery who had been sitting on the stairs with Carl allowed herself to get lost in her thoughts as they waited on Lori, Beth, and Jessica. She knew she shouldn't get lost in them but she couldn't help it, she was still trying to contemplate the fact that she was pregnant. She was pregnant with Daryl's baby.

She knew she had imagined it before months ago but she really hadn't really thought it would become a reality but Avery guessed that was what happened when you played with fire and had unprotected sex. You had an unexpected pregnancy and that thought terrified her because she wasn't even sure how to tell Daryl but she knew she'd have too because time was kind of running against her in that aspect.

Hearing footsteps she came out of her thoughts in time to see Lori, Beth, and Jessica heading towards Hershel's cell and Lori had a hold of the crutches.

Standing up she went to the cell as well, seeing that Hershel was still laying down but eventually he sat up with some difficulty at first and after he sat up, Lori showed him the crutches. Crutches he reached for immediately.

"Just take your time," Lori said as she looked down at Hershel who moved to get up.

Beth frowned as she watched her father and she instinctively bent down, "Daddy don't try to push yourself," she warned him.

"What else am I gonna do?" Hershel laughed as he finally got himself up and he threw both of his arms over either side of the crutches. "I can't stand looking at the bottom of that bunk," he said honestly as he wobbled some and he felt Jessica and Beth move to either side to help him. "Whoa!" he muttered as he managed to walk some after he got steady. "You know? I can go pretty steady."

"That's a good start," Lori smiled as she looked at Hershel. "Want to take a rest?"

Hershel looked at Lori as if she had two heads, "Rest? Let's go for a stroll," he answered her as he slowly walked out of his cell, using his crutches, Jessica and Beth on either side of him.
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Kate leaned against a dresser in Andrea and Michonne's room. She and Lucy were in here as Michonne and Andrea discussed their plans but apparently it seemed that Andrea and Michonne were having as much disagreements over staying or leaving as she and Lucy had, so both her and Lucy opted to stay silent as the two women talked.

"If we leave soon, we’ll get a few hours on the road before dusk," Michonne said as she looked over at Andrea.

"Where are we headin?" Andrea asked curiously wondering if Michonne had any clue where they could go.

Michonne only contemplated Andrea's question briefly, "I'm thinking the coast. We have the water completely on one side, maybe we find a boat. Best thing we can do is find an island."

"And if the coast isn't safe?" Kate asked breaking her and Lucy's agreed upon silence which earned her a glare from both Lucy and Michonne.

"Keep moving," Michonne stated as if Kate should have known that.

"Let's say the coast is safe," Andrea spoke as Michonne looked at her again. "Then what do we do? Grow old, live off the sea… by ourselves?"

Michonne shrugged, "I’d rather take my chances out there than stay here," she admitted honestly.

"Because your gut tells you there’s something off about this place, about the Governor?" Andrea question still not sure she could see what was so wrong about this place or what would make Michonne feel like she did but she also knew that Lucy felt the same.

"It's kept us alive this long," Michonne reasoned knowing her gut had kept her and Andrea safe all winter.

Looking down Andrea had to agree there, "That's true."
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Taylor who held the keys in his hand locked the prisoners up in their courtyard again. They had given them supplies and once they got everything situated they planned on letting both men go.

"That's enough food in there to last you guys for a week," Taylor informed them as he finished locking the lock. "Cut you loose when we get back," he told them before turning to walk away.

"Thank you, bro," Axel said as he watched the blonde man walk away.

"Sit tight," Taylor sighed as he stopped in his step briefly at Axel's words but then kept on moving.

"Thank you bro?" Oscar asked sarcastically after Taylor was out of sight.
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Taylor who had made it back to Rick, Daryl, and Zac slipped easily through the hole in the fence as they continued the work they were doing outside. Seeing a walker he reached for his gun as he looked at Rick, "Should I take her out?"

"No," Rick answered as he shook his head. "If that armory hadn't been picked clean, we could spare the ammo."

"Zac and I will start making runs," Daryl spoke after Rick said what he did. "The sooner, the better."

After Daryl said what he did Rick looked around, "We'll throw as much wood as we can in the dog run."

"Won't the fire attract walkers?" Zac asked at Rick's words. "Maybe we should bury 'em."

"We're behind a fence. It's worth a one-time risk to get rid of the bodies for good," Rick said as he looked at Zac. "I don't want to be planting crops in walker-rotted soil."
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Walking out into the main courtyard Jessica stayed one side of Hershel while Beth was on the other. Lori, Avery, and Carl were all following behind them and so far for what it was worth Hershel was doing good.

"I got you here if you need it," Jessica said as she opened the door and walked with Hershel slowly down the stairs.

Beth looked at her dad, keeping an eye on him, "Just take your time on those steps," she told him trying to sound brave though she was scared.

Hershel ignored Beth's worry and looked around the prison as they walked farther, "You cleared all those bodies out?" he asked as he raised an eyebrow. "It's startin to look like a place we could really live in."

"Hey, you watch your step," Lori scolded from where she walked behind Hershel. "Last thing we need is you falling," she told him as they finally walked out into the open, her hand going to rest on her pregnant belly as they walked.
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Holding the hole in the gate open so that Zac, Taylor, and Rick could get through the fence, Daryl looked up at the main courtyard where he saw Hershel walking about on his crutches with Jessica and Beth on one side of him and Lori, Avery and Carl behind him.

"Looky here," he said to get the other guys attentions so they could see Hershel walking.

Taylor who had made it through the hole in the gate first laid the wood he had been carrying down, "He is one tough son of a bitch," he stated feeling proud of the man. "Alright Hershel!" he called out.

"Shh..keep your cheers down," Zac warned as he laid the wood in his hands down and when Taylor turned to look at him, Zac pointed out the walkers that were coming towards the prison, near the hole which Daryl was closing up.

"Oh, man, can't we have one good day?" Taylor asked as he scrunched up his nose defiantly.
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"You're doing great Daddy," Beth smiled as she watched her dad continue to walk.

"Ready to race, Hershel?" Carl asked teasing as he looked up at the older man.

Hershel laughed at Carl's words, "You give me another day, I'll take you on," he said before he came to a stop.

As they came to a stop Avery looked around at the courtyard, watching Maggie, Carol, T-Dog and Glenn get out of cars that were parked near them and watch Hershel. Maggie just laughed slightly and everyone else who seemed to be watching seemed to be in good spirits too and so Avery without even thinking put a hand on her stomach softly.

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to have a baby now. They were slowly adjusting and making this place home. It wasn't long after that thought though that both she and Carl heard that all too familiar moaning sound that walkers made and soon they both turned slightly and Avery nearly froze as she watched the walkers heading her way.

It was only when she heard Carl yell it out to the others that she reached for the gun she kept in the pocket of her jeans and she raised it as she started shooting, trying to get as many of them down as possible.
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Zac who was running frantically behind Rick watched as the man yelled out for his wife to get out of there but Zac wasn't even sure if Lori heard him and Zac himself almost wanted to yell out and tell Beth the same things because god forbid he lose another woman he loved. He just refused to do that.

But he didn't yell, instead he just kept running behind Rick, trying to get to their people as fast as he could.
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Jessica who had her gun raised, shot at a few of the incoming walkers and she looked around, seeing everyone scattered off in the courtyard, trying to take care of the situation but she wasn't sure how much they could do on their own, there just seemed to be so many coming in towards them.

Avery who had been shooting moved from where she was as Glenn pushed her away from a walker who had gotten too close and the both of them ran behind Beth as they ran up stairs towards a caged in area that had a door. Making it in she felt her heart catch in her throat as she saw a walker coming up the stairs, close to Hershel who was the last one they needed to get inside of here.

"Daddy, behind you," Beth warned and after she did so her dad turned around, pushing the walker with one of his crutches before finally making it to safety in the caged area with Avery, Glenn, and Beth who was now shutting the door before any walkers could get to them.
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Taylor who was running as fast as he could was still behind everyone else and as they made it to the door that would lead to the courtyard, Taylor held onto the keys tightly knowing they couldn't get in without them so he ran faster so they could hurry up and get inside.

"The lock! Hurry up, the lock!" Daryl called out as he, Zac, and Rick finally made it to the gate which was locked and of course Taylor had the keys.

"Keys!" Rick called out desperately.

Taylor finally made it close enough and he throw the keys to Daryl who threw them to Zac who finally threw them to Rick.
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"That gate is open," T-Dog exclaimed as he looked at an open gate where the walkers were clearly getting in at. Keeping his gun raised, he kept shooting as he ran over to close the gate.

Watching T-Dog run off Jessica went with Maggie to open one of the doors to the prison as they looked at Lori and Carl who they needed to get to safety.

"Lori!" Maggie called out, seeing Lori looking at her. "Here!" she motioned as she watched both Lori and Carl run to her and Jessica.

Once Carl was inside the gate Jessica took off running after him, soon seeing Lori and Maggie following her as they ran towards the inside of the prison.
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Rick who was working with the lock on the gate got a little agitated when he couldn't get it open, "Come on," he growled out as he glared down at the lock.

All he knew was regardless of this lock he had to get to his family.
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Running inside the prison behind Maggie who was in lead now, Jessica kept an eye on Carl who was in front of her while also trying to keep an eye on Lori who was behind her.

As they walked or well power walked to their main cell block they came to an abrupt stop when a herd of walkers approached them and Maggie turned around quickly ushering them down towards another way to go.

"This way," Maggie spoke as she lead the group with her down the dark corridor as she shut the gate behind them, effectively cutting off the walker herd that had been following them but now their only concern was getting to safety in the same corridors where her own dad had been bit at.
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Avery who stood in the cage with the others watched as T-Dog worked on trying to fix the open gate and she felt her hands go to her mouth automatically as she watched a walker approaching T-Dog from behind.

Carol who had been shooting off walkers looked over at T-Dog when she heard him scream out and as she did so, she watched as he took a bite right to the arm. It was then that both she and Avery let out yells but at least Avery was safe. She and T-Dog weren't.

As T-Dog punched the walker who bit him Carol ran over and opened a door to the prison, watching as T-Dog put down the walker who bit him and then he followed her inside of the prison.
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Kate stood with Andrea as she watched the blonde hand Merle a map. It was a map they had found and they had both circled points where the group had been months ago.

"I circled where you can find that farm we were staying at with Daryl," Andrea spoke as she handed Merle the map.

Merle looked over the map intently, "Ah, yeah, you were right off route nine right before it becomes Dahlonega Highway. And you're saying that the farmhouse is only about a day's walk from there?"

"Giver or take," Kate answered as she pointed to a spot on the map. "That is where we looked for Sophia."

"Even made it up around here," Andrea said as she moved her finger slightly.

Merle looked at Andrea curiously, "How come we never hooked up?"

"You called me a whore and a rug muncher," Andrea reminded him as she crinkled her nose. "Not to mention you had Jessica."

At the mention of Jessica, Merle went silent for a bit but then laughed, "Got a way with words, don't I?"

"Yeah," both Kate and Andrea spoke in unison.

Merle looked at both women after a bit, "Why are you two doing this?"

"Because if that were my family out there I'd want to know," Kate admitted though to be quite fair she wasn't sure if she would, except maybe if there was a possibility of Zac being alive. "Andrea feels the same."

"Sure you don't want to come with me?" Merle asked both women. "You ain't curious about the old gang?" he asked seeing both women stiffen. "Oh you two really was cut loose weren't ya?"

Kate looked down silently at Merle's words because she didn't see it like that. She saw it as more or less them being dead. That was why they had never came looking.

"I'm sure they came back," Andrea spoke in Kate's silence knowing the other woman thought differently. "I didn't stick around to find out."

"Ain't that all a big old pig sack?" Merle asked as he kept watching both women. "We got somethin in common, ladies. We got left behind by the same people, and saved by another."

Swallowing at Merle's words Kate looked up, "Have you ever thought about leaving this place?"

Merle shook his head no, "Never had a reason to."

"So the Governor's a..a good man?" Andrea asked as she looked at Merle hoping he answered honestly.

"Let me just put it this way. I wasn't in the best shape when he found me. He should have just kept on going," Merle spoke as he shrugged. "Yeah, he's a good man," he answered before walking off.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Nine

Finally arriving in the main courtyard with Rick,Taylor, and Daryl, Zac came to a stop briefly behind Rick who had turned to look in a caged in area where Beth, Hershel, Avery and Glenn had safety at. It felt nice to at least know Beth was safe as well as another one of his siblings. It just meant less worry for him now.

"What the hell happened?" Rick asked as he looked at Beth.

"The gate was open!" Beth answered Rick though her eyes landed on Zac who she was glad to see was safe.

"Where's Lori, Carl, everyone else?" Rick asked knowing he hadn't see where they had all went too.

Avery spoke up then as she looked at Rick, "Maggie and Jessica led Lori and Carl into C block."

"And T was bit," Glenn added in after Avery had spoken.

"Anyone else?" Rick asked wondering about Carol.

Beth shrugged her shoulders at that, "I couldn't tell."

Rick nodded his head at the four people in the cage who at the moment were safe, "Stay put," he told them knowing they shouldn't come out and risk their own lives, not while they still had walkers coming in, walkers that were being taken down by Taylor and Daryl.

After Rick had told them to stay put Zac followed behind him as they made their way to where Taylor and Daryl were, putting down walkers in the process.

Running to meet Rick once Rick had finished talking, Taylor looked at the man as he shook his head, "Those chains didn't break on their own," he informed him knowing there was no way they could have broken on their own. "Someone took an axe or a cutter to them."

It was after those words had been spoken by Taylor that all the men turned around when Oscar and Axel came into the main courtyard.

"You think they did it?" Zac asked curiously as he saw the look that passed Rick's face when he saw the two prisoners. It was a clear judgement that he saw them as guilty.

"Who else?" Rick asked right as a loud alarm started blaring from speakers all around the prison, attracting more walkers to them.

Taylor looked around apprehensively as the alarms went off, "What's that?"

Daryl just grunted out a response, "Oh! You gotta be kidding me," he muttered wondering just what else could go wrong.

Looking around a bit more Rick soon reached for the keys, "Zac!" he called out throwing the keys to Zac before he started shooting at the speakers outside, the other men soon joining him in helping with that and when he got to the speakers near the cage where some of his people where he warned them to back up and once they had, he shoot those speakers as well.

It was only after that, that he turned and moved a bit closer to Oscar and Axel, holding his gun on them. "How the hell can the be happening?" he asked through gritted teeth.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Oscar spoke as Rick held a gun on him and Axel. "It has to be the backup generators."

"Well how do you turn those on?" Rick asked a bit harshly as he kept his gun trained on the two men.

"There's three that's connected to a diesel tank, okay? Each one controls a certain part of the prison. The hatch shut them all off when the prison was overrun!" Oscar explained as he looked at Rick.

Rick raised an eyebrow at that, "Can someone open up the main gates electronically, with full power?"

"Well, I only worked in there a few days...I..I guess it might be possible," Oscar answered knowing it could be possible.

"Come with us!" Rick growled before turning and heading inside the prison.
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"There's a set of double doors that will lead to a corridor that will lead you back to the cell block," T-Dog spoke loudly over the alarms to Carol who was behind him.

Carol shook her head as she looked at T-Dog, "No, you should stop!" she yelled knowing he had been bit and he should just stop walking so they could prevent him from being a walker.

"I'm getting you there!" T-Dog told Carol knowing he was going to make sure she was safe.

"You should stop!" Carol said again as she got a bit closer to T-Dog.

T-Dog just looked at her as he shook his head, "Why?" Sit here and wait to die?" he asked before screaming out in pain slightly.

Carol frowned when she heard T-Dog scream in pain. "I'll do whatever it takes to keep you from becoming one of those things.

"I can't ask that," T-Dog told her honestly.

"It's the pact, remember?" Carol asked knowing the whole group had made that pact during their time on the run this winter. They'd do what it took to prevent the others from becoming a walker, much like they had done when amputating Hershel's leg.

T-Dog shook his head at that, "This is God’s plan… He’ll take care of me, always has. He’s gonna help me lead you out of these tunnels."
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Running beside Maggie as they lead Carl and Lori down the dark corridors, Jessica kept a tight grip on her gun. "Can you keep up?" she asked as she turned her head to see that Lori had fallen behind some.

"Something's not right," Lori said as she felt Maggie come to give her support.

"Are you bit?" Carl asked clearly concerned for his mom.

Lori shook her head at that as she made a face at the pain, "No, no, no, no, no," she muttered out. "I think the baby's coming!"

Hearing that the baby was coming Carl panicked slightly, "Mom?" he questioned as she leaned against the wall for support as well as using Maggie.

When a herd of walkers came and Carl raised his gun Jessica shook her head as she looked at him, "There's no time," she told him as she turned to lead the way down another corridor knowing they had to get somewhere for Lori to have this baby.

Walking a bit faster Jessica swallowed hard as she saw a herd approaching them again.

"In here," Carl spoke as he spotted a room and opened the door.

Following Carl into the room Jessica watched as he shut the door or well tried to though it wouldn't shut good enough and so he just gave up and they went farther into the room and away from the door, Maggie helping Lori as they did so.

When they finally came to a stop again though and stood there for a bit, Jessica looked at Maggie with a worried expression on her face as Lori once again cringed from the pain and she knew that couldn't be good. If Lori was having contractions they weren't very far apart.
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Going on top of the gate where the Governor was hitting golf balls at walkers they kept coming close, Merle let out a whistle as he saw the golf ball that the Governor had just hit, hit a walker square in the head, "Pretty good."

The Governor smiled as he turned to look at Merle, "We should visit Augusta. Take only the women and let them play. It'll be historic."

"And break decades of tradition," Merle added as he shook his head.

Getting out another golf ball, the Governor put it down on the green and the swung, hitting it out into the air, "Absolutely."

"I don't know, some things are worth holding onto," Merle mused not sure if they should give some things up. "You know, I was thinking of taking Tim and Martinez out on a scouting mission later on this week."

"For what?" the Governor asked skeptically as he looked at Merle.

Merle looked down as he ran a hand over the back of his neck, "Blondie and the Hanson lesbian, they said my brother was still alive."

"Eight months ago," the Governor added in reminding Merle of that fact. "You can track with the best of ‘em, it’s like a needle in a haystack."

"They told me uh...where I can find them," Merle said as he finally looked up again as the Governor still kept playing golf. "Where I can find the farmhouse they where holed up in."

"He could be anywhere," the Governor said knowing Merle had to know that.

Merle shook his head as he sighed, "I know my brother. If he's out there, I'll be able to find him."

"What if someone gets hurt doing this search?" the Governor questioned curiously. "Look what almost happened to Crowley last time."

"Then I'll go on my own," Merle offered.

"I get what you're feeling," the Governor spoke honestly as he looked at Merle. "I really do, but I can’t risk it, I need you here. This whole place would fall apart without you."

Merle sighed feeling he was losing a battle here, "This is my brother."

Stopping his game of a golf for a minute the Governor eyed Merle for a bit. "I’ll tell you what, huh? You get more concrete information, I’ll go with you myself. Alright?"

At that Merle just nodded his head and climbed down from the gate as the Governor went back to his game of golf.
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After taking down a walker in their cell block, Rick looked around for any signs of his wife or son, "Lori! Carl!" he called out though he got no response and after he had hollered for them he heard Zac, Daryl, Taylor and the two prisoners catch up with him.

"We just took down five of them in here," Daryl told Rick as he shook his head.

"There were four in here, but no signs of Lori or anyone," Rick informed them as he sighed.

Taylor chewed his lip with that comment because he was worried for Maggie who had been with Lori. "They must have been pushed back into the prisons," he theorized knowing that had to have been what happened, at least he was hoping it was.

"Somebody is playing games!" Rick growled as he paced back and forth. " We’ll split up and look for the others. Whoever gets to the generators first, shut ‘em down!" he yelled out as he ran out of their cell block as they all went in search of the generators.
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"What are those alarms?" Lori asked as she now held onto some chains hanging off the walls as she stayed hunched over in pain.

Maggie shook her head at Lori's question, "Don't worry about that," she said knowing Lori had other things she had to worry about right now.

"What if it attracts them?" Carl asked as he looked up at Maggie.

Ignoring Carl, Maggie looked at Lori, "Lori, let's lay you down," she said as she put her hands on Lori's back again.

"No," Lori told her as she shook her head. "The baby's coming now."

"We have to go back to our cell block to have Hershel help," Carl spoke knowing they needed him here for this.

"We can't risk getting caught out there," Jessica admitted before looking at Lori. "You're gonna need to give birth to this baby here."

Lori groaned as a contraction hit her and she sighed, "Great," she muttered as she pulled on the chain again and began to breathe harder.

"What is she doing? Can't she breathe?" Carl asked once again panicking slightly.

"She's fine," Jessica reassured him as she too went to put her hand on Lori, "Come here, let's get your pants off," she told the woman as both she and Maggie began to help Lori take her pants off. "You're gonna need to help deliver your baby brother or sister," Jessica said as she eyed Carl. "You up for it?"

Looking at Jessica warily, Carl raised an eyebrow, "Do you guys know how?"

"Dad taught me," Maggie added in after they had finally gotten Lori's pants off. "But trust me, it's my first time," she said as she started to examine Lori to see how far along she was. "I can't tell..."

Groaning again Lori breathed through her pain as best she could, "I gotta push," she spoke hearing Maggie tell her okay. "I gotta push, I gotta..." she stated as she bent over farther, starting to push like she felt she needed too and it was then that she felt Jessica put her arms on her to support her.

"Somebody!" Lori yelled out as she pushed as hard as she could before coming back up. "I'm okay, I'm okay," she spoke as she looked between Jessica and Maggie.

Maggie nodded her head and stepped a bit closer, rubbing Lori's back, "You're doing great, Lori. Just keep doing it, your body knows what to do. Let it do all the work," she said right as Lori yelped out and that made Maggie bend down just to check and make sure things were okay. "You're doing great," she said again right before Lori grunted out and Maggie shook her head.

"Lori, stop don't push," she spoke up as she looked at Jessica feeling scared. "Something's wrong," Maggie sighed as she pulled her hand out and it was covered in blood.
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Holding onto T-Dog to support him as they walked down the corridors, Carol came to a stop as she saw two walkers heading their way and she moved her arm, raising her gun as she began to fire at them though nothing had happened and it was then that she knew she was out of bullets.

"Go back!" Carol yelled at T-Dog as she inched further back from the incoming walkers. But instead of listening to her, T-Dog ran past her heading straight towards them. "No!" she hollered out trying to stop him.

Once he had the walkers pushed towards the wall Carol just stood there for a bit in shock as he kept yelling for her to go and eventually she ran to the closet door but stopped as she turned to look at T-Dog who again told her to go because he was dead. Feeling a lump form in her throat she watched as a walker bit him in the arm and he muttered he was dead again before screaming out as the other walker bit him in the neck.

It was then that Carol turned and ran away through the open door with tears in her eyes.
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"You mean to tell me you decided to stay another day?" Kate asked as she eyed Andrea as they stood out on a street in Woodbury. Andrea had just got done seeing the Governor one last time and then she had tracked Kate down telling her that she was going to change Michonne's mind so they could just stay one more day.

"Don't you want too?" Andrea asked honestly as she looked at the woman in front of her. "I know you like this place too."

Heaving a sigh, Kate nodded her head, "I do but I keep thinking of how Lucy and Michonne won't like this one bit," she said knowing Lucy had wanted to get out of here and already wasn't happy with how long they had stayed here.

"They won't but we talked them into staying before, we can do it again," Andrea said sounding much more optimistic than Kate felt.

"What made you change your mind?" Kate asked as she ran a hand through her hair.

Going silent at that Andrea blushed because she wasn't sure how to tell Kate she had changed her mind all because the Governor had told her his name was Phillip. It had been progress with him since the first night when he had refused to tell his name.

"I just did," Andrea finally spoke before turning to leave.

Once Andrea was gone Kate just stood there and watched her leave, somewhat dreading having to tell Lucy they were staying longer, even if the idea of staying longer was one that Kate liked. She just hated arguing with the woman that she loved, the woman she had relied on during the most difficult months of her life.
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Running through the corridors with Daryl, Rick, and Oscar after the group had split up Zac slowly came to a stop as they came to a door and Rick shot at an oncoming walker before opening the door and they all went inside the room. It was when they were in the room that he watched as Rick went looking at the generators and he and Daryl held the door shut as walkers kept banging against it.

"How do you shut these down?!" Rick called out as he came to a stop in front of one of the generators.

"Go help him!" Zac hollered out to Oscar watching as the man walked off towards Rick while he and Daryl kept holding the door shut.

"I got it," Oscar spoke as he reached Rick and pointed at one of the buttons. "Right here," he said as Rick messed with it before heading away to another generator.

Though it was when Rick headed away to another generator that Oscar watched in horror as Andrew appeared behind Rick and tried to hit him with an ax though his ax went into one of the machines instead as Rick ducked out of the way in time and then he just watched as they kept fighting even after Rick's gun fell.

Hearing the commotion where Rick was, Zac turned to look at Daryl as the door kept getting hit on with more force from the incoming walkers and both of them shared a look and a nod before moving away and letting the door open, watching as the door opened and two walkers came in. Walkers that Daryl was able to kill before shutting the door again

Oscar just watched the fight progress even more between Rick and Andrew and when both men stood back up Oscar picked up some object and hurled it at Andrew, hitting him in the face and while that distracted the men for a second Oscar reached down and picked up the gun that Rick had dropped, holding it on both men.

"Shoot him! We can take back this prison. What you waiting for, do it! It’s our house, shoot him!" Andrew yelled as he looked at Oscar.

Looking at both men one last time Oscar moved the gun slightly and made the shot, hitting Andrew right in the head and as he stood there for a few more minutes holding Rick's gun he slowly turned it around and handed back to Rick right as he watched Daryl and Zac approaching him, having been ready to strike if he had shot Rick.

Giving a nod to Oscar, Rick took his gun back and then went back to the generators which he eventually shut off, silencing the alarms.

"Let's go," Rick spoke as he looked at the other men.
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Helping Maggie lay Lori down on the floor Jessica chewed her lip as she looked at Lori and then to Carl who seemed to be panicking slightly again.

"Mom? Carl questioned as he went to one side of his mom while Jessica got on the other side. "Mom, look at me, look at me," he told her as she began to close her eyes on and off. "Keep your eyes open."

"We have to get you back to Dad," Maggie said as she looked down at Lori from where she sat at Lori's feet.

Lori shook her head as she began to feel weak, "I won't make it," she told Maggie knowing she would never make it back.

"Lori, with all this blood, I don't even think you're fully dilated yet, no amount of pushing is going to help," Maggie muttered as she tried to reason with Lori.

"I know what it means, and I’m not losing my baby. You’ve gotta cut me open," Lori told Maggie honestly knowing there was no other option.

Maggie shook her head no at that, "I can't."

"You don't have a choice," Lori retorted knowing it was the only option and when she heard Carl say he'd go for help Lori looked at him. "No!" she stated knowing he needed to be here.

"Look, Carol’s the one that practiced that, Dad only taught me the steps Lori, if I…" Maggie sighed as she began to get choked up, knowing what would happen if she did this.

"Please," Lori pleaded as she locked eyes with Maggie.

" I have no anesthetic, no equipment…" Maggie continued trying to think of every excuse not to do this.

Lori looked at Carl briefly, "Carl has a knife."

"You won't survive," Maggie stated honestly knowing Lori would die if she did this.

"My baby has to survive.....Please," Lori pleaded as her breathing got even heavier now. "My baby for all of us.....Please, Maggie! Please," she said seeing Maggie shake her head no and so she tried one more time. "Please."

Looking at Maggie, Jessica felt her heartbreaking especially as her mind went to her sister who had just found out today that she was pregnant. It was then that it hit her how much Avery might have to go through and that this pregnancy could be a death sentence for her and then she thought of Kate and she couldn't help but wonder if maybe Kate had survived long enough to give birth and if so if that had been when she died.
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"You mean she changed her mind?" Lucy asked harshly as she and Kate sat in their room. Kate had just told her about Andrea wanting to stay another day.

Kate looked away from Lucy's glare, "She did," she confirmed as she timidly looked back up. "Only for one more day though."

Lucy scoffed at that, "That's what she says," she muttered not sure if she believed they'd leave tomorrow either. "I swear if you two have it your way we'll be here forever."

"It's only for one more day," Kate spoke as she moved from where she was sitting and walked over to Lucy, reaching out for her hand so that maybe she could calm her some and talk some sense into her, let her see that one more day wasn't so bad.

Standing up before Kate could touch her Lucy sighed, "I feel you've been saying that every day so far," she stated bitterly before walking out of the room and leaving Kate behind. She just needed time to herself, time to process this and not long after she had stepped out into the hallway she looked up as she heard the door across the hall open and she saw Michonne step out, seeing that Michonne looked equally as pissed off.
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"You see my old C-section scar?" Lori asked after Maggie had pushed her shirt up.

Beginning to cry, Maggie shook her head again, "I can't.." she stated as her voice wavered slightly.

"You can. You have to.." Lori told her knowing it was the only way for her baby to survive. "Carl?" she asked as she turned to look at her son and once she did she gave him a faint smile. " Baby, I don't want you to be scared, okay? This is what I want. This is right. Now you-- you take care of your daddy for me, all right? And your little brother or sister, you take care…"

"You don't have to do this," Carl told his mom as he looked down at her, a lump forming in his throat.

"You're gonna be fine… You are gonna beat this world, I know you will. You are smart, and you are strong, and you are so brave! And I love you," Lori told him as she felt tears going down her cheeks now.

Carl nodded as he looked down at his mom and began to cry, "I love you too."

Smiling at that Lori reached up to wipe away some of his tears, "You gotta do what's right, baby. You promise me, you'll always do what's right. It's so easy to do the wrong thing in this world. So don't… so if it feels wrong, don't do it, all right? If it feels easy don't do it. Don't let the world spoil you. You're so good," she muttered through her tears, hearing Jessica and Maggie both crying as well. "You're my sweet boy! The best thing I ever did! I love you! I love you. You're my sweet, sweet boy, I love you," she told him as he leaned down to hug her one last time.

When he pulled away Lori looked at Maggie again, "Maggie, when this is over you're gonna have too.." she started but was stopped by Maggie shushing her. "No, you have to do it, it can't be Rick," she stated knowing Rick couldn't put her down. "Alright, alright. It's alright..." she stated as she watched Carl hand Maggie his knife and she reached for Carl's hand. "Goodnight, love."

"I'm sorry..." Maggie spoke through her tears as she held the knife and slowly began to cut Lori open, hearing Lori scream out in pain.

"What are you doing to her?" Carl asked his voice rising slightly before he watched his mom's head just fall to one side as her eyes closed shut.

Ignoring Carl's words Maggie worked on trying to get the baby out. "Jessica, give me your hands," she spoke seeing that Jessica was frozen in fear or sadness or both. "Jessica, please," she said again seeing Jessica finally come too and stick her hand where Maggie had instructed her too. "Keep the site clean, okay? I cut too deep, I’m gonna cut the baby," she continued as she kept working to get the baby out of Lori. " Okay… Okay, come on, I see it, I see the ears. I’m gonna pull him out. I can’t tell if this is the arm or the leg. Okay, I’m gonna pull the baby out."

Nodding her head Jessica just looked at Maggie, "Okay..Okay," she stated her voice cracking both times but she watched as Maggie pulled the baby out and she could see Carl watching as well.

Once the baby was out in Maggie's arm Jessica moved away slightly holding her breath as the baby just lay there in Maggie's arms motionless, not crying or moving but Maggie began to tap the baby trying to revive it and each time Maggie tapped it Jessica felt her breathing stop even more.

Finally though the baby let out a tiny cry before moving and Jessica was able to breathe again and it was after that, that Jessica watched Carl give Maggie his vest so she could wrap the baby in it.

"We have to go," Maggie spoke up as she stood up, holding the baby close to her chest.

Standing up as well Jessica looked at Carl who seemed to hesitate.

"Well, we can't just leave her here," Carl spoke as he looked at his mom. "She'll turn."

Reaching for her gun Jessica saw Carl shake his head no, "No," he said before showing Jessica his own gun.

"Carl..." Jessica trailed off feeling uneasy about this.

"She's my mom," Carl argued as he looked up at Jessica and Jessica finally sighed before turning to walk off with Maggie.

Following behind Maggie, Jessica watched as she opened the door they had came in earlier and the moment the door opened Jessica heard the familiar moans of the walkers and Maggie stepped back in, closing the door. It was after the door had closed that they both heard a gunshot echo and moments after that Carl came walking towards them, emotionless as he eventually went past them and they both just wordlessly followed behind him.
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Zac walked through the corridors with Rick, Daryl and Oscar again though this time now instead of looking for generators they were looking for the rest of their group and eventually as they heard a noise near them all the men leaned against the wall and stopped ready to attack if it was walkers but when the people got near Zac watched as a flashlight lit up the place and they came face to face with Taylor and Axel who had went the other way when they had split up in search of the generators.

No one said anything though, instead they remained silent as they continued down the dark corridor where at the end of it, they found two walkers feasting on a dead body that was on the ground. After Rick took down the walkers though and the group was able to get closer, Zac paused when he realized the body the walkers had been eating was T-Dog.

Looking away from that, Zac had to compose himself briefly before he looked around again and this time his eyes landed on Daryl who had spotted a scarf in the floor and as Daryl picked it up and some light hit it, Zac realized it was the head scarf Carol had been wearing this morning.

Again they remained in silence though as they eventually went down some more corridors and headed outside the prison.

"Hershel!" Rick yelled as he saw Hershel and Beth standing outside of the cage now and Avery and Glenn on the stairs.

"You didn't find 'em?" Hershel asked as he looked down at the group of men.

Taylor shook his head, "We thought maybe they came back out here."

"What about T, Carol?" Avery asked as she moved from the stairs and closer to where Daryl was.

Daryl shook his head, "They didn't make it."

"That doesn't mean the others didn't," Rick said as he turned to look back at Daryl. "We're going back! Daryl and Zac, you come with me.." he started only to hear a baby's cry coming from somewhere near by and he turned around seeing Maggie opening the gate and heading out into the courtyard with a baby close to her chest, Jessica beside her and Carl not far behind.

Standing there frozen Avery watched as the scene unfolded with Maggie carrying a crying baby and Jessica and Carl with her and she swallowed hard not seeing Lori anywhere in sight as the reality of things hit her. Lori was dead and as she watched Rick ask where Lori was after he had dropped his weapons to the ground, Avery figured Rick was piecing it together too.

Frowning as Rick started to head into the prison only to be stopped by Maggie who told him not too, Avery felt her hand fall to her stomach almost instinctively as it hit her that in a few months this could be Daryl. In a few months she could leave behind a child and the man she loved and that thought scared her shitless.

Zac who had remained silent watched as Taylor went to go comfort a crying Maggie and it wasn't long after that, that Rick who was clearly now grieving fell to the ground and as he fell Zac felt tears come to his eyes but he did his best to blink them back, but they escaped anyway.

He couldn't help crying though because they had taken a big loss today. Three people and...and Lori's death during childbirth just seemed to be the thing that rocked everyone the most and in the end it only made him think of Kate. It was a reminder that she was gone and that she had been pregnant and if by some chance she had indeed survived after the farm, she could still be dead now. She could have died in childbirth like Lori had.

But if she had died during childbirth it also could mean his child could have lived..a baby, his baby could be out there somewhere and he'd never know it and that killed him all over again. The thought of his child being raised by strangers, it was just as bad as the thought of Kate dying during childbirth. Neither thought he wanted to be thinking of but as Rick's cries got louder it was hard not to get lost in his own sadness and thoughts.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Ten

Standing next to Andrea as they stood in the middle of some town get together or party later that afternoon out in the street, Kate did her best to force a smile as Milton headed their way with three drinks in his hand but it really was hard to smile when she was still arguing with Lucy.

"Thank you," Andrea spoke sincerely as she took one of the cups from Milton and she watched Kate tentatively take the other. "Cold drinks?"

"Been running the freezers all day," Milton responded to what Andrea had asked. "Not the most practical use of the generators to my mind."

Andrea smiled at Milton before pulling her hair up and letting the cup rest against her neck slightly, cooling her off, "It's kind of amazing."

"The Governor feels it's worth it," Milton said as he brought his cup to his lips and took a drink.

"Well, to a great party," Kate said breaking the silence she had created with the other two. "Now, if you would just drop us a hint about tonight," she smirked as she batted her eyelashes knowing the Governor had said they had something huge planned for that night.

"Mere words cannot adequately describe the festivities ahead," Milton answered as he made himself smile because really sometimes he did find what was going to happen tonight, pointless.

Kate just hmmed in response before taking a sip of her drink as she turned her head to see Michonne and Lucy standing off together in the distance and of course both women looked displeased about things which seemed to be their current state since arriving here.
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Nikki smiled as she held a sleeping Leo in her arms and she turned her head to look at Jacey. "You sure you don't want to hold him?" she asked curiously knowing that Jacey hadn't held the baby since the day he was born.

Jacey shook her head no as she avoided Nikki's gaze, "I...I don't feel like it," she answered as she chewed on her lip. "He's asleep anyway and you know what happens whenever he changes whoever is holding him. He wakes up and starts crying and the last thing we need is him crying and drawing walkers here."

"Okay," Nikki nodded her head as she stood from the bed she had been sitting on and she left Jacey's room with Leo still in her arms. When she came out she stopped when she came face to face with Meredith.

"No change?" Meredith asked as she looked down at Leo who was still fast asleep in Nikki's arms.

Nikki shook her head sadly, "No change and it's been a week since she gave birth," she answered as she walked past Meredith and headed into the kitchen. "I'm afraid for her since she doesn't seem to be wanting to bond with her child."

"She's probably just experiencing a bit of postpartum depression," Meredith spoke as she followed behind Nikki. "I think most women suffer from it and I mean she could also be thinking of Miller every time she sees Leo which probably makes things worse."

"Yeah and some women who suffer from it only get better with the help of medicine Mer. Last I checked the use of medicine for anything is gone now because there is no way to get that stuff," Nikki sighed as she sat down in a seat at the table. "And Jacey needs to bond with Leo soon so she can breast feed him because we're running low on the formula Isaac found last week."

"Aren't Harry and Louis on a run though today, looking for formula?" Meredith asked as she locked eyes with Nikki as she leaned against a counter.

Nikki nodded her head, "But if they don't find anything we're screwed," she said as she looked down at Leo again. In all honesty she was also worried about Harry and Louis as well because they had left hours ago and still weren't back. Though then again Nikki nowadays found herself worrying over everyone in this group because over the last few months they had become her family.
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Avery stood in the middle of the prison's courtyards as the baby's cries got louder and Rick stayed standing in place now after having gotten up after falling to the ground. It was like Rick had fallen into some kind of trance or something, like he had clearly become unhinged or lost a bit of himself though Avery wasn't sure she could blame him, he had lost his wife.

And the thought of Lori still made her sad because Avery knew she could very well suffer that same fate now and she almost hated her predicament.

Seeing Maggie hand the baby over to Carl, Avery turned on her heels as Hershel asked to see the baby and she walked closer to hear what Hershel would say on the baby's condition.

"We're gonna feed it," Daryl said as he looked at Hershel as Carl brought the baby to the older man. "We got anything a baby can eat?"

When Carl got close enough to him, Hershel pushed down the shirt that was being used as a blanket, "The good news is she looks healthy," he stated as he smiled. "But she needs formula and soon or she won't survive."

Daryl shook his head refusing to even think of losing the little girl, "No. No way. Not her," he stated adamantly. "We ain't losing nobody else. I'm going for a run."

"I'll back you up," Maggie added in feeling like she needed to do this. She had brought the baby into this world.

"I'll go too," Taylor stated knowing if Maggie was going then so was he. He wanted too especially after Maggie had already been through so much.

Nodding after Taylor and Maggie volunteered themselves Daryl slung his crossbow over his arms, "Okay, think where we're going," he said hoping either of them could come up with somewhere. "Avery," he stated as he turned to face her once he had said her name and then he looked between her and Carl. "Kid just lost his mom, his dad ain't doing so hot."

"I'll look out for him," Avery told him as she did her best to offer him a smile.

"You two get the fence," Daryl ordered as he looked at Zac and Glenn. "Too many pile up and we got ourselves a problem," he hollered out as he started to walk towards the vehicles. "Taylor! Maggie! Vamanos!"

Maggie who was just about to follow after watched as Rick picked up a weapon before heading off inside the prison, "Rick!" she yelled out to no avail.

"Get the gate!" Daryl yelled back seeing neither Zac nor Glenn had moved but hell neither had anyone else. "Come on, we're gonna lose the light."

"There's a Piggly Wiggly on eighty-five," Taylor spoke as he ran with Maggie and Daryl to the vehicles as Zac and Glenn headed to the gates.

Maggie shook her head at Taylor's words, "No, the baby section's been cleared out. Lori asked me to keep an eye out. I haven't had much luck."

"Is there any place that hasn't been completely looted?" Daryl questioned as they made it to the vehicles.

"We saw signs for a shopping center just north of here," Taylor answered as he came to a stop in front of the car.

Maggie looked at him as she frowned sadly at his words, "Yeah, but there's too much debris on the road. The car will never get through there."

"I can take one of you," Daryl said as he took his crossbow off and moved just a bit to get to his bike.

"I'll go," Maggie volunteered without even a second thought.

Walking towards her, Taylor grabbed a hold of her hands as he shook his head, "No, Maggie, after everything that you've been through. Okay, I'll go."

"I want to go," Maggie told Taylor sincerely getting that he was just trying to look out for her but she needed to do this. "For Lori, I have to."

Taylor stood there looking at Maggie as he took in her decision and knowing she wouldn't back down. Going closer to the car he opened the back door and got out a weapon before turning to face her, "Be safe," he muttered almost afraid she may not come back to him and he couldn't take more losses today. "I love you."

Hearing Taylor say he loved her, Maggie took the gun and then leaned in to kiss Taylor briefly, "I will," she said after she pulled away.

Not saying anything else to Maggie, Taylor walked with her the short distance to Daryl's bike and he stood there helplessly as she got on the back and Daryl began to drive away. He could only hope she kept good on her word of being safe.
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Walking through the prison like he was on a mission which well he was. He was on a mission to find his wife...her body at least. He had to do that, seeing that would maybe make this all real or make sense in his head, Rick wasn't sure. The only thing he was sure of was killing the walkers when he got close to them.

So with a strength even he didn't know he had he raised his weapon and went through walker after walker not even really sure how many he had taken down, but even taking them down didn't stop him in his quest because he kept on walking, going deeper into the prison.

Each step he took, taking him closer and closer to his wife.
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The Governor walked up onto the stairs of the main building as the rest of the town gathered around him, "All right!" he called out to get their attention and shush them. "Hey. First time we gathered, there was nine of us holed up in an apartment with spam and saltine crackers," he smiled as he thought about their early days as he looked now at the number before him.

"Well look at us now," he continued as he kept his smile. "We've built a place we can call home. May be held together with duct tape and string, but it works. It's ours. I'll take it," the Governor nodded as he caught the eyes of Kate and Andrea. "So today we celebrate how far we've come. We remember those we've lost. We raise a glass...to us," he finished as he held up the cup in his hand.

It was at his comment that Kate watched as everyone else raised their cups but as she raised hers she couldn't help but wonder where Lucy and Michonne were because she had noticed they both had disappeared and she had no clue where they had gone off too.
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Lucy chewed on her lip harshly as she followed Michonne into the Governor's apartment. They were on a mission to get their weapons back and while the plan had been Michonne's idea she agreed with it, knowing she wanted her gun and she wanted out of here but now that they were actually in his apartment a bundle of nerves had grown in her stomach because while everyone else was out celebrating they very well could get caught in here in his apartment.

Following behind Michonne she watched intently as the woman opened the case where her katana was and after she had got it and moved away Lucy took her place, seeing her gun which she picked up and held in her hand. Turning around she froze for a bit as she saw Michonne eyeing a picture and when Michonne began to flip through a notebook that was on a table, Lucy walked where she was to get a better look.

It was when Michonne turned to a page that was clearly a list of all the people the community had lost or something like that, that she cocked an eyebrow up, her eyebrow staying raised as Michonne turned another page and stopped briefly. There was one name on the page that had a lot of dashes. It was the name Penny and Lucy seriously had no clue why this girl's name had a ton of dashes beside and below her name and now her curiosity had been piqued.

When Michonne flipped the page Lucy stood there in amazement seeing that there was now just a whole page of full of the dashes and that seemed to spurn Michonne on which revealed even more dashes on the rest of the pages.

Hearing a loud thud noise from somewhere in the apartment, Lucy jumped seeing Michonne do the same, "Did you...you just heard that?" she asked under her breath before following Michonne to where the noise had come from.

Not getting a response she watched as Michonne made it to the door and then paused briefly before turning back to grab a knife, a knife that she eventually put between the lock to try to pry open but paused midway as something had caught her eye and when Lucy turned to look and see she saw it looked like the bag of guns that Michonne and Andrea had, had in the woods.

It was when they were paused that they heard voices..voices that sounded a lot like the Governor and Milton. It was only when the voices got closer that Lucy took off running across the room, seeing Michonne follow her out of the corner of her eye and right as the door opened Lucy came to a halt behind a wall out of the eyesight of the men.

Swallowing hard she looked at Michonne, feeling faintly scared. Seeing Michonne eventually nod her head to a nearby window Lucy turned her body slightly and as the men talked she slowly made her way over once she confirmed the men weren't paying attention.

Opening the window she climbed through first and was soon followed by Michonne and once she was out she came to a stop realizing the window had lead to a set of stairs which she walked down, taking in her surroundings as she did so. It seemed like they were at the back or front of some old run down construction or industrial type building.

As Lucy continued to walk, she felt her heart beginning to beat a bit faster as she noticed cages, dirty cages that looked to have dried blood and flies buzzing about and as she was examining it she heard the moaning sound she associated with walkers which made her head snap up to another set of cages where she saw walkers in them.

Before she could react though she saw Michonne walk over to that cage and peer in before picking up a piece of metal from the ground. It was when she had the metal that Lucy watched as Michonne broke the lock and the walkers came out and as they came out it was as if Lucy's flight or fight syndrome kicked in because she ran to Michonne and the walkers Michonne couldn't get with her katana, Lucy raised her shoe and kicked their head in as they landed on the ground mainly because she knew she couldn't use her gun in case someone heard.

After they had both taken down the walkers they only had a slight victory and a moment to catch their breath because the back door to the building opened and some man carrying a bucket of something more than likely food for the walkers stepped out and the moment he saw Lucy and Michonne he froze, dropping the bucket.

It was then Lucy knew they were probably going to be in hot water.
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Zac looked out at the prison courtyard as he stood at the gates. Beth was inside taking care of the baby, while Taylor got what was left of T-Dog to bury him and then with the prisoners help or at least Zac assumed they were going to help, he was going to bury him and then also dig a hole for Carol and well Zac guessed they'd do whatever with Lori whenever Rick found her because Zac assumed that's what Rick was doing, going to find his dead wife.

If that had been Kate or even Beth in there dead he'd do the same out of grief and closure and it was that thought that fueled in him in wanting to get out, just get out from behind these gates and kill a few walkers and clear his mind. Clear his mind of Kate dead thoughts because he swore he had come to terms with them and clear his mind because they confused him because he knew he loved Beth now but yet in some ways he guessed he would love Kate and she had been pregnant with his child and maybe by some glimmer of hope they could both be safe out there even though Zac knew that wasn't likely.

Shaking his head he reached for the keys that he still had and reaching for his gun he began to unlock the gate, only stopping when he heard Taylor calling out for him right as he opened the gate and he stayed frozen as his brother walked over to him.

"What the hell Zac?" Taylor questioned as he raised an eyebrow. "You sneaking off without telling us?"

Zac huffed out as he looked away from Taylor, "I just need to clear my mind," he admitted as he locked eyes with Taylor when he finally did look at him. "I..I need this," he said wanting to make it clear that his mind was made. "Just take the keys in case I'm not back by the time Maggie and Daryl come back," he said as he handed the keys out to Taylor.

Looking down at the keys Taylor hesitated but eventually took them, "What if you don't come back?" he asked sounding scared.

"I'll be back," Zac reassured Taylor before turning on his heel and walking away from Taylor. If one thing was certain he would come back because he had no plans to die today.
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Lucy sat silently next to Michonne after they had been brought into the main building in Woodbury, the same they had been in when they first arrived. Merle was standing guard as they waited for the Governor to arrive and the moment she heard the door open and then close she knew he had though she didn't turn to face him.

"You get off on that?" the Governor asked as he looked at both women though they didn't turn to face him and he walked closer to them as he held both their weapons. "Poking around other people's things? Hmm?" he questioned as he laid the sword against the wall and the gun on a table he soon leaned against.

"We got nothing to hide here," he continued in their silence as he eyed both of them, wanting to come across as if he was in charge.

Lucy rolled her eyes at that comment, "People with nothing to hide don't usually feel the need to say so."

Nodding his head the Governor looked over at Lucy. "That's fair," he said at least acknowledging she had a point. "We all have our secrets, huh?"

"Like Penny?" Michonne asked as she finally looked up at the Governor.

"You know about Penny?" the Governor asked his voice going soft as he briefly let his guard down. "Then you know I loved her."

Michonne raised an eyebrow at that, a slight smirk on her lips, "Bet you say that about all the girls."

At Michonne's words the Governor slowly put his guard back up as he forced a smile and moved away from the table he was leaning against, going to a chair and sitting down in front of Lucy and Michonne. "You got the wrong idea about me. I'm just a guy trying to do right by the people I care about," he told them hoping he sounded sincere. "Now you two want to leave and Andrea and Kate want to stay. So you want me to take choice out of the equation. You want me to kick you out," he sighed as he shook his head before looking over at the weapons.

"Actually I was about to give you your weapons back," he lied as he looked at both women again. "Cause you fit in. We've enjoyed having you," he spoke before standing up and grabbing both weapons which he held in his hand. "This is a real problem for me. People follow the rules and whether or not it's true, they believe it's what keeps them alive. You've turned that upside down, you've broken the rules and if I don't do anything I invite anarchy. How about this? I keep a lid on your little outburst and you two join the research team. You both obviously have the skill and you're not afraid of biters. Merle will take care of you and then...."

Michonne who had, had enough of feeling like she was being taunted by the Governor stood up quickly and taking him by surprise she was able to steal her katana from him, holding it to his throat as she stared him down.

Lucy who had been surprised by Michonne's actions slowly stood from her chair and while Michonne held her weapon on the Governor she reached out and took her gun from his hands, "I'll take this now," she told him with all the fake kindness she could muster as she plastered on a smile and slowly moved away from him and Michonne.

When Michonne just kept holding her sword to his neck though Lucy was worried she was going to hurt or injure him and while she loved the idea she wasn't sure it was the right move yet and she was actually kind of glad when Michonne eventually started to back away and come towards her.

As Michonne put her sword back in it's case Lucy breathed a sigh of relief and when she opened the front door and walked out she let herself follow after, not wanting to stay behind with a man whom she hated.

Merle who watched both women leave, went back into the building feeling confused, "How'd it go?" he asked as he watched the Governor who was now looking out of one of the windows.

The Governor laughed as he turned to face Merle, "They're both all personality."

"Do we have a problem?" Merle asked wondering if he or someone else would have to take care of it.

"No, no," the Governor reassured as he shook his head. "Send Andrea and Kate over to me. You can take the research team to get more grist for the mill. I can handle this."

"All right," Merle spoke as he turned to leave the building.
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Taylor who was busy digging graves looked up as Axel and Oscar approached him and when they got close he moved out of the hole he had been digging, putting the shovel in the ground as he leaned against it, "How's the perimeter look?"

"We got the walkers spread out," Axel answered as he pointed to show Taylor. "Need help?"

Not answering Axel, Taylor turned his back on him so he could get back to digging.

"Your friends, they..." Axel started trying to find the right words. "They were good folks."

"They were family," Taylor spoke maybe a bit too harsh but his words were true. Over the winter months the group had basically become a family.

"I think I had one friend like that my whole life," Oscar piped in knowing he sure didn't have as many as Taylor had. "You got a whole group. Sorry you lost 'em."

Taylor who stayed silent as Oscar talked, looked up and away from the prisoners as he saw Hershel heading to the fence on his crutches.

"I need two more," Taylor finally replied as he handed the shovel to Axel and headed up to where Hershel was. "Rick?" he asked warily as he grabbed onto the fence.

"Still inside," Hershel spoke as he locked eyes with Taylor.

Taylor chewed on his lip harshly, "Okay, I'll get him," he said knowing it usually would have been Zac or Daryl who would have went after Rick but they were gone.

After he said that though Taylor turned to look at the prisoners who were digging holes, "A third of our group in one day."

"Cause of one asshole," Hershel stated honestly.

"Part of me wishes that we killed all the prisoners on sight," Taylor admitted softly almost feeling guilty for that thought.

Hershel took a deep breath when he heard Taylor make that comment, "Axel and Oscar seem like good guys."

"When the evacuations started, T-Dog drove his church van to the homes of every senior he knew just in case they needed a ride," Taylor revealed knowing it was that reason Nikki and Jessica had been saved along with Glenn. "He saved my ass a thousand times. He wasn't just a good guy, he was the best."

"Got bit closing the gate," Hershel nodded knowing he had watched it when T-Dog got bit. "If he hadn't done that..."

"It could have been Maggie," Taylor spoke as he swallowed hard knowing it could have been Maggie and he again could have lost the woman he loved. "It's wrong but...I'd trade any number of people for one of ours any day."

Hearing Taylor, Hershel reached his hand up onto the fence where Taylor's was, doing the best he could to comfort him if only briefly.
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"What's wrong?" Andrea asked as the Governor opened the door of his apartment for her and Kate. "Merle said it was urgent."

"I need your help," the Governor said as both women walked in and he closed the door. "It's Michonne and Lucy."

Andrea shrugged at the Governor's words, "What about them?"

"They broke in, stole their weapons," the Governor spoke as he walked in front of both women.

"They can't steal something that's theirs." Kate reasoned knowing that the weapons were Lucy and Michonne's.

"Then they went into a private place and slaughtered half a dozen captive biters," the Governor countered as he looked at Kate.

Kate paused at the Governor's words not sure if she liked the idea of captive biters. "Why would you have captive biters?" she asked as she crossed her arms.

"There's a good reason and I don't want to go into it right now," the Governor said dismissing Kate's concern. "Point is, I tried to talk to them about it and Michonne pulled her sword on me, held it to my throat," he said as he looked at Andrea. "Can't imagine that surprises you."

"She wouldn't do that unless she felt threatened," Andrea spoke as she shook her head feeling as if she knew Michonne well enough to know that.

The Governor sighed not liking how Andrea was sticking up for Michonne, "She makes people uncomfortable, they both do," he added in as he looked at Kate. "Some people want them to leave and I don't want that. It's ugly out there and it's getting worse every day but they put my back against the wall."

"What are you saying?" Kate questioned as she kept her arms crossed.

"I'm saying what works out there doesn't work in here," the Governor said as he looked away from both women. "You know we're not barbarians."

It was after that statement that things fell silent between them and eventually Kate turned to leave, not saying another word to the Governor as she did so. She just wanted to track Lucy down and talk to her, maybe try to make sense of what happened and see if they could come to an agreement for once on things since lately it felt like they couldn't.
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"Louis?" Harry asked his voice squeaking as he hid behind a tree as he looked around making sure no walkers were in sight but also looking for his boyfriend. They had been split up when they had got cornered by a group of walkers on their way to a daycare Louis had spotted while out on a run with Isaac yesterday.

Louis had said it might be the perfect place to loot, to look for formula and other things for Leo and so they had decided to do the run together today and of course as luck would have it, they had run into trouble.

"Louis?" Harry questioned again as he slowly moved from behind the tree and held his gun close just in case a walker was near by. "If you can hear me please let me know," he spoke as he kept moving in between trees, every so often stopping just in case a walker was nearby to see him.

Biting his lip Harry ran a hand through his hair as he sighed. This was the first time since the herd last fall that they had been separated and just like then he was scared he'd never see Louis again. Just like then he was afraid Louis was dead. But Louis had came back to him then so Louis could definitely come back to him now, he had too.

When he heard a twig snap from not too far away and the familiar sound of a walker's moaning coming from behind him. Harry held his gun up and he turned around slowly, though he almost wished he hadn't turned around at all because the moment he had turned around he swallowed a lump that was forming in his throat as he came face to face with Louis who was now one of those things. A walker..a dead person.

The person he loved was gone and now a monster had taken their place. Feeling tears forming in his eyes Harry just stood there frozen, prepared to die at Louis' hands because he didn't want to live if Louis wasn't alive either but before Louis could bite him, a gunshot sounded and Harry watched in horror as Louis or what had been left of him fell to the ground.

"No!" he yelled out as he ran over to Louis' body and picked him up, cradling him as his hand ran over the huge bite mark on Louis' neck. "No, No No," Harry muttered over and over again as he rocked back and forth, holding Louis. He didn't care that he probably looked stupid, nor did he care that someone had obviously saved him from death. He had wanted to die.

"You know, I think the proper thing to do is thank the person who saved you," a gruff voice spoke and Harry looked away from Louis and up into the eyes of the man who had saved him. A man with brown eyes and who looked as distraught as Harry felt.

Harry just glared at him slightly, "But you didn't save me," he sighed as he shook his head. "I wanted to die."

Zac looked at the boy astonished by his words because yeah right now he felt like shit but he'd never want to die and especially not at the hands of a walker.

"You're being foolish kid," Zac muttered out as he watched the young boy finally stand up. "You don't want to die."

Going silent Harry again felt tears forming in his eyes and deep down he knew this man was right. He didn't want to die because even if he would miss Louis the thought of death scared him.

At the kid's silence Zac heaved a sigh and ran a hand through his hair as he slowly put his gun away, not hearing any sounds of walkers close by. "Do you have a camp nearby or a group?" he asked hoping the boy did.

Harry nodded his head as the tears that had formed in his eyes went down his cheeks but he still didn't talk.

"H..how about taking me to them?" Zac questioned as they boy remained silent though he had began to cry. "Just to make sure you get there safe."

Looking up at the man who had saved him, Harry felt hesitant but he also didn't want to go back alone, "O...okay," he answered his voice cracking slightly.
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Lucy sat in the room she had been sharing with Kate. Kate was sitting beside her and they were both being silent though Kate kept looking at her every so often as if she wanted to say something.

"You can say whatever it is you want to say," Lucy said as she stood from the bed and looked down at Kate. "I won't bite you."

Kate couldn't help but chuckle at that last comment, "No but you'll get mad," she said honestly as she looked down and away from Lucy's gaze. "I know about what happened today. You and Michonne stealing your weapons and Michonne holding a gun on the Governor."

"She did," Lucy nodded as she looked at Kate skeptically wondering where Kate was going with this.

"H..he wants to throw you both out," Kate admitted her voice going softer. "He says you two scare people," she frowned as she finally looked back at her girlfriend. "You really need to stop hanging out with her Luce. I want to stay here..it's the safest we've had this whole time."

Lucy heaved a sigh as she shook her head as she crossed her arms, "This place isn't safe," she argued still not buying into it.

"You aren't giving it a chance," Kate said as she ran a hand through her hair. "And don't say you are because breaking into houses isn't trying."

"I thought this was just temporary?" Lucy questioned as she chewed her lip, only getting silence from Kate. "This place isn't what they say it is Katie and I wish you'd trust me on this...you used to trust me before."

Kate almost felt like Lucy had slapped her with that comment but she still didn't respond, instead she sat there as she watched Lucy turn away from her and grab a bag that was by the door, a bag Kate hadn't even noticed or realized that Lucy had packed.

"I'm going to find a way to leave whether you come with me or not," Lucy said after she had picked up her bag and Kate continued the silence. "I hope you choose to come though."
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Taylor who was walking through the darkened tunnels of the prison, held a flashlight in one hand and a gun in the other as he searched for Rick. A task that was made a bit easier by the dead walker bodies on the ground, bodies that he followed as if they were a map leading him to a prize.

Turning a corner he came to a brief stop as he let his flashlight, create a light and he saw Rick standing there, bloody axe in his hand. "Rick?" he questioned as he walked a bit closer though he felt apprehensive. "Everybody's worried about you. You shouldn't be in here, come on out," Taylor said as he did his best to try and breakthrough to Rick who seemed a bit unhinged.

When Rick turned to look at him Taylor swallowed hard at the sight of the broken man all covered in blood, "Come on out," he said as he nodded his head and walked a bit closer. "Rick, you don't have to do this all by yourself," he said knowing Rick didn't have to carry this burden alone. "Okay? Our cell block is cleared. We'll just close off all the doors again," he nodded before biting his lip briefly.

"Why don't you just come with me, okay?" Taylor questioned still not getting any responses from Rick. "Rick?" he asked moving out to touch him and when he did he heard Rick grunt before the man pinned him against the wall and Taylor felt scared, having not expected or foreseen this predicament.

As Rick just held him there and looked at him Taylor felt his heart beating faster, seeing Rick try to find some sort of recognition of who he was. "Yeah...yeah.." Taylor whispered as he put his hand out. "It's me," he spoke right before Rick finally hurled him away from the wall, letting him go.

Once he was free and away from Rick, he just turned to look at him almost afraid of the man looking back at him because it wasn't the Rick he had known. It was like that Rick had checked out.

As Rick walked away from him and went farther down into the tunnels Taylor stayed glued in place knowing it was no use stopping him.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Eleven

Avery bit her lip as she sat on the stairs in their cell block. She was doing like Daryl told her to do and keeping an eye on Carl though every so often she'd look over at Beth who was holding Judith, trying her best to take care of the baby.

"You okay?" Jessica asked as she walked over to where her sister was and sat down.

Shaking her head no, Avery looked down at her shoes, "How can I be okay when we lost people. One of those people died giving birth," she said as she reminded Jessica of that fact. "That could be me in a few months when I give birth."

"I thought about that when I was watching Lori," Jessica whispered knowing that she probably would remember Lori's death for the time being. "I...I don't think that will be you though. I mean maybe by then we'll have everything under control and I don't think we have to worry about any rogue prisoners," she said as she chewed her lip and moved her hand onto Avery's back. "You'll be okay when you give birth."

"Can you really promise me that?" Avery questioned as she turned her head to look at Jessica. "Because I can't even promise myself that," she frowned as she bit her lip again.

It was when Jessica just looked away from her and went silent that she knew her sister couldn't promise that she'd be okay when she gave birth. No one could promise that and it was an unknown fate now. It was unknown and she wasn't even sure how to tell Daryl or even if she wanted to tell him. After today's events she really wasn't sure he'd take her pregnancy so well.

Heaving a sigh Avery nodded her head slightly, "That's what I thought," she replied as she looked away from Jessica too. "Do me a favor though Jessie," she said as she stayed looking away from her sister. "Don't tell Daryl. I'm not even sure I know how to tell him and I don't think he'll be happy to know anyway."

"So you are going to keep this a secret from him?" Jessica asked a hint of judgement in her voice.

"For the time being," Avery confirmed as she again nodded her head, watching out of the corner of her eye as Jessica turned to look at her again. She was certain her look was half as judging as her voice had sounded.
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Arriving at the daycare with Maggie, Daryl cut his bike off and got off, watching as Maggie did the same. "Company's close," he told her as he locked eyes with her. "Stay tight," he warned before walking towards a gate that lead onto a playground.

Watching as Maggie worked with the gate a bit before opening it, Daryl stepped in first after it was opened and he looked around trying to keep an eye on everything.

It was when Maggie walked to a window that would lead into the daycare that Daryl stopped walking for a bit, keeping watch for any unwanted friends.

Hearing the glass to the window break Daryl watched as Maggie went inside and he stayed outside for a few more minutes, looking around again to make sure the coast was clear and once he had, he went inside being careful on the desk near the window.

The moment he stepped down on the floor though his eyes landed on two empty cribs and he was sure that was when the reality of all this hit him. They were looting a daycare for baby supplies and who the hell had known what had become of the babies who had once came here.

It was a thought he couldn't really stomach, especially if he tried to put himself in the shoes of a parent right now. It was something he couldn't do and he was thankful he wasn't a parent, thankful that he wouldn't have to constantly worry about the safety of someone who couldn't quite defend themselves. It was bad enough worrying over Avery's safety and he knew he shouldn't have let himself get to the point where he was so attached to her but he was. She was one of the main sources keeping him sane and tied to everything.

Turning around and walking away from the cribs slightly, Daryl once again paused as his flashlight hit a bunch of cut out paper hands on the wall and he began to read the names of the kids, one particular name sticking out to him the most. Sofie.

Seeing the name Sofie he couldn't help but be reminded of Sophia, a young innocent child who couldn't take care of herself and someone whose death had affected the whole group but maybe it had affected him the most because he had almost retreated away from everyone but it had been Avery who had brought him back because she was so damn stubborn.

Also seeing the name reminded him of the loss of Carol which was hard because they had become friends through how much he had searched for Sophia and well Carol was probably like the sister he never had and now she was gone, she was gone just like Sophia and Merle and sometimes Daryl swore he was tired of losing people which was why he had decided to come on this search for formula for the baby.

There was no way he was going to let that child die and the group to have to suffer another big loss..for Rick to suffer another loss.

Looking away from the paper hands Daryl walked out of the room he was in and he headed down a dark hallway, watching as Maggie went in the opposite direction as him.

It was when he was in the hallway that he he heard a loud clanking sound coming from somewhere and as he slowly walked closer to it, he could see out of the corner of his eye that Maggie was doing the same thing which meant she had heard it too.

Coming to the room where it was, Daryl stepped inside and looked at a closed door, the clanking sound now a lot louder.

As Maggie came into the room and walked closer to the door where the sound was coming from, Daryl raised his crossbow ready to hit whatever it was if he had too and once the door was open he was half relieved to see a possum staring back at him instead of what he had feared it could have been.

When the possum hissed and backed up Daryl shot a bow through it then walked to where the dead animal was, "Hello dinner," he muttered as he turned to look at Maggie.

Maggie rolled her eyes at Daryl's words, "I am not putting that in my bad," she told him knowing Taylor had once told her how Daryl had put Merle's hand in Glenn's bag when they had searched for him in Atlanta.

Taking her backpack off she set it on the counter before opening some cabinets, a smile appearing on her face as she found the formula.
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"So you really wanted to die?" Zac asked as he looked over at the boy he had saved.

Harry nodded his head sadly as he looked at the man who had saved him from a death he had wanted. "I wanted to die," he answered as he chewed his lip.

"I still say you didn't," Zac shrugged as he looked down and shook his head. "I've lost people and felt like dying but I never really wanted too," he muttered though he knew today he did feel kind of close to wanting to die. Realizing how likely it was that Kate was dead either way, well it hurt him and it made him almost wish it had been him who had gotten separated from the group at Hershel's farm instead of his wife.

Kate deserved to have been somewhere safe even if she had died during childbirth like Lori had and she deserved to have been around people she knew but she hadn't been...hell if she had lived long enough she could have been alone. Now days it seemed rare when you came upon a group of people and living alone was never the best thing for anyone.

Shrugging Harry again went silent for awhile, "Why'd you save me though?" he asked as he raised an eyebrow. "You don't even know me nor do I know you."

"Because I'm still a good person," Zac answered honestly as he looked at the boy again. "I save people because it's what I have to do. I can't willingly let someone die even if sometimes I think I can."

Harry nodded his head but he walked with the man in silence again, his mind going back to Louis and why they had came out. He half hoped that his group wouldn't be mad that they hadn't made it to the daycare, that he had no formula for Leo.
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Kate remained silent as she walked down the busy Woodbury street with Lucy, Michonne, and Andrea. She was still remaining skeptical on leaving but it seemed that Lucy and Michonne had gotten their way and they were leaving today, they were going back out into some unknown world and their life could constantly be in jeopardy and they'd constantly be on the run twenty-four seven.

"Hey, hey, hey girls," Merle called out from where he sat on a bench. "Where ya'll off too in such a hurry?" he asked as he stood up and walked to them as they briefly stopped but it seemed Michonne was intent on making it hard for that to happen as she began to guide the others away from him and towards the main gate.

"Hey, come on, now. Come on. Hey, hey, hey," Merle said once he reached up with them. "Ya'll are breaking my heart running away like that."

Michonne came to a stop again as she glared at Merle, "We're leaving."

"It's almost curfew," Merle spoke as he shook his head though he kept eyeing all four women. "I'd have to arrange an escort. I mean, the party's still going on," he explained as he pointed at the people behind them and the music that was playing still.

Getting nothing but silence from them he saw Michonne and Lucy glare while Andrea and Kate both looked apprehensive.

"Alright, wait here a second," Merle told them as he turned his back and walked over to where Martinez was at the gate. "Brownie, come here," he called watching as Martinez bent down. "Listen up bro.." he said as he started to talk but got interrupted by Andrea.

"The Governor told us we were free to come and go whenever we liked," Andrea said feeling for the first time that maybe Michonne had been right.

"Sweetheart, nothing personal here, but you're gonna have to step back," Merle spoke as he turned to look at Andrea.

Watching as Andrea came back to where they were, Kate looked at Merle curiously as he kept talking to Martinez though eventually she looked back at Michonne and Andrea, doing her best to ignore Lucy who was staring at her expectantly or as if she should be surprised in this turn of events.

"See there's always a reason why we can't leave yet," Michonne smiled almost feeling gleeful that now maybe Andrea was seeing that she was right.

Hearing someone say clear Kate looked over at the gates, seeing Merle standing there.

"Now if I was ya'll, I'd find some shelter before nightfall," Merle told the women as he began to open the gate and once it was open he just stood there looking at them, waiting for them to leave.

Michonne shook her head at this new development. It was unexpected but it probably shouldn't have been to her. "They knew we were coming," she stated as she looked at Andrea and then turned to Kate and Lucy. "This was all for show."

"Do you hear yourself?" Andrea asked which got Michonne to look at her again. "How can you know that?"

"And why would they bother?" Kate questioned as well which earned her a glare from Lucy.

"Ladies," Merle called out when none of the women came down, though it was obvious they were having some disagreement.

Andrea turned her head briefly to look at Merle, "Close the gates."

"No," Michonne stated knowing she had every intention of leaving this place.

"I practically begged the Governor to let you stay," Andrea spoke as she turned back to Michonne.

Michonne shook her head at Andrea's revelation, "I didn't ask for that."

"You didn't have too, that's what friends do for each other," Andrea explained hoping that Michonne understood that.

"It goes both ways," Michonne warned her as she locked eyes with the woman whom she had spent months with.

"So you want to run around out there with walkers on chains, eating twigs?" Andrea asked clearly perplexed that Michonne was serious. "Is that right?"

"We held our own," Michonne answered unwavering from her stance.

Andrea shook her head, breaking the eye contact, "Eight months. Eight months on the road moving place to place, scavenging, living in a meat locker. That was no life. I'm tired. I'm tired. I don't have another eight months in me. Not like that. And you, I..."

"What about me?" Michonne asked when Andrea stopped mid-sentence.

"I'm afraid you're gonna disappear," Andrea replied honestly as she sighed.

Going silent for a bit, Michonne stared at Andrea before speaking again, "Are you coming or not?"

"Don't do this," Andrea argued feeling cornered now. "Don't give me an ultimatum not after everything."

"Are you coming or not?" Michonne asked and when Andrea fell silent she felt she had gotten her answer. "You'd just slow me down anyway," she spoke before turning to Kate and Lucy.

Kate ran a hand through her hair as she looked down at the ground, "I..I'm not...." she muttered unable to even finish her sentence as she looked up finally seeing Lucy glaring daggers at her. "It's safe here Luce."

Lucy shook her head feeling like she had been slapped in the face, "Like Michonne told Andrea, you'd just slow me down anyway," she muttered much more angry sounding than Michonne had sounded.

Going silent after Lucy had said what she did Kate just stood there frozen as both girls walked off, leaving her and Andrea standing there though unlike Andrea she wasn't even able to holler after her departing friend because it hurt too much. She had honestly hoped that when she said she was staying that Lucy would have agreed to stay as well.

"I'm sorry things didn't work out with your friends," Merle said as he walked to where Andrea and Kate stood after the gate had been closed and locked behind Lucy and Michonne. "Weird to lose someone by their own choice. Thought those days had gone," he shrugged hoping his sympathy sounded sincere. "Not sure this will make you two feel better, but I'm sure you could use a drink. Some company, something to take your mind off of it for a bit," he added in as he lead both girls away to get them drinks.
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Isaac looked at Nikki as night began to fall. They had came outside after dinner so they could have some alone time. Meredith had been watching both Leo and Monroe and Jacey was still refusing to come out of her room or even hold her child.

"I'm worried about Louis and Harry," Nikki confessed as Isaac looked over at her. "They should have been back by now."

"I shouldn't have let them go out on their own," Isaac muttered to himself as he shook his head. "I should have went with them. They're both so young. Harry's seventeen and Louis' twenty."

Nikki just looked down as she sighed, "Look at us, worrying over boys who aren't even our sons," she mused as she chewed her lip as she thought of her own sons. Monroe who she had and Everett who she had lost. "Though I'd worry if it was Meredith or Jacey out there too."

"These people are our family now," Isaac said as he looked at Nikki who looked up at that and he could see in her eyes she thought the same thing. "I lost my family and we lost Everett but we have a new family and I think this is what happens now. You just forge your own family as you go and you connect with people because no one wants to be alone during this all."

Before Nikki could reply to that though, both of them looked up as they saw approaching shadows and Isaac reached for his gun as he walked off the porch, Nikki following close behind and as the shadows came closer he slowly raised his gun but then he froze as he took in the site of the approaching people.

One was Harry who looked like a complete mess and the other person with Harry, well according to Isaac it was like seeing a goddamn ghost.

"I'll be damned," Isaac muttered under his breath as he lowered his gun. "I'll be god damned."

Hearing a familiar voice Zac looked up and once he did he felt like he had been slapped in the face, "Isaac?" he questioned as he walked a bit closer, coming face to face with his older brother.

"It's really you?" he asked almost in disbelief because he hadn't seen his brother in months.

"I could ask the same thing," Isaac chuckled as he reached out and pulled Zac into a hug. "W..what are you doing here?"

Zac returned the hug, holding Isaac a bit tighter because it felt good to have some form of affection after everything that had happened today.

"I guess returning one of your group members," he answered after pulling away from the hug with Isaac. "Saved him from being eaten by someone he cared about," Zac muttered as he looked over at the boy seeing Nikki was hugging him to her as he cried.

Isaac frowned at Zac's words realizing then that it was Louis whose absence he hadn't even noticed until now, "Oh.." he muttered as he shook his head. "You saved Harry from Louis..his boyfriend," he said as he saw Zac frown too then. "I guess I'm thankful you saved Harry though even if you couldn't save Louis."

"I had to save Harry," Zac spoke as he chewed his lip. "Can't just let people die," he smiled though it was a sad one. "Do you...do you have more people?" he asked curiously knowing he had tons of questions for Isaac but he couldn't ask them all right now.

"I do," Isaac nodded his head in affirmation. "Two women and a newborn as well as Monroe of course," he whispered before looking down and running a hand through his hair. "W..we lost Everett not long after we left the Quarry."

Hearing about the death of his nephew Zac frowned again not sure if he should say sorry or not. It would be appropriate though now days it seemed sorry just got plain old of saying. "We lost Mac..and I lost Kate and the baby...we were at some farm months ago and..they're just gone," he explained as he looked down at the grass.

"And everyone else?" Isaac questioned seeing Nikki and Harry walking closer now.

"We're staying at a prison not far from here," Zac told him as he looked up, seeing Nikki and Harry had came closer. "You guys are welcome to come if you like. I'm sure everyone would love to see you guys again and we have enough room for your whole group."

Looking at his wife Isaac searched her eyes in the moonlight.

"We should ask the others first," Nikki said as she spoke for Isaac seeing that he looked uncertain. "Come inside while we do. We have food," she bribed hoping that food would be enough to get him to agree to stay while the group held a meeting.

Chuckling Zac nodded his head, "I can't turn down food," he said before following behind his brother's wife and the boy he helped and as he did so he smiled a genuine smile as he felt Isaac's arm go around his shoulder.

Maybe seeing Isaac was what he needed even if deep down it did give him hope that Kate could have made it. He wasn't sure if he needed that hope because if she was alive and he ever saw her again it would just complicate things, especially since he was sure he had fallen in love with Beth.
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Glenn who was up in the guard tower doing watch duty looked up when he heard a motor roaring in the distance and as he did so he turned to look down at Oscar and Axel, "Guys, they're back," he called down so they could take care of the walkers down at the fence

As they did that he picked up the rifle he had with him and shot at some of the walkers nearby as well so none of them tried to get in when Daryl and Maggie were let inside.

It was while he was doing that, that he watched as Oscar and Axel let Maggie and Daryl inside before shutting the gate again.
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Avery sat at a table in the main area off their cell block as Carl sat holding a crying baby, a crying baby who was probably hungry and just as she was about to wish for Daryl and Maggie to get back she looked up, seeing them both barreling through the entrance.

As Beth and Maggie proceeded to start making a bottle for the baby Avery stood from the table watching as Daryl moved to Carl who was slowly standing up.

"How's she doing?" Daryl asked as he took the crying child from Carl's arms and he began to shush it to try and calm it down.

Seeing Beth walk over with a bottle he took the bottle from her, putting it up to the baby's lips in an effort to get it to eat. "Come on, come on," he muttered watching as the baby girl eventually latched on.

It was after that, that he looked up at everyone who had gathered around and he couldn't help but chuckle some. "She got a name yet?" Daryl asked as he looked down at Carl.

"Not yet. But I was thinking maybe Sophia...then there's Carol too and Andrea, Amy, Jacqui, Patricia, Zoe, Kate," Carl stated as he paused. "Or...Lori. I don't know," he shrugged knowing he had went through all the names of women they had lost in the group, including his mom's name.

"You like that? Huh?" Daryl questioned as he looked down at the baby girl in his arms. "Little ass-kicker," he spoke before looking up sheepishly. "Right? That's a good name, right?" he asked as he looked around at everyone else. "Little ass-kicker. You like that, huh?" he said as he looked down and smiled at the baby. "You like that, sweetheart?"

Watching Daryl with the baby Avery couldn't help but instinctively rest her hand on her stomach where her own baby was..a baby she had yet to tell him of and after she had done so, she looked around and caught Jessica's eye, seeing a judging look.

Of course Jessica was still judging her for not wanting to tell Daryl yet on their impending parenthood.
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"Are you sure?" Zac asked as he stood on the porch of the house that Isaac's group was staying at. "I mean we have room," he said as he locked eyes with his older brother.

Isaac nodded, "Everyone wants to try to make it..just us," he said though deep down he had apprehension but once everyone had known Jacey's answer which had been a no then they had all said no too and well he just couldn't sway them otherwise, their minds had been made up.

"Okay," Zac sighed as he gave Isaac a wistful glance before beginning to walk down the stairs.

"Hey Zac!" Isaac called out seeing Zac stop in his footsteps. "Don't tell the others you saw me okay..don't want them to know I'm alive when something could always happen to me in the end and make it not so."

Swallowing hard Zac gave a slight nod before turning away again and walking off.

As Zac left, Isaac turned and headed back inside surprised to see Jacey sitting on the couch and holding her son.

"Hearing your story about how you lost hope in seeing your brothers..family because you thought they were dead, it gave me hope," Jacey said as she looked up seeing Isaac's surprised expression. "Made me realize how foolish I was being and how I was lucky because I have a healthy son," she smiled as she looked down at Leo. "Or he will be once I feed him like I should have..but I wanted to thank you and Nikki both for stepping up while I was checked out."

Isaac shook his head as he walked to where Jacey was and he sat down, "Anyone would have done it Jace."

"Maybe," Jacey agreed as she chewed on her lip. "But you guys doing that is why I want to ask you to be the main leader. I saw how everyone took my vote as law but that can't happen if I ever check out again. They need someone who is dependable."

Going silent at Jacey's words Isaac just ran a hand down his face because he hadn't been expecting that, "O..okay," he agreed knowing it was a big task but Jacey believed he could do it so he'd do it. He just hoped her faith in him wouldn't ever come back to haunt them all.
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Arriving at some sort of old abandoned building alongside Andrea and the Governor, Kate looked around as she listened to the music blaring as they walked into the place and she couldn't help but see how excited everyone was.

If they were this happy and excited over whatever was to come there was no way this could be a bad place or that they could be bad people. There was just no way. Lucy had to be wrong and Kate wished Lucy was here to see this.

Staying silent Kate continued to follow Andrea and the Governor up to the bleachers and she still looked around, now curious as to what was to come that had everyone so happy.

It was after she had gotten sat down that lights began to come on out on the main floor area and the people in the bleachers all began to stand up, cheering even louder now. Standing up as well Kate looked down in horror seeing chained up walkers all in what seemed to be some circle as Merle and Martinez both somehow ended up in the middle of the circle.

When she heard the crowd chanting for Merle and Merle saying how he was gonna kick Martinez's ass one handed Kate couldn't help but feel like she wanted to be sick or even like she wanted to run but like watching a bad train wreck she was glued to her spot watching as both men began to fight in the circle of chained up walkers.

"What the hell is this?" Andrea asked feeling somewhat disgusted at what she saw.

The Governor turned to look at Andrea,"It's a way to blow off steam," he explained a smile playing on his lips.

"Blow off steam?" Kate asked now as she turned her head to glare at the Governor. "You go for a jog to blow off steam. This is...this is sick," she muttered as she shook her head before turning to leave and head back to her room.

As she walked away it was that moment that she wished she had went with Lucy and Michonne. This place didn't seem so safe anymore nor did the people seem sane.

Watching Kate walk off the Governor turned to look at Andrea, "Look around," he said pointing to everyone in the arena. "Everyone's having a great time."

"It's barbaric," Andrea muttered as she shook her head.

"It's staged," the Governor explained hoping she'd realize how harmless it all was.

Milton who had overheard the conversation turned to look at Andrea, "Yeah, we pull out the biter's teeth. It's all just for show."

"That's crazy," Andrea sighed still not seeing the sense in things. "This is your reason for keeping walkers around?" she asked knowing it now all made sense why they had walkers in cages.

"People need entertainment," the Governor argued still standing firm.

"So your solution is gladiator fights?" Andrea questioned as she locked eyes with him.

"We're reducing these things. We're controlling them. We're shining a light on the monster under the bed. It's fun. It makes people feel better about the whole thing," the Governor again argued trying his darnedest to win her to his side.

Andrea still didn't break eye contact as she put her hand on her hip, "It's a slippery slope. You're teaching them that walkers aren't dangerous."

"We're teaching them not to be afraid," the Governor stated before looking away and back at the entertainment that was going on, on the floor.
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Beth who had been awoken by the baby groaned slightly as she slipped out of bed and over to the container in her room where the baby was at.

"Hey pretty girl," she cooed down at the baby. "You hungry again?" she questioned as she leaned down to get the baby and once she had her she exited the cell glad that somehow her dad had slept through the baby crying.

When she made it to the main area to fix the baby's bottle she came to a stop seeing Zac sitting at one of the tables and eating. "When did you get in?" she asked knowing last night when she had went to bed he was gone.

"Late," Zac answered as he watched Beth come into the main area and soon get a bottle ready for the crying child in her arms. "Just had to go out and blow off some steam," he admitted even though she hadn't asked why. She didn't have to, her tone had said enough.

Nodding Beth walked over to the table where Zac was once she was done fixing the bottle. "Because yesterday reminded you of Kate?" she asked as she sat down. "I mean I figured it would."

"It did," Zac confirmed as his eyes landed on the baby who was eating. She looked so tiny and fragile and it made him sad because he'd never get to hold his first child if Kate had somehow survived and given birth safely. "Can I hold her?" he asked his voice cracking some.

"Sure," Beth smiled as she slowly handed over the baby who continued to suckle on the bottle. "She doesn't have a name yet but Daryl calls her little ass kicker."

Laughing Zac kept his eyes glued on the child. "He would," he said as he shook his head. "But little ass kicker kind of fits her," he admitted as his voice cracked and tears he didn't even realize he was crying went down his cheek.

"I should be holding my child," Zac spoke up as he looked at Beth and feeling a bit ashamed that she was seeing him cry. "But because God hates me I'm not. I'm not holding my child and for all I know my child is fucking dead...Kate's dead or she died and my child could be too and I've been robbed of so much Beth."

Beth frowned as she listened to Zac which left her unable to speak so she stood from the table, walking behind him and putting her arms around his neck. It was the only comfort she knew to give him and she hoped to God it worked.
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Sitting in the room where his wife had died, Rick just sat there hopelessly as he heard a phantom baby crying and he almost felt like crying himself because he hadn't been able to keep his wife safe like he had been trying to do. He just had wanted her safe but now she wasn't.

Rick had failed Lori and she was dead because of him but at least he had found the walker who had ate all of her remains. He had found the walker and shot it then he had proceeded to stab it and rip it open and now..now here he sat lost in his own world full of hallucinations of a baby crying.

Those hallucinations were soon shattered by a phone ringing and as he turned his head he looked up on a table, seeing an old phone on a desk and as it continued to ring he stood up and walked over to it.

"Hello?" Rick asked after he had picked the phone up.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twelve

Merle who had been walking through the woods all night after his fight with Martinez, came to a stop when he saw parts of a walker laid out on the ground. "What the hell is this mess?" he asked though he really didn't want the input of the men with him.

"They did this," One of the boys spoke up as he came to stand by Merle.

"It means something, the way it's all set up like that," Merle agreed as he used his weapon on his stub to point at the walker bits.

"The Governor was right to send us out," the boy spoke up again knowing the Governor had made a good decision in having them come after Lucy and Michonne.

"Damn straight Tim," Merle again agreed with the boy before bending down to examine the bits of the walker more. They were clearly here to send a message but he hadn't figured out what it was yet. "We're doing a righteous public service here."

"Go back," One of the other boys spoke up from behind Merle.

Tim turned to look at the boy raising an eyebrow, "What?"

"The arms are a G. The leg makes an O," the boy explained as he pointed to the walker parts. "And that's a back.. It says Go back."

Laughing at that revelation Merle stood up, clapping his hand against his weapon, "This is too good," he mused out loud. "Look at this. They sent us a biter-gram, ya'll."

"I don't believe this is happening," the boy who had deciphered the message muttered as he looked away, feeling a mixture of shock and being scared.

"Hey, hey!" Merle hissed out as he walked to the boy and grabbed him by the shirt. "You knock it off. What the hell's wrong with you? Now, the Governor chose you cause he thought you were ready. I want you to succeed, I do but if you keep announcing to the world that you're pissing your pants I'm going to have to smash your teeth in," he warned being harsh. "Now how do you say your last name?"

"Gargulio," the boy answered after Merle's last question.

"Well, I'm going to keep calling you Neil. All right?" Merle muttered as he let the boy go.

Turning around Merle heard leaves rustling and a tree branch snapping which made him pull out his gun and he watched as the others became alert as well, one of the other men pulling out a gun as well. "What's the deal Michonne and Lucy? Hmm? You gonna leap out of the woods, two against four. All of us armed to the teeth and you two with just a little pig-sticker and a gun? No. no, no Michonne..." he started but got interrupted when he heard commotion from behind him.

Lucy who had jumped down from where she was hiding watched as Michonne did the same and as Michonne beheaded one of the men, Lucy took a shot, hitting an Asian looking kid in the stomach.

It was after her shot that Lucy heard more gunshots and she looked up seeing Merle firing at her and Michonne and as the guy she shot fell to the ground Lucy turned on her heels, following behind Michonne as they ran through the woods again but as they did she made a face as she looked down when Michonne held onto her leg, having obviously taken a hit there.

"I'm fine," Michonne growled though it was a lie. It was a lie to keep Lucy running because she half suspected if Lucy knew how much it hurt that she'd insist they stop and stopping would get them killed.

Merle who had ran after the girls, leaving Gargulio behind came to a stop once he came to another big clearing after having lost sight of them. "Are we having fun yet?!" he called out menacingly.
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"Hello? Is..is someone there?"

"Yes. Yes." Rick spoke as he answered the female voice on the other end of the phone. "Who is this?"

"Oh, my god. I can't believe someone picked up. We've been calling since..since it all started."

"Where are you?" Rick asked wanting to know where this woman was located at.

"I can't say," the woman spoke denying Rick his request.

Rick felt his voice quiver some as he spoke again, "You could be a thousand miles away."

"I'm not going to say where we are."

"Are you...are you someplace safe?" Rick questioned at least wanting to know that.

"Yeah and part of it is because we're careful. I can't tell you where we are. I'm sorry."

"What ma...what makes your places so safe?" Rick again questioned his voice quivering again.

"It's just away...from them."

"I have a son," Rick told the woman. "I..I have a newborn baby. I'm with a good group of people. Would you be willing...could you take in others? We can pull our weight. We can help you."

The woman hesitated slightly before answering, "I'd have to talk to the group."

"Well put them on. Let me make a case," Rick pleaded wanting this group that was seemingly safe to take in his group.

"Let me talk to them first," the woman said, again sounding hesitant.

"Please...please don't go," Rick pleaded as he shook his head. "Just please, we're good people here. We just need some help and..we can help...we.."

"I'll call you in two hours," the woman interrupted.

"Please!" Rick pleaded again trying to get through to this woman. "You don't understand, you don't know. We're dying, we're dying here," he muttered right as the line went dead.
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Sitting at a table in the main cell area, eating some breakfast Taylor couldn't help but notice how tense everything was right now. Zac was a mess, had seemed that way all morning. Avery well she wasn't eating much, almost as if it made her sick to even look at food while Jessica was either knowingly or unknowingly shooting her daggers and as for him well he just sat in the silence watching everything.

He figured it was best not to speak, no one else was. It was as if they had all lost the ability to speak so they were choosing uncomfortable silences to fill time.

"Everybody okay?" Rick asked as he came to a stop outside the closed cell door, blocking off the main area from where he was.

"Yeah, we are," Maggie answered as she turned her head to look at Rick as he eventually came into the room where everyone else was at.

Hershel who watched as Rick walked to the table where he was sitting, raised an eyebrow. "What about you?"

"I cleared out the boiler block," Rick answered as he nodded his head, his eyes going to look at his son.

"How many were there?" Daryl asked from where he was sitting on the stairs.

Shaking his head, Rick looked up at Daryl, "I don't know. A dozen, two dozen," he answered honestly. "I have to get back. Just wanted to check on Carl."

"Rick, we can handle taking out the bodies," Glenn spoke as he stood up from the table he was sitting at. "You don't have to."

"No, I do," Rick said as he looked over at Glenn. "Everyone have a gun and a knife?" he asked as he looked over at Zac.

Zac nodded his head yes to that, "Yeah. We're running low on ammo, though."

"Maggie and me were planning on making a run this afternoon," Taylor mused out loud after Zac spoke. "Found a phone book with some places we can hit. Look for bullets and formula."

"We cleared out the generator room," Daryl added in as he watched Rick turn to look at him. "Axel's there trying to fix it in case of emergency. We're gonna sweep the lower levels as well."

Rick nodded his head before looking down at the floor, "Good...good," he repeated before quickly turning to leave again.

"Rick!" Hershel called out watching as Rick left, not even stopping to acknowledge him.
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"Let's go!" Merle called out as he made it back to Gargulio. "Michonne got hit so it slowed them down," he said as he looked at the boy who was on the ground, clearly a crying mess.

Looking up at Merle, Gargulio shook his head, "Tim and Crowley...they..."

"We're close to the red zone," Merle spoke as he reloaded his gun. "Them shots just pulled every biter in this area our way. Let's go, get up," he said as he kept his eyes on Gargulio. "Neil!" he called out when the boy refused to move.

Walking over to the boy he kicked him, watching as he landed on his back on the grass, "Now you're gonna rise to the occasion, son. Some serious shit's going down. I need you here. You read me, amigo? I don't want you to die."

"Yes. Yes," Gargulio muttered as he stayed laying flat on his back.

"Get up," Merle told him watching as he obeyed. "Now you know, we don't ever let our own turn," he spoke as his eyes landed on the dead boy that Lucy had shot in the stomach. "Never," he stated as he walked over to him and stuck the knife from his stump weapon into his skull.

Seeing Gargulio still standing there, Merle nodded as he looked down at the decapitated head. "Come on," he said as he tried to build the boy up. "Just do it."

"Atta boy," Merle said once Gargulio put a knife through their fallen members skull. "Come on, let's get going," he told him as he turned to leave. "They ain't running, they are hunting. So are we," he mused as he heard Gargulio begin to follow behind him.
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"You stayed," Andrea told Kate as she stood with the woman in her bedroom, a place where Kate had been hunkered down ever since leaving the fight last night. "You're a part of this now too, this town," she smiled using the words the Governor had used on her just moments ago when she had ran into him outside.

Kate shook her head at Andrea's words, "I'm not apart of the barbaric twisted shit they do with walkers," she muttered as she stood from her bed and eyed Andrea. "You have to admit yourself that was sick and wrong."

"Maybe it was," Andrea shrugged as she watched Kate stand up. "But it's entertainment. If it makes the people happy, what's the harm?" she questioned as she raised an eyebrow.

Andrea knew this was a different stance than she had taken with Phillip last night herself but that was before she had slowly came out of her denial and admitted to herself that she kind of liked it, though for the time being she still wasn't going to tell anyone else that.

"There's a lot of fucking harm," Kate replied her tone almost sarcastic. "Please don't tell me you actually believe it's okay to keep walkers to have as some form of entertainment? To use them in mock fights."

"I didn't say I believed that," Andrea countered as she looked away from Kate's gaze.

When Andrea looked away from her, Kate heaved a sigh, "You didn't have too," she said being blunt. "It's written all over your face," she muttered out feeling angry. "Tell me Andrea, are you going to fuck the Governor like you did Shane?" she asked knowing she probably shouldn't have gone there but she was angry and hurt and also regretting letting Lucy leave without her.

Seeing Andrea turn to face her again now it was Kate's turn to look away, "I'm...I shouldn't have said that," she apologized feeling truly remorseful. "I'm just....I guess I regret staying here now and I don't see how you can defend what they do. The farm Andrea wouldn't be defending them right now."

"And the farm Kate wouldn't have made it this far," Andrea snapped back implying that Kate had been weak then, hell maybe she still was. "There isn't any use taking your regrets out on me though. You need to man up and pull your weight around here. You should join me today when someone teaches me how to use a bow...I mean in case you're still just as weak as you were on the farm."

Kate went silent at Andrea's digs but she stayed in place as she watched the woman leave, not even sure if she should take her up on her offer or not.
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Sitting in front of the phone, Rick looked at it impatiently knowing it had to be two hours or almost two hours and he wanted the people from before to call back so that he could get a hold of them, so that he could know what they were going to do about his group.

When the phone rang finally Rick picked it up in a hurry, "Hello?" he asked not hearing anything at first. "Hello?"

"You the guy she was talking to?" a male voice now spoke on the other end of the line.

"Yes," Rick answered quickly.

"And you want to come where we are?"

"She said it was safe," Rick defended hearing a bit of judgement or disdain in the man's voice.

"It is," the man acknowledged. "No attacks, no one's been bit, no one's died. no one's turned, no one's gone crazy."

Hearing all these things Rick knew then his mind was made up, "Yes, we want to come where you are."

"You could be dangerous. Have you killed anyone?"

Swallowing hard at the man's question Rick answered it anyway, "Yes, people who threatened me or threatened my group."

"How many people have you killed?"

"Four," Rick answered, again being honest. "Two outsiders who tried to draw on me. One threw me to walkers. The other one, he was one of our own. He lost it."

"Lost what?"

"Who he was," Rick said as his mind went to Shane. "He threatened me. He tried to kill me, so I killed him."

"How did you lose your wife?"

Rick was taken aback by the man's next question and as he stood from where he sat, he tried to keep control of his emotions. "How do you know I had a wife?"

"You have a boy and a baby," the man countered at Rick's question. "Tell me how you lost your wife."

"I don't want to talk about that," Rick muttered out as he shook his head before hearing the line go dead. "Hello? Hello?" he asked though no response came. "No!" he called out feeling exasperated at this turn of events.
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Sitting on top of the gate, Kate sighed as she looked over at Haley who was sitting in between her and Andrea. Haley was the girl who was supposedly going to teach her and Andrea how to use a bow but Kate couldn't help but wonder if the girl even actually knew how to use one or if she was just lying through her teeth.

"Thanks for doing this," Andrea smiled as she looked over at Haley as well.

Haley shrugged as she looked at the blonde woman, "When the Gov asks me to do something I do it. I figure we can start tomorrow. There's a training area, some hay bales. There's even a bow you guys can use though you'd have to share it. It was my old one."

"You must be pretty good," Andrea spoke as she turned away from Haley, opening the bottle of water she had and taking a drink.

"Yeah," Haley nodded as she chewed her lip. "My dad taught me. He used to take me hunting, he wanted me to be in the Olympics," she smiled sadly as she looked at the bow in her lap. "This one was his. I mean it's worth more than my car...it's awesome. So I totally killed him for it."

Hearing Haley, Kate turned to face her, "That wasn't why you killed him," she stated knowing that wasn't the real reason Haley had killed her father.

"No," Haley answered as she shook her head. "My dad wasn't himself and my brother wasn't either."

"I had to kill my sister," Andrea stated feeling a bit of sympathy for Haley.

Turning to look at Andrea, Haley nodded her head feeling as if she could get more sympathy from her than Kate because Kate seemed like a rigid bitch. "Sucks, right?" she asked her voice lowering slightly.

"Yeah," Andrea agreed as she nodded her head as well.

Kate who sat there silently as she listened to both of them turned her head as she heard a familiar distinct moan that came from walkers. "Walker," she muttered out rather urgently once she had spotted a walker who was approaching the gates.

As all three women stood from their chairs, Kate looked over intently as she heard Haley muttered for them to watch this and as she did she couldn't help but cringe when Haley tried shooting an arrow at the walker and the arrow basically ricocheted off the walkers head.

Biting her lip as Haley reached for another arrow and got the same result, Kate couldn't help but roll her eyes. It was apparent this girl was no good...or well she was no Daryl with a crossbow.

"I got it," Kate muttered out as she reached for the knife she had been given before coming out here.

"I can do it," Haley told the woman watching as she got down from the wall. "We're not supposed to go over the wall."

Kate who heard Haley telling her they weren't supposed to go over the wall continued to ignore the girl as she jumped down off the wall and once she recovered from the landing she made her way towards the walker who she punched in the chest, watching as he fell down.

Once he was down Kate bent over him and before he even had a chance to lunge for her, she stuck her knife into his skull, killing him for good this time.

Standing back up Kate couldn't help but smile to herself especially as she thought of Andrea's words to her earlier about how she bet she couldn't take care of herself and she had just proved that she could. She could take care of herself without Zac, hell she had been proving that ever since the farm.

"What the hell was that?!" Haley yelled from where she stood on the gate still.

"That is how it's done," Kate replied back still smiling and feeling proud of herself.

Haley glared at Kate after she had spoken, "I said I could do it. What is wrong with you? This isn't a game."
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Rick who was pacing back and forth in the boiler room, slowed down a bit when he heard a door open and he reached for his gun as he walked to where he could see who or what was coming into the room where he was at.

Hershel who had went to check on Rick paused briefly as he made it to the steps and he looked down, seeing Rick looking up at him, almost like he'd have killed him in a heartbeat and Hershel half believed he would have with the way he was acting since finding out about Lori's death yesterday.

Putting his crutches together Hershel used them on one side of his body for support as he used the railing for the other side and he slowly made his way down the stairs.

"May I?" Hershel asked once he had made it down the stairs, his eyes landing on a chair not to far away which he nodded at so Rick would know what he meant.

Rick turned his head and he spotted the chair that Hershel was looking at. Putting his gun away he walked to the chair and brought it over to the old man.

Sitting down once Rick had brought the chair to him, Hershel propped his crutches against the table before looking down at his stump briefly then back up at Rick. "Still feel it," he chuckled softly. "I'm wiggling my toes right now. I'm a ghost from the knee down."

"I'm sorry," Rick spoke though he kept his gaze off of Hershel.

"You saved my life Rick," Hershel finally said as he kept his eyes on the man. "She was sorry for the things that happened, she told me that," he informed Rick as his mind went to his last conversation with Lori on the day after they had found the prison. "She planned on telling you. Take your time, whatever you need. You carried us, you didn't let us give up. You got us here."

"It's not enough," Rick said as he interrupted Hershel, finally looking up at the other man. "It's not safe enough."

Hershel felt sad as he listened to Rick's answer but not once did he look away from him, "There isn't anywhere else," he said as he made eye contact with Rick. "I know you want to get away from this but we've run already."

"I got a call," Rick revealed deciding to tell Hershel about the phone call he had gotten.

"What?!" Hershel asked a bit taken aback at Rick's words.

"Someone called," Rick stated as he picked up the phone and moved it in front of Hershel. "On this phone. A woman. She was young, she was part of a group. She said they had a safe place, they said they were just dialing numbers and I picked up. She said they'd be calling back. If it sounds right, I want to talk them into taking us in."

Hershel who sat quietly as he listened to Rick, picked up the phone and putting it to his ear he was not surprised when he heard nothing on the other end.

"Did she say where they were?" he questioned as he put the phone back on the cradle.

"No, but it doesn't matter," Rick answered as he shook his head. "If it's safe, we'll get there," he stated knowing his mind was made up. "Don't tell the rest of the group, not yet."

Watching as Rick began to pace around some, Hershel furrowed his eyebrows, "I'll sit here with you. That's something I'm pretty good at nowadays."

"No," Rick sighed knowing he was fine alone.

"All right," Hershel stated at Rick's answer and once he did he began to move off the chair to head back to their cell block.
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Merle who was running through the woods with Gargulio came to a stop as they reached an opening in the woods and as he did, he held his gun out, looking around them.

Hearing a tree branch snap not long before hearing the distinct sound of Michonne getting her sword out Merle turned around so fast, seeing Michonne aiming for him with her sword and as he made his way towards her he accidentally stabbed Gargulio in the chest.

Lucy who was hidden behind a tree where Michonne had told her to stay, couldn't help but make a face as her heart hammered faster inside of her chest as she watched the fight between Michonne and Merle. A part of her cringed slightly when Merle automatically went to Michonne's injured leg that had been hit by the bullet.

Of course Merle would play that dirty so she wasn't sure why she was really surprised by that.

Reaching for her gun when she watched walkers start to head their way Lucy moved slightly from her hiding place as she watched one going after Michonne who had somehow gotten away from Merle and was making her way towards the katana that she had dropped.

Though Lucy didn't have to use her gun thankfully because right before the walker had a chance to get her Michonne finally managed to get her katana and stab the walker in the stomach which somehow lead to the walker's insides coming out and landing all over the woman.

Merle who had been cornered eventually by the walkers stood up after Gargulio had taken down the walker who had just about had him and when he looked to the place he had last seen Michonne, he glared when he found the woman was now gone, almost like she was some ninja who could just disappear even with her now injured leg.
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Sitting in the cell she shared with Glenn, Jessica ran a hand through her hair as her mind wandered off to Avery and her sister's current predicament. She really couldn't help but go there but she did because at the moment she didn't agree with her sister keeping things a secret from Daryl like she was.

Daryl deserved to know about this baby sooner rather than later and Avery if given the chance would probably hold it off from him until she was showing.

"Jessie?" Glenn asked as he walked into the cell not surprised to find Jessica there. Ever since breakfast she had been in here. "Are you okay?" he asked as he walked to sit down next to her.

Turning to look at Glenn who had brought her out of her thoughts, Jessica nodded her head slightly. "I'm fine," she reassured him though she had a feeling she wasn't showing it well. "Just some stuff on my mind," she said as she raised an eyebrow. "I'm surprised you didn't offer to go with Daryl to help clear out some of the bodies from the corridors."

Glenn shrugged as he studied Jessica, not buying her words. "He took Oscar and Carl. I think he's okay enough," he lied because deep down he wanted to go but he had chose to stay here so he could check on Jessica. "Are you sure you're okay though Jessie?"

Going silent when Glenn asked her that, Jessica looked down at her hands, "Avery's...she's pregnant," she confessed not sure if she should feel guilty. "I mean I told you I suspected it but she is and after yesterday well she doesn't want to tell Daryl right now and I really think she should."

"Oh..." Glenn muttered out not even sure if Jessica had heard him because it had been so soft. "I get where you are coming from but it's her decision to make on when she tells him," he finally said this time a bit louder. "There isn't any use in worrying on something that isn't your decision."

Again Jessica went silent because she knew Glenn had a point, "I guess I just hate seeing Avery be a coward," she admitted not sure if she was being harsh now. "She's been so strong before in her life that I'm envious of her and now because of yesterday's setbacks she's going to be a coward."

"Or she's doing what she thinks is right at the moment," Glenn argued as he defended Jessica's sister. "Maybe it's not being a coward and it's her coming to terms with her predicament while trying to find a way to think of how to break the news. I mean if I were in Avery's shoes I'd probably not want to tell Daryl either nor would I be too happy in being pregnant."
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Kate who was walking through Woodbury came to a stop as she spotted Milton, "Have you seen Andrea?" she asked the man before chewing her lip.

To be honest Kate wasn't sure why she was looking for Andrea though maybe it was because she was surprised the woman hadn't came to yell at her for what had happened with the walker today and she suspected Andrea would have because the Governor would have complained to her.

"Last I knew I think she had business to attend to with the Governor," Milton answered as he stopped briefly after Kate had asked him what she did. "That was probably about an hour ago though."

Making a face at Milton's answer Kate's mind couldn't help where it went but who the hell had hour long talks, especially with someone they seemed to fancy and Kate wasn't blind, it seemed like Andrea had a crush on the Governor.

"Do you think she is sleeping with him?" Kate asked before blushing and instantly regretting her words.

Milton shook his head as he looked down and away from Kate, "I don't like to ponder on who he sleeps with," he replied honestly before starting to walk away. "But if I was a betting man I'd say yes," he called out not even looking back to see her reaction. "Science seems to favor it predictability wise."
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"You rose to the occasion, kid," Merle spoke as he looked at Gargulio. "When we get back, I'm gonna get you a beer," he said as he bent down to grab his fallen gun off the ground.

"Come on, they couldn't have made it that far," Gargulio said wondering why Merle wasn't going after the two women.

Merle shook his head as he put his gun back in it's holster, "No, no, no. We're done," he explained as he turned his head slightly. "We're gonna grab a car, haul ass home. It's been a good day's work."

"But they...they killed..." Gargulio started not getting to finish.

"Tim and Crowley," Merle finished for Gargulio. "Yep, but we messed Michonne up pretty bad. Anyway, they're headed straight for the red zone. They are as good as dead."

Going silent at Merle's words, Gargulio heaved a sigh, "What do we tell the Governor?"

"What the hell do you think we tell him?" Merle asked feeling a bit annoyed with the boy. "Tell him we killed them. Like I said, they are as good as dead."

"I'm gonna keep going," Gargulio muttered knowing he wanted to make sure they really were dead.

Walking to where Gargulio was, Merle just eyed him not believing the words he had just said.

"They ain't right in the head," Merle stated trying to make things clear to the boy. "They are gonna die. Ain't worth our time, definitely ain't worth our blood. Now let's go," he growled before turning to walk away.

"This is some serious shit," Gargulio called out seeing Merle stop and turn to face him again. "That's what you said. I'm not gonna lie to the Governor about it."

Forcing a brief smile at Gargulio's words Merle nodded his head, "You're right," he stated wanting the boy to believe that he was going to agree with him. "Can't cut corners on this one," he spoke as he shook his head. "You've come along pretty quick there, kid. How do you say your name again?"

"Gargulio," Gargulio spoke answering Merle's question.

Merle again nodded his head, "Gargulio," he repeated as a bird made a squawking nose in the distance. "Hear that bird?" he asked seeing the boy began to look around and as he did Merle pulled out his gun, shooting Gargulio in the head when he turned his head back to him.

Walking to the boy's dead body Merle picked up his gun and pocketed it before walking off.

"Gargulio," he muttered one last time to himself.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Thirteen

Lucy eyed Michonne warily as they reached the tree where Michonne had laid their bags, "Are you sure you're fine?" she asked in the brief time it took the woman to pick up her bag. "Because you don't seem fine and you're limping horribly," she muttered as she picked up her own bag.

"I said I'm fine and I am," Michonne lied as she turned to face Lucy before limping a few feet but she slowed down when she saw approaching walkers, getting her katana ready to use it but as the walkers made it to her Michonne just stood there looking at them as they went right on past her.

Looking back over at Lucy who had hid behind the tree where their bags had been she raised an eyebrow quickly before looking away from the redhead and down at the walker guts that covered her and it was then that she knew the smell must have masked her scent from them and that before they went too much farther Lucy would also have to get covered, especially if it meant masking her scent and keeping them safe.
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Hearing the phone ring again Rick reached out in a hurry to answer it, "Hello?" he asked into the receiver.

"You didn't want to tell him how your wife died," another female voice spoke.

"No," Rick stated in response. "I just lost her, but...but if that's what it takes..." he trailed off.

"It'd be good," the woman encouraged. "You should talk about it, Rick."

"That sounds..." Rick started but stopped when the realized the woman had said his name. "How...how do you know my name?" he asked before hearing the line go dead again.

Hanging up the phone, this time he just stared at it in disbelief.
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Lucy who was now herself covered in walker guts, walked with Michonne as they neared what looked to be a town based on the brick building they had just walked beside and also the abandoned cars and small little shops.

Hearing what sounded like a car though Lucy crouched down behind a vehicle slightly, watching as what appeared to be a jeep came to a stop in front of one of the stores.

Getting out of the car, Maggie softly shut the door behind her as she looked around at her surroundings, wanting to make sure the coast was clear for her and Taylor before they went inside to look for what they needed.

"Clear outside," Maggie smiled once she was satisfied with what she saw.

Turning around she made her way over to Taylor who was getting their bag out of the car.

"All right, let's take a look," Taylor spoke as he shut the door and met Maggie in front of the store's door.

"Hey," Maggie said softly before leaning in to kiss Taylor on the lips briefly. It was only when she pulled away and looked at him that she was surprised when he leaned in and returned the gesture, this time kissing her with a bit more passion before pulling away himself.

Smiling finally Maggie looked up at the sky, seeing that the sun was out and the sky was clear. "It's a beautiful day," she said knowing that it indeed was a beautiful day, though it seemed they rarely got to enjoy any of those days.

Going towards the doors after Maggie spoke, Taylor moved slightly, using the chain tool to break the chain that kept the door to the store locked.

Once the door was unlocked Taylor opened the door but immediately crouched down as two birds flew out of the store in a hurry and he swallowed hard, feeling like for a brief second his life had flashed in front of his eyes.

Standing back up after the bird incident Maggie turned on her flashlight, watching as Taylor went inside the store and as she did so she smiled softly at the toy she saw.

"Taylor, get that duck," Maggie nodded as she pointed out the toy.

"What?" Taylor asked confused as he turned to face Maggie.

Maggie continued to smile as she again pointed to the duck, "Get that duck."

"Are you serious?" Taylor questioned not sure why Maggie was asking him to take the duck.

"Yeah," Maggie answered knowing she was dead serious. "A kid growing up in a prison could use some toys."
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Avery couldn't help but smile down at the baby girl in her arms, the baby whom she had agreed to watch for Beth so Beth could go do some chore but to be honest Avery suspected Beth was just sneaking off with Zac to go fool around or something like that. It was typical of them.

"You're just a precious little thing aren't you?" she asked the baby as she grinned down at the girl. "Such a precious little thing with no real name still," she chuckled knowing they had all somehow adopted Daryl's nickname for the baby right now. Little Ass-Kicker.

"You know you seem like a natural," a voice spoke from beside Avery and when Avery looked up she was surprised to see Glenn. "You'll make a good mother someday."

Blushing at Glenn's words Avery shook her head, "Jessica told you didn't she?"

Glenn gave Avery a guilty smile as he nodded his head, confirming her question. "You don't have to worry though your secret is safe with me."

"It's not going to be a secret for long, I swear," Avery said knowing she had never intended to keep it to herself for long even if she had debated it. "I just...I need time to adjust to being pregnant and then finding a way to tell Daryl. It's not like this was a planned baby, I mean hell we never even talked about babies."

"But he did look like a natural holding this one," Glenn said as he looked down at the baby in Avery's arms.

Avery nodded her head at that, "He did, didn't he?" she asked as she finally smiled too. "But that doesn't mean he'll be happy about having his own," she whispered more to herself. "He may even freak out because of what happened to Lori. I could...I could die during childbirth."

"You could also live," Glenn told her as he shrugged. "You know glass half full kind of guy here."

Laughing at Glenn's words Avery rolled her eyes though she again had to admit he was right. She guessed there was a possibility she could live as well and have a safe delivery.
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"We just hit the powdered formula jackpot," Taylor grinned as he walked out of the store, Maggie following behind him.

"Oh thank god," Maggie muttered at Taylor's words feeling relieved because at least hopefully this meant the baby would be held over for a few weeks anyway.

Taking off his backpack Taylor rummaged through it, "I also got beans, batteries, cocktail wieners, many mustard's," he muttered before looking at Maggie. "It's a straight shot back to the prison from here. Probably make it in time for dinner," he spoke as he began to put stuff in the back of their car.

"I like the quiet," Maggie said as she picked up one of their bags. "Back there, back home, you can always hear them outside the fence no matter where you are."

"And where is it ya'll good people are calling home?!" Merle called out as he approached the two figures knowing he had indeed recognized one of the voices as being one of Jessica's brothers.

Pulling his gun out Taylor followed Maggie as they moved a bit closer to the man and then recognition hit him, "Merle?" he questioned surprised to see Daryl's brother staring back at him.

Merle couldn't help but chuckle as he slowly laid his gun down as Taylor and the brunette female with him got their guns, out approaching him, "Wow!" he muttered feeling a bit in shock at this coincidence still really.

Holding his hands up he began to approach the pair.

"Hey, back the hell up!" Maggie yelled as the man who Taylor had called Merle...the man who she guessed was Daryl's brother approached them.

"Okay..okay honey," Merle spoke trying to sound all innocent and nice. "Jesus!"

Taylor couldn't help the glare he gave Merle as he kept his gun held on the man, "You made it," he spoke his tone a bit harsh.

"Can you tell me, is my brother alive?" Merle asked as he locked eyes with Taylor. "Huh?" he muttered when Taylor just stayed silent.

"Yeah," Taylor answered deciding to be honest with Merle.

Merle smiled at Taylor's confirmation that Daryl was alive. "Hey, you take me to him and I'll call it even on everything that happened up there in Atlanta," he said trying to make a deal with the man in front of him. "No hard feelings. Huh?" he asked as he watched Taylor eyeing him warily before looking at his stump with the knife on it.

"You like that?" Merle asked in between a chuckle as he waved his stump around. "Yeah. Well I found myself a medical supply warehouse. Fixed it up myself," he smirked. "Well, pretty cool, huh?"

"We'll tell Daryl you're here and he'll come out to meet you," Taylor spoke finally before Merle could say anything else to him.

"Hold on. Just hold up," Merle said still trying to play nice here.

Taylor shook his head as Merle began to advance again, "Whoa...whoa," he said trying to tell him to stop.

"Hold up here. Hold up," Merle muttered at Taylor's reluctance. "Hey, the fact that we found each other is a miracle," he smiled hoping or well trying to get some sympathy. "Come on, now. You can trust me."

"You trust us," Taylor told Merle sounding authoritative in the way he talked to the elder Dixon. "You stay here."

Giving an exasperated sigh Merle shrugged his shoulders before pulling out the gun tucked into the back of his pants, "No!" he yelled as he fired a shot watching as Taylor took off in one direction and the brunette in the other and as the glass broke in the back of their jeep he ran after the brunette.

Taylor who ran around the vehicle came to a stop when he reached the other side to find Merle on the ground with Maggie, his gun pointed right at Maggie's head.

"Hey, hey, hey," Merle muttered as he looked up at Taylor who stood there holding a gun on him. "Buddy hold up."

"Let go of her," Taylor warned through clenched teeth. "Let go of her!"

"Put that gun in the car," Merle told Taylor as he kept his gun on the brunette. "Put it in the car, son."

Sighing Taylor gave in to Merle's demands, putting his gun in the car before holding his hands up in surrender.

"There you go," Merle smiled as he stood up from the ground, keeping his gun on Maggie. "Now we're gonna go for a little drive."

"We're not going back to our camp," Taylor told Merle as he shook his head.

Merle shook his head no as well, "No, we're going somewhere else," he explained knowing he planned to take them to Woodbury. "Now get in the car, Taylor!" he yelled out gruffly. "You're driving!" he said seeing Taylor just standing there looking at him holding the brunette at gunpoint. "Move!"

"Don't!" Taylor pleaded not wanting him to hurt Maggie which was probably the reason he finally got inside the driver's side of the car.

Once Merle got in the back with Maggie, Taylor started up the car, driving away to wherever Merle was going to take them.

Lucy who was still hidden behind a car, stood up with Michonne as they watched the car with Merle and his hostages drive away and she looked over at Michonne warily, knowing the people had left the cart full of formula behind..and they had mentioned something about a prison.
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Avery who had finally handed the baby back over to Beth after she got done with her chore or well Zac, eventually went on the look for Jessica and she was surprised when she didn't find her sister in her own cell.

Making a face Avery headed to her cell, pausing in the entryway when she nearly collided with Jessica.

"I was looking for you," Jessica said sheepishly as she looked at her sister who she had almost collided with. "I wanted to apologize."

"Apologize?" Avery asked deciding to play dumb for a bit.

Rolling her eyes Jessica crossed her arms, "About the whole pregnancy issue," she said before chewing her lip. "It's your decision on when to tell and I'll support it no matter what."

Smiling softly Avery leaned in and pulled her sister in for a hug, "I love you Jessie," she whispered knowing she did love her sister even if sometimes they didn't see eye to eye.

"I love you too you stubborn thing," Jessica teased as she hugged Avery back.
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Hearing the phone ring again Rick stood and just watched it for what felt like forever though it really wasn't and as he answered it he asked the one question on his mind. "How did you know my name?"

"Because we know you."

"How do you know me?" Rick asked as his voice caught because this time he thought he recognized the voice on the line.

"And you know them Rick. The people you were talking to today, that was Amy, Jim, Jacqui," the familiar female voice told him.

"Lori?" Rick asked as his voice got caught again but he got no answer. "Lori? Lori? Lori? Lori?" he spoke saying her name over and over again as he bent down towards the floor.

"What happened, Rick?" Lori asked her voice sounding so soothing. "Baby, what happened?" she questioned again during his silence.

Beginning to cry a bit louder, Rick hook his head. "I loved you," he told her before repeating it again. "I loved you. I couldn't put it back together...I thought it was..I made a deal with myself. I would keep you safe. I'd find a place, I would fix that. And then...I couldn't open that that door. I couldn't risk it. I was gonna keep you alive," he muttered out explaining things to her. "Carl, the baby and then...I thought there'd be time. There's never time, but I loved you. I love you. I couldn't put it back together," he sighed feeling a bit hopeless. "I should have said it...I should...I should have said it."

"Rick, now you listen to me," Lori spoke sounding firm. "You have a baby, our baby and Carl...and the others. I love you Rick," she reassured him. "Can you do that?" she asked him getting only silence. "Can you do that? Rick? Rick?" she continued to question though her voice was becoming gargled and static sounding.

Just sitting there, Rick moved the phone away from his ear as he hung it up before standing up feeling a bit numb inside.
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Laying in bed with Andrea, who he was making love to, Phillip pulled away as a knock on the door interrupted them. "I lied when I said I was off the clock," he said as he looked down at her. "This is a twenty-four, seven kind of gig."

"Should I hide under the bed?" Andrea asked curiously as she looked up at him.

"Not this time," Phillip muttered back as he pecked her lips briefly before standing up and slipping his pants back on. Grabbing a shirt off a hanger, he slipped it on without even buttoning it as he walked to the door and opened it to reveal Merle.

Merle who stood there for a few seconds after the Governor opened the door just briefly took in his appearance before speaking. "Company?"

"Yeah," Phillip nodded as he eyed Merle.

"We lost all three guys," Merle spoke after the Governor answered him. "Tim, Crowley...the other one.."

"Gargulio," Phillip told Merle referencing the other dude. "Jesus."

Merle nodded his head as he continued on with his half-truth or well maybe it was a half-lie. "Yeah, the redhead shot Tim in the stomach, put a bullet through him.Then biters got in the middle of it, then I got them."

"Damn," Phillip muttered as he shook his head. "Well, we'll dress it up. Give 'em a hero's funeral. You tell a story. A supply run gone sideways," he said as he tried to think of something. "Do you have 'em?" he questioned seeing confusion pass Merle's face quickly. "Their heads and Michonne's sword."

"Um, we got caught in a crowd," Merle spoke having to think fast now. "The kid had the heads, Crowley had the sword. They both got all tore up," he explained seeing a look of disappointment pass the Governor's face. "I got something else for you, though. A guy I used to know from the Atlanta camp and his pretty little girlfriend."

Phillip raised his eyebrow at Merle's last revelation, "They know Andrea and Kate?"

"Mhm," Merle confirmed with a nod.

"Anyone else?" Phillip asked curiously wondering if anyone else was out there.

Merle shrugged his shoulders, "Don't know. Found them on the return trip. From the looks of 'em, they got to be set up pretty good," he said knowing they didn't look like they had been wanting for nothing. "I'll find out where," he said before turning and walking off.

After Merle had left, Phillip shut the door and headed back to his bedroom where he found Andrea wrapped in a sheet by the window.

"Everything okay?" Andrea asked as she turned to face Phillip.

Phillip smiled as he shrugged his shirt off, "Hell, yeah," he told her before moving in to kiss her again.
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Zac who was sitting at a table with Carl while Beth made dinner, looked up as he heard footsteps coming into the main area of their cell block and he was half surprised to see Rick heading towards them, though the farther he came inside it was apparent where the man was heading.

Rick was heading towards Hershel who held the baby girl in his arms.

Standing up slowly Zac scrunched up his eyebrows as he watched Rick just pause in front of Hershel and he couldn't help but feel his heartbreak for the man in a sympathetic way or maybe it was empathetic since he half knew what Rick felt on some level with losing a wife, though unlike Rick he also had no baby with him to make up for it.

Once Rick had finally taken the child Zac smiled sadly as he watched his interactions with the baby and before he even knew it Rick was leading the way outside, the baby girl in his arms and Carl at his side while he followed along with Beth and Hershel..and right now in this moment it seemed like Rick was maybe a bit okay or well better than he had been.

"She looks like you," Rick smiled as he looked down at the baby then over at Carl. After he had done that he looked out at the field and made a confused face before handing the baby over to his son. "Hey, just...you got her?" he asked hearing Carl mumble a yeah and once he knew Carl was okay holding the baby he walked closer to the gates wanting to get a better look at what he was seeing.

Reaching for his gun along the way, Rick eventually slowed down as he reached the gates and as he took a look at the other side, he cocked his head to the side realizing he was looking at two living people amongst the walkers. A redhead who held a cart full of what looked like formula and other stuff and then another woman who had some sword and her leg almost looked like it was injured.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Fourteen

Sitting in the chair that he was literally taped into Taylor glared as he watched Merle slowly walk down the table with the knife on his stump dug into the wood. It was an irritating sound and Merle was an imposing force who kind of scared him but he was doing his best not to show it because he had to be strong, he had to be strong like Zac usually was.

"You don't even know why you're here, do you?" Merle asked as he finally made it to where Taylor was strapped down into the chair with duct tape. "I didn't mean you no harm. I lowered my gun, but you raised yours. You were an asshole out there, just like your brother was an asshole on that roof in Atlanta," he muttered as he shook his head. "What they did, leaving me up there...people wouldn't do that to an animal."

"They went back for you," Taylor told him hoping maybe that would ease things slightly.

Merle chuckled bitterly at that, "Ain't they thoughtful?"

"They did," Taylor reiterated because it almost sounded like Merle didn't believe him. "Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, Glenn and Avery."

"Mm, T-Dog," Merle said as he looked down at Taylor with a glare. "Yeah, big ol' spearchucker. The one I was pleading with. Mm-hmm, the one that dropped the key," he nodded as he locked eyes with Taylor. "Tell me where he's at. I'm sure T-Dog would like to bury the hatchet, let bygones be bygones."

Swallowing hard Taylor looked away from Merle's gaze, "He didn't make it."

"Well, I hope he went slow," Merle spoke as he bent down towards Taylor's eye level so he'd have to stare at him. "How about the rest? Hmm?" he questioned before standing up and leaning against the table. "How about my baby brother? You can't tell me he's alive and then hold off on where he is," he said getting only silence from Taylor. "No? Well, maybe the farmer's daughter will help me out," he smirked knowing he was hitting Taylor were it hurt.

It was apparent to Merle after all even without Taylor saying that they were involved, even if back at camp he had always thought Taylor was a little gay minus him having a child.

Maggie who was in a room right next door to Taylor's closed her eyes tightly as she listened to Merle taunting Taylor, trying to get him to crack.

"Tell me something...when she's scared and she's holding you close, and her trembling skin is close to you," Merle continued as he put his knife against the bottom of Taylor's jaw. "Her soft lips are touching you here, all over here," he muttered as he let his knife go down Taylor's neck slowly. "And over here," he said moving his knife to the other side. "Feels good, don't it?" he asked rather mockingly.

"I remember you," Merle nodded as he smirked again. "Yeah, You're the sneaky one, the one with nerve. You don't scare easy do you?" he asked him as he finally moved his knife off his skin though he kept it hovering there. "I like that," he said before moving from the table and walking behind Taylor.

Once he was behind him he put his hand against Taylor's forehead and he rested his knife on Taylor's lips as he pulled his head back slightly, "Now I wanna know where my brother is," he spoke before moving his hand away from Taylor's forehead and holding onto the pointy end of the knife as he dug it into Taylor's mouth some almost like a gag for a bit liking the sounds of him struggling.. "I wanna know where the sheriff is," he said as he finally moved his knife and walked around to where Taylor could see him.

Looking at Merle, Taylor just glared before leaning over and headbutting him because it was the only thing he could really do in the position he was in right now.

Merle who got pushed back away from Taylor thanks to the headbutt, grabbed onto his nose as it started bleeding and he was half sure that Taylor had broken it.

Wiping some of the blood away he walked back to Taylor and gave him a smile though it was a fake one and after he had smiled he hit Taylor across the cheek, hard, hoping that it hurt.

"Now, I wanna know where they're hiding, where your camp is and I wanna know now," Merle demanded as Taylor finally turned his head to look at him again. "And I wanna know now," he growled repeating his words as he grabbed onto Taylor's cheek roughly and when he didn't get an answer from Taylor he let go of his cheek, landing a punch on his face and hopefully giving him a black eye.

Feeling tears welling up under her eyes, Maggie opened them as she looked hesitantly over at the thin wall that divided her from where Taylor was and she felt hopeless, absolutely hopeless because she couldn't help him from whatever tortures he was enduring at the hands of Merle.
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Standing at the gate with Michonne as they had what seemed to be a staring contest with the man who had came down Lucy looked over when she saw Michonne grab onto her leg and blood came out of it some. It seemed to be after that, was when walkers noticed their presence or well Michonne's and she had to fight them off and Lucy moved away slightly just in case she too had to help the woman fight off walkers.

"Should we help them?" Carl asked from where he now stood at the gate's door, a place he had ran too after handing his sister over to Zac.

As the boy asked that question Lucy who was stuck in place as Michonne fended off walkers turned to watch the man just stand there for a bit before walking off and she glared before letting her attention go back to Michonne who was being moved farther away from her.

Dropping the basket filled with stuff Lucy ran forward a bit, knocking down one of the walker's who was going after Michonne and once she had the walker down, she lifted her leg smashing the walkers head in with her shoe.

It was only when she heard gunshots that she looked up to see two walkers on the ground, around a passed out or fallen down Michonne and she ran over to the scene getting there right as the man who it seemed at first was going to let them stay outside the gates did, along with the boy who had asked if they should help them.

As she stood in front of Michonne Lucy got her gun out, firing at oncoming walkers with the man, as the boy ran to get the basket she had dropped.

"Is she bit?" Hershel asked as he made it down to the now open gate.

Turning her head to look down at the brunette man Lucy watched as he began to check Michonne out. "It's a gunshot," she spoke up finally breaking her silence before pointing to the place where Michonne had been shot.

Rick looked up at the redhead after her words though he didn't say anything, he just picked up the passed out woman, carrying her over his shoulder as he headed for the inside of the prison so that they could help her and then find out why these people were here.
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Jessica who had came into the main cell block area with Avery, looked up as they heard the door open and watched Rick come in, holding some woman over his shoulder as well as having a redhead following behind and she just stood there frozen in place as she watched the scene unfold.

"Carl, get a blanket," Rick called out to his son as he slowly put the woman down, though he slung one of her arms over his neck. "Beth, water and a towel."

Seeing Beth rush off, Rick turned his head as he heard Carl ask here and he saw Carl moving a blanket towards him and he slowly laid the woman down. "They're not coming in the cell blocks," he spoke not trusting the two women in the cell blocks at all.

When Beth brought over the water and a towel, Rick poured some water on the woman lying on a blanket as she came too and then he handed the water bottle up to the redhead for her to wipe herself off as well since it was apparent that they both had done like he and and Glenn once had in Atlanta.

"Shh..it's alright," Rick told the woman lying down as she began to get panicked. "It's alright," he reassured her slightly as he saw the redhead bend down to his level obviously trying to do the same. "Hey, hey look at me. Look at me," he spoke trying to keep his voice even. "Who are you guys?"

Lucy stayed silent at the man's question and she chewed her lip as she watched Michonne getting even more agitated before lunging for her sword which the man pushed away from her.

"Hey, hey," Rick spoke as he grabbed onto the woman. "No. We're not going to hurt you unless you try something stupid first, all right?" he asked as he eyed the woman he was holding onto before looking at the redhead.

"Rick?" Daryl questioned as he came out of their cell block and he eyed the commotion going on in there. On the floor was someone lying on a blanket and beside her crouched down was some redheaded chick. "Who the hell are they?"

"You wanna tell us your names?" Rick asked as he looked at the two women.

Again Lucy chewed on her lip as she watched Michonne stay silent which caused her to stay silent at Rick's question too.

"You wanna tell us your names?" Rick asked again in both women's silence.

Daryl shook his head as the two women ignored Rick's question, "Ya'll come on in here," he spoke wanting the group that had just came inside to see what he had found.

"Everything all right?" Rick asked as he stood up and looked at Daryl.

"You're gonna wanna see this," Daryl answered knowing Rick would want to see his find.

Turning to the others Rick nodded his head, "Go ahead," he told them letting them know it was okay for them to go. "Carl get the bags," he said as he turned to look at his son as everyone began to disperse around him and the two women.

"We'll keep this safe and sound," Rick said as he reached for the sword that the injured woman had, had before turning to the redhead looking down at the gun that was attached to the holster on her pants.

Lucy sighed before reluctantly giving up her weapon.

"The doors are all locked. Ya'll will be safe here," Rick told them before looking down at the one woman's injury. "And we can treat that."

Michonne looked up at Rick a glare on her face, "I didn't ask for your help," she hissed out finally breaking her silence.

"Doesn't matter," Rick told her as he shook his head and turned to walk to the cell blocks. "Can't let you leave."

Daryl who had been standing in the room silently waited until Rick had walked past him and into the cell block before shutting the gate and locking it on the two women.

It was after that, that Daryl caught up with Rick, leading him down to a cell where Carol was.

Carol who had been laying on the bottom bed sat up when she heard footsteps and when she saw Daryl and Rick at the cell door she smiled slightly, getting up and walking to Rick who she hugged.

As they hugged Carol could hear Rick muttering thank god and she watched as the others in their group began to crowd around the doorway.

"How?" Hershel asked as he too walked into the cell to hug Carol.

Carol pulled away from Rick and enveloped Hershel into a hug, "Solitary."

"Poor thing fought her way into a cell," Daryl revealed knowing he had found her there and before the others came inside he had gotten that story out of her. "Must have passed out. Dehydrated."

Pulling away from Hershel, Carol smiled more as she saw Zac come forward with a baby in his arms and she couldn't help the happiness at knowing the baby was safe and as she turned to Rick the smile stayed at least until she realized Lori wasn't there and when Rick nodded his head and looked away from her it was then that Carol knew Lori hadn't made it.

"I'm sorry," Carol apologized as she reached out to comfort Rick briefly before walking to the baby and taking it out of Zac's arms. It was such a bittersweet occasion now.
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Phillip walked to the door after a knock had woken him and Andrea both up and as he opened the door, this time he was greeted by Milton. "Everything all right?"

"I just came to tell you Mr.Coleman...he's ready," Milton said as he gave the Governor a tiny smile.

Nodding his head Phillip sighed, "Okay, I'll meet you in the lab."

"Yes, sir," Milton spoke before walking off.

As Milton walked away Phillip shut the door behind him and he walked to his room where he found Andrea getting dressed, "Sorry about that," he said referring to their wake up call.

"No problem," Andrea smiled as she finished getting her pants on before going to where her shirt was laid down at. "I'll be back."

"Actually, I could use your help with something now," Phillip told her as he sat down on the edge of his bed.

Chuckling Andrea looked at him after she had her shirt on, "I said I'll be back."

"No," Phillip told her as he shook his head knowing where her mind had went. "I wish it were just that," he sighed knowing he'd also need Kate for the same thing he needed Andrea for and it definitely wasn't sexual related because he was sure if he tried to even touch Kate like that, that she'd kill him and while he liked his women feisty he did want to live a bit longer.
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"We can tend to that wound for you," Rick spoke as he headed into the main cell area where the two women were now sitting at one of the tables. For this talk he had only brought Hershel, Daryl, and Zac not wanting to risk it if these women were dangerous. "Give you guys a little food and water then send you on your way. But you're gonna have to tell us how you found us and why you were carrying formula."

"The supplies were dropped by a young blonde man with a pretty girl," Lucy answered as she looked up at the men in the room with them.

Swallowing hard at the redhead's words Rick tried to keep his emotions in check, "What happened?"

"Were they attacked?" Hershel asked sounding urgent because he just wanted answers on Maggie.

"They were taken," Lucy said as she looked towards the older man who was on crutches.

"Taken?" Rick asked his voice getting a bit higher. "By who?"

Michonne made a face as she looked up at Rick, "By the same son of a bitch who shot me."

"Hey these are our people," Rick told the injured woman as he reached down and pushed in on her injury deliberately. "You tell us what happened now!"

Moving angrily at that action Michonne stood up as she pointed her finger at Rick, "Don't you ever touch me again," she warned him through gritted teeth."

"You better start talking," Daryl spoke as he held his crossbow up on the woman who was injured. "You're gonna have a much bigger problem than a gunshot wound."

Lucy felt herself getting angry and she stood from the table as well, crossing her arms, "Find 'em yourself," she told the group in front of her not sure if she wanted to help them if they were going to be assholes.

Looking at both women who were on the defensive now Rick reached out, pushing Daryl's crossbow down, "Shh..shh..shh," he shushed trying to get control of things. "Put it down," he said as he turned to Daryl briefly before looking at the women. "You came here for a reason."

"There's a town," Lucy spoke up again as she looked away from the men's gazes. "Woodbury about seventy-five survivors. I think they were taken there."

"A whole town?" Rick asked in disbelief at the woman's words.

"It's run by this guy who calls himself the Governor," Michonne added in. "Pretty boy, charming, Jim Jones type."

Zac raised his eyebrow as he listened to the women give up their information, "He got muscle?"

"Paramilitary wannabes," Lucy shrugged as she eyed the man who had asked that question. "They have armed sentries on every wall."

"You two know a way in?" Rick asked wondering if they could get him and his group in.

Michonne nodded her head briefly, "The place is secure from walkers, but we could slip through."

Looking away from the woman briefly Rick turned back to face her, "How'd you know how to get here?"

"They mentioned a prison, said which direction it was in, that it was a straight shot," Michonne answered being honest.

After the woman answered him Rick turned to face Hershel, "This is Hershel, the father of the girl who was taken. He'll take care of that," he spoke as he looked at the woman's injury.

Once he had told the woman that, Rick turned to leave taking Zac and Daryl with him.
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"I gotta hand it to you," Merle said as he sat on the table and watched Taylor who was now all beat up with his nose bleeding as well as blood coming out of his mouth and what was going to be one hell of a black eye. "You are a lot tougher than I remember. No surprise you lasted this long," he said clearly being astounded because he would have expected Zac to be the tough one out of all of the Hanson's.

"Shoot, I figured the way Officer Friendly abandoned people he would have left you behind by now," Merle sighed as he shook his head. "But he didn't do that, did he? Hmm. So tell me, where ya'll been at?"

Taylor who finally gathered the strength turned to look at Merle, "It's just a matter of time before they come looking."

"I'll bake a cake with pink frosting," Merle muttered sarcastically. "Would they like that?" he mused as he eyed Taylor intently. "Ain't nobody coming."

"Rick is," Taylor replied sounding sure of that. Rick would come and get them, he wouldn't just do nothing.

"And when he gets here...he's gonna do nothing," Merle stated just as sure. "Not if he wants you and Bo Peep back. Think I'm in this by myself?" he asked as he raised his eyebrow curiously. "You can't take us all. There's too many of us. There ain't a pair of nuts between the whole pussy lot of you."

"We've been on the road," Taylor told Merle knowing that their time on the road had made them stronger. "Not hiding in some dungeon," he muttered before deciding to list off names even if he had to lie on some of them. "Rick, Shane, Dale, Jim, Zac, Kate, Andrea."

Merle smirked when Taylor tried to say that Kate and Andrea were with the group, "Really? Is that right?" he asked sarcastically.
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"How do we know we can trust them?" Oscar asked Rick as he stood with the group as they had a meeting about what to do with their missing members.

Avery shook her head angrily at that, "This is Maggie and Taylor. Why are we even debating?"

At Avery's outburst Jessica raised an eyebrow almost wishing she could be that vocal but she was still so scared to speak up.

"We ain't," Daryl said honestly not seeing a reason to debate. "I'll go after them."

Rick looked over at Daryl, "Well this place sounds pretty secure. You can't go alone."

"I'll go," Beth offered knowing she'd do anything to get her sister back.

"Me, too," Axel said though in all honesty he doubted he'd be of much help.

Oscar stood there for a few seconds before nodding his head, "I'm in," he confirmed.
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"I got the flash bangs and I got the tear gas," Daryl told Oscar as he loaded up the back of the car they were going to take. "You never know what you're gonna need."

After he said that he watched as Oscar walked off and he slipped on his vest, watching as Carl brought a bag to put in the back, "Hey, " he said looking down at the boy. "Don't worry about your old man. Zac and I will keep an eye on him."
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Standing with Michonne as some blonde petite girl opened a gate Lucy looked around curiously, "Wasn't this place overrun?"

"It was," Beth confirmed as she turned to look at the women.

"And you cleared it out all by yourselves?" Lucy questioned again not sure if all the people she had seen could pull that feat off.

Zac who had made it down to where Beth was looked at the redhead who he had heard questioning his girlfriend, "There were others," he said before pulling Beth away slightly so he could say goodbye to her before he left, though since everyone was out here he had to be sure not to be too lovey dovey. He really didn't want Hershel to murder him.
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Rick who had brought some stuff out, handed it over for Oscar to put in the car before spotting his son, "Carl," he said as he pulled his son aside. "What you did for Mom..."

"I had too," Carl interrupted defending what he did.

Nodding his head Rick kept his gaze on his son, "Yeah I...I know. I know and I'm sorry," he apologized wishing Carl hadn't had too. "No one should have to go through that."

Carl looked down briefly, "How long will you be gone?" he asked as he looked back up.

Rick shook his head not sure of that answer. "Look if something happens while we're gone..."

"We'll be all right," Carl reassured his dad.

"If anything happens, you get everyone locked in the cells, keep them all safe," Rick spoke as he bent down some so he was at Carl's level.

He knew Glenn and Axel would be here as well but to be honest Rick knew if it came to it, his son could probably handle a bad situation better.

"I will," Carl nodded as he locked eyes with his dad.

"I know," Rick spoke trying to tell Carl he knew. "I know you will. Take care of your sister, all right?"

"Daryl's been calling her Ass-Kicker," Carl revealed as he gave his dad a tiny smile.

Rick smiled as well as he repeated the name curiously, "Ass-Kicker? Has he, now?"

Carl just nodded before speaking again, "I've been thinking, what should we really call her?"

"What do you think?" Rick asked his son wondering if he had a name in mind because the look on his face said he did.

"Remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Mueller?" Carl asked as he raised an eyebrow.

"Of course. Her first name was Judith," Rick spoke remembering that much.

"Do you think that's a good name?" Carl asked another question knowing he kind of liked that for his sister.

Rick nodded his head, "I think that's...that's a fine name," he smiled. "Judith it is."
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Daryl who had went inside the prison to get the last of the stuff they would need, slung his crossbow over his shoulder as he walked out the door and to the end of the gate that lead inside.

Seeing Avery at the open door holding the baby he stopped in front of her briefly, "Stay safe," he told her knowing he didn't want anything to happen to her while he was gone.

Avery turned her head at Daryl's words and she gave him a smile, "Ditto," she muttered before leaning in to kiss his cheek before he walked off and down to what looked to be a cramped car.

"Bring them back," Hershel told Rick as Rick got in the car.

Rick gave Hershel a nod before getting in the driver's side of the car and starting up, driving off with the intent to bring his people home.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Fifteen

Kate made a face as she followed Andrea and the Governor into some building. A building that almost looked like a lab even with the record player that was somewhere in there playing some sort of song and as she went farther inside she came to a stop beside Andrea as she looked at the bed in the room, seeing an old man laying in the bed with Milton right at his side.

Walking past the two women, Phillip walked to the bed where Mr. Coleman lay and when he made it to the bed he bent down to the old man's level, "Hey, Mr.Coleman," he greeted the old man watching as he turned to look at him. "This is Andrea and Kate," he spoke as he turned to face the two women who had finally followed him closer to the bed.

"Milton will bring you two up to speed," Phillip told them as he stood up and he looked over to Andrea. "I'll see you for dinner," he told her as he gave her a smile before bending back down to Mr. Coleman, "Thank you for this," he told the old man. "You're doing us a great service.

Once he had said that Phillip stood back up again and then turned to leave, leaving both women with Milton.

"So what exactly are you..." Kate started to ask but got interrupted by Milton.

"Could you cue up the first song on the record?" Milton asked as he looked up at Kate.

Kate nodded her head, "Sure," she muttered out, turning her back to Milton and heading towards the record player which she had finally spotted.

"On my mark," Milton told Kate as she made it to the record player.

Staying silent Kate got the record player ready, listening as Milton used some sort of instrument to simulate what sounded like a bell or something. Once he was done she turned to look at him and she saw him nod at her and after he had she started the record player again before heading back to the bed.

"My name is Milton Mamet," Milton spoke as he looked down at Mr. Coleman. "Please raise your right hand off the bed if you recognize any of the following statements to be true," he told the man before starting the list. "Your name is Michael Coleman," he spoke seeing the man raise his hand weakly. "You were married to Betty Coleman," he continued as he pulled out a picture of the man's wife and again the man raised his hand. "Your children were Michael Junior and Emily," he said as he pulled out a picture of Emily and once again the man raised his hand. "Very good," Milton nodded down at the man before the man got his attention and whispered something to him.

Raising her eyebrow curiously Andrea looked at Milton, "What did he say?"

"He asked if I could keep it playing while we wait," Milton answered as he locked eyes with Andrea before looking at the record player.
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Taylor who still sat in the chair did his best to try anything to just move his arm enough to get it off, get it off and up and at least right now it was easier to try with the table moved and Merle gone out of the room.

Coming back into the room where Taylor was held, Merle held out a chain that held a walker on it, "All righty, I want you to imagine how I felt fighting my way off that roof," he told Taylor as he walked farther into the room. "One hand, losing blood, walkers chomping down at me every chance," he muttered out before locking eyes with Taylor. "Last chance. Where's your group?" he asked as he now held the walker within reach of Taylor.

"All right, suit yourself," Merle warned him as he began to let the walker go, pulling it a bit closer to the door so that he could get out before it was free. "You're a pretty big snack for this fella. I hope a twinkie will be enough to satisfy him though," he muttered making a dig on Taylor possibly being gay.

"Go! Run, boy," Merle yelled out as he let the walker go, before leaving the room and closing the door behind him.

Taylor who watched Merle leave the room felt his heartbeat once again getting faster as the walker came towards him and just as it about reached him he raised up his legs, kicking it which sent it flying and his chair going backwards until he was laying on the floor.

It was while he was laying on the floor that it seemed pure luck had struck him and he was able to maneuver the chair to it's side and somehow he was able to stand, watching as the walker too stood up and started coming towards him.

Spotting a cart in the room Taylor walked towards it though it was unsteady and when he reached it, he moved into it, sending it falling down on top of the walker though of course it was his luck that the walker wasn't fully covered and he knew it would be standing up soon.

But with what little time he had he started again to work on getting his arms free which consisted of him moving into the wall repeatedly, somehow moving an empty box spring that was in the room. A box spring that became a gate sort of barrier between him and the walker which was now up and reaching through the springs trying to get at him and the more it tried the more Taylor was determined to get free of his bindings.

Though eventually all the struggle did was make the situation worse and he nudged the box spring over watching as the walker got stuck in it slightly which gave him time to walk away but before he got too far the walker was coming at him again and Taylor kicked out the table watching as it fell but missed the oncoming walker and he half wanted to scream but he didn't.

Instead he used his anger and once again began ramming the chair he was stuck too against the wall over and over, the wood at the bottom starting to break off of it as he did so and it was around the fourth time that he felt the whole chair back go which was probably just in time because as the walker advanced on him he was able to put up his duct tape clad arm and avoid a bite.

Though he still had to fight the walker off and he did that with his free hand, hitting it long enough to get it to move away some so that he could reach for a piece of wood and once he had the wood, he rammed it through the walker's skull, watching as the walker fell down to the floor in front of him and it was only then that he screamed, he screamed as loud as he could not really caring anymore.
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"After Mr.Coleman passes, we'll restrain him, hell reanimate, I'll ask the questions again. Record his responses. I need one of you two to end the subject's reanimated state," Milton spoke as he stood from the table he had been sitting at and he turned to look at Andrea and Kate who both muttered an alright.

"I've been trying to determine whether trace memory and human consciousness exist after the subject has transformed," Milton explained to the two women. "But I had no baseline to work off of til now," he said as he looked down at the dying man. "Prostate cancer. We didn't have the resources to treat him, so he volunteered to be the test subject. He's been very cooperative, he's a remarkable man," he spoke before sitting down in a chair by the bed.

"You're close?" Andrea asked as she sat down in a chair opposite Milton watching as Kate did the same.

Milton shrugged at Andrea's question, "We spent a lot of time together. The song, the singing bowl, the questions. We've done that a few dozen times. Theses are cues that will hopefully linger in his unconscious mind even after he's died."

"There is no unconscious mind, Milton," Kate said rather harshly as she remembered what Doctor Jenner had showed them at the CDC and even more fresh was the memory of holding Lennon as he turned in her arms. He had been a baby who had been born dead with no unconscious mind to go back to. "When they turn they become monsters. That's all. Whoever they once were is gone."

"We'll see," Milton stated ignoring Kate's words.

Kate shook her head at Milton's ignorance of what she had said. "You haven't seen this before, have you? The transformation."

"No," Milton answered as he shook his head at Kate's question.

"No one in your family was.." Andrea started to ask but was interrupted.

"I'm an only child, my parents died when I was young," Milton said as he stood from his seat.

Watching as Milton stood up Kate raised an eyebrow, "Weren't you with anyone when everything went down?"

"I telecommuted to work. I never really...." Milton started but stopped not sure if he needed to say much else. It was after he said that, that he heard Mr. Coleman let out a tiny breath and as he looked down he knew the man had died but he leaned forward just to make sure and once he had he nodded at Andrea who was the closest to the man on his other side so that Andrea could help him restrain the man's arms and feet.
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"So they know Andrea and Kate?" Phillip asked as he stood outside the building where Merle was holding the people he had taken hostage. "But they don't know they are here, but they do know your brother."

"He does," Merle confirmed knowing Taylor at least knew all of that. "But I don't know about her. I've never seen her before."

Nodding Phillip looked away from Merle briefly, "Their people may come for 'em."

"Maybe," Merle spoke knowing it was a possibility. "Andrea, Kate, and the man in there all say they went back for me."

"So what? He won't break, say where his people are?" Phillip asked as he looked back at Merle.

"He's a tough son of a bitch. Picked that walker apart in minutes," Martinez added in from where he was leaning against a vehicle.

"Maybe a winter in the sticks put some hair on his balls," Merle explained knowing he had been shocked by that because that wasn't the Taylor he remembered.

"We'll need him for leverage if his people come," Martinez again spoke as he moved from where he stood, going closer to the Governor. "What'd you try to kill him for."

Merle shrugged nonchalantly, "He pissed me off."

"What's the girl say?" Phillip asked wondering if she had cracked yet.

"I was just about to go talk to her next," Merle said knowing he had wanted to try breaking Taylor first.

"I'll take care of it," Phillip told him as he turned and walked off, going to go question the girl Merle had taken.
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Maggie who was still in the chair she had been put in, her hands taped behind her back, sat up a bit straighter as she heard the door open and as a man who she hadn't seen before walked in, she kept her eyes on him as he remained silent as he walked towards the table.

She remained silent even as he took out a knife the closer he got to her, which scared her but Maggie didn't want him to see her fear, a fear that stayed even as he went behind her and cut the tape, freeing her hands from the ties that had bound them.

"May I?" Phillip asked as he walked back around the table, to the free chair that was across from the woman, a chair he had pulled out and intended to sit down in.

When the woman didn't say anything he waited until she finished taking the tape off her wrist before sitting down, "Thank you," he told her a bit sarcastically watching as she folded her arms over her chest. "We'll take you back to your people, explain this was all just a misunderstanding. You tell us where they are and we''ll drive you there."

"I want to talk to Taylor," Maggie spoke not giving up any information to the man in front of her.

"I can't allow that," Phillip said as he shook his head. "Your people are dangerous. Handcuffed my man to a roof, forced him to amputate his own hand."

Maggie kept her eyes trained on the man, "I don't know anything about that," she said knowing she only knew bits and pieces, not the full story.

"You just tell us where they are and we'll bring them here," Phillip said still trying to work her over to his way. "You'll be safe, I promise," he smiled though he was given only silence. "No? Fine, let's try something else," he told her as she looked away from him.

"Stand up, please," Phillip asked though really it was more like a command and when she didn't do it the first time he got a bit angry, moving forward in his seat. "Stand up," he said this time much more firm.

Heaving a sigh Maggie gave it a few seconds of thought before finally standing up.

"Take off your shirt," Phillip told her as he now looked up at her.

Maggie locked eyes with the man before speaking, "No," she said rather defiantly.

"Take off your shirt or I'll bring Taylor's hand in here," Phillip threatened before leaning back into the chair, watching the woman curiously.

At the man's threat Maggie didn't even hesitate before taking her shirt off and throwing it angrily to the floor.

After the woman's shirt was off, Phillip shrugged his shoulders as he looked at her expectantly, "Go on," he said letting her know he wanted her to take her bra off as well.

Swallowing a bit harder, Maggie did her best to fight off the emotions inside of her as she unclasped her bra and let it go to the floor as well before quickly covering herself up so this man couldn't see more than he already had.

Once the woman had taken off her bra, Phillip stood up slowly, deliberately taking his time as he undid his holster and laid it down on the table before walking over to her and standing beside her, liking how she was trying to keep herself in control though he could sense some fear.

Letting his hand go to her hair, he ran his fingers lightly through the end of it, hearing her whimper some before he forcefully pushed her down against the table, hovering over her, "So you gonna talk?" he asked her again.

"You can do whatever you're gonna do and go to hell," Maggie told the man again trying not to show how much he was making her scared.

At her answer Phillip let go of her hair but he he kept his hands on her for a bit before slowly moving away.
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After driving awhile Rick pulled the car over at the insistence of the injured woman in the back seat.

"They have patrols," Michonne spoke as everyone started getting out of the car. "We're better off on foot."

"How far?" Rick asked her as he looked up at the sky. "Night's coming."

Lucy who put her gun in it's holster then secured her knife looked over at Rick, "It's a mile, maybe two," she answered him before quickly making sure everything was secure as they began to walk through the woods.

Walking to the redhead as Daryl and Rick began to have some conversation, Zac looked over at her, "So what are your motives for really doing this?"

Lucy looked up at the guy briefly, "Motives?" she asked feeling confused.

"Besides helping us," Zac spoke as he shrugged. "I mean she was shot at so I'm guessing you both have enemies or something about this town and that's why you're so eager to get back to it and help us."

Lucy went silent at the man's words, "I don't know what her motives are entirely but I...my girlfriend is back there," she revealed before sighing. "I..I should have never left without her," she said as she shook her head knowing this time she wanted to go back there and find Kate, talk some sense into the woman and get her to leave.

Zac nodded his head half understanding but before he could say anything he heard the sound of walkers close by and he hunched to the ground with everyone else.

"Get in formation," Rick told the people with him before standing up slowly. "No gunfire," he said before going and taking down a walker as more just kept coming.

"Oscar," Zac spoke after he too took down a walker and he saw some heading out near Oscar.

"There's too many of them," Daryl said as he backed closer to Rick after taking down a few walkers though it seemed more kept coming.

Rick heard Daryl and before answering he took down another walker, "This way," he said as he moved, leading the group down a path through the woods, hoping none of them got taken out by walkers in the process.

"Through there, come on," Rick stated as he saw what appeared to be a cabin a few inches away and as they entered the cabin he ordered his people to keep it down after the door was shut.

"Oh the smell, wow," Daryl muttered as he moved to look around the cabin.

Zac who walked beside Daryl as the group began to look around the cabin made a face, "What the hell is that?" he asked as they got closer to what appeared to be a dead animal on the floor.

"It's got to be a fox or what's left of one," Daryl told Zac as Rick's flashlight hit the dead animal. "I guess Lassie went home."

It was after those words were spoken that the whole group heard banging on the door and they turned towards it seeing walkers now lined up against the glass, wanting to get inside.

Rick who turned away from the scene at the door got Daryl's attention and they both slowly walked to the bed where it looked like something was covered up. Pulling the blanket back he moved away quickly as a man popped up, confronting his group.

"Who the hell are you?" the man asked as he looked at the group of people in his cabin holding weapons on him.

"We don't mean any harm," Rick spoke as he walked a bit closer to the man though he seemed clearly frantic.

"Get outta my house!" the man yelled wanting these people gone.

Rick held up his free hand as well as he did his best to calm the man because his outburst wasn't making the walker situation any better, "Okay, okay, okay. We will but we can't right now," he spoke hearing the man yell out the word now.

"Shut him up!" Lucy spat out rather harshly as she looked at Rick.

"Get out right now!" the man insisted as the group still refused to leave.

"There are walkers outside," Rick told the man not sure how he didn't see the predicament they were in. The walkers were literally banging all on the front of the house.

"I'll call the cops!"

Rick rolled his eyes a bit at that, "I am a cop. Now I need you to lower the gun," he spoke making eye contact with the man. "Don't do anything rash. Everything's fine," he reassured him or well tried to. "Let's just..let's just take this nice and slow, okay?" he asked seeing the man look away from him. "Look at me. Hey, hey," he said trying to get the man's attention again.

"Show me your badge?" the man asked as he lifted his shotgun higher, cocking it so it was ready to use.

"All right," Rick nodded making like he was going to reach into his pocket. "It's in my pocket," he told him seeing the unease in the man's face. "It's in my pocket," he spoke again. "Now I'm just gonna reach down nice and slow," he said before moving his hand some more and as he did he hit the shot gun knocking it away from him and as he did it fired, hitting a hole in the wall but luckily missing Zac and Daryl who had dodged out of the way in time.

After he had done that Rick reached out and wrapped his arms around the man who was telling him to let go and threatening to kill them. "Shut up," he told the man but the man kept on causing a commotion and when the man bit him Rick moved back as the man got free.

Raising her gun in case she needed to use it Lucy raised an eyebrow as the man ran for the door though luckily before he got there Michonne stuck her sword through the man, killing him.

Daryl who was bent over looking out one of the windows watched as the walkers started breaking some of the wood, "Remember the Alamo?" he asked as he turned to look at the others.

"Help me with the door," Rick spoke as he walked towards the door motioning for Daryl and Zac to help him.

"You gotta be kidding," Oscar said as he shook his head not believing what was being suggested.

Rick looked up at Oscar briefly as he bent down to pick up the dead man. "He's dead," he told Oscar before looking away. "Check the back."

Going to the back door Oscar looked out of the window, "It's clear," he reported as he turned to watch Zac and Rick lifting up the man's dead body as Daryl and the woman with the sword stood at the door after it was open and Zac and Rick threw the man's body out to the walker's for them to eat on and distract them so the group could make their escape.

Lucy made a face once the man's body was thrown out but after the front door was shut again she turned on her heels and ran for the back door, thankful for the distraction no matter how it had came about.
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Kate who was leaning against a bookcase looked over at the bed when she heard breathing coming from it and as she did she saw that Mr. Coleman had reanimated, though clearly Milton nor Andrea had noticed yet.

"It's happening," Kate spoke up as she went to the record player while Milton got the singing bowl and it was only after Milton had done the singing bowl that she started the record.

"My name is Milton Mamet. Please raise your right hand off the bed if you recognize any of the following statements to be true," Milton told the restrained man on the bed who was now trying to lunge towards him. "Your name is Michael Coleman," he said not getting a response from the man. "You were married to Betty Coleman," he tried again pulling out a picture of the wife but still not getting a response. "Your children were Michael Junior and Emily," he tried again and this time he swore he saw the man's fingers move.

"Did you see that?" Milton asked as he looked at Andrea and Kate who stood on the opposite side of the bed. "He responded."

Andrea shook her head, "The fingers move. That could be anything."

"No, he can't raise his hand, it's the angle," Milton told her as he stood up. "I want to try again without the restraints.

"No," Kate said sternly at that.

"We may have tethered his consciousness," Milton argued as he looked at Kate. "We have to try."

Kate shook her head keeping her stance, "No," she said sternly again.

"I know what happens if the subject comes for us," Milton told Kate as they locked eyes. "That's what you and Andrea are here for."

"As soon as we pull the restraints, he'll lunge," Andrea warned Milton seeing where Kate was coming from.

Getting aggravated with the women Milton sat on the bed and began to undo Mr. Coleman's restraints. "My name is Milton Mamet. Please raise your right hand.." he started as the old man grabbed for his shirt but before he could take a bite out of him like he was trying to do Kate put a knife through his skull and Milton sat there feeling a bit numb at the fact that he had been wrong.

"I think I'd like to record my findings while they're still fresh," Milton finally spoke as he stood from the bed and turned to walk to his desk.

Looking away sadly, Kate went to turn off the record player feeling a bit sorry for Milton.
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Taylor who now stood pacing back and forth in the room he was being held in turned to look at the door when it was opened and he got himself ready to attack as Merle and some dude he hadn't seen before came into the room and he lowered his weapon as both men just stood there before another man came into the room, pulling Maggie along with him and Taylor swallowed hard when he saw Maggie.

Maggie was topless but covering herself with her hands and he couldn't help the places his mind went. The thoughts of what that man could have done to her and he raised his weapon lunging forward again.

"Drop it," Martinez told the man as he lunged for the Governor.

Standing there Taylor just looked at Maggie before dropping his weapon to the ground hopelessly.

"We're through with games," Phillip spoke feeling tired of them not giving up any information. "Now one of you is going to give up your camp," he said as he lifted his gun and began to wave it slightly. Though when neither spoke at first he held his gun out higher and advanced towards Taylor as he let go of the woman's arm.

"The prison," Maggie spoke out breaking down mainly because of the sight of a bloody and beaten Taylor who now had a gun held at him.

"The one near Nunez?" Merle asked as he held his arm out to prevent the woman from going towards Taylor.

"That place is overrun," Martinez added in knowing it had seemed that way.

Maggie did her best to speak as her voice faltered some, "We took it."

"How many are you?" Phillip asked as he kept his gun trained on Taylor.

"Fourteen," Maggie answered as she swallowed around a lump. "We have fourteen now."

"Fourteen people cleared that whole prison of biters?" Phillip asked as he lowered his gun. "Huh?"

Lowering his gun Phillip turned to leave the room but when he got to the woman he turned to look at Taylor before running his hand down the woman's cheek doing his best to fake comfort her, knowing he could still rattle some bones that way.

Maggie who was now visibly upset kept her eyes trained on Taylor as the man pulled her into him, hugging her to him but the moment he let go and pushed her towards Taylor, Maggie enveloped Taylor into a hug breaking down crying even harder as the men all left the room.
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"Fourteen people," Phillip spoke as he paced back and forth in the main room of his apartment, now surrounded by Merle, Martinez, and Milton.

Milton crossed his arms and shook his head, "That's deep in the red zone. There's no way only fourteen.."

"So she's lying?" Phillip asked as he turned to look at Milton. "Cause if she's lying that means a pretty sizable force has moved into our backyard. But if she's not, this group with your brother at it's core has done something you told me couldn't be done," he said as he looked at Merle. "They did it. Your brother might be out there right now, searching for them. Blood is blood, right? Makes me wonder where your loyalties lie."

Looking at the Governor, Merle didn't even blink as he nodded his head, "Here," he muttered out though he wasn't sure it was true.

Phillip nodded believing Merle, "You two get a small group and scout this prison," he spoke as looked between Merle and Martinez. "I want to know exactly what we're dealing with.

"Yeah, you got it," Martinez nodded as he turned to leave.
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Kate sighed to herself as she walked back to her room, looking out at the gate which was heavily guarded and she couldn't help but wish that she was on the other side of that gate, off somewhere with Lucy wherever she was right now.

"Shouldn't have been so stupid," Kate muttered to herself as she looked up at the night sky before heading inside the building where her room was. "Should have left when I had the chance," she spoke as she felt a few tears going down her cheek.

She hated to admit it but today with Mr. Coleman and Milton had opened up fresh wounds of losing Lennon again because she had saw the way Milton reacted to his friend lunging for him and it had been the same way she had probably looked when her own baby had done it to her. It was shock and disappointment as well as sadness..even if they had experienced the emotions for very different reasons they had still been the same.

And this time with her wound fresh Kate didn't have Lucy, she was utterly and completely alone. "And it's all my fault," she whispered to herself as she made it to her room and went inside.
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Lucy stopped behind Zac as they hid behind some cars mere feet away from the Woodbury gate that night. A gate which looked to be heavily guarded but she had no doubt they could get through it, they would get through it. They'd save Rick's people and she'd get her girlfriend.

Looking over at the redhead briefly as she stopped behind him, Zac turned and gave her a wary smile before turning back to the gate feeling a mixture of adrenaline and a bit of fear but both seemed to be what was fueling him, had fueled him this whole time ever since the world had gone to shit.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Sixteen

Alice who was walking in the woods with one of the people who was in the group that had found her after being separated from Lucy and Kate days ago or maybe it was a week or so now, Alice wasn't really sure stopped for a second watching as Tyreese took down an oncoming walker with his hammer, a weapon she hadn't really thought before could be useful but now it seemed like it was useful.

After that walker was taken care of both of them took off running through the woods as they heard noises all around them and just as they were about to round a corner of a tree they came to an abrupt stop as a shovel almost came into contact with them but stopped mid swing to reveal Tyreese's sister Sasha.

"Oh, my good Tyreese!" Sasha spoke being relieved to see both him and Alice in front of her.

"You okay?" Tyreese asked her seeing her nodding her head. "We gotta keep moving."

"Where's everybody else?" Alice mused not seeing the other three members of their group.

Sasha turned briefly, "They were just behind me," she told them knowing they had been just behind her before. "Is there a clearing ahead? A place to regroup?"

Alice shook her head at Sasha's words, "We didn't get very far, there might be a building up ahead. We thought we saw a tower past the trees."

"Tower? What kind of tower?" Sasha asked as she heard a scream nearby and as she turned her head she saw Donna, Ben, and Allen all being surrounded by walkers.

"This way!" Tyreese called out as he moved a bit telling the others to come towards them so they could get to shelter and once they started towards them they took off running again in the direction of the tower that he and Alice had spotted.

Alice who was in the middle of running came to a bit of a stop as she heard Ben call out for his mom and right as she turned to see why she made a face seeing Donna being helped by Allen, a bit wound now fresh on her arm.

It was only when Sasha went back to help Allen with Donna that Alice resumed running, staying behind Tyreese until they eventually came to a clearing, seeing a building in front of them. The back half of it seemed to be entirely missing and falling down but other parts of it seemed to be standing still.

"Hurry! This way!" Tyreese called out once the others had caught up some and he moved off again to head closer to the building. "Come on," he called out again once he could see a fence in sight that would lead them into the building.

"We don't know what's in there," Sasha spoke once Tyreese reached the fence. For all she knew that place could be anything or have anything inside of it.

Tyreese turned to look at Sasha, "We know what's out here."

Alice sighed at Tyreese's words and then she looked at Donna who now only Allen was holding onto, "Not her," she stated knowing Donna couldn't come with them. She was bitten and she was slowing them down.

"Don't," Allen glared as he looked over at Alice.

"She's slowing you down," Alice reasoned with him. "She's slowing us down and once we're in there, when she turns..."

Donna looked up at her husband sadly, "She's right. You gotta leave me," she told him seeing walkers slowly coming up behind them.

"No. Please," Allen muttered out no longer feeling angry, now he just felt sad. "They'll tear her apart."

"Alice," Tyreese spoke motioning for the woman to walk over to him and once she had, he looked down at her. "We can't do this."

"You wanna drag her around?" Alice asked sounding flabbergasted. "She's suffering and when she finally turns..."

"Ben's not ready," Tyreese told the woman as he looked at Donna's son seeing that he much like Allen wasn't ready to say goodbye to Donna.

Turning to look at Ben, Alice sighed as she took in the look on the boy's face, "It's a mistake," she spoke before turning back to Tyreese.

"Maybe," Tyreese semi agreed but instead of arguing it anymore he moved back to help Allen get Donna inside so that they could get away from the walkers that were coming towards them.
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Kate chewed on her lip as she arrived back at Milton's lab after having showered and ate. She and Andrea were both supposed to be here helping him cremate Mr. Coleman but of course she was surprised that Andrea was indeed missing though she figured she shouldn't be so surprised at all really.

"No Andrea?" Milton asked as he raised an eyebrow at Kate.

"Not unless she's invisible," Kate laughed slightly as she shrugged her shoulders. "I bet I can tell you where she's at though."

Milton looked at Kate before making a face, "In that case maybe we should wait a few more minutes before getting started with cremating Mr. Coleman."

"Yeah," Kate sighed and she was about to say something else when she heard the door open, seeing Andrea arrive finally. At least now they could get this over with and she could get back to her apartment where she could sleep and try to forget the memories of Lennon and the loneliness that she felt because she missed Lucy.

It was a loneliness Kate hadn't felt since being split from Zac and that was how she knew that she was in love with Lucy like she had once...maybe still could be in love with Zac, she wasn't sure anymore how she felt about the husband she may never see again mainly because her feelings for Lucy complicated things.
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Looking at Maggie as they both sat in the room they had been left in, Taylor couldn't help but still feel a bit hopeless as Maggie kept whimpering, though thankfully now she wasn't topless. He had given her his shirt and well it was really the only thing he knew he could do for her right now in this moment.

And that thought scared him because it also reminded him of all he had lost...his wife and his children and he didn't want to lose Maggie either, he couldn't lose her not after everything.

"Maggie, did he..." Taylor started to ask after a while but he got stopped by Maggie.

"No," Maggie stated as she shook her head and turned to look at Taylor. "No, he barely touched me," she said knowing where his brain had went. Taylor had thought that she had been raped. "All this time running from walkers you forget what people do, have always done," she frowned feeling a few tears going down her cheek as she reached up to touch Taylor's beaten face. "Look at what they did to you"

Taylor shook his head as he reached up to take a hold of Maggie's hand, "Doesn't matter. As long as he didn't..."

"No, I promise," Maggie said as she interrupted Taylor again this time giving him a bittersweet smile.

At her promise Taylor reached over and pulled Maggie into another hug, wanting to just hold her for as long as he could, though it was while they hugged that he spotted the walker he had killed and he pulled away as an idea came to him.

Standing up Taylor made a face at the pain he felt in his side but he ignored it, walking over to the dead walker and then bending down in front of it long enough to grab onto it's arm which he eventually pulled off with what strength he had.

Maggie who was watching Taylor, stood from the floor as she walked closer making a face as Taylor pulled the walkers arm off and then once the arm was off she raised an eyebrow when he laid the arm down, breaking it enough that he could pull out some of the bone.

It was only when he handed her the bone that she realized what he was doing. Taylor was giving them weapons to use so they could try to fight and get out of here.
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Rick who was crouched down behind the cars turned his head as he heard and then saw the injured woman turn and start to walk away, "Hey! Hey!" he called out after her and when he got no response he sighed, "Damn it," he muttered under his breath as he stood up slightly and bent down near the rest of his group and the redhead who had stayed behind.

"All right we need to downsize," he explained as he looked at them before taking his gun off and handing it over to Oscar..

"Ain't no way we're gonna check in all the buildings, not with all them guards there," Daryl spoke as he got his crossbow ready and took it off his shoulders.

Hearing a snap after the man with the crossbow had spoken Lucy along with everyone else turned around with their weapons raised but she let out a tiny sigh when she saw it was only Michonne coming back and when Michonne motioned for them to follow her she was the first one to move and do so, but then again unlike everyone else she did know the layout of this place better since she had been here before.
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"The prison's the perfect place to hole up," Phillip spoke as he stood with Merle in his living room as they looked over a map. "What once kept prisoners in now keeps biters out," he said as he put his holster back on. "And that's smart."

"You thinking of taking it over, moving Woodbury there?" Merle asked as he eyed the Governor after listening to the way he talked.

Phillip made a face at Merle's words,"People love it here because it feels like what was. Move them to damp cells surrounded by barbed wire. No," he said as he shook his head. "We gotta take out the group that's living there. Let the biters move back in."

"The problem is my brother's with them," Merle spoke as he shook his head.

"Well, you'll talk to him. Make him our inside man," Phillip said knowing that could be easy if Merle's brother was anything like him. "He'll get us in there. We'll wave the white flag like we did with the National Guard."

Merle locked eyes with the Governor, "Nothing happens to Daryl," he said sounding firm in that.

"Of course not," Phillip smiled doing his best to reassure Merle.

"What about Taylor and the girl?" Merle asked wondering what the Governor wanted to do about them.

"Well, the longer they're here the more chances that Andrea and Kate will find out," Phillip said knowing he didn't want them to know, especially Andrea. "Take them to the screamer pits," he said referring to the place where they captured the walkers they used in their fights.
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"This is where you were held?" Rick asked curiously as he eyed both the women after they had lead his group into an empty, dark room.

"We were questioned," Michonne said in response to Rick's question as the others in the room began to look around.

"Any idea where else they could be?" Rick asked the woman his tone a bit harsh right now.

Daryl who was looking around came to a stop by the window as he saw a light and heard talking. Pulling back the curtain he looked outside seeing a few people walking around.

"I thought you said there was a curfew?" Daryl asked as he looked at the two women.

"The street is packed during the day," Lucy hissed out not liking the accusing tone in the man's voice. "Those are stragglers."

"If anyone comes in here, we're sitting ducks," Rick said as he looked out the window. "We gotta move."

"They could be in his apartment," Michonne spoke taking a guess at where they could be at.

Zac heaved a sigh at that, "Yeah? What if they ain't?" he asked wondering what they would do then.

"Then we'll look somewhere else," Michonne answered through gritted teeth.

"You two said you could help us," Rick stated as he walked away from the windows.

"We're doing what we can," Michonne shot back at Rick's words.

Oscar who had been silent decided to pipe up then, "Then where in the hell are they?"

Rick sighed after that and then he motioned for his men to follow him, leading them away from the women. "If this goes south we're cutting them loose," he told them knowing he wouldn't mind leaving both women here.

"You think they're leading us into a trap?" Zac asked curiously knowing he didn't trust the one with a sword just yet but the redhead did seem a little more dependable.

"Right now it's the blind leading the blind," Daryl mused after Zac had spoken. "Let's split up."

Lucy who was standing off with Michonne as they men were away talking jumped slightly when a knock came on the door of the building they were in before some man unlocked the door and came inside.

"I know you're in here," the man in a baseball cap spoke after he had shut the door behind them. "I saw you moving from outside," he said as he looked around the now empty room. "All right now, you're not supposed to be in here and you know it. Who's in here?" he asked again as he went farther into the building.

"Shut up," Rick spoke as he came out of hiding as the man passed him and he pinned the man against the wall briefly. "Get on your knees," he demanded as he moved away watching as the man did just what he told him to do. "Hands behind your back," he spoke and after he said that he looked up at Zac.

"Zip tie him," Rick told Zac before looking at the man. "Where are our people?"

The man with the hat shook his head, feeling a bit scared, "I don't know."

"You are holding some of our people," Rick muttered through gritted teeth as he pulled his gun out on the man. "Where the hell are they?!"

"I don't know," the man insisted again as he tried to back away slightly from the man who had a gun in his face.

Rick glanced down at the man going silent for a bit before talking again, "Open your mouth," he said before finding a gag and putting it in the man's mouth. It was after that, that he sat there listening to the man trying to argue for a bit before Daryl hit him over the head with his crossbow, knocking him unconscious and then Rick stood up, walking over the man and pulling him along as they left the room.
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"You are good with her," Axel smiled as he sat in Beth's cell as Beth held the baby girl in her arms and Carl stood in the room off to the side. "You got little sisters?" he asked curiously.

"No," Beth answered politely as she turned her head to look at Axel.

"How old are you, anyway?" Axel asked even more curious.

Beth raised an eyebrow at Axel's question and she could see Carl crossing his arms which made her want to laugh. It was obvious that Carl had a crush on her and now she reckoned that maybe Axel was creepily hitting on her too and to be honest all she wanted was Zac...all she had wanted since the farm.

"Seventeen," Beth finally replied as she gave Axel a tiny friendly smile.

"Seventeen," Axel repeated with a slight smirk. "Interesting."

Avery who had came to a stop by the cell, moved a bit farther in, "May I speak with you?" she asked as she looked over at Axel.

"Me?" Axel asked after looking around feeling a bit scared that she wanted to speak to him.

Nodding her head at Axel's question Avery turned away from the cell and walked off a bit, waiting for Axel to join her.

"I'll be right back," Axel smiled at Beth before standing up and following behind Avery. "What's the problem?" he asked when he walked to where Avery was stopped by the stairs.

"Stay away from her," Avery said getting right to the point.

"Please," Axel muttered trying to feign ignorance as he shrugged his arms up.

"This isn't about you trying to repopulate the Earth," Avery spoke getting a bit defensive with the man.

Blushing Axel shook his head, "I didn't mean no offense," he argued being partially honest. "I've been locked up a long while and, well, there weren't many women," he defended not sure Avery understood. "You following me? I mean Maggie, she's with Taylor, Jessica's with Glenn and you and Daryl may as well be married and I'm pretty sure Carol's a lesbian. I was just talking with her."

Avery rolled her eyes as she crossed her arms, "Carol's not a lesbian," she spoke half wanting to laugh at that. "Just like Beth isn't single."

"Beth's not..." Axel started but then stopped. "You mean her and Zac?" he asked knowing that seemed like the only other probable person who could be with her.

"Yes," Avery nodded plainly at Axel's deduction skills.

"And Carol's really not a lesbian?" Axel questioned as he raised an eyebrow. "She's got the..short hair," he spoke seeing Avery shake her head. "My, my, my this interesting," he grinned as he turned to walk away.

"No it's not!" Avery called out after him knowing that even though Carol wasn't a lesbian Axel wasn't her type. Avery was half convinced the woman had some crush on Daryl even if Daryl only saw her as an older sister figure in his life.
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Maggie who was waiting with Taylor ready to attack once people can into the room did just that once the door opened and she went for some guy she had never seen before while Taylor took Merle on.

Pinning the guy who she had went after against a wall, Maggie stuck the bone she had for a weapon into the man's throat watching as his blood covered her hands and the moment she let go of him he fell down onto the floor though he fired his gun rapidly and she had to duck out of the way to avoid being hit by a bullet.

Rick who was standing with his group made a face as they heard rapid gunfire from close by or at least it sounded close by and he moved closer to an entrance as he heard voices and people on the outside becoming alert which meant he too had to be alert and ready to strike.

As the voices outside got louder Rick slowly made his way closer to the door of the building they were in and he opened it, looking out to see people running and he slowly stepped outside of the building.

After the gunfire had stopped and Maggie was sure the man was out she stood up reaching for his gun before turning to face Merle and Taylor, her gun held on Merle who had Taylor in a precarious situation.

"Let him go!" Maggie demanded as she cocked the gun back slightly.

Looking up at the woman, Merle who had his knife against Taylor's neck held his hands up slowly, "Okay," he spoke as he gave her a smile.

Watching as Merle did that Maggie heard the familiar sounds of guns clicking behind her and the moment she turned her head she saw two people heading in the room which distracted her enough that Merle was able to grab the gun from her.

"Give me the gun!" Merle yelled as he took the gun from Maggie once he stood back up and then he looked down at Taylor. "Get up!" he yelled at the struggling man.

Looking up at Merle, Taylor just made a face knowing that he and Maggie were probably most definitely screwed now.
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Rick who finally made it to the building where the gunshots were lead his group down a really long hallway before coming to a stop when he caught sight of a man close by and once he was sure the man had passed he turned the corner and came to another stop as he heard muffled talking in a room that had to be just next door almost.

"Glad we could catch up," Merle spoke as he circled around Taylor and the female with him as they both were now on their knees in the room.

Taylor who was holding Maggie's hand looked over at her and he saw that she was crying and frantic, "Just keep looking at me," he told her not sure if that would calm her but hopefully it would.

"I love you," Maggie told Taylor through her tears and right after she got the words out someone put a bag or some cloth like thing over her head.

Zac who was bent down with the others heard a male voice from the room nearby say on your feet and he held his gun tighter knowing that soon they'd be going into even more tough times and he could feel his adrenaline kicking in more, fueling him even farther along.

Hearing the voices getting closer and footsteps Zac looked at Rick hearing him mutter a shit before getting out a smoke bomb and throwing it into the room where the people would be coming through and then they took off moving a bit farther back. It was only after the bomb went off that they came back into the room and as he stayed behind to keep guard he watched as Rick and Daryl went to get Maggie and Taylor, taking off some sort of cloth like thing that had been over their heads.

Once they had both of their members back though they all took off as gunfire erupted behind them which meant they had to dodge it as best as they could.
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Kate who was walking through the streets of Woodbury with Milton looked at him as she heard gunshots nearby, "I think I know where those are coming from," she told the man before starting off where the sound was coming from.

"You shouldn't," Milton told her as he reached for her arm stopping her. "Sometimes biters come in. It's probably nothing," he said to her to get her to change her mind. "No need risking yourself over something so silly."

"But it may not be walkers either," Kate said knowing it very well could be another group who had made their way inside. "I should at least go and check," she muttered knowing she could protect herself if need be. She was good at that.

Milton sighed at Kate's insistence, "If you get killed I don't want to live with a guilty conscious," he said before letting go of her arm.

Pausing at Milton's words Kate shook her head slightly knowing she wouldn't get killed but before she could say much else she heard a woman yelling for help and after that she as well as a few others including Andrea and The Governor all ran to one of the main buildings.

"What happened?" Phillip asked as he bent down in front of the man in the doorway.

"Guys came through with guns," the man in the baseball hat said as he held the back of his head.

Phillip looked at the man confused, "How many?"

"I..I don't know. I think six or seven guys. I've never seen them before."

"Are we under attack? What should we do?" the female who had yelled for help asked.

Seeing an even larger crowd building around him Phillip stood up, "Hey, hey, hey," he spoke trying to calm the situation. "Everyone, please just go home, lock your doors, huh?" he asked knowing he needed to keep his people safe. "We need to keep everyone safe, okay," he nodded as he did his best to keep his emotions in check in front of them. "So just get inside, keep your lights off," he said seeing some people walking hesitantly away.

Kate rolled her eyes at the Governor's speech but soon she turned on her heels and headed back to her apartment. She had a feeling there was more to this situation than he was letting on and if the place was falling apart then maybe that would give her time to pack and leave without anyone noticing and once she was gone well she didn't know what then but she knew she really really didn't want to be here right now.

She just wanted to be with Lucy where it was safe and she had nothing to worry about.
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Rick who held onto Taylor as they ran down one of the roads in Woodbury looking for a way out slowed some when he heard voices and people nearby.

"Inside quick," Rick muttered out as they turned a corner and went into one of the buildings.

"Ain't no way out back here!" Daryl called out as he checked the building out quickly not seeing a way they could get out.

"Rick how did you find us?" Maggie asked as she bent down on the floor where Taylor had moved down to once they were inside.

Ignoring Maggie's question Rick moved to look at Taylor, "How bad are you hurt?" he asked him.

"I'll be all right," Taylor said as he made a face holding onto his side.

"Where are those women?" Maggie asked as she moved up some looking around but not seeing the redhead or the other woman.

"They were right behind us," Rick stated knowing both women were right behind them before they came into this building.

Oscar who watched Rick looking out the window chimed in, "Maybe they were spotted. Want me to go looking for them?"

"No," Rick stated as he looked at Taylor and Maggie. "We gotta get them out of here. Those two women are on their own."

"Daryl, this was Merle," Taylor stated loudly enough so that the other man would hear him. "It was. He did this," he said as he let Maggie help him put on another shirt.

Daryl who turned at Taylor's words just looked at him almost not wanting to believe it.

"You saw him?" Rick asked as he too heard Taylor's revelations.

"Face to face," Taylor answered honestly. "Threw a walker at me. He was gonna execute us."

"S..so my brother's this governor?" Daryl asked his voice faltering because he was still in shock that Merle was here, in this place.

Maggie turned to look up at Daryl, "No, it's somebody else. Your brother's his lieutenant or something."

"Does he know I'm still with you?" Daryl asked his tone coming out shocked.

"He does now," Taylor muttered out at Daryl's last question. "Rick, I'm sorry we told him where the prison was. We couldn't hold out," he said feeling a bit guilty at that.

Rick bent down to look at Taylor, "Don't," he said trying to stop him from apologizing. "No need to apologize," he reassured him before moving back to look out the window.

"They're gonna be looking for us," Maggie spoke knowing the people would realize or had already realized they were gone and soon they'd be looking for them

"We have to get back," Rick said as he stood up. He knew they'd have to leave soon. "Can you walk?" he asked Taylor. "We got a car a few miles out."

Taylor nodded his head at that, "I'm good," he confirmed before standing up slowly and making a face at the pain he felt.

"Hey, if Merle's around, I need to see him," Daryl spoke as he watched Zac and Maggie helping Taylor up from the floor.

"Not now," Rick said as he looked at Daryl. "We're in hostile territory."

"He's my brother. I ain't..." Daryl started to argue only to get interrupted by Zac.

"Look at what he did!" Zac muttered out angrily as he looked at Taylor who he was helping to walk. "Look we gotta..we gotta get out of here now."

Hearing Zac, Daryl shook his head, "Maybe I can talk to him. Maybe I can work something out," he reasoned knowing he could maybe get through to Merle.

Rick shook his head at Daryl's words, "No, no, no. You're not thinking straight," he told him before looking at Maggie and Taylor. "No matter what they say, they're hurt. Taylor can barely walk. How are we gonna make it out if we get overrun by walkers and this governor catches up with us?" he asked watching as Daryl went silent. "I need you. Are you with me?"

Daryl swallowed hard but not once did he think over his words, "Yeah."
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"Any sign of them?" Phillip asked Merle as they stood in Milton's lab after rounding up the few people he wanted to help him with this fight.

"Signs of what?" Andrea asked feeling confused. "What exactly is happening out there?"

"Some assholes want what we have," Merle told her as he shrugged figuring it should have been obvious. If Kate were here she probably could have figured it out, she had been married to the one Hanson who did have brains.

Andrea scrunched up her nose, "Then what are we doing waiting around here?"

"Damn straight," Merle agreed nodding his head. "Let's take these sons of bitches out."

"How do we know that the perimeter was breached?" Milton asked as he turned to look at Merle. "Did anyone actually see them?"

"They killed Warren," Merle admitted though he was fudging the truth some.

Milton raised an eyebrow before crossing his arms over his chest, "Killed?"

"Got up close, stuck a stake through his neck," Merle again fudged the truth knowing the Governor probably wouldn't want him to tell the real truth because then it would come out that he had hostages here since it had been the female who killed Warren.

"We need patrols now," Phillip spoke urgently at Merle's words. "Can't take chances with these terrorists," he spoke before looking down at Andrea. "You check on our people, make sure they're safe."

Andrea looked up at Phillip feeling flabbergasted at his words, "You want me to do house calls, make sure everyone's tucked in?" she questioned feeling offended.

"These guys could be holed up in one of our residences," Phillip argued as he looked down at Andrea. "They could be holding someone captive or worse."

"Can't anyone else handle that?" Andrea asked curiously. "I've got a hell of a lot of experience and..."

"Thank you," Phillip spoke interrupting Andrea. "The rest of you split up. Merle will lead the search," he said before leaving the room in a hurry.

Andrea sighed before going after Phillip, "Don't you think Haley should handle the door to doors?" she asked him when he turned to face her.

"I need someone with some authority to provide reassurance," Phillip explained trying to get Andrea to see reason. "I mean she's just a kid. These people have already killed one man, beaten another."

"I'm good with a gun.." Andrea muttered.

"Just do as I ask," Phillip told her being more stern.

Shaking her head Andrea gave up, "Sure."
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Lucy chewed on her lip slightly as she followed Michonne into the Governor's apartment. She knew she shouldn't, she should be out there finding Kate right now but things were shit and she didn't want to take her chances alone right now so she stuck by the woman who had been by her side ever since they left. A woman who she trusted more than she had trusted anyone before well except Kate anyway.

When they walked farther into the room Lucy looked at Michonne warily as she pulled out a chair and sat down in it after also pulling out her sword.

"Michonne," Lucy hissed out as she shook her head. "We...don't do anything stupid," she sighed knowing that yeah maybe they had both came here with other motives but she didn't want the woman to get herself killed or even get her killed.

Looking up at Lucy, Michonne fixed her gaze on the woman, "Just go find Kate," she spat out knowing that was why she had came. "It's what you want."

Hearing Michonne's words Lucy looked down feeling a bit nervous again at the prospect of being alone and cornered because she had never had to worry about that ever since finding Viv's group but Michonne had a point she had came here for Kate.

"Just don't get yourself killed," Lucy whispered before turning to leave Michonne in the room as she headed to the room or tiny apartment like place that she and Kate had been staying at when they first arrived in Woodbury.
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"On three," Rick spoke to his group as he stood by the door now ready to go outside. "Stay tight," he warned them not wanting any of them to leave or wander off.

It was after that warning he began a fast countdown and then he opened the door to the building they had been holed up in long enough to throw another smoke bomb that would be their distraction and cover on the way out.

"Let's go," Rick muttered as he heard people yelling outside and he stood up holding his gun out, ready to fire as he stepped outside and sure enough the moment they got a few feet someone mentioned something about seeing them and gunfire began to get exchanged until Rick noticed a place they could go and take cover for a bit.
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Andrea who was out in the streets during the gunfight between the group that had literally invaded her new home, held her own gun in her hands after shooting at them.

"You all right?" Phillip asked as he came to a stop behind Andrea.

"I saw them," Andrea admitted as she turned her head slightly to look at Phillip.
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"How many?" Rick yelled out as his group came to rest briefly behind a building.

Daryl who was getting the weapon in his hand ready shook his head, "Don't matter. There's gonna be more of them. We need to move."

Listening to Daryl, Taylor looked over at Maggie feeling scared once again for the current predicament they were in.
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"One of them at least," Andrea muttered as she continued to tell Phillip about the person she had seen running past her. "Black guy, young. Looked like he was wearing a prison jumpsuit."

"Escaped convicts," Phillip muttered softly as his mind went back to the prison where Merle's old group was staying.
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"Any grenades left?" Rick asked as he looked over at Zac who was helping Daryl go through their stuff.

"Uh-huh," Zac nodded his head saying that there were grenades left.

"Get 'em ready," Rick instructed. "We gotta gun into the wall," he spoke as the gunfire continued as more shots continued to be fired at them and Maggie even moved to fire a few shots at the opposing people.
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Phillip stood there feeling a bit in shock or well maybe it was numb as the firefight continued, "We gotta get off the street," he muttered more to himself than Andrea. "We're not soldiers, we're survivors. We'll wait them out."

"Once the smoke clears..." Andrea started as she again looked at Phillip

"Nah, they could be anywhere," Phillip interrupted her before taking off running past her. "You get off the street."

Andrea put her gun down slightly as she watched Phillip run off, "Where are you going?"

"Off the street, come on, move!" Phillip yelled not even turning to look back at Andrea.
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"You guys go ahead. I'm gonna lay down some cover fire," Daryl spoke as he handed a gun to Taylor.

"No, we gotta stay together," Maggie told him knowing they couldn't split up now.

Daryl shook his head, "It's too hairy," he explained as he helped Zac finish getting the grenade ready. "I'll be right behind you," he spoke hearing Maggie move to fire some more rounds and when she moved back to where they were hiding he stood up holding the grenade.

"Ready?" Daryl asked before throwing it out watching as it went off

After the grenade went off which created even more smoke between them Zac moved out of their hiding place staying close to Rick as he kept firing at the people on the other side as well as doing his best to avoid being hit by a bullet in the process.

"This way!" Oscar yelled as he climbed onto the bus at the gate, soon helping Taylor up so that Taylor could get over to safety.

Zac who had followed Taylor to the bus stayed stopped at the bottom as he kept firing but he raised his eyebrow as he watched Rick freeze up and stop shooting as a Woodbury citizen came advancing at him with a gun and when the guy drew his gun up and shot, Zac ducked down watching as Oscar pushed Taylor aside and took the hit getting shot in the head.

Rick who swore he was seeing Shane, finally stood up after Oscar had been killed and he raised his gun firing at an oncoming Shane and killing him when the shot hit him straight in the head and it was only after the person had fallen and he moved to get a closer look that Rick realized it hadn't been Shane at all.

"Rick!" Maggie yelled as she looked at Rick who had just stopped over the dead man's body. "Rick!" she called out again as both she and Zac sat next to a dead Oscar.

Coming to Rick moved over to the bus and climbed up it, spotting Daryl hid behind a bench or something, "Daryl!" he called out.

"Go!" Daryl told Rick as he finished loading up his gun before standing up and firing more shots.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Seventeen

Jessica sat with Beth and Carl in the main cell area, looking up as Hershel came back into the room.

"I finally got Judith to sleep," Hershel spoke as he came back into the room and gave Carl a smile.

Carl looked over at Hershel curiously, "How are we with formula?"

"We have enough to last us another month," Hershel answered as he continued to walk to where the others sat.

Nodding at Hershel's answer Carl hesitated a bit before answering, "I'll take Carol for some more at the end of the week."

"Your dad and the others will be back by then," Jessica spoke knowing or at least hoping that they wouldn't be gone that long.

"We don't know that," Carl said as he turned to look at Jessica. "Right now, Judith is the only family I got," he spoke and it was after he did that a scream came from somewhere in the prison.

"What was that?" Beth asked a bit frightened as she sat up a little straighter.

Hershel made a face at the sound, "That was from inside," he said knowing there was no way that was outside the prison.

"Was that Avery?" Carl asked knowing that he thought Glenn and Carol were asleep right now.

Hershel shook his head no at Carl's question, "She's out keeping watch in the guard tower with Axel."

"What if they came back in for something? What if they're in trouble?" Beth mused still feeling frightened as the sound happened again.

"Let's check the tower, see if she's there," Hershel spoke trying to reassure his daughter and calm her.

"How could anyone else get in?" Jessica asked not sure how any other humans could have gotten inside here.

"The tombs are filled with walkers that wandered in," Hershel told Jessica as he locked eyes with her. "Someone else could have done the same thing."

Carl who had listened to Hershel silently while getting his gun ready stood up from where he had been seated, "I'm going," he told the man before walking off to go and check what that was.

Putting his crutch in front of the boy, Hershel shook his head, "I can't let you go down there."

"My father would go," Carl argued as he looked up at Hershel which seemed to give the man pause and finally when he nodded Carl once again began to walk off as the screaming happened again.

As Carl walked off both Beth and Jessica just gave Hershel a look before shaking their heads.
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Making it inside the tombs, Carl held his flashlight out as well as his gun as he slowly walked down the darkened corridors, the screams now sounding a bit louder from here and so he followed them until he came to the boiler room, the same room his mom had died in.

Pausing briefly Carl just stared at the sign though he didn't get to do that for long because soon a walker was approaching him and he turned fast, shooting the walker in the head.

After the walker was dead Carl finally turned and headed into the room a bit shocked at the scene in front of him. There was a group of six people dealing with walkers. Three were fighting them off while two men both huddled around a woman on the floor who looked like she had a bite on her shoulder.

Raising his gun Carl fired at the walker that one of the women, the one with a shovel was fighting off.

Sasha who watched as the walker she was fighting fell to the ground turned around to find a boy standing not far from her.

"Come on!" Carl called out when the others eventually turned to look at him as well. "Hurry! Hurry!" he called out as more walkers began to approach them.

When they started to follow behind them Carl finally began to lead this group of people back through the darkened corridors he had just came down, though the group came to a stop when the man carrying the bitten woman fell down.

"Go! Just go!" Allen yelled out wanting the others to leave him behind.

Running to Allen, Tyreese bent down, "Let me take her," he said before taking Donna out of Allen's arms.

"I'll cover you," Alice spoke before going to some of the oncoming walkers and sticking her knife through them quickly as not to get herself bitten.

"Look out!" Sasha called out as she turned her head in time to see a walker coming up behind the boy who had saved them and luckily after her words he turned and shot the walker down.

"You have to leave her!" Carl called out as he turned to look at the people knowing they'd have to leave the woman behind. She was bitten anyway and she was slowing them down.

Tyreese shook his head as he held Donna over his arms, "No way!" he said firmly refusing to leave her behind.
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Kate who was sitting on the bed in her room, doing her best to ignore the heavy gunfire outside closed her eyes and started to count in her head. She wasn't sure what she was counting for or too but she just needed some distraction. She needed something to make her less scared because all that gunfire was kind of making her scared.

What if bad people had gotten in? What if they were going to kill everyone? She really didn't want to die and of course she didn't want to die without seeing Lucy one more time. She didn't want to die while on bad terms with the woman she loved.

Hearing the door to her room open Kate opened her eyes quickly and sat up about to look for anything she could use as a weapon but before she could she paused when she saw Lucy.

"Lucy?" she asked her voice coming out in a whisper as the redhead shut the door. "You came back?"

Lucy laughed as she turned to look at Kate, "And I brought friends," she said as she pointed outside. "Friends who are the reason for all the gunfire," she said as she walked to Kate before pulling her into a tight hug. "I missed you so fucking much," she muttered as she held the woman tighter.

Hugging Lucy back, Kate had to swallow a lump in her throat before speaking again, "How did you get back here? Why?" she questioned without even pulling away.

"Because it turns out the people here aren't so nice," Lucy explained as she finally pulled away to take in Kate's appearance. "The moment Michonne and I stepped outside we were hounded all night. Michonne has a gunshot wound to the leg and then Merle took two people captive and we found their group. They're the people who came back with us and we have to go Katie...we can talk about this later but I need you to come with me."

At Lucy's words Kate was just about to answer her when a frantic knock sounded on her door and she swallowed hard.

"Kate," Milton's voice came from the other side of the door and Kate turned to look at Lucy.

Freezing as she heard Milton's voice Lucy moved to hide behind the door so that once Kate opened it no one could see her.

Kate rolled her eyes at Lucy's hiding place but she walked to the door, opening it up just enough, "Milton?" she questioned not sure why the man was here.

"It's the Governor," Milton muttered out seeing Kate's expression turn from confusion to anger which surprised him. "He's been injured and..and I can't go see him alone," he explained to the woman feeling a bit hopeless and vulnerable right now. "Besides Mr. Coleman I think he's the only friend I got and if it's bad news I don't want to go alone."

"So you want me to go?" Kate asked trying to hide her anger when it came to the Governor. If she had disliked him before because of the fights she really hated him after learning about Lucy and Michonne because she had done the math. He had been the one to send his people after them and if they had succeeded Lucy could be dead right now.

Nodding Milton looked down before blushing, "Please."

Heaving a sigh Kate looked down too, "Okay," she agreed as she nodded her head. "Just give me a few seconds to freshen up," she said knowing she'd need time to explain her reasoning to Lucy. Maybe she could make Lucy see not everyone here was bad and right now Milton needed a friend much like she had needed Lucy.

Though her being there for Milton didn't change what her answer would be. Would have been before they were interrupted. She'd leave with Lucy if it was the last thing she did.
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Arriving to the main cell area with the group he had saved Carl ran through glad that everyone had at least made it safely out.

"Oh god!, Donna?" Allen called out as he watched Tyreese and Sasha laying Donna down on the floor. "Is she dead?" he asked as he felt tears coming to his eyes before he walked over to see her just laying there and he started to cry, not wanting to believe his wife was dead.

Carl who walked closer loaded his gun again, "I'll take care of it," he told them knowing he could put the woman down. He had put his own mother down.

"Whoa, kid," Tyreese muttered after the kid moved his gun out towards Donna's head. "Wait a minute."

"She doesn't have that long," Carl argued knowing the woman could turn at any time.

"Who the hell are you?" Alice asked as she moved a bit closer to the boy. "How did you get in here? Who are you with?"

Carl ignored the woman's question as he looked down at the dead woman on the floor, "Look we can help you," he explained to them. "But first things first."

"No, we take care of our own," Tyreese told him as he reached for his hammer.

Allen looked up at Tyreese as he shook his head, "No, Tyreese."

"I gotta do it," Tyreese explained as he looked down at Allen. "Look, just take Ben and lean against the wall," he said as he locked eyes with Donna's grieving husband. "It'll be quick."

Alice frowned slightly as she took in the scene and she herself had to look away especially because she kept replaying Viv's death in her head and how she hadn't been able to be the one to put her down so she knew what Ben and Allen were going through in a way, she could understand and she felt sympathy for them even if she hadn't known them long.

Though before Tyreese could even go through with the deed Alice looked up when she heard a gate close and she followed behind Sasha to find that the boy who had saved them had closed them away from the cell block area so they were essentially locked into place.

"What are you doing?" Sasha asked feeling a bit angry at their current situation.

"Kid, did you just lock us in here?" Tyreese asked as he stood up.

"Open the door," Sasha insisted as she kept her eye on the boy who was now standing next to some blonde girl.

Carl looked at the group as he sighed, "This room is secure. You'll be safe. You have food and water."

Walking closer to the door Sasha gave the boy a glare, "Open this door," she insisted again.

"I can't," Carl told her as he remembered his dad's words.

"Come on, man we're not animals," Sasha argued as she shook her head. "Don't do this," she pleaded as the kid started to turn and walk away. "Hey! You can't just leave us in here! Open this door! Open it! Now!"

"Sasha!" Alice called out getting the woman's attention. "Back away from their door and give them a break," she spoke knowing they wouldn't get anywhere with anger.

Tyreese moved to stand beside Sasha as he shook his head, "Alice is right. Look around you, this is the best we've had it weeks. His house..we got other things to do," he said as he turned to look at Donna and then back at the cell block where he could now see an old man. "We don't want any trouble."

"Shouldn't we help them?" Beth asked as she turned back around to see the group walking off to take care of what they had to do.

"I did," Carl told her as he turned his head to look at her.
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"The glass has done a lot of damage," Doctor Stevens told the Governor as she examined his eye which was almost completely messed up.

Phillip sat up angrily as the doctor moved the gauze back over his eyes, "I need to get out of here," he muttered knowing he had to go and get Michonne, the woman who had put a shard of glass through his eyes, the woman who had killed Penny, the woman who Merle had told him was dead along with Lucy..though it wasn't Lucy he really cared about. It was more so Michonne.

Doctor Stevens shook her head no, "Not yet."

"Get out of my way!" Phillip yelled as he started to get off the bed but was stopped.

"Can you give us a minute?" Andrea asked the doctor watching as she turned to leave then once she had she trained her eyes on Phillip. "What the hell was that? Why was she here? Why were you fighting her?"

"She came back to kill me," Phillip answered honestly.

Andrea raised an eyebrow at that, "Why?"

"You tell me," Phillip spat out. "You knew her."

Ignoring his words Andrea just shook her head, "The fish tanks, the heads?""

"I made myself look at them," Phillip explained his anger subsiding slightly. "Prepared me for the horrors outside."

"And Penny?" Andrea asked though before he could answer she heard the door open and watched as Milton and Kate walked in.

"Oh, my god," Milton spoke as he felt relieved that nothing too bad was wrong with the Governor. "I just heard. Are you alright?"

Kate made a face as she walked a bit closer to the Governor, "You eye, is it...what happened to you?" she asked feeling a bit confused at what had happened to him though she wasn't sure she honestly cared anymore. But she was curious how it happened.

Though before he could answer her Kate watched as Merle barged into the room asking much the same question that she had. What had happened to the Governor.

"I was attacked," Phillip answered as he turned around and faced Merle knowing this was all Merle's fault in the end. Merle had, had one job. He was supposed to kill the women but he had let them live which had brought Michonne back and that bitch had ruined everything.

"They made it over the wall," Merle told the Governor knowing the people who had ambushed them had left. "I'll go after them in the morning."
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Rick who was with Maggie, Zac, and Taylor lead them over behind a few trees and farther away from the gates, "Get down," he told them knowing he didn't want them being seen in case anyone was close by. "Come on Daryl," he muttered out a bit angry that Daryl wasn't back yet.

Though it was after that, that he heard slight creaking and when he turned his head he saw the redhead and the injured woman coming back and he walked over to them, holding his gun on them, "Where in the hell were you two?" he asked as he watched them stand up, "Put your hands up," he told them watching as they obeyed him as Zac came over as well and held a gun on them.

"Turn around," Rick ordered both women to do and when they didn't do it the first time he said it again. "Turn around," he muttered watching them again obey and this time as they did he took the sword from the one woman, motioning for Zac to take the gun from the redhead.

Once they were disarmed Rick and Zac both lowered their weapons and he moved in closer to both women, "Get what you came for?!" he asked rather harshly.

"Where are the rest of your people?" Lucy asked quietly as she eyed Rick after seeing that two of them were gone.

"They got Oscar," Zac growled out as he inched a bit closer to her raising his gun up. "Daryl's is missing. You two didn't see him?"

Lucy and Michonne both shook their head no at that.

"If anything happens to him..." Rick threatened but was stopped when the injured woman spoke.

"We brought you here to save them," Michonne said knowing that was all they had promised.

Glaring Rick shook his head, "Thanks for the help."

"You'll need help to get them back to the prison," Lucy spoke feeling a bit crappy now for leaving the group like she had. "Or to go back in there for Daryl. Either way you need us."

Going silent at the redhead's words Rick just looked at them as he contemplated his next actions.
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Kate looked over at Milton curiously as they both sat at the arena where the Governor had called everyone to meet up. It was a place Kate hated to be at and most of all she was antsy because being here right now was delaying her from getting to Lucy and leaving this place.

"Are you okay?" Milton asked as he looked over at Kate sensing from the way she kept looking around nervously that something was wrong.

Shrugging Kate faked a smile, "Not really. I'm not feeling well and I'd much rather be in my room in bed than here," she lied feeling a bit guilty because she did actually like Milton even if he considered the Governor one of his closest friends here though hopefully that could change one day. "Hopefully whatever we're here for won't be long," she said knowing this had been a surprise for everyone, not one of the usual walker fight nights she guessed.

Before Milton could reply back to her though Kate watched as the Governor came into the building, standing where everyone could see him.

"What can I say?" Phillip asked as he spoke loud enough so that everyone could hear him. "Hasn't been a night like this since the walls were completed...and I thought we were past it...past the days when we all sat, huddled, scared in front of the TV during the early days of the outbreak. The fear we all felt then, we felt it again tonight," he sighed as he shook his head before looking around at everyone the best he could with the gauze around his eye that was injured.

"I failed you," he continued knowing he had failed them. "I promised to keep you safe. Hell, look at me," Phillip said referring to his injured eye. "You know I..I should tell you that we'll be okay, that we're safe, that tomorrow we'll bury our dead and endure but I won't. I won't because I can't. Because I'm afraid," he admitted hearing gasps around him. "That's right. I'm afraid of terrorists who want what we have. Want to destroy us and worse...because one of those terrorists is one of our own," he admitted as he turned to look at Merle.

"Merle," Phillip revealed as he pointed to the man. "The man I counted on, the man I trusted. He led 'em here and he let 'em in," he said hearing the crowd now whispering amongst themselves. "It was you," he told Merle seeing the shocked look on his face. "You lied, you betrayed us all," he muttered as he saw some of his men bringing in one of the people from the other group that they had captured as Martinez and Shumpert took away the knife from Merle's stump

"This is one of the terrorists," Phillip spoke as the captured man was thrown into the middle of the fighting ring and as the man struggled Phillip reached for the cloth on his head, pulling off to reveal Daryl to Merle. "Merle's own brother," he admitted out loud to everyone hearing an even bigger gasp eruption.

Daryl who had, had the cloth taken off his head just paused as he stood there looking at his brother, a man he hadn't seen in months and a man he had thought he would never see again and then after that he scanned the crowd seeing two more familiar faces he had never thought he'd see again either. Kate and Andrea were here too and it was apparent from the shock written on their faces that they hadn't expected to see him here.

"What should we do with them, huh?" Phillip asked the crowd hearing the people start to chant out for them to be killed.

Kate who stood beside Milton in shock, swallowed hard as she heard the crowd around her chanting for Merle and Daryl to be killed and she just stood there numbly for a bit as the reality of this all hit her, Lucy referencing bringing friends to help because of the friends people being taken...Daryl being among them and well she almost felt like she was going to faint but she didn't.

Instead she just watched in horror as the crowd kept chanting for death and the Governor mentioned to Merle how he had wanted Daryl and now he had him. It was all too much and Kate didn't want to watch either die even if Merle had been an asshole and Daryl..if Daryl was here then fuck...that meant Zac maybe could be too if he was still alive because of course his ass would agree to such a risky mission and well Kate wasn't ready for seeing Zac again not when Lucy...fucking hell there was a probability Zac and Lucy had met.

Shaking her head Kate just heaved a sigh wanting to wake up from this nightmare she was in.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Eighteen

Kate still stood there horrified as the crowd kept yelling for Daryl and Merle to be killed and she shook her head not believing this was actually happening but it was and this well it only cemented her wanting to leave even if it meant she'd maybe more than likely come into contact with her husband again.

Turning her head Kate watched as Andrea struggled with a few of the guards as she tried to get to the Governor and obviously unsuccessfully tried to change the outcome of what was happening.

Phillip who had rebuffed Andrea's attempts at trying to stop this because like he had told her, it wasn't up to him anymore, the town had spoken. Turned to look at Merle. "I asked you where your loyalties lie. You said here," he reminded the man. "Well prove it. Prove it to us all. Brother against brother. Winner goes free, fight to the death."

"Phillip, please," Andrea pleaded as she tried again to change his mind. "Don't do this. Don't do this."

Merle stood there looking at Daryl in Phillip's silence at Andrea's words. He knew damn well that Phillip wouldn't change his mind. "Ya'll know me," Merle spoke as he looked at the crowd. "I'm gonna do whatever I got to do to prove that my loyalty is to this town," he said before getting a punch into Daryl's stomach watching as his brother bent over before falling to the ground.

Watching as Merle began to kick on Daryl after he had fallen Kate shook her head again wishing she could wake up from this nightmare. A nightmare that got worse when she saw some of the guards start to bring walkers into the arena and set them up around the fighting brothers.

"You really think this asshole's gonna let you go?" Daryl asked as he was held down by Merle though his own hands were now around his brother's throat.

"Just follow my lead little brother," Merle said as he locked eyes with Daryl. "We're getting out of this right now," he stated before moving out of Daryl's grasp and standing up and once Daryl had stood up they stood back to back, ready to fight together.

Kate sighed a bit in relief as the brothers stopped fighting each other and went after the walkers that had been brought in and again she turned her head as she heard Andrea yelling for the Governor to stop things and it was during Andrea's pleading and the brother's fighting that gunfire sounded in the arena, taking down a few of the walkers as well as Haley and when a smoke bomb was released, Kate crouched down doing her best to avoid gunfire as she looked around frantically for a way out and somehow through the smoke she was able to spot Daryl and Merle making a run for it so she stood up slightly doing her best to follow them out of the arena and dodge gunfire and walkers in the process.

As she caught up with the brothers finally it was when they reached a trash can where she found Rick who after acknowledging Daryl just looked at her as if he was seeing a ghost.

Rick who had just seen Daryl and Merle run past him stopped slightly as he saw Kate running behind them and he raised an eyebrow knowing he had already seen one ghost tonight, "K..Kate?" he asked wanting to make sure she was real and not just his imagination.

"Yeah," Kate nodded as she gave Rick a bit of a smile before moving off again knowing they couldn't stay still for long. They had to keep moving and get out of this frantic crowd.
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"They're all at the arena, this way," Merle spoke as the group ran past the gate at Woodbury.

Rick who slowed down slightly looked over at Merle, "You're not going anywhere with us," he told the man knowing he really had no intentions of bringing Merle along anywhere, not after what the man had done.

"You really want to do this now?" Merle asked Rick not believing Rick really wanted to have this conversation right now.

Not getting anything from Rick, Merle then proceeded to make a hole into the gate so they could all get out.

Kate who was about to go through the gate watched as Rick just stood there, "Rick, come on. We've got to go," she told him knowing they didn't have all day. They had to get going before they got caught or even worse killed.

"A little help would be nice," Merle spoke through gritted teeth as he referred to the oncoming walkers who were headed right at them, one already on the ground that he was taking care of.

Raising her gun, Kate shot at an oncoming walker at the same time as Rick and Maggie.

Standing up Merle shook his head as he saw more walkers coming, "We ain't got time for this," he sighed knowing they really didn't have much time.

"Let's go," Daryl told Kate, Maggie, and Rick as he watched Merle run off and soon he followed after not really wanting to die right now.
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Zac sighed softly as he sat outside the car they brought on this mission, Taylor seated beside him while the two women were in the car. He would have liked to stay in Woodbury and helped get Daryl back but there was no way that he was going to let his injured brother make the trek alone and there was no way he trusted the two women with his brother alone, not after they had just abandoned the group last night in the middle of the mission.

Looking up at the sky he couldn't help but be a little worried because it was morning out now, though the sun had just come up so it wasn't that long into morning but he had hoped the others would be back by now and he wanted to vent to Taylor but he wasn't because it was apparent Taylor already had enough on his plate as it was.

"Zac!" Rick called out.

Hearing his name being called Zac stood up, helping Taylor up slightly, "Rick," he said back as he watched the two women climb out of the car too. "Rick," he spoke again as he advanced into the woods seeing the oncoming group. "Oh thank..." he muttered but stopped at the sight when he saw the redhead rushing past him to a brunette woman who was well she was like a ghost to him because he was sure that his wife was following behind Merle and why the hell was his wife hugging the redhead and why the hell was Merle even with them?

"Now we get a problem here," Rick spoke at the advancing group seeing Zac stop in his track as the injured woman with her sword got it out and trained it on Merle, Taylor doing the same with his gun.

"What the hell is he doing here?" Taylor asked roughly not liking the sight of Merle in the group that was coming back. A group that it seemed now involved his sister-in-law who was hugging the redhead and as he noticed that he turned to look at Zac briefly noticing his brother was just stopped in his tracks.

"Hey, hey, hey," Rick yelled trying to get some peace as he stood in front of the woman with the sword, "Put it down," he muttered as he looked at her and then he turned to see the redhead who had been hugging Zac's wife also had her gun trained on Merle.

"He tried to kill us," Lucy spat out as she shook her head.

"If it wasn't for him..." Taylor muttered through clenched teeth.

Daryl looked at everyone holding a gun on his brother and he shook his head, "He helped us get out of there."

"Yeah, after he beat the shit out of you," Rick muttered as he took out his gun and held it on the woman with a sword.

Coming out of his daze at Rick's words Zac moved closer to the group and he pulled out his gun keeping it trained on the redhead as he eyed his wife, still not believing that Kate was here or that she had hugged the redhead, because why would she?

"Hey, we both took our licks, man," Merle defended at Rick's words

"Jackass," Daryl countered as he turned to look at Merle.

"Enough!" Rick told Merle as he turned to look at him which gave the woman with a sword time to advance on Merle. "Put that down," he demanded as he turned to look at her again, a bit glad that Zac had the redhead covered now that he had came out of his daze and moved.

Daryl who was starting to get mad at Taylor, holding a gun on him since he was between Taylor and Merle, spoke up, "Get that thing out of my face!"

"Man, looks like you've gone native, brother," Merle chuckled as he watched Daryl.

"No more than you hanging out with that psycho back there," Daryl muttered as he turned to looked at Merle.

Merle nodded at Daryl's words, "Oh, yeah, man. He is a charmer I got to tell you that," he admitted as he eyed Michonne. "Been putting the wood to your girlfriend Andrea," he muttered knowing he was getting under her skin. "Big time, baby," he smirked before turning to Lucy. "But don't worry ole' red he left your girlfriend alone," he said as he caught eyes with Zac seeing a shocked look pass his face.

"That's your girlfriend?" Zac asked as he looked at the redhead. "The woman you wanted to go back and save?"

Lucy nodded as she turned to look at Zac, "Yeah, I figured you would have realized when we hugged," she spoke as she lowered her gun slightly. "Why do you even care?"

"Because that's my wife," Zac spat out as he turned to look at Kate who just looked away from him and as he eyed her it was only then that he realized she was no longer pregnant but there was no baby.

At the man's words Lucy shook her head, "You've got to be kidding me. Kate, tell me he is lying."

"But he isn't lying Lucy," Merle chimed in. "That's Kate's dear old man Zac."

"Shut up," Kate finally spoke as she fixed Merle with a glare knowing right now wasn't the time to get into things, not in the middle of the woods.

Taylor who waited until after Zac's little argument with the redhead named Lucy ended turned to look at Merle in disbelief, "Andrea's in Woodbury?"

"Right next to the Governor," Daryl added in after Taylor's question as his mind went back to Andrea pleading for him to stop the fights.

It was after Daryl's words that Rick watched as Michonne tried to lunge forward with her sword, "I told you to drop that," he told her a bit angry. "You know Andrea?" he asked getting nothing but silence. "Hey, do you know Andrea?" he asked again when the woman dropped her sword and he moved a bit closer.

"Yep, she does," Merle admitted with a smirk on his face. "Her and blondie spent all winter cuddling up in the forest," he revealed. "Mhmm...yeah. My Nubian queen here had two pet walkers. No arms, cut off the jaws, kept them in chains. Kind of ironic now that I think about it..."

"Shut up Merle," Daryl growled out as his brother kept making the situation worse.

"Hey man, we snagged them out of the woods along with Kate and her girlfriend," Merle kept talking even after Daryl told him to shut up. "Andrea was close to dying."

"Is that why she's with him?" Maggie asked as she looked between the woman with a sword and Kate and Lucy.

"Yeah," Merle nodded in response to Maggie's words. "Snug as two little bugs. So what you gonna do now, Sheriff, huh?" he questioned as he looked at Rick. "Surrounded by a bunch of liars, thugs, and cowards."

Getting angry at Merle's antagonizing Rick turned to him briefly, "Shut up!"

Chuckling Merle shook his head at Rick's words, "Oh, man, look at this," he stated. "Pathetic! All these guns and no bullets in them."

"Merle, shut up!" Daryl growled again as he turned to face his brother.

"Shut up yourself!" Merle told him as he advanced towards him. "Bunch of pussies you roll.."

Zac who had been watching Merle move towards him as he advanced on Daryl and before he could even finish his sentence he knocked Merle over the head with his gun watching as the older Dixon fell down unconscious.

It was after he fell that Zac exchanged a silent look with Daryl before looking down at Merle, "Asshole," he gritted through his teeth knowing Merle indeed was one and he had been tired of Merle talking or maybe he was just tired of this whole situation and what Merle had revealed about Kate and the redhead whose name he now knew.

Lucy was Kate's girlfriend and he was pissed..pissed and confused because if Kate was here with Lucy then where was their baby?

And well he also felt slightly hypocritical because he had no reason to be pissed when he was keeping company with Beth and Kate had no clue on that.
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Avery made a face to herself as she stood in the main cell block a bit later that morning. She was holding Judith as she stood beside Beth who was getting a bottle ready as well as fixing her own breakfast and she moved up and down slightly to keep the baby from crying so she wouldn't disturb everyone or bother the new people that Carl had saved.

"You can take those stitches out yourself in a week," Hershel spoke as he looked at the man who he had finished stitching up.

Allen smiled at the man, "Thank you," he said being a bit genuine. "Pretty nice having medical training."

Hershel chuckled a bit at that, "It'll only get you so far," he said before looking down at his stump.

"You were bit?" Tyreese asked as he sat on a table eating some food. It was after his question that he watched the old man nod his head.

"How old is the baby?" Sasha asked as she stood up after finishing her food and she walked towards the woman who was holding the baby.

Hershel looked from Avery to Sasha as he gave a bittersweet smile, "Barely a week."

"To be honest, we never thought we'd see another baby," Sasha spoke honestly as she finally reached where the woman was and she smiled down at the baby in her arms. "Beautiful."

"Thanks," Avery answered as she smiled politely at the woman.

"How are you feeling?" Sasha asked knowing the woman had to be feeling a bit rough if she had given birth barely a week ago.

Avery gave Sasha a confused look as she shook her head, "She's not mine," she said realizing that she had been mistaken for Judith's mother and she was a bit unsettled mainly because Lori had died given birth and here she was with a baby inside of her that only two besides herself knew about.

"Where's the mother?" Sasha asked curiously though after she did she saw the woman's face fall and it was then that she knew. The mother had died. "I'm sorry."

Alice who had remained silent looked away after the baby and mother talk, her mind going to Kate and Kate's stillbirth. At least Kate had been lucky in one aspect even if she had lost her baby. She had made it through delivery okay.

"Man you people have been through the mill," Tyreese spoke after a few minutes of silence enveloped everyone.

"Haven't we all?" Hershel asked Tyreese as he raised an eyebrow. He knew by now everyone who was still alive had probably been through a lot.

"It's only getting worse out there," Tyreese mused as he shook his head. "Dead are everywhere and it's only making the living less like the living. You're the only decent folks we've come across."

Hershel kept his eyebrows raised at the man's words and he stood up, using his crutches to walk a bit closer to him, "You've been out there all this time?"

"Our neighbor Jerry, he was one of those survivalist nuts," Tyreese admitted as he laughed a bit. "Everybody on the block thought he was crazy, always preparing for the end of the world."

"Who knew?" Hershel questioned as he shook his head a smirk playing on his lips.

"Jerry knew," Tyreese continued as he went on with his story. "He had a bunker under his shed in the backyard. Sasha and I stayed there until we ran out of supplies. Allen and Ben were the first two people we ran into when we finally crawled up out of that hole around Jacksonville. Used to be a bunch of us, twenty-five at one point. Our camp was overrun six, seven weeks ago and then we met Alice a week or so ago on the road..she got lost from the people she was with," he sighed before looking over at Donna's body. "And...and Donna," he started wanting to say she she was Allen's wife and Ben's mom. "She, uh..."

Glenn looked down as he too stood from where he sat and he came to a stop beside Hershel, "We'll see that she has a proper burial," he said knowing they'd make sure Donna was buried properly.

"I appreciate you taking care of us," Tyreese smiled to both men. "For a while, we didn't know who we were dealing with."

"Neither did we," Glenn muttered a bit sarcastically. "We've had our problems with people."

"I must be the first brother in history to break into prison," Tyreese teased.

Axel who had heard that couldn't help but laugh, "Makes me the first white boy that didn't want to break out."

"Tyreese," Hershel spoke after things had fallen silent again. "Like I said, we have a much larger group. A close knit group, I wouldn't get too comfortable here."

"We wouldn't be a problem," Tyreese told the man honestly as he locked eyes with him.

Hershel shook his head as he broke eye contact with the man, "It's not up to me."

"Then who?" Tyreese asked wanting to know who would decide his group's fate.

At Tyreese's question Hershel went silent before turning his back and walking off.

"Please," Tyreese pleaded to the retreating man. "You can see what kind of people we are."
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"It won't work," Rick told Daryl as he had a meeting with his group about Merle. It was a meeting that excluded Michonne, Lucy, and Kate mainly because they hadn't been with them that long so they had no say regardless of current events.

"It's gotta," Daryl spoke determined that things had to work out with Merle going to the prison with them.

Zac sighed as he shook his head, "It'll stir things up."

"Look, the Governor is probably on the way to the prison right now," Daryl spoke as he shook his head. "Merle knows how he thinks and we could use the muscle."

"I'm not having him at the prison," Maggie spoke keeping her voice soft.

"Do you really want him sleeping in the same cell block as Avery and Beth?" Taylor questioned as he raised an eyebrow curiously.

Daryl made a face at Taylor's question, "He ain't a rapist," he muttered out feeling angry that he'd imply such a thing.

"Well, his buddy is," Taylor replied refusing to back down on his stance.

"They ain't buddies no more," Daryl told him feeling sure in that. "Not after last night."

"There's no way Merle's gonna live there without putting everyone at each others throat," Rick stated as he shook his head not seeing how any good could come from Merle being at the prison.

Daryl felt a bit of anger at Rick's words, "So you're gonna cut Merle loose and bring the last samurai and big red home with us?" he asked his tone harsh.

Rick went silent at Daryl's words, "Lucy...she's with Kate," he said as he looked at Zac. "We can't turn her or Kate away but Michonne, she's not coming back."

"She's not in a state to be on her own," Maggie defended knowing Michonne was still injured. "She did bring you guys to us."

"And then ditched us," Zac growled out angrily knowing Lucy had done the same but like Rick had made clear she was with Kate and he feared Kate wouldn't come back if she didn't and he wanted Kate to come back even if right now they hadn't even really spoken to each other.

He just wanted his wife back..or well whatever she was to him right now.

"At least let my dad stitch her up," Maggie spoke as she tried to get them to see reason in at least taking care of Michonne before setting her free to fend for herself.

"She's too unpredictable," Rick said knowing he couldn't trust Michonne.

"That's right," Daryl added in as he turned to look at Michonne briefly. "We don't know who she is but Merle, Merle's blood," he said as if that counted for something and to him it did.

Taylor shook his head no at that, "No, Merle is your blood," he corrected Daryl. "My blood, my family is standing right here," he said referring to Maggie, Zac, and Kate. "And waiting for us back at the prison and you're part of that family too," he admitted honestly.

"But he's not," Taylor reiterated as he turned to look at Merle. "He's not."

Daryl took in Taylor's words before shaking his head, "Man, ya'll don't know," he spoke before sighing. "Fine, we'll fend for yourselves," he said his tone going harsh again when things went silent.

"That's not what I was saying," Taylor spoke up knowing he didn't want Daryl to leave.

"No him, no me," Daryl told Taylor knowing things were as simple as that even if he did have Avery back at the prison. Merle was his blood and Avery was...she was someone he cared a lot for, someone who was his but she still wasn't blood and blood came first to him.

"Daryl, you don't have to do that," Maggie told the man honestly.

"It was always Merle and I before this," Daryl shrugged not seeing what the difference would be now.

"Don't," Maggie said trying to dissuade him not to leave.

"You serious?" Taylor asked not believing it was coming to this. "You're just gonna leave like that?"

Locking eyes with Taylor, Daryl glared slightly, "You'd do the same thing," he argued knowing if it was any of Taylor's siblings he'd do the same, he'd leave with them instead of stay with the group.

Zac who had been silent couldn't help but heave a sigh, "What do you want us to tell Avery?" he asked a bit bitterly as he brought up his sister, the woman who loved Daryl even if he was oblivious to it.

"She'll understand," Daryl told Zac though deep down he had a bit of doubt that she would. "Say goodbye to your pop for me," he nodded to Maggie before starting to walk off.

"Daryl, are you serious?!" Taylor called out as he watched helplessly as he left with Zac trailing behind him.

"There's got to be another way," Zac muttered when he caught up with Daryl.

Looking over at Zac, Daryl shook his head, "Don't ask me to leave him. I already did that once," he told the man as he kept walking.

"We started something last night," Rick called out from where he stood. "You realize that, huh?"

"No him, no me," Daryl still argued not changing his mind. "That's all I can say," he muttered before stopping briefly to look at Zac who was still walking beside him. "Take care of yourself Pippin," he nodded using the nickname he started calling Zac during the winter when Avery had told him about Zac's obsession with Lord of the Rings. "Take care of lil ass-kicker," he said as he turned to look back at Rick. "Carl, he's one tough kid," he told him before turning away and walking towards where Merle was in the woods.

"Daryl!" Zac called out as he just stood there watching Daryl walk away with Merle who seemed particularly giddy with this turn of events.

Rick shook his head slightly before walking to the car where Michonne was standing against it, "We patch you up and then you are gone."
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"Where'd they say we could bury her?" Tyreese asked as he helped Allen carry out Donna's dead body.

"Back of the field near the other graves," Alice answered as she walked beside Sasha, Ben following not too far behind.

Tyreese listened to Alice's words and the more he walked he felt Donna begin to drop, "Wait a minute, wait a minute," he spoke getting Allen's attention. "Losing my grip here," he stated as he bent down so he could lay the body down and pick her up again.

"Golden opportunity," Allen stated as he bent down beside Tyreese.

"For what?" Tyreese asked not knowing what Allen meant.

"Little kid and a woman," Allen spoke as he looked at the others before looking straight ahead at the gate where the woman who Sasha had thought was the baby's mom stood keeping watch with the kid who had found them. "Ask them for a hand, get a hold of those weapons," he continued seeing the glare Tyreese shot him. "What?! We do it quick, they'll never know what hit them."

"No," Tyreese muttered as he stood up and turned to look at Alice and Sasha who seemed just as shocked as he was. "Whoa, whoa," he spoke as he looked at Allen. "We're out here to bury Donna."

"And we will, after," Ben stated seeing where his dad was coming from.

Sasha shook her head as she looked away from Ben and Allen, "Shut up," she muttered under her breath.

"Look at this place," Allen argued as he stood up as well and looked around. "It's secure."

"These are good people," Alice told him as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Allen seemed to ignore the others as he kept talking, "This will be easy. A little kid, three women, a girl, a Korean man, and a one-legged old man."

"Don't forget about the convict," Ben reminded his dad.

"You gonna smash the baby's head with a rock?" Tyreese asked sarcastically feeling shocked at Ben and Allen's words.

"What is your problem?" Allen asked not sure why Tyreese was trying to argue with him over this.

"How about a little common decency?" Tyreese asked as if that should explain things. "This isn't what we do."

Allen rolled his eyes at Tyreese's words, "You're living in the past, Ty," he said before looking at Alice and Sasha. "So are you two. This is survival of the fittest, plain and simple. In here we live, out there we die and I am not waiting around for the rest of their group to roll in here and throw us out on our asses, not a chance."

"How do you know that's gonna happen?" Alice mused as she pursed her lips but before Allen could answer she watched as the blonde teenager and the convict brought out some shovels.

"Got some tools for you," Beth said as she came to a stop where the group who had came out here to bury their own stood.

"Yeah, we'll take it from here," Tyreese smiled as both he and Sasha moved to get the shovels and stuff the people had brought out. He knew neither of them trusted Allen or Ben right now.

Axel raised an eyebrow as he looked down at the dead body, "You don't need no help with the body?"

"No, we'll manage," Sasha told him quickly as she shot a look to Ben and Allen.

"Let us know if you need anything else," Beth told them as she gave them a smile before turning to walk away with Axel and as they walked off she could hear one of the people call out a thank you.
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Zac chewed on his lip as he sat in the back hatch of the car, choosing to stay in it as Rick, Maggie, and Taylor went to move the truck and tree branch that was blocking their path and he almost wished he was outside instead of inside because being inside he had to watch as Kate held onto Lucy's hand as if Lucy was her anchor, much like she had once done him.

"W..where's the baby?" Zac asked softly watching as Kate turned her head to look at him.

Chewing her lip Kate heaved a sigh at Zac's question, "Do we really have to do this now?" she asked him not wanting to have such private conversations with him in front of so many ears even if Lucy did know. Michonne didn't know.

"Why not?" Zac questioned as he shook his head. "Merle had no issue airing your and Lucy's relationship publicly."

"Yeah and I would have rather told you in private," Kate blushed knowing that wasn't how she had wanted Zac or Lucy to find out her connection to both of them but then again a part of her still found this whole situation so surreal. Being near the man she had thought dead for months, a man who she was sure in some ways she had moved on from, yet seeing him she had known she still loved him she just didn't know if she was in love with him.

"But you didn't get that chance," Zac stated as he locked eyes with his wife. "Just tell me where our baby is Katie," he pleaded feeling almost desperate. "Please."

Swallowing a lump in her throat Kate looked away from Zac and down to where her fingers were interlaced with Lucy's. "Our son...he was...he was stillborn," she admitted as she looked back up at Zac. "I named him Lennon. Lennon Zachary and he died before he was born," she whispered not wanting to tell him that their baby had turned in her arms or that Lucy had put the baby down.

Zac went silent at Kate's words not sure what to say right now, what did one say when they learned their baby died? It was a baby he hadn't ever known or held but he had loved that baby from the moment he had known it...the baby boy Kate had named Lennon was on the way and yet now it was gone.

It was like part of his nightmare was true when it came to all his fears about Kate and birth and somehow he was the reverse of Rick. Kate was here but their baby was gone and he had to process that, something Kate had more than likely had a while to do.

"I'm sorry," Kate told him sadly after he went silent and she could see on his face that he was hurting even if he hadn't spoken the words. Maybe he would in time or maybe he'd set with them for awhile. "I'm so sorry Zac."
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"Get the brakes," Rick told Taylor as they walked to the red truck blocking their car's path and as he started to lift the hood of the truck he watched as Taylor opened the door and a walker lunged at him. "I got it," he called out as he pulled his gun out but before he could shot Taylor had the walker on the ground where he kept bashing the walker's skull in with his shoe until it was nothing but a pulp.

After he had killed the walker Taylor moved away from it slightly, feeling tears wanting to come out and as he heard footsteps, he looked up to see Rick standing beside him. "You didn't kill him," he stated referring to the Governor still being alive.

"That's not why we went back," Rick said as he looked at Taylor almost confused at his words.

"No, that's right," Taylor muttered a bit sarcastically. "You went back for Daryl and now he's gone again and the Governor is still alive."

Rick still felt confused by Taylor's words and so he shook his head, "Daryl was the priority."

"I should have been there with you," Taylor sighed as he looked away from Rick.

"You were in no condition," Rick stated knowing Taylor would have more than likely died had he been with them.

"But my girlfriend was?!" Taylor yelled out as he turned to face Rick again.

Maggie stepped a bit closer to Taylor, "Taylor, this isn't about us," she said trying to calm him down.

"I should have been there," Taylor stated feeling angry at the situation.

"Hey, hey, you didn't come back with us 'cause you could barely walk," Rick told him not sure if he could get Taylor to see reason right now.

"What about her?" Taylor asked as he looked over at Maggie.

"What about me?" Maggie muttered feeling a bit offended at Taylor's words. "I'm standing right here!"

"Do you know what he did to her?!" Taylor yelled a bit louder, getting angry at what Maggie had been put through.

Maggie made a face at Taylor's words, "Leave it alone!" she yelled out not wanting to bring up that issue again and now Rick kept looking at her and she didn't like that. "Let's go," she spoke just wanting to get back to the prison.

"After all that effort, all that risk we took, Daryl just takes off with Merle?" Taylor questioned still feeling angry and now he was just going to bring up everything if he had too.

"Well, he had his reasons," Rick spoke as he looked away from Taylor.

Taylor rolled his eyes at that, "Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, Rick," he sighed softly. "Doesn't change the fact that we're up to our necks in shit."

"You want me to turn the car around, beg him to come back?" Rick asked as he eyed Taylor. "Throw down a welcome mat for Merle? This is the hand we've been dealt!" he told Taylor knowing he didn't like it much more than Taylor did.

Maggie who had stayed quiet, leaned her hands on the back hatch of the truck, "Let's just get this out of here and get back. Get some rest. We can talk it out there."

"No, you guys do all the talking you want. I'm done," Taylor stated as he walked back to the open door of the truck so he could mess with the brakes and move the vehicle.
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Milton who was standing outside the main building in Woodbury looked over when Andrea came out, "How many injured?" he asked her.

"Nine," Andrea answered as she walked over to Milton. "Stevens has it covered," she said thankful for the doctor. "So where is he?" she questioned referring to Phillip who it seemed was hiding away somewhere

"In his apartment," Milton told her as they both started to walk away from the building.

"And?" Andrea asked as she raised an eyebrow.

Milton shrugged his shoulders slightly, "He wouldn't open the door. Said he was in the middle of something," he explained as he lead Andrea to the main street where the citizens were all gathered around trying to get out and generally causing chaos. "It's all going to hell."

Andrea just stood beside Milton as she watched the chaos at the gates as people tried to escape but Martinez and Shumpert wouldn't let them out.

Running towards the crowd as the men took down some approaching biters Andrea was going to try her best to calm the situation, "Everybody stay calm."

"We can't stay here anymore," Karen argued as she looked at Andrea. "This place is crazy. Please, you have to let us go."

Andrea grabbed a hold of Karen's shoulder, "Karen, you don't want to go out there. It's too dangerous," she told the woman hearing someone say they'd take their chances.

As the chaos continued Andrea just walked amongst the people not understanding how everything could fall apart so fast or quick.

It was when Martinez came down from the gate and grabbed a man who had been honking his horn out of his car that Andrea once again stepped in.

"Don't hurt him," Andrea spoke as she got between Martinez and the man.

"I don't take orders from you," Martinez told Andrea as he shook his head.

"These people are scared. Shoving a gun in their face won't help," Andrea told Martinez not backing down from her argument.

"Where's the Governor?" Martinez asked Andrea watching as Milton came over and tried to say something but he int interrupted. "There's a riot out here."

"You're making things worse," Andrea told him honestly.

"I am?" Martinez asked at Andrea's accusations but before she could reply a scream was heard and both he and Andrea took off seeing a woman running from some walkers who had taken down a man and were biting him.

Reaching the walkers Andrea pulled her gun out as she and Martinez both fired, taking down two and one still feasted on the man and as she tried to fire and get it she realized she was out of bullets. Reloading the gun Andrea watched as the walker turned around and the moment it had she fired into it's head watching as it fell to the ground and then she just stood there looking at the bitten man who was still alive.

"Oh, my god," Karen exclaimed as she and the rest of the crowd finally made it up to where the man was at. "Help him," she muttered as she looked at Andrea. "Somebody, please?" she asked as she looked around at the people gathered behind her. "Help, do something."

Andrea still just stood there and as she turned back to the dying man she looked over briefly hearing footsteps and seeing Phillip coming out of his apartment though it was just long enough to put a bullet into the man's brain and walk away and Andrea heaved a sigh, still finding it hard to believe what Woodbury was coming too.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Nineteen

Avery leaned against the side of the guard tower as she waited with Carl at the main gates, a gun slung over her shoulder. "It's so quiet," she spoke knowing that it was quite today..almost too quiet. "It's easy to forget how loud the world used to be," she mused as she turned to look at Carl as she watched him pacing back and forth. "My mom used to complain about it all the time," she laughed as she thought of her mother. "Traffic, construction, car alarms, noise pollution. Oh, what I wouldn't give for the sweet sound of a jumbo jet," she said as she looked towards the empty sky, something that hadn't seen jumbo jets in a while.

"It'd be even sweeter if we were all on it," Carl laughed at the last bit of Avery's statement.

When things fell silent again, Avery shook her head as she looked over at Carl, "Your mom was proud of you."

"For what?" Carl asked honestly as he shook his head. "Being mean to her?"

"No, you can't think about that," Avery told him honestly knowing it wasn't best for him to hold onto those memories almost like how she couldn't hold onto what had happened to her by her father or the anger and resentment she held towards her mom because she was half sure her mom had to have known about the abuse she suffered.

Carl looked at Avery with a slight frown, "It's all I think about," he spoke though after he did he heard the sound of a car approaching. "Please be them," he muttered under his breath.

Seeing the approaching car Avery took off towards the main gate, "It's them," she muttered towards Carl as he too joined her. "Hurry," she said as they began to open the gate so the car could get in and after it was in she watched as Carl ran to open the other gate while she closed the one they had just opened.

Turning around after she had shut the gate Avery watched as Zac got out of the back hatch and Rick got out of the front, instructing someone inside to drive them up because he and Zac would meet them there.

As Rick went to go hug Carl, Avery walked past Zac and towards the car and as she looked in the windows she was thankful to see Taylor in there safe as well as Maggie and she was surprised to find Kate in the back and she turned to Zac with a confused face, "Kate's alive?" she questioned only seeing him nod his head and as the car drove up to the prison she watched him walk a bit closer. "Where's..where's Daryl?" she questioned as she locked eyes with her brother as she watched Rick and Carl walk off towards the prison.

"It's alright," Zac told her as he reached out to touch Avery's arm. "He's alive but we ran into his brother. They went off."

"He left?" Avery questioned as her voice wavered slightly and she felt herself becoming a bit nauseated though it wasn't the normal morning sickness kind. "Daryl left? He's gone?" she asked trying to process things. "Is he coming back?" she questioned as she pulled away from Zac feeling tears wanting to come out but she fought them off.

Frowning at his sister's reaction Zac reached out to touch her shoulder as he slowly lead her up to the prison, "He said you'd understand," he muttered as he shook his head.

Avery heard Zac's words as they paused briefly, long enough for Zac to shut the gate behind them.

"Yeah well I don't know if I do," Avery whispered as they began to walk away and deep down maybe she did understand. Merle was his brother..Merle was his blood but Avery had thought she meant something to him. Thought she had been something he wouldn't just walk away from and hell she carried something that had Daryl's blood inside of her even if he didn't know. "I love him Zac," she finally spoke as she moved over and leaned into Zac as she let her tears come out. "I never told him but I'm in love with him and I'm pregnant."

Zac who had heard the last of Avery's words softly sighed and he reached out to hold Avery to him, half wanting to kill Daryl, "You'll get through this Avie. We'll get through this."
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"What the hell was that?" Andrea asked as she followed Phillip back into his apartment. "You put a round in a man's head in front of all of those people and just take off? You have to talk to them."

"Why?" Phillip asked as he ignored Andrea's gaze.

"They're panicking," Andrea explained as she shook her head. "They were ready to charge through those gates."

"So let 'em," Phillip told her honestly not seeing why they should be stopped.

Pausing briefly at his words Andrea felt shocked at his reaction, "Those people won't last a day."

"Those people have had it easy," Phillip told her as he walked off and picked up the gun bag she had, had with her when she first came here. "Barbecues and picnics. That ends now."

"Don't blame them for the mess that you created," Andrea spoke not holding back right now on how she felt. "They're scared."

Laying the bag down on a table Phillip began to unzip it, "Well, I'm through holding their hands. We're at war. I should have seen that."

"So why was Daryl here?" Andrea asked as she walked towards the table, crossing her arms. "Was he part of the assault?" she asked not getting a response. "Why? Why would he do that?"

"He came for his friends," Phillip answered her honestly as he checked out all the guns in the bag. "The other people you know. Taylor and Maggie. Merle scooped them up on the run, was holding them to find out where his brother was."

Andrea felt shocked at Phillip's revelation, "My..my friends are still alive and we're shooting at each other?" she questioned as she sighed. "You're trying to execute them?"

"Your friends killed six good people," Phillip told Andrea as he finally looked at her. "Crowley, Tim, Gargulio, Eisenberg, Bob Adams...Haley," he said saving Haley for last because he knew Andrea was close to her since she had tried teaching her and Kate how to shoot a crossbow. "That man out there, Rich Foster, he makes seven so that's what your friends did."

"Why didn't you tell me they were here?" Andrea asked feeling a bit offended. "You kept them from me while we were..." she started but stopped knowing he'd get the hint. He had kept secrets from her while they were hooking up.

"You're just a visitor here. Just passing through," Phillip shrugged his shoulders not caring if he hurt her feelings right now. "So why should I tell you."

Glaring at Phillip, Andrea looked away from him, "Don't do that, don't drive me out," she told him her words a bit harsh. "Not now."

Before he could reply Phillip heard a knock on the door he had left open, "What is it?" he asked as he looked towards it to see Milton.

"The whole town is out on the street," Milton spoke as he eyed Phillip and Andrea. "It could get ugly again."
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Beth who had came outside upon hearing the group was back stopped in her tracks the moment she got outside, seeing Kate coming out of the car, her arm draped around the redhead who Rick had helped the other day and she couldn't help but feel like she was seeing a ghost or that this was her worst nightmare...she was glad Kate was alive but Kate being alive well she didn't know what that meant for her and Zac now.

"K..Kate?" Beth asked as she finally willed herself to move and she went a bit closer to the woman who quickly moved away from the redhead to look at her.

'Beth," Kate spoke as she smiled at the sight of the blonde who looked like she had lost all color upon seeing her. "Surprise," she muttered out as she walked a bit closer as well, meeting the girl in the middle.

"I wasn't expecting to see you," Beth said honestly as she pulled the woman into a hug realizing the woman wasn't pregnant. "Where's your baby?" she asked as they pulled away.

"The baby's gone," Zac's voice sounded from behind Kate and Beth moved to get a look at him and she frowned. "My son was born still born."

"Oh," Beth whispered as she looked down briefly before going to Zac and pulling him into a hug as well because it was second nature, comforting him. "I'm so sorry," she said honestly.

Avery who moved away from Zac and Beth, walked to Kate having heard what Zac said and it was another reason for her to be worried about her own pregnancy.

"I'm sorry about the baby," Avery told Kate as she tried her best to smile.

"I've had time to adjust," Kate told her as she looked over at Zac who was still with Beth even though they weren't hugging and it was then that it hit her, why Beth had paled upon seeing her. Beth and Zac were together much like she had been or was still with Lucy.

Hearing Avery speaking something about getting them inside the prison, Kate came out of her thoughts and she nodded her head following behind Avery silently as they headed inside the prison and it was as they walked through that both she and Lucy came to a stop when they heard someone saying their name.

"Alice!" Lucy exclaimed as she ran over to the brunette who was standing next to a group of people that she had never met. "I..I thought you were dead," she spoke as she hugged the woman and it was as they hugged that she realized maybe she shouldn't have thought that, not after today with Zac and Kate..something that had shocked her..still shocked her.

"For awhile I thought I was too," Alice giggled as she pulled away and looked at the people around her. "But then this group saved me and we found our way here today. We're waiting for the person who's in charge of this prison to decide if we can stay or not."

Lucy chewed her lip briefly thinking of what she knew and had seen of Rick, "I'm sure he'll agree," she nodded hoping he did because this was the perfect place and she didn't want to lose Alice again after just finding her. "I'll keep my fingers crossed," she said before walking back to Kate who had stayed behind to give her time with Alice.

"You didn't want to say hi?" Lucy questioned as she walked beside Kate as they headed towards the cell blocks where Avery who had also waited told them they could pick any cell they wanted that wasn't already taken.

"Guess I'm just tired of seeing ghosts today," Kate answered as she sighed, watching Avery walk off after she had told them what to do about the cells. "My husband...his family...now Alice. I don't know what's happening but everything feels so surreal and complicated right now...even us."

Lucy wanted to protest at that and tell Kate she was crazy but she knew she couldn't because she Kate had a point. Things were complicated for them right now because she didn't know where they stood now that Kate knew her husband was alive.
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Zac swallowed hard as he looked at Beth after Kate and Lucy had went inside, "I never expected to see my wife again," he told her as he shook his head. "Never expected her to be alive."

"But she is and you did," Beth stated as she looked down at the pavement.

"Yeah," Zac nodded as he ran a hand through his hair. "And she has a girlfriend...the redhead her name is Lucy and she's dating my wife...was dating my wife..I don't what they are anymore, I don't even know what Kate and I are anymore."

Beth frowned and she wanted to comfort Zac again, wanted to just take him somewhere and hold him or kiss him or somehow just magically make this all better but she couldn't. Zac just had to feel things on his own.

"Do you know what we are?" Beth questioned as she locked eyes with him and as he shook his head no she swore she felt her heartbreak even if she had expected it. "I should head inside," she stated as she looked away from Zac. "See if Judith is up and if she is let Rick see her when he comes inside," she said as she turned to see him talking to her father, figuring that her father was probably telling him about the new group that Carl had saved today.

Zac wanted to say something to Beth..say anything to her because it was apparent he had hurt her, but he didn't, he remained silent because he didn't have nothing to say, not when he was just as hurt for different reasons and instead he walked behind her as she headed into the prison, his gaze only going over as he briefly looked at a group of people he hadn't seen before but he didn't question it and instead he just went to the cell block wanting to go to his cell and have a few moments of peace.
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Carl who was seated on the tables looking at the people he saved, stood up as he saw his dad come through followed by Hershel and when his dad just gave the group a brief look before walking past them Carl moved to run beside him, closing the door once they were all secure behind the cell block gate.

"Not exactly a chatterbox, is he?" Allen asked a bit sarcastically as he looked at Tyreese.

"Be patient," Tyreese told the man. "When he's ready, let me do the talking," he spoke knowing he sure as heck didn't trust Allen to do the talking.
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Beth who had went up to where Judith's makeshift crib was, slowly came down the stairs with the baby in her arms as she saw Rick approaching and as she walked closer, handing the baby to the man she smiled, "She kind of has Lori's eyes," she stated watching Rick with his child. "Don't you think?"

Rick who held Judith just studied his daughter and he couldn't help but feel himself slipping again wanting to go off into that daze but he had to hold it together, had to be strong, the leader this group needed.
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Milton who walked outside with Andrea, sighed as they walked towards the group gathered around, "If I could have everyone's attention," he spoke up though people kept talking. "Everyone," he tried again still getting nowhere.

"All right, everybody shut up!" Martinez called out as he saw Milton and Andrea in the crowd.

"Thank you," Milton said as he looked down briefly. "The biters on the perimeter have been dispatched. The fences have been repaired."

"For now," Karen muttered sarcastically. "Where's the Governor?"

Milton sighed as he heard the people start to mutter in unison wondering where Phillip was, "His condition is unsteady. The wound he suffered..."

"Our friends were killed, man," a man tried to argue with Milton.

"He shot Richard," Karen added on to the argument. "I mean we've all suffered. We want answers."

"You're right, Karen," Andrea stated as she shook her head in agreement. "You're right. Every one of us has suffered. We don't even have funerals anymore because the death never stops," she spoke as she looked around her at everyone. "We're never gonna be the same...ever. So what do we do? We dig deep and we find the strength to carry on," she said trying to rebuild these people's morale. "We work together and we rebuild. Not just the fences, the gates, the community, but ourselves. Our hearts, our minds..and years from now, when they write about this plague in the history books, they will write about Woodbury," she smiled hearing the people start to agree with her. "We persevered," she finished as she saw the people calm down around her even more as they began to disperse.

It was as they dispersed that she looked up towards Phillip's apartment, seeing him standing and looked out of his open blinds.
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"You've got a knack for that," Carol smiled as she stood at the top of the stairs with Avery as Beth came up the stairs holding Judith who she had just gotten to stop crying.

"Just trying to do my part," Beth told Carol as she walked up the stairs looking at both Avery and Carol who had been fixing up Judith's makeshift bed.

"Sophia used to wake the neighbors," Carol spoke as she looked down. "Three am like clockwork. Ed stayed at a friend's most nights till she calmed down."

Beth smiled at Carol's words, "I always wanted a child," she admitted as she looked down at Judith who was now probably the closest she'd come to having one. "She wouldn't have made it if Daryl hadn't been here," she told the woman knowing she hadn't been here for that. "He couldn't stand to lose anyone else."

"Sounds like him," Carol said as she looked up at Beth.

"I don't see why he had to leave," Beth stated not sure why Daryl would do it...just leave them but at least thinking of that kept her mind off her Zac issues. "Merle sounds like a jerk."

Avery rolled her eyes at Beth's comment wanting to tell her Merle was more than just a jerk but she didn't, she stayed silent and stewed in her anger over Daryl leaving.

"Men like Merle get into your head," Carol told Beth though her eyes trained in on Avery who was on her other side. "Make you feel like you deserve the abuse."

Feeling Carol's eyes on her Avery turned to look at the woman and she hated to admit it but she knew the woman had a point. She had been there too with her own dad.

"Even for Daryl?" Beth asked curiously even though she could sense a tension between Avery and Carol.

"I'm hardly the woman I was a year ago but if Ed walked through that door right now breathing and told me to go with him, I'd like to think I'd tell him to go to hell," Carol stated as she looked away from Avery.

"You would," Beth told her confidently.

Carol shook her head at that, "It doesn't matter."

"We're weak without him," Beth argued as she began to move Judith in her arms as the baby began to get fussy in her arms.

"We'll get through this, too," Carol spoke as she moved to get the sheet that was drying over the railing. "Tyreese and his friends seem capable," she said as she came back and put the sheet into the makeshift crib.

"I'm pissed at him for leaving," Beth told Carol honestly.

"Don't be," Avery finally spoke up as she locked eyes with Beth. "Daryl has his code. The world needs men like that," she muttered out softly not sure if she believed her own words but in a way she did understand his reasoning.

Carol smiled at Avery after she spoke up and slowly she took Judith from Beth putting her in the makeshift crib that had once been a mail crate. "She fits perfect," she smiled down at the baby girl who just cooed. "You cozy in there?" she asked her eyes catching the words Daryl had written on the mail crate. It said Lil Ass-kicker.
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Hershel sat in the cell he shared with Beth though right now Beth wasn't in here. Taylor was and he was patching the man up and cleaning him up as best as he could, "You got worked over good. Surprised no bones were broken."

"It's courtesy of Daryl's brother," Taylor stated harshly as he watched Hershel move to sit down beside him on the bed.

"You two alright?" Hershel asked referring to his daughter in the cell over. "Thanks for looking out for her," he smiled slightly. "If anything..." he started but stopped himself as he stood up. "I'll go check on her. You need something else?" he asked as he made it to the door seeing Taylor shake his head no. "Okay. Same thing goes for you. If anything worse than this had happened to you....you're like my own son, Taylor," he sighed before heading to the cell where Maggie was.

"You got something needs looking at?" Hershel asked as he made it to Maggie's cell door where he watched her cleaning her arms off.

"Is Taylor all right?" Maggie asked softly as she looked up at her father.

Going into Maggie's cell, Hershel sat down beside her, "Go see," he told her honestly though she made no effort to move. "You two seem to be holding something back. You want to tell me what happened?" he asked though he got no response. "I rest easy knowing you can handle yourself," he smiled at her. "You've got your mother's spirit and her stubbornness," he nodded as he fell silent for a bit. "You hungry."

"No," Maggie said as she shook her head knowing she didn't have much of an appetite.

"Hey, don't disappear on me," Hershel spoke when Maggie finally locked eyes with him.
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Rick sighed as he stood outside the cell Michonne was sleeping in and he watched as Hershel checked her out, surprised that she was sleeping because right now she seemed to be the only one who was sleeping tonight. Everyone else was all gathered about in the cell block area just sitting around or even sitting in their cells.

"She's out like a light," Hershel spoke as he turned to look back at Rick. "Must be days since she slept. You look pretty shot yourself."

"How long before she can travel?" Rick asked as he watched Hershel stand up and walk over to him.

"Have to keep an eye on her," Hershel revealed as he made it to where Rick was. "Pretty sure she has a concussion, couple of days if she's up."

At Hershel's words Rick went silent as he walked away from the cell after shutting the door once Hershel had stepped out. After he had done that he walked to the front of the cell block where Axel was talking to Carol.

"Whenever Tomas went off, Oscar always stood up for me," Axel sighed knowing he missed the man. "He was my friend."

"He went out fighting," Rick spoke as he came to a stop in front of Axel, hoping that information consoled him some.

"So, what now?" Jessica asked curiously as she walked closer to where Rick was. "You think the Governor will retaliate?"

"Yes," Maggie answered as she came out of her cell.

"Let him try," Taylor muttered out in response to Maggie's answer.

Avery shook her head as she crossed her arms over chest, "Sounds like he's got a whole town. We're outnumbered and outgunned. We could use some reinforcements," she spoke as she looked through the cell bars at Tyreese's group.

Rick went silent at Avery's words as he contemplated them over in his head.
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Tyreese who had been sitting silently at the tables looked up when he heard the gate open and when he saw the group whose prison this was come out, he stood up holding his hand out to the man who was in charge, "I'm Tyreese," he said though a silence enveloped as the man never took his hand and said anything so he put his own hand down.

"Sasha, Alice, Allen, Ben," Hershel told Rick as he used his crutch to point at the other members.

"How'd you get in?" Rick asked as he looked at Tyreese, keeping his emotions in control as best he could.

"Fire damage to the administrative part of the prison. Walls down," Tyreese said as he answered the man's question honestly.

Rick took in Tyreese's answer before speaking. "That side's completely overrun with walkers. How'd you get this far?"

"We didn't," Tyreese said as he shook his head. "We lost our friend Donna."

"They were lost in the tombs," Carl spoke up softly from where he stood behind his dad.

At Carl's words Rick turned to look at his son, "You brought them here?"

"He had no choice," Hershel told Rick knowing Carl had no other option than to bring them here.

Rick nodded his head for a bit before speaking again, "I'm sorry about your friend, we know what that's like."

"Hershel said you could use some extra hands. We're no stranger to hard work," Tyreese spoke as he looked between his group members. "We'll go out and get our own food, stay out of your hair. You got a problem with another group, we'll help with that too. Anything to contribute."

"No," Rick muttered as he turned to look away from Tyreese.

"Please," Alice pleaded as she looked at the man. "It's like ten little Indians out there. It's just us now."

"No," Rick stated again as he shook his head.

Zac sighed at Rick's insistence on not letting the group in, "Let's talk about this," he said as he stepped towards Rick some. "We can't just keep..."

"We've been through this," Rick spoke as he turned to look at Zac. "With Tomas and Andrew. Look what happened."

"Axel and Oscar weren't like them," Zac reminded Rick as they locked eyes.

"And where's Oscar now?" Rick asked Zac honestly as he shook his head. "I can't be responsible."

"You turn us out, you are responsible," Tyreese spoke as he looked at the man when the man turned to face him again.

"Rick," Hershel stated as he moved closer to Rick. "You've done so much for us. I appreciate that, we all do. We owe you our lives. We've done everything you asked without question and I'm telling you, you're wrong on this. You've got to start giving people a chance."

Rick sighed as he took in Hershel's words and as he did he looked at the group of his people around him before patting Hershel on the back and as he turned to look at the catwalk he felt his heartbeat get faster as he saw what looked like Lori in the shadows.

"No," Rick muttered as he looked down shaking his head as he kept repeating the word and as he looked back up he saw that Lori was still there. "What do you want from me?!" he yelled out as he started to pace the room.

"Dad?" Carl asked confused as he watched his dad.

Alice stood rooted in place as she watched the man clearly become unhinged as he paced back forth beginning to yell for them to leave as his own group tried to calm him though when he pulled out a gun while continuing yelling for them to get out everyone backed away as if they were scared of Rick.

"We'll leave," Tyreese spoke to Rick as he shook his head. "Ain't nobody got to get shot here," he stated as he slowly backed away his group following. "We're going," he stated as Rick continued to yell for them to go.

As Rick continued to progress Glenn walked over putting a block between him and Tyreese's group, "Just go! Go! Go!" he yelled watching as the group left.

Zac who had pulled Beth back during Rick's outburst just stood there stunned as he watched Tyreese's group retreat and he sighed knowing now if the Governor did attack they were probably screwed.

Looking around the room he caught Kate's eye before seeing her look down at where his hand rested on Beth's back and he again sighed not sure why he felt a bit guilty for protecting Beth and now comforting her in front of his wife, hell Kate had her hand on Lucy's back soothing her as she seemed upset with the outcome of Rick's words though he didn't really know why it affected Lucy so much if Rick sent the group away.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty

The next morning Kate woke up in the cell she had picked, a cell that was just hers though Lucy had offered to share with her and Zac well he hadn't offered, she didn't know if she even expected him too because he was with Beth after all, even if he hadn't stated it she had guessed as much from the clues.

"You sleep okay?" a voice asked and Kate slowly moved from the bottom bunk to find Zac standing at her cell door. "The beds can be a bit rough and stuff."

Kate nodded her head slightly as she eyed Zac, "How did you know I was awake?" she questioned as she stretched a bit before walking to where he was.

"You stopped snoring," Zac spoke as he gave Kate an apprehensive smile. "Lucy is up and eating breakfast if you want to join her," he revealed not sure if he should have. Was it okay to tell his wife or ex-wife that her mistress or girlfriend was up?

"Okay," Kate said as she looked away from Zac feeling a bit of tension between them, tension that had never been there before. "I am hungry but..I mean I'm not going to eat just because Luce is there," she said as she stepped out of her cell not sure why she was defending herself right now. "I do depend on food to survive so..."

"Yeah..." Zac said as he turned to walk away once Kate had left her cell and as she followed behind him he couldn't help but wonder if things were always going to be this awkward between them. "You know I love you, right Katie?"

Hearing Zac, Kate looked over at him as she smiled though she wasn't sure it was genuine, "I love you too Zachary," she replied before looking away and they continued their walk in silence though even with declarations of love there was still tension and neither had said they were in love with each other, just that they loved each other and Kate was sure there was a difference between love and being in love.
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Rick who was outside, standing on the prison's gate covered walkway, looked out over everything with his binoculars, watching as Michonne came out of the overturned bus and he wasn't sure if she had chosen to sleep there or what and to be honest he wasn't sure he really cared either way.

After watching her briefly he scanned the yard again, only stopping when he noticed a figure at the gate by the graves, a figure that he knew well. His wife in a white dress.

Putting the binoculars down Rick reached for the rifle which he slung over his shoulders before going down the stairs quickly and making his way towards the graves and to Lori, though it was only when he was just a step away from her grave that he saw her disappear and he turned, looking around him confused, because where had she gone too?

Turning his head he looked down towards the lower gate, the outside gate and once again he spotted Lori standing there in her white dress and as she moved to walk away, Rick took off running, wanting to get to her.

Michonne who was still in the prison yard, watched curiously as she saw Rick run right past her and out one of the gates which he left open and she moved to close it, keeping her eye on the man.

Rick who had finally made it outside walked towards the small bridge where Lori stood and as he reached it, he made it his way towards her, seeing her turn to face him and hold out her hand, a hand she rested on his cheek when he did finally reach her and he closed his eyes at the familiar touch, a touch he missed.

Michonne raised an eyebrow as she moved away from the gate, moving to a place where she could see Rick better and again she watched him in curiosity as he just came to a stop on a bridge and it was then she wasn't sure he was exactly all there but then again she wasn't sure she could blame him either.
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Hearing a knock on her door as she sat in her apartment the next morning, Andrea hesitated briefly before standing and going to get it.

The moment the door was open though she almost regretted it as she came face to face with Phillip, not sure if she was going to get moody him or nice him.

"May I?" Phillip asked keeping his voice soft as he looked at Andrea after she had opened the door. It was only after she had looked down but moved away from the door that he walked in, feeling that she was okay with him being there. "That was uh...that was quite a speech you gave," he told her knowing he had been impressed with what she had said yesterday to the people here. "Exactly what these people needed to hear."

"What about the prison?" Andrea exhaled a sigh as she crossed her arms over her chest, wondering what he was going to do about that.

Phillip looked away from Andrea as he shook his head, "As long as they leave us alone, we have no problem."

"So no retaliation?" Andrea questioned not sure if she believed his words.

"No," Phillip stated as he looked back at Andrea. "What would that get us?"

"I need to go see them," Andrea said knowing she had to go and see her friends, maybe she could tell them what Phillip had said or work something out.

"I thought this place could be something else, you know?" Phillip continued as he ignored Andrea's words. "Something better. I wasn't up to the challenge and i screwed it up. I've done some terrible things," he sighed as he walked around her bed to a dresser which he leaned against. "I'm not fit to lead these people, but you are. They don't need to be terrorized, certainly not by their own leader."

Andrea raised an eyebrow at Phillip's words, "So you're abdicating?" she questioned still feeling wary of him.

"You know, I really believed if I kept her alive long enough, Milton would find a..." Phillip sighed as his mind went to Penny. "I just need time...to get myself together."

"So you want me to fill in for you?" Andrea asked as she locked eyes with Phillip.

"Who else can? Milton? Martinez?" Phillip questioned knowing he didn't find them competent. "If you choose your friends in the prison, I'd understand but these people need you," he said hoping to get under her skin. "I...we need you," he muttered as he walked closer to her and he paused in front of her for a bit before walking out of her room.

Standing there as Phillip left Andrea chewed her lip as she tried to decide what to do, where her loyalties lay.
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"You feeling okay?" Jessica asked as she entered Avery's cell where her sister sat on the floor, staring off at the wall. It seemed right now out of all of her siblings that Jessica was the only one not having some sort of life crisis, minus her being envious of how strong Avery always seemed though in retrospect right now that wasn't big compared to Kate returning to Zac who had just found out his baby was dead and that Kate had moved on with another woman and Jessica wasn't sure what had happened to Taylor and Maggie but Taylor was acting weird as well and Avery, even as strong as she was she was pregnant and Daryl had left her for Merle who apparently even with a missing hand had survived.

Avery made a face at Jessica's words, "I just hurled my breakfast back up, I'm pretty sure I'm not feeling so well this morning thanks to my little Dixon spawn."

Laughing slightly Jessica sat down beside Avery, "Well I meant with Daryl being gone. I did hear you throwing up so I figured that made you feel like shit."

Avery sighed loudly as Jessica spoke, "He's gone, how am I supposed to feel?" she asked rather harshly before shaking her head. "I mean I get it, I get why he left with Merle but that doesn't help the fact that it hurts that he left me. I thought I meant something to him but I guess I was wrong huh?" she asked as her voice wavered. "I meant nothing and now he's gone and I'm having his baby and I'm alone and pissed off..so fucking pissed."

Jessica frowned before letting her arm go around her sister's shoulder, "I'm sorry," she apologized though she knew her words wouldn't bring Daryl back or change Avery's feelings.

Again Avery sighed and she rested her head on Jessica's shoulder, "How are you handling things?"

"What do you mean?" Jessica asked feeling a bit confused.

"I mean knowing Merle is alive," Avery explained knowing most of her anger and being pissed off was directed towards Merle. "You were with him for a bit at the start of all of this. Isn't it affecting you or even Glenn?" she asked wondering if Glenn was scared about Merle being alive though in a way maybe neither cared because Merle wasn't here and why would Jessica care if the man she had been with wasn't around? Why would Glenn possibly fret if Merle wasn't here to try worming his way back into Jessica's pants?

Nah maybe Jessica and Glenn got it easy.

"I guess I haven't given it much thought," Jessica answered as she chewed her lip, though now that Avery had put it out there she let her mind wander to possibilities of what could've happened if Merle had came back to the prison.
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Daryl put down the crossbow he had, had raised as he turned to look at Merle, "There ain't nothing out here but mosquitoes and ants."

"Patience, little brother," Merle spoke as he stood in his spot and looked around at his surroundings. "Sooner or later, a squirrel is bound to scurry across your path."

"Even so, that ain't much food," Daryl shot back as he leaned against a tree.

"More than nothing," Merle shrugged almost nonchalant.

Daryl sighed softly as he raised his crossbow up again slightly, "I'd have better luck going through one of them houses we passed back on the turn off."

"Is that what your new friends taught you? Hmm?" Merle questioned as he turned to face Daryl, slowly walking towards him. "How to loot for booty?"

Going silent at Merle's words Daryl kept his gaze off his brothers, "We've been at it for hours. Why don't we find a stream, try to look for some fish."

"I think you're just trying to lead me back to the road, get me over to that prison," Merle mused as he watched Daryl put his crossbow down again.

"They got shelter," Daryl spoke as he thought of the prison, trying to keep his mind off of Avery who he had left behind there. "Food. A pot to piss in, might not be a bad idea," he said hoping that somehow maybe Merle would come around.

Merle half wanted to laugh at Daryl's words, "For you maybe. Ain't gonna be no damn party for me."

"Everyone will get used to each other," Daryl spoke knowing there had to be a way they could make it work, get along peacefully.

"They're all dead, "Merle stated as he shook his head. "Makes no difference."

"How can you be so sure?" Daryl questioned and this time his mind automatically went to Avery, not wanting her dead because if she were dead it would kill him.

"Right about now he's probably hosting a housewarming party where he's gonna bury what's left of your pals," Merle spoke as Daryl turned to look at him and he finished up making the fishing hook he had made. "Let's hook some fish. Come on."

Going silent at Merle's words Daryl stood there as he contemplated what his brother said, still not wanting Avery dead. There was no way she was dead, she had to be alive.

Shaking his head he came out of his thoughts and eventually followed behind Merle.
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"Now you said you found Tyreese's group here?" Taylor asked curiously as he bent down beside Glenn who had just drown in sidewalk chalk a layout to the prison and Taylor pointed to the part where Carl had said he found the group he had brought in.

"Yeah," Carl nodded his head as he looked at where Taylor was pointing.

"We secured this," Taylor stated knowing they had made sure it was secure.

"He thought he came through here," Carl spoke as he pointed to the place where Tyreese said he thought he came through at and traced the way he had traveled.

Taylor sighed at Carl's revelation, "Means there's another breach," he said as he tried to gather his thoughts. "Okay, the whole front of the prison is unsecured. If walkers just strolled in, then it's gonna be cake for a group of armed men."

"Why are we even so sure he's going to attack?" Beth asked as she crossed her arms over her chest. "Maybe you scared him off."

"He had fish tanks full of heads," Michonne spoke up as everyone who was in the main cell area turned to look at her. "Walkers and humans. Trophies. He's coming."

"We should hit him now," Taylor said as he looked at Michonne.

"What?" Beth asked feeling a bit panicked.

Taylor turned to look at Beth, "He won't be expecting it. We'll sneak back in and put a bullet in his head."

Zac raised an eyebrow as he listened to Taylor and he shook his head, "We're not assassins."

"You know where his apartment is," Taylor said as he stood up and looked at Michonne, feeling a bit agitated that no one seemed on board with this plan. "You and I could end this tonight," he said as he watched Michonne hesitate. "I'll do it myself," he spoke which finally got her to pause before she nodded in agreement.

"Okay," Taylor said as he walked away from Michonne.

"He didn't know you were coming last time and look what happened," Hershel said as he watched Taylor. "You were almost killed. Daryl was captured and you and Maggie were almost executed."

Shaking his head Taylor ignored Hershel's words, "You can't stop me."

"Rick would never allow this," Hershel told Taylor knowing Rick would be against this.

"You really think he's in any position to make that choice?" Taylor asked a bit harshly knowing right now Rick didn't seem all sane.

"Think this through clearly," Hershel muttered as he locked eyes with Taylor. "T-Dog lost his life here. Lori too. The men that were here. It isn't worth any more killing," he sighed as he watched Taylor look away from him. "What are we waiting for? If he's really on his way, we should be out of here by now?"

Taylor turned back to Hershel, "And go where?" he asked again harshly.

"We lived on the road all winter," Hershel said as he kept his eyes trained on Taylor.

"Back when you had two legs and we didn't have a baby crying for walkers every four hours," Taylor countered knowing things had changed.

"We can't stay here," Hershel countered against Taylor's words.

"We can't run," Taylor muttered knowing they couldn't just leave the prison.

It was after he spoke those words that he watched Maggie look at him briefly before she turned and left the room, heading down into the cell block and he swallowed hard, knowing he had upset her.

"All right, we'll stay put," Taylor sighed feeling a bit defeated but not too much. "We're gonna defend this place. We're making a stand. Zac, you and I will go down to the tombs, we need to figure out where the breach is."

Giving Taylor an uneasy look Zac ran a hand through his hair but finally nodded, "You got it," he replied knowing he'd help his brother regardless of feeling uneasy about it.

"You'll need some help," Michonne said as she looked down at Taylor.

"No," Taylor told Michonne as he shook his head. "In case anything happens, I need you out here," he said as he looked around realizing that all of their group members, minus Rick were gathered around in here right now. "Who's on watch?" he asked a bit frustrated.

Not getting a response, he shook his head and walked off, "Damn it," he muttered under his breath.
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Phillip looked around as he entered Milton's lab, walking to where the man sat in front of a stereo playing some sort of weird noise or sound as he just sat there completely oblivious to his presence in the room. A fact that made Phillip get something out of his pocket and throw it on the table which seemed to jolt Milton out of whatever state he was in.

"Alpha waves," Milton explained as he turned to look up at Phillip. "I was trying to induce a meditative state. I've been having trouble...." he started but shook his head as he saw the look Phillip was giving him. "Your battery, it's over here," he said before standing from the chair he had been sitting in and walking to where the battery was.

As Milton went to get his battery Phillip sat down in the chair Milton had been sitting in previously, "You've been invaluable," he said to the man. "Do you intend to stay?"

"Leavings never crossed my mind," Milton said as he turned to look at Phillip fully, surprised that the man had even asked that.

"Good," Phillip nodded a smile on his lips. "Cause I count on you...and not just for your...expertise," he said as he looked around the lab. "But I consider you a friend."

"I...thank you," Milton replied being a bit taken aback and in shock. "I feel...me too."

"I counted on Merle as well," Phillip spoke his voice going a bit harsh as he thought of Merle, the man who had betrayed him. "Martinez, he's a good soldier. He'd take a bullet if I needed him to. Would you?"

Milton watched as Phillip stood up after asking that and he nodded his head slowly, "I would," he said feeling a bit small with Phillip right in front of him. "Yes," he said again hoping to sound more firm but he failed.

"And Andrea? I'm not sure where her loyalties lie," Phillip sighed going against everything he had told Andrea earlier today.

"I can see how her previous affiliation with Merle, no matter how contentious it was, could cause doubt," Milton agreed though after he did his mind went to Kate, someone who had left Woodbury with the people who had attacked them. She was still someone he considered a friend though he doubted Phillip knew that.

Phillip paused briefly as he locked eyes with Milton, "You keep tabs on her for me," he said wanting Milton to tell him if Andrea did anything suspicious.

"Of course," Milton nodded in response to that request and it was after that he watched as Phillip turned to leave.
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Kate who had finished putting sheets on her bed, something that Carol had given her after breakfast turned when she heard someone clearing their throat and when she did she smiled at the sight of Lucy at her cell door.

Giving Kate a smile, Lucy slowly walked into Kate's cell, "These aren't so spacious are they?"

"Not really," Kate laughed as she shook her head. "But at least it's shelter."

"Guess you have a point there," Lucy said before looking down at the floor. "So...you still love your husband?" she asked not sure why she went with that. She had wanted to thank Kate for comforting her after Alice left with Tyreese's group and she had wanted to say she missed Kate sleeping beside her but instead somehow she had revealed the conversation she had unintentionally overheard this morning.

"I was going to come and get you for breakfast but then I heard you talking and so I waited by the door at the entrance of the cell block," Lucy explained as she still avoided Kate's gaze. "I heard you and Zac saying that you loved each other."

Kate swallowed hard at Lucy's words, "We did," she nodded in confirmation which made Lucy look back up and she frowned at how scared Lucy looked. "We love each other but I'm not sure I'm in love with him nor do I know if he is in love with me. It's not like we've had time to talk it out I don't know when we will."

"And you're going to sleep in here by yourself until you do?" Lucy asked almost feeling like she wanted to cry because she was scared of losing Kate. She was in love with Kate and as selfish as it was she didn't want to lose her to her husband.

"I figure it's for the best," Kate answered as she nodded her head. "I mean Zac's alive...should I...do I cheat on him right in front of him?" she asked not sure how to handle this situation.

Lucy heaved a sigh as she ran a hand through her hair, "Is it even cheating if you aren't sure you are in love with him?" she asked before leaving the cell and heading outside. She just needed some fresh air and to think.
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Andrea who was walking around Woodbury, walked towards the gate not seeing Martinez up there standing guard like he usually did.

"Where's Martinez?" she asked as she looked up at the people, having to hold her arm in front of her eyes to keep the sun out of them.

"I don't know," Karen answered as she turned to face Andrea.

Andrea raised an eyebrow at that, "Did you see him leave?"

"Yeah," Karen nodded her head as she looked down at Andrea.

"Who was he with?" Andrea asked as she continued her questioning.

Seeing Karen hesitate Andrea put her arm down as she kept her gaze on Karen. "Karen, it's okay. You can tell me."

"I don't know anything," Karen answered as she turned away from Andrea, refusing to say a word.

Once Karen had turned away Andrea shook her head and walked off soon spotting Milton as he came out of a building, "Milton!" she called out though the man kept walking. "Milton, stop!" she called out again this time watching as he did so and she walked the rest of the way to where he was.

"You startled me," Milton chuckled as he did his best to play dumb with Andrea.

"Where is he?" Andrea asked deciding to just cut to the chase.

"Where's who?" Milton asked still playing dumb as he looked down at his watch, trying to avoid her gaze.

"The Governor," Andrea muttered getting a bit fed up at the way people were acting right now.

Milton looked up as he gave her a confused face, "He's out on a run?"

"Is that an answer or a question?" Andrea asked not sure why he sounded as if he was asking her that.

"I'm not sure.." Milton started but then stopped himself. "Where he is..I mean. Not whether it was a question or an answer. It was an answer."

"A run meaning what specifically?" Andrea asked as she put a hand on her hip.

Milton shrugged as he gave Andrea a weak smile, "Supplies would be a safe bet. We were wiped out."

Getting even more fed up Andrea shook her head, "Milton, I want you to give me a specific answer to a specific question. Where's the Governor?"

"On a run?" Milton spoke though again it came out like a question and he hated this, feeling cornered. "You know, I bet he'll be back soon. I'm sure he's okay, if that's what you're worried about."

Rolling her eyes Andrea just walked past Milton not sure why things seemed really shady right now.
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Beth who stood watch at the cell door moved quickly to open it when she saw Taylor and Zac coming back from their search on where the breach was.

"The tombs outside the boiler room are overrun," Taylor spoke after Beth had opened the door and he stepped out.

"That whole section had been cleared," Beth said as she shut the door once both men had came out of the door.

Zac shook his head at Beth's words, "It's a steady stream of walkers."

"We're wasting time," Hershel said as he turned to look at Taylor. "The Governor is supposedly on the way and we're stuck in here with walkers."

"Trapped between a rock and a hard place," Carol spoke up as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Taylor shook his head as he looked at everyone, "For the last time, running is not an option," he said standing his ground on that.

"Tay, if the tombs have filled up again, it may just be a matter of time before they push in here," Avery said a bit harshly as she glared at her brother.

"Or until some fence gives way," Beth added on as she locked eyes with Taylor.

"What if one of them herds is passing through?" Axel asked as he sat down at a table. "Or settled?"

Zac ran a hand through his hair as he pursed his lips, "Can't handle that with just the few of us," he told Taylor knowing that they couldn't do it. Even with all the people they did have they were weak right now with Daryl gone and Rick off on some crazy train ride that hell Zac felt like he was half on that ride too.

"All right, we need..." Taylor started as he looked down trying to think of something. "We just need to scout the far side of the prison. Find out what's going on."

"You're going out there?" Hershel questioned as he raised an eyebrow.

"Take a car and make it quick," Taylor shrugged as he looked over at Hershel.

"I'll drive," Glenn said as he stood from where he had been sitting.

Taylor shook his head as he looked at Glenn, "No, you stay here. Help with fortifications. I'll take Maggie."

"You sure she's up for that?" Hershel asked not sure Maggie would agree to this half assed plan of Taylor's. A plan he was afraid would get the man killed if he kept it up.

Looking away from Hershel, Taylor fell silent and he just turned on his heels, heading into the cell block where he was sure Maggie was.

Making it to their cell, Taylor came to a brief stop as he saw Maggie laying on the bottom bed facing the wall. Walking into the cell he looked down at her as he chewed his lip, "Where have you been?" he asked his voice going soft.

When he didn't get no response from Maggie even after she moved on the bed, Taylor looked away from her, "We need to find out how the walkers are getting into the tombs," he told her though he still got silence from her. "Are we going to talk about this?" he finally asked referring to everything that had happened when they had been taken. "Maggie, you need to talk about it."

"I do? Or you do?" Maggie asked Taylor as she finally turned to face him.

"What does that mean?" Taylor asked bitterly as he looked down at her again.

"What do you want me to say? You want me to say he made me get naked and stand in front of him? He came up behind me, pushed himself against me. Put his hands all over me. He slammed my head down and bent me over a table," Maggie revealed as she kept her gaze on Taylor.

"Did he..." Taylor started feeling his voice catch slightly as he wanted to know again if Maggie had been raped.

"Rape me?" Maggie questioned finishing the words for Taylor. "No," she answered as she sat up in the bed and looked at Taylor. "No," she stated again this time more firmly. "Do you feel better?"

Taylor shook his head as he looked down at Maggie, "I'm not trying to.."

"I had a choice," Maggie told him plainly. "Either I take off my shirt or he would take off your hand. I just listened to Merle beating the shit out of you in the other room. What could I do?"

"I'm sorry," Taylor spoke as he tried to move towards Maggie but she reached out and pushed him away.

"Go away," Maggie said to him angrily as she shook her head seeing his stunned reaction. "You got your answer, now go away."

Looking down helplessly Taylor turned and left the cell, giving Maggie what she wanted.
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"So we'll reinforce this with some metal from the yard," Avery stated as she worked with Axel and Glenn to fix up the gate covered walkway with some wood. "If anything happens, we'll just duck," she shrugged as she made like she was faking to duck behind one of the wooden planks they had set up.

Axel chuckled slightly at Avery's words, "Well I hope nothing happens. Guns scare the bejesus out of me," he revealed as he shook his head. "I robbed a gas station with a toy gun. Never even took it out of my pocket."

"You said Oscar was the thief," Glenn stated feeling a bit confused as he stopped briefly from setting up one of the planks. "That you were in here for pharmaceuticals."

"Well I didn't want ya'll to think I was a violent man, if you follow me," Axel explained as he looked between Avery and Glenn.

"So what are you saying?" Avery asked as she moved to put up some more planks. "You're in here for a toy gun?!"

Shaking his head Axel continued working, "No, listen to this. The next day the cops found me at my brother's house. Still had the water pistol in my pocket," he revealed as he locked eyes with Avery. "I swore up and down that, that was the only weapon I had but they said they didn't believe anyone could be so stupid and get away with it, so they turned my brother's house upside down and found his thirty-eight. Said it matched the description," he muttered as he rolled his eyes. "There you go. Armed robbery. Tell you the truth, I don't even know how to use this damn thing," he said as he reached for his gun and held it in his hand.

"You're all about the truth now?" Avery asked playfully as she moved and reached out for his gun.

"Yes, ma'am, I am," Axel nodded as he watched Avery.

Feeling Axel watch her Avery slowly pulled the magazine out and held it out so he could see, "It's fully loaded," she spoke before putting it back in. "Let's hope it stays that way."

Taking the gun Axel watched as she walked away from him, "You're quite a lady."

"Hmmm..." Avery chuckled as she shook her head and blushed slightly at his words but she said no more to him.
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Zac who had came back in the prison briefly after helping with some stuff outside slowed some when he saw Hershel looking at him as if he wanted to kill him and to be honest that look kind of scared him because he was sure he hadn't done anything to earn it. He wasn't the one doing silly plans that could possibly get them killed, no that was Taylor.

"Your wife is back," Hershel said as he eyed Zac warily, losing the glare he first had when Zac came in. "I should be happy for you that she is and I am but I'm also scared for my Bethie."

"B..Beth?" Zac asked almost feeling like he had been punched in the gut because he had been so sure that Hershel hadn't known. That he was the only one in the dark.

Hershel nodded before chuckling some, "You all think I didn't notice?" he asked honestly before shaking his head. "I noticed. I'm not stupid...and I may not like it because of the age but I noticed and I kept silent because Beth was happy and you are a decent man, probably one of the last decent men but now with your wife back I'm afraid Beth is going to get hurt."

"I don't wanna hurt Beth," Zac told the older man as he walked a bit closer to him. "I do love your daughter and I'd never intentionally hurt her. I don't wanna hurt Kate either and I love her too, I've loved her longer."

"You have loved her longer," Hershel spoke as he watched Zac sit down beside him. "But she was away for awhile and turned to someone else too."

"So you're saying I should leave her?" Zac questioned as he raised an eyebrow.

Hershel shook his head at that, "I'm saying you two need to have a discussion and figure things out whenever things cool down around here. The quicker it happens the quicker everyone involved has a less of a chance of being hurt even more," he said before standing up and heading off to go find the other Hanson brother, the one who was more than likely going to die if he didn't stop being stupid.

Zac watched Hershel leave and he looked down at the floor knowing the old man was right but he wasn't sure why talking with Kate scared him. Maybe it was because he knew what was coming...he loved her but he also knew he more than likely wasn't in love with her anyone, yet he wasn't sure how to end something that had been there since he was a teenager.

Not to mention he was afraid that if he talked to her he'd also mention their baby and there was just some stuff he didn't want to know even if his mouth found a way to ask it without his brain cooperating.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-One

"Smells to me like the Sawhatchee Creek," Merle spoke as he and Daryl stood in the middle of the woods after they had walked a bit farther out. He knew they were close to somewhere though because he could hear and smell water nearby.

Daryl shook his head at Merle's assessment of things, "We didn't go west enough," he stated knowing there was no way they were near the creek that Merle thought they were near. "There's a river down there, it's got to be the Yellow Jacket."

"You have a stroke, boy?" Merle asked clearly perplexed that Daryl would even consider them being near the Yellow Jacket. "We ain't never even come close to the Yellow Jacket," he stated before continuing to walk with Daryl following beside him.

"We didn't go west," Daryl said again as Merle dismissed what he had told him. "Just a little bit south. That's what I think."

Merle couldn't help but laugh at that, "You know what I think?" he asked though he didn't give Daryl time to answer him. "I may have lost my hand, but you lost your sense of direction."

"Yeah, we'll see," Daryl muttered as he rolled his eyes. He wasn't sure why but he was getting annoyed at Merle a whole lot quicker right now and well maybe it partly had to do with the thoughts of Avery and the whole prison group being dead. It wasn't thoughts he liked at all.

"What do you want to bet?" Merle asked with a hint of teasing in his voice.

"I don't want to bet nothing," Daryl replied a bit harshly, letting his annoyance show in his words. "It's just a body of water. Why's everything gotta be a competition with you?"

Merle listened to Daryl, feeling a bit surprised at how short his rope seemed to be right now. "Whoa, whoa. Take it easy, little brother," he sighed doing his best to get Daryl to calm down. "Just trying to have a little fun. No need to get your panties all in a bundle."

Going silent as Merle talked, Daryl made a face as he heard a sound off in the distance. It was a sound he had grown used too lately. "You hear that?" he asked wondering if Merle heard it to.

"Yeah," Merle nodded as he came to a stop, the sound echoing in the woods. "Wild animals getting wild."

"No, it's a baby," Daryl spoke feeling like by now thanks to Judith he knew what a baby's cries sounded like and that was not two animals. That was a baby crying.

"Oh, come on," Merle muttered in disbelief as he turned to look at Daryl. "Why don't you just piss in my ear and tell me it's raining too? That there's the sound of a couple of coons making love, sweet love," he smirked as he gyrated his hips slightly to make a point. "You know what I mean?" he asked as Daryl pushed past him, heading in the direction that the sound had came from.

Stifling his laughter, he followed behind Daryl until they came to a clearing, walking to where the river was and sure enough as they stood by the river Merle saw that Daryl was right. The sound had been a baby as it seemed like a family was trapped on the bridge with a bunch of walkers.

Whistling at two men who were standing on a truck, firing a gun at the walkers Merle muttered at them to jump, right before Daryl again moved, heading towards the bridge.

"What?" Merle questioned as he watched Daryl walking away and he begrudgingly followed after him. "Hey, man, I ain't wasting my bullets on a couple strangers that ain't never cooked me a meal or felicitated my piece. That's my policy. You'd be wise to adopt it, brother."
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Daryl who eventually got to the bridge, despite Merle's protest against walked towards the truck where two men were stuck on the back, surrounded by the walkers on the ground. Aiming his crossbow at one of the walkers, he shot it through the head and as it fell to the ground, he took off the backpack that was around his shoulders so that he could better fight the walkers and help these people to safety, if only for the fact that they had a baby with them.

After the backpack was off, Daryl fired another arrow into a walkers head before bending down to get the arrow out and as he did so he looked up at the two men, "Come on man," he told them as they made no effort to move at first. "I'm trying to help you out," he muttered as he rammed the arrow in his hand into a walker's skull.

As the two men finally began to move he looked over at Merle who it seemed had finally made it to the bridge, "Cover me," he called out to his brother though he wasn't sure it would do any good. Merle still didn't seem to want to help these people, even knowing they had a baby.

Once one of the men had finally made it off the truck and started shooting at the walkers, Daryl reloaded his crossbow as he began to fire at the walkers surrounding the car where the woman and the baby where and of course he really wasn't shocked at Merle's lack of help right now.

After he took down the two walkers at the front of the car, Daryl walked to the back where a walker was half inside the car via the open hatch and he reached inside, pulling the walker out enough until he could reach up and close the open hatch, smashing the walker's head in the process as blood went all on his hands and the pavement.

Merle who was coming closer to where Daryl was, watched as a walker was approaching him after he had shut the hatch of a car, "Daryl, I gotcha," he called out as he raised his gun and firing it, a bullet going straight through the walker's head.

Seeing Daryl still standing there Merle lowered his gun as he looked at his brother, "Go," he yelled as he saw a few more walkers approaching and Daryl soon ran to where he stood.

Daryl who now stood beside Merle listened as the man who had gotten down from the truck kept talking in Spanish or Mexican and he sighed, not understanding a word the man said. "Speak English," he muttered as he quickly worked on fixing his crossbow again.

After his crossbow was fixed he once again went to work taking down what was left of the walkers on the bridge.

Merle who really hadn't done much other than take down the one walker that had cornered Daryl, walked to the car where the woman and baby were at once all the walkers had been handled and he opened the back door, though before he could get in the man approached him speaking another language and he held his gun out holding him at gun point. "Slow down, beaner," he said as he locked eyes with the man. "That ain't no way to say thank you."

Daryl who stood silently on the other side of the car looked at Merle as he now held a gun on one of the men and he shook his head at his brother. "Let 'em go," he spoke knowing they didn't have to do this. They didn't have to be like this. The family had a baby for godsakes and all he could do was put himself in their shoes. If he was the one with a baby, though he wasn't. Avery wasn't pregnant nor would she ever be more than likely but he still felt for this family more than he wished he did to be honest.

Merle shook his head at Daryl's words, "Nah, they least they can do is give us an enchilada or something," he said as he slowly lowered his gun, putting it in his pocket before he moved to lean into the backseat to go through the stuff and see what they had that he could take.

"Easy does it, senorita," Merle spoke to the woman who was in the front seat, holding the crying baby in her arms. "Everything's gonna be fine," he assured her as he started to rifle through some of the stuff.

Daryl who still stood on the other side of the car as Merle began to go through the things in it, watched as the other man who had been on the back of the truck got down, walking towards the car to stop Merle, only to be stopped by the man Merle had, had at gunpoint. A man who Daryl assumed was probably his dad.

Chewing his lip briefly Daryl took a deep breath as he walked from where he stood, knowing what he needed to do. Knowing what had to be done.

"Get out of the car," Daryl spoke as he raised his crossbow at Merle's back. It was a big step for him doing this to his brother but he couldn't let his brother do this to a family that had a baby.

Merle paused what he was doing as he heard Daryl, "I know you're not talking to me brother," he said in disbelief that Daryl could actually be telling him that.

At Merle's words Daryl turned his head to the two men, "Get in your car and get the hell out of here," he told them his tone coming out rough. "Go! Get in your car!" he yelled as they just stood there for a few seconds but that seemed to get them to moving.

Listening to Daryl, Merle moved out of the car slowly seeing that Daryl held his crossbow on him and they both just had a showdown of sorts as Merle closed the backdoor of the car and began to move away as the car was started and as it drove off, he reached up to move the crossbow away, seeing Daryl glare at him before walking off into the woods.
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"The shit you doing, pointing that thing at me man," Merle finally spoke as they walked through the woods again, he had finally caught up enough to Daryl that he was sure his brother could hear him now and he wanted Daryl to know that he was pissed at what had just happened.

"They were scared, man," Daryl answered though he didn't turn back to look at Merle. He just kept his gaze ahead as he kept walking.

"They were rude is what they were," Merle continued to rant once Daryl had answered him. "Rude and they owed us a token of gratitude."

"They didn't owe us nothing," Daryl replied back to Merle knowing that the family they helped really hadn't owed them anything in the end.

Merle felt a bit shocked at Daryl's words, "You helping people out of the goodness of your heart?" he asked a bit harshly. "Even thought you might die doing it? Is that something your Sheriff Rick taught you?"

"There was a baby!" Daryl yelled as he finally came to a stop before turning to face Merle.

"Oh, otherwise you would have just left them to the biter's then?" Merle questioned as he locked eyes with Daryl once they had came to a stop.

Taking in Merle's words Daryl just heaved a sigh, "Man, I went back for you," he said referring to Atlanta. "You weren't there," he spoke as he shook his head. "I didn't cut off your hand, neither. You did that way before they locked you up on that roof. You asked for it."

Merle stood there stunned at Daryl's words for a moment before laughing bitterly. "You know...you know what's funny to me," he mused as he shook his head. "You and Sheriff Rick are like this now," he said as he raised his hand putting his two fingers together to prove just how close they were. "Right? I bet you a penny and a fiddle of gold that you never told him that we were planning on robbing that camp blind," he said as he reminded Daryl of their plans before he had gotten left on that roof.

"It didn't happen," Daryl spoke knowing that now he was kind of glad it hadn't. Those people he had wanted to rob blind all meant something to him now.

"Yeah it didn't cause I wasn't there to help you," Merle spat back at Daryl's answer.

"What, like when we were kids?" Daryl asked as he got in Merle's face slightly. "Who left who then?"

"What?" Merle asked not even sure why Daryl had brought that up. "Huh? Is that why I lost my hand?"

"You lost your hand cause you're a simple minded piece of shit," Daryl growled out before turning away from Merle to walk away but before he could get far Merle had grabbed onto his shirt roughly, pushing him down as the shirt tore exposing Daryl's back to Merle.

Merle paused as he moved away from Daryl once the shirt had torn and he saw the scars on Daryl's back, finally realizing what his brother had meant by his earlier statement of when they had been kids.

"I..I didn't know he was..." Merle started unable to even finish his sentence because he really had no clue their dad had also abused Daryl.

"Yeah, he did," Daryl said as he rushed to fix his shirt and throw the backpack back over his arms. "He did the same to you," he said as he stood back up. "That's why you left first."

Merle just looked down briefly at Daryl's words, "I had to man," he defended before looking at his brother. "I would have killed him otherwise," he sighed as he watched Daryl walking away from him. "Where are you going?"

"Back where I belong," Daryl called out knowing he belonged at the prison. It was where Avery was and somehow wherever she was sort of felt like home, so the prison was his home even if it sometimes felt like a tomb.

"I can't go with you," Merle said as Daryl came to a stop to look at him. "I tried to kill that black bitch and the redhead. Damn near killed the gay Hanson brother."

Daryl rolled his eyes at the gay comment, "He's straight," he rebuffed though sometimes he himself doubted if Taylor was entirely straight.

"Whatever," Merle huffed as he shook his head. "Doesn't matter, man. I just can't go with you."

"You know, I may be the one walking away but you're the one that's leaving...again," Daryl said before he shook his head and walked away not sure if he really cared if Merle followed, not if Merle wanted to be stubborn about it anyway.

Merle just stood there for a bit as he watched Daryl walk away and he was truly torn. Torn between not going or following the only blood and family he had and going to a place where he knew everyone would hate him and most likely wanna kill him. "Damn," he muttered under his breath before going off to catch up with his brother.
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"Taylor!" Hershel called out as he followed behind Taylor who was walking to a truck that was parked in the courtyard of the prison. "You're not going back to Woodbury, are you?"

Stopping in his tracks, Taylor turned to face Hershel before walking closer to him so that they could speak. "No," he answered though it may have been a lie. "I'm just going out there."

"I'll go with you," Hershel offered mainly because he didn't believe Taylor's denial in not going to Woodbury.

"I got it," Taylor told him firmly as he turned to walk towards the truck again.

"By yourself?" Hershel questioned as his words once again stopped Taylor in his tracks. "How can you possibly think that's a good idea?"

Taylor again turned to face Hershel, "I can't just sit on my hands," he defended knowing he had to do something. Staying at the prison just waiting wasn't an option.

"You went on a simple formula run and got the crap beaut out of you. Maggie was attacked," Hershel reminded him, trying to list the reasons why this was a bad idea.

"Are you saying this is my fault?" Taylor asked a bit harshly mainly because he felt offended and like Hershel was blaming him.

"No," Hershel answered as he shook his head.

"I did what I could," Taylor argued back even though Hershel had said no and he knew now it was his own guilt speaking. Everything he was doing and feeling right now was his guilt and the only way to kill it was to do something.

"I know you did," Hershel told him sounding firm as he spoke. "So does Maggie. She's one of the two people most precious to me in this world. I trust you with her life," he explained as he locked eyes with Taylor. "I still do. This rage is going to get you killed."

Taylor ran a hand through his hair as he did his best to listen to Hershel's reasoning, "With Daryl gone, Zac going through the shit he is with Kate and Rick wandering crazytown, I'm the next in charge," he muttered feeling like besides his guilt things were all on him now.

Going silent Hershel watched as Taylor again turned away and headed to the truck. "What are you proving?" he asked loud enough so that Taylor could hear but this time Taylor didn't stop in his tracks, Taylor just kept walking to the truck. Once Taylor got in and eventually drove off, Hershel shook his head swearing that both Hanson boys were stupid and of course his girls just had to love them.

Looking down into the prison yards, Hershel raised an eyebrow as he saw Rick walking around outside the fences.
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Zac chewed on his lip nervously as he approached Lucy, the woman who he had tracked down outside. He really wasn't sure why he was tracking her down or well he was but he knew this conversation could probably get awkward if it had the chance too.

"Lucy?" Zac questioned as he came to a stop beside her, seeing her turn to eye him warily. "Can we talk?" he asked her as he raised an eyebrow.

"I figured that was what you were doing already," Lucy quipped as she shrugged her shoulders. "But sure go ahead, keep talking if you want. I can listen."

Zac couldn't help but laugh at that and with her humor he could also see why Kate liked her, why Kate was drawn to her when she hadn't had Zac. It was like how he had been drawn to Beth, because Beth had taken care of him in ways that Kate used too.

"You're in love with my wife," Zac stated watching as Lucy's whole demeanor changed.

Lucy nodded her head meekly at his words, "I am in love with your wife," she confirmed now feeling afraid to even let this continue further. "I...we thought you were dead," she explained trying to justify things. "Trust me if I had even suspected you could still be out there I wouldn't have done anything with Kate."

Zac shook his head, "I know you thought I was dead. I thought she was too," he sighed as he looked away from Lucy.

"It doesn't matter now though," Lucy continued as Zac went silent. "She loves you and you love her. I heard you two this morning," she clarified knowing that they'd probably get back together. "It'll just be a matter of time until you two work things out."

Looking back at Lucy, Zac just stayed silent because he wasn't sure what else he could say. All he knew though was that he doubted for sure if they could make things work because he wasn't sure they were in love anymore and he had a feeling deep down Kate was probably in love with Lucy just from the small stuff he had witnessed after their arrival yesterday.
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Beth who was walking down the cellblock stopped as she made it to Maggie and Taylor's cell and she moved Judith up in her arms. "She's hungry," she stated as she looked at Maggie sitting up. "Could you help me feed her?" she asked softly. "I want to make Daddy something to eat."

Looking at Beth for a few seconds, Maggie took in her words before motioning for Beth to hand over Judith so that Beth could go fix their dad some food.

Beth smiled a bit when Maggie agreed and she slowly handed Judith over to her sister, sitting on the bed as she watched Maggie with the baby and she was sure one day that Maggie would make a good mom.

"Here," Beth said as she handed Maggie the bottle and when Maggie took it Beth watched as she began to feed the baby and she made a face. "Just keep the bottle like this," she instructed showing Maggie how to hold the bottle. "Otherwise she gets gassy."

"Got it," Maggie replied as she kept her gaze on Judith though when Beth touched her hand softly she turned to give her sister a smile, though the smile kind of hurt with all that she still felt after the ordeal she had been through.
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Rick who was walking outside the prison fences kept looking around for Lori though he could hear someone calling his name and he had yet to see his wife again. A thought that saddened him and also let him know just how far he was falling, yet he couldn't seem to bring himself back, no matter how hard he tried.

As he got closer to the prison and the person who was saying his name's voice got louder Rick once again looked around, trying to find out where it was coming from and just who it was.

When he made it to the bridge Rick slowed down some as he saw Hershel coming down towards the fence in the prison yard and he realized that the person hollering for him was more than likely the older man so he walked towards him, curious as to what he wanted.

"You know I wouldn't have hobbled all the way down here if it wasn't important," Hershel spoke once Rick was close enough that he could hear him. "Are you coming back soon?" he asked and he probably meant it as more than just physically, he also meant it mentally. "Taylor's on the warpath. Smart as he is, he can't fill your boots. I'm afraid he's reckless. We need you now more than ever."

"Well, if you're so worried about him, you lead," Rick spoke as he gestured towards Hershel.

Hershel ignored Rick's words as he just stared at the man, "What are you doing out here?" he asked curiously.

"I've...I've been..." Rick started as he tried to think of an answer he could give. One that wouldn't make him sound crazy. "I've got...stuff out here," he nodded his head as he looked around. "Stuff," he whispered more to himself than Hershel.

"How much longer do you need?" Hershel asked another question as he kept his gaze on Rick.

Rick shook his head at that, "I don't know...I don't...." he started but stopped unable to even finish his sentence because he was uneasy. Wondering when Lori would pop up again.

"Is there anything I can help you with?" Hershel questioned wondering if there was anyway he or anyone could help Rick right now.

"I saw something," Rick explained finally as he looked back at Hershel. "Lori. I saw Lor...I'm seeing Lori," he muttered out knowing that Hershel probably thought he was crazy right now. "Look, I know it's not really her. But there's got to be a reason, it's got to mean something, you know."

"Was it her on the phone?" Hershel asked as he watched Rick move closer to the fence.

Rick nodded his head in response to Hershel's question, "Yeah. Shane too...and the town."

"Do you see them now?" Hershel mused as he raised an eyebrow, watching as Rick shook his head no. "You're looking for them."

"I'm waiting," Rick explained not sure if it made things any better.

"For what?" Hershel asked wondering what Rick was waiting for exactly.

"I don't know. Something. There's an answer. I know it doesn't make sense, well it does. It can make sense. I mean I think in time it will make sense," Rick spoke knowing he probably wasn't making much sense at all.

"Rick?" Hershel said as Rick began to grow a bit out of it again. "Come on in. You need rest, it's not safe out here."

Rick shook his head no at that, "I can't," he said a bit firm. "I can't," he repeated knowing he wasn't ready to go in. Not until he found what he was looking for. It was after he said that, that he walked away from the fence going back into the woods to search for whatever it was he was looking for to begin with.
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Avery who was standing in the courtyard, turned her head as she felt Axel tap her on the shoulder and she gave him a tiny smile as he came to stand beside her.

"Stress getting to your man Rick?" Axel asked as he looked at Avery after coming to a stop beside her.

Avery crossed her arms as she looked ahead out into the prison yards where Hershel was coming back after his talk with Rick. "Can you blame him?" she asked knowing after everything that had happened lately she didn't blame Rick for being a little off.

"No, not at all," Axel spoke as he shook his head. "In here I've seen plenty of dudes crack," he admitted as he shrugged. "But not me. I got on better on the inside. Things made more sense, you know. There were rules, life was more simple."

Avery made a face at that because she wasn't sure it made sense to her but maybe in a way it did sort of make sense for Axel as odd as he was. "Didn't you miss your brother?" she asked knowing he had to have missed his family.

"My brother?" Axel asked a bit confused before shaking his head. "Hell, no. He had a real money problem."

"What kind of problem?" Avery questioned a bit amused as she raised an eyebrow.

"He didn't lend me any," Axel joked as he laughed and his words it seemed got Avery to laugh as well. "One time that son of a bitch..."

Avery who had been listening to Axel watched in horror as Axel's words were cut off mid sentence as a bullet hit him in the end and as his body fell down, she went down with it, using his body as cover as bullets began to fly everywhere, some of them just barely missing her by inches.

Zac who was crouched down beside Lucy at the edge of one of the guard towers made a face as he saw Carl and Beth slowly moving to safety behind a set of bleachers and as they moved he looked at Lucy who he was covering because she had no weapon at the moment.

"Just, stay still for a second," he told her before he moved to fire off a round to distract the people from seeing Carl and Beth as they made it into position.

Rick who had fallen down beside the bridge once this whole mess had started, looked through the scope of his gun, spotting someone in the woods and he fired only to be meet with the same and he again ducked down to avoid the bullets hitting him in anyway.
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Jessica, Glenn, Carol and Maggie who were all inside stood by the door as they went through the guns, hearing the commotion taking place outside.

"Are you sure you want to stay inside with her?" Maggie asked as she looked at Kate who had offered to stay inside with Judith while the others went outside.

Kate nodded her head as she held the baby in her arms, "Someone should probably stay inside with her just in case," she spoke knowing they couldn't just leave a baby in here with no one. Someone had to watch the baby.

It was after she spoke that she watched the others turn to leave and after they had, she sat at one of the tables with Judith in her arms and she smiled down at the baby girl. "Everything's going to be okay," she said and she really hoped it was going to be okay. "At least I hope so," she muttered as she felt a lump form in her throat and not just because of her fear of what was happening outside.

Kate had a lump in her throat because holding Judith reminded her of all she had lost with her baby being gone but at least she had, had more time to heal whereas Zac was just beginning and she knew eventually somehow she and Zac would have to talk about things so they could come to a decision on where they stood and right now she feared that maybe Zac was dead already or that Lucy was dead and neither option set right with her.
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Making it outside Jessica followed behind Maggie as they did their best to avoid the bullets being fired at them from literally everywhere and as Maggie handed off a gun to Beth and Beth and Carl moved to behind the guard tower where Zac was, Jessica crouched down beside Maggie as she spotted Avery hiding behind Axel's dead body.

"Avery, go," Jessica called out as she began to fire at the person who was standing in the opposite guard tower, watching as Avery moved quickly from where she was at, heading to where Zac was and as soon as she made it, Beth handed her a gun so that she could protect herself.

Taking the gun from Beth, Avery crouched down a bit breathless as she just stayed frozen in place a bit at least until she heard what sounded like a car driving frantically towards the prison and then she moved some, looking out to see what looked like a bread truck driving right through the gates of the prison, only coming to a stop when it reached the yard.

Raising an eyebrow as the truck stayed parked for awhile Avery felt even more panic though when the back of the truck was opened and walkers began to pour out of it, right before the barrage of bullets started again.

Zac who had watched everything looked around knowing everyone who was behind the guard tower now all had weapons and he quickly ran off towards where Jessica and Maggie were to get a better aim at the people shooting at them, though when he came to a stop beside them he heard Rick yelling from outside the fences for Hershel to get out of there and it only struck Zac that Beth's dad was stuck down in the yard along with Michonne. A yard that was now crawling with walkers.

At that realization Zac turned around fast, letting his anger get the best of him as he aimed his gun up at the gun tower and firing. His shot finally hitting the person who was there and he smirked in satisfaction as the person fell down after the near perfect head shot.

Phillip who had stood outside the prison fences walked back to the truck he and his men had rode in on and as he stood in the driver's side doorway he fired one last round of bullets into the prison, a bit pleased at the mess he had created here. A mess he was sure they probably wouldn't recover from and one that was meant to be a warning that he wasn't done with them yet.

After the truck that was parked outside the fences eventually pulled away Jessica, along with everyone else came out of hiding, walking to the gate that separated the courtyard from the main yard and after the gate was open they all began to help take down the walkers that were walking around.

Rick who watched as the others began to go take care of the prison yard, began to move from where he was, taking out the walkers at the gate outside at least until he was cornered onto the fence by a walker who had been lunging at him and as he tried to fight that walker off, another one came to group on top of it and he had the sinking feeling he might be screwed.

Or at least he thought that until an arrow went through one of the walkers heads and he watched as Merle and Daryl came to help him take care of the walkers outside the fences.

Taylor who had shown up right as the other truck took off, parked his truck in the yard where Hershel was and as he got out, he went to the man putting an arm around him and helping him up, knowing he had to get Hershel out of this mess and as he and Hershel made the trek for safety inside the parked truck he was glad when Michonne came to help him, getting on the other side of Hershel.

Getting back in the truck after he helped Hershel inside, Taylor waited until Michonne got in the back before driving off towards the courtyard where the others had once again gathered, though there was still a few walkers in the yard, walkers that were following his truck though the moment he drove through the open gate of the courtyard he watched as the gate was shut, cutting off the walkers from getting into this part of the prison at least.

Maggie who had been standing in the courtyard ran over to her dad who had started to open the truck door and she pulled him into a hug, "You okay?" she asked him softly.

"Yes, baby," Hershel answered as he got down out of the truck with her help before following the rest of the group to the now closed gates as they watched Rick and what looked to be Merle and Daryl taking care of a few walkers on the outside of the prison.

Avery who stood at the gates instantly put a hand on her stomach as she watched the scene outside of the gates, seeing that Daryl and Merle looked to be back and a part of her wanted to be happy at that but she wasn't. Instead she was angry. Angry at Daryl for leaving still and well angry at the situation because they still had walkers inside the prison yard and their safety was a bit compromised now thanks to the gates being driven through and this was all the last thing she needed especially with a baby on the way.

Feeling hands on her shoulder, Avery turned her head slightly to see Zac standing behind her and she gave him a sad smile before resting one of her hands on top of his.

"Things may be shit right now," Zac mused so only Avery could hear him. "But at least Daryl's home."

Avery made a face at Zac's words not sure if he said them to comfort her or comfort himself in some odd way since he had a weird sort of friendship with Daryl.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-Two

Waking early the next morning Jessica groaned more so to herself as she slipped out of bed and looked up at the top bunk where Avery was lying asleep. Apparently her sister was not too keen on Daryl being back or well really she was playing stubborn in forgiving him for hurting her by leaving and so she had opted to sleep in Jessica and Glenn's cell instead of her own which was the one Daryl usually slept in.

Shaking her head, Jessica got dressed quickly, knowing she had offered to help Beth fix breakfast this morning since she knew Beth had probably lost some sleep last night because after what had happened yesterday poor Judith had been a little on edge. Though really Jessica suspected they were all a little on edge right now.

After she was dressed Jessica left the cell and headed towards the main cell area where Beth usually fixed their food at. Though the moment she got there she stopped in her tracks when she found Merle awake in the cell they had picked for him. It was the same cell they had used to keep Michonne and Lucy in when they had first arrived and now it was being used to house Merle for his own safety more than likely because everyone or well almost everyone wanted to kill him for good reason.

"Well if it isn't little miss Jessie," Merle smirked as he eyed the girl who he had once been with, someone who had once seemed so broken but now looking at her she seemed anything but broken.

Jessica faked a smile as she finally willed her feet to move to where Merle was, "Merle," she nodded acknowledging him. "Never thought I'd see you again."

"Same here hon," Merle replied as he kept his smirk. "Though it don't seem like you missed me any. You've moved on to the china man already."

"He's Korean," Jessica corrected him as she dropped her smile. "And it wasn't so hard to move on from you. It wasn't like we ever loved each other."

Laughing at that Merle knew she had a point, though in some weird way he did care for her but he had never really loved her and even he could admit that. "Nah, we were kind of a mess," he agreed as he narrowed his eyes at her. "Though it seems from the tension I saw last night my sweet darlin baby brother has officially gotten with your sister," he mused as he tried to gauge Jessica's reaction to that. "And she wasn't too pleased he left with me..that he chose his blood over her."

Jessica looked away from Merle as he spoke, "Avery has her reasons for being upset with Daryl," she muttered not wanting to tell Merle of all people that her sister was pregnant, especially not since Daryl still didn't know. "I'm sure she'll come around and mend fences with him eventually though," she nodded when she saw Beth come into the main cell block area.

At that, Jessica gave Merle one last fake smile before turning to leave him be and go help Beth out.
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"We're not leaving," Rick spoke as he looked at his group who was gathered around the cell block. It had been a while after breakfast and he was doing his best to prepare things in case something happened today.

"We can't stay here," Hershel said as he walked towards Rick.

Maggie turned to look at Rick as she raised an eyebrow, "What if there's another sniper? A wood pallet won't stop one of those rounds."

"We can't even go outside," Beth added in from where she stood, holding Judith.

"Not in the daylight," Avery replied as she looked over at Beth, knowing night time would probably be a better time to go outside.

Taylor shook his head after listening to everyone, "Rick says we're not running, we're not running."

"No, better to live like rats," Merle mused from the cell he was still inside of.

Turning his head to look at Merle, Rick raised an eyebrow at him, "You got a better idea?" he asked wanting to hear it if Merle did,

"Yeah, we should have slid out of here last night and lived to fight another day," Merle replied as looked back at Rick. "But we lost that window, didn't we?" he asked a bit sarcastically. "I'm sure he's got scouts on every road out of this place by now."

"We ain't scared of that prick," Daryl told Merle as he looked down at his brother from where he stood on the second level cell block.

"Ya'll should be," Merle told them as he walked closer to his cell door. "That truck through the fence thing, that's just him ringing the doorbell. We might have some thick walls to hide behind, but he's got the numbers and if he takes the high ground around this place, shoot he could just starve us out if he wanted too."

Glaring at Merle, Maggie shook her head, "Let's put him in the other cell block," she said wanting Merle gone if he was going to be like that.

"No, he's got a point," Daryl said as he turned to look down at Maggie.

Maggie again shook her head, "This is all you," she stated as she looked from Daryl to Merle as well as Rick even. "You started this."

"What difference whose fault it is?" Avery asked out a bit harshly as she looked at Maggie. "What do we do?" she questioned wanting to know what they could do now.

"I said we should leave," Hershel stated repeating what he said yesterday. "Now Axel's dead. We can't just sit here," he said as he watched Rick turn to walk away which made him a bit angry. "Get back here!" he called out watching as Rick stopped in his tracks a bit. "You're slipping Rick. We've all seen it. We understand why, but now is not the time. You once said this isn't a democracy, now you have to own up to that. I put my family's life in your hands. So get your head clear and do something."

At that Rick just remained silent as he walked out of the cell block and away from everyone else.
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Rick who had made it outside, stood in a caged part of the prison, holding his binoculars in his hand as he looked around for anyone or anything really. A threat from the Governor or even just a tiny glimpse of his dead wife. Anything.

It was while he was doing that, that he heard a door open and footsteps approaching him and eventually he saw his son come to a stop beside him. "You shouldn't be out here," he said knowing it wasn't safe for Carl to be out here after what had happened yesterday.

"I'm a good shot," Carl reminded his dad as he took off the police hat he had been wearing.

"Yes, you are," Rick agreed as he turned away from his son, looking out in front of him again.

In the silence after that question, Carl licked his lips as he leaned against the cage some, "Hey, Dad?" he questioned hearing his dad offer a yeah in encouragement for him to go on. "If I say something will you promise not to be mad?"

"I won't get mad," Rick told his son wondering just what Carl wanted to say to him now.

Nodding his head, Carl looked down briefly, "You should stop," he told him before looking back up.

"Stop what?" Rick asked wondering exactly what Carl wanted him to stop.

"Being the leader," Carl answered he sounded sure of himself now. "Let Hershel and Daryl or even Zac handle things. You deserve a rest."

At that, Rick fell silent as he watched Carl walk off. He really wasn't sure in the end that he had been expecting his son to say that. That his son would call him out on things.
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"You busy?" Lucy asked as she walked to Kate's cell once things had seemed to settle down in the cell block area for the time being.

Turning her head to look at Lucy, Kate shrugged, "Not right at this moment," she said surprised that Lucy was here because she was sure given their brief encounter yesterday that Lucy was mad at her still. "What do you want?"

"Zac talked to me yesterday," Lucy explained as she stepped farther into the cell block area. "Confronted me on being in love with you."

Kate couldn't help but cringe at Lucy's words, "I hope it wasn't too ugly then."

"It wasn't, surprisingly," Lucy laughed before sitting down on the bottom bunk as she looked up at Kate. "I actually can see why you love him and why you'll choose him in the end."

Going silent at Lucy's last words Kate shook her head because she wasn't positive she'd chose Zac but if Zac had been able to talk to Lucy then maybe eventually that meant he'd be able to talk to her and they could both come to decisions about things. Though first Kate guessed she also wanted to speak to Beth and it was only fair, after all Zac had spoken to Lucy.

"I never said I was for sure going to chose him Luce," Kate finally spoke as she leaned down to peck Lucy's lips briefly, not caring who saw her. "I do still love you too and I can't just erase what I feel for you either," she shrugged as she moved back up, doing her best to smile at Lucy before she turned and left her cell.
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Phillip who was in his bedroom as he finished getting dressed, called out to Milton who was in the kitchen. "How many does that give us now?" he asked curiously.

"Twenty," Milton answered as he looked down at the notebook on the table, going over all their citizens to see how many soldiers they had because Phillip wanted to go to war. "We have several people with chronic conditions, hearing impairments, arthritis. Adding those gives us twenty-six," he said as he heard Phillip finally come into the kitchen.

"And if we include men and women, aged thirteen and up?" Phillip asked curiously as he walked to the fridge as he got out a drink.

Milton looked at him curiously, a bit surprised at that, "You mean boys and girls?"

"Adolescence. It's a twentieth century invention," Phillip answered as he shrugged his shoulders. "Men and women."

Looking back down at the notebook and papers briefly, Milton quickly did a count up in his head, "Th..thirty-five," he answered feeling a bit uneasy about this whole thing.

"Well, make sure they all have sidearms and plenty of ammo," Phillip stated as he walked around the table slightly. "We'll start training them when Martinez is ready," he stated right before the door to his place opened and Andrea stepped inside. "Well, come in," he spoke knowing she had clearly already welcomed herself in anyway.

"What's this I hear about the prison?" Andrea asked cutting right to the chase and letting Phillip know she had heard about yesterday. "You said you were gonna leave it alone. No retaliation," she reminded him of his own words to her.

Phillip looked at Andrea as he opened his mouth to speak, "I went to negotiate," he lied as he looked her square in the eyes. "Bad enough we got biters at our gates, we can't have aggressors just miles away."

"So you went and welcomed them to the neighborhood?" Andrea asked a bit harshly.

"You know they shot at us first?" Phillip mused though again it was a lie. "I don't know who these people were when you were with them, but they've changed. They're bloodthirsty."

Andrea ignored Phillip's words turning to look at Milton who was seated at the table, "You knew about this?" she questioned him figuring he had to have known.

"I was informed this morning," Milton spoke seeing the way Andrea eyed him after he did. She hadn't believed a word he said. "I didn't know," he said again defending himself.

"Don't drag him into it," Phillip told Andrea as he walked a bit closer to her.

"You're right," Andrea nodded as she turned back to Phillip as she heard Milton begin to stand up. "This is between you and me. I'm sick of this and I'm sick of the lies," she stated trying to sound firm. "And I'm not gonna watch this town and my friends gun each other down."

Looking down Phillip heaved a sigh at that, "Well, it's too late."

"What do you mean it's too late?" Andrea asked clearly perplexed by that. "I don't know what you're trying to prove, but enough is enough," she said though she got no response right away. "I'm going to see them. I'll work this out."

Phillip who took in Andrea's words went to the table Milton had been occupying and he sat down, beginning to go through the notes. "Well, they're hostile. These are all the able-bodied people we have. They're going to carry arms and receive training. We won't get caught sleeping again."

"One car, that is all I need," Andrea said as she shook her head, knowing she wanted him to give her a car to go to the prison.

"The roads are blocked," Phillip told her as he looked up at her. "We barely made it back ourselves."

Rolling her eyes at his words, Andrea turned her back on him so she could leave, deciding then that she'd probably find her own way back to the prison if she had too.

"Andrea," Phillip called out as he watched her stop at the door. "You go to that prison, you stay there."

Shaking her head at Phillip's words Andrea opened the door as she stepped outside, soon heading out onto the streets of Woodbury. She didn't understand how things could be coming to this, not when at first everything had seemed so fine.

As she walked down the street, Andrea slowed some as she came upon a conversation that Karen was having with Martinez.

"Noah's only fourteen, okay?" Karen questioned as she looked at Martinez. "He has asthma, he can't run more than ten yards before losing his breath. What good is that to you?" she asked as she raised an eyebrow not sure why they needed him for.

"The Governor wants everyone who can hold a gun in front of the town hall now," Martinez spoke knowing he had his orders, regardless of what Karen argued.

Karen who watched as Noah, began to move, put her hand in front of him, "No," she stated to the boy as she saw Andrea walking down the street. "Andrea, you have to straighten this out. They want Noah to fight," she spoke once Andrea came a bit closer.

"Who's talking about fighting?" Andrea questioned feeling a bit confused as she looked at Martinez. "You're supposed to be teaching people to defend themselves, not raising an army."

Martinez stepped a bit closer to Andrea, his voice going a bit lower. "Wake up, the only way to defend ourselves is with an army."
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Kate who had tracked down Beth as she made lunch with Avery's help, bit her lip nervously as she approached the two women, "Can I umm..steal you away Beth?" she asked softly when she made it to where they were at.

Beth painted on a smile as she turned to look at Kate and then she looked at Avery, "I'll be right back Avie," she told her as she nodded. "But if you get done before I do, you can go take Merle his food," she said seeing the look of dread pass on Avery's face.

Though before Avery could protest, Beth walked away, letting Kate lead her off so that they could talk privately.

"I know my wanting to talk to you must seem weird," Kate sighed once they had came to a stop far enough away from where Avery could hear them. "I mean with everything that's going on between Zac and I and you and Zac."

"Not as weird as you'd think," Beth said as she shrugged her shoulders. "I may still be a teenager..seventeen but I'm not stupid," she told Kate as they locked eyes. "You want to ask me to stay away from him so that you can get back with him and I will if that's what you want. I may love him but I don't want to willingly be a homewrecker...no matter what happened on the farm."

Kate had to break eye contact as she listened to Beth talk, because no, that wasn't what she had wanted to say at all but at least she knew. She knew Beth loved Zac and from what she could tell of Beth now, with the way Beth was with Judith and her fixing meals here at the prison, Beth had a homemaker attitude. It was what had initially drawn Zac to her before she was sure.

So now she could see why Zac was with her, regardless of age. She took care of him the way Kate used too and Kate doubted she'd ever be able to again. Not after everything that had happened when they had been apart because losing Lennon had changed her. It had hardened her up and made her a different person.

"That wasn't what I wanted," Kate said as she shook her head. "But your words in some way gave me everything I needed," she said knowing now that whenever she and Zac did talk, Kate was sure her decision had been made already. She could only hope Zac was on the same page as her.
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Rick who had returned to the cell block, looked at Maggie as she got ready to go out on watch, "Eyes open," he warned her. "Head down, fields filled with walkers," he stated watching as she nodded and left and he walked one cell over, seeing Taylor sitting in that cell.

"I didn't see any snipers out there," Rick told Taylor who had looked up at him. "But we'll keep Maggie on watch," he stated before making it to the end of the cell block where Hershel stood with Michonne, Daryl and Zac.

"I'll get up in the guard tower, take out half them walkers, give these guys a chance to fix the fence," Daryl suggested as he looked over at Rick.

"Or use some of the cars to put the bus in place," Zac spoke up after Daryl's suggestion.

Hershel shook his head at that, "We can't access the field without burning through our bullets."

"So we're trapped in here," Taylor stated as he came out of his cell. "There's barely any food or ammo."

"Been here before, we'll be alright," Daryl spoke trying to ignore Taylor's bitter sounding tone.

"That's when it was just us," Taylor argued knowing then it was okay. "Before there was a snake in the nest," he finished clearly referring to Merle's presence in the prison.

Turning to look at Taylor, Daryl glared slightly, "Man, we gonna go through this again?" he asked as he walked a bit closer to Taylor. "Look, Merle's staying here. He's with us now," he stated knowing it was true even if no one else wanted it or believed it. "Get used to it," he told Taylor harshly before looking at the others and when Rick tried to intervene Daryl backed away."All ya'll," he muttered out so they'd know he meant all of them had to get used to it.

While he may have had issues with Merle to it all boiled down to the fact that Merle was his blood and blood ranked over everything else and Merle was staying.

Taylor sighed to himself as he watched Daryl walk away from them and then he turned to look at Rick, "Seriously, Rick, I don't think Merle living here is really gonna fly," he stated feeling a bit angry that Daryl was being stubborn and that Rick seemed okay with giving Daryl what he wanted.

"I can't kick him out," Rick told Taylor knowing that if he kicked Merle out then Daryl would probably leave again and that was the last thing they needed.

"I wouldn't ask you to live with Shane after he tried to kill you," Taylor argued as he locked eyes with Rick, trying to get Rick to see some reason here.

Zac sighed as he listened to his brother and he knew he probably shouldn't speak up in defense of Merle, not now, but he did so anyway. "Merle has military experience," he said as he locked eyes with Taylor. "He may be erratic, but don't underestimate his loyalty to his brother," he told him knowing Merle seemed incredibly loyal to Daryl, despite their differences.

Zac was sure he'd be the same to his siblings. Hell, he was keeping the secret of seeing Isaac again because Isaac had asked him and he had the weight of Avery's pregnancy on his shoulders too because again it was something that wasn't his place to say anything, so yeah he could understand the bond the Dixon brothers had even if he was still slightly bitter that Daryl had left with Merle because of how it had affected Avery and maybe because of how it had affected him too.

"What if we solve both problems at once?" Taylor mused after Zac had spoken against him, though it had only given him another idea. "Deliver Merle to the Governor. Bargaining chip. Give him his traitor, maybe declare a truce."
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Sighing softly to herself as she held the tray, carrying Merle's lunch, Avery was half pissed that Beth even though she had came back had roped her into this. Beth had to know that Avery really didn't want to see Merle but it seemed Beth didn't care or maybe Beth in her naiveness thought that Avery and Merle could make up, but that would never happen regardless of the fact that he was Daryl's brother and Daryl clearly loved him.

Avery didn't love him and she wasn't intending to play nice either.

"I brought you some food," Avery finally spoke as she made it to Merle's cell, finding him laying down, though he sat up at her words.

Merle stood up as he took the tray from Avery, "Thank you," he stated though he was a bit surprised she was the one bringing him food. This morning it had been a blonde pretty girl who clearly had been an add on since he left the group.

"Figured you're a part of our family now," Avery spoke feeling a bit sick as those words left her mouth.

At Avery's words Merle motioned with his stump for Avery to sit down and when she moved to sit, he sat down as well, putting the tray with his food on a small table that was in his cell.

Looking down at the food on Merle's tray, Avery gave him a fake smile, "It's not much but given what we had it's a lot," she mused as she leaned against the cell slightly. "I should've been dead several times over," she mused as she kept her fake smile.

"Ain't that the truth for us all," Merle agreed knowing at this point everyone should have been dead several times over.

"I think part of the reason I'm not is because people underestimate me," Avery spoke as she looked away from Merle and back down at his food tray. "Don't underestimate me," she told him honestly as she looked back up at him, trying to sound firm because this was one of the first times she had acknowledged how strong she was.

"Excuse me?" Merle asked as he raised an eyebrow at her words, not sure what she was going for here.

Avery scooted a bit closer to Merle as she made eye contact with him, "I've seen you making the rounds. Trying to play nice but if you screw this up, mess with Daryl, I will slit your throat while you sleep."

Merle swallowed hard at Avery's words and how sincere she had sounded when saying them. "Never predicted you were so cold hearted," he stated remembering how she had been at the camp in Atlanta. "Or that you loved my baby brother so much."

"People change," Avery shrugged as she stood from where she had been sitting. "I have a family to protect now," she told him as her hand fell to her stomach more against her will than anything else. "A family I don't want you to screw with," she nodded before turning to leave his cell. "Enjoy your food," she told him in a fake polite voice as she left.

Merle who watched her leave, once again swallowed hard as he began to pick at the food she had brought him. Her words staying with him. She'd kill him in his sleep if he messed with Daryl, screwed things up and she'd do it because she had a family to protect. Merle sighed having a feeling what she had meant by that, he had seen the way her hand went to her stomach and he half wondered if Daryl knew yet that Avery was carrying his child.

He doubted though that he did, because if Daryl knew there was no chance in hell Daryl would have left with him. Hell, if Daryl knew he'd be actively trying a bit harder to fight Phillip and maybe if Daryl knew he'd realize he wouldn't need Merle anymore because he had another blood relative in the world. Someone who wouldn't leave him or abandon him. Someone who in a matter of months would depend on him alone.

It was probably best Daryl didn't know yet.
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Hershel who had came down to Merle's cell after the talk with Rick and the others, stopped in his tracks at the door as he watched Merle working on the knife at the end of his stump, trying to make it sharper more than likely.

Merle who had heard footsteps, looked up from what he was doing, a task he had started after finishing the lunch that Avery had brought him. "You're the farmer, Hershel," he stated as he looked at the old man, standing in the entryway of his cell.

"And you're the black sheep Merle," Hershel stated as he looked down at Merle, seeing Merle eyeing his stump that he had as well.

"How'd you lose it?" Merle asked curiously.

"I was bit," Hershel answered being honest with the man.

"Bit?" Merle questioned as he took in that answer. "You hack it off yourself?"

"No," Hershel said as he went farther into the cell, laying his crutches against it as he sat down. "Rick did."

Merle rolled his eyes at that answer, "Awful kindly of him," he said in a fake nice tone.

"Saved my life, gave me more time with my girls," Hershel said as he looked at Merle. "Gave you more time with your brother. Can't put a price on that."

"Can't put a price on anything anymore," Merle said knowing everything was kind of precious now days.

After Merle's words, Hershel reached into the pocket of his pants, pulling out a bible. "Found this in one of the cells," he stated as he opened it. "Lost more than the good book there for awhile. Lost my way," he sighed as he went silent for a bit before reciting a scripture. "And if your right hand offends you, cut it off, cast it from you. For it is profitable that one of your members shall perish..."

"And not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Matthew five, twenty-nine and thirty," Merle finished as he looked at Hershel dead in the eye. "Woodbury had a mighty fine library. One of the only things I miss about it," he admitted honestly as he gave a small shrug of his shoulders. "When the Governor returns he is going to kill me first...Michonne, my brother, then your girls, Glenn, Carl, Taylor, the baby...whoever else is left. He'll save Rick for last so he can watch his family and friends die ugly. That's who you're dealing with," he nodded his head letting Hershel know what Phillip could really be like.
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Phillip smiled to himself as he stood outside of the town hall, looking at everyone who had gathered there on his orders.

"This is Mrs. McLeod, she's the one with arthritis," Milton spoke as Phillip came to a stop in front of an old woman.

Giving the old woman a smile, Phillip took her hands in his, "Well, thank you dear, but, we'll find another way you can help us," he told her knowing there was no way she could be able to fight with his army.

Letting go of her hands he walked on to the next person, a teen aged boy and when he got to him, he heard Andrea pipe up from where she stood with Karen behind him.

"Noah's asthmatic."

"You ever shoot a gun, son?" Phillip asked as he raised an eyebrow figuring even being an asthmatic that he he still could fight.

Noah looked at the Governor feeling a bit nervous, "I had a BB gun once. My mom took it away."

"Well, you're gonna learn from the best," Phillip smiled as he patted Noah on the back before turning to look at Andrea and Karen briefly.
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Avery who had went back to her cell, paused slightly in the doorway as she found Daryl laying on the bottom bunk. To say she hadn't been expecting to see him here would be a lie. She half expected they'd run into each other eventually but she wasn't sure if she was ready for it now.

"You trying to scare me or something?" Avery asked a bit harshly as she walked farther inside, shutting the sheet behind her so that no one could see them.

"Figured this was the only way you'd talk to me," Daryl said honestly, watching as she walked to the end of the bed and sat down. "You've been avoiding me since I came back."

Rolling her eyes Avery looked down, away from him, "You left me," she stated a bit harshly. "I mean I get why but you still left me," she said as she finally looked back at him. "Did you expect me to come running back into your arms after that?" she asked as she shook her head. "I needed to be angry for a bit longer and I was..maybe still am but I am glad you came back," she told him honestly as she chewed her lip when they locked eyes.

"To what?" Daryl asked after she had spoken, not exactly sure what he had came back too.

"This is our home," Avery said knowing that the prison now was there home and it would end up being where they started their family.

"This is a tomb," Daryl stated pretty sure this was more of a death sentence than anything else.

Going silent at that Avery just shrugged as she slowly maneuvered herself so that she was laying down beside Daryl, "Maybe it is," she conceded before falling silent for a bit as her mind went to Merle. "He's your brother, but he's not good for you," she told him as she kissed his cheek softly. "Don't let him bring you down. After all, look how far you've come," she whispered though her words seemed to make them both laugh a short while later as the reality set in that they were in a prison and maybe that really wasn't the best choice of words given that, given how things could have turned out had the world not gone to shit and he kept following Merle around like a lost puppy.

When Daryl eventually turned his head to look at her though, Avery gave him a tiny smile before she leaned in, kissing him on his lips softly though as the kiss progressed it turned from soft to an almost fevered like kiss. A kiss they hadn't shared in a few days because of his absence and choosing to leave her behind.

Biting down on his bottom lip, Avery couldn't help but moan out softly as she moved so that she was on top of him and the moment she felt situated she moaned out again as their hips connected and a part of her knew then where this was going. They were going to have sex and it kind of made her nervous because it would be the first time since she had found out she was pregnant and she was afraid he'd be able to tell somehow and maybe she should have told him already but she was nervous and she wasn't sure now was the best time anyway, not with a possible war looming over their heads. She'd tell him when she thought the threat was gone.

Pulling away from the kiss briefly Avery felt a blush forming on her cheeks as she slid her shirt off, feeling Daryl's eyes on her as the shirt landed on the floor.

"Problem?" she asked him softly before leaning down to kiss him again, feeling his hands resting on her stomach and the nervous feeling still remained because again, what if he noticed a difference even if there was no visible bump yet?

"Maybe just a bit," Daryl replied into the kiss as he moved his hands away from her stomach, letting them go up to her bra which he worked to remove off of her in a hurry. "Pretty sure it's something you could help me with," he told her as he pulled away, watching as her bra fell off her. Leaving her topless on top of him and he wasn't sure what it was but he swore she had a certain glow about her that she didn't have before.

Avery gave him a skeptical look as she playfully moved her hips down into his and she smirked when she heard him moan, "Oh yeah," she replied as she let her own hands go to the button down shirt he had on and she began to undo the buttons. "I think I can help you with that problem I feel in your pants," she teased him as she leaned down to kiss his exposed skin. "Unless of course that's just a gun in your pants and you forgot to tell me," she winked as she looked up at him before finishing undoing his shirt.

Once she was done with the buttons she pushed the shirt off him, letting it go to the floor with her clothes and then she let her lips attach themselves to his neck. "Going to show you how much I missed you," she whispered out on his skin, letting her breath hit it slightly. "Make you never want to leave me again."

Moaning at Avery's actions, Daryl let his eyes fall closed as his hips moved up into hers again. "I think you've already got me half never wanting to leave you again," he voiced as his words got a bit caught in his throat but they were true. He never did want to leave her again, not when she made him feel this good. She was the only one who could and she was the only one he wanted to make him feel like this.

"Nah, I've just got you half hard," Avery mused as she nipped at the skin on Daryl's neck before reaching down to undo his jeans and after they were undone, she lifted up pushing them down along with his boxers and then quickly taking off her own pants and underwear before straddling him again, his cock right at her entrance. "But I do think you never will leave me again. At least not by your choosing."

After saying that she slowly moved down on him which caused them both to moan and she stayed still on him for a few minutes, wanting to savor the feeling of him being inside of her. It was something she had missed and something she probably wouldn't have done again had he not came back. Avery really couldn't have seen herself with anyone else but him anymore. He was it for her in the end and somehow she could only hope that she was it for him too.

"Now be quite as I ride you until we're both sore," Avery muttered out before letting her lips find their way back to his as she began to move on him.

Kissing Avery back, Daryl had wanted to reply back, teasing her but as she began to move on him any words he may have had all died because of how good this felt so instead he just let his eyes fall shut as he soon began to move with her. He did know that at the moment they did have to be silent since it was the middle of the day and everyone they knew was awake and could hear them if they were close enough but Daryl still felt that their time on the road had let them master the art of being as silent as possible during sex.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-Three

Andrea shook her head softly as she looked and examined the gates of Woodbury, trying to think of any way out. Anyway to get to the prison and try to talk with her friends. Maybe put an end to everything that was happening between the people here and the friends she had back at the prison.

"We sealed it thoroughly," Milton said as he came to a stop beside Andrea. "Nobody's getting in or out," he revealed figuring that she was probably thinking of running to the prison.

Pausing at Milton's words Andrea looked at him curiously as she put a hand on her hip. "I'm gonna ask you something and I need an honest answer," she told him knowing that as of right now she felt everything he told her or usually told her was a lie of some sort to cover up for Philip.

"Okay," Milton nodded his head as he locked eyes with Andrea.

"The fight at the prison, you swear you didn't know anything about it," Andrea said bringing up that topic again and wanting to know if he was honest when he had said this morning that he hadn't known before hand.

Milton shook his head at that, "I wouldn't advocate a move like that," he admitted knowing he would have been against it. "It's just posturing."

"Good," Andrea said as she nodded her head. "Then you have to cover for me. I'm going to the prison and the Governor can't know."

Swallowing hard at Andrea's words Milton shook his head again not wanting her to go. "Don't," he pleaded.

"I have to. I was with them," Andrea told Milton feeling like if anyone could get through to them it could be her. She was one of them still or so she hoped.

"Don't put me in this situation," Milton clarified not wanting to have to lie for her. Heck he probably even wouldn't, especially since Philip had him keeping tabs on Andrea anyway.

"I wish there was another way," Andrea said knowing she did hate to put Milton in this kind of position but really there was no choice.

"If he finds out..." Milton started only to get stopped by Andrea.

"That's a chance we have to take," Andrea told him knowing they just had to do it and let the pieces fall where they would fall.

Milton closed his eyes as he heaved a sigh, "Maybe you do, I don't. I'm sorry. I can't," he declined knowing he refused to lie or even chance things with Philip. He wasn't like that nor could he ever be like that.

After saying that Milton finally turned on his heel and walked away from Andrea.

"Look at what's happened," Andrea stated as she followed behind Milton. "Woodbury is an armed camp with child soldiers. Cannon fodder in a war over what? Is that what all your work is for?" she questioned as she watched him slow until he stopped walking again. "Please, help me get out of here," she said as she came to a stop beside him. "I can't take a car. They won't open the gates. I just need to sneak out, make my way to the prison and talk to Rick."

"This is a betrayal," Milton told her knowing her lying and going behind Philips back to do this was wrong.

"No, it's an attempt to stop this before more people get killed," Andrea said knowing she didn't want anymore Woodbury people to die and she didn't want her friends to die either. "You can do this, Milton."
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"Will you say something, please?" Jessica asked as she looked over at Glenn who had been silent for most of the day. "You haven't said a word and I'm starting to feel like I've done something wrong or something."

Glenn shook his head at Jessica's last statement."It's not what you did," he told her as he looked away from her gaze. "I just don't like having Merle here is all."

"I don't think any of us like that," Jessica laughed knowing it seemed everyone but Daryl was a bit apprehensive on having the elder Dixon back. "It's just something we have too..."

"I don't mean I don't like having him back because he's an asshole," Glenn clarified as he interrupted Jessica's words. "I don't like it because you used to love him and...and I'm afraid you'll want him back now that he is here. I remember how you handled it when we lost him the first time. You were almost as bad as Daryl was."

Jessica stayed silent as she listened to Glenn and once he had finished she remained silent as she tried to go over what she wanted to say.

"I never loved Merle," she finally spoke correcting his assumption on her loving Merle. "Maybe I thought I did and maybe in some fucked up way I cared for him but I never loved him. He was just someone there who killed my pain over losing my mom and Joe," she said as she shook her head. "Merle and I were a mess together and we'd still be a mess and I don't want that back Glenn."

Glenn couldn't help but blush at Jessica's words, "You say that. It doesn't mean Merle won't want you and I bet if he wants you he'd eventually get you."

"He doesn't," Jessica said as she reached out for Glenn's hand, linking their fingers together. "Believe it or not Merle and I had a talk this morning and he even said we were a mess. He knows what we had before it wasn't serious and he knows I'd never go to him again. I wouldn't ever date or sleep with someone who beat my brother to death and I'm not blind to the kind of man Merle is now. The man he always was."
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Zac smiled to himself as he walked towards the cell Lucy occupied, seeing her holding Judith in her arms as she sat on the bottom bunk.

"I see you wrangled Judith from Beth," Zac teased when he made it to her cell, standing in the doorway.

Lucy nodded as she looked up at Zac, "Wasn't so hard when I told her she looked like she could use a nap," she smiled before looking back down at the baby girl in her arms. "Haven't seen a baby since..." she started but then stopped her words when she remembered the last baby she had saw was Kate and Zac's son. A baby she had to put down before he killed Kate.

"Since Lennon?" Zac questioned when Lucy stopped mid sentence. "You haven't seen a baby since my son."

"Yeah, I haven't seen a baby since him," Lucy confirmed as she looked up at Zac feeling as if her words had changed things now.

"What was it like Luce?" Zac asked curiously wanting to know what Lennon's birth had been like. "I wasn't there and I guess I just want to know what it was like..if..you know he was okay.."

Lucy swallowed hard at the last words because she had a feeling Zac was implying that he wanted to know if Lennon had turned and it wasn't an image she wanted to give Zac. She didn't want Zac to know that yes Lennon had changed and that she had to put him down before he bit Kate who at that time would have willingly died.

"You should probably ask Kate that," Lucy told him as she gave him a tiny smile. "Kate has all the answers you need and it'd be best coming from her anyway."

Zac made a face at that even if he knew Lucy was probably right. Kate had all the answers he needed but it seemed for the moment they were both still being stubborn in avoiding conversations on huge topics. "Can I take Judy?" he asked softly as he stepped further into the cell. "Just kind of want some baby time."

"If you insist," Lucy laughed as she stood up and handed Judith over to Zac. "But you really should take my advice and talk to Kate about Lennon and about other things."

"Yeah, yeah," Zac muttered under his breath as he turned to leave the cell and as he walked away he began to hum a tune to Judith. It was an old Hanson song..a song about a girl named Lucy.
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Standing in his apartment Philip forcefully removed the bandage that covered his eye and after it was off he reached for the matches he had on a table. Getting a match out he struck it and watched as it lit up and once it started to burn he slowly raised the match towards his eye or what was left of it thanks to Michonne.

Though once the match was raised Philip just paused as he held the match inches from his face not able to put it close to the wound that was now where his eye used to be.

Instead he lowered the match and shook it until it went out and it was after that, that he heard a knock on his door and he reached for the eye patch he had. One he had found on some run ages ago.

"Come in," he called out loud enough for whoever was knocking at his door.

"You asked me to keep tabs on her," Milton spoke after he had entered Philip's apartment.

Phillip nodded his head as he turned to face Milton, "That's right," he confirmed knowing he had told Milton to keep tabs on Andrea.

Milton paused briefly as he took in Philip's appearance a black eye patch now covering where his white bandage had once been. "She's going back to the prison and has requested my assistance in escaping," he finally spoke feeling a bit nervous right now. "Her words, not mine."

"Help her," Philip told the man watching as Milton seemed to get even more nervous at that.

"Okay, do you really want me to do that or is this some sort of test?" Milton asked feeling a bit confused now and maybe just a bit more nervous too.

Philip laughed at that, a smirk staying on his lips, "If she asks for help, help her," he said and after that he watched as Milton hesitated before turning to leave. "Milton," he called out before the man had time to leave though. "Good work," he told him once Milton had paused.
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Andrea took several deep breaths as she stood behind a tree, listening to the walker that was approaching get closer and closer and when she felt like it was close enough she turned to look at Milton who was hiding behind a tree not too far and she gave him a nod. It was a nod to let him know that it was time to get the walker so that she could use it.

"Hey, you!" Milton called out loudly as he came out behind the tree and after he had spoken he held out the cattle prod, watching as the walker turned and soon headed towards him and the closer it got he began to get a bit scared. "Oh, shit," he muttered as he began to back away slightly though the walker kept coming at him. "Andrea!" he called out his tone a bit scared.

Hearing Milton, Andrea left where she was and she ran over to him, knocking the walker down to the ground as Milton somehow moved out of the way just in time.

"Pin it down," Andrea told Milton as he came to where she was once the walker was down on the ground and he grabbed a hold of the walker's arms. "Don't let it up," she reiterated as she got in front of the walker keeping a firm grip on the axe she had brought to help her with her mission.

As Milton kept his hold on the walker Andrea raised her axe and began to cut off one of the arms, chopping repeatedly until the arm was off.

"Just a little more," Andrea stated as she moved to get the other arm and after it was off she stood up, throwing the axe to the ground before moving to get a big rock that was nearby.

"Lift it's head," Andrea instructed Milton as she bent down in front of where he still had the walker pinned down. Putting the rock in place Andrea then nodded at Milton. "Force it down," she said to him watching as he lowered the walker's head down but the walkers head just was moving a bit too fast so she yelled out for him to keep a grip on the head and to hold it.

"I'm trying," Milton told Andrea knowing he was doing his best to keep a hold of the walker and as he kept his grip on it he watched as Andrea stood again and began to hit the walker, making it's teeth began to crack out of it's mouth, though it was while she was doing that, that another walker began to wander closer and he looked up at her. "Watch out," he told her not wanting her to get bit and it was after his words that he saw Andrea pick up the axe she had discarded and go and put the walker that was getting closer to them down with one quick blow to the head.

After the walker was taken care of Milton looked at Andrea questioningly, "Can we finish this up please?" he asked as she got the cattle prod which she opened and clipped around the neck of the walker he had pinned down and it was after that, that Milton finally stood up.

Though right as he got up he paused when he saw another walker heading their way but before it could reach them a man came out from the woods and put that walker down with a hammer that he had in his hands.

Alice who had been hiding behind a tree with Sasha, Ben, and Allen moved from her spot after Tyreese had put the walker down and when she made it to where Tyreese was she found herself pausing again as she turned to look at the two people who they had seemingly stumbled upon.

A blonde woman who had a walker on a cattle prod and a man in glasses.
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Beth smiled as she came to a stop in the doorway of Zac's cell watching as he rocked Judith in his arms, humming a song to her, though her watching him was soon found out when he looked up at her.

"I didn't even hear you sneak up," Zac said as he winked at Beth. "Was too busy singing to Miss Judy here," he laughed as he heard Judith coo softly.

"I heard," Beth told him as she too laughed. "I was wondering if it was true you had her. I went to retrieve her from Lucy and she said you taken her."

Nodding Zac chewed his lip briefly, "I did," he admitted as he stood up and walked over to Beth. "I just needed some baby time you know," he said as he moved his hand up, letting Judith take a hold of his finger. "I think being with her made me realize that Kate and I are probably going to have to talk soon. About our baby and about where we stand with each other."

Beth went silent at Zac's words though she forced a smile knowing she should be happy about it but really she was scared she'd lose Zac. She'd lose the only man who she had ever really loved outside of her father and she didn't want that. "Hopefully things go okay when that happens then," she finally spoke hoping her voice didn't betray how she felt.
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"Smart to stay fit," Merle spoke as he walked up on Michonne who was working out in the main area of the cell block. "Don't leave out the cardio," he told her as she stopped doing her push ups and instead, stood up to look at him.

"You know, if we're going to live under the same roof we should clear the air," he continued in her silence as she just eyed him. "This whole hunting you and Red down thing, that was just business. Carrying out orders."

Michonne took in his words before replying, "Like the Gestapo?"

"Yeah, exactly," Merle nodded his head. "I've done a lot of things I ain't proud of. Before and after," he sighed as he watched Lucy walk a bit closer having left where she had been helping out and he knew that Lucy was hearing this too which was good because he didn't want to have this conversation a second time. "Anyway, hope we can get past it. Let bygones be bygones."
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"Avery Can I..." Glenn started as he barged into Avery's cell ignoring the sheet that had been hanging down and he froze at the sight in front of him of both Daryl and Avery getting dressed as well as the faint smell of sex that was still in the air and Glenn just blushed as he looked away from both of them.

"Never mind, pretend I wasn't here," he said finally as he started to back away and out of the cell.

"Damn it kid," Daryl muttered under his breath. "Learn to respect the god damn sheet next time," he growled as he walked to where Glenn was before Glenn had a chance to leave. "Next time I'll murder you and I'll make it look like an accident," he said before pushing past Glenn to leave.

Hearing Avery laugh softly, Glenn just eyed her as he shook his head, "Jessica wouldn't like it if he murdered me," he spoke as he watched Avery just shrug as if she didn't care.

"Pretty sure she'd understand if she knew you had just barged in on her sister after her sister had just had sex," Avery spoke as she sat on the edge of her bed, fixing her hair up into a ponytail. "What did you want anyway Glenn?"

"To talk about your sister," Glenn confessed as he looked at her and he was thankful he was already blushing though he knew it was probably growing on his cheeks. "And Merle. I confronted her on him today and she said..she said they'd never be anything again but I can't help but worry."

Avery took a deep breath as she listened to Glenn's words, "You love Jessie, right?" she asked knowing that of course she knew the answer already. Glenn loved her sister, had ever since the quarry in Atlanta.

"You know I do," Glenn stated as he crossed his arms over his chest.

"Then you have to trust what she said," Avery told him as she gave him a tiny smile. "When you love someone you trust them and if she says that Merle and her will never be anything again she's probably being honest. Honesty is another good thing in relationships."

Glenn nodded his head at Avery's words and deep down he knew she was right. He had to trust Jessica and maybe he did but it was like he had said to Jessica earlier. It was Merle he didn't trust.

"So does the honesty comment mean Daryl knows about the bun in your oven?" Glenn asked with a slight smirk. "I mean is that why you two were having sex? A happy moment to celebrate your impending parenthood."

Avery rolled her eyes as she shook her head no, "No," she admitted feeling a bit bad that she was still keeping this huge thing from Daryl but she didn't think now was the time to tell him. Not when they had to deal with someone potentially attacking them, especially not when she was afraid he wouldn't take this news with much happiness after what had happened to Lori.

"Maybe you should tell him...you know since honesty is a good thing in relationships," Glenn spoke as he locked eyes with Avery briefly before turning to leave her cell.
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"It's a diversionary tactic," Milton explained as he looked at the group in front of him and Andrea. The group that had seemingly just stumbled upon them. "It keeps the walkers away."

"Didn't work so well with those two," Alice pointed out as she looked at the walkers they had helped put down.

"You got a camp?" Allen asked after a few minutes or maybe it was seconds of silence.

Alice shook her head when the silence continued, "It's just us," she said in case they were weary of trusting them and she got it if they were. Especially with the melt down the man at the prison had for no apparent reason. It just seemed people were slowly starting to lose their minds now days.

Turning to look at Milton, Andrea exchanged a look with him before shaking her head, "We have a town. It's walled."

"There's about seventy of us," Milton added in as he looked at the small group.

"You take people in?" Tyreese asked sounding a bit hopeful but then again he had also had hope at the prison but that had fallen through.

"We do," Milton confirmed before turning to look at Andrea. "I'll take them back," he told her knowing he could do that and she could finish her task of going to the prison.

Andrea raised an eyebrow at Milton's words, "Are you sure?" she asked seeing him nod his head. "If he asks just..."

"I'll handle it," Milton spoke knowing he couldn't tell her Philip already knew, that he had sent Milton to help her. "I'm better with him than I am with them," he said as he gestured to the walker that she held around the neck with her cattle prod.

"Thank you so much," Sasha spoke up, feeling grateful that it seemed they would finally have a place to stay safe for awhile. "We've had a rough couple of days."

"Where are you going?" Tyreese asked as he watched the blonde with the walker start to walk away.

Andrea looked back at the man as she gave him a smile, "Got to finish my run."

"By yourself?" Alice asked her a bit curiously.

"I'll be fine. Got my guardian angel here," Andrea spoke as she looked at the walker she was leading in front of her.

"Need any help?" Tyreese asked her as she went a bit farther away from them.

Andrea shook her head no, "Nope," she answered verbally. "I'm good."
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Carl who was standing guard outside with Maggie and Jessica, looked through the binoculars and as he did, he couldn't help but get kind of curious when he spotted something odd. It was a walker but it kind of looked like someone was leading it, though he couldn't see who.

"Psst.." Carl muttered gaining the attention of Maggie and Jessica. "Something weird out there," he told them, referring to outside the prison gates.

Hearing Carl, Jessica reached for the gun that she and Maggie were sharing and she looked through the scope, seeing a walker that was being lead and then she saw behind it, seeing a blonde woman she hadn't seen in months.

"Andrea," Jessica whispered back as she looked at Carl again. "Get your dad and the others," she told Carl seeing him hesitate slightly. "Go," she spoke again watching as he finally left to get the others.
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Andrea who was walking up to the prison while occasionally, taking walkers down on her way, couldn't help but feel nervous. Not even sure why. These people here where her friends, people she knew so she had no reason to be nervous around them.

The minute she got closer she could hear Rick calling out asking if she was alone and so she yelled out to him as well. "Open the gates!"

"Are you alone?!" Rick called out, ignoring Andrea's request as he looked at his group who were ready to attack Andrea if she wasn't alone. Now days they had to be cautious, especially with someone they knew who was basically living with the enemy.

"Rick!" Andrea yelled not even believing that he hadn't opened the gate yet. "Open it," she stated once she was right at the main gate.

Turning to look at Zac, Rick shook his head as he threw him the keys, watching as Zac unlocked and opened the gates for him and the moment the gate was opened, he watched as Andrea got rid of the walker and came inside. "Hands up! Turn around," he instructed her, wanting to check her.

Though when she didn't comply he reached out to grab her, pushing her into the fence as he turned her around himself and patted her down, though when a walker came too close to the fence and made her jump he pushed her down on the ground and kept checking her, just to make sure.

"I asked if you were alone," he told her sounding a bit rough.

"I am," Andrea answered him right before he took her backpack from her roughly and to say she was surprised by the hostility was an understatement. These were people she knew..who knew her. People she still considered friends.

Once Rick felt sure things were safe he looked down at Andrea, "Welcome back," he said still sounding rough and a bit cold. "Get up," he spoke as he grabbed her arm and pulled her up.

After she was up, he lead her silently into the prison where the group that hadn't been outside, pointing guns at her, were at.

Getting inside Andrea paused briefly as she looked around and the moment she saw Carol, one of the women she had tried to save the night the farm got overran, she walked to her and pulled her into a hug.

"After you saved me, we thought you were dead," Carol spoke as she held onto Andrea a bit tight.

Andrea smiled sadly and when she pulled away from Carol, she spotted Hershel on crutches with one of his legs missing.

"Hershel, my god," she exclaimed as she just looked around again at the people that where here. "I can't believe this," she finally said knowing she couldn't even after seeing Kate again and even after knowing it had been her group that had been in Woodbury. "Where's Shane?" she asked not seeing him and when Rick shook his head and the rest of the group looked somber then she knew...he hadn't made it. "And Lori?" she asked again not seeing Rick's wife.

"She had a girl," Hershel answered as he looked at Andrea. "Lori didn't survive."

"Neither did T-Dog," Avery added in as she looked at the blonde before crossing her arms over her chest.

Andrea took all that in and all she could do was just stand there for awhile, feeling even more taken aback. "I'm so sorry," she finally said as she turned to look at Carl. "Carl..Rick...I..." she said as she turned to face Rick again but again she just got that cold demeanor from him. The same he had, had since she showed up.

"You all live here?" she questioned realizing that maybe now wasn't the right time to show sympathy.

"Here and the cell block," Glenn answered which made Andrea turn to look at him briefly.

"There?" Andrea asked not even believing that they actually lived in there. "Well, can I go in?" she mused though with the way things were going she had her doubts she'd be allowed too.

Rick shook his head no, "I won't allow that."

"I'm not an enemy, Rick," Andrea stated not sure why Rick was now treating her like she was.

"We had that field and courtyard until your boyfriend tore down the fence with a truck and shot us up," Rick told Andrea in reply to the statement she had made.

Andrea just looked at Rick feeling dumbfounded because Philip had told her differently. "He said you fired first."

"Well, he's lying," Rick spoke telling Andrea the truth.

"He killed an inmate who survived in here," Hershel chimed in.

Zac made a face at that as he sat down on a table next to Daryl. "We liked him," he said as he thought of Axel, a man who had been gunned down next to Avery and how easily that could have been his sister. "He was one of us," he said a bit harshly not even sure if Andrea was one of them anymore.

"I didn't know anything about that," Andrea defended as she shook her head. "As soon as I found out, I came," she said as she looked at the people around her. "I didn't even know you were in Woodbury until after the shoot-out."

"That was days ago," Taylor told Andrea as he shook his head.

"I told you, I came as soon as I could," Andrea defended again as she turned to look at Taylor. Turning to look at Michonne, Andrea glared slightly. "What have you told them?"

Michonne just stared at Andrea while keeping her emotions in check. "Nothing," she answered honestly.

"I don't get it," Andrea said feeling confused again. "I left Atlanta with you people and now I'm the odd man out?"

"He almost killed Michonne," Taylor answered Andrea. "And he would have killed us," he said knowing he would have killed him and Maggie as well.

"With his finger on the trigger," Andrea lashed out slightly as she turned to look at Merle. "Isn't he the one who kidnapped you? Who beat you?" she asked watching as Taylor fell silent. "Look I can not excuse or explain what Philip has done but I am here trying to bring us together. We have to work this out."

Rick shook his head at Andrea's last statements. "There's nothing to work out," he told her honestly. "We're gonna kill him. I don't know how or when, but we will."

"We can settle this," Andrea said knowing it didn't have to come down to murder. "There is room at Woodbury for all of you."

Merle couldn't help but laugh bitterly at that, "You know better than that."

"What makes you think this man wants to negotiate?" Hershel asked softly as Andrea turned to look at him. "Did he say that?"

"No," Andrea answered honestly as she shook her head.

"Then why did you come here?" Rick asked as he rested his hands on his hips.

Andrea looked down at Rick's question. "Because he's gearing up for war," she confessed. "The people are terrified. They see you as killers. They're training to attack."

"I'll tell you what," Zac spoke up which made Andrea look at him. "Next time you see Philip, you tell him I'm gonna take his other eye."

"We've taken too much shit for too long," Taylor added in knowing they weren't going to take anymore. "He wants a war? He's got one."

"Rick," Andrea pleaded as she turned to look at Rick. "If you don't sit down and try to work this out, I don't know what's gonna happen. He has a whole town," she said as she shook her head. "Look at you," she said before looking at the whole group. "You've lost so much already. You can't stand alone anymore."

Rick sighed as he walked a bit closer to Andrea, "You want to make this right, get us inside."

"No," Andrea said knowing she wouldn't do that.

"Then we got nothing to talk about," Rick told her honestly knowing there was nothing else to say.

"There are innocent people," Andrea called out as Rick walked away from her.
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Walking outside with Andrea after the stuff with Rick, Michonne just stayed silent, not sure what to say or even if she wanted to speak.

"You poisoned them," Andrea spoke first as she turned to look up at Michonne.

Michonne shook her head, not surprised at Andrea again accusing her of things going wrong with her and her old group. "I just told them the truth."

"I didn't choose him over you," Andrea defended as she came to a stop. "I wanted a life. Once we entered Woodbury, you and Lucy became hostile."

"That's cause we could see it," Michonne told her friend or well a woman she thought was a friend.

"See what?" Andrea asked sounding a bit confused.

"That you were under his spell from the second you laid eyes on him," Michonne answered her as they locked eyes. "Kate was too but obviously not as bad as you are."

Andrea wanted to laugh at that accusation, "That is not true."

"And you still are."

"No," Andrea denied that statement too. "I am there because those people need me."

"And what about these people?" Michonne asked referring to Andrea's old group of friends.

Falling silent for a few seconds, Andrea took a deep breath, "I'm trying to save them, too."

"I did not realize the messiah complex was contagious," Michonne spoke feeling a bit surprised at Andrea's words and ideas.

"Go to hell Michonne," Andrea spat out harshly feeling hurt by the woman she had depended on for so long.

"He sent Merle to kill me and Lucy," Michonne said ignoring Andrea's statement. "Would have sent him to kill you too if you had come with us. But you didn't did you?" she asked watching as Andrea again went silent. "Mhmm...You chose a warm bed over a friend. That's why I went back to Woodbury. Exposed him for what he is. I knew that it would hurt you," she admitted before walking away from Andrea and heading back inside the prison.
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"Doctor Stevens will be here soon," Philip said as he entered the room where the group of people that Milton brought in where waiting. "We'll get you checked over."

"Thank you," Tyreese spoke sounding grateful for the man in front of him.

"No it's my pleasure," Philip told him as he gave the man a smile. "Now you're welcome to stay as long as you like. We got food, fresh clothing, hot water," he said as he explained things to them. "Normally we'd provide you with weapons and a car for your journey, but we need all we have."

Allen who was looking out of the window, decided to speak up. "Looks like you're battening down the hatches. Were you guys attacked?"

"Yeah," Philip confirmed as he nodded his head. "But not by biters. Some dangerous people out there. They came at us a few days ago."

"Anyone hurt?" Sasha asked curiously after sharing a look with Alice.

Milton looked down briefly before answering, "There were several fatalities."

"Damn," Tyreese muttered feeling a bit of empathy for the people who were gonna let them stay. "Sorry."

"Yeah," Philip stated as he forced a smile. "Can't be too careful these days," he told them as he shook his head. "When you're ready to travel, head west. Avoid anything north up eighty-five."

Alice rolled her eyes at the last statement, "We just came from there."

"Ran into some whack job in a prison," Allen added on as the man turned to leave.

Philip who had been prepared to leave, stopped in his tracks as he smirked briefly before turning to look at the group again.

"You saw him?" he asked trying not to sound too gleeful.

"Oh yeah," Allen nodded his head. "Screaming like an idiot."

"He's a little unhinged," Tyreese said as he looked at Allen before looking at the man with an eye patch. "But the others seemed decent. Everything seemed cool until their leader came back and practically shoved a gun in my face."

Philip raised his eyebrow at that as he felt a little more gleeful, "You were at the prison?"

"We went in for shelter," Alice answered as she moved to sit down beside Sasha. "Lost Allen's wife. This guy Rick showed up all of sudden, chased us out."

"You need help with these guys? We're in," Ben offered watching as Alice glared at him slightly and he knew it was probably because she had friends back at the prison. Though those friends hadn't fought for her to stay.

"Well now, no..we couldn't ask you to join in our fight," Philip spoke up knowing he couldn't do that even if he wanted too.

Tyreese sighed as he walked a bit closer to the man, "Look we don't want to be out there."

"It's only a matter of time before.." Philip started wanting to explain it was only a matter of time til they went to war.

"Whatever we got to do to earn our keep," Tyreese told him knowing they'd do whatever it took.

"Were you inside the prison?" Philip asked as he looked around seeing them nod their heads. "Can you describe the layout?"

"It's pretty confusing but I could try," Tyreese said knowing it was the least he could do for being allowed to stay here.

Philip turned to look at Milton briefly before looking back at the group, "You get your rest," he told them as he smiled again and this time it wasn't forced or fake. He was genuinely happy because things might have been in his favor. "We can talk about it tomorrow. As I said, you're welcome to stay here as long as you like. But take the night, talk it over," he told them before finally turning to leave.

Watching the man leave, Alice kept her glare because as much as she was upset about the prison thing she didn't feel right in helping these people, not when Lucy and Kate were at the prison."
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Avery stood up at the top of the second floor of the cell block holding Judith in her arms and she smiled when she saw Andrea coming up the stairs.

"You can't leave without meeting little ass-kicker," she told the woman as she walked a bit closer.

"May I hold her?" Andrea asked as she came to a stop in front of Avery.

Nodding her head, Avery handed the baby over slowly, "Got her?"

"I got her," Andrea confirmed as she took the baby in her arms and smiled down at the little girl who if she was being honest looked like Shane. "Oh, look at you," she cooed out. "Let me guess," she said as she looked at Avery. "Daryl named her Ass-kicker."

Avery laughed softly at that one because it seemed people truly did know Daryl well.

"That's not really her name," Andrea stated though as she kept her eyes on Avery.

"Judith," Avery told her, revealing the baby's name to Andrea.

Andrea smiled again as she looked at the baby in her arms. "Hi, Judith," she spoke as she rocked the baby some. "Oh, how precious are you?" she asked her softly before again looking up at Avery. "What happened to Lori?"

"During a C-Section," Avery answered honestly as she chewed on her lip briefly. "Maggie and Jessica were there. Carl had too.." she started but couldn't finish and she knew from the look on Andrea's face that she got it, especially when she muttered an oh my god. "T-Dog died leading Carol to safety."

"And Shane?" Andrea questioned wondering what had happened with him, how he had died.

"Rick killed him," Avery shrugged as she thought back to that night. "The night we left the farm. The whole Randall thing was a lie. Shane tried to kill Rick."

Andrea shook her head at that, a bit shocked by that information. "Shane loved Rick."

"Shane loved Lori," Avery told Andrea as she locked eyes with the woman, knowing that was obvious to everyone who had been there.

"Rick's become cold," Andrea mused as she kept her eyes on Avery. "Unsteady."

"He has his reasons," Avery told Andrea as she broke eye contact and she knew right now she sounded just like Carol when Carol had been explaining why Daryl left with Merle to Beth. "The Governor," she spoke again as lowered her voice some. "You need to do something."

Andrea swallowed hard at Avery's words, "I am," she said as she handed Judith back over to Avery.

"No," Avery clarified as she still kept her voice low. "You need to sleep with him. Give him the greatest night of his life. You get him to drop his guard, then when he's sleeping, you can end this," she smiled as if she hadn't just suggested that Andrea kill a man.

Blinking a few times at Avery's words, Andrea turned to leave.

"Avery," Jessica admonished as she came out of a cell block that she had been in on this floor and she had inadvertently heard what her sister had told Andrea. "H..how could you?"

Turning to look at Jessica, Avery just shrugged knowing it wasn't the first time today she had made a threat of death. She had threatened to kill Merle too. "Sometimes you have to kill to keep people safe Jessie," she said as she looked at her sister. "You'll understand when you have more to survive for then just Glenn."

Jessica went silent at that, mainly because her sister's words had hurt and they also reminded her too that she was weak. She'd never be like her sister or Kate or Maggie.
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Standing in the prison courtyard as Glenn drove a car in, Andrea turned to look at Rick as Glenn parked the car next to her and she slung her backpack back over her shoulder.

"Can you spare it?" she asked not even sure if the prison could stand to lose a car, not when they were close to war.

Rick nodded his head as he looked at Andrea, "Yeah," he said knowing they could.

"Well, take care," Andrea told him and the others as she turned to get in but when she heard Rick say her name, she paused and looked at him.

"Be careful," Rick told her knowing that even if he had been wary of her, he didn't want anything to happen to her.

"You, too," Andrea smiled a bit wistfully before getting in the car finally and eventually driving away, leaving the prison and her old friends behind and hopefully they heeded her words. Though Avery's words kept replaying in her mind now. A way of how she could end things.
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Martinez who was standing on guard at the wall in Woodbury looked out as he heard the sound of a car. "Heads up!" he called out before he dropped down and held his gun out, ready to shoot at whoever it was. "Hey, get down," he muttered as he looked over at Ben, one of the people from the group they had rescued today. A boy who couldn't have been but sixteen or seventeen.

"That's far enough!" Martinez called out as he watched the car that he had heard and then was now watching get a bit closer to the gate and then when it stopped he watched as a figure who..well it was Andrea, got out. "Hands up," he told her.

Holding her hands up as she got out of the car, Andrea just heaved a sigh as she looked up at Martinez and the other men on duty or well did her best to with the lights shining in her eyes and she was half afraid for a repeat of what had happened at the prison.
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Philip who was sitting alone in his apartment in the dark, listening to a record that he had on the player, looked up when he heard footsteps and he was a bit surprised when he saw Andrea.

"I went to the prison," Andrea confessed as she looked down at Philip. "They're broken, living in horrible conditions," she told him as she chewed her lip, wondering just how honest she could be with him.

"Michonne there?" Philip asked her seeing as she shook her head. "Merle?"

"Yes," Andrea spoke as she looked down.

"And Rick?" Philip asked as he raised an eyebrow.

Andrea nodded her head before speaking again, "Yes."

"He send you back here?" Philip asked her wondering if Rick had been the one to send her back.

"No," Andrea told him honestly. "That was my call."

"Why?" Philip asked and as he watched Andrea struggle for an answer he stood up from the chair and walked over to her. "Cause you belong here," he finally told her as he let his index finger trace down her cheek slightly.

At his words, Andrea just paused before pulling Philip into a hug and again she was haunted by what Avery had said, what she had told her to do so that things could be ended.

When Philip pulled away from the hug and looked at her with that knowing smile, Andrea returned it before leaning in to kiss him and maybe she could do it. Maybe she could end things the way Avery had suggested.
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Beth who was sitting in the cell block with the others, looked around at everyone and a part of her hated how quiet it was, hated how on edge everyone was so she did what she knew best, she started to sing.

"They hung a sign up in our town. If you live it up, you won't live it down. So she left Monte Rio, son. Just like a bullet leaves a gun. With charcoal eyes and Monroe hips. She went and took the California trip. Well, the moon was gold and her hair like wind. Said don't look back now. Just come on, Jim. You got to hold on. Hold on. You got to hold on. Take my hand, I'm standing right here. You got to hold on. Well he gave her a dime-store watch, and a ring made from a spoon. Everyone's looking for someone to blame. If you share my bed you share my name...."

Avery who had been sitting on the floor beside Carol, looked up at Daryl briefly, seeing him standing in the cell door of one of the cells, next to Hershel and Rick who was holding Judith.

"Some reunion, huh?" Daryl asked softly as he turned to look at Rick.

"She's in a jam," Rick spoke knowing Andrea was just torn right now.

Hershel crossed his arms as he thought over Rick's words, "We all are," he sighed. "Andrea's persuasive," he added on knowing the woman may be able to change things. "This fella's armed to the teeth. Bent on destruction."

"So what do you want to do?" Daryl asked wondering what Rick would want to do.

"We match it," Rick told him. "I'm going on a run."

Daryl nodded his head at that, "I'll head out tomorrow."

"No," Rick said as he shook his head. "You stay here, keep an eye on your brother. I'm glad you're back, really, but if he causes a problem, it's on you."

"I got him," Daryl said knowing he could understand where Rick was coming from.

"I'll take Zac and Kate," Rick explained knowing they needed to get out of the prison. They needed a chance to be secluded and alone and talk things over. "I'll also take Michonne."

Daryl paused at that, raising his eyebrow, "You sure that's a good idea?"

"I'll find out," Rick told him as he looked down at Judith who was in his arms. "And Carl, he's ready," he said knowing his son was ready to go out there on runs. "You hold it down here," he said as he looked back at Daryl.

"You got it," Daryl told him as he nodded his head.
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Laying in bed next to Philip, who was asleep, Andrea turned to look at him as she sat up in bed, wrapping the sheet around her naked body as she slipped out of bed and walked to where he discarded pants were.

Reaching inside them, she found her pocket knife and flipped it open, looking at the blade for a bit before going back to the bed where Philip still was and luckily for her he was sleeping soundly. But as she stood there she paused and just watched him and deep down she knew she couldn't do it. She wasn't a Judas. She couldn't just kill him like this.

There had to be another way to end things. A peaceful way.

Shaking her head, Andrea just walked away from the bed. Heading to the window where she looked out of the shutters and she prayed she had made the right decision not to murder him in cold blood and have this end some other way.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-Four

Lucy looked at Beth as she stood beside her, helping her clean up after breakfast. It was something she had to do to keep herself from worrying about Kate being out on the run today with Rick. To keep herself from worrying that now she'd get a chance to talk to Zac and she'd decide she didn't need Lucy anymore.

That she would want her husband back and she'd just cast Lucy aside like she was nothing. Like the months they had spent together with Viv, Sutton, and Alice had meant nothing. Like the months they had been together meant nothing.

"You worried?" Beth asked as she broke the silence.

"What?" Lucy questioned back as she turned to look at the blonde who she knew was only seventeen and yet sometimes she seemed much older.

Beth laughed slightly as she looked away from Lucy, "Are you worried?" she asked again before looking up. "I mean about Kate being out there."

"Yeah, I am," Lucy confirmed as she nodded her head. "Kate's strong I know but I'm worried," she said knowing deep down her main worry was just Kate leaving her when they got back.

"I'm not," Beth lied as she forced a smile. "She has Zac and he'll take care of her," she told Lucy though it was Zac being with Kate that worried her. She just didn't want to lose the man she loved. "Zac takes care of everyone," she spoke as she nodded her head and walked away from Lucy, going to check and see if Judith was still sleeping or if Jessica or her father had taken the baby if she had woken up.
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Sitting in the backseat of the car with Carl and Zac, Kate stayed quite as she looked out of the window as Michonne drove them down the empty back roads of Georgia as they headed on some run. A run she had only been told about before going to bed last night and then this morning after they had loaded the car up, Rick had handed her a paper, giving her directions to a hospital she had never been too though she could have swore she had heard the name before.

Maybe when Rick had first arrived in camp or something but apparently that was were Rick had wanted her and Zac to go, getting medical supplies while he, Carl, and Michonne got other stuff. Stuff they'd need in the more than likely upcoming war with the Governor.

Turning her attention from where she was looking, Kate turned her head to the other side of the car when she saw and then heard a man trying to get them to slow down as he jumped up and down and hollered at them and Kate had to look down and away as they did neither, feeling only a bit guilty for not picking up the man, but they clearly had no room left in the car. That and they just couldn't take a chance on him.

Looking back up as after a few seconds, Kate just made a face as she saw a wreck ahead of them and she chewed her lip harshly as Michonne pulled over into the grass, driving slowly to get around the mess and as she did so Kate couldn't help but again look out the windows, feeling queasy at the dead bodies in the car and then also the walker pinned under another car.

Though it was at that car, that the vehicle they were in seemingly got stuck and all they were doing was spinning tires as Michonne did her best to get the car to budge.

"Fuck," Zac exclaimed suddenly as sometime during the mess of Michonne getting them stuck walkers began to surround the car.

Turning her head to give Zac a look, Kate just shook her head, even if she too wanted to say fuck out loud.

"Cover your ears," Rick said as he turned to look at Carl as well as Zac and Kate.

After he said that he watched as everyone in the car obeyed what he said and covered their ears. After they had done so, he rolled his window down just enough that he could put the barrel of his gun through it before firing and watching as one of the walkers fell to the ground.
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Standing outside one of the wrecked cars after all the walkers had been taken care of, Zac leaned against the car, watching as Rick went through a suitcase until he found what looked like a woman's blouse and said that it would do.

"Tell me when," Michonne muttered as she walked away to get back into the car and wait for when Rick told her that she could try to get the car out.

Kate who had started to move to get in the car again as Rick and Carl went to the front to get things ready, paused when she saw Zac hadn't budged.

"You okay?" Kate asked him as she raised an eyebrow, her arms crossing over her chest.

Turning to look at Kate, Zac shrugged his shoulders. "It'd be a lie if I said I was," he admitted as he looked away from Kate's gaze. "Guess I'm just nervous about the run is all."

Kate laughed softly at Zac's words, "You nervous about a run?" she asked him as she raised an eyebrow. "A man who was made for this world, now that's funny," she stated as she shook her head before finally going back to the car and getting in.

Zac stayed outside for a few seconds longer as he watched Kate leave and he half wanted to tell her, it wasn't the run in general that made him nervous. It was being alone with her because he knew them being alone together would give them time to talk and he was dreading that. He was dreading, coming to any decision.

Shaking his head he just walked back to the car and got in, sliding to the middle seat which he had been occupying before they had even got out.
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Going to front of the car with Carl, Rick looked at his son as he bent down and he held up the sticks and the rolled up shirt to show his son. "Put something under the car like this with a little gravel and sticks. It gives you traction."

"Wouldn't have to do it if she didn't get us stuck," Carl muttered out a bit harshly as he referred to Michonne.

"It was an honest mistake," Rick told him simply as he picked up a rock and once Carl had one too they both stood up and moved a bit closer to the cars back tires.

"Why'd you let her come?" Carl questioned as he bent down next to his father in front of the tire. "She took you to Woodbury and you said she just split on you and Oscar died and you guys..."

"It wasn't that simple," Rick interrupted Carl before he looked away and began to mess with the tire as he arranged the sticks and shirt and gravel. "I asked her to come today. I didn't want to leave her at the prison if I wasn't there, not with Merle. That and we got common interests. For right now, we have the same problems," he said knowing they both wanted revenge on the Governor even if it was for different reasons. "So maybe we can work on them together."

Carl went silent as he listened to his dad and he heaved a soft sigh, "Just for right now?"

"Yeah," Rick stated as he nodded his head. "Just for right now."

After that, things fell silent between them briefly at least until they heard the man from earlier, the hitchhiker with the orange backpack yelling at them for them to help him.

Standing up along with Carl, Rick banged on the car, giving Michonne her cue to start it and she did so as the hitchhiker came into view still screaming for them to help him and not to leave him.

Watching as Michonne backed up and over the rock, getting unstuck from the mud the car had gotten stuck in Rick turned to look down at his son. "Let's go," he stated before walking to the front and getting in the passenger side and once Carl was in Michonne drove away and once again they left the hitchhiker behind.
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Getting out of the car after Michonne had followed Rick's instructions and parked it at the end of some street at the end of a town, Zac stayed silent as he followed behind Rick, Carl, and Kate. Staying with Michonne as they walked and made their way towards what was a police station.

A police station that from the looks of it, when they reached where the guns would be, had already been ransacked.

Going inside the locker where the guns would normally be, Rick shook his head before kicking the wall out of frustration.

"You got any other police stations in town?" Michonne questioned as she bent down to pick up a bullet that was laying on the ground.

"I was the police here," Rick told Michonne as he turned to look at her. "Me and a few other guys. It ain't a big town. There's other places to check. May not have as many guns as were in here, but..."

"We need as many guns as were in here," Zac stated finally breaking his silence. "Ammo, too."

Rick nodded his head at that, "Yeah, we do but right now I only got a line on a couple," he admitted. "There's a few places out on the main street...bars, a liquor store. Owners had a gun or two behind the counter that people didn't know about. I did. I signed the permits. They might still be there."

"Do you have a problem with that approach?" Rick asked as he looked back at Michonne again, seeing that she had made a slight face.

"No, Rick. I don't have a problem," Michonne told him as she shook her head. After she had answered him, she held out her hand, holding the bullet she had picked up and waiting for him to take it.

Taking the bullet from Michonne, Rick put it in one of the pockets on his shirt and as he left the locker where the guns should have been he turned to look at Kate and Zac.

"You two can go on to the hospital," he told them knowing they needed to get going so they could make it back before it got dark. "We'll meet back at the car," he said watching as Kate nodded her head in acknowledgement.

After she had done that, Rick turned away from them and headed outside where he lead the way down the road towards the liquor store.

Though the moment he passed a building, he came to a slight stop as he looked in, seeing what looked like burnt walker corpses, but no that couldn't be what he was really seeing.

Shaking his head, Rick began walking again and as he looked down it was then that he noticed the spray painted arrows on the sidewalk. Arrows that looked like they were leading to somewhere, though Rick had no clue where.

Getting to the end of the sidewalk, Rick again came to a stop at the side edge of one of the buildings and as he did so he took in the sight before him, making a face only briefly before walking again. Carl and Michonne following behind him.

"What is it?" Michonne asked as she followed behind Rick, her hand reaching up for the katana that was strapped to her back.

"I don't know," Rick stated as he walked a bit closer to the setup in the middle of downtown. A setup that included a wall made of boards and a circular thing with sticks pointing out of it. As well as a sheet hanging off a building with pink spray painted words that said Just Listen.

Someone or maybe several were obviously taking up residence here and by the looks of it, guarding against either walkers or humans or maybe both.

When they finally made it to the crosswalk, Rick looked down seeing the words spray painted there. Turn around and live.

Ignoring the words, Rick kept walking, going past the things with sticks in them and just looking at the elaborate traps that had been set up. Wires with stuff and other things on them. Cars set up in a grid like pattern. Pigeons or some kind of bird in cages.

"It looks like someone already made this theirs," Michonne mused from where she was walking behind Rick.

"Doesn't mean they found what we're looking for," Rick told Michonne as he ducked under a wire. "Couple of places are just up ahead. Let's get in and get the hell out of here," he said knowing that once they got what they had came for they could just go back to their car and wait for Zac and Kate to get back.

Going silent again Rick once again ducked under a wire before spotting the liquor store. "There," he said pointing it out. "A shotgun and two handguns License issued to Tyrell Debbs."

Carl who had been following behind his dad, turned back briefly when he heard the familiar sound that walkers make and once he spotted the female walker he turned back and patted his dad on the arm to get his attention.

Rick who had turned to look at the walker after Carl got his attention, just stood there watching as it aimlessly walked soon heading towards one of the spike things and as Michonne went to take it down, he shook his head. "Wait," he told her. "She'll get caught," he said and sure enough the walker who had barely missed one of the spikes got caught on one of the wires and as soon as it did a shot sounded and the walker fell down dead.

Turning to look up, Rick saw a man in body armor on the roof of one of the buildings.

"Hands!" the man who held a rifle called out. "Now you drop what you got and you go," the man instructed them after the people came to a stop, their hands held up. "Your guns, your shoes, and that sword. All of it. Ten seconds."

"Run for the car now," Rick whispered down to Carl as the man began a countdown.

"Dad," Carl whispered out not wanting to go.

"We need that rifle," Michonne added in a whisper as well. "I think I can get up there," she spoke again when the man reached eight in his countdown.

Rick just stood there not saying anything at least not until the man reached six and that was when he told Carl to go before stepping out and firing up at the man who soon returned the fire as well.

Moving away to get behind a truck, Rick cleared out his ammo before putting some more ammo in and while he was doing that, he heard the man firing more rounds before things when silent.

It was in the silence that he moved from where he was hiding to fire back up at the building but when he moved he saw that the man was gone from where he had been standing on the roof.

Though when he saw Michonne on the building of another roof he just looked up at her questioningly, seeing her shrug her shoulders.

Going back down behind the truck Rick took a few breaths though he didn't have time to take much more before he heard firing again and he saw the man coming out of the building that he had been on top of.

Running out of his hiding place behind the truck, Rick moved down behind a trash can where he stayed for a few seconds as the man fired a few more rounds and when the man in body armor moved a bit closer, Rick once again took off from where he was hiding and went behind another trashcan.

Though when he made to move again and fire Rick didn't even have a chance because before he could the man fell down from another gunshot, one that had happened thanks to Carl who he had told to run back to the car.

"You okay?" Rick asked Carl as he walked closer to the man, though even though the man was knocked out he kept his gun turned down on him.

Carl nodded his head at his dad's question, "Yeah."

"I told you to run for the car," Rick told him as he kept his eyes on his son. "I didn't want you to have to do that."

"I had to," Carl told his dad knowing he did have to do it.

Not saying anything to that, Rick just bent down over the man before hitting the man's chest and hearing what sounded like a hollow sound of tin or some sort. "He's wearing body armor," he stated as he ripped open the man's button down shirt to reveal a vest underneath. A vest which he undid before pushing up the man's shirt, seeing a bruise on his chest. "He's alive."

"Do we care?" Michonne asked wondering if they even cared if the man was alive or dead.

At Michonne's question, Rick reached up to undo the mask that the man had on and the minute he did, he paused slightly when he looked down at the familiar face of the man who had once saved him. A man who had helped him in his time of need. Morgan Jones.

"Yeah," he said honestly as he looked up at Michonne.
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Kate turned to look at Zac once they were inside of the hospital and in the main lobby and she turned her flashlight on, looking at the list that Rick had given her of medical supplies they needed.

"Do you want to split up or do this together?" she asked him with a raised eyebrow.

Looking at Kate, Zac chewed on his lip before turning on his flashlight too as he inched a bit closer to look at the list. Doing his best to memorize some of the things on it. "It'd probably be best to split up," he said knowing they could probably get more time in that way instead of staying together. "You stay here on this level and I'll go up to the others," he nodded as he looked up. "If I'm not back by the time you get done with your stuff, then you can come and find me," he told her as he smiled though it was a forced one.

"Are you sure?" Kate asked feeling a bit apprehensive on splitting up from him. Especially since he said earlier today when they had been stuck on the road here that he was nervous about this run.

"Positive Katie," Zac answered as he kept his smile. "Stay safe," he told her before leaning in to kiss her forehead and walking off before she could argue or find a way to convince him to stay with her.

Kate heaved a sigh as she watched Zac walk away and the moment he was out of sight, she closed her eyes and shook her head. Hating the fact that she could still feel the ghost of his lips on her forehead and hating the fact that she was apprehensive for him. She had told him he was made for this world and she had meant it so she shouldn't be scared for him.

If anyone would do well on their own anywhere it was Zac but now, here she was scared for him. Even if a part of her knew deep down his words on the road hadn't been about the run and more so about being stuck alone with her. Maybe that was also why he was running off on his own too. So that he wouldn't have to face her.
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Rick who had walked off away from Morgan briefly just walked around, looking at the set up of the traps that Morgan had setup. A setup that lead all the way to the building in which he had been on, shooting at them.

"Keep an eye out for booby traps," Rick told Michonne as he came to a stop in front of the building that Morgan had came out of it. "Looks like he's gotten pretty creative so far."

"I thought we were just going to get in and get the hell out of here," Michonne said repeating Rick's own words from earlier.

Turning his head to look back at where Morgan lay on the sidewalk, Rick shook his head, "I'm not leaving him on street."

"Look, I know you said he helped you.." Michonne started only to get cut off by Rick.

"He saved my life," Rick told Michonne knowing that Morgan had indeed saved his life. If it hadn't been for him helping him that first night, he'd probably be dead. "He wasn't like this then."

"Okay," Michonne said though it was a bit skeptical.

"Jesus, he has a son," Rick stated as his mind went to Duane. A boy who was Carl's age or close to it.

Michonne kept her eyes on Rick, watching as he looked down at that statement, "You think he's in there?"

Rick didn't say anything to that. Instead he put his gun in it's holster as he walked slowly towards the doors of the building that Morgan had came out of. Walking closer until he got to a mat with the word Welcome on it.

"Don't," Michonne hissed out as she moved a bit closer to Rick. "You said booby traps," she reminded him when he turned to look at her.

Listening to Michonne, Rick stayed silent though he did reach down towards the mat which he picked up and the minute he did, he saw a hole in the cement. A hole that was full of spikes and it was then it hit him. Had he stepped on the mat it probably would have gave way, going down to the spikes.

"Thank you," Rick told Michonne as he laid the mat down slowly.

"Let's just get him inside and go," Michonne muttered before she turned to head back to where Carl was keeping watch to a still unconscious Morgan.
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Zac who had made it up to the second floor, opened the door and stepped out. Keeping his flashlight firmly in one hand, he reached down for his knife as he continued to walk, heading towards the nurses station. Though before he could reach it, he paused in his tracks when he heard a banging and as he turned slowly he came face to face with a door that was shut a bit securely. A door with the words Don't Open, Dead Inside spray painted on it.

Shaking his head at that he still kept a firm grip on his knife as he turned away and headed to the nurses station. Once at the nurses station, he rifled through the stuff on the messy and cluttered desk until he found something of relevance. A book that contained where the pharmacy was in the hospital.

Seeing that it was located on the third level right across from what had used to be the baby nursery Zac decided then that he'd leave that for last. For now he'd just go from room to room, hoping and praying they had little trinkets of what they needed. Bandages at least or a better pair of crutches for Hershel then the pair they had.

Hell maybe they'd luck up and find a nice little prosthetic that Hershel could use one day. Just anything to keep him away from the baby nursery because he wasn't ready to face it, just like he wasn't ready to face Kate alone yet.

Zac knew it was stupid because usually he was kind of brave but right now he was absolute chicken shit to do what was right and face and talk to Kate.

"Just get it together Zachary," he spoke to himself as he moved away from the nurses station and headed out on his mission of checking the rooms on the second floor.

Though once he had done that, coming away with a half a bag full of stuff Zac took a deep breath as he exited the second floor the same way he had came in and he slowly took the stairs, heading to the third floor.

Getting there he opened the door and headed out, going in the direction that the pharmacy was. Though as he neared the doors for it, he came to a stop when he was outside the windows for the nursery and all he could do was walk towards it.

Going inside the doors he looked around at the bassinets. Bassinets that were empty except for a few leftover hats or baby blankets. Bassinets that if the world were still functional would be housing babies. Would have probably held Lennon a month ago had Kate been in a hospital where Lennon may have maybe made it.

Hell if the world were functional maybe they would have caught the issue with Lennon before he had even been born dead. A thought that made Zac angry. A thought that made him reach out towards an empty bassinet and push it over roughly, watching as it fell to the floor, bumping into the one beside it and taking it down too.

Feeling tears come to his eyes as it fell, Zac moved to another standing bassinet and he toppled it over, an action he repeated until all the bassinets were on the floor and once that was the case he collapsed onto the floor as well. Breaking down once again over his child.

A baby he had cried for once right after Judith had been born because he had wondered about it being alive out there but now he was crying about what had been taken from him. The possibility he had lost to be a dad and to even see his child being born even if it had been born dead.

"Zac?" Kate's voice sounded from the doorway of the nursery.

From where he sat on the floor, Zac turned to face her with tears on his cheeks though he couldn't say anything and maybe Kate sensed that. Maybe that was why she just stepped into the nursery and walked to where he was, bending down and pulling him into a hug as he just continued to cry into her shoulder now.
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Helping Michonne carry Morgan upstairs, Rick paused slightly right as they got near the top and he looked down to see a wire that they both had almost stepped on and as he stood there for several seconds he just looked at Michonne warily before finally stepping over the wire. Though he also kept a firm grip on Morgan.

Once they were over the wire he opened the curtains to see an axe staring at him. An axe that probably would have went right through them had they tripped the wire.

"Carl, watch the wire," Rick called out to Carl who was behind him and Michonne.

After that hurdle was passed, they continued carrying Morgan until they reached the doorway of a room and when they got to the room, they paused at the sight. There was all sorts of writing on the wall and as he looked over he saw weapons and guns. Stuff that he knew had came from the police station and now it had made sense on who had taken it but nothing made sense on why.

"I showed him that weapons locker last year," Rick stated as he turned to look at Michonne.

"And it had all this in it?" Michonne asked a bit breathlessly as she looked around at all the other various weapons in the room, minus the guns that Rick had seen.

"No, not even half," Rick said honestly as he shook his head. "He's been busy," he said before spotting a cot in the room. "The cot," he said as he gestured towards it with his head.

When they made it to the cot, Rick helped Michonne lay Morgan down. After he was down though he listened as Carl and Michonne began to rifle through stuff and even he himself pulled out a container from beneath the cot. But as he did, he paused as he read some of the writing on the wall.

Weird sayings and the word clear written a lot. Someone who had clearly lost their mind had written all of that. No way no one sane had. But how had Morgan gone this far down?

Moving away from the cot, Rick went over to another bin of weapons and he began to rummage through it, finding things that they needed, pausing only slightly when he saw the walkie that he had given Morgan all those months back. A walkie he was supposed to have used to keep in contact with him but then things had happened and he hadn't.

Closing his eyes, he lifted the walkie to his head as he took several deep breaths. Listening to Carl and Michonne who were still rummaging through Morgan's things.

When he opened his eyes again, he looked up at the wall and it was then that he noticed one of the writings, there in red letters. Duane turned. Morgan's son had turned and left him alone. Becoming one of those things and Rick felt that maybe some things were slowly falling into place now.

Standing up Rick walked a bit closer to the wall where he reached out to touch the written words slightly.

"No," he finally spoke hearing Michonne and Carl stop what they were doing. "We're going to wait for him to wake up. Make sure he's okay."

"He tried to kill us," Michonne reminded Rick as she just stared at him, not believing what he was saying.

"He told us to go," Rick reminded her as he eyed her down. "He didn't know who we were."

Michonne also kept eying Rick, "He tried to kill us and we didn't leave him for the walkers. He's had a good day. He doesn't need half of these guns. We do."

"We're waiting for him to wake up. That's it," Rick stated knowing his decision was final.

"Have you taken a look around this place?" Michonne questioned honestly. "The axe, the spikes, the walls."

"You think he's crazy?" Rick asked sounding slightly offended with what Michonne was saying.

Michonne shook her at that question, "No, I think he's dangerous."

"I know him," Rick told her feeling like he did know Morgan or at least he used too.

"He wasn't like this then," Michonne reminded Rick knowing something had changed the man Rick thought he knew.

"We're gonna wait for him to wake up," Rick stated again and again he knew his decision was final and his mind was made up.

Carl who had stayed silent during his dad's conversation with Michonne just turned around and began to walk out of the room as his dad walked away after finding something to bind Morgan's hands together. But as he walked out of the room he slowed his walking as he eyed a drawing on the wall. A map of some sorts.

"What do you see?" Rick asked after he had finished tying up Morgan's hands and he walked to the doorway, looking at Carl who was now in the other room, staring at a map that was drawn on the wall.

"It's our neighborhood," Carl replied as he looked at the map more. Seeing the words Burnt Out and drawings of what looked like a fire. Then the words Rick's house with Taken underneath then below that Burnt Out written again. "It's gone."

"Is that why you wanted to come?" Rick asked wondering if that was why Carl had wanted to come when he had told him where the run was going to be. "To see the house?" he questioned again though he only got silence. "Carl?"

Carl shook his head at his dad's words, "I just wanted to come."

Looking down at Carl's words, Rick fell silent at least until he heard a wrapper opening and Michonne eating something that was crunchy.

"We're eating his food now?" Rick asked as he turned to walk away from the doorway.

Michonne shrugged her shoulders at Rick's question as she ate the peanut butter protein bar. "The mat said Welcome," she said telling him what the mat out front had said.

Moving away from the map again after seeing a place on it that he wanted to go, Carl went back into the room where his dad was. "I'm going on a run."

"Where?" Rick asked as he looked at his son skeptically.

"I thought maybe the one thing people didn't loot was cribs and there's that baby place that mom's friend Sara ran. It's just around the corner," Carl explained as he looked at his dad and he prayed his didn't couldn't tell that he was lying.

"Carl..." Rick started only for his son to speak again.

"Dad, it's just around the corner and there's all those walker traps," Carl defended as he pleaded his case.

Michonne who had been listening in decided to speak up. "You're gonna need some help carrying the box."

"What?" Carl asked feeling confused at Michonne's statement.

"If you're gonna get a crib, you have to get the box," Michonne told him as she turned to look at him. "It's big and heavy. You're gonna need help carrying the box," she said seeing confusion on his face still. "You are getting a crib, right?"

"That's what I said," Carl spoke feeling a little defeated because he hadn't wanted Michonne to come, mainly because he had been lying on where he wanted to go.

Finishing the protein bar, Michonne turned to look back at Rick, "Then I'll go with him."

"Right there, that's the deal," Rick told Carl as he stood up from where he was bent down. "You get into trouble, you holler. I'll hear it from here."

"Okay," Carl nodded his head as he turned to leave the room.

Staying silent the whole way down the stairs, he stopped and looked at Michonne once they were outside. "You don't have to come with me. I can handle it," he said before continuing to walk again, heading down the road.

"I told your dad I'd help you," Michonne spoke from where she was walking behind Carl.

"Yeah, okay," Carl stated a bit sarcastically not even turning to look back at Michonne.

As they continued walking, Carl looked up at a walker who was coming close to the edge of the walker traps and he pointed to it. "Guess you should take care of that."

Michonne who had listened to Carl, reached for her katana as she walked towards the walker, taking it down in a swift blow once she was close enough to it. Pulling her katana out of the walker's skull, Michonne looked at the blood on it briefly before turning to look at Carl who she saw running off down the sidewalk.

"Shit," she muttered under her breath, realizing Carl had tried to trick her and as she put her katana back in it's holder she headed off after Carl.

Running after him, she reached out for his shoulder once he was close enough. "What the hell was that?"

"I want to do this on my own," Carl told her as he stopped in his tracks, turning to look at her.

Listening to his words Michonne paused before turning to look at the store across from them. "You just passed the baby place."

"I'm getting Judith something else first, okay?" Carl stated as he kept on walking down the street.
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Pulling away from Zac once his crying had quieted down, Kate just looked down at him as she shook her head softly. "I got done finding what I needed and you weren't back," she stated as she chewed her lip. "I just got worried about you and came looking like you said. I realized I didn't want too..couldn't lose you again," she told him honestly.

Zac gave her a tiny smile as he reached up to wipe at his wet cheeks, "I couldn't lose you again either," he said as he locked eyes with her. "You're my best friend Katie," he sighed as he shook his head. "I was on my way to the pharmacy though. It's across from here," he said as he pointed towards the door. "But then I saw the nursery and came inside. Started thinking about how if the world was functional that Lennon would have been in one of those bassinets. Thought maybe they could have caught his problems..whatever they were before he was born dead or if he was at least maybe they could save him at a hospital."

"And you got angry?" Kate asked knowing how Zac could be when he had a temper. That probably explained all the bassinets in the floor.

Zac nodded his head sheepishly, "I got so angry Katie," he told her as he inched a bit closer to her, wanting any form of comfort from her that he could get. "So so angry," he muttered before kissing her once he was close enough.

Kissing Zac back, Kate knew it was probably a bad idea to kiss him, especially since this kiss wasn't like any of the others they had shared. There was no romantic spark though there was feelings. Feelings of what had been and what could have been had they not been separated but that was it.

But even with it being a bad idea Kate kissed him back, just like she let him push her back against the floor. Though when her back connected to it she pulled away slightly to look at him. "W..we should talk," she spoke knowing they needed to talk about things. Not have a quick fuck here in what used to be a hospital nursery.

"We can talk after," Zac pleaded as he looked down at her. "Just give me this Katie," he said as he took his backpack off, putting it down beside him before leaning over her again. "One last time," he whispered as he kissed her again and as they kissed he felt a shiver run down his spine as her hand slid under his shirt.

Though his last words were true, he knew that today when they had sex it would be the last time. The kisses hadn't felt the same and the spark they used to have was gone. But he needed comfort..more than just a hug. He needed to know she was there for him in every way she could be right now and he wanted some form of closure even if it was in sex.
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Carrying Judith in her arms, Beth walked to where Lucy was sitting alone at a table in the main cell block and when she sat down beside her she felt Lucy look at her curiously.

"I lied earlier," Beth confessed her voice going soft as she rocked Judith in her arms. "I mean about being worried. I'm worried but it isn't about their safety."

Lucy acknowledged what Beth was saying by nodding her head, "I know," she sighed as she ran a hand through her red hair. "I am too. Not worried about their safety but worried."

Falling silent Beth turned to look down at Judith who was just staring up at her, so naive to everything around her. The threat of walkers and how fragile everyone seemed to be now days.

"What happens if..." Beth started but stopped not wanting to even contemplate what happened if Zac and Kate decided they didn't want them.

"We survive," Lucy told Beth as she put her arm around Beth's shoulders, giving it a squeeze. "We're strong and we survive because that's what we have to do," she said as she smiled sadly. "You're young and I doubt you've had much experience with love besides Zac but we'll survive," she repeated knowing she had doubts on her words but she had survived Renee's death and surely she could handle it if she lost Kate. At least losing Kate there would be no death like there had been with Renee.

Kate would be alive and happy with Zac and she'd take an alive and happy ex-girlfriend over a dead one. Even if it would hurt her to see her with Zac. But Zac was her husband and Zac had been with her first and technically they hadn't divorced so she was still Zac's. It'd only be fair if she chose him and Lucy would accept it and she'd survive.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-Five

Looking at Kate as he got redressed, Zac chewed on his lip knowing there was so much he wanted to ask her and yet he didn't know where to start. What to say or what to ask.

"You going to talk or just stare at me the whole time Zachary?" Kate asked with a laugh as she fixed her shirt after pulling her hair back into a bun. "I mean the staring is kind of making me nervous."

Zac blushed slightly as he looked away from Kate, "I'm not sure where to start," he admitted his voice going soft as he did so. "Not sure what to say or ask."

"Let's start simple," Kate spoke as she turned to face Zac, finding him looking away from her now. "Start with Lucy and Beth."

"You love her," Zac stated honestly as he finally looked back at Kate. "You love Lucy."

Kate nodded her head in acknowledgement of that, "I love Lucy," she confirmed before laughing softly because she had just reminded herself of an old TV show. "I never meant to fall in love with her Zac but I did. I thought you were dead and she was there and we fell in love, it's as simple as that."

"Did you and Lucy get together before or after..." Zac started but was unable to even finish his sentence. Unable to ask if it was before or after Lennon had been born dead.

"Before," Kate answered as she swallowed around a lump that was starting to form. "A few months before."

Zac nodded his head as he looked away from Kate again. "I love Beth," he admitted though he figured she knew that just like he knew she loved Lucy. "Like you thought I was dead, I convinced myself you were too and Beth was there. She helped me and took care of me like I needed and I love her."

"I know," Kate smiled even if it was bittersweet. "I can see why too. She's nurturing and a homemaker and all the things I was before..."

"You make her sound like a rebound," Zac stated as he laughed but finally looked up at Kate. "She's not a rebound."

"Of course she's not," Kate shook her head as she gave Zac a smile though maybe hers was more fake. "I'm just glad you found happiness with someone because you deserve it. You deserve the best in the world."

Smiling Zac inched a bit closer to Kate, "So do you Katie," he sighed almost wishing there was a way he could change things because even if this was mutual it still hurt because somewhere deep down inside he loved her still. Loved what she had once meant to him and he was sad at what they were losing but things had changed.

The world now and the circumstances in it had changed them and made them different people than what they had been. She wasn't the same Kate he had married or fallen in love with and he knew he wasn't the man she had loved or married either.

"Was Lennon..." Zac started before taking a deep breath when Kate looked up at him expectantly. "I mean he was born dead...did he become one of them?"

Kate paused at Zac's question, not sure if she wanted Zac to have the same image of their son that she did. A boy who had tried to take a bite out of her. A boy who had been a monster.

"He was fine," she lied as she gave Zac what she hoped was a convincing smile and she knew it was a necessary lie for his sake. "He was perfect and beautiful and fine. He even had your nose or what it was before you broke it one too many times."

Zac just stood there as he took in Kate's words and a part of him wasn't sure he believed her but he didn't question her deeper because maybe some things he didn't want an answer too. "Let's go get that medicine now Kate Tucker," he muttered as he turned away from her and headed out of the nursery.

"We may be semi divorced in a not legal sense but I still prefer Hanson," Kate spoke up as she followed behind Zac. "It's such a strong name. I prefer Hanson."
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Standing in the room where Morgan was passed out, all Rick could do was look at the walls. Examine the writing and wonder how someone like Morgan, someone who had seemed so strong could have fallen so far.

But then again Rick lately was sure people had been asking that about him. How he could have fallen so far too? The answer was easy though, he had lost Lori. One of the things he had been living for and it had happened so suddenly. In the blink of an eye she was just gone and he was here alone with two kids...and fuck he had never even gotten to say goodbye or apologize for being a shitty husband.

Sitting down as he stayed in his thoughts a bit longer, Rick looked at Morgan as he continued to sleep and he knew one thing was true. Something he wanted to voice out loud.

"I'm sorry this happened to you," Rick spoke softly admitting the truth and a part of him, well, maybe he was apologizing to himself as well.

After saying that, Rick stood up again and he walked towards a wall where a rifle was leaning against it and as he picked up the rifle to look through it, he heard something clatter to the floor. Something that sounded metallic and he turned to look at Morgan, though from where he was standing Morgan seemed to still be asleep and so he raised the gun up again to look through it and as he did he heard someone come lunging at him.

Though he was quick enough to turn and get Morgan down on the ground with the end of the gun and as Morgan fell to the ground Rick looked at him, "Do you know who I am?" he asked wanting to know if Morgan remembered him. "Do you see who I am?"

"People wearing dead people's faces," Morgan answered as he looked up at the man who did seem vaguely familiar in his brain and as the man said his name and told him to listen Morgan shook you head, "No, I don't know you!" he yelled out figuring his brain was playing tricks on him.

"You do know me," Rick yelled back aggravated that Morgan was clearly not seeing him.

"I don't know you," Morgan yelled back as he finally stood and lunged for the man again though the man was quick to throw him against a wall.

"You saved my life, Morgan," Rick told him as he held Morgan against the wall. "You know me. Look at me."

After the man had told him to look at him, Morgan just did it briefly before freeing his hand and punching him, finding a way to get the man on the floor so he had the upper hand. "You don't clear man," Morgan spoke as he straddled the man who he held to the floor. "You turn. You just die."

"You know me!" Rick yelled out again as he raised his arm up, grabbing a hold of Morgan's shirt as he tried to keep Morgan from stabbing him with the knife that he held in his hand.

"I don't know anyone anymore!" Morgan told him because it was the truth. He knew no one...not anymore. "You don't clear!" he yelled as he held his knife a bit harder as he slowly moved it towards the man, eventually plunging it into his shoulder.

Letting out a scream as Morgan's knife plunged into his arm, Rick headbutted him when he got close enough before finding a way to push Morgan off, watching as the man landed on the floor the knife coming out of his hand in the process as well.

"You know me," Rick spoke through his teeth as he stood up, holding on to where the knife had been in his shoulder. "You crazy son of a bitch," he said as he kept walking towards Morgan who eventually crawled to a corner and as he did so, Rick took out his gun. Holding it on Morgan.

Looking up at the man as he held a gun on him, Morgan swallowed a lump in his throat, "Please," he begged as he locked eyes with the man. "Please kill me," he said wanting to die and so he reached out for the gun, putting it to his face.

Though the moment he did that, the man harshly pulled his gun away, moving away from Morgan.
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Rick who was now standing up bandaging, his chest looked over at Morgan where he was tied up and repeatedly begging for Rick to kill him..to just kill him. It was an offer Rick didn't want to follow through with, even if Morgan had tried to kill him more than once today now.

"You found me last year in my front yard, Morgan," Rick told him as he slowly slipped his shirt back on. "You...you found me. You fed me. You told me what's happening. You saved me," he said as he stood up, finishing the task of putting his shirt on. "My name is Rick Grimes, you know me. I'm not wearing a dead man's face," he explained hoping again to get through to Morgan.

After he said that he walked to where the walkie talkie was that he gave Morgan and he reached for it, before bending down and looking at Morgan, "I gave you this," he said as he held the walkie talkie out in front of Morgan. "I said I'd turn it on every day at dawn so you could find me."

Morgan just sat there as he listened to the man and as he did so, it was like a light switch had flicked on inside him. "Rick?" he asked but of course he already knew the answer to that. "I know you," he said as he kept eyeing Rick. "Oh man. Damn it I...I know you. I know who you are," he nodded his head as he looked at the walkie talkie in Rick's hand. "You said you'd turn yours on at dawn. That's what you said," he muttered a bit sadly. "I mean, I hadn't worked up to it yet, and...then I did. On the roof, every morning for days, for weeks, me and my boy," he admitted as he paused at the thought of Duane. "And then...me. Just static, though. Nothing but static and then nothing but nothing. You weren't there. You were never there," he shook his head bitterness in his tone and in his words.

"I was," Rick spoke softly as he looked down because he had been there a few times at least at first.

"No, not when I tried," Morgan told him as he watched Rick look down. "I mean you said you would turn on your radio every day at dawn."

"Morgan, I..."

"You said that you would turn on your radio..." Morgan interrupted Rick. "Every day at dawn and you were not there!"

"I did!" Rick defended as he finally looked up at Morgan. "I kept getting...I kept getting pushed farther out. I had to. I didn't have a choice," he explained as he shook his head. "I found my wife and my boy. I had people. I had to keep them safe. We kept getting pushed back deeper into the country. I swear to God I didn't have a choice."

Morgan sat there in silence as he listened to Rick though his words didn't do anything to ease the wounds Morgan had. "You can have your radio back cause it looks like I finally found you," he told him harshly as he shook his head. "You found your wife and your son. That's what happened, right? You found them," he said watching as Rick nodded his head. "And did they....Did she....did your wife...did she turn?"

"No, she died," Rick answered as his mind went to Lori briefly.

"So you didn't have to see that, then," Morgan said as he looked away from Rick. "Of course not. Not like me, no," he said as he laughed a bit bitterly. "Not like me. Not like my wife," he stated as he looked back at Rick. "You remember what happened to her? You remember what she was?" he asked watching as Rick nodded his head as his answer. "Yeah....you gave me the gun. You tried."

"What did I try, Morgan?" Rick asked as he raised an eyebrow at Morgan's words. "What did I try?"

Morgan again just laughed bitterly for a bit before answering Rick, "You tried to get me to do it. Cause I was supposed to do it. I was supposed to kill her...my Jenny. Knew I was supposed to but I let it go. Let it go like there wasn't gonna be a reckoning," he stated sadly. "We was always looking for food. You know, it always came down to food....and I was...I was checking out a cellar and I didn't want Duane to come down there with me and then when I came up..she was standing there right in front of him and he had his gun up and he couldn't do it. So I called to him and he turned and then she was just...just on him. And I see red...I see red. Everything is red. Everything I see is red and I do it. Finally," he frowned as he shook his head.

"Finally was too late," Morgan sighed after a moment of silence. "I was supposed to. I was selfish. I was weak...you gave me the gun," he said as he locked eyes with Rick. "Hey your boy, is he dead?"

"No," Rick answered softly as he shook his head.

"No?" Morgan questioned as he took in Rick's answer. "He will be. See, cause people like you, the good people, they always die. And the bad people do too. But the weak people, the people like me...we have inherited the Earth."
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Kate who was walking on the side of the road next to Zac not long after they had left the hospital after getting the medicine, came to a stop briefly and she watched as Zac stopped as well not long after her, giving her a funny look.

"Everything okay Katie?" Zac asked as he looked Kate over, not sure why she had came to a stop. He had figured they had said everything they needed inside the hospital.

"Is Beth pregnant?" Kate blurted out finally as she chewed on her lip. "Just..as we were getting medicine I saw you putting prenatal meds in the bag and they aren't on the list of things we needed."

Zac shook his head at Kate's words because no Beth wasn't pregnant and he was a bit thankful for that. In the end he just wasn't sure he was ready for another baby or if he'd ever be ready..not when he wasn't entirely positive he'd ever get over the loss of Lennon.

"They're for Avery," he admitted softly as he looked at Kate sheepishly. "I don't think she's even told Daryl yet but she told me a few days ago and she's my sister..I just want to make sure she is taking care of herself and her baby somehow."

Kate fell silent at Zac's words, not having suspected that he'd tell her Avery was pregnant but maybe she should have because it was no secret she was with Daryl now..that something had changed between them even before the farm had fallen. But she really hadn't expected a baby to be something they would have.

Smiling softly, Kate reached out and pulled Zac into a hug, "You're such a sweet sweet man and a good brother," she told him softly as she rubbed his back. "I'm glad this world hasn't taken some things from you," she sighed as she closed her eyes because somehow she felt the world was taking everything from her. That somehow she was becoming much more hardened than her now ex-husband would ever be.
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Carl who had walked to the place where he was going in silence, though he knew Michonne was behind him, slowly walked to the window of the restaurant and once he reached it he moved his arm up as he wiped off the glass to look inside.

Soon revealing that the inside of the place did seem to have walkers inside of it but he knew even knowing that, that wasn't going to stop him from his mission and so he slowly moved his hand to the doorknob but before he could open it, Michonne had grabbed his hand, pulling him away.
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"You think I was gonna let you go in there?" Michonne asked a bit later as Carl walked away from her angrily as they headed back in the direction they had came.

"I just think it's none of your business," Carl spoke as he slowed down and turned to face Michonne. "You don't know me. You don't know my dad or anyone..."

"I came out here to help," Michonne interrupted Carl as she finally reached where he stood in the road.

Carl shook his head at Michonne's words, "You came out here for common interests. We have the same enemy and the same problem," he said as he repeated his father's words from earlier today. "And that's why you're here. That's it," he told her as he looked up at her. "This is important. I'm going to do this and I know how I can. You can't stop me," he spoke as he stood his ground before walking away from her, though he once again slowed and looked at her when he heard her psst to get his attention.

"I can't stop you," Michonne acknowledged once Carl turned to look at her. "But you can't stop me from helping you."
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Opening the door of the restaurant, Michonne reached her hand down, to hold the bell to keep it from ringing too much and after she had opened the door, Carl rolled in a cart with a rat inside of it. One of the carts that had been a part of the traps that the man who knew Rick had built and as that cart got the attention of the walkers inside, Carl let the second cart loose inside as well.

A distraction that seemed to work good enough that it allowed him to slip inside and she went inside after him, keeping a tight grip on her katana in case she needed it, if the walkers eventually noticed their presence in the building.

Carl who slowly made his way to where the main counter was, swallowed hard as he looked at the walkers who were distracted by the rats before slowly climbing onto the counter to grab a hold of the picture that was on the wall.

Though once he had it down and was about to get down as well, a walker that had been behind the counter came up, grabbing a hold of him though before he even had time to raise his gun and fire Michonne had put her katana through the walker.

Making a face at the walker, Michonne reached out and slowly removed the walker from her katana, as not to draw too much attention to her and Carl and after she had done that, she watched as Carl finally moved and they slowly began their trek the way they had came.

But right before the could round a corner of a wall, they saw one of the rats coming around the corner too and if the rat was loose, that meant they were probably screwed somehow..and sure enough just seconds after that a group of walkers came around the corner.

Reaching out for Carl, Michonne moved him behind her as they went running back the way they had just came, heading to the back where the kitchen was and of course a walker would choose then to come out of the double doors.

Carl who had made it to the doors raised his gun and fired at the walker who had just came out, watching as it fell down dead and then he just kept moving, knowing they had to get out and so he kept willing his legs to move as he ran out of the back, taking down walkers in his path as well as knocking over a table which caused him to drop the picture he had came for.

"No," Carl called out as Michonne eventually pushed him outside as walkers began to cover the picture he had dropped.

"I've got to go back in," Carl told Michonne the moment she had shut the door.

"Where is it?" Michonne asked Carl after he had said they had to go back in.

"We have to go back," Carl stated not answering Michonne's question. "We have to. I have to. I think it's the only one left," he told her as he just looked at where she stood, guarding the door as walkers gathered around it, trying to get outside.

"Fine," he stated as he moved trying to get inside but she stopped him.

"Not like this," Michonne told him sternly. "I don't know you. I get that. But can you do something for me?" she asked him as she raised an eyebrow. "Wait here."

"I can help," Carl told her not sure he trusted her fully still.

"No," Michonne stated calmly. "And no more bullshit. You wait here, that's how we get it done, " she said and she waited until she saw him nodding his head to move away, watching out of the corner of her eye as she saw him taking her place at the door.

Standing at the door after Michonne left, Carl just looked down, brooding and wishing she had let him go. Wishing he had fought her a bit more..just a bit. Though eventually he heard Michonne say hey to get his attention and as he looked up at her, he saw her handing him the picture frame with the picture of his family in it.

A picture of him, his mom and his dad and as he took it from her, he smiled softly.

"I just...I just thought Judith should...should know what her mom looked like," Carl explained as he looked up at Michonne. "Thank you," he said gratefully before starting to walk away.

"I was gonna go back in anyway," Michonne smirked as she walked beside Carl. "I just couldn't leave this behind," she stated as she pulled out the multi colored cat statue she had nicked from inside. "It's just too damn gorgeous."

Carl who walked beside Michonne, made a face at the statue because it was kind of ugly but he bit his tongue on saying anything.
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"I'm not going to kill you," Rick told Morgan from where he stood looking out a window. "I don't think that's what's supposed to happen. I think you're supposed to come back with us," he explained as he walked to Morgan, getting his knife out and undoing the ropes that bound Morgan.

"After all that?" Morgan asked as he laughed some. "After me trying to blow your head off, stab your heart out, happily ever after?"

Rick shook his head, "You couldn't kill me, I couldn't kill you. I'll take that as a sign," he explained as he watched Morgan stand up. "We found a prison. The fences can keep 'em out."

"Is that where your wife died?" Morgan asked and his question seemed to render Rick silent. "Just go," he stated as he shook his head. "Don't go back. Don't stop. Just get yourself some more time."

"Look, I can help you," Rick said feeling like he could help Morgan because wasn't he or hadn't he been on that same path too of becoming like Morgan. "You can come back with us. You can heal."

"You're taking a lot of guns Rick," Morgan stated ignoring Rick's words as his eyes went to the guns in the corner that Rick had gathered together. "Now, I'm just saying that, that is all a lot of guns. Why do you need the guns Rick?" he asked as he raised an eyebrow. "Cause if you got something good, that just means that there's someone who wants to take it, and that is what is happening, right?"

Rick nodded his head, "We're gonna win," he said sounding confident. "You can be there. You can help."

"You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets," Morgan told Rick honestly. "You and your boy. Your people, but not me. Because I am not gonna watch that happen again," he said as he locked eyes with Rick. "Man, you take the guns," he said as he turned to walk away from Rick.

"You know there's a chance," Rick called after Morgan "That's what you can't square. That's what hurts. You know there's a chance!"

"I don't think you heard a damn word that I said," Morgan called back as he turned to look at Rick.

Going silent briefly, Rick thought over his words as he looked around a bit before settling on Morgan again," We both started out in the same place. Things went bad for you, things went bad for me. But you're not seeing things right. I don't blame you, what you've lost, what you've been through. You're not seeing things right, but you can come back from this, I know you can," he spoke and he had to believe it because he had to come back from where he was. "You have to. This can't be it. It can't be. You got to be able to come back from this."

"No," Morgan spoke softly as he shook his head.

"Morgan, please," Rick pleaded as he walked a bit closer to Morgan.

"No!" Morgan said a bit firmer now. "I have to clear," he stated knowing that was his job now. "That's why I didn't die today. That's the sign. I have to, man. I have too," he said as Rick stayed silent. "I have to clear."

Nodding his head resolutely at Morgan's words, Rick walked away, grabbing a bag of guns before walking outside.
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Awhile later, Rick went outside once he had everything and he watched Morgan as he loaded up the dead walkers on stretchers and out of the corner of his eye he watched as Carl and Michonne came walking back, carrying a playpen.

"Hey," he called out to them. "I was just about to look for you."

"Sorry," Carl apologized because deep down it was his fault they were late.

"It's all right," Rick stated as they got a bit closer. "You're here now," he said as he watched Carl look down at the blood spot on his shirt. "Oh, it's nothing," he said not wanting Carl to worry.

After he had said that, he walked to Michonne, handing a bag to her, "Thank you," he said thanking her for taking care of Carl and going with him.

"He's okay?" Michonne asked as she eyed Morgan warily as they began to walk through the traps to head back to where their car was.

"No, he's not," Rick answered because he knew deep down that Morgan wasn't okay still.

Carl who had stayed quite told Michonne to wait and then he decided to call out for the man, "Hey," he said though the man didn't respond and he heard his dad say his name but he tried again. "Morgan," he stated and the man looked at him finally. "I had to shoot you. You know I had to, right?" he asked as he watched Morgan nod his head. "I'm sorry," he stated before walking again.

Morgan who heard Carl walked away from the stretcher, "Hey, son," he said as Carl looked back at him. "Don't ever be sorry," he told him knowing being sorry wouldn't get you far. Not anymore.
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Rick who stood at the car with Zac, Michonne, Kate, and Carl, putting things away, waited until the others had moved away a bit to question Carl.

"Everything okay with her?" Rick asked knowing things had seemed different since Michonne and Carl had came back.

Carl smiled as he looked up at his dad, "I think she might be one of us."

"What?" Rick asked his voice tinged with surprise because that was the last thing he expected from Carl after his attitude this morning.

"Everything went okay," Carl nodded his head as he kept his smile.

Rick returned Carl's smile as he watched Zac and Kate get in the back and he looked at Carl again, "Hop in," he said as he saw the last bag they had at the back anyway. "I'll throw this in the back," he stated before Carl walked off and after he was gone he picked up the bag and put it in the back.

But instead of closing the hatch he just stood there frozen for a bit, his mind wandering over the events of the day.

Michonne who had gotten the last of the stuff at the front, slowly walked where Rick was and she eyed him as she began to unload what she had in the back, "You see something?" she asked softly watching as he looked at her in surprise. "I know you see things," she stated telling him what she had observed. "People. I used to talk to my dead boyfriend. It happens."

Not saying anything for awhile Rick just took a deep breath, "You want to drive?"

"Yeah," Michonne answered as Rick handed her the keys.

"Good," Rick smiled as she took the keys. "I see things," he called out a bit playfully as he walked towards the passenger side door.
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Zac who was seated by one of the doors, had fallen silent as Michonne drove the car back to the prison. He was almost a bit thankful that Carl was seated between him and Kate because at the moment he needed the space. Needed time to get lost inside his head and think. Think about how his marriage had ended today and how even if it had hurt it needed to happen.

While also realizing just how much Beth meant to him. Regardless of her age, he was pretty sure he could see himself spending forever with her and he almost couldn't wait to get back to the prison and tell her what happened. Just like he suspected Kate was just as ready to tell Lucy.

Though he soon came out of his thoughts after they passed what were likely the remains of the hitchhiker from this morning and eventually Michonne reversed the car, stopping it long enough for Zac to slip out and grab the orange back pack the hitchhiker had with him, because now days you took whatever you could find..not knowing if you'd need something later.

And once he had the backpack, he got back in the car, holding the backpack securely in his lap as Michonne finished the drive back to the prison.
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"So you two are really done?" Lucy asked softly as she laid next to Kate in bed that night. Having listened to Kate tell her how she and Zac had decided to end things.

Kate nodded her head as she gave Lucy a faint smile, "As done and divorced as two people can be in this world," she shrugged as she leaned in to kiss Lucy's cheek briefly. "Both realized while we still love each other it's not enough...that and we love other people."

"And you aren't going to regret it later?" Lucy asked feeling a bit scared because she was scared even if she had tried to be brave for Beth today while they had been gone, she was scared deep down and she just feared still that one day Kate would wake up and realize she regretted what happened and she'd want Zac back.

"No," Kate answered honestly as eyed Lucy, before reaching out to tuck some hair behind her lover's ear. "I'm not going to regret what was a long time coming," she admitted and even if she was saying this, Kate suspected she'd have to keep reminding and showing Lucy it was her that she wanted and that she didn't regret letting Zac go.

Just like she knew Zac didn't regret letting her go.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-Six

Avery sighed softly as she stood in the prison showers. It was morning time though not many people were up yet and Avery only was because Daryl was leaving later today to go with Rick, Zac, and Hershel to a meeting with the Governor that Andrea had somehow gotten to happen.

Though Avery wasn't sure how nor did she really want to ask Andrea either whenever she saw her. But she still wished that Andrea had taken her advice and killed the Governor already. If she had Avery wouldn't have to worry about Daryl being there at the meeting.

"Do you really have to go?" Avery asked as she turned to face Daryl who was in the shower with her. "I mean we can't just send Glenn in your place or something?"

Daryl made a face at that as he eyed Avery and the look was enough to make Avery blush.

"You really think Glenn would be better out there?" he asked as he arched an eyebrow. "It's not like he's gone on many runs since being with your sister."

Avery let out a sigh as the blush on her cheeks grew, "Okay so maybe being with Jessica has made him a bit soft but...I just...I'm worried about you," she finally admitted and she was scared of how he'd react to her words.

It wasn't like she expressed her worry for him often but she did worry for him because she loved him. She was in love with him and she was having his baby.

Two facts he still didn't know yet and she could probably keep the love one a secret for a bit but the baby one was going to have to come out soon. Before she started showing which still wouldn't be for awhile but still. She knew the longer she kept him in the dark the worse his reaction would be.

It was just lately there was never time, not with the impending threat of a war with the Governor and his army of people in Woodbury.

"I'll be fine little girl," Daryl spoke with a roll of his eyes. "Don't need to be worrying about me."

"Yeah well I do," Avery smiled some as she closed the distance between them and let her arms wrap around his neck. "But since you want to be stubborn and go out and maybe get yourself harmed or worse, I think I'm going to show you what you could be missing by being gone," she whispered before she leaned in to kiss him and as they kissed she moved one arm from around his neck.

Letting her hand go between them to work on his dick and get it hard. Get him turned on and wanting her.

"Going to suck your cock and make you wish you had stayed," she spoke again as she pulled away from the kiss before dropping to her knees and giving him a wink before letting her mouth go around him.

"Fuck Avie..." Daryl grunted out as his hand tangled in her hair and Avery felt a shiver run down her spine. "Just fuck."

Closing her eyes at those words, Avery moved her mouth on him faster as she let herself get lost in the moment and what she was doing and though she knew giving him a blow job wouldn't change his mind at least maybe it'd give him a reason to stay safe and come back to her and their unborn baby.

Even if he still didn't know about the baby.
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Zac who rode on the back of Daryl's bike as they drove to the meeting place where Rick was meeting with the Governor, slowly got off after Daryl came to a stop.

After getting off he reached into the holster for his gun and got it out, making sure it was loaded while out of the corner of his eye he watched as Rick got out of the car and signaled for Hershel to stay in and keep an eye on things out front.

Turning to watch as Rick made it to Daryl, Zac saw Daryl lead Rick on one side of the building and so Zac headed on the other side. To make sure there were no walker threats or even human threats, because he knew that right now they weren't safe not with the Governor and his men out there and he just wanted to make sure that somehow, today that the Governor hadn't gotten a one up on them.

Not seeing anything at least to him that would be a threat, Zac went back to the front and stood near Daryl's bike. Just to be on lookout since Daryl hadn't came back yet.
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Rick who had made it inside the main building where he was to meet the Governor, warily walked inside. Unsure of what he would find waiting on him, if anything at all really.

So he paused for several seconds as he just stood there and listened, knowing if anything happened he could just holler for Daryl as Daryl had been the one to come with him all the way to the main building.

Though when he didn't hear or see anything out of the ordinary, Rick slowly began to walk again, heading towards a table that was a bit farther away and even as he walked he still kept his guard up. Which was probably why he paused when he was halfway to the table, hearing the distinct sound of footsteps in the building.

Footsteps he knew didn't belong to Daryl. They were too heavy and not the kind of shoes Daryl would wear. They were shoes that someone flashy would wear and maybe Rick was just basing that off his time as a cop and looking at and watching people or maybe after all this time he just knew the members of his group well enough.

As he stayed paused though Rick watched as finally a man with an eye patch emerged. A man who even as he walked had a sense of arrogance about him and when he made it to where Rick was he just held up his hands with a smirk.

"We have a lot to talk about," the man who Rick was sure was the Governor finally spoke as he dropped his hands slightly.

"You attacked us," Rick told him as he kept his eyes trained on the Governor. "Makes things pretty clear."

The Governor nodded his head as if he knew what Rick meant, "I was trying to make things clear. I could have killed you all I didn't.

"And here we are," Rick spoke out a bit sarcastically though the moment the Governor reached down to his holster Rick aimed his gun up at him

"I'm gonna remove my weapon. Show that I mean to negotiate in good faith. I'd like you to do the same," The Governor said as he watched Rick just as intently as Rick was watching him. "May I?" he asked and when Rick nodded and gave his silent permission he watched as the man slowly removed his holster before turning to put the holster on a hook that was hung near by on a wall.

"See? No trouble, now you," The Governor spoke as he turned back to face Rick, holding his hands up.

Instead of removing his weapon though Rick put his gun away inside of his holster.

"Well...suit yourself," The Governor told him with a smile before sitting down in one of the chairs that was at the table in the room.

After he was seated, he gestured for Rick to take the other seat.
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Zac who was now seated in the passenger side of the car that Hershel was driving, watched as Daryl finally came back, meeting them on their journey to get a bit closer to the actual building where the meeting was taking place and once Daryl got close enough, Hershel rolled down the windows so that they could talk.

"He's already in there," Daryl told Zac and Hershel and his words surprised Zac. "Sat down with Rick."

Zac looked around after Daryl's words and he let out a small sigh, "I don't see any cars," he told him knowing there were no cars in sight and maybe he kind of had an awful feeling growing in his stomach now.

Maybe coming out today hadn't been such a good idea.

"Yeah, it don't feel right," Daryl said almost saying exactly what Zac was thinking. "Keep it running," he spoke as he looked down at Hershel who nodded.

It was after he said that, that things fell silent but only briefly before a car was heard in the distance and as the car got closer, Zac got out pulling his gun out and holding it up while Daryl told Hershel to keep a heads up before getting his crossbow ready just in case he needed to use it.

Staying silent, Zac held his gun tighter as he watched the big white truck come to a stop and two men he hadn't seen before got out, followed by Andrea.

"What the hell why is your boy already in there?" Daryl asked sounding gruff and stern once all three of the people were already out of the car.

"He's here?" Andrea asked and to Zac she sounded almost surprised by that revelation.

"Yup," Daryl answered her and Zac could see her even out of the corner of his eye just shot one of the men a look before walking to the doors and head inside the building.

Obviously it seemed to him that she may have been friends with these people, may have been able to set up meetings like this and yet she was still kept in the dark about stuff.

Should have shown her just where she stood, though he doubted she had realized that yet.
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"What's going on?" Andrea asked once she had made it inside the building and she looked from Rick and Phillip. Still a bit surprised that Phillip was already here and that Milton nor Martinez had told her.

"Nothing, your friend isn't much for small talk," Phillip answered as he leaned back in the seat he was sitting in, though his eyes remained glued on Rick who was standing up across from him on the other side of the room.

"You want to talk, talk," Rick spoke as he looked from Andrea and Phillip and Andrea let out a tiny sigh.

This meeting was already going in the opposite direction than she had wanted it to go. "I wanted you to talk," she told Rick. "Too many people have died for no reason. Let's end this, save the bullets for the real threat. We can solve this, that's why I asked you to come here," she said as she also turned to look at Phillip.

"I know what you've done," Rick said as he kept his gaze on Phillip the whole time instead of looking at Andrea. "I heard about the raids, the heads, Maggie."

"Merle did that," Phillip stated without even flinching.

"No, you know what I'm talking about," Rick told Phillip and Rick's words made Andrea turn to look at him a bit because there was just something there and maybe Phillip truly wasn't telling her everything.

But in the end even if he wasn't she had to try to get this to work. Anything had to be better than a war or even doing like Avery had suggested and killing Phillip in his sleep.

There had to be more moral ways.

"You know all about me and I know all about you," Phillip spoke as he brought Andrea out of her thoughts. "I don't care about any of that. We're here to move forward," he stated and maybe his words gave Andrea some hope now.

Maybe things could work out well after all if they both just tried.
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Kate who was holding Judith in her arms after taking her off of Beth for awhile, slowly walked down the corridor of cells though when she got closer to the cell that she knew was Avery's she paused slightly as she heard the girl getting sick and once she knew she was done, she walked closer to the cell coming to a stop in the entrance.

"How far along are you?" Kate asked softly watching as Avery turned to face her a look of confusion on her face. "You've been getting sick every morning since I came to the prison and now it's even at the slightest mention of food," she said knowing today before she had taken Judith off of Beth she had been sitting with Lucy at the tables in the main cell area, watching as both Beth and Avery were cleaning up and Beth had mentioned something about food.

Kate had forgotten what now and Avery had ran off, obviously to get sick.

"And you think that means I'm pregnant?" Avery asked with a raised eyebrow.

"I know that means you're pregnant," Kate told her as she smirked. "Also noticed you running off at the mention of food," she said as she adjusted Judith in her arms. "I was pregnant once too Avery, I know."

Avery finally let out a sigh as she moved to sit down on her bed, "Zac told you didn't he?" she asked though it came out as more of a statement probably because she knew her brother so well. "Jessica told Glenn so of course Zac would tell you."

"I sort of got it out of him," Kate shrugged remembering yesterday when she had asked him about getting the prenatal meds, having thought at first that they were for Beth but then he had told her the truth. "So how far along are you?" she asked again as she walked a bit farther into Avery's cell.

"Five weeks," Avery muttered out as she looked away from Kate, staring at her wall. "I haven't even told Daryl yet," she admitted with a frown. "Even being worried with him out there today I couldn't find the nerve to blurt it out and just tell him I'm pregnant."

Kate laughed softly at Avery's admission, "Because you're scared of how he will react," she told her knowing she had been the same with Zac even if she had told him right away once they had been reunited at the quarry, the night the world had really fallen into despair. "You remember how scared I was right?" she asked watching as Avery turned to her and nodded.

"How could I forget?" Avery asked with a laugh of her own now. "I was the first person you told and you snapped at me in the bathroom of Dale's RV."

"I did," Kate acknowledged. "I was scared then though but I did tell Zac because I knew I had too and you should just take that stance with Daryl," Kate nodded. "Doesn't hurt and you won't know how he'll react til you try. Zac took it better than I had hoped he would."

After telling Avery that, Kate though turned to leave, though she came to a stop again before she could leave as she heard Avery say her name weakly and so she turned back to the girl curiously.

"How'd you know your baby was dead?" Avery asked and maybe her words shouldn't have shocked Kate but they did. "I mean did you know before or after he was born?"
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"Maybe I should go inside," Hershel spoke and his voice brought Zac out of his thoughts or more like the uneasy silence he had fallen into with everyone else as they stood around outside the cars still.

Though before he could speak up the geeky looking man with glasses spoke.

"The Governor thought it best if he and Rick spoke privately."

"Who the hell are you?" Daryl grunted out asking exactly what Zac had been thinking.

The geeky looking man just gave a small almost shy like smile, "I'm Milton Mamet."

"Great, he brought his butler," Daryl shot back with a shake of his head which almost made Zac want to laugh. Almost.

"I'm his advisor," Milton corrected as a blush coated his cheeks.

"What kind of advice," Zac asked finally speaking up as he shot Milton a steely gaze.

Milton shrugged his shoulders sheepishly, "Planning...biters," he sighed before turning to look at the other man who looked much more rougher. "Uh you know..I'm sorry I don't feel like explaining myself to the henchmen."

At that Zac scoffed slightly, "You better watch your mouth sunshine," he warned Milton not liking being called Rick's henchmen even if maybe in a way he was.

"Look, if you and I are gonna be out here pointing guns at each other all day, do me a favor and shut your mouth," the other man finally spoke up as he looked at Zac before also settling his gaze on Daryl and it was Daryl who ended up walking closer until he was a bit closer to the man.

"We don't need this," Zac spoke as he walked a bit closer to Daryl, trying to calm him even if he too was angry and a bit pissed off. "If all goes south in there we'll be at each others throats soon enough," he stated knowing that was a possibility.

One that Zac saw becoming more likely in the end anyway, even if he wasn't happy about it.
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Taylor who was with a few others in the main cell block going through the weapons reached for a few boxes of bullets, "Carl, come here," he stated watching as the boy walked towards him. "You stash these at the loading dock. All right?" he nodded as Carl took the boxes from him.

Reaching for another box he handed them to Jessica, "Jessica, put more on the catwalk. If anyone gets pinned down, we need to make sure that they have plenty of ammo," he told them before taking a gun off the table.

"I'll go work on the cage outside," he said before turning to leave.

"What we should be doing is loading some of this firepower in a truck and paying a visit to the Governor," Merle spoke his words making Taylor stop to look at the older Dixon. "We know where he is right now."

"Are you suggesting that we just go in and kill him?" Taylor asked a bit sarcastically at Merle's suggestion.

Merle only leaned against the cell he was standing in, "Yeah, I am."

"We told Rick and Daryl that we'd stay put," Michonne spoke up and Taylor noticed the way she emphasized Daryl's name.

Obviously to remind him of what he had promised his brother.

Merle turned to look at Michonne, "I've changed my mind sweetheart. Being on the sideline with my brother out there ain't sitting right with me."

"The four of them are right in the middle of it. No idea we're coming. They could get taken hostage or killed," Taylor sighed knowing they couldn't do what Merle wanted even if it did sound a bit sane to him.

Even if he too know what it was like having a brother out there.

"A thousand things could go wrong," Taylor added on hoping Merle would understand that they weren't going to do what he wanted.

"And they will," Merle shot back right as Taylor again had started to walk away.

Carl who had been following behind Taylor, turned to look at Merle, "My dad can take care of himself."

Merle only shook his head, "Sorry son, but your dad's head could be on a pike real soon," he spoke and something about his words didn't sit well with Taylor.

Maybe it was what had used to be the father in him. Knowing if someone had said that to Ezra he would have hated it.

"Don't say that to him," Maggie spoke as Carl walked away.

Taylor just took a deep breath before talking again. "It's not the right move. Not now. Can't take the risk of putting them in the crossfire. That's my decision and it's final," he said adding the last bit just for good measure before finally walking away.
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Kate had fallen silent at Avery's words and for the longest time Avery was afraid that she wouldn't answer or that maybe her question had been too personal but in the end she was only asking for herself.

To know what to expect with her own child when she got far enough along that was. If she should expect to know when or if it died.

Because she kind of hoped it didn't die. She didn't want Daryl alone when she eventually probably died during childbirth.

"I think I might have known before," Kate finally spoke as she looked down at Judith who she held firmly in her arms. "He stopped moving a day or two before and I think I knew but I was afraid to say."

Avery nodded at that, "And was he..." she started to ask but stopped because how could she ask if he was one of those monsters. A walker.

Kate shook her head as she frowned, looking back up from Judith.

"Not at first," she said sounding sad and almost faraway like she was reliving it in her head and maybe she was. "He turned after though but..but I didn't tell your brother that when he asked me yesterday. Figured it was best to lie because we both know how Zac is," she laughed out but it was bitter. "He wouldn't have handled it so well and he seems to be doing better or maybe he's just good at pretending."

"He's good at pretending," Avery replied as she gave Kate a smile one in which Kate returned.

"I know but I like to tell myself he's just coping really well," Kate said as she shrugged. "But I get you're worried Avery. I really do but you need to be optimistic and you need to tell Daryl," she added on with a sad smile and as things fell silent between them, Avery watched as she left.

Her hand falling to her stomach as she watched Kate leave. She knew the woman was right but Avery also knew she was still stubborn and very terrified.
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"I've known you both at different times but only after the world went to shit," Andrea spoke as she looked from Rick to Governor and Rick almost thought she looked genuine in her words. But a part of him was still wary on her.

"And you both stepped up for the good of the others at great personal risk. There's no reason..."

"Get to it," the Governor demanded as he interrupted Andrea and pointed at Rick.

Rick pulled out the map he had as he threw it on the table, "Woodbury takes west of the river. The prison takes east. No one crosses, no one trades."

"He's right," Andrea agreed as she looked at Rick. "We should hammer out boundaries, then leave each other.."

"I'm sorry, what is this?" the Governor again interrupting Andrea after he had looked at the map.

"Its a solution," Andrea spoke for Rick.

The Governor shook his head, "Absolutely not," he said as he laughed and threw the map back down on the table.

"What the hell am I doing here?" Rick asked harshly as he turned back to look at Andrea. "You told me.."

"Told him what?" the Governor asked as he interrupted Rick now.

"You told me he was willing to talk," Rick finished as he settled his gaze back on the Governor.

The Governor nodded his head, "I am, but the truth is Rick, she's in no position to make such an offer anyway. I'm here for one thing only. Your surrender."

"Oh, you want surrender?" Rick asked as he raised his eyebrows at the Governor's words. "Come get it. You think we hit Woodbury heavy last time?"

"Just take it easy, all right?" Andrea intervened as she again looked at both men. "We're here to settle this."

The Governor paused slightly as he turned to eye Andrea, "You're right," he conceded as he shook his head. "Would you step outside?"

"What?" Andrea asked and from the look on her face Rick knew she hadn't been expecting that.

"Rick and I, we got a lot to talk about," The Governor told her as they locked eyes.

"I'm not leaving," Andrea stated sounding almost defiant.

"I came to talk to him," Rick said agreeing with the Governor on this and Rick saw a brief look of hurt flash in Andrea's eyes before she finally relented and walked away.
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Andrea who had went outside after basically being kicked out of the building, paused when she felt all eyes on her and she looked up at the men who were still standing around.

Men who were expectant in something and she just sighed to herself as she turned to look away, feeling close to the verge of tears as well as a bit angry at having been kicked out.

It wasn't what she had expected. None of this was but she still hoped that maybe everything could change.

Looking back at the men Andrea just walked to sit on some stairs which were near by and in the awkward tension she watched as Martinez went to shut the door of the building where Rick and Phillip were still talking and where they'd hopefully come up with a good solution to everything that was happening before others wound up dead.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-Seven

Lucy who had went in search of Kate because it was almost time for Judith's next feeding and she knew Kate had Judith, slowed some when she reached the cell that she now shared with Kate. Had only begun sharing with her last night after the run Zac and Kate had with Rick.

A run in which they had both decided to end things. Which Lucy knew probably hurt because they had been together for so long but it seemed both had realized they loved other people. They were no longer in love with each other.

"You okay babe?" Lucy asked softly as she watched Kate who was sitting on the bottom bunk bed just looking down at Judith who was awake in her arms.

Awake and looking at her all wide eyed.

Kate turned to look at Lucy as she shrugged, "Just had a conversation with Avery about Lennon," she admitted knowing that conversation had opened wounds which she had thought were closed. But they probably never would be.

How could anyone ever get over losing a child? Seeing their baby turn in their arms.

"Oh," Lucy whispered as she stepped inside and walked to the bed. "You want to talk about it?" she asked as she sat down next to Kate.

Kate only shook her head at Lucy's invitation to talk. "Just I'm sick of losing things and people and I'm sick of this. Of everything," she stated as she frowned. "Maybe if I had been stronger before I wouldn't have lost my son."

"Katie," Lucy sighed as she reached out to put her hand on Kate's back. "It doesn't matter how strong you were. Lennon was probably always going to be born like he was," she said as she rubbed Kate's back.

"Maybe," Kate spoke not sure if she believed Lucy's words. "But at least I'm strong now. I can keep everyone safe if I have too," she said knowing that she had made a promise to do that now. She'd keep everyone she considered her family safe.

She'd do it because she had too. She'd do it because just like Zac she was good at pretending too.

"I also think I may talk to Zac tonight and see if..see if he wants to make a cross for Lennon and put it out there. I know we did one when we buried him but Zac never got that closure, you know," Kate nodded as she finally smiled. "He needs that I'm sure," she said but a part of her wondered if it would work.

Even burying Lennon still hadn't fully worked for her.
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After Andrea had left the room, Rick finally took a seat in the chair across from the Governor and he continued to eye him. Feeling slightly unnerved by him but of course he was doing his best to not show it. Not show that he could be vulnerable.

"So you're the Governor?" Rick asked though it was more of a statement if anything.

Phillip smirked at Rick's words his hands slowly going to the weapon that was taped on his side of the table. A weapon he had put there in advance when he had snuck off. Leaving Woodbury without telling or well really without telling Andrea.

"That's..that's their term not mine," Phillip answered as he continued giving his best fake smiles. Hoping that Rick was buying everything that he was saying.

Rick propped his leg up in his seat at the man's words, "But still you're beholden to your people."

"Well of course," Phillip stated with a nod of his head.

"You have a responsibility to them," Rick continued as he raised an eyebrow, hearing the other man give him an mmhmm. "Wasn't Merle your lieutenant?"

Phillip paused at that only briefly before nodding his head again, "He was helpful, yeah."

"But you knew he was erratic," Rick spoke knowing there was no way he didn't know this. Everyone who came into contact with Merle would know this. "You blame him for scooping up Taylor and Maggie," he said honestly knowing that the man in front of him refused to take the blame.

Instead he was squarely putting all of that on Merle.

"Exactly," Phillip stated as he watched Rick look away from him briefly. "I was trying to sort it out when you attacked."

"So it was his fault?" Rick asked wondering what the other man would say.

Phillip again paused briefly as he thought of what to say next. "He's a wild card, but he's effective," he started as he made eye contact with Rick. "He gets the dirty jobs done."

"I thought you'd take responsibility," Rick stated thinking that for once the man would take his part of the blame in everything.

But instead it seemed he was too arrogant still.

"I thought you were a cop, not a lawyer," Phillip replied back at Rick's accusations.

Accusations that weren't entirely unfounded but of course he wasn't ready to cop to that just yet.

Rick laughed a bit bitterly at that one, "Either way, I don't pretend to be a governor," he retorted hitting just as low as the Governor had tried to hit him with his words.

"I told you I'm their leader," Phillip said keeping his stance up.

"You're the town drunk who knocked over my fence and ripped up my yard, nothing more," Rick told him honestly because maybe a part of him did feel that way.

Phillip made a face at that but quickly reigned in his emotions, "Didn't you ever misjudge someone?" he asked and his question only brought silence from Rick. "Andrea told me about your baby," Phillip continued with a slight smirk. "That it might be your partner's. But you're caring for her and I admire that. Restitution for your own lack of insight. For failing to see the devil beside you."

"Oh I see him all right," Rick stated as he once again locked eyes with the Governor.

Phillip only laughed at that. At Rick's words and the meaning behind them. That he thought that Phillip himself was the devil beside him.

Banging his hands on the table slightly, Phillip stood up, "I brought whiskey," he stated as he turned to go and get the alcohol that he had brought with him.
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Milton who was standing by the truck that he had came to the meeting place in, looked at all the men who were standing around him as he walked a bit closer to them.

"There's no reason not to use this time we have together to explore the issues ourselves."

"Boss said to sit tight and shut up," Martinez replied a bit harshly as he looked at Milton.

"Don't you mean the Governor?" Zac corrected sounding as harsh as the man had when he had butted in.

Milton who had stayed silent chose then to talk up again, "It's a good thing they're sitting down, especially after what happened. They're gonna work it out. Nobody wants another battle."

"I wouldn't exactly call it a battle," Daryl told the man as he shook his head.

"I would call it a battle and I did," Milton stated as he saw both the man with a crossbow and the man with shaggy hair and a bit of stubble giving him an odd look. "I recorded it."

Zac raised his eyebrow as Milton kept talking, saying he had recorded what had happened. "For what?" he asked curiously.

"Somebody's got to keep a record of what we've gone through," Milton shrugged his shoulders as a blush coated his cheeks. "It'll be a part of our history."

"That makes sense," Hershel stated as he finally broke his silence. Mainly because he did get why Milton had recorded things.

"I've gotten dozens of interviews.." Milton started as he stepped towards the older man, his hand reaching for his tiny notepad.

Though on the way towards the older man he paused some when he heard the familiar growls of walkers nearby as well as clanging on something too. Which meant more than likely the walker was really really nearby.
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Andrea who was still sitting nearby, stood up at the walker sounds. Her hand automatically reaching into the pocket of her jeans for her pocket knife which she opened on the way to where the sounds were coming from.

Soon falling almost into a line of sorts behind Martinez, Zac and Daryl. Though as the men went one way she went another.

Daryl who was leading the way came to a stop when he saw two walkers in sight, heading slowly towards where he and Zac were and after he had came to a stop he turned to Zac and locked eyes with him and the moment they did it was like they were able to communicate without even speaking.

Because within seconds Zac turned to look at the rougher looking man that the Governor had brought.

"After you," Zac stated as he looked at the man with a tiny glare.

Martinez just looked at both men as he pointed towards the walkers with the bat that he had in his hand. "No way. You two first," he said refusing to go first.

Andrea who had made it to the other side, only heaved a tiny sigh as she watched what looked like a pissing match between Martinez and Zac and Daryl. A match that was stupid so instead of just waiting around she moved and went to take care of the walkers herself.

Instantly slamming one into one of the silos as she stuck her knife through it's skull.

"Pussies," Martinez stated as he looked at the two men in front of him before twirling the bat in his hand and heading towards one of the incoming walkers.

Once he was close enough he swung the bat and watched with a smirk as it made contact with the walker's head. Soon smashing it against the silo as it made one literal bloody mess of walker brains.

Andrea who stood in her spot still watched as Daryl and Zac turned to look at each other after that, giving each other an amused look and it was also after that, that they finally moved forward and decided to finally help take down the rest of the walkers.

Which Andrea took as her cue to leave. Not wanting to see if they had anymore pissing matches between them.
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Beth raised an eyebrow as she came to a stop, spotting Kate sitting at one of the tables in the main cell block area.

Walking a bit closer she eventually made it to the table and sat down beside the woman. "Aren't you supposed to have Judy?" she asked as her eyes went to the cross that Kate was working on making.

Looking up from her task, Kate gave Beth a small smile, "Lucy has her," she admitted before looking down at the cross. "So that I could do this."

"Is it for the baby you lost?" Beth asked as she watched Kate reach for a marker and soon put the name Lennon on the cross in big and bold letters.

Kate only nodded at Beth's question, "It was Lucy's idea. She said it might help Zac and I kind of agree," she lied knowing in the end it had been her idea. But she could keep that to herself for now.

"Kind of?" Beth inquired more as she raised her eyebrow again.

"I mean burying him didn't help me much. I still remember and it still hurts but Zac didn't have to be there for the birth and see the things I saw. So maybe a memorial for the son he never saw will help him some anyway," Kate sighed as she shook her head. "I'm not even sure why I'm telling you all of this. I mean shouldn't I hate you? My husband fell in love with you and he chose you."

Beth laughed at Kate's words, "I think you don't hate me because you fell in love with someone else too and you knew I was never truly a threat. Even on the farm I wouldn't have willingly been a homewrecker. If he had chose you over me and you two hadn't been separated I would have backed off."

"I know you would have," Kate said as she finished the cross and looked up at Beth. "You're a good kid Beth," she nodded and her words were true.

Beth was still a kid. A kid who had to grow up fast and one who even if Zac was with her now, Kate wasn't sure it would stick and not just because of how the world was and the threat of death everywhere. Beth still had room to grow and hell so did Zac even.

So in the end she wasn't sure Zac and Beth were each others soulmate always destined to be together. Not like Avery and Daryl were or Taylor and Maggie.

She saw them more like she saw Jessica and Glenn who she also wasn't sure if they would stick together. Though they had lasted far longer than Kate had always thought so maybe she was wrong about them too and maybe time would prove she was wrong about Zac and Beth as well.
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Daryl who was hunched over the last walker that had been taken down, finished rifling through the dead man's pockets pulling out a packet of cigarettes. "Look what he's got," he stated as he looked back at Martinez and Zac who were standing next to each other.

Though there was a bit of distance still between them because both men were obviously still wary of each other. Even if they had all helped to take down the walkers.

"Nah, I prefer menthols," Martinez said as he watched the man with the crossbow stand back up and walk a bit closer. A pack of cigarettes in his hand.

"Douchebag," Daryl stated as he handed a cigarette to Zac and then took one for himself.

Zac who had stayed silent couldn't help but laugh at that as he reached for the lighter that Daryl had once Daryl had lit his own cigarette.

After lighting his cigarette Zac looked over at the man beside him, "You army or something?" he asked curiously knowing from the way he looked he could almost pass as an army person.

Martinez shook his head at the man's question, "Nah I just.." he paused as his mind conjured up images of his family. "Just hate these things after what they did to my wife and kids," he shrugged as he looked around at the dead walkers.

"Sucks," Zac stated in between drags of his own cigarette, maybe feeling a tiny bit sorry for the man.

He did know what it was like to lose family and he had lost a kid.

"Thanks," Martinez stated as a silence surrounded all three men. A silence that he had to break. "This is a joke right?" he questioned. "They ain't gonna work anything out. "Sure, they'll do their little dance and tomorrow or the next day, they'll give the word."

"I know," Daryl nodded his head as he looked at Zac and he knew from the look on his face that he knew it too.

This agreement or whatever Rick and the Governor came too would never last. Both sides would be at war eventually.
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"Hey, may I ask how you lost your leg?" Milton asked curiously as he sat down on a porch near one of the few buildings they were close too.

His eyes landing on the stump of what used to be a leg of the old man who was sitting beside him.

"I was bit," Hershel said as he looked at Milton curiously.

Milton raised an eyebrow at the old man's words, "So you cut off your leg to keep the infection from spreading?" he asked seeing the man nod briefly. "Interesting," he stated before firing off another question. "How long after the initial bite?"

"Immediately," Hershel answered feeling a bit amused at the man's questioning.

"You didn't bleed out?" Milton asked knowing most people probably would have.

"We have good people," Hershel shrugged knowing he had came close to death though even if he hadn't bled out. "They took care of me."

"Doctors?"

Hershel shook his head at that question, "No, we learned by trial and error."

Milton paused at that, "Me too," he finally spoke. "May I see it?" he asked watching as the man looked at him curiously as if perplexed. "Your stump," he clarified as he blushed again. "I'd like to um...see where the amputation was. How high above the bite."

"I'm not showing you my leg," Hershel told him.

"It's important data," Milton noted knowing he sounded way too eager.

"I just met you," Hershel laughed with a shake of his head. "At least buy me a drink first."
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Jacey chewed on her lip as she walked outside where Isaac was sitting on the porch. She knew what she had to tell him and she knew he probably wouldn't like it.

"We're going to have to go on a run," Jacey spoke softly once the door had shut behind her and Isaac had turned to face her. "We're almost out of stuff and we're going to need things soon. Especially baby things."

Isaac sighed as he listened to what Jacey had told him. "Going on a run means we're going to have to take almost all of us," he stated knowing that ever since losing Louis that it was harder now to go on runs.

"I know," Jacey nodded as she smiled sadly. "But I was thinking that you and Harry could take Monroe and go to that nursery school that Harry and Louis were trying to get too the day that Louis died and Nikki and I will go to that store downtown. That way Meredith is only watching Leo...her health mentally....her mind it's getting worse."

"It's been getting worse since she lost Luna," Isaac said as he referenced the woman's granddaughter who had died the same day that Miller had.

It was a day that he knew Jacey herself didn't like to think about.

"I know it has," Jacey acknowledge her words softer now. "I know you all were worried about me after Leo and everything and my postpartum depression but Meredith the past few days has been way worse and I'm pretty sure it's because Luna's birthday is coming up or what would have been her birthday."

Isaac went silent at that, "Then maybe we should let her watch both kids," he nodded with a smile. "Might lift her mentally just being around babies."

"You just don't want to take Monroe," Jacey teased though she did feel a bit wary leaving both kids with Meredith. "But I guess..I guess you could have a point," she finally conceded with a smile that felt way too forced. "We'll head out tomorrow morning and get the stuff then and leave both kids with Meredith in the hopes that it cheers her up."
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Sitting back down at the table after he had put two glasses of whiskey in front of both him and Rick, Phillip looked at Rick with a smile.

This time it wasn't forced either maybe because a part of him had a bit of hope that Rick would give him what he wanted.

"I care about my people and I don't take their deaths lightly and I know you don't either, "Phillip started off. "In a way this fight it's a failure of leadership."

"Then leave us alone," Rick said his tone serious. There was no way he was going to buckle to Phillip's terms.

Phillip shook his head at that as he took a drink of his whiskey, "Well now that would be an even bigger failure," he spoke honestly. "You've moved into our backyard. You shot up Main Street. If I let that threat persist I look weak, and well the whole thing crumbles."

"Well that's your problem. Your choice," Rick told him knowing it wouldn't be his fault if things fell apart in the end.

"Now, isn't that why we're here?" Phillip questioned. "Choice. If we choose to destroy everything we've fought for over the past year we're gonna kill everyone we know. At your prison. Back in Woodbury. People we love Rick," he paused to let those words sink in for the other man. "I was at work one day taking shit from a boss half my age and an IQ even lower and the phone rang. My wife had been in an accident," he began to recount. "Sorry, Mr. Blake we did everything we could," he sighed replaying the words he had been told. "I sat there holding that phone, knowing that I would never see her again. Gone. It was just an accident, no one's fault. She left me a voicemail asking me to call her but I hadn't had a chance. I sat there clutching that phone thinking what did she want? Just to check in? Ask me to pick something up for dinner?" he shrugged as he finished his story.

His eyes never leaving Rick's as he watched the other man process them and maybe he'd get something out of it. Maybe.

Rick who had listened to the man speak just stayed silent for a while. Feeling like he had struck a chord, especially when he had started talking about his dead wife and all the wondering he had done once she was gone. The same stuff he had done after Lori.

It was enough for Rick to reach for his own glass of whiskey and take a long drink.
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Taylor who had been outside of the prison working on some things, slowly came back in. Taking the gun off his shoulders but the closer he got he soon came to a pause when he watched as Merle stood in front of the table that had all their equipment on it.

Packing up a bag and Taylor knew what he was doing. "Hey, you're not going," he told Merle knowing they had, had that discussion already and it had been decided on.

"I don't need your permission," Merle stated as he continued to pack a bag full of weapons.

"I can't let you," Taylor said as he shook his head.

Maggie who had walked back into the room just looked at Merle with a glare, "If you're gonna live here with us, it's gonna be on our terms."

"If Michonne can do it, why can't you?" Jessica piped up from where she was, her nose scrunching as eyed Merle. The man who she had once been in a semi sort of relationship with.

"Cause it's my brother out there," Merle defended even if he knew that Jessica and Taylor also had a brother out there. "That's why," he shrugged as he looked around the room at the people. "What's the matter with ya'll?" he asked as he zipped up the bag and headed towards the exit where Taylor was blocking his path.

Taylor glared slightly once Merle was up close to him. Almost face to face.

"I'm not gonna let you put them in danger," Taylor spoke as his glare got a bit worse.

Merle only rolled his eyes at Taylor's words and his glare, "Nut up already boy," he spoke as he locked eyes with the clearly semi weaker Hanson brother. "This guy cops a feel of your woman and you pussy out like this?" he questioned with a shake of his head. "Get out of my way."

"No," Taylor said almost defiantly and not even moments after those words left his mouth he was punched in the side hard by Merle.

A punch that resulted in them both falling to the ground as they continued to fight with each other. Which was probably a long time coming considering things.

Maggie who had stood by watching everything eventually moved to get on Merle's back, putting her arms around his neck in a choke hold almost after watching him raise the arm with his stump. Refusing to let him do anything too bad to harm Taylor.

Beth who had been sitting next to Kate still watched the commotion in front of her. The fight between Taylor and Merle. A fight that also now involved Maggie and Michonne.

"I'll be right back," Beth told Kate as she quickly moved from where she sat and she walked a bit closer to the action.

Though before she could reach it fully she came to a stop and reached for her gun, which she soon held up and fired a shot. One that got everyone's attention and seemed to stop the fight.

Even if Merle was a bit hateful with telling Maggie and Michonne to let him go as he stood up.

Kate who had stayed at the table she was at just gave an impressed smirk at what Beth had just done and maybe even if she did see Beth as a child she could see other reasons why Zac liked her.

Her being good with a gun being one of them.
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Zac who had left Daryl and the gruff looking man alone, walked over to where Andrea was sitting alone again back on a set of stairs.

"How's it going in there?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

Andrea laughed a bit bitterly, "They kicked me out," she admitted with a slight blush to her cheeks. "I don't know what I'm doing here."

"You're trying to help," Zac told her even if he believed her help wasn't actually really helping much.

Pausing at Zac's words Andrea looked down at her hands, "What happened with Maggie?" she asked figuring Zac would know this.

After all his brother was dating Maggie.

"He's a sick man," Zac spoke knowing he only really knew the accusations that had been made. That Taylor suspected the Governor had raped Maggie even if Maggie was insistent that it hadn't gone that far.

"What am I gonna do now?" Andrea asked softly as she looked back up at Zac. "I can't go back there."

Zac gave Andrea a small smile, "We're family, you belong with us but if you join us it's settled."

"I know," Andrea whispered not sure if she could give up on the people of Woodbury just yet. Even if maybe she could give up on Phillip.
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"You know, the truth is I didn't want any of this," Phillip stated as he shook his head. "They chose me because there was nobody else around and they still think that I'm the man that can keep them safe. They still think I know what I'm doing. I know you got your gun," he admitted knowing he had someone scouting the prison yesterday. "That was quite a stash you brought back yesterday. Now, my people, they're not combat tested like yours are but I've got more of them. So this fight it will go down to the last man, so let's end it today. Let's not do this we can walk away. You have something that I want. One thing that makes this all alright."

"I'm not giving up the prison," Rick told the man with a shake of his head.

Phillip shook his head at that, "No I..I don't want your prison. That doesn't sound safe at all. I mean you lost your wife, another man. We're not moving on. What good would that do me? Best you stay where I can keep my one good eye on you," he laughed before turning serious. "I want Michonne. Turn her over and this all goes away," he continued. "Is she worth it? One woman worth all those lives at your prison?" he asked getting nothing but silence in return.

"Is she?" he questioned more but still all he got was silence.
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Merle crossed his arms as he looked at both Michonne and Lucy. Two women he was hoping he could win over to his side of things mainly because of how feisty they were. They had after all always been right in their suspicions with Phillip.

"You know I'm right," Merle stated as he looked from Michonne and Lucy. "The folks here, they're strong, good fighters. But they ain't killers."

"Rick is," Lucy told him as she too crossed her arms. "Maggie is. Carl put down his own mother."

"Mercy killing," Merle shrugged that one off. "That don't make him an assassin."

Michonne raised her eyebrow at that, "But you are?" she questioned though it came out more like a statement almost.

"When I have to be," Merle answered honestly.

"Then how do you explain letting us get away?" Lucy asked knowing he had let them get away in the end.

Merle laughed at that one, "I must have been seduced by your sterling personality," he said as he smirked. "You coming with me or not? Me and my brother we have a few calls we use when we hunt," he stated. "I'll give him a heads up. He'll warn the others. You shotgun the Governor's ass," he spoke as he looked at Michonne. "Lucy and I will take care of the rest. "We'll be home before you know it."

"And what about Andrea?" Michonne asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Bullets fly, she's gonna have to make her choice real quick," Merle said knowing that was how it would have to be. She'd have to make a choice then.

Lucy only shook her head at Merle, "You're on your own," she told him honestly as she walked away. She knew there was no way she could do it.

Kate would more than likely hate her if she acted impulsively like that and got Zac harmed.

"You get people killed, it's on you," Michonne spoke as well before following after Lucy. Letting Merle know as well that she was against his plan even if it did sound rational.

Watching as both women walked away, Merle just rolled his eyes. Wishing the people here at the prison would wake up and see things for what they were. See what they should be doing.
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Taylor who was standing outside in the caged in area near the prison doors, stood in his place. Watching the walkers that were swarming the yard. His mind clearly anywhere but here even if it should be.

But of course he just kept debating and going over his confrontation with Merle earlier and how maybe Merle had been right. Even if he knew that was probably crazy thinking. There was no way they could just show up guns blazing and expect things to turn out well and Taylor didn't really want to risk Zac's life.

No matter how confident Merle seemed that things could go in their favor. Taylor just wasn't that confident on things. Even if he was usually known as the optimistic one out of the band members and maybe even out of all the family members in general.

Hearing the loud screeching of the prison door opening, Taylor came out of his thoughts as he turned and watched Maggie step outside. Gun slung over her shoulder as she walked to where he was.

"Hey," Maggie smiled softly as she reached Taylor. "I thought it was my watch," she stated with a raised eyebrow not sure why Taylor was out here.

"I got it," Taylor told her with a shake of his head, knowing deep down he just needed to be outside of the prison and away from Merle.

Just needed a clear head for a bit.

Maggie nodded her head at Taylor's words, "Keep you company?" she asked watching as Taylor only nodded his head and it was then that she moved up closer to him.

Taylor who stayed silent as Maggie came to stand beside him, could only look at her. Unable to find words to say right now so for a bit he let an uneasy silence build between them. Before finally deciding to speak.

"That was a hell of a choke hold."

"I should have put him to sleep," Maggie laughed as she looked out at the yard. Unable to look at Taylor right now.

Laughing at that briefly, Taylor once again fell silent as he looked down at the ground. Once again unable to find the words he knew he needed to say. Words that Maggie needed to hear yet that wouldn't come to him.

Even if words should be easy for him because after all he had used to be a musician who wrote songs.

"When we got back from Woodbury," Taylor finally started as he looked back up and over at Maggie. "I made it all about me and you needed your space and I didn't give you that."

Maggie frowned as she listened to Taylor's words, "Oh, I didn't need my space from you," she told him with a shake of her head. "I just...wanted you to see me," she sighed as she laughed softly. "I'm with you," she told him with an assurance. "I'm always with you, you know?" she asked him because she wasn't sure he did know that.

Taking in Maggie's words Taylor nodded his head, "I'm sorry," he apologized though his words were soft.

"I know," Maggie stated her words just as soft as Taylor's and after she said them she felt Taylor pulling her into a hug and she let him.

Her arms going around him as he once again apologized to her.

"I love you," Taylor muttered out as he held Maggie closer to him. "I love you," he repeated again and this time as he spoke he moved to look at Maggie, seeing her give him a big smile before she leaned in to kiss him on the lips.

A kiss that he returned eagerly because it had been so long. So so long and he had missed her even if she had always been there in the end.

Eventually though he moved away from the kiss, listening to the sound of the walkers from the yard and he shook his head. "I can't do this," he told her honestly.

Maggie only smirked at Taylor's words as she left a tiny kiss on his cheek, "Come here," she stated as she pulled away. Leading him to the door off to the side and once they were both in the room, Maggie reached out and shut the door behind them before pulling Taylor into another kiss.

One in which he pushed her against the wall as they both also began to undress quickly. Both seeming eager to do this because it had been so long since he had been inside of her. Almost too long.

Once they were both halfway undressed though Taylor almost too eagerly moved them to the floor. Maggie's back scratching against the wall.

"Oww," she stated through a laugh which caused Taylor to apologize again. Though Maggie could see on his face that he too wanted to laugh at the situation.

Shaking her head though she just reached out and pulled him into another kiss as they finished undressing and when they were done it was her who took charge then.

Reversing their positions and putting Taylor against the wall as she straddled his hips. A moan coming out as she sank down on him.

"I love you," she muttered into his mouth as she began to move on him slowly. Almost wanting to savor the moment even if they were supposed to be on watch right now.
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Rick sat in the chair going over the Governor's words. That he just wanted Michonne and a part of him well it was wary to believe the man.

"Yeah, I don't get it," he started as he shook his head. "You've obviously got big plans. Like you're the guy who's gonna lick this thing. Bring us back from the brink," he said as he looked at the other man. "So why waste your time on a two-bit vendetta?" he asked as he looked towards the eye patch that the Governor wore. "Why risk it all? You could have a statue of yourself in the town square, Governor. Killing Michonne is sort of beneath you, don't you think?"

Phillip only laughed at Rick's words, "You could save your son. Save your daughter, everyone you know. It's your choice," he told him.

"If I give you Michonne how do I know you'll keep your word that you'll stop?" Rick asked still not trusting the man before him.

Phillip only smiled as he stood up from where he sat, "You can have everything you want. I told you I don't care about you," he said as he shrugged but he could still see reluctance on Rick's face. "You think about it. Two days. I'll be here at noon," he said before turning and walking away.

Watching Phillip walk away, Rick still turned over the other man's words before finally standing up and walking out behind him.

The moment he made it outside though he could fill the air was thick with tension as everyone who had stayed outside just sort of watched both men uneasy. Though neither he nor the Governor said a word. Instead they both just got in their respective vehicles and Rick wasn't sure why but he was a bit surprised to see Andrea get back in the vehicle to go to Woodbury.

Though he wasn't as surprised to watch Zac climb on the back of Daryl's bike and cling to Daryl as Daryl drove off. Heading back to the prison, while he and Hershel followed along in the car.
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Martinez who had just stepped out of the truck and started to walk away, slowed his steps when Phillip came to walk beside him.

"Position gunmen all around that feed store," Phillip told Martinez as he walked beside the other man. "The minute you see Michonne, you open fire. Kill the others but you keep her alive."

Milton who had been walking close enough waited until Martinez had walked away to speak up. "What about the deal?" he asked as he looked at Phillip, clearly shocked that the man was going to back out of it.

Phillip shrugged his shoulders at Milton's question, "Well, they'll bring Rick, Merle's brother, maybe Taylor, Merle himself," he stated as he listed off people. "We can take care of the whole crew. It's the best way to avoid a slaughter."

"That is a slaughter," Milton told Phillip feeling slightly horrified at the aspect of it.

"Not at our end," Phillip justified his actions. "We're gonna have to eliminate Rick sooner or later. No way we can all live side by side," he told him before walking off.

Milton only stopped in his tracks, watching as Phillip walked to Andrea and thanked her for setting up the meeting today. Telling her that he and Rick had set up terms. Though it wasn't lost on Milton how Phillip didn't answer when Andrea asked what terms.

It was sick and horrible what he was planning to do and Milton almost hated knowing it. Wanting to find a way to stop it if he could.
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Rick who had gathered all of his group inside the main area of cell block C, looked around at everyone before he began to speak. "So I met this Governor," he started as he nodded his head. "Sat with him for quite a while."

"Just the two of you," Merle questioned curiously.

"Yeah," Rick answered with a nod of his head again.

Merle scoffed at that, "Should have gone when we had the chance, bro," he muttered out as he eyed Taylor before turning to walk away.

"He wants the prison," Rick started knowing he was lying right now. "He wants us gone. Dead. He wants us dead for what we did to Woodbury. We're going to war," he said as he looked at everyone. Only feeling slight guilty for lying.

But he had to lie. There was no way he could tell the truth right now.

After saying that Rick heaved a sigh before walking away himself. Needing to get away and collect his thoughts. Try to decide what to do with the real offer he had been given.
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Sometime later Hershel who had talked to almost everyone eventually made his way outside where he found Rick.

"The groups taking it as well as can be expected," Hershel stated as he made it to where Rick was. "Merle, Michonne and Lucy are convinced we should hit first. Avery and I think we should take our chances on the road," he said as he eyed Rick who was still silent. "We're in this together. So if we stay and fight so be it."

Turning to look at Hershel, Rick chewed his lip briefly before speaking, "He gave me a choice," he admitted finally being honest. "A way out."

"What does he want?" Hershel asked as he raised an eyebrow.

"Michonne."

Hershel took in Rick's words and he found he wasn't all that surprised, "He'll kill her," he stated knowing Michonne would die if Rick followed through. "And then kill us anyway."

"What if he doesn't?" Rick questioned. "What if this is the answer?" he asked still a bit unsure.

"Why didn't you tell them?" Hershel asked not answering Rick's questions.

Rick looked away from Hershel at that, "They need to be scared."

"They are," Hershel stated knowing it seemed that everyone was scared right now.

"Good," Rick spoke as he kept looking away from Hershel. "Cause that's the only way they'll accept it."

"She saved my life," Hershel told Rick as he too looked out at the prison yard. "And Carl's. Taylor, Maggie...if she hadn't came here we never would have known they were taken. She's earned her place."

"Yeah, she has," Rick agreed knowing Michonne had earned her place. "Are you willing to sacrifice your daughter's lives for her?"

Hershel went silent at that question because both he and Rick knew the answer to that. "Why are you telling me?"

"Because I'm hoping you can talk me out of it," Rick stated honestly as he finally looked back at Hershel.
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Zac looked at Kate as they both stood outside in the prison yard. Standing over the cross which bore the name of their dead son.

A cross that she had made today while he had been out and he guessed he understood why she did it. Why she had made one and why she wanted him here with her. Because she thought it would help him. It was just how Kate worked.

Always trying to help him even now when they weren't together.

"You know if we die..I..I'm glad I found you again Katie," Zac said as he broke the silence that had settled over them. "I mean I'm hurt Lennon is gone but you're still here and I think I'd be lost without you."

Turning to look at Zac after he had spoke, Kate gave him a sad smile before reaching over for his hand which she linked in hers.

"I'd be lost without you too you adorably stupid idiot," she laughed as she squeezed his hand. "So I guess in the end I'm glad we found each other too," she nodded figuring maybe there was a bit of a positive side in Lennon's death.

She was still here alive and well and she had Zac. She had her best friend with her and surely if they were indeed going to war with the Governor then they would survive. They could survive anything. The whole group could even if Kate knew Woodbury was just as well off not as many of the people there were as strong though.
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"You really think taking our chances out there is better than staying here and fighting?" Daryl asked clearly perplexed as he looked at Avery. Having heard her agree with Hershel, that going back on the road again would be much easier than staying in the prison and fighting for what was theirs.

Avery sighed as she shook her head, "Yeah I do think that's better," she spoke as she crossed her arms over her chest. "It's better than dying torn apart by bullets and maybe it'd give us a better chance," she shrugged.

Though deep down Avery knew her real reason for wanting to leave was to protect herself and her baby for as long as she could. Even if that meant out on the road. She wanted to just survive long enough to give birth so that when she died Daryl wouldn't be left alone.

He'd at least have their baby with him. Though sometimes Avery doubted that maybe their baby wouldn't be enough. Mainly because he wasn't like Rick. He'd love this baby yeah, but the baby wouldn't be his anchor like she had been.

"You wouldn't have said that before," Daryl countered remembering on the farm that she had been stubborn. "The girl on the farm would have stayed and fought," he told her as he walked closer to her, soon getting up in her face. "That girl wouldn't have ran like a scared chicken."

Avery laughed at that a glare settling on her face, "Is that what you think?" she asked him feeling her blood boil slightly. "That I'm chicken?" she questioned watching as he only nodded his head in response to her words.

"Well I'm not," Avery spat out harshly as she shook her head. "I'm not chicken but I am in love with you and I'm pregnant and I refuse to endanger myself or this baby inside of me."

Listening to Avery as she spoke, Daryl slowly backed off of her at her words. Her saying that she was in love with him and then saying she was pregnant right on top of it.

Two things he had never expected to hear from her. Though maybe he should have expected the love one but the pregnancy..that one was a shock even if he knew it shouldn't have been. It wasn't like they were careful half the time.

But fuck she was having a baby and all he could picture with that was her dying the way Lori had and no...just no.

"Get rid of it somehow," Daryl spoke just as harshly as Avery had. "I don't want no damn baby," he muttered out feeling horrible for his words because what he really wanted to say was that he didn't want to lose her when she gave birth.

Not that he didn't want a baby because he did love babies. It had been him who was so insistent on making sure they got the formula for Judith.

But he didn't want to be like Rick and be left alone with a baby in a matter of months.

Avery who had heard his words visibly flinched at them as if he had physically hurt her. Though he hadn't. But he had hurt her emotionally.

Telling her to get rid of the baby somehow and that he didn't want it and this was why she had waited to tell him. This was why she hadn't wanted him to know they were having a baby.

"Well we're having one whether you want it or not," Avery said breaking the silence that had settled between them. Tears building up in her eyes, though she refused to cry in front of him. "I'm not going to find a way to get rid of this baby," she sighed as she shook her head.

After telling him that, she turned on her heels and slipped out of the cell not wanting to be near him for awhile. Because his words had hurt and cut deep. They had been what she was afraid of. That he wouldn't be happy about the baby and he hadn't been happy. He had lashed out at her.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-Eight

Nikki chewed her lip softly as she looked over at Isaac as they both got ready to go on the run today. The one that him and Jacey had planned last night. An agreement she didn't really agree with fully because she was wary of leaving Meredith with the kids alone.

Meredith's mind in the past few days just hadn't been the same. It was like her depression from when Luna had first died had came back and Nikki was afraid to try and leave her with the kids. Afraid something may happen but she was also afraid of mentioning her problems to Isaac, afraid that Isaac would call her crazy.

"What's the matter?" Isaac asked breaking Nikki's frame of mind. "And don't tell me nothing because you are usually chatty in the mornings now days."

Nikki sighed at Isaac's words because of course he knew her that well. He always had and that was one thing she liked about him.

"I just don't feel like we should leave Monroe or Leo alone with Meredith," she admitted out loud as she sat on the edge of her bed once she was fully dressed and ready for the day out.

Isaac scrunched up his nose at Nikki's words taken aback by her reluctance, "Why?" he asked with a shake of his head. "Jacey and I think it will do her some good babe," he said as he bent down to her level once she had sat on the edge of the bed. "You trust me don't you?" he asked as he reached for her hands.

He knew she did trust him but sometimes he liked to have reassurances of that.

"Of course I do," Nikki nodded hating that she felt that Isaac was trying to guilt her. "I trust you but I don't trust Meredith right now. She's sick and I don't see an abundance of shrinks around to help her."

Laughing without even meaning too Isaac squeezed Nikki's hand, "No there isn't but I don't think she's bad enough that we can't trust her with the kids and having them today may even cheer her up," he smiled hoping Nikki would see things his way. "Please trust me in this because we need all of us who are going and the kids would just hinder us."

Biting her lip Nikki looked down at her and Isaac's hands, "Fine," she conceded though she still felt hesitant. "I trust you," she spoke as she looked back up forcing a smile now.

Though even as she smiled she was still worried inside that something bad would happen to either Monroe or Leo or both boys.
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Daryl sighed softly to himself as he paced back and forth in the guard tower. Having taken the overnight watch, though now it was morning. The sun slowly starting to come out and even with that knowledge he still wasn't tired.

His mind too wound up in the news Avery had given him about her pregnancy and how he had reacted after she had told him. The way he had told her to get rid of the baby which was the last thing he wanted if he were honest.

He didn't want that but he also didn't want to lose her the way Rick had lost Lori. Because surely he couldn't get as lucky as Zac and just lose his baby.

That thought making him feel just as guilty too. Knowing he shouldn't want his own baby to die but if it meant Avery living he'd maybe be okay with it. Not wanting to lose her because who was he without her? Who was he without the person he loved more than he loved his own damn brother.

Even if he had left her behind for his brother just mere days ago now. At least maybe it was days. Time just moved so slowly now days.

"Daryl?" a voice spoke bringing Daryl out of his thoughts and he turned to see Zac and Kate both staring at him. Realization hitting him that it was time to change guard duty.

"Are you okay?" Kate asked after Zac spoke Daryl's name. Getting the man's attention. "You were pretty out of it and just pacing when we showed up," she explained as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Getting the distinct feeling that he wasn't okay. Not truly because he was just that much like Zac that she could read him so easily.

Daryl looked away from the both of them as he shook his head, "Do you...can I borrow your wife....ex-wife," he stated as he corrected himself once he looked back up at the pair.

"I guess..." Zac spoke rather hesitantly as he nodded his head. Not sure what Daryl wanted from Kate. "Just bring her back in one piece or Lucy will tear you apart and I'll take the bits she didn't," he teased wanting to ease whatever was clearly bothering Daryl enough that he had to borrow Kate.

Daryl snorted softly in response to that, "I'll do my best," he told Zac because deep down he was sure Zac meant good on his words.

"I know you will," Zac told him with a nod before going silent as he watched Daryl and Kate leave the guard tower.

Heaving a sigh as he sat down and wished he had brought a book to read or something. But he had been expecting it to be him and Kate and at least then he would have had someone to talk too.

Maybe reminisce about times before all this. When they still loved each other and when Zac still had his whole family. The band still existed and they were being followed around the world by crazy people who well didn't want to kill them either by eating their flesh or taking the place where they lived.
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Milton who was walking past a building in Woodbury slowed some as he came upon some of the men cleaning out their weapons and loading them up in the back of a jeep.

Which of course he couldn't play dumb. He knew why they were. Knew what the Governor had really wanted from them because plans be damned. He was going to go after the prison anyway.

"The Governor wants all this?" Milton asked as he looked up at Martinez who was standing in the back of the jeep.

Looking down at Milton, Martinez didn't even blink, "He wants options."

"Where is he now?" Milton mused because he hadn't seen him once since they returned from their meeting with the prison group.

"Not here," Martinez again answered simply. Not sure why Milton seemed to care so much about where the Governor was.

"How many are going out?" Milton again mused watching as more weapons were loaded into the jeep.

Martinez bent down to get the weapons. "Everybody," he told Milton without even looking at him.

Andrea who had been out and about slowed down as she too came upon the scene of the men packing weapons into the truck. Feeling confusion as to why they were doing this.

They had just made a deal with Rick's group yesterday and now today here they were ready to take action. Go fight them.

"I thought there was a deal on the table," she spoke up as she eyed Milton who was on the other side of the truck.

Milton only looked at Andrea briefly as he swallowed hard. "I'm sure it's just a precaution. Show of force," he told her before walking away. Hating that he had to lie to her.

Pretending that he didn't know anything when he did. Knew more than she did.
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"You okay?" Harry asked Jacey as they walked through the woods. Both couples who were going out on the run having chosen to be paired up as they walked to their destinations.

The nursery school first because it was before the store and it would be the place where Jacey and Nikki left him and Isaac as they went farther out. Going to the store downtown.

Jacey turned her head as she raised an eyebrow as she eyed Harry. "Do I not seem okay?" she questioned him.

"You've just been silent," Harry told her as he shrugged his shoulders.

"And you're what, afraid I've gone back to how I was right after Leo's birth?" Jacey asked him as she kept watching him.

Harry looked down as he blushed, hating that apparently he was so see through. "Maybe," he confessed as he kept his voice low. "I know that type of depression is hard to get over."

"It is but I'm trying," Jacey smiled liking how concerned Harry was over her. It was kind of sweet in her opinion. "How are you by the way?"

"Me?" Harry questioned not sure what she meant by that.

"Since Louis," Jacey told him as she frowned. "I know you loved him."

Looking down again Harry swallowed hard, "I'm trying to be good," he admitted honestly before giving a bittersweet laugh. "I guess that's all any of us can do anymore huh? Just try one day from the next."

Jacey nodded her head at that because yeah, that was what it seemed like they could all do anymore. Just keep trying in a world that was nowhere near like the one they used to know.
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Phillip who had been busy fixing up the room in the building he was in. Turned around once he was all done, spotting Milton in the hallway.

"Milton," he called out as he started towards the doorway as Milton had turned to walk away. "Milton!" he hollered again when Milton didn't stop. Though now he finally had.

Only took him saying his name twice.

"You need something?" Phillip asked as he walked out of the room finally. Closing the door behind him as he did so.

Swallowing hard Milton turned to look at Phillip. "What is that?" he questioned softly. Scared of what he had seen in that room.

There had been what looked like a dentist chair and chains on the wall and he hadn't gotten a good look at the equipment Phillip had been putting away and he was almost glad he hadn't. Afraid of what he would have seen if he did.

Phillip looked back towards the closed door at Milton's question. "It's my workshop," he answered him with a lie sort of.

"How does that help Woodbury?" Milton asked another question. Not sure how a workshop like that helped their community.

"Excuse me?" Phillip retorted not liking the tone in Milton's voice.

"This was supposed to be a new start, a way out," Milton told Phillip as he walked closer to where he was. "What about everything we talked about? Beating this thing, clawing our way out?" he mused when Phillip just walked wordlessly past him.

Acting like he was taking in his words but Milton doubted if he was.

"Look, this business with Michonne I understand," Milton continued because of course he got that in some ways. "But the people at the prison...."

"What?" Phillip asked as he turned to face Milton his voice harsh. "Hmm? I should move on?" he questioned in the other man's silence.

"Yes," Milton answered with a head nod.

"Well, I will as soon as this is over," Phillip told him before he turned to leave again.

Watching Phillip leave Milton heaved a small sigh before following after him. "Phillip..."

"Let me ask you something," Phillip spoke before Milton could. "Do you still believe the biters have some spark in them, huh?" he asked as he turned to face Milton again. "A spark of who they were."

"I think so," Milton admitted because maybe he still did think that.

"Then that was my daughter wasn't it?" Phillip asked him with a raised eyebrow.

"Whether that was Penny or not, it's done," Milton said honestly. Knowing it shouldn't matter anymore. "It doesn't matter."

Phillip rolled his eyes that, "Oh it's all that matters," he muttered before turning his back and walking away.
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"There is no deal," Milton whispered as he walked down an alley in Woodbury with Andrea. "Phillip's asked for Michonne."

Andrea shook her head as she took in Milton's words. "Rick would never agree to that," she told him knowing that Rick wasn't capable of something like that.

She may not have been with the group since the farm but even if they had seemed more jaded when she had been at the prison mere days ago there was no way Rick had changed that much.

He still wasn't that cold hearted.

"Whether he hands her over or not, he's going to kill them all," Milton continued talking even in Andrea's defense for Rick.

Letting her know just how far gone Phillip was right now.

Andrea paused as she took in Milton's words on Phillip killing the group at the prison whether Michonne was turned over or not. An uneasy feeling building in her stomach.

"I have to stop this," Andrea told Milton watching as he made a face at her words.

"I don't think you can," Milton sighed as he scrunched up his nose at Andrea wanting to stop whatever Phillip had planned.

His mind going to the room that Phillip had called his work shop and he motioned with his head for Andrea to follow him. Wanting to show her the room as well.

Wanting Andrea to get how far off the deep end Phillip was. Then maybe she could do whatever she needed and he could take care of Phillip somehow.
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Kate raised an eyebrow as she looked over at Daryl as they stood in what had once been a used bookstore not far from the prison. Wondering why the archer had brought her here.

Why he had risked both of their lives to come on a run just so they could peer through books. The prison had a library after all.

"I can feel you staring," Daryl spoke as he felt his cheeks getting hot as he looked over at Kate. "Just ask whatever you are thinking," he told her hating the way his tone was harsh.

But really ever since Avery had told him she was pregnant he had found his mood hadn't been the best. That his mind was preoccupied with the ways she could die. The main one of course being through childbirth like Lori had.

Kate made a face when Daryl snapped at her, shaking her head as she walked a bit closer to him. "Just wondering why you brought me here. To a used bookstore when the prison has a fully stocked library."

Blushing more Daryl looked away from Kate. "I doubt they have any books for expectant moms," he whispered not even sure if Kate could hear him. "It was an all men's prison after all."

"Oh," Kate smirked as she nodded her head. Things finally making sense now. "So Avery finally told you then that she is pregnant?" she questioned feeling a bit at ease now because she knew from experience with Zac and Lucy it was best not to bottle things up and keep secrets from the person you love.

The truth was always the best medicine in these situations, especially when it came to being pregnant which was a truth that would never stay hidden in the end.

Daryl looked up at Kate quickly when he heard her words, "You knew?" he asked his tone still harsh. His mind going to all the people who probably had known before him.

How Avery could have more than likely saved him for last which hurt. Even if maybe he understood it, after all he had reacted badly and she could have been afraid of that.

"How long have you known?" Daryl asked before Kate could even answer his first question to her.
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Andrea swallowed hard as she stood beside Milton after he had lead her inside a building to a place where a window with shutters looked down upon a room with an old dentist chair. A dentist chair that had handcuffs on the side and there were chains on the walls.

Instruments laid on a table not too far from the chair. The place was truly sick to look at because Andrea's brain did the math on who it was for and why Phillip had a place like this.

"Leave," Milton told Andrea after a few minutes of her taking in the room they looked down at. "Tell the people at the prison to get out of there. In time, he'll move on."

"No," Andrea said resolutely knowing her mind was made up now. "I have to kill him."

Milton shook his head when he heard Andrea saying she had to kill Phillip. "You'll never get close to him," he told her honestly. "They'll gun you down first."

"Only if they see me coming," Andrea told Milton still sure what she had to do. "Milton this is sick," she muttered as she looked back down at the room briefly. "I can't just stand back and watch this," she sighed as she looked at Milton again. "How can you still protect him? He doesn't give a shit about you."

It was after she asked that, that the door to the room opened and both she and Milton fell silent as Phillip walked into the room. Unaware that he was being watched from above as he put more stuff on the table that held the instruments.

When Phillip eventually moved to sit down in the chair whistling some tune that Andrea couldn't place she reached for her gun, pulling it out and feeling well prepared to use it if need be. To put a bullet in Phillip's brain from here where she stood. She was a good shot after all she knew she could make it.

Milton who had moved off to the side to hide from Phillip's line of sight watched as Andrea got her gun out. Slowly putting it in between the open shutters of the room and that was when he moved. Reaching for the gun to move it out of Andrea's hand or down from the shutters.

Knowing he wouldn't let her kill Phillip. Even if she did feel like he was crazy which she must have from the look she was giving him.
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Standing in a house in Woodbury with Milton, Andrea glared as she tried to make sense of everything. "How can you still protect him?" she questioned Milton again. Her mind going back to when he had stopped her from killing Phillip mere minutes ago when they had been in another building.

A building that housed a room of horrors. A room Andrea knew would house Michonne.

"I knew Phillip before he became the Governor," Milton finally answered Andrea's question. "That man still exists."

Andrea shook her head, "I don't believe that."

"Okay, so you kill the Governor," Milton hypothesized at Andrea's insistence that he had to be killed. "Then you get shot and Martinez takes over. What then? Killing the Governor doesn't save your friends."

"Then I have to go back. Warn them," Andrea answered as she chewed on her lip. "And you're coming with me."

Milton sighed as he shook his head, avoiding Andrea's gaze. "I can't leave Woodbury."

"You really want to be a part of this?" Andrea questioned him not believing that he did. Because despite his misplaced trust in Phillip, Milton did seem like a good man.

A man who had they met under different circumstances maybe they would have been better friends. Even if now he was the only person she felt she could really trust in Woodbury.

"I don't know anyone at the prison," Milton told her in defense for not wanting to leave.

"So what?" Andrea retorted. "You know Merle, he fit in. You'll be fine."

"Like it or not, I belong here," Milton defended again.

Andrea sighed once she realized arguing with him wasn't going to work. "Then if you stay, you can't keep looking the other way," she spoke wanting him to know he couldn't keep ignoring what Phillip was doing.

That he had to face it.

After saying that Andrea walked closer to Milton, leaning in to kiss his cheek. "Take care of yourself," she whispered before pulling away and leaving the house.

Again having a sense of dread and unease but she did her best to ignore it. Focus on the task of getting out of Woodbury and getting to the prison.
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Isaac chewed on his lip as he stood outside the nursery school with Nikki. Jacey and Harry having decided to go inside to make sure the place was cleared of walkers before Isaac and Harry went inside to take what they could.

"You okay?" he asked his wife as he walked closer to her. "You just haven't been the same since we left the house."

Looking at Isaac, Nikki pasted on a smile as she locked eyes with her husband. "Just...I'm fine I guess," she stated not sure how to explain what she was feeling.

Not in a way Isaac would understand anyway.

"You guess?" Isaac asked as he reached out to lay a hand on Nikki's arm. "Come on Nik, I'm your husband here. Talk to me."

Heaving a sigh Nikki looked at his hand which was on her arm. An act of comfort though she didn't feel any. "Something feels wrong and I don't know what it is Isaac," she finally admitted. "It's felt that way since before we even left and now I'm scared to leave you alone here with Harry and head off with Jacey."

Isaac frowned as he listened to Nikki talk. Automatically moving closer as he leaned into her. "I'll be fine," he reassured her though in the end he wasn't positive he should be saying that.

Not when he knew the odds in a world like this.

"You better be," Nikki sighed as she moved away from him when she heard Jacey and Harry coming back. Having declared the place safe. Her unease not going away one bit. Instead it almost felt like it grew some.
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Andrea who was now walking down the streets of Woodbury felt her heart beating faster in her chest as she watched Martinez and Shumpert now standing in the streets ready to take weapons from people.

Her head dropping some as she strolled past them. Hoping they wouldn't see her but of course she couldn't be so lucky. Because the minute she had walked past where they were standing Martinez called her name once and when she didn't stop then he called it a second time.

So she slowed down, turning to face him.

"Governor wants all weapons collected," Martinez spoke as he walked to where Andrea was. "Got to get the team all geared up."

"I think I'm more helpful armed," Andrea spoke not even moving to hand her gun over to Martinez.

Martinez eyed Andrea when she didn't move to hand him her gun. "Hand over your piece," he beckoned again as he held out his hand now. "And any ammo."

"No," Andrea told him defiant still standing her ground because she refused to give up her gun. Especially not when she was determined to leave after finding out how far Phillip had fallen off the crazy train.

"Let's not be stupid about this," Martinez told her doing his best to remain calm. "Hand over your piece."

Swallowing hard Andrea only rolled her eyes as she moved to take her gun off. Handing it and the ammo over to Martinez wordlessly.

"You got a knife?" Martinez asked her as he took the gun and ammo from her.

"You want to frisk me?" Andrea questioned Martinez sarcastically and her words must have been enough because he just turned and walked away.

Andrea heaving a sigh after as she too turned but the moment she did she saw Phillip walking down the street towards her.

"I should have told you about all this," Phillip said as he made it to where Andrea was. "I just uh..I want to keep you separate from this. Safe. You understand?"

Andrea forced a smile as she looked down at the ground, "Yeah," she answered him lying through her teeth. "I just want to help."

"Well you can tomorrow," Phillip told her as he rested his hand on Andrea's shoulder. "I want you with us when we go and meet Rick. He tries anything, you can talk some sense into him."

"Tries anything?" Andrea mused with a raised eyebrow as she lifted her head to look up at Phillip.

"Well you trust them, I don't," Phillip clarified and it was only half a lie...just only.

Andrea again forced a smile, "Understood," she nodded as she made eye contact with Phillip. "I'll be there," she assured him feeling thankful when he returned her smile before walking away.

Andrea dropping her act after he had walked away as she continued to walk away as well. Heading to the other side of the town, a place where she'd make her escape from this place.
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"You take this one," Alice spoke as she looked over at Tyreese who was standing beside her on the bus. She, Sasha and Tyreese all being on watch on the side of Woodbury that wasn't as busy.

Tyreese looked at Alice like she was crazy as the walker who she had said he could shoot was aimlessly heading towards him.

"You need the practice," Sasha said in his silence agreeing with Alice that he should be the one to take out the oncoming walker.

Tyreese sighed realizing he was outnumbered but he got his gun ready anyway. Holding it up as he took aim.

"Just relax," Sasha assured him sensing that her brother wasn't relaxed enough.

"How am I gonna relax if you keep telling me to relax?" Tyreese asked before taking fire on the walker and missing.

"Wasn't even close," Sasha mused which earned a snort from Alice.

"Either one of you want to do this?" Tyreese asked sarcastically as he reloaded his gun.

Alice shrugged as she looked at Tyreese again, "I have been," she defended knowing that up until now she had been the one taking on the walkers who got too close to them.

It was after she said that, that Tyreese shot at the walker again and once again missed.

"You're wasting ammo," Sasha piped up again though it was that, that seemed to make Tyreese finally get it because after he reloaded one more time he raised the gun and finally got the walker. "Nice shot," she complimented him even if there was smugness from her previous teasing.

But none of them got to revel in the happiness of his good shot for long because Andrea soon came upon them.

"Hey," Andrea said as she looked up at Alice, Tyreese, and Sasha. "A large pack of walkers was spotted heading for the main wall. Martinez wants some help. I got this covered," Andrea lied as she walked closer to the buses where the three were standing.

"We're not supposed to leave this post," Alice told her as she slung her gun over her shoulder, looking down at Andrea.

Andrea shook her head, "Ask Martinez. I'm just doing what I'm told," she lied once more knowing with them gone it would be easier to get out of here.

"You got to bring him over," Tyreese butted in. "We've got to hear it from him."

"You're wasting time," Andrea told them as she looked down acting like she was in disbelief.

"Why can't you handle it?" Sasha asked her suspiciously. "You're supposed to be a good shot."

Sighing as all three people refused to budge, Andrea walked to the ladder and climbed up it.

"What are you doing?" Tyreese asked Andrea as she climbed up the ladder.

"I've got to get out of here," Andrea answered as she finally reached the top and stood on the bus with the other three.

"Nobody leaves," Tyreese reminded her.

"Please," Andrea told him as she looked at him almost pleadingly. "I don't want any trouble."

Alice moved to step in front of Andrea, "What is this about?"

"Just get out of my way," Andrea yelled as she dodged Alice but Tyreese grabbed her wrist and she turned on him fast. "Don't," she snapped pulling out the knife she had smuggled with her.

Seeing the knife in Andrea's hand Tyreese backed away slowly, "Relax," he spoke softly. "Nobody's got to get hurt here."

"I'm sorry," Andrea apologized as she looked at the three people beside her. "I'm sorry, it's just this place is...I can't stay here."

"Why?" Sasha questioned her after lowering her weapon.

"The Governor," Andrea said as she shook her head. "He is not what he seems to be."

"He seems pretty straight up to me," Sasha told her again suspicious of Andrea's actions.

"That's what I thought too," Andrea said knowing she had once given Phillip that benefit of the doubt. "But I'm telling you, he has done terrible things. He's planning worse. I've got to get out of here and you should too."

"Look, you're rattled, exhausted," Alice told Andrea though she made no move to get closer to her. "Just put the knife down."

Andrea fell silent for a few minutes before eying all three people on the bus with her. "I'm going," she told them defiant.

Another silence enveloping before Tyreese nodded his head and whispered Okay. So low that she had barely heard him but after she had Andrea moved to make her escape.

Getting off the bus and doing her best to get as far away before Phillip realized she was gone.

"We shouldn't have let her go," Sasha told Tyreese and Alice as they watched Andrea run off.

"What do you want me to do?" Tyreese asked sarcastically. "Shoot her."
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Meredith who had been sleeping on the couch after the rest of the group left jerked awake when she heard a cry coming from the playpen not far from the couch.

Her eyes opening as she blinked a few times and looked over at Leo who was the source of the crying. Meredith realizing he was probably hungry so she moved to get him. A smile playing on her lips as she lifted him from the playpen.

"Shh shh," Meredith cooed as she rocked him in her arms. "I'll make you a bottle in a second but first let's go check on Monroe," she said as she walked to head upstairs. The last place she had seen the boy as he had been playing with a few of his toys.

But the moment she stepped out of the living room she froze in her tracks as she found the front door wide open. One of Monroe's toys dropped right at the door though there was no sign of the boy.

"No," she muttered to herself finally feeling her legs kick in again as she ran up the stairs, holding Leo closer to her. A part of her hoping this was some bad dream or something and she'd find Monroe in the room he had been in. Even if deep down she knew she wouldn't.

Something that was confirmed when she reached the room. Again finding the door to the room wide open and no sign of Monroe.

The boy had either left on his own while she had been asleep or someone had somehow wandered in and taken him and now he was gone.

Either way all she knew was she was up shit creek without a paddle if she somehow didn't find Monroe, yet she was hesitant to go and look since she had a baby who wasn't even two months old yet that she had to watch as well.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Twenty-Nine

Kate paused at Daryl's harshness. Feeling a bit taken aback by it though she guessed she could see why he was. It did seem after all that he was left in the dark about things.

"Since the day Zac and I went on that run with Rick back to his hometown," she answered with a shrug of her shoulders. "Zac told me after he bought pre-natals."

Daryl chewed on his lip at that explanation. Some of his anger wearing away since it was Zac who told her. Though that meant Avery more than likely told him which made sense. Avery and Zac were closer. Closer than the rest besides Jessica and Avery which meant Jessica probably knew and if she knew so did Glenn.

So it really did seem like he was the last to know which again built up his anger and maybe he shouldn't have even came looking for books. Shouldn't try to mend anything when she had been the one keeping secrets from him all along.

"I'm sure Avery wanted to tell you first," Kate spoke as she walked closer to Daryl. Putting a hand on his shoulder even if he did resemble a snake about to strike a target. "She loves you and she knows what secrets can do to people you love."

"She ain't in love with me," Daryl grunted out as he moved away from Kate's touch. Denying what Avery had also spat out as well when she had told him she was pregnant.

Which was probably another reason why he was so angry. No one loved him or had in the way he knew she meant it and he hated that he couldn't say it back to her. Didn't know how even if it was true. The baby news had just stopped him dead but even without it he wasn't sure he would have said it back.

"Now let's just stop talking about feelings and look for books. It's going to be dark soon and we have to get back to the prison before that crazy ex-husband of yours kills me."

Kate laughed softly at that before shaking her head. "You have a lot in common with him you know. You're both stubborn and refuse to talk about stuff. I can see why Avery loves you and I empathize so much with her on how hard it is to love a man like you."
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Alice remained silent as she stood in one of the many buildings in Woodbury. Sasha and Tyreese beside her doing most of the talking. Describing to Martinez and the Governor how Andrea had left and Alice just knew from the look on Martinez's face that he didn't like it.

Though she wasn't sure why. Andrea didn't seem like a threat.

"You should have stopped her," Martinez finally spoke up confirming what Alice had suspected on him not liking things.

"Stop her how?" Alice asked sarcastically as she narrowed her eyes at Martinez. "Shoot her in the back?"

Philip shook his head as he stepped towards the trio, "No, you did the right thing," he told all of them. "Thank god none of you guys were hurt," he told them hoping they believed the words that came out of his mouth.

Mainly because all the words were mainly lies.

"We stand on that wall to stop biters, not keep people in," Tyreese spoke harshly as he looked over at Martinez with a glare. "This isn't a prison camp, is it?" Tyreese asked with a raised eyebrow as he looked back at the Governor.

"Of course not," Philip denied as he turned to look at Tyreese again. "It's just she's in no shape to take care of herself."

Sasha narrowed her eyes when the Governor said what he did. "Seems pretty capable to me," she told him knowing at the wall and even before that Andrea seemed capable of handling things.

"She was out there all winter alone," Philip said softly as he looked between the three people who had let Andrea get away. "Can you imagine?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

Alice fell silent at that almost wanting to say she could because she and her own group had sort of been on their own all winter. Sutton, Viv, herself, Kate and Lucy all fending for themselves. But she didn't say anything to the Governor. Was afraid to back talk him even if he did seem nice.

People could always put on acts and masks but of course she'd keep those thoughts to herself too.

"Now, you three had each other or your friends," Philip continued in the trio's silence. "She only had the biters," he lied ignoring the fact that Andrea had Michonne. "We brought her in and tried to help her but it was too late. She'd been out there too long," he told them as he continued on with his lies. "Did she...did she say anything?" he finally asked them.

"Like what?" Tyreese asked the Governor wondering what he meant by Andrea saying anything.

"I don't know," Philip shrugged his shoulders. "Like what panicked her?"

Alice, Sasha and Tyreese all looked between each other at that, shaking their head.

"No," Tyreese answered knowing just from the looks of the other two women they all agreed on one thing. They weren't going to tell the Governor that she had mentioned him. "I hope this doesn't affect us."

Philip heaved a disappointed sigh at that, looking down only pausing when Tyreese said he hoped this didn't affect them. "What do you mean?" he questioned pausing at that.

"Well, we heard she was with that prison group," Tyreese told him honestly. "I hope I didn't complicate things."

"No, No," Philp said trying to reassure Tyreese that things were okay. "Um, look, I'll tell you what. Martinez here could use a hand with something. If you wouldn't mind helping him out, I'd appreciate it," he said before turning on his heel to leave the room.

He needed to head out and deal with things. Specifically Andrea.

"Of course," Tyreese told the Governor watching as he left the room.

"Thank you," Philip muttered out not even turning to look back at the people behind him.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Milton who was leaning against a car parked outside the building where Philip was meeting with Martinez and three of the new people they had taken in the other day, moved some when he heard the door to the building open and watched as Philip came out.

"Is she gone?" Milton asked watching as Philip put a gun in his holster. Just walking past him so casually. "They going after her?"

"No," Philip answered Milton's question. "I am."

Milton swallowed hard at that before muttering out his only response. "Oh."

"You have a problem with that, too?" Philip asked Milton as he slowed his walking some to turn at the man beside him.

"Let her go," Milton told Philip hoping he could appeal to the man he thought he still knew.

Philip raised an eyebrow, "Why would I do that?"

"She just wants to be with her people," Milton answered watching as his words made Philip stop walking altogether.

"You talked to her?"

"No," Milton lied his voice coming out uneasy.

"You did," Philip shot back knowing Milton was lying to him. "You knew she was leaving, didn't you?"

Looking down Milton nodded his head, "She told me."

"What else did you two talk about, huh?" Philip asked his tone turning harsh. "Did you tell her about the deal? Did you tell her about Michonne?" he continued knowing from the way Milton was acting that Andrea knew. "She knows, doesn't she?"

When Milton didn't answer him Philip shook his head angrily and walked off in a huff. More determined than ever to find Andrea before she made it back to the prison. Before she told the people there what he had planned to do.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Nikki looked over at Jacey warily as they both held onto the straps of the backpacks on their back. Backpacks full of the stuff they had found.

"I really don't think it was the best idea that we aren't going to meet up with the guys and all head back to the house together," she spoke up knowing that she still felt off.

Hated feeling off but she wasn't sure how else to explain how she felt.

"Yeah well it was your husband's idea," Jacey smirked reminding Nikki of what she knew. The last minute idea Isaac had, had before heading inside of the nursery school.

That they wouldn't meet up again after each group had finished their supply run. They'd just go on home and meet up there and Nikki half suspected it was because he felt guilty for leaving Meredith with both of the children.

Before she could reply back though Nikki and Jacey paused in their footsteps as they came upon a walker that was hunched over. Eating something on the ground. Something that looked tiny like a small animal..

"I'll get it," Jacey volunteered as she walked closer to the walker slowly trying to keep quiet. But of course as luck would have it a tree branch snapped right as Jacey was almost to the walker.

Jacey watching in horror as the walker turned to look at her. Standing from whatever it had been eating and advancing towards her faster than she would have liked.

Forcing her to walk backwards as she fumbled to reach for her knife.

"Nikki," Jacey called as she turned her head briefly to look over at her friend who was just frozen in her spot. Staring at whatever thing the walker had been eating. "Nikki..." she tried again as she looked back at the walker as her back connected with a tree.

The walker advancing closer to her though she was finally able to get her knife. Holding it tightly as she held her arm out some to keep the walker far enough at bay as she plunged her knife through it's head.

Smirking as it feel to the ground and after it had Jacey turned back to Nikki who was still standing in her spot.

"Nikki?" she questioned as she walked to where Nikki was, her hand going onto Nikki's back which made Nikki jump. Breaking whatever had made her zone out.

Tears finally going down Nikki's cheek as she shook her head and ran to whatever was on the ground.

Jacey's eyes following Nikki as she picked up what was left. Jacey finally realizing what it was from the clothes. It was the remains of Monroe.

Swallowing a lump in her throat Nikki just held what was left of her son. Her baby...the last baby she had, had left. Not understanding how Monroe was even out here or where Meredith and Leo were.

But now as she felt so empty and alone Nikki realized why she had felt off all day. Some part of her had to have known her son would wind up dead.

That she would lose her last remaining child.

"I need Isaac," Nikki croaked out as she looked up at Jacey helplessly. "I need Isaac and I don't even know if he is back home or at the nursery school still and I just need my husband," she muttered out as she shook her head, pulling Monroe closer to her.

New tears coming down her cheeks.

Jacey nodded her head, "I'll find him," she told Nikki knowing just from the way Nikki was, the way she was holding what was left of her son that there was no way she'd be leaving anytime soon.

Even if it wasn't best for her to stay out here for too long.

"I'll find him," Jacey said again before turning and running off. Wanting to find Isaac quickly for Nikki even if this news would probably also destroy him too.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Be ready to roll in a few," Martinez spoke to Tyreese who was now walking behind him. Tyreese's sister was of course glued to Tyreese's side and Alice well she had went off who knew where.

"Where to?" Tyreese asked watching as Martinez turned to look at him. "We're not going after that girl, are we?"

Martinez stopped walking as he turned to look at Sasha and Tyreese, "What if we were? Is that a problem?" he questioned rather harshly.

"She was pretty shook up. She definitely didn't want to be here," Tyreese spoke knowing there was no sense in bringing Andrea back.

"Look," Martinez sighed. "She's on her own, understood? We got something else. It's hard to explain. Just be at the truck in five."

"Okay," Tyreese nodded watching as Martinez walked away and Allen and Ben who had been on watch, coming down after Martinez had gathered the people who would be going out looked at him and Sasha confused.

Both of them having heard the conversation and finding out partly that Andrea was gone.

"What girl?" Allen asked as he eyed Tyreese curiously.

"Andrea jumped the wall," Sasha answered for her brother.

"On your watch? And you let her go?" Allen mused not even giving Tyreese time to speak up. "Hey, man, these guys have been talking. She's trouble."

Tyreese stepped closer to Allen at that, feeling offended by his words. "Maybe she's not the issue," he spoke still remembering what Andrea had said about the Governor. "She said some pretty crazy shit."

"You know why?" Allen asked with a sarcastic tone and a smirk on his face. "Cause she's crazy," he shrugged. "Don't screw this up for us," he said not wanting Tyreese to ruin things for him and Ben.

"I'm just looking out," Tyreese told Allen honestly.

"For you two maybe," Allen retorted knowing Tyreese hadn't much cared for him. Maybe cared for Donna but never for him or Ben.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Tyreese asked him not sure what Allen meant by that.

"We got a good thing here. I don't want to get tossed out because of you. These guys are on edge, they've been attacked by that crazy ass cowboy and some chick with a sword. Shit's going down and you're making waves. We just have to get with the program," Allen spoke sounding firm as he kept his eyes on Tyreese.

"I am," Tyreese told Allen sounding just as firm.

Allen shook his head, "That guy doesn't trust you," he said as he looked over to where Martinez was now. "Do not screw this up," he said as he walked just a bit closer to Tyreese.

Close enough that Tyreese rested a hand on his shoulder to stop him from coming any further.

"Ease back, man," Tyreese warned not liking how close Allen was.

"Or what?" Allen asked him almost daring him to do something. "You need to shame me in front of my boy again?"

Tyreese shook his head, "Don't go there man," he sighed. "Donna...I just happened to be there. It could have been anyone," he told Allen knowing that of course Allen still had issues when it came to Donna.

"But it wasn't, was it?" Allen asked him. "It was you."

"You want to do this now?" Sasha asked both of them as she looked between them. Not sure if now was the time to have this conversation.

"A long time coming," Allen answered too fast.

Shaking her head Sasha just moved away from them, "You guys catch up," she said as she walked away only stopping to look at Ben who was still standing there with the two men.

A part of her knowing the teenager didn't need to hear this. "Come on, Ben," she told him waiting for him to walk to where she was before walking away.

Leaving the two men to work out their own differences.

Not wanting to be a part of whatever conflicts they had over Allen's resentment of Tyreese for saving Donna and then Donna clinging to her brother as if he was a hero.

That was Allen's own issues to deal with.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Andrea who had been running on the road ever since she had left Woodbury, slowed for a bit taking several breaths. Her head turning slowly as she heard the sound of a truck in the distance and she didn't know why but it was like her gut was telling her it was Philip or someone from Woodbury coming to get her.

Her flight or fight instinct taking over as she darted into the woods off to the side of the road. Coming to rest behind a tree where she stayed until a familiar white truck passed by on the road.

A truck she knew was from Woodbury, was more than likely Philip coming to get her or stop her someway from making it to the prison.

Once the truck was out of sight and hearing distance Andrea finally took a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. Though she didn't get to rest for long. A walker's arm suddenly reaching out through the other side of the tree and wrapping around her neck.

Pinning her in place as it tried to get at her. Take a bite out of her. Three more walkers advancing on her from the direction in which she could see.

Her leg coming out to stop the first one from getting to close. Fight it off somehow as she reached for her knife and once she had her knife she put it through the skull of the first one. Watching as it fell on top of the second one and she took that time to finally use her hands and break the arm of the walker that had, had her pinned to a tree.

Andrea moving from the tree as she killed the other walker on the ground as well as the one that had been holding her to a tree.

Only running off after they were all dead.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Making it back to the prison Kate smiled slightly when she found Zac waiting for her and Daryl at the gate. Watching as Daryl just ignored Zac, walking off in a huff with the book he had gotten in his hand.

Kate turning her head to Zac who looked at her confused. "It's a long story," she told him softly as she leaned into him after he closed the gate behind her and Daryl. Walking with her to the prison. "Who is on watch now?"

"Rick," Zac answered as he slipped his arm around Kate's waist. "He'll probably be on it at least until tomorrow morning," he said with a small smile feeling like somehow Rick may have slowly somewhat been getting better. "But tell me the condensed version of the long story. What did Daryl want from you and why were you gone for so long?"

Sighing Kate chewed on her lip. "He knows Avery is pregnant now," she told him watching as Zac's face changed at that. "I'm not sure he took it so well. Not if the way he got all angry at me knowing before him was any indication. But he wanted to get Avery a book on what to expect during pregnancy."

"It's his I'm sorry gift," Zac laughed as they finally made it to the entrance of the prison. "Don't you remember the first big fight Taylor and Natalie had when she was pregnant with Ezra?" he asked Kate as his mind went back to simpler times.

A lump forming as he thought of people who were gone. Natalie and Ezra.

"Taylor did the same thing," Kate finished with a laugh. "Of course I remember that. Natalie vented to me for two hours about how dumb of a gift it was."

"I'm sure Avery will do the same to Jessie or Beth," Zac told Kate knowing his sister would probably react just like Natalie had.

Then again she could surprise him.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Getting out of the jeep once they had reached their destination Sasha looked over at Martinez as they walked closer to a hole in the ground that was full of a few walkers trying to get out.

The walkers more than likely having been drawn here by the sound the two silos on a barn near by where making.

"What is that?" Sasha asked as she just looked down at the hole.

"Jackpot baby," Martinez answered her with a smile feeling glad at the number of walkers that were at the bottom of the hole.

"This some kind of extermination?" Sasha asked another question.

"You could say that," Martinez told her before looking at Shumpert who was walking behind him. "No weeding out today, Shump. The more the merrier."

"All right," Shumpert nodded his head at Martinez's words.

"You got a use for them?" Sasha questioned as she looked up from the pit of walkers.

Martinez smirked slightly, "Honey, we got a use for everything."

"This got something to do with that meeting tomorrow?" Tyreese butted in as if things were starting to make sense. "The one with the prison group?"

Taking his gun off Martinez rested it against a parked military vehicle that was close by. "Ho, ho, ho," he muttered as he walked closer to the pit. Undoing the ropes around it. "Get that man a prize."

"You're bringing biters?" Sasha mused feeling surprised by that.

Tyreese who stayed silent taking in everything and listening to Shumpert and Martinez give orders to Allen who seemed to have no problem with what had just been found out shook his head. "This ain't right," he muttered.

"Didn't think we were gonna have any problems today, fella," Martinez reminded him.

"I didn't think we'd be feeding people to biters," Tyreese countered knowing he hadn't agreed to this. This was sick and maybe he could see why Andrea ran.

"What do you care? They're rats," Martinez spoke with a roll of his eyes as he continued to work on the ropes around the pit.

"This is sick," Tyreese sighed not even moving from his spot. Even when Allen asked him to give him a hand. "I'm not doing this," he said putting his foot down on that.

He wasn't going to be involved in murdering people. That wasn't who he was.

"They got women and children," Tyreese continued insistent on his stance as he watched as Allen just kept working on the ropes of the pit too. "You can't do this."

Martinez looked back at Tyreese, "Fine, suit yourself. We get back, you tell the Governor. He'll send you packing. Send you all packing," he spoke putting an emphasis on the fact that he'd get rid of all of them. Tyreese, Sasha, Alice, even Allen and Ben who seemed more on board than the other three.

"There's no need for that," Allen told Martinez as he looked over at Tyreese. "Damn it."

"Relax," Tyreese told Allen. "We looked out for each other. We'll do it again. We'll get out of your way if that's what you want," he told Martinez honestly.

"You don't speak for us," Allen interjected knowing Tyreese didn't and wouldn't speak for him and Ben. "You're not sending my boy out there again. I look out for him."

"Like you looked out for Donna?" Tyreese spoke harshly knowing it was a low blow but Allen was acting like a fool not seeing anything wrong with what these people were doing with the walkers.

Sasha who had been silent during Tyreese's exchange with Allen watched in horror as Allen lunged for Tyreese and Tyreese moved down shoving him to the ground. Somehow both of them winding up way too close to the walker pit as Tyreese had a hold of Allen's shirt.

Allen even antagonizing him to throw him into the walker pit. Telling him to do it.

The words making Sasha move as she looked at her brother, "Please," she implored locking eyes with him when he turned to look at her. Hoping that he could read from her face and her tone that she didn't want him to do this.

Hoped he knew Allen wasn't worth this. Would never be worth this.

Sasha just watching as Tyreese looked at her for the longest time before looking back at Allen. Allen still telling him to do it.

Shaking his head Tyreese moved off Allen, standing up as he watched Allen get up too and he just caught his breath. Hearing Martinez clapping from the other side of the pit.

"You've all been very productive," Martinez said sarcastically after he had finished clapping. "Shump, take em back to town. Let em do some knitting."
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Andrea who had been running again for a bit slowed some when she realized she was in an open field now. Leaning down some to catch her breath.

Moving to stand back up as she had before jogging a bit farther but coming to a stop when once again she heard that familiar rumble of a truck, her head turning to see the white truck she knew well drive past on the road and all she could do was pray Philip didn't see her as she dropped down to the grass.

Grass which was a lot less coverage than the trees had been but yet somehow the truck drove past her and so she stood up slowly. Feeling her heart beating harder in her chest as she tried to collect her nerves.

Not having long to do that because soon the rumble of the truck was back and as she looked up she saw that it was driving in the grass and heading right towards her.

Andrea turning on her heels as she began to run again even as the truck sounded like it was gaining speed. Philip honking the horn at her but not once did she stop running.

She kept running until she made it to another area that was heavily wooded.

Philip just stopped his truck briefly as he stared in front of him, watching Andrea run off into the woods. She had got away for now but by the end of today he made a vow that he'd have her and take her back to Woodbury.

One way or another. Andrea was his prey now.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"What do you mean he is gone?" Isaac hissed out as he walked closer to Meredith who was in hysterics in front of him. The woman having confessed to him and Harry as soon as they had walked into the house that Monroe was gone.

Somehow the boy had either been taken or slipped out of the house while Meredith had napped. Isaac feeling angry that she'd even nap knowing she had two children to watch. A two year old being one of them.

"Isaac," Harry spoke as he stepped in between Meredith and Isaac not liking how close Isaac was to her or the look that was in Isaac's eyes. "Calm down."

Isaac turned to look at Harry a glare on his face, "Don't tell me to calm down when my son is out there somewhere," he spat out shaking his head as he turned to head outside.

Barely walking out before seeing Jacey running to the house like a wild animal. No Nikki at her side and it was then that Isaac swore he was having the same bad feeling Nikki had been having all day. Isaac saying a small prayer that somehow he hadn't just lost his entire family in one day.

"Jace?" Isaac asked as he walked towards the stairs of the porch right as Jacey reached them. "What is it?" he asked preparing himself for the worst.

If there could be a worse after finding out his son was missing.

"Nikki," Jacey breathed out as she shook her head. "She's.....I.....we were on our way back here when we came across a walker," she stated watching Isaac's face fall his whole demeanor changing in front of her. "She...it was...somehow Monroe got out there in the woods and it was...."

"Don't say it," Isaac told her as he held up his hand. Knowing what Jacey was going to tell him which hadn't been what he had expected when she started talking.

He had expected her to tell him a whole other truth. That his wife was dead but somehow it seemed it had got worse. Monroe was the one that was dead.

He had just learned his second child was dead.

"Just take me to my wife," Isaac spoke becoming aware of crying behind him and when he turned his head he saw that Meredith had collapsed onto the porch.

More than likely having followed him outside and she had heard everything. Knew his child was dead because of her mistake.

Shaking his head he turned away from her and stepped off the porch. Standing beside Jacey. "Take me to Nikki," he stated again.

"O...okay," Jacey nodded her head feeling a bit apprehensive now even if at first she felt like Isaac could help Nikki.

Now there was something different. Something felt off and she couldn't place what it was. Wasn't sure if she wanted too.

Was afraid of what it would mean for their group if she did.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Andrea slowed some after running even longer. Coming out of the woods right at what looked to be an old abandoned warehouse of some sort.

The windows all broken in and she knew she shouldn't go inside. Should just keep on going but the moment she heard the truck in the distance she knew the decision was made for her.

Her legs carrying her inside the dark building. Which would probably be even more dark now that it was nearing night time but at least maybe it could be shelter of some kind.

Keep Philip from finding her for now.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Nikki rocked back and forth slowly as she sat on the ground in the woods. Holding her son to her as she just kept crying. Feeling like her entire world was gone as well as flashing back to the first days of all of this. When Jessica had held a dying Penny in her arms.

Nikki almost wishing that she had, had that at least. Had some final moments with her son while he was still alive to let him know she loved him but she didn't have that.

Hadn't had it with either of her children and she was angry at that. Angry at everything maybe even her husband because it was his idea for them all to go out on runs.

Maybe if he had let someone stay behind with Meredith and the kids this wouldn't have happened. Their son would still be alive...and who even knew about Meredith and Leo. Jacey could have found them to on her way back.

That could be why it felt like it was taking her forever to get back to where Nikki was.

But right at that thought Nikki heard footsteps and hushed voices and she turned her head. Seeing Isaac and Jacey approaching her and once Isaac made it to where she was he bent down beside her. Slipping his arms around her.

"I'm sorry Nikki," Isaac apologized the moment he had Nikki in his arms. "I'm so fucking sorry," he muttered as he did his best to hold himself together.

Not even wanting to look down at what was left of their son. Not sure how Nikki could do it.

"So am I," Nikki told him surprised at how emotionless she sounded and how little his embrace helped her. "I'm sorry too," she sighed knowing she was sorry for trusting him.

She'd never make that mistake again. After all trusting him twice had lost her both her innocent babies. He had, had Everett when Everett died and he had made sure only one person was watching two babies. He was to blame for everything.

Pulling away from the hug after a while Nikki looked away from Isaac and down at Monroe. "W...we need to go home. Get him home and bury him," she told Isaac before reaching up and wiping at her eyes. Not caring that she had blood on her cheeks now.

It was already on her clothes. Might as well be all over her.

Isaac stood up at that, "I can carry him," he offered watching as Nikki shook her head.

"No," Nikki told him way too fast. "I'll do it," she sighed as she reached back down for her son. Picking him up one last time as she stood and began the walk back to the house which in the end no longer felt like home.

Nothing felt like home.

Jacey who had remained silent just looked down at Isaac both of them sharing a look as Nikki walked off. Jacey getting the feeling that Isaac too knew deep down that things within their group had changed. Nothing would go back to being the same.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Andrea who was navigating her way through the dark building, paused in her steps when she heard a whistling. Her nerves eating her alive when she realized Philip was inside.

More than likely had heard it when she accidentally knocked over a bucket full of something that made noise and now she was screwed.

Or she felt screwed anyway. Feared Philip would find her and this would be the end of everything. He'd kill her here or take her back to Woodbury and kill her. Either way she'd be dead.

Turning her head slowly to look behind her when the whistling died down for a bit. Andrea started moving but she didn't get far when a walker came up on her and she had to use her knife to put it down. Making a face as it fell into a fence nearby.

Giving up her location for now in the building. So once it was down on the floor she slowly walked away from that spot. Trying to find somewhere to hide or a way out. Hoping to get away from Philip.

It was only when she heard Philip's footsteps and whistling closer that Andrea crouched down behind something that was well away from the doorway.

Tensing up when she heard Philip reach where the dead walker was.

"Andrea," Philip whispered into the dark room knowing or suspecting that Andrea was in there. "Come back with me. Come back to Woodbury," he said softly trying to coax her out. We need you, we all need you. That's your home now. Your people. Your town. You can't just leave em all behind," he said looking around as all he got was silence. "Please Andrea, come home," he said trying one last time.

Again getting nothing from Andrea who he knew was in the building. Had heard her and the dead walker gave it away.

"Suit yourself," he muttered out with a shake of his head before grabbing a hold of the shovel he had brought with him. Lifting it up and hitting it right into a glass barrier.

Andrea who was crouched down still moved closer to herself as glass came flying close to where she was hiding. Doing her best to protect herself from getting cut.

As well as moving away while doing her best to stay crouched down as Philip seemed to go down the whole row of glass barriers. Breaking them all in his effort to get to where she was.

Her effort to get away from him only taking her further into the dark building with Philip hot on her heels. Doing another tactic to scare her or get her out of hiding by running the shovel along a chain link fence. Letting her know where he was.

That he was close by and still there. Not giving up on her.

Andrea breathing a bit harder as her nerves grew when Philip kept getting ever closer to where she was hiding now.

Almost thinking her lucky stars when a glass broke in the distance which lured him away from her. Probably made him think that was where she was so she used that moment to stand up and move from where she was.

Go farther away from that place and deeper into a building that felt like a maze.

The sounds of Philip killing walkers sounding through the whole building but she kept going. At least until she reached a door which she opened, hoping it would lead to her freedom.

But that thought died quickly because the moment the door was open she came face to face with a mini herd of walkers.

Backing away slowly before they could get her. The door shutting loudly behind her and as she turned away from it she swallowed hard as she came face to face with Philip who was staring right at her as he walked closer to her slowly.

Trying to taunt her still even now that he knew her location.

"Time to go home, huh?" Philip asked as he eyed Andrea with a smirk.

Andrea looked back at Philip defiantly opening the door she had just came out of, letting the walkers she had just saw come out.

Using that as her way to get away as somehow almost cleverly she ducked between them without getting bit. Hoping and maybe praying that they got ahold of Philip. Killed him and ended everything right here and now.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Meredith sighed resolutely as she stood outside of the house. The sun having risen on a new day and yesterday's events still haunting her.

Her mind reminding her for hours now that she was to blame for Monroe's death. That she was at fault for Nikki and Isaac having to bury their son last night and so with that thought in mind she knew she was making the best decision for her.

Choosing to wait until she knew for sure that everyone was asleep and slipping out of the house. A gun in her hand and a note left on her pillow. A note that hopefully would be read once she was far enough away to stop from making the choice she had made.

Putting a bullet through her head in the same woods that Monroe had died in. It was the best form of punishment for her and no one would be left behind to grieve for her.

She had lost her children and her granddaughter to this world. Now it was time for her to go back to them as well as make up for what she had done.

Swallowing a lump as she did her best to fight off tears, Meredith turned on her heels beginning her walk to the woods and doing her best to take in everything for the last time. Just one last walk in nature.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Andrea who had made it out of the woods the next morning. Staggered from exhaustion as she walked towards the prison, a happy smile on her face as she looked at the building in the distance. Feeling thankful that she was so close.

Her hand going up when she spotted Rick out on the guard tower on watch. But before she could call out to him she was pushed to the ground, a look of surprise on her face as she stared up at Philip.

All of her hopes of freedom dashed because somehow Philip had survived the walkers at the warehouse. Tracking her all the way here. His hand covering her mouth so she couldn't scream.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Rick who was walking around on the outside of the guard tower. Turned quickly when he saw something out of the corner of his eye.

He wasn't sure what it was exactly but it had looked like a living human. His eyebrow raising when he saw no one but walkers. His head shaking when he realized he was probably seeing things. Hallucinating like he did every time he saw Lori.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Shumpert who had arrived at the pits the next day to get the walkers they had acquired, got out of his jeep. Making a face as he saw smoke coming from the pits as well as the vehicle that had housed the walkers they had got out of the pits yesterday.

Walking slowly towards the pits where when he looked down all he saw was a few charred but still alive walkers and some that were just bones now. Knowing that when he went to what was left of the vehicle he'd find the same.

All because someone had came here sometime between yesterday afternoon and now. Sitting everything they were going to use on fire.

Messing up the plans they had, had set.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Martinez took a deep breath as he watched the Governor's truck roll back into Woodbury. Slowing when he got close enough to him, his window rolling down.

"Did you find her?" he asked referring to Andrea.

Philip shook his head as he lied to Martinez, "No luck," he told him.

Martinez nodded slowly feeling nervous for what he was about to tell Philip. "Just got word someone barbecued the pit."

"Who?" Philip questioned harshly as he took that in.

"Got a few shit stirrers in the bunch. Tyreese and his sister Sasha," Martinez answered as his mind went to yesterday at the pit.

Philip nodded his head, "Send them over to the distro. Rest of the group too."

"All right," Martinez said knowing he'd follow anything the Governor said.

"We're still gonna need biters, so get some more," Philip added on seeing Martinez nod his head before walking off and after he walked off Philip rolled his window back up.

Driving off again to do what he had to do before meeting Tyreese's group in the building he had told Martinez to send them too.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Waking the next morning Avery who had fallen asleep in her own cell last night rubbed at her eyes softly. Sitting up on the bed some when she saw a book laying on a table near her bed.

Reaching out for it she brought it closer, seeing that it was a baby book and well she couldn't help but smile some. Knowing who had more than likely brought it to her.

Only one person would wait until she was asleep to bring her this book and while she wanted to be mad at Daryl for thinking this would work. Get her to not be angry she wasn't.

It was a nice gesture and she'd take it. Hoping it meant he didn't want her to still find some way to lose their baby.
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Philip glared as he came out of the building where he had met with Tyreese's group. Having realized when Tyreese seemed to have no clue about what happened at the pits that it wasn't any of them that had burned them last night.

Which meant someone else had done it. Someone else was the traitor amongst them.

Milton who was walking on the opposite side of the street spotted Philip and he walked over to him. "Is she dead?" he asked softly once he made it to where Philip was.

"I hope not," Philip muttered out as he shook his head. His hand falling to his side which he had hurt in his scuffle with Andrea.

"Are you okay?" Milton asked as he looked down to where Philip was holding his side.

"Never been better," Philip told him sarcastically before moving to walk away.

Milton scrunched up his nose as he watched Philip walk away. "It's a real shame about the pits," he called out watching as Philip stopped in his tracks, turning to look at him.

"You heard about that huh?" Philip asked as he eyed Milton curiously.

"I hope you find out who did it," Milton shot back not even answering Philip's question.

"Already have," Philip told him as he reigned in his emotions. Not letting off that he knew it was Milton himself and that he had given himself away.

Philip not showing that he wished he could stick Milton into the room where he was holding Andrea. Maybe tie Milton up to a matching chair like he had Andrea in.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Thirty

Isaac frowned as he sat outside on the steps of the porch. His mind going to everything that had happened in the past few hours. How Monroe was gone and now Meredith too.

Harry having woken everyone up as soon as he found the note on the pillow. The note that detailed how she was going to commit suicide and how by the time her note was found it would already be too late.

Nikki of course hadn't shown an ounce of remorse at the idea of Meredith being dead. Isaac suspected it was because she blamed the woman for what happened to Monroe and in ways he could see it. He had lashed out too on finding out Monroe was gone from the house.

But that didn't mean he had wanted the woman dead. No one had to die but yet she had.

Meredith was dead and his wife was a shell of the woman she had once been.

"Isaac?" a voice asked bringing him out of his thoughts and he turned his head to see Jacey beside him on the stairs. A blush coating his cheeks because he hadn't seen her come out here.

When Isaac looked at her, Jacey gave him a sad smile as she reached out to put a hand on his leg to comfort him. "I think we should have a meeting," she told him knowing she had been doing some thinking since last night. "We have things to discuss."

Isaac only nodded his head numbly as he looked at Jacey, "We probably do," he told her knowing they did need one. They had lost so damn much. "But can I have a few more minutes alone?" he asked not ready to face reality just yet.

"Sure," Jacey told him before standing up. "I need to inform Nikki as well anyway," she said because of course she had saved Nikki for last.

Didn't want to see Nikki grieving and feel guilty because at least her son was safe. That her son wasn't the one who had been taken.
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Standing outside the prison with Hershel, Zac, and Daryl, Rick heaved a sigh doing his best to ignore the walker that was near the fence they were standing at.

"It's the way," Rick told them after explaining to them that he had to turn Michonne over to the Governor. "No one else knows."

"You gonna tell 'em?" Zac questioned with a raised eyebrow knowing they couldn't keep this a secret for long.

Rick shook his head. "Not til after," he answered with a shrug. "We have to do it today. It has to be quiet."

Daryl shook his head as he heaved a sigh. A part of him understanding why Rick was doing what he was. Though as he looked at Zac he knew that Zac didn't.

"You got a plan?" Daryl asked him wondering if Rick had a plan made up yet. A way to get Michonne out of the prison.

"We tell her we have to talk, away from the others," Rick explained. Not sure if it was what Daryl wanted but it had to do.

"Just ain't us man," Zac spoke up again as he looked at Rick. Not feeling like this was them all. This wasn't them.

They didn't just turn people over to the bad guys.

Hershel who had known about the plan since yesterday shook his head, "No, no it isn't," he said agreeing with Zac before moving to head back into the prison.

Leaving Zac and Daryl with Rick.

Moving closer to Zac, Rick eyed him intently. "We do this, we avoid a fight. No one else dies," he said seeing a reluctance on the man's face.

Zac ran a hand through his hair before giving a conceding sigh. "Okay," he muttered with a nod of his head. "But we're going to need someone else," he said looking towards Daryl because who he had meant was Merle.

Merle was the best option to get involved in this and from the look on Daryl's face he knew it too.

"I'll talk to him," Daryl offered but Rick shook his head.

"I'll do it."

"I'll go with you," Daryl told him but again Rick shook his head.

"No," Rick stated firmly knowing it had to be just him. "Just me," he said before turning to walk away himself. Needing to head inside and find Merle.
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Merle who had been looking for drugs in one of the mattresses in a cell on the top floor, stopped what he was doing when he heard footsteps coming up the stairs.

Turning his head he saw Rick and didn't know how better to explain himself other than offering the truth. "Just looking for a little vacation. Best dope I ever had was in a mattress," he explained before turning away as he went back to doing what he was doing.

Listening as Rick's footsteps got closer to the cell he was in and when Rick made it to where he was. Standing just outside the open cell door Merle gave up.

"Nothing," he said almost sadly. "This place must have been no fun at all."

Rick rolled his eyes at Merle's words. Not sure if he cared much about him looking for drugs. Maybe an older version of him would have cared. The Rick before all this walker stuff.

"We need your help," Rick told him honestly almost hating that he was coming to Merle but Zac had a point and he knew it. Merle was cut out for this job.

When Merle laughed at his words Rick shook his head but kept his face neutral.

"Do you even know why you do the things you do? The choices you make?" he questioned him watching as Merle stopped laughing, moving to rest his back against the wall of the cell. "If we give the Governor Michonne, Woodbury stands down. I don't like it but it's what needs to be done. We need to make it quiet. We need your help with that."

Listening to Rick, Merle remained silent for a bit almost shocked by his words but not really. The deal was something Philip would do.

"You ain't told any of the others, huh?" he asked as he looked at Rick again.

"Just Hershel, Daryl, Zac and you," Rick answered knowing the rest didn't need to know yet. Not until it was all done and over with.

Standing up from where he had been sitting on the floor Merle kept his eyes on Rick, "Huh,"he almost huffed out. "The inner circle. I'm honored," he spoke sarcastically. "You know when we'd go out on runs, he'd bash somebody's skull, slash somebody's throat and he'd say never waste a bullet. I always thought it was just an excuse. You go on, give him that girl. He ain't gonna kill her you know," he said telling Rick more of how Philip worked. "He's just gonna do things to her. Probably take out one of her eyes. Both of 'em, most likely. You'd let that happen for a shot?" he mused before letting things fall silent.

Rick's silence telling him everything he needed to know.

"Whew. You're cold as ice, Officer Friendly," Merle said as he shook his head before letting his mind go to how things would have to be done. Things once again falling silent between him and Rick.

"You're gonna need wire, not rope," Merle said as they locked eyes. "Wire. Nothing she could chew through," he finished watching as Rick turned to walk away but before Rick could get far Merle spoke out again. "Oh, you know something?" he asked watching as Rick stopped in his tracks. "You're right. I don't know why I do the things I do. Never did. I'm a damn mystery to me. But I know you Rick. Yeah, I thought a lot about you. You ain't got the spine for it."

Rick swallowed hard at Merle's words knowing he may not have had the spine for it but it had to be done. "We need to get her to the Governor by noon," he told him ignoring his words and continuing to walk away again.

Needed to get the wire for Merle.
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Standing in the bathroom as she looked at her reflection in the mirror Nikki just looked at herself, feeling like the woman staring back at her was a stranger now. She was someone she didn't know and she wasn't sure she liked herself but it was the way it was.

The old her wouldn't be so cruel as to be happy that someone committed suicide but the new her didn't care so much. Not when the woman who had done it was responsible for her child's death.

Had Meredith been paying attention she'd still have Monroe but she didn't and she wasn't sorry that Meredith had been so consumed with guilt that she had to end it all.

She refused to be though she knew from the way Isaac reacted when she had let her feelings be known that her husband would try to guilt trip her but she didn't care. She wasn't going to bend to Isaac easily either when she also blamed him too.

Hearing a knock on the bathroom door Nikki sighed before moving to answer it. Coming face to face with Jacey who had allowed her time to herself before a meeting she had called.

"We should probably have that meeting now. Isaac's inside," Jacey spoke as she looked Nikki over.

A frown appearing on Jacey's lips after she had looked Nikki over because even from looking at her she knew the woman was much colder now. Wasn't the same kind woman she was when Jacey's group had found Isaac, Nikki, and Monroe.

"Okay," Nikki nodded her head moving to leave the bathroom. Heading downstairs where the meeting was to take place.

After Nikki had left Jacey just took a deep breath, praying this meeting went well. It was after all her asking the group what they were going to do now. Because Jacey felt as if they should leave, the house holding bad memories and Harry it seemed agreed with her.

It was Nikki and Isaac she wasn't sure about and deep down Jacey knew whatever they chose she'd still leave and take Harry and her son Leo with her. Hope the best for Isaac and Nikki.

But she kind of hoped they chose to come with her.
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Rick who had went back outside after talking to Merle paused at the main fence as he looked at what was going on around him.

Carl and Maggie were at the fences near the main gates, trying to lure walkers to them while Daryl and Taylor worked at setting up traps in the yard while Beth drove the truck that some of the traps where in.

Michonne killing walkers as she too helped them and maybe the sight of Michonne made him just a tiny bit guilty for what he was going to do.

Even more so after his talk with Merle but it had to be done. He had to give her up if he wanted to protect his kids, his family, his group.

It was only when the truck finally came back towards the prison after a bit that Rick moved. Going to meet them because he had questions. Like who had came up with this idea?

Opening the gate for the truck once it was right at it Rick just watched silently as Beth drove it in and after she had he shut the gate quickly. Walking to meet Daryl and Taylor who got off the tailgate of the truck.

"They try to drive up to the gate again, maybe some blown tires will stop them," Taylor told Rick as he walked to where Daryl and Taylor were.

Rick nodded his head at that, "That's a good idea."

"It was Michonne's," Daryl told him as he eyed him. Not sure how Rick would take that information knowing he was going to hand Michonne over to the Governor today.

Rick just turned to look at Daryl. Doing his best to keep his face neutral because again there was that damn guilt.

"We don't have to win," Michonne stated as she walked to where the men where at. "We just have to make their getting at us more trouble than it's worth."

Rick stayed silent at that as he turned to look at Michonne briefly before putting his gaze back on Daryl. Again doing his best not to show his guilt.

A part of him almost feeling thankful when Maggie and Carl joined them as it gave him an excuse to end the conversation as he lead everyone back inside the prison.
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Merle who was standing at a window in the prison, looking outside shook his head as he watched Rick lead the group back into the prison and he knew. He just knew from the way that Rick was looking that he'd waffle out of the plans he had.

"Oh no," Merle muttered to himself and even if he sounded disappointed he wasn't sure why he was. He had saw this happening.

Avery who had been helping with Judith, looked up as she heard Merle talking to himself. "What?" she asked him curiously as she walked to the playpen that was set up for Judith. Slowly putting her in it as Merle turned to face her.

"Nothing."

Avery kept her curious glance at Merle's answer before looking at the mess that was the main part of the prison. "What happened here?" she asked him knowing whatever it was, he had to have done it. He was the only one around.

"We got any whiskey?" Merle asked as he looked down at Avery not telling her what was going on. Though he was surprised his brother hadn't. "Hell, I'd even drink vodka."

Moving away from the playpen Avery shook her head, "Go to hell, Merle," she stated so plainly.

Her words only seemed to make Merle laugh and she just rolled her eyes walking to one of the tables to sit down as he began walking down the stairs.

"Are you with us?" Avery asked him so casually as she picked up the pregnancy book that Daryl had left for her sometime last night.

Not even caring that she was reading it out in the open. She didn't see the use in hiding that she was pregnant when so many people seemed to know now.

"Sure," Merle answered as he paused his walking on the stairs.

"I'm not talking about occupying the same space," Avery sighed as she opened the book. "Are you with us?" she asked again hoping Merle got the deeper meaning of what she was asking.

Merle only swallowed at Avery's words. "I'm here for my brother," he told her as she looked up at him and he could see the apprehension in her eyes.

"Well, he's here for us," Avery said because at least she was sure of that now. He may have left briefly but he had came back to her and the group. "It's not time to do shots," she continued as she shook her head and put the book down. "It's time to pick a damn side."

Laughing at how firm Avery sounded Merle stayed strong. "You ain't like you was back in the camp," he told her remembering that even though she had always seemed stronger than Jessica she was never this strong. Never would have stood up to him even if she had stood up to others.

Then again time had probably changed her as well as the fact that she was carrying his brother's baby.

"You ain't a little mouse running around, scared of her own shadow."

Avery shrugged at Merle's words. "It wasn't my shadow," she told him because it wasn't. It had just been the baggage of her past.

"Well you don't seem scared of nothing anymore," Merle countered as he just continued to eye the girl his brother was very obviously in love with.

"I'm not," Avery spoke as she shook her head and she hoped she sounded strong. She was trying to be strong.

"Hmm. You're a late bloomer," Merle assessed as he started to walk back down the stairs again.

"Maybe you are too," Avery muttered under her breath almost thankful when Merle didn't respond to her and just left the room.

Off to do who the hell knew what. Probably try to find a damn shot.
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Lucy who had been looking for Kate most of the day slowed down some when she found Kate standing next to the makeshift grave that had been made for Lennon. She wasn't sure why she was surprised to find Kate here but she was.

It was probably due to the fact that Kate rarely came here. Lucy always figured it was because the memories were too hard for her. Remembering what Lennon had been and that her son had been one of them before he had even had a chance at life.

"Kate?" she asked softly once she came to a stop by Kate. "You okay?"

Kate turned to look at Lucy as she shook her head, "No," she answered honestly. "Zac's sister is pregnant and I've know for awhile but I guess now that well...now that she'll probably be going public with the news within the group soon it's hit home for me," she sighed not even sure if she made sense to Lucy or even herself.

Just Avery being pregnant was hitting home more than she thought.

"I lied to Zac, you know," she stated with a sad little laugh. "I told him Lennon was okay being born dead. That he didn't come back as one of them."

"Do you regret that?" Lucy questioned wondering if Kate regretted lying to her ex-husband.

It was something Lucy wasn't sure she'd be able to tell the truth about. Especially when she knew it could crush the other person and Zac well he seemed strong but she felt knowing that Lennon had turned would devastate him.

Kate once again gave a sad little laugh, "Sort of," she confessed as she scrunched up her nose. "I know it was the right thing though," she nodded her head because she felt it was right.

He had needed to believe the lie. It was for his sanity.

"I sense there is a but coming," Lucy spoke as she reached for Kate's hand squeezing it softly. Letting Kate know she was there. That she wasn't alone.

"I feel like I should tell Daryl. Just to warn him of the possibility," Kate shrugged knowing they needed to know.

It was the right thing to do even if Kate was sure that it may complicate things or whatever he was feeling. He needed to be warned there was more to worry about than just Avery dying in childbirth or the baby being born dead. He needed to know if their child was stillborn that it could come back.

She had already told Avery though she doubted Avery had told him. Kate could only hope Avery didn't hate her for telling Daryl if she chose to tell him.

Lucy sighed though she squeezed Kate's hand again, "Then you need to do what you feel is right Katie. Tell them or don't either way I'm going to support you."
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"Well why did you call this meeting for Jacey?" Isaac asked after everyone was gathered in the living room. Harry sitting beside Jacey on the couch holding a sleeping Leo and Nikki his wife sitting in a chair.

Isaac hating the way that it seemed his own wife had just ignored him when she came into the room. Hated that ever since Monroe died it was like a flip had been switched with his wife.

Nikki wasn't the same woman he had married.

Jacey took a deep breath at Isaac's words. Not sure where to begin but she guessed it was easier to just start with the main thing. Be blunt.

"I think we should leave this house," Jacey said as she looked around the room at the other people. "I've been doing some thinking ever since last night and I just don't think this house is best for us anymore," she told them. "It holds too many bad memories," she said referring not only to Monroe and Meredith but also of Louis.

How Harry had lost him while they had been staying here.

Nikki scoffed at Jacey's words, "We can't just pick up and leave because of bad memories," she spat out with a shake of her head. "Not when we have a baby," she told her as she eyed Jacey's son who Harry was holding.

"I thought of that too," Jacey told Nikki not sure why she was surprised at how harsh Nikki was being. Ever since last night Nikki had been off. "But I think we can make it," she added on feeling hopeful.

Nikki almost wanted to laugh at Jacey's words. Thinking they could make it out there with a baby.

Had Jacey really not learned anything from Monroe?

"Yeah well, I think that's foolish," Nikki told her honestly. "It's why I want no part in this. You can leave if you want to leave. Take your baby and try it out on the road but I'm not going out there. I'm not going to die because a child will be calling walkers to us nor am I going to watch another baby die," she spat out before standing from the chair and leaving the room.

Isaac who had watched the scene with Nikki unfold just stood there as he looked at Harry and Jacey. His mouth open slightly as he felt at a loss for words.

He wasn't sure what to say or do. Because he could see sense in what Jacey wanted and he could see sense in what Nikki had said as well.

Chapter Text

Caged Chapter Thirty-One

Kate chewed on her lip warily as she finally found Avery, having been looking for her since she had her chat with Lucy. Having decided fully then that she was going to tell Daryl about Lennon and how he had turned.

Before doing that though, she wanted to warn Avery. Give her a heads up in case this somehow changed Daryl's mood, which, she suspected it might be because he'd have more than Avery's health during the pregnancy and labor to worry about.

"There you are," Kate said as she reached the cell where Avery was holding Judith. Reading her some book. "I was looking for you."

"Looking for me?" Avery questioned as she turned her head to look at Kate. Not sure why her sister-in-law..or ex sister-in-law was looking for her. "I've been around though. Decided to give Beth a break from constantly watching Judith," she spoke.

Which was partly true, she also wanted to get some experience with babies in because she felt rusty now after so long without her niece or nephews.

Nodding Kate smiled but it was forced.

"I plan on telling Daryl about Lennon," she started watching Avery's reaction's closely. "He needs to know that Lennon...that he turned," she spoke softly hating that talking about this still upset her.

It had been a month maybe two..maybe three. Time was hard to keep track of nowadays, but regardless she should be healing and some days she swore she was.

While others like today even talking about what happened hurt.

"You really want to do that?" Avery asked Kate, her grip on Judith loosening some as she felt like Kate had turned her world upside down.

The last thing Avery wanted was for Daryl to find out that Lennon who had been stillborn, also had turned into a walker.

That somehow a baby who had never once spent an hour alive in the world was still carrying whatever virus there was.
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Taylor who was closing up one of the gates on the side of the prison, stopped when he turned hearing Daryl calling out at him. Asking him if he'd seen Merle around.

Rolling his eyes Taylor turned to face Daryl who was now much closer.

"He say he was sorry yet?" Daryl asked once he reached where Taylor was at. Not even wanting to look at the black eye he had because it was a reminder of what his brother had done. "Cause he is. He's gonna make it right," he said firmly. "I'm gonna make him. There's got to be a way. Just needs to be a little forgiveness is all," he continued knowing or maybe hoping everyone could live peacefully soon.

They had to if they expected to survive and there was no way Daryl wanted his and Avery's baby born into a tense atmosphere either. Into a family where both sides were feuding.

Heaving a sigh, Taylor bent down as he picked up a case that was lying by the gate. A case full of empty glass bottles of various shapes and sizes, "He tied me to a chair, beat me, and threw a walker into the room," Taylor reminded Daryl as he walked to a table close by, sitting the case on it. "Maybe I could call it even but he...he took Maggie to a man who terrorized her, humiliated her. I care more about her than I care about me," he revealed being brutally honest.

He didn't see the harm in being honest after all he hadn't felt that way about anyone. Not since Natalie anyway. Maggie was his one now...his second chance at love and the Governor, that piece of shit had done things. Things that maybe he wouldn't have if Merle hadn't taken her to him.

Daryl fell silent after Taylor's words and in ways he got where he was coming from. If anyone did that to Avery he'd find it hard to live with them, would probably want to kill them but Merle was his brother. Merle was his blood and he knew him, knew that with time it could be okay...at least he hoped so.

Glaring slightly Daryl only shook his head as he adjusted his crossbow on his back slightly before walking off. Leaving Taylor behind, not having accomplished what he came here for though now Daryl wasn't even sure what it was.
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Isaac chewed on his lip as he finally tracked Nikki down to their room and as he stood in the doorway and watched her, he was trying to think of the best way to broach the subject of her blow up and her refusal to leave with Harry and Jacey. Isaac knew it was the best choice to leave but if his wife didn't think so then he was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

It was a place he didn't like to be stuck at.

"I can feel you staring," Nikki said as she turned to face Isaac who was standing in the doorway and she was doing her level best not to take the anger she had out on him.

Though he was the cause of her anger. She blamed him for Monroe's death since he had been okay leaving the kids with Meredith and now all she had anymore was her anger. Her anger at her husband and her anger at the cruel world.

"Sorry," Isaac apologized as he felt his cheeks getting hot. "I was just trying to figure out what to say."

Nikki scoffed as she shook her head, "We both know what you want to say," she told him deciding to go ahead and rip the band aid off for her. "You want to know why I acted the way I did when Jacey mentioned wanting to leave."

Nodding Isaac looked away from his wife sheepishly and maybe though everything seemed so much different between them now without both of their kids, some things were still the same. Nikki still knew how to read him oh so well.

She'd known what he wanted.

"Yeah that would be why I am here," Isaac admitted with a sigh. "So how about telling me."

Looking away from her husband Nikki knew she should tell him the truth but she wasn't sure he could handle it or even that he'd understand it if she did.

"I'm angry," she finally admitted deciding even if he couldn't handle it or understand it that the truth was worth it. She owed that to herself as well as him.
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Merle who was down in the basement area of the prison, paused some when he heard Daryl calling for him, a small tiny part of him wondering what Daryl would do when he did find him. When he confessed as to why he was here.

Leaning against a table Merle just stood there, then waiting for Daryl to turn the corner and once he did Merle plastered on a smile, going into his usual routine. "Hey, little brother," he said sounding entirely too enthusiastic.

"What the hell?" Daryl asked as dropped his crossbow down some, walking closer to Merle now as he looked around. Wondering why his brother was down here.

What could he want that was down here?

"I was just about to holler back at ya," Merle spoke as Daryl came closer, his enthusiasm not fading in his voice.

"What you doing down here?" Daryl questioned not even able to stop himself from asking that question.

It was only after it was asked that he realized that maybe he didn't want to know the answer to it. Not really.

"Just looking for a little crystal meth," Merle admitted honestly as he moved to block Daryl from going deeper into the basement. Hating the disappointed look he saw on his brother's face.

It was a look that reminded him how much his brother was changing. How much he was no longer the Daryl that he remembered.

"Yeah, yeah. I know shit messed up my life when everything is going so sweet, right?" Merle asked sarcastically as Daryl moved away some then, turning his back to him.

Remaining silent for a bit Daryl heaved a sigh, not sure what to say to that. "You talk to Rick yet?" he asked, deciding to just ignore it and change the subject.

"Yeah, oh yeah," Merle nodded as he moved his arms finally being a bit taken aback that Daryl had changed the subject. "I'm in but uh, he ain't got the stomach for it," he observed knowing that Rick wouldn't go through with it. He'd change his mind. "He's gonna buck. You know that right?"

Daryl paused at Merle's words briefly before nodding his head, "Yeah," he said because he did know that. "If he does he does."

"You want him to?"

"Whatever he says goes," Daryl answered after a long beat of silence, his gaze staying on Merle now.

Merle let out a sarcastic little laugh, "Man," he said almost under his breath. "Do you even possess a pair of balls, little brother? Are they even attached?" he asked knowing from the way Daryl was looking that he was getting under his skin. "I mean, if they are, they belong to you? You used to call people like that sheep. What happened to you?" he questioned still.

Though deep down Merle felt like he didn't even have to ask. He knew it was Avery...and probably in parts Rick as well. They had softened his brother.

"What happened with you and Taylor and Maggie?" Daryl asked ignoring Merle's jabs, knowing his brother was trying to get under his skin. Something that was working.

"I've done worse," Merle said almost proud of himself. "You need to grow up. Things are different now. Your people look at me like I'm the devil...grabbing up those lovebirds like that huh? Now ya'll want to do the same damn thing I did...snatch someone up and deliver them to the Governor, just like me," Merle continued watching as Daryl just kept looking at him, looking almost a bit wounded by what he was saying. "Yeah. People do what they got to do or they die."

"Can't do things without people anymore, man," Daryl told Merle as he broke his silence then.

"Maybe these people need somebody like me around, huh? Do their dirty work. The bad guy. Yeah, maybe that's how it is now, huh? How does that hit you?" Merle asked as he went back to leaning against the table he had first started leaning on when Daryl first came down here.

"I just want my brother back," Daryl retorted honestly, knowing he missed Merle but maybe he hadn't really lost him. Maybe he had just changed too much and maybe the same could be said of Merle.

Merle looked at Daryl unsure of what to say at first but before long he just let out a sigh, "Get out of here, man," he told him, watching as his brother gave him one last look before doing what he said.

Daryl just turned to leave though Merle did sense a reluctance...a tiny one but he still did what Merle had asked.

After Daryl was gone, Merle waited a few minutes before turning and looked at the telephone on the table he had been leaning against. Picking it up he carried it a few feet away behind a boiler where he had a bag with supplies in it. Putting the phone down in that bag.
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"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night. Nor for the arrow that flieth by day," Hershel spoke as he read aloud from a bible, sitting at a table in the main corridor of the prison with Beth and Maggie sitting opposite him. "Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness," he continued as his mind went to Rick and the plan to turn Michonne over. His voice cracking as he continued to read. "Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 1,000 shall fall at thy side and 10,000 at thy right hand. But it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked."
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Rick who had been walking around the front of the prison came to a pause as he bent down to pick up some trash, pausing when he saw an old phone cord wire which he began to pull away. Only stopped briefly as he put his hands to his eyes.

A small part of himself was beginning to second guess what he was doing. Could he really turn Michonne over? Was he that person?

Moving his hand away from his eyes, Rick looked up at the steel covered bridge over the prison, seeing an image of Lori, heavily pregnant. Much like the last time he had seen her before she died, standing in that very spot.
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"Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler," Hershel read on, his mind still on Michonne and the fact that he was doing this for the two girls in front of him. He'd do anything for his daughters. "And from the noisome pestilence."
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"You're not there," Rick told himself as he looked up at the image of Lori. "She's not there," he told himself, wondering if he repeated it enough if it would be the truth.

It had to be.

After saying those words, Rick looked away before looking back again and of course Lori was still standing there. Still looking back at him like she was judging the decision he was making.

Heaving a sigh Rick forced himself up, keeping a hold of the telephone wire as he walked away.
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"He shall cover thee and under his wings shalt thou trust. There shall no evil befall thee. Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling," Hershel finished what he was reading or well he had to finish. He wasn't sure he could keep reading.

Beth who sensed that something was wrong with her father reached her hand out to rest against his, "You okay?" she asked him softly, just wanting to know what was on her dad's mind.

"What I wouldn't do to keep you two safe," Hershel answered as he looked at both of his daughter's, knowing in his heart there was nothing he wouldn't do.

After he spoke that he gave them both a smile before hearing the prison door open and soon Rick was coming in from outside, Hershel reaching for his crutches as he began to stand. Both of his girls choosing then to go off.

"Rick?" he called out as he walked with his crutches to where Rick was. "What you're about to do..." he started only to get cut off by Rick.

Putting his hand out to Hershel, Rick shook his head, "I can't," he told him knowing he had made up his mind about things with Michonne. There was no way he could hand her over now. "I won't."
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"Yes I really want to do that," Kate nodded her head as she looked at Avery, knowing from the way she was acting that she had surprised her.

Avery had not expected that Kate would want to tell Daryl but she felt she owed him that. He needed to know just in case something happened at Avery's birth and their baby was born stillborn.

Avery shook her head as she took in Kate's words, needing to move to farther on the bed. Feeling thankful that she was already sitting because if she had been standing she was sure she would have fallen down. That was how surprised she was by this.

In her opinion, Kate didn't have a right to tell Daryl that, though she knew she was thinking that for selfish reasons. Knew that she was just afraid if Daryl knew it would be an added reason for him to hate the predicament they were in. An added reason for him to go cold again when he had been warming up to the idea.

He had even bought her a baby book as a way to apologize for how he had reacted to the news.

"I'm sorry," Kate apologized as Avery remained silent. "I just thought you should know before I tell him," she said as she turned on her heel to leave.

"Kate, wait," Avery said watching as Kate turned to face her, an expectant look on her face. "I'll do it," she sighed knowing the truth should come from her in the end. "Let me tell him."

Kate raised an eyebrow as she listened to Avery saying that she'd tell Daryl. Kate really wanted to believe her but she knew she was a Hanson and they could be stubborn or lie to get their way. She had learned that in all her years married to and dating Zac.

"You will really tell him?"

"I will really tell him," Avery nodded her head as she gave Kate a reassuring smile or at least tried her best to give one. It was hard to be reassuring when she wasn't so positive right now.

Keeping a skeptic look on her face, Kate nodded her head deciding to give Avery the benefit of the doubt and trust that she would tell Daryl. Though she wasn't sure if it was because she wanted to trust Avery or just that she hated rehashing what happened to Lennon.

"But you should also tell Zac the truth," Avery added on as she locked eyes with Kate. Wanting to make Kate feel bad like Kate had made her feel. "I get why you lied but my brother deserves the truth too."
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"So where is it?" Michonne questioned as she let Merle lead her down into the tombs where he said there was a breach. Something the Governor could use to get inside of the prison.

"Around the corner," Merle answered as he walked beside Michonne. "We got to clear some walkers, then get the others down here to barricade it," he said as he turned the corner, jumping slightly when a walker reached out for him in one of the cells. "A breach like this could be an open invitation to the Governor," he told her watching as she just stood beside him for a moment.

The both of them just watching the walker in the cell briefly before they continued walking down to the tombs.

"He's not much for subtlety," Michonne told Merle as she came to a stop in the middle of the hallway they were in, looking at him but as she looked at him a walker seemingly stumbled upon them. Walking towards them.

"You want to take your chances?" Merle asked Michonne as the walker got right almost up on them and as she finally used her katana to take that one out more came towards them.

Merle using the blade at the end of his stump to kill one and after that was done he got behind Michonne, feeling thankful that she was distracted by three more oncoming walkers. It was what he needed, that distraction.

Raising his stump he knocked Michonne out, just letting her fall to the floor before he moved to take down the three walkers that had been coming. The ones that had distracted her.

Once they had been taken care of Merle then proceeded to bend down and pick up Michonne's katana and then he used his free hand to grab her by the legs and pull her down the hallway, leading her farther down another hallway before going into a room.

After he got into the room Merle slowly worked putting a pillowcase over Michonne's head and then grabbing the telephone wire he had worked with earlier. Tying her hands up so she couldn't get free.