A/N: I am SO sorry for the wait on this one, I've got a big school assignment I have to dedicate most of my spare time to, but I'm trying to keep up with new chapters
Disclaimer: The Walking Dead and its characters belong to AMC/Robert Kirkman. Lana Fitzpatrick and Sheriff are my own fan characters and belong to me.
"How you doin' kid?" Daryl asked as he and Carol entered the small room. They hardly ever had this many people in there at once, and the already small space was fairly crowded.
Lana looked up from where she sat perched on the bench, her legs swinging gently beneath her and hitting the cupboards in a light thumping pattern. A blood speckled bandage had been partially wrapped around the injured area, the rest of which was still in Lilly's hand.
"It hurts a bit, but I'm fine, really" she said assuredly, eyeing the bandage.
"We managed to slow the bleeding significantly. She needed a few stitches, but other than that it wasn't too bad a bite" Lilly explained as she continued to wrap the bandage around Lana's wrist.
"Yeah, and not as bad as Rick's either" Lana added, motioning to the man leaning against the other wall.
Carl was tending to his bandages. Bloodied towels had been heaped on the bench just beside him, all soaked through with deep red.
"That racoon really tore me up" he said, going to move his arm but wincing as he hit it against Carl's hand. The boy muttered an apology and continued wrapping.
Carol moved to Lana's side while Lilly finished up with her bandage, placing a hand on her shoulder with a gentle squeeze.
"Are you sure you're okay?" she asked, concern in her voice.
Lana nodded certainly, offering a smile.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I've been through stuff like this plenty of times, I've had worse" she said, shrugging it off. "What a bummer though. Lilly says I have to take it easy with this hand, which basically means nothing fun"
"Actually," Carl piped up from the other side of the room. "Me and Michonne found something pretty cool, you might want to check it out"
Lana's curiosity was piqued.
"What is it?" she asked.
"You'll just have to come see" he replied, grinning.
He finished up wrapping his father's bandage and looked over his handiwork, giving himself a small nod of approval.
"If you're alright we could go now" he said, gesturing to the open door with his head.
Lana hastily hopped down from the bench. Carol placed a hand on her shoulder, stopping her.
"Hey" she said, pausing. "Don't get into any more fights with wild animals okay?" Carol warned with a smirk.
"Yes ma'am" the girl replied, before hurrying out of the infirmary.
Sheriff, who had been waiting patiently outside the door, barked happily in greeting as she ruffled his ears playfully, before all three headed down the hallway.
"Is there still any pain?" asked Lilly, who was now standing beside Rick, checking his bandages.
Rick nodded in reply, groaning a little. Lilly walked over to one of the overhead cupboards, the hinges squeaking lightly as she opened it.
"I'm going to have to give you some more painkillers, that should help" she said as she reached around amongst the various bottles and packages.
"Well, I'm s'posed to be at the fences 'bout now, we should get going" Daryl said to Carol as she nodded in response.
Before moving to leave, Carol turned to Lilly.
"Thanks for taking care of her" she said with gratitude.
"It was nothing. We've all got our jobs here" she said with a smile as she managed to find the right bottle of painkillers for Rick. "Now, I've got another patient to deal with"
Carol smiled thankfully before moving to the door. Daryl was waiting for her just outside.
"She's a tough one ain't she? Stubborn too" he said, as the pair strolled slowly down the corridor. He peered at her out of the corner of his eye, a barely visible smirk creeping onto his face. "Just like someone else I know"
Her eyes snapped to his, trying to hide her smile, but her mouth betrayed her. She swatted him on the arm.
"How dare you I am your wife. And I am not stubborn" she said, acting offended.
"Yeah y'are" he replied matter-of-factly, one corner of his mouth turned up in a smirk.
"I am not"
"Whatever you say" he said shrugging.
Carol was about to line up another playful smack when Lilly popped her head around the door and called after them. The pair, already halfway down the hallway, stopped and turned towards the woman, before backtracking a few paces towards her. After having caught their attention, Lilly moved into the hallway, closing the door over gently behind her.
"Hey, everything alright?" she asked Carol softly.
Carol forced a smile, nodding convincingly.
"Yep, everything's just fine" she said.
Lilly kept Carol in her gaze for a moment, before returning her smile.
"Good. Well, if you need anything, just drop by" she said over her shoulder as she turned back toward the closed infirmary door and headed back inside.
Carol turned to Daryl, the smile dropping from her face. He could see right through her false assurance, and she knew it too. He went to say something, but hesitated, deciding against it in favour of silence. Instead he leaned forward and kissed her forehead tenderly. She breathed a gentle sigh into his neck, the corners of her closed eyes glistening with unshed tears.
"In here" Carl said, turning the tarnished doorknob on one of the classrooms.
It was one of the rooms they didn't use often, and hadn't really given much of a purpose to. Most of the desks were scattered across the classroom, no longer set out in any particular order. A few had been knocked over, along with a few plastic chairs. Notifications and signs had been tacked up on a board near the old teacher's desk, posters scattered over the walls around the classroom suggested this room had once been a maths room.
"Ew" Lana simply said, scrunching her nose. "What even remotely interesting thing could possibly be found in here?" she turned to ask him, but Carl had already moved towards a bookshelf on the far side of the room. Fur brushed against her leg as Sheriff bounded after him.
Lana quickly followed, weaving between overturned and scattered desks to the wooden bookshelf in the corner of the room. Yellow-green eyes scanned the contents of the dusty shelves. A variety of maths textbooks, in numerous volumes, were stacked both horizontally and vertically across most of the shelves, a few boxes filled with plastic shapes, counters, dice, spinners, coins, and a large variety of puzzles had been slipped wherever room was to be found.
"What, do you plan on giving me a maths lesson or something?" Lana asked in a confused tone, one eyebrow raised as she scanned the shelves further in an attempt to understand why Carl had brought her here.
He was crouched by her feet, looking up at her teasingly. With a squeak he opened the cupboard doors at the bottom of the bookshelf, revealing a dusty heap of equipment that looked like it had just been thrown in there and hadn't been touched in forever, even before the apocalypse. On top of the pile was an old CD player.
"It works" he said excitedly, pulling the bulky object out and placing it on the ground beside him. Sheriff sniffed at the foreign object, the layer of dust coating it causing him to sneeze. "It's battery powered, and the batteries in it still work. We tried it out"
Lana's curiosity piqued upon seeing the CD player. She lowered herself so she was sitting on her knees and inspected the old piece of technology. The pushed the on button, her eyes brightening as a small green light glowed beside it. Realisation settled onto the girl's face.
"Yeah, but do we have anything to play on it?" she asked.
Carl only smiled further, before digging into the pile of old junk in the dark cupboard. From it he pulled out a handful of CDs, which clinked together as he presented them on the ground in front of her. Lana's eyes widened, her mouth curling into a smile.
"No way. You didn't just find these!" she said excitedly, clutching a Blink-182 album in one and Nirvana in the other.
"I don't know how these got in here, but whoever put them there has excellent taste, don't you think" Carl asked.
"Hell yeah they do! I can't believe you found these!" she said ecstatically, leaning forward and wrapping her arms around his neck in a hug. "Thank you so much"
"I thought you'd enjoy them. Come on, stick one in"
Lana opened the Blink album case and gently removed the disk, before opening the player and placing it carefully inside. She slammed it shut and pressed play.
A grainy flow of music rumbled from the player, not the best quality but clear enough to make out the song.
"Please take me by the hand
It's so cold out tonight
I'll put blankets on the bed
I won't turn out the light"
Lana nodded her head to the beat, her smile widening as the song played. Music was a thing she'd been passionate about ever since she was little. Some songs could perfectly express thoughts and emotions, they were her escape, a way of venting, if life got too rough. Or even during happier times. Her guitar had been one of her favourite things.
She rose from her spot on the ground and extended her uninjured arm out to him.
"Dance with me" she said, her hips now moving too, gesturing with her fingers for him to join her.
Carl looked up at her hesitantly, almost seeming to sink back a little.
"Oh come on," Lana exclaimed, cocking her head to one side. She was still grinning at him, daring him to go against her. "There's no one here to see you if that's what you're worried about"
He inwardly debated with it for a moment, but decided to trust her. As soon as he offered his hand up she grabbed it and pulled him up roughly, causing him to nearly loose his balance. After regaining his footing, he just stood there, not entirely sure what to do. Lana rolled her eyes. With her good arm she grabbed one of his hands and started moving to the music again, bouncing as she swayed her hips and shoulders. Carl soon followed, his smile reappearing on his face.
"This world's and ugly place, but you're so beautiful to me"
Sheriff barked happily from below them, his tail wagging wildly. Lana laughed at the mutt. He bounced a little on his front paws before heading over to the pair and squeezing between their legs. Carl lost his footing and tripped over the dog, crashing into Lana, who one-handedly only just managed to keep them both standing. She yelped as she instinctively moved her wounded hand to his chest.
"Are you okay?" Carl asked immediately, managing to regain his balance.
"Yeah, are you?" Lana laughed.
Before he could answer, a loud bang interrupted them. Both teenagers snapped their heads to the window, frozen in place as panic settled into their shocked expressions. Sheriff's ears were pricked and on alert.
Lana bolted for the window and opened it, sticking her head outside. Trees and bushes directly in front of the window blocked her vision, but to the left she saw Tara crumpled in a heap beside the garden, crying out in pain and clutching her bleeding leg.
Without thinking Lana clambered out of the window, and ran towards her.
"Lana!" Carl cried from the window, as Sheriff barked after his companion.
A bullet sent dirt spraying up just in front of Lana's feet as she skidded to a stop in front of Tara. On edge and terrified, she quickly took in the sight of the blood pouring from the torn flesh and muscle on Tara's calf, soaking her ripped, faded grey jeans a dark red, before scrambling to help her up. As adrenaline pumped through her body, she nearly didn't notice the pain shooting up her arm as she lifted the woman from the dirt, but it wasn't a task she could do one handed.
She flinched as another bullet was sent flying past her, only just grazing the top of her ear before shattering the pane of glass in the window behind them.
"Hurry!" Lana urged, pulling Tara along beside her.
Around the other side of the building, the front doors flew open as Abraham burst out, eyes darting across the yard until locking onto a figure crouched down by the fence, gun in position. He ducked as a loud bang signalled another shot had been fired, managing to dodge the bullet that instead went flying into an old, dusty trophy cabinet mounted on the wall.
"Jesus shit!" he cursed loudly, before pulling the door closed once again.
Inside, Rosita was running down the hallway towards him, a panicked expression on her face.
"What the hell is going on out there?" she asked frantically, eyes wide with concern.
"Some asshole snipers down by the fence. Don't know how many. Come on, grab your gun" he said as he bolted past her, before veering off into one of the nearby classrooms.
"We're nearly there come on!" Lana said, straining herself to pull the injured girl behind the wall of shrubbery to the window where Carl stood, fingers gripping the windowsill tightly.
"What the hell was that?" he yelled hysterically.
"Help me get her up"
Tara hopped over to the window, leaning most of her weight on Lana, and grabbed Carl's arm. With a grunt he hauled her up as far as he could, with Lana pushing her legs up from underneath with her shoulder. She groaned through tightly clenched teeth as she pushed, having to resort to using both hands again.
With a cry of pain Tara tumbled to the classroom floor. Carl swung out the window again and grabbed Lana's arms under her shoulders, helping her in as she climbed back though herself.
"Go get Lilly, now" she ordered.
Nodding briskly as he went, Carl weaved through the desks and shot out the door.
"Can you see 'em?" Daryl asked gruffly as Glenn peered around the corner, trying to stay as out of sight as he possibly could from the attackers.
Both were pressed up against the dirty white brick, weapons raised and at the ready, breathing heavily as they attempted to regain their breath. At the first gunshot the pair had flown from their spot down by the fence with Sasha and Maggie straight up to the side of the main building. Maggie and Sasha headed around the back to try and scope out the shooters' positions from the other side.
"No, I can't see anything" Glenn replied, eyes desperately searching for any sign of movement beyond the fences.
"Could a' sworn those shots came from this way" Daryl mumbled, straining his eyes in an attempt to take a look for himself.
"Get back!" Glenn exclaimed suddenly, extending an arm over the other man's chest and pushing him back roughly against the wall.
"Theres two down by the east fence, one near the gate and the other a bit further down"
"What'd they look like?" Daryl asked.
"They're both wearing hoodies so I can't see their faces, but I think at least one of them is a guy. They're on the ground, both have rifles" Glenn reported.
"Get back" Daryl said, pushing in front of Glenn.
He angled his crossbow around the side, aiming at the shooter down by the fence. It appeared to be male, from what Daryl could tell, and was mostly concealed by grass, but the slightest amount of black could be seen peeking through the green. The archer held him in his sights as he placed his finger on the trigger, ready to fire. But as a another bang, louder than the rest, sounded from the other side of the building, the attacker went limp. Daryl peered further around the building, expecting to see one of their own who had somehow crept around to the front, but instead seeing nothing but an empty yard.
He turned in time to see the other shooter scramble up from the ground and sprint for the trees. Daryl re-angled his weapon and pulled the trigger, sending an arrow flying and managing to hit them in the back. The shooter collapsed into the grass, limbs sprawled out in awkward angles beneath the lifeless body. Another person clad in black sprung from a bunch of nearby bushes with a cry of terror as their comrade hit the earth and retreated from the fences. Bullets flew around him, before one finally hit his shoulder. A cry of pain ripped through the air as the attacker staggered, but managed to get out of sight before being hit again.
The yard fell into silence. No more gunshot, no signs of movement. Daryl remained rigid, crossbow poised and ready.
"Was that it? That was all of them?" Glenn asked, lowering his rifle.
"I think so" Daryl replied, relaxing his tensed muscles and letting his crossbow drop
"Oh my god!" Lilly exclaimed as she ran past Carl, directly over to where Tara sat against the wall. Tyreese was on her heels, taking particular care not to trip over any of the desks or chairs scattered across the classroom.
Lilly knelt in front of her, surveying the injury on her sister's leg.
"I need some something to stop the bleeding., a shirt, a piece of cloth, quick!"
Carl ripped off his plaid over-shirt and pushed in into Lilly's hand, who pressed the piece of clothing onto the wound. Tara moaned in pain, tensing her muscles and jerking away as soon as the shirt made contact with the shredded flesh on her leg. Blood quickly seeped into the fabric, staining Lilly's hands in the process.
"Keep applying pressure for me" Lilly said, turning to Lana.
With her uninjured hand, the girl pushed down on the bloody fabric as Lilly ripped a strip of cloth from the bottom of her singlet. Hastily, she tied the strip tightly just above the wound as a tourniquet.
"Tyreese, help me take her to the infirmary" she called to the man standing behind her while she took over from Lana once again.
Tara groaned as Tyreese picked her up and carried her bridal style as he followed an urgent Lilly out the door. Lana sprung up from the floor, smearing blood down her hips as she absentmindedly wiped her hands on her shorts. With Carl beside her, the pair followed close behind Tyreese and Lilly.
The first thing Carol saw as she walked down the corridor was the blood smeared on Lana's clothes and up her arm. Her eyes widened, breath catching in her throat as she hurried towards the girl turning into the infirmary.
"Are you hurt? Did you get hit? Did something happen?" she asked, her questions tumbling out over each other.
"No, no I'm fine, no. Its Tara, she got shot" Lana explained.
"God is she alright?" Carol replied, shocked.
"Lilly's taking care of her now"
Eyes turned to Tyreese as he walked out of the infirmary, closing the door behind him.
"Lilly's gonna need some space kids. Carol, your assistance is required" he said, nodding towards the door.
"Yeah, I'm on it" Carol said nodding, giving Lana one last glance before hurrying into the infirmary.