Holding on tightly to the young girl in his arms, Rick ran as fast as he could. Her ankle was bluish but he knew she should still be able to make it up the bank.
Finally reaching their destination, Rick finally put Sophia down, tore the sleeve off his shirt and tied it around her ankle.
"I know your scared Sophia, so am I but your super strong just like my Carl. I want you to take it slowly and climb up that bank to where your mommy and the others are while I watch for walkers ok?" Rick asked placing a soft kiss upon Sofia's forehead.
Nodding Sophia dove into his arms and gave him a big hug. "Thank you Rick for being a good daddy to me" Sophia said as she grasped her doll tightly and started up the bank.
Rick watched as the little girl who had suffered so much in life already, bravely went up rock by rock and he smiled as he wiped tears from his eyes as she crossed the metal barrier at the top.
"I'm super proud of you sweetie" Rick called up and was happy to see Sophia smile but soon that smile turned into fear and she shouted "behind you Rick"!
Rick turned around to see a group of walkers coming his way. "Sophia you go to your mommy ok, let them know what's going on" Rick said as he turned around to face the group, happy to hear small feet running like he said to.
Rick took a breath and slid down a side path and swore loudly as his knee hit a rock. Sucking up the pain when he reached the bottom, Rick pulled his other sleeve off to make a tourniquet for his knee to stop the bleeding and got up and ran for it.
His leg kept trying to buckle but he continued until he was in an open field and couldn't run anymore. He collapsed onto his back and thanked whoever might listen that he had the chance to see his son again and make some new friends.
Just as he was losing consciousness from the pain and blood loss, he heard gunshots and then he saw two people looking down at him.
"Is he alive?" Asked a female voice. "He looks like it. Let's get him into the car" said a male voice and just before Rick went unconscious he felt a pair of strong hands lift him up and then place him on a blanket in a vehicle.
Back at the Road
Carol ran to Sophia as she approached the group. Pulling her in tightly, Carol held on to her rubbing her back.
Sophia hugged her back and then squirmed out of her arms. "Rick carried me from where i was hiding to the bank so I could climb up. When i looked back he was running from a group of walkers. He told me I was strong and brave mama. We need to save him" Sophia said in tears.
"We will baby" Carol said as she looked around at the group and saw Shane and Glenn getting ready to look. Shane looked like a mad dog and sounded like one as well. He was barking orders at everyone and blaming everyone for Ricks predicament when he himself didn't go with him to help Sophia.
They were about to head down when a car passed them on the opposite side and the driver flipped them off and tossed something onto the road.
Shane went over and growled. The driver had thrown Ricks badge out of the window. "That asshole has Rick" Shane said and headed towards his car.
Lori grabbed his arm and said "Rick would want us to find shelter" she said trying to keep her voice steady but the fear in those words were obvious.
Shane nodded, got everyone into the RV trying to ignore Carl and Sophia's pleas to help Rick and they made their way to God knew what kind of mess.
One Year Later
Shane sat on his knees never taking his eyes off the man in front of him. He watched as he went around the circle in front of him.
Lori was to his left and Carl was to his right. Next to Carl was his little girlfriend Sophia who still barely talked to him after he left Rick as well as their friend Aaron and his fiancé Daryl. Aaron and Daryl had found them during a horrible storm and brought them to Alexandria.
Next to Lori was Maggie, her twin brother Jeremy, their father Hershel and her younger sister Beth. They had housed them when Carl had gotten injured.
Next to Maggie was her boyfriend Tyreese who she had met while they were staying at a prison.
On the other side of Aaron was Carol and her boyfriend Ezekiel who had named himself king of his own settlement. Then there was Eugene, Rosita, and Abraham all of whom were kind of new to their group.
To round out their little duck duck goose circle was a swordsman named Michonne and her girlfriend Andrea whom they had met at the beginning of all this and Glenn and his boyfriend, Nicholas. Shane was just glad that their baby daughter, Judith, was safe back in Alexandria.
The man walked around waving his barbed bat and poking it into people's faces. He was spouting a lot of shit but it wasn't until the last part that Shane paid attention.
"Alright you flesh hounds, I guess to make sure your fancy leader whose ignored my great words this whole time knows I'm to be taken seriously, my Lucille here is going to have to drink some blood".
Shane heard the common childhood taunt of Eeny meenie miny moe and then quiet. He looked over and saw that the man who called himself Negan was standing in front of Abraham and smiling.
"It's your time big guy" Negan said and as he lifted that barbed bat a voice said "babe, please don't kill anyone tonight, it's our anniversary and I know some of them".
Shane looked towards the familiar voice, gasped in disbelief and said "Rick".