Solareon: Say the Disclaimer.
Shane: Ain't saying nothing.
Solereon: Say the Disclamier!
Shane: Ain't saying no damn Disclaimer!
Solereon: Say the mother f**king Disclaimer or I will force you to watch warm Bodies!
*Shane visibly shutters at the thought.*
Shane: The Walkining Dead belongs Robert Kirkman and AMC, Solareon owns nothing but the the original stories he writes.
Solareon: That wasn't so hard now was it?
Shane: You're a sick f**k for threatening me with that!
Solareon: I know.
Shane: So that's the last time I'm gonna have to guest start in this right?
Solereon: Anyway, let's get this train wreck started!
First things first, this is set some months after the Governor dies, The prison is safe, and Rick's group came out on top. Now ya can go ahead and already count this as not canon to the TV storyline, because I know most of this isn't going to happen in the show, at least not the way I see it. This is more so a story which shares the past of the TV show, but will have a future that takes elements from both Comic and TV adaptions. Ya can call it a parallel universe that starts after the episode "I ain't a Judas."
This is a sequel to my one-shot story 'Tomorrow is tomorrow and Today is Today.' But it can be read separately.
Chapter 1: First steps
Everything was a blur at the moment, all of his senses were out of focus. His breathing was labored, sounds from the world were being drowned out by his feet slamming into the earth as he ran faster than he had ever done in his entire life. The pounding in his chest from his accelerated heart rate, the fire in his lungs burning his throat as he was panting with every breath. He's sure that if he doesn't stop running soon, he'll be dead no matter what the outcome of this nightmare was.
Carl Grimes was in trouble, of that he was sure. He had been running for the last half an hour straight around the prison, his body was drenched in sweat and every muscle in his body was on fire, protesting the thought of continuing this suicidal mission of self-preservation. Carl couldn't stop though, if he did, his pursuers would no doubt capture the teenager, and he couldn't let that happen.
As the teenager tried to keep from falling flat on his face, the young man running along side of him was failing to even stay on his own legs.
The young man was one Glenn Rhee, and he had been stumbling to keep up for the last five minutes. It wasn't that Glenn was out of shape, no, not by a long shot, but the problem was that Glenn had tried to avoid their pursuers longer than Carl, so his body was showing the effects of exhaustion sooner than Carl's.
Glenn's legs finally gave out on him as he tripped over his own footing, and Carl turned around to witness Glenn collapsing to the earth in fatigue.
Rushing over to his side, Carl tried with all his might to get the man up "Glenn you can't stop here. Get up, get up, get up!" Carl whispered yell. He was afraid that if he talked any louder the hunters would find them faster, but he knew they were coming no matter what. The sounds of the hunters taunts could be heard in the distance.
"I...I..." Glenn was having trouble even forming words through all of his panting. "I can't Carl...I just can't...leave-"
Carl had cut Glenn off by slapping the older man in the face twice, then he said. "No one gets left behind! Think of Maggie"
"I can't Carl, you're gonna have to leave me."
"Please get u-" Carl had stopped talking as soon as he heard the sounds of their pursuers grew closer, they were on their tail, and they wouldn't stop till they had both of them captured.
Turning his head to Carl, Glenn screamed "Run!"
Carl didn't have to be told twice, the teen ran and didn't look back, afraid of what he might see. The sounds of Glenn's horrified screams and the hunter's cackling laugh was enough to paint him a picture about what was going to happen to his friend.
The sound of screaming and the hunter's laughing was still ringing in his ears as Carl ran into the prison. Glenn was gone, there was no debate about it, but the time for mourning wasn't now. Carl's only concern right now was finding Beth and then finding away to escape these sadistic man men.
When Carl reached the nearest holding cell in C-block, he took the time to catch his breath, leaning his sweaty body against the wall, trying to formulate a plan. The tombs were the agreed safe zone if anything like this was to ever happen, but Carl wasn't even sure if the tombs would be safe. These bastards were just too damn knowledgeable about the prison, maybe even more so than Carl if it was possible.
Suddenly a hand had darted out from behind him and covered his mouth before he could even yell. Every muscle in his body had tensed up all over again, and fear of capture never seemed so absolute. It wasn't until Carl noticed that the hand covering his mouth wasn't one of the hunters, but of Beth Greene's.
Noticing Carl had somewhat relaxed, Beth removed her hand from his mouth and instantly brought him into a bone crushing embrace. Carl returned the embrace with just as much force, trying his best to hold onto her and provide comfort for the both of them.
When the two teens separated, Carl took the chance to look Beth over, making sure she was alright. Beth was just as drenched in sweat as he was, her hair was threatening to break out of it's already loose ponytail, and it was clear that she was even more tired than he was at the moment, judging by her harsh intakes of breath.
"They got Maggie" She cried out, throwing her arms over Carl again.
"Glenn too, outside in the yard." Carl Said.
The fear was clear in her voice as she said "We need to get out of here Carl, before we're next."
She was right, they were running out of time till the hunters found them, and he refused to fall like the others.
They ran out of the cell block as fast as their legs could take them, but they knew that if they ran together that they might attract the those sadist chasing them. The only option the two teens had been to split up. Carl silently hoped that they'd catch him and Beth could make her escape.
As they reached the separation point, Beth gave Carl a quick kiss on the lips "For luck." She said.
Then without another word, the older girl sprinted down a separate hallway, leaving Carl to do the same. It wasn't until one minute later that Carl would hear Beth's screams as she was no doubt capture by those crazy bastards. His heart dropped into his stomach, and Carl knew he had failed her.
Reaching the tombs seemed to take longer than it ever had since he had been in the prison, his legs felt like rubber as he fell to the floor, unable to keep standing on his feet.
Maybe it was the shame of failing Beth, or maybe the fact that he had now been running for a complete hour, but Carl just couldn't run anymore. His body was screaming at him to just stop moving and accept this was the end.
"Well, well, well. Seems like we got ya little man." The sadistic man said as he entered the tomb, the other members of his group followed soon after. Carl wasn't even sure which hunter he hated more, all four were equal as sadistic as the next.
There was nothing left Carl could do, he had lost, and everyone knew it. This man had won. Now It was time to face the music.
Merle Dixon was loving this, I mean if he was ever more in love with this moment, he'd need some condoms to make sweet ever lasting Dixon love to this moment, then make it an honest woman and marry the damn moment.
When Merle arrived at the prison at the beginning of the week to visit, he had come with a plan in mind. A plan that Daryl, Tyreese, Andrea and himself had worked on for the last two weeks. The plan was a simple training exercise and damn it to hell it was a rough one.
The four had all agreed that even though that it had been great enjoying the peace ever since the governor had been killed, they wanted to make sure their group was better trained for combat situations.
Merle being in the Army, he was the one who came up with the idea to turn half of the prison into a training ground. Andrea, Daryl, and Tyreese agreed it was good thinking, the other survivors...well they had been less than thrilled. Hershel was one of the few survivors that seemed to think it was amusing, and said some work outs would do his body good.
So now everyday since Merle had arrived at the prison, the four would train the prison survivors from morning till night. Everyone had been pushed way beyond their limits, but it was all to prepare just in case they'd ever have to go to war again.
The survivors though were a lot less thankful than Merle had hoped, in fact he was pretty sure he had made an enemy in everyone from the prison now, hell he was sure that Officer friendly's kid was gonna try to cut of his other hand. 'Maybe I can stick a chainsaw on the other stump' Merle thought to himself.
Said officer friendly's kid was doing push ups in the dirty, muddy ground, while Merle stood over him, foot on his back to make the push ups more difficult.
Across from the teen, Glenn was doing push ups as too, only Daryl had his boot on Glenn's back, muttering something Carl couldn't hear, but whatever it was Glenn had visibly gone pale.
Andrea was offering words of encouragement to Sasha, Carol, and Hershel's daughters to finish their own work outs. "C'mon girls just forty more and then we can call it a day." The woman cringed at the number, but continued on, the thought of rest being the only thing pushing them anymore.
Andrea, Daryl, Merle, and Tyreese had all been in charge of leading different training seasons. They had been dubbed by the survivors as the Sadists, or trainers.
Andrea was in charge of target practice and endurance training, both of which she turned into one season in it self when she could, sometimes making the other survivors train none stop without break to recreate her own experience of being left in the woods at the farm. She called it a good training exercise, the others called it payback and torture.
Daryl train them on surviving in the wilderness, he'd take the group out to the woods with nothing, but a knife and they'd have to stay out there for however long he felt it was needed. Daryl would always stay close to the group during the two days, offering advice when needed, and making sure they didn't get overrun by walkers. Yet when it came to capturing food they were on their own, same went for if the survivors would use the wrong plant out in the woods and end up with an itchy ass from poison oak.
The easiest of the training seasons had been Tyreese's, the gentle giant was in charge of strength training. Now when the survivors thought of easy, isn't what most people that easy would, while Tyrese didn't torture the group like the rest of the hunters, he did push them to the point where walking up the stairs, or picking up a bowl of cereal, would be a pained action
The worst of the worst training had to have been Merle, which since today was sunday, he was in charge of today's training season. Which consisted of the trainers hunting down the survivors around the prison, almost like a game of tag, or hide and go seek. If the trainers didn't find you by noon, than you'd wouldn't have to train for the day, and if they did, than you'd have to do all the exercises that Merle would force you to do. No one ever find a way to escape all four hunters.
The woman had finished their workout early and Andrea had let them go for the day, yet Glenn and Carl wouldn't be so lucky, since Merle had personally caught them himself, they were still stuck doing what training he wanted them to do. So after working out with Merle and Daryl, they'd have to report to Tyreese for weight lifting training, and then back to Merle for hand to hand/blade combat training.
"Please guys, no more." Glenn said.
Merle just laughed and replied "No can do little man, this for your own good."
Carl just sighed as he went on with his push ups. 'Why couldn't Otis of just finished me off?' He thought to himself. 'Or maybe the CDC, yeah I just should just stayed in bed at the CDC. This was training from hell.
Come night fall everyone was dead tired, just walking back into the prison felt like sprinting a mile. After their training the group had all gone off to the showers and then rushed to feed their growling stomachs.
Dinner for the night was Deer, provided by Merle and Daryl, the most sadistic hunters Carl would ever have the misfortune to know. Carl wasn't a stranger to being taught things, but he wasn't use to the sink or swim way the Dixon men did things. His father had been the gentle teacher, and even Shane wouldn't even push him that hard, yet the results showed, Carl was becoming a better survivalist as the training seasons went on.
After dinner, Carl made the longest journey he'd ever have to make in his life. The journey, to his cell room. It was long and hard one, every step feeling like his legs would just snap off or set on fire, or out right quit on him, and force the teen to sleep on the floor.
Five grueling minutes later, he had finally gotten to his room, throwing off his over shirt, he flopped on thetop bed hos his bunk bed. At that moment Carl loved his bed more than anything in the world, it should have been a crime to love a bed that much, and one day he'd make an honest woman out of his bed and marry it.
As Carl rested his head on his pillow, he heard the grumbling of one Beth Greene, as she entered his cell and collapsed on the bottom bunk of the bunk bed.
It was the way things went sometimes after training, Beth would confuse the cell rooms, because of being so tired and would just fall into the first cell she go to, that always being Carl's. Not that the boy minded that at all.
The two had gotten pretty close since the war ended, they had even shared their first kiss in the guard tower. It was the perfect moment for the two teens, a perfect moment that had been ruined by Glenn walking in on them.
Carl had made Glenn promise not to say a word to anyone about what he saw, the last thing he wanted was to explain to Hershel or Maggie his relationship with Beth. They could try to have the talk with him again! Something that he had been painfully force to hear from Merle Dixon. He heard it from his parents first, but after the Merle had caught him staring at Beth, the man had sat him down and had told him his version of the talk. Carl was sure if the world ever got back to normal he'd need therapy.
In his own cell, Hershel Greene was chatting with Merle, nothing important, just small talk. How Woodbury was going, if he had found any interesting new books, how the training was going, just little things. Hershel really enjoyed the company of the man, the Dixons had always provided Hershel with the feeling of having sons, something he enjoyed greatly. Even though he loved his daughters with all his heart, and wouldn't trade them for the world, it nice to treat the Dixon men as his sons, talk about the things he couldn't talk of with his girls.
What had made Hershel even closer to Merle than most, was the fact that he had given Hershel the ability to walk again. The elder Dixon had made a prosthetic leg for Hershel, it had taken days to find all the tools and parts he'd need to design the leg, and it had taken even longer to build it and make it perfect for Hershel, but in the end, Merle had presented him with a brand new leg and Hershel couldn't have been more grateful.
Merle had claimed it wasn't nothing big, just thanking the old man for being in his corner when he needed it. Hershel had thanked him regardless, and so did both his daughters. For Hershel, knowing he could go back to being a more active member of the group, was priceless.
The Dixon brothers had their demons, everyone knew that, but Hershel had helped both over come them. Having had his own past an abusive father and abusing substances himself, it was easy to spot the problems of the Dixons. Each man had reminded Hershel so much of himself was he was younger, and both men would come to see themselves in Hershel.
"Well old-timer, I'll let ya get some sleep." Merle said as he made his way out of Hershel's cell. "Got some things to finish up outside."
All around the prison, people were preparing to call it a night, the only ones still up had been Daryl, Merle, Carl, Andrea, and Carol.
Carl was making his way to the guard tower, to let Andrea get some sleep and to start his first watch of the night at the guard tower. Daryl was making some extra bolts for his crossbow, and Carol was talking with Merle as he loaded up his truck for the drive back to Woodbury in the morning.
The long hot nights of summer had long since ended, and now the cool breeze of fall had started again. Remind everyone that winter was only around the corner, something that made the survivors thankful for having a stable shelter.
Carol was sitting in the passenger side of Merle's truck, watching the man unload the supplies had brought to the prison, and load up his own things to take back to Woodbury. She had offered to help him, but Merle had just said he wasn't taking no women for help with something he could do easy.
It amused Carol that after all the progress Merle had made over the last couple of months, he'd still be as stubborn as could be when it came to accepting help from others. Must be the Dixon pride, because Daryl was the same way, even when it came down to simple task like washing his cloths for him.
So letting it go, Carol just watched as Merle finished his work unloading and reloading his truck. It didn't take too long, and when he finished, Merle had taken to leaning against the side of his truck, enjoying the cool breeze slightly hitting his body.
As Carol and Merle stayed in each others company, she had started to spend more time with him, at first it had started as just to make sure he wasn't planning on taking Daryl away from them, but soon she realised they had become friends. She wasn't sure when she had gotten use to the idea of being friends with Merle Dixon, and sometimes it still felt odd to be in the company of a man that she had once compared to Ed. Looking back on it, she couldn't have been more wrong. Merle could be a hard case, that was for sure, an asshole no doubt, but he wasn't a woman beater who looked at his own daughter.
Merle had realized after the first couple of night at the prison, if he didn't try to get along with the group, he either end up dead, or worse, losing his brother again. So slowly, the redneck had looked passed his pride, and tried his best to make amends with the other members of the group. If he wanted to stay alive and with Daryl, he knew he'd have to get past his own grudges and bad habits.
Even so after trying to make a change, it didn't mean it had been easy for Merle to earn all the trust from everyone. Each member of the group took their own time to trust and accept Merle.
The first person Merle had won over was Hershel. The farmer had taken a leap of faith and had stuck up for Merle during the first days of the war with the Governor. Trusting that Merle's love of his brother would keep him loyal to the group, and his skills from being in the military would make them stronger in the upcoming battles. So, Merle had gotten Hershel on his side, but the others had been another story.
Glenn was still hell-bent on either killing Merle or giving him up to the governor to form a truce, something that had caused him and Daryl to be at odds for some time. The redneck refused to lose his brother again, and would do anything in his power to keep Merle with him. It had taken Merle saving Maggie's life during another raid from the governor's troops to finally make Glenn and Maggie look at the man differently. It didn't make Glenn and Maggie friends with Merle, but it had destroyed any question about where his loyalties had been.
Others in the group had come around to trust Merle after that, Beth trusted him because the man had saved her sister's life, instantly gaining favor with the young woman. Since Beth had trusted him, Carl soon followed, with Carl came Rick, then soon after Carol and finally Tyrese and Sasha. Who mind you took time in trusting almost everyone, since they still had the memory of Rick's freak out fresh in their minds.
The only one who took the longest to come around to Merle, had been Michonne. She still had a grudge against him, and even after the governor was killed, she still hadn't fully forgiven Merle for trying to kill her. She did however no longer express the unstoppable lust she had to cut off his other hand...at least they all hoped so.
"Yer thinking to much again." Merle's raspy voice said breaking her out of her thoughts.
"Maybe you just don't think enough." She said with a dry look on her face.
"Just saying woman, ya gotta learn to jus relax." Merle said.
"And why is that Merle?"
"Cus ya got ol Merle with his southern charm to keep yer company." He said puffing out his chest.
Shaking her head Carol gave a snort at Merle. "Always the humble one Merle."
Merle laughed at the response. "Daryl use to say the damn thing bout me, guess ma baby brother been rubbing off on y'all." He said.
A small smile played on Carol face as she heard Merle continue to brag, but she didn't say anything. Daryl had infected them all with his deadpan snarky comments, and after some time, even sweet little Beth found herself talking as sarcastic as Daryl could be.
Carol's smile soon faded as she looked up at the guard tower, Merle followed her gaze to the tower to see what the woman was looking at.
Up in the guard tower, they could see Carl keeping watch over the prison, his face as stoic as ever. A face that he'd wear more times than the others would like.
'I wonder how long he'll be up there tonight.' Carol thought to herself.
Ever since Rick had left the prison, the teen had taken to staying on watch longer than the others. He'd always just volunteer to take anyone's watch or not even bother to leave the tower when his own was up. Many of times he'd be up in the tower till sunrise and Daryl would have to practically throw the kid out of the tower to get him up. No one asked why though, they all knew what was on Carl's mind and never press the boy, they just allowed him to always get lost in his own thoughts during watch.
It had now been three weeks since Rick had left the prison on a quest to restore his mental health, and come to terms with the loses he had suffered, and the horrible choices he had been forced to make since the dead had come back to life.
Many members of the group had asked if they could go with Rick, Carl being the first of all of them, but his father had refused, saying he wouldn't put his son's life in danger, and said that his place was here to watch over the group.
Daryl had asked as well to go along, but had been shot down even quicker than Carl. Then with Rick's next breath had made Daryl the leader of the group. Saying that Daryl was his brother in everything but blood, and he couldn't think of anyone else better for the job. It had left Daryl speechless, but he accepted it nonetheless.
The only person that was even able to persuade Rick to not go alone had been Michonne, and she had done it in a very Michonne like way as well.
When Rick was packing up his car, gearing up for his journey ahead, Michonne had snuck up on him, and put her sword to his throat. Saying that he wasn't going to just go off alone and end up getting killed, leaving his kids as orphans. And for some odd reason that worked, Rick agreed to take the swords-woman with him as his backup. There had been long goodbyes and promises of return, then Rick had left, with only Michonne to watch over the broken man.
"So, office friendly...when ya think we'll be seein em again?" Merle asked.
"I'm not...I'm not sure when he'll be back." Carol said.
"Think he dead?" Said Merle.
Carol just shook her head. "No, not Rick. No matter what happened, he'd find a back to Carl and Judith. There his world and he's theirs."
Merle could say many things about Rick Grimes, and shit, most of the time he did, regardless of who was around, but even Merle knew that the man had loved his family more than anything. The kinda love that'd make a man kill, make a man die to protect his kids, that was the love that Rick had for Carl and Judith.
Stepping out of Merle's truck, Carol yawned and said to Merle. "I'm going to go check on the baby, see if she's hungry before I catch some sleep before my watch."
"I'll walk with ya, might as well turn in too." Merle said as he followed Carol back to the prison.
Carl watched as Merle and Carol walked into the prison, the two were talking about something that was making Carol laugh, probably another baby Daryl story. Ever since Merle and the group had gotten on good terms, Merle would always some amusing stories from the Dixon's past.
"Nice night out isn't it?"
Jumping slightly at the voice, Carl quickly turned around to see Hershel. The older man had an amused smile on his face.
"Yeah, it is." Carl said as he turned back to look out from the tower.
Hershel made his way over to Carl and joined the boy at looking out into the night sky.
The teenager had a feeling he knew why Hershel was with him at the moment instead of resting, but he was hoping he was wrong. 'Maybe he just wants out to star gaze too.' Carl thought.
"So a little bird told me, you and my daughter have been getting pretty close." The old man said.
'Hope is for bitches.' Carl thought.
Feeling his face heat up, Carl lowered his head, hoping the darkness of night and his hat would cover the deep blush on his face.
Sensing Carl's discomfort, Hershel laughed a little. "No worries my boy." He said as he placed a hand on the teen's shoulder. "This isn't an interrogation."
'Then why do I feel like Andrea should be here!' Carl screamed in his head. "Yeah." Carl said giving strained smile Hershel's way.
It was important to Hershel that Carl knew he wasn't here to be an over protective father, only a caring father, looking to find out what was going on between his youngest daughter and the young man she was clearly falling for.
Realizing Hershel was only here to talk, Carl relaxed a bit. "I guess we are. She's always there when I need her." There was still some nervousness is his voice as he talked, but when it came to Beth, Carl knew he'd have to answer Hershel's questions. "I just hope I can protect her."
"You're a good young man Carl, I know you'll treat her right." Hershel said trying to ease the boys worries.
"I will. I promise" Carl said confidently.
Nodding at Carl's words, Hershel turned to make his leave, satisfied with what hen heard.
It wasn't until the old man had made it to the door to leave the tower and Carl had returned to his star-gazing, that Hershel called out "Just promise me I won't be having any grandchildren soon."
Hershel didn't bother to turn around and look back at Carl, he knew how red the teen face could from his comment and that had only made Hershel give soft chuckles as he made his way away from the teenager.
Sighing Carl turned back to the stars, hoping that his blush would go away soon, before his extremely bright, red face attracted any walkers from across the state. Soon the blush would disappear and Carl's face had gone back to looking a little sad.
"I wonder if you're looking at these same stars dad." Carl said to the sky.
Tossing another log in the fire, Michonne sat down on the cold earth. She let herself bask in the warmth of her cloak that she had gone back to wearing, it was tattered in many spots here and there, and Michonne was sure that it probably wouldn't last another two seasons, but it was good enough for now.
Michonne was keeping watch over the camp as Rick stood some yards away staring into the night sky, thinking of his children. He had no doubt in his mind that they were safe, he just missed seeing them. He had been gone from the prison now for at least two weeks by his count, but it feel like two months.
The two were on their way to the way to where it all began for Rick, the first camp the original Atlanta survivors had stayed at, a quarry just outside the city of Atlanta, Georgia near Interstate 85.
Rick was going to pay his respects to those he lost during the night of a walker attack, a night that Rick considered to be his first horrible experience as a leader, but it wouldn't be his last...
Walking over to the campfire, Rick gave a nod to Michonne as he sat across from the her. He was grateful for her help, since her own survival skills had made this journey he was on much easier. It had been her idea to find a pair of walkers and use them as repellent whenever they would make camp. So now when they had to make camp for the night, Michonne would go hunting for Walkers, cut their arms off and smash their teeth out, then chain them up near their camp to use them as repellent for other walkers.
Rick was first to speak up over the sound of the wood burning in the fire. "We'll be at the quarry by mid-day tomorrow, we just gotta make to the interstate." He said. "And if the road's to blocked off by abounded cars or walkers, I know some other way to get there."
"Ya seem to know this place pretty well." Michonne mused as she lowered her Hood.
"That was where this whole mess started for me, couldn't forget those roads even if I wanted to." And Rick had wanted to forget anything about his time in Atlanta. Everything from almost getting eaten by walkers, to having to cover himself in walker guts.
"Hope ya find what ya looking for Rick." Michonne said.
"Guess I'll find out." Rick replied.
The conversation died out after that, and soon two would just stay in silence for a while, it was a comfortable silence though, the type of silence that Rick was starting to like about being around Michonne.
Michonne had started to sharpen her sword, and Rick had turned his eyes back to the stars, thinking of his son and daughter. The only sound that could be heard, was the crackling of the campfire as the Sheriff and Swords-woman sat by the dying flame.