Another little Tumblr one shot. Sort of a companion piece to Easy Silence.
The Walking Dead isn't mine.
She saw him. Understood. He mostly stayed away from the new people. Kept himself apart. Kept himself busy.
He didn't talk about it. The others assumed that was his way. She knew differently. Knew he hid his grief because he believed it would offend Glenn and Maggie. And now the new people were here. And they had known Merle too.
She gave him his space. He seemed to need it. But sometimes he hovered nearby, and on those occasions she made sure to reach out. She'd lay a hand briefly on his back, or even take his own hand for a moment and give it a reassuring squeeze. These little touches didn't seem to drive him away as they might have once. He'd leave, but he always returned.
She was surprised when she found him in her cell. He'd never so blatantly sought her out. He preferred it to look like an accident. Like he hadn't meant to end up in her company.
He had obviously just washed. His shirt clung to his back, as if he'd thrown on his clothes without drying off first. Droplets of water fell from his hair onto the gray, concrete floor. His feet were bare.
His eyes darted up to meet hers and then away again. He looked ready to bolt, but she couldn't let him do that. Not if he needed her. She reached out with her hand and touched him gently on the arm, to get his attention. He glanced up at her, shyly, through his hair and she smiled.
He stepped forward then, into her space, staring at her. She forced herself not to react as his arm came up and reached past her, brushing against her skin. She heard her cell door close behind her. They were alone.
He didn't step back, just stood over her, breathing quick, shaky breaths. Very slowly she raised a hand and pressed it against his chest. Could feel his heart hammering. His hand came up to cover hers, holding her firmly in place.
She waited, to see what he needed from her. It looked like he hadn't quite decided. Finally his head dipped, jerking as he hesitated, unsure. She leaned toward him, hoping to encourage without pressuring. His other hand shot out in a swift motion, wrapping around the back of her neck, pulling her toward him. His hand slide from her neck to her chin as his mouth pressed against hers, finally.
She hadn't expected him to be so soft, so gentle with her. His hands danced over her skin as light as whispers. As if he was afraid of breaking her.
He broke the kiss and took a deep breath, his eyes only meeting hers for a split second before refocusing on her shirt. His hands trembled as he lifted them to undo the buttons. She forced herself to be patient and watched as he carefully opened her shirt and slid it off her shoulders. His own he ripped off in a single motion.
He stared at her, hesitating again. She wasn't sure what he needed, but she wanted him to know he was safe with her. She opened her arms and he stepped into them, pressing himself to her tightly. She shut her eyes, relishing the feeling of his skin against hers. He tucked his head into her neck and let out a shuddering breath. She felt his tears, hot and wet, pooling at her throat and trailing down her chest. She'd let him hold on as long as he needed to. She loved him.