Some people (people not Rick) have referred to Shane as opportunistic, calculating and selfish, and to a certain degree, Shane knows they're not entirely wrong. They're not entirely right, either.
What he's got is a kind of - well, call it a 'knack'. He's good at looking at a situation and making the best of it, good at spotting an opportunity to make things easier or better - both for himself, and for people he knows nearly as well as he knows himself. Like Rick.
He's rescued Rick's wife and Rick's kid, and when he was driving away from Rick's house, he remembers thinking that even dead, Rick was still working to make him a better man, the sort of hero only Rick could or would ever be himself.
As it turns out, Rick's not dead. Or maybe, Shane thinks, he was, but he got better. (It's Rick, after all.)
Rick is warm and smiling and even's got a hug to spare for Shane, once he's stopped holding on to his wife and kid as if they were the kind of lifeline Shane knows they aren't - Lori can be tough when she needs to be, but Shane doesn't think she'd have been tough enough, all by herself, especially not with a kid in tow.
And Shane looks at Rick's smiling face, hears Rick talking about how he can never repay Shane for what he's done, and Shane thinks: now.
It's hard to change Rick's mind when he's made it up to do something - always has been. Shane still feels he has to give it a try, though, has to make an effort to reach out to that small part of Rick's mind that's the kind of practical and rational and logical you need to be sometimes to be a cop.
Also, he's still got all these feelings cropped up inside of him, this rage - at the world, for daring to fall apart like this; at Lori, for being the bitch Rick got married to; at Rick, for dying on him (but not for being a hero; that's just too much a part of who Rick is). A bit of yelling might be just what it takes to blow off some steam and give Rick a good wake-up call at the same time.
"Hey man, can we talk?" Shane's become better at playing good cop. He didn't have any choice, without Rick there to be his partner, to back him up, nice guy to Shane's man of the world.
"You here to change my mind about going back, you can save yourself the breath."
Rick's body feels tense under Shane's hand. Shane keeps it on Rick's shoulder, gentle grip, no pressure, until Rick turns around and faces him. "Just want you to think about this for a moment," Shane says. "About what it's going to do to your family, to see you take off like that."
"It's not like I'm not coming back," Rick says, and if their positions had been reversed, Shane doesn't think he could have lied as convincingly. "It'll be fine, Shane."
"You don't know that," Shane says. "You can't look me straight in the eyes and tell me you know that, Rick. Can you? Can you?"
Rick doesn't blink. "Worst thing happens, I know you'll take care of them for me, way you did before."
It hurts, to hear that. To hear Rick say that it's no big deal if he gets himself killed, because Shane will be there to take care of his family. It makes Shane want to hurt Rick back, just a little. Just enough to draw a bit of blood, bring about that wake-up call after all.
And Shane's got just the perfect words for that, hasn't he?
Shane's seen Rick drunk a few times - no more than a handful, really; Rick's always been a moderate drinker, knowing his own limits, but then Shane supposes their current situation might drive even a saint to drink a bit more than he should.
"I'm sorry," Rick says.
Shane thinks it should be his line, really; for what he almost did with Lori (he'd never do anything to her; she's Rick's wife, and he's not a rapist), for not seeing through Rick's eternal optimism, before.
Rick's always been a hero, and a good man. It's an excuse, of kinds, Shane thinks - he himself could never have inspired the others the way Rick did, giving them hope, convincing them not to settle for simple survival. "Don't be. We'll work something out. You'll work something out."
"I just didn't want to tell them," Rick says, and his weight is warm against Shane, like Lori's, but firmer, stronger and, okay, also a good deal more wobbly.
"We all make mistakes." Shane's neck hurts, and Rick's too close, really; he almost can't not see it, no matter how drunk he might be. "Don't beat yourself up about it too much, okay?"
"You don't," Rick says, and that's too much, really it is, even for a conversation where most of the talking's being done by the alcohol. "You're wrong sometimes, but you can admit it."
It's still the alcohol talking, Shane thinks. Things will look differently tomorrow. Likely as not, Rick won't remember a thing about this whole conversation.
There's worse times to come clean.
Glenn's all kinds of obvious, really, when you know him - kid's got so many tells he's either the most honest, upstanding citizen Shane's ever met (Rick's a colleague, not a citizen) or a criminal mastermind with an incredibly convincing act.
"Think someone's got himself a date, hey?" he tells Rick, who is still tense. Having a kid'll do that to you.
Shane's never pictures himself as a daddy, not for him, but he admits he likes the idea of acting like some sort of uncle to Rick's kid, be a part of Rick's family for real, instead of constantly being kept in this kind of grey area, because Lori's being difficult and bitchy and a typical woman.
Rick's grin is very faint, but Shane can tell there's a rallying of morale going on. "Guess someone has."
Shane nods, trying to think of a way to keep the conversation going, and light. He's a bit surprised when Rick's the one breaking the silence.
"Jealous?" There's a tone Rick gets when he feels Shane is getting too close to crossing the sort of lines that are only clear to Rick. This isn't that tone; Rick's just making small talk, keeping things going.
Shane shrugs. "Naw." Given half a chance, he knows he'd fuck Rick's wife again. Doesn't mean he's blind to other options - just means he's not looking as hard as he might've been.
"I gotta tell you, if it hadn't been for Lori and Carl, I don't think I'd be here right now," Rick says. "Think I'd just have given up, you know? Times like these, family's what's important."
Shane doesn't think Rick would understand about fucking your best friend's wife because she's all you've got left of your friend, but he thinks that maybe, Rick would understand about family, about trying to make a place for yourself to belong.