These people are kind, Yadi will say that. While he can't remember ever actually talking to Bumgarner or Posey before, they've been friendly and understanding and they've welcomed him with open arms. He'd actually hung out with Lincecum a handful of times. While he spends more time with Lincecum than anyone else, he mostly keeps to himself. He pulls his weight... does his share of guard duty, keeps an eye on the kids when needed and generally assists with whatever he's asked to.
Today they're at an old campground near a lake, taking advantage of the sweet beautiful mercy of running water. It's ice cold but it'd made no mind to Yadi. He hasn't been properly clean in so long that he stays long after he's heard the others leaving, just letting the water run over his body. He's finally stepped out and is dressing when he hears noise outside. His hand goes straight to the gun and he yanks the curtain open, jumping and swearing when he sees squirrel peer at him before scampering off.
Still, he doesn't feel ridiculous for it. He's survived this long by being paranoid and cautious of everyone and everything. He's avoided groups before because who could be sure that they weren't harboring someone that had been bitten? If it hadn't been for Lincecum, he would have traded information with this one and simply went on as he has in the past.
Grabbing his soiled clothing, feeling refreshed from being clean and wearing clean clothes for the first time since the outbreak, he heads down to the lakeside. A few of the other survivors are fishing, some of them washing clothing, some cataloging supplies and cleaning guns. He sits down on a cement bench, digging through his pack and piling up his dirty clothes. Close to a source of clean water, he'd clean everything he could now. He'd asked the use of a wash tub from the gray haired woman, Carol, and he hadn't refused when she'd offered to help him.
She was kind, never pushed him to talk or grilled him like some of the others did. They'd started a fire on one of the metal grills a the next campground, putting the water on it to boil. Carol had hesitated before sharing her own history with him, how she had gotten from point A to point B. About the quarry, her husband and the loss of her daughter. She didn't push but Yadi spoke anyways, stirring the clothes in the boiling water. He started from the beginning.
He'd fled the stadium with Freese, mostly because the guy was completely alone and was afraid to go to his apartment, not knowing what to expect. They'd went straight to Caseyville, Yadi intent on getting his children and getting the hell out of Dodge. That was the first heartbreak, arriving at the babysitter's house only to find his children and their babysitter already gone, replaced by those creatures. He hadn't known what to do then, had only wept and screamed with rage while Freese yanked on him and screamed to come on, they had to GO, it was too late now.
The only thing that made him listen, that made him want to continue to survive, was the thought that maybe, just maybe Pablo was still alive. Maybe they would find each other. He'd given Freese his address and they'd went to his house, grabbing anything that they thought they might find even remotely useful. Food, clothing, weapons. They hadn't known which way to go, going south had just been arbitrary.
The only luck they'd had at all was taking back roads instead of highways. Other survivors they had met had told them the highways had all but become a killing grounds populated by people too stupid to just keep moving, that were slaughtered when herds of monsters moved through. He had been traveling with David for only a month when the other man had been taken. Yadi remembers it as clear as if it was yesterday.
He'd told David to be careful, as he'd stepped into a pharmacy to scrounge what he could find, to keep an eye out for monsters and not get distracted.
It had seemed to go so well. So many much needed supplies, medicine and toiletries and food, stuffed into a burlap sack when he heard the screaming. He'd ran outside, the bag over his shoulder in time to see David being torn to pieces. Their eyes had met and he remembers David screaming for Yadi to help him. Yadi had helped the only way he could, one head shot before he was leaping into the car and driving as fast as he could.
Dangerous or not, that night he had parked in an isolated area and drank himself into unconsciousness. He allowed himself the one night to mourn and the next day, he started driving again, continuing south.
He hadn't lost the car until just a few days before he ran into Lincecum's group. It had finally given out and he just didn't know what to do to fix it. He hadn't even really known where he was, just zigzagging through Georgia. When the steam had cleared and it was clear that the car wasn't going to start again just because he was cussing and kicking it, he'd stuffed as much as he could into a hiker's backpack he'd scavenged and started walking.
It had been one of the more terrifying times since this had started. While the car hadn't been a fail safe, locking himself inside it at night had provided a degree of safety. Sleeping out in the open or finding shelter in a house or tree was an invitation to a buffet. He thinks of a movie he'd watched with the kids once.
'I am a turkey! Shoot me!'
It had become so painfully true.
“And then you found me.”
“Why did you stop? If you prefer to travel alone?”
“It's safer that way but it's not safe to circumvent people when they have found you. If you try to keep going when they spread out like you did, sometimes it ends badly.” Yadi shrugs, rubbing the back of his neck. They lift the clothes into a second wash tub, scrubbing them with a bar of soap. “When I saw Tim... that's what changed my mind. I thought I would never see anyone that I knew again. And he was a friend of my husband's, they played together.”
“They played together?”
“Yes, baseball. I played for the Cardinals, they played for the Giants. I had never really talked to Bumgarner or Posey but Tim and Pablo were close. We saw each other every now and then, hung out with Pablo.”
“And your husband...?” Carol asks, almost timidly.
Yadi blinks hard. “I do not know. I tried to call but the lines were jammed. Somehow I could never get through. Tim says he heard from him shortly after it happened, that he was in Nevada and coming this way. But I don't expect anything. The odds are small and I don't want to get my hopes up only to have them be shattered.”
“But don't you wish he was alive?”
“Of course I do.” Yadi smiles blandly, rinsing his clothes one more time and placing them in one of the emptied tubs. He places it on his hip while Carol take the other tubs, carrying them back towards the camp site to hang on a line that's been strung. “I have faith that he could survive and I hope every day that he has. But even if I hope to see him again, I accept that I might not and probably won't.”
“And him? What do you think he thinks about you?”
Lincecum, who is returning with Glenn from raiding cabins along the lakefront, snorts and grabs a handful of Yadi's clothes, helping to hang them. “Of course Pablo thinks that Yadi has made it. He's unfailingly optimistic. And a huge flirt. Seriously, if he was here right now, he would be flirting with everyone.”
Carol laughs, glancing at Yadi. “You don't mind it?”
“I find it best not to question the mating rituals of your average Panda.” He answers dryly, sitting down and watching Tim move about. If he wants to do it, Yadi's not going to stop him. Guy needs an outlet for all that frenetic energy.
When his clothing has been hung to dry and he's fished out a can of food to contribute to the night's meal, Yadi retreats to his usual spot off to the side of everyone else, situated with his fellow players. He eats quietly, washes his own dishes and helps to set up the perimeter. He hasn't been with the group long but when Dixon tells them that doesn't matter, it's his turn to do a watch, he feels grateful. After reliving everything, he knows he won't be able to sleep tonight. And he wants to contribute. He doesn't want himself or anyone else to lose more than they already have.