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5pm

 In one swift silent move, you hit the walker's skull in front of you. His decomposed body drops on the ground with a faint noise. Already out of breath, you keep running, trying to ignore the shooting pain in your right knee. Aware of the noise you're making, you start slowing down, limping now, your black knife in one hand, the baton in the other one. A freezing wind is blowing leaves in your face and you start to miss summertime already.

Leaning forward, one hand on the tree next to you, you come to a stop and start checking your surroundings between heavy breaths. You finally stand back up, the adrenaline slowly fading away, letting the pain settle. You drop the baton and scroll the leg of your trousers up before glancing down at your knee. You gotta be kidding me ! Even though the pain you're feeling is bringing tears to your eyes, making you curse silently, there is nothing visible. No cuts, no bruises, not even a scratch ! Annoyed, you bite on your dry bottom lip and let out a shaky sigh. Well, good news..right ?

After being separated from your group a few days ago, you had found shelter in a small convenience store just by the road. It might not have been the perfect shelter, being so exposed and close to the road for everybody, the dead or alive, to find but..to be honest, it was the best you could manage at the moment. After all, it was the first time you ended up truly alone since the world fell apart. Anyway, that was before a herd of walkers decided to show up and forced you to flee your ''home''.

You let the leg of your trousers fall back down on your ankle before looking around you again. That's when it hits you. Fear. Of course, being scared is a daily matter nowadays, but this time it's different. You didn't realise that you hadn't processed the events of the past few days yet. You definitely do now. You close your eyes and lower your head slightly, taking a deep breath. It didn't hit you, that you were in fact all alone now. Nobody to watch your back. Nobody to lean on when everything seemed so hopeless. You knew you were skilled enough to defend yourself against walkers and fend for yourself, but you were not stupid either. A sudden gush of wind lifts your hood up and your hair brushes against your cheeks, covering your eyes. The trees wave their branches around you and you squeeze your eyes and lips tighter. You know the kind of people there is out here. Hell, you've even met some...

'It's ok.' You whisper to yourself in a shaky voice before opening your eyes again. You can do this.

You glance up and your throat tightens when you notice the dark and threatening clouds above your head. The sun is setting. Great.

You quickly shake your backpack off your shoulders and drop one knee on the crunching carpet of leaves, almost ripping the zipper of the bag in a panicky move. You feel a tear rolling down your cheek and you wipe it silently, while checking the content of your bag. Luckily, you have some valuable supplies in it : Water, a bit of food, an extra pair of trousers, a flashlight and three lighters. You bite on your lip again almost piercing through the fragile flesh and let out a choked sob. Your chest is tightening up so much, you feel like you're about to suffocate. Trying to ignore your emotional state, you get back up and rapidly position the handles back on your shoulders. Taking a break or deciding to sit there and completely fall apart is not an option right now. You have to keep going.

And then, you hear it. Although it shouldn't, the noise lights a spark of hope in your chest. An engine. It sounds so loud, suddenly your body freezes but your mind is going crazy. After evaluating your options in a matter of seconds, you rush towards the road, out of the woods.

'Hey !' You hear a male voice shout.

You immediately drop on your belly behind a big stump, as you're about to reach the edge of the forest. With a twist in your stomach, you press your face to the ground and you could swear your heartbeats are echoing through the trees. You wait.

'Don't push it, Davey' continues the loud voice.

You hear a laugh and other voices talking but can't make out what they're saying. Your body slowly relaxes and you let out a silent breath you didn't know you were holding. Carefully this time, you take a quick peek from behind the dead tree. You can see two massive grey trucks on the other side of the road, one with the engine still running. A tall middle-aged man with an unnecessary big moustache and a receding hairline is standing by the passenger door, both his hands resting on his hips and his eyes scanning the sky above. Three other men are leaning against both vehicles, visibly on a break. You notice the rifles, propped against the truck, but your eyes almost instantly lock onto the sandwich one of the men is holding. It's got at least three layers of toppings in there ! Not fair... You seriously hope they can't hear your stomach growling from where they're standing.

'M'gonna take a piss, one sec' You hear another voice stating over the noise of the engine.

You hide your head behind the stump and slowly rub your temples, both elbows digging in the dirty ground. When you heard the engine, you were hoping to run into a group of friendly survivors, like you had in the past. Well, you didn't have a lot of hope to come across someone friendly, but... Actually, you have no idea what you expected to find. Not them, anyway. They just seem like bad news to you and your gut feeling rarely fails you. The doors are slammed shut and you hear a truck driving away. The growing noise of heavy boots stepping on the concrete road towards your hiding spot suddenly startles you. No, no, no. Shit. You literally don't have the time to think of anything and you instinctively bury your face down into the ground and lay there, seemingly lifeless. Your clothes are old and dirty and you've got some dead leaves stuck in your wind-blown hair. Please let him think you're dead...

You feel like you're about to have a heart attack when you hear the footsteps stopping right by your frozen body. You hold your breath and you're on edge right now, your mind is all over the place. Your legs are begging you to get up and get the hell away from here as fast as you can, but your brain is forcing your body to stay still.

'What the...' starts the voice above you and you feel a sudden pain in your waist.

Without hesitation, you grab the stranger's ankle, that just started to flip your body over, and pull it upwards as hard as your muscles allow it. You hear the guy curse and fall loudly on the ground, but you are already on your feet, darting back towards the woods. You hear some angry masculine voices behind you, but you don't even try to take a look, you keep running. A few minutes later, you end up tripping on a large tree root popping out of the ground. You land on both knees and hands and let out a painful groan. Ready to see the group of men close behind you, you are surprised to see...well, nothing.

You crawl to a large tree on your right and rest your back against it as quietly as possible. Panting and wheezing, you grab your knees with shaky hands, and you notice some blood seeping through the fabric of your trousers, but it's the least of your concern. Where are they ? You try to calm down while reaching for the knife in your boots before holding onto it so tight the palm of your hand starts hurting. Not that it's gonna be of any use against guns...

You wait for several minutes, but you can't hear a noise, except for the trees and the occasional birds tweeting above you. You wipe your dirty and runny nose and get your hair off your face. You freeze suddenly and stop halfway, bringing your hand to your mouth. You can't mistaken the sudden crunching noise echoing not that far behind the tree where you're hidden. Your heart skips a beat and you put your hood on, like it's going to protect you somehow. You don't even dare taking a quick look behind the tree, holding the knife tighter. Maybe, they are friendly..maybe... You hold onto that thought and slowly raise your hand with the knife to the man who just appeared next to you. The truth is, you're so scared, you're actually staring at his trousers and you can't even look at his face. You don't miss to notice the handgun he's holding nonetheless.

As soon as he sees you, he lowers his gun and you hear a deep sigh, followed by a laugh. 'I got ice cream back in the truck, all you have to do is follow me !' You can hear the smile in his voice. Yeah, so funny, asshole..

'My...' The stranger pauses before letting out a long and clear whistle.

You lift your head to finally meet his eyes and you recognise the man with the moustache from earlier. You don't move a muscle but narrow your eyes when you see the wide grin across his face. You feel like a trapped animal when he comes closer to you and leans forward to get a better look at your face.

'Look I...' You start with a shaky voice, before attempting to swallow the big lump forming in your throat. 'I'm sorry. I-I don't want any...trouble, you know.'

The man raises his eyebrows and strokes his moustache, still displaying the same irritating grin.

'It is you.' He says next, emphasizing the word, while nodding his head.

You open your mouth and close it again, not sure what he means by that. You hold his gaze, one hand on the handle of your backpack, the other one still holding the knife towards him. He tilts his head to the side, furrowing his brows, the smile slowly disappearing from his face.

'Angel..' He says in a low voice, slowly reaching for your hood. 'Almost didn't recognise you with all that shit on your face !'

You wince when he gets the hood off your head and you look up at him, confused. Huh ?

'Wha-...'

'Don't remember me, do you ?' The stranger interrupts you, reading your facial expression.

Before you have the chance to say anything, he stands back up and lifts his dark grey shirt to reveal his lower belly. What in the holy shit is going on ?! Why do you always attract the creepy ones... You lower your arm holding the knife and notice the scar he's showing you. Bullet wound. You nervously wipe your nose with the back of your hand.

'You did that !' He announces, pointing at you with his gun, smiling again. 'And I know a certain someone who would kill to see your pretty face again...'

Wait.. what ?

'I-I don't get...' You stutter shaking your head and trying to let the words out of your mouth. 'I..don't understand what...'

Before you get to finish your sentence, you hear a loud explosion in the distance, that makes your heart jump up in your chest. The man lets out an angry ''fuck'' and lets go of his shirt, looking back towards the woods before giving you a quick glance. He points a threatening finger at you and starts walking backwards, still looking at you with a stern face and raised eyebrows.

'Don't you go anywhere !' He orders finally, before pacing back to where he came from.

In utter confusion, you slowly get back on your feet, still shaking. What just happened ? In a matter of seconds, you're alone again, alert. And it's getting dark. Not that you had any intention on sticking around and wait for the man, anyway. With one last look behind your back, you leave the spot where you had the weird encounter and decide to look for shelter. Fast. In a few moments, you won't even be able to see in front of you. After ten minutes of light jogging, you finally reach the other edge of the woods and end up on a small concrete road. In the distance, you can see a few grey scruffy buildings. You're not exactly thrilled to have to clear a house or shop at this time and spend the night there, as you tend to avoid areas like this one, but you're definitely running out of choices.

----------------

1am

You wipe the tears with the back of your sleeve and swallow a mouthful of water before putting the lid back on the small bottle. You let the sound of the heavy rain outside lull you and your head rests against the dirty wall right under the window. You've spent the whole evening looking out for any signs of vehicles or roamers, but nothing have caught your attention since you've entered the building, though you still feel on edge and you can't keep the tears from rolling messily along your cheeks and neck, getting lost in the collar of your sweater. Sniffling and sobbing, you start banging lightly the back of your head against the hard and cold wall and squeeze your swollen eyes shut.

You keep hitting the walker in front of you with all the strength you have left, but you hear so many growls around you, you panic and start backing up. There are everywhere. You spot Keith and Hanna on the other side of the road, waving and shouting words you don't understand. You want to join them. You want to run away with them. Though you know it's too late, you can't reach them anymore. You beg them to leave and run. So they do. And so do you, only you have to run off the opposite direction...

You open your glassy eyes and try to chase the vivid memory away from your mind. When the infection started spreading, after losing your family and friends, you ended up with a small group of people and made plans to try and find some help. You quickly realised, everything was gone and the dead had already taken over, so you all stuck together. It was tough, but together you were stronger, you had hope, somehow, for the future. Hanna and Keith were the closest people you had in the group and though you only knew them for less than a year at the time, you all felt like family. No such thing as an apocalypse to create strong bonds... A few days before you lost them, your group found these railroad tracks leading to a place called 'Terminus' and by mutual agreement you decided to head to this place. You never made it though and couldn't even find the damn place now if you wanted to. You only hoped they all reached the destination safely...

You sigh deeply and stand back up, your legs shaking with exhaustion and pain. Ugh. Your whole body aches and you lean on the window side, leaving dark and dusty stains on the palms of your hands. You gasp when you see a RV sitting right in the middle of the road, lights off. You took shelter on the second floor of a completely empty building, so nobody would see you from the vehicle but you still duck instinctively. The rain is falling so heavily, you haven't even heard the damn vehicle and you really wish you could just turn it off for a few seconds, so you could actually hear what's going on outside. You decide to take another look and this time you see two people, a man and a woman, outside of the RV, apparently in a middle of a heated conversation. 'Their vehicle must have broken down' You whisper to yourself. Next thing you see is the door of the vehicle being slammed open and a tall man makes his exit, followed by another one. They both got a rifle in their hands and you curse them mentally. Ugh, everybody's got guns... Did you miss a free handout or something !?

Annoyance is quickly replaced by fear once you realise they're heading towards your building. 'Am I a trouble magnet or what ?' You let out in frustration. You quickly reach for your baton and limp to the other side of the room before crouching painfully, waiting. No point in trying to hide, there's no furniture, nothing. And even if you could go back out without being noticed, which is clearly impossible, you're not going back out in the middle of the night, no way. They might not even bother coming upstairs when they notice the place is totally empty. Your hope is instantly crushed by a loud banging and the heavy door flies open. A ginger guy steps in and aims directly at you, the other one entering the room with a few worried steps.

' I-I ain't got nothing' You plead straight away, holding up both arms and giving them your fake terrified look.

The man aiming at you eyes you for a minute in complete silence and you wonder if he's actually considering shooting you right there and then. He glances at your backpack and your coat laying on the floor, your bed for the night, and locks his eyes back on you.

'Be quiet, alright.' He warns, before giving a small headshake towards the door.

You let your arms fall instantly, with a quick nod as you see a man carrying a distressed looking woman staggering in the room before settling in the other corner. She looks nauseous, very weak and you spot the drops of sweat forming all around her pale face. You count another three people coming in quietly, settling on the floor. The bearded guy who was carrying her, now faces your corner and crouches in front of you.

' What's your name ?' He asks in a low husky voice.

' Lana.' I answer quietly, letting the baton rest on the floor. Yep, today you're Lana.

'Name's Rick.' The man nods his head a few times. 'We won't bother you, if you do the same.'

'Sounds fair.' You let out in a low voice before getting up and walking back to your backpack, by the window.

The rest of the night flies away, you actually end up talking to a few of these people and, to you, they seem genuine. You surprisingly get a good 4 hour straight sleep next to that group of seven strangers. That makes total sense...

______________________________

6am

Luckily, the next morning their RV is up and running again and they head to their vehicle, while you're adjusting your backpack, walking slowly along the road. Thankfully, the rain has stopped a few hours ago and you might not end up wet at the end of the day. Well...except for the shoes. You can feel your socks getting soaked already and it seriously pisses you off, as you had managed to keep dry socks for a reasonable amount of time now.

'Lana !' You hear a voice call after you and you turn on your heels, still walking backwards before stopping completely.

Rick catches up with you and rests a hand on his hip, looking away in the distance before letting a deep sigh escape his lips. His piercing blue eyes come back to yours and his features seem to soften a bit.

'You can tag along if you want.' He starts while tilting his head to the side. 'The Hilltop. They could use you.'

You sigh deeply as well and shift awkwardly on your feet, staring into space, while considering your options. Is it a good idea ? Maybe not. They could be trouble. Do you really want to be alone, though ? Safety in numbers and all this crap...

'Ok then.' You shrug your shoulders with a shy smile, unknowingly sealing your fate.

Chapter Text

                                                                  

6pm

The ride to the Hilltop is way longer than you imagined. You take another bite of your cereal bar and shift uncomfortably in your seat. Your stomach feels seriously knotted and you don't know why, it just keeps getting worse. You should feel relieved that you've found a group of 'friendly survivors' like you were hoping for, but there's something wrong. You don't blame them for being quiet and worried for the girl. You really get it. But there's something heavy floating in the atmosphere and you can't quite put your finger on it.

'Mother dick.'

Your head shoots up and you jump to your feet, trying to get a better view of the road ahead, but the others are blocking your view. Abraham stops the engine and turns to the others, eyebrows raised. Rick nods slowly and locks eyes with you. 'Stay inside' is all you hear before the door is slammed shut and you're left with the pregnant girl. You let a gasp escape your lips when you finally see what's further up the road. The same damn man with the moustache is standing above an unconscious man laying on the floor, all bruised up. You take notice of the threatening men standing behind them. This is not good. It can't be a coincidence... You quickly get back to your seat without taking your eyes off the road.

'...like it was your last day on earth...'

What are they talking about ? You only make out less than half of what's being said and it drives you crazy. What do they want ?

Thankfully, after a few minutes, everybody's back in the RV and you wait for Rick to explain the situation to you. His gaze has already fallen on you and he lets out a deep sigh before starting. When the man's over, you nod your head a few times before looking out the window again.

'So basically, this Negan guy is after you now ?' You speak up to make sure your voice is heard over the rumble of the engine.

'That's basically it. But..' Rick pauses to clear his throat. 'We can end this. We will end this.'

You nod again without a word. To be honest, you haven't been in the area long enough to come across new communities. You don't know the right thing to say after this.

As expected, the day only gets worse. Those ''Saviors'' are bad news and you don't understand why Rick isn't more worried about them. The van comes to a stop, pulling you out of your daydream. It's already dark outside.

'Are you sure you want to do this ?' You turn to Rick, biting the inside of your cheek nervously.

He looks at you with determination and nods a few times. 'This is our only option. Not yours.' He adds and you know he's offering you a way out right now.

Quite tempting getting dropped off in the middle of god-knows-where in complete darkness, right ?

'You know you are where they want you to be...'You let out in a shy voice. 'But I'm in, anyway. I don't see another reasonable option for me at this point. I'll go with Eugene.'

After getting back to your seat, your anxiety takes over and you start biting your nails, staring at the road ahead. What have you got yourself into now ? Maybe you should have just tried your luck on the road... You give a quick glance at the man driving next to you. You can see on his face, he's terrified.

'Second thoughts?'

Eugene gives you a serious look before answering matter-of-factly.

'If that's a trap, we already happen to be in it, all of us. But I for one, would like to think that I can be of some help. Now's the time and here's the place.'

A faint smile creeps up your lips. You're about to speak when you get the wind knocked out of you by the seatbelt. The vehicle comes to a complete stop.

'Man ! wha-..' You suddenly fall silent and your whole body freezes.

Your hand slides down your leg to retrieve the knife from your boot.

A large group of heavily armed men is surrounding the RV and you can't help but jump when you hear a knock on your window. A creepy guy with long stringy blond hair is aiming at you through the window, mouthing the words ''GET OUT''. You hide the knife up your sleeve the best you can and open the door slowly. You can hear the driver's door slamming shut already and as soon as your feet touch the ground, the man grabs you by the shoulders and drags you away. You elbow him in the face and get out of his grip, trying to put as much distance as possible between the two of you. But you bump into someone else and when you turn around you're welcomed by a toothy grin and two sweaty hands grab your waist.

'Leavin' so soon, princess ?' The man's voice makes your skin crawl and his gaze lingers down your body, making you uncomfortable.

You shove his hands away and you hear some muffled laughs.

'Drive it there !' The blonde man orders him, waving at the vehicle.

He turns to you and grabs you by the wrist pulling you close this time. You lose your balance and crash against his chest before straightening up.

'I don't wanna hurt ya, so don't make me.' He groans in your ear while patting you down.

You can't help but stare at him in silence when you notice the horrible scar covering one side of his face. It doesn't seem to bother him as he resumes searching you, his eyes staring into yours defiantly. He shoves your black knife into his own pocket with a sly smile before pushing you towards the woods.

'Where are we going ?' You ask trying to sound brave, glancing at the group of men, but nobody answers you.

Distracted, you've lost sight of Eugene but you try to focus on the path in front of you as the man keeps pushing you forward, making you trip up. A few minutes later, the trees open up and you find yourself in the middle of a larger group. You can't make out how many people are standing there but you can feel them all around you. You swear you can discern some cars too. Your heart is pounding in your chest and you have a sick feeling in your stomach. Your palms are getting sweaty and you do your best to avoid any eye contact.

'On y'knees.'

You feel a pain at the back of your knees and your legs weaken before giving out. You curse when your knees painfully hit the ground underneath you. Your hands quickly cushion the fall but you wince when you feel the gravel grazing your skin. You hate it. You hate every second of it. You feel completely helpless and vulnerable. They've taken your weapons, your bag and there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. At least, Rick and the others have made it... You blink a few times trying to get your eyes to adjust to the darkness. You can feel Eugene shaking and sobbing next to you and you wish there was something you could say or do to make it better... What's going on now, though ?  The men around you are completely quiet and you can feel the unnerving tension filling the air.

You stay in a kneeling position for what seems like an eternity when suddenly you hear some noises. Whistles. Or is it the wind ?  You're not sure but you could bet they are getting closer. Before you know it, the whole group around you starts whistling. What is wrong with these people ?  All of a sudden all the car lights turn on and you try to block the blinding light with your hand. Oh no. Rick and the others are standing in the middle, a terrified look on their faces. You see Eugene covering his eyes with his hands and your throat tightens. How did they find them ?  You don't even know where to look right now, Rick's group is forced on their knees, a few other people come out of another vehicle you hadn't even noticed and join the line.

'Alright, folks. You made it! Welcome to where you're going !' A familiar voice booms out and you lift your head up to see the man standing not far from you.

You do your best to try and look confident when he finally notices you. His lips stretch in a wide smile and you swear his eyes light up for a second.

'That, Angel.' He snaps his fingers before pointing at you. 'It's like a goddamn Christmas present, y'know that.'

'I don't even know you !' You snap back, furrowing your brows.

'Damn, where are my manners ! Simon.' He announces, while placing his hands on his chest. 'M'really sorry about all that, but the stubborn folks here wouldn't listen !' He adds, pointing an accusing finger at Rick.

You can't help but feel bad when you see the pregnant girl being forced to kneel as well. Come on.

'Let us go, please.' You plead even though you know it isn't worth it.

'I'm afraid that's too late for that.' He adresses you before turning to the others. 'Alright, we got a full boat ! Let's meet the man.' He adds before knocking on the RV door.

The man ? What man ?  You glance at the line of people kneeling down on your right side. You shouldn't be here. You shouldn't be taking someone else's punishment. The door swings open, interrupting your thoughts, and a shadow appears. 'Pissin' our pants yet ?'

You bend your head and your hair falls down your face. You feel light headed and nauseous.

'...I'm Negan...'

Negan. Your head starts spinning, it all feels surreal. Everything seems to go slow motion all of a sudden and you stare at the floor, feeling dizzy. You beat yourself up for being here right now and you can't blame nobody else. You stare blankly at a beetle running under a leaf in front of you and you wish you could swap bodies right now. Your blood freezes when two dark boots appear right in front of you. You just stare at them, waiting for the man to talk.

He crouches in front of you and you can't help but take a deep breath. He's wearing a black leather jacket, some grey jeans and a pair of black combat boots. He's...well he's unfairly handsome and when you see his smirk turning into a grin, you can't hold his gaze. Your heart jumps up when you feel a gloved hand grab your chin firmly and lift it up slowly.

'Eyes on me, doll.'

You swallow hard and hold his gaze this time. So.. that's Negan. He's tall and lean with broad shoulders, a strong jawline, salt and pepper stubble and piercing dark eyes. And dimples. He's intimidating you and you know he's aware of it. He lets his hand drop and leans on his baseball bat...Wait, is that barbed wire ? God. His tongue traces over his bottom lip and he furrows his brows, his eyes studying your face. A chill runs down your spine when he lets a low chuckle escape his parted lips.

'Fuck.' He starts, tapping the end of his bat in the gravel. 'You gotta be shitting me...Simon !' He turns his head to the side to talk to the other man without breaking eye contact with you.

'I'm not fucking dreaming now, am I ?'

'She's as real as my goddamn gun. I knew she made it.' Simon replies proudly.

''Made it'' ? Why is nothing making sense ?  You want to ask so many questions but you just stay still and no sound comes out of your mouth. To be honest, you don't really want to attract all the attention on you if you can avoid it. Negan stares at you and squints, as he could read your mind.

'Listen, doll, I don't know how the fuck you ended up with these pricks and I bet my handsomest nut that it's a sweet fucking story, but...you and me, we got some serious shit to discuss.'

Negan stands back up and swings his bat, slowly walking towards the other people on the floor. You are confused right now and you don't know what he expects from you. But you know one thing. You're not going down without a fight.

'Get her inside' you hear Negan order. 'I'll deal with her last.' He adds with another smirk.

When Simon comes closer to you, you jump to your feet. You're not going to let yourself get dragged somewhere else again. No.

'Better keep your hands off me !' You threaten him, backing away.

'Easy, girl !' Simon tries to reassure you. 'No need for that.'

'Where are you taking me ? What's happening to them ?' You burst out turning to the other survivors.

'You wait.' Negan turns back to you and you can see he's clearly annoyed by your behaviour. 'And you do as you're fucking told.'

You glare at him.

'Screw you.'

Shit. The words literally fell out of your mouth before you have the chance to stop them. Negan clenches his jaw and his head falls back. He lets a deep-throated laugh out and throws his arms out, letting the bat dangle loosely from his hand.

'Any-fucking-time, doll.'

He steps closer to you, a predatory look in his eyes and the smile drops from his face. His expression grows serious and he's towering over you now, invading your personal space. You try to take a few steps back but he grabs your right arm and keeps you from putting any distance between you and him. His face is so close to yours, you can feel his breath hitting your flushed cheeks. His bat gets dangerously close to your face and you hold your breath, not even trying to get away from him anymore.

'In case you haven't caught on yet, everything here is a bad motherfucking timing for you, doll. So, keep that pretty mouth of yours shut.' He lets out in a deep raspy voice. 'I've been looking for you for months, dear, and now you're right the fuck where I want you to be. I own you now. So when I tell you to wait ? You most certainly fucking will ! Is that fucking clear ?'

You swallow your pride and look up at him.

'Yes.' You let out through gritted teeth.

'Yes, who ?' A smirk forms on his lips again and you can see he's enjoying it.

'Yes, Negan.' You say unwillingly.

His smile widens and he puts a hand on his chest stepping away from you.

'See that !' He exclaims looking down at Rick. 'Motherfucking respect ! The kind of shit that makes my dick twitch.' He adds with a husky laugh before winking at you.

Your blood is boiling right now and you can feel your face turning red. Humiliated, you let Simon take you to the RV, without another word. You exchange a desperate look with Rick before being shoved into the vehicle. You turn around and the door slams in your face. What now ? You look out the window and see Negan pacing in front of the group and you feel like throwing up. You don't want to see what's happening. You look around trying to find something you could use to help but there's literally nothing left worth finding. Come on, you need to think. You examine the vehicle. The windows. Obviously not the ones at the front, but there's one at the back. The emergency exit. 'That could work...' you whisper to yourself. You just need to wait for the right moment. You hear some commotion outside and your moment comes. It seems like one of the survivors tried to hit Negan and all his men have gone to the other side of the RV. This is it. You pull the handles as quietly as possible and pop your head out. With a lot of luck, you won't even appear in their line of sight. You squeeze your body through the open window and you land cautiously on your feet. You immediately duck and head towards the trees.

When you are at a safe distance, you rest your back against a tree and let out a shaky breath. You can't believe you've actually made it out without anyone seeing you. Your body is shaking like a leaf and your heart is pounding. You pick up a sturdy-looking stick and start walking again. The guilt washes over you but you try to ignore it. You can't help them, it's not your fault. You can't stop thinking about them though...and Negan. He's obviously confusing you with someone else. But why ? What was he going to do to you back in that RV ? You shiver and just brush it off. You're alive that's all that matters.

 

6am

You open your eyes and see a tall and blurry figure standing above you. You quickly grab the stick laying by your side and stand up as fast as your body allows it.

'Back off now !' You spit out, but you're aware your voice must sound more exhausted than threatening.

'Hey. I don't mean any harm. You seem like you need help, I just wanted to make sure you were okay. Have you got water ?' The bearded stranger asks next, handing over a bottle to you.

You hesitate and take a look at the man in front of you. Your vision is getting back to normal now and you can actually see what his face looks like. He raises his hands with a smile.

'What happened to you ?'

'I'm heading to the Hilltop.' You don't even bother lying. You're lost with no weapons and no supplies. You're screwed, it can't get any worse, right ?

'Well, it's your lucky day. My name's Paul, but everybody calls me Jesus.'

Chapter Text

                                                    

 

8am

You can't help but let a deep sigh escape your lips as soon as your body touches the bed and you close your eyes with relief. Your legs are shaking and your whole body desperately needs some rest.

'Comfortable ?'

You quickly open your eyes. You almost forgot you weren't alone. Jesus is leaning on the doorway, a smile on his face.

'Sorry.' You chuckle, wiping the sweat off your forehead. 'You don't know how long it's been since I've sat down on a mattress or anything remotely close to that. Thank you.'

'I can imagine. And don't mention it ! He answers returning your smile. 'There is a bathroom in there, the water is cold, but, you know, it still does the job. I'm sorry I can't show you around, but I really need to get going if I want to make it back before dark.

'Sure... Sorry about that.' You feel grateful. He got out of his way to bring you back to the Hilltop safely and he even offered you a room. He seems to read your thoughts and smiles at you.

'Don't apologize. Dante will check on you in a little while and bring you some stuff when he's done with his shift. Dante... He's the big guy who opened the gate for us.' He adds when he sees your confused face. 'He's cool, you can trust him, he's a bit rough on the edges, though.'

You thank Jesus again and he gives you a last smile before closing the door.

'God.' You let a long breath out and lie on the bed, staring at the ceiling. This is good. You can't believe a few hours ago, you were about to get killed or tortured, or whatever they were planning to do to you, and now you have a room. A freaking room with a shower ! Good people still exist. You were lucky to come across Rick's group, even if they hadn't been as lucky as you... No. You're not going there again. It's not your fault. You still feel bad though, it's just who you are, you care for people even when you barely know them.

'Ok, let's check out that shower...' You quickly undress and wrinkle your nose when you actually realize the state of your clothes. They smell and are beyond dirty. You wish you could have at least some clean underwear right now. But, come on, you got a shower !  You brace yourself for the cold and curse out loud when the water hits your skin. As soon as you get used to the temperature though, all your muscles relax blissfully. After a few minutes, not wanting to waste any more water, you turn it off. You grab a dirty-looking towel laying on the floor and dry your body.

As you're adjusting your bra on your shoulders, a loud knock on the door makes you jump. The door almost flies open and you turn around instinctively. A tall and muscular man is standing by the door, his gun in its holster strapped over his shoulder. He's got strong features, a chiselled jawline and his chestnut hair is cut short. He's around your age, maybe older.

'Well hello stranger ! How are we doing ?' His smile accentuates the wrinkles around his green eyes.

Your heart is still pounding and you quickly turn around to find your t-shirt and put it over your head. Dude, seriously ? He doesn't seem to care about the fact that you're in the middle of getting dressed as he steps into the room and closes the door behind him.

'I'm Dante, by the way.'

'Erm, I'm...Lana. Nice to meet you.' You feel a bit awkward alone in the room with a man, but there's something comforting about him.

'Holy fuck ! What happened to you ? He exclaims in a loud voice before sitting down on the bed.

Well, thanks for that. You must look a bit rough at the moment, but still...

'What do you mean ?' You ask, while putting on your shoes. You can feel his eyes burning through you but you focus on your laces.

'I just saw your back ! I mean, don't get me wrong I've got a few bad scars myself. Check these out.'

You get up and turn around, confused. What is he talking about ? He lays his gun on the bed and rolls up his sleeves proudly, showing you a few scars covering his arms.

'Ok...erm, that's pretty cool.' You mutter trying to find your words. You don't want to sound rude. 'I didn't really get what you said though. What about my back ?'

'That's a nasty-looking scar right there, and all the cuts...' He responds, nodding his head a few times, his green eyes locking with you. 'Don't be ashamed though, I mean I don't know what the hell happened but you should be proud of them !'

'I don't have any scars... I've fallen over a few times, but I doubt it's that bad.' You joke while shaking your head.

Dante stares at you blankly and furrows his brows. You feel really uncomfortable all of a sudden. What is this all about ? He clears his throat and quickly stands back up before picking up his gun.

'If you're ready, I can give you the grand tour now and get you something to eat. How does that sound ?'

'Perfect.' Your stomach growling in anticipation, you follow Dante out of the room.

_____________ 

The Hilltop is actually a well-organized community and you didn't expect to see that anymore. They have gardens where they grow vegetables and fruits, their own blacksmith forge and even stable for a few horses. On top of all the rooms in the main building, they have a few trailers laid around it for the rest of the people. It's impressive. You chest tightens when you see a couple of kids playing in the grass by a greenhouse. Life seems almost normal here.

'Like it ?'

'Are you joking ? This is good...' You nod your head a few times. 'When did you find this place?'

'Last winter...' He squints and looks away. 'After my wife and kid were gone, I was ready to die. Man, I was hoping to. I don't know...fuck knows. I just couldn't let go, I guess. Anyway, a few weeks later, here I was... banging on that gate.' He says pointing at the entrance with a chuckle. 'Begging Jesus to let me in.'

You smile and look away as well. 'It all happens for a reason.' You look at the big house again and spot a bearded man standing by the main door, giving you a shifty look. You frown but he quickly turns away and shuts the door behind him. Ok. Good to see you too..

'Ignore him.' Dante groans behind you. 'He might hit on you next time he sees you, you never know with him.'

'Who is he ?' You ask, turning around to face him.

'Gregory. He runs the place, more or less.'

'More or less ?' You laugh, raising your eyebrows.

'Fuck, don't even get me st...' He pauses and his face hardens.

You turn on your heels when you hear the main gate rattling. Jesus squeezes through the door without even waiting for it to open completely. That was quick... As soon as he spots you and Dante standing by the house, he runs towards you.

'What happ...' Dante starts but Jesus cuts him off with a quick wave of the hand.

'He's coming. Negan. We've got two minutes.' He says trying to catch his breath, giving you a worried look.

'Shit. Let's go !' Dante grabs you by the arm and drags you around the house. You try to keep up with the two men and your breath gets heavier.

'We can hide her inside.' Jesus proposes, giving a quick glance around him.

'No.' Dante says in a firm tone. 'Gregory saw her but I haven't introduced her yet. He would give her away to Negan, no doubt.'

Jesus nods without a word and heads towards the building. Your mind races and your heart is pounding.

'You're already in trouble then.' You say in a desperate voice. 'I'm so sorry.'

'Shut the hell up ! We're fine.' Dante tries to sound confident but his eyes are wide open and he seems concerned.

He takes you as far as possible to the main gate and as you stop to look at him, you can already hear the sound of cars. Negan's here. You try not to panic and urge Dante to show you the way. He approaches the wall and reveals a loose plank. He pushes it to the side. You hear some commotion by the main entrance and thankfully the building is hiding you from their view. You can't believe this is happening again. As you curl up to fit through the hole, Dante reaches forward and grabs your wrist, asking you to wait. You see Jesus appear behind him, out of breath, holding a bag.

'Take this.' He shoves the bag in your hand. 'Wait a few hours and come back but don't stay around the wall. They might look for you.'

You squeeze his hand and thank him. 'Don't get in trouble for me. Do what you have to do.' You whisper with determination.

Dante gives you a headshake and mutter ''stay safe'' before disappearing. You give one last thankful smile to Jesus before heading towards the woods. Here we go again. Alone. You let a deep sigh and start sprinting.

______________

You've been walking in a straight line for what seems like ages when you finally see something that makes your heart skip a beat. A wooden cabin. Well, it looks like it's about to collapse any minute but it's exactly what you need at the moment. You can settle there and wait. And rest. You open the front door, holding the knife you found in the bag Jesus gave you. You step in and for some reason, your breath becomes short. There is a fireplace with a pile of wood next to it. In the corner of the room you see two blankets laying on the wooden floor. Your head starts spinning and you have an awful feeling of deja vu. Have you been here ? Your heart jumps when you notice a little red knife sitting on the windowsill. The knife your dad gave you before he died. You start hyperventilating and you need to sit down on one of the blankets before you start losing it. This doesn't make sense. How have you been here already and not remember ?! You try to get your breath back as you reach for the knife to examine it. You hold onto it and you can feel the tears filling your eyes already. What's happening ? As you shut your eyes, you start picturing yourself in the house. Or...remembering.

'Save your strength, I'll go get the water.' You insist, picking your knife up and turning on your heels.

'Wait.' A large hand grabs your small wrist, pulling you closer. You turn your head and look at the man lying on the blanket.

'Don't make me have to drag my ass out there for you, doll. If you're not back in ten fucking minutes, I'll come looking for you.' He lets go of your wrist and you hear a painful groan followed by a few curse words.

You can't help the smile forming on your face. 'I'll be quick..'

Sweaty and disoriented, you wake up and slowly blink, your eyes adjusting to the daylight. Your back is resting against the wall and you must have fallen asleep in that position. You did need a rest. You sigh and use your sleeve to wipe away the cold sweat from your forehead. That dream felt so...real. It wasn't just a dream, though. You stare at the blanket in shock. You were here. You're scared to even imagine it. It's all slowly coming back to you, though, whether you want it or not. The knife. The blankets. The blood. A lot of blood. And the baseball bat...

You open your bag and reach for the bottle of water. As soon as you grab it, you let out a gasp of surprise. Jesus gave you...a gun. 'Wow' You whisper in disbelief. You check the ammo. Almost fully loaded. You put it next to you, feeling a bit more confident. You get a cereal bar out of the bag and start chewing, gazing into space, trying to remember more but your memory is clouded.

You're so caught up in the moment that the loud bang on the door almost makes your heart jump out of your chest and you curse out loud, dropping the cereal bar on the floor. You quickly grab the gun and aim at the door while slowly getting up. Before you have the time to even think, the door flies open and a tall figure appears in the doorway. No...

'Home sweet fucking home !'

Negan.

_________________

'Oh...baby.'

A chill travels throughout your body and you swallow hard.

'Don't come any closer.' You warn him trying to keep your composure.

'You're gonna point a gun at me, doll ? Fucking seriously ?!'

He snatches the gun out of your hand and throws it in the corner of the room. Your immediate instinct is to charge at him, trying to push him out of the way. Embarrassingly, he doesn't even budge and your face gets buried into his neck in the most awkward way. Your hands on his chest, you pull yourself away from him and take a step backwards. Your entire body is vibrating with nerves. He takes a deep sigh and rubs the stubble on his chin.

'Listen, I fucking get it. You don't remember me, you're confused. Fine.' His voice is low and he's coming closer to you, while you take a few steps back. 'Running away from Simon, from me ? You got balls, woman, no doubt about that. But how 'bout you use your goddamn brain ? Do I really need to tell you that I'm not to be fucked with ?! Or do you want me to prove it ? Because I got no problem proving my point to you, fuck, I could get off on that shit all fucking day !'

Your back finally hits the wall and you can't avoid his stare anymore.

'Seriously, no answer ?'

You glare at him but your whole body seems frozen. You try to process words in your brain but nothing comes out of your mouth.

'ANSWER ME !'

Without any warning, he swings the bat and hits the wall right next to your face with a loud crack. You can't help the yelp that escapes your lips and his eyes darken. He's pissed and an odd feeling appears in the pit of your stomach. Your legs are weak and you just want to sit on the floor right now.

'Sorry, I-I'm sorry.'

Sorry ? Ugh... You know your voice sounds more desperate than you intended and you suddenly feel so vulnerable. Your breath is short and your heart is pounding in your chest. What's happening to you ? When you feel your eyes filling with tears, you quickly shut them. You don't want to cry in front of him. Hell, this isn't like you... A pang of fear twists your stomach, when you feel his gloved hand slowly sliding up your throat. His whole body pushes against yours and his warm breath hits your cheek. He smells of cigarette smoke and...blood. He furrows his brows and strokes your cheek with his thumb, but his expression remains hard.

'What the fuck is wrong with you, doll ?' He groans impatiently. 'What is it, uh ? You like to see me angry, is that it ? Does that shit fucking turn you on ?'

He places his hand up against the wall and leans his head close to yours, his lips brushing against your ear. You hold your breath, your body pinned up against the wall.

'Cause I'm about to be the sexiest motherfucker alive...'

There is a long, tension-filled silence, while his intense gaze studies your face. He finally lets a low chuckle out and pushes himself away from you. You let a silent breath out and look down. As ashamed as you are to admit it, you realise that you didn't mind the physical proximity with his body. What is wrong with you ? That man is probably about to gut you but you're still attracted to him.

'You know what I think, dollface ?' He continues, smirking at you now, making his dimples appear. 'Deep down, you do remember me. Shit, you probably secretly hope I'll fuck you right here right now, remind you who you belong to ! But.. whether I'm right or fucking wrong, it doesn't matter. Wanna know why ?' He pauses and makes sure your eyes are fixated on him. 'Because you're mine.'

His words should scare you or anger you but they make you feel...safe ? You take a deep breath trying to compose yourself.

'Leave me alone.' You mumble, hoping to sound indifferent.

Negan's smile stretches. He picks up the gun you were threatening him with and steps confidently towards you. Your body tenses up when you hear him whistling. Is he going to.. ? He shoves the gun in your hand and steps back again, throwing his arms out.

'That's your only way out of this, so go the fuck on. Shoot me.'

He's challenging you right now and his smirk makes your blood boil. He thinks it's a game. You look at him with a straight face.

'Whatever suits you.' You say through gritted teeth, cocking the gun.

'What a fucking badass !' He exclaims, licking his lips teasingly. 'Too bad, you can't kill me.'

Your hand starts trembling and you're cursing in your head. What are you waiting for ?! You can just shoot him right now... You would do a favor to a lot of people, by the way ! But your hand keeps shaking and your brain goes foggy. Negan laughs and leans back slightly, his eyes burning into yours.

'See that! You just can't fucking do it !'

'Just leave now !' You implore him, pointing at the door.

'Me leaving ? Not happening, baby doll. Don't get me wrong, though, I've had a long fucking night ! Bashing people's head with a bat ? Exhausting ! But..enjoyable.' His smirk widens and he lets out an evil laugh.

No...no. Your eyes go straight to the baseball bat. You hadn't noticed earlier but now you spot the dark stains on it and the barbed wire covered in pieces of...oh my god. You feel like you're about to throw up and the room starts spinning. Rick.

'Wh-what did you do ?' You struggle to breathe, your eyes wide in shock.

His smirk hasn't left his face and you want to hurt him, bad. But you can't. You just can't. There is like an invisible force preventing you from pulling the trigger. Your hand holding the gun shakes violently and you drop it on the floor. You close your eyes and a tear rolls down your cheek. You hear Negan picking up the gun and heading towards the front door.

'Point fucking made. Now grab your shit and let's go, doll.'

Chapter Text

                                                           

 

10am

'You might wanna keep up the pace here, doll.'

You start walking faster, deep in thought. Is the Hilltop in trouble because of you ? What's gonna happen to you now ?

'Relax (Y/N), I ain't gonna kill ya.' Negan says with a smirk, reading your thoughts.

Your heart skips a beat and you freeze in your tracks, gobsmacked. He just called you by your name. Nobody knows your name...This isn't possible. You clear your throat and quickly catch up to him.

'How do you know my name ? Did we actually spend time together in that cabin back there ?'

You hate having to talk to him or rely on him to answer your questions but you can't just act indifferent anymore. He knows your real name ! He chuckles and raises his eyebrows, staring at you with a smirk.

'How 'bout you keep all your questions for when we get home, doll.'

'Home ? Where is that ?' You insist.

He sighs and retrieves the large hunting knife from his belt before walking up to the zombie limping in your direction. 'Ugly motherfucker.' He says in a deep voice and the blade slides through the putrid skull with a sickly noise. He wipes his knife on the zombie's rags and his eyes finally land back on you. His face grows serious and you feel really small all of a sudden.

'The Sanctuary. I promised you months ago I would take you back there and I'm a man of my fucking words.'

'You don't have to be.' You can't help commenting with a sarcastic voice.

'The fuck I do !' He barks with a laugh. 'Nice try, doll, but you're coming with me and that's final.'

You nod your head defeatedly and you suddenly realize he's not taking you to the Hilltop. You're about to open your mouth and ask but you quickly change your mind. Maybe he doesn't know about them helping you...

After ten minutes of silent walking, you come out of the woods and spot the truck parked a few feet away. Of course, he hasn't walked all the way here from the Hilltop...but how did he know where to find you ?

You pull yourself into the vehicle and try to hide your shaky hands. No escaping this time. Negan puts his baseball bat right next to his legs and a smirk appears on his face as he starts the engine. His hand brushes your thigh when he grabs the gear stick and you move your leg away when you feel his warm touch.

'Buckle the fuck up, woman ! Next stop...Hilltop.' He lets a chuckle out when he sees your eyes widening in worry.

'Please, don't do any...'

'No !' He interrupts you making you jump in your seat. There's no trace of a smile on his face anymore and he squints, tapping his gloved hand on the steering wheel. 'You, my dear, don't get to tell me what to fucking do. This, all this shit, is on you. You could have been a good fucking girl and do what I asked you to do. But no, you chose the other way. The hard fucking way. And now ? Well, now people gotta pay, doll.'

You swallow the hard lump in your throat and you start feeling nauseous. He's right, you should have never involved these people. Jesus, Dante... If anything is about to happen to them, it's on you.

You feel sick to your stomach when the truck slows down and the main gate of the Hilltop opens up. You notice a dozen Saviors standing in front of a group of people. This isn't good. The noise of the door being slammed shut makes you jump but your body seems frozen. You spot Dante in the crowd, his face contorted in anger and the guilt washes over you. You don't want to go out there. You swallow hard and take a deep breath before opening the door and jumping out of the vehicle. Negan has already reached the crowd and rests his bat on his shoulder with a long sigh.

'Alright, you sorry fucks ! Where was I ?' He shouts and you realize with horror that you're standing in front of a line of people... kneeling down.

No. Not again. The guy with the ugly scar pushes Dante on his knees and your heart tightens. You won't let that happen...

'As you can fucking see,' Negan continues, smirking at the people now. 'I found my lost property. Safe and sound. And...goddamn armed !'

Amongst the people, you spot the man named Gregory staring at you while shaking his head in disapproval. Negan lets a chuckle out and raises his eyebrows. A heavy silence settles and his face hardens.

'Which only means one fucking thing...'

He stops and waves his bat nonchalantly towards the line of people. Did he actually select them randomly ? The smirk reappears on his face and he clenches his jaw while walking up to Dante. He crouches in front of him and gives him a defiant stare while scratching his stubble.

'You lied to me.'

Shit. Of course, he took your bag and weapons and here you are with a new bag and gun. You can't deny you've been helped. You see Dante puffing up his chest and glaring at Negan. This isn't going to end well...

'Wait.'

You take a few hesitating steps towards him. He doesn't even acknowledge you though so you clear your throat and make sure he hears you this time.

'He's not responsible for what happened. None of them are.' You assert in a clear voice. 'I am.'

Negan turns his head to look at you and quickly stands back up, adjusting his leather jacket. The knot in your stomach tightens more.

'I've wasted my time here. A whole damn lot of it.' Any trace of a smile has left his face and you shift uncomfortably on your feet. 'And for that... Someone's gotta pay.'

'Please, don't hurt these people.' You plead and you wish you had something less pathetic to say but you're not in the right mind to even think.

'Y'know what, doll ? If you're gonna beg, do it properly.' He points at the ground with the end of his bat and his smile widens. 'On y'knees.'

'Wh-what ?'

'You fucking heard me.'

Is he serious right now ? You look at his eyes but his stare is hard and cold. He's not joking. Fine. You owe them anyway. You feel your cheeks become red and you swallow your pride once again.

'Please, don't hurt them.' You reluctantly say while kneeling down.

He lets a deep laugh out and flashes his white teeth to you.

'I have to admit, doll, that's a nice fucking view.'

He crouches in front of you and lifts your chin with his fingers. You hold your breath and meet his intense gaze.

'Dwight.'

You wince when he starts talking again but when you try to turn around and look at the man he just addressed, his hand holding your chin forces you to look up at him again. His eyes don't leave yours as he gives his order.

'Kill someone.'

The sound of an arrow pierces through the air and your heart jumps in your chest. A young woman standing right next to Dante collapses on the floor, an arrow stuck in her skull. Your vision goes blurry as the tears fill your eyes.

'Why did you do that ?!' Your voice breaks down and you gasp for air.

You can hear someone sobbing but you can't bring yourself to look at them. It's all your fault. You hadn't even met that woman before. The rage starts spreading in your veins but before you have the time to react, two strong hands grab you under the armpits and lift you up. You recognize Simon and try to get away from his grip but he isn't letting you go. You realize Negan is already walking away from you.

'Dwight, load her up ! I wanna be home by fucking lunch and be able to get some goddamn rest !'

A bag is quickly put over your head and just like that, everything goes black.

_________________

You've been in the back of the truck for what seems like hours when the vehicle finally comes to a stop. Your heart is beating loud and your ears are buzzing as the adrenaline rushes to your head. The doors open with a loud bang and you're being pulled out of the vehicle. The bag is finally removed from your head and you're blinded by the daylight. You turn around instinctively when you hear a noise you know too damn well. Roamers.

You raise your eyebrows in surprise and the anger actually leaves your body as you take in the view. The concrete building is standing tall in front of you, you spot a dozen metal staircases going to the top. You can't count how many windows there are but you realize with shock that there must be hundreds of people in there. You see a tall wall with barbed wire going around the perimeter and you can't see them but you can hear a lot of zombies not far from you. Negan steps right in front of you and brings you back to reality. He smirks and extends his arms out proudly.

'Welcome home, doll.'

You swallow hard and look around you in panic. The Saviors surrounding you are busy emptying a few trucks and all the noises, the laughs, the loud voices and the banging make you dizzy. Your body seems frozen in place and you just stand there, feeling out of place. A slap on your back makes you lose your balance and you turn to see Simon staring at you with a wide smile.

'After you, angel.'

You realize Negan is standing a few feet away from you now, his bat on his right shoulder, eyebrows raised. You quickly catch up with him and follow him inside.

As expected, the place is huge. You do your best to keep up the pace with Negan while trying to remember the way out, just in case. Though after five minutes, you just give up. The hallways all look the same and after reaching the third floor, you feel like you're going to throw up. Where is he taking you ? You slow down when you notice your legs shaking. You really need to rest. Simon's presence close behind you reminds you to keep walking. You take a deep breath when Negan finally stops and opens a metal door on the right. Is this the infirmary ? You're surprised to see a few beds along the wall, a desk with a chair and a lot of medical equipment. People would kill for that kind of luxury nowadays...

The door shuts and you turn around, startled. Simon just left you alone with Negan. Stay cool. You start clicking your fingers nervously and quickly glance at the man. He lays the bat on the desk before sitting down and setting his feet up right next to his weapon. He locks eyes with you and smiles when he catches you staring at him.

'Sit the fuck down, doll. I can see your legs shaking from here. Doc' shouldn't be long.' He pauses, his smile widening. 'Better not be.'

You sit on the bed right next to you and start biting the inside of your cheek.

'What are we doing here ?' You finally find the courage to ask.

'Making sure you're all good.' He unzips his leather jacket, still staring at you, visibly amused.

'Why do you care ?' You can't help but retort.

He stares at you with an unreadable stare and lets a chuckle out.

'You're breaking my goddamn heart, woman. Here I am, trying to be a perfect fucking gentleman, and that's all I get ?'

'What do you want me to say, thank you ?'

'Fuck yes ! I'd fucking love that, doll.' He shifts in his chair and lets his heavy boots fall on the floor with a thud.

You stand back up and get close to the desk, with a sudden burst of energy.

'Tell me the truth now.' You demand even though you wish your voice was a bit more threatening. 'How do you know me ? What happened in the cabin ? And why were you looking for me ?'

Negan stares at you for a minute, licking his bottom lip before letting a deep sigh out.

'Fine. We met a few months ago out there with Simon. We stayed in that cabin in the woods, that's why I knew where to fucking find you, doll. Believe it or not, but I'm pretty sure you had a fucking crush on me !'

You roll your eyes and your expression makes him laugh which kind of pisses you off but you wait for him to continue.

'Anyway, some dumb pricks attacked us one day and you had an accident.'

'What kind of accident ?' You ask when he pauses.

'You fell. Pretty fucking bad, doll.' He answers, his face hardening. 'Probably why you lost your goddamn memory.'

His jaw clenches and you realize he's finished his sentence. You stare at the ground, confused. Is this true ? It would explain a lot of things..but how can you be sure he's telling the truth ?

'Why bother finding me, though ?' You ask, shaking your head. 'And you didn't even tell me how we met ?'

'I fucking told you I would take you back here. The rest doesn't fucking matter.'

'It does ! Your story doesn't even make sense !'

As soon as the words escape your lips, you can see he's pissed. He clenches his jaw and gives you a dark look.

'In case you haven't fucking noticed, it's not safe for a girl like you to live out there.'

'Why didn't you take me back at the time then ?! I think I was doing fine before you kidnapped me anyway !' You snap back, furious.

How dare he put you through all this and then make it sound like he helped you ?!

His face becomes threatening and he pushes himself from the desk to stand right in front of you. His stare is cold and even if you don't want to show it, you wish the floor could swallow you and let you dig you way out of here.

'How 'bout you shut your goddamn mouth now before you really piss me off !'

'Screw that !' You let out in anger. 'These past few hours have been a nightmare because of you ! Seriously, screw you !'

You know you sound childish but you're angry and exhausted. Negan lets a cold laugh out that sends shivers down your spine. Without any warning, he grabs your arm and pulls you away from the desk. You try to get out of his grip and tell him to let you go but his hold on your arm tightens and you're pretty sure you'll have a nasty bruise by tomorrow. You mind starts racing. Did you just push him too far ? He stops right in front of a mirror and glares at your reflection, still squeezing your arm.

'Why d'you think you keep giving stupid fucking fake names to everybody you meet ?' He interrogates you.

You open your mouth but you realize you don't really have an explanation. How does he know that by the way?

'Because you're running away, doll.' He finally lets go of your arm and you take a few steps away from him.

Running away ? No...

'From who ?'

Negan sighs and you swear his face softens a bit when he lays his eyes back on you.

'Turn the fuck around.' He orders in a gravelly voice.

You turn your back to the mirror and look up at him. He's so close...You hate him but he feels so... familiar. He reaches for your t-shirt and starts lifting it up. You immediately try to stop him but he grabs your hand and squeezes it.

'Fucking trust me, doll.' He says in a low and surprisingly comforting voice. 'I'm not a monster. He was.'

You frown and turn your head to look at the mirror. You let a gasp of horror out and cover your mouth with your hand. A horrible scar is ruining your once smooth and naked back. It's pink and puffy and surrounded by dozens of cuts. Is it forming the letter ''R'' ? What the hell is going on ?! You feel your eyes filling with tears. You must be having a nightmare right now, this can't be real...but then you remember what Dante told you... You open your mouth, you want to say something but the words get stuck in your throat and you feel a tear rolling down your cheek. Negan lets go of your shirt and forces you to look at him.

'Listen to me carefully, doll.' He says almost in a whisper but you can't get your eyes off of your reflection. 'I will find the motherfucking cocksucking son of a bitch who's done that to you and I will hurt him so fucking bad, he's gonna beg me to finish him and when...'

'Why ?' You interrupt him bluntly.

He pauses, unsure of what you're asking.

'Why did I trust you ?' You repeat in a shaky voice.

He scratches his beard and looks at you with a serious face.

'I saved your life, doll.'

What ? Negan saved... you ?

You're about to talk when you get interrupted by a knock on the door. A middle-aged man wearing a white coat and tiny glasses steps in the room. Negan turns away from you, displaying his usual smirk again.

'Fucking finally doc' ! Been waiting for you for ages !' He barks, retrieving the bat from the desk. 'Almost got bored here. Almost.' He adds, winking at you.

You look at him in disbelief. How can he act like that after your conversation ?! The doctor apologizes to Negan who has already reached the door, a gloved hand on the handle.

'Dwight will be here to get her when you're done.' He interrupts his apology in a rude tone. 'Make it fast.'

Without another look at you or the doctor, he slams the door. You sit on a bed, feeling dizzy. You don't understand... Your mind is all over the place and you know the doctor is talking to you right now but you can't focus on his words. You can't even look at him. You just stare at the door, waiting.

Chapter Text

                                                          

 

You place your hands between your thighs and start fidgeting nervously. How did this happen ?

'Miss ?'

How did you not know ? Your stomach growls angrily but you can't even think about food right now. The information Negan gave you is looping in your head and new questions are popping up every seconds.

'Can you hear me ?'

You feel a hand touching your shoulder and you jump, looking up at the doctor in front of you. He's leaning towards you, displaying a concerned face, eyebrows raised. You try to mumble a 'yes' but only a groan comes out of your mouth. 

'Sorry...' You add after clearing your throat and you start shaking your head slowly.

'You don't have to apologize.' The doctor reassures you with a genuine smile. 'We've all been through a lot. Anyway, I'm Doctor Carson, nice to meet you.'

You shake his hand and try to smile weakly. He then starts asking you medical questions that you frankly don't even want to answer, but it's kind of a luxury to be able to be examined by a real doctor nowadays, so you comply. And then, in the middle of the check up, you break down. Maybe it's the questions, your exhaustion or maybe you just need to let it out but your voice gets caught in your throat and you start crying. The tears keep flowing and there is no stopping them. The man sits on the bed with you and lets you cry without saying anything, so you just empty your heart. You tell him everything. The memory loss, your scars, everything. It's definitely not like you to open up to a stranger but it's probably the only person you will open up to here. He listens to your whole story and when you're done, he nods his head a few times and gives you a sympathetic look.

'A severe trauma to your head could have caused a retrograde amnesia, which would explain why you don't remember the events happening before the accident.' He says, pushing his glasses higher up. 'Actually, a lot of different factors can cause memory loss ; Brain injury, PTSD, drugs, hypnosis...'

'Is there anything I can do to try to remember ?' You interrupt him.

'Well, the fact that you've recalled some events already is a good sign. Specific objects or situations could trigger a reaction and, with time, you could slowly start to put the missing pieces together.' He starts nodding. 'I don't want to give you too much hope but there could be... something else you could try.'

He scratches his stubble and walks to his desk. You jump to your feet and follow him, trying to ignore the dizzy feeling.

'Help me, please.' You beg him, grabbing the corner of his desk for support. Your head is spinning and your ears start buzzing.

'Sit down.'

You start seeing tiny moving dots everywhere you look and you quickly sit on the nearest bed.

'I cannot guarantee any results and its efficiency has always been controversial, but I could try to guide you through hypnosis...' The doctor says in a low voice.

'Yes !' You immediately respond in a high pitched voice. 'Anything is good.'

He raises his hands to try to calm you down.

'It isn't up to me.' He looks at you with a serious expression. 'Nor you.'

Negan. You mentally roll your eyes and brush it off. Screw him. You need this.

'He won't have a problem with it.' You assert quickly. 'When can we start ?'

'I will do my best and let you know if this can work out. But first, I need to examine your body, please.'

You sigh and start shivering. You hate this part. You don't really want him to look at you, now that you're aware of the current state of your body...You take off your t-shirt and trousers, instinctively covering your belly with your shaky arms. The doctor starts cleaning some wounds you didn't even know you had and you just sit in silence, wincing when the alcohol comes in contact with your raw flesh. After ten excruciating minutes, you can finally put your clothes back on and stand up. You feel dizzy again and your head starts to really hurt. You were hoping you could just pass out in one of those beds... The doctor heads towards the door and turns around to look at you.

'Make sure you get plenty of rest now. My door is always open if you need anything.'

You want to thank him and remind him about the hypnosis but you just end up nodding at him, staring at the door. When he opens it, your eyes immediately fall on the blond guy with the scar and the crossbow, leaning in the doorway.

'Doc'.' He says giving a headshake to Carson before glancing at you.

'Dwight. She's good to go.'

That's it. Dwight. The one who killed that poor woman back at the Hilltop... You glare at him and he straightens back up without a smile.

'Follow me.' He orders simply as he turns on his heels.

Whatever, asshole.

You do your best to try to keep up with the guy but his long strides are just too much for you. You have to place a hand on the wall next to you and stop. You take a deep breath in and you close your eyes, waiting for the floor to stop moving. You feel Dwight's arm behind your back, holding your waist. The physical contact makes you cringe and you try to push him away.

'Don't touch me.' You snap but your voice is so weak, it sounds like a whisper.

'If I let go, you're not gonna make it to the room.'

He helps you walking a few more feet and finally lets go of you to open a door on your left. You stumble into the room and let your body fall on the bed in front of you. You let a deep sigh out. It's comfortable, you have to admit. You place your hands on your belly, trying to get your bearings.

'What's happening now ?' You ask in a weak voice.

'This is your room. Rest. I'll bring ya some food later.'

You nod your head without making eye contact with him. He pauses, his hand on the door handle.

'I know you don't wanna be here right now but you are. And you're alive.' He adds while looking at you with a serious face. 'That makes you lucky...even if you can't see it yet.'

He shuts the door and you lie on the bed, his voice resonating in your head. Not for long though, because a few seconds after your head has hit the pillow, you fall in a deep sleep.

____________

When you open your eyes, the room is dimly lit by a table lamp next to your bed. You glance at the window and notice it's already pitch black outside. You must have slept for a long time. You needed it though. You slowly stretch your tight muscles and yawn loudly. You let a gasp out when you notice a plate of food set on the table by the window. Yes ! You jump to your feet. A sandwich and a fresh apple ! You take your first bite and let out a moan of delight when the fresh food melts in your mouth. You didn't think you would ever taste something that good again. Thank god nobody is around you to see or hear you while you sit on the bed, devouring the sandwich. You lick your fingers after each mouthful and sigh contentedly. You could definitely get used to this... You grab the apple and start chewing with loud crunches before opening the window in front of you. You have to push the rusty thing a few times before it gives out and flies open. A cold wind lifts your hair and goosebumps cover your whole body. You finish the fruit silently, staring at the faint moon outside before throwing the apple core out of the window. What now ? You can't deny you feel a bit better after eating and resting but what are you supposed to do now ? You need your stuff back. He hasn't taken your belongings only once but twice ! You need your clothes, your weapons... Since the apocalypse, those things basically represent your whole life. You head towards the door and decide to go out, even if you're probably not supposed to. Your attempt is cut short when you realise the door has been locked. Of course. You sit on the bed, frustrated again. With perfect timing though, you hear a knock on the door. You jump back to your feet and wipe your wet mouth with your wrist. The door opens up and Simon appears.

'Hey angel. How was that sleep ?'

You glance at his smiley face and without even realising, you smile back. Don't smile at that creep... You shrug your shoulders and nod a few times.

'Not bad actually.'

'Wanna have a walk 'round with me ? If you're still hungry, there's plenty more where that came from.' He points at the empty plate with his eyebrows raised.

'Sure, why not.' You accept. You follow him out of the room and shut the door behind you.

'Are we going to see Negan ?' You enquire, turning to him.

'Nope, not tonight. The man's sleeping right now. You do not want to wake him up, trust me on that, angel.' He adds with a deep-throated laugh.

You stay silent and follow him with a long sigh. He glances at you but you just ignore him and look straight in front of you. A few minutes later, you cross path with two Saviors and you recognise one of them as the creepy dude from that night in the woods. As soon as he spots you, his smile widens and his eyes go up and down your body in the most disgusting way. To your surprise though, Simon steps right in front of him, forcing him to stop and break eye contact with you. Simon is towering over the guy now, glaring at him in a threatening way. What's going on ? You take a step back.

'This.' Simon starts while waving his hand inches away from the guy's smug face. 'I want it gone.'

Simon places both hands on your shoulders and pulls you closer, still glaring at the guy. You're so intrigued that you forget to even protest and just stand there waiting to see what happens next.

'Her.' He continues, squeezing your shoulders while displaying a crazy grin. 'And you, Davey ? Not. Happening. Ever.' He articulates in a loud voice.

You try to fight the smile creeping up your lips and look at the guy's humiliated face. Simon's smile spreads even more and he lets go of your shoulders to give a rough slap on the guy's back which causes him to lose his balance. Embarrassed, he mutters something under his breath and quickly continues walking, disappearing down the hallway without another word. Simon chuckles and raises his eyebrows giving you a satisfied look.

'I think he got it.' He comments, lifting his trousers by the belt with both hands.

'Thanks.' You nod with a smile.

You follow him around the compound and he takes the opportunity to explain how the community works, the point system, the rules... You still have hundreds of questions, but you get a better understanding of how things work in the Sanctuary. And, surprisingly, Simon isn't that bad. You wouldn't say you enjoy his company but he doesn't get on your nerves at least.

After ten minutes, you reach the ground floor and step in the dining area where the smell of food reminds you you could definitely eat something else. Through the open doors, you spot three people working around the kitchen, talking loudly. So these people have been assigned to work in the kitchen. It could be worse... It must be late because the whole dining area is completely deserted and you sit at one of the empty tables, while Simon disappears in the kitchen. Your mouth starts watering when you see him reappearing with a plate filled with food. A vegetable stew. Amazing.

'You're not eating ?' You ask, surprised.

'Already had mine, angel.' He announces rubbing his belly through his shirt.

You nod and start eating your dinner. It tastes as good as it looks. The hot food is filling your stomach up and you do your best not to get too carried away and freak Simon out. He's already looking at you, rubbing his moustache, visibly entertained. You swallow a mouthful and look up at him sitting in front of you.

'Negan told me you were there too, at the cabin.' You start, wiping the corner of your mouth. 'Could you tell me some...stuff about it, I really don't remember anything.'

'Sure thing, I was. There's not much to say, angel. We were all kind of fucked up. I got shot.' He adds pointing at his belly and you remember him showing you the scar. 'But you patched me up good.'

'Did I ?'

He nods his head and raises his eyebrows, widening his eyes.

'Never seen a small thing quite like you before. Surviving that long out there by yourself ? That's pretty badass if you ask me.'

'I was never really alone though, I always had people with me.' You rectify modestly.

Simon lets out a huff and shakes his head.

'I dunno what you remember exactly, but you've been by yourself for a long time and you made it ! Alive.'

You stop chewing and swallow a big chunk of potato that almost gets stuck in your food pipe. You down the glass of water in front of you and push the empty plate on the table.

'Alright (Y/N), leave that, they'll take care of it. Let's go.'

You leave your plate and glass on the table and head outside the room with Simon. He readjusts his belt and turns to you.

'I'll take you back to your room now, unfortunately, I got some business to attend to.'

You nod your head trying to hide your disappointment. You don't want to go back yet. And you definitely don't wanna be stuck in a room by yourself. You could try to find a way to sneak out...Maybe Simon could forget to lock the room ! On your way back, you realise this place is like a huge maze. You couldn't even have gotten back to your room by yourself. You sigh when you're back in front of the room already.

'You're not gonna give me my stuff back, are you ?' You ask Simon in a defeated voice.

'How 'bout you ask Negan tomorrow ?' He answers with a grin. 'You got more chance in convincing him than I have, angel !'

You sigh and wish him a good night and let him lock you back in the room. When you hear the click of the key, you sit on the bed, trying to think of something. You start going through the draws in the nightstand. You find two pens, a newspaper and a bible. You could use anything to try to distract you but reading the bible isn't the activity you hoped for. You start flicking through the newspaper and your heart tightens when you see the articles. At the time, you didn't know how lucky you were, now you know and it actually physically hurts you to even think about it. You throw the newspaper on the bed. You can't even look at it anymore. Suddenly, as you're just sitting on the bed staring at the window, an image appears in front of you, like a memory.

You're in the cabin and you can see Simon lying on a blanket, his face contorted in pain. You have a t-shirt rolled in a ball applying pressure on the side of his belly. You're holding a bullet between your fingers and you're shaking like a leaf. Your hands are covered in blood. It's everywhere. On your face, on your clothes, you can smell it all around you. The bullet slips from your bloody fingers and rolls on the floor. Simon stops moaning and you realise with horror, he isn't moving anymore. Is he dead ? You press harder on the wound and your mind races. What do you do now ? You hear a groan coming from behind you and you turn around...

As you're focusing more and more on the memory, it slowly starts to fade away. You do your best to try to hold onto it, but it just slips from your mind and soon it's completely gone. You sigh and get back up. Wait a minute... You have an idea ! You run to the door and look through the keyhole. Yes ! Simon left the key in ! You grab the newspaper from the bed and open it before sliding it under the door. You saw that on TV once, you never thought you could actually use it ! You get back up and use one of the pen to push the key out on the other side. You retrieve the newspaper with the key and press your head against the door. Completely silent. You open the door and carefully take a peek out in the hallway. You tiptoe out and head towards the upper floors. You're not even going to try to escape. Not worth it. This place is well-guarded, you can't make it out by yourself without any weapons or help. You just want to be out, you can't bear being locked in. After a ten minute walk, your heart is beating fast, but you're surprised that you haven't even came across a living soul. You can hear voices behind the doors but nobody is out. Maybe they aren't allowed to go out at night ? You reach what seems like the top floor and are amazed to discover a different looking hallway. There is a damn carpet on the floor and even the doorknobs look fancy. You hear some female voices and laughs and you freeze. You can't go down there. It's definitely safe to assume Negan is staying in one of these rooms. You spot a metal staircase leading to a door hidden in the darkness and you silently run to it, hoping there isn't a nasty surprise on the other side of the door. You open it cautiously and let out a relieved sigh when a cold wind hits your face. The rooftop. Exactly what you need. You walk away from the door and sit right by the edge.

You close your eyes and take a deep breath in. From that height, you can't hear the zombies by the gate and the night seems eerily silent. You should be trying to figure out how to escape this place or at least feel scared but, right now, you feel at peace. You're so absorbed in your own thoughts that you don't notice the dark figure standing by the door. You wrinkle your nose when the smell of cigarette reaches your nose. What the hell...

'You want one ?'

The female voice makes you jump and you turn around, trying to distinguish her face. A thin and pretty girl steps towards you, handing you a cigarette. You hesitate and end up taking it, looking at her curiously. What is she doing here and why the hell is she dressed like that ?! She's wearing a blue dress with a diamond necklace and matching earrings. Her high heels echoing on the concrete floor sound so out of place, you can't help but stare at her. You don't really care about coming across rude right now, for all you know she could be trying to push you off the roof in the next minute. Speaking of which, you get up and walk away from the edge, just in case. She puffs on her cigarette before offering you a lighter. You mumble a thanks and light the stick, still staring at her, confused. Oh, you get it. She must be some sort of prostitute... It is a big community, some women might agree to take on that job in exchange of rewards or whatever. She smiles at you and extends a hand.

'Sorry if I scared you, I'm Sherry.'

'No problem. I'm...well I'm not supposed to be here.' You admit with a weak smile, shaking her head quickly.

'I know. Don't worry, I haven't seen you.' She winks at you and gazes back into space.

You stand awkwardly still and finish your cigarette while the girl is already walking back to the door. She steps on the cigarette bud with the tip of her shoe and gives you a smile.

'See you around.'

You nod your head and smile back. The sound of her heels soon disappear and you sit back down by the edge. That was...weird. You watch the cigarette bud fall from the edge and vanish in the darkness. A loud bang makes your heart jump and you let out a shaky breath. Is she trying to kill you ? You turn around with a smile but it quickly leaves your face when you realize who's standing by the door. It's not Sherry. You jump to your feet and get away from the edge. This time it might be necessary...

'Fucking seriously, doll ?'

You click your fingers nervously and try to think of a good excuse. Crap. You thought he was sleeping ! She must have told him. Bitch.

'Did you bribe Simon ?'

'N-No, he didn't do it.' You reply quickly.

You don't want to get him in trouble. Even if he did let the key in...

'I kinda... picked the lock.' You add evasively.

'Of course you fucking did...' Negan lets out in a low voice while stepping closer to you.

His hair is a bit messy and he's wearing a plain black t-shirt with camo combat trousers and his usual boots. He looks good. When you see his dimples and hear his husky voice, you're aware you're staring but you just can't help it. He's still getting closer to you and soon he invades your personal space once again. As soon as he crosses this invisible line, you hold your breath.

'Have you lost your goddamn manners, woman ? You're not even gonna apologize ? It's way the fuck past curfew AND this floor is normally off limits.'

'How am I supposed to know that ?' You retort, annoyed.

Was the prostitute for him ? Not that it matters anyway...

'Excuse the shit out of me, but I didn't think it was a fucking priority when you're supposed to be locked in a room !'

'Well...' You start, clicking your fingers again. 'I needed to pee.' You add with a straight face.

Negan's smirk widens and he throws his head back, laughing.

'Did you just fucking piss on my roof ?!'

'I did not. But you locked me in a room with no bathroom, I-I was bored...You took all my stuff... I couldn't even get cleaned. And I need new clothes by the way...please.' You add and you feel like you're just digging yourself into a bigger hole.

His hot breath hits your red cheeks and his musky smell enters your nose. He smells good... He chuckles and holds your chin almost softly with his gloved hand.

'Ok, doll. First one's free, you didn't know the rules. It's fine. But, don't do that again or you will be punished. Now, I apologize about the toilet situation, Dwighty boy fucked up on this one.'

You hold his gaze and feel his hand drop from your face but he doesn't step back nor break eye contact with you. You avoid his stare but notice from the corner of your eye, that it only makes his smirk grow wider.

'Come with me.'

His gravelly voice is giving you butterflies in your stomach and you try to shake it off. Damn, get a grip ! He grabs your arm as you're still frozen in place and guides you inside. Back in the hallway, he quickly crosses it and stops in front of a large wooden door.

'I don't normally like other fucking people in there, but...for you dollface, I'll make a goddamn exception. You can use my shower.'

He opens the door and invites you in. You follow him shyly and let a gasp out when you see the inside of his room. It seriously looks like a king's bedroom ! You try not to look too impressed but your eyes don't know where to look anymore. He's got a king size bed with beautiful sheets, a huge expensive carpet and bookcases filled with...well, books. So many of them ! You want to run to them and admire the collection but you refrain your enthusiasm. All the furniture is so luxurious, you can't believe he actually owns all that. It must be nice going back to this room after a long day, forgetting you even live in an apocalyptic world...

'Like what you see ?'

'Yeah. It's-it's nice.'

You really mean 'freaking amazing and you want it right now !'  but you don't want to stroke his ego more than necessary. You might steal one or two books on the way out though...

'Good.' He says simply and he sits on his couch, untying his laces. He puts his feet up on the couch and lets out a deep sigh. His smile is wide and he's looking at you with an intimidating stare.

'Get comfortable, baby doll. Bathroom's this way.'

He points at the door behind his back and raises his eyebrows with a smirk. You quickly nod and go straight to the room, avoiding his stare. Before you close the door, you hear him whistling.

'If you need any help, baby doll, I'll be a gentle-fucking-man !' His voice booms out, followed by a deep laugh.

You roll your eyes and shut the door without a word. This man is so full of himself.

You start undressing as fast as you can and jump in the shower. Oh god, you can't believe it... There is hot water ! You close your eyes and you've never felt so good in your life. The hot water feels like heaven on your skin. You even use some shower gel sitting in the soap holder and you let the fruity smell fill the steamy bathroom.

'COME OUT, LITTLE FLOWER !'

You gasp and spin on your heels, covering your naked body with your arms. Your heart is beating loud and you look frantically around you. Nobody. Your heart is racing and your head starts spinning. You swear you just heard a voice. It was so loud ! And it wasn't Negan's voice... The steam fills your lungs and you feel like you're about to suffocate. Your back starts itching and soon your whole body feels like it's on fire. Your eyes widen in horror when you see the water turning red. No. What's going on ?

'N-Negan.' You try to call out for him but your voice comes out as a whisper.

You're going to pass out, you can feel it. Your head is spinning and you feel sick to your stomach. You hold on to the shower curtain and try to turn off the shower one-handed but your hand just grasps thin air.

'Neg-...'

Before you can reach the shower knob, everything goes black and your legs give out.

Chapter Text

                                                      

 

You open your eyes and blink weakly, trying to distinguish what's around you. You're sitting on a wooden chair in the middle of a dark room. The air is humid and cold and you can hear water dripping through the ceiling. You must be in a basement... You realise with horror that your wrists are tied together behind your back and your ankles are duct taped as well. You can hear voices in the distance but you don't know if they're close or far. Besides, your head is banging and it feels like it's going to explode any minute. Your eyes are watery and sting everytime you blink. Your throat is so tight, no sound comes out of it. You have to get out of here. Fast.

Suddenly everything goes black and you jump to your feet. What's going on ? You're not tied up anymore... You hear a muffled sound to your right and your heart is already pounding in your chest. You let a gasp out when you feel a strong hand grab your wrist, pulling you towards them. You claw the hand and get out of their grip, backing up. You hold your arms out in front of you, trying to keep away whoever is in front of you.

'Get away from me !' You threaten, still blindly taking a few steps back. Your back hits the wall and you feel someone close to you.

'Shit, doll. Go back to bed.'

Negan ? The room is so cold and it seems like you can still feel the tape around your ankles even if you're aware you can move freely now. Is he really here ? Your mind must be playing tricks on you !

'Let me go !' You shout.

All of a sudden a blinding light turns on and you have to squeeze your eyes shut and hide them behind your right hand.

'How you feeling, doll ?'

You open your eyes slowly and see Negan's face not so far from yours. He looks almost concerned. You glance around the room, confused. Yes, you're in his room. Wearing pyjamas ? You let his hand on your back guide you back to the king size bed.

'You're fucking freezing, woman !'

You sit on the bed, looking up at him.

'What happened ?'

'You passed out in the shower, doll ! Doc' came to check up on you, you probably have a goddamn concussion now.' He adds, his eyes locked into yours.

You turn your head and sigh deeply. Your head does hurt badly. It makes sense. You remember now. You heard the voice while you were in the shower...

'I should go back to my room.' You say in a weak voice, standing up.

Negan frowns and his jaw tightens.

'Are you fucking kidding me ? I just told you, you almost broke your goddamn neck and all you're concerned about is going back to that shitty room ?!'

You shrug your shoulders and raise your eyebrows.

'I'm fine. Thank you, but I'm going now.'

'No you're not.'

Negan gets closer to you and glares you down.

'You stay here until I fucking say otherwise. Got it ?'

'I don't want to stay.' You retort, avoiding his stare.

'Well, that's too fucking bad, doll, but I don't really give a shit what you want.'

'What a surprise.' You mumble under your breath. 'You can't force me to stay here.' You add, heading towards the door.

You don't even realise how but, two seconds later, Negan is standing right in front of you, blocking your way. He chuckles but his eyes are cold. You try to shove him away and access the door but he grabs your wrists and twist them painfully, forcing you to get closer to him.

'Let me go, you're hurting me !' You shout in surprise.

You feel tears filling your eyes and you want to give yourself a slap in the face. Be mad don't you start crying like a little girl ! He's still looking down at you with a hard stare, not letting go of your wrists.

'It only hurts 'cause you're making me do it, doll. Are you done ?'

'No ! You can't keep me here, just let me go !'

'I can't ?' He lets out a low and threatening laugh and you wish you could shrink to the size of a mouse and run away. 'Go ahead, then.'

You furrow your brows. Is that a yes ? You turn around and quickly open the door in case he changes his mind. Before you manage to squeeze out though, the door slams shut with a loud bang. You're pinned against the door now, Negan's weight pressed against your back, one of his hand on the door. He brushes your hair on the side with his other hand, exposing your neck and leans close to your ear. You feel his breath tingling the back of your neck and you don't dare moving a muscle.

'Who the fuck do you think I am ?!' His voice is deep and cold. 'You are in my house, you obey to my rules. I make the decisions here, doll. I thought I was crystal fucking clear when I told you I owned you.'

'Please, I just want to go back to the room.' You whisper almost to yourself.

It's a lie. A big fat lie. But you're too confused to be around him right now. He's just making you feel things you're not ready to feel. You have to figure things out by yourself first. His laugh brings you back to reality and you try to push him away so you can straighten back up, but he forces you to stay still.

'You just don't fucking listen, do you ? You think you're gonna bat your pretty eyelashes and change my mind ? Well, news fucking flash, that shit doesn't work on me. I've warned you, baby doll. Time to do it my way.'

He walks away from you and you let a long breath out. You straighten yourself up and turn around, glaring at him. Oh, no fucking way... Is he serious ?! Negan's walking back towards you, with duct tape in his hands. When you see his smirk, you start shaking your head furiously. You don't exactly know why but your body goes in full panic mode.

'Don't tie me up, please, not with that. I'm sorry.' You beg him, backing away from him.

'You gotta get punished, doll.' He announces, his smirk widening.

You step back even faster and knock a lamp over. You jump and stop, which allows him to grab your hands and hold them together in one of his. You heart feels like it's about to jump out of your chest and you try to get out of his grip. Your attempt seems to amuse him as he snorts and raises his eyebrows.

'Please, Negan, I'm sorry, I'll stay here, I swear.'

The duct tape makes a loud crunching noise and Negan starts tiying up your wrists together. He groans and wipes the tears rolling down your cheeks with his gloved hand.

'Goddammit, doll, look at you. You're a mess ! Not being so brave now, are we ?' He groans and pushes you on the bed.

'Please, stop it...'

He completely ignores you and carries you in the middle of the bed, before starting to tie your ankles together.

Your vision goes blurry and your body starts shaking violently. You hear a laugh that freezes your blood. It isn't Negan's. You feel a hand on you, touching your legs and your face. The touch is cold and it gives you the shivers. What's happening ? You need to snap out of it. Your breath gets caught in your throat and you start sobbing. Is this real ? Are you dreaming again ? Your tears are preventing you from seeing anything around you and no matter how much you blink and try to clear your vision, nothing helps.

'Help me.' You beg the shadow standing in front of you.

'Nobody's gonna hear you, little flower...'

'Calm the fuck down !

'Negan, help me !' You cry out, hysterically. 'He's here !'

'Who the fuck you're talking about ?!'

You feel his hands grab your face and turn it to the side.

Suddenly, as fast as it went, your vision comes back to normal and you're staring at Negan, eyes wide open. You can feel your dry tears on your cheeks and you look around you, disoriented. He's on top of you, on the bed, and you realise your legs are untied, even though you could have sworn he tied them up too. What is the matter with you ? Are you losing it ? You shut your eyes, your head hurts too much. You feel Negan lifting you back up so you can sit up.

'Care to fucking share with me what the fuck happened ? You were acting like I was trying to gut you alive !'

You open your eyes, a few tears rolling down your cheeks and you stare at the satin sheets. You can't look at him right now. He seems to read your mind and gets his knife out to cut the duct tape.

'Better ?'

You nod your head and stroke your wrists while clearing your throat.

'I'm sorry...I-I thought there was...someone in here with us. I don't know how to explain it... I heard a voice back in the shower, before I fell. I know you must think I'm crazy and...that's probably the case but I heard it again now. I don't understand what's wrong with me.... I feel like I'm missing something but I don't know what... Why did it feel so real ?'

You shut up when you realise he's gotten up and is pouring himself a glass of whiskey.

'Want one ?'

'No...Y-Yes actually.' You rectify, wiping your runny nose with the back of your hand.

You take the glass he's offering you and stare at your bare feet, awkwardly. Negan downs his glass and sits on his couch, rubbing his temples. He sighs and looks back at you.

'Listen, doll, when we met each other, you told me about what happened to you. The prick who done that to you.' He gestures at your back. 'He was seriously fucked up. What I mean, doll, is that maybe there's a fucking reason why you can't remember it now. Better that way.'

You shake your head even though you understand what he's trying to say. After all, you would probably live happier not knowing the details, but your mind has decided otherwise. You need to know because some events seem to be getting back to you, whether you want it or not.

'Look at the world around us...It's all fucked up anyway. I need to know.'

Negan looks at you intensely before sighing and pouring himself another glass.

'Not tonight, doll.'

You open your mouth to protest, but you know better. He's not going to tell you tonight...and maybe you're not in the right mind to hear it anyway.

A knock on the door startles you. What time is it? It must be the middle of the night... You lift the sheets and cover your body, glancing at the door. Negan mutters a few insults and opens the door abruptly, looking pissed off.

'Have you got any fucking idea what time it is ?!'

You can't see who is standing at the door but he doesn't seem remotely happy to see them. You hear a female voice and your heart jumps in your chest. Is it one of the...

'Tomorrow ! Go back to your room.'

Negan shuts the door and sits back on the couch in front of the bed. You want to ask something but you don't want him to think you're being nosy. Even if you are.

'So ermm... earlier was it like...one prostitute that I saw on the roof ? Did she tell you I was there ?'

Well, that was smooth, ugh... He looks at you, licking his bottom lip.

'Say that shit again ?'

'I mean, there was a girl on the roof, smoking. She was dressed in a way girls don't dress anymore these days. High heels, make up and everything...' You explain quickly, watching his reaction.

His face lights up when he seems to finally understand what you said. He throws his head back and lets a laugh out.

'You're fucking adorable, y'know that. She wasn't a prostitute though, doll. They're the wives.'

'Whose wives ?'

'Mine.'

Negan doesn't break eye contact with you and you feel like he's studying your face, waiting for you to react. His wives... His wives ?! Plural ? And even singular, what the hell !

'Your wives.' You repeat turning your eyes away from him.

Asshole.

'Is it a fucking problem ?'

You laugh but not because you're amused, only because you realise how stupid you are sometimes. Yes, you said you hated him and you don't remember him, bla bla. But...you felt a kind of weird connection between you and him. And god knows he's been hitting on you, more than necessary. You truly thought, in his messed up way, that he liked you just a little bit. After all, who gets in so much trouble just to find someone and bring them back to their place if they don't have an interest in them ? Wait a minute... Does he want you to be one of his wives too ? You glare at him.

'There's no problem at all. Don't expect me to become one of your prostitutes though.' You emphasize the word.

'You need to stop insulting my wives, doll. I don't want you to be one of them, anyway.'

Well...thanks.

'I'm not insulting them, Negan. Do you love them ? What's in it for them ?'

'You mean, in addition to having the fucking honour to screw me ? They get whatever they want. And they don't have to work to get it.' He winks at you, displaying his usual smirk. 'Fucking jealous, doll ?'

You smile at him, raising your eyebrows.

'You get to fuck them in exchange of things they need. Sounds a lot like prostitution to me, but, hey, I'm not judging.'

Negan's stare intensifies and he's still smirking at you.

'Why you're all worked up then, baby ?'

'I'm not worked up at all !' You exclaim louder than you intended. 'It's none of my business.'

His smile widens and you seriously want to punch him. Is that supposed to be funny ? Of course, it bothers you... You down the glass you almost forgot you were holding.

'I love it when you get all mad.' He teases you, scratching his beard.

You jump to your feet and your head is hurting so bad, you have to wait a few seconds before being able to talk. Alcohol wasn't such a great idea...

'This is what I'm talking about.' You start with your eyes shut, rubbing your forehead. 'You can't keep doing this. I know you're one of those men who need to prove to themselves they can have any woman they want, but cut the crap. I don't need this right now.'

His smile vanishes. 'Sit down.' He orders in a cold voice.

You shrug your shoulders and shake your head while sitting back down on the bed.

'Is that why you lied ?' You ask him, staring at the door in front of you.

His brows furrow and his jaw clenches.

'About saving my life.' You continue. 'I remember you and Simon at the cabin. You were both hurt and I was looking after both of you. You didn't save me, I saved you. Did you just say that so I would feel like I owed you something ?'

Negan's face hardens and you can see you've pissed him off once again but he needs to know you're not dumb. He gets up slowly, balancing his glass on the couch. He stops right in front of you and leans forward to make sure you're looking at him in the eyes. His expression grows serious, almost scary.

'First of all, don't talk about something you don't have a goddamn clue about. Secondly, if you think I got time to entertain every random pussy that I meet, you're really fucking stupid ! And last thing... I could have three, ten or a fucking hundred wives, that wouldn't change the fact that you are mine. They're mine too but if tomorrow they decided they had enough and wanted to end our little arrangement ? I wouldn't give a flying fuck about it. They can leave and fuck as many dicks as they please, I'll still sleep like a goddamn baby at night. But you ? Oh, baby... You are fucked because you're not going anywhere and I'll make sure of that for as long as I motherfucking breathe.' He strokes your neck with his fingers before squeezing it lightly.

You try to swallow but you can't, you just stay still and feel like you're about to melt into his dark eyes.

'One day, you'll remember everything.' He lets go of your throat and straightens back up, smirking again. 'Now be a fucking doll and go to bed without me having to drag you into it.'

You swallow hard and nod slowly. You feel so dizzy, you couldn't get up anyway. You crawl under the covers and let a deep sigh out. Negan has already turned his back to you and heads towards the bathroom. You hold the pillow under your head and shut your eyes. With his musky smell all over the sheets, you drift off to sleep.

Chapter Text

                                                          

 

6am

You open your eyes and realise the sunlight is already shining through the window, landing on the pillows. You sit up and rub your forehead with a sigh. You literally feel like you just closed your eyes for a minute and woke up. You glance at the empty couch in front of the bed. No sign of the baseball bat either. He must be gone already. Good. You just want to rest anyway. You get up painfully and draw the thick curtains. You feel like you could sleep for two days straight. You haven't slept in such a comfortable bed since, well, even before the apocalypse your bed wasn't that luxurious ! As you're climbing back into bed, you hear a sound behind the door. You hesitate a second before heading towards the door. You're actually surprised to find it unlocked and open it abruptly. A man is moping the hallway floor and jumps when he sees the door fly open. He's wearing a dirty white outfit with a big 'A' painted on the front of his jumper. He looks rough, his long hair is covering part of his face and he stinks. Wait a minute...He looks familiar. He gives you a worried look but then his eyes lock onto yours and he seems to recognise you for a second, before turning his head away. You glance down the hallway. Nobody.

'Are you alone ?' You whisper to him.

He quickly shakes his head, avoiding eye contact.

'Is Negan keeping you here ?' You continue, trying to get him to look at you.

Where have you seen him before ?! He lifts his head up and looks at you, squinting his eyes.

'He got you too.' He mutters and that's when you remember.

He was there that night, in the forest ! He must be with Rick's group.

'What did he do to the others ? Rick ?' You whisper.

'Killed two of us...' He looks away and stares at the floor.

You can see the pain in his eyes and your heart tightens. You remember seeing the blood on the bat... You hear a laugh coming from the stairs and you can see the man's body stiffen. You tiptoe outside the room but he quickly grabs your arm, making you jump.

'He'll see you.' He lets out in a groan.

'Who ?'

'Dwight.'

You smile and shake your head. You don't care about Dwight. You walk as silently as possible and hold your breath, before peeking around the corner. You can see Dwight and...Oh my god ! You freeze for a second before quickly running back to Negan's room, shaking.

'What's your name ?' You ask in a hurry.

'Daryl.'

'I'm (Y/N), I might be able to help you get out of here...' You start.

'No.' He interrupts you in a gravelly voice. 'I ain't getting out.'

'Can you locate.. uh... Alexandria on a map ?'

He winces when he hears the name and furrows his brows. He nods slowly, looking at you, confused. You hear a booming laugh coming from the distance and you quickly get back inside the room.

'I'll find a way.' You whisper before shutting the door silently.

As you're jumping back into bed, you hear Dwight's voice ordering something to Daryl before the footsteps fade away. Your heart is beating hard in your chest. You feel bad for him. You don't know exactly what Negan is doing to him but, by the look of it, he's not being treated fairly. It's really not a surprise, but it makes you feel guilty. You've got it easy... Anyway, you need to find where they're keeping him in the Sanctuary and try not to let the anger get the best of you for now. You need to play it right...

_______________

A few hours later, you get woken up by the bedroom door slamming loudly.

'Raise and fucking shine, doll !'

You blink slowly and stretch your legs, your eyes landing on Negan. He's looking at you with a big smirk, his baseball bat sitting on his shoulder. Damn. Your throat is tight and you quickly push the sheets away from you.

'Simon's gonna be here any minute to discuss some shit with me. I suggest you jump in the shower, get ready, I brought you some clean clothes here.' He adds pointing at the couch.

Yes ! You jump out of the bed just as you hear a knock. Negan opens the door and you see Simon leaning against the doorway. You give him a shy smile before focusing your attention on the pile of clothes.

'Mornin' angel.' You hear Simon's voice say.

You hastily grab the whole pile and head towards the bathroom as the two men settle on the couch.

'And for the love of fucking God, woman, don't pass out in there !' Negan shouts with a chuckle.

You roll your eyes without giving him a look and shut the door behind you. After an amazingly enjoyable shower, you pick some new underwear, a t-shirt and a pair of tight jeans. It's been so long since you've had some fresh clothes to wear. You almost feel like a new person ! You look at your reflection in the mirror and you have to admit you don't look that bad. Of course, you have dark bags under your eyes and your hair is a bit dry and dull, giving you a tired look but your natural beauty is still there and your big almond eyes haven't lost their sparkle. Lost in thought, you stroke the scar on your back with the tip of your fingers. Negan's voice makes you jump and you step away from the mirror getting back to reality.

'You ok in there ?!'

You shout a confident 'yeah' and start getting dressed as fast as possible. After buttoning up your jeans, you dry your hair with the damp towel and check yourself out one last time. Ugh, who cares anyway... You take a deep breath and open the door, holding your dirty clothes in your hands. Simon is already up by the door, with a serious expression on his face.

'You go ahead, make sure Dwight informs everybody.' You hear Negan say in a deep voice. 'Give that to Simon, doll.' He adds and you need a second to realise he's talking about your dirty clothes.

'O-oh huh..thanks.' You stutter as Simon is already taking them from your hands.

He winks at you and disappears in the hallway. You turn around and give Negan an interrogating look.

'Are we going somewhere ?

He smirks and points at the hallway with his hand, inviting you to step out.

'As a matter of fact, we are, darling ! Got a little surprise for you...'

He steps out as well and shuts the door, still displaying his grin. A surprise ? That doesn't sound good... You have to almost run to keep up with his strides.

'Hungry ?' He asks, lifting his eyebrows.

'Always.' You hurry down the stairs as he laughs at your response.

As you reach the dining area floor, you cross a group of people in the hallway and the atmosphere immediately changes. They stop talking and kneel obediently, staring at the floor. Are they serious ?! You awkwardly cross their path and catch up to Negan, who's whistling with a satisfied expression on his face.

'Impressed ?' He lets out looking down at you.

You furrow your brows and you don't even have words. Do people see him as a king or something ?

'Are you seriously making the people here kneel when they see you ?'

'Believe it or fucking not but I'm not the one who started that. Not complaining though.' He adds with a wink.

You scoff and shake your head. What is it with this man ?

'Sit down, doll.'

He pushes the kitchen doors open and you sit down at the same table you sat the day before with Simon. A few minutes later, he comes back with a tray and puts it down in front of you.

'Think you can eat all that in five minutes ?' He asks still standing next to you.

'Why ?' You look up at him.

'Cause I don't want you to miss the show, doll.' His smile spreads across his face and his tongue traces over his bottom lip.

He taps with his fingers on the table before nonchalantly turning on his heels, swinging his bat. You look at him exiting the room. Why can't he never answer your questions ? You shrug your shoulders and look at the plate of food.

'Five minutes, yeah ?' You ask out loud staring at the plate. 'How about three.'

You jump and let a gasp out when Dwight suddenly appears out of nowhere and sits next to you.

'Didn't mean to scare ya.' He lets out with a nod. 'You can keep talking to your food.'

He takes a bite out of his apple and smiles at you. Well, he kind of smiled at you. That's the closest thing to a smile you've ever seen on his face, that's for sure. You decide to ignore him and start eating your food. Just as you're finishing your glass of water, you hear a crowd of people walking past the dining area and you look around you, intrigued.

'What's going on ?' You ask Dwight.

'Negan wants us in the main hall. Everybody.' He gets up and waits for you to finish your last bite.

'Why ?' You say, trying to chew as fast as possible.

You put your fork down and wipe your mouth as you get up.

'You'll see soon enough.'

You follow him outside and you see a crowd of people heading towards the end of the hallway. You've never been there. Everybody's talking loud and you just follow the crowd, feeling out of place. When you finally reach the destination, you're surprised to see what looks like the whole Sanctuary reunited in a huge hall.

'Stay here and just wait.' Dwight says before heading back out.

Where is he going ? You don't really want to stay here. You're not used of being around so many people anymore, it makes you feel on edge. Especially when there isn't any familiar face. Where's Negan ? You click your fingers and start fidgeting anxiously. Nobody is smiling and there's a heavy atmosphere in this place. This can't be good. You notice Simon entering the hall with two other saviors. Finally, a familiar face. He notices you and walks towards you, stroking his moustache. He stops right behind you and stands there quietly. Okay...

A few more people are entering the area and you spot Dwight coming back in with two prisoners. Your eyes lock with Daryl's and he gives you an imperceptible nod. All of a sudden, some loud footsteps resonate on the platform above you and you lift your head up. Negan is standing right above you, leaning against the metal railing, displaying a hard face. All the conversations suddenly stop and everybody kneel down. Seriously ? You just copy the rest of the crowd and wait.

'You know why you're here today. What is about to happen is going to be hard to watch, I don't want to do it.' He adds, his voice echoing in the quiet hall. 'Fuck, I wish I could ignore the rules and let it slide but I can't ! Why's that ?'

'RULES KEEP US ALIVE !'

You look around, surprised to hear such obedience. You have to admit, you feel small right now and he seems to be holding everyone else right in the palm of his hand.

'Right !' He continues, banging loudly on the railing with the bat. 'We are the saviors. We protect others, we survive, we bring civilization back to this goddamn world ! But, we can't do that without rules. They are the foundation of what we're building here ! So, if you try to fuck with these rules...' He pauses and his eyes land on someone in the middle of the crowd. 'Well, then it's the iron for you.'

At this moment, you realise a skinny middle-aged man with blond hair is sitting on a chair, shaking and sweating. What's the iron ? Negan bangs on the railing again.

'On your feet.' He orders while heading down the stairs.

His eyes meet yours while you're getting back up on your shaky legs and he smirks casually as he walks past you. You hold your breath when he stops by the man sitting on the chair. He looks at him with an amused look and you furrow your brows.

'D, you know the deal.'

Dwight walks to a big stone oven you hadn't even properly looked at and retrieves a red-hot iron with a hook. Oh no. What's about to happen finally hits you and you look around, horrified. Are you all going to stand here and watch it ?! This is sick. You start clicking your fingers again and you feel Simon's hand on your shoulder. He squeezes it once but you just can't take your eyes off of Negan who's sliding his hand in a big glove now, ready to handle the iron.

'Sorry, James.' Negan adds, raising his eyebrows. 'But it is what it is.'

And just like that, he presses the iron on the side of the poor man's face. You gasp and look away, shutting your eyes. His painful and desperate screams fill the room and your heart tightens. What has he even done to deserve this ? You look back when the screams suddenly stop and you shake your head in horror. The man passed out and you can see now the skin sticking to the iron when Negan finally moves it away from his face. The burn is beyond nasty.

'Wasn't that bad now, was it ?' Negan retorts, smiling. 'Let his face be a reminder that rules matter. And I don't ever want to have to do this again.'

The burning smell of the skin enters your nostrils and a sick feeling overwhelms you. You need to get out of here.

'That pussy fucking pissed himself.' Negan mocks him as he walks around him. 'Clean it up.' He orders to Daryl standing right next to it with the mop. 'Doc', do your thing.'

Doctor Carson hurries to the man sitting on the chair, without a word, checking his pulse. You turn around and take some deep breaths. You need fresh air. You're ready to head out but you feel a hand grab your arm and your whole body freezes.

'Some crazy shit huh ?' You hear Negan's voice in your ear. 'You must think I'm a fucking lunatic.'

He chuckles and lets go of your arm before walking away. You let a breath out and you feel Simon's hand on your back, guiding you out.

'Let's get out of here.' He says and you simply nod with relief.

_____________

You sit on the concrete stairs, gazing into space.

'I'll get ya some water, angel.' Simon says, heading back in.

You thank him and stare at Dwight who is smoking a cigarette in front of the fence where all the zombies are chained. The scar on his face... it must be how he got it... But what could he have done ? You jump to your feet and head towards him.

'Can I talk to you for a minute ?' You ask him.

He turns to you, looking surprised. He glances at you before looking back at the zombies.

'Yep.' He lets out, blowing the smoke in front of him.

'I'm going to ask you something but you can't tell anybody, got it ?'

He scoffs and looks at you with furrowed brows. 'Shoot.'

You take a deep breath and lower your voice, even though there isn't anybody around.

'I need you to bring me a map, on which you're going to show me our location right now and then, you're going to bring me to Daryl's room or cell or wherever he's staying and you're going to let me talk to him for two minutes.'

Dwight looks at you with a straight face before chuckling.

'And why the hell would I do that ?'

'You and Negan's wife, this morning ? Ring any bell ?'

Dwight's face twitches and he glares at you. He takes a last drag and flicks the cigarette bud on the floor.

'D ! Negan wants you inside. Now.' Simon appears at the top of the stairs, holding a bottle.

Dwight nods and puts his crossbow over his shoulder.

'Not today.' He mumbles to you. 'Tomorrow.'

You nod your head as he walks away from you without another look.

'Everything alright ?' Simon asks you with a grin.

'Yeah.' You answer, catching the bottle he just threw to you.

'Everything alright.' You whisper to yourself.

_________

A few hours later, you're still outside, sitting on the floor, your back against the building wall, reading a book. Before going on a supply run with a group of saviors, Simon was kind enough to bring you a book. Wuthering Heights. To be honest, he could have brought you a dictionary, you would have still been happy. The zombies groaning as they're snapping their jaws are like a background noise to you now, you don't even mind it anymore. You shift uncomfortably, stretching your numb legs. You would rather be sitting in the gardens but you feel awkward sitting there doing nothing while they're all working. As you're going back to your book, you hear footsteps on your right and you pray nobody is coming to bother you.

'Well, look what we've got here...'

You turn your head and your throat tightens when you realise who the voice belongs to. Davey. He's looking at you with a big grin on his face and your skin crawls. He's getting closer to you like a predator cornering his prey and you get up, closing your book and holding it up to your chest.

'What do you want ?' You glare at him.

'You don't have to be scared.' He retorts, looking at you intensely. 'Pretty ain't ya ?'

You take two steps back when he's getting a bit too close to your liking.

'Not that brave now that Simon ain't here to save ya ?' He mocks and his smile disappears.

You push past him, trying to keep your composure and not seem intimidated. He grabs your wrist and holds it so tight, you feel your skin burning under his fingers.

'Let go of me now !' You spit out through gritted teeth.

'Or what ? Don't see anybody around here to save ya.'

He grabs both of your wrists and leans forward to kiss your neck. You smell a mixture of sweat and piss and you feel like you're going to be physically sick any minute.

'Get the f...'

Just as you're about to kick him, a loud bang makes your heart jump in your chest and you freeze. You see his face lose colour and he lets go of your wrists in a second, stepping away from you. You turn around, the fear written all over your face. Thank god. You can finally let out a relieved sigh and massage your red wrists. Negan is standing at the top of the stairs, holding his baseball bat, looking at the two of you with a smirk. His eyes go back and forth between you and the savior and, even though he's smiling, his stare is as cold as ice. The man starts fidgeting and you swear you can see sweat forming on his forehead already.

'What the fuck is going on here ?' Negan finally lets out in a loud voice, staring at the man.

'No-nothing sir, I was just...' Davey stutters, smiling nervously.

'Shut the fuck up !'

Negan's angry voice makes your body wince and you can't help but holding your breath. A heavy silence settles as Negan slowly comes down the stairs and stops right in front of the savior.

'D'you really think I need you to answer that ?' Negan chuckles coldly.

'It's not what you think sir, she...'

'Not what I fucking think ?! So you weren't forcing yourself on her, that's what you're telling me ?'

You can't even move or swallow right now, you're just watching the scene in front of you, completely silent.

'Have you got any fucking idea who she is ?' Negan growls angrily, stepping closer to him.

'No-No, I...'

'She's mine. So you didn't just force yourself on any woman, you tried to take what's mine. Like one of my wives but ten times fucking worse.'

Ten times, yeah ?

'I'm so sorry sir, I would never...'

Negan grabs the savior by his throat with one hand, shutting him up and you've never seen him angry like that before. If his eyes could start a fire, Davey would be a pile of ashes right now.

'I don't care, you fat fuck.' Negan lashes out furiously. 'I will cut pieces off your shriveled up little dick and feed them to you until you eventually bleed out, let you see what a real man's fucking balls can do.'

He lets go of his throat and retrieves something from his belt. The guy scrunches his face up in fear and starts begging Negan to spare his life. You haven't even registered what's happening, but suddenly you hear a slash and Negan's hunting knife slides out of the guy's throat. You let a gasp out and take a few steps back as his body falls loudly on the floor. You stare in shock at the blood pooling on the floor. How did he just kill him like that ? You start breathing heavily, staring at the dead man's wide eyes. You didn't want that to happen. Not ...like that. You suddenly feel Negan's hand on your arm and you instinctively jump back, like it was on fire. You look up at him with a scared expression, you just can't help it. Negan's dark eyes stare into yours and he furrows his brows, trying to read your face.

'Are you scared of me ?'

You want to say something, anything, but nothing comes out of your mouth. He lets out a chuckle and grabs your wrist, so you just let his rough hand pull you away from the wall forcing you to step over the dead body.

'He fucking deserved it, doll.'

 

Chapter Text

                                                

 

After a quiet and awkward walk through the Sanctuary, you finally reach the bedroom door and Negan opens it hastily, pushing you inside the room. He's still mad, you can see it on his face so you just stand in the middle of the room, not moving a muscle. You don't know what to say or do, you just hold your book tight while staring at the floor. He stands a few feet away from you, staring at you intently.

'D'you wanna talk about what just fucking happened ?'

'No.' You respond, keeping your eyes glued on the floor.

His tone is serious but when your eyes meet his, you can see he's not mad at you. The images of that poor man's face are flashing in front of your eyes and when you try to make them disappear they are only replaced by Negan's hunting knife lodged in the other man's throat.

'Why are you looking at me like this ?!' He groans impatiently.

'I don't know what you're talking about.' You mutter, shrugging your shoulders.

He takes a step in your direction and without realising, your body betrays you and you take a quick step back. You look up at him before staring at the floor again.

'There, that look ! Why are you looking at me with those damn eyes like I just shit in your cereal ?!'

You stay silent and avoid his stare.

'Was it too much for you today ? You can't handle seeing a man in pain, doll ?' He chuckles and it just makes your blood boil.

'How can you laugh about it like you enjoyed it ?! That man was one of YOUR people !'

'I did what I had to do, doll. The man stole from me.'

'He stole from you and you disfigured him for life ?! You could have locked him up for a few days as a punishment ! You act like a monster.'

Negan lets a cold laugh out and steps closer to you.

'News at fucking eleven, we're all monsters now. It's time to wake the fuck up and look around you, doll. What made us monsters in the old world doesn't apply to this world anymore. We've all done fucked up things if we're still standing right now. I am in charge of a big community. I am the motherfucking leader ! There are hundreds of men here, doll. How do you think one man can make them all fall in line ?' He asks you with a serious face.

'Fear...'

'Exactly ! Fear. Only pussies wouldn't do what I do because they're not fit to lead. I am. So when I have to do some pretty sick shit, I'll do it with a motherfucking smile on my face because I ain't scared as shit to do it again !'

'Would you do it to me ?'

Shit. The question just slipped out and you really didn't mean for it to. You look up at his dark eyes. A smirk stretches his lips and he stares at you for a minute before letting out a sigh.

'I wouldn't want to ruin that perfect face of yours, darling. But, I advise you not to do anything stupid, because I will have to punish you. Somehow.'

His husky voice gives you butterflies in your stomach and you nod slowly. He's so close to you. How can you be scared of someone but crave his touch at the same time ? Something is definitely not right with you. You hold your breath when you feel Negan's fingers tilt your chin up.

'Don't be scared of me, doll. I mean, just a little so you behave like a good fucking girl.' He adds, his dimples appearing. 'But you're safe here, I'll make sure of it. I'm fucking sorry about the David incident, that shit won't happen again.'

You nod again and try to erase the mental image of him, lying on the floor with his eyes wide open.

'When am I going back to my room ?' You change the subject, clearing your throat.

He takes a step back and frowns.

'You don't fucking like it here ?'

'Yes but...it's y-your room. I thought that other room would be mine.' You explain shyly.

He scratches his beard and raises his eyebrows.

'You can have any fucking room you want, doll, but I'd like to keep an eye on you for now.'

You start thinking and there's no way you're staying in this room. What if he decides to see one of his wives ? What are you supposed to do, wait in the hallway ? That idea makes you suddenly sick and you try to brush it off.

'Don't you want to have your own space ?' You ask and you really hope he knows what you mean.

'None of my wives comes in here.' He says simply like he just read your mind.

'I don't really want to be here, Negan.'

'And why the fuck not ?'

'I don't know you ! You're...'

'You do fucking know me, doll.' He interrupts you harshly and he seems annoyed by what you just said.

'Well, I don't remember, so...' You start and your voice dies in your throat when Negan reaches out to hold your face with both his hands.

His thumb strokes your cheek and you start feeling weak in the knees. You don't know what it is but no man has ever made you feel like that. Your cheeks are flushed and you just want to hug him. Like a crazy impulse you're struggling to control. You try to take a step back and break the physical contact but your feet seem planted to the ground. His eyes are locked on yours and you get lost in his stare. To your surprise, he rests his forehead against yours, closing his eyes and your breath gets caught in your throat. You need to sit down. He kisses your forehead and you hear a groan escape his lips.

'Tell me you can feel it...' He whispers in your ear.

You can. You don't even need to ask him what he means. You feel it like a damn electric shock travelling through your body. You might not remember the time you spend together but the connection, or whatever it was, is still there. Even your memory loss couldn't take that away.

'I should go...'

'Come on, doll.' He strokes your hair and seems to think intensely. 'You know I don't want to keep you as a fucking prisoner here.'

You feel dizzy and you almost let out an embarrassing moan when he lets his arms fall to his sides. You're lost in his eyes, you can't even think clearly right now.

'Pass me Lucille.' Negan takes a step back, still looking at you.

You glance at the baseball bat laying on his desk and you furrow your brows.

'Why do you need it for ?' You ask suspiciously.

Your question brings a smirk on Negan's face and he reaches for your hand.

'How do you know what I'm talking about, doll?'

'What ?'

'When the fuck did I ever tell you, that was Lucille ?' He asks in a deep husky voice.

'When, huh... we...I...'

You suddenly stop and stare into space. When did he tell you that ? Good question. You can't remember. You just know it... You didn't even realise it ! He chuckles while bringing your hand up to his lips and kisses it without breaking eye contact.

'You're staying with me, no fucking discussion.'

'Fine.'

You're too tired to even argue. He walks away from you without another word and sits at his desk. He unfolds a map and starts scribbling on it.

'Can I ask you one thing ?' You ask in a quiet voice.

He holds the pen above the map and looks up, waiting for you to continue.

'I don't know if Dr Carson told you about it, but he said he could try to help me with my memory loss. If that's ok with you...'

'Of course, doll.'

Of course ? That easy ? Negan gets up and folds the map before shoving it in his pocket. He grabs his bat and heads for the door.

'I got shit to sort out now. Rest or read a fucking book, but stay in here.'

You nod and jump onto the bed. You try not to think about what Negan said. You can't get attached to him now. You hate him... Ok, maybe you don't, but it's better if you do ! You lay on the bed and keep the book closed on your chest. You close your eyes and after a few minutes you start drifting off to sleep already.

*

You've been scavenging since this morning, going through houses and houses, gathering as much food as possible. You're exhausted. You decide to search the last house at the end of the street, before heading back to the cabin where you've been staying for weeks now. Today is actually not a bad day. You've found several cans of food, a jar of old cookies, a bottle of expensive whiskey and some antibiotics. There isn't much downstairs, the kitchen and living room are practically empty, you're quickly going to check upstairs before calling it a day. As you're climbing up the stairs, you hear an engine in the distance and you freeze. Shit. You run up the stairs and decide to hide in a room until whoever this is leave. You sit on the dusty bed in the small bedroom and hold the axe tight in your hand. After a dozen minutes, you hear the front door fly open and some loud voices resonate in the living room. Your heart starts beating fast and you swear under your breath when you hear loud footsteps coming up the stairs. You quickly shake the backpack off your shoulders and lay flat on the floor. You crawl and squeeze yourself as fast as possible to fit under the bed. Just as you've managed to hide, you realise your bag is sitting right next to the bed. Before you can do anything, the door opens and you see a pair of worn-out boots stepping slowly in the room. You hold your breath and stay completely still. The person seems to look around for a minute before turning back to head out.

'Come on boys, load everything up ! Let's take off.'

The loud voice makes you jump. It's deep and raspy but something about it makes you shiver. You stay under the bed until you hear the footsteps reach the ground floor. As soon as you hear the front door slam shut, you let out a long sigh and grab your bag. You can't believe the man didn't even see it. It was wide open... You wait for a few more moments until you decide it must be safe to come out. You quietly go downstairs and head for the front door. You stop by the window and take a quick glance outside. The streets seem empty, you can't see any vehicles or hear any voices. Maybe you should come out through the back door just to be safe... You turn on your heels and your heart jumps in your chest. You freeze and hold onto the axe handle tighter. Leaning against the kitchen counter, you see a man staring at you with a faint smile. He must be in his thirties, brown messy hair with a light beard and his dark eyes are staring at you. He reminds you of an actor you used to have a crush on. He uncrosses his arms and pushes himself off the counter before holding his hands in front of him to signal you he's not holding any weapons.

'I ain't gonna hurt you, princess. I was just waiting for you.'

You recognise the voice from earlier. You glare at him and try to decide if you should just go for the door and run. You're fast. But if he's got ten of his men outside waiting for him, that's not the smartest idea !

'You knew I was in there.' You clear your throat, still glaring at him.

'Yeah.' His smile widens and he steps in your direction.

Your face hardens but your feet don't move. If he tries anything, you will use that axe, you've got no problem with that. He stops a few feet away from you and his gaze starts to make you feel uncomfortable. You don't know what it is but his eyes are...intense.

'You alone ?' He asks next, squinting.

'No.' You lie without giving details.

He's in front of you now, towering a good feet over you and you try to stand confidently. He rubs his nose with his thumb and takes a quick glance behind you.

'We've got a good little set up not far from here.' He starts, taking another step in your direction and you suddenly feel alert.

You take a few steps back and you're holding your weapon so tight, your palms start to really hurt.

'I'm alright, thanks. I'm going back to my group now.' You decline as politely as you can.

You turn around and walk to the door but, from the corner of your eyes, you see him getting closer to you. You suddenly turn around and hold the axe in front of you.

'Get the fuck back !' You threaten him.

He's looking at you with a scary smirk on his face and you swing the axe at him without hesitation. You let out a gasp when he grabs the handle one-handed and pushes it forward. It causes you to lose your balance and your back hit painfully the door behind you. He throws your weapon behind him and you see it landing by the stairs. You try to hit him but he grabs both your wrists with one hand and holds them above your head against the door. You try to wriggle out of his grasp but he's really strong and you feel like he's going to break both your wrists any minute. You suddenly freeze when you feel a blade grazing the skin of your neck. The man smiles at you and he's so close now, you can smell him.

'Shh, now, don't fight me. What's your name ?'

'(Y/N)... Please just let me go.'

He bites on his bottom lip and he's leaning forward, trying to get you to look at him.

'I'm Ray. Look at me. I ain't gonna hurt you, princess.'

You feel the blade putting more pressure on your skin and you try to hold back your tears. He studies your face and lets a groan out and then suddenly chuckles.

'I'm so sorry.' He shakes his head, while rubbing your cheek with his thumb. 'I can't let you go.'

'W-what do you want ?'

Your voice is shaky and you're praying he's not going to do what you think he is. But why else would he attack you ? He obviously wants more than the content of your bag.

'I just can't let you go.' He says almost in a whisper. 'Can't let someone else find you.'

His husky voice gives you goosebumps and you just want to run away but there's no way you can take him down. The blade suddenly leaves your throat and Ray takes a step back.

'Don't move, beautiful.'

He takes something out of his pocket and you see your opportunity. It's now or never. You turn on your heels and open the door in a quick move. Before you've managed to squeeze yourself out, you feel all his weight land on your back and your body pushes the door shut. You wince in pain and close your eyes defeatedly. You feel his arm slide around your throat and before you can move, he's got you in a headlock and you hold onto his arm, trying to push him away.

'Don't do that again, ok ?' He whispers in your ear, squeezing your throat with his muscles.

Your head feels like it's going to explode and you nod furiously. He finally releases you and turns you around roughly. His eyes meet yours and you feel some tears rolling down your cheeks. He smiles when he sees them and start duct taping your wrists together without breaking eye contact with you.

'You belong to me now.'

*

You wake up, sweaty and breathless. You sit up and your eyes land on Simon, holding the door open, an interrogating look on his face.

'Jeez !' You can't help to let out in surprise.

'Wow wow, I'm sorry, angel. I just came to see if you wanted to come down with me a minute. Bad dream ?'

'Yeah.'

You take a deep breath and rub your forehead. That was intense. You massage your temples and shake your head. You'll think about it later, for now you follow Simon out of the room. You can definitely use the distraction !

'How was the run ?' You ask, closing the door behind you.

'Pretty great ! We got a lot of good stuff. That's why I'm taking you with me, get you some of that good shit !'

'Oh, really.' You say surprised. 'You don't have to do that, though. I mean I'm not even working around here, I don't deserve more than I already got.'

'Listen to you, being all humble, angel. You saved my goddamn life, trust me you will get the good shit first !'

You smile and follow him through the Sanctuary quietly. You try not to think about your dream but you keep seeing that Ray in your mind.

'Remember more stuff now ?' Simon raises his eyebrows.

'Not really.' You answer vaguely.

When he sees your nervous face, Simon doesn't insist. You head outside, towards a building you had never even noticed. Simon gets his key out and unlocks the door, letting you in first. He closes the door behind him and lifts his trousers up before resting his hands on his hips.

'Take a look around.'

You are impressed to see all the things displayed on the tables. There is more than you could imagine. Candy, alcohol, cigarettes, torchlights, cosmetic products, shoes, clothes, cards, etc. You could have it all but you don't want to take anything, you feel guilty. Simon grabs a plastic bag from one of the drawers and shakes it open.

'Come on, take your pick.' He encourages you.

You look around you nervously.

'I don't know...' You hesitate.

Simon sighs loudly and starts grabbing random stuff off the tables.

'Candy ? Women love candies, right ?' He asks, throwing them carelessely into the bag. 'Alcohol ? Do you drink, angel ? Take this bottle.' He continues, not even waiting for you to answer.

He just fills the bag with random things and you can't help but smiling when you look at him. When he's done, you both head out and he locks the door with a grin.

'What else do you want, (Y/N) ?' He asks, handing you over the bag.

'I'm fine. Really, thank y...'

'Do you like ice cream ? We have ice cream ! We got some fat lady making vanilla ge-la-to.' He articulates with wide eyes. 'I shit you not. Want some now ?'

You can't help but let out a chuckle. Negan must have told him what happened with David, that's why he's extra nice to you.

'I'd love some actually.' You admit, nodding your head.

Simon laughs triumphantly and you follow him back inside.

_________________

You are sitting on Negan's couch, eating the ice cream Simon got for you. It tastes so delicious, you could eat it until you're sick. You miss all these little things you used to take for granted.

'Enjoying yourself, doll ?'

You turn around quickly and glance at Negan shutting the door behind him. You nod your head with a smile, your mouth full of ice cream. He chuckles and sits at his desk with a deep sigh. He seems tired and you realise since you've been here, you haven't really seen him rest during the day.

'If you want to rest I can bring up your food, you know...' You propose shyly.

Ugh. Why did you even say that ? Like your mouth just spoke without consulting your brain first. Negan stares at you with a smirk and his smile stretches even wider.

'You're fucking cute, you know that, doll ?'

He lets out a low laugh and you feel your cheeks flush. Why are you acting like this ? You finish your ice cream quietly and try to avoid staring at Negan. You can see him getting undressed from the corner of your eye and you take a quick peek at his tattoes. Damn.

'Look in my jacket pocket, doll.'

You furrow your brows and look up at him, but he's already disappeared in the bathroom. What's in his jacket ? You get up and place the empty bowl on the desk, while you hear Negan pissing loudly. As you're going through the pockets in his leather jacket, you suddenly feel your fingers holding a little box. You take it out and quickly open it. You gasp when you see what's in the box. How does he know ? You hold the four leaves clover necklace with shaky fingers and turn towards the bathroom. Negan hasn't bothered closing the door but you can hear him showering. Is it normal you want to run in there and hug him ? You used to have a four leaves clover necklace when you were little and it was your favorite thing ever. You used to keep it on you at all times and you secretly imagined it had magical powers... Anyway, one day when you were a teenager, the inevitable happened and you lost it. And your mother died in a car accident the following week... You know the accident had nothing to do with the loss of that necklace but since that day, you felt like your luck had gone with it. You must have told him this story... How else would he know ? You feel a tear rolling down your cheek and you quickly wipe it with the back of your hand, feeling stupid.

After a few minutes, Negan comes back out, a black towel covering his naked body.

'Thank you so much.' You mutter, holding his gaze.

'You are very fucking welcome, baby doll.'

You quickly get up and head nervously towards the door.

'I'm getting the food now.' You announce, hoping he won't stop you.

You let a deep breath out when the door is finally shut. It was too awkward, you don't know how to act around him anymore. Plus, you're not sure if he was just going to get dressed in front of you. You head towards the kitchen, deep in thought.

'Hello ? What do you want ?'

You jump when you hear the loud voice. You didn't realise you were already standing in the kitchen, in front of a blond middle aged woman glaring at you.

'Oh, sorry, huh, I'm getting Negan's food and mine.' You say awkwardly.

'And you are ?' She asks, looking you up and down nastily.

'(Y/N). I don't know if he gave you my name...'

'Yeah. You're a wife...' She scoffs and turns around to get a plate.

'I'm not.' You rectify, a bit annoyed.

'Who the hell are you then ?'

Is she serious ?

'It doesn't matter, just give me the damn food.' You snap impatiently.

You've normally got a lot of patience but something in the way she's looking at you drives you crazy. You just want to get out of here. The blond woman finishes preparing the trays and hands them to you one after the other. You mutter a 'thanks' before heading out of the dining area, balancing both trays. You surprisingly make it to the bedroom without dropping anything and Negan is already dressed, pouring himself a drink. Good. You put the trays down and take the drink he's offering you.

'Only one.' He warns you with a serious face.

'I know. My head.' You nod quickly.

'Bottoms up !'

You smile and down the drink. The liquid burns your throat and you feel the heat creeping up your cheeks.

'Eat up, doll. '

You take your tray and settle on the bed. You start eating without a word but after a few minutes, you have to break the silence.

'What happened to Dwight's face ?' You ask bluntly.

Negan puts his fork down and looks at you with a sly smirk. 'He got the iron, doll.'

'What for ?' You insist. You just need to know.

'They stole from me and fucking run away.' He explains before picking his fork back up. 'That shit doesn't fly with me.'

'You said they ?'

'Him and Sherry.'

Sherry and Dwight ? Wait a minute, were they together ?

'They were fucking married, doll.' Negan adds when he sees the confused expression on your face.

That explains a lot.

'Why is she with you now then ?' You ask, trying not to sound too bothered.

'She asked to be my wife, so they could both have easier lives. Now, look at them. She doesn't have to do fucking shit and he's one of my top guys ! He still got the iron, though.'

One part of you feels bad for blackmailing him now but then the other one can't understand how they could follow through with this. You finish your plate and wipe your mouth with the napkin.

'Come with me, doll.'

Negan is already outside the room, by the time you're on your feet. You quickly shut the door and follow him quietly up the stairs leading to the roof. You shiver when the cold air hits you and you take the cigarette he's handing over to you, one already stuck between his lips.

'We're gonna visit one of the outposts tomorrow, I'm taking Simon with me. We'll be gone two days, possibly three.'

You nod slowly and look at the black sky. It's almost full moon, or you've missed it already, you're not sure. You turn to Negan who's staring into space, a serious expression on his face.

'Thanks for the necklace.' You hold the pendant between your fingers, twiddling with it. 'It means a lot to me. I don't know how to thank you.'

Negan lets out a chuckle and turns his body towards you.

'Well. I got one or two fucking ideas how...'

The creaking door interrupts him.

'Dwighty boy !' Negan exclaims with a smirk.

'There's a...situation in the armory.' Dwight announces nervously. 'They need you.'

'Fucking hell.' Negan flicks his cigarette angrily and carelessly blows the smoke in your face. 'These assholes are fucking useless. Can't do shit without me holding their goddamn hands !'

He sighs and leans forward.

'To be continued...' He whispers in your ear before flashing you a sly grin.

As soon as the door shuts, Dwight gets closer to you. He stares at the door for a minute without talking and then turns to you.

'Listen.' He whispers, glancing back at the door. 'I can't let you talk to the prisoner.'

'Are you joking ?' You retort annoyed.

Is he not taking you seriously ? Dwight shakes his head and grabs your arm.

'Do you wanna get out ?'

'Huh...well, yeah.' You answer hesitantly.

'I'll help you leave.' He asserts confidently. 'But you need to be absolutely sure you want to leave, because you can't come back. Don't make the same mistake I made.'

'I'm sure.' You nod quickly.

He stares at you intently, as if he's trying to read your mind. He gets something ouf of his jacket and shoves it in your hands. It's a small scrunched up backpack.

'It has to be tomorrow. I'll come and get you, but you need to be ready to leave anytime, got it ? Now go and hide that.'

You quickly nod and thank him before heading back in. You quietly run back to Negan's room, your heart beating fast. As expected, he isn't there so you decide to hide the bag under the bed. You can't believe this is happening. Can you trust Dwight ? Of course... You don't think he would want Negan to find out what you saw. That's probably why he's eager to help you leave, so you won't be a threat anymore. You sigh deeply and decide to have a shower. God knows you will miss that soon...

Chapter Text

                                                               

 

You wake up feeling nauseous and sweaty. You're about to sit up when you suddenly feel a presence behind you. You lie on your back and almost have a heart attack when you see Negan sleeping next to you. What is he doing in bed ? Your breath gets caught in your throat when you realise he's only wearing a pair of black boxers. He coughs in his sleep and you immediately shut your eyes, pretending to be asleep. Just in case he wakes up... You hear him stirring and groaning until a tired 'fuck' indicates he's awake. The mattress bounces when he leaves the bed and you keep your eyes shut. A part of you feels bad, you won't be seeing him again, this is the last time. You want to open your eyes and say goodbye but you can't... Today is the day you're leaving ! So why do you feel like shit ? Why do you feel...guilty ? Your blood freezes when you feel Negan's lips kissing your forehead before he heads out. He thinks you're still sleeping... As soon as the door shuts, you let out a long sigh. 'Goodbye.' You whisper, staring at the door.

___________

A few hours after Negan has left the bedroom, you finally get out of bed. This is it. You're not proud about it but you start going through the drawers looking for stuff to grab. You will need some kind of weapon when you're out there. Much to your relief, you find a sharp hunting knife in his desk. How many of those has he got ? You grab a book and some clean clothes and start packing your bag. You remember all the things Simon got for you as well and you feel grateful for it now more than ever. After shoving a torchlight and some matches you found in the bathroom cabinet straight into your bag, you decide to go get your breakfast. As Dwight said, you need to be ready to leave anytime. After you've hidden your bag back under the bed, you head out nervously. As you reach the ground floor, Dwight appears out of nowhere and makes you jump.

'You have to stop doing that.' You mumble, as he starts walking with you.

'One hour.' He whispers, with a straight face. 'Go outside and wait for my signal.'

You nod rapidly and he walks away from you without another word. That's perfect. You've got enough time to eat and get ready to leave. You sigh and start queuing to get a tray.

Half an hour later, you're back in Negan's room, tying your laces. You've managed to grab two apples and three slices of bread from the kitchen and filled up two bottles of water, but you don't know how long that's going to last you. The palms of your hands start to sweat when you think about the next few days. You don't really have any plan. Yes, Dwight gave you a map but what if something goes wrong ? However reckless it is though, you've made your decision and you're not going to change your mind now. You are about to head out when you feel a pang of guilt growing in your belly. You should maybe leave a note for Negan ? Yes. You search through the drawers and tear a piece of paper before grabbing the pen lying on the desk.

Sorry for leaving like this, but I don't belong here...Don't look for me.

You hesitate while staring at the piece of paper. You're not sure if that note will make things worse... You shrug your shoulders and pin it under the bottle of scotch on the shelf, so it's not obvious, but you're sure he will still find it when he comes back. You shut the door and head out, holding your bag awkwardly under your shoulder. Nobody is really paying attention to you anyway, and even if they did, they wouldn't care if you were walking around with a backpack. When you're finally outside, Dwight is already by the fence, smoking a cigarette. You sit on the stairs, unsure of what to do next. There are a few people working outside and a man is standing by the main gate with a rifle. As soon as he notices you, Dwight walks up to you.

'You see that car over there ?' He asks pointing at the old white Land Rover parked in front of the fence. 'There's a hole in the fence, that's your way out.'

'Okay.' You nod nervously.

'I'll give you a head start.' He continues with a serious expression. 'But I have to radio him tonight to let him know you escaped.'

'I know, that's fine.' You assure confidently. 'So what now ? Am I supposed to just walk over there ? This guy is gonna see me.'

'He's not.'

Dwight turns on his heels and walks away from you, whistling. He suddenly stops and grabs his crossbow.

'HEY ! Who the hell done that ?!' He shouts turning to the fence where the zombies are chained. 'Chris, a fucking hand ! Everybody inside !' He adds for the workers not carrying a weapon.

You jump to your feet and look closely. The zombies aren't chained anymore ! They're just walking around, trying to find the exit. How did he do that ? When you see the savior named Chris, running away from the main entrance, you know it's time for you to go. While the workers are running inside, you run the other way and crouch behind the car, before squeezing yourself through the hole in the fence. You start running and almost expect to hear voices call after you, but nobody has seen you escape. You're free ! You run across the road and reach the woods breathless. You stop by a tree for a minute and get the map and compass out. Dwight has circled the Hilltop and Alexandria in red and you realise the Hilltop is actually the closest to you now. But you can't go there. The image of that woman getting an arrow in the head flashes in front of your eyes and you shake your head. You've done enough damage there, even if it wasn't entirely your fault. Anyway, you need to go now and hopefully you can make it to Alexandria by tomorrow night.

You start singing quietly to yourself, while walking in a straight line through the woods. You almost forgot how lonely being out here is... but you need to stop thinking about Negan. There is no way you could have lived in the Sanctuary, you don't agree with his methods and his ''rules''. He beats people to death with a bat, irons their faces, steals from other communities, takes prisoners plus whatever else you're not aware of. You can't be a part of this, he's dangerous. You made the right choice. You need to focus on staying alive right now and make it to your destination.

The day goes by slowly and, to your surprise, you only encounter a few walkers that you take down with ease. The sky starts to darken and just as you're unwrapping one of the sweets Simon got you, you finally reach the end of the woods. You're standing in a large field covered with tall grass and you can see houses in the distance, but it must be at least a mile away. You study the sky attentively. You probably got about half an hour before sunset. You can reach the houses and spend the night there. You start walking again and some of the grass is actually taller than you which makes you on edge. If a walker decided to creep up behind you, he could be grabbing you before you even notice it. Another reason to cross that field quickly before it's completely dark !

Luckily, you make it out in time and as you reach the road, you crouch to tighten your laces. You sigh and shake some grass off your hair with one hand. As you're crossing the road, your heart suddenly drops. Your whole body freezes and you feel a wave of panic wash over you. You're in the exact same street you saw in your dream, the house where you met Ray is standing right in front of you! God. How is this happening to you now ? Your breathing becomes erratic and the urge to run away is making your body shake. Even though you feel the tears filling your eyes already, you need to get over it. It's already dark, you can't spend the night outside. You take a few deep breaths and keep walking towards the second house across the street. You can't stay in the other house.

'I'll be fine.' You whisper to yourself. 'Nothing is going to happen.'

You hold the hunting knife with a trembling hand and push the front door open. After making sure you're not sharing the house with the dead, you head in the bedroom and sit on the old bed. At least, you have a good view of the street, so you can keep an eye out if you hear anything. It's only one night. Tomorrow at dawn, you'll be gone. You try to calm yourself down but you can't help the dreadful feeling twisting your stomach. You gulp down the rest of the water and lie on the bed, your stomach growling with hunger. You still have food but you're certain that sick feeling would bring anything back up. You rub your forehead and shut your eyes. For a minute, you wish you could be at the Sanctuary...

*

'You know I use that as a disinfectant, right ? Not for you to drink it all.' You comment with a disapproving look.

'Come on baby, live a little.'

You sit down by the fire, next to Negan. You roll your eyes but can't help the smile on your face when you see his sly grin. Drinking is pretty reckless in his state... But what can you do ? He's wrapped up in a brown blanket, his glassy eyes just staring into the fire.

'Have a rest. You must be fucking exhausted.' Negan lets out in a surprisingly serious tone.

Though when your eyes meet his, he starts chuckling and hands the bottle over to you.

'Or, you know, fucking drink with me.'

You hesitate and grab the bottle before taking a sip. You scrunch your nose up when the alcohol burns your throat and you cough a few times.

'How are you feeling ?' You ask him almost in a whisper.

He raises his eyebrows and scratches his beard slowly.

'Fucking terrific. Don't worry about me, doll.'

A heavy silence settles, interrupted by the fire crepitating, and you turn to him to break the silence.

'What happened to you ?'

He smiles and grabs the bottle without a word.

'Come on.' You insist. 'You owe me that.'

'I don't owe you shit.' Negan retorts with a smirk before throwing a small log in the fire.

You stare at the sparks flying out of the fire and take a deep breath.

'What if I tell you how I got the scars ?' You ask, staring at him intently.

Negan squints at you and seems to be thinking for a long minute.

'Fine.' He nods his head. 'No comment, no questions.'

You nod and hold your blanket tighter around you. Negan sighs deeply and his gaze lands back on the fire.

'I lost someone... very close to me. Right before all this.' He starts with a raspy voice. 'One day they were there and then... it all fell apart. They died. And it broke me. I don't feel anymore, no matter how hard I fucking try. I don't feel sad... I don't feel scared... I don't feel happy. I'm just...here.'

He shakes his head down and lets a deep chuckle out.

'That's my strength, the reason why I'm still alive. You tell me I have to crush a field of babies to keep breathing ? Sure. You say people who rely on me aren't going to live unless I turn someone's head into a bowl of fucking gravy ? I'm there. I don't feel bad about it. I don't think about it. It is what it is.' He pauses and takes another gulp. 'Survival.'

And right there, for the first time, you see the man behind the mask. A glimpse of him, just for a second...but that's all you need. His words still resonate in your head. Hell, you understand how the loss of someone can make your life empty and pointless... You are itching to ask him questions but you know you won't get the answers.

'Believe me, I get it...' You simply comment, nodding your head absently.

'Who did you lose ?' He asks and you don't know if he's truly curious or just trying to change the subject.

'You said no questions.' You remind him with a smile.

'And I said no fucking comments either, but anyway, your turn, doll.'

You swallow more of the whiskey and sigh before pausing.

'Ok... I was kidnapped by another group and kept in a place for weeks,...'

*

A noise wakes you up and you jump to your feet. You've gotten up so fast, your vision goes blurry and you almost lose your balance. Are there horses you can hear ? The sun is already up and you curse yourself for not waking up earlier. You take a glance outside and see three people riding horses, slowly pacing down the street. What the hell ? The man at the back catches your attention and your heart tightens. You know him ! You don't remember, but you know you've met him before. His face is familiar... You hesitate. Should you go out there ? What if they're the bad guys ? No, you have that warm familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach. You quickly grab your backpack and throw it on your shoulders before running down the stairs. They've already gone past the house and haven't even noticed you storming out.

'HEY !' You yell, stopping on the porch.

The man with the familiar face stops and turns around. He furrows his brows and seems to lean forward, studying your face from the distance. He suddenly recognise you and his whole face lightens up.

'(Y/N) ?' He gets off his horse.

'We've met before...' You start walking towards him, squinting your eyes.

'You don't remember ? I can't say I'm surprised after that fall.' He steps closer to you.

The fall ? Negan mentioned it when you first arrived at the Sanctuary...

The man is smiling at you now, standing only a few feet away. He wipes a few drops running down his forehead and lets out a sigh. He's holding a long stick in one hand and the reins in the other.

'I'm Morgan.' He announces with a genuine smile. 'I found you after your accident and I looked after you for a while, making sure you were not hurt too bad. Glad to see you're ok.'

'Oh ! Erm... well thank you so much. I'm sorry I don't remember, but I appreciate it.' You thank him awkwardly.

You can't believe you were lucky enough to bump into him. You really wish you could remember...

'It's alright.' He assures you. 'Those two are from the Kingdom.' He continues, pointing at the man and woman waiting a few feet away, on their horses.

The Kingdom ? They wave at you and you nod back at them with a shy smile.

'What happened to you ?' Morgan asks, frowning.

'Well, long story short, I've just escaped from the Sanctuary. I'm hoping to reach Alexandria by tonight.' You explain vaguely, not even sure he knows the places.

'The Sanctuary ? You were with Negan ?' The other man on the horse approaches you.

'Wait, Richard. You said Alexandria ?' Morgan raises his eyebrows, seemingly surprised.

'I've met a few of their people before Negan captured us.'

'Captured you ? You met Rick?'

Wait, he knows him ?

'Yes I've met him ! Negan ambushed us at night, I managed to escape, even though he got me the next day... You know Rick too ?'

'I've known him since the beginning of ...all this. I was living in Alexandria when you first met me.' Morgan explains. 'Have you got any idea what happened to them ?'

Your heart tightens when you see the worried look on his face.

'I know Negan killed two of them... I'm sorry, I-I don't know who...' You let out a sigh. 'Negan took a man called Daryl as a prisoner.'

Morgan stares at the floor for a few seconds, his jaws clenched before lifting his head back up.

'Ok.' He starts, nodding. 'Take the horse, go to Alexandria. It's only a few hours away.'

You look at the horse, shocked. You're not sure you can ride properly but it would definitely be a huge help.

'Are you sure ?'

'You need it more than I do. And you can always come to the Kingdom, once you're done.' He replies with a smile.

You're so grateful, you're actually lost for words. The fact that you can't stay at Alexandria or the Hilltop has always been in the back of your mind. After all, Negan probably expects you to hide there, but you won't put them in danger.

'Thank you so much.' You get close to the horse to pet his head.

'Don't mention it. Richard ?'

You almost forgot the man on the horse standing right behind Morgan and your eyes meet his.

'This is (Y/N), she's a good friend of mine.' Morgan steps aside.

'Hey, I'm Richard.' The man says, shaking your hand.

'Nice to meet you.'

'Have you got a map, (Y/N) ?' Morgan continues in a serious tone.

You nod rapidly and get your map out. While Richard is circling an area not far from where you are, you get on the horse nervously. You haven't ridden one since you were a teenager.

'Take care.' Morgan squeezes your hand a few seconds. 'And when you see Rick, can you let him know Carol is safe ?'

'Sure ! Thank you for everything, Morgan. Richard.' You nod in their direction and get your horse to turn around.

'Cut through the woods and follow the trail. Try to avoid the main road if you don't want to bump into some Saviors. You should leave now.' Richard adds before trotting away.

You nod and thank them again. OK...You can do this. It is a bit scary but you'll get used to the horse.

You cut through the woods like Richard advised you to and soon you see a small path, large enough for your horse to gallop freely but not big enough to allow a car to use it. Perfect.

Two hours later, you're surprised you haven't fallen off the horse yet. When you notice a small stream next to the path, you decide to stop and let your horse drink and rest for a while. You're almost there anyway, you can afford to sit down and eat something. You sit on the ground and get an apple and some bread out. You chew silently, trying to remember what Morgan said. He was the one helping you after you fell. But where did you fall ? Why ? Where was Negan ? You have a million questions to ask him. He will surely be able to tell you what happened and why you ended up alone even after you met him...

A strong wind lifts your hair and you put your hood on, shivering. After throwing the apple core to the horse, you can't help but think about your dream again. Seeing that side of Negan was...surprising. You remember telling him stories about your old life and the two of you talking by the fire, while Simon was lying on the blanket, still recovering. If you hadn't lost your memory, things would have gone differently... You stroke your necklace with the tip of your fingers and your throat tightens. You know Dwight has already informed him about your escape by now. He must hate you... As upsetting as it is, you know that if he was to see you again, he would definitely kill you this time. You close your eyes and think of the kiss he gave you before leaving...

Some gurgling noises suddenly echo behind your back and you jump to your feet. Shit. A dozen walkers are approaching you and you didn't even notice them. When did they get this quiet ?! You stab the closest one right between her eyes and throw the backpack over your shoulders hastily, shoving the map in your pocket. As soon as you're sitting on him, the horse takes off galloping without waiting for your signal. Thankfully he's gone in the right direction because you're not even sure you could stop him right now. The wind makes your eyes tear up and you're still holding your bloody knife in one hand. You're not far now, you know it.

After another hour, you stop your horse and check your compass. How you miss having a GPS right now ! You let the horse slowly walk while you examine the map attentively. Alexandria should be around here. As you lift your head back up, through the trees, you can finally see the road. And a big wall ! Your heart beats faster. You made it. You get off your horse and walk to the gate, nervously.

'Lana ?'

You lift your head and see another head popping up over the wall. Aaron. You smile at him and after a few seconds, you hear the gate slowly creaking open. Aaron's face appears on the other side and a genuine smile stretches his lips.

'How did you find us ?'

'Lana ?!' A voice exclaims.

You recognise Rick's voice and you turn around to meet his tired and worried face.

'I escaped the Sanctuary.' You explain with a smile.

'By yourself ?! Have you seen Daryl ? He's one of us but he's been taking away, like you...' Rick clenches his jaw and looks at you. 'Sorry, I didn't mean to...'

'It's ok.' You interrupt him with a wave of the hand. 'I have seen him, yes. They make him work around the Sanctuary.'

Aaron takes your horse away and ties it to a tree by the main entrance. Letting your gaze wander, you take a few seconds to admire Alexandria. It seems as the time stopped here and the small neighbourhood hasn't been affected by the apocalypse. In comparison, the Sanctuary seems depressing and cold now.

'I'm sorry about what happened, Rick...' You let out in a weak voice.

Rick nods and purses his lips, his gaze landing back on you.

'Are you ok ?' He asks you with a serious face, while squeezing your shoulder.

You nod slowly and realise he must think you just went through hell at the Sanctuary. If he knew the whole story...

'Lana !' You hear a familiar voice shut.

You really need to tell them your real name... To your surprise, you see Jesus walking down the street with a tall black woman, a big smile on his face. What is he doing here ? He gives you a pat on the back and, even though you don't really know any of them, it feels nice to be surrounded by familiar faces.

'You made it out!' He exclaims with enthusiasm.

'Dwight helped me out.' You rectify.

'Dwight ?' Rick repeats, raising his eyebrows.

'Yeah, let's say he didn't really have a choice.' You shrug your shoulders with a smile.

'Michonne, this is the girl that Negan was looking for.' Rick turns to the woman with the dreadlocks.

'I figured.' She says, nodding her head. 'It's good to see you.'

'You too.' You reply politely.

Jesus smiles and puts his arm around your shoulder, leading you slowly away.

'Now, you came all the way from the Sanctuary to here, you must be exhausted. Let's sit down and get you a drink. And then...' He leans closer to you. 'You need to tell me everything you know about the Sanctuary.'

Chapter Text

                                                                

 

'We can hide you in one of our houses.'

'No.' You refuse bluntly. 'He knows that we know each other, he'll suspect me to be here.'

Rick nods his head a few times and heads to the kitchen with your two empty bottles in his hands. You get up slowly and Jesus carries your backpack outside.

'Where are you heading ?' He asks, adjusting the hat on his head.

'The Kingdom. Morgan is staying there.' You take your bag from his hand and throw it over your shoulders with a sigh.

'Don't mind if I join you ?'

'To the Kingdom ?' You look at him, surprised.

'No.' He replies with a smile. 'I'm riding back to the Hilltop.'

'Well, I won't say no to some company along the way !' You tie your hair into a messy bun and wipe your forehead with the back of your hand.

'Please, take this.'

Rick comes out of the house, handing you over a little bag and your two bottles of water, now full.

'Some bread and sweetcorn for the journey.' He continues, one hand resting on his hip.

You thank him and shove everything in your backpack. You need to go. You would like to stay longer and talk more but you expect to hear Negan's trucks driving in here any minute now. It's too risky staying here. Rick and Michonne escort you to the gate while Jesus gets his horse from the other side of Alexandria.

'Thanks for everything.' You mount your horse slowly.

'He won't find you, don't worry.' Michonne tries to sound confident. 'You can trust us.'

You trust them, but you're still relieved that only a few people saw you here and not the whole town. You hear the sound of a horse and Jesus stops right next to you.

'Ready ?'

'Yep.' You bite the inside of your cheeks, nervously.

'Rick, Michonne, I will see you soon.' Jesus nods at them.

'Good luck.' Rick looks at you intensely.

You nod at him and wave at Aaron before the gate shuts behind you. Both your horses start galloping together and you have to admit, it's actually nice to have someone with you.

Though after a few hours and some random conversations, your thoughts converge to Negan again. You just can't get him out of your head. You kind of miss his cockiness and the way he blatantly flirted with you... You shake your head shamefully. Maybe you should remember that he's got wives ! You can't get attached to that kind of man... Even though, you can't deny you two were very close at the cabin...

'I'll go to the Sanctuary in a few days.' Jesus randomly lets out, interrupting your thoughts.

'What ?'

Is he crazy ? Why would he want to go there ?

'To get Daryl out.' Jesus adds as if he was reading your thoughts.

'How are you getting inside there ?' You ask skeptically.

'I was hoping you could think of something...'

You look away, thinking. You haven't been totally honest with them... You told them you were locked in a room and wasn't able to go around the Sanctuary. You don't even know why you felt the need to lie about that, it just came out of your mouth without you thinking. And you feel like a traitor right now, stuck in the middle of it. What Negan is doing to these communities is horrible and there's nothing right about it, but somehow you don't want to see Negan getting attacked. Even if he probably deserves it. But on the other hand, you left. You're not a savior, you've never wanted to be one so... you don't owe him anything. Arghh, why is it so difficult for you ?

'If you could sneak into one of the trucks and hide there, you could make it inside without being seen. It's really risky, though.' You clear your throat. 'And getting to Daryl is another problem. I have no idea where he's being kept.'

Jesus slows his horse down and looks at you.

'Good thinking... I'll come up with something.' He swats a fly and looks around him. 'I'm afraid this is where our paths split.'

You stop your horse and sigh. You don't want to show it but you're disappointed. Time flies when you actually have someone to talk to.

'You're going to be ok from here ?' He asks with a smile.

'Of course.' You reply confidently.

'Take care of you, Lana.' Jesus leans forward and reaches for your hand. 'I'm sure our paths will cross again soon.'

'Take care of you too.' You squeeze his hand lightly.

He nods at you one last time, before disappearing through the woods. You take a deep breath and keep following the trail. According to Jesus, you should reach the Kingdom in an hour or two.

After half an hour of galloping, you make it out of the woods and end up on a long, straight road. After ten minutes though, you're not sure you're heading in the right direction anymore. You can see what looks like a petrol station and a few shops in the distance. Jesus described the whole way to you, in detail, but he never mentioned a petrol station... Shit. You start feeling nervous again and when you've reached the shops, you hesitate. Should you have a quick look in there ? There's a pharmacy on your right, you could find some medicine, if you're lucky. After looking around you rapidly, you jump off the horse and tie him loosely to a street lamp. When you enter the place, you realise it's been ransacked already. Of course. It's a pharmacy after all. The only products left have been knocked over on the floor and you wince when you see a huge spider hanging from the ceiling. Yuck. A few rats run between your legs and you notice the door leading to a little office at the back is wide open. You slowly walk up to it and are surprised to find a few little boxes on the floor. It is mainly empty but whoever came here to grab some medicine seemed to have been in a hurry. You pick up five different boxes of antibiotics and as you check the packages, you suddenly hear your horse neigh frantically. You run to the door and freeze as you're about to push it open. A group of walkers, around twenty or more, is crossing the road towards your horse. You're about to run out when you notice a few more coming from behind the building you're in.

'No, no. I'm sorry.' You gasp when you see the horse pulling desperately on the reins.

You can't help him. There's too many of them. You cautiously back up, hoping they won't see you through the door. Just as a walker is about to take his first bite, the horse kicks him and manages to break free. He runs off and you slowly walk back in the office. You grab a box of painkillers and try not to panic. Ok, so you've just lost the horse... you're screwed. Especially if that group of walkers decide to stick around the shop. You can't take them all down, you just have to wait for them to move further away from the door. You hold your head with your hands and massage your forehead, you start feeling dizzy again. Maybe it's time for a break... You lift yourself up and jump on the counter before getting some water and food out of your bag. While you're chewing on a slice of dry bread, you pick up a box of painkillers lying next to you on the counter. As you're turning it over in your hands, a memory suddenly pops up.

You're in that creepy room you dreamt of but you're not tied up anymore, you're sitting on a damp blanket. From the corner of your eye, you can see Ray standing in front of you but you're staring at the floor. Your hands are red, your back feels like it's literally on fire.

'I got you these, princess.' Ray crouches in front of you and shows you a box of painkillers while stroking your hair with his other hand.

You wince in pain but doesn't even have the strength to move anymore.

'Thank you...' You whisper with a forced smile.

Your memory gets clouded again and you can't remember more. To be honest, you're not sure you even want to... You sigh and throw the painkillers in your bag. You rest the back of your head against the wall and close your eyes. You've got a headache coming, you can feel it slowly creeping up the back of your head. You're just going to shut your eyes for a minute, wait for the zombies to leave...

_____________

Your heart jumps up and you sit up, wiping your eyes. You lied down on the counter and dozed off. This isn't good. You can hear a second gunshot and your heart drops. That's what woke you up in the first place ! You grab your stuff and shut the door before peeking through the glass counter. You duck when you hear the loud sound of a rifle and see the walkers outside dropping like flies. Could it be people from the Kingdom ? How can you be sure ? You hear a few laughs and the banging of car doors coming from outside. As soon as the sound of the engine slowly fades away, you get out of the room and walks carefully to the door. All the zombies are piled up on the floor, brain matter spread all over the ground. Well, at least they solved your problem, whoever they were ! When you head out though, your relief is quickly replaced by worry when you see the dark sky. It's the end of the afternoon already... Is it safe to continue on foot ? The sun will set in the next hour for sure... Yes, you can do this. You must not be far from the Kingdom. It was probably one of their people cleaning up the main road. You have to stop doubting yourself. You close your jacket and take a deep breath. Kingdom, here you come.

You stay on the safe side and decide to walk along the woods next to the road. Still no signs of that crossroad that Jesus described... Why haven't you reached it already ? You decide to turn on your flashlight, you can't bear all the little noises coming from the woods. You need to see what's around you. A cold dry wind hits your face and you put your hood on, wishing you had gloves too. You sniffle loudly and shove one hand in your pocket, the other one holding the flashlight. You stop in your tracks when you hear the rumbling of an engine approaching and you precipitately switch the light off. You crouch behind a tree and wait for the car to drive past. You gasp and cover your mouth when you see a big grey truck appear. It's gone in seconds but you're still frozen behind that tree, your heart beating fast. That was one of Negan's truck... Maybe they've been collecting stuff from the Kingdom ? You slowly get back up, turn the flashlight back on and continue walking nervously.

'Who's there ?!'

You literally jump and drop the flashlight. You were so caught up in your thoughts that you didn't notice the pickup truck stopped on the other side of the road, lights off. You hastily duck and turn off your light. Shit. They must have seen that. How can you be so careless ? You see the blurry outline of a figure carefully crossing the road. You're hidden behind a big oak tree, in the pitch black, there's no way he can see you.

'Hey ! There's someone here !' The man yells.

What ?! How ? You glance behind you. You can make a run for it. You see the man reaching for his gun and that's your cue. You jump up and take off running, not caring about the noise anymore. You let a yelp escape your lips when you hear the whistling of a bullet fly past your left ear. What the hell ! Is he shooting at you now ?!

'Who the hell is it, Tom ?'

Simon. When you hear his voice, a strange relief mixed with fear invades your body but you keep running slowly.

'THEN WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU SHOOTING AT THEM ?!'

You try to run away as fast as you can, but the forest is dense and, without a light, you have to slow down if you don't want to run into a tree. You step in a hole and almost lose your balance. Breathless, you hold onto a tree and decide to crouch behind it. That guy has a light, he will find you anyway. You can't run anymore. Your head is pounding and you feel like you're about to pass out. You take your knife out and even though you know it won't do anything against a gun, it makes you feel better. This is it. You can't believe you've been caught already. The crunching noise of the leaves under a boot twists your stomach and you hold your breath. Maybe you can try to talk to Simon... A blinding light flashes your spot and you sigh, defeated.

'Come out, come out, wherever you are.' The man calls in a playful tone.

You push yourself up against the tree and step slowly away from it. The time suddenly seems to speed up and everything happens so fast, you don't even have the time to register it. All you see is your knife stuck in that man's chest. He's looking right at you with round eyes before collapsing seconds later, blood pouring out of his wound. His flashlight rolls on the floor and stops by your feet. You stare at the man, for what feels like hours, unable to process what you've just done.

'Angel ?!'

You turn around, with a scared expression.

'I-I didn't mean to, he just...he just ran at me, I thought...I thought he was gonna kill me...' You mutter, still staring at the man on the floor.

'Jesus Christ, angel ! Tom ?' Simon crouches by him and takes his pulse, before flashing the light on the man's face. He sighs and lets his arm drop. 'Why did you do that ?' He lifts his head up.

You click your fingers and shake your head. You can't believe you just killed him. Your blade must have gone straight through his heart. He ran at you and you truly thought he was going to kill you... He did try to shoot you in the first place...

'I told you it was like a...a reflex, I didn't mean to...' You almost whisper with a weak voice.

'Oh what, Tom ?' Simon points at the dead man with his eyebrows raised. 'Oh no, don't you worry about that, angel. He got bit earlier...I was gonna shoot him on the way home anyway! So, thank you!'

You let a relieved sigh out. He wouldn't lie about that, right? He stabs the man in the head before taking the gun from his belt. He sighs and gets back up, his hands on his hips.

'I'm talking about you. Why did you leave like that ?'

You shift on your feet and sigh deeply.

'I can't live there, Simon...'

'Listen, I ain't an asshole, angel. Not to you anyway. I won't drag you back there if you don't want to be there. But, as a friend, I'm asking you. For him.'

He won't force you to go back ? You're actually speechless.

'I won't mention this little incident.' Simon adds pointing at the other savior.

'I don't want to go back... and even if I did, there's no way Negan will let this slide.' You add, shaking your head.

'He won't do anything...' Simon starts and he seems to want to add something but changes his mind at the last minute.

But you saw it. Simon looks bothered and you know he's not telling you everything.

'What is it ?' You ask suspiciously.

'He wouldn't want me to... you know, tell you. Or maybe he would but 'cause of his goddamn pride, who knows.'

You have a bad feeling, suddenly.

'Tell me.' You insist.

Simon looks at you for a minute and sighs before stroking his moustache.

'Ok.' He pauses before continuing. 'We came back to the Sanctuary last night. Yes, sooner than planned.' He adds, seeing your surprised face. 'There's been some kind of epidemic at one of our outpost. People started to get a very high fever for a week and nothing seems to bring that fucker down. We tried antibiotics, we've got shit loads of medicine but nothing works. Eight people died already. And there are three more cases at the Sanctuary too, two died last week, but it's not over. Doctor Carson doesn't know what causes it, we're just powerless, angel.'

'I'm-I'm sorry, I had no idea...'

With the dead already walking amongst all of you, having to deal with epidemics on top of that is just depressing. Wait, that doesn't explain anything...

'I'll leave you alone, angel. Just promise me, you'll take care of yourself. The Kingdom is just up the road.' Simon turns around.

'Wait !' You walk up to him. 'That doesn't explain why you came back the same day if you knew that already. What's really going on ?'

Simon sighs deeply, as if he was dreading that question.

'He's got it too, (Y/N)...'

Your heart drops in your stomach and you feel the tears filling your eyes. No...No. He can't be sick.

'N-Negan ?' You stutter with a broken voice.

Simon clenches his jaw and nods slowly.

'The fever started yesterday...'

Your ears start buzzing and you can't even hear Simon anymore. You're just staring at the tall dark trees around you. You don't want to be here anymore. You shouldn't have left. You picture Negan in bed with a fever and it feels wrong. So wrong. He can't die. Not after everything you went through with him. You have no family, no friends, just people you barely know. And as fucked as it sounds, right now, Negan is the closest person to you in this entire damn world.

'Take me there.' You let out abruptly, interrupting Simon.

His face seems to lighten up for a minute.

'It'll cheer him up to see your face.'

You follow Simon through the woods back to the car. The ride to the Sanctuary is awfully quiet. You can't talk. Simon tries to crack a few jokes to help you relax but you can't. You just can't... Your heart physically hurts and you're doing your best to hold back the tears. You just stare out of the window and try to block out your thoughts. When Simon pulls up by the Sanctuary door, you freeze in your seat.

'You ok ?' Simon stops the engine and leans forward to look at your face.

You nod and open the door abruptly before jumping out of the vehicle. Dwight almost instantly appears in front of Simon.

'Where's Tom ? He took two of our guns without writing it in the inventory.'

Dwight seems to only realise your presence and you can see his confused expression as he looks you up and down.

'You're back !' He adds, looking at you with a false smile.

You nod absently.

'Well, Tom won't be a problem anymore !' Simon exclaims dryly. 'He got bit.'

You follow Simon inside, without another look at Dwight. It's just past dinner time, so the Sanctuary is quite lively. You look at everybody with a blank face. People are laughing, drinking. How can they be so carefree ? Their leader is dying ! What are they going to do if he...doesn't make it ? The other communities will take that opportunity and make them pay. Not that you care about them anyway...You swallow your tears but the big lump in your throat is almost choking you. Simon suddenly turns and heads downstairs.

'Where are we going ?' You ask, confused. 'Isn't he in his bedroom ?'

'Nah, he's in a special room down here.'

You furrow your brows and the knot in your stomach tightens. Is he that bad that he had to be brought down here ? You feel a cold draft infiltrate the hallway and you shiver. Something is off. Simon suddenly stops and opens one of the metal door with a key. It's a little square room, that looks more like a cell to you, with nothing but a petrol lamp sitting on the floor. Simon steps aside and you glance at him with confusion.

'I'm sorry, angel. I had to get you here somehow...'

What...? No... Suddenly it hits you and you understand. You smile and nod your head, biting your lower lip. How naive you were...

'Well, damn...'

As soon as you hear Negan's voice behind you, you shake your head in disbelief. They got you so easily...

'You can go, Simon.' Negan appears slowly in front of you.

Simon gives you an apologetic look and walks away from you, heading back upstairs. You stay frozen in place, staring at the floor. Negan leans forward to catch your attention.

'No hello ? I'm fucking heartbroken.'

You stay still like a statue, not even blinking.

'LOOK AT ME WHEN I FUCKING TALK !' He barks angrily.

His voice makes you jump and suddenly you feel like you can't hold it together anymore. All the tension releases from your body and you feel the tears flowing down your cheeks, you can't do anything to stop them.

'P-Please just don't... I though y-you were sick and...'

'Hush now.' He says almost in a whisper, stroking your wet cheek softly. 'I don't give a shit what you have to say, doll. Get inside.'

You step inside, still crying and just stand in the corner of the room, while Negan lights the lamp. He then shuts the door and turns to you. He looks handsome with his hair slicked back, his basic white t-shirt and black jeans...and his smell is so intoxicating. As much as you hate him right now, you've missed him too. You want to hug him because a part of you is relieved is healthy, but the other part wants to run away because you can see something in his eyes you've never seen before and it scares you. A smile stretches his lips as he's stepping closer to you. You instinctively take two steps away from him and your back hits the wall. He lets a laugh out and continues stepping slowly towards you.

'Scared of me, again ?' He leans towards you and whispers in your ear.

You stay silent and swallow your tears. His smile grows wider and he takes a step back.

'I'm sorry for leaving like this...' You mutter when you still have the courage.

'Yeah.' He raises his eyebrows, mockingly. 'I got your fucking note.'

You stare at the wall in front of you. There's no way out of this. He's going to make you pay and not knowing how is the worst part. You let your bag drop on the floor.

'What are you gonna do to me ?' You try to sound confident but your voice definitely betrays your real emotions.

'Punish you.' He squints at you and bites his lower lip before continuing. 'You see, here's the thing, I've been too fucking nice to you, now you need to understand. You think you can get away with every little shitty stunts you pull but you're damn fucking wrong.'

'I'm sorry, I di...'

'Listen to me.' He grabs your face with one hand and pushes it brutally against the wall. 'You are mine. Everything you have is mine. You don't get to leave or do anything I don't want you to. I own you. Now...you've been a bad fucking girl and I can't have that. You understand I have to punish you, right, baby doll?'

'Yes.'

No point in fighting. He's got too much power over you.

'Yes... ?' He repeats, pushing your face harder against the cold wall.

'Yes, Negan.' You mumble quickly.

'See, now I'm gonna need you to speak the fuck up.'

'Yes, Negan.' You repeat, swallowing your pride.

'Good girl. Now, take off your pants.'

'Wh-what ?' You ask nervously.

His request takes you by surprise. He wouldn't do that... right ? Negan grabs a handful of your hair with his rough hand and pulls it harshly, spinning your body around, so your back hits his chest. You cry out in surprise and pain when his fingers get tangled in your bun and his grip is so tight your back arches against his body.

'Take your fucking pants off. Now.'

He lets go of your hair and you immediately turn around, your hair falling out of the bun. He glares down at you with threatening eyes and a tight jaw as he starts undoing his belt. The panic flows through your veins but you do as he says, a tear rolling down your cheek. He pulls his belt out of the loops with one quick move and you feel your bare legs shaking. What the fuck is going on ? He comes slowly behind you and you feel one of his fingers tugging at your panties.

'You can keep that shit on if you want.' He says in that husky voice that makes the hair of your entire body stand up. 'Hands on the wall.'

You swallow hard and put your hands up on the cold wall, goosebumps covering your body.

'Now, baby doll, it's gonna sting like shit but I want you to stay still and quiet for me.' You hear his deep chuckle and feel his hot breath hitting the back of your neck. 'Well, you can cry if you fucking like.'

Before you even have the time to pronounce a single word, the first cold and painful smack hits your ass and you gasp in shock. You rub your skin furiously, trying to attenuate the burning sensation.

'Hands on the fucking wall !'

'Please, Negan, just sto...'

When he brings the belt down for a second time, you feel like a million needles stinging your butt. You twitch and hiss but the third one hits you so hard, you actually freeze for a second. The tears fill your eyes and you're trying to hold them back the best you can.

'You know what, my fucking bad.' Negan suddenly pauses with a smile. 'You need to count them out loud, or it doesn't fucking count at all.' His beard brushes the top of your head and his voice lowers. 'And don't even think about fighting it or I'll make it double, fuck, I'll make it even triple, just 'cause you fucking deserve it that much.'

You want to protest and scream at him, but there's no way out of this. You just have to take it. And he's definitely not being gentle with you. The first four blows you get honestly feels like hell. You've never been spanked before, let alone with a belt, and you feel so humiliated, you want to disappear deep underground. But then, Negan hits you a fifth time and, as your body jerks, something unexpected happens. As the number of blows increases, the sting seems to mellow a bit and turns into a constant heat radiating from your buttcheeks to your intimate spot. Are you enjoying this ?

'6.'

You have tears rolling down your face and you feel like your butt is on fire but everytime the belt comes in contact with your bare skin, you feel...owned. And, boy, you're so ashamed right now but you actually enjoy it.

'7 !'

You feel the heat growing between your trembling thighs, your panties get damp and you can't help but fantasize about Negan's hands on you. You fight the urge to moan after each hit and you feel your nails scraping the wall as your fingers curl up in pain.

'Who do you belong to ?' Negan groans right in your ear.

'You.'

'Damn fucking right !'

You wince in pain and squirm but another unmerciful hit reminds you not to move. The leather belt painfully lands on your butt one last time and your weakened arms drop simultaneously. 10... Your legs are shaking and you're breathing heavily.

'Look at you ! Took it like the good fucking girl you are.' He lets out a deep-throated laugh and carefully pulls your jeans back up.

You wipe the tears and try to compose yourself. But truth is, you're a mess. You've been crying your eyes out, your butt feels like it's actually bleeding, you're sweating like crazy and well...let's say your panties are soaked right now. You button up your trousers, your whole body shaking. Negan picks up the lamp and your backpack with one hand. He then starts whistling casually before looking back at you with dark eyes. He steps closer to you and uses his thumb to wipe a tear rolling down your cheek.

'Wasn't that bad now, was it ?'

You shake your head in silence. He flashes a cocky smile at you and strokes your cheek one last time before turning his back to you.

'I'll be back in the morning, baby doll.'

His lips stretch into a full grin and he slams the door shut, leaving you in the dark.

Chapter Text

                                                           

 

'Oh my god, seriously ?'

You grab the M&M's pouch from the counter, a cheesy smile on your face. They used to be your favorite ! You have to restrain yourself from tearing the bag open and devouring them on the spot. After making sure you haven't left anything valuable, you zip up your bag and head upstairs.

'And then I'm going back...' You whisper to yourself with a sigh.

You go through the rooms but apart from some old magazines and three dusty toilet rolls, you don't find anything interesting. You walk past a moldy aquarium and wonder how long the fishes survived in that murky water after the pump stopped working. You let a deep breath out and head back down. You freeze in your tracks when you suddenly hear a gunshot. Was that right outside ?

'Shit !' You exclaim, ducking behind the banister.

The gunshots are echoing outside and you hold onto the banister, your heart beating fast. You're so confused, you can't even process what's happening. It was dead silent a minute ago and now you feel like you've just been dropped in the middle of a warzone. The guns and loud shouts are making your ears ring. What's going on outside ? Is it...him ? Has he found you already ? You knew you shouldn't have settled around here already... You can't possibly go out now... The gunshots seem to stop and you hold your breath. As you're about to get up, the front door flies open and you freeze half way.

'Get the fuck in ! Shut the door !'

Two men enter the building, holding guns. You slowly get back down, hoping they won't see you but you don't know who you're kidding right now because you're right in front of them, it's only a matter of seconds.

'Hey, we got company !' The first guy points his gun at you in surprise and you hold your hands up.

'No, no, no... I-I don't know what's going on.' You let out quickly, shaking your head.

'What the fuck you doing here ?'

As soon as you meet the other man's stare you feel your heart tightening... He's handsome.

'Just... looking for stuff.' You reply vaguely.

He looks at you with a hard stare before glancing back at the first man.

'Did we just fucking lose everyone ?'

'I think we did...'

You let your hands drop awkwardly before climbing down the remaining stairs.

'What's your name, doll ?'

You glance at the empty beer bottle lying on the floor, by your feet.

'Erm...Stella.' You nod your head, avoiding his gaze.

'Well, nice to meet you, Stella.' He emphasizes the name, like he somehow knows you just gave him a fake one. 'I'm Negan.' He adds in a deep voice.

'There are only two pricks left.' The other man says, scratching his beard.

As he turns around, the front door flies open again and your heart drops.

'Look out !' You try to warn him.

Bang.

'Fuck fuckity fuck ! I'll kill you, you cocksucking prick !'

You gasp in horror. The man with the moustache is on the floor now, blood staining his dirty checkered shirt. He seems dead to you... Negan is busy smashing the other guy's brains out with his handgun. Literally. When you see the guy's skull breaking under the hits, you have to look away. You don't want to see this. You jump over the counter and reach the back door. Negan is not paying attention to you and the other guy is obviously dead. You can just go... Just as the thought crosses your mind, the guy on the floor opens his eyes and starts moaning in pain. You can sneek out now...right ? You've gone through enough shit already. Come on...You close your eyes for a second... Screw it. You turn around and walk to the guy on the floor. He looks up at you, panting and sweating.

'Damn...Am I dead ?' He mutters, looking drowsily around him. 'Are you an... angel ?'

'Don't move.' You interrupt him, putting your two hands on his torso. 'You've been shot, ok ? It's ok...you're gonna be ok....' You continue more for yourself than for him.

You flip him on the side to look for the exit wound. There's none. Shit. This isn't good. You cover the wound with your two shaky hands and press firmly while looking around you frantically. You need to try to slow down the bleeding. Negan suddenly crouches next to you and pushes your hands away. He covers the wound with a piece of cloth and ties a shirt around the man's waist as tight as possible.

'Fuck sake Simon...' He whispers angrily.

The man has lost consciousness again and you get up, legs shaking. You should go, it's not your problem anymore... As you're turning on your heels, your eyes land on a young man standing right by the open door. When you meet his threatening eyes, your heart drops, your body freezes and everything seems to go in slow motion. This can't be it. You see the man staring nervously at you but his hand holding the gun has already decided your fate. You're not dying like this, after what you've gone through...no... Not today. Your body is frozen though and there's nothing you can do to get yourself out of this. Just as you expect to feel the bullet piercing through your skin, Negan's body suddenly appears in front of you and shields you from the threat.

Bang.

You gasp but all you hear is his laugh. Negan's laugh. Low and threatening.

'Really, kid ?'

You grab the back of his leather jacket and pulls it imploringly. It's already a miracle you're both standing right now... does he want to die ?! Your heart jumps up when you hear another gunshot. The last one. Simon drops his gun, too weak to hold his hand or head up anymore.

'Holy shit Simon, that was a good fucking shot ! Right in his motherfucking brain !'

You shake your head and check on Simon again. Something needs to be done quickly or he won't survive for long.

'Ok, I've got a place ten minutes away from here. I can try and...save him, I can't promise anything but I'll try.' You say in a shaky tone.

You lift Simon by his arm and sit him up. You close your eyes and take a deep breath. He's way too heavy.

'I need help.' You add, a bit annoyed you're the only one trying to act fast.

'Just give daddy a minute here, doll...'

His voice is breathless and raspy. You turn around, furrowing your brows. Negan is leaning against the counter, biting on his lower lip, sweating.

'No, no, no...' Your eyes widen in shock.

He's been shot. The red stain on his t-shirt is spreading furiously and you look around, your blood boiling. This is a mess...not your mess, though. You could just get away...You could...but no, you can't. Not anymore. That bullet was for you and you know it. You run to the dead man on the floor and start stripping him off his jumper and t-shirt.

'You know you can just get the fuck out of here...' Negan grunts as you roll the t-shirt in a ball to hold on the wound and tie the jumper tightly around his waist.

'Why did you do that... ? You whisper, wiping your shaky hands covered in blood on your trousers.

'Heat of the fucking moment, I guess.' He scoffs.

He's just been shot but he's still looking down at you with a damn smirk on his face ! What's wrong with him ?! You place your hand on his back and help him straightening up but he pushes your arm away, a low deep chuckle coming out of his mouth.

'You really think I'm gonna let a damn woman carry me ?'

Seriously ? No time to argue, you let go of him and walk back to Simon. He doesn't have a lot of time. You really hope, he makes it...You take one side while Negan takes the other and you both get Simon up on his feet.

'Fuck.' Negan lets out a grunt of pain as you slowly start walking out.

How can he even walk right now ?

'See that beautiful bat ?' Negan groans looking at something in the grass not far from your feet. 'Be a good girl and get it for me.'

'That ?'

You pick up the bat, making sure you don't touch the barbed wire. It's covered in bloody small pieces of -what you guess is- skin and you quickly look away. You stay silent and place Simon's arm back around your neck.

'Motherfucking shit...' The pain in Negan's voice is palpable and you pray that he stays conscious until you're back at the cabin. 'Did I mention that you look too damn hot for this fucked up world ?'

You roll your eyes and just ignore his comment. You feel a drop of sweat running along your forehead and you can still feel his gaze on you.

'So, what's your real name, baby doll ?'

*

You wake up, heart pounding. Your body is sore and you're frozen to the bone. You can't stand that horrible cold draft and the hard floor anymore. Suddenly the dream comes back in your head and you gasp. He took a bullet for you ! He could have let you get shot but he actually risked his own life for you...why ? A warm feeling grows in your heart and you rest your head against the wall, twiddling with your necklace. You don't even know what you're feeling right now. Are you angry ? Scared ? Happy.. ? You don't know anymore, it's like you're feeling all at once. You hug your knees and bury your face between your legs. You hate this cold cell, the darkness, the silence... it reminds you of the other room you were locked in...

You close your eyes and try to focus. It was cold and damp and smelt of...death. You're in a car now, a pickup truck, Ray is driving, you're in the passenger seat. Tied up. He looks at you intently and smiles.

'We're going home.'

You open your eyes when you feel something brush against your leg. Was that a mouse ? You shiver and get up. You need to get out of here. You start banging on the door.

'Hey ! Someone ?'

You keep yelling and banging on the door for what seems like an hour. You know it must be the middle of the night but there's always someone patrolling the hallways, there might be someone down here too. It kind of keeps you warm too...

'Hello ?!'

Your fist starts hurting and you continue kicking the door with your boot. Suddenly you hear keys jingling from the other side of the door. Yes ! You stop kicking and the door opens slowly. Your eyes need a few seconds to adjust to the light and you see a young man, a bit on the heavy side, standing in front of you.

'What's going on ?' He asks you nervously, holding the door with one hand.

'Sorry about that.' You apologize when you see his worried face. 'I need to see Negan, now.'

He smiles shyly and shakes his head.

'It's like 3am, he's sleeping. I'm just patrolling, making sure everything's alright. I'm Joseph by the way.' He adds with an awkward smile.

'Well, everything isn't alright so get him now, please.' You retort, shivering.

'I can't do that. I shouldn't even be talking to you...'

You take a deep breath and lower your voice.

'Listen, Josh...'

'Joe.' He rectifies quietly.

'...Joe. Get Dwight, or no, even better, get Simon down here, otherwise I'll scream all fucking night until you can't take it anymore.'

He sighs and looks around him quickly.

'Fine, I'll see what I can do.' He whispers. 'But please, stop screaming.'

You give him a big smile and nod. He shuts the door and you sit down on the cold floor again. Maybe you should have just shoved past that Joe guy and ran away... After half an hour, you're ready to bang on the door again when you suddenly hear footsteps coming from outside. The door opens abruptly and Simon appears in the doorway with tired eyes and messy hair.

'Were you asleep ?' You ask, getting up painfully.

'Damn right, I was !'

'Good.' You reply dryly.

Simon tames his hair with his hand and laughs deeply.

'I guess I deserved that ! So, you requested me...' He shoves his hand in his jeans pocket and raises his eyebrows. 'What can I do for ya, angel ?'

'I am not an animal...' You whisper angrily. 'I don't deserve to be here.'

'Never said you did.' Simon shakes his head.

'You put me here !'

'Negan did.'

'Then, get me out of here.'

'It's not my call (Y/N), I don't want you down here...'

'Oh really ?' You scoff, resting your back against the wall.

Simon shifts on his feet and sighs deeply.

'From the bottom of my goddamn heart, I'm sorry for lying to you, angel. I am.' He insists seeing your expression.

'Then get Negan down here, please...'

'Good night, angel.'

And just like that, he shuts the door and you hear the key turning in the lock.

'Simon !' You bang on the door, out of frustration.

What an asshole ! You sit on the floor, in the pitch black again. And right now Negan is probably spread out in his warm luxurious bed... dick. If only you had been more cautious and not been spotted by that Tom in the woods, you'd be at the Kingdom right now. Hopefully at least the horse made it back... You chuckle and massage your head. You got a headache again. You close your eyes with a sigh.

You're back in the car with Ray, he's talking but you can't hear anything, you just see his lips moving. Focus. You look out the window. You need to recognize something...anything. You feel Ray's large hand sliding up your thigh but you keep your gaze on the trees outside...

You're startled out of your daydream when you hear the door opening slowly. Is that Simon again ? Negan appears in your eyesight wearing a grey t-shirt and some black trousers. He looks down at you with his dark eyes and a smirk on his face and your heart jumps. Impossible to say if he's pissed or amused... He doesn't even look like he just woke up. Maybe he was with one of the wives... You get up so fast, small dots of light appear in your vision but you don't care. You slowly walk up to him and carefully lift his t-shirt. His smirk grows wider.

'If you wanna go upstairs, doll, just say the word...' He teases you with his husky voice.

With the tip of your fingers, you circle the scar on his skin, ignoring his comment. There it is...

'Can you take me upstairs please ?' You whisper in a weak voice. 'Not for...that.' You clarify precipitately.

He lets a chuckle out and scratches his beard.

'You're here for a fucking reason, doll.'

He seems to be in a surprisingly good mood, maybe you can try to convince him...

'I know and I get it... but I've had those horrible headaches, probably because of that concussion...and...it's so cold down here...I don't want to be alone, Negan. Please...' You display your best puppy eyes and just stare at the floor.

Leaning forward, his beard scrapes your soft cheek and when you feel his warm breath hit the crook of your neck, you hold your breath.

'Not good enough.' He whispers in your ear.

He steps back with a grin and shrugs his shoulders.

'I remember more things about Ray. I'd like to... talk about it, if that's ok...' You let out in what you hope is a neutral voice.

You swear you see Negan's eye twitch and his jaw tightens.

'And what makes you think I give a shit ?'

You smile bitterly and shake your head.

'Sorry.' You mutter, sitting back down.

You stare at the wall in front of you and shiver with a sigh. Negan turns on his heels and stops for a few seconds. You glance at his back, intrigued.

'Hurry the fuck up, before I change my goddamn mind.' Negan sighs and starts walking away.

You hide a triumphant smile and quickly exit the room with a relieved sigh.

As soon as he shuts his bedroom door, without a word, you walk up to him and hug him. You feel his whole body tense in surprise but you don't care, you've been dying to do that. He smells of soap and you rest your head on his chest, letting the smell enter your nostrils. You can feel his back muscles under your hands and his heart is beating peacefully. His body slowly relaxes and you see his arms come up to hug you too.

'Thank you for risking your life...' You say, moving your head away from his chest so he can hear you.

He grabs your shoulders and slowly pushes you away so he can look at your face. He bites on his lower lip and your heart starts beating faster.

'Don't you fucking dare running away from me again, woman.'

He spins you around and pushes you against the wall, one of his hand next to your head. Breathless, you look up at him and his eyes darken. You tiptoe and kiss him gently on the cheek. He groans and looks you up and down with his intimidating eyes, while his other hand strokes your cheek.

'Still hate me ?' He lightly rubs your lips with his thumb.

'Hm-hm.' You nod your head, butterflies in your stomach.

He's driving you crazy and it's scary how the simplest touch can send your mind into overdrive. You just need him... He forces your lips open with his thumb and his smirk widens.

'You can play hard to get as long as you fucking want, baby doll, I got time.'

'You think it's just a matter of time ?' You whisper, looking at him teasingly.

'It is.'

You smile and look away. Your heart is pounding and you love the proximity of your two bodies right now. He grabs your chin with his hand and forces you to look up at him.

'Have you fucked anybody lately ? D'you fuck Rick the prick ?'

'What ? No !' You furrow your brows.

Does he really think you and Rick had something ? You barely know him...

'Good.' He groans, his hand sliding down to your neck, his smile disappearing. 'You can't kiss or fuck anybody else but me. You feel lonely and need some comfort ? You come to me. I'll fuck your fucking brains out so hard you won't be able to walk or even think straight.'

You blush furiously when you hear him talk about you that way. You've never really had anybody talk so openly about sex and it leaves you shaking. His gaze is burning into yours and it's hard for you to hold it.

'And don't ever let me catch you flirting with some fuckers here. You think you've seen my bad side ? Fuck, you haven't seen shit yet !'

'Sounds confident for someone who hasn't even kissed me...' You retort, smiling at him.

He grins and lets his hand drop. He looks at you with dark eyes.

'Don't fucking tempt me, doll. If I start...' He lowers his voice and glances down before looking at you in the eyes. 'I'll do more than kiss you..'

You instinctively, and stupidly, glance down at his crotch and you swear you just saw it move under his trousers. Ok...he's definitely hard right now..and big ! And now you're staring... You quickly look back up at him but his sly smile makes you blush even more.

'Stop me...' He whispers right in your ear.

Without any warning, Negan grabs your butt and lifts you off the floor with ease before pushing your back against the wall, your thighs spread around his waist. Your arms instinctively wrap around his neck and he pushes you harder against the wall. Your heart is pounding and your feelings are all over the place. You don't want to think how wrong all this probably is, you don't. All you know is you don't want him to stop... You can feel his hot breath lingering along your neck and when his warm lips finally crash against your sensitive skin, you feel like you're literally melting in his strong arms. Well, until a knock on that stupid door interrupts you. Negan lets out a grunt of frustration and his lips come dangerously close to yours.

'I ain't done with you...' He says in a raspy voice.

To your disappointment, he puts you carefully back down. You let a long breath out and adjust your t-shirt.

'I swear to god, this better be fucking amazing !' Negan barks, opening the door impatiently.

Joe appears in the doorway, a scared expression on his face.

'So sorry to bother you, sir.' He starts and he gives you a shy smile when he notices your presence. 'There was a fight between Chris and...huh...I don't know his name, the big guy with the long beard.' He adds frowning.

'Jim.' Negan says, clenching his jaw. 'Explain to me why the fuck they're even up right now ?!'

'Yes, Jim. I-I don't know, sir. He's with Doctor Carson right now but he wants to see you too...'

Negan grabs Lucille without a look at you and storms out.

'Wait here.' He orders before disappearing in the hallway.

Joe stands there awkwardly and you swear you're both wondering the same thing. Was he talking to you or him ? You shrug your shoulders and jump in bed. It's warm, soft and you quickly forget about Joe still standing there. You close your eyes and bury your head in the pillow. That was intense...You're just going to close your eyes for a moment and wait for him to come back...

_________

A warm sunshine slowly wakes you up and you stretch your legs while blinking a few times. You had an amazing sleep for once. You hear water splashing in the bathroom accompanied with a loud obnoxious whistle. There's a knock on the door and you hesitate.

'Huh... Come in ?'

Simon opens the door and you're relieved to see him. For a second, you were worried it would be one of the wives.

'Good morning, angel ! How are we today ?'

You roll your eyes. 'Someone's in a good mood.'

'Always ! Come with me.'

'What, now ?' You ask glancing at the bathroom door.

'Yep, I got work for you !'

'Work ? I'm coming.' You jump off the bed and quickly tie your hair up in a ponytail before grabing your boots.

You're quite excited to hear you can finally be useful and feel like you're contributing to something ! But to be honest, you're confused too. Negan seemed really pissed and you got locked up in a cell, but now it seems like...you've been let off the hook, for some reason. What happened ? Not that you're complaining but you expected him to punish you longer. You blush when you think about the previous night and you're quite thankful you have something to distract you today.

Simon takes you to the armory and hands you the inventory list.

'You need to check the whole inventory and then add these bad boys to the list.' He points at a few duffle bags filled with guns. 'Think you can manage that ?'

'Yeah...well, if I can actually read any of this.' You add when you try to decipher the hastily scribbled notes laid on the paper.

Dwight probably wrote that...

'I'll send Laura to help you.' Simon smiles before heading out.

'Ok.' You whisper to yourself.

You take a look at all the guns laying around you. There are a lot of them. How are you supposed to go through all these...when you don't even know what they're called ? Yeah...maybe you should have thought about that earlier. You sigh and glance back at the list.

'Angel !' Simon reappears in the doorway. 'Laura is busy today but I got you some help.'

You turn around and look at the savior standing next to Simon. You've seen him before. Probably crossed him a few times in the Sanctuary...

'Rafael, that's (Y/N), I told you about her.' Simon pats the man's back before looking at you. 'Angel, that's Rafael, he's new, he'll be looking after you today.'

'You mean watching me.' You rectify with a half smile.

Simon smiles widely and winks at you before disappearing. You glance at the man approaching you. He's probably in his late thirties, very tall, chestnut hair and a small scar by his eyebrow.

'Nice to meet you, anyway.' He nods his head a few times.

You furrow your brows. Even his voice is familiar ! You definitely must have seen him with Simon before.

'Wow, can you even read that ?!' He exclaims when he looks over your shoulders at the piece of paper.

'I was hoping you could help me with that.' You comment with a smile.

The rest of the day actually flies by and you get on surprisingly well with Rafael. After you've done the inventory, you both get lunch together and then head back out.

'Why is Peter Pan always flying ?'

You look up at him with a sigh.

'He neverlands !' Rafael displays an annoying grin and you roll your eyes.

'That's it ! I'm done with your jokes, please !' You beg him while biting your apple.

'Wait, wait, wait.' He grabs your wrist and stops in his track visibly thinking hard. 'Ok, last one. Did you know diarrhea is hereditary ? It runs in your jeans !'

'I'm eating, you jerk ! I swear if you tell one more stupid joke, I'll leave right now.'

'Don't you like my stupid ass jokes ? I don't have anything else to offer !' He chews loudly and winks at you.

'Then just say nothing !' You say and sit on the stairs.

Rafael sits next to you with a laugh.

'I taught you the name of the damn guns, tough. Not that useless now, am I ?'

'You're not.' You reassure him with a smile. 'So, tell me, where were you before you ended up here ?'

He opens his mouth to answer when a static sound interrupts him.

'Raf ? We need an update right now !'

He quickly gets up to grab the walkie talkie from his back pocket and turns it off. The static noise stops and he sits back down.

'You should probably get that.' You advise him with a smile. 'People don't like getting ignored around here.'

'It can wait.' He shrugs his shoulders and throws the apple core at the chained up zombies.

You get up and suddenly start fidgeting on your feet.

'Hey, are you ok ?'

You quickly nod. You don't know why you're feeling like that, but your stomach is twisting and you really have no idea why but you need to step away for a moment.

'I-I forgot something inside, huh... I'll be quick.' You let out quietly before running up the stairs back to the Sanctuary.

As soon as the door shuts, you let a long sigh out. What's going on ? You jump when you feel a hand on your shoulder.

'It's only me.' Dwight says when he sees your scared face.

'Is everything alright ?'

'Oh...huh...yeah, I'm fine.'

'You're with the new recruit, right ?' He adds looking at you straight in the eyes. 'What d'you think of him ?'

You nod. Why are your hands shaking ?

'Huh, I...I don't know, he seems alright.' You reply absently.

'Yeah.' Dwight frowns.

'What ?'

'There's something wrong with this guy...' Dwight stares into space.

'I don't know.' You shrug your shoulders. 'Apart from the fact that he's gonna get in shit if he keeps ignoring that walkie...'

Dwight squints at you for a second before shaking his head.

'What did you just say ?'

'I mean because he's new, he might get in trouble, right ?'

Dwight's face turns pale and he quickly steps away.

'I'll catch up with you later !'

You see him getting his own radio out before disappearing. Ok.. Did you just get Rafael in trouble ? You take a deep breath and head back out.

'I thought you left me !' Rafael gets up when he hears the door opening.

'Sorry about that... So, what do we do now ?'

'We have to bring some supplies up for doctor Carson, if you can handle carrying a few boxes up there...'

'I can.' You interrupt him.

'Ok, ok, I didn't mean to upset your feelings, little flower...'

You freeze in your tracks, your heart beating fast.

'Wh-what did you call me ?' You stutter, furrowing your brows.

Little flower... this isn't a common nickname... Rafael displays a blank face before bursting out laughing, making you wince in surprise.

'Jeez, I couldn't help it.' He starts stepping towards you.

Suddenly you feel like your heart is in your throat. His eyes are darker, his friendly smile has turned into a creepy grin and you feel the panic wash over you. You know him but you haven't met him at the Sanctuary... It was before... You remember !

'Rafael !'

You feel like crying when you see Simon appear followed by Dwight and...Negan ? Rafael looks at you threateningly.

'Saved by the bell.' He whispers with a sly grin. 'But I'll get you later...for old time's sake.'

You feel sick to your stomach but your feet can't lift you off the ground anymore. You just stand there, an expression of horror on your face.

'Give me that motherfucking shit !' Negan snatches the radio out of Rafael's hands.

He doesn't even seem bothered and just smiles at Negan. What is he doing ? Negan comes closer to him and you see by his face that he's close to losing it.

'I welcome you in my motherfucking home and you spy on me ?! You little piece of shit, you fucked with the wrong guy!' Negan spits out.

Spy ? The walkie talkie isn't Negan's then...which means...

'Nice little piece of ass you got here.' Rafael says, glancing sideways to you.

Negan lets a low chuckle out but you see his grip on Lucille tightening and his knuckles turn white. You're even scared to cross his eyes now but you need to tell him. You need to let him know who he is !

'What I could do with that perfect mouth of hers...' Rafael continues teasingly.

But he's gone too far already...

'No ! Negan, wait...'

But before you get to finish your sentence, the bat cracks his skull open with a horrifying sound and Rafael falls to his knees. You swear you can hear him laugh, before the bat hits the side of his face again, lifting some skin off. Then you realise... Your breathing becomes rapid and your whole body is shaking. No, no. This can't be happening. You were with him all day, you didn't recognize him ! You want to bang your head against the wall. You step back, staring at Negan spreading brain matters all over the floor. He might be in trouble now... Ray's group is strong, not as strong as the whole Sanctuary but...they could do some damage. You're not sure, though, you're not sure you can even trust your memory 100% right now. Simon pulls you away from the scene and gently pats your back. As soon as he touches you, you feel the tears filling your eyes.

'Sorry you had to see that, angel. You ok ?'

'No, no...no. Simon, it's bad !' You sniffle loudly.

'What's bad ?'

'He knows me. He knows who I am. I know him...' You mutter, tears escaping your eyes.

Simon takes your hand and tries to get you to look at him.

'Deep breath... Say that again.'

You wipe your tears with the back of your hand and look up at him.

'Did I ever tell you what happened with Ray ?'

Simon sighs and nods his head, a serious expression on his face.

'That was Rafael, his brother.' You start sobbing. 'He knows I'm here now and Negan just killed the only thing we could have used against him...'

Simon furrows his brows and leans forward, staring at you intensely.

'Why's that guy still after you ?!' He lowers his voice and raises his eyebrows. 'What are you not telling me, (Y/N) ?'

'I've done...something...' Your voice breaks and you shut your eyes.

Chapter Text

                                                       

'

Look...a new one...'

You don't lift up your eyes but keep them glued to the plate you're washing. Having to ignore the begging cries coming from the hallway isn't easy. Caroline nudges you in the ribs and you stare at her with empty eyes.

'Have you seen Katie ?' She continues, opening up the tap.

'No...'

You wipe your forehead and lean against the sink. If you stay up any longer, you feel like you're going to collapse. Your weak legs are shaking and your hands are red raw. Just as you're about to take a break, you hear all the noises die away and the whole kitchen grows quiet.

'Princess !'

Your heart jumps and you feel like it's in your throat. You turn around slowly and Ray is standing by the open door, arms crossed, his white top covered in blood. Tilting his head rapidly, he's silently asking you to follow him. You drop the cloth in the sink and head out. You follow him through the drafty hallways back to his room. As soon as you're both inside, he slams the door and slowly walks up to you. Your heart is pounding as he gets closer and when he pulls you towards him and hugs you, your whole body stiffen. You just stand against him like a statue and you can hear him sniffing your hair.

'I missed ya...' He says, looking at you straight in the eyes. 'Today is a special day.'

Your blood freezes and your breath is short. What does he mean special ? He lets go of you and without any warning, starts undressing you... Your eyes fill with tears but you don't fight it. It has happened over and over again and you've learned not to fight it anymore. Your arms drop quietly when he takes your top off and you instinctively cover you bare breasts while he pulls your trousers down. When you're fully naked in front of him, his eyes darken and he shakes his head.

'You're so perfect...'

His gaze trails down your body and you wish you could do something to stop it... You wince when his callused hand grazes your sensitive skin and you close your eyes, his lips hovering over yours.

'Don't be scared.' He holds your shaky hand tightly.

You open your eyes and meet his. His intense stare is studying your face and he strokes your cheek softly.

'I would never force you to do anything...' He starts with a deep voice.

You really wish that was true...

'I just want to feel you.'

He sits you on the bed and you want to scream or run away but instead you just lie on your back. You hate being naked in front of him. You hate his burning gaze roaming over the most intimate parts of your body. He lies next to you and guides your head to rest on his chest. Your body is covered in goosebumps and you do your best not to focus on the blood staining his top, right under your nose. You try to relax against him, while he starts singing softly. Blackbird song. You used to love that song, now you hate it.

Don't be scared...

I'm still here...

In a perfect world, where Ray wasn't a psychopath, you would appreciate it. You would let his soft voice lull you but instead you feel sick to your stomach because you know it won't last. You know he could hurt you in the most horrible way at any given time. Half an hour later, he finally dozes off and, when you're positive he won't wake up, you carefully slide off the bed. You get dressed and let out a relieved sigh when you're able to hide your body under your clothes again. You open the door quietly and head out. Thankfully, Ray doesn't lock you up in his room anymore and you can get in and out as you wish. There are guards everywhere, the place is like a giant maze and the main doors are always locked. You don't like walking around by yourself anyway. Ray is far from the only threat here...

'Hello !' The high-pitched voice startles you and you turn around with a sigh.

'Hey Katie.' You give the little girl a forced smile.

'Where's my brother ? I wanna play !' She exclaims with a toothy smile.

'He's resting, darling. He'll play with you later, ok ?' You try to sound as natural as possible.

'Can you play with me ?! Pleease...' She begs, pulling your sleeve.

'I'm sorry, I can't.... Your brother has a lot of things to do around here and I have to help too.'

'But, why ?'

'We have to work so we can all eat and live safe around here.'

'But, whyy ?'

You close your eyes and rub your forehead.

'That's just what grown ups do, Katie.'

You rub her head gently and give her a last smile before heading back to the kitchen. Caroline hands you a sponge and you take it with a quiet 'thank you'.

'Did he... ?' She starts, glancing sideways.

'No.' You interrupt her, rinsing a glass absently.

'Lucky...Sam never gives me a choice....' She whispers, furrowing her brows.

You close your eyes for a second before grabbing a pile of dirty plates with a deep sigh. Another hour passes but you still have a mountain of plates to wash.

'Do you know where he keeps it ?' Caroline asks in a whisper.

You look around but it's just the two of you in the kitchen.

'Are you still going on about that stupid key ?!' You shake your head.

'It's our way out, (Y/N) !'

You get closer to her, making sure your voice can't be heard from outside.

'No. It's the best way to get killed.' You sigh. 'I know where he keeps it, yes, but me taking it is only going to get me in trouble or worse kill us ! It's not worth it...'

'Isn't it ?' Caroline retorts.

You realise her eyes are filled with tears and her hands are shaking.

'I'm sorry...Caroline...I...' You pause and take her wet hand in yours. 'I'm here, ok...We'll be out one day, I promise.'

She nods and a tear rolls down her cheek.

'I know, (Y/N)... I just don't know how much longer I can do this...'

'Did you have anyone before you ended up here ?'

You've known Caroline for weeks, she was already here when you arrived. You've never asked her any personal questions though but you want to change that now, you need to.

'My husband. We lost our daughter right when it all started...' She swallows hard, tucking a strand of her blond hair behind her ear. 'Anyway, months later, these assholes took me in the middle of the night...I didn't even get to say goodbye to him... He must have woken up the next morning and I was just...gone.'

You shake your head and squeeze her hand when you see the tears in her eyes. 'I'm sorry...'

'I am too.' She shakes her head, staring into space. 'I wasn't easy on him...always bitching about something. His friends, his sense of humor, his stupid moustache... I know he's still alive somewhere, he's a survivor, he wouldn't take shit from no one...' She pauses and smiles weakly. 'And here I am, crying about my pathetic life when you've probably gone through worse...'

'Don't be stupid.' You interrupt her. 'If we don't support each other, who's gonna do it ?' You smile and let go of her hand. 'So, what was his name ?'

'Simon.'

'Well, be with him, be with Simon.' You give her a genuine smile. 'When you can't take it anymore and you feel like you're gonna lose it, remember, your body is here, but your mind can be anywhere you want. That's how you stay strong...'

'LADIES !'

The booming voice interrupts you and you both turn around. Ray, Sam, and another guy that you've never seen before, are standing in the hallway by the open door.

'Hurry up.' Sam orders, clicking his fingers. 'Stupid bitch...' He adds, lowering his voice.

Your blood boils when you see Caroline's nervous look as she heads out of the kitchen. Your eyes fall on Ray and your heart starts pounding. You know this look... He walks up to you with an intimidating stare.

'The fights are starting in five minutes. Come sit with me.'

'I, huh, I should finish this first...' You say with a shaky voice.

'No.' He grabs your arm and pulls you away with him.

You want to run the opposite direction, you can't stand these fights... When you step in the huge hall, your ears start to ring. People are shouting, laughing, cheering but you just stare at the floor. The place stinks of sweat, mold and smoke, it's sickening. The crowd is ready for the fighters and you let Ray drag you across the room.

'Sit down.' He tells you, pointing at the bench in the first row.

Great. You sit down without a word and wait for him to come back. He reappears a few minutes later, holding a can of beer. He sits next to you and gets two cigarettes out of his pack. He hands you one and your throat tightens.

'I-I told you, I don't...smoke.' You remind him quietly.

He squints at you for a long minute and his lips stretch into a big smile. He lets his cigarette dangle from his lips, still handing you one.

'You should. This is rare now.'

You furrow your brows and hesitate. His smile disappears.

'Take. it.' He articulates threateningly.

You bite the inside of your cheek and take the cigarette. He lights it and you unwillingly take a few drags. Then the fight starts. Of course, they chose a skinny boy to fight against Lee, a big muscular guy... The poor boy doesn't even look old enough to handle a glass of whiskey, let alone fight to the death. When he starts begging for his life, trying to run, you have to look away. This is all so sick...

'Please !! You can keep me, but let my father go at least, he's ill, plea-...'

Lee hits him right in the stomach and the boy falls on his face. The crowd starts laughing and whistling and Ray glances at you with a chuckle. Your whole body is so stiff, it starts to hurt. You don't know how much more you can take. You hope they all rot in hell for that...

'I need you in the kitchen.' Ray informs you suddenly, a smile on his face.

'Now ?' You ask, surprised.

You don't like the way he's looking at you. You shiver. He grabs your face and kisses your lips roughly, his stubble scratching your skin.

'Go. I'll come later.'

You obey and get up, one part of you is relieved you don't have to watch this anymore. And the other one is anxious... Why does he suddenly need you in the kitchen ? To clean more plates ? Is it your lucky day or something ? You sigh and quickly walk back to the kitchen, only to find it empty.

'In there. Come on !' A man comes out of the door behind you and stares at you with an annoyed face.

You've never been in the actual kitchen before. It looks like you're going to cook for once ! Better than watching them fight... You pull yourself out of your daydream and follow the man inside. As soon as you step in, you gasp in shock and you freeze in your tracks, standing in the doorway.

'No, no, no...' You whisper.

'Come on !' The man pushes you forward, making you almost lose your balance but you turn on your heels straight away. You have to get out. This can't be...

'No. I can't do...this.' You point at the counter, shaking your head furiously. 'Ray knows I-I couldn't do that, this is a mistake.'

'Well, he insisted YOU do it aaand he's the boss, so...back to work !' The man lets a laugh out and exits the kitchen, whistling.

You swallow hard and your eyes fill with tears. You knew he was going to do something like this... He's trying to break you... You slowly walk up to the kitchen side, glancing at the three other girls working with you. One is sobbing, her body shaking and the other two are just cutting the ''meat'', an empty look on their faces. You clear your throat and take a deep breath. There's a box in front of you, filled with human body parts. Thighs, arms, legs... It's all there, grossly cut, broken bones sticking out... You close your eyes and take a deep breath. You take the big knife with a shaky hand and brace yourself. You can do this. You have to do this. If you refuse, it'll be you in the box... You glance at one of the girl who's working seriously fast and you keep your eyes on her. Your hand holding the knife starts moving but your mind is somewhere else already... You're thinking about your life. Your old life. Your old appartment where you lived by yourself for the first time. Your university that you used to hate. Your dad who used to get mad at you because you never called. Your mother's grave that you stopped visiting when you turned 20... It's a good thing she isn't here to see what the world has become. You wipe a tear and start humming a song. You feel the other girls glancing at you but you don't care.

An hour later, the man comes back. 'Got enough, girls. Put what's left in here and follow me.'

You all take the remaining boxes and load them onto the metallic trolley. You follow behind, your arms stiff. You haven't even been able to wash your hands... The man opens a door and pushes the trolley in. When the lights turn on, you gasp in horror. There's a few dead bodies lying on the tables, ready to get...dismembered. You recognise the boy from earlier and bite your lower lip, holding your tears. You close your eyes and turn around.

'Tomorrow morning, you'll come to work here.' The man announces and you hear the girls gasp in shock.

No. You're not. Absolutely not.

'Look if it isn't my favourite little flower...'

You hold your breath when you hear the familiar voice. He's back. Rafael appears in front of you, as the girls and the man quickly walk away. He comes so close to you, you have to take a few steps back and hit the wall. He leans forward and presses himself against you. You try to push him away but he doesn't even budge. You feel like you're going to puke when you feel his tongue slowly licking your neck up to your ear. He stops your wrist before you get to push him away.

'Angry today, aren't we ?' He teases, still holding your wrist tightly.

'Go to hell.' You spit, scowling at him.

'Oh, I will.'

Without warning, he shoves your hand straight in his pants and your fingers come in contact with his erection. He's holding your wrist so tightly, you're scared he's going to actually break it.

'Let go of me !'

He forces your hand open with a growl. You want to slap him, spit on him, kill him but whatever you do, it'll only make it worse for you... You feel him grow in your hand and you start suffocating. His hips are pinning you against the wall and his whole body is pressed against yours. You wish anything could stop him right now... He suddenly lets go of your wrist and you get your hand out of his pants as fast as possible. He takes a few steps back and looks at you with a wolfish grin. A few seconds later, Ray appears around the corner, a cigarette hanging from his mouth. He looks at the both of you without a smile and you wish you could say something. You wish you could tell him what happens sometimes behind his back...but instead, you just keep your mouth shut and let him pull you away... away from his brother at least.

'I-I need to...' You pause, swallowing hard. 'I haven't...washed my hands.'

'Yeah 'course, princess.' He takes you to the bathroom and waits for you outside.

As soon as the door shuts, you drop on the floor, your legs giving out. You sit on the cold tiles and start rocking back and forth, silent sobs shaking your whole body. The tears are flowing and you can't even see in front of you anymore. This is all too much for you... You almost choke when you feel a hand pulling you up. Confused, you blink a few times to see who the blurry figure is.

'Let's wash those hands.' Ray says, guiding you to the sink.

You see his reflection behind you in the mirror and you quickly look away. He kisses the back of your head and uses his clean top to wipe your runny nose. After washing your hands, Ray takes you back to his room. You sit on the bed and wait for him to talk.

'Get your top off.'

You automatically do as he says, almost mechanically.

'Turn around.'

You turn around, shivering. The lump in your throat gets bigger and you close your eyes. You feel a cold blade come into contact with your back, slowly grazing your fragile skin. And then the pain. Sharp.

'No, please...not again.' You beg, trying to get up but his hand on your shoulder pushes you back down.

Then, something breaks inside you. You feel the agonizing pain of the blade cutting through your already damaged skin but you can't move. You can't speak anymore. The pain seems to attenuate slowly but...you feel empty. When Ray is finally done, you realize that you've been sobbing the whole time. He wipes the cuts with alcohol and you whimper in pain. Your skin feels like it's on fire.

'Sorry.'

Does he mean it, somewhere in his messed up brain ? It doesn't matter...

___________________

You wake up in the middle of the night, sweating and shaking. You sit up painfully and hold your breath for a few seconds. You heard a noise. You glance at Ray sleeping next to you with his back turned. You quietly shut the bedroom door and almost have an heart attack when you see Katie standing in front of the room. God.

'What are you doing here ?'

'I couldn't sleep... I cough too much.'

You furrow your brows and lift your head up. You can smell smoke.

'Wait here.' You tell her before running down the hallway.

There's a fire. It has to be. You bump into a half-naked woman and almost knock her over. When she sees you, she grabs you by the shoulders and you feel her nails digging into your skin.

'You need to go ! It's our night, we're gonna ruin this place and get the fuck out !'

'Did you start a fire ?' You whisper, your heart pounding.

She nods furiously and pushes you back.

'Go now !' She whispers before looking away. 'Something I gotta do...'

She disappears in the dark hallway and you just stand there, frozen. The smoke starts to enter the hallway. Where's everyone ?! Are you dreaming ? You stumble around and turn on your heels. What's going on ? Is Caroline already out ? Sam's room is in the opposite direction, you can't go there, someone will definitely see you... You hear footsteps running in the distance and a voice shouts. 'Everybody up ! There's a fucking fire !'

Shit. You start running back. This is it. Now or never. You pray Ray hasn't woken up yet as you try to run as fast as possible. Katie comes running to you as you're reaching Ray's bedroom. You grab her by the shoulders and crouch down to her level.

'I need you to be really quiet, can you do that ?'

She nods with a smile and you get back up, taking a deep breath. You open the door quietly and head straight to the desk. You can hear Ray's snoring quietly echoing around the room. You open one of the drawers as quietly as possible. That's it ! Your bag... You tiptoe out of the room and shut the door slowly. Katie is still standing there with a big smile on her face. You adjust your bag on your shoulders. Is it ok to just...leave her here ? Surely, they will find her on their way out.

'Wait here, ok ? Wait...'

You can't leave her here... Who knows what could happen with a fire? You don't even bother explaining anything to her, you just grab her hand and pull her away.

'Let's play a game !' You exclaim and you start running.

She can run surprisingly fast and you make it out of the place without being seen by anyone. Where are the guards ? You let go of Katie's hand and start sprinting to reach the nearby trees. You're out ! You're finally out... Your heart feels like it's going to burst and you hide behind a tree to catch your breath. Where's Caroline... Has she gone already ?

'I don't like the game anymore !'

Katie appears in front of you, panting. She grabs your hand and tries to drag you back to the place.

'No.' You stop her. 'I have to go now. Wait outside the door for your brothers. Remember, if you see a zombie, you go back in and wait on the other side of the door. Don't tell them you saw me so we can win the game, ok ?'

She nods and you take off running. You're free, you won't let them catch you again ! You'd rather die for sure. You run until your lungs feel like they're going to explode. You're too weak... You crouch down and take a few deep breaths. You need to keep going. You hear male voices in the distance and your heart jumps out of your chest. They're going to catch up with you ! You can't run for much longer, though... You glance at the large tree in front of you. Yes. You start climbing and the adrenaline gives you some of your strength back. When you've reached a certain height, you can safely stop and wait. You know they won't see you up here. You're lying on the thick branch right now, basically hugging it, and the rough bark grazes your exposed neck. You hold your breath when you see a figure running slowly towards your tree. Is that...Katie ?!

'No...' You whisper to yourself.

You suddenly realise there's someone else when you see a dark figure creeping up behind her. Wait a minute... Fuck ! You look around her frantically. Where are they ?!

'Katie, run !' You scream down at her.

She looks up but as she turns around, she faces the zombie and he drags her down with him. You hear her scream for a few horrifying seconds and you just freeze, your mouth open in shock.

'Katie !' A male voice calls out.

They're finally here, but the screams have stopped. The tears fill your eyes as you hear the zombie tearing up Katie's body.

'Jesus Christ ! KATIE ?!'

'Kill that motherfucker now !'

The zombie drops on the floor and the night becomes quiet again. A heavy silence settles and the tears flow down your cheeks. You can't bear looking at that scene anymore, so you squeeze your eyes shut.

'This is her ! This is all her !' Rafael kicks the tree next to him and pulls his hair out angrily.

Your vision is blurry and, from where you are right now, you can't see any of their faces but you can hear the emotions in their voices. You shouldn't have taken her with you outside... How stupid are you?! Of course she was going to follow. Ray could have taken care of her, she was fine inside... You cover your mouth to muffle a sob and almost choke.

'She burned some of our people to death and killed our Katie... She's the only one that got away ! (Y/N), you little bitch !'

The only one... You close your eyes but you just want to scream. Caroline is still in there. You left her... Rafael kicks another tree before crouching down and your body starts shaking.

'I'll make it right.' Ray finally says in a cold tone. 'She better run fast...'

Chapter Text

                                                                 

 

You're having a panic attack and you can feel them closing up on you. They're chattering their teeth while you're trying to keep them away with your arms and feet. Your back hits the tree and you know this is it. You don't know how they did that but they're surrounding you now, and you smell it all over you. Death. You close your eyes and wait for the fatal bite.

'Shit !'

You snap out of it and open your eyes. A man is fighting the zombies around you. You grab the closest zombie by his neck and hold him away from you before he gets too close.

'Hey !' The man throws a knife to you.

You quickly catch it and stab the walker's skull. You thought that was the end... Your heart is beating so fast, you feel like you're going to throw up. You rapidly clear the area with the stranger and you lean against the tree, out of breath.

'You didn't have to... do that. You could have...died.' You gasp, breathless.

The man smiles nervously and you nod at him, wiping your forehead. He looks around him, holding his bag tightly in his arms.

'You needed my help. Are you going to be ok ?'

'Yes, I'm fine...Thank you.' You nod a few times, handing him his knife back.

'My parents are waiting for me, they need these meds...huh, I have to go now.' He steps towards you, extending his arm to you. 'I'm Siddiq by the way. I hope our paths meet again someday...'

'(y/n), thanks for saving my life.'

He gives you a last smile before running back into the woods.

*

When I count to five... you will be wide awake...feeling good...

One... Get ready to come back...

Two... You can feel the energy flowing through your body...

Three... You can start moving your fingers and toes...

You're more and more awake... The energy in your body is more intense now...

Four... Breathe in wakeful energy... clear your head... that's right...you feel good now...

Five... You're coming back... you're fully back now... Open your eyes... You're wide awake.

 

You open your eyes slowly and stretch your legs. Doctor Carson is sitting in front of you, staring at you intently.

'How are you feeling ?' He asks, pushing his glasses up.

'Huh...I'm alright.' You clear your throat with a nod.

Just as he's about to talk, the infirmary door flies open and Sherry appears in the doorway.

'I'm sorry...' She starts and gives you a weak smile when she notices you. 'Can I talk to you, Emmet ?'

'Can you come back later, Sherry. I'm in the middle of...'

'Please.' She interrupts him and you get up slowly.

'It's ok.' You say, glancing at Carson. 'I'll come back tomorrow...'

'Are you sure ?' He insists, getting up.

'I'm tired anyway, I just want to rest...' You sigh while shaking your head.

'I'll see you tomorrow, then.'

You nod and quickly head out. Sherry nods at you when you walk past her.

'Thank you, (y/n).' She whispers to you before walking up to the doctor quietly.

You shut the door and lean against the wall, tying your hair back up into a bun. What's the deal with Sherry ? She looks exhausted and her eyes are all...empty and puffy...like she's been crying for days.

'I need it now, it's been three weeks !' You hear Sherry's voice echo in the room and you can't help but listen to their conversation.

You know you shouldn't be nosey but you just stand there anyway, listening.

'I don't keep them here anymore, you need to get one from the commissary, Sherry.'

'I... I don't want people to see me buying it.' You hear her explain.

'Sherry, you're Negan's wife. Nobody is going to question you...'

What is she so worried about ?

'...It's only a pregnancy test. I'll get it myself, if you want me to...'

Your heart jumps in your chest and you quickly walk away from the infirmary. A pregnancy test... You let a shaky sigh out. What did you expect ? He has wives, of course he's going to do it with them. Accidents happen... What if she is really pregnant ?! You feel like you're going to throw up any minute. You need to stop this. This game or whatever it is you're playing with Negan, it isn't healthy. You can't be involved in that...You don't want to anymore. Why does it suck so much right now ? You knock on Negan's door, just staring at the floor absently.

'Why the fuck did you knock, doll ?' Negan stands aside and lets you in.

Your throat is so tight, you can barely swallow, let alone talk and you just sit on the couch quietly.

'Well, you look like shit.' Negan comments, sitting back in his chair.

Well, thank you.

'I'm tired...' You simply say, shrugging your shoulders.

Negan sighs and stares at you without a word. You start crossing and uncrossing your legs nervously and finally look up at him.

'What ?' You ask, irritated.

Why is he staring ? You know you're pissed at him for no valid reason right now, but you can't help it. The truth is, you're pissed at yourself. You know a part of you likes him... Ok, not just a part. You like him. And you shouldn't... not one bit.

'You should talk about what you told me yesterday, even if you don't want to.' Negan raises his eyebrows with a serious tone.

Ray.

'There's nothing to say.' You retort, grabbing a book stuck in between the couch cushions. 'His little sister is dead because of me, now Rafael... plus, he thinks I was the one who started the fire so... he wants to find me. I get it.' You add quietly.

'Look at me, doll.'

You ignore him and open the book. You don't want to talk about it, you don't want to think about it. And, most importantly, you don't want to talk to him right now. He gets up and stops right in front of you.

'Look at me !' He snatches the book out of your hands before crouching down to your level.

You look straight at him and your heart palpitates. You just want to grab his stupid face and slap him... or, you know, kiss him...

'That shit with the kid isn't on you, doll. Get that in your fucking head.'

A strand of hair falls in front of your eyes and he tucks it behind your ear. It's only when he wipes it that you realise, you let a tear escape your eyes. He's smirking now, staring at your face and, for some reason, you feel very vulnerable. His stare is so deep, you feel like he's peeling the layers off and looking right at your naked soul... and it's scary.

'Let me take care of you, baby doll...' His voice gives your whole body goosebumps and you need to snap out of it now.

You look away and quickly get up, as if the couch was on fire.

'Where the fuck you think you're going ?' Negan groans, visibly annoyed. 'You on your fucking period or something ?!'

Funny you'd say that, dick. Guess who hasn't had it yet ? Sherry...

'I need to be alone.' You say instead, taking the book from his hand, before heading for the door.

'And here it goes again, that fucking shitty attitude !' Negan exclaims with a loud voice.

'You're one to talk...' You scoff, your hand resting on the door handle.

Negan's smirk slowly disappears and he squints at you.

'There's only one spoiled little brat in this room, and, just in case you're too damn stupid to fucking realize, it's you, doll. If you're just gonna piss me off, you might as well get the hell out now.'

'Fuck you.' You snap before slamming the door shut.

How dare he talk to you like that ?!  You're so angry, you don't even notice Dwight in front of you and bump straight into him with a gasp.

'Hey ! You walk with your eyes shut, or som' ?'

'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to...' You apologize absently.

'Just messing with you. Huh...Can we... talk ?' Dwight adds nervously.

Why does everybody want to talk today ? How about leaving people alone ?

'Can we talk a bit later ?' You ask him, trying not to sound rude. 'At dinner ?'

'Sure... I'll come and get you when I'm done with my shift !' Dwight nods and walks away.

That was a bit...weird. What does he want to talk about ? You walk outside the Sanctuary and close your eyes when the wind hits your face. Finally, some fresh air. You sit at your usual spot and sigh. After the ''Rafael incident'' yesterday, Simon told you to take the day off and just relax, but you feel useless. Aren't you all supposed to ''rebuild society'' and what are you doing ? Sitting around, reading a book... Just great. You're staring at the people working in the gardens when they all suddenly kneel. Negan. He walks past them, his bat resting on his shoulder without even a look. Your eyes follow him as Simon comes up to him in the distance and you wish you could hear their conversation. Or maybe you should stop spying on other people..! You open the book with a sigh and start a new chapter. Surprisingly, after five minutes, you completely focus on the story and don't even pay attention to your surroundings anymore. You're so caught up in it that you don't even see the person standing right in front of you.

'Close your book.'

You glance at the combat boots facing your own boots on the floor, only a few inches away and you close the book with a sigh. Negan throws a bag at your feet and your heart jumps when you realize it's yours. You almost forgot about it !

'Why ?'

'Get up.' Negan orders, completely ignoring your question.

You get up slowly but he's already walking away. You quickly catch up with him and realize you're heading for one of the car. He opens the passenger door and steps aside.

'In.' He simply says with an unreadable stare.

Is he kicking you out ?

'W-where are we going ?' You ask hesitantly.

He raises his eyebrows and holds the door open. Fine. You get in the car and as soon as you're sitting in the seat, he snatches the book out of your hand and throws it outside the vehicle.

'Hey, my book !' You try to stop him.

'My fucking book.' He slams the door as you're about to protest more and walks around the car to reach the driver seat. 'Buckle up.'

'Seriously, where are we going ?' You insist, putting your seatbelt on.

'We'll be back, don't fucking worry.'

He turns the engine on and you notice the main gate opening to let you out. You heart starts beating fast and you have to admit, you're excited to go out, even if you don't know where yet.

'You know it's gonna be dark in two hours, right ?' You ask.

'Right.' He says, a smirk slowly stretching his lips. 'We're spending the night out.'

Okay... Did he just trap you all night with him so you would talk to him ?

'Okay.' You let out, zipping your bag shut.

______________________

6.30pm

'Are we here ?'

A quiet hour and a half later, Negan turns off the engine and you're submerged in darkness. You shiver but you almost instantly feel his large hand covering your thigh.

'You're okay, doll ? Grab your bag and let's go.' He hands you a torchlight and jumps out.

You turn it on and quickly try to catch up with his long strides. You didn't even notice but he's carrying two bags on his back, Lucille sticking out of one. He suddenly stops and turns around.

'Ladies first !' He leans against the tree with a sly smile.

You glance at the tree and notice a ladder made out of planks of wood nailed along the trunk. Wow. You start climbing without asking questions and Negan is not far beneath you. You finally reach the large wooden platform and you lift yourself up. A treehouse! But not the crappy one from your childhood, the dream one... It's big, cleverly-built and you gasp when you open the door and realize how pretty the inside actually is. There is a spacious bunk bed in the right corner, a small dusty bookcase in the other corner and a rustic table with two chairs in the middle of the room.

'I like it.' You whisper.

'I knew you would.' Negan says, dropping the bags on the floor.

He shuts the door and throws his arms out. 'Get comfortable, baby!'

You smile and take off your jacket, while he turns on a few petrol lamps around the place.

'When did you find this house?' You ask him.

'Joey found it a few months ago. Who knew the fat asshole could even climb a ladder !' He chuckles and raises his eyebrows.

You ignore his last comment and simply nod.

'I know you wanted to get out of the Sanctuary.' He adds, looking at your face seriously. 'Are you going to tell me why the hell you're pissed off? Is it 'bout yesterday? If it is, you need to fucking move on, doll.'

And just like that, he ruins it all, once again.

'Can we just not talk about that ?' You shake your head.

'That's the thing though, darling, I don't even know what the fuck we're talking about !'

'Nothing.' You let out before taking your boots off.

'Is it 'cause of that kid ? Or that other girl still in there ?'

'Why do you care, Negan ?!' You burst out angrily.

Why does he ? He said it himself, he doesn't care about anything...

'What the hell is that supposed to mean ?' He groans, glaring at you.

You jump to your feet and come up to him, lifting your head to meet his eyes.

'Why do you care about me ?' You question him.

His whole demeanour changes and he lowers his voice. 'Get over yourself, doll.'

'You're telling me that ?' You scoff and turn around.

'Don't you fucking turn your back to me, woman.'

You ignore him until he grabs your arm and forces you to face him.

'After all this time locked up with that psycho, I thought you would have learned some respect.' He lets out in a stone-cold voice.

Your heart tightens and his words sting... You feel some tears filling your eyes and you purse your lips. Your watery eyes meet his hard stare but when he sees your tears threatening to roll down, you see his expression soften.

'Doll, I'm...' He starts, scratching his stubble with a sigh.

'You're right.' You turn around, tightening your jaw. 'You should look after your pregnant wife anyway...' You mutter under your breath.

Shit. That came out a bit louder than you intended.

'Come again?' Negan leans forward.

'Nothing...' You start but he cuts you off quickly.

'Who's pregnant ?'

Oh crap. You can't lie anymore. You try to beat around the bush, telling him you're not sure but he keeps his eyes glued to yours.

'Who ?' He repeats, his jaw tight.

'Sherry...' You let out in a whisper.

You feel bad, but you don't really know why. He should know anyway, right ? He stares at you for a minute before letting his head fall back with a laugh.

'Is that why you're all worked up ?' He asks with a smirk.

You just told him she was probably pregnant and this is his reaction ? He doesn't even seem to care...

'I just need you to stop doing this.' You finally say in a serious tone.

'Doing what ?' He asks, stepping closer to you.

'Flirting with me.'

'And why the fuck would I stop ?' He retorts, now towering over you.

He's looking down at you with his deep stare and you quickly look away.

'Because you're not available and it's not...fair to me.' You let out quietly.

There, you said it. His smirk has turned into a grin and he lifts your chin up with his hand.

'I am more than fucking available for you, (y/n).' He says in a deep voice. 'I thought I made that crystal fucking clear.'

'You're not.' You retort.

You don't want to argue anymore, you don't want to talk about it anymore either but you can't let him talk so much shit all the time. You can't.

'You're just jealous, baby, I get it.' He says shrugging his shoulders.

His comment makes you fume and you can't hold the words back.

'Coming from the most possessive man I know, that's funny.'

'So you are jealous.' Negan says triumphantly, completely dismissing what you just said.

'And I dont know why!' You let out impatiently. 'You only care about yourself...'

You turn around and try to open the door to stand on the platform and get some fresh air but his hand grabs your wrist before you get the chance. He pulls you roughly towards him and your face gets close to his chest, the smell of leather entering your nose. His grip is tight and you hold your breath.

'No. You don't walk away when we're talking. Look at me.' He says harshly.

You feel his gloved hand tightening around your wrist and the friction hurts your sensitive skin. You look up at him in silence.

'I'm gonna say something and I want you to keep your goddamn mouth shut, is that clear ?'

'Yes.' You reply simply.

'Good girl. Now, why do you think we're here, huh ? Do you see me taking my wives on little trips like that ? Do you see them sleeping in my bedroom ? Do you see me risking my life over and over for them ?' He chuckles but his stare is cold and he leans closer to you. 'Do you see anybody else getting away with the kinda shit you do ?!' He pauses and shakes his head in disbelief. 'If you were anybody else, doll, anybody else, and I swear that on the whole motherfucking Sanctuary, you'd be dead.'

'What about Sherry ?' You ask quietly.

Negan chuckles and lets go of your wrist.

'You need to stop sticking your goddamn nose where it doesn't belong.'

He starts emptying one of the bag and your mouth waters when you see all the food he brought, but you know he's just trying to distract you.

'What are you going to do ?' You insist.

He sighs and sets two plates on the table without a word. How can he act like he isn't even concerned about it ?! You know how to get a reaction, though...

'I thought you would handle the situation like a man, my bad.' You mutter under your breath.

'You wanna run that by me again ?!'

He gets up angrily and steps towards you. You instinctively take two steps back but he's already in your face, invading your personal space.

'You think I'm not man enough ?' He looks at you with a hard stare before letting a chuckle out.

A deep and low chuckle that gives you a chill running down your spine every time you hear it. You swallow hard and shake your head. And, boy, he is pissed.

'Well, how 'bout that ?' His face is so close to yours, you feel intimidated just looking at him in the eyes. 'I don't give a flying fuck about Sherry being pregnant or not, wanna know why ? It's not my goddamn problem because it wouldn't be mine!'

What ?

'How do you know that ?' You ask suspiciously.

'Because I haven't fucked her, or any of my goddamn wives for that matter, for months! And god knows I fucking tried !' His eye twitches in anger and his warm breath is hitting your flushed face.

He hasn't ? For months ?! A bit hard to believe...

'Why ?' You ask cautiously.

Negan chuckles and turns his eyes away from you.

'Because of you ! Everytime I try to fuck them... I see your goddamn face appear like motherfucking magic and it annoys the shit outta me. I get so fucking frustrated, I can't...'

He stops in the middle of his sentence and clears his throat. You need a minute to process things suddenly. He can't do it with his wives because of...you?

'Let's fucking eat.' Negan changes the subject abruptly, pushing your chair out with his foot.

You sit down and start eating quietly. Did he just admit he likes you ?

'No talking back ? Did I really just shut your goddamn mouth for good, this time ?' His smile widens and he's looking at you intently.

You take your time and chew slowly before swallowing.

'No way.' You say with a smile before gulping down your water.

'Make sure you clean that plate, you don't eat enough, doll.'

Not enough? You eat at least double of what you used to eat when you were outside. Your stomach isn't used to that anymore.

'Yes, daddy.' You reply absently.

As soon as the words escape your mouth, you realise what it sounds like and you blush shamefully. You hear him chuckling and wait for an obscene comment but he stays surprisingly quiet. You take another bite of your sandwich.

'So, tell me something about yourself, doll.' He says, wiping his mouth, looking at you.

'You know more things about me than anybody else on this planet...' You inform him, swallowing your mouthful.

'Anything, c'mon doll, talk to daddy.'

You almost choke as you gulp down the rest of your water. You hold your hand in front of your mouth and swallow slowly. You see his lips stretching into a big grin.

'I need to piss.' He gets up with a sigh and heads out.

You're finishing your plate when suddenly something pops up in your mind. Wait a minute... Who did Sherry have sex with then? Dwight. You gasp and turn around to see Negan pissing from the platform, his back turned to you. Does he know? Obviously, he knows she cheated and Dwight must be the first person he thinks of... shit. Why couldn't you keep your mouth shut ? You get up quickly as he's pushing the door shut.

'I need to go too.' You inform him, grabbing the flashlight and your red knife from your bag.

'Lead the way.' You hear Negan's voice right behind you.

'I can go alone, you know I've lived out there by myself before.' You retort, climbing down the ladder.

'And now, daddy's here for you, baby girl.'

You roll your eyes and hide a smile.

'You need to drop it.'

'Ain't the one who started that shit.' He lands next to you and turns on his flashlight. 'Hear that?'

You can hear a zombie walking around, not far from where you both stand but wherever you shine the light, you can't see it. You jump when you hear Negan's knife sliding through the putrid zombie's skull.

'See that shit? And you didn't want me to fucking come down with ya!'

'I could have done it myself.' You lie with an annoyed face.

'What, with your trousers down your ankles?' He scoffs and wipes the blade on the zombie's dirty rags.

When you're both back up in the treehouse, you sit down in your chair and look at Negan.

'Are they gonna be ok at the Sanctuary without you ?' You ask with a smile.

'I put Simon in charge, he can handle it.' He simply answers, before raising his eyebrows. 'Top or bottom ?'

'Top. Wanna go sleep ?'

'Fuck no.' He answers loudly throwing one of the bag on the top bunk. 'Who said anything about sleeping ?'

He winks at you with a devilish smirk and you can't help but smile too.

'We're not...' You start but he quickly interrupts you.

'Don't get me fucking wrong, doll, I could screw you anywhere, any-fucking-time.' He starts, his tongue tracing over his bottom lip. 'But, I need you to know, that's not why I took you back to the Sanctuary in the first place, that's not why you're here right now and, if I have to wait for you to get that in your stubborn fucking head, I will wait.'

You nod with a smile and take your boots back off.

'What if I didn't want to do anything with you ?' You straighten back up, raising your eyebrows.

'You can't fight it forever.' His smirk widens, letting his dimples appear fully. 'Come on, baby.'

He's already lying on the top bunk, propped on his elbow. He pats the empty space in front of him with a smirk. 'Don't be shy.'

You climb up and lie next to him without a word. You feel your cheeks flush when you meet his stare. You can't read his eyes and it makes you feel so insecure, you want him to stop looking at you.

'Close your eyes and open your mouth, doll.'

You scoff and shake your head. 'Really ?'

'Come on, doll.' He rubs his thumb over your lips and parts them slowly. 'You trust me, right ?'

You don't reply but close your eyes. You feel him pushing a little hard ball past your lips and when you bite into it, you hold a gasp and open your eyes.

'You found more !' You exclaim with enthusiasm.

'Damn fucking right I did. I haven't forgotten the shit storm you started last time I ate yours !' He throws the M&M's pouch to you and you grab it while nodding your head.

'You didn't see the shit storm I started on Simon when I thought he ate them all.' You start laughing.

You don't know why but it's like all the tension from the past few days vanishes and you just can't stop laughing. It feels good. You realise Negan is looking at your face with a smile. Not the stupid smirk he's got on his face most of the timeA real smile.

'Were you with him since the beginning ?'

'Hell, no. I met him last year, poor guy was losing it, jumped in the middle of a goddamn herd and started punching the shit out of the zombies, no weapons, doll. I was there to get him out before shit hit the fan.'

You don't imagine Simon doing something like that, but you couldn't have imagined some of the things you've done yourself, so nothing should come as a surprise. Plus, you know nothing personal about him, anyway.

'You know what happened to him ?' You ask, curious.

'I think his wife died.' Negan shrugs his shoulders. 'Or got missing, some shit like that. Never talked about it again and I ain't one to fucking ask.'

Got missing...Got missing ?! You gasp and a M&M stays stuck in your throat. You almost choke and start coughing violently. You hold your chest with one hand and manage to swallow it painfully.

'Oh... m-my god.' You gasp jumping off the bed with watery eyes.

'Y'alright, doll ? Don't fucking die on me.' Negan jokes, sitting up.

'Caroline..' You pause and start coughing again.

Oh my god ! How did you not see it before !

'Who the fuck is Caroline ?' Negan sighs before jumping off the bed too.

'The girl I was in there with ! She's Simon's wife !' You almost scream out in excitement.

Negan frowns and looks at you, skeptically.

'You sure about that ?'

'I am sure, Negan. She told me his name was Simon, his moustache...it has to be him ! She got kidnapped in the middle of the night while he was sleeping...' You let out rapidly, walking around the room. 'We need to tell him !'

'You understand I can't drop a bomb like that on a man, if I ain't 100% sure, doll ?'

'But I am sure...' You protest weakly.

'You're not, doll.' He grabs you by the shoulders and leans forward to look at your face. 'We'll find that motherfucking Ray. Simon's wife or not, we'll find her too.'

'Ok..' You whisper, nodding slowly.

You hope Caroline is ok...You hope she's not losing it in there...You can't believe how long she's been with Ray's group, she deserved to escape way more than you did... You'll see her again. You have to... Negan kisses your forehead and you feel the goosebumps spreading all over your body. He lifts your chin up with a finger and smirks slowly.

'Now, get your ass back to bed, baby. We got shit to do in the morning.'

__________________________

2.00am

'Wake the fuck up, doll.' You hear a voice whisper in your ear.

You jump up and Negan holds his hand firmly over your mouth. Your eyes widen and you look around the dark room in panic. Are you being attacked ?!

'What's going on ?!' You ask when he finally removes his hand.

'Come with me, but keep fucking quiet.' He grabs your hand and pulls you off the bed, almost making you fall, head first.

You hear some gurgling noises and your heart jumps when you realize there must be a herd walking past. It's so loud ! Is that why he woke you up ? You're safe in a treehouse, right ? He opens the door slowly and heads out, still holding your hand tightly. He pushes the door shut and lies down on his stomach, pulling your hand down too. Ok...

'Look.' He points down at the floor.

It's almost full moon so you can, kind of, see what's on the ground. You were right. This herd is huge and you're happy they can't see you up here. Negan is lying next to you, glancing at the floor with a hard stare.

'Are we just looking at the zombies ?' You whisper, furrowing your brows.

'Fucking listen.'

You stare at the zombies and cover your mouth with your hand when you hear it. You stay frozen for a moment, your eyes wide open. You pull on Negan's jacket, your eyes still open in shock.

'N-Negan, wha-...' You start stuttering in a whisper.

He pulls you back up and you quickly get back in the house. You turn to him straight away.

'Did you hear them ?! What's going on ?'

'I don't fucking know.' He scratches his stubble.

'They were whispering things, Negan ! Did you hear them too ?'

'Zombies don't fucking talk, doll. The ones you heard were people.'

'But... their faces, their bodies ! How ?' You sit down and try to calm down.

The truth is what you just saw creeped the hell out of you... You're truly scared right now. Negan sits down next to you.

'I don't fucking know.'

'We're safe here, right ?' You whisper shyly, rubbing your laps anxiously.

'We're fine, doll.' He places his large hand on your thigh and rubs it slowly.

'Are you worried ?' You ask, looking up at him.

'Fuck yeah, I wanna know where they're going! That herd...' He starts and shakes his head. 'I've been looking at it for ten goddamn minutes, doll. They keep on coming...Thousands... That's the biggest motherfucking herd I've ever seen.'

Your heart skips a beat and you follow him back to bed. He must see you're shaking, because he immediately guides your head to rest on his chest and you let him. Your heart is pounding but you try to relax against his body. You feel his beard grazing your forehead and his light breath on your face. Your head is resting on his warm chest and you can hear his strong heartbeats echoing in your ear. His rough hand is slowly stroking your hair and right now, despite the herd of zombies you can still hear outside, you feel safe.

Chapter Text

                                                                         

 

Your eyes flutter open and you slowly lift your head up, a M&M trapped in your sleeve. You throw it in your mouth and glance at Negan. He has his back turned to you and is whistling a familiar melody.

'Are they gone ?' You ask, sitting up slowly.

'Looks fucking clear from here.' He turns around and hands you a bottle of water.

You wish you could stay here a bit longer. It's the first time you're alone with him without being bothered by other people and it feels good. You know who he is and you've seen some of the things he's done but it doesn't seem to matter so much anymore, you just enjoy his company.

After half an hour, you're both ready to leave. Negan still hasn't told you where you're heading but you don't bother asking again. A cold shiver shakes your body and you quickly put on your jacket. A chilly wind is blowing through the trees around you and you just want to jump back into bed. You start climbing down the ladder behind Negan and you land swiftly on your feet. You hear a noise and notice two zombies limping towards you. You take your knife out of your pocket, but Negan's hand stops your wrist and he walks up to them instead, swinging his bat in the air aggressively. He grabs the handle with two hands and the female walker drops on the floor, blood and brain matter scattered all around them. You can't help but admire the way he uses his weapon so effortlessly, like it was an extension of his own arm. The other zombie instantly turns its attention to him.

'Want some, too ?! Fucking brainless fuck !' He adds, before bashing the zombie's rotten skull in.

'Negan..?' You point a shaky finger at the car parked up a few feet away.

He glances at it and his eyes darken. All four tires have been slashed with a knife and you gasp. Shit. What now ?

'Motherfuckers.' Negan crouches down next to you and examines the tires. He looks around the woods, a dark expression on his face.

'Get back in the house, doll.'

'What about yo-...?' You start but he cuts you off.

'I'm right behind you.'

You know there's no point to add anything when you see his expression. You quickly walk back to the tree, climb the ladder and lift yourself back up on the platform. Your arms are weak and you feel your body shaking with fatigue and cold. Negan is still standing by the car and your eyes can't help but scan the area around him to make sure nothing is creeping up behind him. When you see him turning around and heading back to the house, your body relaxes.

'You can play sleeping fucking beauty for another two hours at least, doll.' Negan shuts the door behind him and falls back down on his chair with a deep sigh.

'Do you think they knew we were here?' You ask trying to hide the worry in your voice.

'Probably.'

You furrow your brows to his reply. Why isn't he more worried ? You suddenly realize his deep gaze is locked onto you and a smirk stretches his lips as he's tilting his chair back nonchalantly.

'Pissing your panties, baby girl ? Need daddy to give you a fucking hug ?' He teases you, biting his bottom lip. 'I can see you shaking from here, don't try to deny that.'

You open your mouth and close it, unable to find something clever to say. You decide to ignore him altogether and climb back into bed.

'M'gonna sleep some more.'

His smirk grows wider and he lets his head fall back, a low chuckle exiting his lips.

''Course, darling.' He lets out in a gravelly voice, his gaze still hovering over your body.

You close your eyes and try to clear your head and go back to sleep but, as usual, he's distracting you and the fact that he's doing it on purpose is annoying you.

'Want me to rock you to sleep ?' He continues and you open your eyes to look at him. 'I can rock you real' fucking good, baby.'

You roll your eyes and your gaze meets his amused one, as you slightly sit up, propped on your elbow.

'Stop making everything sound sexual.' You sigh.

'Where's the fun in that ?!' He retorts in a loud voice.

You let your body fall back on the mattress and your heart skips a beat when you hear Negan getting up and moving closer to you. The mattress bounces as he sits right next to you, his hand brushing your thigh. You keep your gaze fixed straight in front of you. He sighs and leans over you, placing his hand next to your head, trapping your body close to his. You hold your breath when his face lowers, closer to yours and your heart starts beating fast. Is he going to kiss you ? He brings his mouth close to your ear and his intoxicating smell makes you weak. The heat radiating from his body is warming you up and you don't want him to move away from you.

'You're so goddamn beautiful, y'know that ?'

He lifts his head back up to look at your face and his smile slowly disappears. You meet his eyes and his gaze is so intense, you can't look away. Before you can even react, his lips crash against yours and you instinctively place a hand on his warm chest to push him away. He gets a hold of your wrists though and pin them above your head, burying them in the pillow, with a groan. You try to wriggle out of his hands, your lips still connected with his but the hold he has on your wrists tightens and forces you to submit to him. Your mind is going crazy but you realize that if you really wanted, you could have stopped this kiss. In fact, when you feel his tongue pushing past your lips, you obediently part them to welcome it in your mouth. Your kiss deepens and an embarrassing moan comes up your throat, making him smile against your lips.

'Just give in.' He whispers, his mouth hovering over yours.

Your whole body relaxes and you meet his dark eyes. When you lift your head slightly up and your lips press against his, you know that's all he wanted. His hand immediately clutches your wrists and he lets his tongue explore every corner of your mouth. The kiss becomes needy, almost sloppy and you suck on his bottom lip, making him groan in approval. Your hands still locked above your head, his burning lips leave yours and start trailing down your neck, leaving a wave of goosebumps on your skin. His touch is perfect and your body is craving for more. You're not cold or even tired anymore, you feel good. He starts nibbling at the sensitive skin of your neck, before sucking it roughly, making you wince. He's marking you, making sure everybody knows you're his and the idea of it somehow doesn't bother you. Your breath becomes short when his beard grazes your skin and you feel his hips starting to move slowly. The friction of your clothed bodies makes it even more difficult for you to hide your arousal. Your hips start to slowly push against his crotch and he lets a long breath out, kissing your soft skin hungrily.

'Atta' girl.'

Your chest is raising fast now and you're fighting the urge to moan for more. His mouth comes back to yours but he stops, a few inches away from your lips. Your whole body tenses up and you hold your breath.

'You should sleep now, doll.'

What ?! He lets go of your wrists and you furrow your brows, your eyes following him back to his chair. Your whole body is trembling with frustration and you have to bite your lips not to let the anger get to you. Even if you want to slap the smirk he has glued to his face. Is he just playing with you ? Is he trying to drive you crazy so you will end up actually begging him ? You readjust your t-shirt without another look at him and try to steady your breathing. Maybe it's better this way...you shouldn't be falling for him more. You turn your back to him and close your eyes with a sigh. But if he wants to play, so can you...

____________________

A loud beep wakes you up and you feel a hand stroking your hair.

'Taxi's here, doll.' Negan offers you his hand and helps you up.

The two bags are already on his back and you quickly shove the M&M's pouch in your jacket pocket before following him back outside. When your feet touch the forest floor, you see a line of trucks parked by the side of the road in the distance. Simon meets you halfway and bends over to look at the damages done to the tires.

'Jesus...' He shakes his head. 'Such a waste.'

'Take her back with you.' Negan orders before walking away rapidly.

Simon turns to you with a big grin and you smile weakly. Where is he going ? You thought you were doing something together this morning...

'Let's see what Rick the fucking prick has got for us today !' Negan's voice reaches your ears and you see him jumping in the passenger seat.

'Can I come ?' You shout to him.

You see the door hanging open before Negan's voice echo through the forest. 'NO.'

Thanks... You let a long sigh out as the truck door slams shut and the engines start revving. Why doesn't he want you to go to Alexandria ?

'Stuck with me today, angel !' Simon laughs and clears his throat when he sees your grim face. 'Let's go.'

You follow him to a pick up truck and jump in the passenger seat. Simon shuts his door and hangs out of the open window.

'ALRIGHT, FOLKS !' He shouts, waving at the trucks left before sitting back down in his seat. 'Hilltop, now.' He informs you and your heart jumps.

To be honest, you don't really want to go there. After all, last time you were there, you put them all in deep shit and a woman died because of it. Because of you. You sigh. If you think about it though, they won't be happy to see any of you anyway, so...

'So, what the hell happened last night ?' Simon interrupts your thoughts abruptly.

You explain what Negan and you saw and he listens to you attentively.

'This stinks.' Simon simply comments, frowning.

You nod and look outside the window in silence. And again, you can't help your thoughts to all converge back to Negan. Why is he getting close to you, only to ditch you without even a goodbye ? You sigh and shift in your seat, your bag in between your legs.

'So...Simon...' You start, dragging out the words. 'Were you married before ?'

Simon gives you a quick glance before staring back at the road.

'I was...still am, angel.'

'What happened ?' You hold your breath as soon as the question escapes your lips.

Your heart starts beating fast and you wait anxiously for the answer. Simon clears his throat and furrows his brows, his eyes glued to the road.

'I'm sorry, you don't hav-...' You realize, shaking your head.

'No, it's fine, angel.' He raises his hand before continuing. 'Her name was Caroline. We were still on the road, a few months after it all started. I...I don't know what happened, (y/n).' He starts stuttering and lets a loud sigh out. 'We fell asleep, next thing I know, she's gone. Just vanished.' He clicks his finger to gesture it and shakes his head. 'Someone took her ? She left me ? I ain't got a goddamn clue about it. Never found her.'

Your chest tightens and you nod your head. It's her...

'I'm so sorry.' You say softly. 'How was she like ?'

You hope you're not making him uncomfortable being so personal about it, but you see a smile forming on his lips, slightly raising his moustache.

'She was a handful.' He starts chuckling. 'No bullshit, she was constantly on my back. God, I miss that now.' He adds with regret in his voice. 'She was the one, angel. She deserved a good life, not this shit... Life wasn't already easy on her, damn...' He shakes his head and forces a smile on his face.

You feel the tears come up to your eyes when he mentions her life not being easy. If he knew what really happened... What if you find her too late...or not at all ? Maybe it's better if he never even knew. You bite on your bottom lip and swallow hard.

'What about you, angel ?'

'Me ? Oh no, never married.' You shake your head before continuing. 'I was with my boyfriend when it all started but...yeah, he got bit the next day.'

'I'm sorry.' Simon says glancing at you.

'To be honest, it seems so far away already.' You explain slowly. 'It's weird, it almost doesn't feel real, like...it never happened.' You add.

'I get that, angel, trust me. When it started, I remember waking up every day, thinking folks with cameras were gonna show up, like a big prank show.' He chuckles. 'I never had much faith in the government but, goddamnit, I was still expecting them to clean that whole mess.'

You nod your head and look out of the window again.

'But it's not gonna happen...' You whisper almost to yourself. 'It's too far gone now.'

'Yep. Too far gone.' Simon scratches his chin. 'I say all those rich ass politicians flew away and left us. Or fuck me, maybe they injected all the population with some chemical bullshit and left us here to die.'

'We'll never know.' You take a gulp of water and reach for the yellow pouch. You hand it to Simon and he chuckles loudly.

'You're shitting me.' He grabs a handful and raises his eyebrows. 'Negan ?'

'Negan.' You confirm with a smile.

'Has he asked you yet ?'

'Asked me what ?' You furrow your brows.

'To be his wife ! Come on now, angel. 'He continues, chewing the mouthful of M&M's loudly. 'Half the shit he's done for you, he's never done it for anybody else, wives included. What's going on with you two ?'

You let a deep sigh out before replying. 'I honestly don't have a clue, Simon. I care for him but I don't know how he sees things. I'm probably his new toy before he gets bored and goes to the next one.'

Simon scoffs and grabs the bottle of water from between your thighs, one hand firmly holding the steering wheel.

'Look, I know the man can be an asshole. But, in my humble opinion, you got under his skin already. In a good way.' He clarifies and hands the bottle back to you. 'I know that because I've always been an asshole myself, but with Caroline... I just couldn't let her go. It was different, I had to have her forever.'

'You're not that much of an asshole though, Simon.' You joke and his smile stretches.

'Don't underestimate me !' He slows down to go over a bump before accelerating again. 'What I mean is, the world is fucked now, we could all be dead tomorrow...so if you find something or someone that makes your days a bit less shitty, I say go for it !'

You take another gulp of water, his words resonating in your head.

'Very true.' You admit, nodding your head.

'Tell him to get rid of them, angel. The wives... Hell, make him.'

A smile stretches your lips and you think about it. Maybe it's time for you to get what you want too... Your heart tightens when the car takes a sharp turn and you see the Hilltop appear in the distance. Hopefully, it'll be quick... Simon beeps obnoxiously over and over when the car reaches the gate. A few seconds later, it opens and he pulls up by the big building.

'I need to talk with the dick in charge here, Gregory.'  He starts, turning the engine off. 'Stay outside, enjoy the sun. There's gonna be stuff to load when I'm done.'

You quickly nod and jump out of the dirty pick up. Some saviors follow Simon inside while the rest stand in front of the building. You join the ones sitting on the stairs and sigh deeply before crossing your arms. You don't agree with what the saviors are doing to these communities but here you are, helping them...

'Lana ?' You hear a faint voice coming from one of the trailers.

Dante is standing by the open door and waves at you, inviting you in. You look around but nobody is paying attention to you so you quickly get up and head towards the trailer.

'It's good to see you again.' Dante pats your back with a warm smile.

'You too.' You place your hand on his arm. 'I'm so sorry about last time, I...'

'You ain't got nothing to apologize for, beautiful, you're not responsible for those assholes actions.' Dante cuts you off with a serious face.

You're not responsible indeed, but if he knew you were staying at the Sanctuary by choice, he wouldn't be talking to you right now. You feel so uncomfortable, you just want to run away and hide back in the car. You don't wanna be with the bad guys here, hell that's definitely not like you, but... Negan is the bad one, whether you like it or not. You can't change that. Does it make you bad too ? You flash Dante a nervous smile.

'Lana ?!' Jesus appears in front of you, a surprised look on his face.

'Hey !' You smile at him. 'I'm glad to see you.'

'And I'm not !' He smiles gently. 'I really thought you made it back to the Kingdom.'

'Well, I was close.'

'Dante, can you get the bag ready ?' He turns to you. 'I'm sorry, I have to go back in there, Lana, make sure Gregory doesn't say anything stupid.' He adds with a sigh.

He exits the trailer and you turn back to Dante.

'How's it going over here ? Are you struggling ?' You ask him with a soft voice.

'Hell, yeah we are.' He answers, his face hardening. 'The Sanctuary is slowly draining all our ressources. We can't keep going like this...' He pauses and sighs. 'We gonna need a plan b.'

Your chest tightens and you realize he's right. What's going to happen when the communities can't keep up with what Negan wants ? You need to talk to him about it. He should be befriending all the communities, not turning them into enemies...or they might fight back.

'How are they treating you?' Dante's voice brings you back to the trailer.

'Huh... I can't complain.' You reply vaguely.

The last thing you want is to talk about it because you know if he asks too many questions, it'll be harder to lie. Fortunately for you, you hear Simon's voice outside and you clear your throat rapidly.

'I should go back out.' You inform Dante with a sigh.

'F'course.' He starts before grabbing your hand. 'If you ever wanna come and live here, you know, you're welcomed to. Try to sneak out again. I'd be happy to show you 'round.' He squeezes your hand lightly before letting go of it nervously.

You stutter a goodbye before heading back outside. What was that ? Simon points at a few bags and boxes sitting by the stairs and you start helping the others loading the trucks. You're avoiding eye contact with everybody and you sigh in relief when it's finally done. You climb back in the passenger seat and put your bag between your legs, deep in thought. Simon gives you a smile and squeezes your knee, making you almost jump.

'Everything good ?'

'Yeah, I'm fin...' You answer but you suddenly see a glimpse of something and the words die in your throat.

You cough loudly and clear your throat, your heart jumping. You swear you just saw Jesus on top of the truck in front of you ! It was so fast, you're actually not even sure you didn't simply imagine it.

'How did it go with Gregory ?' You ask quickly.

'Fine.' He replies with a big grin. 'The coward would do anything to keep us all sweet so we brought some nice bottles back home!'

You smile and rest your head against the window, wondering what Negan is doing right now.

An hour later, you're back at the Sanctuary and as you're slowly getting out of the car, you glance at the truck. You're not sure Jesus is still there... or ever was.

'What do I do now ?' You ask Simon as he's walking away to unload the supplies.

'We've lost someone in the kitchen.' He starts, his hands resting on his belt. 'Tell them I sent you to replace Tina.'

You nod and head inside the Sanctuary, your bag in your hands and jacket around the waist. When you arrive, a red hair middle-aged woman, Bonnie, takes you under her wing and shows you around the kitchen. You spend the last half of the morning making bread for the whole community and washing dishes. Something you can definitely do. Until you hear a few gunshots coming from outside... You look around you with wide eyes and have to restrain yourself from running straight to them. A few minutes later, you hear Negan's loud voice echo in the hallway. He's back. He enters the kitchen and all the noises suddenly faint. Your eyes return to the ball of dough in front of you and you do your best to ignore him.

'(y/n) !' Bonnie whispers to you.

You furrow your brows and turn to her. Shit. All the workers are on their knees right now and Negan is standing there, waiting for you to do the same. You kneel without a word and you hope he knows you're only doing this not to embarrass him in front of his people.

'I'm borrowing her for a minute, Bon.'

He grabs your wrist and lifts you on your feet, before guiding you back out of the kitchen.

'Did you talk to anyone at the Hilltop ?' He releases your arm and looks down at you.

'No.' You lie quickly. 'Why ?'

Why did you lie ? It just came out for no reason but it doesn't matter, does it ? You only talked to Jesus and Dante for two minutes... Negan squints at you, his lips pursed.

'What happened?' You ask nervously.

'Rick's son came out of one of our own goddamn trucks, showering us with bullets, killed three of my motherfucking guys !' He exclaims in a loud voice. 'But didn't have the fucking balls to shoot me.'

'Carl ?' You gasp in shock. 'Where is he ?'

'Gonna show that little shit around, mess around with him a little... And then.' Negan lets a smirk stretch his lips. 'I'll bring the kid back to his dad, because I'm that fucking generous...' His smile grows wider. 'Maybe.'

'Negan...' You start but he doesn't let you finish.

'Relax, doll. Got a fucking surprise for you too.' He leans forward. 'I'll see you tonight.'

He swings Lucille back over his shoulder and walks away from you, whistling. You just freeze for a second, furrowing your brows. Did Carl really shoot three saviors and got away with it ? Where's Rick ? That's exactly what you were fearing at the Hilltop... You quickly go back to the kitchen and put your thoughts away in the corner of your mind. For once since you're here, you're actually doing something useful. You'll have time to think later.

________________________

You've been back for hours now, sitting on the bed. Where is he ? You brought both of your trays of food upstairs two hours ago and you're still waiting. What if something happened in Alexandria ? Just as you're slowly starting to panic, the door flies open and Negan enters the bedroom, slamming the door shut straight away. You freeze and stare at the blood staining his white t-shirt.

'What happened ?' You ask anxiously.

With a hard expression on his face, he drops the bat by your feet. You frown and glance at it. Is that a...bullet ? You gasp and stare back at his stained t-shirt. You're almost scared to say another word when you see how angry he looks.

'Are you o-.. ?' You start hesitantly.

'Pack your shit.' He cuts you off carelessly. 'Dwight will take you to your bedroom.'

His words resonate in the quiet bedroom and you open your mouth, confused.

'My bedroom ? Ok...' You shrug your shoulders, still frowning. 'Now ?'

Negan glares at you and shakes his jacket off, throwing it on the bed. He comes close to you but his eyes are dark and cold.

'Right fucking now.'

That hurts... This morning, he was on top of you, kissing you passionately and tonight, he can't suddenly stand you anymore ?!

'Why are you like this ?' You can't help but ask shakily.

Negan clenches his jaw but doesn't break eye contact with you.

'I took you in with me... I treated you like the fucking queen of the goddamn universe and that's how you repay me ?!' His lips purse and he looks down at you with a scoff. 'I trusted you. I let you sleep in my motherfucking bedroom, right next to me...'

'What are you talking about ?!' You let out, confused.

What's going on ? Why is he pissed at you ?!

'You betrayed me, doll. You're not welcome here anymore.'

'Wh-what ?! I haven't betrayed you...What are you talking about ?' You shake your head in confusion.

'Today was a magnificent day!' He barks suddenly, making you jump. 'A fucking kid almost shot me, I lost three of my men. And still, I bring him back to his house, safe and fucking sound ! Then what happens ? Oh ! Right ! They try to shoot me...again !' His cold chuckle makes you shiver. 'And when I finally come home, after this long and real' shitty ass fucking day, what do I learn ?' His voice drops and he takes a step towards you, lowering his head. 'I learn that my beloved wife and one of my goddamn prisoner escaped. I learn that the motherfucking Hilltop hippie was seen outside the Sanctuary, after you were seen talking to him at the Hilltop.'

Jesus managed to get Daryl out ! And Negan thinks you have something to do with it...

'What are you implying ?!' You ask, raising your voice. 'I wasn't part of this, I had no idea.'

No idea, he would do it today anyway.

'And did your little slip-up about Sherry last night help her make the fucking decision to leave today, before I actually got to talk to her ?'

'I have nothing to do with that !' You snap in a high-pitched voice. 'I haven't seen her today, how would she even know that I told you ?!'

'Pack your shit and get out of my fucking room.' Negan growls threateningly.

'Are you serious ?' Your voice weakens and you blink a few times.

He turns his back to you and you feel your eyes filling with tears.

'Please, Negan. You have to believe me.' Your voice breaks and you shake your head in disbelief. 'I could have betrayed you, but I haven't. I've worked all day, for god's sake !'

He takes a glass from the desk and sighs deeply.

'You're a waste of time.' He starts with a cold voice, pouring himself a glass of whiskey before chugging it. 'I don't need you anymore.'

'Are you asking me to leave your bedroom or... the Sanctuary ?'

Your voice is shaking with nerves and your throat is so tight it hurts. How can he do this to you ?! That's it, he's bored of you and he's using the first excuse he can think of, to get rid of you.

'Whatever fucking suits you, princess !' He pours himself another drink.

'Don't call me that...' You whisper, shaking your head. 'Do you really mean what you said, Negan ?'

Your heart is so tight, you feel dizzy. Why is he accusing you ? Your eyes end up staring at the bullet stuck in the baseball bat and your chest tightens in fear. No matter how mad at him you are right now, you keep thinking it could have been him. He could have died today. You wipe a tear that escaped your eyes and sit on the bed, a knot twisting your stomach. After everything you went through together, he still doesn't trust your words.

'Fucking Jesus, woman, get up and go! Dwight is behind this door, he'll take you to your bedroom. Now !'

Something snaps inside of you and you jump to your feet. You start grabbing all of your stuff lying around the room before throwing them in your backpack angrily. You walk past him, shoving him in the arm and slam the bedroom door shut. You fight the urge to break down in tears when you see Dwight, leaned against the wall, right next to the door. You know he heard everything...

'Sorry...Look, I...' He starts, glancing at you awkwardly.

'Just show me where it is.' You cut him off with a trembling voice.

You're grateful he doesn't insist and just walks you to the bedroom silently. You let your body fall on the bed and start sobbing as soon as the door shuts. You lie on the bed for what seems like hours until you hear a faint knock on the door. You sniffle loudly and wipe your wet face.

'What ?' You snap, looking at the door.

Simon makes his way into your bedroom and shuts the door. 'Angel...' He sits next to you and hands you the bag of M&M's. 'You dropped them in the car.'

'You can have them.' You say weakly, staring at the ceiling again.

Simon sighs and strokes his moustache with two fingers. 'You're not alone, ok ?'

'I am alone.' You rectify, sitting up. 'I don't belong here, I don't have anybody to talk to, Simon.'

'Well, I'm offended !' He places his hand on his chest, eyebrows raised. 'I ain't got many friends here either, angel.'

You suddenly think of Caroline and the daughter he lost at the beginning. You're ashamed to even be complaining about feeling lonely. You can't imagine how he must feel.

'I'm sorry, I'm just.. confused.'

'Listen, if I was your age and went through the shit you went through after a goddamn zombie apocalypse, I would have probably blew a hole in my brain already, you know, to make this shitty nightmare stops. But you're still here, angel. And thanks to you, I'm still here...'

You nod your head and feel a tear rolling down your cheek.

'I need to ask you something.' You hesitate and look at him.

His eyes are wide and his eyebrows arch up, waiting for you to continue.

'I need the radio.' You add in a low voice.

Simon sighs and looks away.

'Listen, Negan won't let me talk to him but I need to. I need it.' You insist, grabbing his forearm.

'Are you sure talking to him will help ?'

'I need to. Please...' You beg with wide eyes.

Simon seems to be thinking hard before sighing and getting up.

'I need to put it back tonight, angel, can't leave you with it.'

'That's fine.' You nod rapidly.

He exits the room and your heart starts beating fast. You need to know. You can't wait anymore. You bring your legs up and hug them nervously.

You're a waste of time...I don't need you anymore... Negan's voice keeps turning in your head and it's driving you crazy. Even Simon trusts you more than he does... You startle when the door opens again and you jump to your feet. Simon hands you the walkie but before he lets go of it, he leans towards you and stares at you right in the eyes.

'I'll be back in fifteen.' He warns you before letting go of it.

You nod and wait for him to leave the room. You sit back down, the black device in your shaky hands. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and push the button.

'H-hello ? Can someone hear me ?' You release your finger and put the walkie talkie on the bed.

Is there still someone listening on the other side ? Maybe you shouldn't do that. You glance at it and start pacing around the room. You suddenly freeze and your heart skips a beat when you hear a low familiar chuckle coming out of the radio.

'Princess ?'

Ray. You start pulling on your fingers and you feel like you're going to faint. Your breath is so short, you have to take a minute before sitting on the bed.

'Yes.' You reply, bringing the device close to your lips.

'I miss you...' His cold voice resonates in the room.

'Wh-where is Caroline ?' You interrupt him weakly.

'Not far.'

'Can I talk to her, please ?' You ask almost in a whisper.

'No. You're talking to me.' 

Your heart tightens and you can't help but thinking...what if she didn't make it ?

'Is she... dead ?' You ask in a shaky voice.

'She is...very much alive, princess.'

'Let me talk to her please. I just need to hear her voice. I'll talk to you as soon as I hear her, Ray...You have my word.' You hold your breath and release the button.

A heavy silence settles. Is he gone ? Your heart is pounding in your chest. Can you even belie-... ?

'H-Hello ?' A weak voice suddenly echoes in the bedroom.

'Caroline ?!' You drop to your knees and the tears start flowing down your cheeks.

She's alive ! The lump in your throat slowly disappears and you feel like you can breathe again.

'(y/n) ?!' She almost chokes out in surprise. 'Is that really you ? How am I talking to you right now ?!'

Hearing her voice again, after all this time, brings a smile to your face and you can't help the tears blurring your vision.

'I'll explain later but I don't have much time, Caroline.' You pause and take a deep breath, rubbing your forehead. 'You need to put Ray back on, now.'

Chapter Text

                                                                

 

 

It's been a week... A week that you sleep in your new bedroom. A week that you work in the kitchen everyday and a week that Negan hasn't talked to you. Not one word. You feel his gaze on you sometimes when you walk past him but when you look up to meet his eyes, you realize you probably just imagined it all. You miss him. God, you miss him so bad, and it hurts that he's not even trying to sort things out with you. Maybe that's the slap in the face you needed... Time to move on.

'(y/n), it's your break.' Bonnie's voice pulls you out of your daydream.

'I'm ok.' You say, chopping the potatoes mechanically.

You'd rather do something. What's the point in taking a break ? So you can ruminate and get even more depressed ? You decide to skip breakfast and lunch and stay in the kitchen to clean more dishes.

'(Y/n), you can go. I'll do that.' Bonnie puts her hand on your arm.

You wince at the touch and shake your head.

'Why don't you have a break, Bonnie ?' You smile at her and fill the sink with water.

'You're a good kid. But if you're still here in an hour, I'll kick you out myself !'

You nod with a laugh and watch her walk away. Soon, the people in charge with tonight's dinner will come and that's probably when you're going to leave. But for the meantime, you can distance yourself from your negative thoughts and do something.

After you've seen the first person enter the kitchen to start working, you decide to make a quick sandwich and head out. You don't want Bonnie to tell you off again. You head outside the Sanctuary and sit down on the stairs, next to Dwight.

'Here.' You hand him the sandwich.

'Oh.' He seems surprised by your gesture. 'You didn't have to.'

'It's nothing.' You tell him with a sigh.

You wipe your forehead and sigh heavily. It feels nice to sit down a minute, you have to admit. You look in the distance and you feel the knot in your stomach tightening when you spot Negan. He's barking orders, pointing Lucille at the fences. You slowly get back up on your feet.

'I'll see you later.' You say precipitately before heading back in.

This is getting ridiculous. You rest your back against the door and let a deep breath out. You're both adults. You'll need to talk to him eventually, whether he wants it or not. You sigh and head back to your room. You lay on your bed and stare at the ceiling for a few long minutes. You wish you had a book at least...

You end up drifting off to sleep and jump when you hear a noise behind the door. It's already dark outside and you turn on your bedside lamp with a yawn. You stretch your legs and get up to open the door. You furrow your brows and look down by your feet. A tray of food is in front of your door but there's nobody in the hallway. You take it anyway and shut the door. To be honest you haven't eaten all day and you're starving. Wait... your tray has got way more food than it should ! You got an extra apple, two cereal bars and the amount of food on your plate is probably twice the size of what they normally serve. You don't even have access to snacks anymore. Simon does though... You smile and start eating. Thank god he's here. You hear a knock on the door and let out an incomprehensible sound, your mouth full of mashed potatoes. Dwight pops his head in and raises his eyebrows.

'Did you tell me to come in or to just fuck off ?'

You chuckle and hold your hand in front of your mouth before swallowing your food.

'Come in.' You articulate with a hand gesture.

'Actually, d'you wanna pop out for one ?' He asks, waving his pack of cigarettes. 'I mean, when you're done.' He realizes, looking at your food.

You nod and he sits on the bed, quietly.

'You don't have to babysit me, you know. I'm ok.' You start, glancing at him.

He frowns and picks up one of your cereal bars.

'I ain't babysitting you. But you don't annoy the hell outta me, like most people here. That's a plus.'

'Why are you still here then ?'

He bites the cereal bar and looks at you. 'Where d'you want me to be ?'

'Out there... Anywhere.'

'What's the point ? Sherry's gone. Now it's just me. I ain't living out there again...not worth it.' He stares at the wall.

'Fair enough.' You admit after swallowing another mouthful of vegetables.

'What did you use to do ?' He changes the subject, throwing the empty wrapper on the tray. 'Before all that shit.'

'I was a law student.' You smile weakly. 'Hated it.' You chuckle. 'What about you ?'

'Game designer.'

'That's so cool !' You exclaim, putting your fork down. 'Did you like it ?'

'Loved it.' He nods his head slowly, trapping a strand of hair behind his ear.

'Ok, I'm done.' You say, pushing the tray away from you.

Dwight immediately gets up and you follow him outside.

'So, why are you here ?' He turns towards you.

You lean against the wall and sigh, a gentle wind blowing your hair.

'I'm not entirely sure.' You admit, shaking your head.

You glance at him, as he's taking a few drags, before staring back into space.

'Can you keep a secret ?' You ask in a quiet voice.

He turns his head to blow the smoke away from you and leans slightly towards you. 'Sure.'

'Remember when I told you about the man that kidnapped me a while ago ?' You continue as he nods rapidly. 'Well, I met another girl in there, Caroline...'

You pause to take a drag.

'Simon's wife.' You finish your sentence.

'His wife ?' Dwight's eyebrows shoot up. 'Does he know ?'

'No.' You shake your head.

'Is Negan going after that guy then ?'

'Yes. I mean...I don't know... he said he would, but I don't know now if he ever meant it.' You furrow your brows and throw the cigarette bud on the floor.

Just as you step on it with your boot, the Sanctuary doors fly open and Negan exits the building, followed by another savior. You roll your eyes mentally but your heart tightens. He's got his leather jacket on, a black t-shirt underneath and his hair is damp. You just want to hug him... He glares at the both of you with an annoyed gaze and slowly walks towards you.

'Curfew in five.' He lets out in a cold voice.

You know he's saying that to you but he doesn't even turn his head to meet your gaze. Instead, he just walks past you and stops in front of Dwight, a trail of aftershave following him.

'I got a job for you, D.' He starts.

You wave goodbye to Dwight quietly as he's looking at you over Negan's shoulder. He makes the mistake to nod back at you and Negan immediately puts his arm around his shoulders, forcing him to turn his back to you and pushes him forward. Is he jealous ? You climb up the stairs and head back inside without another look.

______________________

The next day, as usual, you wake up early, ready to work in the kitchen. You slowly walk through the empty hallways, tying your hair up in a bun. When you feel a large hand grabbing your arm, you gasp and turn around nervously. Simon is looking at you with wide eyes and he clears his throat loudly.

'What's wrong ?' You furrow your brows.

He looks around you to make sure nobody's in sight and leans slightly towards you.

'I heard Negan say that... the person who's responsible for Daryl and Sherry's escape would be punished today.' He gives you a worried look.

'Who's that ?' You ask, your throat tightening.

'Well, you tell me, angel...?'

'You think it's me ?' You ask weakly.

'Is it ?' Simon asks, looking at you straight in the eyes.

'No.' You reply, holding his gaze.

'Then I believe you, angel. But Negan told me it was you.'

Your heart skips a beat. Is this real ? Is he going to 'iron' your face like he did to Dwight ? You'd love to think he wouldn't do that to you, but his actions are unpredictable. Maybe you were special to him before, but you're definitely not anymore.

'So...it's gonna be me.' You nod your head a few times, biting your bottom lip.

'I...I don't know. Don't worry, angel.' Simon tries to brush it off. 'I won't...'

'You won't what, Simon ? You won't let it happen ? We both know it's bullshit but it's fine. He's your boss, I get it. Thanks for telling me, anyway.'

You walk away from him and you don't turn around when he calls your name. You feel the tears filling your eyes but you don't want to cry. You take a deep breath and enter the kitchen. If he wants to punish you then he can...

11am

'EVERYBODY IN THE MAIN HALL !' Dwight's voice resonates in the dining area and you freeze, a plate in the hand.

This is it. You dry your hands slowly and follow everybody out. Your heart is pounding and you are truly terrified. You don't want to get the iron... Hell, if he tries, you can always snatch the iron and take care of his stupid face... Your hands are shaking and you shove them in your jeans pocket. You follow the crowd into the hall and a circle automatically forms around the forge. Fuck it, you're not gonna hide at the back. If he wants to do this, then you'll be right at the front, ready. You exchange a nervous glance with Dwight who's standing by the fire. Soon, Simon joins you at the front too. His face looks as tensed as yours and you realize he has no idea what's going to happen either. Your heart tightens when the doctor stands to your left. He'll probably be the one looking after you when it's done. Everybody suddenly kneels and you feel like throwing up. You get on your knees and see Negan entering the hall slowly. He stops in the middle of the circle and sighs.

'Stand.' He orders coldly.

You get back on your feet and your heart is beating so fast, you start feeling light-headed. Negan turns on his heels and points his bat at someone standing on the platform. Eugene ?! When did he get here ?

'You are gonna want to pay close attention to this !' He exclaims before turning back. 'So, as you all know, two people have escaped last week. Fuck, I thought after our friend James here.' He turns to his last victim with a smirk. 'You would fucking get it.' He sighs and raises his eyebrows. 'You can't get away with shit, I will always punish you.'

He turns his head and, for the first time in a week, he looks straight at you. You hold his deep gaze with defiance but you're shaking inside. Without any warning, he steps closer to you and starts raising Lucille in the air, ready to swing. You startle, waiting to feel the impact but it's Carson, standing right next to you, who gets the hit. You gasp when he gets kicked again, in the belly this time, and you feel Simon's hand pulling you slightly away. Two saviors come and hold the doctor still and your heart feels like it's trying to jump out of your chest. What the hell was that ?!

'Please, don't. Wh-what have I done ?' The doctor begs, holding his belly painfully.

'What's going on ?' You whisper to Simon, an horrified expression on your face.

'Shh.' He shushes you, his gaze fixated on the scene.

'See that ?!' Negan shoves a piece of paper in front of the doctor's face and you can't help but take a quick glance at it. 'That was found in your goddamn pocket !'

Wait a minute... Is that your handwriting ? You squint, trying to read the little note:

Get out, now !

You close your eyes when you realise why Negan didn't believe you. You don't know how and you can't explain it but the handwriting is identical to yours. You only know it's not yours because you didn't write the damn thing, but that note put next to the note you left him that time... it must have looked exactly the same. Negan gives his bat to one of the saviors and you see Dwight handing him a glove. Why the doctor, though ?! It doesn't make sense...

'No, no, don't burn me... Please, don't !' Carson begs, his hands raised in front of him.

'So not only you wrote that shit, but then you tried to hide the fucking evidence !' He barks angrily.

Did he really hide it ? Oh my god... does he think you AND Carson helped them escape ?!

'Please, it's all a lie, plea-...'

'Now, you know I hate that shit.' He takes the iron from Dwight's hand with a smirk and grabs the doctor roughly. 'All you have to do is tell the motherfucking truth and apologize, so I don't have to do this !'

'Yes. Yes, I did it ! All of it !' The doctor almost instantly admits when he feels the hot iron hovering over the side of his face. 'I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry !' He starts sobbing and you look away.

You can't stand what's happening. You're sure the doctor isn't even involved in this but he's admitting it because he's too scared to get the iron and you don't blame him. You see Negan's hand drop from the corner of your eye and you let a long breath out.

'And that's all you had to say.' He grins and hands the iron back to Dwight. 'That is all you had to fucking say.' He drags the words out and looks back at the crowd.

His gaze falls on you again and you swallow hard. His dark eyes are staring straight at yours and your stomach starts twisting uncomfortably. He grabs suddenly the trembling doctor by the shirt, drags him away before throwing him brutally into the burning forge. A few horrified gasps resonate in the hall as the doctor starts screaming, his clothes catching fire and you just freeze in shock, mouth wide open, unable to make a sound. Your ears start buzzing and your vision goes blurry for a second. You can't help but stare at Negan holding Carson's body in the fire. And he's still staring at you. A tear rolls down your cheek and you see a wife running out of the room, a few other people sobbing.

'Thank fucking fuck, we have a spare doctor Carson !' Negan chuckles, glancing at Eugene.

You can't stand it anymore. Negan turns around and places his arm around Dwight's neck, an evil smirk on his face.

'Sherry was one of my favorite.' You hear him say. 'I'm fucking sorry.'

'I'm not.' Dwight replies, an empty stare in his eyes.

Negan turns his head to him, his smile stretching. 'Ice fucking cold ! I like that.' He pats his cheek and walks away from him with a dark laugh.

You run out of the hall, pushing past people and make it out of the Sanctuary, breathless. You sit on the stairs and start sobbing. This is so wrong ! He didn't deserve to die...

'Angel...'

You close your eyes and shake your head.

'He was innocent, Simon. You could see, he didn't know anything.' You let out, sniffling.

He crouches in front of you and raises his eyebrows.

'Of course...but Negan had to punish someone.' He explains.

'Me ?! Why not me, then ?' You protest weakly.

'He can't touch you, angel. And I'm glad he didn't.'

You shake your head, unable to stop your mind from going crazy. You didn't want this to happen, not today...

'I'll be away for a few days, checking one of the outpost. You're gonna be ok ?' Simon slowly gets up, lifting his trousers by the belt.

'Can you stay ?' You beg, getting up as well. 'Please, can you stay ?' You insist, your voice breaking down.

'Ok, ok, angel. I'll stay. Hell, I'll put Gavin on it.'

You let a sigh out and thank him. You know he's probably worrying right now, it's not like you to ask for comfort, but... you need him here tomorrow.

____________________

You stop and your body starts shaking nervously. Your palms are getting sweaty and you just want to turn around and run away. You lift up your trembling hands and knock twice on the door. A few seconds later, you hear the footsteps approaching the door and you take a deep breath. Negan opens it and stands still when he realizes it's you. His stare is unreadable and his eyes are piercing right through you.

'Well, come in.' He steps aside and you enter the bedroom hesitantly. He turns to you and extends his arms out. 'A fucking drink ?'

'Huh, y-yeah why not.' You sit on the couch, too nervous to just stand there awkwardly in front of him.

He pours some whiskey in the glass and stops right in front of you, handing it over.

'You're fucking welcome.'

'Thanks.' You look up at him with a weak smile and take a sip.

You don't even know how to act around him anymore. You don't know what's he's thinking and it makes you nervous. But you need to do this...

'I won't bother you for long, I just wanted to say something.' You clear your throat nervously. 'Huh...Thank you for letting me stay here. I...I know you don't owe me anything. I know you don't believe it, but I've never betrayed you in any way. I..' You get up suddenly and put the glass down on the desk. 'I just wanted you to know that. I'm...leaving now.'

You head quickly for the door before he clears his throat and you freeze, your hand resting on the handle.

'Why you telling me that, doll ?' He leans against his desk, staring at you. 'Feeling guilty ?'

You close your eyes and shake your head.

'I just want you to hear it one last time. I have no reason to feel guilty.'

'To be perfectly fucking honest, I ain't in the mood for that shit right now, doll.'

Your heart twists and you purse your lips. Why can't he just be how he used to be ?

'Please, Negan... Don't make it difficult.' You almost beg in a weak voice.

'Well, it's pretty fucking easy, doll. I killed that fuckhead and spared your fucking ass, again.' He steps closer to you. 'So don't you fucking come in here, telling me I'm making it difficult for you.' He growls in a threatening voice.

You furrow your brows and shake your head. You can see he's pissed and he won't talk to you tonight. The last thing you want is to argue with him right now...

'I'm sorry.' You nod your head, staring at the floor. 'I shouldn't have come.'

The lump in your throat is slowly chocking you and you just open the door, unable to pronounce another word. You tried at least...You take some deep breaths as you're walking back to your bedroom, deep in thought. Your stomach is so twisted, you feel like you're going to throw up any minute.

'Going sleep ?' Simon crosses your path, a big smile on his face.

'Yes.' You nod with a forced smile. 'Thank you Simon...you know, for staying.'

'Anything for you.' He points at you with a finger and continues his way, whistling.

You quickly reach your bedroom and shut the door, shaking. You feel your eyes slowly filling with tears. Your throat quickly tenses up and you rest your back on the door. Your whole body starts shaking uncontrollably, the sobs finally escaping your lips quietly. You're gonna make it right...

_______________

_______________

 6am

Her short breaths echo through the forest and she can hear the birds tweeting above her head. It's one of the most beautiful sounds to her this morning. She looks around and keeps running clumsily, her heart pounding in her chest. Her whole body is sore, extremly sore, but it doesn't slow her down one bit. She knows she's close. She reaches the side of the road and stops to catch her breath, leaning against a tree. When she lifts her head, she sees it.

She bangs on the huge metallic gate, panting and gasping loudly. A few minutes later, Dwight appears, eyebrows raised.

'Who are ya ?'

'I'm...I'm Caroline.' She takes a deep breath. 'Simon's wife.'

'CAROLINE ?! Simon freezes by the door, a few feet away, eyes wide open.

'Babe !' She cries out, her whole body shaking.

As soon as the gate opens, she jumps in his arms, sobbing frantically. 'Oh m-my god.'

Simon is holding her so tight, she can barely breathe but they stay in that position for a few minutes, tears rolling down their cheeks. Dwight stands there awkwardly until he decides to break the moment.

'How d'you get he-... ?'

'Where is she ??' Caroline cuts him off and lets go of Simon for a minute, a large smile on her face. 'Get (y/n), I need to give my girl a hug !'

'I'll get her.' Dwight heads back to the Sanctuary.

'Who the fuck are you ?' Negan walks slowly up to them, giving Caroline a hard stare.

'My wife.' Simon says, wiping his wet cheek. 'Caroline.'

Negan's face twitches and he furrows his brows, jaw tight.

'How the fuck did you get out ?' He asks coldly.

'(y/n)...She didn't tell me what it was but, apparently, she made a deal with Ray and he let me out...?'

Simon is looking at them with a look of utter confusion but he doesn't interrupt them, still in shock.

'What deal ?' Negan's eyes narrow.

As Caroline is about to open her mouth, they see Dwight running back to them.

'She's gone ! All her stuff...gone.' He shakes his head.

Caroline suddenly turns around and starts shaking. 'No, no...fuck !' She holds her face in her hands.

'Where is she ?' Negan growls, the tension starting to rise.

'God...That's why she didn't tell me !' Caroline bites her bottom lip nervously before continuing. 'She took my place...'

A heavy silence settles, interrupted by the threatening sound of thunder and the sky darkens. Negan's hand slowly tightens around Lucille, his knuckles turning white, his whole body shaking with anger.

'Get the motherfucking trucks ready.'

________________

________________

You look out of the dirty car window, your body slowly rocking back and forth over the bumpy road. The fear is tightening your throat and the tears are still rolling down your cheeks. You keep thinking about Caroline. She's safe now, you made it right like you wanted. You brought them back together... Ray's rough hand grazes your skin to wipe off the salty drops and you try to slow down your heart rate. You're doing your best to hold it together. He'll use any weaknesses he spots and you know it.

'I knew you would come back.' He squeezes your thigh lightly, his hand resting on your leg. 'It was my mistake, princess. You need more discipline, that's all.' He squeezes your leg tighter and his evil smile slowly stretches. 'This time, you won't leave me, I promise you.'

Chapter Text

                                                           

 

 

Negan. That's all your brain is focusing on right now. His leather jacket. His smell. His smile. His protective arms around you, your head buried in his warm chest, his...

'Hey !' Two fingers snap in front of your eyes, bringing you back to a cold reality.

You push yourself harder against the wall as Ray approaches you slowly, his gaze trailing down your body.

'Who started the fire ?' His eyebrows arch up.

'I told you already, I don't know.' You lie in a weak voice.

His fist crashes against the wall, inches from your head and you can't help the scared sound that escapes your lips. His face comes closer to yours as he lets out an impatient breath through his nostrils.

'Stop fucking lying!'

You feel an explosion of pain as he punches the side of your face and your body instinctively curls up in fear.

'Please, sto-...' You hold your jaw painfully before another blow almost knocks you out.

Your vision goes white for a few seconds before the pain comes rushing to your face. The tears roll down your cheeks as a copper taste fills your mouth and your hands start shaking. Ray pulls your wrist before you have the time to get away from him and your chest crashes against his torso, leaving you breathless. His eyes are wild and he stares at your open lip with a hint of lust and excitement. You want to hit him back, just hurt him in any way possible but you just stand there, frozen, not even trying to fight it anymore. Any strength or hope you had has been sucked out of your body, drained by his twisted mind and you feel like an empty shell already. It's day five and you're done... You're hurt, exhausted, starving, dehydrated and scared. Your eyes suddenly widen when you realize that Ray is slowly sliding a hand down your panties. He rubs a rough finger against your private area before laughing.

'Shh... Stop crying, princess.' He shushes you with a smile, sliding his hand back out. 'Feel what it's doing to me.'

'No...' You protest but he's already holding your hand in a tight grip.

He closes his eyes as he forces your palm to rub his manhood over the fabric of his trousers. A deep growl escapes his lips as he opens his eyes and stares at your scared face. His eyes are dark, cold, almost bestial and you feel like a trapped animal about to get slaughtered. His other hand slowly moves in front of your face and your heart tightens. He's showing you that he has a knife and a part of you wildly fantasizes being able to snatch it from his hand and plunge it into his throat. He lets go of your hand and looks at you closely to see if you're going to try something. Of course you're not. You know how that ends... He spits in one hand and shoves it roughly in your panties again, rubbing your folds painfully. Your thighs instinctively squeeze together at the attack but you feel the blade travelling along your skin and you relax your legs reluctantly.

'You're so damn wet for me.' He whispers, burying his nose in the crook of your neck.

It's your own saliva, you prick ! You want to scream but you purse your lips instead and hold the tears when you feel his finger slowly pushing at your entrance. He thrusts it in and you bite the inside of your cheek without a sound when you feel the second finger joining in. His raspy voice against your neck makes your skin crawl and you squeeze your eyes shut.

'See how good I am with you?' He kisses your ear, nibbling the lobe. 'I haven't taken you fully because I know you don't want it... yet.' He groans. 'I will have to make you mine soon though, princess. I'm growing impatient.'

You freeze at his words and your body almost goes limp against the wall. This is the thing you fear everyday and you're honestly surprised he hasn't done it yet. You don't want to think about it but you know it'll happen. Ray starts undoing his belt rapidly and his trousers slide down to his ankles. Your jaw tightens and you look away. You came back here. You have to suffer the consequences now and live with them... You feel his hot throbbing erection against your naked leg and you just stare at the wall opposite you. In this moment, as you feel his repulsive thrusts against your bare thigh, you almost regret the choice you made...

_____________

'Wake up, pretty thing.'

Your head shoots up and your heart skips a beat. His voice can wake you up in a second. A sharp and pulsating pain is gripping one side of your head and you take a deep breath, fighting the nausea. You hold onto the ridiculously thin blanket covering your body. When you arrived at this new place, Ray took your bag, stripped you down and threw away your clothes, providing you with an old and dirty nightdress. The freezing room doesn't help your current state and you reluctantly lift a trembling head to him.

'I got something fun planned for you today.'

Those simple words send a chill down your spine and you swallow hard, not replying. He's making you pay and he's making you pay hard. Every day is a new twisted game for him in order to break you. Maybe you're already broken, anyway... After the fire, Ray and his people, a good forty of them, found an abandoned school and settled in. Now, several months later, they're back to the way they were. The fights take place in the school gym and, once in a while, you hear the terrified screams. You're not allowed out though, not without him anyway. He's left you in what was the janitor room, your hands tied up to a metal hook on the floor. Not that it's necessary, considering the fact that the door is always locked anyway, but that's his way of fucking with you. You have to scream your lungs out when you need to go to the bathroom and he lets you out, sometimes hours later. Or, he simply leaves you to wet yourself, probably getting a kick out of it. Yes you're desperate for a shower. Since you arrived, he hasn't indicated that you would be having one anytime soon and you don't even bother asking anymore. Maybe your smell will end up putting him off... He yanks your handcuffs and you wince, interrupting the train of your thought abruptly. Your head is throbbing and you get up painfully, before he has the chance to drag you along the floor. He opens the door and pushes you forward, into the dusty hallway. His face seems weirdly content and you know he's already got something in mind. You're too weak to even bother talking though, your pulsating headache getting the better of you. You must have a nasty bruise by now, another one to add to the collection...

'How about a shower, princess ?'

Your eyebrows raise in surprise and you almost wonder if he was able to read your mind. What's the catch ? Is he just in a good mood today ?

'Sounds...good.' You reply hesitantly when you notice his persistent glare on you.

His smile stretches and the walk to the changing rooms resumes quietly. When you step in the showers with him, you have to admit, you can't wait to feel the water on your skin. You notice two big buckets filled with water and you know it's going to be freezing cold but it's worth it. You just need to wash the filth off of you. After untying you, Ray proceeds to undress you and you're forced to let him take ''care'' of you. Everything he does is to make sure you know he's in control. He runs the wet soap all over your trembling body, in your hair and on your face, not bothering about the soap entering your eyes. You scrunch up your nose when he starts scratching your body with his dirty nails. You almost feel like your skin is going to peel off and you're sure it'll leave some nasty marks but you bite your tongue and let it happen. Then, without any gentleness, he empties the bucket of water over your head and you can't help the shocked gasp that escapes your mouth. You feel like your bones instantly freeze and your skin goes numb before tingling furiously. He empties the second one as abruptly as the first one, your wet hair falling in front of your face. He purposely skips the drying part and throws the nightdress over your head. You're still wet, your hair is dripping, running down your back and on your chest and you know this is all deliberate. He ties your hands behind your back this time, stopping you from being able to squeeze the excess water out of your hair and pushes you back out of the shower. It's cold. Now, that your body is wet, covered by a damp nightdress, the creeping draft in the building feels like death. The cold is slowly infiltrating your body, freezing you to the bones, making you shake uncontrollably. You head back downstairs and he pushes you in the janitor room forcefully making you land, knees first, on the dirty floor. He drags you back to your 'corner' and locks your wrists to the hook again. You rest your back against the cold wall without a word and you exhale loudly when the door slams shut. It would be completely dark if it wasn't for a little window bringing some light in. The glass is frosted so you can't see outside but you know if you could somehow make it out of it, you would be crawling straight out on the grass outside. The thought is somewhat depressing you even more. You're really and truthfully helpless even with a way out so close to you...Your teeth start chattering and you try to take your mind off of the horrible cold. Every time you try to escape the reality in here, you think about Negan... What is he doing right now ? Is he thinking about you ? Is there a chance is looking for you...or is he relieved you're gone ? He did say you could leave and he didn't seem to care much... You feel the tears coming so you just shut all your thoughts. Your nightdress is soaked now, sticking to your skin and the water is still dripping down your hair, spreading goosebumps all over your body. You close your eyes, bringing your legs up against your chest. You want it to stop. You need it to stop.

You jump up when you hear keys jingling behind the door and you wipe your runny nose on your knee. You keep drifting in and out of sleep and you honestly have no idea how long you've been back. Ray appears in the doorway and when he leaves the door open, you know he's taking you back out. Part of you should be relieved to leave the room but you know he's got something planned and it's never good news. Staying alone in a dark room, even if you die of hypothermia, doesn't sound so bad after all.

'Are you cold ?' Ray touches your shoulder and looks at you in the eyes.

You glare at him without replying. Like that wasn't the whole point...

'Hey, princess.' He lifts your chin with a finger. 'You have to tell me when you need something.'

You tighten your jaw and bite your tongue. Last time you asked him if you could have something to eat, anything, you instantly regretted it. He slapped you over and over until he got bored and then stripped you naked and left you on the cold floor. Not need to mention that you didn't get any food that day.

'Come.' Ray removes the handcuffs and lifts you up carefully.

To your surprise, he doesn't tie your wrists back up and you follow him out, trying to stop the spams jerking your body. He slides his arm behind your back, rubbing your shoulder in an attempt to warm you up but it only makes it, somehow, worse. Without removing his arm, he reaches for his pocket with his other hand and brandish a crinkled red wrapper. A cereal bar. At the sight, your stomach growls without your consent. He starts unwrapping it and, surprisingly, he lets you have a bite before devouring it himself. You haven't had anything filling since you're here, nothing to keep your energy up. He wants to make sure you're weak enough, so you won't get any brave ideas and try something. You suddenly notice he's taking you to the gym and your stomach twists. Is he going to make you watch one of the fights ? As soon as he pushes the doors open, you realize it's completely empty, with the exception of a tall redhead sitting awkwardly on one of the benches. You've never seen her before... As soon as she sees Ray entering, she jumps to her feet, a terrified look on her face.

'Can I go now ?'

'Go ?' He scoffs and glances at you like to say what a fool.

You just stare at them blankly, trying to figure out what's going on. She's probably about the same age as you, she's got relatively clean clothes on and you can't help but wondering why she isn't already locked in a room somewhere like all the women here.

'A little introduction first.' Ray announces, not even trying to hide his amusement. '(y/n), here, well...she's my girl.' He strokes your hair, like he would do with a pet. 'Her opinion is important to me. So...she's gonna choose if you stay or not.'

You furrow your brows, trying to understand the meaning of his words. Does he want you to say if she should stay or not ? That simple ?

'W-What do you mean ?' You clear your throat, trying to sound confident.

The redhead looks at you with worried eyes and Ray's smile stretches.

'I almost forgot !' He brings his hand to his forehead exaggerating the gesture. 'You'll need these.'

He opens his bomber jacket and gets two little knives out, handing them over to the both of you. You take the knife, the question stuck in your dry throat. You suddenly don't feel so cold anymore...

'Why..why do we need...that ?' The other woman asks, the fear resonating in her high-pitched voice.

Ray steps away from you, leaving you in the middle of the hall and takes a sit on the nearest bench.

'Simple, listen. One of you can stay, one of you has to die. Your choice.'

He leans forward, his elbows resting on his laps. You feel like your heart stops beating for a moment and you shake your head, blood boiling in your veins.

'You... can't be serious.' You let out through gritted teeth.

'Hurry up before I choose.' His smile drops, replaced by a threatening stare.

Your heart is pounding in your chest right now and the other woman starts crying silently, holding the knife with a shaky hand. You're not doing this. He's not serious. You're not going to kill an innocent woman to save yourself. You take a step back when you see the other woman suddenly taking a few hesitant steps towards you. What is she doing ?! You can see something in her eyes has changed and, fuck that, you've seen that look before.

'Listen to me.' You put your hands in front of you, still stepping back. 'He's lying. We don't have to do that. He won't kill us.'

But she doesn't stop. She's still stepping towards you and you notice her hand holding the knife isn't shaking anymore. She suddenly charges at you and you quickly dodge her, almost losing your balance.

'Stop this !' You scream at her desperately. 'He's messing with us ! I won't kill you ! Nobody will !'

She charges again but this time, the blade almost makes contact with your face and you swear loudly.

'Fucking stop ! I don't wanna kill you !'

The third time she charges, you manage to grab her wrist and stop her before she stabs you right in the belly. You swear you can feel something warm dripping down your belly button but you ignore it and use her momentum to slam her back against the wall. She starts screaming in rage and the adrenaline makes your blood rush to your head. You don't know how you're able to still hold her wrist away from you but you're getting weak. You won't be able to hold it for long. She kicks you in the belly a few times but it's sloppy and you just take the hit painfully, still holding onto her wrist.

'Don't make me do this ! Stop it !'

You start slamming her wrist against the wall over and over, trying to get her to drop it but she's determined. She wants to kill you, she thinks she's fighting for her life and there's no stopping her. Her knife is so close that you feel the tip of the blade poking your cheek and a warm liquid oozes down your face. Your vision suddenly goes white and you stop thinking.

'Stop it !' Your blade thrusts into her belly once but she's still fighting you. 'STOP IT !'

You're not sure what happens next but when you come back to your senses, your hand holding the knife is covered in blood and your whole body is shaking, tears streaming down your face. The other woman is on the floor, inert, a pool of blood forming around her. You drop the knife and start sobbing, as you hear a loud and slow clapping echoing through the gym.

'I knew it !' Ray stands up, still clapping, a look of admiration on his face.

Your legs shake violently and the cold has come back to slap you in the face. You stare at the blood stained nightdress you're wearing and you can't move, you just can't. Ray suddenly scoops you up and you black out.

_______________

You're standing in the kitchen, hours later, a bowl of soup in front of you. You can't eat. Not anymore. You just stare at the bowl with empty eyes. You want to go back to the room.

'Eat, you deserve it, princess !' Ray pushes the bowl closer to you.

'It's too hot.' You mumble, barely opening your mouth.

'It's not.' He objects before pushing the spoon against your lips.

You don't move your mouth away from the boiling liquid in time and the spoon finds its way between your lips.

'Shit !' You spit the soup back out, holding your burned mouth.

'Hey !' Ray slaps you violently across the face making you lose your balance. 'Ladies don't swear.'

You get back up, a hand holding the side of your face painfully. He looks at you grinning and waiting for you to be back on your wobbly legs.

'Anyway, we have guests, as I told you earlier. Try to smile for once.'

You wish you could splash his face with the hot soup but you just nod obediently. Apparently, some of his men have bumped into some other twisted survivors out there and they've brought them back here. In other words, they're here to trade. You remember Caroline telling you that she saw some girls being taken away by other men in exchange of supplies. Nothing unexpected, really...

You follow him mechanically back in the school gym. The last place you want to be right now but it doesn't matter. He makes the rules. When you enter, you notice some of Ray's men sitting on the benches, some drinking, some laughing. In the middle of the room, two men with a girl tied up are standing in front of Sam. The man seems to be in a deep conversation with them as he doesn't even notice Ray's arrival, you trotting behind. One of the strangers turn around though and your heart drops. It can't be... You quickly shut your mouth and stare at the floor, eyebrows furrowed. Your imagination must be fueling you with all sorts of fantasies right now. Your thoughts rush in your brain and you almost feel dizzy. When you lift your eyes again and see the girl, you know. You're not dreaming. The tears fill your eyes and you feel like you're going to faint.

'Ray.' Ray shakes the first man's hand.

'This is Andy. I'm Gavin.'

As soon as you hear the name, all your doubts fade away. Your hands start shaking and you hold them together, trying to steady your breathing.

'So, Sam told me a little bit about you. You got a settlement a few miles south ?' Ray continues, unaware of the storm going on in your brain. 'Is she yours ?'

Gavin nods his head calmly, pushing the girl forward. Suddenly your heart jumps out of your chest, when you hear gunshots from outside. Everything after that goes way too fast for your foggy brain and before Ray has time to take a step towards the door, the sound of a gun cocking resonates in the gym.

'Easy now, pal.' Gavin presses the barrel against Ray's head and you step away from him.

Your legs start shaking and you do your best to keep them straight. The gunshots stop and after a few seconds, the doors fly open.

'The buzzer was broken so we just let ourselves in ! Hope you don't mind !'

You turn around and Simon is standing by the door, a wide grin plastered on his face, a crazy look in his eyes, his rifle pointed at the ceiling. A large group of armed saviors are standing behind him and suddenly a tall man emerges from the crowd and walks casually past Simon. The tears fill your eyes and your legs start shaking violently but you have to wait just for a little bit longer. You need to be sure... His gaze lands on you almost immediately, travels along your weak body, takes in all the marks and all the bruises. He's still stepping forward, the other saviors on his heels now. His dangerous laugh suddenly resonates in the hall and a deep sigh follows, the sound of his boots stopping.

'I believe you got something of mine.'

As soon as the words escape his lips, as soon as you hear his voice again, you fall on your knees, not able to stand anymore. He's here. Negan's here. The nightmare is over. The saviors are surrounding the other men now, guns pointed at their heads and your brain can barely register what's happening.

'Arat, put those men in the corner ! I need to have a serious motherfucking conversation with this pussy.'

Ray is still frozen in place, his tongue going over his front teeth, seemingly pissed. His men are taken into a corner of the gym, a dozen saviors guarding them. You feel a hand under your shoulder and you realize Simon has come up to help you. You manage to stand back up and he squeezes your hand tightly.

'You're safe now, angel.'

Your voice gets stuck in your tight throat and you can only nod once, a few tears rolling down your cheeks. He puts his jacket over your shoulders but you can't stop staring at Negan. He's only a few feet away from you, looking at Ray's men with a disapproval look. You shake a little bit and lean on Simon to get support. Negan finally turns to you and his eyes meet yours. You can't explain it but a warm feeling grows in your heart and you feel like you've been brought back to life. He nods his head at you, almost imperceptibly but you see it. If you could move your legs right now, you would probably run to him, even if you know he won't come to comfort you just now. You know Negan. He'll deal with them first, no doubt about that.

'What do you want ?'

You were so dazed by Negan's presence that you completely forgot about Ray. His face is strangely unfazed. Negan chuckles at the question while shaking his head.

'Everything you fucking got, actually.'

'Not happening.' Ray objects straight away, cracking his knuckles.

Negan narrows his eyes and looks down at him, dominantly.

'Lemme tell ya, kid, when I want something... I fucking take it. That wasn't a request.' His voice deepens and his eyes turn cold. 'And you see the pretty doll over here ?' He gestures towards you. 'She belongs to me, my motherfucking property. And I do not appreciate you stealing what's mine.' He growls angrily, his face twitching with anger. 'You understand me, or you need me to knock some fucking sense back into ya ?'

Ray crosses his arms calmly and glares at Negan with empty eyes. 'I claimed her first.'

He suddenly tries to reach for you and gets a hold of your hair, but the contact sends your mind into overdrive and you push him violently with a growl. You hear some shouting and he's rapidly taken away from you. You feel some of your hair being pulled out but it's the last of your worries. As Ray stumbles backwards, you feel a much larger hand immediately tangle in your hair, pulling you closer. Your back hits Negan's chest and you freeze, your heart beating fast. Not even wondering what he's doing, you're melting under his warm hands, craving his touch.

'See that.' Negan growls, tightening his hold on you possessively. 'She's not fighting me 'cause she knows who she belongs to.'

He lets a deep throated laugh out and untangles his hand out of your hair, pushing you aside gently.

'I've seen my fucking share of tiny miserable dicks like you.' Negan continues, stepping towards Ray slowly. 'Hiding in that shithole, raping women because your mother probably slapped the shit outta ya as a kid.' He lets out a disgusted growl. 'You thought you were in charge, king of your fucking world... well, guess what ?' He takes a few steps back and extends his arms out, the rest of the saviors behind him. 'We are the big swinging dicks of this world !' His voice lowers to a growl. 'And you are fucked.'

You see Ray's face turn red and he starts shaking in anger, as Gavin ties his hands behind his back.

'I'll kill you.' He groans like a caged animal before being pushed down to his knees.

Negan tilts his head before letting it fall back, a loud laugh echoing in the gym.

'I don't die.' He starts, his smile disappearing as quick as it came. 'Not until I'm damn good and fucking ready. But you on the other hand... I mean, shhit ! Have you fucking realized that half your men are already dead ?! And the other half, well...soon to be ! And you are just tied up on the floor like a squealing little fucking pig on Bacon Day !'

He chuckles again and turns to you.

'What d'you say we do with him, baby ?'

Your gaze falls on Ray but his eyes doesn't leave Negan. Your words stay stuck in your throat and you really don't know what to say. You want him to die for sure, but what punishment is enough ? What punishment can make up for the atrocities he's responsible of ? Negan's laugh startles you and you realize he's not looking at you anymore.

'Arat ! Bring those men back here !' He shouts loud enough for her to hear.

'Which one is Sam ?' Simon's voice whispers in your ear.

You gesture at the man standing a few feet away and Simon nods slowly, a deadly look in his eyes. To your surprise, Ray starts shifting on the floor and turns his head to you, a -fake- soft look in his eyes. You turn your face away, you can't look at him.

'(Y/n), I'm...'

'No !' Negan cuts him off loudly, turning suddenly. 'You don't talk to her, you don't look at her.'

Ray's men come back, the saviors following their every moves.

'I heard you people love fighting.' Negan starts, the smirk back on his face. 'How 'bout a fucking fight tonight ?' He lets a gravelly laugh out and looks down at Ray with an intimidating stare. 'Got the balls ?'

Your heart starts pounding in your chest. Is he going to fight him ? Simon pulls you gently to sit down and you mentally thank him. Your body is shaking, your mind seems to go blank right now, you can't think of anything but you know your body will shut down soon if you stay up any longer. You notice the other men are being forced to sit on the benches, a gun pressed against their heads.

'Are you gonna let me fight like a man ?' Ray mumbles angrily, pushing his tied wrists forward.

Negan's smirk stretches and he closes the distance between them in a few steps.

'No.' He crouches, the leather of his jacket creaking quietly. 'In your fucking case, having a dick doesn't make you a man.' He chuckles mockingly, but his tone is cold. 'Hell, I'm feeling so fucking generous, I'll even let Lucille here sit back and enjoy tonight's entertainment !' He gestures at the bat lying on the first row bench and straightens himself up, a deadly scowl on his face.

He turns to you confidently, his powerful aura dominating the entire school gym.

'Let the motherfucking show begin !'

Chapter Text

                                                                 

 

 

'Shiit, are you still there ?!'

You wince and for the first time, you have to look away. Ray's face is an unrecognizable bloody mess now and you don't understand how he's still conscious. The last blow sent him rolling on the floor and your stomach twists. You don't know how long Negan has been beating him but it feels like forever. Your head hurts so much, you just want to close your eyes and lie down.

'Hey angel, are you hurt ?' Simon is leaning forward, staring at the vivid red staining your nightdress.

'It's just a cut... It's bleeding again but it's not deep.' You explain in a weak voice.

Your vision keeps getting blurry and you're starting to wonder how much longer you'll be able to take all this. You feel like you're looking at the scene from the ceiling, even your voice doesn't sound right... You hear Simon shifting beside you but you can't get your eyes to look up at him.

'Alright !' You hear Negan's voice suddenly boom. 'Take these assholes outside, finish loading the trucks. I wanna be gone in ten fucking minutes !'

'Is it... done ?' You whisper, glancing at Ray but you swear he's still moving on the floor.

'Come on.' Simon helps you up and you take a deep breath before walking slowly, staring at the floor.

'Baby.'

Your heart tightens and you realize Negan is holding your arm in a strong grip. You turn around but Simon is nowhere to be seen. In fact, everybody has already left the school gym and you look up at Negan's blurry face.

'I-I don't feel...so good.' You mutter, shaking your head in confusion.

'I know, doll.'

You feel the cold air hitting your thighs and belly and you realize Negan has lifted your nightdress, examining your body. You moan and try to push his hand away but he doesn't budge.

'Is he dead ?' You whisper, legs shaking.

'No, we're taking the piece of shit back home. Might as well extend the fucking fun, don't you think, baby doll ?!'

Your blood freezes suddenly and your legs go stiff. Negan's arm is pulling you already but you push him away.

'Kill him now.' You let out in a serious and surprisingly steady voice.

'After all the shit he put you through ?! Killing him now is too fucking easy !'

'We are not taking him back to the Sanctuary.' You retort, angrily.

As you feel Negan's hand come back to grab your arm, the little bit of energy left in you comes rushing in your legs and you snatch Lucille from his hands without thinking. You've moved so fast that the bat just slides out of his hands without any resistance and you take a few steps towards Ray. He's still lying on the floor and you're being grateful that your vision is still blurry. You take a deep breath and tighten your grip on the bat. It's now or never. You have to do this. You bring the bat down on his head over and over until your arms start shaking violently. You ears are ringing painfully and you feel Negan stop your hands mid-air. Both your arms immediately drop weakly and you let the bat slide out of your hands. Your whole body is shaking now and you're not sure if you're crying or not but your vision gets blurrier until everything just fuses together and you can't see anymore.

'Good girl' is the last thing you hear before your body finally shuts down and everything goes black.

________________

You wake up in the dark, a strong smell of blood entering your nostrils. You're lying down on something comfortable, though. You hear some faint voices around you but your eyelids are too heavy for you to even consider opening your eyes. You're in a car, judging by the rumbling engine and your head is resting on someone's lap.

'Negan...' You start, trying to lift your head.

'I'm right here, baby doll.' His voice is coming from above you.

He pushes your head back on his lap and you relax against his gloved hand. You try to open your mouth and talk but your brain is too foggy. You just want to sleep. Just a little bit longer...

_________________

You wake up again, your heart racing. It's pitch black but you can hear a slow breathing next to you. Was it all a dream ? Are you back with Ray ? A light suddenly turns on and you quickly shield your eyes with a shaky hand, head throbbing.

'Sorry, I should have warned you... Are you ok ?' A voice asks.

You blink a few times before removing your hand. When your eyes fall on Caroline, your heart warms up and you sit up slowly. Before you have the time to say anything, she reaches for your hand and holds it carefully between her fingers, like if it was going to break into pieces.

'What you've done for me, I'll never thank you enough. I owe you my life.' She starts, the tears already rolling down her cheeks. 'You found my husband and saved his life...I...' She pauses and wipes a few tears. 'Thank you.'

'It's ok, Caroline... I'm glad you're here.'

You want to hug her and talk to her but you feel rotten. You thought you had touched bottom when they came to save you but, fuck, you feel ten times worse now. It's like all the pain and stress you've been through is slapping you in the face all at once. Your body is finally letting go, not in a survival mode anymore and it's hitting you hard. You have a pulsating headache, you feel like someone tried to scoop your eyeballs with a spoon and the tears are just rolling down for no reason. And your body, well... it simply feels like you've been run over a few times by a truck. You can't focus on anything. Everything hurts. Caroline can see the pain on your face and she's holding a glass of water close to your lips.

'Try to drink a little. I know how you must feel, trust me but...you don't wanna get dehydrated.'

'How long have I been...?' You pause, holding a hand over your mouth.

You just have the time to push Caroline out of the way before you vomit on the floor. When you're done, you wipe a shaky hand over your chin and settle back on the bed.

'So sorry.' You hold your sweaty forehead between your hands, massaging the temples.

'I'm gonna get the mop.' Caroline puts the glass down and gets up.

'No, you...'

'Hey !' She interrupts you, a finger pointing towards you. 'Didn't I just say I owed you my life ? That means I'll happily clean your vomit everyday of my life ! At least you didn't wake up in the middle of the night, barfing all over your poor sleeping husband...' She adds, almost to herself.

She gets a giggle out of you and quickly leaves the room. She probably sat down next to your bed for hours... she shouldn't be here. She should be with Simon, catching up. You can take care of yourself...well, more or less. She comes back a few minutes later and starts mopping the floor with a smile.

'Are you really enjoying this ?' You ask, glancing at her face.

'It's just...' She shakes her head, her smile stretching. 'I'm finally at peace. I'm in a safe place with you and Simon, I'm so lucky, y'know.'

You nod your head and moves the pillow from underneath you. She's right and you're lucky too...even if you don't feel it right now.

'You wanna have a shower ?' She places the mop in the corner of the room and approaches you.

You nod your head again, already wincing in anticipation. When you first stand up, you have to grab Caroline's arm almost immediately for support. She helps you undress and guides you to the small shower, still supporting you. You see her eyes linger on the scratches, the bruises on your belly and her stare becomes cold.

'Fucking asshole...' She mutters under her breath, running the sponge softly all over your sensitive skin.

She stays quiet until you're back in bed, fresh clothes on.

'Do you need anything else ?' She asks you, pointing at the glass. 'Food ?'

'No, you've done more than enough. Thank you.' You shake your head quietly.

Caroline places a kiss on your forehead and gives your hand a light squeeze. 'Rest now.'

Before she exits the room, she turns to you. 'By the way I have to let Negan know when you wake up so...you might have another visit soon.'

She shuts the door and your heart beats a little bit faster. You were itching to ask about him and you're glad she brought him up without you having to ask. A part of you is dreading actually talking to him though... you don't even know how you feel about him anymore. Is he still mad at you ? Is he back to 'normal' ? Are you still mad at him for not trusting you ? It hasn't been a week yet but the events that happened before Ray seem already so far away...and futile. You take a gulp of water and clear your throat. You need to ask him if he's found your bag at the school... You're surprised to hear some voices coming from the hallway and you wonder what time it is. In your head, you woke up in the middle of the night but it's probably not even past curfew yet. Judging by the voices outside anyway...

You fidget on the bed for a few minutes but you can't go back to sleep. The water has eased your headache a little bit and you're seriously considering getting out of the room... Fuck it. You carefully get back up and put on the red hoodie folded on the chair. You don't want to wait anymore, you need to talk to him now. The walk to Negan's bedroom is ridiculously tiring for your exhausted body. You have to stop every minute and lean against the wall to catch your breath. The stairs are the worst part and you find yourself sweating and panting when you finally reach the last step. So much for that refreshing shower... You close the distance between you and the door and lift your hand, taking a deep breath. You suddenly freeze when you hear a female laugh coming from the other side of the door.

'Thank you so much Negan...'

Your heart twists painfully. A wife.

'Should I call Amber here too?'

You quickly turn around and head for the stairs. You start struggling again when you reach the lower floor, feeling dizzy. You're...upset. Once again, you feel like Negan manipulated you into imagining things that weren't there. He told you none of the wives were allowed in there and..well, no need to be a genius to realize what they're about to do. You don't need this shit right now. Hell, you feel bad enough as it is. You slowly walk back to your bedroom, tears threatening to roll. You know you're not on your deathbed but you thought he would have at least paid you a visit first. He's obviously not worrying about you too much. If he's in the mood to screw one of his wives before he even knows if you're alright... You shake your head and try to clear your thoughts.

After closing the door, you lie back on your bed with a deep sigh. Every time you close your eyes, you see Ray's disfigured face, looking up at you and your heart starts pounding in your chest. The nightmare is over... but not in your head. You take off the thick hoodie painfully, feeling like you're pulling your own head off and throw it across the room. You lift the t-shirt underneath and examine your belly. The cut doesn't look as bas as you thought and you lie back down carefully. You really wish you had a sleeping pill or something to help you get rid of the nasty images in your head and allow you to rest.

About thirty minutes of staring at the ceiling later, you hear a loud knock on your door. Your muscles stiffen painfully and you mutter a 'come in' that sounds anything but inviting. The door opens wide and Negan appears in the doorway.

'Sleeping beauty is finally awake, fuck me.' He smirks at you and steps in slowly.

'Get out.' You mutter, closing your eyes.

'The fuck did you say ?' He furrows his brows and you can see the genuine confusion on his face.

'I feel like shit, leave me alone.' You turn your back to him, trying to sound as pissed as possible, holding the blanket shakily.

'Come on, doll, don't fucking be like that.'

You hear the smile still in his voice and it's hard for you not to give in.

'Get out.' You repeat, coldly.

You hold your breath, expecting him to shout at you but your hear the door slam shut instead and the tears finally escape your eyes. Your whole body shakes quietly and you hold your blanket for comfort. You wish you had someone to talk to... Yes, you have Caroline now but she went through some horrible shit herself, she doesn't need your crap on top of it. You cry for what feels like hours until there's nothing left in you and you just fall asleep, the exhaustion taking over.

_______________

When you finally wake up the next day, the sun is already setting. You've been sleeping all night and most of the day it appears. You remember faintly waking up a few times earlier, even talking to Caroline but you're not sure it wasn't simply a dream. You feel slightly better today though... To your surprise, your headache is almost completely gone and you can stand up without feeling like you're going to empty the content of your stomach on the floor. Just as your feet touch the ground, a knock on the door makes you jump. Hopefully, it's not Negan...

'Room service !' Simon appears behind the door with a large grin.

You smile and glance at the tray he brought you. It could probably feed about three people...

'So, Caroline said it was 'way too much, she might be sick...' I say goddammit, dig in, you must be starving !'

'It is a lot.' You admit with a chuckle.

Simon shoves his hands in his pockets and sighs deeply. 'Thank you, angel. For everything.'

'It's fine.' You nod with a weak smile. 'You can both stop thanking me now.'

He offers you to stay and keep you company but you politely send him back to Caroline. You know he probably wants to spend as much time as he can with her. You'd rather be alone today anyway. You push the tray aside and decide to have a shower. You get undressed awkwardly and step in the shower, teeth chattering, when the cold water hits you. It slowly warms up and you let out a satisfied sigh when the steam starts forming around you. You run the soap all over your sore body, being careful not to reopen any cuts and you try to ignore the scars you can feel on your back. You're marked forever...

You stop the shower, not wanting to waste any more water and stand in front of the mirror, fully naked. You haven't looked at yourself in a long time and you're actually not looking too bad considering... except for the purple/black bruise on the right side of your face. The scratches on your skin look like you've had a fair fight with a bunch of cats and the cut on your lip is barely visible. You dry your hair with the towel and put your clothes back on. You sit on the bed with a sigh and start eating some of the food. It's nice to finally eat a meal and feel some of your energy back. You open the window and let some fresh air in the room, before lying back on the bed. It's dark outside and you sigh loudly. You dont know why but you don't want to leave the room, you don't want to see anybody. You just want to sleep.

11pm

You open your eyes slowly and sigh. You fell asleep again. As you're about to sit up, you hear your door opening quietly and you freeze.

'Doll ?'

Shit. You're not in the mood to talk. Especially when it's probably going to end in an argument... You close your eyes and, with your back already turned to the door, you can pretend to be asleep. The door shuts but surprisingly, you hear him sit in the chair right by the bed. What does he want ?

'Turn the fuck around if you're awake, please.'

You can smell his alcohol breath hitting the back of your head and you roll your eyes, not moving a muscle. Great. He said 'please' though, that's probably a first...

'I failed ya, doll. I fucking know.' His voice sounds raspier than usual and you feel goosebumps spreading all over your skin. 'It's my fault you ran back to that motherfucker... I promised you, you'd be safe with me and I fucking failed you. I'm sorry. So fucking sorry.'

A heavy silence settles and you realize you're holding your breath expectantly. You can't believe your ears !

'I don't care if you let Daryl out or not, I don't give a shit anymore... Truth is, when you left, I got fucking scared. For the first time since Lucille, I felt something else... Fuck knows but I got rid of the wives last night, 'cause that's what you wanted, even if you're too motherfucking proud to admit it. And I made you kill Ray 'cause that's what you needed.' He sighs loudly. 'Anyway...'

You hear the chair scrape the floor abruptly.

'Good night, doll.'

He shuts the door and you let a long breath out. Are you dreaming or did Negan just give you literally everything you wanted from him ?! An apology and no more wives ? You need to hold your horses... Why would he do that for you ? Plus, he's obviously drunk to start confessing to a sleeping person, so you can't exactly take his words as gospel. He's wrong about one thing though. He didn't make you kill Ray, you wanted to kill him. If he had done it himself, one day, you might have regretted not doing it yourself...That definitely woke you up, though... You sit up and your mind starts racing. Should you go out there and talk to him ? You hesitate and grab the apple sitting on the tray. You bite it absently, staring at the open window for a few long minutes. It's freezing in the room and you were so caught up in your thoughts that you didn't notice the cold. You quickly shut the window and sit back on the bed. You need to talk to him.

You throw the apple core on the tray and leave the room. The stairs are killing you again but it's somehow bearable now and it only takes you five minutes before you're in front of his bedroom door. If he's even in there... You knock twice and listen for any noise coming from the other side. The door opens abruptly and your heart jumps up in your chest. Negan is standing in front of you, his eyebrows arched up, obviously surprised to see you. Oh and he's shirtless, of course... You do your best not to stare at his chest, his tattoes or anything below his neck.

'Can I come in ?'

'Fuck yeah.' He steps aside and lets you in. 'Thought you were asleep.'

'I just woke up.' You lie evasively.

'A drink ?' He's holding a glass for you but you shake your head rapidly.

'No, thanks.'

You stand by his desk nervously while he pours himself another glass. He downs it straight away and sits on his bed with a smirk. He pats the empty spot next to him, inviting you to join him and you climb on the bed, avoiding his look.

'How you feeling ?' He asks, studying your face intently.

His eyes darken when they focus on the bruise on your face and you see his jaw tightening angrily.

'Better.' Your voice is so quiet, you're not sure he even heard you.

'Listen.' Negan takes your hands in one of his. 'I'm sorry about what happened. I mean... it's not a fucking secret, doll, I'm an asshole sometimes...'

Sometimes, huh ?

'It's ok.' You cut him off, your gaze dropping to your hands.

You know you should probably let him apologize again because well, why not ! But you just noticed his scraped knuckles and you realize you have to tell him something too.

'Thank you for saving me.' You look up to meet his eyes. 'You didn't have to come for me and... I'm grateful for that.'

He nods his head a few times but his eyes are fixated on your lips and you start feeling a little bit uncomfortable. You shift slightly to your left but his large hands stops you straight away.

'I ain't fucking done yet.' He says almost threateningly. 'There's something else, baby doll.'

'What ?' You stare at his hand still wrapped around your wrist.

'I got rid of the wives...just for ya.' He pulls you closer to him and your body almost goes limp for a second.

It was true ! He did get rid of them...

'Promise ?' You ask in a quiet voice.

'I fucking promise ya.'

You try to hide a smile when you see his smirk stretching and he lets a deep laugh out.

'Sooo...' He drawls, his face leaning towards yours. 'You're mine or fucking what ?'

'Y-Yes... I'm yours.' You reply shyly, looking down.

His tongue slowly traces over his bottom lip and his deep gaze is back on your lips. 'Say that again.'

'I'm...'

Before you get to finish, his lips are already claiming yours hungrily. Without even thinking, you kiss him back, your heart pounding in your chest. His kiss is passionate, rough, almost demanding.

'You're stuck with me now.' His lips brush against yours and you let a quiet breath out.

Your heart flutters at his words and you can't even hide it anymore. You want him. You're craving his touch. You can feel the tension emanating from his body too and your skin starts tingling.

'Eyes up here.' He orders, a predatory look in his stare. 'You're not gonna leave me like that again right, baby ?'

'No.' Your voice wavers and you try to fight the strong desire drawing you to his lips again.

'You gonna be a good girl for me ?' He continues, his voice low and husky.

'Yes.'

'That's what I like to fucking hear.' He growls against your lips before taking them roughly again.

You part your lips so his tongue can explore your mouth and your hand instinctively rests on his solid chest. You can feel the steady heartbeats under his warm chest and you kiss him, finally letting go. He groans without breaking contact and you feel his hand slide around your neck firmly. He suddenly breaks the kiss and his dark eyes plunge straight into yours. He lifts your shirt over your head and throws it on the floor carelessly. Is this really happening ? When he starts unbuttoning your trousers though, you quickly pull them down yourself. Before you can even do anything else, he's already taken off his own trousers and pushes you roughly on your back. He places one hand next to your head and kisses you softly.

'We don't have to do shit, if you ain't ready, doll.' He whispers right in your ear. 'I just wanna feel you.'

He locks your wrists above your head with his hands and his lips crash against yours again. You feel like you're melting into the warm mattress and you can only kiss him back. You feel his manhood slowly growing underneath his boxers and soon you can't ignore the large bulge just poking your thigh. He starts placing kisses down your neck and he leaves a trail of goosebumps along his wake. You shut your eyes and his possessive grip is starting to have an effect on you. Soon, his mouth latches onto your neck and you can feel his teeth almost scraping your bruised skin. When his lips come back, inches from yours, you lift your head and kiss him softly. He groans and you feel his hips starting to press hard against you and the heat spread between your legs. Soon your hips move with his and he's rubbing himself against your core. You feel yourself instantly getting wet and his boxers seem to have disappear as they grow damp with your arousal.

'Good fucking girl.' His free hand wraps around your throat and he squeezes it lightly. 'But you're making it fucking difficult for me.'

You bite your bottom lip, a sly smile on your face. His erection rubbing against your wet panties...he's making it difficult for you too. You open your legs teasingly and spread your thighs wide, wrapping your legs around his waist. He makes an approving sound and the tip of his stiff manhood comes poking at your entrance through the damp fabric of your underwear.

'You're playing a dangerous fucking game here, doll.'

He leans on his elbow and slides his boxers down, freeing his erection. You look down at him, admiring his whole body and slowly take off your own underwear. Negan nods approvingly, taking in your whole body. You would normally feel self conscious about it but tonight, you don't care. You want him to see you. He gets on his knees between your legs, a possessive look in his eyes. In a second, his face is inches away from yours and his hot breath is hitting the side of your neck.

'I suggest you cover that right fucking now.' He growls in your ear, rubbing himself against your wet clit. 'Or I swear to motherfucking god, you won't be able to stop me in a minute.'

You almost purr in satisfaction when you feel your bundle of nerves getting stimulated.

'I said I was yours.' You remind him, teasingly, kissing his chest softly.

'Say that again ?'

'I said I was...'

You gasp loudly and your whole body tenses up when he suddenly pushes his whole length into you. Your mouth still open in shock, you wriggle underneath him, trying to adjust to his size but he holds you firmly against the mattress. Unable to move, you can feel your walls stretching deliciously slowly around him. As he starts kissing your lips again, he slowly pulls out until he's completely out of you. A disappointed moan escape your lips and he chuckles in your ear.

'What's that, baby girl ?' He's teasing you, the wet tip of his cock sliding slowly along your slit.

'Please, just...'

He slams into you again, getting another gasp of shock out of you. A sweet spasm jerks your body and you moan softly.

'Is that what you fucking wanted, doll ?'

'Yes...fuck !'

You bite your lips when his hips start thrusting and circling. Letting your eyes shut in pleasure, you feel like you're in some sort of trance. His musky smell is flooding your senses as you're giving yourself fully to him. The noises filling the bedroom are downright obscene and are only fueling your arousal. His hand on your throat tightens and you feel his other hand pulling your hair lightly.

'Look at me.'

You open your eyes and his dark eyes are locked onto your face, watching every reaction.

'You're so fucking perfect.' He bites your neck teasingly and you yelp in surprise.

He clenches his jaw and you feel your walls tightening around him. You can't believe you're close already. His thrusts start to roughen and your breathing becomes erratic. He starts hitting just the right spot inside you and you moan shamelessly. Just as you feel like you're about to come, Negan freezes, his whole length buried deep inside you. You almost hit his chest out of frustration and your eyes widen.

'Shhh.' His thumb circles over your throat, his other hand stroking your hair softly. 'Don't fucking move.'

The fact that he just told you not to move makes you want to move even more and you focus on relaxing your body. His throbbing erection is deep inside your walls and you find yourself getting wetter by the minute. You can feel his impressive size twitching and you realize it's just a matter of seconds before you come. Your breath becomes short and you're aching for him to move inside you. You're surprised he's got so much self control actually... You let out a loud moan as you feel your lower belly starting to contract and that's all it takes for him to reach his climax. He groans against your flushed skin, his head buried in the crook of your neck and you suddenly feel a warm wave spilling inside your core. Your chest rises up and down frantically and you whisper his name as you reach your own release, writhing in pleasure.

'Fucking fuck...' He kisses your collarbone, breathless. 'You made me cum like a motherfucking teenager !'

He's still inside you, still hard and twitching and you close your eyes, catching your breath. You feel so good right now, you don't want to leave this bed. You're in complete bliss and you can't feel any pain anymore. He slowly pulls out and you let a deep sigh out.

'You ok, doll ? I was being as fucking gentle as possible.'

'It was perfect.' You reassure him with a smile, stretching your legs.

'Damn fucking right it was.'

A knock on the door makes you jump and you instinctively throw the sheets over your naked body. Negan chuckles at your reaction and starts putting his boxers back on.

'Who the fuck is it ?' He barks, grabbing his trousers.

'Dwight. It's about the new guy downstairs.'

When he's dressed again, he opens the door abruptly and you silently thank him for not opening it too wide.

'He's been screaming for a while now. Do I let Simon handle it ?'

'Yeah Dwighty boy, not my motherfucking problem !'

He slams the door in his face and turns to you with a smirk.

'Who's this new guy ?' You ask immediately, the curiosity taking over.

Negan laughs at your sudden interest and scratches his beard slowly.

'Simon brought that piece of shit back here.'

'Who ? Noo... Sam ?!' You open your mouth in shock, quickly throwing your t-shirt over your head.

Negan nods slowly and you slide off the bed, shaking your head.

'And Caroline doesn't know...' You continue almost to yourself.

'So ?'

'So ?' You repeat with wide eyes. 'That asshole has raped her over and over for almost a year. She thinks he's dead but really, he's sleeping in the same building as her, still breathing ! You seriously don't see anything wrong with that ?'

Negan's smirk hasn't left his face and you can see he doesn't care about what you're saying at all, he's not even listening anymore. He pulls your hand towards him and, in a second, you're wrapped up in his strong arms, nestled into his warm chest. His beard grazes your cheek and he leans close to your ear.

'You need a goddamn shower, doll.'

You glance down, confused, before blushing furiously.

'Screw you.' You retort, turning away from him.

Negan lets out a deep-throated laugh and heads for the bathroom.

'Give me at least a goddamn minute first ! And get your pretty fucking ass in here !'

You roll your eyes and scoff as you hear the shower start. You're going to be fine...

Chapter Text

                                                                 

 

 

Life at the Sanctuary is...good. You honestly feel better than you've ever felt since the dead started walking. You have a roof over your head, food, water, in other words, everything you need... but you feel bad. Do you really deserve to be living like this when other communities are struggling because of the saviors ? You haven't personally done anything against them but you're still part of it. Every time you use a hairbrush, eat a cereal bar or get new clothes, you can't help but think that you might have stolen them from someone else. Of course when you tried to explain that to Negan, he just laughed. Things are good between you two but, sometimes you wonder if you've made the right choice, if you are where you're supposed to be. You know he probably means well but you don't want to stay in the Sanctuary all day, every day. You need to go out there, go on supply runs, discover new areas... Hell, maybe he expected you to act like the wives used to... But that's not you. The apocalypse is real and you're all surviving here. You never realized that but you need to be out there, you need to experience the danger too. You can't forget. You can't forget what it is to fight for your life, to scavenge houses in hope to find some supplies to get you through another day, you can't let that happen. Nowhere is entirely safe. Not even the Sanctuary.

'We need more flour.'

Bonnie's voice pulls you out of your daydream and you nod rapidly.

'I'll get some.' You wipe your wet hands on your lap and exit the kitchen.

You almost instantly bump into Simon and you gasp loudly, making him smile.

'Is my lovely wife in there ?' He points at the dining area, eyebrows raised.

'Yep, cleaning the tables. We need more flour in the kitchen, though...'

'Dwight's got the keys, angel. He's at the front.'

Simon turns around but you grab his arm before he walks away. He glances at you with a surprised look.

'I know about Sam.' You say bluntly, not willing to beat around the bush. 'You're still keeping him, aren't you ?'

He sighs and strokes his moustache, not replying. You purse your lips. To be honest, you thought he would have killed him by now. What is he even doing to him ?

'You need to tell Caroline, please. She deserves to know, you can't hide him from her.'

'I know, I know.' He nods absently. 'And I will.'

He turns on his heels and heads into the kitchen, leaving you alone in the hallway. You really hope he's going to tell her...

The rest of the day flies by and when you're finally back in Negan's bedroom, you sit on the bed, exhaling loudly. You stayed up all day and your feet are really sore. You take your boots off and are about to get undressed when a loud knock startles you.

'It's me !' Caroline's voice resonates from the other side of the door, before you've even taken a step forward.

She sounds upset. Has he told her already ? You open the door and you're facing a distraught-looking Caroline, tears on her cheeks. He has.

'What happened ?' You ask anyway, quickly exiting the room.

You take her to the 'living room' and make her sit on the couch. You know Negan doesn't want anybody else other than you in his bedroom, no point in even asking.

'It's...It's S-Sam...' She struggles, her voice breaking.

You feel so bad, you wish you could just tell her you know already but...it would just make it worse. So you just stare at her with an interrogative look.

'He's here.' She says finally, her long fingers gripping her knees.

'Here ?' You repeat blankly. 'What ?'

God, you're bad at this. You should have confronted Simon the next day you found out, you feel like you betrayed her too. She starts talking about how Simon kept that information from her all this time and how bad the argument that followed was.

'Well.' You start when she's done explaining the situation to you. 'It's wrong, you know, what he's done, but I think, he was just trying to protect you, Caroline. That guy has put your through hell... Simon feels guilty for not being able to save you. That's probably his way of making things right... but I understand you're upset. Trust me. If Negan had kept Ray alive all this time, behind my back, I'd be pretty mad too...'

'What if he has ?' She suddenly says, her eyes opening wide.

Your stomach twists. You've never told her what you did. She didn't ask, she probably assumed that Negan took care of him and you've never brought it up either.

'No, he's dead.' You assure her, shaking your head.

She looks at you for a minute, biting her lips before asking.

'How ?'

You sigh and sit more comfortably in the couch.

'I killed him.'

You wait for her reaction but she doesn't even flinch, her stare only becomes sharper.

'How...' She hesitates. 'How did it feel ?'

'Well...' You look for your words, not sure how to explain it. 'I don't enjoy killing another human being. I mean, hell, now more than ever, every life matters. But... some people are too far gone, they can't be saved. I think these people don't deserve a place in this world.' You clear your throat, staring at a stain on the couch. 'So it didn't feel good... but it felt right.'

Caroline is staring at the floor, deep in thought, nodding absently.

'Maybe I should kill him.' She says suddenly.

'You don't have to. I mean, surely Simon will do it anyway. Just...make sure you know. Don't kill him, just because you think it's your job to do it, but don't let someone else do it for you if...that's what you need to do to move on.'

Caroline hasn't even blinked and you're starting to wonder if you said the right thing. You're not really good at talking to people... Out of nowhere, she almost throws herself at you and holds you in a tight hug.

'I think I know. Thank you, (y/n).' She sniffles loudly and you pat her back, squeezing her against you.

'Well isn't that fucking adorable !'

Negan slowly emerges from the hallway and you roll your eyes.

'Follow me, doll.' He adds before you even turn to him.

'I'm...in a middle of something here.' You reply, annoyed.

Can't he see she's crying ?!

'Do I look like I give a fuck ?' He snaps back, his smirk disappearing.

You clench your jaw in anger. Why does he need to be such an asshole sometimes ?

'I'll be a minute, wait for me.' You say to Caroline, before getting up.

He's already reached his bedroom door and you have to almost run to catch up with him.

'Can't you be nice ?' You whisper angrily. 'She just found out about Sam...'

'As I said. Not my motherfucking problem. Come.' He holds the bedroom door open for you.

'Well she's my friend and she needs me.' You turn around.

He grabs your wrist before you can walk away from him and pulls you closer. His dark eyes are staring at your face intensely, surprised by your reaction. He leans for a kiss and you close your eyes, his stubble tickling the corner of your mouth.

'I fucking need you too right now. She's got a husband, she ain't alone, doll.' He retorts with a smirk.

You sigh, shaking your head. He's not even listening...

'It's ok, baby.' He drawls before a deep chuckle escapes his lips. 'I don't give a shit, talk all night if you want, but... a little fucking bird told me Simon would finish the guy tonight. Just saying !'

'Tonight ?' You repeat, furrowing your brows. 'I have to tell her !'

You turn around, hurrying back down the hallway. Caroline is still sitting on the couch, staring off into space.

'Caroline, you need to talk to Simon about what you told me.'

'I don't wanna talk to him to-....'

'You need to do it now.' You insist, hoping she sees you're serious.

She gets up slowly. 'You're right. It's gotta happen anyway...'

'That's the spirit !' You smile at her before she disappears down the hallway.

Suddenly you realize something and you walk back to the bedroom with your eyebrows furrowed. Negan is sitting in his chair, his feet propped up on the desk, turning nonchalantly Lucille in his hands. As soon as you enter the room, the corners of his mouth stretch and you stop right in front of his desk.

'It was bullshit, right?'

His smirk widens, his dimples appearing slowly. 'Maybe.'

He takes off his jacket, still staring right at you. You don't even know what to say to that. To be honest, it's not a bad thing she's gone to Simon now, so you can't really be mad about it. You open the alcohol cabinet and pick a random bottle. You pour yourself a drink and you feel Negan's eyes following your every move.

'Getting fucking comfortable, I see.'

'Hm-mh.' You nod without looking at him.

'Put that fucking drink down !'

You turn around, startled. His voice has gone from playful to angry in one second and you're left confused. He's already towering over you and without any explanation, he snatches the glass from your hand. What have you done ?

'Was that shit already open ?' Negan grabs the bottle of whiskey, twisting the lid off.

'Uh, y-yes it was open.' You confirm, looking up at him.

He tilts the bottle and spills some of the liquid on the carpet. You gasp when you notice fumes escaping from the fibers. Shit. You take a step back.

'What the shit...' Negan heads straight for the bathroom and you hear him emptying the rest of the bottle down the toilet, still swearing.

You haven't moved, your eyes fixated on the carpet. You were going to drink that. You were ready to bring it up to your lips... A shiver jerks your body and you sit on the bed. Negan comes back out, his face contorted in anger and he starts pacing the room.

'Motherfucker tried to kill me...fucking fuck !'

'Where does that bottle come from ?' You ask weakly, interrupting his thoughts.

'You're gonna tell me you didn't fucking bring it here from the supply room ?!'

You shake your head, frowning. His jaw clenches and you expect to see him explode any minute.

'You think it's someone... here ?'

He doesn't answer but keeps pacing furiously while you sit on the bed. The truth is, it could be anyone. Any communities could have a reason to want to see him dead. Plus, he's the leader here. People might want to... replace him. A dreadful feeling flows down to your chest and you feel sick. This is all too real. Negan ends up leaving the room a few moments later and you let him go without a word.

__________

Two weeks have passed since the bottle incident and, strangely, Negan never brought it back up. Caroline killed Sam. She never told you, but you know it. All of a sudden, she seems happier and she's never mentionned his name again after that day. The feeling hasn't disappeared though. Every day you wake up, thinking something's wrong. The fact that Negan leaves you in the complete dark doesn't help either. He's being purposely vague with everything the saviors do. Even Simon doesn't let Caroline know what they're doing outside the Sanctuary. And Dwight...well, he's been acting weird lately, avoiding you at all costs. You're sitting on the stairs right now, watching the saviors get ready to head out. When you see them all, armed to the teeth, you furrow your brows. Where are they going ? Is that a...coffin ? You squint your eyes and a hand on your shoulder makes you almost jump.

'Coming for breakfast ?' Caroline asks you, sitting on the step behind yours.

'Yes.' You reply absently, not getting up.

'Do you know what's going on today ?'

You shake your head and you both head back inside. You hate not knowing. Does he think you're that useless ? You've survived out there before, alone. Or maybe he knows you wouldn't approve of whatever they're doing.

Three hours later, your questions finally get an answer. You and Caroline are sitting on the kitchen floor, head leaning against the wall. She's drifted off to sleep and you've just closed your eyes, thinking about the first days trying to survive in this new world. You remember the people you were with but it seems all so far away. You wonder where they are now... Are any of them still alive ? You open one eye when you hear the sound of cars and voices resonate from outside. They're already back. You close your eyes again. This time, you're not going to waste your time trying to get Negan to talk...

'Girls !'

Your head shoots up and you wince in pain. You fell asleep too and your neck is so stiff, you can't even turn your head to look at Caroline.

'Jeez...' You hear her sigh and get up.

Bonnie leans against the counter and looks at you with a worried expression.

'What's up, Bonnie ?'

'Have you been here the whole time ?'

We both nod and she sighs loudly.

'Well, Negan made a speech.'

'About what ?'

'Apparently, the other communities have... come together. They want things to change.' Bonnie sighs, tying her hair up. 'They wanna take us down.'

'What does it mean ?' You insist, your throat tight.

'It means war, darling.'

'What ?!' Caroline says faster than you.

Your mind starts racing and Bonnie's voice fades away. Without a word, you take your apron off and exit the kitchen, ignoring Bonnie's confused look. You need to talk to him. Now. You don't know how you've walked so fast but you're already standing in front of the bedroom. You can hear Simon's voice through the door and you open it abruptly. He stops talking and turns around.

'Caroline needs you now.' You lie to Simon without a smile.

He sees your serious face and glances at Negan, silently asking for his permission.

'Go.' Negan says to him, before his eyes land on you.

'What the hell happened out there ?' You step forward, as soon as the door shuts.

'We got fucking ambushed.' His jaw clenches and he leans back in his seat.

'By who ?'

'Alexandria. Hilltop. The Kingdom.'

You close your eyes. That's it. What you predicted is happening.

'No fucking ''I told you so"  ?' A low chuckle rumbles in his chest.

'Tell me what happened... You need to start talking to me.' You sit on the couch with a sigh.

'Listen.' He gets up and sits next to you. 'We're the fucking saviors, doll. We're stronger than them, better than them.'

'You're not invincible, Negan.' You start, rubbing your lap nervously.

A smirk appears on his face and he leans closer to you.

'Look at you.' He holds your chin in his gloved hand and lifts it so you can't avoid his stare anymore. 'You're goddamn cute when you worry, baby girl, but you gotta fucking trust me here.'

'I do but it's not about trusting you.' You protest, shaking your head. 'Can't you find a common ground ?'

'I'm a reasonable fucking man, doll. But I ain't a goddamn pussy. If they want war, they'll get it.'

You nod slowly. What else is there to say ? You can't make him do anything. It's too late...

'Lighten up, doll.' He lets go of your chin and his hand rests on your shoulder, his thumb circling over your collarbone. 'How 'bout you bring both our food tonight in here, hm ?'

'Sure.' You get up slowly, clearing your throat. 'I have to get back to the kitchen now.'

'Atta girl.'

You shut the door and walk back slowly. Rick, Jesus, Morgan... You've met people from all these communities. They all seem like good people. You know they've been pushed to their limits to risk their lives like that. And here you are...right in the middle. What's going to happen now ? When you come back, you're surprised to see Caroline is already gone. You did send Simon to her though...

The rest of the day goes by fast and soon it's time for you to go. You carry both trays and slowly walk up the stairs. Dwight running down the stairs almost sends you flying against the wall and you swear out loud, holding the trays firmly. To your surprise though, he doesn't apologize but steps towards you, watching over his shoulder.

'What are you still doing here ?!'

'Excuse me ?' You furrow your brows, holding the trays tighter.

'There's a shitstorm coming, you don't wanna be caught in the middle of it, trust me.'

'What do you mean ?' You ask curious to see where he's heading with this.

'You've escaped before. There's gotta be a reason.'

You open your mouth and then shut it. Is he seriously telling you to 'escape' ? He knows you made the choice to come back here.

'I know you got a good heart, ok.' He continues, whispering. 'Don't ya wanna be on the right side too ?'

On the right side... too ?! You take a step back, your hand starting to shake.

'You're the one who brought that bottle !' You snap angrily. 'Did you know you almost got me ?!'

'What bottle ? I ain't got a clue what you're talking about.' He looks at you with a confused expression.

'Really ?' You retort, your expression hardening.

'Yeah, really.' He looks at you straight in the eyes. 'But Negan ain't a good man, (y/n), open your eyes.'

Your hand shakes violently and one of the tray drops loudly on the floor, sending food flying against the wall and onto the floor. You don't even flinch though and you step towards Dwight, glaring at him.

'Are you serious ? You can't tell me stuff like that ! I've never had a problem with you, Dwight, hell I even think you're quite cool but who do I spend most of my time with ? Who have I known the longest here ? Negan.' You whisper, your voice shaking in anger. 'So don't come to me, confessing you don't like him ! Don't put me in that position !'

You turn on your heels and start climbing the remaining steps, legs shaking. You have to tell Negan. Dwight might try to hurt him. But if you let him know that, something will happen. He might get the other side of his face ironed or...get killed. You can't be responsible for that, not when you're not sure. "Don't you wanna be on the right side too?" Was he refering to him actually being on the right side or does he wish he was...? You shake your head. You can't think right now. You knock on the door and open it straight away, stepping in the room. Negan is stretched out on the bed, reading a book, his leather jacket hung over the chair.

'What the fuck happened to ya ?'

You look at him blankly for a second, not knowing what he means. Then you remember you have bits of food on your boots and stains on your trousers.

'I dropped a tray.' You explain, placing the remaining one on the desk. 'I wasn't hungry anyway.'

Negan furrows his brows and sits up, throwing the book aside.

'Some fucker bothered you, doll ?'

Kind of, yeah.

'No.' You shake your head rapidly. 'I was walking too fast.'

'Really ?' Negan gets up and comes close to you, his tongue probing the inside of his cheek.

'I should clean it up.' You suddenly realize, frowning.

Negan clicks his tongue and shakes his head slowly. He stops right in front of you, his eyes falling lazily on you.

'We got people for that. Sit.'

It sounds more like an order than an offer and you sit quietly. Negan sits in his chair and starts eating the food.

'Want some ?' His eyebrows arch up.

You shake your head and start scratching some dried dough in the palm of your hand.

'You're gonna spit it the fuck out or do I have to get it out of you somehow ?' He breaks the silence again.

'W-what ?' You turn your eyes to him.

'You obviously got something you wanna fucking say, doll, so... I'm all ears.'

How does he always know ?! You clear your throat. You have to say something at least.

'I was just, uh, thinking...I mean... Do you trust the people around you ?'

He chuckles and puts his fork down.

'Everybody's gotta trust someone, baby. I trust you every night not to cut my throat wide fucking open.' He licks his lips, smirking. 'But trust is a dangerous thing.'

'Especially for a leader.' You add before you can stop yourself. 'I mean you need to be more cautious than anyone else...'

Negan squints and seems to study your face intently.

'Why don't ya cut the fucking crap and tell me who I shouldn't trust. How 'bout that, doll ?'

Shit. You try to keep your composure and shrug your shoulders.

'I'm not trying to give you a hint.'

Yes, you are.

'I was just telling you...make sure your eyes are...open. Now more than ever.' You add awkwardly.

Negan's dimpled smile stretches. 'Aren't you the cutest fucking thing ever ! Don't worry about me, doll.'

You finally relax and let a smile appear on your face. You'll keep an eye on Dwight, though...just in case. Negan gets up and extends his hand out for you to take it. As soon as his fingers have closed around your hand, he pulls you up roughly and pushes you towards the bed. You bounce on the mattress with a laugh but you push him away when he climbs on top of you.

'Who said I was in the mood for this ?' You ask him, while he starts covering your cheeks with soft kisses.

'I'll fucking get you there, baby.' He groans against your skin.

He kisses your neck, slowly first, teasing your skin with the tip of his tongue. He then claims your mouth hungrily, not holding back. You part your lips and your tongue meets his in a deep and sensual kiss. You feel his hand sliding down your trousers and his fingertips push your panties aside, uncovering your folds. A finger comes rubbing at your entrance, coating itself with your moisture. You open your eyes and realize he's attacking your neck now, sucking and biting and it feels painfully good. He pushes a finger inside you and you let a long breath out. He's good. Dangerously good. You can't even remember what you were talking about before this. There's only him... his hand. He starts thrusting harder and his lips come crashing against yours. You moan into the kiss and you feel a smile stretching his lips.

'Want me to stop ?' His voice whispers right in your ears.

'No.' You reply faster than you intended to.

He slides another finger in and watch your reaction with a playful smirk.

'Damn.' He licks his bottom lip when he sees you wriggling under him, moaning quietly.

You close your eyes and your hips start following his rhythm. You lost track of the time, just focusing on his fingers. He plunges them into you relentlessly until you can't control your body anymore. Your walls start clenching and your fingers grip the sheets next to you. He takes your mouth again and the wave of pleasure makes your back arch against his body. His fingers slow down and you bury your head in the crook of his neck, a last moan muffled against his skin. When the high slowly fades away, you feel your cheeks flush and Negan slowly pulls you up to a sitting position, devouring your body with his eyes.

'You're the sexiest fucking woman I've ever met.' He says with a wolfish smile.

'Yeah, ok.' You scoff, running your fingers through your hair.

'I'm fucking serious, doll.' He kisses your forehead and gets up.

'What about you ?' You say, getting up too.

His smile widens and he opens the drawer of his desk.

'We got all fucking night, baby.' He drawls in a deep voice.

He gets his cigarette pack out and motions you to the door. You nod quietly and follow him outside. As you're walking in the dark hallway, your heart suddenly skips a beat when you feel his large hand gripping your small one. Your fingers intertwine and you feel his rough palm pressing your own. Negan isn't one for showing that kind of affection and a simple gesture like that warms your heart. He takes you to the roof and you inhale deeply when the wind hits your face. He lets go of your hand and lights his cigarette. He leans casually against the wall and you stare at the sky. The world seems almost peaceful from up here.

'We need to train you, doll.'

'Train me ?' You raise one eyebrow.

'You ain't good with guns, doll, sorry to break it up to ya.'

'I know.' You chuckle. 'Never had to use one before.'

'Now you fucking do.' He pulls you roughly against him and you feel the heat coming off of him.

His dark eyes are staring at your face and his arm slides around your waist, pushing you against him even more. Your heart reacts the same way it does every time he's close to you and you almost feel out of breath.

'I won't let a goddamn thing happen to you, doll.' His raspy voice makes your heart flutter. 'You understand me ?'

You nod slowly. Why is he telling you that ? He flicks the cigarette bud on the floor and presses a kiss on your forehead, holding your head with one hand. A groan escapes his lips and you close your eyes. You're really starting to... like him a lot.

____________

One week has passed already and Negan is less and less present. He's having 'meetings' with the other saviors almost every day but every time you try to ask him for details, he evades the question. Fortunately, Dwight's there to fill you in but it doesn't reassure you at all.

'This ain't a fucking toy, doll. Don't point that shit at me.' Negan snatches the gun from your hand and you scoff.

'I'm not gonna just shoot randomly !' You retort, shaking your head. 'I already held a gun to your head, anyway. Remember ?' You remind him with a smile.

'Fuck yeah. I remember you shaking like a goddamn leaf !' He adds, mockingly.

You hide a smile.

'Anyway we got a meeting now, doll.' He hands the gun to Gavin and picks up Lucille.

You nod and lean against the metal railing. Hopefully, he's got some time after the meeting...

A succession of sharp noises makes your blood freeze and your feet seem glued to the floor. Gunshots. A lot of them. Your heart starts pounding so hard you struggle to breathe normally. You know what's happening but you still have to ask the question out loud.

'What was that ?'

'Rick the prick.' Negan's jaw clenches and his eyes turn to the doors.

Is this really happening ? Are they all outside right now ? Are they just going to gun you down like that ? You feel your hands getting sweaty by the minute and fear starts to settle in your mind.

'Stay here.' He tells you before nodding at the other saviors, opening the doors slowly.

You want to tell him to stay inside with you and not risk his life out there, but it's pointless. They obviously want him to come out, they're not gonna just go away. You stand behind the doors, out of sight and your heart is beating so fast you can't even hear what's being said. Your legs are shaking and you almost expect to hear gunshots firing at any moment now. You knew this was going to happen. You close your eyes.

'Your lieutenants, Dwight, your name is Simon. You're Gavin. Surrender now and you won't get hurt !' Rick's voice seems far away but you can somehow hear him clearly. 'I know you keep a girl in there called Lana. Let her come with us.' He shouts confidently. 'It needs to happen. Now.'

You wince when you hear the name. Fortunately, Negan knows about it too. You glance at Dwight but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere. What's going on now ? Suddenly Negan reappears inside, a deadly stare in his eyes. What is he doing ?!

'Stay where I can see ya !' Rick shouts and Negan stands by the open doors, facing you.

'I brought you into this shit, doll. This isn't your fight.' Negan's voice lowers so only you can hear him.

'Excuse me... ?' You whisper, your eyes widening.

'I'm giving you a way out, doll, and you're gonna fucking take it.' He cuts you off.

His lips are pursed and you've never seen him looking so grave before. Your heart is beating so hard, you feel like it's gonna burst out of your chest. You can't do that. You shake your head slowly.

'You can't be seriou-...'

'I am dead motherfucking serious.' He retorts harshly.

You feel the tears come up your eyes and you keep shaking your head.

'Negan ...'

'No time for this.' He growls at you, his eyes fixed on something behind you.

Your heart is pounding and your ears are ringing. Is he really going to make you leave right now ? You can't just go without... saying goodbye.

'So...this is it ?' The tears are threatening to roll and you do your best to hold them back.

You can't go now, you... need him.

'You deserve to live, doll.' He furrows his brows and lowers his face, staring at the floor now. 'I'll fucking come and get you when this is over.'

'Can you promise me that ?' Your voice breaks down and you look up at him.

Your heart is hurting so much, you just want to hug him and make the pain go away. His eyes stare right into yours and, for the first time, you see... sadness on his face. He turns around and heads back out without another word. Your breath becomes short and you follow him reluctantly. There are cars all around the gate, you see people with guns but impossible to say how many. They've perfectly planned this.

'Take care of yourself, angel.' Simon whispers as soon as you reach his level.

'Caroline...' You take a deep breath, but you feel like you're just choking.

You can't leave her...She needs to know.

'She'll understand.'

Will she ?

You nod. You can't talk anymore, your throat is so tight, you can barely swallow. The tears are pooling in your eyes and you see Rick nodding at you, his gun raised. Your legs start shaking when you feel Negan's hand lightly brush against your back. He leans close to your head and you feel his lips grazing your ear.

'I'm sorry, doll.' He pauses before whispering right in your ear. 'Whatever happens next...I love the fuck out of ya.'

You heart skips a beat and you swallow your tears. Did he really say it ? You open your mouth to say something, anything... but nothing comes out.

'Rick ! She's going back with you.' Negan shouts to him. 'You better keep her safe.' He adds, with a threatening tone.

His hand leaves your back and this is it. Your vision almost goes blurry and you start walking down the stairs, everything moving in slow motion. You know this is the last time you see him. You just know it. You wipe the tears with your sleeve. They're going to kill him. There's nothing you can do about it. You walk to Rick mechanically and your body is begging you to turn around and look at Negan, one last time. But you can't. You can't bring yourself to look at him. You know that if you do, if you see his face right now, you won't be able to leave. You feel your heart swelling in pain, still feeling the ghost of his touch on your back. Every step you take, a little voice in your head is shouting at you, imploring you not to go through with this, but your body keeps moving forward.

A familiar voice suddenly floats around you and you feel a hand grasping yours, another one gently squeezing your shoulder. You stare at the person without even seeing them.

'We got you. You're safe now.'

Chapter Text

                                                   

 

 

This isn't real. It can't be. Rick's voice seems far away and you squint at him, blinking your watery eyes in confusion.

'Ok...ok. I'm counting. 10 ! 9...'

How long have you been standing here for ?

'8.'

Aaron is still holding your hand but you're just frozen in place. What's going to happen now ?

'7 !'

You hear the sound of a gun cocking and you spin around, horrified.

'NO !' You scream too late, the gunshots drowning out your voice.

You feel two strong hands grabbing your shoulders to pull you away before you can run back to Negan.

'Let me go !' You protest, furiously.

The deafening sound of gunshots is surrounding you now but your eyes are desperately looking for Negan. You can't see him anywhere. Have they shot him ?! You realize it's Dante who's got a hold of you and before you get to react, he pushes you towards a nearby car and shoves you in the passenger seat. He jumps behind the wheel with a deep sigh.

'What are you doing here ?' You look out the window, fear twisting your stomach.

Zombies are starting to appear everywhere. Is it part of the plan ?!

'Doing what needs to be done.' Dante throws his rifle behind your seat and starts driving off.

'It's a ... herd.' Your voice is weak. 'You brought a herd here.'

You stare at the endless line of zombies coming from the distance and your heart twists painfully. Nobody can survive this... Your hands start shaking again and you just want to get out of the car.

'There are people like you and me in there, good people.' You start angrily, your voice slightly shaking. 'What point are you trying to make ?! Revenge, killing everybody...Do you think that makes you better ?!'

'Hey !' Dante slows down the car and looks at you. 'You were living there, I get it. I don't know what kinda bullshit he's been feeding you, but we are the good people here.'

Good...Does it even mean anything anymore ? You shake your head and rub your temples. You made a mistake. You know you couldn't have done anything to help him but...you feel like maybe you should have stayed there, even if it meant death. You glance in the rearview mirror and see the procession of cars driving back behind you. You expect to feel the tears roll down your face but nothing comes. None of this feels real. Thirty minutes ago, you were at the Sanctuary, joking with him and now this... You look straight in front of you and stay silent for the rest of the drive. Thankfully, Dante knows not to talk to you and keeps his eyes fixed on the road.

'We're here.'

His voice pulls you out of your confused thoughts and you open the door without looking at him.

'You can have the same room you were gonna have last time.' He proposes in a gentle voice and you nod quietly.

You need to be alone right now. You need to process what just happened. Everybody is talking frantically about the next mission and you disappear in the house without anybody stopping you. They're too busy getting ready for the next move... You stop midway and scoff dryly. What are you even doing ? You can't stay with them. They aren't your people. You can't just sit here and wait for the war to finish... You run back down the stairs and shove your hands in your pockets, looking around you.

'Hey.'

You turn around reluctantly. A man with his dark hair tied in a ponytail is standing in front of you, smiling widely.

'Are you ok ?'

You nod quietly.

'Leaving already ?'

Damn it. Who's this dude ?

'Is it written on my face ?' You sigh.

'Pretty much, yeah.' He chuckles. 'I've seen that look many times before.'

'Well...' You hesitate. 'I have a place not far from here and...no offense, but I don't like what's happening here.'

He nods, still smiling.

'We all have our reasons to be fighting here, but if you don't have any... then maybe you shouldn't be here.'

'Jerry, give me a minute.' Dante's voice is right behind your back and your hope to sneak out without being noticed goes out the window.

'Sure. Good luck !' He adds to you before walking away.

You sigh and turn to face Dante. He looks at you with a worried expression.

'You don't have to leave.' He starts but you cut him off quickly.

'Look, Dante, I truly appreciate everything your people have done for me, but... I can't stay.' You shake your head a few times. 'This isn't...I don't want all this.'

His green eyes stare into yours and you see his brows furrow slightly but he nods anyway.

'We can't force you to stay here. I just...' He pauses and lets a sigh out. 'I was hoping you would stick around, you know. I'd be looking out for you.'

You shift on your feet uncomfortably. This conversation is going somewhere you don't want to go.

'Let me at least give you something.' He continues quickly. 'You can't be out there like that.'

'You've done more than enough.' You shake your head but he's already walking away from you.

You wish you could be more grateful and show him that you really appreciate his help but the truth is, you can't stop thinking about Negan. The lump in your throat hasn't gone, if anything it's bigger now. Dante comes back with an old backpack and hands it to you.

'Follow me.' He orders before you can even thank him.

He takes you around the house where a few horses are tied to a wooden fence.

'This is Hope.' Dante strokes one of the horses and turns to you. 'I want you to have her.'

'Dante, I know how valuable a horse is these days.' You take a step back.

You can't accept it. Especially when you've already lost one before...

'She's a good one.' Dante continues, ignoring what you just said. 'Listen, beautiful, you'll need her if you're leaving, so... either you take her or I'll keep you here.' He adds when he sees your expression.

You smile weakly and throw the backpack over your shoulders.

'Thank you for everything.' You start but he's already pulling you towards him.

You crash against his large chest and you hug him back awkwardly. As he pushes himself away, you realize he's shoved a handgun in one of your hands.

'The gate is still open. I'll let the others know.'

You nod with another thank you and tuck the weapon in your waistband.

'Come back any time. You'll always be welcome here.' He nods at you and turns around.

You get on the horse and quickly leave the Hilltop. You feel a few eyes following you, but most people haven't even noticed your presence and soon, you're alone, in the woods. You ride without even thinking, your mind seems completely blank. You can't focus on anything and you just glance absently at the trees around you.

'We're almost there.' You whisper softly. 'Hope, right ? Well, I hope you don't mind eating grass because I haven't got anything else for now.' You add, patting the horse's head.

When you see the wooden house appear through the trees, your heart tightens a bit more. You quickly reach the back of the cabin and get off the horse. You open the door leading to the small fenced up space and bring the horse in. It's small, but at least, she'll be safe here. You tie her up loosely and shut the fence before walking back to the front. You open the door, a knife in your hands, ready to defend yourself. As soon as you come in though, you know nobody has stepped a foot in the cabin since you were last here. The blankets are still there, piled up in the corner of the room, untouched.

The sobs already shaking your shoulders, you slowly sit on the floor. You're finally letting go and your heart is hurting so bad, you just want it to stop. The warm tears flood your face and you start sobbing loudly. You've abandoned Negan. You left him to die and just saved yourself instead. You bury your face between your legs, your nails digging into your legs. What have you done ?! Why did you have to listen to him ? You lie on your side, curled into a ball. You should have picked a side. You know it now.

You lie on the blanket for hours, tears still streaming down your cheeks, until your swollen eyes can't stay open anymore...

*

'Are you fucking serious ?' Negan turns on his heels, eyebrows raised.

You freeze and bite your lips.

'What ?' You retort, trying to hide your surprise.

'You're following me now, doll ?'

You sigh and raise your hands, nodding admittedly.

'You're not supposed to carry stuff around like that. You can't even walk without limping.' You explain. 'Let me do it.'

Negan licks his bottom lip, staring at you intently.

'Fucking fine.'

He seems annoyed but you know he's in pain. He wouldn't have given in so easily... You take the large bucket from his hands and fill it in the river. As you're straightening back up, you glance at his t-shirt, making sure the wound hasn't reopened. He chuckles and motions you to walk in front of him.

'I'll make sure no dead fuckers sneak up on you.' He adds, getting his hunting knife out.

You nod and start walking at a steady pace. After ten minutes, you have to admit, the bucket is getting really heavy and you feel the drops of sweat covering your forehead. You almost jump when you hear a zombie growling dangerously close behind you. When you turn around though, Negan is already wiping the blade on the dead body rags. You turn around without a word and let a silent breath of relief when you see the house in the distance. Your muscles are burning now and you need to sit down. When you've made it back inside, you put the bucket down on the floor and wipe your forehead with relief. Simon is still snoring lightly, his mouth wide open.

'I'm fucking impressed, baby ! Didn't think a girl like you could carry shit around like that.'

'A girl like me ?'

Negan smirks and you can't help but stare at his handsome face.

'What, baby doll ? You want me to say you look strong ? Well, you fucking don't.' He chuckles loudly while emptying the water in the big pot placed over the fire.

You smile and shrug your shoulders. 'I know.'

'Wait until you come back with us, I'll make sure you get all the goddamn food you want !'

You smile and lower your head.

'What is it with the face, doll ?' He furrows his brows and leans forward. 'You don't fucking trust us ?'

'Getting there.' You answer with a smile.

He lets out a deep laugh and sits on the blanket.

'That's my girl. Don't just trust any goddamn fucker who sweet talks you.'

'Yet I should trust you.' You mutter under your breath but you know he heard you.

'Damn right you fucking should.' His smirk widens and he pulls you down to sit next to him.

You sit cross-legged and stare at the water bubbling.

'Look at me.' His voice is suddenly deep and serious.

You turn your head and your eyes stare right into his. He doesn't blink and you feel like his intense gaze is looking right at your soul. He grabs your wrist abruptly and you feel his fingers tightening almost painfully around your small wrist.

'We've been staying in this shithouse for god knows how fucking long now and we haven't laid a damn finger on you. I mean sure, Simon here couldn't do much damage at first, but I could.' He loosens his grip on your wrist and his thumb circles over your skin, spreading goosebumps all over your body.

You feel your cheeks become red and he must sense your embarrassment because he lets go of your wrist with a smirk.

'You're a smart fucking girl, I know you'll end up trusting me.' He adds, his eyes finally leaving your face. 'And I mean the real kind of fucking trust.'

You look at the dying flames now turning into glowing embers and you nod absently. Maybe you will...

'Is it morning already ?!' Simon's voice makes you jump and you can't help but smile at his confused face.

'It's the middle of the motherfucking day.' Negan retorts, kicking one of the logs with his boot, sending millions of fire sparks in the air.

'Maybe it's time to walk to that town ?' You ask, filling the bottles with hot water. 'We're good with water, but the food... I could go alone, I...'

'Shut your goddamn mouth about going alone. We can walk fucking fine.' Negan cuts you off, annoyed. 'Simon ?'

'Yep.' He gets on his feet and you have to admit, he looks way healthier. 'Ready ?' He glances at you.

You don't have to be asked twice, you grab your bag and follow them out.

You reach the town in just under an hour and decide to head to the largest building first. You can't help but admire how nature is slowly taking over the landscape. The tall grass hides almost half of the road and the plants are growing freely without anything to stop them.

You make it in the building, Negan in front of you and Simon behind you. As soon as you come in, you have a weird feeling. That feeling you get right before something bad happens. Well, as expected, your gut feeling is right and you duck as soon as you hear the first gunshot.

'Fuck !'

Simon shuts the door while Negan moves some furniture around to barricade it.

'Upstairs, angel !' Simon pushes you up the stairs and you run to the first floor.

You almost bump into a zombie wandering in the hallway and you just have the time to see Simon's knife fly past your head and land into the rotting skull. You were so worried about the gunshots outside that you forgot to be looking out for these assholes in here. You thank Simon quietly and climb the next flight of stairs, more carefully this time. Once you've reached the second floor, Simon glances out the window.

'What the hell is going on now ?' You ask, trying to hide the nervousness in your voice. 'Do you have people shooting at you every time you go out ?!'

Another series of gunshots resonate and you hear cars driving down the road.

'It's D !' Simon suddenly exclaims, still looking out of the window.

Negan appears at the top of the stairs, swearing. 'Fucking fuck !'

You take a deep breath and click your fingers nervously, looking around the room. You suddenly realize there's a balcony with french doors across the room and you immediately notice two duffle bags laid on top of each other. There could be food in there... or at least something good ! You open the doors wide and crouch to unzip the first bag.

'(Y/N) !'

You see the zombie as soon as you hear Negan's voice, but it's already too late. Everything happens in a matter of seconds. You see Negan and Simon running towards you but they're too far... you see the rotten teeth only inches from your skin and the putrid smell invades your nostrils. So you instinctively do the only thing that crosses your mind. You jump. You don't think twice, you don't stop to estimate the height first, you just jump. You heart feels like it stops beating as soon as your feet leave the floor. You hear a hard thud and you expect pain but it doesn't come. Black start filling the edges of your vision and all you can hear is your own heartbeat, fast and unsteady. Then you hear a deep but appeasing voice and a black shadow crouches next to you.

'Can you hear me ? Is it your people fighting over there ?'

You can't turn your head but you say no. At least you think you did, but you're not sure your mouth has even moved. Where's Negan ? There is a horse really close to you, you can smell it...You feel two arms scooping you before darkness takes over, your whole body going limp.

*

You wake up, sweating and shaking and you hold the blanket tighter. You instinctively reach for your necklace and your heart falls in your stomach when your fingers grasp thin air. No, no, no. Not the necklace... You crawl on the floor, patting it frantically, your breath getting short. You can't lose it. You check your clothes, your hair, even the bag you haven't opened before. It's gone... Once again, you've lost it. You swear loudly and hold your face between your shaky hands. Just like when your mother died. Now it's Negan. You curl back into a ball and let the tears fall again.

_______________

It's been a few days. A week maybe. You don't know. You don't care. If Negan was still alive, you know he would have come to meet you here. But he hasn't. You sniffle and adjust the handles of your bag. It's time for you to go... you don't have food anymore anyway.

'We're not coming back here tonight.' You whisper, while you get on the horse.

You have a map in your bag and you've decided to go where you've never been before. North.

Although after a couple hours of riding, you feel like you're being watched. You slow down the horse and frown. You have a burning sensation at the back of your head. Like someone watching you. You stop and quickly turn the horse around. You're surprised to see a man standing a few feet behind you, not even bothering hiding. You get your gun out without hesitation and aim it right at him.

'What do you want ?' You ask in a cold tone, without even blinking.

The man looks like he's coming straight out of a comic book. He must be around his fifties, his hair is partially grey and he's wearing some ridiculous green round glasses. A smile appears on his face and he holds his hands up, stepping a bit closer to you.

'I suggest you stop moving now.' You threaten him.

'Sorry, sorry.' He finally talks with a surprisingly soft voice. 'I won't take too much of your time, young lady.' He pauses but when he sees that you have no intention to talk, he continues. 'My name is James. I come from a modest community called Babylon. I am, well, what you would call a farmer, I suppose. Our community almost thrives. We have a lot of ressources and space but we miss something essential... People. So we have assigned some of our own, out here, to recruit. Every month we try to find new survivors...and you're the first person I encounter since I left yesterday !'

'And ?' You look at him up and down.

You're normally good at reading people, but you really got no idea with him. He pushes his glasses up his nose and smiles.

'I was hoping you were in search of a place to live. As I said, we need more people and, be assured, our town is very safe. Not one death in months.'

'Impressive.' You admit, without lowering your gun.

'Indeed.' He clears his throat. 'I'm deeply aware that you might think I'm lying or trying to trick you, but I have the best intentions. I can convince you. Even if you're already part of a community, I would be interested to talk about a future together. After all, the duty of rebuilding society lies in our hands. Safety in...'

'Numbers, I know.' You cut him off.

It sounds too good to be true but... you're intrigued.

'As I said before, my name is James. What's yours ?'

'Call me whatever you want.' You retort without a smile.

He shrugs his shoulders and pushes his glasses up again, still smiling.

'If that makes you feel any better, I'm probably more nervous than you are. Approaching you like that is risky for me.' He explains with a soft laugh.

A few birds tweet in the nearby trees and you look around you, hesitating.

'Fine, James.' You lower your gun but keep your eyes fixed on him. 'You got five minutes.'

Chapter Text

                                                    

 

 

'We got a lot of space, you know, your horse would love it there.' James says, eyebrows raised.

'Mmh...' You nod quietly.

'How are the other communities 'round here ? Friendly ?' He continues.

'More or less yeah.' You answer vaguely, looking down at him.

'So why are you leaving ?' He insists. 'Sorry, but it doesn't make sense.'

Sure it doesn't, but it's none of his business.

'They started having... issues with each other. I didn't wanna stay and see them destroy what they've built for so long.' You reply without getting into details.

'That's the sadness of the human race.' He sighs. 'We always find a reason to destroy each other. The dead rising aren't even the scariest part anymore.'

You agree with him quietly. They could accomplish so much more if all the communities worked together. Maybe that guy's community is the way forward. But again, it could be just him trying to lure you into a trap. You sigh. You wouldn't know before it's too late.

'Did you have family there ?' James asks with a smile.

That guy needs to stop with the questions. You're not a fan of being interrogated, especially by a complete stranger.

'Only friends.'

'And you left them too ?'

Your body starts tensing and you decide to ignore the question. He doesn't insist when he sees your face but you start thinking. You did abandon them. Not only Negan. Caroline, Simon, they are your friends too. You didn't even get to say goodbye to Caroline, you can't disappear now. What's the point in living if it's not with the people you love ? You don't want to run all your life. You're done with that.

You stop and focus on your surroundings. You hear them before you can actually see them and James turns around with a worried expression.

'A hand ?' He asks, pointing at the zombies.

You sigh and get off the horse. You put the gun back in your waistband and hold your knife tighter. You easily get rid of three zombies, but you keep an eye on James. He seems harmless, but you're never too cautious...

After killing the last zombie, the man turns to you with a smile.

'You're good with a knife.' He notices, nodding his head.

You don't say anything and just wipe the blade clean.

'Does everybody in the communities around here use...guns ?'

You furrow your brows. 'What do you mean ?'

'Do they all carry guns ?' He specifies, adjusting his glasses.

'Yeah.' You nod quickly.

The horse is pawing at the ground and you start feeling weirdly uncomfortable.

'Are you willing to meet Marcus, then ?' He asks, wiping his forehead. 'He's about one day away from here.'

You clear your throat, shaking your head. You can't.

'I can't leave yet. As tempting as all this sounds, I still have things to do here.'

You do. You thought you could just leave and forget about everything, but you can't. You want to see Negan again. You need to know what happened. Even if he's dead, turned...anything... And you need to know that Caroline and Simon are ok. You're so deep in thought that you don't notice James slowly sliding his hand in his pocket and disappearing from your eyesight.

'You're going back to that Sanctuary ? Nothing I can say to convince you to come with me instead ?'

'No.' You shake your head slowly. 'I have to...'

You suddenly stop, your heart rate increasing. Wait a minute...

'I never told you the name of...'

The sound of a gun shuts you up and you scoff while turning around. 'Of course.'

His smile has completely vanished and his eyes have turned dark.

'We're already aware of the different communities you mentioned.' He starts, taking his glasses off. 'But them being at war is just...perfect !'

He starts laughing and you tighten your jaw.

'What do you need me for ?' You ask through gritted teeth.

'Information. Precious information !' He replies with excitement, snatching the knife out of your hand. 'Marcus will be so... proud.'

You start biting the inside of your cheeks. You shouldn't have stopped, once again you made a terrible mistake.

'Move.'

He takes your gun from your waistband and pushes you forward. Your heart starts pounding and you try to quiet your breathing. He gets on the horse and points the gun at the back of your head.

'No funny business.' He warns you.

'I'm done running.' You mutter quietly.

______________

You've been walking for hours and your feet are killing you. Your heartbeat is fast and you're on edge, ready to fight. James has been mainly quiet, but he's got a crazy look on his wrinkled face.

'You can help up, you know, we won't hurt you if you stay docile.'

Docile... You curse him quietly and shake your head a few times, pushing a strand of hair off your face.

'That's the thing, though.' You start, confidently. 'I'm not gonna talk. There's nothing you can offer me, nothing you can threaten me with, that's gonna make me talk.'

James stops the horse and leans forward. 'You wanna die ?'

It sounds more like a threat than a question and you shrug your shoulders.

'Not really.' You retort without flinching.

Hell, you're not going to die. You can't die now. No way.

'You won't mind answering a few questions then ?'

You feel your whole body tensing as he gets off the horse. You don't want to die, but you can't tell him anything. He thinks the other communities are weak now, which is probably true and you know exactly what he's going to do. If what he said is true, his community have got the means to hurt them bad. You won't betray them, that's a guarantee. You only got one option left...

'I told you already, you won't get anything out of me.'

He suddenly grabs your wrist and twists it painfully. You wince and fall on your knees.

'I can make you.' He growls, his eyes widening in anger behind his green glasses.

Your heart starts pounding again and your body seems to suddenly wake up. You kick his right knee with your boot as hard as you can. As he's swearing loudly, you slap the gun out of his hands and it lands a few feet away.

'Bitch !'

Before you can reach the weapon, his hand has grabbed your hair and he pushes you over.

'You can die now !'

You try to kick him, panic washing over you but he's already straddling you. His heavy weight pins you to the floor and he wraps his sweaty hands around your throat. You try to punch him and scratch him but his hold is merciless and as much as you want to hurt him, he doesn't budge. Your fingers desperately try to move his hands from your neck but he's stronger than you. You're struggling to breathe and you feel the pressure starting to build up in your head. You can't die now. Your vision starts getting blurrier and you feel like your lungs are ready to pop. This can't be the way you die. Not after everything you went through. His hands are leaving painful bruises around your neck and you know it won't be long now. You want to scream but you can't, you're completely helpless. You feel your mind getting cloudier, your mouth wide open, trying desperately to get some air. What if Negan is alive ? 

As you're about to pass out, your body suddenly seems to receive a last burst of energy and you knee him right in the groin, as hard as your leg allows you to. Taken by surprise, his grip loosens and some air reaches your lungs painfully. You gasp frantically and without even thinking, you headbutt him right in the nose. Your vision goes black for a minute but you refuse to give up. He's on the floor, holding his face, now covered in blood, and you don't hesitate for a second. With a swift and instinctive move, you grab the knife and plunge it right into his skull. You let a desperate cry out as you pull it out and his moans stop abruptly.

You fall on your back and start coughing uncontrollably, sobbing at the same time. You can still feel his hands on your skin and each breath is painful. You crawl away from his body and rest your back against a tree, still wheezing. Your whole body is shaking and you glance at the dead man. You had to do it. You had no choice. Thankfully, Hope wasn't scared by the fight and she's still standing there, grazing. You shut your eyes, out of breath. It feels like you just cracked your skull open and you don't know how you're going to move at all. You can't pass out now, though. You need to move on. You take a deep breath and limp to the man on the floor. You pull his bag from under his body and open it rapidly. You find a bottle of water and open it desperately before quickly downing it. You get your bearings again and empty the content of his bag. You grab the weapons, a box of matches, a torchlight and some antibiotics.

'Thanks for that.' You mutter to the dead body, before getting back on the horse.

You close your eyes for a few seconds. You feel so dizzy.

'We're going back home.' You whisper weakly.

You have to find Negan. That's the only thing that matters right now. You hold your head painfully in one hand and the horse starts galloping. You need to be back before dark.

Half an hour later, you hear the sound of a small stream in the distance. Water. You cut through the trees and slowly walk up to the river.

'Knock yourself out.' Your voice is weak and shaky.

After getting off the horse, you lie on your back, your vision blurry again. You're screwed if you pass out here, you know it. You try to sit up but you feel too dizzy. Your ears start buzzing and you try to fight it but you can't control your body anymore. You open your mouth, but before you can make any sound, everything goes black.

*

'It doesn't matter.' You protest, shaking your head.

Negan grabs your wrist and pulls you towards him. He leans forward and reaches for the back of your t-shirt.

'It fucking does.'

He lifts it slowly and you let him take a look at your back. Y ou're just staring at the floor, waiting for him to say something.

'Motherfucking shit.'

He lets go of your top and you turn around, embarrassed.

'Pretty gross, I know...' You mutter, nodding a few times.

'What's his goddamn name again ?' He squints.

'Ray.'

'Right, that fucker's gonna get what's coming to him.' He says with a scoff.

'He's dangerous...' You start but Negan's deep laugh interrupts you.

'And what the fuck d'you think I am ?' He retorts in a serious tone.

You're not sure if he wants you to answer that so you just stay quiet. He takes a step forward and you do your best not to take a step back, intimidated.

'Do I look fucking harmless to you ?' He leans closer to your face, completely invading your personal space.

'No, that's not what I...'

'Good.' He says right in your ear.

You shiver when you feel his hot breath hitting your skin and you realize you've been holding your breath. You let out a quiet sigh of relief when he takes a step back.

'I'll fucking crush him.' He adds with a smirk.

'Ok, you might crush him.' You admit with a smile. 'But why would you do that for me ?'

'Why the fuck not ?'

You shrug your shoulders and decide to change the subject.

'Can I see it ?' You point at his belly. 'The wound.'

Negan's smirk stretches and he raises his eyebrows.

'Any-fucking-time, doll.'

He lifts his t-shirt and you examine it closely.

'It's healing well, but we need more bandages.' You note, almost to yourself.

'I'll be fucking fine.' Negan retorts before sitting down with a long sigh. 'I ain't planning on dying anytime soon, doll.'

*

You wake up a few hours later, lying on a blanket of dead leaves. You passed out. Shit. You're relieved to see no zombies have found you, and your horse is still there. Thank god. You try to ignore your sore throat and the pulsating headache while you get back up. You lift your head and look at the sky, picking a few dry leaves out of your tangled hair. You can still make it back before dark, you're not far.

The ride home seems longer than it should and you almost start thinking you're lost, when you suddenly see the road appear in the distance. You're really close now.

When you finally cross it, your heart drops. A black pickup truck is parked next to the trees. You saw it at the Sanctuary before. It's him. It's Negan. Your heart skips a beat and you feel like you're going to be sick. He's back! Your horse starts galloping and your heart is pounding now. The excitement is making your whole body shake and you finally see the cabin appear in your eyesight. You get off the horse in a flash, not even bothering tying her up. After taking a deep breath, you start walking to the front of the cabin. You can't believe this is finally happening. Your breath becomes short when you catch a glimpse of the man sitting on the steps outside. You can barely swallow.

'Hey... Good to see ya again.'

You blink a few times and stare at Dwight, your jaw tight.

'W-where is he ?' You ask weakly.

Dwight gets up and hesitates. He's dead, you knew it.

'He got stabbed...in the neck. Rick took him back to Alexandria to save him. I don't know anything else.' He adds, avoiding your stare.

In the neck... You feel like you're going to choke but you somehow manage to talk.

'Simon...?'

Dwight furrows his brows and shakes his head, staring at the floor.

No. No... 

'C-Caroline ?'

Dwight shakes his head again, whispering a rapid sorry. Your lips start shaking and you sit on the steps, unable to stand anymore. This isn't fair. This wasn't supposed to happen. You cross your hands shakily.

'How did you make it ?'

'I was lucky.' Dwight sighs, staring at the forest. 'I was with... the others you know.'

The others. The tears blur your vision and you nod your head, trying to keep your composure. Of course, he betrayed Negan. That's on you. You could have warned him and who knows what would have happened then.

'For what it's worth... I'm sorry.' Dwight looks at you but you can't look at him anymore.

A heavy silence settles and all you can hear is your heartbeat, fast, almost painful.

'You should go.' You finally say in a cold voice.

The tears are pooling in your eyes and you just want him to leave.

'You gotta join them. It's safe for you and they'll give you a place to st-...'

'I said go !' You cut him off, a tear rolling down your cheek.

Your hands are shaking violently and you're just staring at the floor, pain scrunching up your face. You hear him walk away and soon, the noise of the engine fades away. A complete silence surrounds you again and you rest your forehead on your lap for a few long minutes.

You feel a tug on your sleeve and you realize Hope is nibbling on your clothes. Sniffling loudly, you wipe your nose with the back of your hand and stroke the horse's head.

'Time to rest now.' You get up slowly, tears still streaming down your face. 'We have a long ride to Alexandria tomorrow.'

Chapter Text

                                                                

 

 

You wake up the next day, a dreadful feeling twisting your stomach. You're so nervous, you feel like you're going to throw up any minute. Negan might not want you to see him there... Or what if you're... too late ? You take a deep breath and try to shake off the feeling of terror flowing through your veins. Everything's going to be fine... You click your finger joints nervously and give the wooden cabin a last look. Hell, who are you kidding ? It'll be far from ''fine'' but, there's nothing else you can do now.

'Let's make it to Alexandria first.' You whisper to yourself.

The horse starts galloping and you don't look back. He's gonna be ok...

You honestly don't know how you found your way without looking at a map, considering you've only gone to Alexandria once before but, strangely, you remember it. Even Hope seems to know where you're heading, somehow. You try to stay focused on reaching your destination safely, but your mind keeps drifting off. If he's alive, what are you going to say to him ?

A few hours later, you're standing in front of Alexandria's gate, your horse next to you. You've been standing there for a few minutes, completely frozen. You were so focused on seeing Negan that you didn't even think about what you were going to say to them. For all they know, you left without even thanking them. And how can you possibly ask to see Negan now, when they think they saved you from him ? Your throat is so dry, if you start coughing now you probably won't be able to stop. You drink some water and take a few deep breaths. Screw it.

You bang on the metal gate with the palm of your hand and wait anxiously. What if they don't let you in ? And how come nobody is watching the damn gate ?! You bang again until you hear footsteps coming from the other side. The metal gate slides open and a slim woman appears, her eyes already looking you up and down. You don't remember her name but she doesn't seem too happy to see you.

'What do you want ?' She asks coldly, clearing up any doubt.

'Uh, is Rick there ?' You ask.

'Lana ?'

Michonne appears next to the other woman as she's opening the gate wider. Thank god, she doesn't look angry at least.

'Hi Michonne.' You smile with relief when the other woman quickly turns on her heels and walks away.

When the gate is completely open, you freeze for a minute. 

'I'm glad you came back.' She says, patting the horse's head.

You nod slowly but you can't take your eyes off the burned houses. You remember the pretty houses, the clean streets but now... now almost every house seems damaged, some of them burnt to the ground. You had no idea it was going to be that bad. The gravity of the situation hits you and she must see it on your face because she turns around and a weak smile appears on her face.

'It does look bad, doesn't it ?' She's staring at a house in the distance and you simply nod.

'Have you lost a lot of people ?' You can't stop the question before it comes out and you bite your tongue, mentally cursing yourself.

What is wrong with you ?! 

'I'm sorry, I...' You shake your head quickly.

'A lot, yeah.' She answers anyway, still staring into space. 'Good friends... Carl...'

Carl ? As in Rick's son ?! You see the tears in her eyes and you bite your bottom lip. You're tempted to ask how but, you don't want to be rubbing salt in the wounds. Rick chooses this moment to walk out one of the houses still standing. He lost his son. The thought keeps turning over and over in your head as he approaches you. It had to be an accident, though, you know Negan wouldn't have killed that kid. He doesn't say a word but squeezes one of your shoulder with a quick nod.

'I'm sorry about what happened, Rick, there's no...'

'It's over. The war is over. We're gonna be fine.'

You nod your head, not sure of what to say. His eyes are puffy and red, and he seems exhausted, just standing up in front of you. You wish there was something you could say but you have no words.

'My offer for you to live here still stands.' Rick continues, staring straight into your eyes.

'Thank you, but I haven't decided what I'm gonna do next.' You explain vaguely. 'I was just... checking on all of you.'

Well, on Negan, most importantly.

'That's very kind of you.' Rick nods at you.

You feel so bad, the lump in your throat is starting to hurt.

'What happened to Negan ?' You ask, trying to sound detached. 'Did he...die ?'

Rick shakes his head and instinctively glances at one of the houses.

'We're keeping him alive, as a prisoner. Should be punishment enough.' He adds, glancing at Michonne. 'He gets to live, yes, but at a price.'

Your heart starts beating faster. He's alive ! Your legs are shaking now and you hope they can't see the relief written all over your face. The dreadful feeling is finally gone, you feel like you can breathe again. You need to see him...

'We planned a mass at the church.' Rick starts again. 'It's not much, but it won't hurt to sit down together after what happened, say a few words... You can join if you want.'

'Thank you.' You turn to your horse and hold the reins tighter. 'I'm going to give her something to drink first, but I'll be there.'

Michonne and Rick turn around and walk away, hand in hand. You see more people walking towards the small church in the distance. This might be your only chance to talk to Negan. You tie your horse to a fence and give her some water. You're stalling until you can't see a soul outside anymore. You quickly run to the house Rick involuntarily showed you and you open the door cautiously. You end up in a small office with a big desk and a leather armchair pushed in the corner of the room. You see a bible lying on the desk, a few boxes on the floor, but other than that, the place seems quite empty. You notice a small door in the other corner of the room and as soon as you open it, a flight of stairs takes you to a basement. He's in there, you know it.

You close the door quietly and step down the stairs slowly. A few petrol lamps are sitting around the room, the gloomy light breaking through the darkness. When your feet touch the last step, you feel your heart dropping in your stomach.

In the corner of the room, there's a small cell with big metal bars. Head bowed down, Negan is sitting on the floor, hands crossed on his lap. All your feelings for him come back like a painful kick to your chest and you just stay quiet for a second, not sure what to do.

'N-Negan ?' Your shaky voice finally breaks the silence.

His head shoots up and as soon as he sees you, the corners of his mouth curl up and he lets a deep chuckle out. His voice echoes through the cell and seems to plant your feet to the ground.

'Well, my...' He gets up and steps closer to the bars. 'Is it fucking Christmas already ?!'

The tears finally roll down your cheeks and your throat is so tight, you can't get a single word out. You notice the bags under his eyes, the bruises and the bandage around his neck.

'Don't fucking cry, doll.' He shakes his head when he sees your expression.

You step closer and hold the bars with your trembling fingers.

'Sorry, I sh-...' You start.

'Who the fuck done that ?!' He suddenly growls, stepping as close to you as possible.

'What ?' You ask, confused.

His warm hands graze your neck and his eyes turn dark. Oh... James. Even though you can still feel the pain, you completely forgot about him. You must have some kind of marks or bruises around the neck.

'It's nothing. I killed him.' You add quickly, before he can say anything else.

He squints at you for a few seconds, seemingly deciding if he believes you or not.

'Good girl.' He finally says with a smirk.

He places his hands over yours on the bars and stares right into your eyes. The contact makes your skin tingle and you wish you could tell him how happy you are to see him alive. There's so many things you wanted to say, but now that he's in front of you, you're not sure what to say anymore.

'Do these fucking piss bowls know you're in here, doll ?' He raises his eyebrows, looking down at you.

'No.' You shake your head. 'But...w-what are we gonna do ?'

'You're so goddamn beautiful.' He ignores your question, biting his bottom lip. 'Did you miss me, baby ?'

'Like crazy.' You almost whisper, resting your forehead against the bars.

'I missed the fuck outta ya too, doll.'

You feel one of his hand stroke your cheek and you lean against his touch, closing your eyes. He shouldn't be locked in a cell.

'Tell me... What are we gonna do ?' You repeat the question he dodged earlier.

He sighs and withdraws his hand. You miss the contact as soon as he moves away from you and you look up at him with your eyebrows furrowed.

'News fucking flash, doll, I'm a goddamn prisoner now. I ain't going anywhere.' He retorts sarcastically. 'You, on the other hand, can do whatever the fuck you want.' He sighs and leans against the wall of his cell. 'Stay the fuck here if you want, but the town looks like a massive fucking shithole. Go to that hippie town or the Kingdom, I don't give a shit, but don't stay out there alone.'

'I'm not leaving you.' You protest straight away, shaking your head.

Negan chuckles and stares right into your eyes.

'What, you wanna bring my fucking food down here, everyday ? Clean out my shit bucket ? Is that what you want, to see me rot in a goddamn prison cell ?' His smile has disappeared.

You understand. You know he's right but you can't accept it yet.

'Maybe I could, uh, I don't know, convince them to let you out and...and...' You start slowly.

'Doll.' He sighs, shutting his eyes for a few seconds. 'I'm fucking glad I got to see your pretty face again but, you gotta go now.'

You heart drops. You need more time...

'N-No, I can do... something. I-I can figure out something...' You stutter quickly.

'Look at me.' His deep voice still gives you goosebumps and you lift your watery eyes to meet his stare. 'It's time to fucking go.' He repeats in a serious tone.

The tears start streaming down again and you shake your head, sobbing.

'I can't. I need you with me.' You let out, wiping the salty drops off your face.

'No, you fucking don't.' He slides his hand between the bars and lifts your chin up to make you look at him. 'You're strong, doll. You've survived for this long, come on. Make me fucking proud.'

He lets go of your chin and you nod your head reluctantly.

'Now, where the fuck is my kiss ?'

Before you can even react, he pulls the back of your head closer to him and kisses you hungrily. You feel like your whole body gets an electric shock and you kiss him back, his beard tickling your skin. Your cheeks come in contact with the cold bars, like a painful reminder of the situation and you wish you could go back in time. Do things differently. He breaks the kiss and rests his forehead against yours, silently. You close your eyes and try to mark the moment in your memory forever, as you feel his lips kissing your forehead one last time.

'Be safe, doll.' He says, furrowing his brows.

You nod and step away.

'I love you...' You whisper, swallowing your tears.

'I know you fucking do, baby.'

His voice still resonates in the cell and you quickly climb up the stairs. You slam the door and your whole body starts shaking. You sit in the armchair, sobbing, face hidden in the palms of your hands. You need to go now. You can't stay here another minute. You need to get your horse and go.

Somebody clearing their throat makes you jump and you lift your head, surprised. A tall black man is standing in front of you, a peaceful look on his face. His eyes are swollen and red and you can't help but wonder what happened to him. You wipe your cheeks and jump to your feet, embarrassed that he caught you like this. Does he know that you went to see Negan ?

'I'm s-sorry.' You clear your throat and try to sound as casual as possible. 'I didn't mean to intrude, I realize it's your...office, I just needed a quiet place to think.' You lie awkwardly.

'You're (Y/N), am I correct ?' He asks with a smile.

How the hell does he know your name ?! It seems like he can barely see you...

'My apologies.' He continues, shaking his head. 'I'm Father Gabriel. Negan has told me about you.'

Father ? You didn't expect to meet a priest ever again, you have to admit. Why has Negan told him about you ? It's not exactly like him...

'I understand.' You nod your head anyway. 'Can you tell me something ?'

'Ask away.' He grabs the bible and turns to you again.

'How are they treating him ?' You ask.

And you just said "they" like he's not one of them...

'Like a prisoner.' Gabriel replies vaguely, still displaying a smile. 'Your turn to tell me something, if you allow me... Do you love this man ?'

You raise your eyebrows, surprised by his question. Why does he care if you love him or not ? What difference does it make ?

'I do.' You reply simply, wiping your runny nose with your sleeve.

Gabriel walks to his desk without a word and opens one of the drawers. Is it your cue to leave ? Before you've taken another step, he's back in front of you, holding the bible against his chest in a tight grip.

'They are waiting for me at the church, I'm afraid I have to cut our conversation short. The mass should last for half an hour, then the people of Alexandria will probably want to share some food together. If you're leaving now, nobody is watching the gate, you can just make your way out.. I believe everybody deserves a second chance.' He turns around and heads out.

You're confused. Why is he telling you to leave now ? Weren't you invited ? Before he's out, he stops in the doorway and turns his head.

'I left you a gift on my desk. Help yourself, please.' He shuts the door and you raise one eyebrow.

Is he always that... strange ? You glance at the desk and notice a chocolate bar, just waiting for you to eat it. Well, you won't say no to that. As you grab the snack, you feel something hard, stuck underneath it. You turn it around and frown. A key. You hold it between your fingers, staring at the door. You widen your eyes when you finally realize what he meant.

" Nobody is watching the gate... Everybody deserves a second chance... "

The adrenaline flows through your body and you're so excited, you're almost out of breath. You hurry back to Negan's cell and almost trip down the stairs in excitement. Negan gets up again, sighing.

'Goddamn it, woman, I said...' He starts with a frown.

'Shush.' You cut him off while inserting the key in the lock.

'Where the fuck did you get that ?!' He exclaims, as you slam the door cell open.

'I'll explain later !' You hurry back upstairs. 'We got like an hour to get as far as possible.'

You hear Negan's footsteps close behind you, not wasting time.

'Something I need to fucking do first.' He strides across the office and gets a duffle bag out of a wooden crate. 'My fucking shit.'

You recognize his clothes in the bag and you didn't even notice what he was wearing in the cell. A pair of thin trousers and a dirty black t-shirt with holes. He curses under his breath while swapping the rags for his jeans, t-shirt, combat boots and leather jacket. He zips it up and smirks widely.

'I'm fucking ready now, baby !'

You're about to twist the knob when you turn around hesitantly. 'Lucille ?'

'Gone.' He answers, still smirking. 'No need for a fucking baseball bat anymore.'

He gets his hunting knife out of his jeans pocket and you smile.

'One more thing. Can you ride ?'

'You saw all the bikes we had and you really think I can't fucking ride ?!' Negan chuckles, pointing at the door.

'I meant a horse.' You add with a scoff.

'Fuck yeah, I can ride a horse. I can do any-fucking-thing you want me to !'

You roll your eyes but can't help the smile stretching your lips.

'Let me go first.' You quickly head out.

You both walk along the wall, you in front, making sure it's clear and him following you a few feet behind. When you're close enough, you run to the gate and push it open as quietly as you can. You untie your horse while Negan sneaks out and you look at Alexandria one last time.

'Sorry, Rick.' You whisper guiltily, before turning around.

As soon as you're out, Negan pushes the gate shut and gives you a wolfish grin.

'You, my dear, are a fucking badass !' He pulls your arm towards him.

Your body finally crashes against his and you feel like you could melt in his arms, your head buried in his chest. You can't believe you're out here with him. You made it ! Negan turns to the horse and pats the side of her neck.

'And you brought some fucking chow too !' His smirk stretches when he sees your expression.

'This is Hope and, we're not eating her.' You retort with a smile.

'I got something of yours, by the fucking way.' He starts, his fingers searching his jacket pocket.

You gasp when you see the four-leaf clover necklace resting in the palm of his hand.

'Found it in bed.' He adds with a smirk.

'I thought I lost it !' You take the silver necklace in your hands. 'Thank you.'

'You're fucking welcome, baby !' Negan gets on the horse surprisingly swiftly and you sit behind him.

'Where to ?' You ask, looking at the woods around you.

'We follow the road for half an hour and then, we cut through the fucking woods. They won't find our tracks easily.'

'Good idea.' You agree with him.

'How about heading North ? You're good with that, doll ?'

'Yeah, I don't care where we go, as long as I'm with you.'

God. Why did you have to say it like that ? Negan chuckles and you see his head shaking a few times.

'Fuck, doll. That's the cheesiest shit I've ever heard.'

You can't help but let a genuine laugh out. A laugh you hadn't heard coming out of your mouth since you left the Sanctuary.

'Anyway, baby, how 'bout we get the fuck outta here before they notice my fucking ass is missing ?'

Your arms around his waist, Negan clicks his tongue confidently and the horse starts galloping. You rest your head against his leather jacket, letting his familiar smell invade your nose. No matter what happens next, you're ready to face it now. Together.