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New Elysium

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Sunday, June 17th

Rick Grimes, former sheriff’s deputy turned post-apocalyptic group leader was beyond confused. He had gone to bed in Alexandria and woke up in his home in King County.

Waking up next to his dead wife because his baby daughter was crying wasn't what Rick had been expecting. Lori was nearly two years gone but there she was, looking young and healthy, sleeping soundly beside him.

Judith sniffled again and Rick rushed to her. His beautiful daughter was so small. The baby Rick remembered was a giggly, almost two-year-old toddler but the baby in his arms was small almost newborn. Rick looked from his daughter to his wife and felt his head spin. This wasn’t possible.

“Dad?” Rick heard Carl whisper pushing open the door to Rick and Lori’s bedroom.

“Carl,” Rick called softly rocking the baby from side to side.

Carl pushed open the door and froze when he saw his father and baby sister. “What?” Carl managed to say before his eyes fell on his mother, still sleeping, just a few feet away.

“I don’t know,” Rick admitted, still whispering, his eyes never leaving his son.

Seeing Carl, who looked so young, staring at the house he grew up in like he had never seen it before was a shock. Carl looked terrified like his mother would wake up and try to take a bite out of one of them, a perfectly rational fear in the world they have obviously just come from. The boy and his father shared a look and Rick jerked his head to show he was taking Judith out of the room.

Carl nodded and turned back to his mother. The woman he put down after Judith was born. Rick turned and walked out of the open door and listened as Carl climbed into Rick and Lori’s bed sobbing softly.

“Carl, baby, what’s wrong?” Rick heard Lori ask sleepily.

“I had a bad dream,” Carl said back. “Can I stay here for a while?”

“Of course sweetheart,” Lori said. Rick could picture her running a hand through Carl’s soft hair and pulling him close, ready to chase away the bad dream. Rick closed his eyes and pressed a kiss to Judith’s soft forehead. The walkers, the quarry, the farm, the prison, Alexandria, it wasn’t a dream. It had been real.

Rick went through his morning like it was a dream. Around nine Carl and Lori wandered into the kitchen where Rick and Judy had managed to cook up some eggs and bacon. Rick felt himself smiling at the little luxuries he had right them. Milk, cheese, gas, and electricity. Rick hadn’t had milk or cheese since the Greene’s farm and he had never gotten used to the electricity in Alexandria.

“Did you do all this?” Lori asked surprised looking at the breakfast laid out on the table.

“Well, yeah,” Rick said scratching his chin. He guessed it had been awhile since Lori had seen Rick cook breakfast. In the old world, Rick hadn’t been much for cooking but in the new world you cooked or you starved to death.

“You cooked and fed Judy?” Lori asked spotting the empty bottle on the counter.

“She was hungry,” Rick said, letting his eyes fall on the now happily sleeping baby in her carrier.

“You are a good husband,” Lori said pressing a soft kiss to Rick’s cheek. “And a great daddy.”

“This is great dad!” Carl interrupted shoveling the scrambled eggs into his mouth.

“I thought you didn’t like scrambled eggs, Carl,” Lori said watching her son what had previously been his least favorite food.

“Guess I forgot,” Carl said simply eating more. Dozens of memories of life on the road where food was scarce and of eating worse things than scrambled eggs flooded the boy’s mind.

Lori gave her son and husband a look but sat down and started filling her own plate. The family ate mostly in silence. Rick was shocked when Lori mentioned getting to work, he had forgotten that Lori had worked at the small local library four days a week. His immediate thoughts when to Carl and his son having to go to school but Lori’s comment about their fishing trip calmed him down.

He remembered this morning, minus Judy. His little daughter hadn’t existed in this time before. Part of him, the part that had killed Shane, said that Shane and Lori’s affair had obviously started much earlier here, or maybe it just resulted in a baby sooner. Rick ignored that part of him and he mechanically said goodbye to his wife who was going to take Judy to work with her, as she only worked half days on Saturdays, and prepared for the fishing trip.

Father and son were silence as they packed gear. Out of habit, Rick picked up his backup weapon and handed it to his son. Carl checked the gun expertly and tucked it away. To the pair, it was the standard operating procedure but anyone who had lived through what they had it

“Dad, what are we going to do?” Carl asked fiddling with the fishing pole in his hands. Rick had insisted on at least trying to catch fish to bring back.

Rick rubbed his face and shook his head. “I don’t know Carl,” Rick said reluctantly. “I don’t have a clue how all this started.”

“Two or three months from now,” Carl said thinking hard. His mother and Shane had done their best to protect him from the truth in the beginning and his own grief from Rick being shot had painted everything, making it hard to remember. “You got shot a few weeks after Shane got back from vacation and it was a month, maybe a month and a half after that they bombed Atlanta.”

“You sure?” Rick asked having to trust his son since he had been in a coma when everything began.

“As sure as I can be,” Carl said reluctantly. This wasn’t exactly the same, Judith was proof of that.

“Dad, what are we going to do about Mom? About Shane? The group?” Carl asked questions bubbling up from within him.

Rick put his hand on his son’s head and stroked his short hair. “We’ll figure it out, son,” he promised. Rick wasn’t sure how just yet but he would figure it out. One way or another.

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Sunday, June 17th

Carol awoke with a start. This wasn’t where she had gone to sleep. The short-haired woman sat up and looked around the room and her eyes widened. She was back in the house she shared with Ed. This was her home from before.

“This isn’t possible,” Carol muttered throwing the blankets off and sliding her legs off the bed. A loud snore from her bed partner made Carol’s lip curl in disgust. Somehow, Ed, her abusive waste of space husband was laying there alive and well.

The first thought in Carol’s mind was that of course, she could fix that. Ed would never know, he just wouldn’t wake up. Immediately after Carol felt a rush of disgust. Ed was an awful human but he didn’t quite deserve being slaughtered in his bed, not when Sophia was just down the hall.

Sophia … Carol stood quickly and rushed to the doorway, her body moving almost outside of her control. She had to see her daughter. The woman practically ran to her daughter’s bedroom and pushed open the door.

On the bed curled up against the cold, Sophia had a bad habit of kicking off the covers in her sleep, was the daughter Carol had lost on the Highway.

Her beautiful, whole, living daughter. Carol stumbled forward a sob building in her chest. Once she was close enough the woman dropped to her knees and gently stroked her daughter’s hair. The tears she had been trying to push back slowly crawled down her face and her shoulders shook.

“Momma?” Sophia asked sleepily, her eyes just cracked open.

“It’s okay, baby,” Carol said softly, her voice choked with tears.

“Momma, are you okay?” Sophia asked seeing the tears fall down her mother’s face.

“Mommy, had a bad dream baby, but it’s okay now,” Carol said with a small smile. “It’s okay, we’ll be okay.”

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Sunday, June 17th

“Damn it,” Glenn swore and stomped back into his apartment. He had forgotten his keys. Nearly ten minutes before the Korean man had forgotten his phone and had to return to get the soon-to-be-useless lump of plastic and glass. Since waking up earlier that morning Glenn hadn’t been at the top of his game.

Call him what you liked, but waking up in the past wasn’t normal, even for someone who had been surviving the apocalypse. Give him walkers and even crazy humans and Glenn could handle himself but waking up alone, in his dirty apartment in Macon, Glenn didn’t know what to do.

Where was the group? Had it all been a dream? What about Maggie? Where was his wife? To make it worse Glenn had woken up with a splitting headache one that he couldn’t bring himself to think about too hard. The horror of that night in the woods was still too fresh, he could still see Maggie’s devastated face.

All he knew was that Glenn had a job to do. He was going to find Maggie and the rest of his family and to do that he needed his keys. So despite feeling stupid Glenn marched back into his apartment and fetched his keys and locked his door. For a moment an overwhelming sense of normalcy overwhelmed him. Before this would have been normal, expected, easy and now it was fake.

Glenn pushed it away and stumbled to his car, he needed to get to Maggie’s, he had to find Maggie, no matter what.

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Sunday, June 17th

Maggie had woken up to Beth’s singing. It had been so long since Maggie had heard Beth sing that the soft rendition of the Parting Glass brought tears to her eyes even before she had truly woken up.

At first, Maggie was certain this was a dream. A beautiful, painful dream. She was in her bedroom, her childhood bedroom on her daddy’s farm, with Beth’s soft voice floating through the thin wall separating their rooms. If she listened hard she could even hear her step-mother in the kitchen.

It wasn’t until the door to her room opened that Maggie realized that the signing had stopped. Beth, sweet Beth, peeked into Maggie’s room and Maggie felt her breath leave her, like a punch.

“Maggie?” Beth called softly.

“Beth,” Maggie’s voice broke and she scrambled to get to her feet. The blond pushed the door open and moved to her sister. Maggie grabbed Beth and held on tight. “Beth!”

“You remember,” Beth sobbed into Maggie’s shoulder. “I thought it was just me, I thought I was alone.”

“Never!” Maggie swore fiercely. “Never again.”

The sisters embraced.

“Maggie!” Annette's voice rang through the house. “Come down, there is someone at the door for you!”

Maggie pulled away from her sister and the blond shrugged, just as lost as Maggie was. Still dressed in a pair of soft sleep pants and an old T-shirt she had stolen from Shawn, Maggie left to answer the door, Beth beside her.

“Who is it?” Maggie asked her step-mother when she made it downstairs. The blond woman just shook her head and tsked at Maggie for not yet having gotten dressed.

“I don’t know but he insisted that he see you,” Annette said thoughtfully.

He, Maggie thought. Her heart began to race and she moved without saying anything and felt her breath catch when she saw him standing beside the door. Annette had been too polite to make him stand out on the porch. “Glenn!” Maggie shrieked throwing herself at the Korean man.

Glenn caught her and pulled her close. Faintly, Maggie could hear Annette asking Beth how Maggie knew him, but the woman couldn't find it in her to answer. Maggie brought shaking hands to Glenn’s face and wiped the tears from his eyes as she felt him doing to her.

“I told you I’d find you,” Glenn whispered. Maggie sobbed and buried her face in his neck. “I’ll always find you.”

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> Sunday, June 17th

Daryl woke up in an instant. A hard life before and after the fall has made sure that the man could wake in an instant and the minute he had heard someone scream out, Daryl had jumped to attention. It took far longer for him to remember where he was than the hunter would ever admit. The dark paneling and dirty brown carpet were familiar in a painful way. The mattress without a box spring or frame sat on the ground. Daryl knew that if he pulled the thin sheets away the mattress would be stained and would look as uncomfortable as it felt.

“Daryl!” Daryl jerked in surprise and as a wave of pain hit him in the chest. That voice … Daryl hadn’t heard that voice since the prison. “Where the hell are you?”

The hunter moved to his door, it was his door, the room was to his room. His room in his shitty trailer that he had managed to afford by working at the small town mechanic’s place in town a few miles away. Someplace he hadn’t seen since he and Merle had lit up out of town at the beginning, heading to Atlanta.

“Daryl!” Daryl’s door slammed open, Daryl just managing to jump back so as not to get smacked in the face, and Merle stood there.

The older man looked like he always had, rough but the look in his eyes showed something that Daryl couldn’t rightly place. A deep, painful grief rose up inside Daryl and before he could stop himself the younger brother lashed out, his fist striking the elder on the face.

“The fuck!” Merle swore as he strumbled back. Daryl watched as Merle reached up and rubbed his face, careful not to use the hand that once held a sharp and dangerous bayonet and Daryl knew for sure that the Merle in front of him was the Merle that had been with him back at the prison.

“That was fer being a dumbass!” Daryl snapped. “And git’en yerself killed!”

Merle snarled back but didn’t strike out a sure sign that this Merle was not one that Daryl would have found before in this house.

“Guess that answers that,” Merle said glaring at his brother for the punch. “Wanted ta’ know if you remembered."

“I remember,” Daryl said shortly. “I’s remember a lot.”