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Changes of Nature

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Negan’s eyes fell upon the bat that Carl had taken from the pile of supplies a few of the Alexandrians had returned with from their latest run. He was chatting with two boys around his age as he tested out the bat with a few light swings. His expression remained impassive as he watched, but internally it was a different story. Naturally it triggered thoughts of Lucille; at least the bat version of her. And along with Lucille, he was reminded of his days as an Alpha.

He had walked about Alexandria with the barbed wired bat draped over his shoulder, and his chest puffed out. His body had the perfect bulk of a powerful Alpha, creating the ideal example of an intimidating Alpha from afar. His gaze had been bold and his growl, deafening. No one had dared to fuck with him. But that had been another life; a past life. Thanks to a walker, he’d become a low level Omega incapable of intimidating a fly. Negan turned his gaze to his feet, determined not to let a bat of all things bring back memories.

He wandered close to a scene of people who were moving supplies over to a table where two Beta women marked them for inventory. Negan took notice of Aaron as he lifted a large box onto their table and made his way over to him.

“Find any pup supplies out there, or were you just using the time to jack off?”

Aaron tossed him a mild glare before answering.

“We found a few things. Mark and I are separating them before we take them to your place.”

“You might as well give ‘em to me. I ain’t got shit to do right now.”

Aaron dropped his gaze down to Negan’s bulging belly.

“You’re not supposed to have shit to do when you’re eight months pregnant.”

Negan dropped a hand across his belly and rubbed it as his brow furrowed. Pup number three was on the way, and of course that meant he should be nesting at home while everyone else did the work. Normally that wouldn’t be a complaint since chores could quickly become annoying, but for the time being he wasn't keen on doing nothing.

“I wouldn’t count moving boxes from point A to fucking point B as hard labor.”

“The boxes are heavy Negan, and if Rick catches you doing any heavy lifting, he’ll be after my ass.”

Negan shot him a grin.

“Well, better your ass than mine. But seriously, I’m free for the moment, and I feel like lending a hand.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a Beta giving him a nasty glare. It did not matter that there was a pup in the oven. For a few, his status as a past bastard and kidnapper remained. But for others, it was a case where he was simply being tolerated. After four years, he found their hold on the past a little surprising as well as a little impressive. The Alexandrian pack was a tight knit stubborn group, and once someone became their enemy or their Alpha’s enemy, said person was branded that way for life.

“There’s no need Negan,” Aaron told him. “Taking care of your pups is more than enough. You want to be sure we have strong future Alphas, or Betas, or Omegas.”

The Omega grimaced at the thought.

“Hit the goddamn brakes on that. I’m not even ready for them to turn five. I’m sure as hell not ready to imagine them moving on.”

“Well, they still have some adorable years left in them, especially the unborn pup. And like I’ve said before, Aaron’s not a bad name.” Negan chuckled. “But really. Mark and I will drop off the supplies later.”

“Fine,” Negan said while waving his hands in mock surrender. “I get it. You want my ass gone.”

He turned on his heel before Aaron could say more. Deep down he understood that the Alpha had his best interest at heart. It was in their nature to push the protection of a pup in a pregnant Omega, especially when an Omega was set to burst. This was a time where he should be resting, which he didn’t exactly want to do, but at the same time he did.

As he moved, he felt the aches of the long pregnancy rise up his back. He reached a hand around to touch his back as he came to a stop to give his already tired feet a minute to rest. The weight of his stomach had become like an anchor, creating something of a strain on most of his muscles.

“Goddamn it, when is this pup coming out,” he muttered. It hadn’t been as bad as when he’d carried twins, but the feeling was impossible to ignore.

“Need a hand?”

He looked up as Carl walked over with the bat still slung over his shoulder. Negan assumed it was the hormones making him tense at the sight of the bat drawing near.

“Normally I’d say fuck no, but in this case, why the hell not.”

Carl became his crutch as they headed for the house. Along the way, people moved back and forth as they went about another typical day. A couple of them greeted him kindly which he acknowledged with a nod or something witty. Then there were those that just preferred to take more notice of his belly than his face.

“Where the hell’s daddy?”

“In the armory,” Carl replied. “They found a few guns out there.”

“Hopefully we won’t need them,” he said flatly. There hadn’t been a problem since the Saviors attack, and he hoped it stayed that way.

“So…”

“So what?” Negan asked, quirking a brow.

Carl’s eye briefly dropped to his belly.

“Have you given my list another look?”

“Christ, I thought we were all in agreement on the name,” Negan muttered, as if annoyed. He raised himself up so the kid was no longer supporting him in a crutch like fashion.

“Dad’s not into the name Negan,” he said with a playful roll of the eyes. “He’s told you that.”

“I know I’ll be able to change his mind.” A smug smile lifted the corners of Negan’s lips.

“Lucy’s the only one that likes it besides you. Jake is with us.”

“All three of you will have to roll to my way of thinking, cause I’m the one pushing this pup out of my ass, so it should be my say-so.” As quietness settled on them, Negan glanced at the bat. “Why’d you take that?”

“Huh?” He followed Negan’s gaze. “What the bat? I don’t know. I thought maybe we could get baseball going again. Maybe after the pregnancy, you could start a league.”

Negan took notice of a few Alphas smoking on the porch of a nearby house. As soon as their eyes met, the Alphas shot him a sharp glare that encouraged Negan to drop his gaze in submission. Alexandria was a place where Alphas and Omegas were on the same footing, but for him it didn’t count.

“Yeah, I don’t think me swinging a bat around is gonna strike up a beautiful image for people. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m banned from ever touching a damn bat again.”

“Oh come on, no one would think you're bringing Lucille back. And no one thinks-”

“You’re a smart pup, but you know that’s not entirely fucking true.”

Carl fell quiet for a minute afterwards.

“I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal. I mean who cares what they think anyways.”

He agreed with such a point. He shouldn’t care. The only time to care was if someone was attempting to hurt him, but the fact of the matter was that he was a member of the pack, so to a degree he was a little concerned about not having enough support. He laughed as he thought about taking a team of pups under his wing for baseball. It would allow him to return to his old job of coaching, which unfortunately ended once the world changed.

“Why the hell not. I’ll fashion a shitload of Lucilles for my team to hit that cool factor, and piss these assholes off.”

“Yeah, that’s what you want to do,” Carl said with a laugh.

Up ahead, the sight of his two pups on the porch caught Negan’s attention. Jake was messing with a robot toy while Lucy was perched on Michonne’s lap, listening as she read her a book. Just then, Jake’s robot started making noises which attracted Lucy.

“Let me see it,” she cried.

Jake pulled it out of her reach as she neared him.

“No, I haven’t had a turn,” he argued.

“You said you’d let me.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“No!”

“Hey!” Negan called once he made it to the porch. “I’m gone twenty minutes and you two are already on the verge of killing each other.”

“I just wanted to see the robot,” Lucy pointed out. She pulled out her lower lip in a pout as her dark hair fell over her bright blue eyes. At four, she was still a spitting image of him with similar facial features.

“Look mommy, it’s working now,” Jake said proudly as he held it up. Unlike his sister, he favored Rick when it came to looks, but his eyes were a bright light brown instead of blue.

“Did you fix it all by yourself?” Negan asked, grinning. Jake bobbed his head rapidly. “Atta boy.”

The pup’s proud smile widened.

“Auntie Micho is teaching me to read,” Lucy announced, hoping to gain Negan’s praise as well.

“That’s my girl.” He topped it off by running his hand over her head. “But you’re not driving Michonne nuts over here, are you?”

Lucy glanced back at Michonne before turning back to shake her head.

“No.”

“That’s too bad,” Negan said as he feigned disappointment. “I would’ve been even prouder if you made her lose her damn mind.”

“Swear,” Jake said offhandedly without even bothering to look away from his robot.

“Right,” Negan muttered. Both pups were so used to hearing him drop an occasional swear word, they were barely bothered to react. At least Jake was still interested in pointing it out.

“If I’d lost my mind, there’d be no one to pupsit for you,” said Michonne.

“There’s always Carl. Rick might call him a pup, but he’s not anymore. Already on the verge of presenting.” He settled in the plastic chair next to her and released a heavy sigh of relief. After he put his feet up on the porch railing, he felt even better. “If I could have anything in the world right now, it’d be to take this blimp off my body for a little while.”

“No sign of it ending anytime soon?” Michonne asked.

He was certain a look of concern fleeted across her features. He dropped a hand over his stomach yet again, taking notice of how it easily peeked out of the bottom of his shirt.

“Other than the kicking fits? No.” He eased back into the chair suddenly feeling drained.

“You should go lay down a while. I’ll keep watching the twins,” Michonne offered.

“Now you sound like Aaron,” he complained. “He shooed me away from bringing the pup supplies over.”

“I suppose he’s taking after Rick, in a way. No lifting a finger if you can help it.”

“Oh I can lift a finger, easy,” he said cheekily as he lifted the middle finger of his left hand. Michonne rolled her eyes. “I should toss one of these up every now and then, especially when I get the stink eye from some as...A-hole.” He looked over at Jake who appeared ready to cry “Swear” if he’d said the word.

“I don’t think that’s going to help you in the end,” Michonne disagreed.

“No, but I’ll get a kick out of it.”

“Hey, I’m gonna go see if they need any more help unloading the supplies,” Carl said as he approached Negan.

“Get to it then,” he said while waving him off.

“You need any more help?”

Though it was nice to be asked, Negan felt a little offense at the question.

“What am I, grandma? I can still do some things without assistance pup scout.”

“Okay then. See you.”

He hurried off. After seeing her brother zip out, Lucy too approached Negan.

“Can I help Carl too?”

“No. You just stay put right here.” With shaky legs, he rose to his feet and stretched. “I think I will take that offer Micho, and get myself a little nap time before Rick shows up.”

Determined to show no signs of fatigue, he shuffled indoors.

 

Sleep had been quite welcomed as he laid stretched out across the couch, and it had only taken him less than an hour to fall into it. When an hour was up, the front door was opening, causing Negan to stir from the sound. The simple sound was followed by running feet and loud laughter.

“Keep it down you two. Mommy is resting, remember?”

The voice was noticeable enough to encourage Negan to open his eyes. He rose to a sitting position tiredly just in time to catch the intruder trying to walk by quietly with two giggling pups in his wake.

“Mommy was resting,” Negan corrected as he laid eyes on his Alpha.

Rick gave him an apologetic smile before shrugging.

“There’s always tomorrow right.”

Negan quirked a brow at the comment. He wasn’t so certain of that anymore, especially when two pups would soon become three.