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Death's Little Master

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When Rick woke up the first thing that registered was the lack of noise. The normal background music of voices, footsteps, and beeping of any hospital were missing. Gone was the almost indecipherable buzz of electricity. It was as if the man-made world had suddenly died and stopped its constant humming. His throat was parched and he hoarsely called for a nurse. Forcing himself to turn he reached for the vase of flowers he had at one point remembered his partner bringing him.

The vase he reached for was empty with just a handful of dead flowers. Attempting to get off the bed, his legs couldn't hold his weight and he collapsed to the floor, groaning he slowly sat up, looking down he sees the IV in the crook of his left arm; he slowly peels away the tape that held the needle in his arm and pulls it out. Grabbing the IV pole Rick pulls himself to his feet.

Walking into the small bathroom attached to the room, he shifts his weight from the IV pole to the sink turning the handle. The water that flowed from the faucet was a godsend for his parched throat. After drinking his fill he splashes water on his face; trying to wash away the feeling of grime and sweat. His face was coarse from the stubble that had begun growing while he was in his coma. Looking at his reflection in the small mirror above the sink, his eyes widen. His face was a little gaunt, with slight bags under his eyes, and his hair is greasy from lack of washing. He wondered how long had passed since he'd been shot. 

Judging from the stubble on his face he'd guessed the last time someone shaved him was, two maybe three weeks ago. That didn’t tell him how long he had been in the hospital for though, merely how long till whatever had happened, happened. He shakily grabbed the IV pole and slowly made his way back to the main room looking for something, anything that would give him an idea of what was going on. The only thing he saw was the dead machines, and flickering lights.

Rick slowly moved towards the door and twisted the knob pulling it open carefully. He wasn’t sure exactly what was going on but he didn’t like it, and he didn’t want to be caught unawares by whatever it was. A gurney had been pushed in front of his door, and he surmised that it was most likely one of the reasons he hadn’t been discovered, by whoever had turned the hospital into a third world war zone. Pushing the gurney aside he slowly made his way down the silent hallway. Papers and blood littered the floor and bullet holes riddled the walls and doors. Although given the silence and the fact that no one had known he was here for at least two weeks, Rick stayed quiet incase who ever had done this was still here somewhere. He made his way slowly towards the nurse’s station leaning against his IV pole for balance, and to help counteract the nausea and dizziness he was feeling. 

The hallways were dark, the only light coming from the occasional flickering of an emergency hall light, leaving shadows in the nooks and corners. Abandoning his IV pole for the counter of the nurses station, Rick felt around for the phone he knew would be kept there. He pulled the receiver up to his ear, moving to punch the buttons when he heard it. Silence. There was no dial tone. Whoever or whatever had done this had not only cut the power but the phone lines as well. Running his shaking hand over the nurses side of the desk, he searched for anything that he could use to help him get out. His fingers grasped a small matchbox a nurse had most likely confiscated from a patient. A buzzing and flickering caught his eye down the hall. He moved toward the hallway slowly leaning on the wall for balance, he could see one of the hospital’s emergency lights flickering. 

The flickering of the emergency light led him to a set of closed double doors, barring him from entering the hallway. Peering into the barely lit hall Rick takes in the destruction. His eyes are drawn to the ground and what he sees makes him sick. The top half of a woman body is laying in an open doorway. Rick swallowed thickly as he recognizes the face of the woman he knew as Amy, a nurse who had helped the doctor with Carl’s cast when he was seven, and jumped from the shed's roof trying to be superman.

He backed away quickly stumbling a little as he moved down the opposite hallway towards the cafeteria. His mind was racing as he passed some blood pooled on the floor, bullet holes marring the walls and a hole in the roof were it had most likely collapsed. Upon reaching the closed cafeteria doors Rick was shocked at what he saw. The doors were chained shut a padlock locking them together, a wooden board had been shoved between the handles. It was the words sprayed painted on the door that took Rick aback. ‘Do Not Open, Dead Inside’. His eyes widened as he heard thumping and moaning coming from inside the locked doors, his breath caught as the chains and door rattled; and a pale dirty hand inched through the slight opening. As the groaning grew louder he quickly backed away, pushing through a set of double doors he rushed passed the elevators and towards the stairs.

Closing the door to the stairwell he stood in pitch black darkness. He fumbled to opened the matchbox in the dark and quickly swiped the head of a match, lighting a small flame. Now that he had a some light he listen for more of the groaning he had heard from the cafeteria, but there was nothing. He could barely see as he moved slowly down the stairs searching for the exit. He finally comes across a door marked Exit after having to lite three matches.

Pushing the door open sunlight immediately blinds him, raising his arm up, he tries to block some of the brightness until his eyes are slightly adjusted. Moving down the metal stairs he slowly let his arm drop, his eyes finally adjusting to the brightness. He almost wished they hadn’t. 

 The back lot was covered with over a hundred or more bodies, all covered with white sheets, flies buzzing around them. The only sound he hears, are coming from the flies and his own ragged breathing. Whatever had caused all this looks to have affected the whole town which meant that Lori and Carl might be hurt somewhere. He had to make it to the house and see if they were alright. 

Slowly he made his way out of the back lot of the hospital and towards the street. He walked on the sidewalk even though no cars moved along the road. Rick didn't see how anything could move on the road; It seemed every couple of feet there was a wreck, or a car was crashed onto the sidewalk forcing him to walk around. The streets were littered with trash, broken glass from storefront windows and what looked like looted goods from different stores. It felt as if he was the last living person in the whole town. He watched carefully for any movement as his ingrained police instincts began to kick in. He had been almost too foggy before to understand anything he saw, but the longer he was awake and moving the more his head seemed to clear. He felt in his gut that somehow he was in danger and began scanning the streets as though he was looking for a hiding perp when he saw it, movement. Twenty or thirty meter’s in front of him to the left of a wrecked car something was moving slowly across the grass. He carefully made his way forward and it quickly became apparent that the movement was a woman, or part of one. Like Nurse Amy the lower half of her body seemed to be missing. Unlike Nurse Amy however she was still moving. Rick made his way forward to investigate but stopped a few feet away as she turned her head towards him. 

Her eyes were nothing but a pale fog and as she tried to crawl towards him she gnashed her teeth together. She reached for him but he quickly took a step back, his instincts screamed at him to run, flee, and get as far away as possible from this thing on the ground because it certainly wasn’t human, not any more. He swallowed down more bile and moved towards the slightly rusted red bicycle that laid on the grass just off the sidewalk. Although rusted it moved easily enough and he could get to his house faster, if he could keep his balance that is.

Finally he arrived at his house. Although shaky he had kept his balance well enough to make good time. Dropping the bike on the sidewalk, he quickly climbed up the stairs to the front door and twisted the doorknob. It was unlocked, which was strange given that crime had risen in their neighborhood. It told Rick that they must have left in a hurry for Lori not to lock the door. He called out as he entered the house but no one answered. The house looked as though it had been ransacked. Rick went room to room calling out as he searched before collapsing on the floor, sobbing. Looking up he noticed the photo albums were missing. Lori was the only person who would have a truly vested interest in the albums which meant she had gotten out with Carl. The burden of fear fell from his shoulders for a moment, and then fell back on even harder. If they weren’t here, where were they? 

He moved back to the front door and closed it. He moving around the house filling a bag with things he might need. The first aid kit was missing along with all the canned food, most likely packed by Lori before they left. Moving into the bedroom he searched the dresser for clean clothes. Packing a few pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts and some boxers, Rick decided to put his spare uniform on incase he ran into anyone. Once he was out of the hospital gown he moved to his nightstand and pulled open the drawer looking for his personal side arm, It was missing. Moving he checked Lori’s nightstand, there was the strong possibility she had moved it when he was in the hospital to feel safer.  

Opening the drawer he pulled out the sheaf of papers that were on top and peeked under them, nothing. She must have took it with them. He went to put the papers back when he glanced at the letter head; ‘Carson & Carson Divorce Attorney’. His body stiffened. As he began looking over the forms he saw that she had already signed them, along with her lawyer almost two weeks before he had been shot. He sat on the bed staring at the papers for a moment. He knew that their marriage was rocky before he was shot, but he hadn’t believed they were anywhere close to a divorce. Rick tried to push the memory that sprang up away. About a year ago he had seen her get into her vehicle at a nearby motel on his way home from work. When he asked her about it, she had brushed it off saying a friend of her family had call to say they were in town but leaving that night so she had gone over to say hello, before picking Carl up at baseball practice. At the time he had brushed it off but now he wasn’t so sure. He sat up and rushed towards the front door and onto the small porch, looking to make sure there were no alive dead things around, he quickly moved to the corner where the camera was and stood on his tip toes to unclip it from its cradle. Rick moved back towards the house, closing the door once more behind him.

He moved towards the bedroom as he switch the small camera on, but as he had thought it was dead. He raised his arm to throw the useless camera when he saw the laptop out of the corner of his eye. Moving towards the desk he hoped the laptop still had some battery. Taking a seat at the computer desk he turned the camera in his hands looking for the memory card slot. Finding it he slid the chip out and held it tightly in his hand while he turned the laptop on. Rick sighed in relief when It powered on and he slid the chip into the side of the computer allowing it to load, clicking on the first hours of film he leaned forward on the desk. The first three days there was nothing but normal day to day stuff. Then came the first Tuesday after he had installed the camera. He noticed the angle of the camera was shifted by a hand; so it viewed more of the yard than the front door, since Rick couldn't see who had shifted the camera he knew it had to have been done by someone who had stood in its blind spot. He remembered this, although he hadn’t realized it had been done on purpose. He remembered moving it to view the porch better only a few days later before he left for Carl’s baseball practice. Rick fast forwarded through the video finding nothing out of the ordinary. He almost missed what he had been looking for, pausing, he rewinded slightly and with a heavy heart, hit play. 

He let the entire scene play, trying to find some way to deny it in his own head. As it finished he fast forward to the next time he was out of the house with Carl. His anger became more and more evident the further he watched. His wife was sleeping with his best friend and partner. He slammed the laptop closed and laid his head in his hands as he was overcome with anger and sadness. 

After he got a hold of his emotions and breathed in deeply a few times. His mind went back to the missing photo albums, there was a very good possibility that they made it out and that they would see each other again. He opened a desk drawer searching for a pen and took the papers from the bed. He looked at them for a moment before bringing the pen to the paper and signing. He stuffed the papers in his bag as he left the house. He made it off the porch and half way down the front steps, when he realized that not only did he not know what had happened to the town, or what was going on with the dead moving, but he had no idea where his son and now ex-wife would have gone. He all but collapsed with his head in his hands on the ground as he once more tried not to cry.

A few moments later he raised his head, tears blurring his vision. The adrenaline, desperation and anger that had kept him moving was beginning to fade, and even sitting down he was beginning to feel dizzy. Down the road a man seemed to be stumbling along. Rick stood quickly, fighting the dizziness in his head and was about to call out when a gunshot broke the quietness around him, he watched in horror as the man’s head was thrown back as he fell to the ground. Rick stumbled and pain suddenly erupted in the back of his head and he fell sideways, his vision spotty and going black. A boy’s face looked down at him with wide brown eyes.

“Carl?” He asked deliriously before passing out.

 


 

When Rick came to it was with a slight headache. His shoulder however felt better, cleaner. Looking around he saw he was in a bedroom, the window’s covered so that light couldn’t get in or out. Candle flames flickered, making shadows dance across the room.

“Awake then?” Asked a bald black man as he entered the room. Rick tried to sit up but his wrists were tied to the bed frame. “Got that bandage changed out. It was pretty rank,” the man said, as he came into the room. Rick saw the gun strapped to his hip. “What was it from?” He asked.

“Gunshot,” Rick croaked, his voice hoarse. 

“Gunshot? Anything else?” he asked as he came to a stop beside Rick.

“What getting shot isn’t enough?” 

“Look I asked you a question the common curtesy is to answer, right? Now answer the question. Did you get bit?” The black man asked.

“Bit?” Rick repeated confused. 

“Bit, chewed, scratched anything like that?” He asked.

“No I got shot. Just shot as far as I know,” Rick answered and the man reaches towards him, Rick flinches.  

“Hey man, just let me,” he says as he touches the back of his hand to Rick's forehead. “Feels cool enough,” he says as he pulls out a switchblade. “Fever would have killed you by now.” He continues as he cuts the rope binding Rick to the bed. “Come on out when you’re able.” The man says before leaving the room. Rick rolls over on his side trying to compose himself. The day he’s had is like nothing he’s ever experienced before. Waking up from a coma, finding dead people walking, learning about his partner and now ex-wife, not knowing where his child was, and then waking up tied to a bed. He wants to lay there, to close his eyes and sleep; see if all this is just part of some strange coma dream. Finally he swings his legs off the bed, wrapping a blanket around his mostly bare body as he leaves the room.

The man is sitting at the dining room table with what is obviously his son, serving him some food as Rick looks around. He squints slightly confused. 

“This place,” Rick pauses and looks around a little more before heading towards the window. “Fred and Cindy Drake?” He questions.

“Never met them,” The other man answered.

“I’ve been here. This is their place.” Rick said with a little more conviction than before.

“It was empty when we got here.” He repays. Rick reaches for the dark sheet covering the window. 

“Don’t do that. They’ll see the light. There are more of them out there than usual. I never should’ve fired that gun today, sound draws them. Now they’re all over the street. Stupid; using a gun. But it all happened so fast, I didn’t think,” the man said shaking his head. Rick turned to look at him as he remembered what happened before he was hit on the head.

“You shot that man today,” Rick says. The man shrugs as he asks somewhat rhetorically,

“Man?”

“It weren’t no man,” the kid says. The father berates him for a moment before motioning for Rick to come eat. They say a blessing before the man introduces themselves as Morgan and Duane; and goes on to explain what they know about what is happening. After dinner they start to settle in for the night. Everyone tenses when the doorknob started turning. Going to the door to see whats going on, Rick pauses when he hears Morgan trying to quiet Duane’s sobs. Looking out the peep hole he sees a black women in a nightgown; when he turns to Morgan the look on the mans face explains everything. It was his wife who turned that was twisting the doorknob.

In the morning the three of them made their way to the police station. Rick surprised them with the hot showers; since the station had a back-up gas generator that hadn’t been used. After showering they raided the armory for weapons, although most had been taken there were still enough guns and ammo to split between them. They filled up one of the cruisers with gas for Rick as well as Morgan’s vehicle before they parted ways, Rick heading to the safe zone in Atlanta to find his ex-wife and hopefully his son, with Morgan and Duane following behind in a couple of days.

They each took a walkie promising to turn it on for a few hours every day at dawn, to save power, so they could meet up with one another when Morgan and Duane made it to the city. 

 


 

 

Rick ran out of gas thirty miles from the city. Seeing a sign for a gas station about a half mile up the road he pulled over. Grabbing the gas canister and his duffle bag -he decides to stuff all the guns and ammo from the police bag into his duffle so it’d be less to carry. Pulling down the visor he takes the picture of Lori, Carl and himself before folding it so only himself and Carl are visible. Tucking the picture in his front shirt pocket, he sets off. As he gets closer to the station he see the vehicles parked on the side of the road; some even on the grass going all the way around the station. He doubted that there would be any gas but it was worth a try. 

The buzzing of flies and the smell of rot greeted him as he moved between cars. As suspected there was no gas and he didn’t have the tools to siphon any. He began making his way back through the cars when he heard the soft sound of feet shuffling. He stopped and listened, the noise came again. He dropped to the ground looking under the cars in the direction of the sound. There, a car over were a pair of small feet in pink slippers. Rick got up and made his way around the car. The little girl had her back to him and was shuffling away.

“Little girl? I’m a police officer. Don’t be afraid, okay? Little girl?” Rick says voice low to sound calming for the child. He reaches a hand out as if touch the girls shoulder even though she is several meters away when the girl turns around; Rick notices the side of her mouth is gashed and torn. He stumbles backward from the girl as she shuffles toward him, snarling and groaning. Rick draws his gun keeping it pointed to the ground. The girl starts gaining speed the closer she gets to him. Rick backs up as he brings the gun up, he remembers what Morgan said; that it has to be the brain. She is less than two meters away when the bullet enters her skull and she falls to the ground. Rick stares for a moment, sadness blinding him.

He starts walking, backtracking a few miles to a farmhouse he had passed while driving. As he walks up the driveway he looks around, the place looks abandoned. Leaving his bag and gas canister on the front porch, he pulls open the screen door and knocks.

“Hello? Police officer out here, can I borrow some gas?” There is no answer. He moves towards a window. “Hello? Anybody home?” Still there’s no answer. He can’t see anyone in the window so he leaves the porch and moves down the side of the house to view into the living room window. Rick is horrified as he takes in the scene, flies buzz around two dead bodies the backs of their heads shot out, shot gun on the floor. Written in blood on the wall are the words ‘God Forgive Us.’ 

As he makes his way back to his stuff he sees a pick-up truck. Jogging over he searches for the keys but they aren’t inside. Moving to start back up to the house to search inside, he hears the nickering of a horse. 

Seeing the horse, Rick realizes that it might be better to ride to Atlanta than search for a car, since he can’t find any gas. Slowly he opens the gate to the pasture, and moves towards the horse taking the rope hung over the fence as he goes. The horse neighs as Rick approaches, “Easy now easy. I’m not gonna hurt you.” As Rick gets closer to the horse he gently he loops the rope around its neck, and leads it to the barn so he can saddle him.

A few hours later finds Rick on a two lane highway approaching the city. He rides over an over pass moving deeper and deeper into the city. Looking around at all the cars, trash, and wreckage that has befallen Atlanta since this all happened. Rick notices a few Walkers begin to follow, so Rick urges the horse to move a little faster while trying to reassure it as he passes an abandoned city bus. 

“It’s just a few nothing we can’t out run boy,” Rick says as he pats the horse on the neck. He turns onto another street. He passes an abandoned tank when he hears it, the sound of a helicopter. He urges the horse into a gallop as he tries to follow it, turning down another street. “Oh shit,” Rick breathes as the horse starts whining and backing up its eyes looking around fearfully. The entire street is filled with walkers. He turns the horse around and gallops back the way they came. He gets a little ways away when he sees that the amount following him has grown and he cannot escape that way either. 

“Oh God, oh shit,” Rick says breathlessly, as he scans for another escape route. He find nothing, no way out but it’s too late anyway. The walkers have reached them. The horse starts to panic as Walkers grab and pull at them, the horse rears up and Rick is thrown backward, his bag falls on the ground beside him. Struggling to get up Rick kicks a Walker thats bending toward him and shoots a couple that were too close for comfort. Seeing that he’s surrounded, he scrambles underneath the military tank trying to escape to the other side. Looking behind him he shoots a walker that grabs his foot. Quickly he checks the cylinder and sees he only has one bullet left. He begins to crawl again when a walker from the other side of the tank starts to crawl toward him. Out of options he raises his revolver to his temple, “I will not turn into one of those thing.” He thinks to himself. Before he can pull the trigger he sees a small hand in front of his face. Looking up he sees an opening into the tank, and a kids face starring at him. Quickly Rick pulls himself through the opening slamming it shut behind him. Catching his breath he looks over at his rescuer on the other side of the tank and settles himself beside the dead military officer. The boy is small and thin but not sickly so. He’s most likely younger than Carl, by at least a year putting him at maybe eleven. His hair is short and messy, and so black that it looks like he poured ink over his head. He has high cheekbones, pale skin, and delicate features; making him look as though he is from an elven fairytale. His eyes though, are the most stunning green Rick has ever seen. A vibrant forest green, clear and intelligent that are watching him warily. 

“Thank-you,” Rick says. The boy says nothing just watches him. Rick shrugs the silence off as he looks over at the dead soldier. Seeing the gun on the soldiers belt, Rick reaches for it. The soldier’s eyes snap open, he wasn’t as dead as Rick thought. Bringing his own gun up in fear he shoots, using his last bullet to shoot a hole through its head. 

The gunshot echoes through the tank making Rick and the boy both dizzy and deaf. Slowly the ringing starts to fade and they both hear the crackling of a radio.

“Hey dumbass. Yeah you in the tank. You cozy in there?” A male voice asks from the radio. Rick looks incredulously at the radio and then at the kid, who’s eyebrow is raised before moving to grab the radio.

 

Chapter Text

                                                                                               

                                                                                               

 


                                                                              In another reality two hundred years previous,

 

The memorial service was beautiful, but Harry wanted nothing more than to leave. He liked to mourn for those they lost in private, but every year for the past fifteen years he was asked to give a speech. At this point he was starting to pull pieces out of previous speeches and repeat them. No one had called him out on it yet, but he didn’t expect it to take long before Hermione caught on. After the speech, Harry headed to the cemetery near Spinner’s End. Same as he did every year while his wife, Ginny, took their kids to Grandma and Grandpa Weasley’s. They did this ritual every year: Harry would visit Snape’s grave before heading to the Burrow for dinner. He knew that if Snape ever found out he did this, the ex-potions master would haunt him for as long as he lived. “Hell, probably even in the afterlife.” He thought ruefully. But he did it every year anyway. He respected the man for everything he had done during the war. Harry had even fought with his wife to name their second child after the man. Harry stayed for about an hour, mostly silent although he told Snape about little things that had happened throughout the year since the last time he’d visited.

Finally he said goodbye and disapparated to the Burrow. Landing in the backyard, he saw the long picnic table that were set up outside so they could eat in the late August sun.

“Harry dear, can you go tell everyone that dinner is ready? They're playing Quidditch.” Mrs. Weasley asked, as she wiped flower on her pink apron.

“No problem Molly,” Harry smiled, giving her a hug before heading off to the medium sized field they used for Quidditch. He made it to the field and watched them all play for a few minutes. Teddy was giving Ginny a run for her money catching the snitch. Ginny had played for the Holyhead Harpies for six years, before a bludger to the knee put her out of professional playing. Now she was a stay at home mom even though all of their kids were now in Hogwarts. Lily had started this past year, and it was the first time the house had been fully empty during the school year. He whistled to get their attention.

They flew down calling out to him as they landed.

“Dad!” James and Albus yelled.

“Uncle Harry,” called Teddy, Victoire and little Fred.

“Lo’ kids, it’s dinner time,” Harry announced.

As soon as the word ‘dinner’ passed Harry’s lips, the kids ran off towards the house, carrying their brooms. But not before Harry managed to ruffle Albus’s hair. He smiled as he watched them race each other. Ron and Ginny landed beside him dismounting from their brooms. Harry gave Ginny a quick kiss on the cheek and did a bro hug with Ron.

They stayed late at the Burrow, hanging out and talking with everyone before they headed home around 10pm.

 


 

Much too quickly the summer was over and the children were heading back to Hogwarts. Harry had been pulling late nights in the Department of Mysteries for a few weeks, but had made plans to come home from work early. Harry had planned a surprise dinner for Ginny; since it was the first time since summer started that they would have the house to themselves. He planned on making it a surprise since he hadn’t been around lately and made a few stops. He picked up Chinese takeout and stopped at the grocers to pick up a container of strawberries, Ginny’s favorite.

Apparating home, Harry made his way into the house. He and Ginny had completely fixed up and redecorated number twelve Grimmauld Place, and now it was more open and welcoming. His first stop was the kitchen; After he set the table, plated the food, and brought out a bottle of wine, he lit a candle in the center the table. Smiling Harry started up the stairs to the master bedroom. He was starting to wonder where Ginny was, he would have thought she’d hear him come in. He only made it halfway up the stairs when he heard Ginny’s voice. It sounded like she was talking to someone. “Hermione probably came for a visit,” Harry thought, as he continued up the stairs. Reaching the top of the stairs, he avoiding the third from the top out of habit as it creaked.

The door to their bedroom was partly open, and Harry was just about to push it open further when he froze.

Looking through the partially open door, Harry felt the blood in his veins turn to ice. He pushed aside his Gryffindor brashness that demanded for him to burst into the room and demand to know what was going on. Leaning against the wall he closed his eyes, and tried to ignore the sounds coming from the bedroom. Finally the moans and groans stopped, and only the heavy breathing of the people in bed remained. “Their bed.” A snide voice in Harry’s mind said.

“What time will he be home Ginny?” A voice Harry knew well asked. He had lived with its owner for seven years after all.

“He’s always late Seamus, tonight will be no different,” Ginny reassured. “In fact, I bet we even have time for another round.” Harry couldn’t listen anymore, and headed back down the stairs. Forgetting about everything in the kitchen as he walked out the front door. He didn’t even think as he apparated, not realizing where he was until he collapsed on a familiar foyer floor.

“Mr. Potter, perhaps you could explain to me exactly how you managed to punch through our wards and enter our home?” Asked a silky voice. Harry looked up from his place on the floor, the tears he held back finally falling, as he stared into the grey eyes of Lucius Malfoy. His wife stood just behind him along with Draco and his wife.

“I-I didn’t mean, I just. Ginny and…I didn’t know… Why-was any of it real?” Harry rambled between sobs. Narcissa moved toward Harry, she felt her heart brake for the man crying on her floor. Reaching down Narcissa helped pull Harry to his feet, wrapping him in a soft, motherly hug. Looking over his shoulder she had a silent conversation with Lucius, who nodded and led Draco and Astoria to the sitting room, calling for a house elf to bring tea.

Harry drew out of the hug feeling a little embarrassed, and wiped his eyes. “Thank-you Mrs. Malfoy. I’m sorry I came into your home unannounced, and cried all over you.” Harry sniffed. Narcissa smiled at Harry before taking his arm and leading him out of the foyer towards the sitting room.

“You may call me Narcissa, Harry.” She said as they entered the sitting room. “Why don’t you sit and tell us what brought you to our home?” She sat beside him on the antique couch and poured him some tea. Her family sat around her, Lucius in a chair by the fireplace with Draco and Astoria on the loveseat. Although the men wore neutral expressions the two women wore small bright smiles.

“I want to apologize for showing up in your home unannounced. When I apparated I had no intentions of even coming here, let alone punching through your wards. I merely wished to get away. I didn’t really have a destination in mind.” He admitted as he glanced down at his hands. Draco’s wife, Astoria gasped.

“You realize how incredibly dangerous that was don’t you?” Astoria questions. Harry chuckled, a hollow sound even to his ears.

“Yes, I just, didn’t particularly care if I would get hurt at the time.” Harry admitted with a sigh. She moved from her place beside Draco to sit beside him on the couch, putting a hand on his arm.

“What happened?” She asked gently.

“Things have picked up at work lately; I’ve been working more and coming home late.“ He admitted, “Today I figured, since the kids were off at Hogwarts and the house would be empty I’d come home early and surprise her with dinner,” Harry said.

Draco gave a small intake of breath, already knowing what happened without Harry having to say anything. Harry looked at his once enemy, and nodded slightly before confirming for the others. “I found her in bed with someone.”

“No,” Narcissa gasped in disbelief. Harry gave her a sad wry smile, a few tears falling before he could stop them.

“Yeah,” Harry’s voice broke slightly. Looking down he cleared his throat, getting control of himself before lifting his head. “And now I’m questioning everything. I mean other than the hair James looks nothing like me, and neither does Lily but I’ve always brushed it off as my grandparents or the Weasley’s genes being more dominate. Plus the fact that only Albus can speak Parseltongue. It makes me wonder if they are my children, I don’t even know how long this has been going on. I don’t know what to do, I just needed to get away and somehow I came here.” Harry finished. Surprisingly it was Lucius who spoke first.

“Gringotts,” He declared. Harry looked up at him.

“What?” Harry asked.

“Get up. We are going to Gringotts.” Lucius said as he snapped his fingers. An elf arrived holding two pairs of robes. Harry stood up confused, as Lucius and Draco pulled on their robes.

“I don’t understand,” Harry frowned. Lucius turned towards him.

“You say you have doubts, the goblins can help you confirm or deny those doubts. They are the only ones who are able to perform the ritual to view a family tree.” He explained. “It’s a mixture of runic and goblin magic, and goblins tend to keep their secrets so none other than Gringotts can perform it.”

Harry nodded and followed as they moved towards the floo. Narcissa held the pot of powder, as the three men flooed to the bank.

 


 

Two hours later found Harry exiting the bank. He had created a new will, leaving money for James and Lily’s schooling before spitting the Potter fortune between Albus; who turned out to be his only biological child, and Teddy his godson. Then he left Albus and Teddy’s guardianship to the Malfoy’s in the event of his death. He disavowed James and Lily from the Potter line declaring them bastards. He also wrote them each a letter explaining everything; letting them know that he will always love them no matter what, and that he will still be there for them. He wasn’t going to allow the Weasel bitch to use them to manipulate him though. He had found out that not only were James and Lily not his children, but that his wife had been doping him with love potions and had been doing so since his school days. Now that he was purged of the potions, he was pissed.

He had never been the one to do his finances, leaving them to the goblins then Ginny after they married. He found out that not only had she been paid from his accounts since his school days, but so had her brother and mother. All of it orchestrated by the man he saw as a mentor and grandfather; Dumbledore. Thankfully none of the other Weasleys or Hermione seemed to have any part of it. He dissolved his marriage to the bitch and arranged for the goblins to have the Daily Prophet print the evidence the next day.

“You can stay the night at the manor if you’d like.” Draco offered. Although they had made a truce after the Death Eater trials, they hadn’t spoken to each other very often. Draco worked with his wife at St. Mungo’s, and Harry worked as a class four Unspeakable in the Department of Mysteries. Harry thought about it for a minute before answering his once schoolboy enemy.

“Thanks, I think I’ll take you up on your offer.” Harry smiled. He knew it would be a bad idea if he went home tonight.

“Perhaps we should get something to eat at the Leaky Cauldron, I know you haven’t eaten tonight Mr. Potter” Lucius offered.

Until Lucius brought it up Harry hadn’t realized just how long it had been since he last ate. As his stomach let out a loud growl, He chuckled. “That sound wonderful, I haven’t eaten since my lunch break.” He paused before adding, “Could I borrow your owl before we leave? I want to tell the kids so they don’t have to hear it from the paper.” After the go ahead from Lucius, Harry wrote James, Lily, Albus, and Teddy. He wanted them to hear it from someone who loves them, and not the the Daily Prophet. He only wished he could tell them in person.

 


  

Harry woke up with a raging headache the next day. He looked blearily at the house-elf that must have woken him up, he fumbled for his glasses when they appeared in front of him. “Thank-you.” He yawned taking his glasses from the elf.

“Mister Harry Potter sir, Mistress asks Lumi to tell you to come down for breakfast sir.” Lumi says, her ears flopping when she nods her head. Harry groans, holding his head like it might try to escape.

“Thank you, give me a bit to have a shower and find some clothes,” Harry responds. He watches the elf disappear and grudgingly gets out of his warm bed. Sitting on the edge of the bed he lets the room stop spinning, before he goes to the attached bathroom to shower.

Eventually, he found his way down to the dining room. The Malfoy family was already there. Draco and Lucius looked just as bad as he felt, Harry sat in the chair beside Draco.

“So,” Harry began awkwardly, “What the hell did we drink last night?”

“Apparently three bottles of Fire Whiskey and a bottle of father’s best Cognac, according to the elves.” Draco answered, looking nauseous. Harry groaned.


“Please tell me you have a hangover potion?” Harry begged.

“For you Harry, yes,” Narcissa smiled placing a small vial by his plate. “Your intoxication was at least somewhat warranted. Draco and Lucius however have no such excuse.” Harry gulped down the sour tasting potion. He leaned over towards Draco and quietly asked.

“I don’t remember anything after dinner at the Leaky, you?” Draco shook his head, hissing at the pain it must have cause and gently placed his head in his hands. Harry saw Astoria slip Draco a vial which he quickly took the moment his mother wasn’t looking. Lucius seemed very envious and Astoria quickly palmed a vial to him as she passed him the platter of scrambled eggs. He flashed her a quick grateful smile before taking the potion himself.

After breakfast, Harry thanked the Malfoy’s for their kindness and generosity, before flooing back to Grimmauld Place. No one was home when Harry arrived but the Daily Prophet and a spilt cup of tea alerted Harry as to the speed in which Ginny had left. The front page detailed Ginevra Potter and Seamus Finnigan’s infidelity, as well as the fact that two out of three of the children weren’t his. Thankfully the paper hadn’t blamed or wrote anything about the children, just making them the victims of circumstance. It also detailed the financial exploits of the guilty Weasley’s and Albus Dumbledore. Harry smiled at the well detailed and completely true article. Apparating to the Burrow, Harry had no doubt that was the first place everyone would gather and he wanted to confront his betrayers in person.

He arrived to chaos. He could hear people shouting and yelling, but everything went silent when he walking into the kitchen and smirked at Ginny.

“Oh don’t stop on my account,” Harry said as he gazed around the room. Bill was sitting beside Percy and his wife Audrey, George was across from them sitting beside a clearly in shock Arthur, Hermione was on Arthur’s other side glaring murderously at Ron, Ginny, Molly, and Seamus who were standing at the end of the table. The only ones missing were Charlie as he was in Romania, Fleur who was at home pregnant, and George’s wife Angelina who was home with their kids. A copy of the Daily Prophet was on the center of the table.

After a few moments of silence, Harry spoke.

“Did it feel good mate?” He asked turning to Seamus. “Sleeping with another mans wife? That same man raising your kids? I mean if they even are yours, who knows how many people she’s whored around with.” Harry was pulling no punches. Turning to Molly he sneered, “You were like a mother to me, was that only cause you were getting paid? With my money!” Harry yelled. “And you," Harry growled turning to Ron. "You were my best friend. But only for the money and fame right?” Harry shook his head at Ron, “Hell the only reason people can even stand to be around you is because of me. And the only reason you graduated was because of Hermione, who you never deserved!” Turning to Ginny, Harry looked her up and down and scoffed. “I never would have married you if you didn’t drug me. But thats why you did it, isn't it? Hell, I’m bisexual leaning more towards men, I’m surprised I even got hard for you let alone got you pregnant. Everyone knows my type isn’t red headed skank.” Harry took a breath, forcing back a laugh at the shocked and angry looks on Molly, Ginny, Seamus, and Ron’s faces. And the proud looks on everyone else’s.

Looking at each of them Harry said calmly, “You're nothing but a gold digging bitch, a home wreaking whore, a jealous nobody, and the second choice.” Harry said turning to look at Molly, Ginny, Ron, then Seamus in the eye as he spoke.

Then all hell broke loose.

It was only his Unspeakable training, that helped him dodge the first volley of spells that came his way. As spells flashed across the small kitchen he saw George, Percy and Arthur get knocked out by a stray Confringo hex. Harry quickly sent a Sectumsempra at Molly who was getting ready to hex Hermione. Molly dodged his spell making it hit Ron instead, Hermione quickly sent a stunner at Molly, putting her out of the fight. Harry turned and saw Bill go down from a hex from Seamus. Harry saw a revived Molly raise her wand at Hermione, opening his mouth to shout a warning that was cut off with a yell as Ron hit him with a bone breaker hex that caught his knee before he could dodge. As he raised his wand to retaliate his leg gave out sending him to the ground. Harry didn’t have time to look before he had to roll out of the way from another spell sent from Ginny. Unfortunately this put him at Seamus’s feet. He had no chance to dodge or aim his wand, as Seamus sent a Avada Kedavra straight to his head.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

When Harry opened his eyes it was to darkness. Jerking upright he scanned the space he was in, he had no idea where he was. He knew he had died, but something was different, off. When Voldemort had killed him, he had found himself in King’s Cross Station with his loved ones. But this place was different, everything was dark, almost like someone had painted everything in black and grey’s. Standing up Harry turned in a slow circle, taking in the whole room. The walls were a dark grey, the floors looked almost black, the room was empty all except for a small cot on the floor he must’ve woken up on. Although everything was dark Harry could see just fine. 

“Master, welcome,” said a raspy voice. Harry turned and looked at the tall figure, cloaked in a robe that floated like black gas around him. Harry stood his ground.

“Who are you?” He asked.

“Death, Master, and I welcome you to my realm,” the figure of Death answered. Harry looked around the room and then back to the figure. He knew he should be afraid, but he was already dead. What more could Death do? 

“Why am I here? Why are you calling me Master?” Harry demanded. Death approached him slowly, almost gliding on the floor. Putting a skeletal hand on Harry’s shoulder, Death lead Harry from the room.

“You are here, because this is where you are supposed to be,” Death answered. “And why should I call you anything but your title? You are my Master, just as you were meant to be.” 

“But I broke both the wand and the stone, I even threw them off the bridge at Hogwarts.” Harry protested running a hand over his face.“Was it possible to get a headache if you’re already dead?” He wondered to himself. Harry freezes mid step, reaching a hand up to his face."Where are my glasses? How can I see without them!” He thought frantically as he turns to Death. “Where are my glasses? How can I see without them? I’m blind without them!” Harry demands slightly frantic.

Death just stared at him with blank, black eyes. “You are dead. You don’t need glasses to see, just as that curse to your knee doesn’t affect you anymore.” He answers slowly as if Harry is a child. Harry wants to hit him. Death continues talking like Harry didn’t interrupt him.

“A Master for a single night, you used each of my Hallows. The cloak when you entered the woods, the stone to see your family, and finally your claiming of my wand in the midst of your duel; making its power void against you. At that very moment you became my Master,” Death explained. Harry looked at Death as they walked through a empty hallway towards another room. 

“What does that mean exactly? Am I stuck here? Because I always hoped that when I died I would be at peace with my family." He confides.

“You are my Master but the title is a formality,” began Death. “There is no work that you must do; you are mine to take care of, rather than the other way around. You can not pass on but I can allow you visitation with your family,” Death offers. 

“What am I to do the rest of the time? What do you mean you’ll take care of me?” Harry asks.

“I will provide you with anything and everything you desire. What you want to learn, you shall learn, whatever you wish to do, you shall do. But you will remain with me for this is were you belong.” Death said as he brushed the back of his skeletal fingers across Harry’s cheek. 

“Anything?” Harry asked.

“Anything,” Death whispered before pressing a cold kiss to the top of Harry’s head.

 


 

                                                                                    Two Centuries Later In Death’s Realm

 

Harry and Death had developed a close relationship, Death becoming something akin to the protective older brother Harry never had. He had learned many things in his time with Death, ranging from cooking, to music, languages and survival, and many others. He had developed a strong interest in martial arts and weaponry. He had even asked Death to help him with his Occlumency and Legilimency, during his first couple months in Death’s realm. He was able to do both before he was killed, but never very well. 

Harry had made himself a beautiful katana to use in his study of Kenjutsu; a form of martial arts that focuses on sword techniques. The blade was made of a magically strengthened black carbon steel, with a black leather covered handle and a black leather sheath. He had also made himself a full set of six matching throwing knives made of the same black carbon steel. He practiced throwing them at a target often and was quite good, his stunning accuracy brought on by almost two hundred years of experience. He was also quite the archer, his bow was one of the few weapons he had not made himself, as it had been a gift from Death. The bow itself was made of yew wood and the string a twisted mixture of threstral and nundu hair, while the arrowheads had the same carbon steel used in his blades, with yew wood shafts and raven feathers for fletching.

Apart from blacksmithing and martial arts he also develop a love of drawing. Harry was becoming somewhat of a selective mute, often using his drawings to speak for him. He vaguely remembered going mute for days or months on end when he was a child. Death thought it had to do with his childhood and how he was raised; he noticed Harry went mute when he was uncomfortable, or sketching some of his fading memories.

Harry had taken to carrying a magically never ending sketch book and a set of charcoal pencils around with him wherever he went, sometimes he would just stop in the middle of whatever he was doing to sketch. He learned how to do wandless magic to the point where he no longer needed spells or his wand, merely his will to direct what he wanted. 

He was in the middle of sketching Hogwarts from memory when Death approached him. 

“Harry,” Death’s raspy voice in his head startled him, as he sat down beside him. After Harry saw his uncle Vernon’s spirit when the man passed away 10 years into Harry’s stay with Death, he had went mute for almost 20 years; so Death had taken to speaking telepathically with Harry. He still wasn’t use to it.

 Harry had taken the form of an eleven year old child during his stay in Death’s realm. He found himself more comfortable being taken care of by Death in this form, not to mention he hadn’t experienced a pleasant childhood and he wanted a do over. Harry leaned into Death and in return Death embraced the man in the child’s body, placing his chin on Harry’s head. “My little master, I have noticed something recently,” Death confessed. Harry turned his head to look at him better and raised his eyebrow in question.“Lately your soul has begun to, for lack of a better term, fracture. Although you are my Master and belong here, you still have and retain a human soul. The human soul was never meant to remain in my realm for as long as you have.” Death stated gravely.

“What does that mean for me?” Harry asked telepathically.

“I can either take your soul away, making you a Grim Reaper. Which is not something I am not amenable with. Or I can let you leave, by temporarily restoring you to mortal life. Of course you wouldn’t actually be mortal, I would still have claim to you; you would come back here after you died. I wouldn’t be able to return you to your old world, but to someplace new. You would have to live out a minimum of twenty years, more if you’re able. You would keep your magic and all of your abilities and I will allow you to pack a bag of items you want to take with you. But you will have to go soon.” Death finished with a sigh.

“I assume this is a decision where I really have no choice?” Harry asked Death in his mind. The uncloaked skeleton nodded.

“Unfortunately my little Master you are correct.” Death patted Harry’s arm as they both stood. 

“Tell me about the world you are going to drop me in while I pack then,” Harry half demanded.

 


 

                                                                                              A Week And A Half Later 

 

Harry was going to slap Death when he made it back to Death’s realm. The asshole had dumped him in a world where the dead walked and ate the living. Death seemed to have a sense of humor and left him in his eleven year old body. He had been here for over a week and he still couldn’t get used to the smell of rotting flesh. His katana was strapped to his back along with his bow and a small quiver of arrows. He had learned quickly to put a sticking charm on the quiver so the arrows wouldn’t fall out if he had to move to quickly. His throwing knives were hidden throughout his body, but easily assessable.

He wore a pair of black combat hiking boots, black combat pants, along with a black t-shirt that had the words ‘whatever doesn’t kill you disappoints me’, another form of Death’s humor Harry assumed. He had a large black backpack on his left shoulder.

Harry had just finished raiding a small convenience store, when the herd of walkers spotted him. Forcing him to hid out inside a tank, that was outside the store. He was about to check to make sure the dead guard in the tank with him was really dead, when he heard the sound of a horse neighing.“How the hell did a horse even get out here,” Harry asked himself when he heard the sound of gunshots. Groaning inwardly, he lifts the hatch on the bottom of the tank open; he’s about to crawl out to see whats going on, when he sees a man crawling under the tank, a gun to his head. Quickly Harry puts his hand in front of the man’s face. Looking up the man grabs his hand and hauls himself into the tank, slamming the lid back in place. 

Harry went back to his corner, looking at the man wearily. He says nothing when the man breathes out a thank-you, he doesn’t speak much these days.

The man reaches for the gun the soldier beside him has, when the dead man suddenly woke. The man panicked and brought his gun up to shoot the dead man in the head. Harry winced, the sound echoed throughout the tank making Harry dizzy and his ears ring. The ringing in his ears was slowly easing when the radio crackled.

“Hey dumbass. Yeah you in the tank. You cozy in there?” A man's voice asks from the radio. Harry looked over at the man with a raised eyebrow. The man quickly moved towards the radio to answer.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

The man has the radio in his hand and is about to press the button to speak, when it crackles again, "Hey, are you alive in there?” The sudden sound of the voice makes the man jump. In the small space he bangs his head against the self above the radio. "Ooh, thats gotta hurt.” Harry grimaces. The man quickly holds the button on the radio and answers, while rubbing his head,

“Hello? Hello?”

“There you are. You had me wondering,” said the voice from the radio. Harry watches the man, wondering how in the hell a man dressed as a cop could be stupid enough to ride a horse into the middle of walker city. 

“Where are you? Outside? Can you see us right now?” The cop asked hurriedly. 

“Yeah, I can see you. You’re surrounded by walkers. That’s the bad news,” answered the voice.

“There’s good news?” The man asks, almost sarcastically. He keeps looking over at Harry. “What? Never seen a kid before?” Harry thinks slightly annoyed. The radio crackled and the voice answered with a curt,

“No.” He deflates before answering.

“Listen, whoever you are. I don’t mind telling you that I’m a little concerned in here.” The cops admits.

“Oh man, you should see it from over here. You’d be having a major freak-out.”

“Got any advice for us?” He asks, Harry snorts.

“Yeah why- you know what never mind. I’d say make a run for it,” radio man says, like it's no big deal. 

“That’s it? Make a run for it?” The cop scoffs.

“My way’s not as dumb as it sounds. You’ve got eyes on the outside here. There’s one geek still up on the tank but the others have climbed down and joined the, feeding frenzy where the horse went down." At this Harry scowls at the cop, “Poor horse didn’t have to die like that.” He gripes to himself. “You with me so far?” Questions the voice. The cop looks over and sees Harry glaring at him.

“So far,” he answers, wondering why the kid was glaring at him.

“Okay, the street on the other side of the tank is less crowded. If you move now while they’re distracted, you stand a chance. Got ammo?”

The man quickly checks the gun he took from the now dead soldier, “Almost full clip, more in that duffel bag I dropped out there. Can I get to it?” He asks.

“Forget the bag, okay? It’s not an option. What do you have?” He aks. "Sounds young,"  Harry thinks.

“Hang on,” the cop says. He hurriedly goes back to the dead soldier to check his pockets. He sees the hand grenade on the shelf and he takes it. He must assume Harry doesn’t have any weapons cause he answers,

“Yeah. I’ve got a beretta with one clip, 15 rounds.“ 

“Make ‘em count. Jump off the right side of the tank, keep going in that direction. There’s an alley up the street, maybe 50 yards. Be there,” the voice demands. The cop goes to release the radio before turning back.

“Hey, what’s your name?” The he asks and Harry rolls his eyes.

“Haven't you been listening? You’re running out of time.” The voice snaps.

“Right.” The man says to himself. He has his gun out and his arm on the lever to open the top hatch, before turning to Harry.

“You ready? Stay close, and stay behind me.” He orders. Harry raises an eyebrow but the man is looking at the hatch. Taking a steading breath he flings open the top hatch, the walker sees him immediately. Swinging his arm the butt of his gun connects with the walker as he climbs out, Harry right behind him. He jumps down off the tank, and Harry hides a wince when the cop lands on his ankle wrong and goes down; Harry lands right beside him in a crouch his katana already out. The cop gets to his feet, and fires at the closest walker. The man runs up the street toward the alley, shooting the walkers in front of them, Harry following behind taking out the walkers that get too close on their sides. He runs up onto the alley, shooting as he goes. He veers to the left and straight into the face of the voice on the radio, his gun still up and pointed. 

“Whoa! Not dead! Come on! Come on!” The Asian man exclaims, ”Back here!” He yells, as they follow him down the alley. The cop brings up the rear, and continues to shoot the nearest ones while they run further down the alley.

“Come on! Come on!” The Asian man shouts as he reaches the fire escape and starts climbing. The ladder leads straight up to the roof of a building. Harry sheathed his sword before climbing close to the mans heels while the cop, out of ammo, looks around at the walkers closing in on him. Harry’s about to go back down and get him when the Asian guy shouts, “What are you doing? Come on!”

All three climb till the young man in front of Harry pulls himself onto a utility platform. Harry and the cop following, all of three of them panting. 

“Nice moves there, Clint Eastwood you to Samurai. You the new Sheriff, come riding in to clean up the town?” The young guy snarks. Harry gives an amused snort in response.

“Wasn’t my intention,” the cop replies, trying to catch his breath.

“Yeah. Whatever yeehaw. You’re still a dumbass,” he says between pants. Harry gives another snort and the guy turns to him. “See even the kid thinks so.” The cop just shakes his head in response, before holding out a hand to shake.

“Rick. Thanks,” says the man Harry saved. “Better than calling him the cop,” Harry shrugs to himself.

“Glenn. You’re welcome,” Glenn responds shaking his hand before looking at Harry. “Whats you're name?” He asks. Harry doesn’t do more than raise an eyebrow before looking down at the walkers that are gathered at the bottom of the ladder.

“Oh no,” Glenn groans. Rick and Glenn look up the rest of the way. The ladder extends straight up several stories without any breaks.

“The bright side;” Glenn began, “It’ll be the fall that kills us.” He half shrugs “I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy.”

 

 


 

 

Reaching the roof they walk across a plywood bridge someone made that connects the roof to the neighboring one. “Are you the one that barricaded the alley?” Rick asks.

“No, but somebody did–I guess when the city got overrun. Whoever did it was thinking not many geeks would get through.” Glenn opens a hatch, a ladder leading inside the building they are on top of.

“Back at the tank. Why’d you stick your neck out for us?” Rick asks Glenn, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“Call it foolish, naïve hope that if I’m ever that far up shit creek, somebody might do the same for me. Guess I’m an even bigger dumbass than you,” Glenn answers before entering the hatch. Rick and Harry following behind. 

Once on the ground, Harry notices they're in a small back alley behind some stores, Glenn stops at a corner and talks into his radio.

“I’m back, and I got a couple guests,” Glenn says before peering down the alley. “Got four geeks in the alley we’ll move in five,” Glenn continued. He counts to five under his breath before he starts moving. Two men in riot gear exit a building with baseball bats and quickly start beating the walkers back long enough for the trio to get past and enter the building safely. They enter what seems to be the bottom level of a department store. Immediately upon Rick’s entrance a blond woman started yelling at him, her gun leveled at his face.

“You son of a bitch I ought to kill you,” she growls as she angrily pushes him back against a display case. Rick doesn’t seem as worried as everyone else. But Harry begins to move back a little, out of the way of any potential gun fire.

“Chill out Andrea, look you're scaring the kid.” A Hispanic man says as he takes off the helmet of his riot gear. The woman, Andrea lowers her gun turning to look to where the black woman seemed to be moving slowly towards Harry, in an effort not to scare him he assumed. A black man also removed his helmet.

“I’m sorry about the kid but this idiot just killed us,” Andrea snarls moving her gun till it's once more aimed at Rick.

“Pull the trigger or give it up Andrea,” The Hispanic man snaps. Andrea lets the gun drop to aim at the floor. 

“We’re dead, all of us, because of you,” she says fighting off tears. Harry just watches her. In his first life he probably would have spoken up to comfort her; to tell her he can help but he’s not the same person anymore so he remains silent. 

“I’m not following,” Rick says.

“Look, we came into the city to scavenge supplies. You know what the key to scavenging is? Surviving! You know the key to surviving? Sneaking in and out, tiptoeing. Not shooting up the streets like it’s the O.K. Corral,” says the Hispanic man while Harry fights off a smile.

“Every geek for miles around heard you popping off rounds,” the black man throws in.

“You just rang the dinner bell,” Andrea says her tears making way for anger once more. While talking they’ve led Rick and Harry through to the front of the building. Outside the plate glass doors of the store, the dead are banging and pushing into them, more dead behind them. Rick is stunned. Harry rolls his eyes, "What did he expect?"

“Get the picture now?” Asked the black woman. One of the walkers has begun using a rock and the window starts to crack. They quickly move away from the doors once more. They begin making introductions as Rick introduces himself. The black woman who Harry now knows is named Jacqui asks him for his name. Harry is debating whether or not to answer when Rick speaks for him. 

“He doesn’t seem to speak,” Rick admits. The rest of the group looked at Harry more critically. He hates it. 

“Shock maybe,” Jacqui says quietly. Harry snorts and rolls his eyes, making no verbal comment. 

“I think he just doesn’t like speaking,” Glenn responds.

“What were you trying to do out there anyways?” Asked Morales, and just like that suddenly all the attention is once more on Rick. Harry is perfectly fine with that.

“I was trying to flag down the helicopter,” Rick says as if it should be obvious. Harry just looks at him, they're was no helicopter.

“You were chasing a hallucination man, there ain’t no helicopter,” T-Dog confirms.

“I saw it,” Rick insisted. The group seems to ignore him as they turn to T-Dog.

“T-Dog try the CB, can you contact the others,” asked Morales.

“Others? The Refugee Center?” Harry can see the hope filling Rick. The majority of the group snorts but surprisingly it’s Jacqui, who answers,

“Yeah the Refugee Center, they got biscuits waiting in the oven for us.” Harry's beginning to like her. T-Dog turns from where he was kneeling trying to get the CB working.

“No signal. Could try the roof?” T-Dog asks. As soon as the words leave his mouth, gunshots sound from above.

“Dammit, is that Dixon?” Andrea groans, as they all hurriedly made their way to the roof Harry slowly following behind. He's the last one to the roof so he leans against the doorframe and watches as the group begins to berate the man with the gun. Merle; he thinks Andra called him. Suddenly Merle bursts into action putting Morales down, seconds into the fight before he even realizes he’s in one. Rick tries to help T-Dog but goes down to a back handed slap on the side of his head. Finally Merle has T-Dog on the ground as well, handgun pointed directly at T-Dog’s face.

“Yeah! All right! We’re gonna have ourselves a little powwow, huh? Talk about who’s in charge. I vote me. Anybody else? Huh? Democracy time, y’all. Show of hands, all in favor? Come on. Let’s see ‘em,” Merle says waving around the gun. Jacqui and Glenn have helped T-Dog sit up. Andrea and Morales are grouped with them. “All in favor?  Merle asks again. Morales raises his hand first then Glenn and and Andrea raise a hand. Jacqui’s middle finger is pointed up in an angry salute. Harry's really warming up to that woman. T-dog raises his hand last. "Yeah, that’s good,” continues.

”Yeah. Now that means I’m the boss, right? Yeah. Anybody else? Hmm? Anybody?” Merle snarks. Harry who was watching silently scoffs.

“You got a problem you little shit?” Merle snarls. Harry smirks and nods, before pointing to something behind and to the left of Merle. Merle turns and the butt of the rifle hits him in his face. "Don't drop a gun in a fight," Harry chuckles to himself. Merle goes down and Rick hops on him and handcuffs him to a pipe on the roof. 

“Who the fuck are you?” Merle spits, as Rick stands up.

“Officer Friendly,” Rick answers sarcastically. Harry stops listening and moves to sit, leaning his back on the roofs ledge; once more fading into the background as Rick searches Merle and throws away the drugs he’s found. Harry sighs silently, "Why would you do drugs and then go into a city that belongs to the dead?"  Rick ignores the racial and derogatory slurs the cuffed man slings, as well as the threats. Harry pulls out his sketchbook and starts to draw. It doesn’t take him long before he’s wrapped up in drawing Merle cuffed to the pipe.

Harry broke out of his artistic reverie when rain started to pour from the sky. He must have been zoned out awhile, cause Rick and Glenn are missing, and everyone was looking over the side of the roof. Jacqui gasped before the group suddenly cheered. 

“They made it,” T-Dog exclaims.

“Yeah but where are they going?” Andrea asks worriedly.

“They’re leaving us,” Jacqui says hysterically. Harry was about to see what everyone was talking about, when the piercing sound of a car alarm filled the air.

“Let’s go, let’s go!” Morales yells as he ran towards the door leading from the roof. The others following, forgetting about him and Merle in the moment, T-Dog pausing for a moment to make his way back for Merle before tripping and dropping something down a drain. T-Dog shouted apologies before getting up and running to the door. From the way Merle was shouting he figured it was the keys to the cuff. Realizing that they were leaving Harry moved towards the door before he stops, turning to Merle. Damn his ‘saving people thing’, even after two centuries he still had the urge to help everyone he came across. He had a choice, he could either go with the rest of them or he could stay and help Merle.

"He may be an ass but he doesn't deserve to be stranded and handcuffed to the roof." Harry thinks.

Mind made up he checks the door on the roof. T-Dog had kindly chained the door to make sure the dead couldn’t get onto the roof. He could hear the groans of the dead as they moved closer, making their way up the narrow staircase. Harry knew they'd be back, Rick most definitely, he had the same 'saving people thing' Harry did. Plus his conscience wouldn't let him leave a 'helpless child' trapped on the roof.

Harry moved away from the door to sit in front of Merle. Who was still shouting. Rolling his eyes he kicks away the handsaw that Merle was reaching for. "Dumbass the smell of blood would bring more." He thinks irritated.

“Hey, you little shit, I needed that ta get out of the fuckin’ cuffs,” Merle snaps. Harry just raises an eyebrow, he pulls his backpack on his lap, and rifles through it. He rolls a bottle of vitamin water to Merle. Although he was going to help Merle it didn’t mean he trusted him. The man was a racist asshole who was high. The only reason Harry was staying and helping was because he didn’t believe that anybody deserved to die of dehydration and stuck on a roof. Harry would pick the lock on the cuffs if the group didn’t come back in a few days. They had left the bag of tools on the roof in their hurry, as well as both Harry and Merle, although in all honesty they had probably thought he had followed them until it was too late to go back. He wouldn’t be surprised if Rick and T-Dog’s guilt drove them to come back and soon. Harry settled down and proceeded to ignore Merle by finishing his sketch of Merle. Perhaps he’d use a silencing spell if Merle got too annoying, but for now he’d try to keep his magic secret. The dead were already walking he didn’t want to start a full scale witch hunt on top of it all. He was just glad the rain stopped.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 


 

The run to the box truck was wild, hurried, and adrenalin fueled.

“Go, go, go,” yelled T-Dog as he leaped into the back of the truck, slamming the rolling door shut. Seconds later the truck squealed away. A group of walkers descending on the spot the truck disappeared from, a few trying to follow. As everyone tried to catch their breath, Andrea breaks the silence.

“What happened, I thought you where right behind me?”

“I dropped the damn key,” T-Dog huffed trying to catch his breath. “But I managed to chain the door so the geeks can’t get at ‘em.”

Rick looked in the rear view mirror trying to find the kid. Unable to spot him he stops the truck and turns around to look fully into the back, looking from face to face.

“Where the hell is the kid?” Rick snaps. The group looked around them, just now realizing he wasn’t there. In the rush to escape no one had checked to see if he had followed them.

Jacqui’s dark skin paled suddenly as she asked, “Did we leave him! I thought he was behind us!” Andrea put her arms around the shaking woman, she felt sick to her stomach; she hadn’t thought to check and see if the kid was followed or not.

“I didn’t see him at all, do you think he’s on the roof or that…?” Morales asked trailing off.

“If he’s on the roof the walkers can’t get him or Merle, I chained the door. That’s gotta count for something right?” T-Dog asks, everyone could hear the guilt and panic in his voice.

“We’re going back,” Rick states, about to turn the truck around. He stops when he feels a hand on his shoulder, it was Morales.

“We can’t go back, not tonight. That place was overrun and it’s gonna be dark in an hour or so. We have nothing to break the chain with,” Morales moved into the passenger seat so he can face Rick better, “we go back there tonight, and we're dead." He states taking a breath before continuing. "We go to camp, and in the morning we get the bolt cutters from Dale and go and get 'em. Hopefully the swarm around the store will have dispersed some.” Morales finishes. It was a few tense minutes before Rick relunctly nodded, he knew he was right, waiting till tomorrow was their best and smartest bet.

                                                                                                                                          

Rick had been driving in silence for 20 minutes before Morales spoke again, “Best not to dwell on it. That kid is strong, he was in the city by himself and he managed to save you. Merle, Merle got left behind. Nobody’s gonna be sad that he didn’t come back.. Except maybe Daryl." He admits reluctantly.

“Daryl?” Rick questions.

“His brother.” Morales responds. Rick sighs and they continued the drive in silence.

 

                                                           


                                                                              

By the time Rick got the box truck up to the quarry, the alarm from the car Glenn had driven had already stopped. Rick stayed put as everyone filed out, he was a mix of emotions: sad for leaving the kid behind, hopeful that Carl was here, angry that Lori might be here. The thought of Lori brought him up short, darting his eyes around the truck he sighs and resting his head on the steering wheel. "Damn." He swore. He had forgotten the divorce papers where in the bag he dropped in Atlanta.

He was pulled from his thoughts by Morales calling for him to come and meet everyone. Sighing he exited the truck and walked toward the small camp.

The setting sun was directly in Rick’s eyes as he walked, so he kept his head tilted down. He had also dropped his hat in Atlanta too, "God what didn't I leave there." He gripes to himself. His head snapped up at the cry of, “Dad! Dad!” Rick was frozen as his son ran towards him. With a strangled cry of disbelief, Rick met his son half way scooping his not so little boy into his arms. He dropped to his knees when his shoulder sent a jolt of pain through him. He felt the tears fall as he rocked his son in his arms.

After only a few moments of Rick hugging his son he stood up, Carl’s arms an iron band around his waist. He caught sight of Lori, standing frozen with a look of disbelief on her face. He may be pissed off and hurt by her cheating on him with his best friend, but she was still the mother of his child and she had kept him safe. So, when Lori unfroze and jogged towards them Rick hugged her stiffly for a moment before pulling away. He ignored the hurt and confused look on her face. Her face said it all, this wasn't the reunion she was expecting. He saw Shane out of the corner of his eye he look a mix between happy, shocked, and guilty.

Carl was talking a mile a minute about everything that had happened, while pulling him into camp. He was interrupted by Lori.

"Wha-Rick,"

Stopping Rick sighed he was doing that a lot today. He really didn't want to have this discussion with her in front of everyone especially not in front of Carl.

"Hey bud why don't you and your friends go inside the Rv and play while I talk to your mom," Rick saw the fight Carl was going to put up. "I'm not going anywhere, promise. I'll come join y'all as soon as i'm done, yeah?

Looking entirely unhappy Carl and three other kids went inside the Rv, while he faced his confused wife. Ex-wife he thought. He waited until the Rv door was shut behind them before he turned to Lori; who was only three steps away from him.

Before he could open his mouth Lori spoke, thankfully in a low voice, "Rick what's going on, why are you acting so cold towards me? We thought you were dead but you're here and alive and I-I would think you'd be overjoyed."

"I am-"

"Your not acting like it." Lori snaps cutting him off.

Running a hand through his hair he's glad he sent Carl away. He can see Lori losing her calm and he's not far behind her. He's never liked losing his temper when they argued, which had seemed to be more and more frequent in the weeks before he got shot.

"Lori I really don't want to do this in front of everyone."

Rick can see the moment she snaps, "Do what! What Rick I have no idea what you're talking about!"

"I know Lori I know about everything okay? I know about the divorce papers and I know about you and Shane!" Rick doesn't care about their audience anymore. All he cares about is how his ex-wife's face is slowly turning turning red.

"I-we though you were dead, the papers were before everything happened! We were fighting so much and I thought- it doesn't even matter what I thought. But we thought you were dead, I thought i'd never see you again. That Carl would grow up without his dad. It didn't mean anything it was just comfort-"

Rick snorts loudly cutting her off mid sentence. He can see Shane's face go white from Rick's declaration, then red when Lori says it didn't mean nothing. Rick wasn't stupid he knew Shane was in love with Lori in high school he just thought he got over it. Hell they'd been married for over 13 years he wonders how long they'd been sleeping together. He was surprised Shane wasn't getting in the argument.

"I'm so sorry Rick I never wanted to hurt you. We were fighting so much and I was miserable."

"So you slept with my best friend and signed divorce papers 2 weeks before I was shot and didn't tell me?" Rick said sarcasm thick in his voice.

Lori's eyes went wide Rick was sad to see there was no guilt in her face, only shock, anger, and embarrassment.

"Wait a minute, you never told him about the divorce papers?" Shane asked looking at Lori anger on his face. She had told him she was leaving Rick for him. "She told me you knew about the papers."

Lori was looking between the two of them. Face white she opens and closes her mouth but no words come out. "Wow, you two really deserve each other." Rick shakes his head walking away. As he passed Morales he heard the man mutter, "Regular TV drama around here.” Rick was inclined to to agree.

Opening the door to the Rv he saw the kids playing a game. "Hey guys, do you uh, mind if I talk to Carl alone for a bit?" The three kids nod and exited the Rv. Rick had just sat down beside Carl when he blurted out, "You and mom are getting a divorce?" Rick sighed he didn't want Carl to hear their fight. “Not exactly bud. See we don’t have courts or anything anymore so, me signing those papers made us divorced,” Rick explained. “I don't want you picking sides, and nothing between you and your mom, or you and I are going to change. Got it? The only thing thats going to change is that I won't be sharing a tent with your mom.” Rick explained, he smiled when Carl nodded.

"Wanna beat me at War?" He asked nodding to the playing cards on the table. Carl smiled.

       

                                                                                                                                                      


 

Waking up the next morning found Rick alone in the tent Andrea and her younger sister Amy gave him. When he protested the sisters told him they didn't need it since they slept in the Rv with Dale. Swinging his legs over the side of the cot, he saw Carl's cot empty, the blankets twisted. Carl didn't want to part from Rick last night and with huffing on Lori's part he slept in Rick's tent. With a yawn he dressed in the clothes he borrowed from Jim until he could get his washed. Squinting into the brightness he sees Carol hanging up clothes. He'd met almost everyone last night and found the woman nice, but very quiet.

"Morning," he greets.

“Morning,” she says quietly. "Did you sleep okay?"

"I did." He was about to ask if she'd seen Carl around when she says,

“They're a bit damp, but the sun should dry them no time.”

Confused he looks to the clothes she hanging and sees his police uniform on the line. "Wha-" Looking over his shoulder at his tent, he realizes she must have gotten his clothes and washed them for him. "You washed my clothes?" He asked dumbly. At her nod he stutters out, "Thank you, very much ma'm."

"I had to do my family anyway." She says shrugging off his thanks.

Leaving Carl he walked over to the group sitting around the fire pit. "Morning, has anyone seen Carl?" He asks sitting down on an empty fold out chair. "He's off playin with Sofia," Dale responds handing him a bowl of beans, he takes it with a nod.

“Have you given any thought to Daryl Dixon? He won't be happy to hear his brother was left behind,” Dale says, taking away Rick's appetite.

“I'll tell him. I dropped the key. It's on me,” T-Dog says.

“I cuffed him. That makes it mine. I already planned on going back for them.” Rick rebuffs setting his bowl on the grate over the fire.

Glenn spoke up, “Guys, it's not a competition. I don't mean to bring race into this, but it might sound better coming from a white guy.”

“I did what I did. Hell if I'm gonna hide from him,” T-Dog says in a self-sacrificing manner.

“We could lie,” Amy offers. Her sister shoots the idea down,

“Or tell the truth. Merle was out of control. Something had to be done or he'd have gotten us killed. You did what was necessary. And if Merle got left behind, it is nobody's fault but Merle's,” Andrea claims.

“And that's what we tell Daryl? I don't see a rational discussion to be had from that, do you? Word to the wise… We're gonna have our hands full when he gets back from his hunt." Dale sighs before realizing something; "What you mean ‘them’?”

“There was a kid, about Carl’s age. He saved my life. He's real quiet, doesn’t seem to speak. In the frenzy he got left behind on the roof.”

“I was scared and I ran. I'm not ashamed of it. I didn’t realize he hadn’t followed,”T-Dog admits.

“We were all scared. We all ran. What's your point?” asked Andrea.

“I stopped long enough to chain that door. Staircase is narrow. Maybe half a dozen geeks can squeeze against it at any one time. Not enough to break through that… Not that chain, and padlock. My point… Dixon's alive and he's still up there, handcuffed on that roof. If the kid was up there when the glass broke he’s alive to and that's on us,” T-Dog confesses.

“I’m going back, I won’t leave them on the roof. If no one wants to come that’s fine, I’ll do it alone. I might not like Merle but i’m not leaving him and that kid on that roof. Plus I dropped a bagful of guns they would go a long way for security around here,” Rick states.

Nobody had the chance to respond as Shane drove up,“Water’s here. Remember to boil it before you drink.” The discussion seemed to be finished for now.

Rick was finishing eating his forgotten beans when a chorus of screams startles him. "Mom, Dad!" “Mama!”

Rick dropped his bowl and ran with the others towards the woods. Catching a bat Glenn tosses him. When they break through the small clearing, Lori was the first to reach Carl, a empty bucket on the ground beside her. “Nothing bit you, scratched you?” Rick demands as Sophia leaps into Carol’s arms. Both kids shake their heads, he hears Lori repeating "I've got you, I've got you." To Carl.

Leaving the kids Rick, Morales, Jim, Shane, Glenn, and Dale continue through the woods a few feet till they burst into a small clearing and see what made the kids scream. On the ground less than four meters away is a walker feasting on a fallen deer with two arrows stuck in its side. Suddenly the walker turns and looks up at them snarling. Before it can even move its surrounded and everyone is beating it down. Finally Dale strikes his axe across the back of its neck beheading it. The head rolls and Dale has to turn away.

“That’s the first one that we’ve had up here. They’ve never come this far up the mountain,” Dale says.

“They're running out of food in the city,” answers Jim. They hear a branch snap and footsteps. As one they turn looking for the next threat. A man wielding a crossbow comes out of the forest, stopping when he sees the group with raised weapons. “Oh, Jesus,” Dale says under his breath.

“Son of a bitch. That's my deer! Look at it all gnawed on by this… filthy, disease-bearing, motherless poxy bastard!” The man angrily says as he kicks the body of the walker.

“Calm down, son. That's not helping,” Dale says trying to placate him.

“What do you know about it, old man? Why don't you take that stupid hat and go back to ‘on golden pond’? I've been tracking this deer for miles. Was gonna drag it back to camp, cook us up some venison.” The man begins pulling his arrows out before turning to Shane,

“What do you think? Do you think we can cut around this chewed up part right here?” He asks.

“I would not risk that.” Shane responds and Daryl sighs.

“That's a damn shame. I got some squirrel… about a dozen or so. That'll have to do,” Daryl says. Suddenly, the head of the Walker starts to gnash its teeth.

“Oh god,” Amy groans, trying not to vomit. Rick didn't even hear the girls come up behind them.

“Come on, people. What the hell?” Daryl asks before he stabs it with one of his arrows. “It's gotta be the brain. Don't y'all know nothing?” Daryl and the group begin making their way towards the camp. Daryl calling out for his brother, while Shane tries to stop him to talk before bluntly stating what happened to his brother. He seems calm for a moment before throwing his squirrels at Rick and tackling Shane. They tussle before Shane gets him in a choke hold.

“Now I’d like to have a calm discussion about what's going to happen. Do you think we can do that?” Rick asks bending so he's eye level with Daryl.

“Yeah we can do that,” snaps Daryl glaring at Rick.

“What I did was not on a whim. Your brother does not work and play well with others,” says Rick as Shane lets him go.

“It's not Rick's fault. I had the key. I dropped it,” said T-Dog trying to take the heat off Rick.

“You couldn't pick it up?” Daryl asks sarcastically.

“Well, I dropped it in a drain,” T-Dog admitted.

“If it's supposed to make me feel better, it don't,” snapped Daryl.

“Well, maybe this will. Look, I chained the door to the roof… So the geeks couldn't get at him… With a padlock. It's gotta count for something,” said T-Dog.

“Hell with all y'all! Just tell me where he is so that I can go get him,” Daryl yells.

“He'll show you. Isn't that right?” Lori asks sarcastically looking at Rick.

“I'm going back,” said Rick. “Your brother wasn’t the only one left behind, there's a kid with him.”

“Kid got a name?” asked Daryl calming down now that he knows they're going to get Merle.

“He doesn’t speak so he didn’t give us a name,” Rick admits.

“Don’t fucking blame him,” Daryl mumbles moving towards his tent. Rick sighs and turns to Dale.

“Can you tell him we leave in a few hours? I’ve gotta go talk to my kid,” asks Rick. Dale nods and Rick walks off.

Chapter Text


 

 

Harry would give anything for a few rolls of duct tape right about now. You’d think the redneck idiot would have gotten the hint by now that he wasn’t going to talk, or help him out of his much deserved predicament. The man constantly begged, threatened, or bargained with a silent Harry and he would have loved, to slap on a few pieces of industrial strength duct tape right on the asshole’s mouth. "Ah if only," He thought to himself. He had rolled him over a bottle of vitamin water and tossed him a granola bar. He wasn't stupid enough to just hand them to him, he knew if he got close enough that Merle might get one of the blades he had on his body and really threaten him to help.

The walkers had given up sometime during the night-when Merle had finally shut up-wondering off to God knows where. He wasn’t surprised, they liked loud sounds and Harry had been woken by far-off screams and gun shots sometime during the night. It was just after noon, almost a day since they had been left behind and Harry was starting to get bored. That was something he'd never thought he'd say during the apocalypse. He had repacked the tool bag that had been spilled in the chaos yesterday, he considered taking a nap but damn Dixon wouldn't shut the hell up. So he blocked out the yelling idiot and decided to sketch Merle.

He'd only been drawing for half an hour when he heard footsteps and the metal chain on the door rattle. Shooting a quick look at Merle-who was watching the roof access door with a blank face-. He Jogged to the door and quickly and quietly pulled his katana out and stood just beside the door when it burst open. Harry had the first guy on his back with a swift kick to his knees, his katana blade on his throat and his gun pointed at the people inside the doorway.

“Fuck,” said Daryl seeing the tip of Harry’s blade stopped at his throat. Seeing it was cop he saved yesterday he put his gun back in its holster as the cop spoke.

“whoa It’s alright kid,” Rick exclaimed. “He’s with us.” Harry stepped back giving no indication he had heard Rick except to sheath his blade before walking towards where Merle was chained, the four men following behind. T-Dog picked up the packed tool bag as he passed putting the strap over his shoulder as Daryl moved toward Merle with the bolt cutters, but Harry had already knelt down beside him; shooting a smirk at Merle he pulled out two thin pieces of metal from his boots and he went to work on the locking mechanism of the cuffs. When he heard the click he backed away quickly in case Merle was pissed at the fact that Harry could have freed him almost twenty-four hours ago. Merle rubbed at his wrist as he watched Harry with a little more respect in his eyes. Harry was amused. He had left the man chained up for a day and a night and now the man respected him for it. "These people are weird."  He thought.

“Brother, remind me never ta piss the little demon off,” Merle said. Daryl rubbed the back of his neck hiding a smile, as he tossed his crossbow over his shoulder.

“That little thing is fast, had me on my ass before I even knew we was fightin’.” Daryl remarked as T-Dog chuckled and Merle took offense.

“Think it’s funny do ya?” Merle asked moving forward. Rick moved to stop him but it was Harry that got in the middle, first ducking the punch Merle threw at T-Dog and kicking as hard as he could at the juncture between Merle’s legs. He went down clutching the family jewels with a drawn out fuck. Everyone was silent for a moment before Daryl started snickering at his brother’s expense.

“Hey Merle,” started Daryl.

“Piss off,” Merle groaned.

“Don’t piss the little demon off,” Daryl finished, chuckling as Merle started to get to his feet.

“I said piss off. Now can we get back ta camp? ‘Cause I’d really like ta sleep not chained ta a pipe tonight,” Merle complained.

“We have to get the guns first,” Rick stated.

“You got guns Officer Friendly?” asked Merle.

“A bag of ‘em, dropped ‘em in the street when I went down,”

“How the fuck are we supposed ta do that without getting our ass’s bit?” Merle snarked.

“For once I actually agree with Dixon. How are we supposed to get onto the street, get the guns and get out. Not to mention,” T-Dog inclined his head towards Harry. Harry snorted and bent down grabbing his forgotten sketch book. Everyone but Merle watching him curiously.

“He drew in that damn thing the entire time,” Merle says, attention drawn back to him as the group began arguing about how to best get to the guns. Glenn came up with the idea of doing it alone; but wanted to go a few buildings over to get a more accurate depiction of were Rick dropped the gun bag, and how many walkers were on the street before coming back to the alley on this side since it was the easiest to cut walkers off in. The group began making a plan when Harry tugged on Glenn’s sleeve. He had decided unless there was no other choice he wouldn’t speak, it'd keep him from getting too close to these people.

Harry not only got Glenn's attention but the others as well. He handed his open sketch book to Glenn. "wow kid," he whispered in awe. Seeing the others confused faces Glenn flipped the book over showing them an accurately drawn map of the streets below. Rick knelt down so he was at Harry's height before he spoke, "You drew that?" Harry nodded and fought off a grimace at the fatherly way the cop was staring at him. "Thanks kid. This will help a lot." Rick considered him for a minute before he asked, "Can you tell us your name? Or write it down if that's easier?"

Trying not to sigh aloud he took his sketch book from Glenn and flipped a few pages before coming to the one of Rick in the tank and gesturing to the edge of the picture.

Harry was written in cursive at the bottom.

“Harry?” Rick read aloud. Harry nodded. “Thank you Harry. You're really good at drawing.” Harry shrugged and turned the pages before finding the map he had drawn. He ripped out the page and handed it to Glenn.

Soon enough they were all in the alley as Glenn went over the plan one more time. They told Harry to stay behind them and stay close, but he had a bad feeling so he slowly and silently shifted more and more towards the entrance of the alley to be closer to where Glenn would be if he had to help. Then Glenn was moving, Daryl realized too late that Harry was quickly following Glenn. He opened his mouth to call out but quickly closed it as he saw Harry put his blade through the head of a walker that got to close to Glenn.

Harry could see a car peeling forward towards the guns, picking up speed Harry slid across the pavement like he was sliding onto home base; grabbed the bag and tossed it to Glenn who saw the car and ran back to the alley with Harry following a few feet behind him. Before Harry could reach the alley, the car swerves cutting him off as two latino men leap out of the car and try to grab him. Ducking he maneuvered his blade to swipe painful but superficial cuts on the two men. Someone in the car yelled out in Spanish and they two guys who tried to grab Harry leap into the car and sped off, tires squealing. Rick and T-Dog fired shots at the car, while Daryl and Merle killed the walkers the car attracted; and Glenn tried to catch his breath.

"Kid's got balls, and the moves to back 'em up," Merle praised as Rick pulls an unsuspecting Harry into a bone crushing hug. Letting out a yelp-the only sound he's made in months- Harry drops his katana on the ground as he freezes.

“Don't ever do that again.” Rick scolds pulling away and holding Harry at arms length. Harry just raises an eyebrow and Rick sighs.

 

 


 

It was late afternoon almost evening by the time the box truck pulled into camp. Harry took it all in as he hopped out, people milling about almost all of them looking at them. He noticed a man tied to a tree; he had a strong, almost magical feel about him. His aura was bright and intriguing to Harry. An older man in a grey fishing hat came up to Glenn, ruffling his hair and taking the tool bag from him. Harry watched Merle and Daryl walk off without a word to anyone. He saw a woman glaring at him-no, glaring at someone behind him. Confused he turned his head and saw Rick coming toward him with a kid around his age.

"Harry, this is my son Carl." Rick said as Carl waved a smile on his face.

"Dad said you don't speak, it's weird but okay. He said you draw too, can you show me? Your weapons are so cool were did you get them? And how did you learn to use them?" Words poured out of Carl's mouth. A slightly taken aback Harry gently put his hand over Carl's mouth.

"Sorry," Carl mumbled behind his hand. Harry removed his hand giving the blushing kid a smile.

"Kid," Shane began as he walked over towards Harry. Everyone stopped they're conversations while they watch Shane approach the kid.

"His names Harry, Shane-" Rick began but was interrupted by Shane.

"And you would know how? I thought he didn't talk?"

Rick raised his eyebrow at Shane's tone but decided to ignored it. "He signs his name on his drawings,"

Harry knew this man would be trouble his aura all but showed it. A dark angry red with brown and black at the edges. He saw Carl step back instinctively and that pissed Harry off; he saw the man shoot a quick look at the women who was glaring at Rick earlier and understood at once. This man was a wannabe entitled leader who thought everyone should respect him, and wanted to impress her. Harry wanted to push his buttons just to see him blow.

"His name doesn't matter right now. He can't go around armed like he is, it ain't safe for everyone with an inexperienced kid armed like he is." Shane finished holding his hand out to Harry like he expected him to just hand over his weapons. Harry raised his eyebrow at him and raised his hand, and lifted his middle flinger in answer. He saw Shane's face go red, heard Merle's snort and saw the black lady beside T-Dog try to hide her smile.

“Shane,” the old man in the fishing cap called out.

“Not now Dale,” Shane snapped before speaking directly to Harry. “Here’s the deal kid, you hand over those weapons or,” Shane paused, “I take them from you.” Rick tried to step in but was stopped by a quick head shake from Daryl-who had come over when he saw Shane advancing on the kid.-He wanted to see how this would play out, Daryl knew the kid could handle Shane.

“What’s it going to be kid?” Shane demanded. Harry rubbed his chin in thought before once again giving Shane the finger. Shane reached out to grab him but Harry sidestepped him: Shane may be bigger but Harry was quicker and had the advantage of being underestimated. Andrea, Dale, and Morales moved to intervene but were stopped by Glenn who knew what Harry could do. Harry vaguely heard yelling from people who were trying to stop the fight but were held back or ignored.

"You little shit. Your parents should have disciplined your disrespectful little ass," Shane growled as he lunged toward him. Harry dodged to the side and rolled ending in a crouch behind Shane. Harry had Shane right where he wanted him: Shane's back was about 5 inches away from the box truck when he whirled around to face harry. Not wasting any time Harry flicked his wrist a small throwing blade slid from its sheath on his arm and flew towards Shane, pinning his gray t-shirt to the box truck. The blade landing 3 inches from Shane's neck.

 

Stalking forward Harry yanked the blade out of Shane's shirt and the truck. He could see the shock and anger at being bested by a kid all over his face; Harry had just showed that he couldn't be intimidated and he had the moves to defend himself. He started walking away when Shane spoke, "This ain't over kid." Rolling his eyes Harry broke his vow of silence, he didn't need to but it sure made him feel better,

"If I told you to go fuck yourself would you need directions?" He rasped as the group snickered or in Merle and Daryl's case laughed loudly. Turning away from Shane he continuing walking away. "And I never miss." He threw over his shoulder his voice sounded like a chainsmokers from not talking for so long.

“You can talk?” Rick asked in surprised when Harry got close enough. He didn’t answer.