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Devils and Dust

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"Hey. Wake up, sweetheart."

You groaned, pulling the blanket back over your head. Shane chuckled and yanked it ruthlessly off again.

"Come on, criminal. Got shit to do," he said, sitting on the edge of the bed and running a hand down your back.

You cracked one eye open and glared at him. "Bite me, Walsh."

He chuckled, tucking your hair behind your ear. "We ain't got time for that, Nameless," he said with a smirk.

You could feel your lips twitching even as you tried to glare. You rolled over and sat up with a sigh, leaning your forehead onto his shoulder as he wrapped an arm around you loosely.

"Come on, it can't be that bad," he whispered. You lifted one hand and flipped him off.

"What'd I say?" he said in that mock-serious voice. "We ain't got time for that."

You shoved him away with a groan and started getting dressed. Shane kept sitting there, and you hissed as you caught your eyebrow ring on the AC/DC shirt you pulled over your head, since you were paying more attention to him than to what you were doing. "What the hell are you staring at, Officer?" you asked him as he held out your jacket and vest.

He smiled at you. "You. I more than tolerate you, criminal."

You rolled your eyes and leaned in to kiss him. His fingers slid along your cheek as he made it softer and sweeter than you'd been expecting, and you leaned into his touch even as you broke the kiss.

"I more than tolerate you too. Come on, people are waiting," you said over your shoulder as you scooped up your hand gun, shoved it into your holster, headed for the door. You gestured impatiently at him even as your lips quirked.

"Shit. You're a damn pain, Nameless," he complained as you ducked out into the hallway.



You strode into C block, scowling as you pulled off the blood-soaked butcher's apron. "Sorry, everyone. Damn zombies are a pain in the ass, seriously."

Shane shoved a hand through his hair. "Yeah, we gotta figure out why the hell they keep building up. Waiting on Dixon still. Where the hell's your boyfriend now, criminal?"

"He left, idiot. Went out on a run with Glenn and Zach," you said with a shrug. "I think we're all assembled."

You settled at the table with the others, wondering just how in the world you got suckered into being on Rick's damn Council after all. It had happened sometime in the past month, after your misadventures in Atlanta led to you hanging up your wanderlust and settling into prison life. You would have rolled out with Daryl and Glenn, but you'd been informed that two members of the council leaving at once was enough, and you damn well didn't need to make it three.

Plus, you'd been knee-deep in walker guts with Tyreese and Karen. So there was that.

Gathered around the table with you were Sasha, Hershel, Shane, and Carol. With Daryl and Glenn out, that meant it was time to begin. Shane shoved a hand through his hair and you made a mental note to grab some scissors and make the man sit still for ten minutes. It was getting a little absurdly long.

"Alright, people. I guess we'll add Nameless' walkers to the agenda. What else we got to go over this morning?" he asked.

Carol leaned forward. "There's a bit of a housing issue going on right now-"



You pulled on half-gloves as you ducked into the sunlight, Shane at your back. You strode toward the waiting vehicles, accepting the rifle from hands that held it out to you.

"We ready to rock and roll, boys?" you yelled as you swung onto the bike.

"Yes, ma'am!" The chorus of replies sounded from the assembled vehicles. Shane leaned in and kissed you again, then jumped into the bed of the truck parked behind your bike, banging twice on the roof as you kicked the bike to life. You revved the engine twice as doors slammed behind you, then circled your hand in the air and pointed forward.

"Move out!" you called, and hit the gas.



Your caravan pulled up to the gates and you waited, crossing your arms over the bike's handlebars with your feet braced to keep it upright. There was a long, silent moment, and you sighed. You glanced back and caught Shane's shrug from his place in the bed of the truck.

You dropped the kick stand, swung off the bike, and strolled toward the gates with your thumbs hooked in your pockets. You banged on the gate, hearing the hollow thunk as you did.

Still nothing.

"Don't make me knock again!" you yelled, hand dropping to rest on the weapon you kept on a loop at your side, opposite the gun strapped to your thigh. You looked back again at Shane and shook your head with a chuckle as the gate didn't open. He smiled at you as you took two steps back from the gate and toward him.

"One!" you yelled, and Shane gestured to the others in the trucks. They were smirking as they lifted rifles to their shoulders and aimed.


You turned and crossed your arms across your chest, glaring at the gates with one hip cocked. You waited a beat, and opened your mouth to call three.

The gate creaked open.

"Wait!" A quavering voice called. "Just- wait!"

You held up a hand and flicked your fingers, and heard guns being lowered behind you.

"That's more like it," you muttered, and stalked toward the man stepping out to meet you with his hands up.



"What's up with Violet?" you called to Rick. Carl laughed as Rick sighed.

"I just got done telling him not to name them, YN," Rick said in a pained voice.

You winked at Carl and leaned on the fence beside the two of them. "She doesn't look great, does she?"

"She's food, not a piglet anymore," Rick muttered. "Why do I bother?"

"I mean, I'll call her Bacon if it'll make you feel better," you offered.

Rick groaned. "It really wouldn't."

"Well, at least he's honest," you told Carl blandly. "Seriously, though, what's up with the pig?"

"I don't know what's going on with her. Could be sick, could be nothing," Rick said with a long suffering sigh. "Feel better.... Violet."

Carl laughed and you high-fived with him. "What are you up to today, Nameless?" the kid asked as the three of you started walking again.

He and Rick were heading toward Rick's crops, where he'd been doing his farmer routine. He was getting pretty damn good at it, you thought as you looked over the growing plants.

You waved vaguely toward the fences. "This and that. Fences. Supplies. Investigating some super-secret Council shit."

Rick looked at the fences and sighed. "They're getting about as bad as last month."

"Yeah. Dozens more toward three. Thing is, they don't spread out anymore. Get enough of them on the fence, we've got a herd," you told him.

Rick patted your shoulder and you ground your teeth together. "Good thing we've got good people in charge," he said with smirk.

"Screw you, Deputy," you called cheerfully as you split off from them.

"No, thank you," he called back pleasantly, and you laughed as you picked up speed toward the gate.

You were almost there when the man in the guard tower whistled. You glanced up and grinned, running for the pulley when you saw the woman riding up like a warrior goddess on horseback. You pulled hard, swinging the beefed-up outer gates open. Carl and Rick reached your side and slid open the inner gate as Michonne charged in and you let go of the rope all at once so the outer gates clanged shut harshly.

"Well, look what the cat dragged in," you said, shading your eyes as she dismounted.

"What she means is, we're glad to see you," Rick counter with a smile that made you bite the inside of your lip.

Boy had a crush as deep as the damn ocean and he didn't even know it. Michonne smiled back at him, and the damn thing was definitely mutual. You and Shane had a bet going to see how long it would take them to get together.

"Somebody hit the jackpot," Michonne said to Carl, reaching into the saddle bag on the horse whose nose you were currently stroking.

You'd once informed Rick that the only horses you rode were the steel kind, and while that still held very true, you liked this particular one. He was a sweetheart.
Michonne handed over a handful of comics that had Carl's eyes lighting up. You groaned.

"No fair!" you protested. "You go out further than me!"

"Yeah," Carl said with a smirk at you. "That's why she's the queen now."

Your jaw dropped as Rick and Michonne both burst into laughter.

"You twerp," you muttered at Carl, who crossed his eyes at you.

"I found this too," Michonne said, and the teasing note in her voice had you looking up to see what else she might have uncovered. She was holding an electric razor out to Rick, and you cracked up this time. "Your face is loosing the war," she added.

"You gonna stay a little while?" Rick asked.

"Just a little while," she answered, glancing over at you. "Didn't find him."

You shrugged. "Figured as much. Daryl's out on a supply run with Glenn and Zach and some of the others. I'm on walker patrol, since you seem to have brought half the ones between here and Macon with you."

"Need a hand?" she offered.

You shook your head. "Nope. We got it covered. Hey, Rick, I almost forgot- you go out to check the snares, you take your gun, asshole."

He scowled at you. "It's just outside the fence. I have my knife. I get in trouble, six bullets isn't going to make the difference."

"That's why you get a better gun, Deputy," you shot back. "Michonne, convince the man not to leave the gates without a gun. I've got some zombie-slaying to do."

"My gun's better than yours!" Rick called after you as you started walking away.

You turned around, biting your lip as you smirked at him. "Oh, Deputy, that comeback was just sad, man!"



"Well, hello there, darlin'," you said to the nervous-looking man standing in the gate. "You need better manners. Not nice, leaving visitors standing at the door like that."

He swallowed hard, eyes darting all around, from you to bike to the men at your back. "S- so sorry. We, ah. We weren't expecting anyone today."

You shrugged carelessly, fingers of one hand drumming on the weapon at your side. "Always best to expect the unexpected, don't you think?"

"Of course," he said, bobbing his head. "Listen, I- I don't mean to be... rude. But-"

"I'm not your regular visitor, no," you cut him off with a wave of one hand. "He had a little something else to do today. But I assure you, he sends his love."

The man paled and you tried not to smirk. He gulped again as you waited, and you lifted one eyebrow at him. His eyes went wide and he licked his lips, and you sighed.

"Aren't you going to invite us in?" you prompted him.

"Oh! Of- of course! It's just that- Well, like I said, we weren't expecting- I mean, we weren't expecting Negan, and-"

You stepped up and grabbed the man by the shirt, hand clenching around the bat at your side. "Honey. Can't you tell?"

You widened your eyes and emphasized your drawl as you heard Shane say something in a low voice behind you. The man's eyes were glassy with panic, and you smoothed down his shirt and patted his cheek.

"I am Negan," you told him, clucking his chin. "Now. We're coming in. Is that all right with you?" You slid the bat from its loop and swung it up to one shoulder, hip cocked as you whistled once.

"You heard the lady!" Shane called, and truck engines started rumbling. You held the eyes of the man in front of you as your bike roared to life as well, Shane winking at you as he drove it past you and through the gates.