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Bang. Bang. Bang.

 

Your heart jumps into your throat as you spin around to see the silhouette of a tall man striking the metal gate with what looks like a baseball bat.

 

‘Lil’ pigs! Lil’ pigs!’ Comes a deep, gravelly voice. ‘Let me come in!’ The man sings with a playful tone that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. 

 

It’s your first shift on guard duty after Rick and Michonne found you lying in the woods, covered in several months worth of dirt, sweat and walker blood, and sporting a bullet wound in the thigh that should have killed you. You still have no idea to this day where it came from. They were the first people you’d seen in almost a year after your group was overrun by walkers back in North Carolina. You’d been on foot ever since, following whatever road happened to be beneath you, grief haven dumped you in a state of utter emptiness. You ate, you drank, you walked, you slept. You ate, you drank, you walked, you slept — barely aware of the time that passed. One day you had ventured off into the woods to avoid a herd of walkers you’d spotted on the road ahead; you’d gone much further in than you knew was good for you — your sense of direction had never been the best. You were lost within an hour of leaving the road behind, and that was when it had hit you. The bullet, driving deep into your thigh. The pain was like nothing you had ever experienced and you blacked out almost immediately. The next thing you had known was the gentle rocking and bumping of metal beneath your body, the purr of an engine, and the murmur of voices somewhere behind you. The following week had passed in a haze of pain and hallucinations. When you’d finally broken through the other side, you’d woken to find yourself lying in a bed — a bed! You’d almost forgotten the feeling of comfort — your leg wrapped in a tight bandage and a gun pointing directly between your eyes. 

 

‘How many walkers have you killed?’ A rough voice had growled quietly. It had taken a few minutes to coax you into a state of consciousness solid enough to answer Rick’s questions, but eventually he had decided to let you stay, and you could not be more grateful. They had fixed you up knowing not even so much as your name, and once you’d proven your trustworthiness, they had settled you into your own house in Alexandria. You instantly became one of their own. But they were plagued by a group that called themselves the ‘Saviors’ led by a heinous tyrant named Negan. You hadn’t yet come across them, but the permanent looks of fear in everyone’s eyes was unmistakable. And today that fear rose like acid in their throats as they now gathered at the gate.

 

Bang. Bang. Bang.

 

‘Come on now, Pricky Boy, Daddy don’t like to be kept waitin’!’ The stranger cooed, pacing back and forth along the length of the gate, swinging the bat lazily at his side. You muster up as much courage as you can, stride towards the gate and start tugging it open, the sharp grating noise ringing loudly in your ears, revealing a tall man wrapped in a black leather jacket, a red scarf around his neck and a sly grin forming beneath his salt-and-pepper stubble as his eyes fall on you.

 

‘Well, well, well,’ the man says, the tip of his tongue tracing slowly across his bottom lip as his eyes roam over you, a hint of something in them that makes your toes curl and your heart beat faster in your throat. ‘Now what do we have here?’

 

Before you have a chance to answer, you hear hurried footsteps growing louder behind you and suddenly Rick grabs your wrist, pulling you behind him with such force that you stumble, almost falling to the ground as your injured leg threatens to give way beneath you.

 

‘Negan,’ Rick says quietly. 

 

So this is the infamous leader of the Saviors. Fear bubbles inside you as you feel the familiar rush of adrenaline racing through your veins, lighting your body on fire and filling your muscles with a strength you’ve come to enjoy since the world turned. It had always been the thing that had stirred you on, given you the will to keep moving. Whatever grief and anxiety and emptiness you felt, this sensation made you come alive and you truly live for it, relishing in the heightened power of your body as the blood rushes to your muscles.

 

‘There you are, Prick! I was beginning to think you’d forgotten about me,’ Negan pouted sardonically as he swung the baseball bat over his shoulder. You peer around Rick, adrenaline-fuelled curiosity getting the better of you as you feel the animal need to size up your threat. Your stomach drops as you notice the tangles of barbed wire wrapped around the bat now balancing lazily on Negan’s shoulder — Lucille. You spot the faint red of blood staining the sharp metal spikes and feel your mouth go suddenly dry as you remember Carl telling you about Abraham and Glenn. But the adrenaline pumping through you encourages you to step around Rick and join him at his side. Your instincts tell you that Negan is not a man you want to appear weak in front of.

 

‘Everything’s in the back of the truck,’ Rick gestures over his shoulder to the truck loaded with supplies — the injustice of it makes your blood boil and you feel your courage rise with it. But Negan ignores Rick. Instead, his eyes fall once more onto you. He tilts his head back slightly, surveying you with the same mischievous grin as before.

 

‘Now who is this?’ He points Lucille directly at you, throwing his hips forward cockily as he takes a step towards you. Rick’s eyes flit to yours as he steps deliberately between you and Negan. 

 

‘What do you care? She’s no one,’ Rick growls, the menace in his voice immediately giving away his lie. You hope Negan doesn’t pick up the threat in his tone, and to your surprise, he simply laughs, arching his back and swinging Lucille beside his leg. 

 

‘Now let’s not forget who’s in charge here, Pricky Boy,’ he chuckles. ‘You belong to me. That means everything you have,’ he throws his arms wide, gesturing to the whole of Alexandria, ‘is mine,’ he smiles cockily, his eyes growing darker as he treads slowly towards Rick, Lucille swinging loosely by his side, until his face is inches away from Rick’s. ‘Who are you?’ He purrs.

 

Rick’s chin drops to his chest for a moment and he shifts his weight uncomfortably. Then he looks back up to Negan, the fight gone from his eyes as he intones almost mechanically, ‘I’m Negan.’ 

 

‘That. You. Are!’ Negan crows, the skin-crawlingly playful tone back in place, hips thrusting forward as he rests Lucille on his shoulder. ‘So I’ll fuckin’ ask you again, Prick: who’s this lovely young lady you’re so obviously wishin’ to hide from me?’

 

Head bowed, Rick steps aside, allowing you to come into view. He looks up at you from beneath his eyelashes with a terrifying mixture of sadness and fear in his eyes, making contact with yours only for a split second before dropping them to the floor again — long enough to convey what he can’t say aloud: ‘I’m sorry.’

 

‘My name’s Y/N,’ you step forward, standing up to your full height and raising your head confidently as the mixture of adrenaline and hatred for this man, who reduces Rick to a mere shadow of himself with so little effort, courses through your tense muscles. You refuse to look weak. Negan scans over you, slowly and unashamedly taking in every inch of your body - the tight jeans that hug your waist, the loose shirt revealing just a hint of cleavage. You stand your ground, resisting the urge to cover your arms over your chest as he undresses you with his eyes, running his tongue along his bottom lip and sucking it between his teeth before his eyes finally come up to meet yours. His gaze burns right through you with such intensity that it takes everything in you to maintain your stare. A shiver runs down your spine as he takes a step towards you. You ignore it and try to channel as much loathing through your eyes as possible, hoping he’ll sense the waves of hatred rolling off of you.

 

‘And where did you come from, baby? I ain’t never seen you here before, and there ain’t no way I’d forget a face like yours,’ he growls seductively, making your skin prickle. He’s inches away from you now, his hot breath tickling your cheek, but you stare resolutely up at him as you reply.

 

‘Rick and Michonne found me a few weeks ago. I was dying, and they saved me. I’ve been recovering in the infirmary, where I’ve been hearing all about the shit you pull around here,’ you spit at him. You watch savagely as Negan’s eyes flash and the smug grin falls off of his face. Mustering as much venom as possible you finish, ‘It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Negan.

 

Something dark crosses his eyes but his face is composed before you’re sure you even saw it, and he steps back, chuckling softly. ‘Well, I think I like you, darlin’,’ he mocks, his deep, gravelly voice dripping with arrogance. ‘I gotta feelin’ you ain’t one to hide what you’re thinkin’, Y/N, and you know what?’ He closes the remaining distance between you in one large stride until his lips are almost brushing against yours. He looks down at your mouth, taking his bottom lip between his teeth before flicking his eyes up to meet yours, ‘I fuckin’ love that in a woman.’ 

 

You’re suddenly aware of how quickly your breaths are coming, your chest heaving as you feel your face flush and your body shiver. You hasten to recompose yourself, embarrassed and disgusted by your body’s reaction to Negan’s closeness. He seems to sense your discomfort and gives you a wink, glancing down at your chest momentarily before turning to Rick. 

 

‘So I’m gonna take this one with me,’ he says imperiously. ‘I’m a wife down now that poor ol’ Sherry’s popped it, and my balls are just achin’ for somethin’ fresh… you know what I mean, Pricky Boy?’ He grins malevolently at Rick, relishing in the anger rising in Rick’s eyes before they fall, defeated, to the floor. His voice is barely more than a whisper as he replies. 

 

‘Please don’t.’

 

Fear bubbles inside of you again as you watch Negan’s eyes narrow. 

 

‘What did you say? I didn’t quite hear ya,’ Negan growls quietly, his voice darkening. Rick meets him with a desperate look on his face. 

 

‘Please, Negan,’ he says, his voice cracking slightly, ‘not her.’ Rick glances at you and you feel your chest constrict as you see the pain in his eyes. ‘Take me instead, I beg you.’ 

 

Negan laughs mirthlessly. ‘Ohh Pricky Boy, you’re not tellin’ me you have some warm ’n fuckin’ fuzzy feelings for this whore now, are ya?’ Rick keeps his head bowed, mumbling something incoherent under his breath. ‘What was that?’ Negan mocks, pushing his face aggressively close to Rick’s and holding his hand behind his ear as he says, ‘Speak up, Prick, nice and loud - I think we all wanna hear about how this lil’ fuckin’ slut here makes your floppy lil’ dick good an’ hard at night!’ 

 

Pure hatred boils inside you as you stare at Negan. You can’t believe the words falling out of his disgusting mouth as you helplessly watch him humiliate Rick right in front of you, in front of everyone, using you as the tool with which to grind Rick into the dirt. You’re just about to run forward and plunge your knife into Negan’s skull — not caring about the hundred bullets that would surely pierce your body before the blade could even touch his skin — when Rick whispers something in Negan’s ear. You strain to hear the words tumbling from his mouth in broken gasps and you spot a tear fall to the ground. Then he turns around and walks away from you, back towards his house without so much as a fleeting glance in your direction. Negan remains rooted to the spot for several moments, the crowd around him silent, waiting for his verdict. A devilish grin that makes your skin crawl spreads over his face as he turns slowly to you. 

 

‘Well, honey, looks like you’re comin’ with me.’