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Dead eyes,green eyes

Chapter Text

     Big green eyes peered over the window staring down at the sluggishly moving bodies, they paused on a rather lanky body that wore a bright yellow dress that had torn slightly where half the chest and one arm hung by threads and drug against the ground, a long thin neck craned to and fro.

     With a shaky breath Dorea peeled away from the window, eyeing the door that rattled violentlu, hisses and moans slipping through, the thin piece of wood the only thing holding back Dudley.Crawling onto the bed the eight year old ignored her hunger with years of experience.


 

5 weeks earlier

 

     If one were to ask Dorea one word to describe Atlanta, she would quickly say ‘hot’, not that anyone wanted her opinion on such things.

     “Hurry up girl!” Uncle Vernon barked, his face was already red from the heat, Dorea pulled the cart faster making it into the lift just in time for the doors to close with just a flash of the Dursley’s pleased faces. Sighing she pulled the cart over to the stairwell and grabbed the handle and began to tug.

     By the time Dorea made it to the top floor she was exhausted and sticky from sweat that made the baggy puke green shirt she wore sling to her uncomfortably.

     “Don’t just stand there! In!” Aunt Petunia hissed storming over and gripped her arm in a bruising grip dragging her, and the cart where her hand was clinging to it, into room 316.

     “You, will be staying there, go!” Dorea scrambled hastily for the towel cupboard clutching the old grocery bag to her chest as the door closed, it was much darker than her cupboard,the seams covered by the plush carpet beneath her. Laying her hand flat on the carpet she smiled in relief, at least she would sleep comfortably.

     “Ooh! Mummy I want to go there!” she heard the grunt of displeasure from Vernon.

     “Now, now Son, that place is just full of Freaky people who take hard working peoples money, we shall not be go-” But Dudley was already entering stage two of a tantrum ,screaming at the top of his lungs and stomping his feet which Dorea could feel the vibrations through the floor.

     “I want to go now!” After a few more moments of screams and stomps Dudley let out a howl of anger and from the loud thuds and the shriek of chairs moving across the kitchenette floor, he was also taking his anger out on the furniture.

     “Alright! Alright, fine! We’ll go!" Vernon roared and after a few moments of silence, "Freak I don’t want to see a thing out of place, do not leave your cupboard!” A sharp rap on the cupboard had Dorea grimacing.

     “Yes Uncle Vernon.” it was once again silent in the room and she sighed in relief  stretching out her legs,wincing as they popped painfully, and rummaged in her bag to remove a rather battered toy flashlight. Lodging it between her knees she switched it on and looked around the cupboard curiously, while it wasn’t as cramped as her old one, it was rather big with enough space for her to stand and if she tucked against the door she could probably climb the shelves, not that she wanted to, the Dursleys would surely know and punish her.

     Peering into her bag she took in the few possessions she had managed to squirrel away, a few of the broken army men, a slightly squashed Ziploc bag of grapes and three juice boxes past expiration date.After grabbing one of the juice boxes she Jabbed the white straw into the box,and took three long greedy sips soothing her aching throat despite the juice being quite warm and a bit odd tasting. Finishing off the juice she paused for a moment and shined her flashlight around spotting a hole in the corner which she shoved box inside she turned her attention to the Ziploc bag. It was really warm and the grapes had nearly been mashed into jelly, but she had to make it last, scooping a small glob onto her fingers she shoved it into her mouth, it wasn’t enough to fill her up but the little bit counted. Carefully resealing the bag she wedged in between a pair of Dudley's old boxers and another one of her shirts.

     Once she was sure everything was as well hidden as she could manage, Dorea tucked herself against the wall relaxing as the coldness of the wall pressed against her to hot skin,she stuck out her hand and drew patterns in the impossibly soft carpet.


 

 

     When Dorea woke, it was to Dudley wailing in pain and the panicked,desperate sobs of her Aunt Petunia who was trying to calm Dudley down.

     "It's okay Dudders, mummy's here," she soothed before taking a deep breath, "Girl! Get out here now!” Dorea sucked in a sharp breath and shot to the door pushing it open and came to a stop at by her aunt's side.Aunt Petunia grabbed her wrist painfully and pressed it against a sticky warm towel pressed against a pale Dudley who was panting and gasping his skin was painfully warm and flushed.

     “You keep pressure here,Do not let go for anything! I will be locking the door behind me, do not unlock it for anyone but me, do you understand?” Dorea nodded rapidly even as she inwardly panicked as the only adult rushed out the door. Once she was sure her Aunt was gone Dorea turned to Dudley who had settled down into whimpering and occasionally giving a hiccup.

     “Dudley? What happened?” she asked shifting so she had a better grip on the towel, Dudley gave a wail and with a disbelieve voice he said, “Daddy bit me! He was sick and we were coming back, but then he just fell over! Mummy started screaming and after a moment he got up and grabbed me and bit my shoulder, Mummy drug me away and I saw him tackling another person!” He sobbed and Dorea swallowed thickly carefully peeling away to towel to get a glimpse of the bite, she gagged her eyes wide as the smell hit her, it smelled like old milk and had bright yellow puss leaking out with the very dark red blood, dark black veins spread off from the bite stretching down towards his chest. Dudley gave a pained groan his eyes squeezing close as fat tears dripped down his face, his eyes were water and blood shot as his breathing picked up.

     “I’m tired.” he whined head flopping down onto his chest, before Dorea could react he fell against her, pinning her down against the bench they had been sitting on blood sluggishly dripping down to stain the cream colored cushion.It took a moment for her to realize he wasn’t breathing, her stomach dropped as something screamed at her to get away from her cousin. She pushed and squirmed until she dropped down onto the bloody towels she shot to her feet backing away and holding the original towel like a shield.

     “D-dudley?”She trembled,swallowing thickly her mind already imagining what her aunt would do to her if she came back and Dudley was dead, she dropped the towel jerking as a low pitched groan left Dudley, but that couldn’t be right, because he still wasn’t breathing, backing away from Dudley who was jerking and letting out moans and hisses she whimpered as he sat up his eyes hazy and unfocused as he gnashed his teeth at her.

     “D-dudley, ss-sit down you're not supposed t-to move.” Dorea yelped as he lurched forward with a hiss blackened lips peeled back to reveal his bloodied teeth, his eyes were dead, like one of miss’s Figg's cats that she found in the road. Her eyes flicked around before landing on the door to the bathroom, if she could get him there she could wait until Aunt petunia returned with help. Skirting around Dudley who was still lurching towards her a chubby arm outstretched and reaching for her she backed into the bathroom locking the door and waiting until he entered before dipping around behind him kicking his butt and send him stumbling into the tub with loud screeching hiss. Dorea darted out of the bathroom slamming the door closed and stumbled backwards falling onto her butt and did an awkward crab walk even further away until she ran into the counter of the kitchenette.

     A soft sob slipped from her lips as she snagged a pair of scissors from the counter and wished that her Aunt would hurry up.

 

Chapter Text

     Dorea woke slowly, and as she had done every morning for the past week , pulled herself up by the window and stared down into the plaza hoping to catch a glimpse of something other than the dead roaming around, sure enough there was.

    Aunt Petunia lurched in a manner quite like Dudley, who had begun making the room smell horrible, half her chest was gone revealing the bone beneath the skin peeled away and holding up the shoulder and arm that drug along behind her. Biting her tongue to keep in the sob Dorea took a few steadying breaths, she couldn’t stay here, Dudley would surely escape from the bathroom, the door already groaning under his weight, and he has started pushing his fingers under the door ripping at the skin and staining the carpet in front of the bathroom a deep ugly red.

    Running to the cupboard she grabbed her bag and set it on the bed, she needed supplies, and a better bag. Turning her attention to the luggage carrier,Dorea lugged Dudley’s ‘The Great Humberto’ bag over to her own and turned it upside down beside the bed grimacing as half molded snack cakes dropped at her feet.After giving the bag a few hard shakes, Dorea switched her meagre belongings over to the bag, which was mostly plastic and thus waterproof, much better than her own. Going through Dudleys pile of junk she removed a half empty box of fruit snacks and a few of his shirts. She hesitated only a moment before removing her rather holey socks and trainers to tug on new socks and Dudley's favorite pair of shoes, which he no longer fit in, but were the perfect size for her.

    Moving to the kitchenette she gathered as much as the bottled water she could carry, her nose wrinkling at the sign that said each bottle was a dollar, she didn’t think anyone would force her to pay. After the fifth time hiking up her pants she cut off the string of the curtains and tugged her pants up as far as they could go and looped the string through pulling it tight grabbing Dudleys bag she rummaged through her Aunt Petunia’s purse taking her purse which had one hundred and thirty dollars and a handful of change which she deposited in her backpack.

     She hooked the pair of scissors and a particularly large kitchen knife to her hip with some more string and held up the map of Atlanta a dirty finger tracing the lines from the hotel, her first order of business was to get out of the city and get where there were next to no people. Dragging a chair over to the door she scrambling on top and unlocked the door pulling it open to stare into the hall, she jerked back gagging and shoved the door closed again. The body of a man lay in front of the door and was covered in flies. 

Dorea rummaged through Aunt petunia’s luggage and emerged from the room with a floral smelling red bandana smothering most of the rotting smell. Stepping carefully over the body, looking to the right she saw that most of the hotel room doors were open, others rattling violently, there was a pair of legs sticking outside of the elevator wedging the doors open. To the right was a similar scene, but the door to the stairway was clear.

Moving to the door she peered through the frosted glass and reached up to turn the handle, the door banged sharply as something slammed into it, she screamed scrambling back her eyes wide as she stared at the woman missing half her jaw, a black tongue sliding against the glass as hazy yellow eyes stared her down.

The rattling doors along the hallway got persistently louder as well as the loud groans and hisses from them, she heard the sound of breaking wood and the stomping of feet before the door of the Dursley’s hotel room shook violently.

Dorea ran for the lift and peered down into the darkness it had crashed below with a small enough spot for her to fit through the top. Flinching at a particularly loud thud, she reached out and grabbed the rung of the maintenance ladder her heart pounding violently in her chest as a door broke in the hall, she saw the shambling form of a man in a bathrobe before she closed her eyes and began to descend.

She felt as if she had been climbing forever, the groans and hisses of the walking corpses above and her heart beating loudly in her ears. After a few more drops her shoes hit the top of the lift with a loud thump, moving to the opening she lay on her belly peering out into the lobby, a receptionist was wrapped up in phone cords and pawing at the body of a man whose face was twisted up in horror.

Peeking down she made sure the lift was closed before sliding out landing in a crouch and scanned the rest of the lobby inwardly sighing in relief upon seeing that it was empty save for the receptionist. Starting across the floor while keeping her eyes on the receptionist who had noticed her and was struggling against the cords restraining her. When she reached halfway the cord finally came free of the phone it had been attached to sending the phone skidding across the  ground and the receptionist lurching towards her shrieking. 

Dorea took off running for the doors  bursting out into the square and skid to a halt as heads snapped towards her and the loud shrieking began sending her running for the street bobbing and weaving around the undead, if she would have looked back she would have seen an invisible force tripping the hoard and sending them crashing to the ground.


 

     Peering out of the windows of a school bus, Dorea watched as an old woman who looked remarkably like miss Figg in a bright pink bathrobe, hobbled around, she drug along behind her the torso of a small dog who might have been white before, but the matted fur was now red and brown with the green from the grass staining it. She wondered if miss Figg was like that now, wandering the streets of Privet drive holding Mr Tibbles or Snowy. Shuddering at the image she hunkered down under the seat, it wouldn't do for any of the monsters outside to see her.

     Removing her flashlight, which she had covered the top with a shirt she studied what she had managed to find as she picked through the streets and alleys avoiding the undead and wild dogs alike. A half broken pair of binoculars that although had cracked lenses still allowed her to see further ahead and let her find the way that had the least amount of zombies, there was a gun that had been grasped in a hand that had been detached from the rest of the body, and finally she found a radio that had gave a loud shriek when she turned it on and alerted the undead to her location and nearly got her killed.

     Removing the binoculars she peeked over the seat against and zoomed in on the windshield and shuddered as she saw what must have been the students of the bus, each one wearing a uniform and all much younger than her, they were moving just a bit fast than the adult undead but they were much more clumsy, but that didn't stop them from coming towards the bus tiny hands banging on the side and the door.

     Dorea needed to move.

     Gathering all her things back up pushed open one of the windows swallowing sharply at the little boy below her his mouth was open and black blood leaked out of his mouth. Getting onto the roof she reached up and caught the intersection light above and pulled herself up gribbing the cold metal tightly as she ebgan to slowly shummy across towards a tree that extended up towards a roof of a pizzeria. She squealed as she slipped her eyes squeezing close and felt a familiar feeling, as if she was being sucked through a to small tube her eyes flew open and as she stared up at a starry sky her whole body shaking and trembling as tears cut through the grime on her face. A sob slipped from her lips as she slowly sat up. She was standing on the roof down the street from the pizzeria, it was some sort of office.

     Sniffling she stumbled over too one of the pipes, she crawled under and tugged her blanket over her shuddering against the gravel.

     That had been too close.

 

 

Chapter Text

Despite how grateful Dorea was for her..freakishness saving her, she wished it would have chosen a safer spot. Below the office building as a massive hoard shuffling and moaning as they shuffled clumsily down the street bumping into each other and things. Dorea puuled away from the fence and over to her things and tied the bit of curtain around her face, she had put a long sleeved shirt on under her original, and despite how hot it was, it was a little more protection from the bites. Moving to the door she reached for the handle and jerked it back as loud gunshots and yells sounded, rushing to the fence once more she brought up her binoculars and zoomed in as far as they could go spotting a group  of adults, one of the men handcuffing the one, who had been shouting and shooting at the hoarde below, to the piping along the roof.

Frowning as the group left the man stranded, at least one of them chained up the door so the undead couldn’t reach him. The man was about four days from her location, if she was careful she would reach him before the undead broke through the door.

    Dorea grabbed the fence and slowly began to climb swinging shakily over the top as the fence wobbled violently. The trip down was much smoother and she was hurrying towards the gap between the office and the next building. The gap wasn’t big, an adult could easily jump to it, Dorea was small with stubby legs and she didn’t quite trust her Freakishness to save her should she fall into the alley below.

    Scanning the roof she spotted a greasy bit of plywood that had the old remains of a camp with a gas lantern and a camping stove. The stove wouldn’t fit in her backpack so Dorea hooked it to her hip with the lantern attached to the side of her backpack. Dragging the plywood over to the edge she shoved it across and tested the weight with one foot before hurrying across. The next ledge was a bit further than the last but there were no more pieces of plywood around so she grabbed the one she found and drug it across the roof dropping it over the gap. 

    Taking a moment to catch her breath Dorea clambered on top of the plywood and moved across dropping again on the next roof, she was too tired to move on. Dragging the plywood over to the wall she leaned it against it and tucked inside to get some relief from the heat.


 

Dorea woke slowly, her whole body aching, but the air was thankfully cooler, peeling open her eyes she blinked wearily upon seeing the sun slowly lowering in the distance. Grabbing her flashlight, the undead didn’t really react to the light if you moved it slow. And besides she was on the roofs.

Taking another sip of water and squeezing some grape mush into her mouth Dorea  removed her binoculars turning the switch on the side and zoomed into the distance, the man was still there shouting with his head tilted back. 

“Just you wait mister, I’ll be right there.” she whispered and turned the night vision mode off. She needed to preserve the batteries afterall. Moving back under the plywood she lay on her belly and began to study the map and the pamphlet until it grew dark and the flashlight started to flicker.

Turning on her back Dorea began to count the stars tracing them as the undead filled the background noise.


 

Dorea flopped onto the roof gasping for breath and she could now hear the man who was cursing out the undead that had converged on the door, his voice was hoarse and he had a pretty nasty sunburn starting to form. Dragging the plywood over she shoved it roughly and the loud clack of the wood hitting stone silenced the man. Pulling herself up on tired legs she lay across the plywood her head spinning from the heat.

Slowly she drug herself across the plywood and stumbled towards the other edge, she was one roof away from the man.

    “Mister! Catch!” she flung a water bottle at him which smashed into his shoulder, he scrambled to catch it before it rolled away, using his teeth he removed the cap and greedily began to drink squeezing the bottle desperately.

    “Thanks kid, helpin’ ol’ Merle out.” he grunted and she nodded tiredly resting her chin on her arms tiredly, the smell of the dead was making her rather queasy, her stomach rebelling from the lack of food, the heat, and the smell before she dropped to her knees and throwing up mostly spit and pieces of grape skin that hadn’t become mush.

Whining quietly she pressed her forehead against the warm stone walls  squeezing her eyes closed. Grabbing some water she swirled it about in her mouth and spit it out grimacing as the taste refused to go away. 

She stood and studied the man blearily.

“I’ll come over tomorrow.” she slurred and tossed another water bottle towards him before finding the nearest bit of shade to curl up under, her sore throat and stomach rebelling painfully.

 

Shifting unsteadily Dorea grimaced as her skin tingled unpleasantly sitting up she noticed she must have rolled slightly into the sun because her right arm and part of her face was painfully tight and sore.

Pulling the bandanna up Dorea grabbed the plywood pulling it across the rood slowly before dropping it silently. The undead were surprisingly quiet only a few hisses and groans or thuds against the door sounding. Crawling across Dorea dropped down biting back a yawn, the man was asleep and up close he smelled horrible causing her nose to wrinkle before she moved to the hand that was cuffed to the pipe, it had been rubbed raw with a few scratches, the wrist had swollen and the metal was biting into the skin in a rather painful looking way.

    Her eyes slid to the tool box, rummaging around inside until she found a thin bit of wire which she twisted carefully and moved to the lock around the wrist and began to wiggle the wire around inside, when that didn’t work she frowned before grabbing one of her little army men and used the one with the longest gun striking out to poke and prod around inside before with a satisfying click the mans wrist slipped free, Dorea caught it carefully and rummaged in her bag tearing a strip off of one of Dudley’s shirts and wet it with some water before wrapping it around the man's wrist.

    Gathering all the tools, she shoved it into the tool box as well as the handcuffs which she unhooked from the pipe, and placed it inside her backpack. Sitting down beside the man she warily eyed the door and settled in for a long night.

Chapter Text

Dorea woke to faint shifting, opening her eyes she watched the city of Atlanta falling away, she was being carried one hand pressed gently against her back, her backpack was hanging off of the man's opposite arm.

    “Awake Finally? I outta thank you for releasing me.” Dorea sat up noticing that her bandanna was up over her nose, hesitantly she pulled it down and was relieved when it didn’t smell like rotting bodies, well it did, just not as painfully strong as the city.

    “Don’t you worry, ol’ Merle will get you somewhere safe, got a name kid?” He asked and veered off the road stepping into the trees, his shoulders slowly relaxed and he gave a slow sigh of relief.

“Dorea. I saw you from the office.” she lifted her binoculars out of her shirt fiddling with the strap as she glanced around.

    “Where are we going?” she asked turning back to Merle, he hummed lowly.

    “To find my brother..and the old group. They were heading for the CDC, hopefully we can catch up.” She nodded and they were silent for a moment before she shifted in discomfort as she became aware of her need to pee.

    “Quit wiggling.” she stilled and glanced at him from under her lashes.

    “I need to pee.” He sighed and scanned the area for a moment before setting her down nudging her behind a tree.

    “Go on, I'll be here.” 


 

Dorea jogged lightly beside Merle who was muttering to himself and squinting around, they had to move back onto the road after running into a few undead, which Merle called ‘Walkers’. Her eyes glanced at his wrist nodding when she saw that the swelling had gone down some.

“Hoo boy! Lookit that! Looks like that old thing died out.” Merle paused scanning the words written across the side just as screams sounded a bit further down the road.

“Fuck!” Merle shot down the road ripping a dagger from his pocket, Dorea hurried after him her eyes locking onto an older girl with blonde hair sobbing as she scrambled away form two walkers, Merle wasn’t going to make it.

Trembling Dora clutched the hem of her shirt in her hands and began to wish, she felt an odd bubbly and warm feeling right behind her belly button before it spread through her body and suddenly the Walkers were blasted back and into the bushes shoving a few cars away.

Dorea sucked in sharp mouthfuls of air her eyes wide and hands trembling violently as she dropped roughly on her knees as she dry heaved her empty stomach clenching painfully. She felt a hand on her back and a faint buzzing in her ear.

“-eathe, kid, Breath.” Her vision slowly came into focus and she realised that she had been crying.

“Easy kid.” She stared up at Merle cautiously as she sniffled scrubbing at her face.

“S-sorry.” she whispered and Merle gave a quick quirk of his lips.

“Nothing to apologize for, you went and saved little miss Sophie here. Now, I want you two to get into the RV and wait for me to fix this piece of shit.” The girl from before picked Dorea up and scrambled into the RV.

“I’m Sophie.” the girl sniffled swiping her arm across her nose with an aborted hiccup, Dorea removed her bag placing it beside her and fidgeted with her hands in her lap.

“Dorea..Are you ok?” Sophie nodded and closed her eyes taking deep breaths softly counting under her breath, Dorea took time to study the older girl curiously.

Sophie had short blonde hair and gray-green eyes, freckles were visible in the tear tracks down her grime covered face. She wore a blue shirt with a rainbow on the front and beige pants. Dorea opened her backpack and removed a bottle of water.

“Here.” Sophie took it with a soft thanks and began to take long drinks she jerked it back coughing as some slipped through and went up her nose. Sniffling Sophie gave her a shy, water smile and set the bottle aside.

Merle Stepped into the RV and sat in the driver's seat turning the key, the RV Came to life with a loud sputtering purr, Merle cheered grinning excitedly before rushing back outside and lowered the hood and came back inside closing the door.

He walked by them checking through the rooms peering into the bathroom then back at the two.

“Get your showers kiddies,share some of your clothes in that bag of yours.” He grunted to Dorea who nodded and  removed the clothes passing them to Sophie.

“You go first.” Sophie nodded and stumbled to the bathroom as Merle began to drive, reaching into her bag she removed a little army man and rested her chin on the table peering to the front seat, Dorea hopped out of the booth and scrambled onto the passenger seat.

Merle occasionally glanced at her out the corner of his eye as he carefully edged around cars or bodies blocking the road. She eyed his wrist frowning as she saw it had swelled up again.

“Does it hurt?” she asked looking to his wrist.

“Don;t you worry about me, Half-Pint.” she huffed tucking her knees to her chest.

“My name is Dorea .” He snorted softly and they were silent for a moment before he asked the dreaded question.

“Wanna tell me what you did back there?” She hunched her shoulders swallowing thickly, would he throw her out of the RV?

“It wasn’t me.” she lied and he scoffed.

“Bullshit, I saw your face kid, and the way your trying to become a turtle tells me that it was you, so?” she sniffled softly.

“My aunt and uncle called it my freakishness, things happen when I'm angry, or scared, or if i wish it enough. I didn’t want sophie to get eaten.” as the silence grew Dorea hunched further into herself a soft sob slipping from her lips.

“Woah! Hey, what's with the waterworks half-pint?” Dorea bit her lip sharply to keep in her sobs and squeezed her eyes closed.

“Are you gonna throw me out now?” She sniffled and his head snapped to her in surprise.

“Hell no kid! What gave you that idea?” he demanded and she cringed at the raised voice.

“Aunt Petunia said if anyone found out that I’m a freak they would hurt me.” Merle's eyes narrowed.

“Listen here Half-pint, I'm only going to say this once, understand?” He growled and she nodded rapidly eyes flicking to his hands which had a white knuckled grip on the steering wheel.

“You ignore everything your aunt and uncle told you, you are not a freak, just a bit...different. Your with ol’ Merle now and if someone tries to hurt you, you better bet ol’ merle will be there to beat the shit out of them!” She giggled softly rubbing at her eyes and peered back as the bathroom door opened.

“Shoo, go get clean, get that blood off ya.” she nodded and hopped off the seat moving to the booth where she traded her army man for a clean pair of clothes.


 

Dorea never had the greatest luck, something was bound to go wrong, so when the RV began to sputter and wheeze before coming to a stop, she was silently resigned.

“Fuck! Shit!” Merle groaned as he dropped his head down onto the wheel. It was pitch black outside without the headlights lighting the way and the trees blocked the moonlight from lighting anything up.

“Well..Alright, i guess we should get some shut eye and head off in the morning, you two take the bed. Shoo!” He made a rather comical shooing motion at them until they scrambled to the back, Sophie had to help Dorea up onto the bed as her legs were too short to be of any help.

Laying in the darkened room, if she listened very carefully and drowned out Sophie’s breathing, she could hear the walkers hissing and groaning at each other. She wondered why they were the most active at night.


 Shifting uncomfortably from her position strapped to Merles back in a blanket that had been carefully adjusted to be a backpack, Sophie was held bridal style in his arms as he picked through the forest.

"See anything, Half-pint?" Dorea pulled scanned the area with her binoculars.

"Nothing yet, Mister Merle." They had been walking for ages, after taking everything that was left behind from the RV, including a pistol that Merle looked relieved about, they had set off, Merle moving to the woods again as the Walkers had shambled onto the roads once more. Absently turning she paused.

"Wait, Mister Merle, there's some tents up ahead." she squeaked scanning around the area for any sign of walkers, or the tents owners.

"Where?" She pointed carefully to the left and he started off towards it.

"Do you think it's Mommy and the others Mister Dixon?" Sophie asked quietly with a faint shimmer of hope in her eyes.

"Maybe, we'll see." stepping into the camp Dorea flinched upon seeing the torn open body of a dog, Sophie whimpered softly and buried her face in Merle's neck.

"Ah hell, alright girls here's what we're going to do, there's some backpacks and that tent here, let's pack them up alright?" Merle set them down carefully and began to quickly and efficiently empty and take down the tent rolling it up and shoved it into a draw string mesh bag.

"Girls, can you check that bag?" He pointed to a large yellow pack and  knelt by a blue one. Dorea followed Sophie over to the pack and while Sophie started with the largest pocket, Dorea checked the smaller ones.

"Marshmallows!" Sophie breathed holding up the bag excitedly.

"Put everything to keep in half-pint's bag." Merle called and Dorea shrugged off her bag and unzipped it letting Sophie shove the marshmallows into the bag, she emerged with a box of matches and a pair of frilly underwear, grimacing she threw the underwear over her shoulder and continued digging.

By the time they finished they had gotten a couple of good things, plus a whole box of unopened granola bars, which the trio each took one and gobbled it down. once more the trio set off, this time Sophie holding the map tracing their location with her fingers while Dorea kept an eye out for walkers or landmarks via her binoculars. She hoped they found a place soon, Merle said they would have to sleep in the trees if they didn't.

 

Chapter Text

    Clinging tightly to a branch, Dorea peered around with her binoculars, her head poking out of the thick tree tops until she spotted the odd building Merle had described in the distance, it was quite close and she could slightly see the roaming hordes shambling around and inside the fences.

    Studying the area around it looking for a path she spotted a road leading straight for it. Pulling away her Binoculars as she began a slow and steady climb back to the ground. Hanging from the lowest branch, Merle carefully grabbed her by her waist and set her down on the ground.

“There's a road that leads to it straight that way, it looks like it’d take a few days.” She chirped rubbing her sap covered hands down her pant leg with a grimace.

    Merle ruffled her hair grinning down at her.

    “Nice job half pint,now how about we all go check our snares and see if we caught anything?” 

    That was another thing, Merle had been steadily teaching them how to survive in the wild, when they were traveling he’d teach them the basics of tracking and how to keep the prey from alerting to your presence, though when it came time to remove what they caught from the snares, Merle would slowly go through the motions of removing the animal from the trap.

Dorea didn’t like the skinning part, Merle kept the skins wrapped in a shirt and tucked it into the hiking bag. Dorea was rather good at making soups, having done something similar with the Dursleys before, though Merle did the hard work of bringing the water filled cooking pot over.

Most of the meat was set aside for jerky, the rest either cooked on the camping stove or chucked into the pot with wild vegetables for a stew. 

The trio rarely went hungry, saving the marshmallows, and the assorted goodies Dorea had scavenged from the Dursleys, for every once and awhile.

 


 

Laying beside Sophie in the tent, Dorea stared at the stairs visible through the netting at the top tracing constellations with her eyes.

“Do you wanna hear about my best friend?” Sophie whispered startling Dorea who rolled over so she was facing the older girl who was laying on her back staring at the stars.

Giving a low hum of assent Dore rested her chin on her knuckles.

“His name is Carl, he’s the only other kid my age in the group, his daddy is Mister Rick, i heard mommy say that he was the one who cuffed mister Merle to the roof, Mister Daryl was really mad and punched him.” Dorea huffed.

“I would have to, that was mean.” she grumbled and Sophie giggled softly.

“Carl liked cowboys and the west, he wants to be a sheriff like his daddy when he grows up. We both like the color blue...what's your favorite color?” Dorea thought for a moment but even before she did she knew what her favorite color was.

“My mommy had red hair.” she whispered as if expecting Petunia Dursley to rise from the grave and smack her over the head with a frying pan again.

“Go to sleep girls.” Merle called from outside sounding rather exasperated and the duo giggled before dutifully doing as told

Sophie giggled as Dorea wiggled her fingers sending wind to lift Sophie's hair up so it stood straight up. Merle was flipping through a book that was in the hiking back occasionally his eyes flickering up to check on them and the area around them.

A loud explosion sounded in the distance startling Dorea who jerked  in surprise her gift cancelling but sophie's hair still stuck up from the grime of travel.

“Let’s pack up, i bet that explosion will draw in every damn walker for miles.” Merle grunted eyeing the way the explosion came with slight resignation and wariness.

“Yes mister Merle.” With an exasperated look their way Merle began to pack up the bigger things leaving them to get the smaller stuff.

“Told ya to stop calling me that, just Merle is fine.”


 

As soon as they came up to the CDC Merle began to curse, quietly, because of the walkers surrounding the crate, some inside the crate and ineffectually trying to climb the walls.

“God dammit, I knew our luck wasn’t that good.” Merle grew silent staring at the crater with a frown.

“You better have gotten out Darlyina or i’m going to revive ya and kick your ass.” he growled.

“DO you think Mommy made it out?” Sophie whispered her eyes rapidly scanning the walkers as her lower lip trembled.

“I don’t think, I know. Your Mama is a strong woman Chickie, she definitely made it out.” Merle soothed adjusting his grip on Sophie.

Merle hummed lowly his eyes locked on a jeep down the road, the walkers were quite far from it, all having been drawn in by the explosion. Hurrying over he peered into the window and the back before giving a large grin.

‘Alright, this is what i’m talking about.” he whisper cheered and set Sophie down before turning the key, the jeep coming to life.

“In you get girls.” Sophie pulled Dorea into her lap and buckled the seat belt as Merle set their bags in the backseat, Dorea peered around studying the different gauges she couldn’t make heads or tails of until her eyes landed on the gas gauge.

The needle was only slightly  lowered from the ‘full’ side though if the way Merle was driving towards the gas station was any indicator, they wouldn’t have to worry about gas for a while.

“Stay here kiddos.” Dorea swallowed sharply eyes widening.

“You’ll come back?” she asked and he paused hand on the handle before he huffed smiling softly and reached over to ruffle both of their hair.

“I won’t be but a moment, don’t you worry, ol’ Merle doesn’t abandon family.” Dorea sucked in a sharp breath her eyes wide as he closed the door and entered the station.

“Family.” Dorea whispered quietly her eyes stinging as tears threatened to fall, she closed her eyes and leaned her head back against Sophie’s shoulder taking deep steady breaths.

After she composed herself the two girls settled in to watch the station like a hawk eyes darting to the occasional glimpses of Merle who had a gleeful look on his face, though Dorea would also check around them for any signs of walkers.

When Merle emerged he had his arms loaded with shopping bags,which he loaded into the back and disappeared behind the jeep and after a few moments placed four red cans in the back making the jeep smell faintly like gasoline.

Merle placed a bag down on the console  removing two bottles of soda passing them over.

“We were in luck, most of the gas station hadn’t been scavenged, seems the walkers had been around here before. Now..where to next.” Merle removed the map studying it intently and occasionally muttering to himself.

Dorea took a sip of the Pepsi which was still fizzy despite being a bit warm she looked to sophie and then down at her bottle.

“Share? Save the other one for later?” she asked.

“Sure.” Sophie put her bottle back in the bag and accepted Dorea’s bottle taking a sip and gave a burp her noses Scrunching up as her eyes water causing Dorea to giggle.

A warm feeling filled Dorea, she wouldn’t mind Sophie and Merle as Family.

Chapter Text

Chapter Text

Three pairs of eyes stared at the remains of a camping ground, specifically, the showers.

After a few days on the road, they all were feeling uncomfortably dirty, so the first time Merle caught a glimpse of the camping ground he had taken a detour, that was actually rather far from the way they had been originally going.

“Alright, here's what we’re gonna do, Take this,” Merle handed Dorea one of his smaller hunting knives. “Pointy end goes into the bad guy, I’ll teach you both how to properly wield a blade later alright?” Dorea nodded as Merle handed a blade to Sophie who eyes were open very wide.

“Mommy told me to never touch a blade..is it really alright?” Merle huffed the corners of his mouth tugged downwards.

“Listen well and good, chickie. There is no room for any of that overprotective,coddlin’ shit. You need a weapon to survive, there ain’t always gonna be an adult there to save your asses, I got the blades and i am sure as shit gonna make sure you two survive.” Sophie nodded rapidly.

    Dorea scrambled into the bag rummaging around in the bags from the assorted stores they had visited on the way, removing two outfits and soap and shampoo from another bag Dorea hopped out of the back seat passing Sophie her clothes.

    “Alright, I'll be right on the other side, stick together you two, head straight for the jeep if you come out before me alright?” Sophie took Dorea's hand as they nodded and began to tug her towards the showers, Merle checked to make sure there wasn’t any walkers within the side they were going into before shooing them inside.

    Dorea made a beeline for the nearest stall setting her clothes on the sink counter before getting undressed, she grimaced tossing the dirty clothes into the plastic bag setting her shoes on the counter. 

    “Waters ready!” Sophie chirped smiling widely as she waved her hand under the water of her stall Dorea cheered happily and stepped into her stall, her body very quickly adjusting to the slightly scalding temperature. 

    She couldn’t remember the last time she had a hot shower, the Dursleys never wasted any water on her, more often than not, Petunia would hose her down with a hose in a bathing suit leaving her cold and shivering for hours afterwards, the river was cold as well but it at least removed the blood.

    A happy sigh slipped past Dorea's lips as she savored the warmth, running shampoo through her hair she grimaced as she picked twigs, leaves, and clumps of mud out of the tangled mess her hair had turned into. 

    After she was squeaky clean with her skin scrubbed furiously and turned a angry pink color, Dorea turned off the water and snagged a towel carefully drying off before draping the towel on the sink for Sophie to use.

    Blinking in the mirror after she finished dressing Dorea ran her fingers over the soft shirt her eyes wide. She had never worn clothes that fit, or clothes that were this soft. She now wore a pair of black leggings under blue jean shorts and a bright blue shirt that had a sea turtle on the front. Grabbing the brush from the bag Sophie brought Dorea swiftly ran it through grimacing at the painful tugging and pulling.

half way through Sophie joined her wearing tan Capri's and an orange shirt with a smiley face on it. Dorea grabbed a ponytail and frowned down at it before turning to Sophie.

“Can you help me?” Sophie nodded and snagged the brush before very carefully and expertly pulling Dorea’s hair up into a ponytail. It was as Sophie was tying her shoes that Dorea began to hear the loud hissing and groaning.

Freezing Dorea’s hand flew to the hunting knife on the counter glancing to Sophie who was scowling down at her shoes still, the door opened, letting a walker in, the smell of rot making it slightly hard to breathe.

    The woman had been pregnant before she had turned her stomach distended to a painful looking degree, there was a bite mark on her calf.Sophie whimpered as they began to back up, Sophie having grabbed the bag with the shampoo and other stuff.

With a hiss the woman lurched forward and the girls screamed loudly, Dore could hear Merle cursing before the door burst open and he rushed in kicking the walker in the back and stood on her.

“Go quickly! To the car!” The girls carefully skirted around the screeching walker avoiding her hands and rushed to safety. Once they were safe inside the car Sophie clung to Dorea with a bruising grip, both girls sobbing.

When Merle climbed into the car the girls launched across the console and into his lap, burying their faces in his shirt and clung on tightly. Merle wrapped his arms tight around them.

“It’s alright, Merle's gotcha. Did the walker bite or scratch you two?” Dorea shook her head rapidly trying to push back the tears but she was just making it worse and started to painfully hiccup every once and awhile.

“Come on, we need to get out of here, it’s alright.” After a few more moments of coaxing the girls finally moved back to the passenger seat, though Sophie kept a gentle grip on Merle's sleeve her face buried in Dorea’s hair as she breathed raggedly.

Dorea hoped that never happened again.


 

Dorea woke with a sob her heart pounding painfully as she sucked in a sharp breath crawling from the blankets, she scrambled to the front and into Merle's lap sobbing softly as he woke with a grunt squinting down at her in the dark.

“Wha-? Half-pint? What's wrong.” Dorea hiccuped burying her face in his shirt, with a heavy sigh Merle adjusted wrapping his arms around her. Listening to the steady thump of his heart Dorea slowly calmed down occasionally sniffling.

“You wanna talk about it?” Dorea shook her head after a moment the nightmare was kind of silly to her now that she had time to get over her fear and she was already forgetting what scared her the most.

“Alright, that’s ok.” He grunted tiredly and as Dorea slowly drifted off she muttered the first thing that came to mind.

“Goodnight papa.” 


 

Dorea’s face was as red as a tomato as she sat in A giggling Sophie's lap, Merle would occasionally glance at her and snort as he weaved around cars heading past the crater where the CDC building had been.

“Honestly, nothing to be ashamed about, I’m rather flattered.” Merle teased and Dorea whined dropping her face in her hands. Pouting Dorea crawled out of Sophie's lap and into the back burying herself in the nest of blankets so only her nose was visible as she scowled at the laughing Merle and Sophie.

“If you want to call me papa, I don’t mind half-pint. Though not in public I have a reputation to uphold!” He winked at her to signal that he was kidding as they hit the highway.

Burying her face in the pillows Dorea had a very wide grin on her face as tears pricked her eyes. She wondered if this was what a family felt like.

Chapter Text

Alright guys! Unfortunately this is not a chapter update, i was originally going to post a chapter every day or every other day, but i might hold off and post around my work schedule, so the next chapter will be out on the 17th i apologize in advance!

This should actually make it so the chapters are longer, with more content as well as making it so i'm not so exhausted trying to chuck out the chapters after i get off of work lol.

Chapter Text

Sophie missed her mommy very much.

She missed the way she would sing her to sleep quietly even when daddy had been there, she missed how her mommy would brush her hair and put in pretty hair clips or flowers.

Sophie missed her hugs the most, how her arms would wrap almost entirely around her and hug her as if Sophie was going to disappear.

She wondered if her mommy thought of her as much as Sophie did her. Glancing up from the fire Sophie studied Dorea who was sitting on the ground in front of Mister Dixon and watching with rapt attention as he expertly gleaned the shotgun he had found at the gas station.

Sophie had been scared of the Dixon's at first, but she remembered how Mister Merle had nearly broken her daddy’s wrist when he had swung at her one time, or how Mister Daryl would sneak carved wooden toys into Her and Carl’s hands with a grin and a wink.

She was scared of what her mother would think when she found out that Sophie had been calling Merle her daddy long before her own daddy had been killed by a walker. Dorea was an added bonus, Sophie having always wanted a little sibling to spoil and protect, but was afraid to ask due to her daddy being the way he was.

Standing Sophie moved over and sat beside Dorea  pulling her knees to her chest and just watched, the only sound in the camp was the crackle of the fire and the soft brush of the cloth over metal.


 

Sophie loved when they slept in the jeep, aside from it being safer, it was the only place Dorea would use her magic.

Watching in awe as Dorea flicked her fingers sending glowing balls of multicolored lights to illuminate their sleeping space, Sophie couldn’t help the small pang of sadness that threatened to drown her.

She wasn’t like Dorea and Mister Merle, Dorea had her magic and mister Merle was seemingly able to wield weapons with ease as well as provide for them.

Sophie was just Sophie, she was afraid to do half the things her new family did and could barely keep up when they had to run, she was afraid that one day she would be the cause of Dorea or Mister Merle's death because she had been too afraid and too weak to run and fight back.

“Sophie?” Sophie jolted blinking owlishly at Dorea, the lights were spinning in lazy circles around them.

“Yeah?” Dorea tilted her head slightly giving her an odd look before she crawled into her lap.

“Can you tell me about the birds again?” Sophie smiled shyly and nodded, and as she began to tell her new little sister about magpies, she let her worries fade to the back of her mind, not forgotten but dormant.

Chapter Text

Dorea frowned tilting her head and lowered her binoculars, raising them again she squinted before gasping.

“Papa! There's a woman fighting a walker in that store!” Merle cursed stopped the jeep hopping out and rushed towards the store, there were loud shouts and Merles loud laughter before he exited once more with a blushing man and woman who were carrying bags.

“That’s mister Rhee! He’s with mama’s group!”Sophie said excitedly curling her fingers into her shirt. Dorea scrunched up her nose in confusion, she was pretty sure that mister Rhee had been trying to bite the woman, shrugging she put it out of her mind and scrambled onto the console to poke her head out of the roof light, ophie squirming out around beside her.

“Mister Rhee!” the man gaped his eyes widening.

“You found Sophie?” he gasped before his eyes trailed over to Dorea and his brows rose.

“And another kid?”

“Lead on little china man, we got some reuniting to do!” Merle clapped the man on the back and ambled over to the car, Sophie sliding down and buckling up, Dorea giggled waving at the couple before scrambling into the back into the car seat Merle had drug out from a store.

“We’re going to see Mommy!” Sophie whispered her eyes watering as she clutched her seat belt in a white knuckled grip. Merle grunted as he followed the beat up truck.

Dorea stared down at her fingers picking at the dirt beneath her nails,she wondered what would happen when her little family found their lost family, would they leave her behind, treat her as the Dursley’s had, or worse would they ignore her.

Tears stung at Dorea’s eyes as she bit her bottom lip to keep to sobs in,she was so, so scared.