By Hook Or By Crook || Rick & Daryl
There was a creaking squeal of hinges at his back from where the bat-wing doors swung open and the loud thunk of boots pacing towards the bar where he sat. The footfalls stopped as a skidding of chair legs scuffed along the wooden floorboards. Keeping his attention at the glass brushing at his fingertips, the bounty hunter didn’t give the faintest clue that he was keeping watch of whom was entering and leaving. Didn’t want to give away that he was a man with a high bounty on his head. Worth much more alive than he would be dead and he remained to keep it that way.
There came a drawl at his side and he carefully reached for his glass, giving his wrist a slight roll watching as the amber liquid sloshed about in a rhythmic lull. Bringing the dingy glass to his lips, he took a long swill of the whiskey before setting his glass down and muttering, “No, I ain’t from ‘round here. Jus’ passin’ through is all.”
It was the glean of the badge at the man’s chest at his side that caught the bounty hunter’s eye and he knew then he best be careful with what it was he was saying. Already he had had his run-in with the law and it about damned near cost him his life. Daryl couldn’t afford another incident like that again. Ellen weren’t around to save his sorry scrap of hide this time.
Rolling his jaw a few times, he adjusted himself in his seat, figuring this sheriff might not be so dimwitted as the others and motioned to edge his hat up some. Better to be safe than sorry. Scratching at the scruff of his throat, Daryl stole a glance over towards the man at his side taking note of the weapons in his possession. Returning the glass to his lips, he kept quiet inclining to reply only when spoken to.
Rick nodded, trying hard to focus solely on the glass in his hand. The liquid was amber and glistening, the overhead lights whispering down on the contents. He wanted to take a drink, wanted to take the burning taste from his lips but something stalled him. He hadn’t had a drink in a long while but lately things hadn’t been quiet around here. Things had been bumpy and a hell of a lot more rocky than they had ever been.
Setting the drink back down onto the counter he instead chose to focus his attention on the scrapes and the chips in the wood in front of him. Whispering light dulled the bar and he suddenly hated the atmosphere. The smoke wrapped around them, the smell of drunks and piss poor scoundrels that wanted nothing more than to find actual life all over again.
"Ain’t a good place to be a newcomer." Rick stated, voice lowering slightly as he noticed the way that he drank from his glass, the way he swallowed it down. He looked like someone straight out of a mysterious poster hanging nameless on a post. He was just like anyone else here- at least that sure as hell was what he looked like.
"Things have been heavy for a while." He eyed the stranger, wondered about him before he finally wrapped his hand around the glass. "There a reason why you’re passing through here?"
We First, Always-Rick+Carl
The gunshot is loud and deafening in the heat of the day. Carl knows it’s not morning. It’s afternoon, maybe three o’clock. Something he had picked up from his dad and Daryl along the way. Tell the time by the sun, always. Time was valuable to them. Time meant a lot. Night was harder than day, night left you too opened. Easy prey for the walkers. But right now in the day light they were easy prey for the people of Terminus.
There was a hole in the man now, the sun boiled his blood. Carl wondered if he felt that. But that thought gave him a deep chill. He swallowed harshly and looked up at his dad. He felt dizzy, his hands were shaky. He wanted the gun that the guy had on him. He wanted to defend. Like he had been unable to do inside the train car.
His eyes never leaving his dad he took one step forward and then another. Walking towards the body, towards the gun that the man hadn’t even managed to get out. It would be hot in his hands, blistering. But there would be some calm in the feeling of it. A sense of safety when most good things had been lost. With his dad there was something close enough to safety to start thinking that things might be okay. Okay.
There was a noise, loud and clear. A voice. Carl hadn’t heard much talking outside of the others of the groups. The gunshot made him feel deaf. But the voice was loud and commanding. Don’t move. Drop your weapons. For a moment he averted his eyes from his dad’s face. Surveying the area, trying to find the source. Once he found it, the leader, calling out to them. And he knew they had no choice but to stop right now. And wait.
His dad would think of something. He looked back at him, awaiting his next movement. Knowing it would decide his own.
He hears the voice just when he means to mention to Carl something about how once they’re out there they stay close- no matter what. No one was going to be left out dead today. No one was going to go and give up, especially not now.
There were no responses, no replies, nothing at all but the endangered feeling of being cornered and victimized. The beat within his chest is stalled and Rick’s breath is torn straight from his lungs. The sun dawns on the back of his neck and he wants to tear himself towards the dark shrouds of confusion and fear.
Turning towards the source of the voice Rick’s hand tightens on the Colt in his grip, sweat lacing across his skin. His breathing is ragged and his fear that open fire will descend on the both of them. His finger inches towards the trigger and without even knowing what the man looks like or what’s in the man’s eyes when he pulls it.
The bullet travels and blood sprays and the man falls.
Rick takes a deep breath and turns to Carl, hoping that he won’t find fear in his son’s eyes as he nods towards him.
"Your son... Carl?" Loki paused for a moment, looking the man in the eye. "How old is he? I admit, I'm shocked to see a child. I haven't seen a living child in ages. He must be something special."
Rick’s eyes found Loki and he could see the shock written there on the man’s features. Carl, just a kid, had survived longer than most people would in this darkness. Yet here they were. Here he was. “14.” He replied before a gaze was given to his boy. “Yeah, must be. Don’t rightly know how he does it but he’s the strongest person I know.”
♔—-"And they’re not going to pull the wool over our eyes, isn’t that right?" Loki looked at Carl and then at Michonne, giving them both a mocked look of suspect. It was all in good fun though. Who would have thought that such a broken group of people, those who had killed to live and watched dozens of friends and family die off around them, could spend an afternoon playing cards? It was as if the world hadn’t ended years ago and that… That was pretty damned amazing.
"You’re right." He answered with a small nod towards Loki and then looking around the table. Honestly he was just fine with anyone winning just as long as the look on their face was worth it. "We’re gonna have to make sure we beat ‘em. What do y’have Loki?"
Messing With the Wrong People || Loki and Rick
♔—-Following after Rick proved to be an exhausting experience. With every singe step the former God too, his knees quaked, threatening to give out under the weight of the rest of his body. Seconds passed into minutes and with every single one, Loki’s body screamed to rest. Gods did he need proper sleep, but until he witnessed Terminus go up in flame, there would be no plausible way for Loki’s body to get what it demanded. If his body study down and force him into unconsciousness, he would be dead.
Passing out wasn’t an option unless he wanted to be on the menu for Terminus’ next feast. Every time he had to pause to lean against a tree, he mentally kicked himself and pushed forward to keep going. Surprisingly he never fell too far behind Rick, probably because of the injury that Rick sustained to his leg.
They didn’t speak, too busy concentrating on the sounds around them. Keeping their guard up and their ears open for any hint that a scouting party from the town might be nearby. Though after what seemed like hours—though Loki knew very well it was nothing more than ten or fifteen minutes—Rick turned to address him, asking him about where his hope derived from. There were a few sources, but none more powerful than his children and his need to return to them, to protect them and help them in their own tormented lives.
"I’ve held trust in my children, Rick. They’re my hope. They’re my number one reason for living. I don’t know how they are, but I know they’re alive. I can’t believe anything else. Holding onto them is what brought me to take an interest in you. You regard your boy as I regard my children and that’s why I couldn’t leave you behind." He forced a smile, though it was painful do to the bullet that grazed the side of his face. "So yes, I think I can manage to hold onto that hope, even now. We’ve made it this far, haven’t we? Last night I thought I’d die inside those walls without every seeing the outside. I’ve been proven wrong on the account, I think it’s safe to say that we might pull through. I’ll stop holding onto that once I’ve stopped breathing."
His words were the kind that you hung up faith on. Rick knew that there was nothing more pure than that fervent love of a child, nothing more amazing than the love for one’s kid. Rick couldn’t imagine himself without it. Couldn’t imagine survival without the need to keep his boy alive.
"More honorable than anything." Rick stated, nod given in Loki’s direction that spoke of brilliant agreement. It was an actual relief that wouldn’t falter. Loki was becoming closer to him and becoming more and more of an integral part of this entire endeavor. There was death everywhere and yet Rick found some hope for life there inside of this man that he had encountered.
"Let’s hope neither of us stop breathing then,"
He continued walking without an answer simply because it was more than obvious that he too clung to that faith in the survival of his boy to keep him going much further. He’d lost everything already but his son wasn’t going anywhere and he would do just about anything to keep that true.
Up ahead there was a rustle and Rick noted it, stopping in his path and turning his eyes towards Loki. But something told him it was okay, something told him that it was the rest of his family. It wasn’t Terminus.
"We found them."
Gave Up My Soul
He heard the scream. Loud and crushing and he heard his mom yelling. But Carl didn’t move not for the longest time. He listened and he heard the pain in it. But he felt cold, a little cold and there was a fever though, right in his head. His heart rate was up, dancing wildly in his chest.
And then his mom was telling him to call an ambulance.
He stood up but he moved slow to his phone and called. He wondered if his dad was dead. The yelling had stopped. What would happen if his dad was dead? What would happen to them?
If his dad died he knew what would happen. He’d take care of what his dad wanted and had to do. He’d kill his mom and that bastard that had knocked her up. The unborn kid, too. Because that was no sibling of us.
The ambulance came.
His dad wasn’t dead.
The hospital was sterile and gray as he glanced around the room. Quiet and determined, in lack of something that tasted foreign and uncertain. He hated the feelings that pushed him towards the bitterness of death.
He was dead.
His mind was a mess, he wasn’t coherent.
A low groan passed his lips as his scalded fingertips touched to the sores on his arm. Oh he’d done a bang up job. Let’s get ourselves burned maybe that way he could survive in hell.
Turning his eyes to the chair beside the bed he saw Carl. He had expected Lori- with her eyes rolled back dead and coldness lodged in her chest but it was just his boy.
Holes In The Wall-Rick+Carl
It sounded more than good. But there was something off about the way his dad said it. Like maybe it should’ve been different. BLTs were a lot better than bologna. But there was something about the bologna. It was an easy route. And he felt bad for thinking like that. But his dad always was the one pushing attempts. He didn’t know how to feel now, standing there in the kitchen being apart of a change he couldn’t even understand.
"Sounds good." he said with a small nod, going more into the kitchen to get some plates down. He remembered when they bought these plates. He had been six or something. His mom was talking to his dad about something he couldn’t remember. But he remembered the way they had shined, the way her hands had lifted them from the boxes. They had ate off of them that night, too. He remembered the note his mom left on the fridge and didn’t come back home. "I thought you’d work until after dinner."
Rick nodded, watching Carl reach for the plates. He remembered standing right where he was now and thinking on what kind of life he would give to his boy. Something steady and sure, something secure and honest. Something that he could grow up thinking that his dad had done good. But now it felt like all of that was in tatters. It had to be in the state they were in, right?
The mention of working late was something that cut right through his conscience. He hadn’t been too great of a father himself. Especially with Carl expecting that.
"Yeah, well, thought this here was a better plan. Don’t y’think?"
"I guess you are right about that." She told him, "But what about the evil people?"
"Anyone that’s ‘evil’? We’re gonna do what we can to make sure they never get to us."
" We haven’t checked the whole place yet.
there could be walkers anywhere in here. “
"Of course there might be but there ain’t nothing going to happen to you. Alright?"
"I’m tellin’ you we’re all a lost cause but there’s always gonna be that way out. You want it enough, you’ll find it. Do you want it enough?"
"I want to be alive if that’s what y’mean. I want my son and daughter to keep on living. I couldn’t give two damns what happens to me in the end."