Between the Raindrops

There's no one but you and me.

Her first instinct was to ball her fists, something that Merle immediately took notice to, while her second instinct was to remain calm and breathe. It was understandable that Merle was a jackass and, had she met him when he had been cocky enough to hit on her, she’d have gladly chained him up in a corner. What she couldn’t understand was his former group’s need to abandon him. No matter what the situation was, they’d left a man to die, it was completely unacceptable. Lilith’s mind couldn’t correctly process the events that led up to him landing in Woodbury.

“They’re monsters,” she finally managed to spat after a long silence “It shouldn’t even had been an option, their leaving you? It’s fucking disgusting.”

“Blondie said they went back for me, my brother and the rest, you heard ‘er say so yourself. But I guess we’ll never know for sure.” Merle mumbled as he took a drink of his water bottle. He hadn’t expected much of a reaction from her. The fact that she cared as much as she did was a great comfort to him. “Doesn’t matter much to me now. Had I stuck around with them I’d never had met you. Who else is gonna save yer ass when ya can’t knife a damn walker in the right place?”

He motioned a circle around his head and Lilith rolled her eyes as he sat back and started laughing. “I bet you think you’re so funny, don’t you?”

“Not as funny as you thinkin’ that you can do things on yer own, darlin’. Ya can’t do things on yer own anymore, not in this world, you’ll just wind up getting yourself killed.”

Lilith looked over at her friend, a somber expression weighed heavy on his ageing face, “But you survived for a time without anyone, without any help, so why can’t I?”

“I coulda died ‘cause of it.” Merle said “It wasn’t easy, not without a hand, so what makes you think you’d be safe out there all alone? You told me you had a friend when ya first got here. You two saved each others asses how many times until then?”

“Does that really matter right now? Aren't we supposed to be talking about you?”

“What about me?” he asked “I told ya everything ya wanted to hear and then some.”

Lilith raised an eyebrow at his last remark, “And then some? Does the remainder of the world not know that Merle Dixon has a soft side?” she gasped.

“Now, don’t you dare go telling anyone.” he warned as he pointed a finger at her, the smile on his face never once fading, “I mean it, girlie. I’ll gut ya like a fish if you do!”

They laughed loudly for a moment, the entire town around them slowly fading out, it was just the two of them sitting on a bench. There was no need to pay any mind to the rest of the town because there was nothing that could possibly interest the other more than a good conversation. It was always curious to the townsfolk, however, how Merle’s personality could shift so quickly around Lilith. He’d had his moments of being polite, sure, but he was never as pleasant to be around when he wasn’t busy watching over her. They same couldn’t be said for her. No matter what they did she’d always rebuff them with a smart ass comment. She wasn’t one of them but there was no use in turning her away.

“I think I’d like to have known you before all this, Merle.” she said once she’d calmed down “I think, despite what you’ve told me, maybe we’d still be pretty good friends.”

He watched her for a moment before nodding his head. “Maybe. Or maybe we wouldn’t have met at all, darlin’. World’s kinda funny like that.”

Lilith took a quick glance around town before turning to Merle and whispering, “Promise you won’t leave Woodbury without me.”

“What’re you talking ‘bout now?” he asked with a raised eyebrow “I ain’t leaving this place at all, no one is.”

“Yeah, but, let’s say something were to happen. What if we got overrun? Promise me that you won’t leave this piece of shit town without me. I don’t want to be left alone here and I’m pretty sure that we’d be okay on our own if it ever came down to it.”

“Trust me when I say that ain't no way this town is gonna just crash and burn.” he laughed.

“But we don’t know that for sure.” she huffed “Nothing in the world is certain, never has been. It’s a helluva lot worse now that we have to fight for our lives on a daily basis. Merle, I want you to promise that you’ll stand by my side.”

His eyes searched her for a moment, trying to gain a sense of understanding, before he nodded his head. “I promise I won’t go anywhere without ya, girlie.”

Lilith looked down at her boots, taking a moment to think about how ridiculous she was for choosing to wear boots with a heel. A small ‘mhmm’ came from her when she’d finally turned to Merle and gave him a stiff nod of the head.

“I’ve always wondered,” he said after a short silence “What’s with the heart ‘round yer neck?”

Her hand immediately flew to the small heart, wings wrapped tightly around it, before a flood of memories hit her. “It was a gift,” she shrugged “From before all of this went down, I was a nanny.”

“No shit?” Merle laughed “How’d ya like that?”

Lilith hadn’t heard that question in such a long time. It had taken her a moment to gather her thoughts, collect her fondest memories and disregard those she’d rather forget. “It had it’s up’s and down’s but I guess, in any case, it was worth it. I’ve never wanted kids of my own, the thought of never being able to give them back when I was done spending time with them terrified me, so I think it was a good experience. Sometimes I think back to the kids I watched and I find that I can’t really think of them without seeing them get torn apart. My imagination runs wild with the thought and it makes me feel like a horrible person. I got there too late to save anyone and I think that thought is harder to deal with.”

“Sorry to hear that.” Merle mumbled as he awkwardly shifted beside her. She’d told him her story before but had never really gone into detail about her thoughts. This was a first for him and he didn’t know if he was supposed to say something reassuring or pat her shoulder. “I never much cared for kids.”

“That’s all you got from what I just said?” Lilith breathed with a slight amusement.

They were interrupted suddenly, Lilith catching Philip walking towards them from the corner of her eye. “Merle, just the man I wanted to see.”

The grin he wore was unnerving to her, so much so that she took it upon herself to step away from the two men. Philip in a good mood and eager to see Merle was something she often tried to stay away from. The last time she sat it on one of their conversations.... The thought alone was enough to send shivers up her spin. “Gentlemen, allow me to excuse myself from you business!”

“Well, Lilith, it partially concerns you.” Philip shrugged “I thought I’d give you a chance to go out on a run.”

She looked at him wearily for a moment, trying to size him up, “Go on.”

“Merle, I need something taken care of. If Lilith feels the need to stretch her legs as much as she does then I suppose that she might as well be useful to you.” he smiled before turning to her “So long as you stay by Merle’s side, and listen to him, we’ll see about giving you a bit more freedom to run around.”

Something inside her urged her, begged her, to decline his offer. Something was wrong and it made her stomach twist about in a painful awe. The tasks Merle was often sent out to take care of didn't exactly involve picking flowers. Before she could stop herself she found that she was nodding her head in acceptance of Philip’s offer. “Of course, brother.”

Something in Merle twisted when she gave in to Philip’s strange peace offering. “You know what yer in for, don’t ya?”

“I do.” she nodded “But I might as well try to be useful.”

Philip grinned as he embraced his sister before walking her over towards the towns makeshift armory. “Let’s get you a weapon.”
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Here's what Lilith's been wearing for chapters 1-4 if you're curious: