Between the Raindrops

The world's such a crazy place.

Merle watched Lilith from the corner of his eye, keeping the majority of his focus on the road ahead. She was shaking something awful, her breathing being controlled by deep breaths every five seconds, and her grip around the barrel of the shotgun between her legs was making him nervous. He knew that if Daryl were the one to be sitting in that passenger seat, scared out of his mind, he’d be telling him to ‘man up’ and ‘stop acting like such a pussy’ but, she wasn’t Daryl, he didn’t have the heart to treat her with such disrespect.

“Say it.” she breathed out “Say I’m acting like a little bitch or something. Tell me that I brought all this upon myself.”

He looked over at her with a raised eyebrow, “What’re you going on about, Lil? You ain’t acting like no bitch.”

“I allowed myself to tag along, to prove that I can be trusted enough to step away from the town, and for what? So I can escape the minute he thinks I’m wrapped tightly around his finger like the rest of the town?” she laughed harshly “What happens when I actually start to believe my own charade, Merle?”

He watched her turn to him with panic written all over her face. “I promise that won’t happen. Told ya before that no one’s gonna leave town and I already said that I wouldn’t leave yer side,” he muttered “I ain’t gonna let ya escape and get yourself killed and I sure as hell ain’t gonna let ya go nuts. We can’t be friends if you suddenly decide that yer batshit crazy.”

Lilith laughed at his statement, the sarcasm dripping from his words calming her a bit, before she finally loosened her grip. She took note of Merle’s posture and realized that her shaky nerves had him tensed. “I’m sorry for making you worry, ya dirty redneck.”

“Ain't got time for apologies, Lil.” he muttered with a grin as he pulled the car to a stop “It’s showtime.”

Lilith breathed out slowly as Merle stepped out of the car and headed towards the soldiers they’d been told about. They stood before them, frightened at the strange newcomers, without knowing that their saviors were about to become their worst nightmare.

She waited for Merle to give the signal before shutting her eyes tight at the sound of gunshots. Martinez and the boys had their guns blazing as they tore through the camouflaged men on the Governor’s orders and it was making it hard for Lilith to breathe. The shooting ceased as she stepped out of the car and made her way to Merle’s side. “Is that all of them?” she asked.

“Guess so,” Merle nodded as he patted her shoulder “Now we just gotta get the supplies together an--” he said as as movement from behind one of the dead soldiers vehicles shifted.

He turned around long enough to catch a glimpse of a single man making a run for it, trying to run across the field in an attempt to escape. Merle and the boys laughed at his efforts as he motioned for Martinez to shoot him down. Lilith swatted his arm down before he got the chance to, taking long, calculated, strides towards the running soldier before she decided to run after him.

“She’s getting away again, Merle!” Martinez called out before he began loading his rifle “Better grab a hold of her before one of my bullets does.”

“Don’t you go ‘round and do something you’ll soon regret, boy.” Merle growled as he watched Lilith chase after her prey “She ain’t going nowhere.”

Lilith stopped at the exact spot the soldier had taken off running, raising her shotgun towards the back of his head, and breathed out slowly. “I’m so sorry.” she muttered to herself as she pulled the trigger, watching the boy fall to his knees just a few yards away. She held on tightly to it as she set off towards the body, towards the sound of whimpering.

“Why?” he asked, as he clutched at his sides, “Why are you doing this?”

She had asked herself the same thing the second she took off after him. The only thing she had to gain from it was Philip’s trust and, even then, it wouldn’t be a guarantee that he’d trust her enough to go out on her own. She was sure that he’d still have some restrictions regarding her time out, like sending Merle out with her, but would it be worth it all if she’d always find her way back to Woodbury?

“I don’t know.” she finally said “I’ve been asking myself the same damn thing.”

Merle watched from afar as she raised her shotgun to the boy’s face and fired. Something inside him ached for her, for a loss of innocence that she’d never be able to reclaim. “Get out there and gather up those supplies, boys.” he sighed.

“Do we grab the guns they have on them too?” a younger, first time looter, asked timidly.

“Well, what the hell do ya think?” Merle shouted “Get on out there and do yer damn job.”

The boy nodded his head quickly and ran out ahead of the rest. Kneeling down before a pair of bodies, he reached over to one to grab a gun sitting at the waist before an agonizing scream ripped through the air. Lilith, still mourning the life she took, turned her head towards the sound before running off in his direction.

“Shit.” Merle muttered as the soldiers slowly began rising up as walkers.

“You fucking idiots.” Lilith huffed as she began taking aim “You have to double tap, obviously!”

Martinez and the boys were quick to raise their guns again as Lilith walked over and took down the ones they’d managed to miss. She tried to make a beeline for the kid who was, at the moment, being torn apart by one of the soldiers he was kneeling in front of. It didn’t register that she’d be as incompetent as the rest of the looter when it came to shooting a shotgun and fell forwards, turning over only to find that one of the walkers, one who seemed to be turning slowly, had taken a hold of her ankle. She started kicking at it, violently, before the rest of them started to rise. The fact that spare bullets had started flying towards her wasn’t exactly helpful either.

“Man up and walk over to the damn things!” Merle shouted at the men as he headed towards Lilith’s rescue.

“Wimps.” she growled as she took the barrel of her weapon and began beating the walker with the butt.

Merle stood off to her side, reaching down to help her up, and smirked at her constant displeasure for his men. “I swear, I thought they were the best of the best.”

“You were wrong.” she muttered as she began dusting herself off.

They laughed with each other for a moment before a piercing pain ripped through her side. Merle caught her before she had the chance to fall, again. Her scream tore through the sound of the boy being eaten alive, it echoed in Merle’s head, it was a scream that reminded him that they were still in a danger zone. Bullets were still flying and one had the audacity to tear into her skin. She’d made a mental note to personally beat the idiot who’d shot at her.

“Who the fuck shot at us?” Merle howled as he walked Lilith towards the car.

“Someone who doesn't know how to shoot?” Lilith asked as they walked past the now dead boy, Merle stopping to knife the fucker that tore the kid up in the head. She felt nothing but sympathy for him. He was still young and would have never been able to live a full life. “You fuckers are just lucky that the bullet grazed me.” She glared at the group, and evil smile playing at the corners of her lips. It made them uncomfortable enough to get to work and finish the job they were assigned.

Merle watched her as she went to take a seat in the car and laughed at the fear she instilled in the men due to her connection to the Governor. She was better at getting them to complete their tasks than he was and hoped that this little excursion, with the exception of her injury, would allow her to head out on the next one. He suddenly recanted the thought when he caught a glimpse of her violently slamming her palm against her forehead. Despite her willingness to participate, the guilt she felt from taking a life was eating her up like a plague and would only get worse if she continued to tag along. He didn’t want her to suffer more than she already had.

Guilt consumed their thoughts during the ride back to Woodbury, each mind riddled with it for completely different reasons. Merle felt guilt towards the innocence that had been lost while Lilith felt guilt for going against her moral high ground. The girl had killed a man who had no reason to die and it was a death that would weigh on their shoulders for, seemingly, the remainder of their lives.

The gates of Woodbury opened up before them, a crowd of people cheering for their safe return, Philip standing off to the side with a wide grin on his face. It was one that immediately dropped when he noticed the dark patch that had appeared on Lilith’s once light blue flannel. “What happened?” he growled, turning his angry towards Merle.

“It was one of the boys,” Lilith sighed “The bullet just grazed me.”

Philip looked down at her, a glimmer of legitimate worry glazed over his eyes, “Regardless, it shouldn’t have happened. Come now, Lilith, we need to seek medical attention before it gets infected. You too, Merle. I want a report on the events that took place while my sister was on the run.”

“Yes sir, Governor.” Merle nodded as he walked behind the pair.

Philip would no doubt be proud of Lilith’s actions and Merle was not looking forward for the praise she’d receive. It wasn’t that he was jealous, it was nothing of the sort, it was that he’d be praising her for something that was sure to haunt her through the night and every other night to come.
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Wow, I'm really glad that people like this story! I didn't think anyone would read it, let alone comment on it, so I guess it's safe to say that I originally wrote it for my own entertainment. Thank you guys for reading, subscribing, commenting, recommending and all that shizz! It means a lot to me :)