Status: Ongoing

Starting Over

Being Accepted

The sound of a female voice stirs you awake.
"Are the cuffs really necessary?" This brings you to reality as you become aware of your situation. You can feel the tight grip around your right wrist keeping you tied to the small bed. Pulling only gains you a sharp pain in your side and the attention of your captors.

"Finally awake?" It takes some effort on your part to look up at the voice. On the other side of a small bar door you see a Korean guy and an older lady staring back at you.

"Go get Rick." He tells the woman, and she disappears. "What the hell is going on?" You ask full of panic as you frantically look around the small space. There's four solid concrete walls surrounding you and a night stand with a pile of bloody bandages on it. You instantly know you're laying in a prison cell and find momentary relief.

Then you realize you're surrounded by strangers. Everything is unfamiliar and it only makes you more and more scared. "Calm down. No one is going to hurt you." You look over to the guy trying to reassure you and wonder how you got there in the first place.
"Where am I?" Before he could answer though you hear loud footsteps approaching your cell.

The Korean moves out of the way as a small boy with a ring of keys unlocks the door. A man with a policeman's belt (and a very unkept beard) walks in with Daryl following behind. He looks rough and obviously tired just as much as you are.

"Who are you?" He asks with his hands resting on his belt. You glance at Daryl assuming he had told him everything, but you decide to answer his questions anyway.

You struggle with sitting up before throwing your legs over the side and looking up at him. "My name's Y/N, and you are?" The cuff around your wrist was rubbing in an uncomfortable way, but you ignored it. This wasn't the first time you'd been cuffed to a dirty bed.

He grabs a chair and sits across from you. Daryl stays standing with his hands firmly around his crossbow. He looked at you with rigid features without changing his grip. You knew he still didn't trust you. Of course, you didn't really either.

"I'm Rick Grimes. The leader of this group." You shift your attention to him as he leans back.
"Tell me why you're here." With that one simple request everything floods back to you. The separation, the attack, you getting shot, and Callahan... Oh God, Callahan. Your eyes betray you as they gloss over.

"Daryl told me your story. I just...I'm sorry if this is too much for you, but-" You cut him off with an assured look, "I understand. You can't really trust me at the moment. Your people come first." You've already snapped out of it and are staring back as impassive as possible.

"Well, I've got some more questions for you..if you're up to it." His eyes seem to linger over the new bandage on your arm, and you can practically feel the pity radiating off of him. Trying to appear stable, you clench your teeth while sitting up straighter and ignoring the pain. You stare directly into his eyes unflinching. "Go ahead."

Rick looks at you a bit worried as he sits up himself. Then his face changes into a stern gaze before questioning you further. "How many walkers have you killed?" You try to think of an exact number but come up empty. "Well...I was in the military when everything happened, so I guess a lot." He stays quiet for a moment as if he's trying to find any faults in your answer.

"How many people?" You look at the faces outside of the cell and see they are all looking back at you with anticipation.
"During all of this..." You can't help but find that brown stain very interesting on your left shoe as you think.

The faces of everyone you killed just yesterday haunted your mind. You'd slaughtered men before, during war, but that was different. Now it's against people that used to be normal, not some man eating monsters.
They were the people you swore to protect while across seas. The people that shouldn't have to go through such disaster, but they were out there, trying to kill someone that only wanted to help. Then the image of that man's blood spraying everywhere causes your stomach to churn.

"Probably three...maybe four." You choke out after coming to your senses.

Then you realize that nothing was the same anymore. Nothing could be like it was before. You had no choice but to kill those people. You would most likely be forced to do it again too.
There was no way around it, and you knew it. Trust would be the only thing left to rely on in this new world, and at the moment, that's what you needed.

You look at him in all seriousness, "They tried to kill me." Rick once again leaves a short pause to think. Looking over, you see Daryl staring at Rick, anticipating his answer. He stands and whispers something to Daryl then turns back to you.

"Welcome to the group Y/N" You hear no deceit in Rick's gruff voice as he uncuffs your hand from the bed.

He grins at your astonished expression while you rub the stiffness from your wrist. "That's it?" You ask obviously surprised. Rick chuckles, "Yeah. That was it. You're one of us now." You awkwardly shake his extended hand still trying to comprehend.

Then he's gone with Daryl following along, and you're left with the others staring at you. The first to make a move is the older woman from before. With a friendly smile she walks into the cell and introduces herself.
"Hi, I'm Carol." You shake her hand, matching her smile, which signals to the rest of the group to become social.

After you have met everyone and put a name to a face, you feel the exhaustion weighing you down. You kindly tell everyone that stayed to chat that you were tired. They all left you in a state of awe. You couldn't believe how nice these people were. They were so accepting of you after Rick gave the okay. It was apparent that everyone looked up to him for guidance, and you could see why.

The way he carried himself was so intimidating, it reminded you of your old command officer. It reminded you of your old life. It felt like anywhere you went or anything you did always brought you back. It was practically torture, especially realizing all of your friends were dead.

You finally decide to lay back down to rest. Your whole body aches as you adjust to the hard mattress. You were really getting sick of feeling like shit, and there was no telling how long until you healed either. Eventually, the feeling of your consciousness slips away as the soothing sound of silence overwhelms you.

You are awoken once again by a soft tapping on your shoulder. "I brought you some food." Recognizing the voice, you open your eyes to see Carol holding a plate. With much difficulty you manage to sit up to receive the food. "Thanks." She smiles back and sits next to you.

"How are you feeling?" Looking over at her you see she's honestly concerned. You're actually relieved that there was someone you could talk to. It kind of felt familiar, like you'd spoken to her before.

"Better." She looks out the cell and back at you while fidgeting with her hands. "Well, that's good to hear." There's a short awkward silence as you slowly eat what looks like baked beans with canned fruit. Not the best combination, but at this point, you didn't care anymore.

"Can I...umm, can I ask you a question?" You nod in agreement after clearing your plate. She notices and reaches her hand out, "I can take it." You note that she's acting quite nervous as you give it to her. Is she scared of you?

"Did you ever work for a company that helped women struggling with domestic violence?" The blunt and completely out of nowhere question surprises you, especially since you had.

"Uh...yes." Carol seems to sigh in relief, "I knew I've seen you before." Then it all comes together as you recall a certain case you were assigned to.

"You're the one with the young girl. Sophia, right?" She smiles sadly and you know you've messed up. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know." Carol just pushes past it and continues smiling, "It's alright. It's been a while happened." You nod along, regretting mentioning her.

There's another weird silence as you absentmindedly stare at the plate in her hand. She abruptly stands, making you jump slightly.
" Well, it was good seeing you again. I hope you stay with us." Her sincere voice gives you hope. Before you can say 'thank you' though, she's already gone and you're left for the nth time.

Your thoughts begin to haunt you when you look over to see Callah-...your hat on the night stand surrounded by bloody bandages. His face invades your mind causing the ache in your chest to submerge again.

The realization of being alone slowly creeps back in and you find yourself fighting tears. It was starting to feel like you were trying to replace him, but you knew deep down that you never could. Callahan was the only one that understood what you went through. The only one that would forever hold a place in your heart that even your negligent parents couldn't.

You barely knew any of these people either, and you definitely didn't know where the hell you were. You knew you were in a prison somewhere in Georgia, yeah...but everything before the attack was hazy. The attempt at remembering only gains you a headache though, so you decide to try and sleep some more. While struggling to lay down you end up screaming in agony as a sharp stabbing sensation takes hold of your side.

Pulling your shirt up you see the biggest bruise you've ever seen and an odd protruding object. With every move you make the pain triples in size. How the hell did I not feel this earlier? Next thing you know, there's a huddle of people outside your cell as an old man you hadn't met yet reaches your side. You figure he's the group's doctor from the way he examined your wound.

"I..I think I have a broken...a broken rib." You wheeze out as he softly touches the area. Another convulsion hits you and you feel like you're going to vomit. He quickly moves out of the way as you retch up everything onto the floor.
"Sorry." You quietly breath out when the spasm has passed. Then you can't help but notice a stump where his leg used to be, but you have no time to think about it as you feel more making its way up your esophagus.

Each time your stomach tightens to let everything out, your sides and throat burn. Your eyes begin to water, and you can't help the tears that fall onto the bile covered floor. It was complete fucking torture.

He holds your hair back while trying to soothe your discomfort. "It's alright. Just let it out, you'll feel a bit better after." You slowly look up at him after wiping away the excess with the back of your hand. "I don't think it'll make it any better." His face gives away his sympathy as he looks into your eyes.

"Let's try and lay back okay?" You shake your head not wanting to experience the torment. "We have to get you on your back, so that your rib doesn't hurt anything." Your eyes try to plead with him, but he's obviously not convinced of how bad this was for you.
He turns to the crowd of people and moves over everyone's faces. "Glenn. Can you help me get her on her back?" He looks around confused and then steps into the cell alongside the man.

"Hold her other side and slowly lower her down." Glenn reaches over you to take hold of your left shoulder while the old guy grabbed your right.
"Please. I can't take this anymore." You seethe out. Glenn gives you a sympathetic look before they start moving your body down onto the bed. Your screams become louder and most of the group turns away.

It felt as though someone was repeatedly shoving a dagger into your sides while another squeezed both of your lungs in their hands. Breathing was becoming impossible, and your vision faltered. You could have swore you heard Glenn say sorry, but it was hard to tell because even your hearing had faded.When they managed to get you completely on your back you passed out. The last thing you saw was Daryl at the back of the group staring right at you.

"Hey! She's waking up" You faintly hear Carol beside you as you struggle with your consciousness. More voices fade in and out and you try to open your eyes. Sunlight through a small barred window bore down on you making it impossible. You were finally able to open them when an object blocked the rays from your face.

Daryl's features slowly started to appear and you lazily mustered a smile. For a second there you thought he was smiling too, but it was probably just the shitty state you were in.

"Are you okay?" The man from before is beside you in an instant, and you have a short moment of peace as you look around at the worried faces. It feels as though you are surrounded by family but then clarity comes, and you realize where you are.

Black spots began to pop up over everything, and you pressed your temple with your fingers. "How long was I asleep?" The old guy, now known as Hershel, glances at Glenn standing nearby then looks back to you unsure. "A few days." You stare at him in disbelief and move to other concerned faces. " coma days?"

"No,no. Just three." You sigh and put your hand back down. "Well, am I okay?" He smiles, "You tell me." The pain subsided and just felt like a dull ache now. You could actually feel your left arm too.
"I guess so. It doesn't hurt as bad." He struggles for a minute to stand with his crutches and looks at you relieved. "Well, that's good to hear. You need to get some liquids in you though." He gestures to a bottle on the table.

"Woah, take it slow now." Hershel stresses as you push yourself up to a sitting position. "I'm good." You carefully breath out. He hands you the bottle before you get the chance to reach for it and watches you with a grin as you hungrily gulp the water. When you've finished the whole bottle he turns to leave.

"Wait...How long do I have to stay in here?" Hershel looks back at you, "It's up to you. It's your room." He walks out with a smile, and you still couldn't believe it all. You finally have something of your own. A place to stay and people that trusted you because of three measly questions. Then you realize it's not always going to be like this.

People will die, and you don't want to have to suffer. You don't want to feel that pain ever again. You didn't know if your heart or mind could take anymore of it. That's when you establish a rule to not create any bonds that will inevitably be destroyed. The only way to truly survive is by protecting yourself...even if that means never loving again.