Always, and Forever (PT.1)
Summary: After their camp is attacked, Y/N sets off to find Clementine and unfortunately it's a race against time with the very gruesome wound to her thigh
Warnings: Angst, fluff, adult language, female!reader, gunshot wounds, Major Character Death and lots of death (Walkers and people)
The fire crackles and sizzles against the light rain sprinkling on it. It casts a soft red-orangish glow across Clementine's face and the trees in the forest behind her.
Y/N watches Clem sadly poke a rock resting in front of her feet as Christa uses a small branch to move the hot coals around the fire to keep it from dying out. Y/N scans the tiny camp they've set up for something to burn.
"I'm cold." Clementine says, using her hands to rub her shoulder in hopes it would warm her up.
"Wait till we get further up North, then talk to me about being cold."
It wasn't meant to be so backhanded or passive aggressive but it irritates Y/N that Christa really had to down play Clementine's coldness about how cold it would be somewhere else; still in weather that Clem wasn't used to.
She peels off her jacket, reaches over to hand it to Clem before Christa walks over to stop her. "You'll get sick Y/N, you need to stay warm too." Y/N pushes Christa's hand off the jacket.
"I'm bigger than her Christa and plus I already have 2 shirts on."
Clem happily takes the jacket, quickly wrapping it around her shivering body while Christa stares a hole through Y/N, a soft frown playing at her lips. They watch the older woman turn away and walk back to the fire where she squats back down to continue making sure the fire stays lit enough to cook the random animal hanging above the fire and keep them from freezing.
"I miss Lee." Clementine says, trying to release the tension in the air. She looks to Y/N as her face falls. "Me too Clem."
"I know you guys do. I know it's not easy to lose someone."
Y/N looks at Christa, offering a smile to ease the anger in the older woman for the younger one not listening to what she said. Christa returns it, dropping the stick on the ground and reaching for the piece of firewood behind her near the large log at the edge of their camp.
She curses softly under her breath when she sees that it was the last piece in their tiny camp.
"Hey Clementine, watch the fire and make sure it doesn't go out unless you wanna starve and freeze tonight; me and Y/N are going to go and get some more firewood."
"Okay, I can try."
The 18 year old girl hops off her seat and follows Christa into the woods, her ax in hand that Lee had given her, and an angry stride in her step. Leaves and twigs crunch under her boots while they walk deeper into the woods. The fire glows slowly become dimmer the further they walk from the camp and Y/N finally stops her walking, Christa immediately notices and turns to face her.
"Why the fuck do you have to be so hard on her? Starve and freeze? Are we trying to make her scared of everything or teach her to survive?"
"Don't you fucking talk to me like that. If I wasn't around you and Clem would last a single day out here alone. You baby her too much and she can't count on you to be there to save her everytime she needs help."
"Oh please, don't flatter yourself. I got her out of Savannah and you seem to fucking forget I was with her for almost a year before we happened upon you and Omid."
"What are you saying, Y/N?" Christa asks, her teeth getting together and making Y/N's skin crawl.
"I'm saying we'd be fine without you. You act like you constantly know what's best for her but treat her like she's a burden on us."
Christa turns away, arms crossed over her chest. She takes a deep breath and releases it heavily. The rain picks up slightly catching both of their attention. They don't say anything, they just slowly move around collecting the driest prices of wood or branches that aren't too wet to burn.
Y/N knows she should apologize for being so mean about the whole situation, but her blood boils when she treats Clementine so poorly for just existing near her. The 2 don't say anything else for a while, just waiting for the tension to once again release.
They both believe that if Clementine wasn't around, they would've killed each other by now. Y/N hasn't liked Christa since the beginning. She was snobby and the kind of person who'd claim they knew better than someone just because they'd never done said thing, when she hadn't done it either.
She came in trying to tell Lee how to raise Clementine or her, and acting like he didn't know what he was doing in the slightest and even though he didn't, he did a hell of a job; well better than Y/N had seen anyone do after having the universe shove 2 kids in their face.
A soft branch cracking a few feet away alerts Y/N, taking her away from her angry thoughts. She looks around for Christa, hoping she's somewhere nearby. She heard it too. Her head swivels and she reaches for the knife on her leg while Y/N readies the ax in her hand.
There's a soft click and something cold presses against Y/N's hairline right below her bun that's neatly placed against her head. A hand swivels around her hand, grabbing the ax from her hand. Christa drops her knife on the ground, hands held up in surrender.
The person behind Y/N pushes her forward so forcefully, she slips on the wet forest floor and lands with a soft thud at Christa's feet, who scrambles to help her up off the ground. She protectively moves Y/N behind her.
"Where's the rest of your group?" A man spits moving the gun to point at Christa's chest.
"It's just us." Christa's quick on her feet, immediately coming up with a lie for the group of men slowly closing in on the helpless women.
"No way, we heard you arguing about a 3rd person and seen that there's a nice little camp with an animal roasting." Another man steps up, his voice a lot deeper than the other's.
Clem wasn't back at camp? Y/N's mind switches things to be panicked about at the man's confession that they went by their camp and there was no one there.
"I promise it's just us."
"Bullshit! She's lying!"
A rock flies out of the woods and slams into the man's head who's holding the gun. Y/N takes the chance to grab her ax back from the surprised armed man and take off after Christa.
"Grab that little brat!" One screams.
They rush through the forest, Y/N falling behind slightly due to Christa's long strides and there's a gunshot. Pain explodes in Y/N's right leg and she trips again, once more making friends with the wet ground. Her screams of pain gets Christa's attention.
She rushes back over, grabbing Y/N's arm in an attempt to raise her up off the ground. Y/N tries to wobble to her feet with Christa's help before another gunshot rips through the air.
The forest is quiet again. Christa's body thudding against her on the ground is the last sound before everything falls deaf to Y/N's ears. Her screams stop and time slows for her. Painful realization sets in as she rolls Christa's heavy body off her.
Blood has already soiled the front of Christa's jacket and her mouth opens trying to force air into her lungs instead of blood. Y/N stares in horror at her friend choking loudly on the red liquid spilling from her throat.
Unshed tears burn Y/N's eyes. She can't move, she's frozen with fear. Walker snarls cut through the deafening silence and she looks up to see walkers slowly emerging from the woods towards the noises they heard. Christa's eyes widen when Y/N raises to her knees, the ax held above her head.
"I'm sorry." Is all Y/N can muster before she swings down the ax. There's a slight flash in Christa's eyes; understanding before the life drains from her eyes.
It makes a sickening sound, one Y/N had hoped she'd never have to hear again after something happened to her friends. She pulls the ax free with little to no struggle, climbing to her feet, trying to ignore the pain in her leg.
Now she could only hope she can successfully out run the walkers and find Clementine before those men did. Y/N wobbles towards their camp, leg aching so bad it makes her gag. She looks back and watches some of the walkers drop beside Christa's body. Her gaze forces itself ahead again and she slowly starts moving again, ax pressed into the ground like a cane to avoid falling over.
The clearing in the trees calms her racing heart some until she sees there's no sign of Clementine besides her hat and backpack laying a few feet away from the rushing river. One of the men is screaming, walkers all over him as he tries to fight them off. Y/N ignores him, trying to sneak past the busy walkers to grab Clem's stuff off the ground.
They look up from the man, training their attention on the bleeding injured girl a few feet away. She grabs the stuff, tossing the bag on her shoulder and rushing into the woods.
A heavy ache hits her chest as she leaves Christa's body behind for the walkers and heads off to find Clementine. She decides to follow the river since it looks like Clem fell in or decided to rush along the edge of it.
I'll find her, I promise. Y/N promises, looking at the sky like Lee and Christa could still hear her. I won't let you guys down.
The sun comes up a lot faster than Y/N thought it would. She's laying on her back in an old broken down pickup truck that she found after about an hour of limping down the river side and watching the storm clouds pass over the little opening through the trees.
Y/N sits up, rubbing her exhausted eyes. She couldn't sleep a wink last night, too scared those men would find her again and thinking the worst had happened to Clem. She tried all night to stop the thoughts from flooding in and failed horribly.
There was no way she could make it much further like this, if Clem was still alive, which she prayed she was, she had a very long head start and it'd take at least the rest of today to get to wherever she's at right now.
She reaches into Clem's backpack, hoping the ace bandages were still inside it. Her fingers graze the fabric of one of them and she sighs happily, grabbing the first one out.
Y/N grabs Christa's knife, staring at it for a long second. She closes her eyes, breathing in and out deeply to calm the sadness creeping in. Her eyes flutter open and she folds the ace bandage, using the knife to slice through it in the perfect place. She stretches it out and wraps it around the thigh right above the gruesome wound.
Her hands gently put it around her leg, making sure to not hurt or hit the wound on accident. She holds her breath, hands gently overlapping the bandage and tugging it tightly. A loud cry leaves her mouth as a painful burn spreads through her leg making it jerk slightly.
Y/N's chest heaves, making her lighthead. She's almost too afraid to look at the wound on her leg to wrap it. It had to be done so she doesn't bleed out, or to just hold her over until she finds stuff to stitch it up and clean it.
An hour later, Y/N opens the door to the truck and slides out into the freezing winter air. She's really cursing herself for giving Clem her jacket. A possible situation flashes across her eyes of Clem wondering these woods, jacket wrapped around her and being comforted by her jacket that she'd given Clem at camp.
Maybe she was a little soft on Clem. She wouldn't promise to be hard on her because the second she saw her again, she knew she'd become all motherly again to the tiny girl. It's just how Y/N acts towards Clem.
Y/N starts walking down the side of the river again, eyes on the ground searching for any sign of Clementine having been through this side of the river. It was going to be a long day.
Her gaze focuses on the ground for so long she becomes dizzy and her head starts to throb. The pain in her empty stomach becomes so extreme that she can't ignore it any longer.
Y/N knew Clem's backpack had no food in it, just a gun with 4 bullets, the piece from the cut ace bandage, a picture of her, Lee and Y/N, a half empty bottle of water, Christa's knife, a zippo with flowers on it, a picture of just Lee with the other people torn out of the photo and a drawing she made back at the motel the same day they were driven from their home.
Y/N kind of felt weird carrying around the very girly backpack looking like she'd just been through hell and she laughs at the image in her head of a blood covered woman walking down the edge of a river with a purple backpack hanging off one of her shoulders.
She shakes the image away and slowly moves down the river bank some more, looking across the rushing water to the other side. A deer stands awkwardly angled to drink water from the dangerous flowing water. Y/N takes in the sight for a moment then moves on again.
There's branches snapping again and Y/N twirls around to scan the wooded area a few feet away from the edge of the river. She watches closely for any sign of walkers, slowly moving away to get some distance between whatever was in the woods and herself.
"We haven't seen them man!" She hears someone yell a little ways down. The voice is easy to recognize.
Y/N tells herself she could easily move on and forget she heard it, but watching the men getting what they deserve is just too much to pass up. She looks around, thinking for a second. She moves forward into the woods and sneaks a big half circle around to peer through the trees at the men on their knees before more heavily armed men. Her mouth opens in surprise.
"How long have you been walking in these woods? And, you haven't seen them?" The man's, obviously the leader, voice sends chills down Y/N's spine.
"That's the thing! We never leave these woods, we just ambush helpless people." One of the men cries.
"When was your last ambush? How far up the river?"
"About 2 or 3 miles. It was just 2 girls and their kid or something. We killed the adults but the little girl fell in the river."
"That could have alerted Carlos and the rest of the group. It means they could be moving away from there." An orange headed woman says, stepping forward, her gun hanging loosely on her shoulder.
"If I know him well enough and I do; Carlos won't be able to stop himself from helping the little girl. Keep an eye out for her. What'd she look like?"
None of the men speak up and the man asking the questions pulls his gun. The gun goes off so quickly that if someone blinked, they would've missed one of the men being shot. Another one of them throws up and one starts sobbing.
"I won't ask again."
"Okay! She was about 4'11, maybe 10 or a little younger. Her jacket was way too big and she was mixed, maybe I'm not really sure. I only got a small glimpse."
A hand clasps around Y/N's mouth and a blade pressed to her spine. A long drug out shush makes goosebumps spread across her flesh. The person snatches her up, shoving her forward out of the bushes. The heavily armed people all look at her limping forward.
"I guess she was enjoying the show, Carver." A man says behind her.
One of the men from the scavengers goes wide eyed and looks away from her. Carver? What a stupid fucking name. Y/N almost laughs.
"Why were you stalking us?" The man behind her asks, roughly shoving her again.
"Heard people, thought they might be friendly." Y/N lies and clutches the backpack hanging on her shoulder.
"Troy play nice, she's probably alone and scared."
That comment doesn't sound comforting at all, it sounds creepy. Goosebumps are now covering her whole body as Troy moves her forward once again.
"Bonnie, give her a jacket," Carver turns back to Y/N, eyes scanning her trembling form. Her skin crawls at his gaze. "You must be freezing."
Carver moves towards her and she steps back, bumping into Troy who shoves her back towards Carver who's grinning creepily. The orange headed woman rushes over, a jacket hanging from her extended hand.
"I'll hold that bag for you."
Y/N instinctively pulls the bag into her side and glares at Carver. He reaches out again and she jerks back again, eyes narrowing at him.
"She reminds me of Pete." Bonnie says, giving a worried glance to the girl.
Carver laughs, turning to face Bonnie. Her skin pales a little and she just sends him an uncomfortable smile. Y/N takes her chance and grabs the jacket from Bonnie's hand. She moves quickly, hoping her leg wouldn't give out and she races into the woods.
"Don't!" Y/N hears Carver yell and against her better judgement, she turns her head slightly and looks back at them. Carver has his hand on the AK-47 that Troy was holding, making the man point it at the ground instead of her.
She then picks up speed again, running down the river towards anywhere but there. She's too busy checking her surroundings when her leg gives and she tumbles down the bank into the current of the river.
Not my proudest moment. Y/N tells herself as she's pulled underneath the water and tossed around into rocks in the river. She keeps the jacket in her fist, tightening it in hopes to keep it and even though it'll be wet, put it on when she eventually gets to land again.
A rock slams into her legs and she cries out, inhaling a good bit of water into her lungs. She chokes, sucking more water in. Y/N opens her eyes in an attempt to spot any land nearby that she could possibly get to.
Another rock hits her abdomen and knocks what air she has left out of her lungs, making her make a wheezing noise as she's submerged again. Her vision blacks some and her head spins as she tossed around like a leaf in the wind.
Gunshots echo through the woods so loudly, she can hear them even underneath the water. For a second she thinks they're shooting at her. It passes and she hears one above water that's too far away to be aimed at her.
A painful hit to the side of her head from a rock, knocks her out cold.
Voices echo into Y/N's sleepy brain. Her eyes refuse to open as she comes too slightly, leaving her stuck in pitch darkness. The voices become louder ever so slowly.
"See I told you she was- holy shit."
"What is it son?" An older man asks.
"Right there. Look on the other side of that little Island." Feet crunching on the dirt slowly moves towards her and she's still too tired to move.
"I'll be damned. She looks pretty dead, do you think they were together?"
"I don't know Pete. Should we see if she's alive?" Another voice cuts through the clearing.
"Guess so. Either way, Carlos is going to be pissed if he has to bandage some stranger up."
"Carlos?" Y/N asks, one of the 3 men shriek and stumble backwards when she rolls onto her side to look up at them.
She tries to figure out why that name is familiar, but her brain feels soggy from pain splintering through her head from the light of the setting sun. The older man looks at the other 2, a worried expression on his face.
"Should we be concerned about why you recognize Carlos' name?" The white haired man asks, squatting next to her.
"We should just put her out of her misery." The black headed one comments.
"Nick!" The brown headed one scolds.
"No Luke, he might be right. She's half alive, beaten to hell and back, and we have no idea what that wound is on her leg."
Y/N doesn't move when the oldest man raises his gun and slowly moves it to point at her head. As many times as weapons had been pointed at Y/N in the last 24 hours, this one doesn't seem to hold a threatening person behind it.
"Wait," Y/N raises her hand slightly to move the gun away from her face. The man's face falls slightly.
"Pete, we can't just kill her. We can help her."
"Pete? As in Carver's Pete?" Y/N asks herself more than anyone and Nick turns ghost white in the face while sharing a look with Pete.
"God damnit. Help me get her up."
"What? No way! She could've been bitten!" Nick shouts and backs away.
"If you don't shut your fucking trap, we might be in the same boat she's possibly in. Now grab her other arm boy." Pete spits at Nick.
"I can walk, just… just give me a second." Y/N says, hands moving down to the ground to push herself up slightly.
Pete doesn't let her go, he helps her off the ground and stables her against his side until she moves away to stand on her own. He grabs her stuff off the ground, slowly moving behind her. Y/N pushes past a worried looking Luke, trying not to touch an angry looking Nick when walks by.
She sways a little bit, half expecting to fall but Nick stops her. One of his hands rests on her side with the other under her arm. Y/N mumbles a 'thank you' and moves forward enough so he lets go of her.
"It's not that long of a walk, but we could still carry you." Luke offers, gently touching her arm.
"I'm fine, thank you."
"At least tell us your name." Pete says, tracking up beside her.
"Y/F/N, Y/F/N Y/L/N." She replies and it feels strange introducing herself to these random men, but she knows getting bandaged up will help her with her search for Clementine.
Her guard stays up despite Pete beside her carrying Clem's backpack with all her weapons inside it. Y/N guesses he knows because it's clutched in a death grip against his chest. She could grab it or ask for it back, but she knew she'd lose that battle if it came to it.
Y/N wants to ask them questions, get to know them before they get to their house, wherever that may be. She kind of hopes it isn't a long walk. Her legs hurt and she's exhausted. How close are we? She wonders. And just like Luke read her mind he replies.
"Alright it's just over this hill."
They all start the climb up, Y/N struggling a little more than she'd like to. All 3 of them wait patiently for her to meet them at the top of the hill and she spots the house.
As they slowly approach the house, the man on the porch spots them and touches a teenagers arm, motioning for her to go inside the house. He slowly comes down the steps towards Y/N, and for what feels like the millionth time, she takes a step away from him.
"It's okay he's a doctor. Carlos." Luke comforts.
"We believe this has something to do with a run in with Carver." Pete says, motioning to Y/N's injuries. "She recognized mine and your name. She even knew Carver's."
The door to the house flings open, making them all turn to face the house and she hears the teenager talking to someone. "We're not supposed to-" Clementine bursts through the doorway and looks at the group, her eyes settling in on Y/N.
"Clementine, go back into-"
"Y/N!" Clementine cries and rushes off the porch towards them.
Carlos is stunned while Clementine rushes past him to attach herself to Y/N's waist, crushing her in a hug like they hadn't seen each other in years. Clem pressed her face into Y/N's soaking wet shirt and pulls herself tighter against her friend.
"I thought I lost you!" Clem whimpers.
She moves away just enough for Y/N to drop to her height and take the hat from Pete's hand. Y/N gently puts it on Clem's head, a huge smile on her face. Clem looks around before she notices Christa isn't standing nearby or off somewhere behind them.
"Where's Christa, Y/N?"
Y/N reaches forward, pulling Clem back into a hug. It doesn't take long for Clem to understand Y/N's silence as her answer. A wave of sickness washes over her and her arms loosen around Clem.
Her body completely sags and she falls over on the ground, eyes fluttering closed. Y/N's heart hammers as she hears Carlos yelling for help to get her in the house to help with the wounds.
"You'll be okay." Clem promises Y/N right as the light in the darkening sky grows too bright for her eyes then just shuts off.
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