A strained groan left your lips as you slowly began to dive back into consciousness, the weight on your eyelids almost too heavy to allow you to open them.
Slowly, your exhausted and blurry glance tried to get a look of its surrounding and tried to keep itself from being dazzled by the sun rays that shone through the crowns of the trees.
A dry cough rumbled through your ribcage and made you flinch slightly in pain, just before your other senses began to switch on again as you heard the sound of a happily singing bird and felt something familiar enclosing you.
Warm and smooth leather that hugged your body and enshrouded you with its scent while its zippers clinked slightly whenever you moved your strained body a bit.
And with the moment you began to grasp whose leather jacket was clinging onto your body, memories began to slowly sneak back into your muddled mind and turned into a bunch of puzzle pieces that longed to be unraveled.
The run in the woods, the darkness of the chilly night, Negan who was wrapping his leather jacket around you, his lips that pressed a soft kiss on yours, his voice that told you that he needed you to join the trucks that got on the direct way back to the Sanctuary while he was taking care of the ones that took a detour to another small abandoned village to search for some more supplies, the sound of his departing trucks and then the part of the night that had let you end up leaning dazzled and injured against a tree in the middle of the forest.
All you could remember were walkers, a lot of them as you were just preparing to take off in direction home, that many that you found yourself enclosed by them in the darkness.
You could still hear the voices of Negan’s men booming through the night, one yelling out for you, another screaming back to just get the hell away from the dead and flesh craving corpses no matter who got left behind and a third who called out that they were singing up for a just as painful death by Negan’s hand if they’d leave you behind.
All you could remember from that part on was your fight for your life, the feeling of dead hands grabbing you and cold and thick blood that ran over your hands as you tried to kill as many as you could before there was no other choice for you than to run as you heard the trucks beginning to drive back home, without you.
You had no idea how long you had run, you had no idea how you managed to keep going even after you had plunged in the dark down a rocky hill, you had no idea how long you had stayed trembling on the ground as soon as your body took revenge on you and urged it to drain itself repeatedly until nothing but bile was leaving your exhausted body before you crawled over the earthy ground and everything got black.
You winced in pain as you tried to move, feeling how every bone hurt, every muscle ached and brought more and more panic into your body while the only thing that brought a little comfort into your body was the feeling of his jacket enclosing you, its smoothness and his scent that was stuck in it, just like the thought that he must’ve already started to search for you.
After all, this wouldn’t be the first time he’d find you in the woods and turn something as simple as a leather jacket into something with a lot more meaning, a meaning that had just increased since your very first moments with him and developed to something that was running like a golden thread through all kind of stages of your relationship.
Darkness surrounded you as pain and piercing coldness shook through your aching body, the unconsciousness keeping your eyes closed while your body tried to fight its way back to consciousness.
Your muddled mind tried to grasp something, tried to grasp what had happened before everything went black.
Not just one but many walkers were the first thing that popped up in your mind, their groans echoing through your head as you could see yourself running weakly through the forest, starved by days without finding food that made every step feel like torture and that made it impossible for you to even try to fight them.
There were a bunch of holes in your memory, blackouts after blackouts until you found yourself stumping into a small river, trying to escape the dead with the last chance you seemed to have.
And the very last thing what you could remember was the biting coldness of the water until you heft yourself with the very last strength you had onto the riverside, crawled towards a tree to get yourself back on your feet before your body gave in and everything went once for all black.
But now you weren’t there anymore, you weren’t there at the riverside, there was no cold and earthy ground beneath your body, no harsh wind that hit against your face.
But there was something instead.
Something a little softer beneath your aching muscles, something around you that made it shake slightly here and now, and then, there were voices that almost made your muddled and still in darkness drowned mind think you were hallucinating.
“I don’t give a shit, Brad. Didn’t save that girl for fucking nothing, so scrape up all the goddamn blankets you got”, were the first words that sounded through to you, your mind still not able to fully process them before heavy footsteps made their way closer.
“Don’t need her to freeze to fucking death after this shitton of work”, the deep voice from before echoed through your mind again before the footsteps eventually came to a stop.
The coldness was still stuck in your bones and muscles, letting you feel like thousands of needles pierced into your skin as another shudder shook heavily through your body.
“Fuck”, the deep voice scoffed, shuffling noises sounding through your head before you felt something warm and smooth enclosing you.
The warmth felt soothing for your aching muscles as it fought against the coldness while comforting scents began to lull you in.
A familiar mixing with a new one as they encased you closer, the familiar slowly turning out to be one that had always acted soothingly on you.
The scent of leather.
And just as you felt it wrapping a little closer around you, its warmth filling you a little more up as your mind tried to figure out the new one, the unconsciousness dragged you back into its depths.
When the darkness began to let you go again, the leather was gone.
Its smoothness, its scent, all of it.
Instead the feeling of sheets surrounded you, something beneath you that was even softer than whatever had laid under your body before.
A small groan left your lips as a pain filled shudder ran through you, causing your body to flick slightly while once again voices and the sound of footsteps echoed through your head.
”Holy hell”, you heard the deep voice from before say not too far from you as the unconsciousness slowly let go of you and finally allowed you to slowly wake up.
Gradually, your eyes fluttered open until they caught the source of the voice towering right over you.
There were hazel eyes wandering over your face, dark if not black hair securely slicked back, a salt and pepper beard surrounding smirking lips and the leather that had enclosed your body before was now clinging in form of a black leather jacket to broad shoulders, the silver of its zippers gleaming slightly in the light that was dazzling your tired eyes.
And then, the man with the leather jacket spoke up again.
“Hi, I’m Negan.”
You let another dry cough out as you slowly began your felt thousandth try to lift yourself up, wincing and flinching as soon as you put too much pressure on your injured body before you finally got yourself somehow onto your feet.
You needed to keep going, you needed to find water and something to eat.
You breathed sharply in and out, each breath feeling like you were cutting strains into your throat while you clung onto the leather jacket that protected you from the chilly wind that was rushing through the swathes of the trees.
The cold wind was biting into your skin as you stood on one of the platforms that stuck to the Sanctuary’s walls, looking over the compound in hope that this night would stay as peaceful as it seemed while your chilly hands dug into the gun before you let it down and leaned it against the railing.
This day had been sunny, even warm and had let you hope that your shift in the middle of the night wouldn’t end up as cold as it actually was right now.
A tight breath left your lips as you let your eyes wander over the walls, hoping that your shift wouldn’t take too long anymore while you inwardly cursed yourself for agreeing to pick up the slack for the usual look out in the night.
Just as you shook your legs a little out to keep your muscles from feeling worn out and you ran on of your hands over the sleeves of your jacket, wishing that it would get you a little warmer you heard the squeaking of the metallic door behind you.
″No need to fucking worry, just me”, you heard Negan chuckle before you glanced at him, catching the tall man opening the heavy door wider.
″Mind if I join you for a bit?”, he asked, his signature grin dancing around the corners of his lips while his eyes darted in the faint light at you.
″No”, you just mumbled back, giving him a small smile as he slipped next to you on the platform while you couldn’t deny that a little nervousness sneaked up in you as the Sanctuary’s leader walked up right next to you, even though this wasn’t by far the first time he was visiting you during a shift.
“Simon told me you took this shift over for tonight, thought you could use some company. Late night shifts are the crappiest fuckers, especially when it’s fucking dick-shrinking cold”, Negan scoffed out with a small chuckle before he leaned his baseball bat against the metallic railing and glanced with his signature grin at you.
“Yeah, they are”, you muttered as you stroke with your hands over your jacket’s sleeve once again, trying to let the friction get some warmth into you.
Suddenly you heard the sound of a zipper and the clinking of a belt before you glanced over to Negan and saw him beginning to slip his leather jacket off his arms.
“Now I know this is cliché as fuck but I won’t let you freeze your sweet ass off”, he chuckled as he got it out of his sleeves.
“Negan, you don’t have to. I got a jacket and you’re gonna freeze too”, you quickly said, seeing how goosebumps spread over his arms before he already held the jacket in from of you with a wider grin.
“Well, I don’t give a damn fuck about that but I want you to be cozy fucking warm…Now I’d offer you another damn way to heat you up, but I guess this is a damn good start”, he quietly chuckled before you let out a small laugh as well as some heat creeped up into your cheeks before stretched your hand out and grabbed his large jacket.
“Thank you”, you said with a smile as you slid your arms into the warm leather, quickly feeling it enclosing you while Negan’s pleasant scent began to enshroud you.
Before the cold could sneak more into you, you wrapped the way too big jacket tighter around your body and snuggled into the cozy warmth his body had brought into it.
You could see from the corner of your eyes how Negan’s glance was stuck on you while you tried to keep more heat from sneaking into your cheeks to not expose how much you actually began to like wearing his jacket.
And while his jacket brought more warmth into your body, Negan himself managed with his remarks and his throaty laugh to make a part of you wish that the night shift you had damned before wouldn’t go on for a little longer while.
Every step got harder, your hand was clinging onto your knife that was covered in dark and dried walker blood while you fought against the dizziness that was trying to let you crash back to the hard ground.
Your exhausted glance could catch spots of blood on your clothing that could either be walker’s or your own, but the aching of your whole body didn’t allow you to find out how many wounds you actually had, nor how bad they actually were.
All you knew was that you couldn’t let them become more.
You were stuck in a painful trance, afraid that you would stumble upon a walker that would have an easy game with you in the state you were in now and afraid that you couldn’t find a way back home or a way closer to the search troops Negan had most likely already sent out.
He had, right?
Or was he still on the run, still unaware that you weren’t home but in the fucking middle of nowhere?
You had no idea how long you had been unconscious, but since you were still in one piece and no walker had taken a bite off of you, it couldn’t be too long.
Your fingertips began to dig into the long sleeves of his leather jacket, trying to use it as your emotional crutch to keep the destroying thoughts out of your head and to keep tears from flooding your eyes so you wouldn’t fully break apart.
You had to fight, you just had to survive and keep going, but that was easier said than done, no matter how long you had already spent outside alone before you had met Negan.
You were injured, that dizzy that it was a small wonder that you were still on your feet, you threatened to dehydrate and your muddled and hurting mind was playing games and tricks on you which you couldn’t control.
You could feel a lump beginning to grow in your throat and the fear of never being able to get home and see Negan again began to make itself a cozy nest in your body.
Just as you breathed shakily out and felt like the dizziness was about to win its fight over you, your glance suddenly caught something glimmering and moving in the distance that got accompanied by a soft purling sound.
Your eyes widened as soon as you began to realize what was laying right there in front of you, enlightened by sunlight that shone onto it and that streamed as opponent of the wind warmly through the woods as you first allowed yourself to grasp genuine hope again.
“Today’s the fucking day!”, Negan announced enthusiastically as he lead you into a kitchen in one of the Sanctuary’s more secluded buildings and the delicious smell of tomato sauce traveled up your nose.
“Today’s the damn day you get to taste my fucking tasty as shit spaghetti”, Negan chuckled loudly as he shoved his leather jacket off his arms and swung it over one of the wooden chairs that stood by a table and a large window that darted at the endless seeming woods.
This wasn’t the first time you were eating with him here in this kitchen that seemed compared to the Sanctuary’s usual fabric atmosphere pretty cozy with its wooden cabinets and the dusk’s sunlight that streamed warmly into the room, but it was the first time a very excited Negan had enough ingredients to make his self announced legendary spaghetti.
“The only damn thing that tastes better is my meaty dick”, he teased, leaning back as he grinned at you while you let out a small laugh as you shook your head playfully about his remark.
Letting the fabric of your jacket slide off your skin you walked over to the chairs before Negan rushed over to you, grabbed the lean of the chair and shoved it back for you.
“What?”, he chuckled as you looked surprised up at him and saw him cocking a brow at you, “We got spaghetti, we got us two, looks like we got a fucking date.”
Winking at you he grinned widely, and with that sentence he had turned the casual meals with him in this secluded kitchen you’ve been having for a good while into your first date with him.
And even though the surprise got you into a small trance for a moment, you couldn’t deny that you a part of you was jumping in joy.
Even though you had at first thought Negan would exaggerate the tastiness of his spaghetti, after the first few bites you had to admit that he his remarks about it seemed now almost understated.
The herbs mixed perfectly with the freshness and fruitiness of the tomatoes and if you were honest you couldn’t remember the last time you had eaten something as delicious as the spaghetti you were devouring right in these moments.
“If you’re sucking dick with the same enthusiasm…then holy crap”, Negan chuckled nodding at you as you glanced up from your almost empty plate and kicked his legs beneath the table playfully.
“Hey, I was just admiring you”, he teased before shoved another spoon full of spaghetti into his mouth and grinned at you as soon as he licked the rest of the red sauce off his lips.
“Sure”, you snickered with a slight sarcastic undertone as you got back to your spaghetti but saw from the corner of your eyes how he was still grinning widely at you.
Only a few minutes later both of you had finished, his leather jacket was hugging his body again as it had become a little chilly while his hand had almost naturally found to yours and was right now loosely holding it as his thumb caressed slowly over your knuckles and made it impossible for you to keep a smile off your lips.
You glanced at him, catching how a smile had mixed into his signature grin as well before his eyes caught yours and a small chuckle rumbled through his chest.
“I got an idea”, he grinned, giving your hand a small, playful squeeze before he stood up and walked over to the old radio that stood on one of the wooden counters.
Just as some slow music began to play and Negan turned smirking around, you fully realized what he had been planning and by the look that must have stuck in your eyes, Negan seemed to get what you were thinking about his idea.
“Come on, it’s a date, we gotta do more than just eat”, he chuckled as he stretched his large hand out to you and let his charming yet roguish smirk dance over his lips.
“Negan, I can’t dance”, you said, trying to spare you from an embarrassment before you already saw him shaking his head.
“Bullshit, everybody can, you too. And you got me with ya, nothing can go fucking wrong”, he chuckled before you let out a small breath and gave yourself a big push to finally let your hand slide into his.
Quickly and as if he wanted to make sure that you weren’t making a backtrack, he wrapped his hand tightly around yours and helped you up, just to directly pull you into his embrace as soon as you stood on your feet.
“Got ya”, he grinned before his hand engulfed yours a little closer and raised it carefully up before his other arm sneaked around your waist and pulled you tightly against his firm chest.
There was still some nervousness stuck in your body that turned your hands clammy and made you tense slightly before his touch and warmth made you slowly loose up as you almost unconsciously you laid your head against his shoulder.
His head began to lean against yours as your nose nuzzled into the nook of his neck while your cheek pressed softly against the warm leather that engulfed his broad shoulders.
Its scent mixed blissfully with Negan’s own that made you swing more and more in a kind of trance that made you feel a wild mix of emotions.
Softly swinging to the slow rhythm of the music you heard Negan’s deep voice humming along the melody, his chest rising and falling beneath the leather jacket softly against yours while his warm breath hit your skin and let goosebumps spread over your whole body in a blissful way that made you wish that the song would never end.
Exhausted and only carried by determination, hope and the last bit of strength your body could provide you finally let yourself fall by the riverside, your eyes still wandering over the woods and the water to make sure that you were as lonely as it seemed.
You glanced back to the water that was flowing in waves past you and made the thirst you had worse than it had already been.
Hell, you knew the risks of just drinking this water but right now, right in these moments you knew that you had to to keep going to get away from the dehydration that was spreading out in your body and to have a chance to even go on.
You couldn’t think about what it could do to you in a few days or a week, you had to survive right now to even have a chance to still be alive in those few days or a week.
As soon as your trembling hands were free from dried walker blood you sunk them back into the water, allowing your palms to form a small cup before you slowly got it up to your lips and finally felt the cold wet streaming down your dry throat.
Groaning slightly in response to the blissful feeling you began to shove more and more of it into you, right until you felt like you couldn’t take more.
Gasping for air you began to lean forward again, trying to shut the warnings and aching shots of pain your body was sending you out until you could glimpse into the picture the water was presenting you.
God, you looked horrible.
A wound boasted on your temple the fall down rocky hill must have given to you, your lips were bursted form the tartness of the bile and your eyes were slightly puffed from the tears you had shed.
Leaning back you could feel another pain filled shudder running through every inch of your body before you began to clean your face up, trying to let the cold water give your body and mind the ability to think clearly again.
All the light that hit the flowing river turned into a warm orange tone and your eyes caught how the sun began to vanish behind the skyline of the trees.
When you had the luxury of a home, those times of the day were one of the most soothing and peaceful but right now, it just forced you to remember that you were about to continue your game and fight with the ticking clock of time and the urge to survive.
You couldn’t rest on this succeed of finding water, you needed to find safe place to sleep.
Slowly, your eyes fluttered open as you felt how the mattress bend slightly behind you and a familiar warmth began to fill the bed as soon as you heard Negan’s voice and felt shifting beneath the sheets, just like he had been doing it every night for a while now.
“Shit…sorry, Sweetheart. Didn’t want to wake you up”. he grumbled before a yawn fell from his lips as he let himself fall next to you, wrapped his arms around you from behind and cradled you against his still leather clad chest.
“Negan, you still got your jacket on”, you mumbled tiredly, a small chuckle leaving your lips as Negan cuddled even closer up.
“I don’t give a fuck. I’m tired as shit”, he grumbled as he buried his face into the nook of your shoulder, pressing a sloppy kiss on the side of your neck.
With a small smile you turned around in his arms, pressed a soft peck on his lips and let your fingers reach up to the zipper in his jacket’s middle while Negan’s tired eyes watched you pulling it down in the faint light.
“Thought you like the jacket”, he mumbled teasingly with a small, drowsy chuckle before you looked up to catch his glance.
“I love the jacket”, you mumbled back as instead of brushing it off his shoulders, you let your arm slip around his torso, between the warmth and smoothness of the leather and the softness of his white shirt’s fabric.
Nuzzling your face into his warm chest you hummed softly while it vibrated slightly against you as a small but throaty chuckle rumbled through it.
Feeling how his leather clad arms wrapped tighter around you and his head leaned against yours you closed your eyes again and drowned in his comforting scent.
“Goodnight, Baby”, Negan grumbled yawning as you cuddled a little closer up.
Trembling and wrapping the large leather jacket tighter around your body you found yourself huddled up against a tree while the darkness had conquered the night sky.
Above you leaned another tree that must have crushed against the other in a storm a while ago and which had gotten caught by the thick branches of the stem you were pressing your exhausted body against.
It wasn’t the best hideout from walkers, you knew that but the crown of the crushed tree that was hanging over you was building a small roof that was enough to keep hungry, dead corpses off of you.
At least for now.
Feeling the cold ground beneath your body you cursed about your hurting and aching body that didn’t allow you to even try to climb a tree, nor to make this little place a little more suitable and safe for you.
You could be glad that you were able to haul yourself this far and didn’t have to sleep fully exposed to the cold wind and flesh craving dead.
With trembling hands and tight breaths you tried to wrap the jacket even tighter around you, snuggling your head against the soft collar to let its smoothness and scent comfort you.
And even though the jacket began to have a soothing effect on you again, there was nothing more you wished for right now than to find yourself back in the large bed like every other night, feel the way the soft, dark sheets were hugging your body while Negan’s arms were wrapped tightly around you and cradled you against his warm chest.
All that was what kept you going in these moments when instead of Negan’s arms, the coldness and the lingering danger of the forest enclosed you before your exhaustion dragged you into its darkness.
Stripped naked and only wearing Negan’s leather jacket you laid on his large king size bed, surrounded by soft, black pillows and sheets while Negan hovered over you, admiring the view you were giving him.
His beard and lips were glistening in your own juices as he grinned down at you, his eyes darkened as he let his tongue slide over his lower lip before he leaned in to let you taste yourself as he captured your lips in a hungry kiss.
“You got no damn idea how long I’ve already wanted to fuck you in my damn jacket”, Negan purred against your lips before he leaned down to place hot kisses on your neck, grabbing and pulling his jacket further over your body while your fingers entangled in his dark hair.
Grinding against you and nibbling on your sensitive skin, a gasp fell from your lips as he made sure that you knew how much it turned him on to see you wearing something of his.
The warm and smooth leather felt even softer against your bare skin than the sheets beneath your body, his scent was all around you and combined into an intoxicating mixture along with his lingering and hungry touches, kisses and glances.
“The first damn time I saw you wearing it…fuck, I could have already bent you over that damn railing on that platform and fuck your brains out”, he purred against your heated skin as he kissed and fondled your breasts, sending warm and almost electric shivers down your spine before he grabbed your hips roughly, ready fulfill his longing.
Wrapping his strong arms tightly around your leather clad body you began to feel his weight pressing in on you before a breathy gasp fell from your lips as soon as you felt him sinking inch by inch deeply into your heat.
A low groan fell from his lips as he was burying himself in your depths, his eyes shut for a moment before they fluttered slowly open, ready to catch your reactions to everything he was about to do to you.
His lips captured yours once again, claiming you with each caress and with each and every time his hips snapped against yours as he thrusted himself deeper into you while you clung onto him, desperate and eager to feel all of him.
His body and his leather jacket made it feel like you were completely enclosed by him as the thrusts of his throbbing dick, the mixture of rough and caressing touches, his voice and his low groans and moans, the marks he left on you along with his kisses turned you more and more into a trembling and moaning mess.
And the very same happened to him as he got more and more lost in you, his hair tousled, his skin glistening in sweat while your touches, kisses, the rhythm you put in your hips to meet his thrusts and the simple mixture of your bare skin that was partly enclosed by his jacket made him shake in lust.
With each pound and each touch he finally carried first you to your high, then the mixture of it all brought himself to his own as he collapsed heavily breathing and cursing against you, filling you with his hot release as he held tightly onto you even after the aftershocks of his orgasm had ebbed away.
The sun was already shining brightly when you stumbled through the forest, your body ached worse after the lack of care for your injuries and the hard ground you had spent the night on was taking its revenge on you.
You throat felt like a dry desert again while your stomach rebelled as as you were that hungry that you were feeling utterly sick and dizzy.
By now you were too weak to hunt or to try to search for some kind of berries that could get you through the next days, all you knew was that you had to find some road, some kinda street to follow so you had a chance to find back home or to be picked up by some search troops you were still praying for.
One of your hands was grasping the end of the leather jacket’s too long sleeve, the other was clinging to your knife to at least give you the feeling that you could defend yourself it if would come hard on hard.
Feeling how your legs got wobblier with each step you began to feel the helplessness rising in your body, the feeling of not being able to make it no matter how much you wanted it.
Gritting your teeth in anger you cursed under your breath about yourself, about those thoughts you allowed to sneak up more often than you liked.
This wasn’t just about you, this was about Negan too.
You couldn’t put him through the pain of losing someone again, right?
You couldn’t just give up, this wasn’t you nor did he deserve that.
You had to go on, maybe just to see him wearing this damn leather jacket one more time instead of having it hanging on your trembling and weakly body till the very end.
“Baby? Hey, wake up”, you heard Negan’s voice mumble and felt his warm hand placing on your shoulder as he began to let you dive out of your sleep.
“Hey”, you grumbled drowsily back, feeling how a smile began to grow on your sleepy face as you saw him sitting on the edge of your bed.
“Come in”, you mumbled, shifting a little on the mattress and pulling the sheets up to let him slip in while you longed to feel him close after not being able to see him all day long.
“Wait, didn’t wake you up for no good…I gotta tell you something”, Negan muttered as he fumbled nervously on the zipper of his leather jacket’s sleeve and made some confusion rush into your still dozy body.
“What?”, you quietly mumbled, a thousands of possible scenarios already rushing through your mind as his hesitation and nervousness didn’t help.
Negan breathed uneasily out, clenched his jaw tightly and
“You know I….hell, I only fucking want you, right? I just-…fuck”. he grumbled, running his hand over his salt and pepper stubble while your body got filled up with more questions and emotions as he eventually let go of his jacket and looked right up into your eyes.
“I left them”, he brought out as his glance wandered nervously over your face in the faint light, trying to read any reaction off of it while you thought for a moment that you were still dreaming all of this.
You knew he hadn’t been with them for a long time by now, he had made sure that you knew but leaving them was turning what you had into something official, something that was about to change a lot for him as soon as it would spread like a wildfire through the Sanctuary.
Happiness began to stream through your body as his words echoed through your head, letting you swing in a trance that got uphold by a cocktail of emotions which ran through your veins.
“Did it this morning, hell, I wanted to tell you earlier…fuck, I should’ve even done that crap earlier and I-”, he began as his glance trailed off of you before you cut him off by moving in to wrap your arms around his neck as soon as your emotions were taking over.
You could feel his chest rumbling against yours as he let out a relieved gasp and wrapped his arms tightly around yours, pressing your body closely against his as you snuggled your face into the curve of his neck while the rest of you felt his warmth through the soft leather of his jacket that melted right into the one his confession had brought into your body.
So you kept moving, slow and threatening to fall any second, but you moved.
You tried to keep your senses as alert as you could, tried to keep your glance concentrated on the danger that could linger anywhere and tried to keep your muddled mind from tricking your ears into thinking that your slow and shuffling steps were the ones of walkers instead of your own.
Sharply breathing in and out you made your way through the forest, hoping that you’d find a road somewhere in between this endless seeming wilderness.
And just as your thoughts and hopes made your senses slow down, you suddenly felt cold and bony hands grabbing you by your shoulders.
You panted heavily, walker blood covered your hands and the knife you were grasping tightly while tears burned in your eyes as you stood in the middle of the forest, dead walkers laying to your feet as your panicfilled glance rushed over the trees and searched for the man you had lost as soon as the walkers had unexpectedly turned up on your run.
“Negan?”, you called out as your voice got muffled by the growing lump in your throat while your body trembled like an aspen leaf and was conquered by the blood freezing fear of loss.
“Negan..please”, you whimpered now as you could get your shaking body to take a few steps over the bloody corpses on the ground.
Suddenly you heard footsteps, fast and heavy ones instead of slow and slurfing steps of walkers before your tears clouded eyes first caught something appearing between the trees that made you exhale deeply.
Negan’s black leather jacket.
A giant burden fell from your shoulder within milliseconds as you saw him rushing towards you, allowing you to breathe properly for the first time after the reanimated corpses had emerged in the forest.
“(Y/N)”, Negan gasped out as he rushed closer, his hair tousled, his eyes as clouded as yours and his leather jacket splattered with dark red blood that stuck in small drops to his face as well.
“Fuck”, his voice scoffed relieved and thick with emotion out as you let the knife fall out of your hands as soon as he pulled you into his embrace, pressing you against his body as you wrapped your arms as tightly around him as he had his slung around yours.
“Shit, I was so goddamn scared…”, he gulped as he pressed you flush against him, burying his face into the nook of your shoulder while your fingers dug into the leather of his jacket, as if he’d vanish into thin air as soon as you’d let go.
You didn’t even know what to say, you just let him cradle you as much as his chest as he could, let him hold you tightly so you could actually realize that this wasn’t just a hallucination.
“Fuck…I love you”, Negan pressed still heavily panting out of his lips while your body got conquered by a complete other set of emotions as soon as you heard him say those three little words you hadn’t heard him say until this very moment
“So fucking much”, he grumbled into the curve of your neck, while you were still overwhelmed, relieved and filled with a warmth he had just brought into your body while you were still clinging onto him, knowing that his muddled mind probably hadn’t even realized yet what he had just told you.
“I love you too”, you mumbled back as you felt for the first time how he let slowly go of you until his glance could meet yours.
He was smiling brightly, still pumped full with adrenaline and the cocktail of emotions that was running through your veins as well as your hands ran over his leatherjacket until you could rest your hands on his chest that was still rising and falling heavily beneath your palms
Within moments Negan’s hands wandered up to your face, cupping your jaw before his lips pressed in a longing, desperate and relief filled kiss on yours.
And within those small moments as you stood tousled and covered in blood of the walkers at your feet in the middle of nowhere, the day that could have ended as the worst turned into one of the best.
A gasping cry left your dry throat as you stumbled to the ground, groaning as soon as your back hit the earthy hardness while your panicking eyes caught the dead eyes of the corpse that was falling right onto your body.
Groans and grunts left the rotting and wide open wrenched mouth of the walker, its arms trying to keep grab you to get you closer while adrenaline shot within seconds through your veins, shutting your mind down and activating the last bit of strength that was stuck in your body.
Heavily panting and with more and more panic rushing through your body you struggled to keep the corpse from coming closer while its death reek was beginning to travel up your nose as it snapped towards you, just waiting for the right moment to sink its teeth into your flesh.
Trying to tighten the grasp you still had on your knife you tried to get it closer to the walker’s head, tried to find a way around its arms that kept you locked to the ground.
Panting, pumped full with adrenaline and fighting for your life you finally felt how thick, cold blood ran over your hand and dropped down onto the leather jacket as you buried the knife into the walker’s head, hearing its groans hush as they got replaced by the sound of the knife’s blade as it slid out of the bone.
Rolling the corpse off of you, you found yourself clinging to the ground, first noticing that hot tears were falling down your cheeks as whimpers left your trembling lips.
Shaking you tried to gasp for air, still cowering on the ground like an animal that had just been shot by a hunter and was slowly bleeding out.
The adrenaline was beginning to leave your veins and allowed your mind to work again as you began to realize that you couldn’t stay huddled like this to the ground, not in this position that made you weaker than you already were and not with a dead walker next to you which could have along with your fight attracted more of them.
You weren’t sure how long it took you to get back on your feet, to keep going even though it felt like you had a heavy rock tied to your neck that was dragging you further to the ground with every passing second.
And while the dried tears began to leave an uneasy tension on your skin and your throat felt as rough as scrap paper, you kept clinging onto the jacket as if it could protect you and lead the way towards home.
And just as you began to feel how your knees began to buckle and slowly give in, you suddenly saw the view of blacktop appearing between the trees and heard just as suddenly voices in the distance, familiar voices.
“Boss, we we’ve been driving and walking up and down the route about a thousand times already…I-”
“And we’ll drive this shit route another thousand fucking times if needed, we’ll brush our asses through this motherfucking forest for millions of fucking times. I don’t give a fucking shit. We don’t go back till we got her. Is that understood?”
By the sound of his voice you flinched and felt your eyes widen, felt your pulse going up within seconds as it pounded in your ears, felt your body pumping happiness through your veins that filled your body with new strength just before your muddled mind began to play games with you again.
Were you just hallucinating all of this?
Were you just so desperate to come back to him that you were making this all up?
Was this your body sending you some last warnings that your fight was slowly coming to an end?
You didn’t know.
And just as you felt how the doubts tried to rise above you, you decided to fight them and find out yourself, as long as you still could.
Gaining your very last strength up you hauled yourself towards road, a part of you still telling you that it would vanish into thin air as soon as you would reach it.
But it didn’t, the blacktop was solid and firm beneath your shoe soles and as you looked up, your eyes caught trucks not too far away from you, along with people that were buzzing around it and were streaming here and there into the woods.
Tears of relief began to shoot into your eyes as you stumbled towards your release, while there was still a fear lingering deep inside you that you would wake up any second, cowering against the tree in the middle of the dark woods.
But instead a gasp left your lips as soon as you saw faces beginning to dart at you while you were just searching for this one man but found another who began to walk warily towards you.
Dark eyes darted at you, a thick mustache surrounded his lips and his brows were puckered in disbelief before they began to loosen up as he started to fully recognize your face.
“It’s me”, you pressed out of your dry throat, desperate to make this hell stop, desperate to make any of them fully realize that you were the person they were searching for, desperate to feel Negan’s arms wrapped around you.
“Boss! Boss, we got her”, Simon yelled out, and just as your eyes began to see him jogging towards you and just as you could feel his fingertips grasping you your mind realized that you were finally safe and allowed your body to give in under the burden and pain it had fought through for way too long.
But while your body gave in, you didn’t allow yourself to dive into the depths of unconsciousness just yet.
There was something, someone, you had to see before you could do that.
Nevertheless you could feel your eyes fluttering, could feel your knees buckling before you slumped to the ground, only caught by Simon’s arms that kept you from collapsing right against the hard road.
Your mind swung somewhere between the consciousness and unconsciousness as you suddenly heard heavy and fast footsteps coming closer that made it feel like the blacktop was vibrating beneath their force.
All until they suddenly slowed down and your eyes that forced to close any second finally saw the face of the person you had longed for since you had ran away from the herd of walkers.
Your blurry glance didn’t allow you to see the glance in his eyes or see if his lips were curled up, you could just catch the outlines of his face, the salt and pepper beard and the dark hair but it was more than enough for you.
And with this little glimpse you got you allowed your body to sink into the darkness.
The next time you dived for seconds back into consciousness you heard the zooming sound of engines and felt strong arms wrapped around you that were cradling you against a warm chest, while the leather jacket was still hugging your body as a deep and familiar voice mumbled soothing words and warm lips pressed soft kisses on your forehead, just before you sunk back into the black depths.
Your body took its time stuck in unconsciousness to recover until it finally allowed you to slowly flood back into the light again.
Like the very first time, you felt sheets enclosing your body and felt something soft beneath you instead of the hard ground of the forest.
Something large and warm was cupping your hand, clinging onto it and caressing it before it suddenly stopped as a small groan began to leave your lips.
“(Y/N)? Baby?”, you heard the soothingly familiar and deep voice say that was filled with hope, utter relief and devotion while the unconsciousness loosed its grasp even more on you and finally allowed you to slowly wake up.
Gradually, your eyes began to flutter open until you finally got to see the source of the voice towering right over you.
There were familiar hazel eyes wandering over your face, filled with deep affection and relief that were drowning their tiredness and the dark circles beneath them out, dark if not black hair that wasn’t slicked back but instead tousled from the thousand of times he must have run his hands through it in worry, the salt and pepper beard that was a little longer than usual and the leather jacket that had enclosed your body before was now back on him, clinging onto his broad shoulders and painting the picture you had wished for when you had stumbled through the forest.
And then the man with the leather jacket didn’t speak up again, instead he leaned speechless and overpowered by his own emotions down to you until his hand could carefully and almost cautiously cup the side of your jaw and press the softest and most loving kiss he could provide on your lips that truly spoke louder than a thousand words.