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A South Wind

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They drive for nearly an hour in an effort to get as far away from the walkers as possible, without going too far. They know they will have to go back.

That night they drift off here and there but nobody sleeps for very long. They fear a sea of walking dead has somehow discovered their new location. And they close their eyes and see Herschel and his family, gone so quickly. It's hard to wrap your mind around it.

They return to the farm the next day and are grateful to find that only a few walkers have lingered. They are dealt with quickly before they go about reclaiming their possessions.

Despite its many resources, the farm is no longer the safe haven it had once signified to them. And the sad and tragic events that had occurred there are too raw and painful for anyone to want to stay.

While everyone else is busy packing up their meager existence, Glenn stands away from the group, staring at the pile of smoldering ash that had once been a quaint, country farmhouse.

When it is finally time to leave, Lori and Rick finally approach him. Lori slides her hand into Glenn's and gently pulls him away from the scene. He doesn't resist.

They pile into their vehicles and head back out. Shane has once again brought up the topic of Fort Benning and it is agreed that they should head in that direction. But since the highway they need is blocked by the traffic jam of the dead, they are left to use backroads and have to go back toward Atlanta a ways before they find a road that is clear enough and smooth enough for the RV. And even that isn't enough. The RV breaks down again. With a load of heavy swearing, they pull off the road in the middle of nowhere.

They immediately go about setting up their camp so that it will be as hidden as possible but defendable if worse comes to worst.

They have food that will last them for a good little bit. What they need is a thermostat for the RV. They need a couple people to go back into Atlanta to find the part. They need Glenn, urban scavenger extraordinaire. Unfortunately, he is in no condition to go anywhere.

Shane and T-Dog take the Hyundai into the city and come back with some food and supplies but no thermostat.

For the most part they leave Glenn alone, letting him deal with his loss in his own way. He barely speaks. He barely eats. He lies around but doesn't seem to do much sleeping. No one pushes him. They treat him with kid gloves.

Until a week goes by and Daryl has had enough.

Early one morning while the group is going about their daily routines, Glenn is slouched in his usual spot at the firepit when a backpack hits the side of his head. He blinks in shock and looks up to find Daryl standing over him, crossbow in hand.

"Let's go," orders Daryl.

Glenn stares at him in confusion.

"We need food," continues Daryl, gesturing towards the woods. "Come on."

"Go where?" asks Glenn.

"We're goin' huntin'? 'bout time you learned. "

Daryl walks towards the woods, obviously expecting Glenn to willingly follow. Glenn looks around at the others to see their reactions but everyone either avoids his gaze or meets it with a compassionate smile or nod.

"Let's go, Panda Express!"

Suddenly irritated with all of them, he finds himself grabbing the backpack and following Daryl into the trees.

They walk for nearly an hour before Daryl says a word to him. He motions Glenn to stop as he cocks an ear to listen to something.

"Hear that?" says Daryl softly.

To be honest, Glenn hasn't been paying attention.

"No."

Daryl looks at him speculatively for a minute before turning away and continuing their march.

It's another hour before they speak again. They walk for miles, up and down hills and through brush when, in his exhaustion, Glenn trips over a root hidden under some leaves.

"You are shit at this," comments Daryl. "It's like walkin' through the woods with an elephant. I've got alarm clocks that are quieter than you."

Glenn tiredly pulls off the backpack and takes out a canister of water.

"Well, I don't know what I'm doing," Glenn responds in irritation.

"That's very clear."

"I thought you were going to teach me."

"You don't know enough to know you gotta be quiet?"

"You didn't say a word. How am I supposed to know what to do?" growls Glenn.

"Do you even want to learn?" Daryl growls back.

"No!" yells Glenn, throwing down the backpack.

This is not the Glenn they knew, the hopeful optimist. No, this is someone else. A heartbroken boy who doesn't know how to feel anymore. Doesn't want to feel.

Daryl remembers reading somewhere about the stages of grief. He didn't pay much attention at the time. He isn't a shrink. But he does remember one of those stages. Anger. And hell if he wasn't going to give it a nice little push.

"Then why'd the fuck you come out here, Pokemon? Take a nice walk? Write some poetry? A nice little ditty for your dead girlfriend?"

Glenn's eyes lock on Daryl's fiercely.

"Shut the fuck up."

Daryl knows he hit the nail on the head.

"You got balls," goads Daryl. "She's dead! The bitch is dead. Get that through yer melon. She ain't never coming back!"

"I hate you so fucking much."

Daryl carefully sets his crossbow down, not sure how things are going to go.

"Yeah?" continues Daryl. "Well, I don't give a fuck. I'm just sick of your sorry ass sitting around all weepy-eyed for that girl."

"Her name is Maggie!" Glenn's eyes are wild and his voice breaks. It won't be long now.

"Maggie shmaggie. Don't matter. Don't make her any less dead."

Glenn charges Daryl and knocks him to the ground. Daryl was expecting it but he didn't quite realize just how angry Glenn is and before he can get a grip on Glenn's arms he gets a couple fists to the jaw. The kid is quick. They grapple for a few minutes before Daryl is able to rise up and knock his shoulder into Glenn's chest, effectively knocking the air out of him. Daryl is then able to immobilize him by wrapping his arms around Glenn, much like he did when he pulled him away from running toward the burning farmhouse.

And suddenly the fight is over, all the anger leaving Glenn quicker than the life of a lit match. Trying to catch his breath and unable to move, Glenn collapses against Daryl. His forehead drops to Daryl's shoulder as he begins to sob for the first time since the fire.

Daryl sits there holding him, and lets him cry.

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Several hours later Glenn wakes up to find himself lying on a blanket with the backpack as a pillow. He is disoriented because he doesn't recall going to sleep much less pulling out a blanket from the backpack.

He turns his head to see Daryl crouched against a tree and staring back at him.

Glenn sighs and sits up, running a hand through his hair. "Do you ever sleep?" he grunts.

"Someone had to stay awake and watch over your scrawny ass."

"Well, I'm up now so if you want to rest at all, feel free."

"I'm fine."

"Have you seen the bags under your eyes? It's not pretty," Glenn informs him as he stands up and straightens his clothes.

Daryl has to admit that he is tired. And it would be nice to sleep for a little bit while someone else worried about the walkers. He didn't have that luxury when he hunted alone.

He finally gets up and walks over to the blanket, settling on it and laying the crossbow on the ground next to him.

Glenn's brow furrows. "Don't I get the crossbow?"

"No."

"What? Are you scared I'm gonna shoot you?

"You were mad enough earlier."

"What if there's a walker?"

"Wake me up!" commands Daryl, turning on his side, back facing Glenn.

"We'll see," mumbles Glenn, taking Daryl's spot by the tree.

Daryl closes his eyes and, much to his surprise, falls asleep fairly quickly. He wakes up barely an hour later but is embarrassed to have slept so long. Glenn hasn't moved an inch.

Daryl gets up quickly and shoves the blanket back into the backpack before throwing it back at Glenn.

"Let's go. We need to get moving before it gets dark," says Daryl.

Glenn again follows quietly behind him, basically only staring at the ground under his feet. At one point he isn't even aware that Daryl has stopped before he's nearly running into him.

He looks up to see Daryl holding out his crossbow. Glenn just stares at it for a second and then back at Daryl.

"Go on, take it," says Daryl, stepping closer to Glenn. "You're bringing back dinner tonight or I'm not the Dixon I think I am."

Glenn takes the crossbow and feels its weight. It's not like he's never held it before. But for some reason this seems different.

He takes the lead while Daryl follows close behind, quietly giving him instruction on where to step, how to track, what to expect from certain animals. It's Hunting 101 and Glenn is a pretty fast learner. He misses every squirrel that he shoots at but he is finally able to bring down a raccoon. Granted, it's a fat and very slow-moving raccoon but it's something. Daryl teaches him how to field dress it, which is pretty disgusting but Glenn feels pretty damn proud when he walks back into camp able to provide some meat for everyone.

"Wow. That's a good-sized coon," comments Dale. "Did you get that, Daryl?"

"Nope, that was all Glenn," replies Daryl matter-of-factly. "Kid's a natural."

He looks over at Glenn, who is looking back and obviously surprised at Daryl's praise. What Daryl doesn't understand is why he looks like he's fighting another batch of tears. They both look away, having had enough awkwardness with each other for one day.

There's no mention of the rest of the trip. It's not anyone's business. The conversations revolve around the usual subjects of chores, the RV, and the need for supplies. Glenn still doesn't join in like he did at one time but he does appear more engaged, more alert. It's a good sign.