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A South Wind

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Much to everyone's relief, Glenn and Daryl return to camp the next morning. Neither feels like giving all the details of their trip but they can't hide the bruises and cuts they've acquired. They give a watered down version of what happened. They don't want to worry anyone unnecessarily and Glenn, thankfully, doesn't seem to have suffered any permanent damage from the accident.

Glenn seems to be finally getting back into the daily routine of life at camp. Much like before, he tries to keep busy. Unfortunately, once the chores are done, there's not always a lot to keep your mind occupied.

He is wandering around, looking bored, when he finds Daryl using his knife to sharpen the end of a stick.

"What are you doing?" asks Glenn.

"Don't seem to have any luck finding more bolts for the crossbow so I figured I'd try to make some."

Glenn watches him carefully test the sharpened end to see if it's to his liking.

"Can I help?"

Daryl hands him a stick from the pile he's accumulated.

"Get yourself a sharp knife," replies Daryl.

They sit and work on their project, Daryl instructing him on where to cut, what to tie, how to make it fly straight.

"How's that?" asks Glenn, holding up his first attempt.

"It'll do."

When they finally have pile of a dozen or so, they decide it's time to give them a test run.

"We need a target," says Daryl, who glances briefly at Glenn's hat, considering the idea.

Glenn notices and isn't amused. "Don't even think about."

"Wouldn't dream of it," smirks Daryl.

"There's a box in the RV we could probably use," suggests Glenn.

"That'll work."

Glenn immediately walks over to the RV but it's ten minutes before he comes back with the box.

"What took you so long?" inquires Daryl.

Glenn sets the box down, pulls out a Sharpie, and starts drawing on the box.

"Dale wasn't real excited about offering up his box for target practice," explains Glenn

"What changed his mind?"

For a second, Daryl isn't sure Glenn is going to answer. He seems more intent on his drawing than responding to the question. Daryl isn't sure why that is, until he hears the answer.

"I think he's worried…about me…like I'm going to go crazy or something." Glenn stops drawing for a minute and looks up at Daryl, opening his mouth to say something but apparently changes his mind and turns back to his drawing.

Daryl isn't sure he disagrees with Dale. Though he's not sure how Dale has cottoned to the idea. He certainly hasn't seen the worst of Glenn's recent erratic behavior. And since Daryl has been keeping pretty close tabs on the young man, he's not sure what Dale would have seen to prompt the notion. Although, the man does seem to have some uncanny knack for knowing all that goes on around camp. It's irritating. Anyways, Glenn seems to be doing better.

Daryl reconsiders that thought as he looks at the zombie face Glenn has drawn across the cardboard. It's good and more than a little disturbing. The head is split open and an eyeball hangs dripping from its socket. Of course, it's a zombie. What did he expect?

"That's pretty good," remarks Daryl.

Glenn sits back to look at it for a second.

"You one of them starving artists?" asks Daryl.

"Starving, yes. Artist…I don't know about that." He gets up and dusts himself off. "Where should we put it?"

"Hang on," says Daryl. It's his turn to disappear. He returns with a blanket and small shovel. "Let's give it some weight."

He shovels some dirt into the box and sets it a reasonable distance away, shoving the blanket inside to give it some padding.

"I hope that's not Dale's," says Glenn, as they walk back.

"S'mine," replies Daryl. "Blanket's too hot anyway. Been meanin' to give it some ventilation."

Daryl loads the crossbow with one of the newly made bolts and then hands it over to Glenn who looks up only briefly before taking it.

Glenn aims it at the target, takes a breath, and lets it fly. It pierces the cardboard right at the dangling eyeball.

"Nice shot," Daryl chuckles.

Glenn smiles, the first honest one Daryl has seen in a while.

They take turns shooting bolt after bolt into the target. Some don't work as well as others and are discarded. You don't want an iffy weapon when your life is on the line.

They work until it's too dark for them to see anymore, finally calling it a day. They eat dinner with the rest of the group, talking about refining their new equipment and getting up early the next day to go hunting and see how they fare in actual practice.

Daryl wakes up before dawn the next morning to get ready for a day of hunting. He is surprised to find Glenn already up, drinking coffee and fiddling with something.

Glenn smiles when he sees him. "Hey, you're up."

"What'cha got there?" asks Daryl.

"I had an idea and I couldn't sleep. I wondered if a piece of tent pole would make a good bolt."

"Whose tent did you take that from?"

"Mine."

Daryl looks over to see one corner of Glenn's tent sagging.

"I'll fix it later," says Glenn. "I cut a piece of tin can to give the tip a little more bite. I've been waiting for you to get up so we can give it a try."

"Knock yourself out," says Daryl, handing him the crossbow.

As they walk over to where they set up their target, Glenn loads his new arrow into the crossbow. He takes aim, lets it fly, and it sails so far beyond the target that it's a good bet that they'll never find it.

"Dammit," mutters Glenn.

"It had good speed," critiques Daryl. "Just a little too much movement. Not bad for a first attempt."

Glenn seems to perk up after that.

"We should go back into the city. I want to find some more tent poles."

"I thought we were going huntin'."

"Oh, right. You ready?"

"Yeah," answers Daryl, wondering how much caffeine Glenn has had.

"Cool, let's go."

Glenn immediately heads toward the woods, not bothering to grab his backpack or give the crossbow back to Daryl.

Daryl opens his mouth to argue the situation but then closes it again, grabbing the backpack and following.

They come back around mid-day with enough meat to last them for a while. Glenn has still got his head full of ideas about weaponry so he insists they head into Atlanta that same day, with the understanding that they will be staying overnight and returning in the morning. No one objects so they take the truck into town.

They find the tent poles and other supplies they need before climbing back up to the penthouse. Daryl makes a quick run through to make sure it's still safe. He finds nothing to suggest anyone has been there since they last left.

When he circles back around to the first floor, Glenn is sitting on the couch already working on separating the pieces of tent pole. Daryl leaves him be and wanders over to the patio, opening the large sliding glass door to let in the cooler air. To the right is an elaborate gas grill. He picks up the propane tank and is happy to find it nearly full.

"Hey," calls Daryl. "What did we bring to eat?"

"Sandwiches, I think," replies Glenn. "Maybe a couple cans of soup. Why?"

"Damn," mutters Daryl, closing the grill back up. "Next time we gotta remember to bring something we can grill."

"We cook over a campfire for almost every meal. What's the difference? Squirrel tastes better on a grill?"

"Everything tastes better on a grill." Beneath the grill are a few cabinet doors. One of which is to a mini-fridge full of alcohol. "Jackpot."

He grabs a bottle of beer but it's hotter than any bottle of beer has a right to be. Disgusted, he tosses it back inside. Of course, now he has a hankering for some alcohol. He knows he's seen some before on his way through the place. He's just got to remember where.

It doesn't take him long. There's alcohol all over the place. He finds a bottle of The Glenlivet and takes nice long swig. Glenn watches him and winces for Daryl when he doesn't.

"You want some?" Daryl offers, holding out the bottle.

"I'm fine, thanks."

"Yeah, this might be too much for ya," chides Daryl, looking through the rest of the alcohol. "Ah, here's something that's probably more to your tastes."

It's a bottle of Chardonnay.

"Very funny," responds Glenn, holding out his hand. "Gimme the scotch."

Daryl hesitates from handing over the bottle. "You don't have to drink it to just prove a point. In fact, I'd prefer if you didn't. More for me."

"I'm not proving a point."

Daryl hands over the bottle. Glenn takes a similarly long swig, and regrets it immediately, coughing up a storm.

"Take it easy there, Tiger," says Daryl, giving him a couple unhelpful pats on the back. "I'll open that wine for you."

Very quickly the tent poles are forgotten and the two of them are lounging on the patio, sipping their drinks, both pleasantly buzzed. Daryl is sitting with his bare feet propped up on the stone fireplace. Glenn is draped over the railing, looking down at the swimming pool some twenty stories below.

"Too bad there are dead bodies in the pool," comments Glenn.

"Mmm," agrees Daryl.

"There's probably another pool somewhere in the building. We should go look for it."

"Not gonna happen."

"Why?" Glenn's at that stage of drunk where he wants to do something.

"Because." Daryl's at that stage of drunk where he wants to do nothing.

Glenn sighs and looks out over the city. It is just past dusk and the wind is picking up. It's weird to look out at what was once such a bustling city and not see any lights. No cars. No sirens. Nothing. It's eerily quiet.

"I wonder how many people are still alive down there somewhere," says Glenn.

Daryl doesn't say anything.

"Do you think Merle's still in the city?"

"Fuck, I don't know," growls Daryl, taking another swallow of scotch.

Glenn turns to look at him. "I'm sorry about your brother. We never should've left him there."

Daryl stares back at Glenn and it suddenly occurs to him that had they never left Merle there, they sure as hell wouldn't be here right now. Just the thought feels like a betrayal, never mind what else it suggests. He gets up from his seat and staggers back indoors, slumping onto the couch so he can pass out in peace.

Glenn stays on the patio, not really regretting his words but regretting that he ran Daryl off with them.

It begins to rain and he has to laugh. Looks like the swimming pool came to him.

_______________________________________

Both a bit hung over, they make it back to camp the next morning and lie low for most of the day. The next day is a different story. Glenn is back on his weaponry kick. In fact, he has branched out in his thought processes.

He and Daryl are trying out his new and improved tent pole bolts, which are working very well, if he says so himself.

"What else could we use to shoot?" Glenn wonders.

"I think we've got enough to keep us going for a while."

"I know but I'm thinking…I'm just brainstorming…for worse case scenarios. What if we ran out at a critical moment? What else could we use? It's something to think about."

Daryl shakes his head, a little exasperated with Glenn.

"What?" asks Glenn "You don't think so?"

"No, you're right," agrees Daryl. "It's something to think about."

Glenn seems to be expecting more of a response.

"I'm thinking about it," shrugs Daryl.

"Historically…like when ships didn't have cannonballs left, they would shoot whatever they could find. Silverware. Human heads. Cheese."

Daryl chuckles shortly. "Where the fuck do you learn this stuff?"

"School. The internet. Cable TV. Fine, laugh. I'm just saying, if we don't have any arrows, or weapons, or whatever, we have to improvise."

Daryl decides to play along. He looks around on the ground and finds an acorn. As Glenn looks on encouragingly, Daryl sets it in the firing mechanism of the crossbow, takes aim at a tree, and fires. The acorn slings forward, ricochets off the tree, and back at Daryl's head. He ducks but it still manages to catch him in the forehead.

"Fuck," mutters Daryl, rubbing the spot where it hit.

Glenn looks like he's trying not to laugh but when he sees that Daryl is more irritated than hurt, he stops trying. He is bent over at the waist, laughing his ass off.

Glenn slowly straightens up and looks at him but the red welt and cartoonish scowl on Daryl's face is enough to send him into another fit of laughter.

Daryl isn't quite as amused. He finds another acorn on the ground, loads it into the crossbow, and aims it at Glenn.

"Aw, come on," says Glenn as he sees what Daryl is doing. He holds his hands out in defense. "Come on, man, I can't help it…the look on your face… Daryl, come on…don't."

"We'll see how funny it is now," says Daryl. The acorn flies and catches Glenn in the hip.

"Ow, fuck, that hurts!" exclaims Glenn, rubbing his hand over his flank. "Okay, okay. Cease fire."

Daryl has got his own smirk going on now.

"You sure?" says Daryl, who's already got another acorn ready to fire. "Maybe this would be a good training exercise."

"No, no, come on…" says Glenn, backing away from Daryl. "That's not fair. I don't have a weapon."

"Improvise!"

Glenn turns and takes off through the trees, Daryl following not far behind.

They don't go too far away because the others are still able to hear them.

"You better find a weapon. I'm coming to get ya."

"Oh yeah? Take that, asshole!"

"Fuck! You little…"

"Ah, God damn...how is it possible for you to hit me in the same fucking spot?"

"Put the fucking stick down."

"You put the crossbow down!"

"If you hit me one more time…"

"Ow, fuck! Goddamn it! Stop fucking shooting me!"

Rick considers intervening but none of it sounds too threatening. In fact, the grunting and rustling makes it sound like they've given up weapons altogether and have gone for hand-to-hand combat.

"You think your scrawny ass can take me?"

"Ow, okay, fuck, you win. Get off!"

They finally quiet down and eventually wander back into camp a short time later, both scowling and disheveled but with no serious-looking injuries.

Andrea watches them with curiosity. Glenn is using his hat to help brush the dirt off of his clothes. He's even got a few leaves stuck in his hair. Daryl doesn't seem to care about the dirt on him. Although, he's walking with a slight limp. She chuckles at the sight of the two. If she didn't know any better, she'd have thought they looked like two people who just had a tryst in the woods.

Glenn notices the amused glint in Andrea's eye. "What?"

"Nothing," shrugs Andrea.