The dust settled on the figure placed on the couch, silence filling each and every corner of the shack he inhabited. Staying with Elliot for the past few days had been something Eric had slowly gotten used to but he still missed the musty old mattress he had shared with the brunette back at the prison, but that was no longer home; at least not for him anyway. She was out now, doing another medicine run, it had taken almost every inch of his being to stop himself from asking her to find some sort of strong painkiller he could abuse, something to take him out of what had happened and in another place if only briefly.
The thoughts that had crossed his mind while hunting the first morning eventually found a way to bleed into his every moment alone. Drumming his fingers back and forth on the couch he mulled them over again; he could stay here, build a life with his old lover. Never have to face Daria again and hurt her by telling her an extravagant lie about her only remaining family’s last tragic moments alive. Not even letting it cross his mind. The truth was completely out of the question and if he was to never return to her again then it couldn’t be so bad, at least with Elliot he wouldn’t be alone.
Lifting himself out of the seat he walked over to the sink and turned on the faucet. Dipping his head under for a cool rush of fluid over his forehead. A temporary relief from the heat that had seemed to be frying the state, dead or alive, and he had been reduced to a tank top and jeans because of it.
What was that? Eric slowly turned off the water and let the drops slowly trickle down and off of his chin and he heard it again; a gentle breathing but not as relaxed as one might assume but like a desperate fight for air. His breathing picking up and adrenaline beginning to rush he prepared for the worst, removing the Browning hi-power from the back of his pants he moved over toward the noise to investigate, pulling back the hammer with a slow, cold click.
“I screwed up….I..” he stammered, his acting nowhere to be seen and raw emotion pouring out of him. “I..I..” he was on the verge of tears and he let one or two slip. Stepping into the dwelling not paying much mind to the rag she had offered him.
“I…I let a kid die..” he answered, suddenly making eye contact with the woman in front of him. “He..he…he” Eric tried to continue but any words he was trying to form wouldn’t come and would catch and become another moment where he struggled to start another sentence. She looked the same as ever, her fiery red curls falling on her shoulders, eyes wide in panic yet just as comforting.
The taller figure lurched forward and pulled her tight, it wasn’t a romantic hug, but it was needy all the same. Eric needed something to hold, for once he needed people more than he put on and it felt good just to pull someone close. This would be Daria but he was still battling with being able to face her after he had mercilessly murdered his future brother in law.
“Oh Eric…” The red head’s expression faltered for the man, her heart dropping for him instantly as he spoke. Though she didn’t quite know the truth to the matter - having simply assumed with the way the man had worded it that it had been an accident on his behalf. As she felt his arms pull her close, Elliot’s hands gently went to comfort the other; one patting his back gently and the other gently pushing little bits of hair away and patting them down. Much like a mother with a child, the woman let the man sit in silence for a few moments before she spoke up; her tone gentle and loving but not romantic towards the ex love. “Shh, I’m sure it couldn’t have been avoided dear…it’s not your fault.”
The woman gently began wiping bits of blood from the man’s face, pushing him back slightly by the shoulders so she was able to clean him up - stopping after a few wipes of the cloth before gesturing her head to the tattered sofa. “Come on, sit down…lets get you cleaned up and you can talk to me about it if you want okay?” She gently placed a hand to his back and nudged him forward towards the sofa - moving to gather a small amount of the boiling water from the fireplace in a stained, worn, mug before bringing it to the sofa and gently dipping the end of the cloth in it before beginning to wipe the blood and dirt off the lanky man as she waited for him to talk.
"It was all his fault but I could have stopped it." he began, running both of his hands through his hair, pushing it out of the way of the woman’s warm cloth and perching himself on the couch. "I can’t go back there, I’m lost and I need somewhere to stay" he mumbled to the redhead, reaching out and putting his hand on her shoulder, seemingly gathering himself in one quick moment.
Noticing something uncomfortable behind him he slowly reached back and bought out the gun, ejecting the magazine and releasing the round in the chamber and catching it in his hand. “I can help you, I can hunt and scavenge very well. I just need a roof over my head.” he gave her one of his smiles, the ones that she used to say melted her at the knees.
The metal in his hand suddenly felt heavy as it lay in his hands. The tool that had spelled the end for many Walkers. Part of him was glad that he didn’t use the gun on the boy, that he had saved this particular bullet he fiddled between his fingers for something else or someone else.
“Something I wouldn’t say to your face? your boyfriend’s mince meat so I’d start shagging him like there was no tomorrow.”
“Gallant, resourceful, fool”
"I’d tell you I’m sorry. That what I did was selfish and now that I can see that I feel stupid. I want to thank you though, that’s blood that’s not on my hands and because you saved him I can look the woman I love in the eye. I’m sorry that I tried to take your love away from you. That in a strange way if I hadn’t done this we could have been really good friends, the best of, even. But now that you know what I have done, I have to kill you."
"I’d kill everyone I could get my hands on until they stopped me, Rick, Shane, Carl. I’d put a bullet through everyone I could before they managed to stop me. If they took her away from me, I’d take everyone’s lives away. Because if she doesn’t deserve to live, then who does? No one. "
"Love, that’s what stops me"