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Private takes so much

Gracie

The Walking Dead
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8
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Human
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being a sunshine puppy
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april 30th, year 109
@Aaron

Soon. Her daddy or Daryl or Ezekiel would be there soon and then they could go home. She clung to this thought, trying to be brave. Judith was brave, Judith was always brave. She could be like Judith.​
Everything was going to be okay.​
She could hear noises outside - people. Daryl? And then everyone was running out and she did too - maybe her dad was there - maybe he’d come to get them and they’d all be -​
something yanked her by the ankle and she screamed, looking back just in time for the whole world to go upside down and then she was spinning round and round and -​
landed hard with a thump in the middle of a lawn.​
“Dad!?” she cried, confused and terrified and there was one person who always made it better.​
 
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Aaron

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He had a job interview. It was probably about time, too, given the next step he wanted to take with John. He hadn't even asked him yet. God, he hadn't even asked him yet and there was a little voice in his head that reminded him of the fact that he wasn't sure he would even say yes. What if he was reading something wrong? What if he wasn't ready? What if there were questions, insecurities, issues that Aaron hadn't noticed already?

They would talk through them. They always did.

But Aaron needed to feel more stable financially before he took that leap. The interview itself had gone well and he thought he was confident about what he might hear when they decided to get back to him. Not if, when. It couldn't have gone better. And so, feeling good, he made his way toward the bus stop only for a cry to reach his ears. A child shouting for her father. It pulled at his heartstrings instantly and Aaron's pace slowed as he started to turn, searching and searching for whoever it was the voice had come from.

There she was, looking lost and confused in the middle of the street. A little girl with long hair. She couldn't have been more than ten. A frown tugged at his lips and suddenly, the bus he was supposed to be taking was forgotten as he jogged his way over to where she was on the edge of some poor stranger's front lawn. "Hey, hey, it's alright," he called, his pace slowing as he grew closer, a faint smile on the corners of his lips as he tried to be encouraging. It wasn't her lawn. He knew that because of the for sale sign out front. It wasn't anybody's lawn, Aaron was quick to realize. Just a little bit of observance was all that was necessary for him to realize just how lost the poor thing was.

NOTES:
 
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Gracie

The Walking Dead
Posts
9
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8
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Female
Race
Human
Occupation
being a sunshine puppy
Alignment
Lawful Good
She didn’t recognize this place. She didn’t recognize it at all. She usually only went between Alexandria and Hilltop but this - it didn’t look like anywhere she’d been before. She could her chest getting all tight, her tummy squirming as fear started to settle. She couldn’t be out here alone - what if - what if there were walkers?​
“Dad!” she tried again, but there was nothing.​
She could feel the tears starting, pricking at her eyes - and she wanted to be brave so so bad, because her dad would want her to be brave and she knew she had to be. The world was scary, she knew that, but she could be brave.​
The sound of a voice startled her but it was -​
her brow furrowed, tears clinging to her lashes as she stared. That was - his beard was gone and where was his metal arm but that was - it was her dad, and she was running at him before she could stop herself, confusion swirling in her brain. “Daddy,” she whimpered as she wrapped her arms around him, hugging tight.​
 
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Aaron

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He froze. He froze because while he had expected hesitation from a little girl being approached by a stranger, by a man that she did not know, she called out for her father again and wrapped her arms around him. The way she said it, it had almost sounded as though she were calling him--

No.

No, that was silly. That wasn't right. It wasn't like Eddie, the way that he had arrived on his doorstep. There was history there, and yet this little girl was not a child he had ever seen before in his life. She couldn't have been even ten yet. Still, Aaron didn't have the heart to peel her off of a him, a faint frown tugging at the corners of his lips as he returned the embrace. "It's okay, sweetie," he murmured, his brow furrowing with concern. "Can you do me a favor?" Aaron pulled back slightly, looking down at her.

"Can you describe daddy for me?"

NOTES:
 
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Gracie

The Walking Dead
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8
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Female
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Human
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being a sunshine puppy
Alignment
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Gracie stared up at him, refusing to let go of him completely, her brows furrowed in confusion. “What do you mean?” she asked, her voice still tight with the threat of tears, though she was calming slightly now that her dad was right here. Mostly. He wasn’t...he wasn’t the same as he was at home and that was wrong and weird but it was - it was still her dad.​
“I don’t know where your beard went,” she said, lower lip starting to poke out as her eyes got glassy. This was so confusing. “And your arm - it - it wasn’t there before. Daddy something got me - I was with Judith and RJ and the other kids and I was coming out and it grabbed me and I’m not - where are we?”
 
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Aaron

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He was confusing her. That much was clear, but as she spoke, Aaron found himself starting to feel just as confused as she pointed out his beard, or lack of. There was a moment of hesitation before he lifted one hand to absently scratch at the stubble that was growing out. It was in a bit of that awkward stage that made him regret shaving the beard off in the first place. But she was talking about something different, something more, something that made him ... recognizable, but not.

And yet he had never seen or known her.

Judith. That was a name that he knew, but she had been-- well, she had been small. A baby. But all grown up, perhaps she would have been around the same age as the little girl in front of him now. Slowly, the pieces were all sinking into place, but that didn't make it any easier for him to comprehend. She knew him. She knew his face, a face that had a beard, a beard that would have taken time to grow. It would have taken her time to grow as well in the same way that it would have taken time for Judith to grow.

"Oh my god," he whispered, but as soon as the words were out there, he wished he could have taken him back and at the very least, he hoped that she hadn't heard them. Clearing his throat, Aaron gave her a smile, settling down onto his knees and letting her keep herself clung to him. Clearly she trusted him and saw him as a figure of safety.

No. She literally saw him as a father.

"It's okay. Nothing can get you now. You're safe, I promise." That, at least, was a promise he thought he could keep. Life in Pandora was different from the way things had been back there, and for him to look at this child and imagine the world she had been forced to grow up in ...

"We're somewhere else. Somewhere new, somewhere ... different. But good different." There was a pause as Aaron pursed his lips, thoughtful. The breeze around them was light and street behind him wasn't quite bustling, but there were people. The living kind. Things looked good. Things looked okay. She was okay. "... Do you want to play a game with me?"

NOTES:
 
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Gracie

The Walking Dead
Posts
9
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8
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Female
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Human
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being a sunshine puppy
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She clung tighter to him, still so shaken up that she barely caught his whispered words. There was something about this situation that was...weird. But all she could focus on was the fact that her dad was here and she was safe and she didn’t have to worry about walkers or the people who wore faces and whispered.​
She let out a breath, relaxing slightly at his words, the tears no longer threatening to fall.​
Gracie considered that, brow furrowing as she thought it over. “Like….California different?” she asked. She knew there were lots of other states in the country, even though she’d only ever been in Virginia. One day she wanted to go to all of them, see all the places that her dad talked about but she knew she was too young. Or at least, she thought she was.​
She brightened slightly at the idea of a game, the beginnings of a smile on her face. “What game?” she asked. She loved playing games with her dad - sometimes it was dolls, or the license plate game - that one was her favorite. He always had the best stories.​
 
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Aaron

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"... Maybe a little bit ... more different than California," he admitted, and it was hard not to let himself huff out a little laugh at that. She was a new face to him and yet, the way she clung to him, the way she spoke to him, her sense of humor. It was all familiar to him somehow. Like maybe she wasn't such a shock after all.

But she was. There was no denying that. There was no denying the fact that he didn't even know her name.

Pursing his lips thoughtfully, he paused a moment before looking back down at her. "Twenty questions. You ask me anything you want. About me, about this place. I get to do the same, no matter how silly the question. I mean ... I might even have to ask what color the sky is. Who knows."

NOTES:
 
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Gracie

The Walking Dead
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8
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Female
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Human
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being a sunshine puppy
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More different than California? She looked puzzled by that. She only knew life in Alexandria, so she guessed that life anywhere else might be different. Sometimes they read books at school and life from Before seemed different too. It sounded nice though. No walkers. Maybe there were no walkers here?​
Twenty questions?​
Gracie’s expression turned thoughtful again as she took in the game explanation, a giggle breaking free. “That is a silly question. You could just look up,” she told him with a smile, though she quieted after a moment. “Okay,” she said with a nod. “Okay we can play.” She leaned into him, her grip on him loosening just enough so her fingers didn’t hurt any more.​
“I’ll go first,” she said, because he usually let her go first when they played games together. “What….what is this place called?”
 
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Aaron

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The giggle was a good sign and Aaron's smile broadened a little bit. That was good. That was a step in the right direction, and maybe her agreeing to play this little game would help him get some subtle answers, too.

Gracie's first question was easy. To a degree.

"It's called Pandora. The city, though, is called Centria. It's a nice city. And, trust me, I know my nice cities from my not so nice cities," he assured her. "My turn. What color's the sky?"

NOTES:
 
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Gracie

The Walking Dead
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8
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Female
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Human
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being a sunshine puppy
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Pandora. She’d never heard of it, or Ark City, and she knew all the capitals of the United States. Were they not in the United States any more? She didn’t know how that would work.​
“Daaaad,” she giggled, shaking her head. She did look up though. “It’s blue, silly,” she said, and then bit her lip, thinking about what her next question could be. There were lots of questions she could ask.​
“How...how did I get here?” she finally decided on, because she hadn’t gone on a wagon ride - she’d just run out of the house that they’d hid in and this definitely hadn’t been outside that house.​
 
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Aaron

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Brows perking up with surprise, Aaron followed his gaze toward the sky, his lips parting as though he were only just then realizing that it was, in fact, blue. A grin found its way to the corners of his lips as he dropped his gaze once more to meet hers. "So it is," he murmured, and went silent to listen to her question. That was a difficult one. It was a difficult one to explain and the last thing he wanted to do was to scare her.

But then, she wasn't asking about those black tendrils. Maybe she didn't remember. Maybe she hadn't been conscious for it. Aaron didn't know, and truth be told, he was afraid to tell her, a child, the whole truth of it all. And yet, she deserved that. Everybody did. "You're here because ..." He trailed off for a moment, narrowing his eyes thoughtfully as he considered his words and how he wanted to phrase it. "... because somebody decided that you deserve a different life. A better one. That's how I like to think of it. The harder you think, though, the more questions you have," Aaron admitted with a smile.

His turn. He supposed he should just go for it.

"Alright ... what is your full name? All of it, any and all titles included." He kept it light, kept it innocent, kept it humorous. For both of their sakes. "I need to make sure it's really you, after all." There was even an exaggerated look of suspicion that followed closely behind.

NOTES:
 
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Gracie

The Walking Dead
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8
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Female
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being a sunshine puppy
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Gracie giggled, eyes crinkling as she laughed, the scary swirling feeling in the pit of her stomach easing. Everything was okay with her dad here.​
She sobered a bit as he explained - taking it in seriously. Her mouth twisted up - she did have lots more questions. How was life here better than back home? What about her friends? Judith and RJ? What about Daryl and Carol and Michonne and her school? Were they not here? She didn’t like thinking about that possibility.​
She perked up a little at his question and she shook her head, looking exasperated. “I don’t have a title,” she said. “It’s just Gracie. Gracie Ross,” she said. “See, it is me!” she said.​
“My turn again,” she said, tapping a finger against her chin as she thought of another question. “Okay. What happened to your arm?” she asked, curiously, reaching out to touch his hand - it was like his other hand, smooth and soft and not metal at all. She knew he didn’t have an arm beneath the metal arm because sometimes he took it off at home and there was no arm, just empty space.​
So how was it there?​
 
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Aaron

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Ah. And there it was, just like that. Gracie. Gracie Ross. She even knew his last name, and all that did sink in further that this really was his little girl. A little girl he didn't know at all. Still, he felt better knowing that she had been lucky enough to run into him in the first place. The people she knew here in Pandora would be few and far between and the likelihood of her running into somebody she did know ... well, he supposed the only real option there would be Daryl and he was out in the woods.

Not that Aaron had never stumbled across a child out in the woods before.

Whatever the case, he knew he couldn't leave her here. Even if he hadn't put all together that he had, he wouldn't have left her here, but knowing what he knew now, there was that extra bit of care and obligation. He had to keep her safe.

Even as he felt into the depths of his own mind for a moment, the game continued and Aaron blinked his way back to reality again, as strange a reality as this had always proven to be. Dropping his gaze as she reached out to touch his hand, he looked back, confusion knit in the furrow of his brow. "What do you mean, Gracie?"

NOTES:
 
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Gracie

The Walking Dead
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8
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Human
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being a sunshine puppy
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Gracie’s brow furrowed. She was glad she’d found her dad, and she was glad she wasn’t in that house waiting to be found with the others, but this was confusing. How could her dad look so different - maybe he could have shaved his beard while she was gone but his arm? People didn’t regrow arms, did they?​
It took her a moment to articulate it, her expression serious as she clutched at his hand.​
“It’s…” she said. “It’s there,” she said, not sure how to explain it to him. “It’s not metal - I don’t think you can take this one off, can you?” she said, peering at his arm curiously like maybe there was a little clasp somewhere that would make it come off like the one back home.​
 
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Aaron

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Slowly, it began to sink in. It began to sink what she was talking about, and Aaron found himself swallowing thickly at the thought of it. What had happened back home? What had been done to keep him alive? He'd been bit. That much was clear. Or maybe it wasn't that at all, maybe it was another sort of accident, but the fact of the matter seemed to be that he had lost his arm. He didn't know what to think, how to feel, but whatever he did, he tried with everything that he had not to let the emotion reach his face, blinking his gaze back to Gracie.

"... Sometimes this place gives us miracles, too," he eventually told her, a soft smile tugging at the corners of his lips.

NOTES:
 

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