Problems Back Home
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They say that the wait can kill you. Then again, they say that about a lot of things. For those left at the prison, there's suddenly little time to be concerned for the others.

Prison C-Block

"Maybe it's time my dad got left behind."

It's the second time Carl's announced he's going to take a look around. Restless and agitated, he lends the prison cell block a taste of its old atmosphere: unwanted imprisonment. The pistol slaps heavily against his leg as he paces, closing the heavy door closed with a clang that sends the infant in Beth's arm writhing uncertainly. Concerned eyes shifting hurriedly from door to baby, the younger Greene murmurs a few lyrical words, bouncing her arms distractedly as her gaze drifts higher, following where the little sheriff has disappeared.

Glenn hasn't been much of a conversationalist since he got back, let alone everyone else left. He sits across from Beth in contemplative silence, sometimes begging questions as to whether or not he knows if anyone else is there. The way he stares at nothing while reliving everyone moment of the last few days would be enough to drive anyone to the edge, but when mixed with his own feelings of self-loathing, he edges the brink in this place. At least all he's doing is staring.

Until the clang of the door causes his head to snap towards it, almost like when a hypnotist snaps his fingers to wake up his mark. Glenn uncurls his body and stands at attention as his hand absently traces to the pistol at his own leg. His teeth toy at his lip as he finally reaches a standing position as he casts a sidelong glance at Beth. A few nearly-jogging paces have him just behind Carl. "Hey," it may be the first thing he's said since Maggie left, and it's wrought with all of the froggy dryness associated with not-speaking for a very long time.

The communal eating room, in its greys and metals, offers none of the imagined comforts of home except that, for them, it is. Carl strides heavily on legs still growing past furniture and food stores, heading for the hallway of the twisted tombs leading either outside or further in. A dark, cold, glance finds Glenn underneath the curve of his father's iconic hat, and a tic of his boyish lips all that suits as acknowledgment before he looks away, not slowing.

Good grief, is all Glenn can think, and it shows with a roll of his eyes towards Carl's back. At least the defiant kid missed that, not that Glenn could've helped it anyways. There's no doubt that his body has taken a beating recently, and it shows with the movement, but then not moving has done him little good the last twenty-four hours. Maggie is out there fighting the Governor while he's in here babysitting. Yay. His own steps quicken, in an effort to catch Carl, but his leg complains with every movement. Merle took it out of him: what spirit he'd had as the young, quick, retreiver of all things good and necessary. It's not just his leg that's damaged. It's so much more than that.

But then Glenn won't buy that. At least not here. And so, even while limping, his pace quickens, not catching Carl, but certainly pursuing him.

As Beth's murmurings to the baby diminish, and the never-quite silent but oppressive stillness of the massive prison structure overtakes them, Carl slows as they reach a hallway, a corner separate from the living arrangements. He stops in front of a second gate, putting his hand on it without affecting the latch as he twists to look with somberness up at Glenn. "You should be sitting down." Not quite concern. In the midst of the boy's melancholy, it's nearly patronizing except that he's trying too hard.

There's a smirk that creeps over all of Glenn's features at the comment. "And you shouldn't have to patrol alone," he counters while that smirk gains some ground into an all-out smile. Nothing like getting reprimanded by a prepubescent boy to provide an attitude adjustment. Even if it's not the adjustment the kid was shooting for… "Look, I know it sucks to be left behind," pause "believe me" yeah, he's also been left behind. "But honestly, you have skills. It's not like we could protect the fort without you if we needed to — " it's a strange admission from an adult, but then, the adult was just put into his place by a kid…

Carl stares back at Glenn with all the hallowed cheeks and haunted, unreadable eyes of the past winter. Most of the time, stoic, but now shifting with the weight of current events as well as unavoidable puberty. "Sucks?" A bold snark. He's not searching Glenn for some vast, adult knowledge; he's come to this conclusion already. "This is our life." Skinny fingers clench harder through the metal of the gate. It whispers. "We left Sophia… Andrea. Shane left Otis." A certain, new, darkening of his eyebrows lowering as he says the name— a could've been father; other fingers tighten on the pistol's grip as it hangs. "Now Daryl." But his eyes, lifting to Glenn, don't accuse the injured man of this one; Daryl's shadow is not his. When Carl glances darkly, with conspiracy, into the tombs' hallway then back, he voices calmly, "Maybe it's time my dad got left behind."

Glenn's eyes narrow at Carl's words, unsure whether it's possible to say the wrong thing. "We didn't leave Sophia." In fact, they spent weeks not leaving Sophia, lingering longer than they should have at the farm. But then… Maggie. No, Glenn would never regret lingering at Greene farm. "We were sure Andrea was dead." But he doesn't discuss Otis. Or Daryl… his eyes track downwards. Even if Carl absolves Glenn of that crime, he knows better. He is the reason. He shakes his head at the suggestion, "We don't leave on purpose. Ever." And there lays the fact. "If we did, everyone would've left me and Maggie in Woodbury." With the Governor. He swallows hard. "And they wouldn't try to go back for Daryl."

"Just like we were sure Sophia was alive?" At least he was. Not anymore; to Carl, everyone's dead, and it shows. As much as he scolds their actions, he's evolved to them. No more hoping. Just being prepared to move on, move forward; survive. "Think about it," now he insists, leaning forward, fingers squeezing; more metallic muttering under pressure, "Everything, all of that. It happened with my dad in charge. Now my mom's dead— " it comes right out of his mouth with only a shuddering echo, "— would it be so bad if he stepped aside for a while?"

A glance is given back to the entrance from where they came. Where is Herschel when fatherly advice is needed? When wisdom is warranted? Glenn's face scrunches up some, and he nods gently with understanding. "We waited a long time for that," he admits quietly. But then, he offers, "You know… I think it's hard. Deciding everything." He shrugs. "Maybe it's time the rest of us stepped up a little. Like real government," democracy is the word Glenn is looking for, but he can't find it. Not now. "And maybe it'd be good for him. When they get back," not if, not when Maggie is involved, "we'll talk about it."

Without flinching, Carl amends, "We should be prepared for them not to." With a shake of his head, dismissive, he twists towards the gate, yanking with his waiting hand at the latch. It unlocks with a clatter and ring and he pulls the metal towards him to open.

Glenn's lips part only to press back together. "Then it doesn't matter anyways, does it?" he forces, and even manages not to make his voice crack. Maggie better come back to him; he should've gone with. He'll never be a sociopath, even if Carl borders on it for his own protection.

Poised in the open doorway, Carl's gaze turns on Glenn with an unwanted, uncertain potential. He knows— he doesn't feel; an answer in the wary frustration of his eyes before they deaden, but, rubbing his lips together, he inhales only to be interrupted by a soft clink clink clink of muttering metal. But his hand has stilled on the door, and was never this precise.

Something nudges Glenn's foot: a small, grey cylinder rocks gently back and forth as it settles there, slightly hissing.

A choked syllable of indistinct shouting leaves Carl's throat just as the cylinder explodes, expelling a cloud of obscuring gas straight up and into their faces. Prison walls disappear into vague mist as noise jumps into nothingness with a faint ringing.

Glenn's eyes track downwards when he feels something nudge against his foot. His lips part to say something, but there's little time for conversation now that there is an obvious gas leak of some kind. "C-" he begins and starts choking on the name "-arl" he completes, he reaches out into the unknown grasping for something anything so he can catch his bearings again. He tries to call out a warning to those inside, but his yells are silenced by the grasp of gas at his lungs.

Besides him— or is it far away— somebody— is it Carl?!— chokes, is coughing. Ringing makes it indistinct and when it begins to ease up, there's harsh drums pounding to take its place, destroying balance and senses. The hiss of the gas continuing to expel layers under a crash and bang. Carl yells— pain and surprise. Another clang.

Metal singing.

"Glenn!" It sounds miles away, Maggie's voice— no, wait. Beth's. "Carl! Over here!"

Glenn's grasping hand catches on something— cold, metallic. The door? It wasn't this close to him before. Did he move, or did it?

Maggie! his mind screams, but his voice can't find the word. She is the only thing he can think of, can wrap his mind around. Carl's yell just rings through his ears as does the sound of metal. Desperately, he clings to the door. Should he go back inside. His fingers cling to the metal and guide him back in that direction. His fingers glide across it, guiding him back towards their chosen home so he can, once more, get his bearings…

Shouting reverberates around him— footsteps and pounding, but the gas thins as he manages to stagger one direction away and flashes of movement buzz by his eyes like a kaleidoscope, just after-images burned into the light.

"Glenn! Ca— "

Something wraps abruptly around Glenn's wrist. A shadow in the mist, hissing its own insect-tune.

With the haze setting in, Glenn easily moves towards whatever grasps onto him, rather than fighting it off. The sound just confuses him further. Images of the last few years flash before his eyes…

Bang!

Sound whizzes by his ear, nearly deafening him a second time. The gentle, but possessive, lure of the grip jumps off of him and suddenly Glenn is being man-handled by a much smaller palm, urging him backwards and a warm blob pushes at his cheek. A scattering of smaller bangs and rustles are less than the gunshot just before.

Then he can register that it's an over-shirt being shoved into his face, stuffing up the nose that takes in more gas. Little, recently calloused, hands. Blonde hair.

She appears, the youngest Greene, her features disconcertingly similar to her sister's in the first few seconds before her fuller cheeks, down-turned nose, fill in from the fog. Those cheeks alight in panic and adrenaline. She's shoving him with undocumented force back towards the cell block gate while her other arm extends with the pistol she used. "Glenn— " she gasps, even as a movement from behind him is Axel grabbing to steady Glenn's shoulder through the bars, "Glenn— where's Carl?!"

Glenn is compliant in all of these dealings, like a large mannequin. Not quite a statue, but certainly dead weight of a sort. As he's forced back towards the cell block gate he begins coughing and gasping for air in order to function. He reaches for his own pistol at his leg as his head shakes and he very quickly catches his breath, "Carl, he was — he was right with me — " he bends over and then stands back up, "We — we need to go get him and Herschel, your dad… where, where is Judith…"

Indistinct shouts inside the wafting gas; blurs now, like nightmare figures dart across Glenn's still-stunned vision. To his question, Beth's visage flushes then pales as she twists to look up the stairs towards the back of the block, frightful to think of the child, alone, "Her crib— " she starts to insist, and there's a distant noise, a wail, as if the baby's crying and they've only just noticed.

As soon as Beth's back turns, vulnerable, to the gas and mist and shadows— she's forfeit to it. A gloved hand swerves out from amongst the smoke, snatching the very tied top of the girl's ponytail and yanking. With a shriek, Beth stumbles backwards, heels kicking up off the concrete as the pull snaps her. The pistol jumps out of her hands as she reaches for her hair, trying to loosen what is hauling her into the mist.

The baby's cry grabs Glenn's attention, but only until Beth shrieks. This time, Glenn is the one to react. The pistol at his leg is heeded and with instinct rather than real thought, he gives it a tug and shoots for what he thinks will be the body tugging at Beth's hair. The bang resounds clouding his thoughts and judgment once again.

But he blinks, and the shadow's still there— no— blink again and it was just a shadow of a shadow; his vision's still behind and now Beth's crying and Judith's crying and Axel wrestles his way around the side of the gate but the blonde hair's disappeared into the fog. As it shifts and begins to dissipate, as vision returns, each inch of common room proves there's nothing to see. Nothing. No shadows, no sign of a single person; not even the canister that set this all off remains, making it little more than a nightmare.

Except Judith is crying.

The crying rapts Glenn's attention. Must find the baby. He pushes himself against a wall and takes a few long deep breaths to listen. And just listen. He reaches out and slides against the wall towards the sound. Towards where he thinks the sound is. He isn't thinking clearly, and he's well aware of this fact, yet he can't stop, not when so much is on the line. Not when safety is in question.

"What's happened? What— " follows him, in Hershel's voice, as he approaches the stairs leading to the block's upper level: cells, and the baby crib. Vision returning, he can tell he's back in the row they've been calling home, as Maggie's father swerves out of a lower cell on crutches he's hastily grabbed. "Glenn, what's going on? Beth— "

From further back, left at the cell gate, Axel circles restlessly, out of his head, "Holy shit— oh god, oh man— it was just like a riot back in the day— who the hell?"

It takes Glenn the walk and Hershel's voice to finally come to enough to realize that his faculties are no longer lying to him. He shakes his head once, trying to knock the dizzy out of himself. Finally he answers, "We need to get out here — get Judith, I'm — " going back to the smoke. "We need gas masks something — Carl, Beth — " but Glenn is already on the move again. "The tactical gear!" he runs, like only Glenn can, down the hall, grabs two handfuls of gas masks. He tugs one over his face and speeds back to the door.

A great weight has chiseled across Hershel's face when his call for his remaining daughter goes unanswered, but he manages to stick out a crutch in Glenn's path, stopping the boy with an insistent tap on a knee. "Now, hold on and think about what you're saying— "

"Are there enough— ?" Axel speeds forward, grabbing at Glenn's shoulder, looking at the gas masks before the stairs. "Rick, he took somm'a that stuff— " Behind them, Judith wails on, unattended, as though she were the alarm the prison's since lost.

"I am thinking!" Glenn replies in a harried tone. "I'm thinking that we need to move before things get worse. We need to find Beth and Carl, and last I saw them," or maybe didn't see them depending on what was in that gas, "was out there," he points emphatically in the direction of the door. And then he's ducking around Hershel on his war path towards the tactical gear. His hands rake through his hair as he races down the hall. One thing about Glenn: he's quick. "Barely enough," comes Glenn's response as he tosses one towards Axel and Hershel in turn.

"Glenn," Hershel's old hands work over the mask material, pressuring as if testing it, but merely finding a thin comfort in its physicality. "I trust you," it's a quick affirmation; a prelude, "But you're asking an infant and a crippled old man," — some blithe bemusement, growing bitter a second in his concern — "to flee out there into God knows what."

"Judith!" from Axel, pawing his own gas mask forgotten as his head snaps up the stairs, "I'll get the little 'un— " He charges forward, grabbing the railing with nervous gumption. A few canisters of baby formula speckle the floor near her crib, with additional supplies in the common area, and he eyes them warily; nothing's been packed for a quick exit. They've grown too comfortable.

Right. Baby and old man. There's a moment where Glenn's face flushes with conern. "Sorry Hershel," he apologizes as his he lifts his hat and runs a hand through his hair. it's just… better than being trapped in a prison," he utters. "Yeah — Axel, please!" the mask is tugged over his face. "I'm going," he reloads his pistol, "to find Beth and Carl. We need to get out the back way — whatever's at the front, it's not something I think we want to have to endure! Axel, get Judith. Hershel, go with him. Then cut back through the prison." They haven't perfectly mapped it, but there has to be a secondary entrance. That said, he's running again, down the hall back into the gassy air…

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