shri: (» is all yours)
From: [personal profile] shri

She settles into the camp easily.

That is to say, she knows how to mind her own business, fall in line and get on with it. Not make waves, and avoid whatever stares she might catch. Catches them, because of course she does. Because she's meant to not let too many people know who and what she is - a lengthy discussion she has with Rick. If preferable, she explains, no one outside of them needs to know. He counters, much like Daryl did the same, about what the blackwater could mean, mean for them all, and it goes, for some time, until she comes down harsh on it. If he wants her assistance, a warrior who could not die, that could walk into walking dead and walk back out without him having to risk anyone else and all she might do for them, he will not question her over it. The warning is clear, she will abide peaceably, but if anyone was fool enough to try and take it from her, they'd find themselves dead soon enough thereafter, and it would be on his head for their mistake. He agrees after that, to keep it amongst themselves, to keep word about is as discreet as possible. The last thing they need is it getting out to other surviving groups less than savoury.

So it means, within an hour, everyone else in the camp knows. The woman with gold in her hair that rode stiff-backed into the churchyard like something out of a story, the queen with no kingdom from a world that's been lost a long time ago. The knights were half myth less than forty years ago, tales that grow tall in each telling and she knows she's no exception. Though she'd rather been hoping most of them would react like Daryl and Rick, just raise their eyebrows and carry on with it. But, rather, she finds the odd feeling of being ghosted like they might touch her and find gilding on their fingers for the experience. Royalty isn't something people really consider anymore, the knights of the blackwater, even less so. She supposes it's to be expected. It stings, wants to spit she has no salvation to give them, only a chance that there was blood to be shed for. But that was the point of the blackwater, and her shoulders roll with it - all hope and none for herself.

So she approaches it as pragmatically as she could. Keeps her head down and puts her hands to work. Her skills, she makes those clear, are on offer to whoever has need of them. Some attempt to counter what is hissed at her back as an insult when it becomes clear she won't be sharing that vial at her neck: Queen, like she didn't have anything to give them if not immortality - what was with these Americans? Did they assume they were all Mad King George and his useless family on their throne? she bristles with the insult. Not of being all glamour and no ability, but being related to them - and she corrects it however and whenever she's able. Whether that's pitching in with cooking or putting a blade into a Walker's head. No task, she makes clear, is too low for her. She doesn't have that sort of pride. She never did.

Once, and only the once, is it settled by a swift knee into someone's stomach with spitting words that if anyone was going to get the jump on her, they'd need to have started three centuries ago. Like dogs snarling, bearing down with her place assured. After that, it becomes much easier to get on with her business in assisting. Shows what she has to give - that is to say, she lived and grew up in times before the world became so removed from its death. A time before refrigerators, easily available ammunition, clean water, for instance. How to stretch a little food a long way or help it keep longer. Things that they had figured out, granted, but just some experience assisted with from time to time from having to live this as ordinary.

Other times, however, she has to be shown. Isolating herself for the last seventy years has its own price. For one thing, she has no idea what to do with most of the electronics, some of the guns they carry, other parts of machinery. Tries not to let her pride sting as she's the one reduced to having to being teased when she doesn't have the faintest as to what they're talking about, or when she speaks of something as normal, and it isn't. When it had happened from her Great-Grandchildren was one thing, and when Carl takes her aside to explain things, she can swallow it - but it's hard to swallow the flustered ire when she's used to be sure and in control of everything around her. ( What even was an - an 'MP3' anyway? File types that weren't - paper? She finds herself missing Tesla to help her make sense of it most of all. )

Times like that, she finds him, to at least centre herself back into something she can do, does know. Helping him with skinning, tanning, helping him make extra bolts in a relative silence of work she knows. Cleaning her weapons with him. If she can't, she's tending the horse that's become so clearly hers in their progress, just liked she promised she would to it the first day. Becomes at least for her, a odd point of stability, between the two processes, of being in his presence, of dealing with words - old woman, grandma, majesty - that she can shove back just as hard when she needs to, it humanizes, stabilizes, keeps her steady where she needs to. Though she'd never say as much, when he goes for her throat, so to speak, where they're all dogs yanking at each other, there's always a breath of relief for the motion. Because he'd seen it, seen her gasping on her pain that ought to be death, wonders if he told Rick about that too, or if he kept it to himself, but it means at least, she can be something of herself. Comfortable, even if perhaps she shouldn't be. Keeps her both feet on the ground where she gets yanked into this and that, into teaching and being taught and what it means to live past the end of the world and have to start again.

Which is to say, all of it, just becomes life, once more. Lived in each and every day, difficult, struggling and she survives in it best, because that is what it had been what life had always been for her. It goes on, she finds her place in it again, and it simply is. Doing just that, when she finds herself face to face, polishing the gold she has worn for near two hundred years down, working out the blood from the links in the chain, looping it over her fingers to flick out the water as she looks up to him and - the rather cross expression on his face that her eyebrows raise for. Her constant art in being mild in the face of other people's ire. Something that is definitely all courtly habit, or as Carl had called it, once, her 'queen' face after she had told him the story about how the Jhansi ki Rani did battle with the British Lycan in a fortress made of stone on top of a great cliffside edge. ( Whatever... that meant. The observation of children could be merciless, sometimes. )

"I suppose that look means I have done something?" What for, however, she cannot think. Sometimes she knows, she teases too much, but he comes back quickly with that, they shove, and it's over with. This time, she can't think of anything she's done.
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