What if Bethyl is not a slow burn? What if Beth and Daryl have One Night together and Beth decides to make it count.
What follows is proof that I can't write a one shot. Part 1 of 2.
I was out and running, and I wasn't gonna stop until I was sure I was safe. A quick glance back at the hospital told me I wasn't being followed as I clambered up the overgrown slope that led to the woods.
I moved carefully and quietly as I reached the trees, knowing there was no point getting away from the horrors behind me if I just ran into a walker. A quick assessment told me I had no weapon, no food and no water. Forcing myself to be positive I remembered I had a full stomach, the gardening fork I was carrying had helped me get this far and the work I'd been doing in the past few weeks had made me stronger. Well stronger, except for my dodgy ankle and a small pot protecting my wrist.
'Be positive', I almost said the words out loud.
If I kept out of sight hopefully I wouldn't be missed for a while. Bitch One and Bitch Three had been in charge that day, Bitch Three I'd had hit in the face with the gardening fork, she might not be dead but she wasn't going to be running after me anytime soon. Bitch One had been shot by her own gun. I'd been shocked to see she only had one bullet and thrown the gun at her body in disgust.
It was Sparkle who had names our Guards, Bitches One through to Four. I tried not to think of Sparkle who had attempted to get out with me, she had been counting the days until her eighteenth birthday, but she hadn't made it. Her real name wasn't Sparkle, obviously, she whispered once that she had been called Sue, "But why use such a boring name when I can be anyone I want to be now?"
I tried not to think of Moll and Jean who were two older ladies who I had worked side by side with in the kitchens. They were both Grandmothers, with teenage Grandchildren, but had been kept working in the hospital since the change, they were too terrified to even try to escape.
I'd had to run before, the last time I had Daryl Dixon by my side but now I was alone. I was still determined to keep going. I blocked out the past for now and concentrated on moving forwards, watching my back and listening for trouble.
It was obvious there was trouble around, I saw the bodies of three walkers that were still gooey enough to have been slain quite recently. Two of them had their heads split open, one had a neat wound to the eye, maybe from a bullet? No, it was more likely a bolt as bullets made more a real mess of the back of the head when they passed through. Maybe it was one of Daryl's bolts?
I smiled at my own stupidity, I'd been trying not to think of Daryl for so long, but he was still creeping onto my head at the most awkward of moments. I should have been getting out of the area, but here I was trying to work out how these walkers had met their end. I wasted more time looking at a footprint that looked just like the one's Daryl used to make when he was testing my tracking skills. Of course, it couldn't be Daryl's. The footprints weren't running, maybe walking fast from the distance that they were apart, I supposed few humans walked slowly through the woods these days.
I didn't make a conscious decision to follow the trail, but just took a few steps that way, the footprints weren't so obvious now but there was a definite track so I followed it as it was easier than dodging trees and might lead somewhere. I was sure it wasn't leading back to the hospital.
I hadn't gone too far when something pointy touched the top of my spine.
"Stop! You followin' me?" said a gruff voice.
"Daryl?" I made a squeaking sound. It couldn't be him!
The point of the bolt was removed from my back and I turned carefully. It was Daryl. Daryl Dixon. Here!
He looked as amazed and confused as I felt, and he was still holding his loaded crossbow at me. I hitched in breath, thinking that the twitch of a finger could be the end of me, he swore as he realised where my focus was and where his focus wasn't, then lowered the bow to his side.
"How are you here?" I managed to stammer.
"We saw a car like the one that took you. Followed it…" His words stopped as I closed the gap between us and hugged him. It was awkward, he was holding his bow and only managed to pat my back once, before he stepped back. I had forgotten Daryl's problem with hugs, he had begun to get used to them when we had spent time together, but his aversion was back.
My confused head caught up with his words. "We? Who else are you with?" I looked around expecting to see someone.
"Ty and Carol, they're checking the other side of that place. Is that where you were? The hospital?"
I nodded but was more interested by his companions. "You found Tyreese and Carol!"
Daryl was looking around him, I realised I had probably said that too loud.
"Yeah, but we can't talk here. We got a house to hole up in while we were checking that place out, they'll be there, then we'll get to everyone else…"
Daryl showed me half a smile. "Maggie and Glenn, Rick and Carl and Lil Asskicker."
My head began to swim at the news. Maggie! Maggie was alive… and Judith!
My arm darted out to a tree to stop myself from swaying. Daryl grabbed my other arm and spoke in my ear. "I'll tell you everything, but now we got to move. You okay? Can you run? Is your ankle okay? What happened to your wrist?"
I managed a nod and interrupted him. "I'm fine, ankle's still taped up, but it's good enough."
"And where's your weapon?"
I held up the bloodied garden fork, Daryl looked surprised but took it from me. He handed me his hunting knife. "That's better," he decided.
Daryl kept a steady pace, he kept glancing back and giving me one of his nods to check I was still with him. Once he deemed that we had gotten far enough away from the hospital he slowed enough to be able to ask me a few questions. "Why'd they take you?"
I shrugged, "They needed people to work, said that they 'saved me'."
"What kind of work?"
"Cleaning, working in the kitchens, laundry. They had a generator so it was no harder than the work we did at the prison, but I wasn't working for us. Hated it." I scowled and hoped he wouldn't want details of cleaning surgical theatres and other people's bathrooms.
"Did they hurt you? What happened to your wrist?"
"That happened outside the funeral home. I was getting away from the walkers and ran straight into them, someone put something over my mouth and when I fought, they twisted my arm around my back and everything went black. I woke up in that place and someone had put this pot on." I waved my arm.
"And your face?"
I wasn't surprised that Daryl had noticed I had an old cut on my lip and bruising on my cheek.
"One of the Bitches that kept an eye on us was a bit slap happy." I said and saw Daryl wince, so tried to make him feel better. "If it wasn't for her I wouldn't have gotten out, she always had a gun, but today she had a silencer on it, like Carl's, remember? I knew I could use it without being heard, so I got the gun off her and she won't be slapping anyone again."
"Good…" He looked across at me, "Do you want to go back? Kill the rest of them? We'd need a plan."
"Revenge?" I paused a bit, thinking it over. "I want to see Maggie and Judith and our family sooner, rather than risk ourselves going back there. This world or the next will give them what they deserve."
Daryl considered me for a moment then gave one of his nods, it wasn't long before he pointed ahead. I could just see a building hidden amongst the trees, it was very overgrown. When I got close that I realised it was a very modern building consisting of big boxes made from reflective glass, white concrete and dark wood-panels.
"Looks fancy," I commented.
"It's trashed inside," Daryl shrugged. "It's been okay for a couple of nights and storing the car, oh and I got a bike..." He opened a wooden door that was almost hidden in the wall and let me into a double garage.
There was a big, black motorbike on one side, it was a lot more modern than his old one. It didn't have as much character, but I guessed it was faster and more reliable.
Daryl was more concerned about a vehicle that wasn't there. "Where's the car?"
He strode into the garage and collected a piece of paper left on his bike seat. "It's from Tyreese." Daryl handed me the note to read:
'Carol's injured her leg. Not a bite! Taking her back to everyone for help. Left you gas and food. Good luck man, hope you find her. Ty. Day 3.'
"I hope Carol's okay…"
Daryl hummed in agreement. "So we'll stay here tonight and get back to everyone tomorrow. That okay with you?"
"Of course… be like old times."
Daryl made another of his non-committal noises, then grabbed a big flash-light to led the way through a door in the corner of the garage and up some stairs.
"What did Tyreese mean by 'Day 3'?" I asked as I followed him up.
"We left everyone in a hurry. Rick said they'd wait a week for us, promised to leave us lots of signs so we could follow them if we were late, but tomorrow is the fifth day so we got plenty of time to get back to them."
The room above was huge, it opened up into a bright kitchen, one of those with shiny white cupboards and an island, this led to a dining area with a glass table that would have seated a dozen and then a lounge area next to floor to ceiling windows. The view of the woods below was beautiful, although the sky was beginning to darken.
All the furniture and decoration was very modern, almost the opposite of the house I had grown up in. "Must have been a lovely home," I said.
Daryl didn't seem so sure. He pointed his torch to one of the huge windows which was cracked, then the water damaged ceiling. "See that, the woods are trying to take over. It's got a flat roof and the drains must have blocked without anyone tending the place. The ceilings almost come in upstairs. I suppose the smell of damp is better than walkers though."
"How bad is it upstairs? I could do with some clothes."
"You don't like your little blue outfit?" Daryl smirked.
"Oh, I love it!" I smirked back. "You jealous of my plimsolls?" I stuck out a foot showing the dirty, white, laced-up shoes, which had proved incredibly impractical for running through the woods.
"Very nice, let me get the fire going and you can take the light with you. That still works." Daryl directed the beam at a suspended fire in the middle of the room. There was a pile of logs on the tiles beneath it, along with a coffee table with pots, pans and candles. Carol, Tyreese and Daryl must have had a couple of meals here already.
Daryl was clearly hungry, he began opening cupboards in the huge kitchen and found a couple of cans. "Shall I go find us a squirrel? Rabbit maybe? There's not much here."
"Please don't. It's getting dark and I need you to tell me everything. I don't need that much to eat. I had breakfast and lunch."
"They fed you okay?" I nodded in reply and Daryl went on to ask, "Did you eat meat?"
"Not a lot," I replied thinking that was a pretty strange question. "They had a veg garden on the roof and once they realised I knew what I was doing, I was sent up there to work. That's where I discovered the best way to get out of the building, once I had the chance."
I did feel guilty leaving Daryl cooking by candle light as I set off to find clothes upstairs. He warned me I might feel cold on the bike tomorrow and said I should get a belt so I could keep his knife, he also requested socks.
It was strange, in some ways I felt as if I had never been away from him, as if the wasted weeks of my life in that hospital had never happened and Daryl and I had been together all this time. I could admit to myself that I had thought about him a lot. When I had a decision to make, I could think Daryl would choose this option. When I did something he would approve of, I could imagine a little nod of his head.
He was right about the state of the upstairs, the ceiling in the main bedroom was partly through and the walk-in wardrobes were damp and made my blue scrubs seem pleasant and sweet smelling. The en-suite and family bathroom had been emptied of anything useful, presumably by Ty and Carol.
There were two kids bedrooms that were stale smelling but worth looking through. I guessed the little girl was about Mika's age, everything was pink and way too small for me, although on a shelf full of dust covered teddy bears and dolls there was one boxed Rainy-Day Care Bear. One of the old ones that I remembered from when I was a kid, I grabbed it for Judy.
It seemed that the mom of the house had so many shoes she stored some in this room. Lots of high-heeled pumps that were useless, except maybe as a weapon, two pairs of training shoes and pair of hiking boots, that had not done much hiking. The boots were a size too big, so I took the insoles from the trainers and hoped for socks. Hair ties and a hairbrush were the only other things of use to me in here, so the boy's room was my last hope.
Fortunately he was a skinny teenager, so a pair of jeans looked like they might fit me and I had a selection of belts to choose from. I grabbed a couple of darker t-shirts and lots of socks, emptying a back pack onto the bed to use. What came out of the backpack was a surprise. I was so relieved I was alone, my face burned in embarrassment.
Along with the usual school books and pens; a box of cellophane wrapped condoms landed on the bed.
It was odd that my first thought went to Sparkle, my young friend from the hospital and not the man downstairs. Sparkle liked to gossip when she couldn't sleep. "What do you mean? You never did 'it'?"
"It just didn't happen for me." I whispered back, she was younger than me, but certainly not a virgin.
"But you had a boyfriend?"
"Yes, Jimmy... and we talked about it, almost tried, but my mom and brother got sick so I wasn't too interested after that."
"No, there was another boyfriend?" she insisted.
"Zack and I weren't that serious."
"Not him," Sparkle insisted. "The other guy? The one you always talk about. Daryl?"
"I don't always talk about Daryl." I insisted. Sparkle huffed and rolled over in her cot, irritated with me because I wouldn't swap stories, and I had tried to sleep rather than think about Daryl again.
And here I was with Daryl downstairs and a long night ahead of us. Was I being silly thinking these things? Daryl might have been interested once, but maybe because I was the last girl alive. Now we were all going to be together soon, he had his family to work with and take care of. He wouldn't need me so much, maybe we weren't as close as I'd imagined? He certainly didn't seem to be trying to claim my attention now and he wasn't here wondering whether to take a box of condoms or not.
Angry with myself, I stuffed them back in the bag and put everything on top. Leaving the condoms here made no sense, maybe Maggie and Glenn might need them. I grabbed a hoodie that was hanging on the back of the door, it might swamp me but I would be warm. Time to get dinner.
"Nearly ready," Daryl said as I arrived back downstairs. "Did you get what you needed?"
"Yeah, and a totally unnecessary bear for Judith." I showed him. "Think she'll like it?"
"Sure she will... She'll be more pleased to see you though. She still looks around sometimes as if she's trying to work out where you are."
I froze in place while emotions rolled over me. Poor Lil' Asskicker, this must be so confusing for her. "I missed her too." I managed to say in a strangled voice.
Daryl looked up, his eyes widened as he realised what he'd said and I watched him shift his weight from one foot to another. He looked so uncomfortable.
"I'm okay," I sniffed. "These are happy tears. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I'm glad she missed me... well not glad." I tripped up over my own words. "That sounded mean, I'm not glad she's missing me..."
"You're not mean." Daryl mumbled. "You're never mean."
"Thank you," I mumbled back, feeling like and idiot and trying to stop the tears. "I'll go wash up and be right down for dinner."
I was about to go back upstairs to the bathroom but Daryl stopped me and pointed out the downstairs bathroom. "Water's not good enough to drink, but okay for washing and there's a study next door that smells better than this place. We've slept in there, locked ourselves in and were okay."
It was a huge family bathroom, modern and white yet again which reflected back my beam of light. I looked longingly at the bathtub, but knew it wouldn't be as relaxing as it looked if filled with cold water, so I opted for a wash at one of the sinks. I was disappointed at how badly the clothes smelt of damp so I hung them over an airer, sprayed a floral deodorant on them and hoped they'd be a little pleasanter in the morning. I had collected my blue scrubs from the laundry that morning, so even though I hated them and they were speckled with blood they were my best choice at the moment. Tidying my hair and using some of the face cream made me fresher, I was certainly ready to eat.
The study was cosy, a leather armchair and huge two seater sofa with a pile of blankets on the coffee table. It was warm enough for Daryl to leave his jacket and thick shirt over the back of the chair before we ate.
I made sure he had more food than I did. He'd heated soup and boiled some broken, dried spaghetti to make it more filling. I saw his big shoulders sag with relief as he ate and waited a little while before I started questioning him.
"I knew you'd get out of that funeral home, never doubted that." I began.
"Yeah, I can look after myself, didn't do a good job of looking after you though." Daryl mumbled into his bowl.
"You know that none of this was your fault?"
His only reply was a shrug.
"There's no way we could have expected to come across a group of people who would just take someone to work for them. If you had been there, they might have killed you. They didn't have any men working for them."
Daryl's anger was beginning to show. "Or I could have got both of us away from them, rather than just chasing after the car like a dumbass."
"You chased after the car?" I asked. Daryl didn't reply, he just looked incredibly interested in his empty soup bowl.
I took our few pots away to clean up as Daryl had done the cooking. He followed me into the kitchen, leaning against the modern cabinets that seemed to come from another time.
He'd chased after the car, I couldn't imagine how frantic he must have felt to lose me if he chased after a car! Was he concerned about losing me or being alone? I didn't let myself get too excited by this news, he certainly didn't seem to be inviting more questions about that, but I prompted gently. "How did you manage to find the others?"
He scowled a little, as if he were trying to work out what to say, then began. "I found another group, or they found me and I went with them, cos I didn't know what else to do. I knew they weren't right. Not good people." He glanced up and caught my eye for a second then looked back down at his hands, "… but I wasn't sure I could survive alone. They were tracking someone, turned out to be Rick." Daryl shrugged awkwardly. "I ended up going with Rick, Michonne and Carl to this place that they had seen signs for."
I knew there was more to this than Daryl was telling, sometimes I could prod him and he'd tell me more, but I decided not to in this situation. I assumed that if a 'not good' group of people were tracking Rick, but now Rick and Daryl were fine, then I presumed the other group were no longer. I decided to let Daryl skim over that topic and we went back into the study.
While Daryl locked us into the room, I asked, "There were signs for a somewhere?"
"Yeah, maps directing people to the end of the railway tracks. Claimed to be a sanctuary. 'Those who arrive, survive.' We showed up there, and thought we were being really careful by going into the back, we knew there was something wrong but they had greater numbers and they corralled us into a boxcar. Funnily enough your sister and Glenn were being held in there too. Sasha and Bob as well, along with some folks they'd met along the way." Daryl let the sarcasm sound in his voice. "We'd all gone to Terminus thinking we were gonna be saved."
Daryl was focussed on me now, leaning forward in his armchair. "You heard o' the place?"
"Yes! It was a threat from the guards. It terrified Sparkle. They said the men at Terminus would find us real tasty." I saw Daryl wince at my words.
"Sparkle?" He asked.
"She was the girl I worked with at the hospital. She was scared that… well… we were both scared of what might happen if we were sent there."
Daryl held up his hand to stop me. "It's not what you're thinking. They weren't rapists, they were cannibals."
For a long moment I did not understand him. Cannibals. That word seemed alien and unreal. I gazed at Daryl, hoping I'd misheard him. I tried to begin a couple of questions, but not too many words came out of my mouth until I managed to stammer, "People were eating people?"
Daryl's face was an angry mask. "Not us though. We got ourselves out of there, some other people too. There's no one left alive that ate someone."
"And our family's okay?" I was feeling a little light headed at this news, but tried to concentrate on the most important facts.
"Few bumps and bruises, but we're all okay. We stocked up. They had lots of guns and ammo, gas, food… normal food. We thought about staying, but the place was all wrong. We got out of there a couple of days ago and ran straight into Carol and Ty with Lil' Asskicker."
It was him saying his nickname for Judy that made me tear up again.
"Please don't get upset, that's the good news." He pleaded with me. "They never got anywhere near her."
"I know, I'm so relieved she's okay... and that Maggie's okay and you too." I tried to think clearly, but my head was full of what I had already heard. What else did I need to know? "Do you know about anyone else? All of our people on the bus?"
Daryl's voice was quiet and he kept his eyes downcast. "Your sister found the bus, don't seem like anyone on there survived... Lizzy and Mika were the ones who saved Judith, they got her to Tyreese, but they didn't make it either. I'm sorry."
I'd wanted to know everything, but that was a lot of information. I tried to stem the tears and Daryl looked around awkwardly.
After a second he got up, put a box of dusty tissues on the coffee table, then stood by me shifting his weight a little from foot to foot. I patted the seat beside me and after a little hesitation he sat. I managed to stop my tears and drew in a few ragged breaths.
"You okay?" He asked quietly.
"I'll be fine, it's just a lot of news to get all at once."
His hand brushed mine. "I'm not good at saying things gently. Sorry."
I took the chance to link my fingers with his and gave his big, rough hand a careful squeeze. "There was no way to say that gently, I needed to know and I'm glad you've told me."
With another deep breath, I was able to take the time to think about all those people that hadn't made it. Lizzy and Mika, the other children, names and faces began to blur, the people who had survived Woodbury, other people who had survived alone and been brought to the prison, they were no longer survivors. We had to keep surviving for them.
Daryl didn't let go of my hand, I felt the heat from his bare forearm pressed against mine. He was sharing my loss, it made it easier to bear.
"You know that you think you're not good when I cry, well this is all you need to do. Just sit with me. Hold my hand."
"Okay," he replied, quietly.
"Would you tell me about Lil' Asskicker, is she really okay?"
He nodded. "I think so, she's grown. Not sure how big she's supposed to be now, but she seems strong. She's quiet though, seems to pick up on our tension. I suppose it's good when there's trouble, but a little kid shouldn't be that quiet."
"I hope we find somewhere where she can be a kid again and where we all can relax."
Daryl shrugged. "You wanna relax? There's wine. A couple of bottles."
"Are you having some?"
"Nah, I'm not a fan o'wine. Was my mum's drink so…" he shrugged.
"Then I won't either, don't want to have a hangover for tomorrow." I grinned at an old memory. "And this place is too big for us to be burning down." Peering up at Daryl I could see a wry grin working it's way to his lips too. It was so comfortable sitting here with him, we moved back in the sofa a little and I kept a tight hold of his hand. I wanted to tell him I was happy, and that I was happy because of him, did he realise that?
It was how I began to tell him that caused the problem. "You remember when I said that you'd miss me?"
I heard the confusion is his voice, "Yeah?"
I was surprised that Daryl dragged his hand out of mine, he stood and scowled down at me. "What's up? You gonna tell me 'I told you so'?"
"What do you want to throw that back at me for? Didn't think you were like that!"
I had seen him this angry before, his face twisted in pain as he turned to the door. If it hadn't been locked he would have been out of the room before I could stop him, but he fumbled with the latch and I managed to join him there. My heart was pounding and I was furious with myself for upsetting him, but I knew I needed to keep calm to be able to calm him.
"Daryl, please. Please let me finish, I wasn't saying I told you so. I swear." I put my hand on his arm and he shrugged it off. As he did so, he moved a little way back away from the door and I was able to get my arm and shoulder between him and the door. "Please listen to me…" I begged again as I put my hand on his chest, the contact made him hesitate enough for me to speak. "I said that you would miss me, but I didn't say how much I would miss you and I did. I missed you. So much."
Daryl was looking stunned, but at least he wasn't trying to get out of the room anymore, so I carried on. "I was desperate to get away from that place, I spent ages working out how to get out but I spent just as much time working out how to find you again. I knew you would survive and I knew we would find each other." My voice had an hysterical tone to it, I realised I was gripping the front of Daryl's shirt.
In a calmer voice I whispered again, "I missed you" and with my free hand touched his cheek, just above his rough beard. I was stuck between him and the door now, but I wanted to be there. He towered over me, I had to tilt my face up to see his, which was filled with hurt and confusion. I repeated myself, as if "I missed you" were the only words that I knew how to say, as if they were the magic words that would take away his pain.
His hand had moved to my waist, I could feel the heat from his palm through the cheap cotton. He'd taken a small step forward, his chest was now against mine, with my hand caught between us. With just a slight movement the tips of my fingers were able to graze his chest, just above where the button fastened. I couldn't speak anymore, couldn't take my eyes from his face. He moved closer and his lips crashed down to mine.
I jolted in surprise and he hesitated, but I drew my free hand to the back of his neck, holding him to me. His beard was a little scratchy but softer than I expected, his lips were dry but determined. When his tongue flicked against my lips, I parted them eagerly, letting his tongue in to brush against mine.
The shirt button that I had been clinging to had unfastened or come loose, and my hand was free to stroke his chest and neck. His hand on my waist was moving up and down, his other hand around my back holding me against him. He body felt solid against mine, I could feel his hardness pressing against me. My excitement matched his, there was a fire inside me.
Breathing was difficult, I had to break the kiss, tipping my head back and gasping for air. Daryl's kisses moved to my throat, then down to my collarbone as he pushed me back against the door. His hands were exploring, and I was thrilled at the contact but hating that my horrible scrubs that were the only barrier between us.
I ducked my head desperate to find his lips again and claim more kisses. I heard myself moan as his lips met mine, his tongue invading me again. I could feel his big palm against my breast, my nipples were so hard they were aching. When he rubbed a thumb roughly over one, I was amazed at the sensation and let out a strange squeaking sound.
I heard him gasp in surprise, then he stopped. I was panting as if I'd run a sprint, my head leaning back against the door, my eyes closed but then his body moved away from mine. I stretched a hand out to him but he wasn't within my reach, my eyes snapped open to see him backing away.
His eyes were wide with surprise, his face flushed. "Sorry. I shouldn't a done that." His words rolled into one and it took me a second to understand him.
"Why not? We both did that!"
"Ain't right." Daryl mumbled.
"What's wrong? You didn't want to kiss me?"
"Course I did, haven't you seen you." He snapped at me.
"You want to kiss me because of what I look like!" I got so irritated, so quickly. It must have been because of the disappointment of seeing him back away from me. I almost spat my sarcasm at him, "Oh, of course, you wanna kiss me just cos I'm pretty." Since I was kid I'd been told how pretty I was, only my family valued me for something more than my looks. I thought Daryl knew me better than that. I glared at him as he sat awkwardly on the arm of the sofa, looking embarrassed.
"Not just that." He mumbled. I snorted in a very unladylike manner, but that seemed to rile him enough to make him speak. "You're not just pretty, you're beautiful. Beautiful. Alright? And not just on the outside…" His words tailed off and it was my turn to blush.
I tried to calm down. I'd certainly thought about him physically, as well as because he was a good man. "Thank you," I said sincerely.
Daryl still looked upset, "But I still shouldn't be touching you. Just gotta get you back to your sister and hope she don't shoot me."
I was beginning to understand his objections. "You think Maggie wouldn't approve?"
"If she does, she shouldn't. I ain't your kind."
"Daryl, you are part of my family. Of course you're my 'kind'…"
He interrupted me, "You just think what your Daddy would say if he thought you were carryin' on with me, considerin' where I came from."
"You know my father would never judge someone by their past. Don't say that!" I folded my arms and glared at him, but I did manage not to stamp my foot. Daryl was looking totally forlorn, and I felt guilty for snapping at him, even thought I was defending him. I knew his family life before the turn had convinced him that he was worthless. I couldn't let him keep thinking that. I approached him slowly and gently putting a hand on his shoulder.
He turned his face from me as I spoke. "You should know my Daddy admired you. He knew you were smart, was impressed with your common sense and how you dealt with the Committee, even though meetings like that aren't really your thing. Knew you could survive but you still stayed with us and helped those of us that weren't that good at looking after ourselves. He knew you were a good man despite your grumpy exterior." Daryl looked up at that and I smiled a little. "I could compliment you a little more if you'd like."
"I'm not saying Daddy would like to think about us 'carrying on' but I'm sure he would think I made a good choice." I was relieved Daryl was no longer arguing, he had let me get closer too. He was still perched on the arm of the sofa and I was stood between his knees, just waiting for the opportunity to close the gap between us. "And anyway, don't I get any say in this."
Daryl kept his head down, he was pretty much concentrating on my knees.
"If we hadn't been separated, I think we would have been together, given a little time. We lost out on that, but now we have a chance to be together." I spoke carefully.
"But now we're gonna be back with everyone else. I'm not the last man standing, you don't have to be with me."
"But I want to be with you, I missed you!" I insisted.
"Yeah, you said that already," he drawled.
He could be so irritating! "Okay, so I'll tell you something new! You kissed me, you touched me, you wanted to and I wanted you to." I took a tiny step closer and put my arms on each of his shoulders. I ducked a little to whisper in his ear. "And it was exciting..."
At last he looked up at me.
"And I want it to happen again," I managed to say, though my voice was a little shaky.
Part Two hopefully by the weekend. It's almost ready.
I've been writing this since the Comic Con trailer. I had to do a Reunion Fic before Season 5 starts, and in exactly two weeks from now I'll be watching Episode 1 in the UK, so I thought I'd better get a move on!
So what do you think? Please let me know.