Title: Real Men Cuddle

Author: GageWhitney

Rating: M

Pairing: Daryl/Andrea

Disclaimer: Very much not mine.

Summary: "You can stay, you know. You don't have to run off."

Note: Based on Norman Reedus saying, about "virgin" Daryl, "He'll fuck you, but he doesn't want to cuddle."

Plus: a reference to The X-Files is in this fic!

The first time they fuck, cuddling is the last thing on Andrea's mind.

Who could blame her, with the Indian summer they're experiencing? It's got to be at least 100 degrees in the sun. Really, all she wants to do when Daryl pulls out of her is take a dip in the nice, cold creek, to wash the sweat and dirt out of her hair and off her skin.

Not to mention the fact that they end up screwing against a thick tree in the middle of the woods, the bark scratching up her back and neck and him driving into her with his pants down around his ankles. It's carnal and lustful and sexy as hell, but she wouldn't exactly define it as being romantic.

When they're done, he yanks up his jeans and bends to retrieve hers. He hands them to her, and watches as she shakes the leaves out of them. "We should get back," he says, buttoning up his sleeveless flannel shirt. "Got to cook these squirrels before they rot."

Who could think about cuddling at a time like that?

The second time, they're in her tent, and it's still kind of hot outside, but she could care less when his hips rock fast and steady against hers and he mutters filthy things into the side of her neck.

It leans slightly more toward romance than last time, if only because he's bothered to take his shoes off and there isn't any tree bark in her hair. Afterward, though, he immediately finds his clothes and leaves with a nod, closing up the flap behind him.

Truth be told, she's glad he left. If she'd been slightly warm before, she's practically melting into a puddle now, and she's not sure she could handle it if she had to feel his warm body against hers any longer.

She slips on her discarded bra and panties and lies back on her sleeping bag, replaying their encounter in her mind until she nods off.

Who needs cuddling? Not her.

"You can stay, you know," she says after the third time. "You don't have to run off."

It's finally cooler outside, and they're more comfortable with each other, and she's starting to feel the need to connect with him after their mutual orgasms. He's a different story, of course, and now she's leaning back against her pillow and watching him pull his clothes on as quickly as possible.

He averts his eyes and nods. "Got some things to do before it gets dark," he says by way of explanation, and then he's gone.

"Of course you do," she says to her empty tent.

The fourth time they do it, they're in his tent and it's the middle of the night, so he can't exactly just up and leave when she announces that she's cold and presses herself against his side.

He grimaces when she drapes her leg across his and rests her cheek on his chest. "Don't you have blankets?" he asks, trying to scoot away from her. "In your tent?"

"Haven't you ever heard what they say about body heat?" she teases. She shivers and hugs him tighter. "That the best way to regenerate it is to crawl naked into a sleeping bag with somebody else who's already naked?"

He grunts uncomfortably. "I think the fire's going outside, still. Maybe you should go sit next to it for a wile. That'll warm you right up."

She groans in frustration and sits up so she can loom over him. "Okay, look. Let me get this straight," she hisses. "You're fine with sticking your dick in me, but you refuse to just lie here and hold me after? Like I have cooties? What is that?"

"I don't… cuddle," he says, spitting it out like the very word repulses him. "I'm not a chick."

"I have news for you, Daryl," she says. She pokes his chest for emphasis. "Real men aren't afraid of their feelings. Real men cuddle."

His eyes narrow. "You trying to say I'm not a real man, then?"

"Not trying. I'll say it." She sets her jaw and stares him down. Challenging him. "If you won't cuddle with me, you are not a real man."

He growls and reaches for her, kissing her soundly. "I'll show you who's a real man," he says, already pushing her legs apart. "And then I'm going to cuddle the shit out of you."

"Go for it." She smirks down at him. "I can't wait to see this."

The fifth time, she tries to slow down the pace, hoping it'll get him more in the mood. He hadn't left the last time, but they'd fallen asleep before any serious cuddling, other than his hand on her breast, could take place. Honestly, they'd been fucking kind of fast and furious, and she's about ready for a change, anyway.

She kisses her way down his neck and his chest, rides him slowly and listens to the sounds he makes, soft moans and whimpers replacing the grunts and growls she usually hears from him. He tries to speed things up, and she pushes against his chest and leans down to capture his mouth with hers.

Afterward, she pillows her head on his shoulder and puts her hand on his chest, rubbing gently and watching it rise and fall as his breathing slows.

"See?" she says quietly. "This isn't so bad, right?"

"Hmmph," he says with a slight shrug. She doesn't miss the way he absently skates his fingers up and down her arm. "It's all right."

"Come on. It's nice."

"Won't kill me, I guess."

After that, he's kind of okay with the cuddling.

Not that he'd ever admit it, even though sometimes he unconsciously drapes his arm around her shoulders while they're eating dinner with the group.

(The others stare, eyebrows raised, and she waves off their questions with a subtle shake of her head.)

But he lets her thread their legs together, lets her fall asleep on him, lets himself be the big spoon and curls an arm around her torso, keeping her close. Once, she tries to get up and take a walk after he's nodded off, and his hand shoots out to grab her wrist and yank her back to him.

"Oh, God," she mutters, settling against him. "I've created a monster."

"Shut up."