Apparently I ship both Daryl/Carol, and Daryl/Andrea. This one is of the Daryl/Andrea variety. Hope y'all enjoy.
He's not quite sure where the whiskey came from.
He thinks he'd found it the back of the stables, somewhere, maybe Otis' secret stash. Or he might have picked it up out of the back of the RV, but no, that doesn't seem right... It doesn't really matter, cause he's got the whiskey now, and it's in his hands, and it's burning down his throat, and it's all he can really think about.
On the eighth day, God gave to man whiskey, and all was right in the world...
He takes another drink from the half empty bottle, and chokes it back without cringing. He's been drinking this stuff ever since he was old enough to find it on his own, often doing it just to piss his old man off, by taking the alcohol away. He used to just dump the contents out behind the house, but then he started to sniff at it, and then taste it, and soon enough he'd made some new friends at school by brining round a couple forties of whiskey to the tailgate parties. Social lubricant, indeed.
He'd come this way after he couldn't take the sight and sound of the others anymore; crying and whining and arguing. None of them seemed to really care that Sophia was gone; instead they were all talking about what had happened and what was next and what was going to happen to them. Didn't it matter that an innocent little girl had been lost? Didn't it matter that the one thing they were looking for had been found, in the most horrific way possible?
Didn't it matter that they'd – he'd- let her down?
So he'd taken the whiskey and plopped himself down on a workbench at the end of the stables, back behind the main stalls. They wouldn't really notice him gone (would they even notice if he left forever?). He figures he can sleep out here for the night, down in the hay, and if any walkers come around the horses will let him know.
That's when he hears the crunch of footsteps on old hay, and he immediately reaches for his knife. He may be drunk, but that's never kept him from a fight before.
"Daryl?" calls out a voice, and he's surprised to recognize her soft tones before he even sees her, as she steps around the corner into the limited evening light.
"Hmph," he mutters, leaning back on the bench and grabbing the bottle by the neck again. "What d'you want?"
She doesn't say anything, just comes to sit beside him on the workbench, reaching out a hand for the whiskey. He looks at her for a long moment, before finally passing the bottle to her. She surprises him again by taking a long gulp, swallowing it all down without complaint or cough. She wipes off her mouth with the back of her hand, and turns to face him.
"Your turn," she says.
They sit there for god knows how long, each taking long pulls from the bottle, passing it back between themselves. They don't say anything, they just sit there and drink, each alone with their own demons sitting on their shoulders. The light starts to fade, and soon moonlight is the only source of illumination, cascading in from the open hayloft above them.
"It's not your fault," she tells him, her voice raspy from the whiskey and heavy in the air.
"What's not?" he says, taking a swig from the nearly empty bottle.
She looks at him, right at him, and it makes him uneasy to feel her eyes lock with his. "Sophia," she answers softly.
He stares at her for a long, long moment, before he grunts and swallows down the last of the bottle. He swings his legs off of the workbench, and stands up, remarkably well balanced for the amount of alcohol in his system. "Whatever," he mumbles, before turning away from her.
"It's not your fault, Daryl," she says again, even softer than before, and this only serves to infuriate him further. What does she know about it? She didn't follow the little tracks in the mud, she didn't find the raggedy doll in the water, and she didn't have to hold back the only family that small girl had left in the world when her ravaged and transformed body emerged from that barn.
"What do you want from me?" he says angrily, throwing the bottle down into the hay. It cracks, but doesn't break, and this only serves to stoke the anger in his belly, the feeling of fury in his heart.
"I-" she starts uncertainly, but doesn't finish, the words hanging in the air.
He swings back around towards her, eyes blazing. He places his hands on either side of her, and stares right back into her own two eyes. "What do you want?" he says, deadly quiet now.
She meets his gaze for only a moment, before placing her own hands on either side of his face and pulling him in, kissing him hard and fast on the lips. His arms and body turn stiff with shock, as she continues to kiss him, before his hands react and he pushes himself away.
"What the hell, woman?" he exclaims, backing away with his hands raised.
Her eyes won't let go of his. "I don't want to think anymore. About Jim, about Jacqui, about Amy, about Sophia – I just –" she says, hopping down from the table, "I just want to forget."
With this, she reaches up and pulls him up against her again, and this time, there's less resistance. Maybe it's the whiskey in their veins, maybe it's the thought of all they've lost and all they'll never have again, but he finally gives in, opening his mouth to hers and placing his hands on her hips. One of his hands snakes up her back to pull her flush against him, while the other reaches up to her head, cradling it in the palm of his hand.
Nothing about this moment is soft, or gentle, or in the slightest bit romantic. Everything is harsh, and rough, and real. Suddenly they are lost in each other, each gasping for air and pulling and pushing, and somewhere deep inside they both know they are searching for something they will never find: peace.
He pushes her back against the workbench, and she yanks hard on his shirt. He strips off her own shirt, followed by his, and soon his hands are on her chest and he's forgotten everything but this moment, right here and right now. He lifts her up onto the flat surface of the bench and pins her on her back, and suddenly their clothes are all scattered across the floor of the stables, littered amongst the hay. He whispers once in her ear, a question of consent, and she breathes a quick yes back before their lips crash together once more. They are lost in a tangle of their own limbs, breathless and panting, as they both escape the need for thought or reason, even if just for a little while.
The next morning he wakes, hung-over and disoriented. His body is sore, his head is pounding, and the light from the sun is a harsh reminder of the reality of the day. There's an empty space beside him where a body used to be, and he knows she's gone back to the group. He's not sure if he's used her or she's used him or they've both used each other, but he decides he doesn't care.
After all that's happened, what's the use in caring, anymore?