Okay, off we go! This is a two-part follow up to Whiskey, which you don't really have to read beforehand, but you can if you'd like. This is pure Daryl/Andrea, which is still strange to me, but hey, I can ship multiple pairings can't I? Less chance of me being disappointed once the show comes back... :)
It's been three days since Sophia's second death, and two nights since she'd slept with Daryl Dixon.
She's honestly not really sure what drove her to do it, to wander into the stables that night, to grab the bottle from his hands, to place her lips on his. It wasn't like she'd been yearning to fall into bed with him, pinning after him like a teenage school girl, but she'd definitely wondered what it'd be like to touch his skin, to feel him pressed up against her. She hadn't acted on it because, well, what would that really mean? Here they were at the end of the world, and she wasn't about to start jumping into bed with every single available man (her groping adventure with Shane notwithstanding). But then Sophia came out of that barn, and everything changed in an instant, again.
So much death. So much loss. So much to take.
When she looked down at Sophia's prone form on the ground, fragile and lifeless, all she could see was Amy, her hand reaching up to her, eyes deadened and empty. Sophia, Amy, Jacqui, Jim, her parents, her cousins, her friends, her boss, her ex – all of them, all of those people who had lived and breathed and loved – they were all dead, all withered and wasted on the ground, just like Sophia. Maybe it was that thought that had driven her to him, that thought that had made her take one drink, then two, then five.
Maybe it was that thought that had made her throw all caution to the wind, even if just for one night.
The next morning, she'd been eating her breakfast with the others when he'd emerged from the stables, stumbling and looking (even) worse for wear. On another day, maybe they would have all teased him for it, poking fun at his obvious hangover and berating him for having slept out among the horses, but not today. Today they were breaking camp and leaving the farm where so much had happened, where everything had changed.
He didn't even say anything to her as he passed by, just grabbed some oatmeal and slumped down into one of the free chairs, holding his head up with one hand while he mindlessly brought the spoon up to his mouth over and over again.
Part of her is glad he doesn't want to talk about it, really. But another part of her, a part of her she'd rather try to ignore, wants to talk about maybe doing it all again...
It's on the fifty-eighth day after Sophia's death that she realizes something is wrong.
She's not really sure why she started keeping track of time after that certain event, but she had. She'd found an old notebook buried in the back of the RV, and she started writing down a couple of lines every day, just about the weather and any sort of incidents that might have taken place. Part of her, the lawyer part, craves the use of the written word, relishing in movements of the pen and the process of translating thought to printed text. A more sentimental part of her just wants to be able to remember everything more clearly now, since it seems more and more likely that this whole walker thing might be the only future she has left.
On day fifty-eight, she's out hunting with Daryl and T-Dog, tracking a buck down through a ravine, when she's suddenly overtaken with the overwhelming sensation of pure nausea, beyond anything she'd ever felt before (including after that bender she'd been on in her second year of college). She stumbles towards a nearby tree and only manages to plant one hand down along the bark to steady herself before she empties the contents of her stomach into the dirt at the base of the trunk. She leans there for a long time, unable to move for the tandem fear of both having to vomit again and what this might mean. She's not an idiot – she's seen her fair share of friends go through this type of thing before, not to mention the long spell of morning sickness that Lori's only recently emerged from.
Something brushes against her shoulder suddenly, and she gasps in surprise at the unexpected touch. She opens her eyes and turns to find bright blue eyes looking down at her, his brow furrowed in concern.
"You okay?" he asks, still holding on to her shoulder.
"I'm fine," she says, wiping at her mouth with the back of her hand. "Just feeling under the weather this morning, that's all."
He looks at her for a long moment, before moving his hand away and readjusting the cross-bow slung across his shoulder. "We gotta keep moving if we want to catch this buck; he's moving pretty quick along the bottom here. You good to keep goin'?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," she answers, straightening herself to a full standing position and brushing the dead bark off of her hands. "Let's go."
As she moves away from the tree and back down towards the main section of the ravine, she can still feel his eyes on her back, watching her every move. They'd never really spoken about that night in the stables (which feels like years and years ago), but they'd moved into a comfortable friendship, driven by her desire to be more productive and more independent, and supported by his slowly growing (and perhaps subconscious) desire to belong.
Maybe they would end up having to talk about all of this, after all.
On day one hundred and seventeen, Lori comes to talk to her in her tent.
It's late in the evening, and everyone's starting to settle down for the night. They've been in their current position for about six days now, set up along the side of a country road on the western side of Montgomery, Alabama. Fort Benning had turned out to be a bust, and so they'd made the decision to continue west, towards the Rocky Mountains, where the population was less dense and more people might have survived.
The other woman sits herself down on the spare blanket Andrea's placed in the corner of her makeshift home, and adjusts her position to attain maximum comfort for her ever-changing shape. She is, by their best estimations, around five months pregnant now, and on her slight frame, her expanding belly looks much larger than that. For the most part, everyone seems happy to have a pregnant woman amongst them; the knowledge of life continuing on in spite of everything seems to help in their constant battle against pain and loss and despair.
"Look, Andrea," Lori starts, fanning herself with a rolled up magazine in the hot and humid evening air. "I know what's going on with you. And I don't mean to pry, really, I don't – but clearly this isn't something that isn't just going to go away, and you've really got to start thinking about what you want to do next."
Her first reaction is to pull at the hem of her shirt, shifting it forward and away from her skin in an attempt to deny what she knows Lori is insinuating, but she stops herself, knowing that would only reinforce what suspicions Lori already holds. She stares at the other woman for a long moment, debating what to do next. Should she deny what she clearly already knows? And for what? It's not like she won't continue to see these people tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that...
So she just sighs deeply and looks down at her hands. "How long have you known?"
"That you're pregnant? Not that long, not for sure at least. But I've been watching you the last few days, watching what you will and won't eat, and how you're trying so hard to hide that little bump on your stomach that wasn't there before. I'll admit that we've had more food in these past couple of weeks than we've had for a while, but there's no way you've eaten that much that quickly. Plus," she says, pausing for a moment to gesture towards her own protruding stomach, "I think I know what I'm looking for."
She doesn't say anything, and lets the silence between them answer for her.
"Look, Andrea," the other woman says, leaning forward to touch her on the arm. "I don't want to make assumptions about this whole situation, but we've clearly been away from the old world and our old lives for a while now, and I know what happened between you and Shane, so – " her words die out when she registers the look that she shoots at her, full of anger and irritation.
"I'm just saying, Andrea, that you need to tell... him. Or the group. Just – you can't keep hiding it, putting yourself in dangerous positions. Life is hard enough as it is."
Andrea watches the other woman leave the tent, and stares for a long moment at the moonlight streaming in from the open mesh windows. She knows what the others think, about her and Shane – especially after that fuss that Dale had kicked up upon her return from the suburbs. She was content to leave it be, mostly because she hadn't even slept with him – just fooled around in the front seat of that little car, full of adrenaline and zest for life after knocking off those zombies, shooting well for the first time in her life. No one even seemed to suspect, let alone assume, what had happened between her and Daryl, and so she was perfectly happy to leave everything be.
But now... now she doesn't know what she wants to do.
Part of her, the most vocal part, doesn't want to burden Daryl with this. She knows that she probably shouldn't have followed him into the stables that night, that she probably shouldn't have made him share his drink with her, and that she most definitely shouldn't have grabbed him and kissed him the way she did. He's been remarkably quiet since Sophia's death, much less prone to violent outbursts or angry rants, mostly keeping to himself and doing his part for the group. She knows that, from the little he's told her, that he didn't have a great childhood by any means, and that inside he's just as lost and vulnerable as he was as a little boy, lost in the woods alone.
Another part of her, though, a part that is small and quiet and only whispers to her right before she falls asleep, thinks that telling him about the baby – their baby (as strange as that sounds) – might just be the small sign of hope he's been searching for.
Either way, she's running out of time to decide.