Disclaimer: I don't own The Walking Dead
A/N: My first try at a Walking Dead fic. Takes place before the show starts. I find Daryl a little hard to write, so hopefully I did a good job. There's an image of the OC in my profile.
Chapter 1: Look Alive, Sunshine
"This is stupid."
It was the only thing that had been said after a long period of silence, excluding the occasional chirping of birds or crickets and the cracking of branches and leaves under their feet.
Glenn looked over his shoulder to his companion and rolled his eyes. "Yeah well, what else are we supposed to do? Our options are pretty limited."
"Why would you volunteer us though?" she whined. Why couldn't Shane or Dale do it? There were plenty of able-bodied men at the camp, who probably had at least gone hunting with their dads or something. She'd grown up in Malibu and the only hunting Glenn had ever done was in Call of Duty. "Neither one of us knows the first thing about hunting. Do you even know what to do with that?" she accused, gesturing to the knife he was clutching.
"Okay, well you can go into the city and find food then. Cause that's the only other choice." It really wasn't an option right now. You were more likely to become food than find food, not to mention the napalm showers they'd seen hailing down on the city about a week ago.
The girl he was with pursed her impossibly full lips and continued to follow him through the trees and leaves. She wasn't cut out for this kind of shit. Roxanne Pierce had never been the eager outdoors type as it was. In fact, she'd consider herself the polar opposite. And for some odd reason, Glenn decided it was a good idea for them to try and hunt for some kind of food. All they were equipped with was a buck knife Glenn was carrying that Dale had lent him and the Louieville Slugger Shane had given Roxy.
"At least if we starve to death we won't have to be ripped to pieces…" she muttered under her breath, but Glenn heard her. He chose to ignore the statement, knowing any more conversing would just scare any potential food away. He was beginning to agree that this was useless though. He'd just thought they were both light on their feet and quick, so they might have a shot. But who was he kidding? Roxy was right; they weren't going to find anything out here except some eaten carcasses and—
"Walkers," he heard her gasp just as his head turned to the sound of crackling branches. Sure enough, three geeks, as they'd come to call them, had spotted them on the other side of some brush and didn't waste a second charging towards them.
"Oh shit," Glenn cursed, wondering if they should run for it or try to take them on. One was so close and Glenn was frozen, the loud crack the baseball bat Roxy had just collapsed it's skull in with snapped him out of it very quickly though.
"Run!" she shrieked, composing herself after using all her arm strength to back that walker off, only succeeding in damaging it's skull enough to disorient it, leaving them just enough time to start booking it back towards camp at top speed.
They ran through mud, thorns, ignoring how their skin and clothes tore. They were running for their lives, all three walkers still hot on their trail, even the one Roxy had assaulted with the bat.
Glenn stopped instantly when Roxy screamed, seeing she had a crossbow pointed straight at her face by some guy who looked like he knew what he was doing out here a lot more than they did.
Her breath was caught in her lungs as she stared at the weapon pointing straight at her forehead for a milisecond before her eyes refocused on the blue one's behind the scope. "Git down," the man ordered and without even thinking twice, she dropped to her stomach, hearing the arrow shoot through the air, and the gurgling of the zombie it had defeated, sending the heavy, rotting body collapsing to the ground.
Roxy looked over her shoulder, just as Glenn used the buck knife to stab through the unscathed geek's cranium, sending it plummeting to the forest floor as dead weight also.
A rough looking hand reached down in front of her and instead of helping her up, picked up her fallen bat and bypassed her. Scrambling to her feet, Roxy ran over to Glenn, who looked like he might puke, as their savior smashed what was left of the head belonging to the zombie Roxy had already attacked.
She looked away as brain matter, blood and bone splattered everywhere, staining the wood of the bat as the stranger made sure each walker wouldn't be a problem ever again. The crunching and squelching sounds were a little too much for her, and she had to turn away from Glenn to puke. He rested a comforting hand on her back, but kept his eye on the unfamiliar presence. This guy had saved them, sure, but he had also pointed a crossbow at Roxy's face. One wrong move, and she could've been as dead as these walkers.
" 'S that all that's comin'?" The stranger's narrowed eyes surveyed the area, waiting for another one of those monsters to come limping into view.
"Uh yeah… yeah we didn't see any others," Glenn answered, trying to lower his heart rate and calm his breathing. He reached behind him into his bag and pulled a half-empty bottle of water out, taking a swig and then offering it to Roxy as she wiped her mouth, cringing at the taste of vomit.
Gratefully, she took the water bottle and greedily drank, only for a second, before she handed it back to him. Hesitantly, Glenn offered the water bottle to the stranger, but he rejected it, simply stepping past Glenn's outstretched hand to pull his arrow from his kill. He dropped Roxy's bat as he passed by them, leaves sticking to the blood that covered it as it rolled near her feet.
He began cleaning his arrow, stepping closer to them before stopping to give them each a once over. Roxy didn't fail to notice the elongated one he gave her. He hadn't failed to notice she knew as he made hard eye contact with her, and didn't seem to have any shame in being caught, coming off as indifferent to the fact she was an attractive female.
"All yer screamin' probably called some more of 'em. Best move on." He had a backwoods, southern accent, and Roxy had to admit, the sight of him cleaning that weapon, looking rugged and masculine, woke a little something primal within her. They didn't make guys like this where she came from back in California, and she had only lived in Atlanta for three years and certainly hadn't seen anything like him before in the city
"Are you out here alone?" Roxy wondered aloud. There could be more survivors.
"Got a camp set up 'bout half a mile east. My brother's waitin' there." He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. "Ain't seen no one else till you two in days though; no one livin' anyway. We're headin' to Atlanta."
He didn't miss their faces fall slightly as they shot each other sideways glances. "There's nothing in Atlanta." Glenn broke the news and they both watched as the stranger processed the words. Words that basically destroyed hope.
"Shit," he cursed, kicking at the ground angrily. It wasn't news he wanted to hear, but part of him had known there would be nothing there when they showed up but more walkers. The world had officially ended. "You see it yourselves? Or you just heard?"
"We have a camp with a group of other survivors. People saw it. They were throwing napalm in the streets. There's nothing there but maybe some supplies we're all too scared to try and scavenge for," Roxy confirmed.
He stared for a minute at the blonde before turning and crossing through some brush. Curious, the Atlanta camp members followed behind him, only to see another one of his arrows sticking in the neck of a fallen stag. "What're ya'll doin' out here anyway?"
He pulled his arrow from the deer and reloaded it into his crossbow before hauling the animal over his shoulders.
"You caught that?" Glenn asked, astonished, ignoring his previous question.
"No, I found it like that," the hunter drawled sarcastically. Glenn looked a little insulted, composure dropping.
Roxy eyed the large animal on the man's shoulders. He'd said it was just his brother and him; there's no way they could preserve that much meat before it went bad with no electricity if they were camping. "You know, there are a lot of hungry people at our camp. Women, children. We're all too scared to go into the city to see what's left and we're running really low on food. They sent us out to hunt. They sent me out to hunt. Do I look like I know the first thing about hunting? I used to be a vegetarian before all of this."
He had stopped and looked at her, the deer still hoisted on his shoulders. He looked her up and down again, deciding she looked more like she belonged in a Playboy magazine than trudging through the woods during a zombie apocalypse. Based on first judgement, he'd have to say he was surprised she'd made it this far. "Come on. We could really use you. And we all need to stick together. Safety in numbers, right? I'm Roxanne. This is Glenn."
"Shane might not like you inviting people back to camp," Glenn pointed out, saying it lowly, but not low enough for the hunter not to overhear.
"Shane can blow me! I don't see him marching his ass out here, and he's the one with a gun." She turned back to the hunter, who was amused, not bothering to cover the matching expression either. The girl had spunk. She put a hand on her hip and used her other to emphasize her words. "Look, you look like a man's, man. I promise to personally take care of all your women's work. Laundry, hell, I'll even cook. I'm not good at it, but I'll do whatever it takes to not have to ever do this again."
"Shit princess, calm down," he laughed, thoroughly entertained at this point. She was right though. He'd have to convince his brother, sure, but there was power in numbers. He'd still be on edge all the time, but at least he'd have other people looking over their shoulders every second too. "It ain't me you're gonna haveta convince." He shrugged to get a better balance on the deer before continuing. "You look like a girl who knows how to manipulate the fuck outta a man, so you can come with me to talk him inta it." He moved his eyes to Glenn then. "But you should probably wait outside camp."
Glenn did not like that idea at all. "Whoa, whoa, no way am I going to let you drag my hot blonde friend off to your camp alone. You never even told us your name."
"He just saved our asses Glenn, do you really think he risked his tail just to murder us or something? He clearly knows what he's doing," she argued, gesturing to the stag.
"He could be a rapist! There aren't really any laws anymore!" Glenn reasoned back. Roxy was the type of girl men would give a nut for a night with. And she had a reputation for making a lot of naïve decisions.
She rolled her eyes and her neck so she was looking back at the hunter. "Are you a rapist?" she questioned, mocking Glenn's overreaction. People weren't worried about that shit. They were worried about survival.
"Can't say that I am," he appeased. She turned back to Glenn, satisfied.
"See? It'll be fine." Picking up her bat and holding it away from her, she walked close to the other survivor. "Let's go to your camp. You have a truck or something there?" Cars really weren't the safe choice of transportation. They were too low to the ground.
"Yeah. An' a bike." Glenn was at least glad to know they'd have some form of ride back to the camp, assuming this guy and his brother were even going to come back with them.
Roxy didn't know if they could trust this man, but the chance was worth it. If they did rape and kill her, at least she wouldn't get eaten alive and turn into one of those things. All she saw was someone who was capable of hunting, and they needed that more than anything right now. Fate had sent them this guy, and she wasn't just going to let him walk off.
She followed him, and Glenn reluctantly kept up, still not comfortable with the idea. But she had her mind made up and she tended to get her way. Besides, despite it all, she was right, he would be useful.
"What's your name, anyway?" Roxy questioned, noting how effortlessly he seemed to be handling the large animal on his shoulders.
Shortly, he replied, "Daryl."