Edit 15th October 2012

This is the fifth time I've edited this fic. My English got a bit better since the day I started writing this. I'm constantly trying to improve grammar and style.
I've also added some stuff that goes along with the prequel (Retribution) because I figured that Connor would have to remember it!
And I've also included a couple of deleted scenes from the season 2 box set.

A couple of annotations:

- I am German. English+accents= not perfect
- there are some mistakes and grammar might be wrong sometimes, I think you can still read it.
- I do know that some stuff might be out of character and pointless but like I said, I ain't perfect.
- This is my very first fic
- takes place during season 2 of Walking Dead (2.1-2.13!) so spoilers if you haven't seen the episodes yet.
- it was inspired by a fic called "Lost" which I loved, but it was so short that I decided to make it a whole lot longer.
- feel free to tell me what you liked or what you didn't like! I love reviews!

cover art by the awesome julie9rides (tumblr)


Salvation

Chapter 1 - The Lonely Saint


They found him in a church. The irony. As if someone was mocking them. Reminding them of their silly society that was long since gone. Prayers, believing in gods no one had ever seen. No wonder most of them idiots are dead. Daryl's parents had made it pretty clear that there was no such thing as god. Right from the very beginning. He'd been raised to survive a cold winter without any of that luxury nonsense. He'd grown up outside. Field work and hunting was all he had ever known. Look who's still alive. He hardly saw a priest or saint anywhere now.

They ran for the church when the bells started ringing. Maybe there was someone alive ringing them, they thought, maybe even Sophia ringing them herself. Maybe she was hiding in there, somewhere, waiting for them to rescue her. Daryl really wanted to find that little girl. When they kicked the door open they were greeted by the awful stench of rotting flesh. There were corpses lying on the ground with flies circling them and slowly tearing them apart.

The men gasped when they saw someone kneeling in front of the altar. All three of them pointed their hatches and knives at his head as they tiptoed and snuck up on him, hoping to strike him dead before he noticed them. When they got closer they realized that something seemed...wrong. He still wasn't moving. He wasn't groaning or smelling like all the other walkers. Shane was just about to strike him down when Rick grabbed his hand to stop him. It was then when Daryl heard it too. There weren't any groans or moans like they were used to hear from the geeks. They could hear a prayer. That man was alive and praying.

Now that Daryl took a closer look at him he noticed that, although the man was covered in blood, his jeans and pea coat weren't torn at all. His clothes were dirty and worn out, but they didn't look like someone had been trying to tear him to shreds. The man was kneeling in front of the altar with his head down, his shoulder long hair covering his face and making it impossible to see it. Rick approached the man carefully, glanced at Shane and Daryl and nodded. He placed his hand on the man's shoulder and shook him gently. It seemed to startle the man because he jumped up, grabbed Rick's hand and knocked him down at once. Both Daryl and Shane reacted instantly and grabbed the man to get him off Rick.

"Easy tiger!" Shane muttered and Rick grabbed his hat, which had fallen off his head.

"Calm down! We're not gonna hurt you! I'm Rick, this is Shane and Daryl. Just calm down. We saw you sitting here and assumed you're a walker."

"I ain't one of them things. Now, lemme go will ye?" he answered with a thick Irish accent and tried to shake Shane and Daryl off.

The three men looked at him, now that they were able to see his face. Apart from his tangled ash blonde hair a beard was covering most of his face, which looked haggard and worn out. The man looked like he hadn't taken any care of his appear-ance and body in days, maybe even weeks. Shane glanced at Rick, who looked back and nodded. Shane let the Irishman go. He fell back down and gasped.

"What's a potato eating leprechaun doing here? They let anyone in these days? Scared off the geeks with yah terrible accent?" Daryl murmured angrily and backed off.

He was pissed because Sophia wasn't there and because he had almost shot a survivor in the head. It was then when the guy turned around and stared at Daryl, his face turning pale. This made Daryl feel uncomfortable. He didn't like the Irish guy. He looked like a nutter with all his dirty clothes and kneeling in a church, praying, with those things outside and no backup, all on his own, he most certainly was some nutjob. And nutjobs always meant trouble.
Apocalypse or not.

"Murph?" the man whispered and continued to stare at Daryl.

"What did y'call me?" the hunter growled and stared back.

The Irishman jumped up and ran for Daryl all of a sudden. The hunter frowned and tried to stay out of his reach.
When the guy was just about to come too close Daryl punched him in the face. The man grunted and fell to the ground.
He didn't move any more. Daryl had knocked him out completely.

"Daryl!" Rick shouted and ran for the man.

Shane looked at his friend who knelt next to the Irishman. The policeman looked at Daryl then, scratched his nose and shook his head with a smirk.

"What? I ain't gonna let a nutjob come anywhere near me!" Daryl spat.

"He's not a nutjob! He's a living man, outnumbered, and you just punched him in the face!"

"Yeah, I'm gonna punch you next if yah won't stop ya deputy shit!" Daryl turned around to walk away.

"The girl ain't here. Let's leave. We haven't got time to look after another nutjob."

"Whoa" he heard Shane say and Rick called after him.

"Daryl!"

"What?!" he yelled because he could no longer control his anger, annoyance and frustration.

When he looked back at Rick and Shane he saw them kneeling next to the Irishman. They were holding a wallet and a spare piece of paper.

"You better come back here and explain this." Rick said and Daryl growled.

"What? I told yah! The guy annoyed the crap outta me so I shut him up!"

"We ain't talking about this buddy" Shane said and pointed at the piece of paper.

Daryl came back to them grabbed the paper angrily. It was a picture of some men in a bar. The Irishman was there, grinning like an idiot and toasting the photographer. He looked very different in this picture. His hair was shorter and spiky, and there was no beard hiding his face. The Irishman looked like he had once taken great care of himself, maybe even styled his hair and trimmed his beard. Daryl looked down at the man who was lying to his feet now, a pitiable, dirty shadow of his former self. When the hunter looked back at the picture he widened his eyes in surprise. The most shocking thing about the picture was the guy who was standing next to the blonde, with one arm wrapped around the Irish guy's waist. He looked exactly like Daryl.

"Wanna explain it to us? Look, if it's one of your old buddies you had a fight with... that's fine, but at least tell us the truth" Shane said and Daryl looked up.

"In this world that we're living in, old stories don't matter any more Daryl. Friend or foe, every living person is a blessing these days..." Rick joined in.

The hunter frowned.

"What are ya talkin bout. This ain't me! I've never seen this clown in my life!"

Shane snorted.

"So what, you got a secret twin or double?"

"I haven't got time for this bullshit. We came here to find that little girl, not a freakin filthy leprechaun" Daryl spat, kicked one of the benches and stomped out of the church.


Connor woke up with a splitting headache. His left temple pounded heavily. Not in the way he was used to from endless amounts of alcohol and hangovers, but a really bad headache. The fact that he was starving, weak and tired didn't do him any good either. As soon as he remembered where he was and what had happened he jumped up abruptly. He felt hands grabbing his arms and shoulders.

"Murph!" he yelled and tried to fight them.

"Easy! You were unconscious!" he heard someone say and recognized it as the voice of the man with the sheriff's hat.

"No, I've seen 'im, now where's he? Murphy!"

"There's no one here who's called Murphy. Just me, Rick, Daryl and a few other survivors" the other man said and Connor looked up and snorted.

"What are ye talking bout, af course he's here, I've seen him!"

"Who are you?" the guy called Rick asked and Connor tried to sit up.

"Connor. Now where te hell's m'brother."

"You mean the guy from the photograph? We don't know. You were here all alone."

Connor got up slowly and rubbed his temple.

"Right.."

They helped him to the nearest bench and he sat down. The Irishman buried his head in his hands and groaned softly.

"So are you all on your own? Or have you been with group but got left behind or something, buddy?" the man called Shane asked.

Connor shook his head gently.

"Just me."

"And how come you come all the way from Ireland?"

The Irishman looked up and gave him an annoyed frown.

"Came 'ere ten years ago. Used ta live in Boston til fuckin armageddon."

"What is it now? We haven't got much time you morons. Stop petting the leprechaun and move!" they heard Daryl shout from the entrance and all three men turned their heads to face him. Especially Connor reacted. He just kept staring at him, which made Daryl feel weird all over again. When he saw him mouthing 'Murph'he flipped.

"Let's go!"

This made Rick turn towards Shane. He gave him a strange look and Shane looked surprised. Then he snorted and moved his hands up in the air.

"You should come with us until your head's better again. You're safer within a group. At least for now" the policeman with the hat said and his friend rolled his eyes.

"God, here we go again."

Connor just looked at Rick for a while and nodded.

"Thank you" he murmured and tried to get up with a grunt.

Both policemen tried to help him, but he just shook them off. He went back to the place where he had put his bag and everything else.
As soon as he was done he made his way to the door and followed the small group outside.