Title: Friends for Life
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to The Walking Dead, but a girl can dream, right?
Rating: T for language
Genre: Friendship, Romance
Spoilers: Starts out with missing scenes from season 2 and continues past "Pretty Much Dead Already"
Summary: One-shot; Andrea poses an odd question to Daryl after their night searching for Sophia.
Author's note: I wanted to get this posted before "Nebraska" airs because it doesn't quite follow the previews. This one's kinda cheesy (almost to the point I could have titled it "Velveeta") but once I started, it begged to be finished. Beyond that, please also excuse me for my lame puns and the fact that this is unbeta'd. All mistakes are mine.
It's early morning as they pack up the last of the camp's supplies, getting ready to leave the highway and meet back up with the others at this mystery farm. Daryl doesn't know what to expect, doesn't really like the idea behind it all but he realizes he doesn't have much of a choice. Not if he wants to find Sophia, at least.
He tosses the last of his belongings into the back of the ugly green Hyundai that Shane had acquired after leaving the CDC. He supposes beggars can't be choosers anymore, but it really is quite an unattractive vehicle.
Damn he misses his truck.
Andrea's close by, keys in hand, and he keeps getting glimpses of her out of his peripherals. She's staring at him, head tilted in contemplation and it's starting to make him feel self-conscious.
"What?" he finally snaps, annoyance heavy in his voice as he closes the trunk and turns to face her.
She seems unmoved by his irritation but pauses for a moment, considering, before voicing her thought. "Would you say that we're friends?"
He frowns at her and lets out a snort, wondering exactly what she's on about and where the fuck this was coming from.
"I'd say we're more like mutual refugees."
"Oh." She shifts awkwardly and bites her lip, her eyes lowering to the ground.
For reasons he can't fathom he feels kind of bad, like that was the wrong answer though he'd be damned if he understood the question. Just because they're capable of having a decent conversation while out in the woods doesn't make them friends, does it?
To his continued surprise, she keeps talking as if she's read his mind.
"I just thought that… I don't know. You were kind to me last night. We talked but you didn't push me or expect anything in return. And I could use a friend like that sometimes."
He clears his throat and shrugs, uncomfortable but still oddly flattered. He'd never had many friends in his life, much less anyone who actively sought to be one.
"'Spose we could call it that, if it makes ya feel better." He tries to sound indifferent, but her eyes light up anyway and there's the hint of a grin playing on her face.
He nods once before moving toward his brother's bike. "Friends," he confirms.
It's been just over 12 hours since she accidentally shot him, and Andrea's come to realize she can't keep avoiding Daryl. Not only is he due a major apology, but there's an irrational part of her that needs to make sure he's really still alive.
For a brief moment she chastises herself for eating breakfast, sure it'll be making its reappearance with the way her stomach is turning and rolling in apprehension.
"You can do this, Andrea. You have to do this," she mutters when she finds herself standing directly outside his tent. Taking one last deep breath to steady herself, she tugs at the zipper and pokes her head through the doorway.
He appears to be sleeping, his body lying motionless on the cot inside. His breathing is deep and even, though, and that alone floods her with relief.
Daryl, for his part, had heard her approach and cracks his eyes open just enough to make out who the early morning intruder is.
He watches her quietly as she bites her lip in uncertainty, trying to decide whether it's worth waking him before she meets up with the others for shooting practice.
She's taking her sweet time deciding, though, and his patience begins to wear thin. "Can I help ya with something?" he asks finally, stretching the sore muscles in his body as he opens his eyes fully.
She startles, not expecting him to be awake much less aware of her presence, and for a moment she stands there speechless.
"I… um… I just… wanted to see if there's anything I can get you?" she stutters, her voice filled with obvious guilt.
He quirks an eyebrow at her, his face otherwise neutral. "Something t'read might be nice. Boring as shit just laying 'round here."
She nods quickly and makes a move for the RV, but pauses before she gets too far. She turns back to face him, her body tense in trepidation.
"Are we still friends?" she asks quietly, barely loud enough for him to understand what she's saying.
He does understand though, understands her very well, and after a moment he responds with nod and a gruff but honest "Sure."
Her shoulders visibly relax and she hurries off on her task, knowing that it's a good start.
The dust around them hasn't even settled yet and Daryl and Shane are at each other's throats. Carol has pulled herself away from Daryl and takes off toward the camp, her sobs quickly becoming drowned out by two raised voices.
Not just raised - the two men are positively screaming at each other, the fight they had started earlier now being fueled by grief and stress and adrenaline.
It all happens fast, the rest of the group still so in shock about everything else that it takes a good minute for anyone to react. By the time Rick thinks to intervene, both men are on the ground and there are fists flying instead of words.
Andrea makes a move toward the brawling men, but before she gets too close T-Dog and Glenn step in to help Rick pull them apart.
Shane's got a bloody nose and Daryl a split lip, but both injuries go ignored amidst the continuing chaos. Lori turns away and goes after Carol, dragging Carl along with her, and with barely a second of hesitation Dale follows suit. Maggie and Patricia start ushering a distraught Hershel back to the house, leaving Beth crying somewhat hysterically in Jimmy's arms. Daryl and Shane are still hurling insults, neither taking too kindly to being restrained.
"Enough!" Rick finally yells, commanding silence amongst the group.
There's only a moment of quiet before Shane starts spewing out his defenses.
Daryl's ears are buzzing and he's having a hard time thinking straight - all he knows for sure is that he's angry, and Shane's a big part of it. He doesn't understand how anyone can agree with the asshole, much less like him as a person.
His eyes fall on Andrea, who's standing a little too close to Shane for his own comfort, and he hates how it makes him that much more pissed off. He yanks himself out of Glenn's grip, sick of having to stand there and listen to Shane's bullshit.
It's then that Andrea does something that surprises Daryl - she moves away from Shane and steps closer to him. And she looks just about as disgusted as he feels.
Maybe they were friends after all.
"I don't have time for this shit. We have a little girl to bury," Daryl spits out angrily.
As he storms off to find a shovel, Andrea's right by his side.
Later on, after the sun has started setting and the day's events have begun to settle heavily, she lets herself into his tent.
"Are you okay?" she asks gently, sitting down next to him on the cot.
"Jus'a few scrapes. Been through worse," he shrugs. Under different circumstances, she would have thought he was making a joke.
"That's not what I mean."
He narrows his eyes and watches her closely for a moment before shaking his head. "No."
"Don't," he cuts her off. "Just… I don't wanna talk about it, okay?"
She nods, not wanting to push either him or her luck. And really, she knows what it means to not want to talk about death.
Daryl clears his throat before speaking again. "You took my side after the fight."
Andrea furrows her brow, not sure exactly what he's getting at. "Yeah?"
"I thought… Well I ain't completely stupid. You and Shane…"
She flushes in embarrassment and looks away from him. "That was a mistake. It won't be happening again, trust me." She bites her lip, and he silently notes that it's quite the habit of hers.
"We all make mistakes," he says finally, trying to reassure her, but his eyes are dark and she can hear the double meaning behind the words. She lays her hand on top of his and gives him a light squeeze.
He doesn't pull away as she expects him too, and she detects a hint of softness in his eyes when he looks at her.
"Thanks." He doesn't really specify what for, but he doesn't have to.
"That's what friends are for," she tells him with a smile.
No one is really shocked when Shane takes off on his own, not even Rick, but there's still a heaviness in the air that reminds them all of how quickly things can change in this new world of theirs.
It's been nearly a month now since the rest of them packed up camp and left the farm, Maggie in tow. Rick's weary optimism that they can find their own place to settle down safely has kept them going thus far, but the farther they travel the harder it is to believe things will ever be that easy.
They've been camping in a cleared field for the past few days, the lack of walker sightings and the nearby creek a convenience they haven't wanted to leave just yet.
It's after dark when Daryl shows up at her tent, and even though Andrea had been settling down for bed she can't say she's unhappy to see him. He was out in the nearby woods before she even woke up, having only returned an hour ago with a buck that would impress even the most prestige of hunters.
"Hey yourself," she returns, gesturing for him to come in with a smile.
He does so, zipping up the tent flap behind him before joining her on the ground. Andrea waits for him to say something, but he doesn't and an awkwardly long silence begins to stretch between them.
"Did you need something?"
They fall into silence again, and Andrea raises her eyebrows confusion.
"Not that I mind, but… what are you doing in here then?"
"'s weird, not having you blathering around me all day. I forget sometimes how quiet the woods can be."
She tries to suppress her smirk but fails terribly. "Daryl Dixon, are you trying to say that you missed me?" she teases.
He shrugs again, but there's a faint coloring to his cheeks and he won't make eye contact with her. She moves closer and nudges him.
"For what it's worth, I missed you too."
More silence, but when he chances to look at her again his eyes are wide and quick to flicker down to her lips. It's all the encouragement she needs, and her fingers tangle in his hair as she pulls him in for a kiss.
"So tell me," he muses later on, his bare skin still sweaty and his heartbeat just beginning to return to a normal pace, "D'ya think we can still be friends after this?"
She hums contently and stretches, pressing her naked body flush against his. "No," she tells him with the beginnings of a grin. "I think can be something even better."