Title: Onto Your Skin
Pairing/Characters: Daryl/Andrea
Rating: PG
Notes/Warnings: Ignores the end of season 2
Summary: "I think up cyphers to trace onto your skin, because it doesn't feel safe to just say I love you." -A Softer World

Daryl never spends the night in Andrea's tent. It's not that he doesn't want to. He's just not going to open her up to the judgement of the others. What happens in this tent is between him and her. No one else. He doesn't want her on display.

He doesn't want people asking why she's with him until she questions it herself.

Andrea's head is pillowed on his shoulder and he watches her chest rise and fall. She's almost asleep. He's laid with her enough to know how that her heart beat slows and her breathing evens out just before she slips into sleep.

Andrea looks younger like this, peaceful. It makes him try to imagine her in his bed in another time, another place. He never can.

Daryl runs his fingers through her hair, letting it curl around his fingers. Her hair's getting too long, but so's his.

He rests his hand on her hip, his fingers tapping out things he doesn't have the words for. Things he's sure that would twist on their way out of his mouth and send her running from him.

They don't talk much, when they meet at night. It's all hushed sighs and muffled cries. Sure, they talk during the daylight. They talk while eating; strategy, if going north like Glenn suggests is a good plan, and what towns might have supplies or survivors. They talk on watch; little bits of their pasts and stupid shit like the best way to drink coffee. But at night they talk with everything but words.

He likes to think that's enough as he holds her in the dark. That she'll be satisfied with soft kisses and touches under the cover of darkness when she sees the open affection and easy words of love between Glenn and Maggie or Rick and Lori.

"Hmm, that morse code?" Andrea whispers, her voice groggy. She curls closer to him, her arm settling across his body.

"Nope," he tells her honestly. It's Tap Code and he doubts even Rick would know it. Merle would, but he's brother's long gone. "It bother you?"

Andrea makes a sleepy noise and shakes her head. "No, it's kinda nice."

Daryl waits for her to fall asleep, then waits a little longer. He slides his arm from under her and kisses her forehead. Before he slips out of her tent he traces out a cypher on her back. One his father never would have taught him and he never thought he'd use before Andrea.

14 17202710 302026.