Title: Five Lives Andrea and Daryl Didn't Live and One They Did
Beta: fleete, metaallu
Word Count: 2276
Warnings/Notes: AUs, Fantasy, Elves, Spoilers for Season 3
A/N: This fic came as a result of having too many idea for au fics.
Summary: There are many lives that Andrea and Daryl could have lived, these are some of them.
1. Role Reversal
Andrea Dixon is nothing like the women Daryl's usually interested in. She's nothing like his last girlfriend, a fellow lawyer, who always had perfectly manicured nails, styled hair, and kitten heels. Andrea's hands look rough with dirt under her nails, her hair is always tied back in a ponytail, and he bets she's never owned a pair of heels.
He thinks she'd be a wildcat in bed. But she gives him confused looks when he talks to her casually, and her older brother, Merle, gives death glares to any man in camp that dares look at her for long.
"Someone's got a crush," Amy teases him in a sing-song voice.
"I do not," Daryl protests, and from the snort he hears from Dale, he gathers no one believes him.
"Uh-huh. Is that why you were asking her all about her crossbow?" Amy grins as her eyes dance in amusement.
Daryl shakes his head. "I just admire a strong woman."
Amy laughs. "You admire her butt. Admit it!"
They fall into playful sibling bickering, but Daryl refuses to admit any attraction to Andrea. They come from way too different worlds, and Daryl isn't tangling with Merle just for a casual fling.
They aren't on the farm long when Andrea comes to the conclusion that there is more to Daryl Dixon than meets the eye. Like the others, she had originally thought the Dixon brothers nothing more than rough, uncultured brutes who had most likely stolen the intriguing steam-powered bicycle and the complex clockwork crossbow. Now, on Mr. Daryl Dixon's account at the least, Andrea is not so certain in her judgement.
Something about the gentleman intrigues Andrea. Enough so that she eludes Dale's careful fatherly watch of her to speak to Mr. Dixon alone one evening. It's scandalous, or at least it would have been before the dead rose in judgement of all. What use is etiquette and social class in such a brave new world?
Andrea sits beside Mr. Dixon by the fire and watches as he carefully fashions new bolts for his crossbow. He glances up at her once before going back to his work.
"I see you are still wearing trousers," he says, but unlike the others there is no condemnation in his voice.
"What use are long skirts and petticoats in a world such as this?" Andrea asks. "I believe that Miss Margaret is very sensible in preferring trousers such as these."
Mr. Dixon chuckles low in his throat, and it occurs to her that this is the first time she's heard such a sound from him. "How's your betrothed taking your change in attire?"
Andrea sniffs. "I have informed Lt. Shane that given the state of things, I do believe it best that we end our engagement."
"Good for you. The man is an uppity ass," Mr Dixon tells her. "How did he take it?"
She should be scandalized by his language, but she rather agrees. "I think he is far more preoccupied by Mrs. Grimes being with child than our now former engagement."
Mr Dixon chuckles again. "Knew you were an observant girl," he says before he rises to his feet. "I believe a night search of the woods might be beneficial in finding the child."
Andrea looks up at him and frowns in worry. "Do you intend to go alone?"
He raises a single eyebrow at her. "Are you offering to accompany me, Andrea?"
She fights back at blush at Mr Dixon addressing her by her Christian name. "Yes. I can hold the lantern for you, and my father taught me to use a flintlock," she says firmly and rises to her own feet.
"No worry about the scandal it might cause?"
Andrea finds that she is not at all worried about any potential scandal. There are far more important things than reputation and gossip in this new world. "I find, Daryl, that I am not."
Something warm sparks in his normally cool blue eyes, and Andrea decides she quite likes him looking at her in that fashion.
Out of all the unmated vixens in the camp, Andrea is the one that catches Daryl's eyes and nose. She's feisty, smart, and her were-form is a sleek little vixen with red fur and green eyes.
"She ain't our kind," Merle says, when he catches Daryl's eyes lingering a little too long on Andrea's curves. "Reds and swifts don't mix."
Daryl gives Merle as dark of a look as he dares, because he's seen his older brother looking her over, and he heard the snarl Andrea let out when Merle made a play for her. "Didn't seem to bother you."
Merle snorts and cuffs the back of Daryl's head. "Just lookin' out for you, bro. You don't know how to fuck 'em and leave 'em. Always get too attached," Merle complains shaking his head like its one of Daryl's many great failings. "Forget her."
So, he pushes Andrea from his mind. At least he does a fair job of pretending he has in the waking hours. At night, he lets his mind and his hands wander.
Daryl thinks they're friends at least. She helped him search for Carol's poor lost little kit, and he's taken her hunting in were form. Then she comes back with Shane one day, and the other tod's scent is all over her.
He grits his teeth and tries not to snarl in jealousy and decides to avoid her. Forget her.
There are other vixens around now after all. Carol looks at him with soft eyes even after they find her kit, Sophia, in the barn. She's open to him taking her as a mate, and he could see them having their own kits. She's a swift like him. It would be easy.
It just tastes more like duty than the joy he'd always secretly imagined having if he found a vixen to mate with. So he hasn't made any move yet.
Then Andrea comes across him and Carol standing close and talking one day. He almost doesn't see it, but jealously flashes across her pretty face, and she bares her teeth for a split second. Daryl excuses himself from Carol and follows Andrea around the side of the barn.
"What do you want?" Andrea snaps, twirling around to face him after catching his scent.
Daryl corners her against the barn, putting his hands on either side of her head. "You don't want me matin' with Carol," he growls. "Do you?"
Andrea shows her teeth again briefly. "I don't care who you mate with," she growls back.
They glare at each other, before Daryl curses softly wishing his human nose was as sensitive as his fox one. Then he goes for broke and kisses her anyway.
She bites at his mouth before kissing him back and by the time they break apart he's hard in his jeans. "There's only one vixen I think of in my tent," he whispers in her ear.
Andrea rubs her head against the side of his neck. "Better start calling it our tent," she tells him almost primly, before pulling him down into another kiss.
Andrea and Daryl's bonding wasn't intended by either of them.
She had always been too busy in the libraries and courthouses of one of the great cities to even think of bonding. He'd always cared more for the company of trees and wild creatures to his fellow elves-he'd never touched a female before her.
Still the bond happened. They had searched the woods fruitlessly for the child, Sophia, and spent the night together in the welcoming safety of one of the trees. When dawn rose they awoke with both their bodies and minds tangled together.
A bond had been formed.
Unlike the tales Daryl's mother once told him, the bond didn't mean a instant happily ever after for them. They spent many of the first days and weeks resenting each other and the connection they now shared. They shared a tent and a bed-roll, but physically intimacy did little to smooth over the rough edges between them.
It was only when Andrea became lost to Daryl, to the group, that he came to understand the depths of his emotions for her. Only the thin connection to her in his mind that told him she still lived kept him going through the winter and in the days that followed. That kept him living until fate delivered her back to him.
Daryl thanks all the gods he can think of as she lies in his arms at night that he will not die the lonely and forgotten ranger he thought he would. Andrea's fingers tease the tip of his ear, pulling him from his deeper thoughts. Her laughter is bright and happy as he rolls them so she's on her back, and he kisses her soundly.
He feels her love through the bond, and it soothes the broken places inside his soul.
Their bond may have been unintended, but he cannot imagine living without it or her.
1. Fairy Tale
Andrea finds him collapsed in a snow bank. She's crying before she even reaches his side. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she babbles as she struggles to turn him over.
His blue eyes stare up at her, unseeing. Her tears fall on his scarred and ruined face. His wings are folded limply against his back. "Oh, Beast," she whispers. "I didn't mean to break my promise."
But her Beast is dead and she's killed him. She knows that as surely as if she'd shot him with his own crossbow. She strokes his face and then hides her face in his chest.
Andrea cries like her heart would break.
It is breaking.
"I'm sorry," she says again. "I loved you. Why didn't I tell you? Why did I break my promise? Oh, my poor Beast." She lifts her head and kisses his forehead.
Beast's chest suddenly heaves in air. There's a flash of light so bright and sudden that she shrinks back for a moment. When she can see again, a handsome if unkempt man lays where her Beast had been.
"Very nice," he says with her Beast's voice. "Wouldn't mind a repeat, but a bit lower." He smiles at her.
Andrea blinks slowly and stares at the man. She's been through too much to just believe this is him, but his eyes are the same blue she loved so. "Beast?" she asks softly.
"I prefer Daryl," he tells her with a nod and starts to sit up.
She lets out a cry of joy and throws her arms around him. They both crash back into the snow as she kisses his mouth.
"You love me," Daryl says when they break apart.
"Yes," Andrea says. "And you love me."
"I do," he agrees and kisses her breathless.
They return to his cabin and live as happily as anyone could hope for until the end of their lives.
It feels like years since Andrea was separated from the group. In all honesty, she never expected to see any of them again, and coming across Merle only made her miss Daryl more than she'd thought possible. She never thought Daryl would be the one to come out of the prison and meet her little group.
And in her wildest dreams she never imagined Daryl ignoring his brother and the young girl lurking behind him, ignoring Michonne and her drawn swords, ignoring everything and pulling Andrea against his chest in a short but fierce hug.
She thinks it surprises Merle as well, because he doesn't say a word. Michonne just smiles slyly at Andrea, making her remember how in the early days in the woods Michonne teased Andrea by calling Daryl her man.
Everything after that turns into a blur of eating, finally being clean, and collapsing onto a bed into an exhausted sleep.
Andrea wakes - she's not sure how much later - to find Daryl in the cell watching her. His hands are shaking. He's looking at her as if she's a glass of water and he's been dying of thirst.
"Daryl?" her voice sounds shaky. As if her whole body has decided that it's safe enough here to be weak again, to let her guard down.
"I should have gone back for you," Daryl tells her. His voice is hoarse like he's been yelling.
Andrea blinks and tries to focus her tired mind. "You didn't even know if I was still alive."
He shakes his head sharply. "I should have gone back. I should have found you." His voice raises slightly, and he looks as exhausted as she feels.
"I'm here now," Andrea whispers as she comes to a decision. Maybe one she should have made long ago at the farm. She scoots over on the bed towards the wall and pats the space beside her.
Andrea holds her hand out to him.
Daryl looks ready to bolt for a moment. Then instead of fleeing, he moves towards her. He kicks off his boots and sits down on the bed next to Andrea. She tugs at his shirt gently.
"Lay down," she whispers. "Just for a bit?"
He lays down slowly and flinches slightly when she puts a hand on his chest. "Andrea," he says, making her name sound like a prayer.
She carefully curls herself against his chest and, after a few seconds, he puts his arm across her. Daryl tangles his fingers in her hair, and kisses the top of her head.
"I'll never leave you behind again," he tells her.
Andrea, despite all the reasons not to, believes him.