Chapter Three

Her mouth was soft and gentle on his, and after a few moments he responded, slowly, carefully, as though savouring something he had wanted for a long time.

Andrea hadn't known tenderness could be a part of their sexual repertoire. She had been in passionate relationships before, but until now there had never been that slow burn of affection beneath the lust, anchoring her to the moment emotionally as well as physically.

The darkness left her blind, so as they kissed she slid her hands up to cup his face, resting fully against him now. She lightly ran her thumbs back and forth over those high, cruel cheekbones, feeling the warmth of taut skin over bone. In response, Merle moved his hand into her hair, slipping out the grips and bands until it hung lose about her shoulders. He worked his fingers into it and massaged the back of her skull, gradually becoming more demanding as he controlled the force and angle of the kiss. Andrea was surprised at how much she enjoyed him doing so, and for a while she allowed him dominance.

That was probably what made him ask.

Dragging himself away from the kiss, tugging her head back lightly when she tried to follow him, he asked gruffly, "This a pity fuck, darlin'?" Before she could speak, he added, "Not tha' I won't fuckin' take it, ya understan', but I wanna know." Even in the dark, she could feel his eyes attempting to search her face.

Ignoring the pain of pulled hair, she lent down and pressed a hard kiss against his lips, but with assertion more than aggression.

"I'm not a total bitch, Merle, but I'm enough of one that I don't do pity fucks." Andrea pressed a softer kiss against his lips, and then another, flicking her tongue along the seam until he finally allowed her entry, his hand moving to cup the back of her neck. She teased his tongue with hers, but this time it was less a duel and more a duet, each movement slow and sinuous. Eventually her mouth followed the hard line of his jaw, dragging soft kisses over the rough stubble as her hair slid across his neck.

"Merle," she purred right into his ear, timing it with a grind of her hips and enjoying the involuntary jerk he gave, "Can we have the candle back?" She tugged his earlobe with her teeth before adding, "I want to see you when I touch you…"

That got the desired response. Holding her to him with his damaged arm, he quickly rolled them over so she was on her back, pinning her to the bed. While she giggled in surprise, he knelt back slightly and reached over her head, fumbling for a match on the bedside cabinet. Andrea heard it strike on something and a tiny light flared in the room, before expanding as lit the first candle, then two smaller ones which sat beside it. The room brightened considerably and she blinked a little as her eyes adjusted, only to find Merle staring down at her. Somehow he looked less drawn, but Andrea noticed he was smiling a strange little half smile rather than his usual smirk. Something was still slightly off, and she was struck by a strange impulse to reassure him somehow.

She smiled boldly up at him.

"There you are…," she teased, reaching up and running her fingers down from his temple to the point of his chin, tracing her thumb along his bottom lip. He shocked her slightly by snapping his teeth at it playfully. She gasped a laugh, and placed an admonishing finger against his mouth, saying with mock reproval, "Hey! No biters allowed! Governor's orders." He grinned fully now and tried to nibble on it, and she was pleased to see something of the old Merle creeping back. Andrea would be the first to admit she didn't have the greatest sense of humour, but for the first time she allowed herself to enjoy Merle's playfulness. She had never encouraged it in him before; back then she feared it took them too close some kind of understanding, to opening themselves to the possibility of affection.

Yet there was the wonder of it, she thought. In world where neither of them should have stood a chance of survival, where they were both damaged and changed by each other… here they were, still alive and still together… and wanting to remain so. She wasn't in love with Merle… she couldn't call it that. Not even close, maybe. But she knew that with tonight, there would be something to build on... and, one day…

But Andrea knew if they were to build something together, she needed to knock down some of the walls she had constructed. She decided to begin by continuing to indulge the playful element he always tried to bring to sex.

"Why are you still up there?" she pouted, trailing her finger straight down from his lips, over his throat and onto his chest, before hooking it into the top of his wife beater and tugging playfully. "Come back here. I need you…"

Merle lowered himself back down to her slowly, cautiously. She could feel he was still keeping the majority of his bulk off her, resting on his elbows. Moving to take his weight on one arm, he reached up and smoothed her hair back from her face, fingers lingering to stroke the soft curls. "Mmm… back to the hair again, are we?" she chuckled. "I'm starting to think Merle Dixon has a thing for blondes." She pulled him down for a kiss, but was unable to stop grinning against his mouth.

He captured her lower lip with his teeth and tugged on it before responding. "Jus' one in partic'lar." Andrea moaned her satisfaction with that response, and he hummed one of his low chuckles. After planting a quick kiss on her lips he began to nuzzle beneath her ear, his nose buried in her hair. Suddenly she realised what was bothering her.

She was doing all the talking. It was as though their previous encounters had been reversed. Merle was such a verbal person, and she felt a brief flash of guilt at the many times she had shut him down before… but after all he had told her, shared with her, could Merle still think that she didn't like him talking during sex? Surely he realised now that the problem had been she liked it too much?

Another opportunity for her to set them on the right path by taking the first step…

Turning slightly, she began to run her tongue along his jugular, the vulnerable area she had struck so cruelly over a year before. She wondered if he remembered. Gradually moving up to his ear, she whispered, "Merle, would you like to know what I have a thing for...?"

He lifted his head and looked down at her in confusion, his hand sliding off her hair to rest beside her head. Andrea took advantage of the candlelight and made sure she held his eyes as she spoke.

"The first thing I noticed about you was your arms." She watched with some amusement as Merle's confusion increased, his frown becoming more pronounced. "I always had a bit of a thing for strong arms…" she ran her hands along his forearms up to his biceps, which were bulging slightly from supporting his weight, and exulted in the pleasure of rubbing her palms over the hard curve "… you always had them on display, all that smooth skin… I'd watch you skin a deer, or fiddle with that ridiculous motorcycle of yours, and want to run my mouth over them, to feel your muscles flex underneath my tongue..."

He was staring at her in silence, looking slightly shocked. She heard the rustle of sheets by her ear as his hand clenched tightly.

"…then I noticed your eyes… I don't know, maybe they're only pure, beautiful thing about you. Such a perfect blue…" she reached up one hand and traced the strong arch of his brow, and his eyes seemed to flicker shut for a moment. "…even in the dark, I'd see them, imagine them in my mind, when you were over me, behind me, inside me..."

Those perfect blue eyes were now aflame in the candlelight. She slid her hands over the wife beater onto his chest, feeling his heart beating rapidly, and when she lightly raked her nails down onto his stomach she felt his breathing hitch.

"…but, Merle, but… what really drove me crazy?… it was that stupid 'fuck you' smirk of yours. When I arrived, I'd see you strut around camp like you owned it… God, it pissed me off seeing you…not caring what anyone thought of you, not needing anyone else's respect when you had your own. I envied that, Merle; I even admired you, I really did. I was so jealous, thinking I could never be like that. Then, when we got together… I'd see you look at me in camp with that smirk, and I wondered if one time you'd just get tired of all the bullshit secrecy and fuck me so everyone would know, everyone would see. In your tent. In the bed of your pick-up…even up against a tree, just like you said. You got me so wet, Merle, you and that smirk of yours. When we didn't meet, I'd wait until the others were asleep and touch myself, thinking about us, about you…I'd come so quickly for you, Merle, so easily…"

Andrea was pretty sure he'd stopped breathing entirely now. His face was slack with lust but his eyes were hot and intent on her face, absorbing every word coming out of her mouth. She linked her hands round the back of his neck but kept the pressure light, not forcing him, while a slender thumb traced the shell of his ear.

"…it's probably something I should have said a long time ago, and it's definitely something I lost the right to ask… but, Mister Merle Dixon of Atlanta, Georgia… I want you, I have for a very long time, even though I was too stupid and scared to admit it, and I'm asking you nicely to please fuck me."

His mouth was on hers before she'd finished pronouncing the 'e'.

When Andrea was a typical teenager in search of meaning, she had gone through a brief flirtation with Buddhism. However, she had abandoned it rather rapidly as she could never accept annihilation of the self; now she understood why. From a philosophical viewpoint, severing earthly desire was all very well, but when you were writhing under a man who set every nerve ending you had on fire, all that spiritual crap went right out of the window.

Merle had taken complete possession of her mouth, and didn't stop kissing her even when he ripped off her t-shirt. Shit, he'll have to lend me one of his when we leave… Andrea thought at the back of her mind as she tried to yank his wife beater up and off him. He wasn't helping much however. He was now too busy shoving her bra up to her neck, taking one eager nipple into his mouth while his hand toyed with the other.

"Fuck! Merle…!" she gasped, arching up into his mouth as he sucked the bud hard. Her hands slid up to clutch his head more tightly to her, fingers ruffling the close cropped hair. He grunted his agreement with her sentiments, trying to yank off her bra while still suckling her. The sting of the fabric catching on her skin brought Andrea back to herself just enough to intervene – a well fitted bra was hard to come by these days.

"Hold on," she said quickly, before wrapping her knees around his hips and attempting to roll him over. He was too heavy for her to move, but he realised what she was trying to do and complied, still holding her around the waist. She pulled herself upright, seating herself over his groin, and there was a satisfyingly wet pop as he released her breast from his mouth. His hand however remained massaging her other breast, while his stump rubbed over her hip. She reached back and undid her bra, slipping it off and casting it off into a dark corner of the room. Merle gave a half groan at seeing her so bare in the candle light, and tried to sit up and taste her skin again. Instead, she placed a hand in the centre of his chest and gently pushed him back to the bed. "Not yet. Stay there." She slowly slid off him to stand on the floor, being sure to drag herself firmly over the hard bulge beneath her. His head slipped back as he fought for control and she admired the strong lines of his throat. Hmm, later Andrea, later…

Turning slowly away from him, Andrea slipped out of her shoes, undid her pants and gradually slid them down to her ankles, being sure to bend at the waist and offering him a prime view of her ass in the skimpy black panties she wore. They were a little worn, but judging by the slightly strangled sigh she heard behind her, Merle wasn't in the mood to care. Shooting the prone and fascinated man a coy look over her shoulder, she straightened and began to inch the panties off slowly. When she had them around one ankle, she quickly whipped them into her hand and, spinning around, threw them into Merle's startled face. As he pulled them away, she enjoyed his wide blue eyes emerging to stare at her completely naked form in the candlelight. Smirking herself, she cocked her hip confidently and said, "I know it's been a while since we did this, so…still interested?"

The look on Merle's face spoke for him, but after swallowing he managed to rasp out, "C'mere, woman."

"Of course, Merle," she said, her own voice becoming throaty as she knelt on the bed and began to crawl over him, "by the way, you can keep those panties for now. I'm not going to need them for a while…" She lowered her mouth to his, her hair falling around their faces like a golden veil in the soft light. As he tried to reach for her though, she captured his wrists and tried to lower them back down to the bed.

"Fuck, woman, I need ta touch ya," he said, slightly exasperated as he eventually let her push them down. "Ya can't put on a show like tha' fer a man an' leave him wantin'."

Andrea smiled down at him. "Believe me, I intend for you to do a considerable amount of wanting and touching tonight. In fact, I hope you don't have to be anywhere early in the morning, because what I have planned could take all night." As his eyes darkened in anticipation, she pressed her cheek to his and whispered, "You see, I'm not planning on a five minute job either…"

She licked and nibbled down from his ear to where his neck joined his shoulder, where she bit a little more roughly, just enough to remind him of their first time together down on the shore of the quarry. He moaned slightly, and she moved across to nuzzle and kiss the stubbled expanse of his throat. Andrea didn't know how he did it, but no matter how often Merle shaved he seemed to have a permanent five o'clock shadow. With a final press to indicate he shouldn't move them, she lifted her hands from his wrists and slid them under his wife beater.

She pushed it up over his chest but didn't remove it, instead running her palms over his flat belly and up through his curly hair. Seeking out his nipples, she lightly flicked and pinched them, feeling him struggle not to buck his hips against her. Slowly, she lowered her mouth to one nipple and circled it with her tongue, moistening it before blowing cool air across it. "Jesus, woman!" he yelped, as he finally bucked against her. She laughed low in her throat and moved across to his other nipple, this time sucking it into the warmth of her mouth. "Shit, ya gonna be the death of me," Merle panted, his breathing irregular.

"I hope not," whispered Andrea against the skin of his belly as she slid down to kneel between his legs on the floor, "I'm not finished with you yet..." He watched in what could only be described as hopeful disbelief as she quickly unbuckled his cargo pants and released his cock from the confines of his boxers. She stroked a finger down the side of it as though petting it, and grinned as it twitched in response. Merle groaned.

"But… ya never…" he began.

Andrea knew what he meant. She had never gone down on him, feeling it too intimate a gesture. Whenever he had tried to go down her she had pulled his head away, knowing she could never reciprocate.

"I know. It was too… I couldn't before. But, Merle, we're not there anymore." Taking him in her hand, she ran her tongue over his thick head before speaking again, so he could feel the little puffs of her words teasing his damp skin. "No more boundaries. I told you. We're here. I'm here. And I want to taste you, Merle…."

To her surprise, Merle suddenly lunged at her, grabbing her beneath her arms and lifting her as best as he could onto the bed before lying between her legs. This time he captured her hands as best he could before kissing her hard on the mouth. "Sorry, darlin," he said, face flushed with desire, "but ya carry on like tha' an' a five minute job is all y'all be gettin'." As she smiled at his joke, his own smile became more wolfish. "Ya won't be smilin' in a minute…" he promised, his voice a growl.

Andrea was confused as he pulled away from her. "Oh? And what does that… Merle!" she gasped as he licked her core. She was too stunned to say any more as he shifted his position so her legs were over his shoulders, his hand holding her open as he worked his tongue into her moist cleft. "Ah… God, Merle…" she moaned, as he flicked her nub back and forth with his tongue, moving so a finger circled again and again around the edge of her opening. She was already so wet he soon slipped a finger into her, then two.

"Holy fuck, Merle!" she cried, as he began to work them inside her, moving them back and forth, curling them around to find that special spot he apparently remembered very well. "I can't…I'm going…"

"Ya can an' ya are," growled Merle, placing a firm lick up her slit while continuing to move his fingers inside her. "Ya gonna come fer me, an' ya gonna say my name when ya do, understan'?"

"Mmm…" Andrea moaned, and he returned his tongue to her, flicking it over her until he felt her tightening around his fingers. He quickly took her clit into his mouth and sucked hard, the pressure bringing her pulsing over the edge. "Merle! Fuck! God… Merle!" she screamed as she arched into his mouth; only throwing his damaged arm firmly over her stomach saved Merle from being pitched off her completely.

As the exquisite throbbing subsided slightly and her breathing started to return to normal, she opened her eyes to find Merle propped up on his elbow next to her, his eyes still hot but the full Dixon smirk restored to his face. She knew it would inflate his ego, but she had to smile to see it.

He gave one of his low humming chuckles. "Hmm, I like getting' my water fresh from tha' well," he drawled. "Think ya gonna have ta get used ta it, darlin'."

She snorted slightly breathlessly. "I don't think 'get used to it' is the term I'd use." The smirk became even deeper and smugger.

Oh, dangerous, Merle, dangerous, to tempt me now…

Her smile became more wolfish in turn and she sat up. "You won't be smirking in a minute…" she said as she kissed him, tasting herself on his lips and tongue. As he reached for her, she dodged his grasp and slipped off the bed to stand by him. She patted the bed gently and said softly, "Sit here, Merle."

Merle eyes were dark and his gaze intent on her as he swung his legs over the side of the bed. He was still fully clothed while Andrea was completely naked, but she wanted it that way; she wanted him see she was willing to feel vulnerable with him. Placing her hands on his thighs she parted his legs and knelt between them; his flies were still undone, but he had tried as best he could to tuck his still hard cock into his boxers. Carefully, she tugged his clothing down a little more and pulled him out, caressing him with both hands before placing her lips on the tip and licking off the pre-cum.

Merle swallowed a gasp, and although she felt him tremble under her hands he managed to prevent himself from thrusting forward into her mouth. Covering her teeth, she slid her mouth down and took his head into her mouth, one hand pulling back his skin gently and the other caressing the base of his cock. He did jerk slightly this time, and let out a long, heartfelt moan as he fell back onto his elbows. His eyes were closed, so she held herself still until Merle finally opened them again and looked back at her, the deep blue slightly hazed with lust.

Holding his stare, she bobbed her head over him, alternating between fast and slow movements, while her tongue swirled and licked over his head and shaft. His breath hissed between his teeth as she pleasured him, and at one point she even took a fistful of her hair and wrapped the thick silk around his cock, before using it like a brush to tease his shaft. His jaw dropped at that image, and Andrea saw he couldn't tear his eyes away. It was only when she finally licked her way down to suckle the skin of his balls that his head fell back again and he almost whined in ecstasy. Granting him mercy she worked her way back to his head and began to move faster, increasing the pressure on him with her mouth and hands. Then she felt his large hand thread back into her hair and tenderly pull her away.

"Stop, darlin'…stop," he panted, "Can't take much more o' tha."

"I don't have to stop." His eyes flared as he took in the meaning of her words, but he shook his head gently.

"No, darlin', another time. I've waited so fuckin' long. I want ta come inside ya."

She nodded solemnly. "I want you too."

He slipped his hand from her hair and they both stood slowly. Andrea gripped the bottom of his wife beater and slid it up over his head, before lowering his pants and boxers. Merle pulled her to him, and as he kissed her deeply she could feel him pressed hot and hard against her belly.

He pulled her over to the bed and lowered her to it, then paused staring at her, as though uncertain of what to do next now the moment had finally arrived. She looped her arms around his neck and pulled him into a kiss, then wrapped her legs around his hips and linked her ankles behind him. He took the hint, and pressed his blunt head against her hot slick core. "Mmm… remember, I want you too, Merle," she whispered, and he thrust fully into her.

"Jesus," he muttered, "Jesus Christ…"

It had been a while for both of them, and this time she did not hurry him to move. Instead, she focussed on the simple joy that was the warmth and weight of this man's body around her, the heat and fullness of him inside her, and the uneven rasp of his breathing in her ear. In a world full of death and ugliness, she had found something alive and beautiful.

For the first time since Amy's death, she was happy.

He began to move, long slow strokes that made her take his full length before pulling nearly all the way out. The friction was blissful torture, and while Andrea revelled in the sensation she knew neither of them would last long. As she buried her nails into his shoulders, his back, his ass, she could feel his rhythm beginning to pick up speed, his breathing slightly more ragged in her ear. She moved one hand to stroke his face. "Merle," she begged, "Merle, look at me please; I want to see your eyes when I come…"

He lifted his head, and she marvelled at how many emotions Merle's eyes could reflect. "Fuck, woman," he groaned, "how tha fuck did ya find a way ta make this shit hotter…?"

Andrea lifted her hand to run it through his hair before pulling him down for one of their sloppy kisses, all heat and want and no finesse. She was already nearing the fiery edge she had reached earlier, so she clenched tightly around Merle, causing him to grunt deep in his throat as he looked down at her. In only a few more strokes she reached her peak, and as she shattered around him gasping his name, he came hard inside her, jerking and shuddering as he held her painfully tight against him. Exhausted, he collapsed on her, head pillowed on her heaving breasts. Lazily she reached up and caressed his head, tracing the shape of his skull with boneless fingers.

After a few minutes, Merle made to move off her, but she forestalled him, wrapping her legs more firmly around him and clutching his head to her. "S'alright, darlin', I'm heavy…"

"Then you can roll over slightly, but your head stays here." He snorted at her bossy tone, but left his head cushioned on her while he shifted his weight to her side. She resumed stroking his head. "Go to sleep now, Merle" she said quietly, "I'll be here when you wake up."

He grunted slightly, but after wrapping his bad arm around her waist tightly, he did eventually fall asleep. Andrea soon followed.

She was woken by a sense of light shining into her eyes. Opening them slowly, she realised Merle was standing by the window, the curtain of which he had pulled back to let in the first light of dawn. He was leaning against the window frame, one of his strange smiles on his face, and once again sublimely uncaring of the fact that any other early riser in Woodbury would be getting quite a view if they chanced to look up. As she had once feared, Merle's playfulness was clearly contagious; for some reason she could feel laughter bubbling up inside her.

"While I'm enjoying the view, either put some clothes on or come back to bed. You'll shock the upstanding citizenry of Woodbury, hanging your ass out of the window like that."

He grinned. "Jus' lettin' 'em know wha' they're missin'."

"Oh, I see," she said, mock seriously, before pulling back the covers and letting the soft pink light of dawn illuminate her nakedness, "and are you missing anything this morning?"

He pounced on her instantly and Andrea pretended to fight him off, laughing, "Oh no, Merle, you're cold! I was all cosy under the blankets…"

He was merciless however, and not half an hour later they were both breathless and considerable warmer under the covers. This time she was sprawled on top of Merle, his arms wrapped around her and her breath tickling the hair of his chest. She felt him kiss the top of her head, before he said quietly, "I'm glad you stayed, Andrea."

She angled her head to look up at him, trying not to look too smug. "Andrea? Not Blondie? Or woman?"

"My Andrea," he affirmed, slightly gruffly, as though he felt silly saying it in the light of day. Andrea wasn't sure she wanted to think about how moved she was by those two simple words. Perhaps one day I'll feel I deserve them.

"I'm glad I stayed too," she said quickly, before either of them got too embarrassed about it. She stretched and planted a quick kiss in the hollow of his throat before settling down again. Suddenly a thought struck her, and this time she rolled up so she could look his straight in the eye. "And another thing, Merle Dixon. Since you have me, you no longer have nothing. That mean's we, Merle and Andrea, have something. Got that?"

Andrea watched with a deep, warm, and completely unidentifiable emotion curling through her, as Merle's face went from surprised, to thoughtful, to her favourite 'fuck-you' smirk.

"Yes, ma'am," he smirked, pulling her back onto his chest.

"Damn right, yes ma'am," she smirked, and together they watched a new day break over a dead world.

Well, insanely long but there we have it; lashings of smut and warm fuzziness to err…finish us off, if you'll forgive the pun. This is the last chapter unless the show does something that pisses me off completely like killing Merle this season, in which case I shall completely lose my shit, in full Nic Cage style glory, and be forced to write a final chapter where Merle and Andrea escape Woodbury and live happily ever after or some such romantic nonsense.

So, many thanks for your support, I hope you've enjoyed this and do please take the time to review, it's very much appreciated.