Hey y'all! So, after talking and thinking about it for months I decided to give it a go. So many people have faved, read and reviewed my Salvy fic, because they liked the whole Connaryl dynamic and the idea of them meeting and stuff, that I thought, why not give it another go?
a couple of notes
- I am German. English+accents+ grammar= not perfect
- this is a sequel. Meaning you can still read it, but it's based on stuff that's already happened in the original story Salvation.
Daryl and Connor's friendship is already there, and some stuff has happened in Salvy that plays a role in this story (aka the bite etc)
- yes, I know. Connor died in Salvation, but I just wanted to write another story. Since I didn't want to get rid of that ending though (let's face it, it was perf
and heartbreaking) I decided to leave it in. I ignore this ending in this story here though and make up an alternate ending (see the first couple of paragraphs)
- takes place during season 3 of Walking Dead so spoilers if you haven't seen the episodes yet.
- I am aware that I stick too much to the canon storyline sometimes. Sorry about that. I just wanted the whole "Connor in a season of Walking Dead" feel,
that when you go back to watch the episodes you're like "where the fuck is Connor?"
- it's not just canon stuff though. I'm going to differ from it from time to time, the ending is completely different, and there are some extra storylines that are not in the series
coverart by the awesome jullie9rides from tumblr.
setting: post Walking Dead season 2, S03 episode 1 "Seed"
Chapter 1 - Alive
A couple of months ago...
The good part was that he could still hear and see them. He saw that Daryl was sitting right next to him, saw how Rick came over to join them. The fact that he was no longer throwing up his guts and practically drinking his own blood was also an improvement, but that was about it. The bad part was that he couldn't move at all. It was like he was paralyzed, like the infection had snapped something in his body, broke him somehow. Was this how it felt like to be dead? Brain dead? Was he dead? Connor tried to frown, but of course, that wouldn't work. If he really were dead, then how could he still hear and see and feel everything? Was this how walkers felt like? Like they were trapped in their own heads? Like someone had just cut the link between body and mind?
"Connor?" he heard Daryl say and tried to turn his head to look at his friend.
Nothing would happen. He was still staring straight up, unable to move or respond.
I'm right fucking here.
He could see Daryl's angry frown and it made him furious as well. Why couldn't he move? He tried and fought but nothing would happen. It felt like his arms and legs were embedded in concrete. Rick placed a hand on Daryl's shoulder and looked at Connor as well. He shook his head.
"I'm sorry" he heard him say.
What for? I'm right here! he tried to shout, but his mouth wouldn't move.
He could feel how his eyes were getting dry because he couldn't blink at all. And the fact that he was still in so much pain...he could feel the infection raging, it felt like his stomach was imploding now that he could no longer throw anything up. His left arm was burning like it was on fire. Why wouldn't they do something? He saw Daryl staring at him with an unreadable expression on his face.
Do something, Daryl.
He tried to beg him with just his eyes now that he was unable to speak, but he was pretty sure that his face was showing no reaction at all. Daryl suddenly grabbed him by his shoulders and started shaking him. For just a second he was almost drifting away again, he could feel his conciousness fade because of the constant movement, and his neck started aching because all the shaking was straining his muscles. As if it wasn't painful enough already.
"Wake up yah prick" Daryl demanded and Connor got even more furious.
I'm trying, asshole.
"Wake the fuck up, Connor!" he heard his friend yell.
Daryl was shaking him once more. It was driving the Irishman crazy. Never in his life had he been in a situation like that, and he wished it to no one. He had thought that getting bit and slowly dying and feeling that much pain had been the worst experience in his life, but this was far, far worse. It felt like he was just watching a movie. Like he was sitting in a theatre. He could see all the characters playing their roles. Daryl, slowly losing his shit. Rick, just standing there and staring at him. Lori and Carl, crying and weeping in the corner. But he was just a member of the audience. Just like no one had ever been able to help their favourite movie characters in a movie he was also unable to help any of them now. Do anything. Communication, interaction, he was cut off. Practically separated from his body. Funny that. He had always seen himself as the brain of their work as the saints. Murphy had been the physical one, he had been the thinker, and now he literally was the brain, the thinker. Because this was all he had left.
"I said wake up!" Daryl yelled and Rick finally tried to get him away.
Thank you he thought, because all the shaking was getting ridiculous and traumatizing. Even worse, he was watching his best friend fall apart and could do absolutely nothing about it.
"It's too late Daryl" Rick said and Daryl stared at his chest.
He could feel his hand, the hunter had never let go of him after his last fit. For a moment Daryl was just staring at something, and after some thinking Connor remembered. Aequitas. He had written it on his hand. He wanted to snort. Aequitas. Justice. Was this justice? For the past couple of months he had wished that someone would come and kill him. Bite him. He had tried to hang himself. And when he had finally found a friend and a new sense in living karma had got him. He had been bit. And now he had gotten his justice, now he was paying for Murphy's death. A price that was far crueller than death: apparent death.
Connor could still feel the infection rage through his body, pulsating through his arm and poising everything inside him. And the pain was still getting worse. Daryl was staring at something on his chest, then he looked at him again. He looked so furious and heartbroken. The hunter leaned forward and put a hand on Connor's eyes. The Irishman could feel how his lids were shut. He wanted to let out a relieved sigh and scream at Daryl at the same time. Now it was dark. He welcomed the feeling of his eyes getting some sort of moist again, but not being able to see was way worse. Connor had imagined it to be so different. Dying. Not so slow. Not step by step. He had always imagined that it would happen in a blink. First the control over his body had been taken away from him, now he could no longer see. What was coming up next? Breathing?
He felt a lump in his throat when he realized that maybe this had been the last time he had seen Daryl, Rick, the group. The sky, the trees, the world. He cursed everyone for not saying anything now that he was dependent on hearing. He didn't know what was going on until he could feel how a cold smooth object was being pressed against his forehead. The gun. For a second his mind was racing. He didn't know what to feel, what to do, what to think. Did he want it? Was this the part where he would just leave his body and be with his brother again? Was Murphy waiting for him? Did he even want to leave? He wasn't ready for any of it. Dying, living. Maybe it was best to just let it end now. He had demanded it after all. And he deserved some peace after all. But what if he wanted to live and Daryl decided not to shoot him? What if he was gonna be in that state forever? What if they just left his body right there and other walkers came and started eating him alive? Shoot me. Pull the trigger.
It was taking Daryl longer than it should. Connor didn't even need to see it, he just knew that his friend couldn't do it. He would have pulled the trigger minutes ago otherwise. Part of him thanked god. He still didn't know if he really wanted him to. Connor tried to move his arms and legs again. Nothing happened. He felt the urge to cough but couldn't. It was an absolute nightmare.
Just do something. Please.
"You want me to do it?" he heard Rick say and tensed.
For a while he couldn't hear anything at all, and that was the worst part. Their leader could be pointing a gun at his head right now and he wouldn't even know. If Connor's eyes hadn't been shut now, he sure as hell would have squeezed them shut by now. He was expecting to get shot in the head any second.
"Just..please leave us alone for a bit" Daryl said quietly.
It just made it worse. Because he sounded so broken, so defeated. Never had he ever been like that before. Connor had never heard or seen it at least. He hated himself for causing his friend so much pain while he was just lying there.
"Yah going t'wake up now?" Daryl asked after a while and waited for an answer.
I'm right fucking here, man. I'm right fucking here, he thought.
If he had been able to then he would have been bawling by now. The whole situation was so goddamn frustrating and nothing but torture.
"Where the fuck were yah all the time" the hunter went on and Connor listened up.
"With all yer saint shit. All them years I felt like shit because of my family. All them years I never had anyone. No buddies, no one but Merle. Where the fuck were yah."
Connor could feel another lump in his throat. So Daryl really thought he was dead. And the poor bastard was pouring his heart out right now. He knew that his friend had never ever dared to really talk about his feelings and thoughts, simply because he was always trying not to let anyone near himself. This was why he had told Rick to leave them after all. The fact that Daryl had never told him any of this before made it even worse.
"Why didn't we meet earlier, yah stupid prick. Why the hell didn't I get more time t'get to know yah."
I'm so fucking sorry.
And Connor knew that he didn't want to die. Didn't want him to pull the trigger. Yer job's nat done yet, Con. You've still got a purpose. Some shit you've gotta do.
He knew what his job was now. He knew why life was still worth living. Because that guy next to him needed him.
"Yah were the brother I've always wanted t'have, now smarten up and wake up now!" Daryl yelled and started shaking him again.
He was so angry and so heartbroken that it made Connor even more furious.
Wake up now.
The Irishman tried moving his limbs again. It was like he was trying to lift up a bus. Daryl suddenly grabbed his hand and squeezed it. Connor tried his hardest to squeeze back. It took a lot of effort but then he managed to move his right thumb, but it was already too late. Daryl had already let go of his hand with a frustrated sigh.
I did it! Did you see it? Daryl!
He startled when he could feel the gun on his forehead once more.
No. Come on. No. Please don't.
"I'm sorry I don't know yer prayer" Daryl said and Connor tried shaking his head.
"I'm sorry I couldn't save yah" Daryl went on.
You saved me, don't you fucking see? He was screaming in his mind.
"I hope you've got yer justice now " Daryl whispered and Connor tried shaking his head in panic once more. This is so so wrong.
"I hope you're with yer Murphy now."
He gathered all his strength and tried shaking his head once more. He gasped when it worked. Connor was shaking his head like a madman. He thought so at least. He knew that his head was only moving ever so slighty, and he prayed to god that Daryl was looking at him.
I'm begging you, no.
A second later he was able to raise his hand. He prayed to god that Daryl didn't mistake him for a walker. Or maybe he was a walker now. He didn't even know anymore. Maybe this was what a resurrection felt like. Maybe all the walkers were just undead people, with their minds fighting with their bodies, trying to take anyone out who was trying to shot them in the head. Just so they could stay alive, fight for their life.
"No" he whispered and coughed gently.
He felt how Daryl shifted.
"What?" the hunter asked and moved
"Don't.." Connor croaked and coughed once more.
The Irishman tried to nod, but he had put so much effort into shaking his head that he simply didn't have any strength left.
"Jesus, he's alive! He's alive!"
Connor opened his eyes with a loud and gurgling gasp. Something was blinding him, and he felt terribly, terribly sick. Connor tried to focus, make out where he was. Soon more and more silhouettes swam into view. He could hear people muttering and talking, but it sounded like he was underwater.
"How is this possible?" he heard someone ask and groaned when he felt a hand on his forehead.
It was freezing. He coughed and tried to turn away, but someone was holding him in place.
"We've seen him die, you said his heart stopped beating" someone else said.
A second later he could feel how someone placed a hand on his chest. He groaned in pain because the touch hurt.
His whole body was burning with pain because of the fever, and his arm hurt so much that he just wanted someone to cut it off.
"He's burning up" he heard Daryl say and felt a hand on his forehead once more.
Connor gasped because his hand was so cold, too cold. Then he could feel the icy hand on his cheeks.
"Don't hold out any hopes. He could be dangerous. He's been bitten. You know what that means. Sooner or later he will die" he heard Rick say and groaned once more.
Someone was blinding his eyes with a flashlight. He could see white spots for a couple of minutes and squeezed his eyes shut in pain. Connor tried to shake his head again. He wasn't dead, why wouldn't anyone get that? Why wouldn't anybody help him? When was this nightmare going to end? He felt so vulnerable, and this made him furious. Even back then when he had been tortured in Yakavetta's cellar he had never felt so helpless.
"Just look at him. He's suffering. Maybe we should put him out of his misery. I'm sure that's what he wants. He gave you his gun, Daryl. No one should suffer through this for so long" Rick went on and Connor shook his head in panic.
"No.." he gasped and started coughing again. He turned on his side and grabbed closest person. It was Daryl who responded to his touch.
"I ain't shooting him."
"He's in pain. And a major threat. What if he turns when we're not aware of it? No one has ever survived a bite, he's a danger to the group!"
"I don't care! You've killed enough people with yer decisions! If yah want t'shoot 'im you have t'get past me first! Any of you!" Daryl spat and Connor tried to smile.
But he was too tired. Soon the world started spinning again. Then everything went black again.
Once Daryl had made sure that Rick wasn't going to shoot Connor the hunter turned around again to check on his friend. The Irishman had closed his eyes again and let go of his hand, which made Daryl worry even more. He placed a hand on his friend's chest to make sure his heart was still beating. He could feel it pounding against his hand, and every once in a while it would either speed up or slow down. Daryl didn't understand what was happening. It had been about hours since Connor had been bit, and just minutes since his heart had first stopped beating.
"Heart's still beatin. Just, come on now, yah stupid leprechaun. Wake up" he demanded and started shaking Connor, hoping to wake him up once more.
"Mum, what's happening to him?" he heard Carl ask and everybody looked at the boy for a moment. Rick sighed and looked at Herschel. The old man nodded and approached them. He knelt down next to Connor, well aware of the way Daryl was glaring at him. The farmer took Connor's bloody arm to take a look at the bite wound, then he placed a hand on his chest and forehead.
"I'd say that he's infected. The fever, the blood poisoning on his arm, the nausea, that indicates a serious infection. We know that bites are supposed to be deadly, but it looks like his body is fighting the infection and won't let him become one of them. It's been too long since the bite, he should be long since dead by now" Herschel concluded and Daryl nodded.
"Would also explain the heart attacks."
"You mean he's immune?" Rick asked and came closer.
He eyed Connor who just lay there, chest heaving. Herschel looked at the policeman and shrugged.
"I don't know yet. We'll have to wait and see. I'd say no one has made it past a heart failure without turning yet."
Daryl glared at Rick and growled.
"See?! He could be our only goddamn hope, there could be a cure or something and yah just wanted t'shoot 'im in the head!"
"We don't know this for sure. It's a double-edged sword. He's been bit, which means he carries their virus. He could still infect all of us."
And once again he found himself leading the group inside. It wasn't like he was their leader, Rick had made it very clear who was in charge now. It was more like he was their vanguard. Kicking doors in, taking the first couple of walkers out. Back in the old days it had been Daryl who had been good at sneaking up on the enemy and killing them quietly, now it was Connor's speciality. Funny how he had turned from a noisy shooting and preaching serial killer into a silent walker killer. The undead never saw him coming. In just a couple of months the group's dynamic had changed drastically. Everyone had their job, which was why Connor would always go in first. He was the vanguard, Daryl the rearguard with his crossbow.
It was the third house they were searching today. Both friends had found the group only about a week earlier, but this wasn't any different from what both men had been doing all winter. Running from walkers, searching towns and houses for food and shelter. Running running, searching searching. This was their life now. As soon as Connor had made sure that no other walker was in the entrance hall he whistled to signalize the group to come in. He didn't even wait for them, the Irishman went straight to the next room. They didn't need words anymore. Everyone went straight for a room, Rick, T-Dog, Daryl, even Carl.
Connor found another walker in the living room. The undead slowly turned around with a tired groan and just looked at him. It would still send a shiver down his spine whenever they were doing that. Connor just stared back at her for a moment, then he threw his knife at her. The blade hit her right in her left eye and threw her back, getting stuck in the wooden wall behind her. The Irishman shook his head and scanned the room for supplies. He had become pretty good at this as well, scanning the rooms for anything useful in just a matter of seconds, without wasting any time. There was nothing but old moldy books and a television with a broken screen.
"Fuck" Connor murmured and turned around. It had been over a week since they had last found something to eat. He froze when he heard the creaking of floorboards next door. The Irishman narrowed his eyes and approached the door slowly and carefully. He could hear someone breathing on the other side. Connor placed a hand on the door handle and pushed the door open, drawing his gun at the same time. A second later he was facing the tip of an arrow. Daryl was standing right in front of him, his crossbow pointed at his head. Connor sighed and put his gun down. Daryl did the same with a mischievous smirk.
"Gave me a heart attack, yah creep" the hunter murmured and entered the room to check it himself.
Connor just snorted and approached the walker he had killed to get his knife back. As soon as the blade was no longer stuck in the wall the walker just fell to the ground, slowly staining the carpet with thick and rotten black blood. He could feel Daryl eyeing his back. Yeah, things had changed. He cleaned the blade of his knife and entered the next room without a word.
"Yeah, have a nice day yerself, asshole" he heard Daryl say on the other side of the wall. That was another story. They didn't really talk anymore. Not since last night.
Connor searched the remaining rooms and found Carl, Maggie and Glenn in the kitchen. He went straight for the cupboards to check them.
"I've already checked them, only found this" he heard Carl say and turned around. The kid was showing him two cans of dog food. Once again he could see the way the boy was looking at him, just like everyone was looking at him all the time. He still hated that sort of look on their faces. Connor just shrugged and searched the rest of the cabinets and cupboards.
"Fresh pair af eyes can't do any harm" he murmured and found an old cereal bar. He threw it at Carl and raised an eyebrow. "See?"
He didn't even wait for an answer and went straight for the next room. Connor came across Daryl in the hallway again. The hunter had managed to shoot an owl upstairs. He didn't even need to ask how he had done it anymore. Daryl was still getting most of their food, he gave him that. Back in the old days he would have made fun of the hunter. Even now he thought of a shit ton of jokes about owls but kept them to himself. For a moment they stared right at each other. It looked like Daryl was just waiting for him to say something, but he just shook his head and looked at Rick. Just like he'd said. Things had changed.
Rick nodded and Connor did the same. He headed for the door and whistled, then went back to help Maggie and Glenn with the corpses. A couple of minutes later Carol, Beth, Herschel and a heavily pregnant Lori entered the house as well. When she passed him she smiled at him and Connor returned the smile. Lori was another story. He had been quite surprised when he had first seen her massive belly, and ever since their return he had made it his job to protect her. He didn't even really know why. It was almost like now that Shane was gone he had taken over his role, but not as her new second boyfriend. He wouldn't have any of that. It was just that now that Rick had changed so much he felt the urge to be a different sort of father figure for Carl, the kid had always kind of needed two father figures after all. He also just felt sorry and worried about Lori. Women and children in need had always been his weak spot, and that hadn't changed after the apocalypse. He took her small bag and helped her inside the living room. He was still trying to avoid any physical contact as good as he could, but at the same time he just couldn't see her wavering around like that.
"Okay?" he asked as she sat down on the sofa. Lori nodded and rubbed her thighs with a smile.
"Yeah, thank you."
Carol came to join them to help her as well, so Connor figured that he didn't need to be there any longer. He nodded and positioned himself by the door to keep watch. He could see Daryl sitting in the corner. He was busy freeing the owl of its feathers. The hunter would stare at him every once in a while. He was staring and waiting. Connor could tell that he was mad at him, but he just wouldn't give in to any of that. He just couldn't.
Carl got his dog food out again and started opening the cans. Everyone was watching him with tired eyes. They were all hungry and exhausted, and even Connor considered eating it, just so they could keep going for a little while longer. He knew that Daryl's owl would probably be for Lori, Carl and a few others, so all that was left would be the two cans of dog food. He didn't even mind much. Back in the old days in Boston he and Murphy had been eating loads of disgusting things. Connor swallowed and turned his head to look outside. It had been almost a year, and thinking about his brother still made his heart ache. It felt like those days were a lifetime away by now. Boston, their friends, their home. He didn't even know anymore how half of it had looked like before the apocalypse. Sometimes he thought that he would've forgotten what Murphy had looked like if it weren't for Daryl, who happened to have his face. He also didn't even know anymore what it had been like not to be running away from flesh eating monsters every day. What it had felt like not to feel like a monster himself.
He scratched his arm and looked at it. The bite wound had long since disappeared, now there was just an ugly scar. It still hurt every once in a while, but other than that it was doing okay. He startled when Rick threw Carl's food away. Everyone was looking at Rick, who was glaring back at them. Connor knew what this look meant. Has it really come this far? Are we really eating dog food now? Connor just snorted and turned his head again. He didn't like this new Rick. Sometimes it felt like their leader had turned into a tyrant after his friend's death. He wouldn't say anything though. He just knew that there was no sort of democracy going on here, but he had chosen to come back and stay after all. T-Dog suddenly hissed and nodded at the window. Connor turned his head to look and rolled his eyes. They could see another herd of walkers.
"Want me t'.." Connor asked but Rick interrupted him.