setting: episode 16 "Welcome To The Tombs"
Chapter 61 - Rewind
"What's wrong with him?!" Connor exclaimed in shock as he made his way over to the operation table, where Daryl was still struggling violently.
Both Hershel and Rick approached the hunter as well. The old man put a hand on the hunter's forehead and examined him for a moment.
"He's having a seizure."
"What?! Why the fuck is that?" Connor yelled and tried to hold his friend steady, but Hershel shoved him away.
"Don't! We'll have to wait for it to end on its own."
The Irishman placed his healthy hand on his mouth and watched Daryl in utter shock, his heart beating faster and faster with every second that his friend kept doing this.
"What's going on?" Carol joined in and tried to get closer, but just like Hershel Rick shoved her away so they could have enough space to work.
"There's not enough blood in his brain, and his pressure is too low. He needs more blood" Hershel answered and raised his head to look at Connor, who was just standing there, eyes widened in shock.
"Are you sure it's a seizure? It could be the blood.." Rick said and Carol nodded in panic.
"Just stop it, just stop! You're infecting him! Don't you see! He's acting exactly like him when he got bit!" she said and pointed at Connor, who didn't know how to speak or move for a moment.
What if she was right about it? What if he had made it worse?
Daryl suddenly stopped moving and lay there perfectly still. His chest was neither rising nor falling and his eyes were wide open. He wouldn't blink or do anything, he just lay there as everyone stared at him in horror and time seemed to stop. Hershel frowned and leaned in so he could check his breathing, and when he widened his eyes everyone knew what was going on. The old man placed both his hands on the hunter's chest and started pumping, and that finally flipped a switch in Connor's head.
"No no no, that's not fucking happening" he said and tried to get closer, but right then Rick placed himself in his way, making it impossible for the Irishman to get to the table.
Hershel kept pumping and pumping and checked Daryl's heartbeat and breathing multiple times, but after a couple of minutes there seemed to be no change, because he suddenly looked up and shook his head. A second later Carol started sobbing and Connor stopped fighting Rick. He just stared at his friend in utter disbelief, and when realization finally hit him he looked up and stared at Hershel with wide eyes.
"Keep going! You can still save 'im!" he yelled and managed to free himself. He approached Hershel and showed him his arm.
"Ye said he needs more blood, so fuckin take it! Do it!" he yelled and then grabbed the old man by his shoulder.
But Hershel wouldn't react.
"Fuckin hurry!" Connor exclaimed and then let go so he could run over to Daryl. He placed a hand on his chest but felt nothing, and since Hershel wasn't doing anything he decided that he needed to keep going. He placed both his hands on his friend's chest and started pumping as good as he could, and when no one would help him he turned his head to look at the others.
"Why the fuck are ye just standing there! Do something! Get yer shit ready and take more blood! You gotta hurry!" he kept yelling and shook his head in disbelief.
He could see how Maggie was holding crying Carol. Beth was walking over to them with red eyes.
Carl just stood there and watched him with a blank look on his face, just like Rick, Glenn and Hershel.
The whole pumping and yelling seemed to go on forever until Rick finally approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"There's nothing we can do for him. It's too late" he muttered and squeezed the Irishman's shoulder.
Connor stared at his friend's bloody face in utter shock and wanted to keep pumping, but Rick pulled him away.
The blonde just stared at the pale and bloody face in shock.
This couldn't be happening. This had to be some sort of sick joke. He couldn't just...that couldn't be true.
Part of him was aware of how incredibly ironic the whole thing was, because it was like a mirror image of what had happened a year ago, only that this time their roles were reversed. He remembered how he had been the one lying there all bloody, how he had heard Daryl rage after his last fit. And just like him his friend was now lying there with his eyes wide open, not blinking and not focused at all.
God had to play a fucking trick on him. It was just im-freaking-possible that he could lose someone with that face twice. Daryl wasn't dead. It had to be a dream. An illusion.
He kept staring at his friend and would no longer look at the rest of the group, and when Rick tried to pull him further away he held on to the table and shrugged the policeman off.
"Get out" he muttered and kept staring at Daryl with an unreadable expression on his face.
"Connor" Rick tried to reason with the blonde, and that was enough to make him snap again.
Connor looked up and gave the whole group the most hateful glare he had ever given to anyone, and before he even knew what he was doing he suddenly knocked all the medical supplies over and started yelling at them.
"Get the fuck outta here! All of you!" he yelled as loud as he could and fought anyone who came too close to him or Daryl, and soon he was completely hysterical.
"I said get out!" he yelled and kept raging and fighting and yelling until the majority of the group except for Hershel and Rick was gone.
"We can't leave you alone with him. He's dead. We're all upset, but this needs to stop, we need to take care of this..."
"He once told us that this is what he wants."
Connor leaned against the table and let out an angry snort.
"Aye 'f course. People die and yer the first t'shoot them in the head. Get out of my sight" he snarled and stared the remaining two men down.
"Both of you."
"This is all your fault!" the Irishman yelled again and suddenly darted forward so he could shove Rick against the wall.
"You should've shot this asshole when you had the fucking chance! And now look at him!" he kept yelling and for a moment he actually considered stabbing Rick with the syringe he still held in his hands.
"Look at him! You fuckin killed him!"
"Calm down! Both of you!" he heard Hershel yell from behind him and felt a hand on his shoulder, and after staring at the policeman for a whole minute longer he finally let go of Rick and turned around so he could get back to his friend.
"Just leave me alone with him" he said and felt a sudden pain in his chest, and he really didn't know for how much longer he could hold his emotional reaction back.
He turned his head after a while and looked at Hershel and Rick again, and this time he tried to be calmer, because he seriously just wanted them out of here.
"I'll take care of it" he muttered and the two men finally seemed to understand, because then they started walking and headed for the doors, but not without putting their hands on his shoulder first.
Connor waited a couple of minutes more until he was sure that everyone was gone. He could still hear them talk and sob from behind the door and knew that they were just waiting for the shot to ring through the halls, and even he was painfully aware of the weight of his gun.
The Irishman bit his lower lip hard and leaned against the table to look at his pale and bloody friend. He could see the stitches where the bullet had went through, saw the pale blue lips and messy hair. This was like seeing dead Murphy all over again, but this time that wasn't the reason why he was upset. He was no longer hunting an echo. This was Daryl lying there in front of him, not Murphy, and this was the reason why everything hurt, why he felt like bawling although he was too numb to do so right now. And after staring at this face for a long while he could no longer hold his rage back.
"I told you t'let me drive the car!" he yelled and wanted to punch Daryl, but of course. He couldn't do that.
So he just clenched his fists on the table and shook his head. He was so incredibly angry at the hunter, that stupid fucking redneck that had managed to get himself shot.
"And I also fuckin told ye that we never should've gone back t'them in the first place" he went on and looked down.
"We never would've gotten close t'this shithole. No conflicts, no Woodbury, no fuckin Governor.." he mumbled and then clenched his fists again, because another wave of anger rushed over him.
"Just because of your! fucking! brother!" he yelled and kicked the table with each word, and since he had already thrown everything within reach all he could do now was calm down.
He looked at his friend again and pressed his lips together, and the pain in his chest got worse and worse.
This can't be true this can't be true this can't be true, he kept repeating in his head, until the frustration and sadness took over and the rage subsided.
"Come on man" he muttered, voice thick with emotion.
He grabbed Daryl's hand just like his friend when he had been lying there like that, hoping to make it better. And as he stared at the hunter's face and saw the open eyes something just felt...wrong. He frowned and leaned closer, but he could neither feel a heartbeat nor hear him breathe. But that still had to...He squeezed the hand once more and then had a look around the room in panic, because he didn't know what the fuck he was supposed to do to make it right.
Because this was Daryl, and Daryl couldn't just die. It was so so wrong.
He then remembered what Rick had told him.
We need to finish this. This is what he wants.
He knew that this was his "chance" to make all his mistakes with Murphy right, because if there was one thing he regretted more than anything then it was the fact that he had let his brother turn. He knew that he was supposed to "end" it for Daryl now as well, but there was something in his guts that told him that this just wasn't right. Not as in my-best-friend-just-died-that-can't-be-I'm-so- depressed kind of "isn't right". No, this was like the-clock-is-running-in-the-wrong-direction kind of "isn't right". Daryl and dying? That had to be a mistake.
He squeezed the hand once more just like last year, and he wasn't sure if his tortured mind was just playing tricks on him and he was really going crazy now, or if all this was reality and the hunter had just squeezed back.
It made Connor frown and he moved closer once more, and although he still couldn't see or feel any vital signs realization suddenly hit him. This was exactly the fucking point. When he had been like that people had thought he was dead as well. They had been about to shoot him and it had been impossible for him to do anything, because he had been paralyzed, it had been like an apparent death. The bite hadn't been too bad just like the shot wasn't too bad now, and just like Daryl he had been taken care of last year.
His friend had been alright just a minute ago. His pressure had went back up. All the fragments had been pulled out, there had been no more bleeding.
He'd received enough blood. The wound had been closed without too many problems, and it certainly hadn't been fatal.
All of this had happened because of his freaking blood.
It was exactly the same.
Of course. The whole struggling and twitching had looked just like when people died because of an infection with the walker virus, and Daryl had went limp just like people when they died. No vital signs, death, and the danger of turning into a walker. But this wasn't like that.
He's having a seizure .There's not enough blood in his brain, and his pressure is too low. He needs more blood.
"Oh no you don't" Connor growled and walked away from the table to get the things Hershel had used for the transfusion.
He stuck the needle in his own arm after cleaning it a bit just like he had seen Hershel do it before. He watched how the red fluid exited his arm and went right back inside the empty blood bag. He then turned his head with an awkward hiss and looked back at his friend. He knew that the blood could make it worse, but he also knew that his friend really needed it. He had managed to get through this strange fit before, so Daryl was damn right capable of that as well. And if another transfusion could also mean life rather than death, then this was a risk he was willing to take.
"You ain't dying as long as I'm around, ye hear me you asshole?"
When he exited the infirmary about ten minutes later he could see that everyone was still there, and once again it was Rick who came over to talk to him.
"Why didn't you shoot him? Is it...is it done?" he asked and Carol sobbed once more.
Connor still felt dizzy because of all the blood he had lost today and it took him a moment to focus, but when he did he just stared at Rick for a long while and then started walking again.
"I didn't cos he isn't fucking dead" he growled and tried to get away because he seriously needed a smoke and some fresh air right now, but of course the group wouldn't let him go.
"Connor, you need to stop this. We all know it's tragic, but we need you to.."Hershel tried to talk to him, but the Irishman wouldn't let him finish.
"He didn't fuckin die, alright?! Yeah we all get it, yer a freaking vet and know shit about medicine, but truth is that you fucking don't. Daryl's not a fuckin cow. He didn't die, he was just having a seizure and needed more blood. Just like ye said. And my blood caused him t'fall in this freak-state, cos guess what, that's the exact same thing that happened t'me when I was about t'fucking die last year. 't was a fuckin shock reaction or some crap like that. He's fine now" he answered and grabbed his bloody arm, where a large bruise was forming because he had not really hit the vein on the first try.
Hershel and the rest of the group frowned.
"What did you do?" Rick asked and Carol suddenly ran back inside the infirmary.
"I saved his fuckin life's what I did" the blonde answered and turned around to get away from people, but there it was again, the dizziness, the black spots, the exhaustion, and the fact that he was physically and emotionally drained. He stumbled around until he reached corner where Andrea and Michonne were keeping watch, but then he couldn't do it anymore. He stumbled until he could place both his hands on the wall. He slid down on it until he was sitting on the dirty floor.
"Fuck" he growled and shielded his eyes with his healthy hand, and a couple of seconds later he could already feel how two people placed themselves right in front of him. One of them knelt down in front of him and placed a hand on his forehead to move his head up, but he just growled and tried to keep looking down just so the world would stop spinning.
"Just fuck off" he muttered and fought the hands that were trying to help him back on his feet and the hand that was trying to turn his arm around.
I just need t'fucking sleep, he thought, and the idea of just lying down on the dirty ground didn't seem so uninviting at the moment. He was exhausted and still a bit panicked and overstressed, but he couldn't fight the tired smile that broke through. Because he had made it, because they had made it, because Daryl was still alive and he had been the one to save him.
He was even more surprised when he noticed that the blurriness was no longer just coming from the whole feeling dizzy thing. He felt the wetness on his palm and let out a surprised snort when he noticed that his eyes were actually watery. He came to the realization that he wasn't crying because he was upset, no those were (as Rome had used to call it) tears of joy. He knew that there were still a shitton of things that could go wrong, but just for a moment he believed that everything was going to be alright, and that made him happier than ever.
A gentle sob escaped his mouth and then he started chuckling, because it was like the past had repeated itself and this time he had won. Someone he loved and who had that face had been injured because of him not watching them. There had been blood, in his face, on his hands and clothes. He had been running and screaming and trying to make it right. He had tried to stop the bleeding and stop him from dying just like one year ago in Boston, only that this time he had succeeded. He didn't care that it was too early to feel relieved and so he started laughing although he was crying at the same time, and everything was so fucked and messy that he just couldn't stop. The world was spinning and all the people around him were staring at him with worried looks on their faces but he didn't care.
This had been his second chance, his chance to prove himself, to make it right and really forgive himself, and he had used it. He had failed to save Murph, but he had managed to save Daryl's life instead. He stared up at the ceiling and couldn't stop laughing and crying as he tried to grab his rosary with the arm Hershel was currently looking at, and part of him just wanted to kiss everyone. His faith was fully restored. He knew that god had never left him, that god had forgiven him just like he had forgiven himself. And although there were still so many things they needed to take care of he suddenly felt so incredibly free and relieved, like the last bit of Murphy's dark shadow that had been cast on him ever since his twin's death had finally and fully left him.
Only part of him heard the others talk, noticed how Hershel turned his head to look at Rick and the others. The old man muttered something like "He's given too much blood, his body's under acute stress." Somone asked "That why he's acting so...weird?" and Hershel nodded. Connor wanted to protest and tell them that he was alright, but somehow he just couldn't do it, and soon he was laughing so hard that the dizziness was getting worse and worse. He couldn't breathe but also was so incredibly happy, and after being hysterical for a couple of minutes he finally welcomed the darkness that had been calling him ever since he had returned to the prison. He would no longer fight it, and he wasn't sure if he just drifted off to sleep or if he passed out, but truth was that he didn't care. He just welcomed it, knowing that his job was done for now.
another note: I mean come ooooon. Did you really think I was going to kill Daryl Dixon? For real? Nahhhhh.
It's not really clear yet, but he survived (or did he? maybe this is Connor going coocoo cos Daryl died and he really loses his shit now? ;) )
Haha jk (or am I?)
Anyway, just like I told you before. Damni is Connor's final recovery story, and this is the very last part now. He left Murphy's corpse, he's past the suicidal state, he's no longer utterly depressed, he burned and burried all the things, and with this chapter he learned to forgive himself and got the chance to make his mistakes right. Loads of parallelism going on here (oh the symbology) cos a) Salvy Ending/Damni Beginning role reversals - even tighter friendship and more meaningful stuff going on between Daryl and Connor and b) Murphy/Daryl injuries parallels and Connor managing to be there in time and doing the right things this time - last bit of blame gone and pooooooof! The whole Murphy issue is done and he's fully recovered from it. More or less.
Now all we gotta deal with in the last couple of chapters is the Woodbury problem, a bit of the immunity thingies, but I might handle more of that issue (and more relationship stuff *hints hints hints*) in another tiny fic that will follow this one. Yes I'm writing another one, but that will be shorter and all about my own stuff rather than season material BUT it will be based on this relationship/storyline here. Please not that the follow-up will be more like a little extra for me and my fellow shippers. Friendshippers certainly don't have to read that! And for the record: yes I am a hardcore shipper, but I decided to keep this trilogy friendshippy so everyone can enjoy it.