Title: The Past Ain't Always Dead
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Summary: What felt like a lifetime ago, Daryl Dixon was in love with Amaleen Blake. That also happened to be when she left him in the middle of the night without so much as a word and broke his heart. Now the world has come to an end and survivors are few and far between. So how on Earth did they find each other again? Secrets will tear them apart even further and perhaps the real truth isn't what either of them expected. But can they figure everything out before tragedy strikes?
Spoilers: Seasons 1 and 2
Author's Note: This is my first story for fandom. :) Just a quick note; the story info will only be on this chapter as it won't ever change. However I will update the chapter info every chapter so look out for that. I hope everyone likes it and will leave a review! I'd love to hear thoughts on this.
Not many people see the inside of Daryl Dixon. Not many people see the man beyond who he chooses to show them. He's never been one to over-share. When he was younger, Merle and their father beat it into him that feelings were for pussies and women. A man did not show emotions outwardly. He didn't say the "L" word, he didn't beg, and he most certainly didn't cry. But when Daryl was twenty-five, he met Amaleen May Blake, a twenty-one year old who was definitely out of his league. Fresh out of college, smart and funny, and beautiful as all get out. Made for some lawyer or doctor who could afford to buy her shit like cars and boats and clothes and houses. Not for Daryl who barely made it out of eighth grade and nothing past that. Safe to say he fell fast.
But two years later, Amaleen had enough of her boyfriend's family hating her. At least that's what the note said when she left him in the middle of the night, clutching nothing but a pillow that smelled like her. But Amaleen left Daryl heartbroken and went clear across the country, up the east coast to a small, rural town in New York. Daryl never knew it was Merle who said anything and when their father died, put complete trust in the man, including the hatred for Amaleen.
Ten years later, that's when the world fell. Walkers turned up all over the country. Merle took Daryl and ran. They fought, they hunted, they lived on the road. They came across a group of strangers who oddly enough took them in, despite their lack of respect for anyone else much less the lives of others. They trekked all through Georgia for somewhere safe, but finally came to realization that it just wasn't safe. They lost so many people already—including Merle—and they just didn't have it in them to fight for their state anymore. It belonged to the dead and they left with heavy hearts. None of them had left longer than a few days before. Maybe a small run across the boarder into South Carolina for ammo or food.
They finally found salvation in Autryville, North Carolina. The town was so small that it had a corner store, a church, and a post office, nothing else. They decided to hold up in the church. It seemed walkers stayed away as if it was the consecrated grounds that kept them away. They had no clue why, it wasn't as if they were demons or something, but it was good enough for them. They boarded up the windows and sealed the doors at night. It had a small, windowless kitchen in the back and was big enough for everyone to stay in comfortably.
It was Daryl's turn to guard one night when he saw the first movement outside. He had his bow ready, knowing better than to use a gun considering if this was the only walker in town, they could avoid others with a clean, silent kill versus shooting up the whole place and drawing others to them. They used the bell tower as look-out and he had a perfect shot. Scope or not, he was a great shot. Almost better than Rick. He crouched down and looked between the wooden beams of the railing. His eyes narrowed in concentration and he aimed the bow right at the thing.
Of course it took him only a second to realize that it wasn't a normal walker. In fact, it seemed to be looking around, considering its options not just mindlessly wandering for a scent of the living. And then in the next second, he realized it wasn't a walker in all, but in fact a person. He grabbed his bow and quickly ran down the stairs and into the main room, past most of the sleeping bodies and to Rick asleep next to the door. He refused to let anyone else sleep there. Daryl honestly hated to wake him up, the man seriously had issues sleeping and checked their perimeter every thirty minutes, but if there was a survivor out there, they had to make sure he/she wasn't dangerous and didn't bring a herd of walkers in his/her path. He gently nudged Rick's arm with the toe of his boot and the former deputy was instantly awake, gun in his hand and his eyes unfocused, but swinging around anyway.
"Calm down," Daryl bit out in a soft hiss. "Gotta survivor outside. Gonna shoot 'em when I realized they ain't limpin'. Gotta check 'em out. Ya with me?" Rick's eyes slowly focused and then he blinked quickly as if he just realized Daryl was there. Daryl rolled his eyes and sighed softly in impatience. He hated dealing with others, but they saved his life again and again so least he could do was return the favor. Rick nodded at him and grabbed another gun before walking over to the sleeping couple of Glenn and Maggie. He leaned down to nudge at Glenn and get the kid to his sleepy feet.
"Daryl says there's a human outside. Wanna help?" Glenn blinked same as Rick, clearing the sleep from his eyes and mind, before grabbing a gun and nodding. He kissed Maggie on the head and shooshed her when she started to stir. She fell back into an easy sleep and the three men made for the door, all the while Daryl ignoring that stupid, useless fucking ache in his chest every time he saw people acting like a couple. He hated the bitch for leaving him, he shouldn't give a shit what the rest did with their "significant others."
As quietly as they could, they took away the wood that was blocking the door and opened only one side of the church. They closed it and walked down the steps. Rick pulled out a flashlight and found the silhouette of the person Daryl was talking about. It quickly swiveled their way and Rick made sure to show that they weren't walkers, both with the light and the click of Glenn's gun.
"Hey," Rick called softly, hand on his revolver. Glenn had his gun up and Daryl swung his bow close to his chest. He wanted to look intimidating, but not like he was just going to shoot without asking questions, and he didn't want to be caught with his pants down neither. Rick held up his left hand in a white flag sort of fashion. "You a walker?"
As if walkers could answer back. Daryl scoffed softly. "No." The answer was short, clipped, and whispered. And female. But definitely human. Because...walkers couldn't talk. Simple as that. "Obviously you ain't either."
Rick let out a little sigh and shook his head even in the darkness. "No. My name is Rick Grimes. I was a sheriff's deputy in Georgia. This is Glenn and Daryl. What's your name?"
The female didn't answer. Instead she walked into the light of Rick's flashlight and stole the breath from Daryl. He understood why she didn't answer. One look into those familiar green eyes told him exactly who she was.
-Three Days Earlier-
"Are you fuckin' serious, man?" Daryl burst out before he could stop it. Of course the others just rolled their eyes. They were used to Daryl's outbursts and annoyances. He glared at all of them as he swung his bow over his shoulder. Apparently it was okay to plan shit while he was out hunting. He threw the rabbits and woodchuck to the ground, ignoring the way the others jumped in mild surprise and to avoid being hit by the dead animals and narrowing his eyes. "I ain't leavin' Georgia. I ain't never leave before and I ain't gonna start now."
"Then stay here if you'd like," Lori said with a frown. "It's not safe for us." She put an instinctive, protective hand over her small baby-belly. "Any of us. Going north is the only option. Rick says if we clear out a path small enough to get our caravan through here," She pointed to a point on the boarder between Georgia and South Carolina, "then it's smooth sailing north."
"Georgia's my home," Daryl said. "Mine. I ain't abandonin' it just 'cause some lamebrains decided they'd like to snack on it."
"It belongs to them now," Rick chimed in. "This mile of road is the only safe place in the state. Forget the cities, forget the woods. It's all walker territory. If we get out of Georgia and find some small town to set up camp in, we might stand a chance. Sitting on our thumbs won't get us anywhere."
"And running like pussies will?"
"We hafta run," Rick spat. "That's all we can do! If you wanna stay and die, go right ahead. We're moving out come first morning light. If you're goin', be ready. If not, it's been nice workin' with ya." He turned and walked away. Daryl can safely say he likes the "new Rick." Old Rick would've sat there and discussed the pros and cons calmly and rationally for hours. Daryl hated calm and rational, that's why he was a Dixon. He lived for the fight no matter with humans, animals, or walkers. Hand-to-hand combat was what he was good at. So having Rick yell at him and storm off got his blood pumping and really, he wanted to run after the man and pick a fight. But the others would stop him. Either way, he could get along a lot better with short-fused, irrational Rick than the mild, rational one.
Daryl shrugged and walked over to his bike. He didn't want to camp with the others, he never did, so he pulled out extra bows, a gun, and a canteen of water and sat right there on the ground, his eyes locked on the trees. He knew Rick would take care of the other side, that's just how things worked with them. When they were on the road, one would take the front and the other the rear. They were the strongest with the least to lose. At least according to Rick. Daryl just didn't ask what was going on with the whole Carl and Lori situation.
Deep into the night, Daryl was still awake while the others slept. Carl and Lori under a tree, Glenn and Maggie by the fire, Hershel and Beth in the car, Carol curled up in the middle of the leaves, and T-Dog sleeping by Rick's post as he was second look-out to Rick. They took turns switching their points, but Daryl made it clear that if he got tired, he would say something. Nobody needed to ask him and he didn't need a second. He was strong enough to know where his limits were. He was never one for sleep anyway. Took up too much time and he was more clear-headed with only one or two hours under his belt. He was told that wasn't healthy, but he also knew he didn't give a shit.
There were a couple times he thought he heard something and crept towards the woods, but nothing came out of the pitch black. No growling, no more noises to accompany them. He was probably losing it or something. Go figure. When morning came, he was—as usual—the first one up and ready to pack. Rick was looking at him funny as he got his bike ready to go. He just shrugged, not answering, and threw his bow over his back.
Everyone was ready to go a few minutes later and Rick told Daryl to take the rear so he could lead. They lost the RV, but they still had the red pick-up truck and the green Honda that Shane had fixed. Glenn and the Greenes rode in that while the Grimes', Carol, and T-Dog got the truck. Daryl, as usual, rode by himself. Carol had rode with him for awhile, but she distance herself from him when he made it clear that he wasn't up for anything like romance or even friendly entanglements. That wasn't who Daryl Dixon was. Well, not for about ten years, but he wasn't going into that pile of shit. Not with Carol, not with anyone.
They needed to get to the check point between South Carolina and Georgia by nightfall. Way before nightfall. They couldn't camp there and they couldn't break a path in the walkers in the dark. It was just impossible. Rick needed to pick up speed and Daryl revved his engine, hoping the former deputy understood. His father long ago taught him how to tell time by reading the sun. He kept a watch on it and when it was almost five, he beeped his horn and the caravan pulled over. He pulled out his bow, knowing this was a bit of a walker hot spot. Rick was frowning when he got out.
"Man, we gotta pick up speed and pretty damn quick or we gotta fin'a way ta camp fer the night. It's 'bout five so we only gotta coupla hours of complete daylight left." He glanced around at the group and saw the other men exchange a glance while the women shifted. They all knew it wasn't safe to camp there, but they seriously overestimated their timing. Unless they pumped it up to about seventy miles an hour, there's no way they could make it there with enough time to clear the checkpoint and find a safe place to camp.
"Let's try it," Rick finally said. "We'll see how far we can get, push up the speed. If we can't make it, we'll find the best place to camp. Meaning we'll set up a boundary and only get four or five hours before we start driving again" He glanced around the group. "Okay, everyone, let's go."
Daryl silently got back on the bike and impatiently waited for everybody else to get situated again in their vehicles and they were off. Daryl almost wish it was just a simple hunting trip. Or hell even just riding for fun. Not that he'd ever admit that. But he used to steal Merle's bike all the time and just go riding. He shook away the thoughts.
Pushing it up to seventy-five, they made it in time. They stopped about half a mile away and already there were thinned out crowds of walkers. Rick and Daryl instantly jumped into motion, grabbing knives and going after them. Glenn and T-Dog brought up the rear as the strongest two started to make a hole in the crowd.
"Ready?" Rick said, already panting. Daryl glanced at him and nodded.
"Let's do this."