Show: The Walking Dead.
This is a work of fan-fiction. These characters do not belong to me and I do not benefit from this in any way other than having fun.
Enjoy and if there are any mistakes, just give me a shout-out so I can get right on it.
The hunter couldn't help the small smile that tugged at his lips as he strode into the camp. His boots were slicked with the dust that covered the ground and the heavy weight of the squirrels around his waist had started to tire him muscles out. But even with both his mind and body exhausted; Daryl was relieved to finally be back somewhere safe.
"Merle!" The brown haired man let his voice ring out as he shifted the squirrels from their place on his waist to his left shoulder. "Merle! Get your ass out here!" The hunter removed his crossbow from his back as he yelled out before he placed it near the campfire so he could check it later. A frown was growing on his features as he strode away in search of his brother; the man normally would have come barrelling at him with a comment on the quick trip to Atlanta. Instead there was only the silence that led to the suspicion that had settled in Daryl's gut.
"Got us some squirrel! Stew em up." The hunter heard the slight tremble in his tone as he let his voice trail off. The thick and uncomfortable air in the camp had become unbearable and easily wiped away the small smile that had formed on his face. Daryl's throat tightened as realization dawned on him; something horrible had happened to Merle. The sound of footsteps behind him alerted the hunter but he merely frowned. It would only be one of the other men that he had found along with the walker and the deer; by now he definitely knew that it wouldn't be his brother.
"Daryl, slow up, I need to talk to you." Shane's voice disturbed the dense air but the hunter didn't care. He was too busy piecing the parts together in his head to care about the group and their irritating presence.
"Bout what?" The brown haired man absent-mindedly let the question dryly slide off his tongue as he turned to face the cop. Guilty eyes watched him for a movement that would speak of his violent and erratic behaviour, but it never came.
"About Merle. There was a," the cop paused for a moment as he shuffled his feet awkwardly, "problem in Atlanta."
The moment the sentence was out Daryl turned to the side; his chest had painfully seized up at the panic that had overtook him. With a deep and shaky breathe; the hunter forced himself to calm down before he started to berate himself over his overly rash reaction. He couldn't afford to have the luxury of worry anymore; it would only bring himself more danger. Instead he turned his hard, unwavering gaze on the cop and took a deep breath before he forced himself to speak around the lump in his throat.
"He dead?" The question was out of Daryl's mouth before he knew it and he could see the shock in the cop. He could practically feel the tremor that spread through everyone else in the camp from his bold statement and while his voice had been loud and strong, but the hunter didn't feel it, in fact he felt quite the opposite.
"Not sure." The words were tossed back carelessly and Daryl had never wanted to break someone's nose as much as he wanted to break the cops at that moment. It would be easy to punch him and hear the satisfying crack that would cause Shane excoriating pain. Bastard deserved it for that shit-excuse of an answer. But right now was not the time for brute force and while the hunter was filled with anger, a part of him desperately just wanted to know what happened to his brother.
"He either is or he ain't!" Daryl snarled the statement in frustration as his lips pulled back in an animalistic manner. The rage that was growing ever present in the hunter was becoming more visible to the people observing the two of them and the man could see a few of them backing away in his peripheral vision. The rest of them that hadn't moved away had formed a loose circle around Daryl and Shane and it was as if everyone was holding their breath. They were all waiting for the hunter to explode and he just might have if not for the fact that someone cleared their throat and interrupted his thoughts. It was a soft non-threating noise that was aimed to gently pull his attention towards them. It was an almost familiar tone that easily succeeded in grabbing the hunter's attention. That was when the hunter realized that he was once again staring at the once-dead deputy; it however did little to calm him.
"Daryl, my name is Rick Grimes." The deputy was stepping forward now, his voice gentle yet commanding as his training took over, but Daryl didn't need his reassuring bullshit. He needed answers about what had happened to his brother and he refused to let calming tones and mesmerizing eyes distract him from this goal.
"I remember who you are Grimes." The hunter growled with a harsh voice before he narrowed his eyes as he seized up the other man like he was his prey. "Now have you got something to tell me or not."
"There is no easy way to say this so I'll just say it." The deputy-'Rick', Daryl told himself, 'his name's Rick'-started to speak as he stared the hunter down for the second time that day. "Your brother was a danger to us all. So I handcuffed him on a roof, hooked him to metal. He's still there." The impending silence that followed was only made worse by the unbearable heat that was radiating down from the sky. The hunter frowned as he wiped the sweat off his forehead before it could run down into his eyes.
"Well. Let me process this." Daryl spat out as he started to walk towards the deputy, his voice continuously increased in volume as he spoke. "You saying you handcuffed my brother to a roof!?" He took a deep breath between his clenched teeth as he stopped a few rough meters away from the deputy and roared the rest of his sentence. "And you left him there!"
The moment the deputy said that simple yet horrible word, Daryl stopped trying to hold back the anger that had been filling up his mind from the second that Shane had called out to him. He started by calmly taking the dead squirrels off his shoulder before he violently threw them at Rick. The man jumped to the side while his blue eyes locked onto the collection of animals that flew past him. He never saw the hunter as he lunged for him. Daryl had nearly punched the man in the jaw before he was tackled to the ground by Shane. The deputy's face had contorted into shock at the sudden violence but Daryl merely snarled and drew his hunting knife out from his belt. It had been sunken into a dead man before and very soon it would be in another one.
"Watch the knife" Someone warned the deputy as the hunter got up from the ground before he crouched and readied the small blade. A snarl escaped his thin lips as he sprang forward and swung the sharp thick knife at the deputy's chest, but the man expertly dodged it. Something in Daryl's mind clicked and the realization hit him that this man had probably been in a fight like this a million times before. The thought didn't last long as the deputy intercepted his next swing and bent his arm back while Shane grabbed his other arm and pushed it so that it was behind his head. In a split-second the hunter swore that he could smell the reek of alcohol on the cop's breath as he struggled against the strong arm pushing down on his throat.
"Bastard let me go." Daryl growled as the once-dead deputy forced the knife to fall from his hand before he kicked it away. Shane gave a low chuckle in response as he forced Daryl to the ground before grunted his next words.
"Nah." "The hunter frowned as he struggled to get out of the head lock, his hand desperately trying to relieve the pressure on his throat while the other one was bent at an angle so awkward that it felt like it would pop out of its socket. "I think this is better"
"Choking is illegal!" The hunter rasped as he struggled to breath, his struggles had become almost pathetic while his mind started to cloud over. "Come fight me, c'mon!"
At this point Rick had squatted down in front of him and pointed weakly at the hunter as Shane huffed. "Man we can keep this up all day." Rick gave a low cough and Daryl raised his eyes weakly to the deputy as the man prepared himself to speak with the hunter.
"I'd like to have a calm discussion on this topic. Think we can manage that?" The deputy's blue eyes were staring again, asking, no, not asking but demanding for Daryl's cooperation before he spoke again in a stern and more steady voice "Think we can manage that?" The hunter scowled but gave a small nod before Shane threw him to the ground. The brown haired man stumbled but gained his balance as he shot up from the ground and briefly dusted himself off. He hated when people tried to control him. It's not his fault that they were so incompetent in telling what the fuck happened in Atlanta with his brother. That was when Daryl bitterly realized that the deputy was still talking to him.
"What I did was not on a whim. Your brother does not work and play well with others." Daryl could have rolled his eyes at this statement; just because he looked and spoke like a redneck didn't mean he was stupid. Anyone could see that Merle was a difficult person to get along with, hell even Daryl had trouble and he was his goddamn brother! Jesus Christ! Just because the bloke was difficult to get along with didn't mean you could just ditch him in a city filled with reanimated corpses!
"It's not Rick's fault." T-Dog's voice came pouring out behind the hunter as he walked up to them, his words irked Daryl's mind while the other man's feet scratched on the dirt as he trod closer and closer to them. "I had the key. I dropped it."
"You couldn't pick it up?!" The brown haired man was exasperated at this point and could feel tears of frustration starting to swell up in his eyes; surely they couldn't have simply left his brother behind because they dropped the key!? But then again Daryl didn't know these people, not like he knew Merle; these people could be capable of anything to get what they want… The thought made Daryl sick to his stomach.
"Dropped it down a drain." T-Dog muttered almost to himself and Daryl shifted his gaze to the floor where there were no one would judge him as he rubbed the hot tears that had formed in his eyes away.
"If that's supposed to make me feel better; it don't." He tried to spit the sentence out but the hunter's voice failed him as he spoke the last word and his throat closed up. Daryl felt humiliated at the lack of strength in his voice and his teary eyes.
"Maybe this will. I chained the door to the roof so the geeks couldn't get at him. With a padlock." The hunter simply glared at him; nothing would make him feel better except seeing his brother safety back with him so he could finally get the hell away from these people.
"That's gotta count for something." The deputy took a step forward towards Daryl as he began to try and console him but the brown haired man simply backed away. He shuffled to the side with muddled thoughts before he turned his back on everyone. He took a deep breath as he gave one last angry rub to his eyes in a desperate bid to get them dry.
"Hell with all ya!" Daryl yelled suddenly while his accent twisted his words and forced the hysteria in them to become more apparent. He stopped for a moment as he clenched his fist and tried to stabilize his tone, trying desperately to not let his voice break. "Just tell me where he is so I can go get him."
The hunter's voice became still as he waited for an answer. The silence that filled the camp was utterly horrible and for a single moment, Daryl was filled with dread as he thought no one would even be willingly to show him where they had deserted his brother. Then the cop's wife spoke up with a voice as dry as the ground they were walking on.
"He'll show you. Isn't that right?" She was standing in the doorway of the caravan and Daryl had to turn around to look at her pinched lips as she stared at the deputy. Everyone's gaze flickered to the man, Daryl's included, as the deputy's blue eyes widened in brief shock before he replied to her question.
"I'm going back." Daryl crinkled his nose and gave a small snort in response before he started to walk over to where he had placed his crossbow before. Once again he went past the deputy and as he did, he sneered in a voice so low and laced with sarcasm that it forced the other man to flinch when he spoke.
"Well that's just fucking great."
Thank-you for reading this chapter; I hope you enjoyed it. I apologise for how long it took and I really appreciate your patience. (Also, thank-you to everyone who completed the survey for me ages ago. I got so much information from it and you all gave me such wonderful ideas for my senior folio.)