Author's Note at End of Chapter.

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Hunter's Map

Chapter 14

Gracie's breath was coming in quick bursts, her voice building in a keening, tortured cry as the man behind her buried himself between her legs, his pace tireless and unrelenting. Her fingers clenched on the thin sheets beneath her, holding on for dear life as Daryl Dixon continued his pleasurable assault on her. One of his hands was braced on the cot beside her, the other on the back of her neck, pressing her face into the bedding.

Daryl had molded himself to her back, effectively keeping Gracie pinned beneath him as he pistoned his length between her thighs; her legs dangling uselessly off the cot as he moved between them. "Daryl," Gracie moaned breathlessly, turning her head to feel his lips pressing against her cheek, and then lips.

Her body was overheated and slick, their bodies slipping along each other with every movement; Gracie writhing beneath Daryl. "Gracie," Daryl grunted, his hand on her neck shifting to take a bruising grip of her hip. They were both close- and Daryl used his new grip to yank her back onto him at the same he thrust forward. The power in the move sent Gracie flying off the edge of her climax, screaming it for the whole world to know as stars filled her vision before going briefly black.

Daryl swiftly covered her mouth before her shriek could emit for more than a second as he continued to pound into her; reaching his own peak only a minute or two later. A tremor went through Daryl's body, his body going lax atop Gracie once his orgasm had faded away. "Dare," Gracie giggled, wriggling under his relaxed body.

With a grunt, Daryl raised himself on his arms to allow Gracie to move. She turned over onto her back and put her arms around him, her fingers grazing over raised skin she knew to be scars. Daryl shuddered at her touch, unable to meet her eyes. Gracie stroked the raised skin daringly, touching it lovingly, and watching for Daryl's reaction.

And it did not disappoint. His eyes fell shut, the expression on his face caught somewhere between yearning and pain. Gracie raised her head to press her lips to the corner of his mouth, earning his full attention as he turned his head just enough to meet her lips with his own. And he seemed very reluctant to leave this kiss, but he did so that they could both catch their breath. "Gracie…"

She cradled his face between her hands, their faces, their lips mere inches from each other. "Daryl, I love you." Gracie said firmly, her sea-foam green eyes searching his baby blues. When Daryl was silent, his own features tensing; the corners of Gracie's mouth began to drag down. She fought this frown, trying to keep her smile; her composure, even as a film of tears appeared in her eyes.

The smile on her lips was a grotesque, misshapen thing. It was a lie, obvious from the flashes of emotion that passed through her features, the muscles fighting to turn her smile to a frown. "Don't you have anything to say? Anything at all?" Gracie demanded. She was scared to ask. Scared to find out- oh god, she already felt empty from inside out. This was the third time she had told the man she loved him. The third time he had said nothing at all.

Daryl is still silent, his blue eyes watching her so very carefully, all his limbs tense and ready for flight- as if she was the one who would hurt him. Gracie gave a bitter little laugh, rolling away from him and sitting up. She shook her head at him, before giving him her back. Daryl watched her as she reached for her clothes, beginning to redress.

The silence, her silence, pained him. But it was what he deserved. He couldn't say what she wanted him to. And the fact that it cut her so deeply pained him even more. Daryl reached out to her, resting his hand on her spine, "I'm sorry, darlin'." He murmured. Gracie slapped his hand away from her so fast it shocked him.

She stood, taking a few steps away from the cot to shimmy into her shorts, and then her tank. She would not look at him. "Let's just do what we came here to," Gracie said, moving to rifle through the cabinets.

Daryl didn't dare say anything else, getting up and dressing himself to help her. All the while, there was a white-hot ball of agony at the pit of his stomach. By the time he sidled up to help her, Gracie had found a duffel bag marked with a red cross, and was filling it with rubbing alcohol and bandages from the first shelf she found.

Daryl started by searching for surgical needles and thread. He tossed all of them into the bag, and continued looking. He tried to pay no attention to Gracie; but it was near impossible. Her attention did not waver from her task even minutely, but it did not stop salt water from leaking from her eyes. She would pause every few moments to wipe at her eyes, but she was so damn stubborn she would not look at him, or even allow herself to truly cry.

He wanted to tell her so badly, tell her what she wanted to hear. But he couldn't. And it made them both hurt.

Without a moment's thought, Daryl moves toward her, catching her by the back of the neck as he always did, and tried to pull her to his arms. Gracie reacted like a cornered animal- her arms lashed out and struck his hands from her. "What are you doing!? Don't touch me!" She shouts at him, but it discourages Daryl very little.

Daryl took her arms and pulled her into his arms again, even as she struggled to move away. Willing or not, he needed her to listen to him. Daryl rested his forehead against hers. "I can't need ya like this," he says low and rushed.

"What the fuck are you talking about?!" Gracie demanded, more angry than anything that he refused to leave her alone after hurting her like he did.

Daryl moves back just enough that they are eye to eye; but she could not move away. Gracie couldn't if she wanted to. She was mesmerized by the pain, the vulnerability in his eyes, in his expression. "If I need ya…if I say it out loud…something bad's gonna happen," he murmurs to her.

Gracie tilted her head to the side, raising a brow. "Like what?" she asked skeptically.

Daryl shook his head in frustration. "I don't know! Something bad. To me. To you. To us," he said, unable to explain this terrible feeling he had.

"That's bullshit and you know it!" She yells at him, shoving him away, making Daryl stumble into a shelf. Daryl shot her a look of incredulous surprise. "You're just a coward, Daryl! You're scared to say those words even when you know you feel them! I know you feel them!" Gracie ranted at him. "I even said it first, Daryl, so you should have no doubt of me returning those feelings!" she added, moving towards the door. She paused, turning to face Daryl. "Here, I'll even give you a fucking chance right now to tell me what I want to hear. Daryl, I love you." Gracie said bravely, her chest heaving from anger.

He says nothing, and a new wave of tears escape Gracie's eyes. She rakes her hand up over her face into her hair, shaking her head at him. "You're such a coward," she says lowly. She leaves the room without another word, the door slamming on its hinges.

Daryl covered his face with his hands, dragging them heavily against his cool skin. "Ya are such a fuckin' coward, Dixon!" he cursed himself, swinging around and punching one of the metal shelves. "FUCK!" he swore, rubbing his sore knuckles carefully.

One more chapter and season 1 is finished. Chapter 15 is halfway written (I had planned to make it part of ch. 14, but I changed my mind.), and once posted, I will be on a small hiatus. College's starting up again, and I'm going to take the chance to outline the plot for season 2. The plan after that is written and posted is that Hunter's Map will be completed. The sequel, Run, will follow in season 3.

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