Rick smiled and slowly released Daryl but didn't move out of his space just yet. He let his fingers trace down the hunter's strong arms before touching his fingers slowly, reverently.
"We'll come back together." Daryl whispered and the smile that lit up Rick's face told him he'd said exactly what Rick needed to hear. He sighed letting the warm feeling of Rick's fingers collect in his chest before stepping back to add some more space between them.
"Right." Rick sighed. "Let's go get our friends back."
"Let's kick some goddamn ass." Daryl grinned cracking his neck as he let the moment drop between them. It was time for ass kicking the rest could come later. Rick returned the grin.
"You're just itching to start throwing those grenades aren't you?"
"Hell yeah!" Daryl chuckled as they walked down from the tower towards the cars. Daryl and Rick broke apart with Daryl loading the stuff up and Rick going to talk to Carl. The hunter felt his neck stiffen under someone's gaze. The feeling of someone watching him closely made his back tighten in reflexive defense. He turned and saw the samurai watching him like one would watch prey. Daryl made sure to stop a few feet in front of her to not crowd her. "Daryl." He said quickly, she continued to eye him warily. "If ya are helpin' us it would be nice to call ya somethin' other than ya or chick." She continued to glare at him and Daryl felt like he was talking to himself after Sophia. Only he didn't have Carol's persistence or kindness to keep trying to get her to open up. He started to turn around feeling like it was a wasted effort to try and talk to her.
"Michonne." She breathed.
"Michonne?" She nodded. "Nice to meet ya." He mumbled feeling like he was back in grade school trying to convince someone to build a block castle with him. "Thanks for yer help. I know ya didn' have to." She stared at him judging him like he would an animal trying to find a weakness he could exploit. Daryl made sure to show none. He returned her gaze head on. No twitches or licking his lips.
"I left something in Woodbury." She said slowly like she isn't sure she really wanted him to know. "I'm going to get it back." Daryl nodded.
"Then we have a common goal." Michonne looked startled by this. "If I can, I'll help ya get it after we get Glenn and Maggie back." He doubted she'd ever agree to his help but she didn't flat out refuse either. So that was a step in the right direction. He realized that Rick was too focused on rescuing Glenn and Maggie to look at Michonne with anything but mistrust which meant Daryl would have to watch her himself and try to figure out if she could be trusted. He wasn't going to let what happened on the farm happen again if he could help it.
"Let's get going." Rick called. The drive was quiet aside from Michonne occasionally telling them when to turn, before she made them stop in the middle of the road saying they had patrols and they would need to carry on foot. That worried Daryl if they had enough people to patrol then this might be harder than he thought especially the return trip. They walked through the woods the occasional walker growl being the only thing to interrupt them. Rick thanked Daryl again about helping with his family. He didn't feel like Rick had to continue thanking him. He'd do anything in his power to help Rick, he had thought he knew that. "I do." Rick's voice softly cut through his mental haze.
"Did I say that out loud?" Rick smiled softly.
"I'm telling you that I appreciate everything you've done. Not reminding you that you need to always save us. It's different." Rick said gently. "You do a lot for us and I want you to know I appreciate it." Daryl nodded but his cheeks definitely felt warmer. They continued in silence before Rick took a step closer to him. "So little Ass Kicker huh?" Rick asked with a teasing smile. The flush became a full blown fire on his face.
"Sorry it's…" Daryl trailed off not sure how to continue. A nickname didn't sound right and a real name wasn't correct either. She was Rick's kid not his. Though Daryl had a feeling he would have name his kid something like A.K. short for Ass Kicker or something equally cool.
"I like it." Rick whispered. "Though it's not exactly a proper name to introduce yourself with." Daryl chuckled softly. "Judith." He mumbled. "Carl thought it up." Daryl nodded.
"It's a good name." He waited a beat. "Though I'm still callin' her Ass Kicker." Rick laughed.
"Alright it'll be her nickname." He agreed giving Daryl a fond smile.
"Best nickname ever." He returned with an embarrassed mumbled. They all continued through the woods, the only part that got his heart rate going even a little was when they had to sprint into a cabin from the sudden horde of walkers, only to find it already occupied. Daryl watched Rick try to settle the situation, it fell apart faster than he could repair it. He dodged the shot that nearly exploded part of his face and watched Michonne run her sword through the man. Daryl honestly couldn't bring himself to care. He would have done the same had he been closer. The man's death was their chance to escape and they took it. It seemed callous but their mission was too important to risk over one man.
By the time they reached Woodbury it was completely dark as Daryl had hoped it would be. The outside wall looked fairly secure especially with the men on top armed with automatic rifles keeping watch. There was no way to take them out without the alarm being sounded. Suddenly Michonne disappeared and Rick swore angry that they had trusted her even for a second. Daryl thought that at least she had led them to Woodbury.
Noticing they had too many supplies they pooled them together so they could sneak in stealthily rather than be weighed down. A snap and Michonne returned motioning them to follow her. They crept around the wall finding an edge that didn't have guards that they could easily slip over. Michonne led them to a building, but Daryl couldn't hear anyone. He couldn't see Glenn or Maggie being held here. Voices alerted him to people outside. So much for a curfew. The tension in Daryl's muscles and the adrenaline made it hard for him to keep his temper in check especially when Michonne said that Glenn and Maggie could be in an apartment or some other building. The idea of searching each and every building made his jaw clench. Too many things could go wrong with that plan. Before they could really decide what to do a man entered the building and interrupted them. They quickly knocked him out when it was obvious that he had no idea where their friends were.
Daryl took the lead bringing them to a building far from the other houses that looked fairly secure. He doubted they'd hold them anywhere that the people could see them. At least he hoped the whole town wasn't as blood thirsty as that, the idea of a whole town being so vicious and violent that they would watch a public torture unnerved him. Sounds of talking and the smell blood reached Daryl's senses. He nodded to Rick and they both grabbed the smoke grenades. Whoever the men were dragging out of the room were clearly struggling and trying to resist and unless these assholes took more people it had to be Glenn and Maggie. They quickly grabbed the bagged people as the smoke filled the room. Daryl could see Glenn's swollen eyes looking at him after they pulled the bag off. He let Rick lead while he covered the escape with the gun.
They quickly dove into another building before Glenn and Maggie collapsed against the floor. The hunter couldn't see an exit aside from the one they'd used and told Rick as much. Both Glenn and Maggie looked worse for wear. But Glenn was especially bad with both eyes swollen so much it was a wonder he could see and blood dripped down his nose and mouth onto his chest. Daryl felt the scream of rage building in his gut and wished desperately he could go back to those men from earlier and beat them within an inch of their life before letting walkers rip their insides apart. They realized then that Michonne was gone and Daryl couldn't help but wonder if she'd gone back for the thing she'd left behind. Rick decided there wasn't time to try and find her and Daryl nodded giving into his order. Glenn needed help now. There wasn't time to waste on Michonne who he hoped would make it out okay, but otherwise couldn't spare much thought for the women.
"Daryl this was Merle." Glenn slurred through the blood. Daryl felt his whole body go numb. He could barely feel his crossbow in his fingers. Merle? Merle was alive? Daryl felt the swell of joy in his chest, at the realization that his brother was alive. That he wasn't alone. Merle, he had survived. Daryl wanted to go sprinting outside and find him. Glenn's next words froze that thought in his head. "He was gonna execute us." Daryl struggled to catch up. Merle alive. But trying to kill Glenn and Maggie. Alive. But why? How? How could he be alive? More importantly how could he do that to them? He knew Glenn, could he really do that to someone he knew? Daryl struggled to find his voice through the numbness.
"S-so my brother's this Governor?"
"He's his lieutenant." Daryl couldn't believe that. He could never imagine Merle following anyone else, ever. What the hell had happened? The last person who tried to order Merle around he'd knocked his teeth out. It was why he got discharged from the military.
"Does he know I'm still with you?" Maggie nodded and Glenn confessed they'd told where the prison was. Daryl was still stuck on the realization that not only was Merle alive but he'd also known where he was yet he didn't bother to try and find him. Rick tried to help Glenn up and Daryl found himself moving towards the door. "If Merle is around I need to see him."
"Not now we're in hostile territory." Rick growled out.
"He's my brother. I ain'-" Daryl tried again desperation starting to creep into his voice. He needed to see Merle, figure this out. Hell maybe he'd know how to get them all out. Daryl didn't know, all he knew was he needed to see him. The thought of leaving Merle behind again, he couldn't. He couldn't. Not after everything. This was his chance to finally finally repay his brother for that winter. To return the favor. Rick roughly grabbed his arm his eyes panicked as he searched his face. Rick kept saying things about making it out and walkers but all Daryl could hear was the repeating Merle, Merle, Merle. The sound and desperation drowning out everything else. Rick's hand tightened on his arm.
"I need you." And suddenly Daryl was back, his eyes narrowing. Daryl thought about what he'd said at the prison. He thought of Rick barely holding it together, even now. He thought of the warmth he'd felt on his back and in his heart as they stood together on the balcony. But more than that he thought about Rick needing him. No one had ever told him that let alone with such desperation. "Are you with me?" Daryl's mind howled. Loyalty screaming in his chest. Dixon's live and die together. Dixon's could only ever trust each other. Dixon's loyalty should be to only themselves. His mind screamed with the drunken words of his father. Daryl stared at Rick at his blue eyes that reflected a clear warm day. Rick with his scent of relaxing days and cool rivers. And for the first time in his life Daryl turned his back on his father's howls. His voice shook as he replied.
"Yeah." He doubted Rick realized exactly what he was giving up for him. But the look of relief and devotion in Rick's eyes made it worth it. Daryl knew he was turning his back on his only living family member but at the moment the hunter focused on Rick's words. 'I need you.' Rather than the screams of his family telling him he'd betrayed them.
The smoke covered them as they ran from the building. Firing at all the people with guns who tried to stop them. Rick's voice yelling out orders in the chaos, grounding Daryl keeping him focused on getting them out. The sounds of gunfire exploded in Daryl's ears making everything ring. He couldn't pin point anyone over the echoes of gunfire and yelling. He wasn't quite blind in the smoke but it felt like it with his hearing compromised and his sense of smell being choked by the smoke. Daryl pushed everyone forward while he laid down cover fire keeping his eyes sharp. The sound of a scream over his shoulder of Rick's name nearly made him stutter to a stop but Daryl focused, trying to block out the traitorous thoughts that he could very well be shooting his own brother with every shot he fired. The pounding in his chest made every moment, every bullet ache. Each shot he prayed kept his friends safe and didn't find Merle's skull. Rick's voice cut through the fog screaming for him.
"Go!" He yelled continuing to lay down cover fire. He took a step backward moving to follow the others over the wall. A second. One second was all it took for the fear and uncertainty to worm its way into his head. That second had him pause. The thought of Merle, of leaving him with these people who hurt Glenn and Maggie, who would probably turn on Merle next. It froze his right leg on the back step. That second was all it took for the bullet to tear through his right leg. Daryl gasped his knees buckling under the sudden weight of his body. The pain slowly exploded across his shock riddled mind. He'd been shot before, a bunch of times in fact but it had been a damn long time. He didn't quite remember how the pain could be so sharp and agonizing. He gripped the wound quickly pressing to find any lingering metal, it felt like the bullet when right through. He checked the blood and realized that the bullet had gone through the side of his leg, not sinking in as deep as it could have and not hitting any arteries that would leave him bleeding out on the ground. In fact had he moved just a little to the left it would have been a graze instead. He had been extremely lucky. He'd need to patch it up later but it wasn't anything like the wounds he'd suffered from his childhood when his father showed him how it felt to be shot in the shoulder.
Daryl pressed a jacket into the wound and wrapped it around quickly. It was small making him think some child had lost it. All the more reason he had to get out of here. He didn't want to think about hurting kids after they'd rescued Glenn and Maggie. Panting through the pain, Daryl tried to get to his feet. But the leg shook completely unstable. Daryl hissed through his teeth struggling to stand again knowing he couldn't stay here for long. Black spots jumped in front of his eyes, they nearly sent the hunter reeling. He struggled to crawl over to the car where he could pull himself up leaving the same way the rest of the group had gone. Daryl put on hand on the bumper of the car and didn't realize the light headed foggy feeling in his brain made everything move in slow motion. A moment too late his ears picked up the sound of someone crunching the ground behind him. The explosion of pain was the last thing he remembered before darkness stole him away.
Daryl opened his eyes slowly. The migraine building in the back of his eyes made the room spin for a long time. He took several deep breathes trying not to be sick. The acid taste of bile burned his tongue anyway.
"Finally awake." A voice calmly said, not a question an icy statement. Daryl narrowed his eyes towards the voice. A man with dark brown hair and a blue eye stared at him. He could only see the left eye. The other was hidden behind white gauze. The edge of the gauze was already staining with blood. He highly doubted the eye would be salvageable. The cold and emotionless gaze had Daryl feel like he was staring at his father. Perhaps a punishment for betraying another Dixon. Daryl struggled to remember where he was. What had happened? His arms ached from where they were restrained tightly against his back. He realized his legs were also tied to the legs of the chair. The dull ache in his right leg reminded him of the bullet wound. Woodbury. He was still in Woodbury he realized. The hunter took in his surroundings, he hoped everyone else had gotten away. The room was small and dirty with only a single light bulb in it. It felt more like a tiny apartment than a holding cell. The man continued to stare steely at him.
"Ya the Governor?" Daryl growled trying to make his voice sound as vicious as he could. He hoped he would at least make the man hesitate before trying anything. The man broke into a wide smile. It would have been an almost attractive comforting smile but his eyes looked too broken nearly crazed to make the smile seem anything but threatening.
"I am." He smiled wider if possible. It reminded Daryl of a shark with huge rows of teeth. "You live at the prison." It wasn't a question. Daryl didn't respond. There was no way he'd give up any information that could harm his friends. He'd die first. The Governor reached forward and crushed Daryl's leg with an iron grip. He smoothly inserted a finger into the bullet wound. Daryl hissed throwing his head back as he clenched his teeth around the scream that tried to break free from his lungs. The man twisted his finger one way then the other. When he finally pulled back, Daryl panted his head flopping to his chest. His nerves were shaking with tension. "I asked if you lived at the prison." Daryl exhaled and glared at the Governor.
"And I'm wonderin' if ya got into a fight with an angry voter did they stab ya with a big pen that says 'vote for me!' or maybe ya just like it when it hurts. Did ya try stranglin' yerself? I heard twisted assholes like ya enjoy shit like that. It would probably hurt less than shovin' a pen in yer eye." Daryl hissed throwing everyone ounce of hid Dixon rage behind his words. He would be damned if he died like a whining bitch. He'd go down kicking and biting every damn finger that dared to get close enough to his mouth.
"You've certainly got a mouth on you, don't you?" The Governor sat forward and fisted a handful of Daryl's hair dragging his head back to an unnatural angle. His whole body straining to try and relieve the pressure it created on his neck and spin. But the effect was limited by being bound to the chair. "You're the type who thinks he's a real bad ass. That is until someone really dangerous beats the fear of death into you." Daryl chuckled wetly.
"Ya can' break me. I've suffered far worse than ya could ever do." He snarled spitting at the man. A quick knee to his stomach left Daryl coughing and gasping for breath. He thought of his father, of all the pain and suffering he'd inflicted on him. He thought of his whole childhood of abuse and knew this man who had a town filled with children and houses knew nothing about true pain.
"You think I don't know what pain and suffering is?" The Governor asked darkly, his nostrils flaring with rage. Daryl snorted.
"Ya have no idea what it really means to suffer. Not in this town with these people. Ya don' have it in ya to really hurt." The Governor's eye flashed darkly before he wrapped a hand around Daryl's throat.
"And you do?"
"Of course." Daryl growled lips pulled back in a snarl. "Ya don' know what real pain is and what real sufferin' is. Until yer prepared to rip someone's throat out with yer teeth for threatenin' what's yers." The Governor chuckled sinisterly squeezing tighter. Daryl forced himself to focus on the rage not the desperate fear of his brain dying from the strangle hold. He panted trying to get enough oxygen to stop the darkness from claiming his eyes.
"You sound practically feral."
"Like I said I'd rip yer throat out with my goddamn teeth, then ya'll know real pain." The hand pulled away letting Daryl cough as air burned through his lungs.
"You're right. I don't have anyone I care about enough to go insane for. Not anymore." He breathed his eye looking nearly vulnerable before darkening to a coldness that matched serial killer levels. "But I also think you're wrong. Having people you care about? That's the real weakness. People can easily be used against you. But me? I have nothing anyone can use against me. I'm only in it to make sure I survive. No one else." He twisted his finger into Daryl's leg again, squeezing the outside so blood continued to well up and leak around the edges of his pant leg. "I always thought a man should try and control his temper. That we're not animals born to bite at anyone who displeases us. But I was wrong. We are animals. That's all humans have ever been. And unlike you with your eagerness to protect people, I'm free. I can let all the rage out without a care. While you'll never be able to, not if you want to look the people you care about in the eyes again. That's why I'll always win. Because I don't care how anyone looks at me. I would burn this world and everyone and everything in it to the ground if it meant I survived one more minute." The man was staring at Daryl like he was a walker whose head was just begging to be squished in. Daryl suppressed the shiver at the dead look in his eye. He looked deader than any walker ever could.
"Ya sound like a bad Bond villain." Daryl chuckled hoping his false bravado wouldn't give away the tremble that was threatening to consume him.
"And you still have things you care about. Maybe I should execute them all in front of you? Tie you to a stake and burn your friends to death in front of you?" Daryl growled pulling at his bonds trying desperately to break free so he could kill the man. "But maybe we could make a deal." The Governor smiled the rage melting from his voice. "You give me what I want and I give you what you want."
"Ya have nothin' I want." Daryl snapped back.
"You sure about that?" The Governor cocked his head a vicious smile on his lips. Daryl had a sudden fear strike his gut that his friends had been caught. The Governor looked like a man who was holding all the cards and knew it. "You know you look a lot like your brother." Daryl wished he could suppress the shudder that ran through him. Wished he didn't feel his heart clench in fear. But he knew looking at the Governor's face that he had caught him, found something he could use against him. "It really is a miracle to find your family in such a ruined world. Wouldn't it be tragic to lose him again?" He hissed in Daryl's ear.
"If ya goddamn touch him I swear-"
"You'll what?!" He screamed punching Daryl so hard in the right cheek he saw stars. "You are going to die here boy. Alone, weak, helpless, pathetic, and broken. Like you were always destined to die." Daryl wanted to keep fighting. Wanted to scream and holler and swear at the man. But his words hurt more than any blade to the chest ever could. Physical pain was something he could handle something he could focus attention away from. It was something he had always handled like a constant friend. But emotional and mental pain was something that always cut deeper for Daryl. Merle had called him weak. His father called him a gay little sissy bitch. His mother said he was empathetic. Daryl thought it was the best way to get under his armor and into his head and heart. "But that doesn't have to happen. Tell me what I want to know and I'll let you go. You can be with Merle again. Just tell me what I want to know."
Daryl clenched his jaw. Thinking about his brother, how much he wished that his brother would come rushing into the room and save him. How he wished the door would explode open with Rick coming in to free Daryl. But he knew that wasn't going to happen. He was going to die here, alone. The traitorous whisper of his father hissed to take the deal. That he owed no one but himself. That his survival was all that mattered. Daryl closed his eyes and thought about his friends. About Carol. About Carl and Ass Kicker. About Hershel, Maggie, Beth, and Glenn. About Axel and Oscar. But most of all he thought about Rick. About his soft eyes and reassuring smell. About the way it had felt so right to hold him and be held by him. At the way his kisses were slightly chapped but always excited and enthusiastic. About how he smiled against Daryl's throat when he laughed. Daryl blinked his eyes open and stared at the Governor with no fear or hesitation left in his body. There was nothing but determination set bone deep in him as he said firmly,
"Over my dead body."
Daryl was proud that he stayed mostly aware and conscious throughout the savage beating that followed his words. The Governor didn't strike his face again. Instead focusing on the stomach and twisting his fingers into the bullet wound. Probably to make sure Daryl couldn't faint on him. He had to give the man credit. Most inexperienced people would go for the head. But enough blows to the head and the brain blinks out, loses conscious or with enough force you die. But focusing on the stomach, chest, and legs left him completely aware for the majority of the beating. After what seemed like an hour the Governor finally stopped, his breathing almost as rough as Daryl's. The hunter spit out the pool of blood in his mouth, tasting the places he'd bit down to stop himself from crying out or worse calling out for help.
"I must say, you endured far better than your friends ever did." The Governor sighed and whipped the blood from his hand. Daryl clenched his jaw thinking about how bad Glenn had looked and hoped this madman at least had enough dignity left in him not to beat Maggie. But honestly he couldn't be sure. The man seemed to be constantly flipping from nice and normal to insane and sociopathic. Daryl gasped trying to push the ball of pain down into a hidden part of his mind. He tried to will his trembling limbs to just stop shaking. Daryl's whole body felt like it was on fire but he reminded himself this was nothing. He'd spent his whole life receiving far worse. Hell he'd been shot and impaled by his own arrow less than a year ago. This was nothing. "You know I've come to realize something about you." The Governor sighed dropping into the seat across from Daryl.
"What's that?" The hunter coughed spitting up more blood.
"You're tough. You're willing to do what no one else would do. You really would die for your group. I could torture you for hours and hours and still you wouldn't talk would you?" The Governor exhaled and shook his head and gave a little smile. "That kind of loyalty is hard to come by. It can't be bought. It has to be earned. Or beaten into a person." He rubbed his hand over his face. "I thought your brother had that kind of loyalty but I think Merle has only ever been loyal to himself. Sure he's loyal to me but only because it keeps him alive. I mean he didn't come looking for you did he?" The Governor chuckled darkly. "Not you though. Your loyalty isn't to yourself it's to someone else. I bet that person is your real weakness. I put enough pressure on them and you'd tell me everything wouldn't you." It wasn't a question.
Daryl locked his jaw tight and willed his face to stay calm and collected. He couldn't let this nutcase know about his friends, about Rick. "I think you are a very strong man aren't you?" He clasped his hands in front of him. "But I think the people you're protecting they are your weakness." He smiled widely. "But more than that I think your real weakness is yourself. You've become weak by letting yourself stay bound to people who clearly don't care about you the same way you care about them." The pale blue of his eye seemed to reach into Daryl and pull out his every fear. Daryl forced the terror back down his throat. Swallowing the sick metal taste of his terrors. "If they did they'd be here wouldn't they? I mean they saved the other members of your group. Then again they were very attractive and not feral like you are. I bet they're all secretly glad to be rid of you. They don't have to worry about you ever going rabid and attacking them now." The Governor sighed and eyed Daryl carefully. Daryl wished he could stop the small part of his mind that believed those words. But that part was inside of him, it would be like cutting out his throat. He couldn't get rid of it no matter what. "I'm sure I could beat you within an inch of your life and you still wouldn't say anything huh? All I'd get is blood on my favorite shoes." Daryl continued to glare at the man darkly. "So instead I think I'll give you what you want." Daryl bit back a response knowing the man was only trying to provoke him. "I am a sucker for a happy ending after all." He laughed his eye watching Daryl closely before he shut the door behind him. Leaving Daryl totally alone.
The hunter panted his head listing to one side. His body ached with the effort of trying to remain strong and act like nothing the Governor did hurt him. Daryl closed his eyes letting his mind pull away from the raw pain in his body and the helpless desperate feeling clutching his lungs. Before Daryl could truly collect himself and steel his body against more abuse two men pushed the door open with a bang. Daryl growled at them but he didn't get far before they smashed him over the head with a gun. Daryl's last thought was of Rick.
When he groggily came to he realized he was in total darkness. Daryl felt his lungs seize and he couldn't breathe. He wasn't really afraid of the dark but the darkness plus his wounds, plus the hands dragging him, and the sound of whispered voices made him feel like he was seven years old again. Hiding from his father in the crawlspace trying not to suck down a centipede and ignoring the spiders biting his legs. Daryl struggled and tried to resist being pushed forward but his limbs were useless and sluggish, unable to respond to his mind reaching out to them. He desperately wished he could find his earlier false bravado he'd used on the Governor. That he could pretend this didn't terrify him in the slightest. But Daryl's heart felt like it was trying to escape thorough his chest like some version of the Alien from that old movie. He ground his jaw as the noise around him grew louder. He wanted to stop the desperation crawling up his throat.
This was how he was going to die. Far away from his friends and the people he cared about. Daryl felt a violent shove forward that sent him sprawling. Fear screamed in his lungs. He feared falling into a room full of walkers. Not knowing scared him more than anything else. A hand gripped his arm crushing the bones in a vice. "This is one of the terrorists." The darkness was ripped from him and he blinked blinded by the lights all around him. He saw too many people watching him from what looked like stands. Their eyes dark and filled with fear, hate, disgust. "Merle's own brother." Daryl wondered what had taken him so long to realize the man standing in front of him was in fact Merle. Merle who looked like he'd been stabbed, shot, and kicked in the groin for all the shock that filled his eyes. The way he looked at him, it looked like Merle was going to cry. That or he was going to beat him in the face for being here. Daryl didn't know which was more likely.
Daryl stumbled forward a step or two when the Governor released him. That's when he saw the blonde locks of Andrea staring with complete shock as well. Daryl had never thought she had lived. That she was here. She didn't look like she was being held against her will. Her arms weren't bound like his were. Though neither were Merle's. Daryl glanced around trying to eye something he could use. Some way to get out. But every exit was sealed by men with guns. Worse there were too many people in the stands for him to ever hope he could get away on his own. Daryl eyed the Governor warily as he addressed the crowd. He suddenly felt like he was in the Coliseum with the crowd screaming,
"Kill them!" Daryl could feel the hate and rage directed at him and Merle. It was like a wave of heat. These people were pressing in on all sides yelling and screaming about killing them. Daryl glanced at his brother. He looked for some sort of a sign that Merle had a plan. Merle always had a plan. He always knew how to keep their asses alive through any shit storm they found themselves in. But for once Merle returned a look that was as close to scared as he'd ever seen on his brother. Daryl realized then without any doubt he was going to die. The realization climbed its way into his heart and settled like a cold stone deep I his core. Daryl was going to die and all he could think of was how he wished he could have held Rick a little longer. How he wished he could have said goodbye to everyone. He wished he could have had just a few more minutes where things had been alright. Daryl inhaled knowing he was taking his last few breathes.
"You wanted your brother. Now you get him." Daryl realized at those hissed words one of them wouldn't be making it out of here and he knew with a hundred percent certainty that it wouldn't be him. Winter had finally caught up to him and this time Daryl wouldn't be able to escape. Merle would make it out of here and Daryl would die like he should have all those years ago.
Hello everyone! I need to again apologize for this being so late, finals really kicked my butt for the last few weeks and haven't had much time to work on this. But I wanted to make sure to post chapter 29 before I leave the country today! Because I know I most likely won't be able to post the next chapter until after I get back home. Hopefully it will be worth the wait! Anyway sorry for the delay! I can't thank you all enough for being patient with me and commenting (reminding me that 'hey! That story! Finish it!') That really helped me get back on track after finals. So thank you all for your comments, favorites, and follows! Hopefully you all enjoyed this... It was fun to write...but also sad! I mean come on how could it not be! Anyway like always if you have the time review and let me know what you thought about this chapter! Hopefully I'll see you all in chapter 30!