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Sweet December

Chapter Text

The phone call came on a Tuesday morning in September, malignant. Those words echoed through Daryl’s mind for the rest of the day, and he just felt numb. It sounded so final, so definite, and he didn’t know how he was going to tell Merle. He didn’t know what to do, what would be the next step, his mind was awash with questions, worry and under all of that was doom.

When he told Merle later, he was shocked that his older brother, by quite a few years broke down and cried right in front of him.

That was when it hit Daryl; this was serious, deadly serious.

He knew of course anyway from the first episode of forgetfulness, headaches, exhaustion and then the seizures. Those things were not normal for a young man such as himself, and after many tests, they got their answer.

It was a brain tumor, cancer a juvenile type that he was too old to get, but there it was.

The doctor had said it was treatable, a grade two tumor, they shrunk it with radiation, removed it and prescribed 12 weeks of chemo.

This wasn’t a guarantee to save his life, though, and he was angry about that, upset about it all. He considered not doing a thing and just let his miserable life peter out and be done with, but Merle wasn’t having that. Not one bit.

Daryl knew cancer always came back, though, he’d seen it with both his grandparents, but Merle told him to forget that. Things were changing in the medical field every day, and Merle was not letting any dark thoughts through.

The chemo would decrease the chances of it coming back, and Merle had put his foot down, Daryl was 23 and Merle was not burying his brother.

It was almost Thanksgiving when he was to start chemo, unseasonably cold and nasty outside but nevertheless, Merle told him point blank, that he was not taking the easy way out, not after they had been through so much in their lives, there was to be no tapping out. They still had a lot to be thankful for, and he would not allow his brother to give up.

Merle took him for the insertion of the PICC line in his arm, the day before the holiday and then he would start the chemo the next week. Daryl’s whole life was falling apart, and Merle was the rock that he needed, and that was usual for them.

They had lived together all their lives, first with their abusive drug addicted parents and then after they passed away, together. The two of them against the world.

It was just so surreal to both of them, though, unbelievable and even months later they were still in shock. The diagnosis had changed everything that Daryl knew to be true about himself, about Merle and life. They both wandered through the treatments, surgery and doctor appointments like war-torn soldiers with aftershocks that just wouldn’t go away.

Daryl had always been the more mature of the two of them, but the roles were suddenly reversed because he was very sick now.

Merle had always been so happy go lucky and at times in and out of trouble, but now he was all business and had even given up drinking in the past months so that he could be there to help his brother. It was a rude awakening, but maybe it was one he needed.

Merle was almost thirty-five and floating through life from bar to bar, woman to woman and working in the garage they both owned, purchased with the insurance money left to them by their parents. When Daryl got sick he stopped all selfish behaviors; he even got serious with his on again off again girlfriend, Andrea.

He took Daryl to every doctor’s appointment and radiation appointment, sat by his bed after the surgery watching over him and now planned to go with him to the weekly chemo. Merle had grown up fast.
Now Merle’s girl Andrea lived with them, but Daryl was alone…

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“My name is Allison.” The nurse said as she walked over to the reclining chair that he sat in, with Merle sitting right next to him in a visitor’s chair. “You can call me Allie, Mr. Dixon.”

“Well alright,” Merle said with his award winning smile lighting up his face, “You call me Merle, and he’s Daryl.”

Daryl remained silent as the nurse pulled up a chair and sat down in front of him. She wore light blue scrubs and a lab coat over her uniform. He could see by her nametag that she was an RN, MA, CCRN and he wondered what the other letters stood for, he made a mental note to ask her. But for now, he just glared around the room until his blue eyes landed on her green ones.

He looked away immediately as if he had been burned by what he saw there, the compassion in her eyes was unsettling and a little bit scary to him. Did she pity him? He didn’t want anyone’s pity.

“Are you ok Mr. Dixon?” She asked, and her voice was resonating with such concern that he caught his breath, and Merle noticed.

He didn’t reply to her and avoided looking her in the eyes. She seemed to be around his age, maybe a little older and she was so sweet to him, but he just was done with this already. He had lost weight and felt weaker by the day, and he knew the worst was just about to begin.

“Daryl!” Merle chastised when Daryl stayed silent and merely nodded at the lovely red haired nurse that he, himself wouldn’t have minded getting to know better under other circumstances. “I’m the older more charming brother, as you can see.”

“It’s alright Mr. Dixon; I just need some consent forms signed and to ask if you have any questions before we start.”

“Fine,” Daryl replied in a voice that conveyed that it surely was not fine and might never be again.

“No worries Mr. Dixon; I’ll try and make this as easy as possible for you.” She said, as if she didn’t notice his gruff response at all, Merle was impressed with her professionalism, it must come with the job, he thought, dealing with snotty patients. “I know you don’t want to be here; I’m here to make this as comfortable for you as I can.”

She leaned down a little so that she was eye to eye with Daryl and Merle just watched in awe.

“I want to help you if you let me, but for right now I’m going to give you some space, I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can finish the paperwork, ok?”

She nodded her head, and to his utter shock, Daryl found himself nodding his head at her too.

Daryl shrugged, but out of the corner of his eye, he could see Merle smiling slightly. She had just worked him, and he knew it, Merle knew it too, but she was right, he needed a minute to process everything around him.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes, can I bring you some orange juice or something, I think we have apple too?” She asked.

“No,” Daryl said gruffly, but unintentional.

“Merle?” She asked, and Merle shook his head.

“No thanks darlin,” He said with a smile, and she smiled at them and walked away.

Merle turned to Daryl, “And to think I always called you the sweet one.”

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“I’m sorry about him honey; he has a piss poor attitude lately,” Merle said to Allison when he stopped by the nurse's desk on his way back from having a smoke later that morning.

“It’s fine Mr. Dixon.”

“Merle.”

She smiled, “Merle, I understand, and actually…”

“He doesn't get to be a dick to you when you are helping him; I won’t have it,” Merle said and then shook his head at his choice of words, but she just smiled. He guessed that she had heard it all, and she was unfazed by his colorful language.

She also noticed how stressed and tired Merle looked; they had a bad few months, she knew from reading Daryl’s history in the chart. Allie leaned across the desk and met Merle’s eyes.

“He’s going to be okay Merle; we’ll take good care of him.”

“He’s all I've got,” Merle replied as he looked over at Daryl sitting in the chair with an IV running into his vein, “He’s so young, ya know?”

"Yeah. I do." Allison said, “His cancer is curable, it won’t be easy, but it can be done.”

"How do you do this day in and day out?" Merle asked.

"I love my job Merle, helping people get well and getting to see it. You just can't beat it."

"You're something special, Allie. "

She looked down and blushed.

"Shy are you? Just like him." He motioned towards Daryl who shot him a dirty look and flipped him the bird. "Can I take him for a cheeseburger later? "

"By all means let him eat anything he can or wants to."

"Thanks, darlin." And with a wink of his eye he was heading back to sit next to Daryl in the chair, he would occupy for the next three months.

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“She’s cute baby brother,” Merle said later as they watched her walking around the room helping the three other people that were there, she was a natural at this, and Allison completed her tasks with ease, with a smile for everyone she saw.

From time to time he could hear laughter from the other patients and her as she talked to them and he prayed that one day Daryl would be the one laughing.

Merle found her charming, and he wanted Daryl to appreciate the person she seemed to be.

“Sure Merle,” Daryl looked over at him and then at the IV in his arm, “I’m gonna try and pick up my chemo nurse, will you please lighten up.”

“She’s a red head, though; you know what they say about chicks with…”

Then she was back with the IV bags. They were dark colored and murky looking, almost red and to Daryl, they looked like poison.

“Oh hey there Allie,” Merle said with another smile, he was sure she had heard what he said, but she didn’t let on.

“They call this one the red devil Mr. Dixon; it’s going to knock that cancer right out of you.” She said with a smile, “I have some literature for you to take home that will tell you all about these medications and how to manage side effects, ok?”

Daryl nodded with sad eyes that she was used to seeing in the people that sat in these chairs, she patted his hand as she checked the PICC for redness or swelling. That gesture touched him somewhere deep inside, and he felt the warmth from where her hand had been long after she had taken it away.

“I’ll be checking on you the whole time this is running and if you need me just press that button right there.” She motioned to the call bell he had in his lap.

After she had hung the IV bag and left Daryl turned and glared at Merle.

“Just press that button baby brother,” Merle said with a laugh.

“Do not call my nurse a chick.”

“Oh, your nurse?” Merle laughed again, this time with a grin on his face.
“You know what I mean,” Daryl growled.

“Oh yeah, I do.” Merle said, “Looks like this is going to be a sweet December after all.”

“You’re nuts.”

“She’s a cute one, that’s all I’m sayin.” Merle said with a glance in her direction.

Chapter Text

After the first dose, Daryl wasn’t very sick; he felt almost like he had the minor flu and the symptoms were manageable. Merle was right there insisting he eat everything Andrea cooked and they had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner. Life was ok, and they were grateful for it.

It would be one day at a time from now on, and they knew that there might be some bad days ahead, but they would face it together, and Merle would never let him give up or know just how scared he was.

Merle was terrified and had been since that phone call in September. But he never let Daryl know it and always acted like everything was perfectly normal.

He loved his brother so much, and it was time to be the strong one.

He knew that Daryl could beat it, but he also knew that years from now it could show up again as it did with their grandma Jean, but that was a worry for another day.

At the AA meetings Merle went to now, they said, “One day at a time.” And “Keep it simple.” And Merle intended to do just that, for the rest of his life and Daryl’s if need be.

The second dose was a dress down day at the hospital, the Friday after Thanksgiving, and Daryl smiled when he saw her that day. Allie had on an Incubus T-shirt and a pair of black scrub pants that fit her shape perfectly. She looked like she was going to a rock show and not at work.

His first impression of her had been off a little; this had surprised him. He wanted to get to know more about her, but it didn’t mean anything, he was just passing the time and she was there.

Merle was aware that Daryl was staring at her ass as she bent down to retrieve her pen from the floor, they both watched as she carefully cleaned the pen with alcohol gel and then washed her hands.

His brother wasn’t dead after all it seemed, and this was the best thing Merle had seen in months, maybe years because Daryl did not take after him in the woman department.

He’d been burned once and never seemed the same after, never had been interested in women at all after that.

Merle guessed that Chelsey had broken his heart although Daryl never let on to that.

But Daryl looked at this girl like she was a cheeseburger he wanted to devour, and Merle smiled as he watched his brother keep an eye on her like it was his job.

“Incubus, huh?” Merle said when she approached them, “Seen them about ten years ago, right Daryl?”
“Me too,” Allie said, “A few times. You guys ready?”

Daryl nodded, and as she led then to what was now his spot on Friday morning, he was sure he heard her humming “Love Hurts.”

((((((((Love hurts, but sometimes it’s a good hurt, and it feels like I’m alive, love sings, and it transcends the bad things, have a heart and try me cause without love I won't survive.)))))

“Good song,” Daryl said, and she smiled as he sat down and she sat in the chair opposite them, as she usually did.

“I like it,” She smiled again, and Merle noticed a little blush in her cheeks. “So, any problems this week?” She asked Daryl.

“Just a little sick to my stomach.” He replied.

“Any vomiting?”

Daryl shook his head, “Dry heaves a little.”

“Ok, I’ll get you some Compazine for that, it’s an anti-nausea medicine, in case you need it,” Allie replied.
“He ain't sleeping right, and he’s losing weight,” Merle piped up, and Daryl looked over at him, “What, it’s the truth. You got to tell her the truth, or she can’t help you, brother.”

“That’s all normal; we can give you something to help sleep.”

“No, I don’t want it.” Daryl said quickly, “I don’t want to feel all hung over all the time.”

“Come on Daryl; you got to…” Mere started but didn’t get to finish.

“I’m afraid this is his rodeo Merle,” Allie spoke up, “His body, his illness, his choice.”

Merle listened intently to her words and the way she advocated for his brother, her patient. He couldn’t help but admire her as she explained things to Daryl, different foods he could eat to keep nausea away and herbal teas he could get to help him sleep.

She knew her stuff that was for sure. It took a lot to impress Merle Dixon, and she had done that time and time again already.

After they finished talking Allison stood up to get the IV bags and wrote down a few suggestions on a notepad and handed it to Daryl who put it in his shirt pocket.

“Hey Allie,” Merle said, “Can I ask you a question?”

“Shoot,” Allie said with a smile.

“This medication you’re giving him and the radiation, will it affect, ya know, like his sperm count or anything?”

“Jesus Christ Merle!” Daryl hissed.

“No,” She said trying to hide a grin, “You can still be an uncle one day.”

“I’m sorry about him Miss, he ain’t got no class,” Daryl said, as his face heated up more, Merle was something else sometimes.

“No worries,” She replied, “It’s a valid question and a lot of people are too embarrassed to ask, don’t give it another thought.”

Daryl seemed satisfied with her answer, but he still gave Merle a dirty look. Leave it to Merle to bring up an uncomfortable subject. Even though he was glad to know there wouldn’t be lasting effects after this was over.

Allie busied herself checking his PICC line and when she was satisfied she faced Daryl and explained that she was checking for signs of infection and there weren’t any. Then she told him what to look for at home and what to do if he saw redness or swelling around the catheter that went into his left arm.

She had successfully distracted him from the previous conversation and put him at ease, that was her job, and she did it well.

“I’ll be right back with your IV’s Mr. Dixon,” Allie said and turned to go.

“Hey, Allie,” He said, and she turned back to face them, “Call me Daryl, ok?”

Her green eyes lit up, and she smiled at him, Merle smiled as he watched the exchange between the two of them, it was like he wasn’t even there now. Noted and then she was gone.

“What?” Daryl said as he saw Merle snickering at him, “Might as well be on a first name basis since you brought my dick into the conversation.”

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Later, when the IV was half infused Allison stopped by and checked on them, Merle had brought a book to read, and she looked at the title, ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird.' It was her favorite book of all time.

“Did you see the movie, Merle?” She asked, and Merle looked up from the book.

“I watch it every time it’s on TV, darlin.” He said to her.

“Me too.” She replied. “How about you Daryl, you like it?”

“Not so much,” He replied.

“What do you like?” She asked.

Daryl shrugged, but Merle piped up right away.

“He’s seen Lord of the Rings a million times, and he likes Star Trek.”

“Oh my Dad loved Star Trek I’ve seen the show and the movies lots of times,” She said, and then one of the other patients had paged her, and her phone beeped in her pocket, “I’ll be back, LLAP.” And then she was gone.

“LLAP?” Merle asked.

“Live long and prosper,” Daryl replied.

“Seems you have a lot in common,” Merle said not looking up from his book.

“Stop", Daryl said, “It ain’t gonna happen.”

“What ain’t gonna happen?” Merle said with a grin.

“Whatever you’re trying to cook up in that head of yours, just forget it, that girl is way outa my league, and I’m sure she ain’t looking to be a nurse on her time off so just stop.”

“That’s a shame you feel that way, a girl who likes Incubus and Star Trek doesn’t come along every day,” Merle replied turning the page in his book.

“You’re ridiculous.” Daryl huffed.

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Andrea walked in the house with a bag of groceries and busied herself in the kitchen as she waited for Merle and Daryl to get back. She had a pot of soup on the stove by the time they got home, and they could smell it the minute they walked in.

Her job at Dale’s grocery store had a lot of perks, and one of them was the hours, she was usually home by three every day and with bags of discounted groceries. Today she had gotten the herbal tea that Allie had recommended; Merle had called her from the hospital and asked her to get a few things.

“Hey, hey darling, looks like you got busy while we were gone,” Merle said as he wrapped his arms around her waist as she stood at the stove cooking.

“Just some soup,” She said, “I made a lot so we can freeze some, then we’ll have it in case…”

“It’s alright Andrea,” Daryl said, “I know you’re worried if I get sick.”

She nodded and turned around to face them. “Chicken soup should be ok, right? If you feel sick?”

“It will be all right darlin,” Merle answered.

“Thanks, Andrea,” Daryl said and gave her a quick hug, “I appreciate it, I really do.”

Later they sat around the table that night with bowls of soup and Merle filled her in on the goings on of the day.

“So, Daryl may have a lady friend.” Merle said as he tasted the soup, “Great soup darlin.” He said turning to Andrea, with a smile on his face a mile wide.

“A lady friend? Really? Do tell.” Andrea said, “Thank you, honey,” She said to Merle.

“He’s dreamin,” Daryl laughed, “It’s the nurse that runs my IV, Merle thinks I should be throwing myself at her, seeing as I’m such a catch right now and all.”

“Hey, you never know, could be something, could work out for ya.” Merle said still eating his soup, “She’s a smart one too.”

“She ain’t my type anyway,” Daryl said, and Merle rolled his eyes at Andrea. “And this asshole practically asked her if my dick was still going to work after all this.”

“And she said yes,” Merle said, “And it’s a fucking relief not to have to worry about that too, and you know it, so shut it.”

“Just leave my dick out of any more conversations with her alright?” Daryl said, and Andrea couldn’t suppress a smile, things were going to be ok.

Dinner conversation still deteriorated quickly down crazy paths in this house, it wasn’t about to change, and that was a relief to her.

“She ain’t my type so so knock it off,” Daryl said again as a reminder to Merle to back the fuck off.

“Please, I saw you looking at her all damn day, she is so your type.” Merle said with a laugh and turned to Andrea, “She likes the same music as him and all that Star Trek stuff, just turn on that ole Dixon charm, it’s like catnip to women, you know that.”

“What planet are you living on brother?” Daryl laughed.

“The planet where I know what I saw today, your eyes followed that girl all day long.”

“Don’t mean nothin.” Daryl said.

“You just keep tellin yourself that,” Merle laughed.

Merle meant well, he really did, and both of them knew that, but Andrea watched as a look of sadness crossed Daryl’s face. He was sick, there was no doubt about it, and maybe he didn’t have that kind of feelings right now. There was so much to think of now and some things just needed to go on the back burner for now. She understood that, even if Merle didn’t seem to, then she laughed again at Merle’s catnip joke. She had surely been caught by the Dixon catnip that was for sure.

Daryl,” Andrea asked, trying to change the subject, she could tell Daryl was uncomfortable, “How are you feeling so far?”

“So far, so good, but I’m tired now, I think I’ll turn in for the night.” He said getting up from the table and putting his bowl in the dishwasher. Merle looked at the clock on the wall; it was 6:45 pm and as he watched Daryl slowly make his way down the hall, his heart broke a little more.

“Night brother,” Merle called after him.

“Night,” He called back, “Thanks again Andrea.”

When he got to his room Daryl climbed onto his bed and was asleep in minutes, the exhaustion had hit him half way through dinner, and he hadn’t wanted to upset Merle. He slept most of the next day and then the next night he couldn’t sleep at all.

He thought about her sometimes that week and wondered if she was having a good day. Just because his days weren’t so good didn’t mean he didn’t want other people to be happy.

There were many sleepless nights that the first week.

It was starting, he could feel it. His body was too heavy now and the slightest things required so much effort.

He just wanted this to be over.

Chapter Text

“Sorry Allison, Stephen King is way better that Dean Koontz,” Daryl said as she hooked up his third IV of chemo the following Friday. It seemed that chemo day was on a Friday, and usually, he spent the weekend dealing with side effects, severe exhaustion, and a little nausea, so far, and that was enough for him. But he knew from Allison’s talks with him that every person was different, and every dose was different as it worked its way through the body and did its work.

That work included killing everything in its path, and Daryl had noticed his hair was getting thin just that morning. Still, he wasn’t as troubled by it as he thought he would be and he was glad Allie had the time to talk today.

By now they spoke freely about a lot of subjects thanks to Merle’s icebreaker the week before. In some ways, Merle was very clever, and Daryl had forgotten that.

“But Odd Thomas, come on…” She said as she flushed the lumens on the pic line and spiked the IV bag. Then she connected the tubing with care, wiping each port with an alcohol pad before screwing the line into it, and waited for his answer.

These talks with him made her happy, even though she didn’t like seeing someone her age here, but he would recover, and that was what she loved to see. It was the best part of her job.

“Ok, that was a good book, but the others in the series, he kinda jumped the shark don’t ya think,” Daryl said as he watched her work. “It was just too much.”

“Yeah, he did, didn’t he,” Allie nodded. “I love his other books, though, Watchers, did you read that?”
Daryl shook his head, “Let me guess, there’s a dog in it?”

Her laughter filled the room while she titrated the IV bag and counted the drops in the chamber. He was as funny as his brother, and she enjoyed seeing him, although she wished he didn’t have to be there at all.

“You’re a funny guy.” She said still laughing. “You try to hide it, but it’s there. I have a book for you, I’ll bring it when I come back from lunch, it’s his best, and you need to read it.”

“Alright, I will,” Daryl replied, “I bet there’s a dog in it.”

“And you are funny,” She said with a smile.

“Yeah, he’s a riot,” Merle piped up looking up over his reading glasses from somewhere on the other side of the recliner.

“Thanks, Allie, that would be great,” Daryl said staring down at the medication going into his arm, “I'm not liking having to wear sleeves.”

“You don’t usually,” Allie asked.

He shook his head. “Never, I cut them off most shirts.”

Allie breathed in a startled gasp, she had seen his arms, and it was indeed a sin to cover them up. She prided herself on always being the consummate professional, but she did have eyes, and they sought things out sometimes without her consent.

She would never cross the line, even if what was on the other side was so desirable.

“Well, this is temporary, remember that, ok?” She said with a smile, getting herself back in check. “You’re three weeks out already, and it’s going to go by like that,” She said with a snap of her fingers.

“I’m trying.”

“I know you are and you just keep doing what you all are doing,” She replied with a nod to Merle who was reading Time magazine in the chair next to Daryl’s recliner, “And soon this will all be just a memory.”
He wanted it to be just a memory so badly, for himself, for Merle and for Andrea who was a great help to him when Merle was at work, but Allie, well he didn’t want her to be a memory. He looked forward to seeing her now, as fucked up as that might be.

“Are you sleeping better?” She asked.

“Sometimes, sometimes not, it’s weird,” Daryl said, and he didn’t mention that sometimes he dreamed about her. In his dreams, he saw what she looked like under those scrubs and tasted her lips.

“Ok, if it becomes a problem don’t forget we can help with that.”

“I’m ok for now.” He answered looking up at her, today she had on regular scrubs in Burgundy and her hair up in two knots on the top of her head. She looked adorable to him.

“Ok, sick at all?”

Daryl shook his head, “But I know it might happen, probably will right?”

“Yeah, unfortunately,” Allie nodded trying to hide the grim thoughts that were flooding her brain now. “One day at a time right?” She said forcing herself to smile.

“Yup,” Daryl answered, “Today is a good day.”

“Yes, it is, isn’t it,” She smiled, and they just looked at each other for a few seconds.

“You look like Sailor Moon today Allie,” Merle said breaking the silence between them, and she laughed.

“Just so happens Merle, I happen to be a fan of that show.”

“Clearly,” He deadpanned, and she laughed even harder. “I was more for Dragonball Z but to each his own, right?”

“That’s what makes the world go around, right; I’ll be back in a few ok?” She said and then she was off to check on her other patient that morning.

Merle leaned over to Daryl with a gleam in his eye, “She’s got a pierced tongue, saw it when she laughed just now, there's a disk there now, probably for work.”

“So?” Daryl said dryly.

“Ain’t you ever kissed a girl who’s pierced there before?” Merle asked incredulously.

Daryl shook his head, “Nope and I’m not…”

“Listen up brother; you kiss that girl before this shit is over, ain't nothing like it, make sure she puts the stud in and if you can get her to blow you, even better.”

“Ain’t you ever gonna stop?” Daryl groaned.

“Not while you're still breathin,” Merle cackled, and Daryl suppressed a grin at the effort Merle always made to make him laugh and others around them. To some he was crass and uncultured, hell they both were but underneath it all, well, there was more to both of them, for the right people to see.

 

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“He’s so sick Allie, laying face down on the floor, he said just to leave him alone,” Merle said into the phone later that day after he had brought Daryl home.

“It’s ok Merle, the chemo kills the good cells, and the bad cells remember? It’s causing this extreme fatigue, bring him in tomorrow for fluids, and we can start him on Neupogen, it will boost his white blood cells. Those are the one’s that fight infection, for right now make sure he drinks and eats.”

“That’s just it Allie; he won't eat or drink.”

“Go to the store and gets some Pedialyte; it’s in with the baby stuff, it's what moms give the children when the vomit or are sick because they dehydrate so fast. Get a few bottles. It comes in flavors give him some a little bit at a time every hour, he’ll be ok, I know this looks awful and scary, but I promise.”

“Ok Allie, thanks.”

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“Leave me the fuck alone Merle,” Daryl said and tried to roll over in bed. He was sick and wanted to be left alone, he knew he was a dick to his only family, but he couldn’t help it. This sickness was by far the worst thing Daryl had ever been through, there was a bucket by the side of his bed, and he could hardly roll over to get to it if he needed it.

Allie’s book sat on the nightstand untouched, but he intended to read it as soon as he was well enough. He’d wanted to start it this weekend, but he was way too sick to concentrate.

“Drink it ya miserable fuck,” Merle said in exasperation as Daryl laid on the bed, Merle had to pick him up off the floor finally and put him into bed that night.

“No, it tastes like shit,” Daryl said pushing the cup away from his face.

“Allie told me you have to drink it.” Merle said, “Now fucking drink it.”

“Why the fuck did you call her? You tell her I was sick like I’m a fucking pussy or something?” Daryl grabbed the cup and took a sip.

Merle understood, he was sicker than he had ever been before, and Daryl was allowed to be a shithead sometimes if he wanted to.

“You were face down, on the floor, you’re damn right I called her, that’s what she’s there for.” Merle answered, “It’s heavy chemo brother, anyone would be on their face on the floor, that’s what she told me.”

“Whatever,” Daryl replied.

“She said you got to drink and you’re going to ya hear?” Merle said pushing the cup back at him, and this time he took it without a fight.

“Happy now,” Daryl said after he drank a sip.

“Yup, you just keep going,” Merle said and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Sorry brother, I know you’re just trying to help.” Daryl finally said, and Merle sat down on the bed next to him and helped him sit up.

“Don’t you worry, I know what a stubborn bastard you can be, but I’m tenacious, and you know it,” Merle said as he fussed with the blankets, covering his brother up because he was shivering.

Andrea had come to the door and stood there silently watching them.

“Gonna take you for and IV tomorrow, to replace the fluids you lost from all this puking and Allie said there’s a shot you can get to boost something and make ya feel better, I can’t remember what exactly she said.”

“You can’t take off work tomorrow; Axel said we’re backed up again,” Daryl said.

“I’ll take you,” Andrea said from the doorway, “I’m off tomorrow.”

“You sure, baby,” Merle said bringing his eyes to her, and she nodded.

Daryl raised his head to object because he didn’t want to be a bother to Andrea any more than he already was but he couldn’t. In reality, he knew he had to go, and he was aware that Merle couldn’t keep taking off work.

He also couldn’t drive himself either; it was a horrible catch 22.

There was no way in his mind that he could make it another eight weeks like this, he had never felt like this before, it was a nightmare, and he just wanted to wake up.

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Two days later after the IV fluids, Daryl was out of bed and sitting on the front steps. He looked at the cigarette in his hand and shook his head at the irony, he should quit and soon he would, and he’d make sure Merle did too. This was changing his life and everyone else around him, and maybe it was a good thing, underneath all the bad.

It was warm out, and he enjoyed the feel of the sun on his face, today was a good day.

After two and a half days of puking and feeling like banged up shit, it was good to be outside with a glass of iced herbal tea that Andrea had made. He watched the birds at the birdfeeders that Andrea had hung from the trees in the yard, listened to the wind chimes a bit and felt peace.

He could do this, day by day, hour by hour with a great reward at the end. He didn’t know why this happened to him, but he was done with the anger now. He put the ear buds in his ears and turned on some “Incubus” and enjoyed the day before him.

He wouldn’t squander any time, and a day of not feeling sick was cause for celebration, Daryl was grateful and ready for whatever came next. He had started reading the book Allie gave him, and she was right, he loved it. Sometimes it was the little things, a good book, music, and people that loved you that got you through the day.

He got up and threw the pack of cigarettes in the trash and waited for Merle to get home so he could tell him they weren’t smoking anymore, Andrea was going to be thrilled.

Chapter Text

Merle stopped at Krispy Cream the morning of Daryl’s fourth dose of chemo and picked up donuts and coffee for Allison and the other nurse Maggie. He and Daryl had both quit smoking a few days before and surprisingly they were both in a good mood. They weren’t even sniping at each other like they usually did, it was a miracle.

They did eat two donuts each on the way to the hospital, though.

The look of gratitude on Maggie’s face was a gift to him that morning. Merle had heard that nurses drank a lot of coffee and he understood that, with the long hours they worked and lack of sleep. It was nine am, and he knew that both of these girls started work at six thirty am and didn’t leave till after five every day. It made him happy to do something for them, to show gratitude for what they were doing for him and Daryl.

“Thought you girls could use a little pick me up,” Merle said as he placed the box and coffee at the nurse’s station.

“Oh,” Maggie said with glee, “You have no idea, my youngest kept me up till three am.”
“Where was Glenn?” Allison asked.

“Sleeping of course,” Maggie said with a smile, “He could sleep through a bomb, four kids and that man sleeps through it all.”

“Well, not all of it,” Merle said with a grin, and Maggie laughed out loud.

“Thanks so much guys,” Allison said with a smile.

Maggie took a sip of the coffee and said goodbye and thank you to them as she went to check on her patients on the other side of the big room they were in charge of.

Merle was observant, and he knew these girls worked hard. Allison had told them that she had finished grad school three years ago after going through an accelerated course. Both she and Maggie held a master's degree in nursing and national certifications in Critical Care. He supposed the girl hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years.

In other words, she worked hard, and she was a brainiac. She was perfect.

He wanted to find out as much as he could about her, he had a mission now.

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“So how old are you, Allie,” Merle asked later when Daryl was getting his dose of chemo. He had recovered after the third dose within a few days after he went for fluids and an IV dose of Compazine for nausea; he also accepted the prescription for Compazine to keep at home and something for sleep. But he didn’t plan on taking the sleep medication if he could help it.

He had learned to cope very quickly with the side effects.

“25, you?”

“I’m 32, he's 23,” Merle said and then leaned closer to her and fake-whispered, “I always thought he was one of those surprise babies.”

Allison grinned and handed Daryl a glass of orange juice. “Drink up Ace.”

“I’m right here Merle,” Daryl said from his spot on the recliner as he drank the juice down without hesitation, not believing that Merle was having this conversation with her.

“Hey, ain't no thing, I was thrilled to get a baby brother, couldn’t wait to take ya hunting and fishing.” Then he turned to Allie, “Got any pets?”

“A cat named Luna.” She replied.

“Tattoos?” Merle asked with a wink.

“Maybe,” Allison said with a raise of her eyebrows and a grin, then she held up four fingers and mouthed “Four” to Merle’s delight.

“You married?” Merle continued.

“Leave her alone Merle,” Daryl growled.

“Just askin a question.”

“I’m not.” She replied, and Merle didn’t see it, but Daryl did, her face darkened for a second before she composed herself and laughed.

“Boyfriend?”

“Merle!” Daryl said trying to sit up as Allie shook her head, “Zip it!”

“Girlfriend?”

“Nope, no girlfriend either.” She said with a grin.

“Hmmm,” Merle sighed, “He doesn’t have one either.”

“You’re about as subtle as a brick to the face man,” Daryl said sinking down in his seat and looking over at Allie who seemed unfazed by the conversation. “I picked the wrong week to quit smoking.”

“You quit? That’s wonderful,” Allison exclaimed, “Both of you?”

“Yup,” Merle said with pride.

“That’s the best news you could have given me today, the best!” She said, “Alright Daryl, you’re all set, want some crackers?” She said as she hung the bag of medicine and watched the drops in the chamber of the IV with her watch.

“No thanks,” He answered.

“You sure? They’re graham crackers.” Allie said with a wink, “We don’t have any chocolate or marshmallows, though.”

“Maybe later, I think I’m gonna just close my eyes for a little while.” He said pulling his baseball cap down over his eyes.

“Ok,” She replied, “I’ll be back.”

Daryl closed his eyes and Merle looked up from his book as she walked to the sink and washed her hands before going back to the nurse's station and talking to Maggie. Maggie took care of the other side of the room, and they didn’t have much contact with her, but she seemed nice enough. She took Merle’s joke well, and he liked that in a person.

“Oh, hey Daryl you're missing it she’s leaning over the desk and oh look at that…”

Daryl’s eyes shot open, and his cap fell onto his chest as he struggled to sit up, Merle let out a cackling laugh, “Gotcha!”

“You’re an ass,” Daryl mumbled and closed his eyes again; he had been thinking about bonfires and tattoos and what it would be like to have her sitting next to him by that fire.

“I know, but that got your attention, and I’m glad to know you’re still you,” Merle said putting his feet up on the recliner Daryl was laying on.

“Don’t feel like it sometimes.” He replied.

“I know, but it’s going to be better, a few more times doing this and then you can get on with your life, take that girl out on a date.” Merle motioned towards Allie who was whispering to Maggie at the desk. “I bet she’d like a ride on the bike, that one has a wild streak, you mark my words.”

“You got rocks in your head,” Daryl said, “I’m taking a nap, stop fantasizing your crazy shit.”

Merle looked over at him to make another comment, but Daryl was already asleep.

 

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Allie had weekends off and usually kept to herself, she liked to read and watch old movies in her spare time, things that would keep her mind off the job. Sometimes it was too much for her, and she could never let that be known while she was caring for her patients.

Some of them weren’t going to make it; it was a fact of life, and a heavy burden to carry. But she always kept her nurse face on, the face that told people they were safe with her, that she would try to help them as best she could.

But she worried about them, most of them were in the fight for their lives, and that was a scary prospect for just about anyone. On weekends she relaxed, did yoga, ran, hung out with her cat and recharged so that she could give her best to those in her care.

Her mind drifted to her youngest patient Daryl, and she hoped he was doing alright this weekend. The week before it had hit him like a ton of bricks which was usually how it went. But he was going to be okay, he was young and strong and a fighter.

His cancer was not a death sentence, just a bump in the road for him; others were not so blessed.
She had given him a copy of ‘Fear Nothing’ by Dean Koontz the last time she had seen him, and it was a story about a man with an unusual disease, but so inspiring. She hoped he would get the inspiration that she had gotten from that book. It was important in recovery to be occupied with positive things.

Plus, his brother’s support made a bigger difference than either of them ever knew, someone with strong family ties always did much better.

On Sunday she made the obligatory call to her mother because it was the right thing to do. There wasn’t any love really between them, that was ruined long ago. Allie had left for college at 17 and never lived with her family again, instead choosing to take the travel position in Georgia rather than stay in New Jersey.

She had only seen them once since she moved and that was because they felt obligated to make the trip south. She would have been happier if they had just stayed home, their presence hurt her more than it helped and finally her best friend Tara had to take her to her apartment to get away from them.

She didn’t need their bullshit on the worst day of her entire life.

Sometimes her brother called her or texted, and she longed for a closer relationship with him like the Dixon brothers had. Maybe one day that would happen, but she doubted it. After the phone call to her mother, she met Tara and a few girlfriends for lunch, a must after a conversation with her mother, Maria.

Then later, she and Tara spent the day shopping and talking.

Life was good to her here, and she didn’t regret the move. Even though the move also brought tragedy into her life so dark that she still woke up in terror from it at night sometimes.

Later she walked down the street with her friend Tara, and they did some Christmas shopping as the sun went down on a chilly day. Tara lived in the apartment building next to hers, and they became fast friends after they saw each other jogging the same trail behind their buildings day after day.

Tara was a police officer and worked the same kind of crazy hours that Allison did. They saw each other as often as possible, though and enjoyed each other’s company.

“I’m glad you came out today. I can’t remember the last time we saw you.” Tara said as the came to the door of a coffee shop.

“Been busy I guess.” Alison shrugged.

“Everything ok,” Tara asked.

“Sure,” Allison replied as they walked into the coffee shop.

Tara rolled her eyes as they sat down at the closest table, Allison would say she was fine if her hair was on fire, and Tara knew she hadn't been fine in a long time.

Soon a waiter came over, and they said hello to him, they were regulars and knew him, his name was Eugene.

“Haven’t seen you girls here in a while, how have you been?”

“Doing fine, Eugene,” Tara replied, “And you?”

“Doing fine,” He answered almost mechanically and not making eye contact, but they knew him well enough to know that was just his way.

“Good,” Allie said with a smile.

“The usual?” He asked, and they both nodded, while he went to fetch their coffee Tara and Allison fell into an easy conversation.

“So, how’s work going?” Allison asked.

“Not too bad, luckily,” Tara answered.

“And your hot-headed partner?”

“Shane is okay, Rick set him straight on that, and he’s calmed down quite a bit. He just can’t stand the way people are these days, it’s like common sense, and the law means nothing, and he just can’t wrap his head around it.”

“I get that, I really do, but at the end of the day all I care about is that he’s got your back,” Allison said as Eugene place their coffee and a plate of cookies in front of them. “And he keeps his itchy trigger finger in check.”

“The cookies are on me, you both look hungry,” He said without hesitation.

“Thanks, Eugene,” Tara said, “And yes, he has my back, he’s from Atlanta, and things are different there, but he’s adjusting. Now, tell me about you.”

“Not much to tell,” She said, and Tara made a small face as she sipped her coffee, she hadn’t brought this up in a long time, but she was going to today.

“It's been over two years,” Tara said and watched her friend closely for a reaction, “Zack would want you to get on with your life.”

“I know that,” Allison muttered, and still she could see his face as he kissed her goodbye that morning and neither of them knew it would be the last time they saw each other.

“It's not your fault you had to work and couldn’t go, and thank God, or maybe you wouldn’t be here right now,” Tara said, and it was true, the accident was horrible, Zack’s car was pulverized by a Mack truck on the freeway. She and Shane had been on the scene, but she spared Allison all those details.

It was bad enough she had to bury her husband with a closed casket.

Zack, who had also been a nurse, and Allison’s high school sweetheart, had been going to visit his sister and her kids for the weekend, but instead, his life ended.

“Isn’t there anyone you would be interested in around here,” Tara asked, “He wouldn’t want you to be alone forever.”

“I’m not ready yet, but someday I will be,” She said looking down at her hands; she had just taken her wedding ring off a few months ago, and they had only been married for five months when he died.

“I worry about you,” Tara murmured.

“And I worry about you, so we’re even.”

“There’s no one?” Tara persisted, “Alisha has a brother I could…”

“No,” Allie replied, “No blind dates,” She leaned forward meeting Tara’s eyes, “Listen, I’ll tell you a secret ok, so you’ll get off my back.”

“Yay,” Tara said with a clap of her hands, “I love secrets.”

“You can’t tell anyone, cause it's unprofessional and I’m embarrassed,” Allie murmured.

“Dude, I’m your best friend, it's going in the vault,” Tara said as she pointed to her head, “There’s no judgment here, you know that, now spill it, spill about this dirty laundry you got.”

“There’s this patient of mine; we have so much in common…”

“So you noticed a man?” Tara said with glee, “Oh, tell me more, is he very sick?”

“He is, but he’ll recover,” Allie replied.

“More, is he cute?” Tara asked, “How old is he? What’s his name?”

“I can’t tell you his name Tara, HIPPA,” Allie said, and Tara nodded understanding, she knew the rules of confidentiality, she had similar rules at her job.

“His brother brings him in every week, on Friday; he’s just a nice guy, they both are,” She said, “I like him.”

“Yeah, yeah, he’s nice, I get it, but what does he look like?” Tara said, “I need details, this is a monumental event. I thought you’d be going to a nunnery.”

“Oh come on,” Allie laughed, “I’m not that bad.”

“Yeah, you are,” Tara smiled, “So come on detail, details.”

“He has blonde hair and blue eyes, my age, well a few years younger.”

“Body?” Tara inquired, with a raise of her eyebrows.

Allison turned red as the tablecloth on the table before them, “It’s nice.” She whispered to Tara’s utter delight.

“Alright, I know it's not cool for anything to go on now, but after this guy is done with treatment you better get his number,” Tara exclaimed.

“I can’t do that,” Allie said, “It’s…”

“It’s nothing, promise me you’ll at least be friends with the guy, there’s no rule about that,” Tara said, her eyes merry and bright, “Ohhh, ohhh, even better friends with benefits, get some while you’re at it.”

“You aren’t right,” Allie laughed at the very idea that she could ever sleep with someone with no strings. Tara was joking anyway, because she lived with her long-term girlfriend, Alisha. Friends with benefits was way out of her wheelhouse too.

“And neither are you, that’s why we get along so good,” Tara said raising her coffee cup up to her. Allie clicked her cup against Tara’s and laughed, she had no intention of doing anything Tara said, but it was nice to feel alive again. She’d felt dead inside for so long now.

Chapter Text

After the fifth dose, Daryl was sick again; he barely made it into the house after the chemo before he was flat on the floor. Merle had helped him up the stairs but Daryl wanted to walk inside himself, and Merle needed to get to work anyway.

Daryl was shot out again, and he wouldn’t be able to make it to his bed, so he laid down right where he stood.

When Andrea came out of the bathroom and saw him lying on the living room floor, she was startled, but she knew now just to get a blanket and pillow for him and cover him up.

Later, after Merle got back from work, Daryl was well enough to sit out on the deck in a lounge chair. Andrea fussed over him most of the night and Merle cooked a meal that he tried to eat. Eating was hit or miss now, and Merle worried that he was losing weight.

He would ask Allie the next time about getting Boost, he had seen it in the store, and it looked like something that would bring up Daryl’s calorie intake.

Just when they thought they had turned a corner, the sickness was right back again, but there was an end in sight, and they tried not to lose sight of that.

After dinner, Merle and Andrea sat at the table out on the deck, and Daryl dozed in the lounge chair. They lit candles, the firepit and Tiki torches and just talked quietly together. It was a warm night for December, and that was one of the perks of living in the south. There was a warm breeze blowing through the trees, and in the distance, they could hear Andrea’s wind chimes.

It was peaceful and serene.

“Hey brother,” Merle called to Daryl when he saw his eyes open in the darkness, Daryl didn’t reply, but Merle persisted, “I know you’re awake, I got a question.”

No answer from Daryl, but he started to stir and sit up. “Go ahead, I know you’re gonna ask no matter what.”

“Allie,” Merle started.

“What about her,” Daryl snapped. But in reality, he had been thinking about her while he was laying there in the chair. If he could pick out a perfect girl, she would be it. She had it all and pushed all his buttons, beauty, brains and a banging body that he could see even under the scrubs she wore.

He thought about her a lot. Tonight, with the heat of the fire pit on him and a warm blanket, he could imagine she was laying there with him.

“You sure you ain't interested in her?” Merle said, “Cause I think she likes you.”

“You’re crazy,” Daryl replied even though that was a lie. The truth was he was so sick, and felt weak; he’d noticed so many changes in his body from the medications already.

There was no way she’d be into a man like him, even before cancer. They were miles apart socially, and now he didn’t feel like a man at all.

“Not kidding, you see how she always makes sure you have something to eat and drink every time we go there, she’s sweet on you.”

“That’s her job you dumbass.” Daryl snapped back, “She does that for everybody there.”

“Yeah, but she always takes the time to talk to us, I think you should go for it.” Merle said and turned to Andrea, “You took him for fluids that day, what did you think?”

“She’s a sweet girl, very caring,” Was all Andrea would say.

Merle turned and winked at Andrea with a smirk on his face. She knew that look and sighed to herself; Merle was about to poke a snake.

“Well, if you ain't interested, I’m gonna bring Axel over to meet her, he likes nurses he said.”

“Don’t you fuckin dare,” Daryl said pulling himself up higher in the chair in a rage now, “I will kill him and you!”

“Yeah,” Merle said, “That’s what I thought.”

“You're a real dick; ya know that?” Daryl growled from his chair.

“Yeah, and life is short, as we both know, stop wasting time,” Merle muttered.

“Fuck off,” Daryl said, but then he quickly apologized.

“It's alright brother; I just want the best for you.”

“I know,” Daryl said, “I’m trying.”

Then he closed his eyes again and went back to dreamland where she waited and where he could kiss her like he wanted to so badly.

Merle nodded, it was a start.

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Week six came and went, and he wasn’t sick, he finally got to read the book Allie had given him, and he finished it in two days. It was great, and Daryl was just grateful he was able to function. At chemo that week Merle invited Allie to go for some shots of Stoli when Daryl had his last treatment, and to his surprise she accepted.

Sometime in late January or early February, they were going drinking with her.

She also gave him part two of the two book series called “Seize the Night.” He started that book right away, and it was warm enough to be out on the deck to read. He loved to be outside, and when he was feeling up to it, he planned to be outside as much as possible.

He actually felt good, like a switch had been turned on inside of him that day, he felt like good things were coming his way after so much bad.

That night Andrea told Merle some news, and later they told Daryl, he was going to be an uncle that summer. The house was full of good cheer that week and things were looking better and better.

Daryl had never seen Merle happier in his life; there was going to be a baby in the house!

The cop that lived next door had a couple of kids, and he and Daryl had been tight before he got sick. He decided to call Rick the next day and come back to life among the living.

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Lori plopped Judith into Daryl’s lap the next day as they sat outside on the deck with Rick having dinner. Merle had taken Andrea out to celebrate their new baby, but they would stop by later. As if on cue, Judith wrapped her little arms around him and squeezed him tight.

“She’s got quite a grip,” Daryl said rubbing the top of her little head, Judith was 18 months old and the spitting image of Rick. Her big brown eyes were a feature from her mother though and her dark hair, but she was all Rick otherwise, just like her older brother Carl.

“I think she missed you,” Lori said, “We all did, but we understand.”

“Thanks for the casseroles Lori, Andrea wanted me to thank you for weeks now, but I forgot,” Daryl said pointing to his head, “It’s scrambled up there sometimes, so much going on.”

“Hey,” Rick said, “We understand like Lori said and it’s so good that you’re up and around again.”

“For now, “ He replied, “Good days and bad, but I want to hear about what’s been happening with you.”

“Well, did you hear Carl is getting his license?” Rick said with a wince.

“I didn’t have him come by the shop, actually both of you, we have a few used cars back there, and I think there's a Trans Am back there with his name on it,” Daryl said with a grin.

“We will then, I can see him driving one of those,” Rick said nostalgically and looked over at Lori.

“Just like you did,” She said with a smile and sat down next to her husband.

Judith squirmed in Daryl’s arms and settled her head against his chest, her little fingers wound their way around his hair, and to everyone’s surprise, she fell asleep.

“Looks like you’re stuck here for a while,” Rick laughed.

Daryl held the sleeping baby on his lap and realized he hadn’t felt this relaxed since September before the phone call came. He was almost done, it was almost over.

Soon Merle and Andrea were there with a peach pie they had stopped to get, and everyone was eating that, even Daryl with a sleeping Judith on his lap. Lori had offered to take her, but he declined, preferring to hold her.

She had that sweet baby smell and somewhere deep in his heart he hoped one day to hold a child of his own. Daryl allowed himself to think about those things again, to think about living.

“So Rick,” Merle started, “The boy came to see me at the shop, he wants that Trans Am bad, he planning to play Smokey and the Bandit or what?”

Rick and Daryl both laughed because as usual Carl was two steps ahead of them.

“Seems so,” Lori said with a smile.

“Will ya sell it to me on payments Merle?” Rick asked.

“Hell no,” Merle said, “It’s been sitting out there since the old man had the shop, I’d pay you to take it off our hands, your money’s no good.”

“Oh, no we couldn’t,” Lori started, but Merle silenced her with a wave of the hand.

“Please,” Daryl said, “I’ll be happy just seeing the kid driving it.”

“Well, I appreciate that,” Rick replied.

“And we thank Lori cooking food for us every week for months, helping Andrea out, it’s what we do,” Merle said.

“I hear congratulations are in order,” Lori said taking Judith from Daryl’s arms so that she could put her down for the night and Andrea broke out into a big grin.

“The baby is due in July,” She said to Lori and ran her fingers over the slight swell of her stomach.

“It’s so good to have some good news for a change,” Merle said, “Between him feeling better and this I feel like the luckiest man in the world.”

He raised his glass and Rick, Andrea and Daryl clicked glasses in a toast.

“To good friends and good health,” Rick said.

Chapter Text

Tara busted into Allie’s apartment early on a Sunday morning just before Christmas with coffee and cookies compliments of Eugene. Allie had been asleep in bed, but they had the kind of friendship where Tara was totally ok with barging into her room and getting in bed with her.

They had exchanged keys long ago and came and went at each other’s places as they pleased. Allie had never had a friend like Tara before, and she was grateful to know her and her merry disposition. Not too many people could be sad for long if Tara was around.

She made sure to bounce a lot as she invaded her friend's space and then dissolved into a fit of giggles as Allie woke up with a start.

“Holy shit you scared the crap out of me,” Allie said clutching her chest as she sat up in bed with the covers on her lap.

“I was hoping to catch you with a man up in here,” Tara said sitting up and passing her coffee, “But I guess that’s not gonna happen.”

“Better luck next time, now give me that black and white cookie,” She said taking it out of the bag between them, “Where’s Alisha today?”

“She’s working so I’m all yours, I thought we could go to a movie,” Tara said popping a cookie in her mouth. “Or shop, or eat, whatever you want.”

“Let me shower, and I’ll be ready to go, what do ya wanna see?” Allie said as she got up and walked towards the bathroom.

“Suicide Squad,” Tara hollered as Allie turned on the water, “As if you didn’t know.”

“I figured,” Allie said, “I’ll be out in five.”

Luna sidled up to Tara as she sat on the bed drinking coffee and Tara petted her as she waited on Allie to get out of the shower.

“What do ya think Luna, looney?” Tara said, “I think it’s time your Mama stopped hiding, don’t you, yeah you think so too I know it.”

From out of the bathroom, Allie called to her friend, “Luna thinks Aunt Tara is off her rocker ya know?”
“Aunt Tara thinks you need to get laid.” Tara called towards the bathroom, “Luna agrees,” She said picking up the cat and petting her some more.

They spent another day shopping, this time at the mall and went out to lunch, Tara picked up take out, and they took it over to Alisha who was working the dispatch desk at the police station where Tara worked.

That was how they met four years ago, and now they lived together.

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Merle wrapped his arms around Andrea and pulled her close to him on the front porch that same morning and turned to Daryl who was sitting in a chair drinking his coffee. They had all sat there having coffee and enjoying the warm morning sunshine.

“We were thinking of going to the movies this afternoon, wanna come with?” Merle asked him.

“Nah, I told Rick I’d help them today and besides, you two need some time to yourselves,” Daryl answered, “Go on and have fun, I’ll be fine.”

“What if you get tired, or sick?” Andrea asked.

“It's day three. Usually, I start to feel better, and I do, go have some fun together,” He said, “You’ve been busy worrying about me all these months, go on a date.”

“I will if you will brother,” Merle said, and Daryl just rolled his eyes at him, he was never going to let up, that was plain to see.

“You’ll call if you need us right?” Andrea said and persisted until she extracted a promise from him to not overdo things and to keep his cell phone in his pocket at all times.

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Allie and Tara stood at the counter ordering popcorn at the movie theater as Andrea and Merle walked through the door. Andrea noticed her first, even though today she wasn’t wearing a uniform, she had on jeans and a tank top that said 311 on it and a hoodie unzipped. Her hair was down too, it flowed in ringlets down her back, she was striking really, and even Andrea noticed.

Andrea reached over and tapped Merle on the shoulder and pointed discretely towards Allie.

“That’s Daryl’s nurse, Allison isn’t it?” Andrea said, but before she could get the words out, Merle was reaching into his pocket and pulling out his credit card.

As the cashier rang up their items, a large popcorn, soda to share and two boxes of gummy bears, Merle put his card down on the counter.

“I got this,” He said, and Allie turned around because she recognized his voice.

“Oh, Merle, no,” She said, but he wasn’t listening, he just picked the card up and handed it to the cashier.
“Nonsense, it’s my pleasure, Andrea and me,” He said as Andrea joined him at his side, “Least we can do.”

“You don’t need to do anything for me; it’s my pleasure to do my job,” Allie said, but he wasn’t having it.
Merle just shook his head letting her know there was no argument to be had and that he would have his way.

“Thank you Merle, Andrea,” Allie said.

“You are so welcome,” Andrea said.
“Hi,” Tara piped up, “I’m Tara.”

“Hey there Tara, I’m Merle, this is my girl Andrea, your friend here takes care of my brother.” He said as they all greeted each other, “And right now, as we speak he’s laying under a car in my neighbor's driveway working on the guy’s kid’s car. Which I haven’t seen him do in months. So you see popcorn and soda, ain't nothing compared to what you’ve done.”

“He’s doing good this week?” Allie asked.

“Really good and you’re part of that, you girls enjoy the movie, we got to go get our tickets, see ya, Friday Allie.” He said, and then they walked back towards the ticket booth. Tara was hitting her on the arm before they were halfway across the lobby.

“Is that the Friday guy you told me about?”

“Will you shush,” Allie said bringing her finger to her mouth, “Yes, that’s the brother, I told you they were nice.”

Tara stood in place and watched Merle fawning over Andrea and putting his arm around her shoulder as they waited to buy tickets.

“Is the brother as good looking, as charming, cause damn it’s not even my thing, and I wanna swoon,” Tara said.

“Oh for god’s sake,” Allie took her by the arm and led her down the hall towards the theater, “And the brother is better looking.” She said with a laugh as they went into the movie.

333333333333333333333333

“Saw Allie at the movies today, damn that girl cleans up nice,” Merle said with a whistle as he watched Daryl walk across the yard from Rick’s house to theirs.

“What are you going on with?” Daryl said, putting his hand to shield his eyes from the sun.
“Allie, at the movies today, don’t worry she wasn’t with a guy.”

“None of my business if she was, tell me you didn’t do anything to embarrass her?” Daryl said, making his way up the stairs of their front porch.

“Just bought her and her friend, a girl, some popcorn,” Merle said, “Did you know her hair goes almost down to her ass and it's all curly and pretty.”

“Alright,” Daryl turned to him, “I can’t take it anymore, I like her ok? Happy now, I don’t care what her hair looks like, I’d like her anyway, and you already made sure I’ll see her after now, so I don’t know why you won’t just stop already.”

“How many weeks you got left?” Merle asked.

“Five,” Daryl answered.

“You wanna wait that long?” Merle said, “I’m just sayin if you feel good now.”

Daryl could only shake his head, he had wanted to crawl under a rock when Merle asked her to go out with them after his treatment was over, but she had said yes. He made no attempt to hide his smile that day, but he wondered if she was just being nice.

Merle teased them both relentlessly during his treatments, and although he meant well sometimes, he took it too far. She never batted an eye sideways about it, though; she was a good sport, a lot like Andrea.
Allie was a sweet girl, and maybe she just didn’t want to make things weird, so she had agreed. He figured that had to be it.

Deep down inside, cancer or no cancer Daryl was still that kid from the wrong side of town in love with the unreachable prom queen again.

333333333
Allie laid in her bed late that night with Luna next to her, she couldn’t sleep and that happened quite a lot since Zack was gone.

She’d already had a touch of insomnia before he died and after it just got worse, she rarely got to sleep before 1 am most nights and got up at 4:30 am for work Monday through Friday.

She reached into her bedside table and took out a picture of herself and Zack; it was their wedding picture. She had worn a cream colored sheath form fitting wedding dress and veil, and he had worn a black tux, they made a beautiful couple.

They had been so happy and so in love with each other, for so long.

From the first meeting on the first day of Sophomore year in high school, they were together and never left each other’s side from that day forward. They had gone to nursing school together and married when they were 21.

She felt the ache of the loss of him daily and missed him, probably always would somehow. But she knew he was never coming back; she knew that she had to open herself up to new people and new experiences.

It was the guilt over Zack and the professional boundary that kept her from trying for what she wanted. Merle was not wrong about her. She would love to know Daryl outside of work.

“I love you, I miss you so much,” She said to the picture as she rolled over to her stomach, “But I know you don’t want me to be this way, because if it was reversed, I would feel the same.”

No one answered her of course, and after a while, she got up and put the picture back in the album on the shelf in her hall closet.

Luna was at her feet as she walked into the kitchen to make a cup of herbal tea, the same one she had recommended to Daryl for sleep all those weeks ago.

Allie stood at the kitchen window looking out at the moon and thinking about new possibilities, it would be Christmas soon and as she sipped her tea she realized she didn’t dread it so much this year.

In the little house on the other side of town Daryl sat reading the book she gave him propped up on pillows in bed.

He stopped for a second and looked over at clock on the night stand, it was 12:45 am, as he looked out the window at the moon in the sky, he wondered what she was doing.

He hoped she was sleeping peacefully that night.

Chapter Text

Merle had news to tell the next time he brought Daryl for chemo and Allie and Maggie both excitedly congratulated him. His grin was a mile wide, and it was evident he was a man in love and so excited to be a father. It was always wonderful when people brought good news to them; sometimes it could be a place of great sadness, but not on this day.

Today was a good day.

“So,” Allie said as she walked with Daryl to his usual spot, “It’s you who’s gonna be an uncle.”

“Yeah, well, he’s gonna be waiting a while for me to return the favor.” Daryl laughed.

“Say, Allie,” Merle said as he took his usual chair, “Besides going to the movies with the lovely Tara, what do you do when you ain’t here?”

“Hmm,” She hummed, “I read, listen to lots of music and hang out with my cat.”

“You need a life, girl,” Merle said with a grin.

Allie laughed, “You aren’t the first person to tell me that.”

“I imagine I’m not,” Merle said good-naturedly, and she smiled.

“I’ll be right back guys.”

And then she was off to get Daryl’s juice and medication.

“Can you stop for one second?” Daryl groaned.

“Don’t think so brother, she’s the one,” Merle replied, and then he opened up the book he brought to read that day, The Great Gatsby.

“Allie, you make this so much easier for me,” Daryl said as he looked up at Allie after everything died down with Merle’s news and Merle’s assessment of her life. She was changing the dressing on his PICC line, and because he could only see her eyes since she was wearing a mask, he noticed right away the dark green of her eyes. “I want to thank you, for everything.”

“It’s my extreme pleasure, “She answered, and he believed her, she loved her job, anyone could see that, “And you are so welcome, Daryl.”

“Still, you make it so much better,” He said, and then wanted to suck the words right back into his mouth, it sounded so stupid to him. He felt like a teenager asking a girl on a date, the last time he had done that he was sixteen.

It was Christmas Eve, and he was tempted to invite her to their house for dinner the next day. But, he knew she wouldn’t accept because she would feel like she couldn’t because he was her patient.

“Seven weeks down Daryl, you got this.” She said with a smile and a pat of her hand on his.

“What are you doing for Christmas Allie?” God he loved the sound of her name on his lips, he could say it every day and never get tired of it.

“Working.” And that answered his question.

“You’re always working, ain’t you got a family?”

She shook her head, and it looked like she wanted to say more, but was unsure. They had pushed the nurse-patient boundaries somewhat with small talk about their lives, with a lot of help from Merle but she never felt uncomfortable nor did he. Finally, she answered him, “I don’t speak to them, they’re in NJ.”

She removed the mask and gloves after she finished the dressing change but remained to talk to him before moving to her next patient.

“I’m sorry,” Daryl said, and his eyes were soft, pulling her in. She was so kind and so alone, and he did want her, as much as he said different, and he longed to kiss her.

“Oh, please don’t be, I’m not.” She replied, and Daryl raised his eyebrows encouraging her to continue. “My father is gone and let’s just say my mother isn’t really a mother.”

“Neither of my parents was so good either, ain’t you got anyone? I mean I got Merle, pain in the ass that he is sometimes, I know he loves me. Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

“One brother, in Poughkeepsie, NY,” She shook her head, “Just too busy with work anyway.”

“I know, you’re always here. That ain't no life, though, trust me on that. Getting cancer gave me a whole new spin on what life should be like,” He said, “I’m gonna try not to waste it.”

“I think we could all use a little bit of that don’t you think,” She said with a smile and touched his hand again, “And don’t you worry about me, I won't work too hard.”

3333333333333333333333

It was New Year’s Eve and snowing lightly. Chemo had been a few days ago because of the holiday, and he was off schedule. He had been sick, but it didn’t last as long as the other times, and he felt good enough to drive that night.

Daryl had gone for a Neupogen shot two days before and was rehydrated by IV at that point as well, and he felt like he was on top of the world. As he drove down the street past the hospital, he thought about Allison, and what she might be doing that night, surely she didn’t work Christmas and New Year’s, he hoped she was out having fun.

She deserved it.

A few miles up the road and he saw an old Jag pulled over on the side of the street with its hazards flashing. It was an XJ6, he was sure by the rear lights, and those cars were trouble. Standing to the side, dialing a cell phone was Allison.

She looked up and saw him, and a slow smile crept over her lips.

“Daryl, you’re driving? Feeling good?” She said, forgetting about the phone and her car as she approached his window.

He nodded, threw the truck in park and got out. “Car trouble?”

“Yeah, Christine here is a temperamental girl.” She said.

“Let me call Merle, he’s got a tow truck; we can fix it for you.”

“Oh no, I couldn’t,” Allison began to shake her head, but Daryl waved her away.

“You can and you will, you need a ride somewhere?” He said, trying not to sound so bossy, but making his point because he wanted to do something for her for a change.

“Just leaving work, I was going home.” She replied. “It isn’t too far; I was going to walk.”

“I’ll take you wherever you need to go; you can’t walk out here in the dark, it’s New Year’s all the amateurs are out tonight.”

“Daryl,” She laughed, “We’re out.”

“So we are.” He laughed and remembered that most of the times that he had laughed lately had been with her.

“Where were you going? I don’t want to keep you.”

“I was going to get some beer for Merle and me, ain’t got anywhere to be.” He opened the passenger side door, “Come on at least let me buy you a coffee.”

“What about Merle’s beer?” She climbed into the truck and settled her backpack on the bench seat between them. The radio was playing, “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen and she liked that song a lot.

((((((((((Late at night, I’m taking you home, I say I wanna stay, you say you wanna be alone. You say you don’t love me. Girl, you can’t hide your desire, cause when we kiss, mmmm fire.)))))

“He’s got to come to tow your car; he can get it,” Daryl said getting into the truck and shutting his door.

“Are you sure,” She answered.

“Yeah, I got this,” He said looking over at her in the dark.

“Didn’t peg you as a Springsteen fan,” She said with a grin.

“Don’t everyone love the boss,” He replied taking out his phone.

She watched as he dialed Merle's number and told him where to get Allie’s car.

“He’s gonna come get your car and tow it to the shop; it’s probably the alternator, those cars eat them like candy, he and I will fix it for you.”

“No, Daryl.”

“Allie, do you know how much parts cost for that thing?” He said, “Those older cars are a bitch, not to mention it’s a Jag which is a whole other set of issues. Please let me help you for a change.”

Allison looked over at him, and she couldn’t say no, he wanted to do this for her so badly and she understood it.

“Alright but ignore the check engine light, that’s always on.”

“Typical for that model, how are the windows?” He laughed.

“They go up and down when they want to, and the heat only works in the summer.” She said with a giggle. “No AC except maybe now cause it’s cold, that’s why I call her Christine.”

“Haunted, every damn one of them,” Daryl said turning to see if there was any traffic coming and pulled out. “So, coffee?”

“Sure.”

“Why do you drive that old thing anyway?” Daryl asked.

“I was my husband’s,” She said, “I guess I just can’t let it go yet…” Her voice trailed off, and Daryl just knew.

“Did he..?” Daryl asked cautiously, not wanting to pry or make her sad.

“Yes, he died,” Allie answered, “It will be three years this summer.”

“I’m so sorry Allie,” Daryl whispered.

Now he knew what made her look so sad sometimes; life had treated her the same way as it treated him.
She became a widow at 22, Daryl just couldn’t wrap his head around that.

333333333333333333333333

They sat and talked for hours as if they were friends out for the night, and maybe now they were. She told him more about Zack and Daryl opened up about Chelsey, who broke his heart when they were 20 by telling him he wasn’t good enough for her. They had dated for four years, and she just left him like he was dirt under her feet.

“I got left cause my ex decided she didn’t want a man with grease under his nails anymore,” Daryl said.

Allison disregarded that girl’s opinion and told him so; he was more than good enough for any lucky girl that got him.

“What’s a little dirt? ” She laughed, “You know I touch a lot of gross stuff, that’s what soap is for, dirty hands never bother me.”

Her words made Daryl smile, and he wondered if she actually believed that, he hoped so. Merle had been telling him for years and yet coming from her held so much more weight with him.

Daryl was saddened by what had happened to her husband, but she coped well it seemed, although he could see a lingering sadness in her. He had seen it before a few times, at chemo, when he looked at her when she was unguarded and when she didn’t have the nurse face on that she wore for him and Merle.

Life had not been kind to her either, but somehow it bonded them closer that night.

Coffee turned into dinner at the only diner that was open that night and just before midnight they pulled up to Allison’s house, and he walked her to her door. They stood there talking and somewhere in the distance fireworks were being lit off.

“Must be New Year’s,” Allison said as they looked up at the lights in the sky.

Daryl gazed at her in the moonlight and was overcome, not for the first time, with the burning desire to kiss her.

It was a new feeling, lately, the desire to be close to a woman. His past experiences, after Chelsey had been quick fucks behind whatever bar he was at or in his truck; he’d never slept next to a female before.

He’d never wanted to kiss anyone again after Chelsey, but Allie was changing all of that.

She looked up at him, and he met her eyes, there was an electricity in the air. It was different between them all of the sudden, changed, and he swallowed hard.

“Allison can I…”

“Kiss me ...” She replied in a breathless whisper.

Then her lips were on his, and she tasted so sweet to him, just like he expected she would. He groaned as she wound her fingers around his jacket and pulled him closer. Daryl swore he heard more fireworks then, or maybe it was the feel of her against him.

For months he had felt like he was in some kind of limbo, poked and prodded, cut up and pulled apart, but this felt good, better than good.

Daryl’s hands slid down to her hips, and he pulled her closer, deepening the kiss. Allison willingly surrendered to him in a way that made his heart like to beat right out of his chest. The feel of her tongue against his sent heat right down through his belly to his dick, and he moaned out loud.

She did have the piercing Merle was going on about, and it felt incredible, and he wasn’t telling Merle about it either.

“Come inside.” She breathed out before his lips were on hers again, he couldn’t get enough of her kisses and somewhere in the back of his mind he knew he was in deep shit.

Chapter Text

They stumbled into her apartment as she opened the door and pulled him by the hand. It was dark inside, but neither of them noticed. Allie closed the door, and they looked at each other for a moment, he released her hand and brought his fingers up to the side of her face, touching the hair that was spilling out of the bun she wore.

Daryl looked into her eyes and saw something he had never seen before, complete acceptance, and it was like a drug. Never one to take drugs or drink much, Daryl was high on this feeling she gave him.

There were no words spoken between them, and there didn’t need to be. Daryl kissed her again, and their feet skittered across the floor as he backed Allison up towards the nearest hard surface, she leaned back against the wall and pulled him to her.

Allison didn’t turn on the lights, but she hit the play button on the stereo next to her and Daryl smiled when he heard ‘Safe and Sound’ by Rebelution come on.

(((((((((When we come down, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll be dreaming safe and sound, you better know why, oh baby that’s all I got, oh baby that’s all I got. Is this the kinda sound you wanna hear, is this the kinda vibe you wanna feel. Well, I’m the type of guy you’ll never fear.)))))

“Rebelution, excellent song,” He said with a smile against her lips as he imagined backing her towards the couch not too far away from them. He didn’t, they remained in the foyer, pressed against each other and he was trying to let her take the lead, but he hoped this was going to end up with them horizontal on the couch, or better yet, in her bed.

Daryl’s mind was filled with a million questions, and he was unbelievably aroused already just from a few kisses, which surprised him since he hadn’t had these kinds of feelings in such a long time. He hadn’t been this close to a woman he cared about in years.

“Didn’t take you for a reggae girl.” He said between kisses, mirroring her earlier question to him about Bruce Springsteen.

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me.” She whispered as she raked her fingers through his hair.

“I wanna know everything.” He breathed out against her lips. Merle weekly interrogations about her life had not gone unnoticed; they had just fueled his desire to find out more.

He felt alive again, for the first time since September and maybe before that. He could feel the blood pumping through his veins, and his heart beat behind his ears again as if it had stopped all those months ago.

Both of their jackets landed on the floor, followed by their gloves as their hands traveled over each other. Daryl ran his right hand over her hip, up her side and captured her hands over her head, as his lips made their way to her neck. Allie felt his teeth nipping at her collarbone, and she groaned softly, closing her eyes and then pulling him by the hips to get him as near as possible.

He pressed against her, trying to get closer as their lips met with more fire than either of them had felt before. He couldn’t get close enough to her, and it was evident she felt the same when she wrapped her leg around him and pulled him to her.

This was all consuming and life altering, like so many things in both of their lives.

The song ended, and Daryl smiled against her lips as he heard the next song, “Love Train” by The O’Jays, but he didn’t take his mouth away.

“You definitely have diverse music taste,” He said not moving from her lips and kissed her again, he couldn’t get enough after waiting for so long.

“This is my happy mix,” Allie replied not taking her lips from his for a second, it would be too long. She wanted him, his lips, his hands, all of him and had for a long time. Right or wrong, she was in too deep already and didn’t want to be rescued.

They were up against the door to her hall closet now, and every time they moved it creaked, as both of them shed the rest of their winter outerwear.

Allie pulled the scarf off that she was wearing and it landed on the floor next to their jackets, where Luna had laid down like there was nothing at all going on.

Daryl’s scarf was next and landed on the ground next to where Luna had parked herself. Then they were right back on each other like they had been separated for years.

“Happy mix, huh? Sure is making me happy right now,” He said, pressing his lips to hers and kissed her again. The closet door creaked again as he brought both his hands to her hips and pulled her closer.

Allie’s hands ran up his back and held on tight as his lips traveled over her throat, hot and wet.

((((((((People all over the world, join hands start a love train, love train. People all over the world, join hands start a love train, love train.))))))

Slowly they made it along the wall until they were on the couch; his lips were like fire along the skin of her neck as he sucked softly and ran his hands over her back. Everywhere he touched her, with his hands and lips burned and soon Allie was on fire.

It had been so long since she had been touched this way by another person before. She missed it; she missed the closeness and affection and the feeling.

She moved closer to him, slid her hands over his shoulders like she had wanted to do forever and touched the skin under his collar, wishing his shirt wasn’t in the way.

Another woman might have stopped right there, and collected herself, thought about what was happening, but she was not another woman, and she wanted what she wanted.

Daryl slipped his hands under the back of her sweater and made slow circles along her skin that left trails of goosebumps along their path. She shivered and ran her hands down his back.

(((((Please don’t miss this train at the station, because if you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you.))))

“Tell me everything.” He sighed into her ear as she shrugged out of her cardigan sweater.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, a little voice was telling her that this wasn’t exactly appropriate, but as she looked at this man, she silenced that voice quickly. It was rare for her to be attracted to anyone and before tonight she had not allowed herself the luxury before.

She couldn’t stop this if she wanted to and she didn’t, it had been coming for a long time and would not be denied any longer.

“Everything,” He said again.

“I will; I will,” Allie whispered like a prayer, pulling her hair out of the bun it was in and letting it flow over her shoulders. His eyes grew wide at the sight of her; he had never seen her hair down. He reached for it and dug his hands into it, it was as soft as he had imagined and she smelled so good.

“I want you to know me,” She breathed out against his neck, and he pulled her onto his lap, “I want to know you.”

She swung one leg over either side of his hips and Daryl moaned out loud at the feel of her against his throbbing dick. The material of her scrubs was so thin, and she felt so good against him. She moved her hips slightly, and already he was ready to explode.

“Is this ok?” Daryl asked her, not taking his hands from where they landed on her hips, his thumbs dancing over her skin farther up her back, he wanted to touch her everywhere.

“Yes, yes,” She breathed out, and then Allie sat back and looked into his eyes; he was sure she could feel how hard he was. “Are you ok?”

“I’ve never been more ok in my life.” He said gazing into her eyes, watching as she pulled her scrub shirt over her head revealing a black tank top and dropped the scrubs on the floor.

“Me either,” She said.

Then her hands were on the buttons of his flannel shirt swiftly unbuttoning it, revealing a thermal shirt underneath which covered and protected the PICC line, she wouldn’t take that shirt off, but she pulled the flannel shirt he wore over it off.

She smiled then, remembering that Daryl once said he always cut the sleeves off of all his shirts and hated long sleeves, which were a necessity now. How good that must look on a hot summer day, and she grinned to herself.

“I don’t do this, bring men home, especially…” He cut her off with another kiss; he didn’t want her to feel like she had to explain herself to him, she didn’t, as far as he was concerned.

“Shhh, I know, I know you, you don’t have to explain anything to me, and we don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, ok?” He murmured, looking right into her eyes again. Then he watched her eyes slide down to the outline of the PICC through his shirt.

“We should take it slow…” Allie whispered.

Daryl nodded solemnly. “You’re right, much as I like to think I’m 100%, I’m not.”

“Ok, but,” Allie stood up and held her hand out to him, “Come to my bed.”

Chapter Text

The room gleamed with light from the many windows and the moon that shined in as they slowly undressed each other and lay down on the bed. It was dark but they could see each other if they were close together, which was where they wanted to be now.

Allison kept her tank top on and panties and helped him out of the thermal shirt carefully. She was happy to see he also wore the half sleeve protector for the PICC and left that alone.

“It’s real sexy ain’t it.” He laughed as she lifted the sleeve just to make sure the dressing was secure and free of redness or swelling. Allison counted the centimeter marks on the PICC and then was satisfied that all was well there. She responded with a laugh of her own and lay down next to him.

“Incredibly.” Allison deadpanned, “We have to be careful,” She said touching his arm again to let him know what she was thinking and that it was serious.

“I’m not gonna break Allison, I promise.”

“I know,” She answered.

“I really wanna kiss you some more.” He turned towards her. Kissing had never been part of any encounters he had before, but the desire to kiss her and taste her was overwhelming, it had been all he could think about sometimes, “I’m not gonna lie.”

Never mind the other things he had thought about doing with her. He’d felt like a jerk because she was his nurse, but apparently, she didn’t believe that about him at all. Apparently, she had some thoughts of her own about him.

“I really wanna kiss you some more too,” She said with a sweet smile.

“If that’s all you want tonight, I’m ok with that, whatever you want, ok?” He said, “It’s all up to you.”

“More kisses,” She said pressing her lips to his, “And we’ll see what happens.”

The kisses turned into roaming hands, and she didn’t object when he pulled her onto her side and ran his hands over her back. They were up against each other, and she could feel how hard he was, but she worried about him exerting himself too much.

Still, she couldn’t keep her hands to herself. Her touch sent shivers all through his body, and although he had always denied himself this kind of closeness, now he craved it and prayed she wouldn’t stop.

Daryl reached under one of her legs and pulled it over his to get more friction and ease his aching dick, but this time it was she who moaned as her lips traveled over his neck. He slid his hand over her breast through her shirt and then she was pulling it off and tossing it on the floor before his eager eyes.

“You are so beautiful,” He said unable to take his eyes off of her.

Slowly he brought his hand back up over her breast, and she let out the softest of moans.

“God, that feels good.” She whispered reaching her small hand between them and rubbed it along the length of him. He moaned again and didn’t care if Merle would think he was a bitch, it felt good, better than good.

“You don’t gotta Allison,” Daryl moaned, but it was clear he wanted it.

“I want to,” She cooed slipping her hand inside his boxers and bringing her lips to his again, “I wanna make you feel good.”

“You’re doing great then…” His voice trailed off and his eyes closed as he felt her hand on him again.

Daryl’s eyes almost rolled back into his head when she started moving her hand back and forth and trailed wet kisses over his neck. He knew he wasn’t going to last long; it had been a long time since even he touched his dick since he had been sick.

None of that mattered, and he gave himself over entirely to the feeling she was giving him, and he bucked his hips against her instinctively, lost in the sensory overload that was happening to him at that moment.
The music was overtaking him, combined with her touch, and the song resonated through his ears as he started to lose control. It was too much and not enough all at the same time.

He had just been getting through life before, and now he was living it. This woman, with the eclectic music and hidden wild streak, had captured his heart.

(((((((((((((Never opened myself this way, life is ours we live it our way, oh these words I don’t just say, and nothing else matters.)))))))))))))

She rolled him onto his back and lay across his chest not stopping, and watching as his breath hitched and he panted her name over and over again.

“Oh, god damn Allie, oh fuck yes!” He moaned, clutching the sheets on either side of him in his fists trying to hold on just a little bit longer, but it was becoming useless. He could feel it coming fast like a freight train, and there were no brakes to push.

(((((((((((Never cared for what they do, never cared for what they know, and I know.))))))

Allison stopped once to lick her hand, and when she replaced it, he almost levitated off the bed. Words tumbled out of his mouth that even he didn’t recognize in gasps as the hardest orgasm he had ever felt hit him and seemed to last forever.

She was untroubled that he had cum all over his stomach and hers, and she grinned up at him as his breathing returned to normal.

“God, you 're incredible,” He said, wrapping his good arm around her.

Daryl kissed her and reached for her with tentative hands. “I wanna return the favor,” He whispered into her ear and captured her earlobe between his teeth. His hand found her breast, and he slid his fingertips against her nipple, while his mouth found its way down her neck and sucked on the tender skin there. “I wanna get you off.”

He knew she had just been about to say that he didn’t have to but it was a done deal now.

It overjoyed him that now she was the one breathing heavily and he was the one making her do it. Week after week sitting there with the IV in his arm watching her, dreaming of her and she was so much better than he had dared imagine.

Allison responded to him like no one else ever had. Every breath and every sigh from her he committed to memory as he brought his lips down to her breast. He had never wanted to do these things for anyone but her; he wanted so much more.

His lips closed gently around her nipple and sucked until she was squirming beneath him and mumbling his name, then he blew hot air across it, and she arched her back.

“Oh Daryl,” She moaned, and to him, it was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard. He was getting tired now, even though he had chemo earlier that week his body was only capable of so much right now, but he wanted to hear her screaming his name.

He nudged her knees apart as he continued trailing his fingers down over her stomach until his hand was between them, like hers had been before, and found her wet, “That’s so fuckin nice Allie.” He drawled.

Allie’s thighs hit the side of the mattress as he slid one finger inside of her and then another and she moaned so loud it sounded like a growl. Her heels dug into the mattress as his fingers moved against her skin. She was tight and sweet, and he longed to find out how sweet she really was, another time he hoped if God was good.

“Oh fuck, oh my god,” She cried out slamming her hand down on the mattress which was great for his ego, “Fuuuuuuuck.”

Daryl thanked God that he had listened to Merle’s yammering all these years, because when he wanted to, like right now, at least he knew his way around a woman’s body.

“Cum for me baby, come on Allie, give it to me,” Daryl whispered in the darkness as he circled her clit with his finger, wishing he didn’t have the damn PICC in his arm so he could taste her, but moving around with that in the dark was risky. For now, he would settle for using his fingers to send her into oblivion, and she was heading that way fast as lightning. “So good,” He murmured in the dark.

Allie was thrashing on the bed, her head moving from side to side and she could feel it coming, he didn’t stop, and she met his eyes as he brought his head back up to her face.

“Do it,” He murmured not breaking eye contact with her. Her pupils were blown wide now, and she looked at him like he was her sun and stars.

“Oh, god,” She moaned arching her back, he had lit her on fire with his hands and his words, and she was burning alive in the sweetest way possible.

“Do it, do it,” He whispered, “I want it.”

Then his words and fingers were pushing her over the edge, and she was falling and weightless under his touch. “That’s it, that’s my beautiful girl.”

Later, as he held her tight to him, she whispered in the dark, “You’re pretty incredible yourself.”

Chapter Text

“Tell me something about you that no one knows,” Daryl said as they faced each other in bed later that night. He ran his hands over her back, and she was touching his cheek as if she didn’t think he was real, or really there.

There was still music playing in the background, and it was soft and soothing. “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone, still on her happy mix playlist.

He brushed her hair from her face and swept it behind her ear and smiled at her then he took her hand and just held it in his entwining their fingers. It felt right.

((((((Hey, with it baby cause you’re fine, and you’re mine, and you look so divine)))

They had been laying there talking for a while, but he was getting tired, and Allie could tell. “I already know you cuss like a sailor in bed, which I love.”

Allie’s face burned, but she laughed. There was a lot to tell and a lot she wanted to know about him as well.

“Hmm, well sometimes I don’t sleep well, like you, which is why I was so worried about you sleeping. Luna helps because she cuddles up to me, so I wish I could have more cats, but I can’t here,” She said with a smile, “I love all kinds of music, but you know that already. I love pickles on everything, I hate mayonnaise, and I listen to Metallica every day on my way to work,” Allie said.

“Enter Sandman?” Daryl asked.

“Hell no, Battery,” She said with a grin, and he smiled too, she was full of surprises, the happy playlist, reggae and Metallica, and what else?

“I already know the books you like, tell me something else,” He said eagerly.

“You tell me something,” Allie countered and kissed him softly, “It’s your turn now.”

He couldn’t say no to her; he never would again.

“I love Metallica, I could eat pizza every day of the week, and I hate soda. I would rather be on my bike than just about anywhere else on a warm day. I watch House Hunters every time it's on and that show with the twin brothers.” He said. “I make Merle tape it if I, ya know can’t watch it or whatever.”

“Me too!” She laughed, “Property Brothers, I love them. My friend Tara makes fun of me for it, but I don’t care. She’s into that Zombie show and the one about the hillbillies in Kentucky, I just can’t.”

“I get a lot of good ideas from those shows, Merle and I redid our whole house, and a lot of what we did was from what I watched,” He said, “Also I hate mayonnaise too, it's fucking gross.”

Allie smiled at him.

“I think that’s awesome that you used those ideas, I can’t watch mindless stuff I need to be… I don’t know, learning.” She said.

Daryl gazed at her as she spoke, he was exhausted, but there was so much going through his head now. When he got up that morning, he had never dreamed that this would happen. Even when he had seen her on the side of the street earlier, he never in his wildest dreams thought they would end up here.

But they were and shared so many common traits.

“I really hope this isn’t a one-night stand,” Daryl said suddenly running his hand over her hip, although he had thought it he hadn’t wanted to push her. She had been through a lot like he had and he knew to tread lightly, even if he was ready to propose to her right that second.

“It’s not.” She said fixing her eyes on him.

“I don’t know how I’m going to be able to stop myself from wanting to kiss you when I see you now.” Daryl said as she brushed the hair out of his face and smiled at him, “It’s going to be hard not to touch you like I wanna, won’t be able to keep my hands off of ya now at the hospital.”

“Well, you have to pay extra for that.” She grinned at him.

“You are the sweetest thing that’s ever happened to me.” He said taking her hand and kissing her palm, “As soon as I’m done with this cancer thing…”

“Just get well first, that’s all I care about.” Allie said, “I’m not going anywhere.”

She wasn’t going anywhere, that was enough for him.

“I’m so tired now,” Daryl said with a yawn.

“Me too,” Allie replied.

At the same time, they both sat up, turned their pillows over onto the cold side and then grinned at each other, shaking their heads at how alike they were. They laid back down facing each other in the darkness, and Daryl took Allie’s hand again, it fit, and it felt so right.

“Allie?”

“Yeah,”

“I gotta ask you something alright,” Daryl said.

“Ask me anything you want to,” She answered, meeting his eyes in the darkness.

“Are you afraid to have sex with me, I mean if you don’t want to, that’s different. I understand that if you aren’t ready, but are you afraid something might happen to me?”

“No, “She answered, “It’s just that I care about you, about your well being, but I want to.”

“Good,” He ran his thumbs along her hands, “Cause realistically, I feel fine, and if it’s that bomb, that’s the way I wanna go out anyway.” He said with a grin.

She never laughed so hard in all her life.

“But I’m not sayin that wasn’t a first class hand job, cause it was.” He said and made her laugh even harder.

Soon they fell into a peaceful and contented sleep next to each other, with the music still playing and they were still holding hands.

33333333333

The ringing of the cell phone woke them both up, and Daryl reached for it on the bedside stand not even lifting his head. Allie was wrapped around him like a vine, and he tried not to disturb her but knew it was no use.

The sun was shining in the window but it was still early as far as Daryl could tell.

Before he even said hello he could hear Merle yelling. He held the phone away from his ear with one hand and then looked at his other hand which was holding Allie up against him as the little spoon.

Luna, the cat, was lying across his feet, and they hadn’t even been properly introduced.

He had no time to contemplate the fact that Allie was the first woman he’d shared a bed with and he had reached out to her in his sleep. It was mind boggling to him.

Allie sat up next to him as he spoke to Merle or rather got yelled at by Merle like he was a teenager that missed curfew.

“Hey, slow your roll,” Daryl said into the phone, but Merle just kept yelling. “You knew I was with Allison.”

“Fuck you man, why didn’t you call me, or answer the phone or text?” Merle bellowed, “I’ve been sitting here worried that you were dead somewhere.”

Daryl knew that Merle was exaggerating just a bit.

“I’m alive, ya happy now?”

“No ya fuckhead, you shoulda called me,” Merle yelled.

“I was busy.” He said and looked over at Allie and winked. She turned bright red, and he smiled at how easy it was to make her blush.

“You could have been passed out somewhere and I woulda never known, ya asshole, did you shut off your phone?” Merle screamed, then he stopped his tirade as the dots all connected in his brain, “Wait, Busy? You mean busy, busy?” Merle snickered, “You fucked her didn’t you?”

“No!”

“Bullshit, you did,” Merle said with a merry laugh, “Andrea owes me a pizza.”

“I’m not having this conversation with you.”

“Tell me you at least got a Blowjob?”, Merle continued, “Something?”

“Nope,”

“Come on; I’ve been pimping this thing since the start, at least let me know it wasn’t all in vain.”

“I’m hanging up Merle,” Daryl said and put the phone down as Merle still continued to talk. Daryl could hear his voice yelling “Get it brother” as he hit the end button on his phone and Allie blushed again.

“I think it’s still early, let's go back to sleep.” She said, and he agreed.

Daryl laid back down and faced her then he wrapped his arms around her, and they both fell back to blissful sleep.

Chapter Text

They slept for about an hour after Merle’s call, and then Daryl woke up at the sound of keys in the front door knob, he had ears like a bat from years of hunting with Merle, and he nudged Allie awake. She looked over at the clock that said 12:30, ran her fingers through her hair and sighed.

They had been up till almost 3 am the night before, and no one was going to let them sleep apparently. It was almost comical. Allison rolled over and sat up and shaking her head with a grin.

“It’s Tara, she has keys, she’ll be in here jumping on the bed if I don’t get out there.” She said kissing him quickly, “Prepare to meet the little tornado.”

She was out of bed in a flash and pulled a t-shirt and shorts on to head out towards the living room.

“Hey,” Tara’s voice came from somewhere in the living room as she tossed her keys on a table between the living room and kitchen, “Hey, hey wanna go to a party?”

She stopped short when she saw that Allison was at the end of the hallway in the doorway to her room, wasn’t dressed and the music was still playing on the stereo.

“Hang on Tar,” Allison called down the hall, turned back to Daryl in her room, smiled and then she was out the door.

“What it's almost one, and I know you didn’t go out last night,” Tara said when Allison met her in the living room, “You’re listening to the happy mix.” She observed as the words of a “Sublime” song came over the stereo.

(((((Cause she’s my ruca, I’m barely waiting for my heina))))

“Everything ok,” Tara asked, “Is it happy music because you're sad or happy music because you're happy?”
Allie glanced down the hall at her open bedroom door then at the jackets, scarves, and shirts on the floor; Tara had totally missed that.

Perhaps she just thought Allie was a horrible housekeeper all of the sudden.

“Where’s Christine? Your parking spot is empty.” Tara asked, “Are you sure everything’s ok?”

“Umm…I’m not alone…” Allie replied, trying to steer her into the kitchen.

“Oh bullshit,” Tara laughed, “You and I both know you haven’t had any action since…” He words trailed off as she saw Daryl come down the hallway with his flannel shirt on but not buttoned and buckling his pants. Her eyes went right to his left arm where there was a bulge from the sleeve and PICC line.

She knew who he was immediately, of course, she did.

“Well, fuck me sideways, I know who you are.” She said and looked over at Allie then back at Daryl, “Damn, Happy New Year, I’m Tara.” She held her hand out to shake, and he took it.

“Daryl,” He said with a shy grin.

Tara turned to Allison with a smile, “What’s for breakfast?”

3333333333333333333333

Daryl’s phone buzzed later, and he picked it up, he knew it was Merle because no one else ever called or texted him on a holiday. He texted him back quickly and got back to the food on his plate, Allie made bacon and eggs and insisted he eat them for the protein. Once a nurse always a nurse, it was hard not to fall into that role and take care of everyone.

Secretly he liked it; it was nice to be cared about by a woman, he could get used to it.

The three of them chatted while they ate and he found that he liked Tara a lot. She cared about Allie, and she asked him questions about himself like a sister would of a man dating her family member. That impressed him, and Tara told him little things about Allie which he wanted to know.

She also fed bacon to Luna when she thought Allie wasn't looking, but it was clear everyone knew what was going on.

After breakfast, Tara was off to pick up Alisha from work and go to a party. Tara had been a wealth of information, Daryl now knew why Allison always had music playing, it was to stop her from thinking about things. Things like death and car accidents and cancer, he could understand that, and as the songs she chose came through the speakers, he got to know a lot about her.

Tara had divulged a few little things about Allison, like her favorite color, which was green and that she hated country music, except Brad Paisley. Now he knew that she cried when she watched ‘Titanic’ and ‘City of Angels’ every single time.

He knew, thanks to Tara that her favorite song of all time was ‘Iris’ by The Goo Goo Dolls.

The cat cuddled at his feet and he remembered somewhere reading that animals could sense sickness, he once had a dog that laid with him for six weeks when he had mono as a kid.

“She likes you,” Allison said with a smile, “Luna is a good judge of character too, so I trust her.”

Allison and Daryl remained at her kitchen table talking for most of the afternoon. She had some days off now because she had worked all the holidays and had no plans to do anything. She watched as Daryl texted back and forth with Merle and once in a while he’d smile at something funny Merle said.

 

~Hey, you coming home at all?

~Don’t know.

~You ok?

~Yes.

~Like a kid on Christmas morning with a new toy aren’t ya.

~Whatever.

~She kidnapping you or something?

~I couldn’t get that lucky.

 

“Do you have work?” Daryl asked Allie, “Do you need me to go?”

“I’m off for three days, and my car is busted,” Allison replied, “I don’t need you to go anywhere.”
Daryl looked down at his phone and typed something else.

 

~ Did you get to her car yet?

~ All fixed, we can figure that out later.

~I ain’t leaving till she kicks me out.

~Well, good for you!

 

“He’s just worried about you,” Allison observed.

“I know, but I am an adult,” Daryl said, turning the phone down and facing her on the couch, “I know he means well.”

“He’s a good guy, you’re lucky to have him,” She said.

Daryl nodded, “Any plans for today?”

Allison shook her head, “We can do whatever we want, go out, stay in and watch movies if you want…”

“If it was warmer we could go for a ride, but it’s a little cold even for me,” He said.

“I’ll hold you to that; I haven’t been on a bike since my father passed away when I was ten,” Allie said.

“You got it,” He smiled, “This cold snap will be over pretty soon.”

“Good, I’ll look forward to that,” She answered.

“What time is it?” He asked.

“Almost two,” She laughed.

“I think I wanna go back to bed,” He said.

“Oh my god you must be so tired, I’m so sor…” She started to say but then his hand was in hers.

“I ain’t tired.” He said standing up and pulling her to her feet, “And you ain't my nurse today, you’re my girl and today I take care of you.”

Chapter Text

The first thing he did was make her a cup of tea and run a bath for both of them. She sipped the tea as she sunk down into the warm soapy water and felt bliss like she hadn’t felt in so long. She closed her eyes and said a profound thank you to him as she kissed him sweetly.

The feel of the hot water on her skin and his touch was addicting; she never wanted to leave his arms.

Sometimes people knew just what you needed even if you didn’t, and it seemed like he could read her mind, or her needs somehow.

He was thoughtful, and a person that cared about other people, she hadn’t been wrong about him.

Daryl rubbed her shoulders as she leaned against him, and it felt so damn good, “Careful,” She said, “I could get used to this.”

“That’s the idea,” He said against her neck and kissed her there. He loved the taste of her skin, salty and sweet; he wanted to kiss her often and everywhere.

It made him happy to do these things for her, they were little things, like getting her car fixed, like starting a bath for them or getting her something to drink, but to him it was everything.

Finally, he felt useful again, after so much time feeling weak and tired, now he could do the things he wanted to do, to be a man for her.

Some days he was helpless and too sick to do anything for himself, but not today and today, he wanted to give back to her what she had given to him the past few months.

Taking a bath at two o’clock in the afternoon, to Allie was so decadent and just what she needed. She could get used to it, get used to this and him. She settled back against his broad chest and sighed as he kissed the side of her head again.

I love you, he thought to himself.

Daryl’s hands moved over her shoulders and eased any tension she could have been holding there, and she melted under his touch.

It felt good to be taken care of by someone, after being alone for so long.

I love you, she thought to herself.

Daryl wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his chest, and he never wanted to let her go.
“I want this to work,” He said kissing the back of her head.

“Me too,” Allie answered and looked back at him, “I’m not sorry, maybe I should be, but I’m not.”

“Cause of you being my nurse right?” He asked.

“Yeah,” She said, settling against him more, “It doesn’t look good.”

“Do you care what people think?”

“Sometimes, sometimes I have to,” She answered, “Professionally, I mean.”

“I understand, but we can work anything out don’t you think?”

She nodded her head, “I’m still not going anywhere.”

“Good,” He said, and he relaxed against her unaware that he had been tense at all, he longed for connection to someone for so long. It occurred to him that he had been worried still that this would be a one-time thing.

But, it wasn’t, and Allie accepted him, and it was all he would ever want.

All his life Daryl wanted someone to his very own, someone who didn’t think he was redneck trash and this girl, with all of her fancy degrees, wanted him.

Daryl was so relieved that she agreed with him, that he was finally on the same page with someone.
He would do whatever it took to keep her, walk through fire if she told him that was how it had to be.

33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333

Daryl flipped the pillow over to the cold side before she laid her head on it.

With a grin that promised things that she could only imagine he crawled over her on the bed, and his eyes never left hers the entire time. The way he was looking at her made her heart beat fast in her chest, and the feeling was almost foreign to her.

Allie could feel her blood racing through her veins and the breath going in and out of her lungs in anticipation. His pupils were blown wide and dark already, and he kissed her dirty until she was moaning his name.

It had been so long since she felt like a woman, not just a nurse or a daughter. Daryl made her feel like a woman.

“You’re looking at me like I’m dinner or something,”

“Nah,” He said bringing his lips down to her neck, “You ain’t dinner, you’re dessert.”

Then his mouth was wet on her skin, sucking softly and her hands were in his hair as he slowly made his way lower on her neck. As usual, that music was playing, and he laughed when ‘Mountain Song’ came on as he was making his way over her breasts through her t-shirt with his hand.

Her taste in music was full and varied; she was such a surprise he thought to himself as he stared down at her. Exactly what he needed, even though he hadn’t been looking at all.

Daryl had the feeling that she would always surprise him in some way and he hoped it would be forever.
He pulled her t-shirt over her head and gazed down at her. He kneeled between her legs and ran his hands slowly over her body and down over her legs then back up again, stopping to let his thumbs graze over her panties, achingly slow.

He groaned when he felt the dampness there already, and Allison let out a soft sigh.

“I want you so much,” She murmured.

“That’s a good thing,” He said bringing his hands back up her legs and over her ribs, followed by his lips, “Cause I want you more.”

(((((Cash in now honey, cash in now, cash in now baby oh, oh, oh, oh-oh.)))

Allison reached for him, and he shook his head looking down at her. He moved his eyes towards her stomach, letting her know what his intentions were, to make sure she had no objections. She didn’t and then his mouth was on her breast, and the palm of his hand was on the other one.

He sucked hard on the side of her breast and then ran his tongue over the sting as he slid his palm over her other breast.

She had died and gone to heaven she thought as her body arched slightly off the bed. She had missed sex, and she was a young girl, not dead inside after all. She squeezed her legs against him seeking relief already, as his hands traveled down her ribcage followed by his mouth.

Daryl looked up at her and grinned the evilest grin at her as he ran his tongue down her ribcage to her stomach. Allison tried to move, and he held her hips down with his hands to keep her where he wanted her. He placed his head on her stomach while running his thumbs on either side of her hip bones and she sighed like a contented cat would purr.

After what seemed to Allison an eternity he slid down further and shoved his face against her panties and licked her with the flat of his tongue.

“Oh, goddammit,” She moaned, grasping for his hair. Her cries lit a fire in his belly that traveled all the way to his dick, but he was ignoring that for now.

This was for her, just for her and he set out to please her in every way. Daryl pushed her legs apart more and slid his fingers along the leg band of the lacy panties she wore, pulling on them slightly.

“More, please, oh god Daryl I need…” She breathed out.

“What do you need sweetheart,” He said running his tongue over the middle of her panties, knowing he wasn’t going to stop until she was begging, “Tell me,” He breathed against her.

“I need to cum, please, please, please,” Allie moaned, and finally he capitulated.

“Mmmmmm,” He hummed against her, and she arched her back and moaned softly.

Daryl reached under the waistband and pulled them down slowly, dropping them on the floor and spread her legs apart. He could hear her breath hitching in her chest, and the anticipation was radiating off of her in waves, and it was such a turn on.

“Fuck me, that’s nice,” He crooned and dipped his head down between her legs. She tasted as sweet as he knew she would and he licked all around like she was a drink on a hot day.

Daryl ghosted his fingers over her clit until her legs started to tremble, then pushed one inside her, then another. His lips found that spot where his fingers had been, and he sucked softly before sliding his tongue against it hard.

Her legs shook harder as he brought her up to a place long forgotten in her mind and she let go completely to his will. Daryl wasn’t having it any other way as he relentlessly ran his tongue over her sensitive flesh.

Allison had one arm over her eyes now, and her hips were moving against him searching for more. She was tight against his fingers as he slid them in and out of her and he knew she was close already.

“Oh fuck,” She moaned, moving against him more, “Fuck, Daryl, yes!”

He didn’t stop, and he felt her body starting to react, she was on fire, and he held the match, just a little longer, and she was completely under his control. He wanted to hear her and feel her, and he wouldn’t stop till he got that. It had been a long time for him since he had been this close to someone emotionally.
He slid his tongue against her unrelenting, and soon she was screaming his name while her body shook to his delight. It seemed to last forever, and he reveled in the pulsing sensation around his fingers, telling him she was cumming hard.

Allison reached for him greedily and pulled him up for a kiss then wrapped herself around him. Her breathing was ragged and fast as she scrambled up against him.

“Get on your back,” She said, and he obliged, not ever wanting to argue with a woman who said exactly what she wanted in bed. He did what she said and then she was climbing on top of him and sinking down on his dick. They both groaned at the feeling, and she didn’t move right away.

She looked down at him and smiled, splaying her hands over his chest and glanced at his left arm, all was well there.

Then she started to move, slow at first.

“Fuck, yes Allie,” He moaned, “Fuck me, that’s it, fuck me.”

Daryl brought his hands to her hips and kept them there, moving her as he looked up at her. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her as she rode him. His fingers held her tight as he moved her the way he wanted until she got a good rhythm.

“Oh, fuck yes,” He groaned as his eyes drooped shut.

Allie moved her hips faster against him, and he could feel it rushing upon him quickly. He wanted to make it last but it was no use, she was tight and wet against him and so warm.

It had been a long time since he felt so good, and he couldn’t stop the words that flowed from his lips. “Fuck.Yes!”

Then Allie did something no one had ever done before. She pulled him up to sitting position and wrapped her legs around him. They made eye contact, his blue eyes to her green ones and it was like a frozen moment in time. There was still music playing, but he couldn’t hear it.

They were eye to eye when he came inside her.

The impact of that one thing took his breath away, and he didn’t let go of her for a long time after that.

Chapter Text

Much later it was dark again, and they had gotten up and heated some leftover pizza in the microwave after falling asleep around four. Allie just wore her t-shirt and panties, and Daryl was in his boxers and t-shirt as if they did it every day. They could be together this way, every day, maybe someday.

Of course, they weren’t thinking of moving in together or anything like that, yet.

But this was a great way to ring in the New Year, without a doubt.

The wind blew outside, but they were warm in her kitchen, New Year’s Day was almost over, and Allie couldn’t remember a better one in the past few years. She was so glad she was off and could be here with him like this.

Luna was at his feet purring as he leaned down and gave her a piece of his pizza. It was surreal how normal and right this felt.

Everything just fell into place like domino’s one after the other, he was feeling well despite treatment, and he had met her. How could it get any better than this?

No there was nothing better than eating pizza, standing in her kitchen in the dead of winter, and there was nowhere he’d rather be.

A song came on that Daryl liked and he took her plate from her and set both hers and his on the table. Then he was holding her, and they were dancing slow right in her kitchen. He intertwined his fingers with hers as they danced, and to her, it was the most romantic thing. He made her so happy, in every way.

(((((((I wanna rock your gypsy soul, just like way back in the days of old, then magnificently we will float, into the mystic.))))))

He didn’t twirl her around the kitchen floor or anything like that, they just held each other and moved as the music washed over them on the dark night. He hummed in her ear with the song, and she laid her head on his shoulder as if it belonged there.

“When can I see you again?” He asked.

“Friday?”

“No, I mean…”

“I know what you mean,” She said quietly, “It’s just.”

Daryl felt his stomach flip, thinking this was it, she’d come to her senses. He mentally prepared himself for what he was sure was coming. To his credit he kept dancing with her and he would keep dancing with her, now and through life until she told him otherwise.

But it was coming, he knew it for sure.

“We can’t, not till you’re done treatment, I could get in trouble, lose my job or licenses,” She said.

“Oh, oh shit.” Daryl replied, “I didn’t know that.”

“It's not even really cool after ethically, but at least I can’t be reprimanded by the state for it,” She said, “It's just, you know judgments get made, it could look shady.”

“You wanna be with me?” He asked even though he was afraid of the answer.

“Yes,” She replied.

“Then we tell people we met in the supermarket, cause I ain't letting you go,” He said, “No one has to know but you, me, and our close people about the scandalous truth.”

“Makes it kind of dirty actually,” She said looking up at him with a glint in her eye, “Tawdry.”

“Exciting,” He grinned at her, “Kinda like that thing in your tongue,” He said running his nose over her neck, nuzzling it softly, and he felt his face flush because of what he just said.

“You like that huh?”

“Yeah,” He said as his face flamed red, “How long have you had it?”

“Since I was sixteen,” She said.

“You kissed a lot of guys with that?” He asked.

“Including you?” She asked, and he nodded, “Two.”

He liked that answer.

“Why’d you get it?” He asked.

Allie shrugged, “To piss off my Mom I think.”

“Gotcha,” He said, “I like it,”

“You’ll like it even better after tonight,” She said with a grin, and he pulled her closer, he was half hard again just hearing her talk like that.

Merle had been right, she had a wild streak a mile long.

“Are you sure I can’t sneak over some nights after dark?” He asked, and she shook her head, “But can I call you, or text?”

“Yes,” She answered him slowly as if she was still considering it.

“Are you sure?” He said looking at her, and she was biting her lip, which at any other time would be sexy but not now.

“Yes,” She said, “I’m sorry, yes, call me every night if you want to, text me all day long.”

He pulled her closer still.

“It’s just five more weeks; we can do this. It’s going to suck, but we’ll get through it.”

“We really have to not let on at my job about this,” She said, “And I don’t like doing that, being dishonest, I’m not ashamed of you.”

“Hey, I get it, it’s about keeping your job, and I’m not gonna lie it's fucking hot to think about seeing you there and knowing I’m the only one who’s seen what’s under that uniform,” He shrugged as she grinned at him, “What can I say, I’m a guy.”

“Can you stay?” She murmured, “Tonight if you want to.”

“Just try and get rid of me.” He replied, thinking that he could love her, he could love her for the rest of his life, and maybe he already did.

“I’m sorry if I sound paranoid,” She said.

“You don’t have to say sorry to me for anything, just promise you’ll follow your heart when it comes to us,” He said, “And not care what people think.”

“I will,” She replied, “I didn’t mean for this to happen, but I’m not sorry.”

“Would you have contacted me?” He asked, “When I was done if Merle hadn’t opened his big mouth.”

She shook her head.

“That’s what I thought,” He said, “But I think things sometimes happen just the way they’re supposed to.”

“I agree,” She said looking up at him and kissing him.

“No matter what, we just don’t let go of each other, deal?”

“Deal,” She replied and pulled him closer, breathing him in, they had two more days together before it was back to reality.

Then he spun her around and dipped her right there in the middle of the kitchen.

She laughed and smiled up at him, “Didn’t know you were such a good dancer.”

“I’m not,” He said pulling her back up and continuing the dance, “I’m winging it just like everything else lately.”

33333333333333333333

Tara called to check in that night, and she was a little tipsy from being at the party that day. Allie could hear Alisha shushing her in the background, but Tara just ignored her. Tara rarely drank, but apparently, she’d had more than a few at the New Year’s Party.

It was seven pm, and Tara was trashed beyond belief, Allie knew she would be hungover bad the next day. But for tonight she enjoyed her friend and her playful nature.

Tara spoke to Allison for a few minutes and then asked to talk to Daryl, Allison wondered how she knew he was still there and Tara just burst out laughing.

“Lemme talk to Daryl,” Tara whined into the phone until Allie gave up and handed him the phone.
“Hey Tara,” He said into the phone.

“Are you taking good care of her?” Tara slurred, “She’s my bess frien, you better be good to her and don’t be throwing her no pity fuck and then leaving her, I’ll have to shoot you.”

“Never crossed my mind, I promise,” Daryl said with a grin, “You have nothing to worry about.”

“You love her?” Tara said, and then Alisha grabbed the phone from her told them she was putting Tara to bed and Happy New Year.

33333333

Later that night they laid in bed talking, Daryl hadn’t had a better New Year’s Day ever. Last year not too long after New Year’s was when he’d gotten the first headache which set him on the path to her.

A cancer diagnosis was a horrible thing, but he knew he would gladly go through it all again because it was the luckiest thing that had ever happened to him.

Merle had said Sweet December, and he had been absolutely right.

“I’d like to see a beach someday,” Daryl said, holding her hand and looking at their two hands together, “I’ve been writing things down that I want to do after this is over with.”

“There’s lots of beaches where I come from,” Allie said, “But the lifestyle is so fast up there, I wouldn’t like to be there for very long.”

“We could go to Savannah, there’s beaches there, but I ain't never been,” He said.

“I’d love to go there,” She said turning over to lay her head on his chest. He pulled her close and ran his fingers through her hair.

“Me too,” He answered.

“This isn’t a bucket list you’re making is it?”

“Nah, it’s a list of things I want to do with you,” Daryl said, “It’s the kind of list of things you wanna live for.”

That satisfied her; he was going to live, he’d done everything he was supposed to do. He was now on the road to recovery.

“You are going to live; you’re going to live to be an old, old man.” She said with a smile, “And you’ll do all the things on that list.”

With you I hope, he thought to himself.

“I know,” He pulled her closer, “Will you come to the beach with me, even if it’s the dead of winter?”

I thought you’d never ask, she thought to herself.

“I would love to go to the beach with you,” Allison said, “Maybe when you’re done with treatment we can take a few days and go away together, to Savannah or wherever you want.”

“I’d like that a lot,” He said as she climbed onto his lap and faced him.

“Good,” She smiled, “We can plan something whenever you want, then start going down the list, if you want.”

“I want to,” He said.

“Me too,” She said kissing down his neck and sucking on his skin with her wet mouth; he could feel the stud along his neck, and he moaned out loud, “But right now? Right now I’m gonna suck your dick,” She said moving her lips down his chest.

“Allie,” He breathed out.

She looked up at him through her bangs, moving the stud around in her mouth so that he could see it, “Don’t you wanna know how it feels?”

“Yeah I do,” He barely whispered.

“One more thing to cross off that list of yours,” She laughed.

“How do ya know that’s on there?” He said with a grin.

“Just a feeling I get,” She said as she kissed and licked her way down his stomach, and Daryl mentally checked out and checked this off his list even though he knew he’d want it again and again.

Chapter Text

I wanna taste love and pain
Wanna feel pride and shame
I don't wanna take my time
Don't wanna waste one line
I wanna live better days
Never look back and say
Could have been me
It could have been me------ Could've Been Me by The Strutts

They spent the next two days in her apartment, mostly in bed, sometimes sleeping and sometimes talking. Sometimes neither of those. Daryl and Allie were not the types to have casual relationships, so they talked about that a lot too.

Then there were things they didn’t talk about. Were they in love? Was it just epic chemistry? Was it right or wrong?

These were questions they both had but didn’t ask, for all the trust they had between them now, there was a lot unanswered.

Already they knew it was something special, the kind of special you didn’t let slip through your fingers. The kind of special that you protected.

But the definition of what kind of special was not spoken, even if they both felt it.

After careful thought, Alison decided it was just better to not go out after all. It was a small town, and if anyone who worked at the hospital saw them together, it could mean big trouble for her, and he didn't want that.

Daryl wanted to protect her and what they had now, whatever it turned out to be, and as she spoke he agreed with her.

Allie informed him that nurses had a way of gossiping, not Maggie of course. They were tight, and Allison considered her a friend and not just a colleague. If she found out, she'd take it to her grave.

But others would eat it up with a spoon and try and get her fired or her license revoked. It was inappropriate at best and at worst well it could ruin her professionally.

The rules were clear, and this was something you just didn’t do, period.

Part of her, a smaller part as the days went on, felt like she had failed and was a horrible person, but the larger part of her reminded her when you found the one you found the one.

Allison had fought hard against her feelings, but she couldn’t deny how happy he made her. She did deserve to be happy, didn’t she?

There were worse things in Daryl's mind than spending two days in bed with her. He's spent a lot of time in bed lately, but this time it was because he wanted to.

Happily, they talked about everything imaginable, their childhoods, their dreams for the future, things they wanted to do and everything in between. Daryl still got tired easily, and they both napped in the afternoons. Allie had been short on sleep for a long time and having the time to catch up on it was wonderful.

At night they made love like two starving people, denied something so good for so long that they couldn’t get enough now. Both of them knew it was going to end soon, and it would be a long time before they were together like that again.

It was bittersweet.

During the days together they watched all three Lord of the Rings movies, two John Hughes movies and Star Trek complete with popcorn and Luna lying between them on the bed.

Allie and Daryl cooked together, listened to music and told each other everything, almost everything.
Daryl shared his childhood growing up with two heroin addicts, being abused and feeling worthless all his life and Allie told him about her indifferent mother, who never wanted her and told her so.

She told him that someday she wanted to be a mother, to be able to give a child everything she was never given. Allison had pushed those thoughts out of her mind when Zack died and with him the hope to be a mother.

There were words still unspoken between them that maybe it was too soon to say and so it was left unsaid, and other topics brought up in its place.

“All I’m sayin is when Tool is on. You know it's Tool,” Daryl said as they sat at the kitchen table on their last night together, “I like them, but Merle don’t, he says Maynard’s voice gives him a migraine.”

Allie laughed because it was so good getting to know him and with him his family, who she adored and letting him know her.The past few days had opened her eyes up to what kind of life it could be with him.

She had missed having this kind of connection with another person; this had only happened one other time for her.

It had never happened for Daryl before; he realized that pretty quickly that what he’d had before was pale in comparison to this before him.

“There’s nothing like Forty-Six and Two,” He said, and Allie nodded, she liked that song a lot.

“Ok,” She grinned, “I’ll give you that.”

“Cause I’m right,” He said smiling back at her.

Maybe they had a chance, perhaps after he wasn’t her patient, she wouldn’t be so afraid of being a town pariah, not that it would stop her. Daryl was sure that his girl was tough and determined, he hoped that nothing would stop her from being with him, but he knew her mind tortured her sometimes.

He wanted to tell her it would all be alright, but the reality was that he didn’t know for sure. How could you know anything for sure in a world where a 23-year-old man could get cancer, or a nurse could die in an accident at the age of 21.

Daryl could tell she was still thinking about it sometimes, her forehead would scrunch up, and her eyes got squinty when she was thinking about something. He knew her already.

“Well, all their songs have the same beat,” She said pushing bad thoughts away, “I’m not saying it’s bad, just predictable.”

Daryl peered out the window into the parking lot and saw Merle pull in driving Allie’s car followed by Andrea who was driving Merle’s truck. It was dark, and probably safe to go outside together, and he scanned the parking lot, there was no one around.

“Speak of the devil, and the devil appears,” Daryl said, “Here’s your car good as new.”

“People might think he’s the devil, but he’s not,” Allie said, “He is one of the finest men I have ever met, and something tells me that he’s responsible for the man you are today.”

“You’d be right about that.”

$$$$$$$$$$

Daryl and Allie went downstairs to meet Merle and Andrea in the parking lot, and Merle was smiling a mile wide. Seeing them together made him happy, he loved to see his brother holding hands with her. He had been right; he’d pushed and pushed until he got his way and he wasn’t sorry.

Andrea looked so cute in the first of the maternity tops that she had gotten, it was blue with white polka dots, and it brought the color out in her eyes tenfold. Allie smiled at her and told her she looked lovely.
She was just starting to show and by their calculations she was four months pregnant. This baby was going to be beautiful and would have the best of both of them.

“There ya go, Sis,” Merle said, “Good as new.”

Andrea laughed as he winked at Allie. “He even washed it for you.”

“I can call ya Sis now right Allie since you’re smashing my brother.” Merle said as he approached them in the parking lot of her apartment building, “You know when it’s just us.”

Allie giggled, and Daryl was not amused, but he let it go. He let go of Allie’s hand and shook Merle’s hand.
“Thanks for doing this brother,” Daryl said as Merle gave him the keys.

“Yes, thank you, Merle,” Allie said, stepping forward and giving him a hug and then one to Andrea.

“No worries,” Merle said, “We gonna order some food, it’s on me.”

“If you’re buying I’m flyin,” Daryl said, and he took Allie by the hand again, taking full advantage of the fact that he could do it now. The time would come when he wouldn’t be able to touch her at all.

Self-imposed celibacy was going to be a bitch.

The four of them went inside to her apartment and ordered Chinese food, which they ate in her kitchen. Their conversation centered on the new baby and how good Daryl was feeling. Merle was even more entertaining to Allie then when he was with Daryl at chemo, he teased them both and had everyone laughing the entire time.

It was a good night.

They didn’t stay late because Andrea was getting tired and after they left Daryl and Allie went back to bed because it was their last night together.

The time they had spent together had been a great learning experience for both of them, but it had been far too short. The weeks ahead of them stretched out and felt like an eternity.

Chapter Text

The alarm clock went off at 4:30 am, way too early the next day, and Daryl just groaned as he usually did when he woke up too early. He had never been a morning person, and lately, it seemed like he could never get enough sleep.

He knew it was temporary and sleeping with her gave him the best sleep that he could remember, so that was a good thing. Still, he was tired, but he knew that was the medication.

Allie sat straight up in bed and rubbed her eyes, peering out the window next to the bed. It was dark out, and she felt like she had slept ten hours when in reality it had been after midnight when they finally fell asleep.

She just slept better when he was next to her.

“So this is it?” He said, pulling her down next to him, “Are you sure you won't call out and stay in bed with me all day.”

“That’s an exceptional offer, but I never call out,“ Allie said, “I’m sorry...”

“Shhhhh…” He kissed her and rolled over so that he was on top of her, then smiled down at her leaning on his elbows, “Guess we have to make it count then?” He said pulling her close, “Morning sex is the best anyway.”

They made love one last time, and it was slow and desperate because they weren’t going to be together for many weeks after this. It was a goodbye, a sad and despondent goodbye.

“I’ll miss you,” She said cuddling up to him later before she had to get up and shower. There was more Allie wanted to say, but she didn’t. It was too soon, and there was a lot at stake for her.

“Gonna miss you too,” Daryl said holding her close to him, “But we can do this.”

Allison nodded and got out of bed, holding her hand out to him, “Come take a shower with me.”
She didn’t have to ask him twice.

$$$$$$$$$$$

Merle was reading the morning paper in the kitchen when he heard the front door open, it was six thirty am, and Andrea was still in bed. It had been four nights total that Daryl hadn’t been home at all. Merle had seen him the night before when he and Andrea came to bring back Allie’s car, and they had dinner, but that had been it since he went out for a six pack of beer on New Year’s Eve.

Merle was glad, but it didn’t mean he wasn’t going to give him a hard time.

“Well, hello, stranger.” Merle said, observing that Daryl had stayed at Allie’s till the very last minute before she had to go to work and his hair was wet, “Looks like you had a good time.”

“I did,” Daryl replied, “Going to bed.”

“Aint you been in bed enough this week,” Merle laughed, as Andrea came out of the bedroom, they shared, “Feelin ok darling?” Merle said to her.

She nodded and sat down at the table with him, Daryl was leaning against the sink opposite them drinking a glass of juice he had poured for himself. He poured one for Andrea and handed it to her then took his spot against the sink again.

“Thanks,” Andrea said with a sweet smile on her face.

“When are you seeing her again?” Merle asked.

"Not,” Daryl said with a shrug.

"Come on what the fuck Daryl, wasn’t everything ok just last night?" Merle said, “You shacked up with her for four days for nothing?”

"Not till I'm not her patient anymore. Five weeks.” He held up his hand and five fingers for emphasis.

“You can't see her at all?” Andrea asked.

“Just at chemo. She's afraid, and I don't blame her. She could get in a lot of trouble for this.” Daryl explained, and Andrea’s face showed all the concern that she had for him. He was her brother now and had been for a long time.

Merle was not about to let this mood go south, though, and they both knew it by the smile on his face, “Well at least maybe now you’ll be a little more pleasant to be around now that you got your pipes cleaned.”

“Merle!" Andrea laughed, and Daryl glared at him.

“And ya got a little love bite there on your neck,” Merle said pointing to his own neck to show Daryl where it was.

“Blow me, Merle,” Daryl said and finished his juice in one gulp.

$$$$$$$$$$$

Allie had a rough day. While Daryl slept most of the morning, she just couldn’t keep her mind off of things. It felt unfinished with him and although she did her job as she always did, with care and concern, deep inside she was wound tighter than a spring.

She wanted to share this with Maggie; she was a nurse, she needed another nurse’s opinion. Maggie was the only nurse she was friendly enough with to share this news with. Instead, she let it run wild in her head until she had her answer.

Somewhere between the time she left him until now, Allison realized that if it came to it, she would walk away from nursing for him.

It was all she’d ever wanted to be since she was nine years old but she’d do it for love if that was what it came to.

Love was always worth it; she knew that.

Allie needed a woman to talk to that would be objective, Tara was already on board this ship, so she would tell her just to do it.

Do what she couldn’t stop thinking about.

Allison realized that she missed him so much more than she thought she would, and she could still feel his hands all over her.

At lunch time she ate with Maggie and then excused herself to the bathroom where she stared at herself in the mirror willing herself to get a grip, but it was no use.

Allie wanted to tell Maggie she really did, but not today. She had something more important to do.
She couldn’t wait until they talked tonight, she had to say it now, out loud. She couldn’t hold on another minute.

The phone rang twice, and Daryl answered finally, he’d been reading and had fallen asleep.

“Hey,” He said into the phone, rolling over in bed onto his stomach and saw that it was three pm, and realized she was calling from work, “You ok?”

“I need to tell you something,” She blurted out before he even got to say anything else, “I should have said it before you left, I should have said it.”

She said holding the phone close to her ear in the staff bathroom.

“Me too,” He replied, “I have to tell you something too.”

“I love you,” Allison breathed out.

“I love you too.”

Chapter Text

The next day was Friday, and by now Merle and Daryl were in a routine of stopping for coffee and donuts for Allie and Maggie. They appreciated it so much, and Merle wanted to give back something for what these girls did for his brother.

It was a beautiful day, and it felt like maybe spring would be coming early this year.

As he drove Merle looked over at Daryl, he smelled like some cologne that Andrea said this actor she loved wore, but to Merle, it smelled like dirt.

Andrea had assured Merle that it smelled like a warm fire on a cold day and let him know that he could borrow it from Daryl and she wouldn’t object. Merle thought they were both nuts.

“Chemo should be interesting today seeing as you just banged her yesterday,” Merle said looking over at his brother who was staring out the car window deep in thought.

“Stop,” Daryl replied.

“Brother, you fuckin shaved this morning, don’t even tell me you don’t have the heart eyes now.” Merle laughed, “Tell me where her tattoos are. Come on? She has a tramp stamp, doesn’t she?”

“She does not.” Daryl hissed.

“Jeez, I was kidding, I saw her lower back when she bent over one time, I know she doesn’t,” Merle replied, “Awfully sensitive today aren’t you?”

Daryl just shook his head; he was aware that Merle was full of shit, he never looked at another woman once he and Andrea got back together this last time. There was no way that he was checking out Allie’s ass.

“Remember to act right, OK?” He said, “No teasing her or any shit, her job is on the line, you understand that?”

“I do,” Merle replied, “Don’t you worry about a thing, I got this.”

“Yeah that’s what I’m afraid of,” Daryl groaned.

333333333333333333333333333333

He watched her intently as Allie was talking to another patient across the room. He was an older man, and Daryl remembered what she had said about treating every old man like he was her beloved father who was gone too soon. The man who was responsible for her eclectic music taste and took her to see Aerosmith when she was just three years old.

She missed her father Daryl knew; he had been the only member of her family that really cared about her.
This time when she touched his hand or arm to start the IV drip, it sent an electric current through him. They stared at each other for so long after she started the IV that even Merle was unable to read his book through it.

He did see Maggie, across the room looking their way and he just smiled at her, Maggie was ok as far as he was concerned, and she smiled back at him.

Merle looked up from his book and just watched them as they talked quietly together until Allie left to get Daryl some juice.

“You got some drool there on your lip brother,” Merle laughed as she walked away, “Gonna be a long five weeks’, man.”

“Shut up,” Daryl said with a huff and scooted down in the chair to get comfortable.

“You already need a visit to Allie's love shack, ya cranky fuck.”

$$$$$$$$$$$$$

The longing Daryl and Allie experienced was not the proper word to describe the way they both felt now. It would just be a few more weeks, but at the time it seemed like an eternity. Seeing each other every Friday and talking on the phone sometimes just made it worse.

They spoke every night on the phone and texted a bit during the days when she was on her breaks. They saw each other once a week on Friday where they couldn’t let on that they were truly deeply madly in love.
There was an end to it, but still so far off.

“Tell me what you’re wearing.” Daryl crooned into the phone on a Saturday night a few weeks after New Years.

“Are you serious?” Allie laughed.

“As a heart attack, send me a picture of your tits.”

Allie laughed, but she did what he asked.

His phone buzzed a few minutes later, and there was the picture he asked for, God he loved this woman.

“You like?” She asked when he was back on the phone.

“Hell yeah,” He said, “Lay down in bed.”

He could hear her giggle on the other side of the phone.

“Are you suggesting something dirty Mr. Dixon?”

“I am, don’t put your shirt back on.” He said, “And you’re gonna do what I say.”

He heard her suck in a breath and smiled into the phone. Allie had mentioned in passing that she had so much responsibility at work that she liked when a man took charge of things, like getting her car fixed and taking control in the bedroom.

“Put your phone on speaker, and I’m gonna too, you’ll want to be hands-free.”

“Wait, wait who’s home there?” She asked.

“Nobody, they went to dinner, I swear,” He said as he switched the phone onto speaker and pulled his shirt over his head.

“Then why don’t we Skype?” Allison said, and once again he was blown away by her, “Unless you don’t want to…”

“Right, like that would ever happen, boot up your laptop and aim it at your bed,” He said, “And I’ll be right on.”

It had been two weeks, and neither of them had thought of using Skype so they could see each other, it was like Christmas day.

“Hi,” He said, when she appeared on the screen, she had put her shirt on and was sitting Indian style with the computer in front of her, he sat the same way.

“It’s so good to see your face,” Allie said with a big smile on her face.

“You too,” He said and then smiled when she blew him a kiss through the screen, he pretended to catch it.
“Three more weeks’ sweetheart,” He said.

“How are you feeling?”

“I just propositioned you over the phone, trust me I’m feeling fine,” Daryl replied, and she laughed.

“Good, I’m glad,” She replied.

“You feel weird doing this?” He asked.

“Nope,” She said, pulling her shirt up just enough for him to see the underside of her breasts, the spot he liked to kiss.

“Where have you been all my life?” He said as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. She laid back on the pillows and told him to do the same.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” She replied.

They talked for a while about their day apart, about the weather getting warmer and taking that trip together.

Then Daryl stared into the camera and said words he knew she loved, “I want you.”

“I want you too,” She answered.

“Say you’re mine, only mine.” He said darkly.

“I’m yours, only yours and you’re mine.” She repeated back to him.

“Are you sure you aren’t creeped out by this?” Daryl said, “Guys like to watch, it’s a guy thing I guess.”

“I got news for you,” She laughed taking off her shirt and revealing that she was wearing pink lacy panties, “Some girls like to watch too.”

“Fuck, Me,” He exclaimed and ran his hand over the front of his jeans, “Spread those gorgeous legs of yours for me.”

Allie complied, “Take them off,” She said, “Fair is fair.”

She watched as he unbuckled his pants and slid them off revealing his boxers and growing hard on.

“Oh, I want that,” She said running her hand over her leg.

“Jesus, Allie, this ain’t gonna last long at all if ya keep talking like that.”

She grinned and then answered him, “You’re in charge, that’s what you want right?”

“I do,” He said.

“You’re my man,” She cooed, “My lover.”

Daryl took a deep breath; she was good at this, “Yes.”

“Be the boss of me,” She said in her best sexy voice and looking directly into the camera at him.

Daryl exhaled the breath he was holding and looked at her, “Touch your hair, the way I would if I was there.”

Allie did as he said, never taking her eyes from the computer, she did like watching if she couldn’t be the one there touching his dick this was next best thing. She felt her stomach somersault when he told her to bring her hand down over her breast and touch herself.

It wasn’t that she’d never done that before, but knowing he was watching, and seeing him stroke his dick at the same time was getting her there faster than ever.

He watched her sliding her fingers over her nipple and closed his eyes for a second imagining it was his mouth there, and his dick twitched in response. Then he opened his eyes and watched her intently.

“Mmmm,” He groaned, “That’s good isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Allie breathed out, it was good, so good that she squeezed her legs together trying to create friction, if he were with her she’d have wrapped her leg around him, but he wasn’t.

“Nope,” Daryl said, bringing his hand to the front of his boxers again, “I said open your legs and don’t touch yourself till I say you can understand.”

“Bossy,” She murmured, but she did what he told her.

“You have no idea,” He answered, “Now bring your hand down to your stomach, nice and slow.”

Daryl watched her hand move slow as molasses over her stomach to the waistband of her panties. She was breathing heavier now, and as much as he wanted to drag it out as long as possible, it wasn’t going to happen.

“Take em off,” He panted, reaching the point of no return, it was time to step up his act, or he was going to lose it, “Tell me how wet you are.”

“Soaked,” He watched as she put her feet down on the mattress so he could see, the view was intoxicating to him, and finally he reached into his boxers and took hold of his dick.

“Show me,” He said as their eyes locked on each other, then her eyes went down to his hand, and she stared as he stroked his dick.

Daryl watched her spread he legs more and couldn't suppress the groan that came from his lips.

“Allie,” He leaned closer to the screen, “Make yourself cum, tell me how good it feels.”

“Mmmmmm,” She moaned as he watched her intently, memorizing the way her fingers slid against her wet skin, all the while pumping his throbbing dick. She writhed on the bed before him, and he knew she was close, her breathing was ragged, and she mumbled words of how good she felt.

His breath was coming out in pants now, and it was all he could do not to let it all go, but the view was too spectacular, and he didn’t want to miss one second of it.

Then she was screaming his name; Daryl watched as her body trembled from head to toe and her eyes shut briefly. His dick was about to explode, and he let go knowing she was watching him cum now. It seemed to last forever, but he kept his eyes on her, releasing a string of profanity that would make even him blush.

In his frenzy, he kicked the computer onto the floor, and he could hear Allie laughing as he picked it up and put it back on the bed.

Chapter Text

Merle placed his hand over Andrea’s stomach and looked over at her as they sat on the porch swing together the next day. They had gotten home late and slept in and as far as they knew Daryl was still asleep after skyping with Allie for an hour and a half the night before.

They were both off because it was Sunday and just enjoying the day together. Daryl had been feeling well, and Andrea wasn’t morning sick at all.

Life was beautiful these days for all of them, once Daryl and Allie could start dating for real, everything would fall into place. He was moping around a little, but he wasn’t sick, and that was a blessing.

Soon things would be different for him, and Merle hoped he’d be as happy as he was.

“Can you feel anything yet?” He asked.

“Not yet. Probably not for a while,” Andrea sighed, “I guess law school is gonna have to wait.”

“No way baby, you’re still going,” Merle said emphatically, “I’ll take this boy to work.”

“What if it’s a girl?”

“Then she’s gonna learn how to rebuild an engine,” Merle said with a smile.

Andrea took his hand, he was the finest man she had ever known, it had taken a few years for them to figure it out but it was done now. They were a perfect example of how good things came to those who waited.

“Merle you are going to be an amazing father,” She said, “I know this was a surprise but…”

“Hey,” He said giving her a sweet kiss, “I love surprises, and thank you, my sweet love, for changing my life.”

Daryl came out with a cup of coffee and Merle remarked that he looked like he’d slept for two days. Daryl leaned against the rail of the porch and turned to him.

“I slept like the dead last night,” Daryl replied, with a slight quirk to his lip when he remembered skyping with her, “Look like it too I suppose.”

“Actually,” Andrea said, “You are looking better and better every day.”

“It’s cause of her little brother, don’t you let her get away,” Merle said.

“Don’t intend to,” Daryl said as he sipped his coffee and contemplated yet another day without her.

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Across town, Tara and Allie were deep in conversation, for a long time Tara had been after her to sell Christine. The car was falling apart and broke down on the regular. It had no heat in the winter and no air in the summer, the rear view mirror kept falling down and it squeaked like a mouse whenever you had to turn right.

She held onto it like a Talisman of her past, and Tara saw no need for it. But Tara was a good friend, and she knew not to push.

Allie couldn’t seem to do it, before now, but she finally felt like she could move on and let go of the last thing that tethered her heart to Zack.

She would always love him in her own way, he was her first love, her first kiss, her first everything but he was never coming back, and Daryl was there to stay.

“I’m selling Christine,” Allie said to Tara as they sat at the table in her kitchen that same morning that Daryl, Merle, and Andrea sat on their porch. They had their ritual coffee together as well, and Tara was listening to her saying how much she missed Daryl.

“I think that’s a good idea,” Tara replied.

“I feel like it’s time,” Allie said, “Zack isn’t in that car and he was talking about selling it anyway.”

Tara observed her talking about Zack; she no longer had that haunted look on her face, the look that said her heart was broken and would never heal. She was healing, thanks to Daryl and Tara thought that was a miracle.

“What kind of car do you want?” Tara asked after the shock wore off.

“I think a jeep.”

“I can so see you tooling around in a jeep,” Tara said with a laugh, “I love that idea.”

Allie smiled, “Me too, a red one.”

“Yup,” Tara said, “I can see that, let’s go trade her in today.”

Allie liked that idea, to do something spontaneous and something she should have done long ago. She and Tara were filled with glee as they went and test drove a few Jeeps until she found the one that was right for her.

Within two hours Allie was the proud owner of a 2014 red and black jeep that she named Harley Quinn, they drove home with the top off. Later, she texted Daryl a picture that Tara had taken of her laying across the hood of the jeep, Tara’s idea of course.

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Allison sat in the hospital cafeteria the next Friday with Maggie at lunchtime after Daryl and Merle left after his treatment. He had three more treatments to go, just three more weeks and then their lives were going to change forever.

She loved nursing but resigned herself to the fact that maybe it wasn’t meant to be, maybe it was time to change everything in her life.

If that was how it had to be, she’d be ready to do it.

Already she and Daryl had talked about living together, either with Merle and Andrea or a place of their own.

It would be out there for everyone to see soon.

“Mags I gotta tell you something,” She stopped and regrouped her thoughts, “Ask you something nurse to nurse.”

“Ok, shoot,” Maggie said.

“I feel so horrible about how I feel,” Allie said, looking down at her hands. Maggie knew her well; she was the best nurse Maggie knew, and she was a deep thinker. Whatever this was she knew it weighed heavy on her friend’s heart.

“Hey, Allie,” Maggie said, “That sounds like your mother talking, how about you tell me if you want to, whatever it is.”

“I did something wrong,”

“And you’re perfect?” Maggie said, “Whatever it is, I’ll still feel the same way as I do right now about you, I promise.”

“Promise,” Allie said.

“Cross my heart,” Maggie said and crossed her heart.

“I want to be with him,” Allison said slowly, looking at her good friend and then out the window as Daryl and Merle walked to the parking lot together, “Daryl, I already have.”

Maggie gave her a small smile, and her eyes were bright, Allie knew right away she wasn’t judging her, although she knew Maggie never would. That wasn’t the kind of person she was, but there was something about the twinkle in her eye as she looked at her now.

“Is so terrible?” Allison asked, “Is it too far across the line?”

“Well, that explains it,” Maggie giggled.

“What,” Allison asked with a shy smile creeping over her face.

“I hear “Let’s Get It On” every time you two look at each other,” She laughed, “Not even kidding Al; I saw it coming.”

“Do you feel like I’m a…”

“I never told you how I met Glenn did I?”

Allison shook her head.

“It was when I was doing public health; I was his mother’s nurse, drew her PTINR every Monday and Thursday for weeks, he used to have coffee waiting for me every time I came and one day he asked me out for coffee.”

“How did I not know about this?”

“Well, I don’t tell a lot of people about that, we have enough grief being an interracial couple,” Maggie said.

“Really? It’s 2017 for God’s sake,” Allison said.

“But you’re in the deep south girlfriend; it’s all different, just tell them you met at the flea market like I tell most people Glenn and I met,” She replied.

“You don’t hate me?”

“Never,” Maggie reached for her hand, “I think you two are cute together.”

“People will talk…” Allies said meeting her eyes.

“Yes, they will, until they find someone else to talk about, you do like I do and parade your man all over town, it’s like giving all the haters the finger and letting them know you don’t care what they think.”

“What does the state board say about this?” Allie asked.

“Well, I sure would keep it on the DL until after he’s done here, but really, can they regulate who you fall in love with?” Maggie shook her head, “Grab it with both hands and don’t let go. That’s what I did.”

Chapter Text

And I feel your burning eyes burning holes
Straight through my heart
It's out of love, ooh hoo
It's out of love

Give me a little bit serious love
Give me a little full love
Be full of love

Fists, fists, fists full of love. - - - Fistful of Love by Anthony and the Johnsons

Life had taken on a new meaning to Daryl since he had been diagnosed in September, it was early February now, and it was all different. The change had started in him before her, that was true, but Allison was a huge part of it now.

For the first time in a long time, he saw a future for himself. A future he’d never imagined even before cancer.

They spoke most nights on the phone or texted, and as they days ticked off, they got closer to their goal to be together.

Allie knew he had changed her too, no longer was she alone or lonely, no longer was she without love and someone to love. She too saw a bright future now, where before it was just endless misery, Tara was right, he’d saved her.

 

~Hey
~Hey, yourself.
~How are you?
~I'm good, just leaving work.
~I miss you.
~I miss you too.
~ Drive safe, ok sweetheart, I’ll call you later.
~ I will don’t worry.
~Love you.
~Love you too.

 

Merle and Andrea were out on the deck talking quietly when Daryl came to the kitchen sliding door.

“I’m goin for a ride on the bike,” Daryl said opening the screen door, it was a warm evening, and they had even had dinner outside a little while ago.

“Alright brother,” Merle said, “Oh and Daryl?”

“Yeah?” He said turning back.

“Say hi to Allie for us,” He said with a wink.

Daryl was well enough to go out on the bike now that he had three weeks left of chemo, and he took a chance and waited in her parking lot until she came home from work. It was almost dark, but he made sure to be where she could see that it was him and not be afraid.

It was staying lighter out past five and the days were starting to get longer, and soon he saw her jeep turning into the parking lot. She had the music blasting, Metallica of course and he smiled at that.
She saw him right away, sitting astride the bike and he could tell she was glad to see him.

“Take you for a ride?” He asked as she parked next to him, she had the top off again, even though it was not the summertime.

She broke into a smile that lit up her whole face and nodded her head vigorously then she was on the back of his bike, and they were off together in the night. She wrapped her hands around him tight and lay her head on his back.

They hadn’t touched each other this way in weeks, and she savored every part of it.

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They sat together on the bike outside town looking at the stars from the top of a hill Allie didn’t even know existed. They could see the whole town and even the outline of Allie’s apartment building and the hospital two miles past that.

It was a beautiful spot and a beautiful night. Talking on the phone was nice, texting and skyping too but this was best of all. Being close to him and touching him without reservation was a luxury she would not squander.

“If we have to, we can move,”

“Ok,” Allie replied, “I don’t think it will come to that.”

“But if it does, I can have Merle buy me out, and we can go somewhere and start over. Just you and me, and Luna, some place where you can have more cats if ya want.”

“You’d do that?” Her voice and eyes were soft, “After just knowing me a few months?”

“I’d do anything Allie, to be with you,” Daryl replied, and she knew that she would never love anyone but him ever again.

She looked at the sun going down over the horizon and wrapped her arms around him tighter.

“If you promise to love me for the rest of my life,” He blurted out, not intending to do it at all. He winced as he thought of a story Rick told him about proposing to Lori in Wall Mart parking lot.

He’d wanted to have more finesse when he talked about their future with her, but she seemed unconcerned.

“Daryl,” She said taking his face in her hands and looking into his eyes, “I’m going to love you for the rest of my life.”

$$$$$

When they got back to her apartment, Daryl didn't want to let her go. The time had been so short, and he had missed her so much.

He didn't say a word, though, and neither did she. He longed to kiss her good night, but he knew he couldn't do it out there in the parking lot.

Still, he was satisfied that at least he had gotten to hold and kiss her a little bit that night.

She was it. She was the one. Daryl was prepared to wait as long as it took because she was worth every bit of agony that being apart brought.

He was about to turn and put his helmet back on, but she took his hand and led him through the parking lot to her door.

Daryl would have been happy with just the bike ride; it was more than they had been able to do in weeks. The kissing up on the top of the hill was a bonus in his mind.

He knew it wouldn't be this way forever.

Now he followed her lead as always, happy for any extra time they could have.

Once they were inside and the door was closed to the outside world, he kissed her like he wanted to and pushed his tongue into her mouth without hesitation. As before they shucked off their coats and tossed them on the floor and then were back in each other's arms where they belonged.

"I'll leave before the sun comes up, no one will ever know I was here." He said kissing her lips and down her neck, "I promise."

She kissed him back with an equal fervor and pulled him close to her winding her hands into the back of his shirt.

The fire between them was erupting fast, and she wanted to be consumed by it. Allison wanted to burn until there was nothing left of her old self. The lonely and fearful person that almost missed out on this great love.

"I don't care," Alison breathed out, "I need you, I don't care. "

Allison sighed as his hands that she missed so much were all over her back and traveling to her ass at record speed.

She felt him press against her and let out a moan at how good he felt. She slid her hands into the back pockets of his jeans to pull him closer, and it was he who moaned that time.

For Daryl that was more than he could stand after being apart for too long, he grasped her under her thighs and picked her up.

"Hey," Allison said as she wrapped her legs around his waist.

"Relax," Daryl replied, "I'm all right."

To prove his point, he walked across the foyer until her back was against the wall. Then Daryl dove in for a kiss that made her hair stand on end and goosebumps erupt along her neck.

"Take me to bed," She breathed against his neck, "I've missed you so much."

He knew the way to her bedroom now and opened the half closed door with his foot causing Allie to laugh when Luna scooted out from on top of the bed where she had been laying.

Then she felt his teeth against her neck, "You ain't gonna be laughing in about five minutes. " He said with a growl then he tossed her into the bed. Allie came up on her elbows and watched him as he pulled her sneakers off and then yanked down her scrub pants and panties.

Daryl stopped for a moment to gaze at her and then kicked off his boots. She watched him intently as he pulled his shirt up over his head and unbuckled his belt.

The sound of a man's buckle either opening or hitting the floor always did things to her, and she could not look away from him.

He was beautiful.

She pulled her shirt off and lay back down on the bed gazing at him.

And then he was staring at her like a tiger about to devour its prey, and she wanted that. To be consumed and devoured by only him.

He crawled over her after he had shed all but his boxer shorts and settled himself between her legs, unclasping her bra and tossing it on the floor.

“How do you want it?” He said as he kissed up her neck, stopping to bite and suck along his way. When he finally got to her lips, he bit down on her lower lip and sucked before plunging his tongue into her mouth, “Gentle or rough?”

Allie pulled his against her and wrapped her legs around his waist, “Stop teasing and just fuck me.”
Then she pulled at his boxers till he relented and took them off.

“Alright,” He crooned, licking her bottom lip and sucking softly, while his hands came up over her breasts, “But you asked for it.”

Sometimes when you were in love you didn’t need all the moonlight and roses romance, sometimes you just wanted to get fucked.

And so, he gave her what she wanted.

Chapter Text

Two more treatments to go and then they were pulling the PICC; then it would be over.

Daryl woke up that Friday thinking of that and the fact that they had gotten through the worst of the time apart. Five weeks wasn’t a lifetime, that was true, but it was after all he had been through that year.

It was almost over, and he repeated that to himself like a mantra as he got dressed that morning.

Daryl was almost at the finish line of treatment after such a horrible year, and he had so much to look forward to now.

It almost blew his mind when he stopped and thought about it.

He and Allie already had reservations to go away in three weeks after the PICC got pulled the Tuesday after his last treatment. They were going to Savannah, even though it was February, for a long weekend.
It was not a long time to Allie theoretically as well, but she missed him like air to breathe, like water and the incredible thirst for him would not be sated no matter what she did.

She had started lifting free weights at night, to work off the excess loneliness, and running to release some endorphins so she wouldn’t be so sad without him.

Allie never knew how lonely it could be to miss someone who still walked the earth.

It was entirely new to her, she’d mourned Zack, who was never coming back, but this was different knowing her love drew breath on this earth and they couldn’t be together. That he was just on the other side of town missing her as much as she missed him.

Tara spent a lot of time with her, and that helped a lot; it wouldn’t be long now.

The only damper on things for her was the flu she had been feeling coming on for the past week or so. Allie tried not to let it get her down but she threw up at work the day before, and Maggie insisted she go home.

Allie didn’t want to tell Daryl about being sick because she knew he would be upset and would want to take care of her. He had two more weeks to complete and then they were home free. That was worth keeping her mouth shut now, for his sake and hers.

If he got sick now or got an infection, he would be set back so far, and she would know it was her fault, even though she knew he would never think that.

It would be the truth.

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Daryl didn’t see her jeep in the parking lot, and that was his first clue. He immediately reached for his phone but thought better of it. If she was inside, she would be busy with her patients, and he didn’t want to bother her just because he was being paranoid.

But she wasn’t there when they got to the chemo clinic, there was another nurse there, on the other side of the room where Allie was supposed to be, and his heart started pounding. Allie never missed work, she had told him as much, and he was sure this was something ominous, just when he was getting his life back from the throes of disease.

She had become his world, and suddenly he felt it crashing down around him.

“Where's Allie today Maggie?” Merle asked when they walked in and she wasn’t at her usual spot behind the nurse's station. Merle was trying to be casual because he could feel the tension radiating off of his brother as he stood next to him.

“Got the flu, went home sick around three yesterday. She said to tell you she's fine and she'll see you next week.” Maggie said, “Come on let’s get you set up; then you can call her if you want.”

“She don’t call out; you know that,” Daryl said to Maggie as he followed her to his usual spot. Merle trailed behind them, and it was evident to him that Daryl was distressed.

“She said not to worry,” Maggie explained, “But I suppose you will anyway.”

“Can't help it,” He said to her, “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Maggie’s face grew soft, “You’re a good man Daryl.”

“She’s my life Maggie,” He replied, “You sure she’s ok?”

“I’m sure she is,” Maggie touched his hand, “Call her if it eases your mind, I know you have her number.” She said with a wink of her eye.

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Daryl was texting her before his ass hit the recliner, he had talked to her last night, and she hadn’t said she was sick. He was half mad and half scared, that there was something wrong, that something was going to come and snatch her away from him, now that he’d practically beat cancer.

He knew that was unrealistic, but it was something he thought about, and he couldn’t stop it. It was just the flu, but he was freaking out.

 

-You ok???? Why didn’t you tell me last night????
- Because I don’t want you worrying about me.
- That’s my job, Allie.
-Just a little bug. I'm feeling better.
-You want some soup. I could bring it.
-I'm fine. Really.
-I wanna see for myself; I can come through the window like a thief, what do ya say?
~I’m just going to go to bed and sleep, I feel so tired.
~You’ll call me if you need me right?
~I promise.

Chapter Text

'Cause I'm on top of the world, 'ey
I'm on top of the world, 'ey
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I've been waiting to smile, 'ey
Been holding it in for a while, 'ey
Take it with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I'm on top of the world.
I’m On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons

It was the last day of his treatment, and Daryl felt on top of the world, he almost ditched Merle and drove himself, but Andrea talked him out of that. It was a good thing too, he’d been anxious to get on with things, but rushing was not a good idea.

He was in a hurry to get there and looked forward to seeing Allie since he hadn’t seen her the week before, but they were in contact with each other often.

She insisted she was better, and he wanted to believe her, but he suspected she was minimizing it for his sake.

Allie hooked the PICC and last IV up, and he noticed right away she looked pale. He had been telling her to go to the doctors for the last week, but she kept saying she didn’t have the time or felt better.

“I feel fine, stop,” Allie said starting the infusion, the last one and giving him a sweet smile, but it didn’t convince him.

Clearly, she was not better; he’d have to be an idiot not to notice. “No you ain’t, I can tell.”

“I’ll be back in a minute with some juice for you,” She said, and he nodded that he would drop it, for now. But just one more comment first.

“Why don’t you get some for yourself too, looks like you need it,” Daryl replied as she grinned and waved him away.

All week Daryl had felt edgy about her health, she wouldn’t let him come over, and he just knew there was something wrong with her. Allie insisted it was the flu, and she would know he supposed, but he worried still.

He loved her so much; it was all he could do not to take her in his arms right there.

She had been afraid to get him sick, and he understood that, but it was a chance he would have taken, except she wouldn’t let him.

“You look a little pale Al,” Merle said walking up to Allie as she leaned against the nurse's station later that morning, “Ya want me to go get you a coffee?”

“I'm feeling ok Merle,” She replied.

“How about some food, you losing weight?” Merle asked because he noticed it too, it wasn’t just Daryl being over protective, she was sick.

“I'm all right,” She mumbled, “It’s just…”

She never finished her sentence; Merle acted fast when he saw her eyes roll back and that she was about to pass out and he caught her. Maggie practically leaped over the desk, and that’s when Daryl turned his head and saw what was happening.

“Oh my god she’s bleeding,” Merle said as he looked down at her scrubs and the droplets of blood on her white shoes. Merle picked her up in his arms, and she was limp, and Maggie’s face said it all. Daryl was trying to get up on the other side of the room, and Maggie shot him a look.

“Don’t you move,” Maggie cried and pointed her finger at him for emphasis.

Daryl knew he couldn’t get up because of the running IV; the PICC wasn’t just an IV; it went straight into the main vein of his body. If it got disconnected or pulled out, the consequences could be deadly for him.

He was helpless to do a thing for her.

“I got her Daryl, taking her over to the ER,” Merle yelled, “You stay the hell put.”

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Hey girl, I'm just a small town run around
I get my kicks out on the outskirts of town
I could never do it like a pretty city boy
I'm more a fishin' in the dark nitty gritty boy
So lay back and let me paint you a picture
The way I wanna kiss you is
Slow as the Mississippi
Strong as a fifth of whiskey
Steady as a Tom Petty track
I wanna love, wanna love you like that
Deeper than a sunset sky
Sweeter than muscadine wine
All night 'til the sun comes back
I wanna love, wanna love, wanna love you like that
When I'm with you I can see down the road girl
Not just the gravel one we're travelin' on girl
And I'm bettin' that it's gonna be a wild ride
But I promise that I'm gonna be there by your side
I think we got another memory in the makin'
So baby let's take it, take it.
Love You Like That- by Canaan Smith

“Your baby is just fine,” The tech said as he ran the transducer over Allie’s belly. The doctor, Denise beside her nodded her head.

“Baby?” Allison replied and unable to hide her shock, “But.” She had been about to explain how irregular her periods always were and how hard she and Zack had tried to get pregnant that last year before he died.

She’d started to think she was infertile, but she knew, it was possible, more than possible.

“Next week we’ll be able to hear the heartbeat, it's just a little too early yet,” Denise said, “You’re just about five weeks.”

“Baby??” Allie repeated in shock staring at the wall and just at that second Merle and Daryl appeared in the doorway of her hospital room.

“You’ll need to be off your feet for a few days, the bleeding sometimes happens early on, you know, but everything is fine,” Denise said with a smile, “Congratulations Allie.”

From the doorway, Merle cleared his throat, and she just looked over at them with a funny expression on her face. She gave them a wry smile and called them in as Denise, and the tech exited the room.

“Did she say, baby?” Merle asked because he would always ask the questions no one wanted too. He was not the type to ignore the elephant in the room even if it got him stomped on.

Allie nodded her head, Daryl tried to read her expression, it was one of utter shock, much like his own.

“You’re pregnant?” Daryl said, “I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen with the chemo?”

“Surprise,” Was all she could say.

“Shit brother, you knocked her up the first time,” Merle expressed in a tone that showed his pride in Daryl that was always there, with everything he did. As always he put his own spin on it.

Daryl pulled a chair up and sat next to her, taking her hand, “You ok?”

She nodded.

“You sure?” He said, his voice full of concern.

“I'm alright,” She said holding his hand tight.

“Alright, “Merle said, “I’ll be in the cafeteria so you two can talk, but, you gonna make an honest man outta my brother there, Sis.” He said with a wink, “Plenty of room for you and that cat of yours with us,” and then he was gone.

Daryl looked back at Allie and then at her stomach and then back at her. He just couldn’t believe it. They had never discussed children, birth control, STD’s and in hindsight, it was a little reckless he supposed. Briefly, the weekend he spent with her they had talked about sexual history after they had already slept together.

Allie just didn’t think she could get pregnant and they had trusted each other’s word on their pasts.

“I thought the chemo killed all that, the brochures said temporary sterility,” He said, “I never even thought about it.”

“Me either, I didn’t even think I could…” She said with a shrug, and then they were quiet for a few minutes lost in their individual thoughts.

“Listen, I just wanna say that this is your choice, whatever you feel is best for you. I ain't gonna fight with you or try and make you do anything you don’t want to do,” Daryl ran his fingers over her hand, “I’m behind you, I got you no matter what. I know this is horrible timing and if you don’t wanna I understand…”

“Daryl,” She murmured, “I want this baby.”

Then he laid his head down on her stomach and kissed it.

When Merle came back an hour later, that was how he found them, and Allison’s hand was in Daryl’s hair now. The way she stroked his head so lovingly almost brought Merle to his knees; this was all he’d ever wanted for his brother.

“Hey,” Merle said, and they both turned, and Daryl sat up, “Doc says you can go home if you promise to stay off your feet, you come home with us.”

Allie was about to object, but she knew it would be useless, Daryl wanted to take care of her, and this time she would let him.

Chapter Text

Later that day after they had picked up Luna and somethings for Allie, Daryl had set her up in his room and told her not to move unless she called him to help. The doctor had said bed rest for a week, and he was bound and determined that she would do as the physician said.

Andrea sat on the bed talking to her, and it was evident by her words and expression that she was thrilled at the news. Their children would have a cousin right away; they would grow up together. They would play together and be best friends, Andrea just knew it.

“You didn’t know at all?”, Andrea asked, “I mean…”

“I tried to get pregnant before, my cervix is tilted backward, and the doctors always said it would be difficult, my period comes every three months, sometimes not at all, I just never considered that could be it.”

Andrea took her by the hand, “He’s a good man, he’ll work his ass off to take care of you and this baby, it’s who he is.”

“I know,” Allie replied.

“They’re both a little rough around the edges, but underneath that is something so good that very few people get to see.”

“I know that too,” Allie said, but their conversation was interrupted when they heard knocking on the front door and voices out in the living room. Shortly after that Tara was sticking her head in the door with her usual excitement.

“We’re having a baby!” She said as she walked into the room and reintroduced herself to Andrea, who she had met at the movies weeks ago, then she sat next to Allie on the bed and shoulder bumped her friend.
The look of joy on Tara’s face was unmistakable; she was thrilled to be an auntie.

“Did Daryl call you?” Allison asked, even though she already knew the answer.

“Yup,” Tara replied, “He didn’t know where to get a litter box for Luna, and you were asleep, isn’t that adorable?”

Allison grinned, and Andrea nodded her head as she spoke, “I always say you can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats animals.”

“Well, I hear he’s like, the pussy whisperer or something, so ya know,” Tara said with a laugh and Allie couldn’t help but smile but she was embarrassed.

“Runs in the family,” Andrea said with a wink.

“So,” Tara began again, “Did ya break in the jeep yet?”

The three of them laughed so much that afternoon that Daryl and Merle seriously considered their sanity. Neither of them was entirely used to having women around, and Daryl was totally taken aback when Tara fist bumped him when she got there and said, “Good Job, Ace,” Her version of congratulations.

The men sat in the kitchen drinking coffee and could hear the girls laughing and talking in Daryl’s room where Allie was told to stay with her feet up.

This would be their life now, and they couldn’t have been happier. Merle and Daryl came from humble and sometimes horrible beginnings, but this? This was a dream that both of them chased without even knowing it.

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Alisha joined them later for dinner and whispered to Tara as they watched Daryl helping Allie to the table. He was so careful with her and probably would have carried her from the bedroom if she hadn’t insisted on walking.

“Isn’t he the sweetest thing,” She whispered to Tara.

“I approve,” Tara said with a grin.

They watched as he pulled out the chair for her and helped her sit down, she had put on leggings and a sweatshirt after she was discharged, even though Daryl told her to put on pajama’s, she didn’t want to feel sick.

She did get tired very early, and after watching what happened to be her favorite movie, and Merle’s “Starship Troopers” with Merle and Andrea in the living room, they went to bed. Daryl wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, kissing the back of her neck and just breathing her in.

“I don’t want to be apart anymore Allie,” He said.

“Me either,” She replied.

“So you’ll stay?”

“Yes,” She said, “I’ll stay forever.”

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A week later they went on their first official date, once the doctor said she could be off bedrest. There was a quarry, not too far from where Daryl lived, and the water was the bluest color Allie had ever seen. Next, to the color of his eyes, she had never seen a more beautiful color blue.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and he wanted it to be perfect for her.

She’d worn a dress; it was yellow with an empire waistline and a ribbon tied around to the back. Daryl had never seen Allie in a dress before, and it was hard not to stare.

They took the jeep and Daryl drove since he knew where he was going and brought a cooler full of food to spend the day there. He had brought a big fluffy blanket and laid it down under a tree where they spent the day eating and making plans for their new life together.

Once they were back from Savanna, the next weekend, they would start to pack up Allie’s apartment and move her things to his house, whatever didn’t fit would go into storage until they decided what to do with it.

Someday they might have their own place, or maybe they would stay with Merle and Andrea, all four of them were excited to have two babies in the house at the same time, although they prayed both of them slept on the same schedule.

There was land out behind the house that Daryl’s parents built, they could even build a house there if they wanted to.

Luna acclimated well to the change of residence and on most nights could be found sprawled over Merle in some fashion while he watched TV on the couch.

After a while, other people arrived at the quarry, couples like them and families out for picnics and fishing. Allie had been out of work and was due back on Monday, Maggie had pulled Daryl’s PICC line the week before, and he was thrilled to have use of both his hands again, which he couldn’t keep off of her.

Throughout the day, they ate and kissed sweetly and chastely, neither of them big proponents of PDA, and it was during one of those kisses that a shadow cast over them as someone stood at the blanket they were laying on.

Allie looked up and straight into the eyes of Phillip Blake one of the ICU nurses that had taken care of Daryl when he had his surgery, back in September. He’d asked her out a few times but she always nicely said no, that she wasn’t over Zack yet and as Allie looked up at him, she knew that he knew that wasn’t the reason.

“Allie,” Philip said, “Imagine running into you and, I’m sorry I don’t remember your name, but you were an endo- transsphenoidal surgical patient weren’t you back in the fall, brain tumor, follow up with chemo, apparently?”

He said dragging his eyes across Allie in an almost sinister way.

“Daryl,” He said standing up and helping Allie up, “And yes that was me.”

“Hmm interesting,” Phillip said, ignoring Daryl’s hand to shake, “You’re well I trust?”

“Yes, I am,” Daryl said, taking hold of Allie’s hand. And Phillip nodded as he watched, so it was like that, she’d said no to him and told this guy yes, he couldn’t believe it.

“Good to see that,” Phillip said, and they both knew he didn’t mean it sincerely, then he addressed Allie, “Didn’t peg you for the PDA type Allie, you should be careful, people may talk.”

“Let them, if they have nothing better to do,” She said channeling Maggie Rhee’s words to her just a month before, “I don’t care.”

“Maybe you should,” Phillip said and turned on his heel and walked away back to the group of men he had been fishing with that day. She recognized some of them from the hospital and was sure they knew her too.

Allie was enraged that he would low-key threaten her that way so she did the only thing she could think of, after making sure there were no kids around. It was 78 degrees out, unseasonably hot and they were all in the water.

So she grabbed Daryl by the loops of his jeans and pulled him closer, and after making sure Philip and his group were lurking and watching, she gave Daryl the kind of kiss that would melt his face off. After she had kissed him thoroughly in front of half the town, she slid her hands into his back pockets and brought her mouth to his ear; he could feel her warm breath on his neck.

“Let’s go home and make love.” She said, taking his earlobe between her lips.

She didn’t have to ask him twice, he packed up their stuff like his ass was on fire, and they were on their way home in minutes. It had been weeks, first because of their separation and then her being on bedrest, but now, it was on.

“Are you sure,” He said looking over at her as they drove down the dirt road away from the quarry.
“Denise, Dr. Cloyd says I’m fine, the baby is fine, everything is fine,” She said taking his hand, “And I’ve missed you.”

“Missed you too,” He said, then he felt her hand on his thigh, and watched a sly grin come over her face. He tried to ignore it for a minute or two, but it was becoming useless.

“Pull over,” She said, bringing her hand up farther, he kept driving until she put her hand on his dick and rubbed through his jeans. He was already half hard from the way she kissed him at the quarry, and this was too much to bear.

“Are you crazy woman?”, He said and slammed on the breaks, he looked over at her and shook his head with a grin. Then he turned to look behind them and backed the jeep up and off the road looking for a spot with trees.

Allie just laughed and nodded her head, “So crazy about you I can’t wait till we get home.”

Daryl parked the jeep sideways off the road, and because it was a dirt road off the main dirt road, and there was not a likely chance of anyone coming. He pushed the seat back as far as it would go and pulled her onto his lap and throbbing dick. Her dress was hiked up to her waist, and he ran his hands over her thighs.

“I think you’re just the kind of crazy I need.” He said and then his lips were on her and his hands. The weight of her on his lap and against him with not much between them was almost unbearable, and then her hands were on his buckle, and she was pulling at his pants until they were off.

“Hurry,” She breathed out and pulled her panties off, making sure to show him, then she tossed them aside. Daryl let out a groan, as his lips went to her neck and sucked hard. The sun was starting to go down, and it was a perfect moment in time. He grasped her hips and lifted her slightly and then he was inside her. It was heaven on earth to him, and already he was breaking out in a sweat.

“Jesus…” He groaned and dug his hand into her hips, she started to move but he stopped her, “You sure this won’t hurt you.”

“Shhhhh,” Allie said, “It’s fine,” She said wrapping her arms around him and bringing her lips down to his ear, “We’re both fine.”

Then she kissed him dirty and started to move her hips in slow, aching movements that almost made his head explode. It had never been like this with anyone before; he ached for her in a way he’d never experienced with any other woman.

This was love, and he was grabbing it with both hands and never letting it go.

“Sorry, this ain't gonna last long darlin,” Daryl gasped out moving her hips faster as she brought her arms around his neck, “I’ll make it up to you later.”

Allie slid her lips over his neck to the spot by his collar bone that was one of his sweet spots and dug her fingers into his hair. She knew both things drove him out of his mind and put him completely at her mercy.

Daryl brought his hands up over her breasts and ran his thumbs over her nipples through her dress until her head fell back and she screamed his name. He could feel her body contracting all around him and that tremor she got every time she came.

He knew she’d start to fuck his brains out now and he wasn’t wrong. She rolled her hips into him faster and faster giving him little choice in the matter but to just let it happen, and soon he was cumming hard, just seconds after her.

“Oh Goddammit,” Daryl moaned loudly, as his eyes rolled back in his head and everything went white for a moment. After they had caught their breath, he pulled her close against him, “I fucking love you, Allie.”

She rested her head on his shoulder and breathed him in; she loved the way he smelled, “I fucking love you too.”

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They stayed that while for a long time just holding each other and watching the remainder of the sunset, things like this were meant to be savored, they both knew that all too well. Life was unpredictable, and you never knew when your last day might be.

Together they would live every day as if it was their last; they would have a beautiful life with no regrets and no more separations.

If the headlights hadn’t startled them, they might have fallen asleep.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Daryl said as he watched the police car approach and then soon, with a flashlight in his face, he looked into the eyes of his neighbor and friend.

Rick was smiling and trying very hard not to laugh, he could see Allie was trying not to laugh too, and he realized he liked her already. It took Daryl a minute to compose himself to introduce them because this was going to be awkward at the fourth of July barbecue Rick always invited him and Merle too. But he sucked it up.

“Rick Grimes, this is Allie Gallagher.” Allie waved and burst out laughing, and Rick did too. Finally, Daryl allowed himself to laugh and prayed Rick wouldn’t tell Merle he’d gotten caught with his pants down like this. He would never hear the end of it and neither would she if Merle found out.

“Pleased to meet you, Allie, finally,” He said reaching in the window and shaking her hand, “I’ve heard good things about you.”

Then he turned to Daryl, “What are you? Sixteen?”, Rick laughed, “Your house is like two miles away.”

There was nothing to do but laugh and later that night Allie received a thumbs up text from Tara, who had heard from Rick at the station that he busted a couple in a red Jeep that night in lover’s lane. Rick didn’t know that Tara was Allie’s best friend, but she had figured it out, and she knew exactly who it was.
In bed, lying next to Daryl she showed him the message, and they laughed about it again.

Chapter Text

On Monday morning Allie was back at work, and at lunch, Maggie informed her that she was indeed the topic of discussion, as they thought she would be. But the surprising thing was, the Director of Nurse’s had a meeting with Philip after he had seen Allie and Daryl and the word was he left unhappy.

Serena Kyle was a no-nonsense woman and tolerated no bullshit and Maggie advised Allie just to go to her and take the bull by the horns. So after lunch, Allie took the elevator up to the administration office with butterflies in her stomach.

She knocked on the open door and waited until Serena looked up, she nodded that Allie should come in and close the door. Serena was in her forties and had been a nurse for a long time, she had seen it all and was known to jump right in and float to a floor if they were dangerously short.

No one had a bad word to say about her, but then no one had ever been standing before her pregnant with the child of one of their patients either.

Allie took a deep breath and walked in closing the door as requested.

“Hello Allison,” Serena said, “Feeling better?”

“Yes thank you, news travels fast here I guess,” Allie said, and Serena nodded.

“That it does,” She replied and took off her glasses, “Sit Allison, please.”

Allie sat down nervously.

“Are you here about Philip?”

Allie nodded slowly.

“Then I will tell you what I said to him,” Serena said, “This is not Grey’s Anatomy Allison, and I do not care who you spend time with outside of work as long as when you are here you do your job.”

“But isn’t it against…” She didn’t get to finish because Serena brought her finger to her mouth making the Shhhhhh sign.

“Do you think you’re the first person this has happened to?” Serena asked.

“Here?” Allison said, “Yes.”

“Well, I trained at Grady Memorial in Atlanta, and I have seen everything that’s possible to see, is it a conflict of interest? Yes,” Serena said, “But for the love of all that’s holy in reality, what we do here is far more important that idle gossip, we heal here isn’t that right.”

“All I ever wanted to be a nurse,” Allie started, “It’s all I want to do, I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

“And you’re good at your job,” Serena said, “I get feedback all of the time about you and Maggie, never anything but rave reviews and that’s more important than the words of a sore loser.”

Allie laughed at that, Serena had seen right through Phillip, and she sighed in relief.

“So why would I reprimand you over something that happened, after he was no longer in our care,” Serena said and nodded her head to convey to Allie what she was saying. No one had seen them together while he was a patient because she had behaved professionally, and so, anyone who had anything to say would have no proof, “Babies are born early all the time,” She said with a wink, “I told Philip if he ever wasted my time with gossip about one of our finest nurse’s again he was going back on night shift.”

Allie nodded with a small laugh, “I understand, and I am so grateful to you, do I need to worry about the board?”

Serena leaned forward and met her eyes, “The board has better things to do that police the personal lives of nurses, especially good nurses, there’s plenty to keep them busy elsewhere. And I would stand up for you if anyone was foolish enough to call the board.”

Allie nodded on the verge of tears now, “Thank you, Serena, thank you, so much.”

“Oh, those hormones, you look well and happy, it’s very good to see,” Serena said, and they both knew what she was referring too, Zack had been brought to this hospital when they tried to save his life. She had seen Allie’s grief first hand, as well as many others there, for a long time.

“I love him,” Allie said, dabbing her eyes with a tissue from the box on Serena’s desk.

“Then your young man is lucky, indeed, I wish you both well,” Serena said and stood up, singling to Allie that their meeting was over.

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Allie sat down next to Daryl and took his hand. She explained her conversation with Serena and the fact that they didn't have to move.

It was good news because neither of them wanted to move. They wanted to stay right where they were and make a life together.

A life filled with moonlit nights and lazy summer afternoons, with children and family, they weren’t alone in the world anymore.

Now they could do that, in the open for everyone to see.

They watched the sun go down from the back porch and contemplated their new life. A life given to them from two tragedies and a life they would never take for granted.

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Six years later

Andrea knocked on the door, and she switched the toddler from one hip to the other and sat the car seat down with daughter number three in it on the porch. As she switched from foot to foot bouncing the child, she could hear the ruckus inside the house that was next door to hers, and it made her smile. She kissed her daughter, Chelsey and cooed sweet words to her as she waited for Allie to get to the door, she was slow these days because she was pregnant again.

Households with small children always had lots of noise and lots of love.

It was wonderful to see. It was wonderful to live and be a part of. Andrea never regretted this for a moment. Even though at times it was so hard.

Allie answered the door with baby ten-month-old Jesse in a sling and two-year-old James, on her heels. Behind him was three-and-a-half-year-old Sam and their dog Charlie. Jacob, their oldest was at school along with Andrea and Merle's daughter.

She was just starting to show from her latest pregnancy. This one was a girl and then she was getting her tubes tied and burned and for good measure. Daryl had already gotten a vasectomy a month ago; they were done.

They had decided to keep trying for a girl because he wanted a girl so badly after four boys almost right after the other. Merle and Andrea couldn't even keep up with it. They had all girls. Three of them counting the youngest, Amy that Andrea held now on the porch.

Their houses were right next door to each other, just like they talked about all those years ago. Daryl had built theirs, with help from Merle and Rick and a few other guys, and Merle and Andrea lived in the one Merle and Daryl once lived it.

They had started building it when his six-month pet scan came back clean. Each year they kept coming back clean, and they kept having babies.

But this was the last one. Allie opened the door so that Andrea could come inside.

"You don't mind getting Sarah off the bus today? My class is until five."

"No worries. I'm going to sit all of them outside with paint and paper while Jesse and Amy here take a nap and Daryl is bringing home pizza. We got this."

“You guys going to Rick’s party this weekend?” Andrea asked.

“Of course, we never miss it, why drag everyone down to the fireworks when Rick and Carl will do it right here.” Allie replied with a smile, “You go on and don’t worry about a thing, study hard.”

“Can you help my write my sociology paper later this week.” She said walking in the door and bringing Amy inside and taking her out of her car seat.

“Yes of course, now scoot, before you’re late.”

Andrea lay Amy down in the pack and play, careful not to wake her and Allie laid Jesse down right next to her. Both of them continued to sleep peacefully as their mother’s hugged and Andrea left for school.

The End