Chapter 1: Sight: Daryl
Sight: the ability to detect images and movement. The inability to see is commonly known as blindness.
Come on Andrea, where are you, Daryl thinks as he moves frantically through the forest, his bike an ever-distant blip on his rear vision as he searches for the last survivor of their group, his eyes constantly scanning the treeline for signs of living, breathing movement.
It’s cool now at night and while Daryl’s glad of the extra layers he’d thought to wear before the farm got overrun, he sweating beneath his shirt. Soon he’ll be able to see his breath on the air and his finger joints will ache the way they always do when it gets cold. He can feel the stiffness creeping into his knuckles even now but he ignores it as he moves silently through the forest, searching for the blonde woman who had stepped in front of that walker to save Carol without thought for her own welfare, the same blonde woman who hasn’t been seen in two days.
There are tracks all over the place and it’s hard to pick up a trail, but it’s not long before Andrea’s tracks come through; long, even strides indicative of running. He follows them easily, his eyes constantly scanning the forest, searching for the blonde woman with the bag of guns and fearsome skill. He doesn’t care what Rick says: no-one else gets left behind. Especially not Andrea. They need her and her sharpshooting skills, now more than ever. He doesn’t know what he’s going to find out here, but he went back for Merle and he’s going back for Andrea. It’s what he does, right? Goes back to find the people they leave behind?
The trees are clearing to reveal a logging road and cluster of outbuildings. There’s no walkers that Daryl can see, no moving ones, anyway, but the floor around him is littered with their bodies, precise, single bullet holes in the forehead.
He runs towards the building, his mouth half-open to scream Andrea’s name until he realises that probably isn’t a good idea. There’s no walkers here right now but him hollering her name might bring some. He hasn’t gone more than two or three steps when a bullet flies out of the window and lands squarely at his feet.
“The hell-?” He looks towards the house and visibly sags when he sees a flash of blonde and the muzzle of a rifle. “Andrea!” He shouts, running towards the house. “Andrea!”
The door opens as he nears it, a flash of dirty blonde hair and grubby clothes. “Daryl!”
She looks dirty and exhausted but she’s there and she’s alive and her eyes have never seemed bluer in this world of darkness that swirls around them and seems to pull them all in, one at a time. She almost drops the rifle as she runs towards him, seemingly forgetting herself as her arms and legs go around his body as she clings on for what feels like dear life.
“You all left.” She whispers in his ear as he walks them into the house, locking and bolting the door behind him. “You all left.”
“I know.” He hugs her back with all that he can (not that he has a choice when she’s hugging him back like that, hugging him back like she’s trying to crawl inside his skin), walking them backwards into the house as he checks her for bites and scratches. This is the first time since this mess started where he’s gone back for someone and found them. “But I’m here now.”
Chapter 2: Temperature: Andrea
Temperature: the ability to detect the difference between hot and cold.
Disclaimer: The Walking Dead belongs to Robert Kirkman and AMC. I just wrote this for fun, with no copyright infringement intended.
Even after Daryl’s built a small fire on the first floor of the house she’s found in the middle of the forest, she’s cold.
Even after they’ve checked and double-checked the doors and windows and barricaded themselves into this one room, she’s cold.
Even after they’re sat around the fire eating jerky and icy water, the meagre scraps of blankets covering her shoulders, she’s cold.
“How long ya been here?” Daryl asks in between scanning the surrounding area for walkers, the early night moonlight bouncing off his face.
“Found this place last night.” Andrea says as she tugs the blanket around her shoulders. Its big enough and has only one or two holes, but it’s a light summer blanket and they’re in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a meagre fire and she can’t remember a time when she was warm. “How far away is the bike from here?”
“’Bout two miles, maybe more. Ya seen any walkers since last night?”
She shakes her head. “None.”
“Herd musta moved east, away from here. Ya did good, comin’ here, survivin’.” He frowns when he sees her shivering. “Ya cold?”
Daryl sighs and takes one last, long look out of the boarded-up window before moving towards her, gently tugging the blanket off her shoulders before taking her furry vest with it. She's wearing a thin shirt beneath it and feels naked when she feels his eyes on her trembling, frozen form.
“What are you doing?” She says as she watches him shrug out of his own jacket, leaving nothing but a long-familiar ripped, sleeveless plaid shirt which he unbuttons but doesn’t take off.
“Relax.” He grumbles as he sees her face. “Ya need warmin’ up. Don’t want ya goin’ into shock in case we need to get outta here real quick.”
He sits down behind her, his legs aside hers, and gently scoots forward until she can feel his hips collide with hers. He’s completely crowding her physical space but not in a bad way; its kinda nice, actually. And he’s warm; so warm that even though their thin shirts, she can feel his heat. He wraps the blanket around them both, trapping the warmth inside, and she fights the urge to let her head loll back against his shoulder as she greedily drinks in the newfound heat.
“Better?” His voice is husky against her ear; she wonders when the last time was that he was close to someone like this. Certainly it’s been awhile for her; she and Shane may have had sex but they weren’t close, not like this, so he doesn’t count.
“Yeah.” Was that husky whisper her voice? If it was she’s never heard herself sound like that but sure enough it’s come from her mouth so she figures it must belong to her. “You’re really warm.”
“Sit like this for a minute, warm ya up, then we need to keep movin’, get back to camp.”
“Okay. Just a minute.”
“Just a minute.”
When she wakes up, she deliciously warm.
The fire’s long since turned to ember and Daryl’s still behind her but her head’s fallen onto his arm, that nook between his shoulder and bicep where her head seems to fit just right. His head’s falled forward, his face buried in the crook offered by the right side of her neck and her shoulder. His breath’s warm on her face and he’s snoring lightly. The blanket’s still around them, the fire offering meagre light. In different circumstances, it might even be kinda romantic. As it stands now, she just feels warm, deliciously wonderfully, exquisitely warm. And, for the first time in what must be the two longest days of her life, she feels safe, too.
Chapter 3: Balance: Andrea
Balance: the ability to sense bodily movement and to maintain balance and equilibrium. Prevents humans from stumbling, falling.
Disclaimer: The Walking Dead belongs to Robert Kirkman and AMC. I just wrote this for fun with no copyright infringement intended.
Andrea’s never been on a motorcycle before.
“It’s easy.” Daryl says as they jog towards the bike, which he’s parked on an old logging road about two miles from their makeshift home, the flashlight stabbing the dark as he lights their way.
Andrea doesn’t know how long it took to make the journey to the bike, only that she didn’t want to leave the delicious warmth that Daryl had offered and her legs had groaned in protest as she stood up. A quick check that the house holds nothing more of value and there aren’t any walkers around, and they’re off. They begin running as soon as they leave the house. Outside its dark, so dark that she can’t see anything other than the grim beams of light offered by Daryl’s torch. They run until she thinks her lungs would burst and each step feels like an earthquake in the ground. She feels like she’s slowing Daryl down; his gait is relaxed and easy and she gets the sense that he could run this way for miles, but he doesn’t sped up, lets her set the pace, and when she stumbles just before they clear the forest, he picks her up and almost carries her the final few steps and then they’re standing in front of Daryl’s bike.
“It’s bigger than I remember.” She says as she stares at the sleek black chassis, her gaze lingering on the Death’s Head logo. She’d forgotten that the bike belonged to Merle and finds herself wondering just what happened to Daryl’s brother. Did someone ride into the gloom to get him, hold him when he was cold? She doubts it.
“That’s what all the girls say.” She doesn’t need to turn around to see his smirk; it cleaves between every word and she rolls her eyes.
“Guess I walked into that one.” She says as she stares at the machine before her. She’s never been on a motorcycle before.
“It’s easy.” He says once more as he straddles the machine and the engine fires to life. “Just get on, hold on and don’t let go. Ain’t rocket science.” He flicks on the light and she covers her eyes, momentarily blinded.
They aren’t alone for long, of course; walkers appear several feet away, drawn by the light and the roar of the bike, and then Andrea doesn’t need telling a twice. So she clambers aboard and wraps her arms around Daryl’s midriff.
“Tighter!” He shouts above the throb of the engine, and so Andrea holds on with as much force as she can muster.
And then they’re off.
Andrea’s glad that Daryl told her to hold on as tight as she could; she would have fallen off much earlier had it not been for his instructions. She hadn’t anticipated that it would be so hard to maintain her equilibrium on the bike and it takes a few seconds for her to find her foothold. There’s some kind of pipe that will do the job though, and so she scoots closer to Daryl, reversing their earlier positioning around the meagre fire. His leather jacket is cold and the embroidery presses into her face as she gets as close to him as she can without crawling inside his skin, her thighs clenched tight around the bike and around him as she tries to keep herself straight. The wind blows her hair backwards, away from her face and she can feel it slapping the leather on Daryl’s jacket just like the strap on the gun bag slaps at her neck. Its strapped to her back and she can feel it tugging her backwards but her hands are held in a vicelike grip around Daryl’s waist, holding her tight.
Why did he come back for her? Why did he, of all people come back for her?
There’s a part of her that’s curious, but another part that’s not at all, because if anyone of their group – remaining members or not – were to come back for her, it would be Daryl. He went back for Merle, went out looking for Sophia; he’s proved that he’s the go-to guy for going back for people. But where are they going, and what are they going back to? Who survived the herd, and what kind of shape will they be in once the dust has settled? How will they maintain their admittedly tenuous foothold in this new life without stumbling?
Daryl kicks the bike into a higher gear and she tries not to think too deeply. That will come later, once they’ve stopped and she can see what kind of state the others are in. For now, she just closes her eyes, clings onto Daryl for dear life and tries to maintain the balance she’s found behind him on his bike.