Daryl shifts slowly, quietly setting his sights on the target. The walker is a few yards away, shambling across the porch of the abandoned farmhouse. Sunset is coming on fast. If he's going to have any chance of cleaning out that house and securing it before nightfall he needs to take the shot now.
He takes a deep breath, puts his finger on the trigger, but before he shoots the familiar whistling of a arrow cuts through the quiet. The arrow sinks fletch deep into the eye socket of the walker and it drops to the wooden planks of the porch a second later. Daryl is swearing up a storm in his mind, but keeps his mouth shut. Eyes scanning the woods for the source of the arrow that he didn't shoot.
All he sees are leaves and trees. Not a sign of movement. No sound. Then the cool, sharp sting of a blade at his throat answer the question his mind has been screaming for that last few seconds.
"This is how it's going to go down," her voice is quiet and as sharp as her knife. "We go in, shoulder to shoulder. Hack and slash until the site is clear. You try to cross me and I'll kill you without a second thought."
Daryl swallows, slowly shifting his head to take in the sight of the woman. Her dark hair was pulled back into a pony tail, her face was smudged with dirt and there was a thick scar running parallel to her cheekbone. But it was a the cold, no-bullshit look in her eyes that seals his agreement. "Deal."
They move in, all concern toward concealment gone. Daryl unsheathes his machete, the woman pulls a double headed axe from a holster on her back. The damn thing is huge and looks like something out of an old horror movie. He figures it must be lighter than it looks, because there is no way a woman her size could able to carry a weapon that big with one hand.
Once they reach the steps of the house, he turns his thoughts from her weapon and focuses on his own. They charge through the open doorway, weapons ready. Neither one questioning the competency of the other. Eyes and minds focused on the job.
Twenty minutes later they have cut down every last walker in the house and have turned their attention toward clean up. Daryl drags the bodies out the house, one by one taking them to back door and rolling them out onto the lawn. The woman stays inside barricading the other doors and windows, making ready to camp for the night.
They work in relative silence, each intent on their own chosen task until night finally falls. Daryl pitches that last body into the back yard and ducks back inside the house. The woman quickly closes the door behind him and disappears into the interior of the house. He leans his back against the wall, catching his breath and briefly wonders where she's gone. When she reappears carrying a dresser like it was a empty cardboard box. She set it in front of the door and slaps her hands together as if to dust them off.
"Let's eat!" She smiles, giving his shoulder a playful punch than leaves his arm sore.
Who in the fuck was this woman? He follows her into the dimly kitchen. She gestures toward the small kitchen table, where a lateen casts a dim light over several cans of food and a large jug of water. It is a feast compared to what he'd been eating the last few weeks.
They sit down and begin to open the cans, both choosing eating over talking. Daryl eats with relish, savoring every bit from the syrup covered cherries to the oily tuna fish. It isn't fancy, but it is hands down one of the best meals he has had in months.
After they finish meal and clear the table, the woman takes out a whetstone and begins to sharpen the blades of her axe. She moves in long, sure strokes that makes it pretty clear she is now stranger to weapons and reminds him of the smile she wore as they faced off with the walkers.
Daryl watches her, quietly contemplating the strange woman in front of him.
"You got a name, soldier?" She speaks without looking up.
"Daryl, and I'm not a soldier," he replies with a small frown.
"We're all soldiers now, Daryl." She raises her eyes, while she scrapes the pad of her thumb over the edge of her axe. "Anyone who's not ended as one of them."
He doesn't agree, but he's not about to start and argument with a woman when she's armed. "So you gonna tell me your name?"
"Depends," she says, setting the axe down on the floor and rises from her chair.
"On what?" he watches her closely, his hand on his knife.
"If you fuck as good as you fight." She pulls off her tank top and drops it in his lap.
Daryl looks at her naked breasts and smiles. "Better, actually."