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Hit Me Baby One More Time

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Chapter One- A Favor for an Old Friend

Daryl was woken up by his cell phone blaring The Blood of Cuchulainn, which meant the Big Boss was calling. The clock on his phone said it was nine-thirty in the morning; Daryl hadn't slept this late in years unless he had gotten shitfaced drunk the night before, which he hadn't this time.

"Hey, Hershel, what's up?" Daryl greeted him and dropped his legs off the bed.

"There's something I need to talk to you about, son. I know you're aware of the situation, and I'm bringing you in to sort it out. Can you meet me at the office in an hour? I'll call Maggie and have her send over some breakfast for us."

"Yeah, Hershel. I'll see you in an hour." Daryl yawned and stretched before standing from the bed. Stumbling down the hall, he stopped to take a piss, then went into the kitchen to start the coffee pot. Once the coffee was brewing, he stepped outside for a smoke. Daryl figured he knew what Big Hershel wanted to talk about; it had been going on for much too long in their town, and he was the only one willing to do something about it. Daryl would do anything for Hershel, but he was gonna need help on this one.

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Daryl walked into the office the same time as breakfast; delivered by Glenn Rhee, part owner of Rhee's Kitchen, and Hershel's son -in-law. "Hey, Daryl! Running late this morning? I thought you were usually up and at 'em a lot earlier than this." Glenn yelled at him.

"I usually am. I don't know why I slept so late this morning. Hershel called me, woke me up thank god, or else I'd probably still be in bed."

"Well, I got breakfast for y'all. Must be an important meeting, because I got a lot of food," Glenn said laughing.

"I think he wants me to do something about all these murders that have been going on. All the victims are minorities; you know how he feels about that."

"I do," Glenn said. "I'm glad he feels the way he does; not a lot of people would accept a second generation Korean immigrant into their family."

"Not around here, they wouldn't," Daryl added. "That's why I'm proud to work for him. I never thought I'd be a hit man for the Irish mob, but Hershel's a good man. I trust him with my life."

Daryl knocked on the big wooden door to Hershel's personal office. "Good morning Daryl, Glenn. Y'all have great timing, showing up together."

Daryl sat in the chair in front of Hershel's desk as Glenn took the Styrofoam containers from his delivery bag. "I knew this fucker was gonna have food with him, so I staked out the parking lot waiting for him," Daryl said.

"I'm surprised he didn't attack me and take all the food," Glenn replied, smiling.

"I know better than to take Hershel's food, Glenn. He'd string me up by my fingernails in the town square as an example."

All three men got a good laugh out of that. Everyone knew how easy going Hershel could be, especially if he considered you a member of his family, and Daryl was a member in good standing.

When Glenn was leaving, Hershel gave him a pat on the back. "You watch yourself out there, son. Bad things are happening, and if anything were to happen to you, Maggie would be broken."

"I know, sir. Nobody can take me away from her, trust me. I won't let anything happen to me."

After Glenn walked out of the office, Hershel sat down at his desk across from Daryl. "I know he's fully capable of taking care of himself and my daughter, but I think I'm gonna ask Noah to keep an eye on them for a while, at least until these murderers are taken care of."

"I assume that's what you wanted to talk with me about?" Daryl said as he dove into his breakfast.

"It is. You know how I feel about killing. It's against the Word of God, but he allows it in certain circumstances, but these aren't special circumstances. This is someone who is playing God according to his own beliefs. I can't tolerate that, Daryl. Not in my town."

"Alright, what do you want me to do?"

"I want you to take them out; as many as you can. I'm pretty sure all this is coming from Negan."

Negan was the "silent" part owner of a string of meat and three restaurants in four counties. He was wealthy, arrogant, and a bigot. Not many people knew about his prejudices or the fact that he was also the head of an organization that manufactured and distributed illegal drugs, but Hershel did.

"You have proof, or is that what you want me to do?" Daryl asked.

"That's what I need you to do. Follow his top three, get pictures or any kind of evidence you can. I know it's him, Daryl; you know it's him. We've had plenty of run-ins with him and his men. I know they've been harassing Theodore, Bob, and Tyreese. I'm not gonna let anything happen to them, or anybody else in I love and respect."

"Alright, I'm on it. Where do you want me to start?"

"I called an old friend of mine this morning. He heads the Jewish mob in Youngstown, Ohio. I asked him if he could help me out. You’re the best I got, Daryl, and I know you can get this job done, but this could end up being more than any of us can handle. Negan is an evil man and I can't predict what he would do if he finds out we're out to stop him."

"What's he gonna do for us?"

"He's sending his best guy to work with you. His name is Harry, and he's gonna be flying into Atlanta tomorrow. I want you to get him a hotel room, and pick him up from the airport. Come by the office afterward. I'll have a dossier on each of the men I want you to tail. We can have a little lunch and get Harry up to speed on all the details."

"What time does his plane land? I'll need to know the flight number too."

"Louis is going to call me when the arrangements are made. I'll let you know as soon as I do. Thank you, Daryl. You're the best man I have; I wouldn't trust this job to anyone else."

"Thank you, Hershel. I always give you my best; you don't have to worry about a thing. Just leave everything to Harry and me."

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Harry sat on the couch waiting for Abie to pick him up. He stared at the broken armchair across from him and thought of his mother. This was one of those rare moments since she had taken her own life that Madden wasn't around, and Harry was thinking of her with his own mind.

He savored these moments when he was alone in his head; since he had lost Kate, then Iris, he hadn't wanted to be Harry anymore. Madden would have been able to save them all, so Harry had let him take over. Six months ago, he had become a hardcore killer, not feeling the remorse that Harry had, and he had fucked every woman who had stood in front of him.

This morning, Abie had called to say that Mr. Varga wanted to talk to him asap; something about owing a favor, and Harry was going to help him fulfill it.

Usually, the knowledge that he would be seeing the Boss, or doing a job that day would have Madden in his mind the moment he woke up, but he wasn't there today. Harry wondered if that meant anything, but didn't question it too much; he was enjoying being himself again.

Abie was strangely quiet on the drive to the office; that worried Harry. He hoped neither of them was in trouble with Mr. Varga. That man had no tolerance for betrayal or fuckery. Harry had witnessed that many times during his employment with the organization, and always tried to stay on the man's good side.

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Louis Varga was sitting in his usual chair, reading the paper and drinking his tea, when Abie and Harry arrived. "Welcome gentlemen, come in and have a seat. There's more tea in the pot, help yourselves."

Both men sat themselves down on the couch opposite their boss and poured themselves a cup of hot tea. "So, Mr. Varga, you got something you need us to take care of?" Harry asked.

"I received a call from a very old, very dear friend of mine this morning. He heads up the Irish mob in some little burg outside of Atlanta, Georgia. He's having a little trouble with a group of white supremacists, and although he has a man who could take them all by himself, he has asked me for assistance in the form of a partner for this man; he asked me to send the best I have. The gentleman who runs this supremacist group is evil, and Hershel wouldn't put it past him to do something that would destroy everything he's built. Harry, I'm sending you down to help."

"I've made your travel arrangements, and your plane leaves at eleven o'clock tomorrow morning. This is going to be a long assignment; you could be down there for weeks depending on how complicated this becomes."

Harry was speechless. He knew he was good a what he did; Mr. Varga had told him enough times but never had Harry imagined he would be considered his best man. "Thank you, Mr. Varga. I'm honored that you think of me like that; I won't let you down. I'll do my best for Mr. Hershel, just like I do for you."

Varga laughed. "Always so humble, aren't you Harry? That's another reason why you're the best. Now go home and pack; Abie will pick you up in the morning. I want you to be well rested for your flight."

The three men stood and shook hands. "Thank you again, Mr. Varga. I'll make you proud."

"I know you will Harry. I'll call Hershel and tell him when your flight will arrive. I'm sure he'll have someone pick you up. Oh, and Harry, there are a lot of beautiful women in the South, don't let them distract you."