Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know
When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes
It’s the only thing that makes us feel alive
“I need to go, Daryl.” Paul says as he steps inside of the trailer.
“You just fucking got back.” Daryl spits in reply as he enters after Paul, slamming the closed behind him and then locking it. “Two weeks you were gone and now you’re saying you’re going again for almost a month?” He exclaims in his anger, throwing his arms in the air.
Paul turns around to face him and sighs. “I’m not telling you anything, I am asking you to have a calm conversation about it with me.” Paul replies with an even voice, knowing the chances of Daryl being civil right now aren’t high. He pulls out a chair at the dining table and sits down, he’s not surprised when Daryl doesn’t do the same. Paul lifts his leg and begins untying the laces of his boots. “I don’t want to go unless you’re okay with it.” He says quietly as he looks up at the other man for a moment.
“Guess you’re not going then because I’m not okay with it.” Daryl replies and crosses his arms as he stands in front of the door.
Anger surges inside of Paul. “For fuck’s sake, Daryl. Do you have to be so fucking childish?” He yells as he balls his hands into fists.
Daryl stiffens at Paul’s raised voice and looks down at the floor as his cheeks flush. “I just go you back.” He whispers after a moment of silence and he feels the tightness in his throat that lets him know he’s about to cry and he can feel the sting behind his eyes, he knows he being unreasonable but since realising his feelings for Paul all those months ago, now not knowing if the other man is safe almost causes him physical pain in his chest. Not seeing him every day, not hearing him every day, it makes him miserable.
Paul sighs and stands up once he has his boots off, he steps up to Daryl and places a hand on his cheek. “I’m sorry for yelling.” He apologises quietly and Daryl tilts his head to look at him. “Maybe now’s not the best time to talk about it, okay?” Paul says and wipes his thumb over a tear that had escaped Daryl’s eye. “I wouldn’t be leaving for at least another week, we can talk later.” He offers.
Daryl nods and moves his arms to wrap them loosely around Paul’s waist. “I just miss you.” He whispers as he moves his head to rest in on Paul’s shoulder.
Paul hums and wraps his arms around Daryl’s neck. “I know but scouting was my job before the war and it still is now.” He reminds the other man, the two of them don’t speak of the war that happened nearly nine months previous too often, there’s too much pain and death in the memories.
Daryl sighs. “I know.” He replies.
Paul presses a soft kiss against Daryl’s cheek and then his lips before bring Daryl’s head down to rest on his shoulder. “I love you.” He whispers into the man’s hair.
Daryl noses against his neck and inhales softly. “I love you.” He replies, his voice just as soft as Paul’s had been.
Later in the night, they lay in their small bed pressed against each other with the covers hiding their bodies from the cool air.
Paul lays on his back and Daryl lays beside him with his head on Paul’s chest, his arm over his muscled stomach and Paul has their legs threaded together. Paul wraps his arms around the man’s shoulders just a little tighter and pushes his lips against his forehead, feeling his warm skin beneath his plump lips.
Daryl hums quietly and tilts his head up his lips meet Paul’s.
They kiss softly and lovingly for a few minutes until Daryl has to break it to yawn. “Sorry.” He mumbles softly as he returns his head to Paul’s chest and closes his eyes.
Paul chuckles lightly and begins threading his fingers through the man’s hair. “It’s okay. Go to sleep, sweetheart.” Paul whispers and closes his own eyes after pressing one more kiss to Daryl’s forehead.
Daryl hums softly in response and just minutes later they’re both dead to the world.
We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Maggie suddenly appears beside where Paul stands with a good view of the rest of the Hilltop’s residents that are spread around the area in front of Barrington House. “Why’s he sulking?” She asks over the noise of the music playing from a large set of speakers as she points to Daryl, who sits on one of the log chairs over by the stables.
Paul laughs at her question and then gently shoulders her. “There’s more than ten people around, that’s why.” He answers with a smirk as he watches his boyfriend drink his homemade beer with a grimace spread over his pretty face.
Maggie laughs and then nudges his hip with her elbow. “Go cheer him up then.” She tells him with a soft smile.
Paul chuckles and does as she says, he sips his own beer as he walks through the crowd of people to Daryl. He’s stopped a few times to chat with fellow residents and to open a water bottle lid for Toby, one of the small children. Once he’s helped Toby, he ruffles the small boy’s hair and the continues making his way to Daryl, smiling to himself when he notices that Daryl had been watching him with a fond expression on his face.
“Hi, baby.” Paul greets him once he’s within earshot, he places a hand on Daryl’s shoulder and leans down to press their lips together quickly before sitting down on the log beside him.
Daryl grunts quietly and leans forward to place his cup on the ground. “Hey, enjoying yourself?” He replies as he watches Paul.
Paul looks over at him and smiles. “Yes, I am though I guess you aren’t.” He says, quirking his eyebrow in question at the other man.
“Just ain’t my kinda thing.” Daryl replies as he looks out at the party in front of them.
Paul nods in understanding. “You don’t have to stay.” He tells the other man.
Daryl shakes his head and turns to meet his eyes, he smiles as he wraps his arm around Paul’s shoulders and pulls him closer. “Long as you’re around, I’m fine.” He says softly.
Paul lips spread in a wide smile, he knows Daryl’s statement goes deeper than just Paul sitting with him at a party.
“I love you.” Paul says softly before leaning over and pressing his lips against Daryl’s, his hand coming up to cup his cheek.
They kiss for a few moments until Daryl pulls apart but Paul doesn’t mind, public displays of affection isn’t something Daryl usually does, so Paul’s perfectly happy with an arm around his shoulders and a kiss.
They stay with their faces fairly close to each other and keep their eyes locked, taking in each other’s expressions and letting their minds wander.
“I love you.” Daryl says in reply to Paul after a few moments.
Paul smiles and is about to reply when a soft, strange clicking noise is heard from just in front of them.
They both turn to face the noise and Daryl groans while Paul smiles happily in excitement.
Enid stands in front of them, a polaroid camera in her hand and the photo that she had just taken in the other. “Sorry, it was just too cute for me not to.” She defends herself as she shakes the photo.
“Let me see.” Paul almost exclaims as he holds out his hand for the photo, Daryl just gives her the finger but he shifts closer to Paul and rests his head against his shoulder.
Enid smiles and hands him the photo. “It’s a good one.” She says.
Paul accepts the photo from her small hand and shakes it a few times to bring the picture to its clearest form before he looks at it.
Looking at the photo Paul smiles even wider. Enid was right, it’s a good photo. The setting sun sets a nice lighting over the two of them kissing lovingly, Daryl’s arm around Paul’s shoulders holding him close and Paul’s hand on the man’s cheek.
“Look!” Paul says and holds the photo so Daryl can see it.
Daryl adjusts the positioning of his head on Paul’s shoulder so he can see the photo better. He looks at it for a few moments before humming softly and grabbing Paul’s hand, turning it over to kiss his knuckles.
Enid giggles as she rocks on her feet. “I think that’s his way of saying he likes it.” She says.
Paul looks up at her and laughs as he tucks the photo into the shirt pocket of his white button up. “Yes, I think it is.” He agrees with her before kissing Daryl’s forehead.
Enid smiles at them for a moment. “Well, I’m off, I want to get a nice one of Aaron and Eric.” She tells them before spinning on her heels and heading away.
Paul and Daryl say their goodbyes to her as she leaves and then Paul is standing back up from the log and holding out his hand for Daryl to take, the man does so and Paul pulls him to his feet.
“Come on, let’s go back home.” He says quietly as he pulls Daryl to his chest, kissing him softly before beginning lead Daryl away.
Where our eyes are never closing
Our hearts were never broken
And time’s forever frozen still
Paul pants to catch his breath as Daryl moves back up the bed and lays down beside him, Paul rolls onto his side so they can both lay facing each other.
Daryl smiles lazily at him, wiping the back of his hand over his swollen lips to clean up the spit and even some of Paul’s left over come.
Paul moves closer to Daryl so their faces are only half a foot apart and he threads their legs together, he places one hand against Daryl’s chest and threads the other’s fingers into Daryl’s hair, twirling the slightly sweaty strands between them.
Daryl’s own arm wraps around Paul’s waist and begins tracing the pale skin while he uses his other’s bicep as a pillow, Paul appreciates how its flexed.
“That was better than any damn party.” Daryl says cheekily with confident a smirk over his lips.
Paul chuckles and nods in agreement, the music and chatter is still audible, the sounds of fun and laughing but Paul doesn’t mind missing out, he would rather be here spending quality time with Daryl. Though he can still hear the party, to him it’s like nothing else exists, just the two of them here now, in their bed in their happy post-orgasm bliss.
“I’ll be sure to pick up some lube on the trip.” Paul says with a soft laugh, they had run out a few days previous so tonight they weren’t able to go all the way like they wanted because they both find anal sex too uncomfortable without, they instead pleasured each other with their mouths.
“Would be nice.” Daryl mumbles as he stops stroking Paul’s hip for a moment to pinch his ass cheek.
Paul gently whacks the side of Daryl’s head with the hand he had in the man’s hair. “Asshole.” He says but a soft smile spreads across his lips and he leans forward to kiss him.
Daryl hums a laugh into the kiss and pinches him once more before moving his hand further up Paul’s smooth back, rubbing the flesh lovingly and drawing patterns on his skin as they share lazy kisses.
They pull apart after a few minutes and Paul moves away for just a second to reach down and grab the covers that had bunched at their feet and then pull them over their nude bodies.
They kiss again and then settle so they’re just looking at each other.
“It feels like there’s nothing else.” Paul whispers as he traces Daryl’s features with his index and middle finger in fascination at how somebody can be so beautiful.
“What do you mean?”
Paul sighs. “When we’re like this, it feels like nothing else exists.” He whispers. “That it’s just me and you, no time, no other people, no danger, no pain. Just me and you, here in this bed, in love.”
Daryl’s smiles at him and Paul notices the way his eyes water. “You got a way with words.” He murmurs.
“Do I?” Paul asks with a soft smile before Daryl is leaning forward and cupping Paul’s face with his hand and pulling him in for a kiss.
“Can’t believe your leaving tomorrow.” Daryl whispers once they pull apart, looking deeply into Paul’s eyes as his own begin watering again.
“I’ll come back for you, I always do.” Paul replies before connecting their lips together again passionately.
They kiss for a long time, soft touches against each other’s bodies and quiet gasps and moans, some tears falling from their eyes. They kiss until they slowly start falling asleep against each other’s lips.
So you can keep me
Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans
Holding me close until our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone
Paul pulls on his shirt and begins buttoning it up, he gets a couple done up before Daryl is grabbing his hips from where he sits just beside him on their bed.
Daryl pulls him over to stand in front of him, the man begins doing up Paul’s buttons for him, pressing a kiss to each patch of skin before it’s covered up by the material of his shirt.
Paul sighs softly and places a hand on Daryl’s cheek, stroking his temple with his thumb.
Once his shirt is done up Paul manages to step away from the other man, much to his dismay and he steps over to where his trench coat hangs on a hook by the door. He shrugs it on and then smiles softly when he feels Daryl’s press his body against him from behind, wrapping his arms around his stomach and resting his head on his shoulder as he presses kisses to his warm neck.
“You’re so affectionate this morning.” Paul whispers as he turns around to face his boyfriend, wrapping his arms around the man’s neck he pulls him down towards him for a quick kiss.
“Gonna miss you.” Daryl replies softly and hugs Paul to his chest, burying his face in his shoulder.
Paul sighs and inhales Daryl’s scent, he has one of Daryl’s shirt packed with him but he knows with the work he’ll be doing the scent won’t stay long, the horrid smell of blood and sweat will overtake it.
“I know and I’ll miss you too, It will go by faster than you think, I promise.” Paul tells him as he rubs his upper-back lovingly.
They pull away from the hug after a minute and Paul’s steps over to their desk, opening his designated drawer and beginning to search through it.
“What are you doing?” Daryl asks shakily, he’s been on the verge of tears ever since they woke up an hour or so ago.
Paul doesn’t answer until he finds what he needs, he pulls out the photo that he had placed in there the previous night. “Here.” He says as he walks back over to Daryl. “You’re gonna keep this on you, okay?” Paul says as he holds the polaroid out to Daryl.
Daryl accepts it and smiles almost sadly as he looks at it. “Okay.” He whispers and looks up at Paul after a moment, a single tear leaks form his eye and rolls down his cheek.
Paul smiles and leans up to wipe the tear away. “You can keep it in your jeans, so it’s always close and if you ever feel like you need me, you can see me.” Paul whispers before laughing softly. “You always say you talk to me when I’m away, that you look up at the sky, now you can actually look at me.” He tells the other man.
“Thank you, I know this meant a lot to you. Could tell by your face.” Daryl replies as he carefully tucks the photo into his jeans.
Paul smiles and kisses him once more. “Keep that with you until I’m back, until you can really look at me again.” He whispers.
Daryl nods and leans down to press their foreheads together, Paul reaches up to cup Daryl’s face in both of his hands and their lips collide passionately.
You just hold me
And I won’t ever let you go
The car has been pulled up just outside the front gate, the final supplies are being placed inside and a quick engine check is being done while Paul and Eduardo say their goodbyes to everyone.
Daryl stands off to the side, trying to desperately fight off tears as he watches Paul gently rock baby Hershel in his arms, humming and speaking softly to him as the baby slowly falls asleep. Enid and Maggie stand just beside Daryl, Enid’s managing to control herself but Maggie looks like she’s going to burst into tears at any second, Daryl can’t blame her as he’s in the same boat.
After a few moments, Paul finally looks up from the baby’s peaceful face and smiles softly at them. He takes a few steps forward and so does Enid to meet him hallway, she carefully takes the baby from him and Paul leans down to kiss Hershel’s forehead and then Enid’s cheek.
They exchange a few quiet words that Daryl can’t make out before Paul steps up to Maggie and pulls her into his arms. Maggie finally starts to cry, Paul’s shoulder muffling her quiet sobs. By the time they’ve pulled away from the hug she’s calmed down and laughing softly.
Paul doesn’t say anything, he just steps closer to him and the two men collapse into an embrace. Daryl buries his face in Paul’s neck as Paul’s arms wrap around his shoulders and stroke softly, Daryl can feel Paul kissing his head, cheek and forehead. Paul’s whispering words to him but Daryl can’t focus on them.
Tears begin leaking from Daryl’s eyes and he knows that Paul can feel them against his skin.
Daryl wraps his arms around Paul’s middle impossibly tighter and squeezes, he doesn’t want to forget this, he wants to remember Paul’s warmth, his scent, his feel, his voice. Daryl doesn’t want him to go.
But he does.
Their embrace breaks after a few moments and then their lips meet, soft, warm, passionate and gone all too soon.
“I love you.” Paul whispers.
“I love you.” Daryl replies just as quietly as Paul tilts his head down to kiss his forehead.
And then he’s gone.
When I’m away, I will remember how you kissed me
Under the lamppost back on Sixth street
There’s not much noise, the soft hum of crickets outside of the old house and the occasional owl.
Eduardo is downstairs in the living area of the house keeping watch while Paul is upstairs in one of the house’s old bedrooms meant to be sleeping.
Except he can’t.
They’ve been gone for two and a half weeks, two and a half weeks without Daryl. Two weeks without Daryl’s fingers dancing across his hip to wake him up in the morning or his gentle fingers in his hair, two weeks without his kisses, hugs, words and body. Two weeks without his love.
Paul blinks away the stinging in his eyes, he lays down flat on the bed and sighs deeply.
His mind wanders to their first visit to Alexandria as a couple. It was early in the night when they arrived and Aaron and Eric offered for them to come over and have dinner with them, Daryl agreed and the night ended up being lovely. Paul loved seeing how comfortable Daryl was around the two other men.
Paul smiles at the memory of after dinner, he and Daryl had finished dinner and the two of them decided to go for a walk through the streets before returning to Aaron and Eric’s where they would be spending the night.
They walked they laughed, they kissed deeply and then they whispered for the very first time “I love you”.
Paul breathes in and out shakily a few times as he wills himself to fall asleep.
Just one and a half more weeks.
Hearing you whisper through the phone
Wait for me to come home
Daryl sits upon the watch platform at The Hilltop’s main gate, his heart thumping in his chest almost painfully as it had been the past four days. His eyes sting, his throat is tight making him feel like he’s choking and his stomach is in knots.
Paul and Eduardo were due back four days ago and there’s been no sign of them.
As much as Daryl struggles, a tear leaks from his eye and cascades down his cheek, followed by another and then another. He begins to sob softly, no longer caring who could hear him from below. He wants his Paul back.
He looks at the photo in his hand and takes a shaky breath.
An hour or so later, as the sun slowly begins to set, the radio beside him crackles.
“Eduardo, scout group three, come in Hilltop.” Eduardo’s voice fills the air and Daryl reaches for the radio desperately.
“Eduardo! Where’s Paul?” He exclaims, not at all caring about the formalities in which they are supposed to speak in over the radios.
“Hello, Daryl.” Eduardo says, a soft laugh in his voice. “He’s right beside me, he’s okay.”
Daryl lets out a quiet sob of relief. “Paul?” He says.
“Hey, sweetheart.” Paul’s voice comes a few seconds later and Daryl sobs again, his body flooding with relief, he can see people from around community approaching him out of the corner of his eye but he pays no mind to them.
“Where have you been?” He demands shakily. “Been fucking terrified.” He whimpers, cupping a hand over his mouth.
“Daryl, take some deep breaths. Calm down.” Paul tells him softly and god Daryl has missed his voice. “We found some people, we got held back a bit.” Paul explains once he hears that Daryl has calmed down.
“Are you alright?” Daryl asks.
“Yes.” Paul whispers with a soft laugh. “We just entered radio range, we’ll be home within an hour.” Paul tells him.
“Okay.” Daryl whispers, he wipes his hands over his face to try and rid it of his tears.
“Just wait okay?” Paul tells him. “Wait for me to come home.”