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We Rise For The Moon

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Daryl~

He held Y/N's body close, not wanting anyone to touch her. She would call out to him, just his name or mumble something he couldn't hear too well. And here they were, held at gunpoint by the group known as Terminus. Y/N mentioned how the group was a sadistic cult of people-eating motherfuckers and they had foolishly walked right into their layer. He should have remembered the train tracks from her story, but he had been so focused on getting her to safety that it barely crossed his mind.

The only good thing to come out of it was finding the rest of the survivors. Daryl counted the members of the Wolf Pack. Y/N, Shane, Glenn, Michonne, Carl, and himself were present -that meant Merle, Sophia, and Y/N's wolf companion Tekah were still out there and most likely heading for a safehouse. Rick, Bob, Maggie, Sasha, Rosita, Abraham, and Eugene....Daryl didn't know most of the other fuckers, so he kept an eye on them while holding Y/N. She'd be pissed if she woke up in Terminus train.

He remembered her face the first time she described how they slit her throat and nearly bled her dry. Flashes of the last time he saw her awake came rushing back....

Daryl looked through a greasy fringe of dark bangs at the sound of her yell. Y/N broke through the trees with blood-chilling emptiness in her eyes that he had never seen. She slit the throat of the man who tried to rape Carl, threw his body to the ground, and began to carve out his insides with an impassive expression on her face. Nothing. No emotion whatsoever lingered in her gaze. No smirk or cheeky little grin ghosted upon her lips. She was gone. The beast had taken over and it reveled in its kill.

Even then she was beautiful. Daryl barely noticed the blood on Rick's face or the distant look in Michonne's eyes. Carl scrambled across the ground to Michonne and everyone watched in terror as Y/N finally stood up. The man on the ground did not look human or anything even remotely recognizable. He feared her in that moment, trying to watch her as she worked. Only the flicker of light that came with the gunfire from the Claimers allowed them to see flashes of her movements.

Y/N clung to the shadows and took them all out. She spared no one. Shouts of fear were followed only by the sound of bodies dropping and guns clattering to the ground. Silence....too much quiet that meant death had swept through with a ferocity no one was aware existed in this realm. She was like the Keres from ancient Greek mythology. "Y/N..." he could hear her breathing, but he couldn't see her through his bruised eyes.

He crawled over to where he had seen her last and reached out to touch her...

Suddenly hands were pulling him back to reality and taking Y/N away.

You~

Cold. You were so cold....Your eyes wouldn't open as you struggled to pull through the darkness, reaching for Daryl once you couldn't feel him any longer. You needed him, he was your anchor. The only thing that kept you from floating away like a red balloon at a carnival. The coppery tinge of blood mixed with sweat and swirled all around. Finally, you were able to crack open one of you eyelids just in time to feel rusty water drip onto your naked body....where the hell is my gear?

Your Y/E/C eyes shoot open, taking in your surroundings as memories threaten to pull you under again. Terminus...Over and over you chant that name in your mind. Hot, scarlet liquid pooled between your fingers. Bright, manufactured fixtures showered you in man-made light, burning your eyes. You couldn't scream in anger. You laid on the cold ground, choking on the coppery taste of your own blood, waiting to die.

But you remember pressing your trembling hand against the cut and climbing to your feet, knees wobbling from the numbness in your legs. You remembered the taste of your mouth as you searched deep inside of your soul and called forth the beast that reign supreme. And then you fought your way out, cutting down anyone who crossed your path and taking out as many as those cannibal bastards as you could get your hands on.

Here you were...once again lying on a metal table while the men who butchered woman beside you forced the group over to the other side of the room. Daryl, Rick, Glenn, and the others were on their knees in front of the same steel tub that you recalled so vividly. Finding the strength that only came when death hovered in the air, you climb from the table silently. The bare bottoms of your feet moving swiftly across the floor as you pick up one of their tools.

You heard the labored breathing of your people as those douche-bottles who called this place home watched them struggle against their bonds. Three throats were slit before you crept up behind them, stabbing the sharp tip of the strange tool into the temple of of one of the Terminus pricks. You lowered him noiselessly to the ground, making sure that no one heard or saw you. Others would be coming to do the paperwork, so you had to move quickly.

Time slowed as you reached the one with the blade and slit his throat as he intended to do to your friends, showering blood down upon those who knelt. Rick cut through the zip-tie binding his hands just when Daryl looked up in time to notice you looking rather ill....

Daryl~

How the hell was she standing? Her beautiful Y/S/C skin was covered in blood once again. The man-made light above his head cast a phantom glow upon her body. Y/N stood before the others and he wanted to run to her as he impatiently waited for Rick to cut his binds. Once his hands were free, he swept her up in his arms a kissed her cheeks, forehead, lips, not caring about the blood that soaked through the front of his shirt. She kept whispering, "You're real. You're real."

Daryl didn't know what had gone on in that head of hers while she had been unconscious, however, he was glad it hadn't taken her almost a month to wake up this time. Y/N had extra gear at the safehouses, but he knew she hated for people to see the scars that covered her body, so he pulled off his vest and offered her some modesty. Her Y/E/C eyes stared up into his icy blue gaze and made him feel like a god among men.

"Hey guys..." a strange voice called before he stopped at the sight of the two butchers on the floor. Daryl looked up to see one of the men who brought the group here at gunpoint. The sounds of gunfire and what he assumed were walker growls came from somewhere outside of the slaughterhouse.

Daryl, Rick, Glenn, and Y/N cut the other people loose. Everyone grabbed for tools or weapons that were taken but her gear was missing. Outside of the Terminus compound, people ran screaming, and more gunshots peppered the area. Y/N would want an explanation on why everyone ended up at Terminus, but he didn't have the heart to tell her that he made a mistake that nearly got them all killed. He should have looked at his map. He should have thought like a member of the Wolf Pack, but he hadn't. All he cared about was her....

"Where's the rest of the pack?" Y/N asked.

"Carl and Michonne were taken with the others. We ain't been here for long, so they might still be alive." Daryl saw the doubt in her eyes because she wasn't the type to be hopeful about anything. He brushed his hand down the side of her face and tried to give her a little smile, but he ended up just frowning with a growl -which she appeared to like more as she chuckled at him.

"...sounded like a bomb," Glenn said.

"Sounds like a damn war," came from Daryl.

Bob asked, "What the hell are these people?"

Y/N looked over to all of them. "They aren't people."

You~

Those of you who were not bled out from the butchers moved through doorway into the corridor where the cells were. Torsos were strung from the ceilings and tables were cluttered with dismembered bodies. Now they would see what you had always warned them about. It wasn't the walkers they needed to fear in the new world, it was the humans. "Cross any of these people, you kill 'em," Rick said, "Don't hesitate. They won't."

As if you needed to be told. If anyone here knew what Terminus was capable of, it was you. Unable to stomach the sight of their sick practices, you pushed on as they searched around, hoping they would be smart enough to follow you to the exit. There was nothing here but a twisted sense of survival. Daryl came up beside you where you stood staring out the door. He held a metal pole in his hand that looked so out of place where his crossbow should be.

Walkers banged on one of the storage containers you knew held prisoners. They always held prisoners.

"We run we can get by 'em. They're distracted," Rick said trying to remain in a position of power. It made you snort bitterly.

"We gotta let those people out," Glenn responded. "That's still who we are, it's gotta be." There was a reason the two of you were friends, after all. He was a member of the Wolf Pack and one of the rare beating hearts you would die for.

Daryl looked to you for a plan as always and you suspected Rick got a little frustrated. He was running with your crew right now. The only person who didn't wear the mark of the pack was Bob and he was still an infant in your eyes.

"Shane should be with them right?" You asked, tugging Rick's belt off is pants -ignoring his girlish squeal of course- and using it to tie Daryl's vest tighter around you. "He left with Abraham at the safehouse..."

Glenn nodded eagerly and you had a feeling you were wearing your let's fuck shit up look.

"So...here's the plan...."

Chapter Text

You shove through the doors as planned. Daryl and Glenn flank your advances, Rick and Bob covered from the rear, as you push on toward the large containers. The five of you take out the walkers without a problem. Glenn opens the container and a crazed man rushes you. He grips Daryl's vest and hauls you off of your feet, laughing like a maniac and saying, "We're the same!" You drop down to throw his weight off balance and shove him into a walker. Glenn takes out the biter and the group backs up against the container to peer around the corner.

Walkers appeared on both sides, but you remain unnoticed. The sounds of war blare through the daylight. Someone begins to thin out the walkers. "Wait here," you said. Daryl tried to stop you, but you crouched low with a blade in your hand and moved to take cover behind a car. You don't notice a walker come up behind you and Daryl shoves the end of his pipe through the thing's head.

"Doncha go runnin' off like that again, ya' hear?" he snarls lowly. You nod quickly, thankful that he saved you. Terminus people with automatic rifles and various other weapons started taking out the group of walkers that was moving through the area. The one at the back of the small unit came into sight. Before Daryl could blink, you shoved the knife into the side of the man's neck to the hilt and grabbed his gun. Instantly, you unloaded on the Terminus bastards and the walkers they were hunting down.

"Clear," you said to Daryl and he motioned for the others to follow. More walkers began to move in, so your group turned tail and went in the opposite direction. The group mowed down anything that crossed your path with you in the lead. Rick had a gun by now and Daryl had a knife and his pipe. Glenn's bat took out more walkers than you thought was possible with how many were running around the compound.

Another container came into sight and you and Rick pulled open the door. Carl, Maggie, Michonne, Eugene, Sasha, Rosita, and Abraham came into sight. Carl looked you over with worry, but you gave him a weak smile you hoped reached your eyes for the sake of one of the youngest members of your pack. Large arms came around you and for a second you stiffened. Shane checked you over for injuries and breathed a sigh of relief when he noticed you weren't hurt. "Goddammit, you scared the shit out of all of us."

'Come on, we fight to the fence!" Rick yelled, still gunning down walkers.

The Wolf Pack lead the assault on Terminus carving a path for the others to retreat. You saw a fight in some of them that you would have never believe was possible if you hadn't seen it with your own eyes. Maggie impressed you. She might be more cut out to be a leader than Rick realized. "Up and over!" Shane commanded, helping the group climb the top of the fence to get to safety. You run out of ammunition and drop the gun. Everything inside of you wants to stay and watch this play burn...

"Y/N!" Daryl forced you over the fence and the everyone ran into the forest.

Eventually the rushed pace slowed to careful steps as to not alert whatever biters would be drawn by the noise still raging on behind you. The sound of leaves rustling became louder than the war at Terminus. You crouched down and Daryl tossed you a small shovel so the two of you could dig up one of the caches the Wolf Pack had stored in the area.

"The hell we still around here for?" Abraham asked.

"Guns, supplies, knives, explosives...whatever tickles your fancy, Red," you quip.

"What?!" Bob's fearful voice grated against your nerves. Sweet guy, but sweet got killed. Terminus liked the taste of cowards.

"Take the rifles, go along the fence, take out as many as you can. Wolf Pack get geared up and sweep the area. They don't get to live," you murmured, pulling out the bags buried beneath the ground. The Wolf Pack donned their backup gear, sheathed their blades, clipped on the grenades to their belts, and readied for the next wave of violence.

"Y/N, we got out. It's over," Rick said.

Daryl responded so you didn't have to. He knew how much you hated this place. "It ain't over till they're all dead."

And the merry bunch of debaters began to argue, as usual, but fuck that. Terminus was going down with or without their help. You signaled the Wolf Pack to move out, grateful to see Rick and Maggie joining your numbers. This was going to be fun.


 

Terminus fell as you knew it would. You reunited with Carol, Rick accepted the girl named Tara into the group -she was one of the former soldiers who worked with the Governor in the war that took the prison, which was fine by you as long as the new people didn't get in your way. There were eyes everywhere, you could feel them. You weren't paranoid or traumatized by the bullshit that just happened. You've survived a lot worse and you'd continue to do so...but someone was out there, keeping tabs on your movements and you didn't like it.

You were happy to find your old gear and the maps untouched at the compound, feeling much safer knowing those pricks didn't have a key to the entire fucking state and your operation. Things were changing, groups were getting more desperate and you knew what happened last time. While traveling through California, you watched people destroy the world in a blind panic before the walkers even had a chance. People gunned each other down in cold blood and scrambled through the streets to steal from each other.

Everywhere else was the same. Either it was overrun by the dead or the people banded into factions and slaughtered the masses. The safehouse you all arrived at was in tact and Merle Dixon was sitting on the porch nursing a bottle of whiskey with a smile on his face. It was comforting to see him strangely. "Knew you two would make it out of whatever shit ya' got yerselves into," he said pointing to you and Daryl. Dary's warm hand intertwined his fingers with yours and you looked up into those dreamy blue eyes that made you want to forget the world and leave it all behind.

Sophia, Tekah, and the remaining people of the group waited inside the safehouse, sharing a quick meal knowing soon you would discuss moving out with the pack. It was dangerous to linger anywhere if you wanted the safehouses to remain safe. You couldn't afford for them to get taken over by a faction or a group of walkers. Daryl had yet to speak to you since leaving Terminus the second time and you were tired of the distance. "You and me, now."

You gave shane a look before tugging Daryl into the back room of the small cabin, he would make sure you weren't disturbed by anyone. Daryl refused to look at you once the door closed. You fisted your hands in his gear and pushed his back against the wall with a surprising amount of strength. He blinked several times and you saw fear in his eyes. Never had there been actual fear between you two, only anxiety and what lingered from your pasts...but never had you hurt him or given him a reason to think you would.

"Daryl...please. Talk to me."

Daryl~

He looked at her and struggled to find the words. She relied on him, just like everyone else, and he let her down. He let her get taken by the people she had feared to see again and it nearly got them all killed. "M' sorry. M' sorry ya' got taken, Y/N. They woulda never have gotten ya' if it weren't for me not payin' attention. I didn't act like a member of the pack, I acted like a man and it....hell, I damn near lost ya' in all that shit back there."

Her Y/E/C eyes stared at him in confusion. "Shane was captured, too. So was Michonne and Carl. Glenn and the others...No one is at fault, Daryl. Terminus was going to find us sooner or later anyway. Did you...did you think I blamed you for this?"

Daryl didn't talk.

"You did. What made you think I would ever blame you for something like that? Because you didn't leave me behind when I acted like a head-case? Daryl, I love you. And I know why you did it because I would have done the same..."

He wanted to kiss her. Daryl wanted to taste the wet velvet of her mouth and drink in her air until he was lost to it. So he did. He pulled Y/N until she was close enough to feel each time her pulse kicked up when he touched her. The tiny hairs on her arms stood up as chill-bumps rose on her Y/S/C flesh, making him want to push her down on that bed and give her what they both needed. But it was her....it was always Y/N that got him to that point and pushed him past his hesitation.

She moved him from against the wall and lowered him onto the bed. He peeled off his vest and shirt, sucking in a sharp breath when he felt her warm hands slide down his chest. Daryl wanted to howl like they did in battle, but he didn't want the others to find them like this. Y/N sucked the flesh beneath his jaw before sinking her teeth into his skin, marking him as he had that day in the woods when they made love on the ground. She began to grind against his erection, stroking him through the constricting fabric of his pants until he was sure his heart stopped beating.

He rolled her over and looked into her beautiful face to see any form of worry or sign that she didn't want this. "Ya' want it? Ya' want me inside ya' ta' ake them all go away?"

"Oh...god. Yes, Daryl," she whispered into his neck. He pressed forward and sealed her mouth with his, feeling her whimper against his lips. Her hands reached for his belt as his tugged down her leathers. His fingers instantly caressed the heat at the apex of her thighs and felt the silken folds drool against his hand. Damn...she was so hot he was afraid she'd burn up the whole cabin. But it would be a beautiful death. She kept whispering to him as his middle finger slid between her creases and rubbed her clit slowly. "You do this to me....you're so beautiful, Daryl. I want you....make love to me. Please..."

Daryl could barely handle the sounds she was making. Breathy moans and dirty little promises came from her kiss-swollen lips that he couldn't resist tasting once more. He growled into the comforter on the bed as she licked her palm and used it to tickle the weeping slit at the tip of his cock. Precum oozed against her fingers and she used it to ease her strokes down his length. He bucked against her, knowing what came next. And he steeled himself against the pleasure....

Y/N brushed the head of his cock against her entrance, teasing them both in an intimate little kiss that had him gripping the covers. She pressed him inside, allowing him the breach her opening. "Look at me, Daryl. Let me see those eyes, Dreamy Blue."

He turned his head until he was staring at her. She moved her hands from between their bodies and brushed his bangs from his forehead. "There you are," she said with a smile. Daryl's lips ghosted across hers as his hips surged forward to unite their bodies further. She clenched around him at the sudden intrusion, but no pain entered her gaze. "UHHHhhh.....take it, baby. You know I love it. It's beautiful between us....so good, Daryl."

His hips pulsated, picking up speed for a moment before he bottomed out in a deep stroke. He felt her legs pull tighter around his waist as Y/N rocked her pelvis up against him. Daryl shifted a bit, gliding over the sensitive inner walls of her body. He felt each time he did something right, in tuned to what she liked now, knowing how to keep her on edge until he could join her. Hot cream poured from her body and juicy sounds filled the room as he slammed into her depths.

She bit into his shoulder to keep from screaming and it nearly pushed him over, but he held on for her. He knew how much she needed the closeness between them to come back. "Ya' like that, Y/N. Tell me how I feel inside ya', princess. Tell me how ya' feel." Her back arched and she spasmed at the sound of his voice in her ear.

"Right there....yes. You feel so good baby....fuck, Daryl." He had to put his hand over her mouth so she didn't make too much noise as his pace increased. He backed off of her slightly so his other hand could hold her hips down into the bed, trying to find the right angle. Fire burned into her eyes and he watched her hand circle her clit as he pounded into her.

Their stares never wavered, the intensity never died, and when her body stiffened beneath his, Daryl rode her orgasm to his own release. She shattered around him into a million pieces and he followed her down all the way. Her hands stroked his scarred back and the universe danced in her beautiful eyes until they came back to earth.

Chapter Text

Father Gabriel Stokes sort of creeps you out a little, if you're going to be honest. He's the sort of man who knows too many secrets. Beth was still missing and Daryl took it badly...too badly in your opinion. It was the sort of bad where he shut you out and refused to meet your gaze even when you insisted. That damn distance was back between the two of you, but you wouldn't let it interfere in what was important. Beth was a sweet girl, but Daryl's reaction made you feel like something different was going on. If it had been Tyreese or one of the other group members, you don't think he would have responded at all much. But with Beth, it was personal for some reason.

He's known her a long time, you get that, but even Shane thought something might be up. You wanted to talk about it. You wanted to know if someone else had owned a piece of Daryl's heart when he thought you were gone...but you pushed it aside for now and continued to work with your pack. Father Gabriel led everyone to a church that he had been surviving at since around the time of the outbreak. You stiffened outside the door as Shane and Glenn swept the area for threats.

"If you ever stepped inside a church, the Lord's house would burn to the ground!" your aunt shrieked. Her powder-white dress and sunhat making her look like the virtuous woman she claimed to be. But beneath your shirt were the bruises and scars she whipped into your body as she screamed bible verses between each lashing. She said it was to wash away your sins in the name of her God as you lay facedown with tears in your eyes. "The devil's children do not deserve to be loved. All of you shall perish in his wrath."

You gritted your teeth, still able to recall the strike of the whip against your already scarred back. The grip on your dagger was so harsh, Merle placed a hand on your wrist with a worried look in his eyes. "Ain't nothin' here that can gettcha, girly. Even sinners need shelter," he said. You sent him a smirk that was no more than a twitch at the corner of your mouth, but he smiled back.

The Wolf Pack and the others took shelter in the church. Rick, Bob, Sasha, and Father Gabriel prepared to go on a food run to the supply bank Father Gabriel spoke of, but you sent Michonne with. No more outings without one of your pack to tag along in case shit went sideways as always. Daryl was content to just lean against a corner in the church as he further segregated himself from the pack.

However, when Shane's hand gently guided you toward the door, Daryl attacked. He was starting to confuse you and everyone else. Shane pushed Daryl away, but he came right back. You had enough, moving around Shane and staring Daryl down. After all of the beautiful love the two of you shared a week ago he started acting like a lunatic. "The hell is your problem?"

Daryl said nothing.

"Is Beth so important that you would let it come between the pack?!" you shouted.

"Ain't we supposed to get rid of weaknesses?"

You flinched back, his words hurting worse than his distance ever could. "Is that what I am to you now? A weakness?"

Daryl's silence made you feel violent.

"I know with our little run-ins with the Claimers and Terminus there hasn't been much time to really talk...but you could have at least told me the two of you had gotten so close before you fucked me," you sneered. "Don't worry, we'll find your little girlfriend and the two of you will be back together in no time."

He moved to grab your arm, but you shoved him off. You, Shane, and Merle headed outside to set a parameter around the church and clear your minds. Even Merle was sick of Daryl's shit nowadays. There were more and more people to protect every time the group changed locations and that meant more work for the pack, but Daryl was barely a casual participant lately. You could handle his and Carol's mother-son bond, but Beth seemed to have softened Daryl in a way.

No matter how many times you and Daryl discussed how destructive or bad the connection between the two of you could get, there had always been that drive to keep fighting. Was he exhausted? Were you? You didn't want to think that this could be the end, that another woman could be the end of your relationship, but...if Daryl was intimate with her...

Merle sensed your distress once again, having become rather in tuned with your emotions, and crouched down where you were tying off an emergency explosive. "He wouldn't do nothin', Y/N. He ain't like that."

"You sure about that? Because he wasn't quick to prove me wrong, Merle."

"He feels guilty."

"Daryl always feels guilty, it's just who he is. But he's right. I'm a weakness."

Shane came up behind you and pushed you over. He shoved his knee into your chest and you brought your fist up to punch him in the kidney as you bucked upward. He was thrown off and you leaned over his large body to press your dagger to his throat. Shane just smiled up at you and laughed a little. "If you're a weakness, what the hell does that make everybody else here?"

"There are easier ways to make a point, asshole."

"None that you would listen to, dumb-fuck."

Rick and the others returned. Bob was acting strangely, but you didn't say anything, just kept an eye on him just in case. A large feast was prepared with everyone eating together. The rare moment of peace fell over the group, but not everyone was present. Daryl and Carol disappeared a while ago and you assumed they just went to talk as always. Maybe she could talk some sense into him, but you didn't think it would help.

Abraham invited the group and your Wolf Pack to Washington with his people. You had been there before and you found nothing special, but the way he talked about it...things may have changed. The Wolf Pack huddled that night and discussed the best course of action. Washington was new territory for most of them and you wanted to get maps made with what you knew before going.


 

Daryl didn't sleep beside you last night nor was he there when you woke up. The pain of that realization was almost too much. He left you. Whether he meant to do so with as much gravity as you felt didn't matter. All of the promises he made to never let you down and the vows to took to never leave were broken in one fell swoop. It made you a little more than bitter, you had to admit, as you walked to the front door of the church and found no one on their post.

The Wolf Pack was signaled. They came rushing toward you from every direction, the last was Glenn who came from around the corner. He had been keeping watch. "We're being watched. There are marks on some of the trees, but I didn't want to go too far in case something happened."

In your already irritable state, you turn around and throw Father Gabriel against the wall. "I could kill you with a flick of my wrist, Father. So why don't you tell me who you're working with before I get creative..."

Sasha, Rick, and Tyreese came into the church. Sasha made no move to stop you, instead she expected he was involved in Bob's disappearance. Apparently he went missing not long after Daryl and Carol snuck off somewhere. The words YOU WILL BURN FOR THIS were found on the outside of the church. Father Gabriel admitted to barring the doors after the outbreak and denying other entrance, leaving them to be eaten by the walkers. He disgusted you, so you backed away with a scowl on your face.

"You're a coward and a...." a faint whistle cuts off your insult. You and The Wolf Pack regroup on the grass where Bob was crawling toward the church. "It's a decoy!" you yelled. Rick and the others carried Bob inside as you, Shane, Merle, Glenn, and Michonne took on the....Terminus. You recognized some of them from the attack on the compound. Fuck.

You readied your bow, back against the inside wall of the church and drop to your knees. Turning, you aim and fire an arrow between the eyes of one of the former Terminus citizens. Bullets rained down upon the church. You watch Rick's group fire back and marveled at how good they were at shooting at walkers, but they all had shitty aim when it came to fighting against humans. "Don't waste the ammo! If you can't hit something, stop firing the damn gun!"

They had the nerve to look embarrassed as you returned fire with your arrows. The sharp whistle calming in the midst of gunshots more likely to draw walkers than do actual damage to rapidly moving targets. Rick was the last one in the church, blindly firing his rounds into the trees and not hitting a single target. You scuff and shove past him. He shoots you a glare, but doesn't say anything. Glenn tells you about the letter A written in blood outside and your heart stopped.

The creepy garbage people and their leader always talked about the letter A, but never revealed what it meant. It was one of the few mysteries you were never able to solve before escaping. Jadis had once asked you if you were an 'A' or 'B' and at first you though it had to do with blood type or something like that, but you never figured it out.

Bob tried his best to describe where he was being held, Father Gabriel recognized the place as the elementary school in town. Abraham and Rick nearly come to blows over Eugene's safety and Glenn steps in. You reach for the grenade clipped to your belt and hold it high enough so everyone can see it, whistling a happy tune in tribute to the man who taught you that psycho got people to shut the hell up. When the arguing came to an abrupt stop at the sight of your grenade, you spoke up.

"Abraham, if you agree to help us take out Gareth and his boot-lickers, the Wolf Pack will go with you when you leave for Washington. We have a member missing...but the rest of us will go along. Maggie and a few others from Rick's group agreed to follow if we join."

No one argued with the crazy lady with a grenade in her hand.

"Good. Carl and Sophia will stay with the group. Tekah and I take the lead, we track them down. Merle get's us in. Shane, Rick, Abraham, and Michonne secure the inside. Glenn stays on standby in case we need an emergency exit. These assholes don't get a chance to talk, Rick. We take them out and shut down whatever they have going. No exceptions. NONE."

"Gear up," Shane shouted. You finally returned the grenade to your belt and sauntered out of the church to therapeutically kill some walkers.

Chapter Text

Daryl~

He didn't mean to end things the way he did. There was nothing between him and Beth, he saw her as a sister. She was in love with him, but Daryl knew there was no one else who would ever know him the way Y/N did. He was hurt that she thought that way, but he also couldn't blame her. The guilt of losing Beth became too much and he allowed it to blind him of what really mattered. He needed her, he was lost without her, and the thought of....nah, it wasn't worth it. Nothing was worth losing her.

As he and Noah approached the church, in time to hear shouting and Judith crying from inside. He peeked inside to see Terminus pricks threatening Father Gabriel to reveal the survivors, Daryl raised his crossbow and aimed it.The two men with Gareth are shot in the head from behind. When he went to take the shot at the last Hunter, Rick and Y/N came out of the shadows. She didn't look too good, like she hadn't slept the night before or eaten anything. "You really thought we were going to rush into whatever trap you could have waiting for us?" she asked. "Nah, bit smarter than that, I'm afraid. Good to see you Gareth."

She says nothing else, fires an arrow into his hand and forced him to drop his weapon. With the Wolf Pack and the others moving in, he had no choice but to submit. And Y/N commanded the Terminus survivors on their knees as the pack stood behind them, unsheathed their blades, and slit their throats. The floor of the church was stained with red and the cold detachment of execution sent a shiver down Daryl's spine.

Father Gabriel is shocked by the carnage that greets him when he enters the main room. "This is the lord's house..."

"No, it's just four walls and a roof," Maggie replied. When had she gotten just as cold as the rest of them?

Daryl watches as Shane takes Judith into his arms. Merle and Y/N stand in the corner talking. Abraham and the others drag the bodies away so that everyone could sleep for the night. They all looked eager to go somewhere, but Daryl didn't know why. He decided to wait another night before returning. He had to come up with an explanation for his actions.

You~

Bob died that night, succumbing to his bite and leaving Tyreese to take him out after he turned. There was a burial for Bob, but you weren't helping Rick and Tyreese bury those Terminus bastards. They didn't deserve to be treated like they were anything other than human. Father Gabriel avoided you, good because you have yet to trust him. Wolf Pack kept to their duties and made sure the people in your protection stayed alive.

You sent Glenn with Maggie, Tara, and Abraham's group with the an updated version of the maps you created. This time, you included several watchtowers and other areas governed by Nega's Saviors. It was nothing more than a warning to avoid those areas entirely. You had kept tabs on their movements over time. As always the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Gregory's HillTop community, and smaller settlements were included on the map.

Knowing Washington was where Negan had finally established the main Sanctuary location made you a little apprehensive about going there. But a vow was a vow and you would follow the others as soon as the rest of the group was able to. The Wolf Pack would have to survey the entire states of Virginia and Washington, setting up caches, safehouses, and the like if anyone was going to survive. The strategy the pack used in Georgia would suffice with a few amendments.

Rick, of course, was waiting for Daryl and Carol in order to move out. And the next night he didn't have to wait any longer, Michonne's watch signal came and the Wolf Pack came out in time to see Daryl standing next to a young boy. It was good to know he was alive, but you avoided looking at him directly. "Where's Carol?"

Of course, he doesn't answer you. He turns to Rick and tells him, which thoroughly pisses you and the rest of the pack off. The Wolf Pack heads back into the church and starts to reinforce its defenses. You didn't have time for Daryl's pity-party, so everyone go to work. There was talk of a rescue mission in Atlanta to get Carol back. Shane shook his head in irritation, but in the end agreed when you asked who would come with. You, Shane, Daryl, Rick, Sasha, Noah, and Tyreese prepared to leave for Atlanta.

Michonne, Merle, Carl, Tekah, Sophia, and the others were to stay at the church. You chuckled a little at the sight of Father Gabriel scrubbing away at the blood left from the Terminus execution. He would come to learn that not everyone deserved such a tribute.

After a long, boring drive to Atlanta, everyone holes up in a warehouse. Rick and the others start coming up with a plan when Tyreese suggests a hostage exchange with Daryl's support bringing the discussion to a conclusion. If Daryl wanted to think like that, then he would deal with the consequences. It was a dumb plan. "Shane and I will secure the outside if you guys want to walk into a situation like that. Those aren't just regular people, they're trained police officers. What makes you think they won't open fire the second the exchange is made because you're a threat to their existence?"

"What do you mean?" Rick asked.

"Going in armed with hostages into a hospital where on-edge police officers are protecting people....you seriously don't see where this could go wrong?" You snorted slightly and just shrugged. "What happens in there, the blood is on your hands. Take my warning or ignore it. Doesn't matter to me. We'll move in if things go bad, but make sure they don't."

You walked away to run a quick inventory on your weapons, feeling Daryl's eyes burning into the back of your head. Shane leaned against the wall, ready to go, but with a look that said he had words for you. "What the hell is up with playboy?"

"Don't know. You should ask him."

"Is he leaving the pack?" Shane asked.

"He already did. Sure, we don't run the same way Rick's group does, but we have rules. He didn't ask our help to look for Beth and he didn't have to. But he just walked away and then isolated himself from our numbers. Rule number four: Innovation before retaliation. We're supposed to process, plan, and execute before going off half-cocked. But the only rule he was thinking about was minimizing attachments. We were the ones he chose to drop."


All hell broke loose, once again. Rick and the others attempted to ambush two police officers, not thinking they could radio in backup or that backup was already close. Gunshots began to ring through the city and you leaned your back against a wall just gritting your teeth. Walkers and any other thing looking for blood or resources would follow the sound. You and Shane stayed out of it. You wanted no part in taking hostages or ambushing police officers that would protect their own to the death.

Eventually three officers were chased down and caught. Back at the warehouse even more talking goes down, but you're off in a dark corner with better things like survival to worry about. Like a plan in case Rick and the others do something stupid again. Daryl comes over to you then, sitting beside you and overwhelming you with his presence. This time, it's you that says nothing.

"Once we get Carol and Beth back, everythin' gone be alright," he grumbled. "I know ya' think I left ya' and that we ain't together no more, but that ain't true. I just needed ta' do this on my own without worryin' about losin' the rest of the pack in the process."

Daryl turned to stare at your profile as he spoke. "I love ya'. Ya' ma girl, Y/N. That ain't never gonna change. Beth likes me, but I don't got no feelin's for her at all. Nothin'."

"That's cute. It really is. But this isn't about just me and you, Daryl. It's about the pack and you walked away. I get that we act before we talk...I really do. But there was nothing. You got rid of your weaknesses and minimized attachments. We can't fault you for that, but you left the pack-"

"I ain't left the pack, Y/N!"

"Good luck telling that to everyone who waited up at night to hear your signal, Daryl. Tell that to Shane who you nearly shot with your crossbow just because he helped me walk across a room, but he dug a grave for you just in case we stumbled on your body. Tell that to Merle. He defended you every step of the way and you didn't even tell him why you were leaving."

You met his stare for the first time since he returned and it broke your heart. "The pack needs reliability, Daryl. If you disappear every time you feel guilty about something, what's the point of even being with us? We live with the blood on our hands so everyone else doesn't have to, guilt and anger is all we have. The fact that you can't handle that is what's wrong. THAT is your weakness. Not us."

You shoved to your feet and left him sitting on the ground, hoping he understood what it felt like for someone to crush his world and then walk away without any answers to his questions. Nothing could make you stop loving him, and hearing his confirmation that nothing happened between him and Beth did soften you a little, but you weren't going to just act like nothing happened just because he felt a little bit sorry. He and Rick can do their stupid plan, but you wanted no part of it and neither did Shane.

A commotion draws your attention. One of the officer's slammed Sasha's head into a window and took off at a run. If he made it bad to the others...well, you would be proven right...as always.

Shane gave chase, but you stopped him. Rick and the others would have to deal with their own bullshit this time. It wasn't up to the Wolf Pack to clean up after them every time they made a mistake. Instead, the two of you went to help Sasha. Daryl went after the cop, but he wasn't able to find him. You left him and Shane alone when he approached, giving them some time to talk.

Daryl~

"Shane..I need ya' help tomorrow," he said finally. Shane was impressed. It took a lot for Daryl Dixon to say he needed anyone. Perhaps there was hope for him yet. "I wouldn't be able ta' forgive myself if anythin' happened to Beth. Wouldn't be able to face Maggie and Glenn. Not after what happened to Hershel. But don't let Carol die. No matter what happens with the plan. Get her outta there alive, please."

"We'll do our best," Shane answered. "Just signal us if anything goes down and we'll be there. But like Y/N said, you're gonna have to learn to live with what happens tomorrow no matter what. There ain't any guarantees, not even for the Wolf Pack. We're just as likely to get killed in there as Carol or Beth."

"Thanks."

"Don't thank me yet, there's a lot at steak here. And if we get one or both of them out, you're comin' to Washington with us and you put the Wolf Pack in your priorities again or else I'll have no problem kicking your ass. Stay or go after that, but if you hurt Y/N I'll kill you without even batting an eyelash. And so will Merle."

Chapter Text

Rick positioned Sasha with her rifle and Daryl with his crossbow on the roof as he approaches the officers out front. Whatever else they had planned, you didn't know. You lied to Daryl and the others, saying you and Shane were going to stay out of the conflict, but that wasn't the Wolf Pack way. The two of you moved to the back of the hospital where only three guards were at their posts. You kept low to the ground and dispatched them quickly, quietly, and without casualties. Shane used a pair of bolt cutters to cut through the chain locking the rear entrance.

By the time the police officers out front radio in Rick and the others, you and Shane are already sweeping the halls. He choked out one of the cops and dragged the body out of sight. The two of you walked back-to-back with you in the lead, no weapons drawn in case you had to prove that you were no threat to these people. It just didn't look good to go into a place like that with guns drawn. God, you hate guns.

Your footsteps halt at the sound of Rick and the others moving through the halls. Only Daryl noticed the flash of your face in the darkness as they passed. Weapons were holstered and words were exchanged, but you and Shane moved into position just inside one of the doors along the hall. They were so focused on a peaceful exchange that no one realized they were being watched from both sides of the corridor. "One of yours for one of mine," the female officer said.

"Alright," replied Rick.

Anyone else would have missed Daryl's barely there growl of the word, "Move." But not you. Your awareness of him at all times made you dangerous at best.

One of the other officers wheeled carol over to the group, but you tensed for some reason. Once she reached Daryl, something felt off with the female officer that appeared to be the leader. The second exchange was between her and Rick. Tiny hairs on the back of your neck stood upright. It always did whenever you sensed a reaper was near. It was as though not everyone was walking away from this alive and you'd be damned if it was one of yours that fell.

Once Beth was in Rick's position, you stayed and watched. Feeling the tension rise and you nodded your head to where Shane was in the other doorway. Something was up. Rick's plans never went that smoothly even when you were there to help.

"Now I just need Noah," the female officer said. You tilted your head in confusion as to why the kid was so important. "And then you can leave."

You wanted to sigh and shake your head, but the situation was too stupid to even care that much.

"That wasn't part of the deal."

"Noah was my ward. Beth took his place and I'm losing her, so I need him back."

"Ma'am, please it's not-"

As the other officer's words were cut off, you sensed the hostility coming off of the female officer and you eased out of the shadows with your bow raised. "Let them walk away and I let you live."

Everyone stiffened. Some of the officers went for their guns, but you tisked. "Let's not spill any blood today."

"You're outnumbered."

"Never assume that I'm alone. You have no idea how many are with me and your people could be surrounded for all you know. If you didn't detect my presence, there's no way you can be certain. Don't bet your life or theirs on that."

"My officers put their lives on the line to find him. One of them died."

When Noah tried to advance, Daryl intercepted. "He ain't stayin'."

"He's one of mine, you have no claim on him."

And didn't that just piss you off. You whistled and Shane came out of the darkness like a supernatural entity. His cocky smile took on a whole new level of arrogance when he saw the fear in their eyes. None of them knew it was only the two of you, but you'd bet your last drink of water they were pissing their pants just wondering how many of you there really were.

Your voice was as sweet as sugar. "Don't do anything stupid, Beth."

Everyone looked to you with questions in their eyes. They didn't notice Beth reaching for a pair of scissors. But the shake of your head made her stop as did the dare in your Y/E/C gaze.

You kept your bow trained on the leader and signaled for Shane to get the other's to safety. He kept his back to Rick and walked backwards, keeping his eyes on you as they exited the hospital. The female officer that stared you down clenched her jaw so hard you could see the muscles working. "You could have fought, but you didn't," you said. "I didn't kill any of your officers on my way in. They're unharmed and their gear is in tact."

She stared at you as though you were insane, but she looked relieved to hear that her people were safe.

You began to walk away, slowly lowering your bow once you heard the others clear the building. "Four blocks away you'll find a bank. Beneath the floorboards of the manager's office is a list of coordinates. The locations hold three supply caches, two with medical supplies and one with food. It's yours. But remember this day, that I did you a favor and spared innocent lives. If I should come calling for aid, you'll be there or you'll fall with my enemies. Do you understand?"

The officer nodded and several of the ones you saw over her shoulder confirmed with their own signs of agreement.

"Heed the wolf's cry."


 

The others waited for you outside. Shane and Daryl exchanged words and you could see that Daryl was surprised by your involvement. You also catch sight of Glenn, Maggie, and Abraham's group. Tekah's call follows and the rest of the survivors gathered along with the Wolf Pack. Merle punched Daryl in the face and you're on him in an instant.

Shane pulled you away before you could do any real damage. "Rule number seven, Merle," you yelled. Everyone, even the Wolf Pack looked confused because the final rule had only been discussed between you and the eldest Dixon brother that day in the woods when the two of you first met. "Don't fuck with Daryl."

He just laughed and wiped the blood off the corner of his mouth before pulling you into a hug. Daryl gave you a look that you hadn't seen since your time together at the safehouse: want. But you ignored it, giving him a little smirk that said he would have to pay big time for being an asshole to you. "Never stopped loving you, Dreamy Blues. Just waiting for you to get your head out of Rick's ass and your mind away from Beth."

Daryl grunted, but gave you that phantom smile that made you want to kiss him until you were both breathless. "Only got my mind on ya', Y/N. No one else," he grumbled loud enough for everyone to hear, even Beth. It made your smirk grow into a wolfish grin.

"Keep talking like that, Dixon, and you'll have me climbing you like a tree in no time."

"In your dreams, Cupcake."

And just like that, the two of you were giving each other those playful eyes that held nothing but love and humor. It was Daryl that walked over and removed you from between Merle and Shane. He tilted your head and pulled you closer to his body until you could feel his warmth and smell the dirt on his skin. Daryl nuzzled your neck and bit down hard, marking you in front of everyone before he sucked hard enough to bruise your tender flesh. You moaned and leaned into him, not knowing that he stared defiantly into Shane's eyes as he did so.

Just like the creed demanded, he was ruthless in his claim and you loved every second of it.

Glenn smiled like a dork and gave you a little thumbs up before he tried to do the same with Maggie, but she wouldn't let him. The pout on his face was enough to break the spell between you and Daryl. His arms came around you to hold you up on your feet while you deflated into a puddle of giggles.

The entire drive to Richmond, Virginia was full of deep conversations, tears, and laughter between the members of the Wolf Pack...and Rick? Hmmmm. Glenn drove the pickup with Maggie in the passenger while You, Daryl, Merle, Shane, Michonne, and Rick sat in the truck bed passing around a few beers and a bottle of bourbon. Merle was talking about all of the foods he had been craving since the outbreak, musing about buffalo wings, gumbo, and bologna sandwiches -ok, the last one had everyone cracking up for the fourth time since leaving Georgia.

Shane held Judith in his arms. You leaned against Daryl's wide shoulders and Michonne dozed off against Rick's. He looked at you sheepishly and you wagged your eyebrows just to make him squirm a little. They liked each other, it was obvious to everyone but Michonne. She would come around and you hoped it was sooner rather than later. There was very little in this world that made you believe that love could exist outside of yours and Daryl's relationship, but Rick and Michonne made you want to believe.

It wasn't hope. It was never hope, but possibilities.

Daryl turned his head and pressed his lips to yours and you drank in the taste of his lips. It felt like a lifetime since you were able to feel him like this and it made you growl a little -a very ladylike growl of course. He smiled against your lips and teased the seam of your mouth until you opened for him. His tongue slipped inside and your nails dug into his thigh where your hand rested. It was his turn to growl this time, moving his hand up and placing it on your jaw to move the kiss where he wanted it. And you were following along without a protest in sight.

Merle kicked your boot and you jerked away from Daryl, glaring at his brother. "What?"

"Thought the both of ya' needed ta' come up for air, girly. Didn't want ya' ta' die so soon after findin' ya'."

Rick imitated your eyebrow wiggle and it made you flip him off as you licked your lips, trying to chase the flavor of Daryl until nothing else mattered again. You missed him and he was safe again because of you.

You turned to him and brushed his hair back to see his amazing face and those breathtaking eyes. "I love you."

"I love ya', too. No one else, Y/N. Just us, baby."

Chapter Text

"We're gonna run out of gas," you mumbled sleepily against Daryl's chest where the two of you rested in the back of the truck. Sure enough, you heard the engine sputter from up ahead. From your calculations, the group was about eighty miles away from Washington and no one has eaten in days. You pop your head up, bang on the truck as everything comes to a halt and you pull out your map. Shane looks over at you, the light of the rising sun reflecting off the blade of his machete. Life on the road was boring when everyone was too weak to fight walkers.

But now everyone had to continue on foot. Sasha was still torn up over losing Tyreese, Abraham was determined to protect Eugene, Rosita so far hasn't been much of a help to you, and everyone else not part of Rick's group is mostly added weight. Life was bleak when children were more badass than the adults. Though you saw signs of Carl and Sophia getting closer as the days went by. It was cute that Carl had a little crush, it made you almost smile and throw up in your mouth a little bit. Aaahhh, young love.

Either way, the day must go on. "Merle, can you take a team out hunting? I've got a friend in the area, if he sees us he'll leave supplies for everyone, but don't expect him to show his face until he knows he can trust you. I'm taking Daryl and Tekah on a run to get us the rest of the way. Shane, on your map there's a barn not far from here, it'll work as shelter after the storm."

Everyone looked at you skeptically. "You can predict the weather now?" Shane asked sarcastically.

"What? Your body odor so bad you can't smell the rain?"

"Nah, just overwhelmed by the scent of your boyfriend's funky feet," he snorted in response.

"I'll take Daryl's feet over your ball sweat and pits any day, love-muffin."

He threw grenade at you "playfully" and you caught it while laughing. The others jumped and tried to scatter until you said, "He didn't pull the pin, dumbasses."

Abraham began to bark about how explosives weren't toys to be played with, but the crazy ones in your pack just shrugged it off and continued on. When you and Daryl were far enough into the woods, you pushed him against the tree. He reached for your shirt and ran his hands up the heated flesh of your back as he leaned in for a kiss. You connected your mouth with his, sucking his bottom lip before biting it. He rocked against you and you felt how hard he was.

But before things could get too heavy, you gripped his wrist so hard he tried to jerk away. With the other hand, you lifted up his sleeves to look at the cigarette burns along his hand and forearm. "Didn't think I would notice?"

Daryl snatched his arm away and shoved past you. "Ain't none of ya' business, Y/N."

"Everything about you became my business when we agreed to start this relationship, Daryl. Don't you dare pull away again."

"Ya' got ya' own scars ta' worry about," he sneered. "I ain't the only one lookin' for a bit of relief from all of this."

"I haven't done that since I met you..."

He kept his back toward you and Tekah, but he made no move to turn around and face you. "Only started after Terminus..."

"Because you thought you lost Beth," you assumed.

"Because I thought I lost you, Y/N. Ya' the only thing I can't stand to walk away from and I thought I failed you. I know you said it ain't my fault what happened, but it was. And I didn't make it any better after that. Felt like shit and Beth was just an easy excuse to get away from it all. Didn't mean ta' shut ya' out."

"I'm not shaming you for the burns, Daryl. I'm the last person who would do so. I just...when those urges come over me, I find you and I let myself get so caught up in how I feel that the urges go away. There were times when I would cut or burn so deep that I thought the end would actually come knocking. But after I met you...the end didn't seem so great anymore."

Daryl rushed you, pushing your back against the tree where he just was. "Don't ya' ever thank about it, Princess. Ain't no escapin' this between us. I ain't never gonna lettcha go. Not now, not ever. Ya' come find me...no matter what."

"Think about that next time you do that to yourself. Think about how it will affect me and how much it would ruin me if you weren't here or if you were hurt and I couldn't save you."

"Ya' saved me already."

His kiss was fierce. Crushing and desperate and filled with love. He ripped down your leathers as your hands fumbled with his belt. You reached inside and touched the velvet-soft steel that ached for your caress. Daryl growled into the kiss, nipping at your tongue and swallowing down your moans so the two of you didn't attract walkers. Tekah was there to signal if anything went wrong, but you didn't want to take any chances.

Daryl's dirty hands gripped the flesh of your ass and lifted you off the ground, using his body to anchor you against the tree as your hands guided his length into your entrance. He thrust deeper and your back arched instinctively, trying to get closer while pulling him deeper. The snug, flexing muscles of your wet silk tear a whimper from the back of his throat as he finds his peace inside of your body. Narrow hips pulsated against the soft skin of your thighs.

"Mmmm...ssss...ugh."

"Love them noises ya' makin', Princess," he groaned.

"Fuck...Daryl, I'm close."

"Me too, just hold on. I'll give ya' wattcha need, Y/N."

Just your name growled against the exposed column of your neck was enough to get you even closer. But it was the claim he made with every torturous stroke against your sweet spot that took you there. "Ya' like that, huh? Love the way I feel inside ya', makin' ya' cum all over this cock, baby?"

You loved it when he got verbal, dirty words spilling from that sexy mouth that brought you so much pleasure. He shoved you harder against the tree and battered against your cervix with punishing thrusts until your vision blurred. You fell down to the depths of darkness with the power of your orgasm and right into his arms. Y/E/C eyes flew open when the hot remnants of Daryl's love spilled down your inner thigh. He breathed raggedly against your throat as the two of you came down from the heavens. "Holy shit," you breathed.

"That good, huh? Saw ya' damn near pass out from it."

"Don't get too cocky, Dixon," you flirted as you pulled your leathers back up after he cleaned you with the tail of his shirt. "Might have to show you some real tricks. Have you screaming my name until all the walkers in the state come running."

"Promises, promises."


You and Daryl came across a cabin only you knew the location of due to the overgrowth that covered the exterior. Back during your travels through the area, you made sure to not raid the place in case you needed it another time. Well...that other time was now and you and Daryl broke in through the back door. Every muscle in your body held perfectly still as you listened for movement nearby. No walkers or people appeared, so the search continued.

"I don't get it, Y/N."

"What don't you get, Dreamy Blues?" you asked with a smile.

"Why ya' don't think the Wolf Pack has a leader. We'd all follow ya' into battle without even second guessin' anything ya' said. Merle, Shane, Sophia, Rick, Beth, Carol...hell, the whole group woulda died a long time ago if it weren't for you. We wouldn't even have made it off the farm if ya' hadn't been there."

"It was a group effort."

"The hell it was," Daryl muttered as he stuffed cans into his bag. You carried the water pack and the other provisions bag as you tucked away anything you thought the group might need. "And ever since I brought ya' down from ya' mountain, death has been right at ya' heels. Mostly my fault, too."

"The hell it was," tossed back, using his own words against him. "Daryl, no one can make me do anything I don't want to do. In the end, it's my decision and my actions that dictate my future. Nothing that has happened to this group has been your fault, so stop. I won't listen to you put all of that pressure onto yourself."

"All I'm tryin' ta' say is, you're our leader. Whether ya' like it or not, Y/N. We'd all die for ya' and I know somethin' big is comin' up, which is why you've been preparin' things when no one else is lookin'."

"Pretty and smart, how'd a girl like me get so lucky?" you teased. He flipped you off before opening the pantry. There was a lot of spoiled food, but you guys got a pretty good loot.

When the rain began to pour on the walk to the barn, you couldn't help but laugh your ass off until he threw a rock at you for being too loud. "Damn I'm good."

The storm began to pick up as you and Daryl rush inside. The group cleared out the walkers and took shelter as you suggested. Carol and Maggie stood talking in the corner. Carl and Sophia were resting against the far wall. Father Gabriel could have been outside still for all you knew, he wasn't exactly someone you trusted yet. He was sketchy and you didn't trust sketchy. And what do you know? A campfire and story time started up as you rolled your eyes and passed around the food.

Rick told a story about his grandpa fighting against the Germans in WWII. Shane checks the barn for structural weaknesses. Merle drinks with Abraham beside the fire. Michonne and Glenn are content just to listen and eat their dinner. Daryl talks with Rick a bit, saying something along the lines of "we ain't them" before going to look out the door.

You smiled a little when you read the note attached to a few water bottles, the one that said, "From a friend."

The wind whistled outside and Daryl tried to hold the barn doors shut against a group of walkers. You and Maggie run over to help, keeping them out while the others drifted off to sleep. The storm raged on, uprooting trees, tossing debris everywhere, and taking out most of the walkers. Maggie eventually went to get some sleep as well as you and Daryl kept hacking and slashing at the walkers. It seemed so easy for some of them to sleep that you were almost envious.

Every time you closed your eyes, you relived a painful memory or you were so lost in your mind you forgot what reality was. Before, in the old world when all you knew was suffering, there had been no escape for you. There was no place in your mind where you could hide from it all, but Daryl gave you that peace. He helped you heal as you had begun to do the same for him.

It took all night for the storm to break, but when it did -the most beautiful sunrise came over the wreckage left behind. The smell of rain still clung to the air from the damp grass. It was a miracle that the barn hadn't been destroyed with the amount of damage caused by the tornado. With the barn doors open, Sasha and Maggie sit down on a felled tree to talk as everybody wakes up.

You use your hand to shield your eyes as a figure appears not too far away from where everyone is standing. Rick and a few of the others raise their guns, but you run as fast as you can, throwing yourself into the arms of the man everyone had their weapons pointed toward. "Aaron!"

"Y/N!"

Several clicks reach your ears as you turn to face the group, shielding Aaron with your body. You knew what situation he was in back with his own group going up against the faction who called themselves "Wolves" to mock your way of life, but he was your friend -something that had once been more rare than a freakin' unicorn. And he saved your life once before. Aaron raised his hands. "Didn't mean to interrupt. Good morning. My name is Aaron," he introduced. "I know, stranger danger, but....umm. I'm a friend."

"He's who I told you about."

That seemed to calm the group a bit, but they still eyed him warily.

"I-I'd like to talk to the person in charge. Rick, right?"

You nodded, confirming Aaron's suspicions.

"I have good news."

The sound of a music box playing made you squeal like a girl. Merle about keeled over he was laughing so hard, but you punched him in the side until he shut the hell up. It was a very badass squeal -nothing funny about it. The music was something straight out of a horror film and it was creepy as shit, so you shook off your heebie-jeebies.

Chapter Text

You sat beside Aaron and checked the bruise starting to form on his face. "Sorry about Rick, he's been different after Terminus," you apologized. Aaron just nodded, understanding how his sales pitch sounded to anyone who didn't know that he was one of the purest souls you had ever met. "Did you get my letters?"

"All of them. Though your method of contact is rather interesting," Aaron laughed.

"What? Not my fault people think Tekah is my only companion. Animals are just easier to trust."

"You never did tell me how you got your hands on Nyx to begin with."

"Can't give away all of my secrets...but I found her not long after Tekah. A baby bird abandoned before it hatches is a lot easier to imprint on than a grown wolf, trust me. The hardest part was getting her to come back after sending her out, but it got easier and easier for us to track each other down after a while. Taking good care of her?" You asked. Nyx was your raven. She was just as stubborn as you and often needed more motivation than any other bird of pray to trust a human enough to carry messages due to her intelligence and....well, like mother like daughter, you guess.

"She comes and goes, but mostly sits there and looks pretty if it isn't safe to hunt or send messages....The things this group has been through, they deserve a place like Alexandria."

"Yeah, they do. But I could tell back on the road that the Wolves are still a problem. Saw their tag clear as day."

"They're still a little pissed after you nearly killed Owen. Guess they assumed that because they were part of your old crew that they could get away with tarnishing everything you taught them. It's quite bold, honestly -them thinking you weren't going to find your way back here someday."

You chuckled, "Always hated that prick. He was a squirmy little bastard and twitchy as all hell. Knew I couldn't trust him or the others after a while. But you saved me when they left me for dead and I'll always consider you a friend, Aaron. Even if Rick and the others decide they don't need you or if they don't trust when I say that Alexandria is safe, then it'll be us and the Wolf Pack on the road. I owe you too much to let you just walk away."

"Alexandria is safe especially after everything you helped to establish there...but you know he runs everything now. Everything that isn't hidden completely is under his influence. No one has seen his place yet, but with the number of Saviors running around -Sanctuary is just as big as the two of you always said it would be...but he's different. I'm surprised he hasn't found the community and tried to force our hand."

Everything in you wanted to find Negan, but you knew how Daryl would react. He only knew but a fraction of what you were willing to tell, but he knew enough to know that Negan would always hold some kind of control over you. The group has lost people, they've fought for their lives, and yet they had no idea what sort of hell their lives would be if they ever crossed paths with Negan and his Saviors. You pulled out the map and showed it to Aaron, feeling the eyes of the Wolf Pack glaring at you. But they would need to trust you where Aaron was concerned or they would find themselves one member short.

You have built packs before and left them behind for less, the Wolves were a testament to that. They just needed to see Alexandria for themselves and know that they didn't need to build that fairytale life anymore, that it already existed for them -or at least it was the closest thing they would ever get to a real home. There were children that they needed to worry about and with Maggie's pregnancy, you didn't want a repeat of what happened to Lori.

"What's he got going on?"

"Building an army mostly from the looks of things. The way the Saviors talk, I'm surprised everyone in the world that survived the outbreak isn't riding in his name or bowing at his feet."

It wasn't hard for you to imagine such a thing. Negan, like you, was a force of nature that couldn't be hindered by the morals and laws of mankind. He lived in an existence that was all his own. "How's Eric?"

Aaron blushed slightly, but he smiled at you. "Besides the bigotry that still exists even after half the world died? He's alright. One of the recruiters still. We go out and travel for weeks at a time on our own and bring back anyone brave enough to listen. But I feel like he won't be able to handle it if someone he cares about falls."

"We just have to wait and see, I guess. HillTop?"

"Heard there are new people up there and that it's bigger, but I don't really go there myself," Aaron answered. "So...you wanna talk about it?"

"Talk about what?"

"The blued-eyed Adonis with the mop of dark hair and shoulders that could hold the weight of the world." He rolled his eyes and nodded in the direction where Daryl and Shane were talking. "What's up?"

"I love him," you said simply. 

"Like you loved Negan? Because from what I remember, that didn't end well for either of you. I don't want you to disappear again."

"I'm not going anywhere," you sighed. " I left behind too many problems and let too many threats walk away still breathing. Never again. This pack is different, Daryl is different, and we can take them all out."

"I trust you. But I was really hoping the photographs would have convinced Rick."

"Michonne is talking him down. If anyone can convince him it's her. He loves her even if he doesn't know it yet," you whispered like a child with a big secret. "You here alone?"

"No. There are vehicles we were trying to move closer, but the trees are blocking the way."

"Well, we can tell Rick that so he can send a search-"

"Y/N! Behind you!" 

Aaron's warning came too late when you lost consciousness and dropped like a sack of rocks.

When you came to, you and Aaron were restrained. You heard Rick arguing with Aaron, who was still talking calmly even after all of this bullshit. "Rick," you slurred. "You and I are gonna box when you come to your senses."

"Sorry 'bout this, Y/N. But I need to know for sure if this friend of yours none of us have even heard you talk about can be trusted. For all we know you lured us all out here to be ambushed," he explained. "You just seem to know too damn much and tell us only what you want us to hear."

"Damn! I'm impressed, Rick. Really I am."

"You aren't angry?"

Aaron turned to look at you and shake his head to warn you not to say something stupid. But...you did.

"Oh, I'll be fucking you up the second you untie me." Your eyes went to the Wolf Pack. "There's a car and an RV along the road. Go find it and know that everything Aaron has said and done is the truth."

"And what will you do?" Rick asked.

"We aren't exactly going anywhere, Rick. You and Judith can stay behind to keep an eye on us while the others scout the vehicles."

Rick considers it. "If they don't return in an hour, I'll kill him and you'll have a lot to answer for."

"Wolf Pack," you call to get them to come closer. An impish smile plays at the corner of your lips. "Take Tekah and make it back in 30 minutes. Rick here thinks it'll take an hour, prove him wrong and prove our innocence."

Daryl wanted to confront Rick for knocking you out and tying you up, but you shook your head and said, "Prove him wrong."

The others left You, Aaron, and Judith in the barn to scout the area. Judith wouldn't stop crying and it was giving you a headache. And Rick's weird acorn mush wasn't helping matters. Poor child.

"Just feed her the fucking applesause in Aaron's bag! Unless you want all the walkers in the area to come picking their teeth with our bones. And you'll be the only one able to fight them..."

"Not until he tastes it first."

"For the love of fuck, Rick. I'll eat it. Aaron doesn't like applesause."

Rick shook his head, not budging until you explained on Aaron's behalf the stupidity of a mother who used to force her gay son to eat foods he didn't like to make him more masculine. Rick relented and spoon fed you like you were Judith's age.

He finally got the miniature human to stop fussing right when the others returned. They confirmed Aaron's innocents and Shane untied the two of you. When Rick began to protest moving on, you floored him with a headbutt. Blood sprayed from his nose and your head throbbed, but it was worth it.

"We head for Alexandria."

It was the first time you clarified which community Aaron had been advocating and realization dawned on the Wolf Pack.

"It's ok, Rick. I forgive you. One can never be too careful," you said, making sure to let him know there was no bad blood between you two.

Daryl, however, flipped him off childishly and grumbled, "Touch 'er again and we gonna brawl, brother."

"I like him," Aaron laughed.

Chapter Text

You looked down at the food and supplies the group brought with from their trip. The Wolf Pack was geared up and ready for the trip while the others packed everything up and continued to talk until your eyes rolled so hard you thought the sound might attract walkers. Honestly, you missed calling them zombies. Walkers, Roamers, Biters, etc. all sounded too...normal. You wouldn't call a vampire a fang, sucker, or a leach, right? You'd call them a freakin' VAMPIRE. Honestly, it was like these people never turned on their televisions or read a comic book before the outbreak.

Hell, you were a homeless teen living in worse conditions than you were now and yet you still knew more than the people double your age. Glenn, your fellow nerd buddy, seemed to be the only one who still saw the good in people after everything that happened. Yeah, he was cautious, but was also very...optimistic despite everything. Rick's people continued to eye Aaron suspiciously due to his impeccably clean clothing, trimmed hair, and washed skin. Half of them would kill for a shower and yet they would rather smell like roadkill casserole before trusting someone who could turn out to be like Woodbury or Terminus.

Not that you blamed them really, but after all of the shit you had done for them -they still questioned your judgement. Again, that wasn't the issue....it was the trust thing. They all preached endlessly about not giving up who they really are and not losing hope for the future and blah blah blah blah, but this was supposed to be a family. And no matter how much you and the Wolf Pack try, they don't seem to trust any word that leaves your mouth until it's too late.

Like now, when everyone was about to leave, Rick made a decision without anyone else's say. Aaron explained that route 16 was the safest way to reach the community. "He's right, Rick. Even before I left the first time, only 16 had been cleared. There are bad people out here, some of the worst of what I warned you about, and more walkers than there were further south."

He looked as though he was about to agree with Aaron, but he changed his mind once you spoke up. "We drive north on 23."

Ok, you were tired of his shit. With more force than he was expecting, you grabbed Rick and threw him against the wall of the barn. He looked shocked at first, but it quickly disappeared as you put the curve of your dagger to his throat before he could shove you off. "What the hell is your problem?"

"We ain't got a problem, Y/N." Yeah, you weren't buying that shit.

"I'm not looking to take your place in this group. I AM NOT A LEADER. But I though I was your friend," you admitted. "I have fought beside you, bled beside you, and I've killed for you. What do I have to do to get you to trust me? Did you forget that it was Maggie and I that delivered Judith? Or that I hunted every night or went on runs on my own to bring your group food? How about my safehouses, caches, weapons, and countless other things I've given up to protect these people?"

"It's not that I ain't grateful-"

"It isn't? Because you have a pretty funny way of showing gratitude, Rick. The Governor, Terminus, the Claimers...and countless other enemies have been taken out because of me. I won't say I did it alone because that's not the truth. But no one here can deny that it was MY knowledge and resources that have kept us alive for this long. Stop asking people how many times they've killed and ask them how many lives they've saved by doing what needed to be done when no one else could."

You backed away from Rick and continued, "We'll do this your way, again. But this will be the last time I prove you wrong. I mean it, Rick. We've been in this together since the farm...and I'd hate to give up another group of people I thought understood me, but I will if things don't change. Trust me, I've been fine on my own for longer than any of you."

Rick went to talk to Michonne while the others piled into the vehicles. When they returned, it was you, Daryl, Aaron, Michonne and Rick in Aaron's car. He was showing Michonne the photographs of Alexandria until tension grew once more. Rick and Michonne realized that Aaron had never been asked the three questions they asked everyone upon joining the group.

Michonne took the lead this time. "How many walkers have you killed?"

"I dont know... a lot."

"How many people have you killed?"

"Two."

"Why?"

"Because they tried to kill me."

To your surprise, Rick looked to you for confirmation. You did, after all, know Aaron better than the others. "He's telling the truth. There isn't a deceptive bone in his entire damn body. Trust me, I've tried to turn him over to the dark side several times, but he's got a heart of gold and a soul more pure than a saint's for cryin' out loud. So, hand's off the precious."

"Precious?" Daryl grunted.

"You people have never read The Lord of The Rings books?"

Everyone looked at you as though you sprouted a second head and it made you turn to Aaron with puppy eyes. He gave you a sympathetic smile, but continued to talk to Michonne until Rick asked the imperative question. "How did you two meet?"

"Ready to get down to brass tacks, Sherif?" you mocked with a drawl. "Fine. My old pack captured him and his boyfriend, Eric. Owen and the others wanted to do to them what they did to everyone else behind my back. I returned from a hunt and saw what my pack was really capable of, so I untied them and let them go."

"But I had overheard a mutiny against her," Aaron explained. "So, I didn't go far in case she needed help. And she did, they stripped her of her gear and nearly killed her. Eric and I carried her to our camp and we traveled for a while together. Then Y/N, myself, and a few members of our council made Alexandria what it is today: a haven."

Rick rustled through the glovebox and you snorted when Aaron's license plate collection was revealed. It was adorable that he thought he would get all 50 states. You didn't have the heart to break it to him that it would be hard to find Alaska and Hawaii. For a moment you thought everything was over when Rick found the radio Aaron used to eavesdrop on the group, but a herd came from up ahead. Daryl pressed on the gas and barreled through them, not stopping when the blood and gore sprayed everywhere. 

Your Y/E/C eyes met his in the rearview mirror. He licked his lips a little with a flash of a smirk, knowing you would much rather he was in the back seat with you instead of driving so you could be near him. For all of his blushing and bashful behavior, Daryl could be quite the tease when he wanted to be. The car stopped and Rick got out to make sure the RV was still following behind. But what caught your attention was the flair from up ahead. You and Aaron shared a panicked look before running off in the direction of the flair.

Faintly, you were aware of the car not starting behind you and that there were so many walkers around that you wanted to punch rick for the second time since that morning.

You cut Aaron's binds and picked up speed. If that flair was Eric or the others, you had to get to them. Daryl, Michonne, Rick, and Glenn followed, but by the time they found you -walkers surrounded you and Aaron. The small group of fighters cut down the festering infested corpses quite easily, but not without a few chunks ending up in Y/H/L, Y/H/C hair. Everyone rushed into the closest building. Daryl and Michonne covered the door while you and Aaron spotted Eric on the ground. Thank goodness his leg was the only thing injured.

There was a goofy smile on your face as Aaron and Eric shared a heartwarming reunion. To their credit, none of your people batted an eyelash. It was crazy to think that after dead bodies roamed the earth and people turned on each other, there was still so much hatred against love. You were glad none of that hatred existed in Rick and the others. Their sweet kiss earned them a wolf whistle from you, though. You really couldn't help yourself.

Daryl nudged you just as Eric looked up and squeaked, "Y/N!"

"Hey, cutie. This is Rick, Michonne, Glenn, and Dreamy Blues."

"That his real name?" Eric asked with a quirked brow and an amused smile. He was weakened by his injury, but still happy to see you.

"Nah, just love to see him blush a little." Daryl nudged you again and you looked over to see him hiding behind his long hair. God, he was adorable for a badass. The group helped get Eric to the others with his broken ankle. Rick and Aaron argued about whether Aaron was able to sleep near his people, but you shut that shit down right away, reminding Rick of your earlier conversation with him. You had proven him wrong and now the two of you were equals or nothing at all.

Glenn backed you up by insisting that it would be fine for Aaron to sleep near the group and Eric. You childishly stuck your tongue out at Rick and he glared at you. Daryl grabbed your arm and steered you away from everyone. He took you into the woods and over to a camp he had thrown together in the last minute. The sheepish smile on his handsome face made you want to jump into his arms and kiss him, so you did. The two of you fell down to the bedroll beside a small fire and just held each other.

Daryl~

Y/N was behind him, snuggled up close and making his blood rush in his ears. He could feel the heat of her body against his back and her Y/S/C legs thrown over his hip. Daryl bit down on his bottom lip and closed his eyes in an attempt to sleep. When he tried to put some distance between himself and her curves, she scooted closer, brushing her breasts and thighs all over him. It was by accident, but it didn't help the growing problem between his legs.

Her arms were under his as they lay on their sides, her hands on his chest. She rubbed up and down his abdomen in her sleep as though it comforted her to do so, but it was driving him crazy. So, Daryl gently laid his hand over one of hers and dragged her delicate fingers over the bulge in his pants. Y/N, in her state of sleep, just breathed her warm air across his shoulder blades. Daryl carefully slid her hand past his belt and the waistline of his pants where the tip of his erection now peeked out. Her touch was so much better than his own.

Daryl felt her lips press to the nape of his neck. He flinched, realizing that she was now awake and stroking him. Y/N trailed her leg down and used it to pull his apart. He was half on top of her now, with his back to her chest and her hand squeezing his hard cock while the nails on her other hand flicked across his nipple through the fabric of his shirt. Daryl thrust up into her fist, he looked down to see the rise and fall of her hand beneath the material.

The subtle rocking of her hips against his ass and lower back made him draw in a harsh breath through his teeth. Her teasing nails scraped down his torso before she lifted his shirt enough to feel the bare skin around his navel. The hand in his pants came out long enough for her to shove her fingers past his lips. "Suck," she demanded in a whisper that brushed his ear. "Such a good listener, Daryl. I love it when you're like this...squirming around from my touch and letting me love you."

Her spit-slickened fingers returned to where they had been. The moist heat causing him to moan so loud, Y/N's other hand hand to be used to cover his mouth as she jerked him off. "So fuckin' sexy, Daryl. You have no idea what you do to me. My pussy is so wet right now..."

Daryl's left arm moved so that his fingers could fumble with her leathers enough to allow him passage. When he finally felt the oozing cream covering her folds, it nearly sent him over the edge. Daryl threw his head back and pounded it against the ground a little to keep from exploding too soon. He wanted to last for her, to feel her cum on his hand. The calloused pad of his middle finger circled her clit several times before dipping lower to tease the entrance of her liquid velvet channel. Her hips rocked harder as her teeth sank into the muscle of his neck to keep from screaming.

Lightening teased the base of his spine, but he held it off as he slid his finger deeper. Daryl kissed at the hand over his mouth so she could feel his lips and wonder how it would feel if he was between her soft thighs, tasting her pleasure upon his tongue, drinking in her ecstasy until they were both weak from it. A second finger joined the first and he curved them up toward her sweet-spot, caressing the rippling inner walls of her pussy until they clenched around him in delicious little kisses.

Y/N twisted her wrist and stroked him off faster as he climbed higher and higher. The tension in his muscles caused veins in his neck to bulge as the ragged breaths coming from his nose puffed against the back of her hand in uneven pants. His chest heaved up and down, hips swiveled, and his eyes clamped shut as white light exploded behind his eyes. It was too much as she pulled off just enough to swirl the tip of her finger against the head of his cock as jets of cum bathed the inside of his clothing.

She tugged her hand free and moved so she could face him as she licked the stickiness from her fingers. "Can't wait to get your fine ass in a bed, baby. We'll have so much fun..."

Chapter Text

Washington City was still a formidable place. In comparison to most of the places you saw on your travels, it was still rather clean and untouched by the things happening elsewhere. Problems still existed, but the almost pristine appearance was a reminder of what the others lost. You shrugged indifferently, feeling no nostalgia for the old world. Honestly, the solar flair would have been a much cooler way to end things -just let the world burn into a star hurling through space. Ahhhh, the poetic nature of it all.

Merle spotted the Washington Monument and flipped it off unceremoniously. He said, "Looks like dick. Which is appropriate seein' as the government loved to fuck us up the ass whenever they could." And you snorted a bit, but it was a very elegant snort.

Thanks to Merle and Shane, there were four vehicles now for everyone to travel in. The RV had Abraham at the lead. Rick, Michonne, Carl, and Tekah rode in another car. Maggie, Glenn, Beth, and the others were split between a truck and a beat up little Ford Pinto. In the car you were in, Shane drove with you in the passenger seat and the Dixon Brothers flanked Aaron in the back (They didn't want you and Daryl fooling around in the car or some shit...). But you made eyes at each other through the rearview mirrors, tossing a wink his way every now and then to see his cheeks redden. Shane had one arm hanging out the window and the other on the steering wheel while keeping his eyes peeled for walkers.

Aaron kept looking over his shoulder to the RV where Eric was resting, unable to sit still for more than five minutes without turning. Daryl glared at him pointedly and grunted, growing impatient with all of the fidgeting. Shane started a conversation to keep everyone from killing each other. "What's everyone's weirdest or most brutal walker kill?" he asked.

Merle: "Killed a walker with a Wonder Woman action figure on a raid, stabbed the damn thing right through the ear. Pretty damn weird if ya' ask me."

Aaron: "Pass."

Daryl: "I prefer to use my crossbow. Don't like gettin' too close, but fingers through the eyes for me."

Shane: "When I lost the machete, I made a weapon out of razor wire and an old tennis racket. Bashed in heads and the flesh came off in little cubed chunks. Nasty.."

You: "Uhh....battered a walker's head in with the armor on my forearms until its skull cracked open. Pull it apart with my hands and dug my fingers into the brain, squeezed until the body stopped squirming. Had to wipe some goopy snot shit from my hands after..."

The car was silent and Shane turned to look at you. Even Merle had a face akin to one someone made when they smelled something awful. What? They said brutal. But even that was just barely in your top 10. Daryl looked at you and asked, "When?"

"When the Governor attacked the prison. I was pinned down and three walkers were on me, couldn't get to my blade so I did what I had to do -like always, Dreamy Blues."

"I'm just gonna come right out and say that the two of you are...inspiring," Aaron muttered, holding his hands up innocently to ward off whatever backlash his comment might bring. Daryl blushed and turned to look out the window, but you smiled like a crazy person.

"Stop before you give Daryl a heart attack! There are so many other couples in the group now... Rick and Michonne -don't argue with me Shane, we both know they like each other! Carl and Sophia. That weird thing between Rosita, Eugene, Abraham, and Sasha. Glenn and Maggie. You and Eric. Beth and Noah. Too many to choose the best one....but you're right. It's me and Daryl."

Aaron, with his heart of gold, turned to Merle and asked, "What about you?"

"Been in love when I was a soldier, but that shit ended badly. Seen what it can do to a man, so I don't want it."

"Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them," You quoted that line from Shakespeare's Hamlet perfectly. But those in the vehicle eyed you with more confusion than when you had described slaughtering that walker. Are you really that weird? What did they think you did up on the mountain? Knitting? No. You read books, hunted, gathered, fought, and kept your maps up to date while they were searching for a Utopia.

The car stopped as it came upon the gates of Alexandria. You couldn't help the smile that came over your face as you realized that your faith in the counsel had not been wasted. Exiting the car, the sounds of children laughing could be heard beyond the wall. Aaron came to stand beside you and you jumped into his arms. Daryl growled behind you until you released your friend.

Daryl~

He couldn't believe it. The walls were just as tall and strong as Aaron and Y/N described. Sounds of civilization carried through the air and the rare bit of happiness on Y/N's face was enough to convince Daryl that they made the right decision in coming here. This wasn't the quarry, CDC, Terminus, the Greene Farm, Woodbury, or the Prison. From the looks of things it would take a lot for the Alexandria Safe-Zone to fall beneath an onslaught of walkers or people.

Daryl stood back as Aaron and Y/N approached the gate. He was close enough to the car to hear the conversation between Shane and Merle. His brother threatened the former cop. "Saw the way you flinched when the queer started talkin' about love, Shane. Ya' tell Y/N that you're in love with her and I'll skin ya' alive, hear? Don't make that girl unhappy just because you got a little hope in your heart when Daryl went missin'. Think I like seein' Michonne with Rick? Hell nah, but I deal with that shit."

So he was right. He had always been right. Shane probably liked Y/N all along. But Daryl knew she would never...or could never, their love was too strong. Daryl felt pity for Shane because it was the second time in his life that he allowed himself to love only to be left alone in the end. It wouldn't be known that Daryl knew about his feelings for her, but he would tuck that information away in the back of his mind. But to know that Merle had feelings for Michonne came at a shock to him. Merle Dixon was a racist, homophobic, sexist, narcissistic, asshole most of their lives. Maybe the Wolf Pack really did change the eldest Dixon brother.

Rick, Carl, Judith, Michonne, Father Gabriel, Abraham, Eugene, Sasha, Sophia, Carol, Tara, Rosita, Noah, Maggie, Glenn, Merle, Shane, Daryl, Y/N, Aaron, Eric, and Tekah all watched with wonder and excitement in their eyes as the gates of Alexandria opened.

You~

"Nicholas," you said while staring at the quiet, cautious brunet that welcomed the group. "Long time no see."

"Welcome home, Y/N. But you know the rules, everyone has to give up their weapons."

"I may have helped put this place together, but this isn't my home. You know MY rules and we aren't going anywhere unarmed." You didn't have to look over your shoulder to know that Rick would appreciate how you're handling the situation. "We need to speak with Deanna, she around?"

Nicholas wasn't happy, but he nodded his head and escorted the group toward former congresswoman's home. Their eyes lit up as they looked at what was visible of Alexandria. Deanna asked if everyone could stay and help the community flourish, survival was the main goal for this place as was the progress of humanity after the fall of man. Each member of Rick's group and your Wolf Pack were interviewed. Now it was yours and Rick's turn. Of course, you'd seen this process countless times, for you were the one who helped come up with the interview idea.

So, you stood near the back wall with your arms crossed in front of your chest and just watched. There were moments when the talking was too boring...causing you to blank most of it out until your interest was sparked again.

"Why?" Deanna asked.

And you were proud of the answer Rick gave to her question now that the two of you were seeing eye to eye. If he would accept, Rick would make a great member of the Wolf Pack.

"Because it's all about survival now....at any cost. People out there are always looking for and angle, lookin' to play on your weakness. They measure you by what they can take from you...by how they can use you to live. So, bringin' people into a place like this -in the house.."

"Are you telling me not to bring your people in or are you already looking after this place?"

You knew that smile on Deanna's face like the back of your scarred hands. She already had her eye on Rick being a leader. Rick tilted his head, eyes shifting to look into your Y/E/C gaze. You recognized the moment he made his decision and he was asking for your reassurance that this wasn't one of the groups you warned him about -that this wasn't just another heartbreak to come. With a brief jerk of your chin, the fate of the people you had come to care for was sealed.

"Aaron says I can trust you."

"Aaron doesn't know me. I've killed people. I don't even know how many by now, but I know why they're all dead. Y/N made me realize it wasn't about the number of bodies that hit the ground 'cause of somethin' I did. That it was about the reasons why. They're dead so my family -all those people out there- can be alive. So I could be alive for them."

Deanna nodded her head. "Sounds like I want to be a part of your family."

After the rest of the conversation between Alexandria's leader and Rick came to a conclusion, you took a few seconds to make somethings clear. "There's a new Wolf Pack. Stronger, better, and more determined than ever. You trust me, so I ask that you trust them as well. Rick and the others will hand over their weapons at the arsenal. But the Wolf Pack becomes head of security and we keep our weapons. Accept that offer or we walk...and Aaron and Eric come with us."

She knew you. She knew the way you worked and just how stubborn you could be, so she agreed. And the Wolf Pack continued to rise in this broken existence.

 

Chapter Text

Everyone was led to a selection of houses. Just your presence alone began to stir up talk in Alexandria. The people who knew you were happy you were back, but were afraid of what that meant. The people who didn't know you were just afraid. Rick and his people looked like any other group of survivors running from the apocalypse, but the Wolf Pack was a symbol of something greater. Matching black, bite-proof battle gear and weapons weren't all that made people intimidated. What frightened people was the inseparable bond, the intensity in all of your eyes, the wolf walking beside you, and sheer aura of badass that engulfed the pack.

Rick's group, of course, chose houses that were very...ordinary. Houses that still looked like houses. You chose one that barely had windows large enough to see through, dark gray in color, a heavy front door, no rear entrance, a cellar, four small bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and that was pretty much it. The weird house was the closest thing you could find to the Wolf Den the pack used at the prison. It would be turned into a fortress and a base of operations. Daryl and the others were quiet, but wore a look that said they could practically read your thoughts. Alexandria might be a safe-zone, but that didn't mean it was indestructible. And you were prepared for everything.

House 1: Rick, Carl, Judith, Michonne. 

House 2: Abraham, Eugene, Sasha, Rosita.

House 3: Noah, Maggie, Glenn, Beth.

House 4: Sophia, Carol, Tara.

Wolf Den: Merle, Shane, Daryl, Y/N, Tekah.

and Father Gabriel stayed at the church as far as you knew.

Before settling in to the new home, you and the Wolf Pack assigned beats -areas to patrol and shift rotations, as well as the tools needed to map Alexandria before the fortification process can begin. Even if all of you weren't under the same roof, there were still responsibilities and rules to follow. Everyone did their part in the pack or they weren't in it any longer. Besides, doing the patrols alone gave everyone time to think for themselves instead of as a collective unit for a change.

On your patrol, you made your map, but also decided where the emergency caches and things would need to be placed. You even wondered if sectioning off part of the sewer for an underground network of escape tunnels wouldn't be such a bad idea. After the patrols were completed the Wolf Pack searched the new den. It was simple, sparse, and secure -which was all you required. Shane and Merle got their own rooms. You and Daryl shared. The fourth room was set aside for the final member of the Wolf Pack. Daryl was curious as usual, but you told him that there was nothing to worry about.

The front door opened into the kitchen with a large round table with several high-back chairs, which made you chuckle (because Wolves of The Round Table sounded pretty cool). The appliances were basic, the counters clean, the floor was tile, but everything was a medium shade of gray like the outside of the house. Areas of the wall that weren't gray was covered in a dark brick pattern. No living room, which meant the pack was safe from having to host get togethers. YAY! The downstairs bathroom was fully equip with shower/bath combo, sink, toilet, and enough room for Daryl and his shoulders to fit inside. The one upstairs just had a shower without a bath, toilet, sink, and a towel closet.

There was nothing in the bedrooms except beds, one night stand, one lamp, and a dresser. Honestly, they looked like dorm rooms inside of a bomb shelter or emergency bunker, which wasn't a bad thing for your strange little family. The cellar would serve as the work shop. Everything was planned, even how to reinforce the entire structure, and so it was time for the Wolf Pack to finally relax

The largest window of the den was just barely big enough for you lean out and whistle the call to summon Nix. She was your beautiful girl with her shiny blue-black feathers and dark eyes. There were no messages for her to carry, you just missed her. You stroked her feathers a few times and spoke sweet words to her. Nix was easy to tell from other ravens because she had a patch of white beneath her left wing where there was some slight pigment loss. When she was flying, it often looked like a hole in her wing. Letting her soar from the window once again, you stripped off your gear and sauntered through the hall and into the bathroom quickly.

Someone, probably Shane, was in the downstairs bathroom. You wanted first dibs on the shower upstairs. The water pressure and the heat was phenomenal you moan so loud it made Merle uncomfortable. It was like taking off your bra after a long day at work or biting into a slice of your favorite cake. Decadent and delicious. A knock on the door made your eyes fly open. "What? Can't a girl get a moment of peace around here?"

"Nah, not when Rick is askin' for ya'," Daryl replied. Geez! Just moved in and you already had guests. Blah.

You had to rush through your shower, though you were contemplating making him suffer for trying to interrupt you. It was strange throwing on clothes that weren't armored -they were still all black and covered you from head to toe, but no armor plating and no hood. Stepping out of the bathroom and into Daryl's line of sight was like a bride presenting her dress to the groom for the first time. He looked at you with such adoration that it was nearly blinding. You even freakin' blushed.

He walked with you down the staircase, leaning over a little to whisper, "Ya' smell good, princess." with his deep grumbly voice that made your knees weak. Your bare feet were surprisingly alright with the coldness of the floors because it was rare to feel such softness beneath your feet. Rick was...less hairy. The grandpa beard was gone and the his hair was neatly trimmed. You suspected that it was similar to how he looked before the world ended. He was a handsome lad, but not your type.

"What's up, Rick? Lose Carl?"

He didn't find your joke funny, giving you his dad face that never failed to make you smirk. "Carl is fine. Shane's got Judith with him in his room. Don't worry bout the kids. Carol and I were talkin' and we think it's a little unusual for Deanna to give us these...accommodations when she doesn't even know us. We just got here and these people are just handin' us things we been fightin' for since the outbreak."

"Deanna trusts Aaron and I. She knows how rare it is that we trust anyone that isn't each other, so when I said that you could be trusted -she took my word on that. I've work hard to make sure everyone knew that my word was all they needed. People here and in a few of the other communities know that. Didn't take half as much arguing with them as it did with you, by the way," you jested.

Daryl unlocked the door for someone using the knock only the Wolf Pack knew. Carl came in a few seconds later, he looked shocked, but a little happy. He said he met a few kids around his and Sophia's ages, but that he realized something. "They're weak, and I don't want us to get weak, too."

"Never," you answered, bringing Carl and Rick down to the cellar to show them the maps and information from the patrols. "We're already getting to work. You'll get your duties in a day or two, Carl. Hang tight, nothing changes. We survive."

Rick looks mildly impressed and what you show him seems to settle his nerves a little. Then Rick's words from earlier make you laugh so hard you lean against the wall to steady yourself. "Carol is suspicious? Great. What's she doing to infiltrate Alexandria? Laundry? Baking? What?"

Rick smirked a little. "Cooking meals for the community to get closer to the neighbors."

You, Rick, and Carl head out into the streets while Daryl and Merle shower -by your orders. The Dixon Brothers were getting a little ripe no matter how much you loved them. Just when you stepped out the door a commotion near the wall got your attention. You whistle for Tekah and the small group of you run to stand beside Glenn. "What is it?" you asked looking at Aiden and Nicholas stand toe to toe with Glenn.

"Noah and Tara wanted to go on a run with them. Like you said, none of us leave without a member of the Wolf Pack, so I went along. It was a dry run, but Aiden here seems to think that we follow his orders. They got their last team killed so they tied up a walker for a sick little trophy. It got out, we tracked it down, and it nearly bit Tara. He got pissed because I killed it."

"These three need new gigs," Aiden bitched. "Not ready for runs yet."

Glenn wasn't letting that one slide. "Yeah, pretty sure you got that backwards."

"Look we got a way of doin' things around here, it may not be-"

"You tied up walkers," you interjected.

"It killed our friend!...look I'm not having this conversation. You obey my orders out there."

"Oh, then we're just as screwed as your last run crew," Glenn said dryly. Nicholas remained quiet. You felt Daryl's presence as he approached and saw several eyes turn to look on at the exchange going down. Barely a day inside of Alexandria and problems are already starting up. Good, don't need anyone getting bored or lazy.

"Say that again," warned Aiden, who began to bravely shove Glenn. Tara and Noah tried to calm them down and step in but you stopped them. Glenn was Wolf Pack, he had the mark on his arm and all of the lethal skill that came with it.

"No one's impressed, man. Walk away."

Deanna appeared. "Aiden, what is going on?"

"This guy's got a problem with the way we do things. Why'd you let these people in?" he asked his mother.

You bit your lip to keep from laughing when you heard Glenn's response in Deanna's stead. "Because we actually know what we're doin' out there."

Aiden took a swing, Glenn ducked out and punched him in the face. Nicholas dropped Aiden's gun he had been carrying and tried to rush into the fight. Daryl tackled him to the ground in the blink of an eye, which made you...really really turned on. You wanted him to tackle you on the mattress back at the den. But the Wolf Pack and Rick swarmed. They pulled Daryl off of Nicholas and you could have kissed Michonne when you heard, "You wanna end up on your ass again?" when Aiden got in her face. 

Deanna, just as much of a talker as Rick, started a little speech. "I want everyone to hear me, ok? Rick and his people are part of this community now...in all ways. As equals. Understood?" You wore the biggest smile in the world when Deanna turned a pointed look at Aiden. You winked at him, letting him stew in that bitterness. He never really liked you because your way of doing things was...logical, actually. Some people couldn't handle logic. Deanna set down the law with her people and you called off yours.

She turned to Rick and gave him the job as constable. Great, a peace officer. Then you got a brilliant idea. Because Rick continuously refused your offer to join the Wolf Pack, there was another way to unite him to your cause without an induction. "Michonne will join him, but as the Wolf Pack's ambassador. She'll work beside him to further our alliance as we work toward our common goal of Alexandria's survival," you offered. Daryl glared at you from beneath his wet bangs.

The way Rick looked at Michonne made you feel something you hadn't felt in a long time as he said, "Ok."

And she returned that look that was all tenderness wrapped in fire. "Yeah, I'm in."

Daryl scuffed and tried to walk away, but you followed him back to the den. He stomped up the stairs to the bedroom and flopped onto the bed in irritation. You crawled up his body to straddle his waist, looking down at him with a furrowed brow. "What is it, Dreamy Blues?" you asked. He closed his eyes and laced his fingers with yours over his chest.

"It ain't that I don't like it here. That ain't it," he growled lowly. "Cain't help but wonder how long it'll take before Negan finds out that you're alive and in Alexandria. We ain't meant for good things, ta' hope for somethin' we know ain't gonna last."

"You're right. But you and I, Daryl, we're a good thing. And we lasted this long. So has the Wolf Pack. Like our love, the pack grows stronger every day. We just have to fight for something just has hard as we fight for each other."

"I cain't lose ya', Y/N. Not ta' Negan or anybody else."

"I know," you replied. "But we have somethin' we've never had: a chance. Alexandria might not be our home -nothing ever will be- but it's a great place to hide while we take out our enemies. We have to get rid of those bad people, Daryl. No one else can."

Chapter Text

Daryl~

One of his new duties as part of the Wolf Pack security unit for Alexandria was to trail people in secret when they started to act suspiciously. Y/N and Shane thought it would be a good idea seeing as Rick and his group didn't know how to stay out of trouble for more than a few hours. He brought Carl with him though, kid needed to learn how to sneak around better and Daryl was silently teaching him how to hunt. Carl and Sophia are the next generation Wolf Pack -if anything happened to the adults, they would need to carry on the ways of the pack for future generations to build upon.

Daryl and Carl tracked Rick and Carol out to the abandoned house Rick stashed a gun in. Yeah, that wasn't good. Y/N would be pissed if she knew what Rick and Carol had their mind set on. He overheard their discussion to try and sneak into the armory to get their weapons back, but Daryl knew that wasn't a good idea. The Wolf Pack had their signature weapons, yeah, but they pulled the bulk of the burden for everyone else. A peace officer didn't need a gun in a well-protected community. Daryl made himself known, but kept Carl out of sight. He walked into the house, neither of them were surprised to see him show up.

He doesn't get involved in their conversation, so that makes them assume that he's a fellow conspirator. Nah, he wouldn't betray Y/N's trust like that. If she said these were good people, then they were. She didn't toss that around lightly. A walker appeared out of nowhere, but before Daryl could take it down with a knife or his crossbow -Carol shot it repeatedly. Thank goodness the gun she used had a silencer or else they would have been walker food.

Daryl knelt down toward the body and noticed something strange. In it's forehead was the letter 'W' carved into the skin. From what Y/N and Aaron said about the original Wolf Pack, this was how they marked their victims. They were unstable people who defiled the true meaning of what it meant to be part of a pack. He needed to search the woods, find out what else was out there. "Carl is outside. Told 'em ta' stay hidden. Go north and take 'em back to Alexandria. I got some things ta' take care of."

And then he left them to do what they had to do. He searched all around for different patterns of footprints and animal tracks. There were times when he could have sworn he was being followed, but then he knew he was. Daryl lifted his crossbow and shouted, "Come out, now!" Aaron appeared with his hands up in surrender, so Daryl lowered his crossbow. He wondered if the man truly was as innocent and kind as Y/N liked to believe...

"You can tell the difference between a walker and a human by the way they sound?" Aaron asked. "I'm impressed. Not many people can do that. Where did you learn?"

"Taught myself," Daryl grumbled. "Biters walk in uneven patterns and humans walk in a rhythm. If ya' learn the rhythms then ya' can track the livin' even if the dead wandered through the trail. People also try ta' be quiet whereas walkers is just movin' from one place ta' the next. Not that hard if ya' know whatcha doin'."

Aaron smiled and Daryl squinted at the man, but they walked together. He didn't seem like a bad guy so far, so he would give him the benefit of the doubt, but still keep an eye on him just in case. There was a damn horse out in the woods. Seeing as he nearly been killed by one back when they were staying at the farm, Daryl had no interest in "Buttons" as Aaron said the kids named it. Aaron had been tracking the horse for months trying to catch it, so Daryl gave it a go. He was nearly successful when a group of walkers spooked the damn thing and caused chaos.

Aaron was pretty damn good with that rifle, taking out the biters with expert head-shots as Daryl took out a few with his crossbow. They worked well together until a walker grabbed Aaron's ankle. Shit. A guy dressed like that would most likely end up as a chew toy. But to his surprise, Aaron handled it by pulling out a blade and chopping the damn thing's hand off before it could bite him. Daryl turned his attention toward the other ugly fuckers, stomping in heads.

The horse was eaten by the walkers when the fight came to the end. Daryl stabbed the last few in the head with his knife and Aaron put Buttons out of his misery. Together they walked back to Aaron and Eric's house, who invited him in for dinner. Daryl was going to refuse, but then he saw Y/N in the window helping put food on the table and he knew where he was eating for the night.

You~

It was unbelievably cute watching Daryl struggle to be social. He was worse than you in some ways, at least you had sarcasm and a sense of humor to defuse the awkwardness. Daryl was...grunting...growling...frowning...nodding a little...and generally quiet otherwise, which meant Eric felt the need to fill the silence so he wasn't uncomfortable. You loved him then, Eric was such a sweetheart. You were happy to be having dinner with Aaron and Eric instead of being at the stupid party down the block.

Eric blabbed about one of the ladies in the community wanting a pasta maker, even asking Daryl if he could grab one on his next run if he finds a store that hasn't been cleared out. Daryl had enough manners to look at Eric when he spoke, but he looked a little flustered and didn't say much in response. You shared a moment with Aaron, the affection the two of you felt for your partners was very potent. Aaron stared at Eric with so much love in his eyes. And you were playing footsie with Daryl beneath the table. It was all very disgustingly domestic in a way.

"I thought you asked him already?" Eric inquired suddenly.

Aaron shook his head.

"Ask me what?" Daryl grumbled.

You reached over to steady him, knowing he got nervous when he couldn't understand every angle to a conversation. He leaned into your touch and let the heat of your palm soothe him. It was all you could do not to smile, knowing exactly what Aaron's surprise was. You told him about Daryl losing Merle's old motorcycle a while back and Aaron offered to gift the one in his garage to Daryl as a sort of peace offering between them. It would make Daryl beyond happy even if he didn't show it.

So, you and Eric remained seated while Daryl and Aaron went into the garage....but then the two of you were waaaayyy too nosey to stay behind. Creeping through the hall behind Aaron so you could snicker quietly and eavesdrop on the conversation.

"You're gonna need a bike," Aaron said.

"Why?"

"I told Deanna to give you a job because I think I have one for you. I'd like you to be Alexandria's other recruiter, when you aren't doing your duties with the Wolf Pack, of course. I don't want Eric risking his life anymore."

Eric squeezed your arm and mouthed "aawww", making you roll your eyes. It was cute or whatever, but you were focused on Daryl's happiness. You bit your lip to keep from laughing when he replied, "Got nothin' else ta' do. Thanks."

Aaron nodded and then deliberately turned to give away your position. You and Eric scrabbled (quite loudly) through the hall, crashing into each other and the wall in an attempt to get back to the table. Aaron and Daryl wore amused expressions when the two of you tried to act as though you had been there the whole time. "How'd it go?" you asked innocuously. Daryl leaned down to press a brief kiss on your lips before taking his seat beside you again.

The look on Aaron's face when Daryl practically inhaled his pasta made you laugh so hard you had to lean against Daryl's wide shoulder to keep yourself from tipping over in the chair. The noises he was making were border-line pornographic. Eric shared a cheeky grin with Aaron, both blushing profusely as you lost your mind laughing. Daryl was used to you, so he just slurped some more and then grumbled out, "She'll be alright. Just give 'er a few seconds."

You loved him so much in that moment. He knew not to apologize for your behavior or to try and stop you from having your random moments, he simply let people know in the most nonchalant way that you were a freakin' weirdo. He didn't understand why you were laughing or why Aaron and Eric were looking at him strangely. But he continued to eat with a shrug. He tasted the red wine, made an ick face that was downright childish. You knew he hated the taste of wine -or as he called it Rotten Grape Sweat That Rich Folks Drank, which would be absolutely magical on a wine bottle label, right?- but he drank it anyway. Not because he was being civilized with the rest of you, but because he liked the buzz.

He didn't flinch or pull back when you reached over to brush the hair out of his face. Daryl was gorgeous even while shoveling forkfuls of pasta into his mouth. You looked over at Aaron and asked, "Spencer still here?"

"Ugh, if you think Aiden is bad now...Let's just say Spencer is the last person here that I would trust to watch my back out there. But he's in the tower tonight so all of Rick's people can join the party."

"Spencer?" Daryl asked quietly.

"Deanna's other son. He's a pain in the ass who thinks he's entitled to everything," you sighed. "But I'm glad you accepted Aaron's offer, Daryl. If anyone can tell the difference between good people and bad people out there, it's you. Just come back to me when it's over."

"I will."

"I'll take good care of him," Aaron joked, knowing Daryl can take care of himself.

But what came next, you could have never prepared for...

Daryl~

Daryl reached into his left pocket and fingered the ring he had been holding on to for months. Glenn helped him find one on a run a while back and he's been dreading this moment for a long time. With the new beginnings starting up and being in a place with her friends, this was as good a time as any. He cleared his throat and held her hand. His fingers pried it open until her palm was facing up flat on the table. Y/N stared at him in confusion, but he needed to do this before he lost the courage.

With no finesse or style of any sort, Daryl placed the ring in the center of her hand. She just gazed down at it for a long time. He finally tilted her chin up to look in her eyes and realized he made her cry. "I'm sorry, Princess. I didn't meant ta' upset ya'. I just wanted ta' show ya' that I love ya'. We ain't gotta do anythin' than what we've been doin'. This is just a promise that you're the only girl I want...don't cry. Ya' know I don't like it when ya' cry."

He begged, fussed, and pulled her into his lap. She squeezed the ring tightly in her fist. Daryl looked to Aaron -who was no help because his eyes were so wide they nearly popped out of his skull. Then he turned to Eric who was blubbering more than Y/N was. There was no answer still and that made him nervous. "Talk ta' me, Y/N. Whatcha thinkin'?"

She pulled back to slide the ring on her finger and then kissed him so hard the chair broke beneath them and they tumbled to the floor. It was such a Daryl thing to do that it had caught her completely off guard. The sound of the chair breaking made him climb to his feet with a sheepish look. "I'll...ugh...I'll getcha a new one."

Y/N stared up at him with a look in her eyes that made him nearly swallow his tongue. Yeah, he made the right decision.

"Where did you get the ring?" she asked.

"Had it since before I ran off lookin' for Beth. Was gonna give it ta' ya' sooner, but the time didn't seem right."

Chapter Text

Pale, lavender light spilled into the bedroom. Daryl's heavy arm was draped across your middle, holding your back against his chest as his warm breathe tickled your neck. When you tried to move, he hooked his leg over your hip and groaned -eliciting a bit of laughter out of you as you looked down at the ring glittering upon your finger in the morning light. Rainbows danced across your face and the heat of Daryl's body calmed you in a way nothing else could. It seeped into your soul and chased away the bitter cold that usually lingered from the bad dreams the night before. But not when he held you like this.

Though he wouldn't let you leave the bed, he did allow you to turn over. He was a heavy sleeper -at least around you- but somehow he was aware of every move you made. Long eyelashes brushed the tops of his cheeks and the corner of his mouth twitched a little and you couldn't help but press a kiss there. Daryl flinched a little, but didn't open his eyes. Your hand rubbed his back before settling against his prickly jaw and you wondered what his life would have been like if he had never wandered up your mountain. Would he still be alive? And if he did -would he be the same man he was now? You liked to think that you impacted his life somehow.

"Gonna keep starin' at me, princess? Or are ya' gonna do somethin' 'bout that problem between your thighs," his sleep-raspy voice mumbled. You peeked down and sure enough there was a very proud erection tucked safely between the softness of your legs. You rocked your hips a little bit, feeling his big body shudder the way you loved. It did a lot of good to your ego knowing only you could touch him like this and feel him like this....well, not for long.

Three loud bangs on the door startled you, causing the two of you to pull apart quickly. Daryl shimmied into his pants and you pulled on one of the big shirts in the dresser before opening the door. Shane cleared his throat and looked away even when you insisted you were decent, though you were anything but. "Sophia's in the kitchen, she's got some...interesting news about Carol I think you might want to hear. And I'm gonna need off rotation today, I've got Judith while Rick handles some business."

"I can have Glenn take your shift, he was looking for something to do this afternoon anyway," you stated, walking down the hall with Shane until you parted ways at the staircase. Sophia was sitting in one of the chairs in the kitchen eating a roll with jam. She was still quiet despite growing closer with the others, which you could understand more than anyone. You sat beside her and waited until she was ready to talk.

"I followed my mom into Mrs. Anderson's house. Sam caught her stealing and I heard her threaten him so he wouldn't talk."

"What did she say?"

"She told him she would tie him up and leave him for the walkers to get. If he didn't say anything to his mom, she would give him a cookie," Sophia explained. First Daryl had told you about Carol and Rick's plans to rob the armory and now she was threatening children? She already had the blood of Lizzie and the others on her hands and this? You thanked Sophia and left her to her breakfast before returning to the bedroom to get changed. And then you wrote a letter to King Ezekiel at The Kingdom, letting him know that you had returned to Alexandria and that a new Wolf Pack had risen.

What the pack would never know was that you had plans for Carol and Ezekiel. Two pretenders in a world where there were no rules should find strength in one another. Carol would be great for The Kingdom and Ezekiel would be great for Carol. You rolled up the letter and summoned Nyx, tying it off to your pretty girl before sending her away. She was trained to fly to one of your allied settlements one after another until the correct corespondent received the note. Daryl came downstairs and leaned against the doorway. He was growing impatient with the constant interruptions, but it was alright...you had a plan for him too.


Power in Alexandria was dwindling. Glenn, Aiden, Noah, Tara, Nicholas and Eugene were sent to retrieve parts to do the repairs. Shane was being Father of The Year with little ass-kicker by holding her in his arms as he walked around Alexandria, talking to her as if she could understand a word he said. Carl walked nearby, amused by what had become of the man who had once done so much wrong that everyone except you had seen him as unredeemable.

Abraham was helping expand the wall and had even been given the promotion of Head of Construction, whatever that meant. The council loved their titles, but you only had room for one: Daryl's Girl. Yeah, you were now that girl. The one who kept looking at the ring on her finger with a stupid little smile, practically twirling like a ballerina in your happiness. That happiness, however, came to a screeching halt when you heard the call. Shane handed Judith to Beth as he and Carl took off behind you in the direction of the gate. You didn't bother waiting for it to open, instead you ran up the wall, leaped toward the top, and hoisted yourself over. The landing could have been more graceful, but you saved it with a quick tuck and roll.

Merle, who had been out hunting, arrived around the same time you did when Glenn, Eugene, Tara, and an unconscious Nicholas with a severely bruised face pulled up in the van. You looked to Glenn for answers. "What the hell happened?"

"The run...it was bad, Y/N," he answered, his voice cracking a little as he spoke. "Aiden wouldn't listen and he accidentally shot a grenade that was attached to a walker. Damn thing exploded and he was impaled on a busted up shelf. He died and Tara got injured. Nicholas made the call of leaving him behind."

"And Noah?"

The sadness that swept over the small group was sickening. Noah wasn't coming back and Glenn confirmed it. "We got trapped in a revolving door, cornered by walkers, and Nicholas chose to save himself. They got Noah and the rest of us barely made it out alive."

Merle dragged Nicholas's unconscious body out of the van and threw him at your feet. Shane carried Tara to get medical attention and demanded that Eugene and Glenn do the same. "Wake him up," you told Merle.

He unscrewed the top of his water canteen and poured out the contents over Nicholas's head. The day had started off so wonderfully and now you had to deal with this shit? Sometimes life just knew how to push all of the right buttons on the wrong sort of day. Nicholas sputtered and tried to scurry back when he saw the deadened look in your Y/E/C eyes, but Merle held him down. "Please.....please!" he struggled against Merle's hold, but it was useless.

You reached to your hip and pulled out one of your dual-ended daggers, squatting down beside Nicholas. "Deanna knows my rules, Nicholas. I really hate to do this, but you give me no choice. Noah may not have been Wolf Pack, but he was one of ours. Not Rick's people nor mine will let his death go unanswered without blood. Last words?"

"Don't kill me!"

"You live like a coward, you die like a coward," you sneered before stabbing your blade beneath his chin. Blood oozed out and flowed over your fingers, bathing your beautiful ring in the color of liquid rubies. Hysterical cries could be heard from somewhere in Alexandria, whether they were in horror of your actions or the sound of a mother realizing that her son would not come home...you didn't know. All you knew was that a boy who hadn't deserved to die had ended up a walker's lunch.

Merle let Nicholas's corps fall, wiping his hands on his pants as if they were tainted just from touching someone that weak. He nodded his head in agreement with your decision though, so that had to count for something. Not even Rick questioned you when Glenn told him the entire story. Noah was part of his group and you had done him a service by avenging his death.

And just when you thought the day couldn't get any worse as you washed the blood from your hand, Maggie walked over to you wearing the most irritable expression you had ever seen on her face. "Fuck, what is it now?"

"Gabriel."

"Knew he'd cause problems eventually. The fuck did he do?" you snorted as Rick came to join you. Great, he wanted something, too? You held up your finger to silence his oncoming question, wanting to deal with Maggie's issue first. Since when did everyone come to you with this shit? You were security, Rick handled the peace shit, and Maggie was on her way to becoming a politician...so, why now?

"Overheard him trying to convince Deanna that we're dangerous and that we'll destroy what she has the first opportunity we get."

"Thank you for telling me, I'll handle it quietly. Rick, what can I do for you on this fine morning?"

He, once again, did not see the amusement in your sarcasm. "First, I'd like to thank you for what you did for Noah."

"And?"

"And Carol told me Pete has been abusing his family. Carol wants him dead and damn it, so do I. No man like that deserves the air in his lungs much less anythin' else," he hedged.

"Let me guess...you want me to take care of it?"

"Deanna would have a problem if I did it. But you..." Rick tilted his head with a duh expression.

"But I play by my own rules?" you chuckled. "Damn it, I could be having sex with Daryl and yet I'm dealing with this bullshit."

He turned to walk away, but not before looking back at you one more time -only with a rare Rick Grimes smile on his face. "Congratulations, by the way. Ring looks good on you."

Yeah, screw him for making you blush like a schoolgirl. And screw Merle for clutching his chest and gasping dramatically before fanning himself off. Honestly, he deserved the swift kick to the back of the knee you gave him that caused the eldest Dixon brother to fall facedown on the road. "Plug your ears tonight, Merle. Daryl and I will be celebrating in a way that'll make you wish you were deaf."

 

Chapter Text

Daryl~

The house was dark and the only sounds to be heard were the noises Daryl made in his fitful sleep. 

She froze in place when she heard the familiar sound of his crossbow being raised to his shoulder. He counted to ten with deep, shaking breaths and braced himself to hear the confession that he both wanted and couldn't bear to hear. Y/N turned around to face him and Daryl looked into the Y/E/C eyes that could ruin him with just a little wink. Her Y/S/C glistened in the light that streamed into the rundown shack in the middle of their forest, the one they spent that beautifully day of freedom. Her gaze flickered to the angry frown on his face before locking on the weapon in his hand.

He raised it to her chest and stepped forward until the tip of the crossbow pressed against the place right above her heart. "Ya' were with 'em weren't ya', Y/N?"

"Daryl, please...."

"Did ya' think I was stupid? That I wouldn't know ya' been sneakin' off ta' see Negan while I'm waitin' in bed for ya' ta' come home?!" he yelled with pure desperation.

Tears fell from her beautiful eyes and she was forced to open her mouth to breathe in enough air. Daryl hated her. He hated himself for letting her get away when there had been signs all along that she wasn't over the first man she ever loved. No one would replace Negan in her heart and he had been foolish to think that he had stood a chance. Y/N raised her hands in surrender and he saw the ring on her finger mocking him. "Why? Why ain't I enough?"

"You are! I love you so much! There is nothing between Negan-"

"Don't ya' ever say his name again!"

"Then do it. Pull the trigger, Dreamy Blues. Put us both out of our misery."

Daryl couldn't believe she was asking him to kill her. She had been the ruthless, strong leader the Wolf Pack needed. A beautiful creature that couldn't be tamed and thought she deserved to die more than the mindless corpses wandering around beyond the walls of Alexandria. Y/N could have been like her family and all of the people who tried to break her, but she had chosen her own path. But now, here they were with his crossbow pressed against her chest.

When he tried to lower the weapon, Y/N elbowed him in the face before she slammed her body into his chest to knock him off balance. The movement caused his crossbow to drop to the floor and Daryl grabbed the gun at his lower back as she reached for her daggers. But she dropped the blade and let it clatter loudly beside them. Her hands wrapped around his and lifted the gun to her chest where the crossbow had been, she applied pressure to the trigger...

"Don't let anyone else die because of me," she sobbed. And then he thought his world ended as the trigger was fully seated and a loud CLICK sounded instead of the blaring BANG of a bullet. The clip was empty...

Daryl came to, rolling over with tears in his eyes and pressed his mouth to her lips. Y/N, even in sleep, melted with his touch. She reached between their bodies and raked her nails down his bare chest before reaching down into the sheets. The kiss tasted of tears and desperation. But she was warm, not a lifeless corpse resembling the woman he loved. Though he knew she would never betray him, the dream still lingered somewhere in his mind. 

"I love ya'," he breathed in the dark privacy of their bedroom. He reconnected the battle of lips, tongue, and teeth. Her palms squeezed and stroked him to a full erection while he moved his hands to lift the sheets wrapped around her sexy thighs. His fingertips brushed the softness of her legs. The hot cream he felt wetting his fingers made him growl in his throat like a beast. He wanted to ravage her in a way she would never forget. In a way that not even Negan could compare in her eyes.

Y/N crawled over him, lifting up to slide down onto his length. And she was perfect. Daryl steadied her hips with one hand and used the other to force her against his chest as he thrusted up into her dripping pussy. "Love ya' like this, Y/N" he whispered in her ear. He knew what she needed, what both of them needed, to feel the peace they thought had ended. "Only I can make ya' feel this way."

Her hips bucked and she sucked and bit bruises into his neck and shoulders. The hushed little moans that floated through the air made his head spin. "Shit, Daryl…the way you look at me…"

His eyes rolled back as her pink tongue darted out to trace her lips and he groaned before claiming her mouth once again. Daryl flipped them over until he was on top and eclipsed her body with his own, pushing her face into the pillow and entering her from behind. He licked up the places of her spine he could reach and rolled his hips against hers. Y/N turned her angelic face enough to peer at him from over her shoulder. "Fuck me, baby. I want all of you....please."

Daryl pulled back enough to land a punishing smack on her right ass-cheek. "Don't beg, baby. I'll give ya' whattcha need."

Her toes curled and she pushed back only to get another swift spanking. 

"I could stay here all day, Y/N...buried inside ya', rememberin' what you tasted like here," Daryl moaned before thrusting hard into her entrance. Daryl's voice was husky when he spoke, sending a naughty thrill through her body. "Always so brave, Y/N. But you're a filthy fuckin' tease, ain't ya'?"

"Ugh..." Y/N tilted her hips and shivered when his strokes aligned with her g-spot. Her legs slammed shut, making herself tighter by accident and locking Daryl right where he wanted to be. He pushed up until his weight was balanced on one arm and landed four rapid-fire smacks to her reddened ass. She shivered and stiffened beneath him.

Daryl loved this side of her now that they were more confident in their lovemaking. "God, Daryl. I fucking love you...so hot...more."

He reached down and around her hips to trace the lines of her folds in a teasing touch that drove her crazy. Incoherent babbling flowed through the room. "I...ugh....please...I'm....fuck....sssss....Daryl!"

Daryl shifted once more, but kept his cock lined up with that place in her clenching channel that made Y/N scream his name like wild animal. He pinned her hips to the bed and plowed into her with long, punishing strokes until the air was knocked out of his lungs. The force of her orgasm sent him hurling over the cliff with her. It propelled them both into mind-blowing releases, losing all pride and fucking each other until the very last tremor subsided.

Y/N wouldn't stop shaking even when he pulled out and collapsed on the bed beside her. She smiled over at him with so much love in her eyes it made him uncomfortable to have even dreamt of her infidelity. He pulled her hand to his lips and kissed the ring on her finger. "Want to tell me what that was all about? I mean -don't get me wrong, I loved it. But it was...different."

You~

Every delicious thrust had lovingly caressed the rippling walls of your femininity. You could still feel the way his girth that spread you open and pummeled you into the mattress, reaching places no lover had ever been before. The dominance that had taken over him caused a part of you that you had assumed had died the night you left Negan came roaring back. You were not usually the submissive one, but you recognized punishment when it was given to you.

"Come on, Daryl. Talk to me."

"I had a dream that ya' started seein' him behind my back," he grunted with shame tinging his already flushed cheeks. The sticky mess between your legs marked you as Daryl's just as much as the ring on your finger. He was your mate.

"There's no way in hell-"

"I know. Dammit I was so stupid ta' think...never mind, just forget it." Daryl injected.

It was too quiet now, so much that you felt the need to open up to him as you often did in the darkness where you were safe in his arms. "Do you remember when I told you that I hated my sister because she always had the life I never had the option of experiencing? That she had chosen to ignore my pain even when it could have killed me?"

"I remember. Also said she hated ya' for things ya' couldn't control."

"Well, I said we argued the night of the outbreak happened and that I killed the first man who attacked me...but what I didn't say was that I went back. I searched for my mother and my sister one last time. My mother was a walker, so I put her down -wasn't as hard as I expected. But my sister....she was alive. I didn't see her or anything, but there was a note that said I didn't know things had gotten so bad. I will never forgive myself and I don't expect you to forgive me. If you read this, I'll be in Wyoming with a friend. Look for me, if you want to. Love you."

"That's good ain't it?" Daryl asked, but you shook your head.

"Even though I had traveled through the area, I never looked for her. There was no reason. The sister I had loved died the day she chose to believe those perverts over me...or at least I thought I did. Then meeting you, meeting Merle, and seeing the redemption all of us have gotten from one another despite our actions. It made me wonder if I had made a mistake."

"Ya' think she's still alive?"

You shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not. I would never know until I searched."

"But ya' won't?"

"No...I won't. If she really wanted to make amends, she would have looked for me, right? I mean, why should I hunt down an apology that should have been said years ago?!"

Daryl pulled you closer, turning you to tuck you beneath his arm. "Is that what ya' want? An apology?"

"I don't know what I want except you, Daryl. You're all I need no matter what."

He leaned down enough to brush his lips against your brow. The only response you got was a rumble in his chest that could be interpreted into just about anything. The wold felt alright in Daryl's arms. You found a peace with him you would have never believed existed while you were still on your mountain. There were days when you missed the isolation and wilds of your land, but then you remembered that if you had not saved the wounded girl in the woods, you would have been never have met Daryl. And life without him was unimaginable at this point.

Daryl Dixon would most likely be the death of you. Especially when he reached down to stroke between your legs, igniting that fire within you that never seemed to die out completely. He stared into your Y/E/C eyes and you were lost in the frigid depths of his eerie blue gaze. Daryl moved your hand to grasp his length with it, giving his already hardened cock a squeeze to get the message across. He was nowhere near done with you and you wouldn't have him any other way. "We gon be at it for hours, princess. Best get ready for what I got in store for ya'."

"Oh, no. Not this time, Dreamy Blues. I have a few ideas of my own...ones that include you tied up and at my mercy."

The sound of your voice mixed with the dark promise of your words caused him to arch into your touch. A devilish little snicker escaped your lips as you crawled down the length of his body until you place a sloppy kiss to the tip of his weeping slit.

 

 

Chapter Text

Watch Rick go all caveman on the scumbag Pete really tickled you in certain dark places of your mind. It was hilarious every time Rick lost his shit and started beating people. He had Pete in a choke-hold that would make a pro wrestler proud. Daryl was off on a recruit mission with Aaron and he was to report back with any signs of the Wolves' movement out there beyond the wall. Deanna gave you an expression that was similar to that customer who came into a store and always wanted to speak to the manager. What did she want you to do? This was the most entertaining thing you had seen in a week besides Merle almost shooting his own foot off.

"You want this place to stay standing? Your way of doin' things is done!" Rick bitched. "Things don't get better because yo-you want them to. Starting right now, we have to live in the real world. We have to control who lives here."

"That's never been more clear to me than it is right now," Deanna replied.

"Me? You...you mean me? Your way is gonna destroy this place."

Shane leaned against a post with Judith in his arms and a slightly amused expression on his face. He nodded toward you and then tilted his head in the direction of oncoming trouble. Glenn and Tobin were trying to get involved, causing you to sigh knowing that your fun was almost up. Rick and Deanna shared some pretty heated words toward one another. "Your way is gonna get people killed. It's already gotten people killed. I'm not going to stand by and just let it happen," he stated. "If you don't fight, you die."

That you agreed with, however he kept blabbing off at the mouth so much you smiled when Michonne knocked him out before he could get the group exiled from Alexandria. She looked at you and said, "Talk to Sasha...please." A couple of people helped carry Rick away as you rolled your eyes. YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEIR CAMP COUNSELORS!!! Everyone had an issue lately and you were the first person they went to for answers. Before walking away, you kicked Pete while he was trying to crawl to his knees.

"Put a hand on your family and I'll turn you into a finger painting, got it?"

Deanna rushed after you. "We need to talk about what happened with Nicholas."

"I killed the son of a bitch that left your son to die and got one of Rick's people killed. An eye for and eye and all that jazz."

"That's not how we do things around here," she snapped and you turned on her with so much fury she backed down instantly. Yeah, today was a bad day to forget who helped build this place.

"I'm not one of your people, Deanna. You don't get to tell me how things are in MY world. People like me make the rules now. There is not a government any longer, ok? The only reason you have influence here is because I made it so and I can take it away just as quickly as I gave it to you. This is the animal kingdom," you said. Cue dramatic entrance of Nyx landing on your shoulder with a message from the King Ezekiel. "I'm not explaining myself or my actions to anyone."

That got her to leave you alone for a while. You tracked Sasha down to the woods where Rosita and Michonne helped her fight off a group of walkers. She was crying and hugging her knees to her chest, not expecting anyone to find her. You knew the signs of depression anywhere, which wasn't good. Sasha being restless, antisocial, not eating, not sleeping, guilt, mood swings, etc. It was a surefire sign someone wanted to give up in a big way. "Stand up."

She jumped to her feet more so out of shock at not hearing your approach than your command itself.

"You're too weak, Sasha. You can't be part of the group anymore."

"I'm not weak!"

"Only a weak person needs other people to feel strong. And if you're this broken over a few people dying, you're not gonna make it very far. Your family is dead, your friends are dead, your old life is dead, Sasha. You are completely and utterly alone with no one to care about you. The man you loved died because he was a coward just like you and everybody else. Bob chose liquor over the wellbeing of others, Noah was an alright kid, but in the end he died just like everyone else and you warned him that he would. And here you are...." You taunted, circling her with your hand hovering right above your dagger. "This self-destructive behavior is pathetic. If you wanted to die, you would have done something about it already. But you didn't. Because weakness just flows through your veins."

"Shut up!" Sasha lunged. She knocked you to the ground, but you rolled over and jumped to your feet. Though Sasha was skilled in her own right, she wasn't anywhere near a challenge for you.

 "We had good people like T-dog, Tyreese, Lori, Amy, Andrea, Noah, Hershel, and Dale who all died. People who would have fought a hell of a lot harder to be alive today than you would. And I've lost more people of my own than I could ever count. But I accept it and move on, I'm stronger because of it and it fuels every fight I walk into."

Sasha went for you again, trying to use her rifle to hit you, but you evaded her would-be blows. It was like a dance for you, watching her grow frustrated as you talk down to her and poke at the wounds. "There are people who love me!"

You barked out a few tendrils of laughter. "What? Like who? Because from where I'm standing everyone just pities you. They're waiting to find you dead someday or to have a breakdown you won't come back from. If you think this is hard, that you've lived a trying life....you wouldn't have lasted a second in my shoes even before the new world started." This time, Sasha didn't get the chance to rush you. Swiftly, you wrapped a leg around hers and shoved on her chest to cause her to fall to the ground.

"I can push you around all day. This is fun, and with Daryl gone, I'm a little bored."

Sasha cried harder. "Why are you doing this?"

"Because if you can't handle me pushing you around for fun, what the hell do you think is going to happen when the real enemies show up? Tell me, Sasha...who loves you?"

"Don't."

"Say their names and I'll walk away," you offered with a shrug.

"Rosita...Rosita loves me. Abraham loves me. Eugene loves me. Maggie loves me. Bob loved me..." There. Just saying all of the names of the group and the people she cared for the most struck someplace deep in Sasha's heart.

"And Noah loved you. Just because you made a mistake does not mean that he didn't know that. Telling someone they won't survive out here is a fact and something you should not feel ashamed of. He knew you cared, maybe not with your words, but with how hard you fought for this group. Your life has value because the people you love make it so."

That right there was the why they were weak. Those may have been your words instead of Ricks near the end of the conversation, but the fact that his people needed hope to survive meant they wouldn’t be alive long enough to see those dreams a reality. You wanted Sasha to take away more from the harsh truth you gave her than the words of comfort.

Giving these people a reason to fight was not your job. Damn you missed Daryl. He and Aaron better come back unharmed or you were going to burn the place down…literally. The walk back to the wall was uneventful until Shane joined you.

“Deanna wants to hold a trial for Rick, she’s talkin’ about exile,” he said. “Maggie wants to campaign for his right to stay.”

“Not our problem. Rick spoke the truth and sometimes that has consequences. He’s a big boy, he can handle it.”

“I’m thinkin’ that your word would help his case. You’ve got pull here, it could be useful,” Shane hinted.

“You asking me to help your friend? Or is this something else?”

“I’m askin’ you to keep Rick around long enough to prove himself. That’s it. No more, no less. Just a chance. Like you gave Merle and I. Rick right now is an outcast just as much as the Wolf Pack. I know he doesn’t want to join us, but we don’t have to abandon him.”

You, Shane, and Michonne sat at Rick's bedside when he awakened. A few people visited like Abraham, Glenn, and Carl. You were wearing a cunning smile and Michonne was wearing her usual all-work-no-play expression, though there was some softness in her eyes. Shane gave her a look that said he may have caught on to their heated glances more often than she thought. Rick grumbled at the sight of you and that just entertained you further.

"Yeah, I'm sort of like an omen for bad new, huh?"

 Rick then confessed to you things Daryl and the others already made you aware of. Carol and the guns was not a shocker, Sophia kept you up to date on the whereabouts of her mother the same way Carl and Michonne kept you up to date on Rick. Nothing happened with the group or the Wolf Pack without you knowing about it, but it was good he finally said something. You were pissed he even tried to endanger the group he claimed to protect in the first place, but no one was without mistakes. You could let this one slide.

"Guess who's gonna save your ass...again?"

Chapter Text

You~

No one knew, but you had this journal that you wrote down names, dates, and detailed descriptions of the favors they owed you and why. It was your Book of Debts. Something you made yourself out of deer hide and stained up pieces of blank paper you found on the road. They go all the way back to the first week the outbreak happened. But right now, your head hurt as you flipped through the pages and listened in on the hearing on what to do with Rick. It was mostly Maggie and Deanna going back and forth about loss and blah blah blah everyone had lost someone important...yip yip yip Rick had a gun...yap yap yap....You really missed Daryl.

"Ah hah!" You shouted, pointing to Deanna's name all of the debt she owed you. "I'll just go to the oldest one and work my way down the line. March 15th-"

"Wait!"

You looked over the top of your book and smirked evilly. "Yes?"

"The...what you have...I will take it into consideration," she hedged. "But if you wish to speak on his behalf..."

"Rick spoke on his own behalf out on the streets of this community for all to hear. Admit it, Deanna, you saw the fear in their eyes the moment they breached the gates and knew the way you had been running this place after I left would only get people killed. The systems you and your family put in place are shit. Face the music."

"That's all you have to say?"

"I'm more of a woman of action...this," you said waving your hand around the room. "This is a waste of my time. Diplomacy isn't my area of expertise. Survival is, though. So I'm going to go out there with Tekah and track down Daryl and Aaron. I'll lose my fucking mind if I stay here another second. If you need me, go to any member of the Wolf Pack."

You the peace sign above your head and walked out the door. It felt good to leave the walls of Alexandria, but every step you took in the direction Daryl and Aaron had been scouting, the more signs of the Wolves you found. Walkers with a 'W' carved into their heads. Piles of dismembered bodies lying about here and there. Even a few more subtle nods that let you know that they were watching you just as much as you were watching them....but their skills were outdated and archaic. You could move swiftly and one with the shadows like a phantom on the wind, silent and with purpose.

It took you three days to find a fresh trail, maybe a few hours old. You followed them.

Daryl~

Where the hell was Y/N when he needed her? Oh yeah, probably going crazy behind the walls of Alexandria while he was out having all of the fun. If wandering around aimlessly with Aaron was fun. Sure, they took out their fair share of walkers and stumbled upon one or more strange instances such as the man wearing a red poncho, who they lost track of a while back. Yeah, things were definitely interesting without her by his side. He could barely make heads or tails with any of this mess.

Even so -Daryl and Aaron rustle the fence surrounding the perimeter of a factory of some sort. There were trailers abandoned outside and Aaron suspected there may be food inside, so they lured the walkers in the area over and quickly took them out one by one. Once the walkers were cleared out, the two of them headed toward the building and climbed onto the loading dock. Aaron pointed out an Alaskan license plate, but Daryl had a sinking feeling in his gut, so he didn't pay much attention.

He approached the first trailer Where the harvest gets home was written on the side in red letters. Metal cans tethered together by fraying rope hung around the area and the gut wrenching worsened. Aaron leaned down to unscrew the Alaska license plate for his collection as Daryl's eyes searched around for threats that may be lingering. "Look I don't like giving up either, but the guy is in a red poncho. Can see him from a mile away." Aaron pulled the plate out and tucked it in his back. "We got a lot of miles here. No sign of him. But...we come away with trailer full of cans, I'd say that's a good trip."

Daryl allowed himself to smile just a little at Aaron's optimism before reaching down to open the latch on the trailer door. The wire and rope that had the cans strung up snapped suddenly, a zipping sound and rattling echoed through the area. Daryl's stomach hit the bottom of his boots and he jumped back before a swarm of walkers could grab him. One after another, the trailer doors opened and more walkers spilled out. They had been set up. The factory was kept intact to lure people like them there or...maybe it had been set up for them specifically. Daryl raised his crossbow, ready to fight, but was quickly overwhelmed and forced to run.

Aaron followed quickly behind as they dashed between the trailers. Daryl pulled out his knife and started stabbing away at any walker who got close enough, trying to cut a path away form the herd that was quickly forming behind them from the open doors. Walkers boxed them in on all sides, leaving no other choice but to hide beneath the underside of one of the trailers. It didn't take long for the undead bastards to start crawling on the ground toward them. Daryl saw the 'W' mark clear as day and curse beneath his breath.

He wasn't going to die knowing Y/N's enemies were still out there and he promised to help her take them out. Daryl grabbed a rusted chain. "Come on," he said to Aaron before rushing out from under the trailer. Once he was on his feet, Daryl whipped the chain in an arch. A sharp whistle sounded as the chain snapped and cut the tops of three walkers' heads off. He dropped the useless chain and then stabbed the walker that grabbed at Aaron, who then found a long, thin shard of metal and used it to fight off the biters.

Daryl shoved them through a throng of walkers to hide inside of an abandoned car. Dozens of decaying bodies banged against the windows and he wondered if he was going to be able to keep his promise of coming back home to Y/N.

"Glass'll hold for a while," Aaron said.

Daryl just grunted some sort of agreement. They had grown somewhat close over the course of their travels, so he felt a little more at ease with speaking his mind. "Uh, maybe. Maybe we can make it so they cain't see us. Only a couple of hours, somethin'll come by and they'll follow it out. There's gotta be somethin' here we can use ta' block the view....we could cut up the seats."

He checked the back as Aaron looked through the compartments in the car. Tucked between the center console and the passenger side seat was a yellowed piece of paper. Written in uneven handwriting was a note: TRAP BAD PEOPLE COMING DON'T STAY. Aaron showed the note to Daryl and there was no longer any doubt in his mind that trouble had found them. He scuffed humorously.

"What?" Aaron asked.

"I came out here ta'...I feel all closed up back there," he said, referencing to Alexandria. "Even now, still feels more like me." Walkers continued to bank against the glass. He continued to mumble about his feelings, not expecting Aaron to say anything, but he did.

"You were trying."

"I had ta'," Daryl retorted.

"Negative. Listen, I saw you with your group out there on the road. You and Y/N kept your people safe when the storm hit. That was it. I knew I had to bring you people back. Not just because of the past I share with her, but because I was something different. Something Alexandria could use a lot more of." Aaron held Daryl's squinting gaze until he looked down and said dryly, "You were right, we should have kept looking for that guy in the poncho. I shouldn't have given up, but you didn't."

Daryl looked away uncomfortably before popping a cigarette into his mouth and letting it hang from his lip. "I'll go. I'll lead 'em out, you make a break for the fence." He flicked open a silver bic lighter and lit the end of it.

"No no no," Aaron protested. "This was my fault."

"It wasn't a question. This ain't your decision." Daryl grunted more to himself than anyone in particular. "Ain't nobody's fault. Just let me finish my smoke first."

Slight smiles ghosted on both of their faces for reasons neither one of them knew. 

"No, you don't draw them away. We fight. We go for the fence, we do it together. Either we'll make it or not, we do it together. We have to."

Y/N and Eric. Neither of them had to say their names, but both men had reasons to keep living for. "Alright," Daryl grumbled, taking one last drag on his cigarette. "You ready?"

They grabbed their weapons and reached for the door handles. "We go on three....One...Two!"

Blood sprayed against the widow as an unseen ally came to their aid.

You~

"You dumb fucks! Son of a bitch!" the sound of your frustrated bitching and moaning could even be heard over the sounds of the walkers groaning. You and Morgan -Rick's badass friend who talked like a monk- helped Daryl and Aaron from the car. The four of you fought to freedom with Morgan's long stick battering in the brains of any the zombies (suck it up, that's what they are). It was bloody and messy and you were having so much fun despite cussing out your boyfriend? Fiance? Lover? All of the above? and one of your best friends for not listening to you about the Wolves and their stupid tricks.

Everyone made it to the fence and Daryl shut the gate, shooting a few bolts into the heads of some of the biters.

"That was...ugh...I mean.." Aaron was out of breath and muttering about something. "Thank you."

You shrugged and Morgan wore a skeptical look, but he lowered his staff-thingy.

"Ugh...I'm Aaron, this is Daryl, and I'm sure you already met Y/N."

Morgan looked around, his kind eyes taking in his surroundings. "Morgan."

"Why?" Daryl asked and you resisted the urge to slap him for his foolishness and kiss him because you missed that greasy mop of hair and gravely voice.

"Why? Because all life is precious, Daryl," Morgan said with a little smile.

"Ok, nice introductions and badass fighting, but we have to get moving. I don't know how big their group is now and they'll be coming back any minute, so let's beat a fast retreat and get you dumb asses back to Alexandria. AARON! Before you go on about the community, I already talked to him and he knows Rick, so...I'm forcing him to come along."

"But I'm on my way somewhere, fact is I'm lost. So...if you could tell me where we are," he handed Daryl the same map he showed you earlier. Geez, the guy's trust issues rivaled yours and Shane's.

Though, for the first time since coming across another human since the outbreak besides Aaron...seeing sad hope in someone's eyes didn't make you want to leave them for dead. There was something in Morgan's gaze that you connected with. On your way there, he told you about losing himself to the darkness within that you coveted, but that he chose to take a different path. You expressed your admiration of that choice and that he had recognized it when so few had done so in the past. But though he tasted that darkness, there was a purity in his heart that you had only seen in the man who spoke so highly of Alexandria.

And so you, Morgan, Daryl, and Aaron trekked back to the walls that felt like a prison just as much as they felt like a shelter.

Chapter Text

You, Daryl, Aaron, and Morgan walk into the meeting in time to see Rick blow Pete's brains out. Deanna held Reg's dead body in her arms. Miggie, Glenn, and Sasha were not present at the meeting either. Shit must have gone down while you were away, but what interested you the most was the walker body on the ground. You walked over and nudged it with your boot. It was a Savior. You wouldn't tell anyone that, of course, but you recognized him as one of Negan's men.

If the Wolves and the Saviors were close, that meant really really bad news for Alexandria. You suspected Negan might have men in the area, but you never thought they would be close enough to run into someone you recognized. Without a word, you retreat from the building and rush back to the Wolf Den with Daryl and Aaron on your heels. Shane was in the cellar pinning a few things up on the tactical wall. He found a few more signs of the Wolves' activity in the area. "Somethin' is stirring up out there. Found two cars tagged by those assholes this afternoon."

"Tara's in a coma, Rick just shot someone, Carol is a liability, Sasha's suicidal, we just brought a monk back with us...what the hell is next?" You asked dryly. "The Wolves are getting restless and that isn't a good sign."

Merle shuffled down the stairs. "Got biters gatherin' in the quarry. Me, you, and Daryl can take care of 'em."

You nodded. Shane looked to you expectantly, waiting for something to do besides babysit a town full of helpless people. "Let Rick have daddy-duty today, I want you out there scouting, but don't use the beats and take Tekah with you. We don't need these fuckers catching on to our new system."

Looking more than a little relieved, Shane suited up and exited out the back. Merle looked over the tactical board. "Said ya'll brought a monk back? Wouldn't be the fella Rick was bitchin' about at the first camp is it?"

"Apparently he is. Doesn't want to stay, though. Not that I blame him."

"Can't stand to be in these walls for more than a few hours of sleep and little somethin' to fill this hole in my gut. I don't trust easy, you know? Life ain't never been easy for me, so why should it be now?"

You walked over to stand beside Merle. "I get it. Daryl and I were talking about putting together a few teams for deployments so no one gets too comfortable. We need to stick to our ways even if we're tempted to settle down and grow roots."

"What's the plan then?"

"Let Rick, Michonne, and Carl keep an eye on Alexandria. The rest of the Wolf Pack goes after the Wolves and we take them down our way. 

Aaron raised his hand to ask a question. "So, what exactly is everyone's role in the pack now?"

"Tekah is our eyes and ears. Shane is the muscle and strategist. Daryl does recon and long range attacks. Michonne is defense and retreat. Glenn is our exit specialist and our runner. I handle training, close combat, and damage control. Carl and Sophia are the infiltrators, they get close to the living in order to determine whether they are threats or allies. Merle is our sabotage specialist," you explained.

"Sounds pretty cool."

"Is he the last member?" Merle asked, remembering you mentioning a final member of the Wolf Pack.

"Nope, but I'm sure they'll get along great."

Daryl gave you a skeptical glance, knowing when you were up to no good. You were wearing the expression you often had on your face when you were trying to set Rick and Michonne up without people catching on. "So while Shane is scoutin' for activity in the area, we'll be takin' out the walkers at the quarry?" he asked to distract you from your train of thought.

"Yep-" You were about to finish when knocking sounded from the external cellar entrance. Merle lifted his knife and opened the hatch. A few seconds later Rick came down the stairs. "Ugh, what? Haven't I done enough for you in the past few weeks?" you asked with mock irritation.

"Heard of the W Man? I've seen a few walkers with the mark on their foreheads, but Morgan said this guy was alive."

You turned to Aaron. "Did you see Owen while you and Daryl were recruiting?"

"No, I'm sure I would have recognized him. Not likely to forget the man who almost killed me."

"Who the hell is Owen?" Daryl growled.

"One of the members of the old Wolf Pack. He's the leader of the Wolves last I heard."

Rick looked between you and the others. "You're goin' after them, aren't you?"

"It's the only way to keep them away from these walls and out of the community."

He gives you his dad look, but you ignore it this time. Rick wasn't your leader, which he now understood. He reached behind him and set several walkie talkies on the work table. "So we can communicate. There might be times when we need you...or you need us. Either way, we need to be able to stay in touch in case of emergencies."

Aaron turned to Rick. "You still expect Alexandria to fall?"

Rick kept his gaze steady with yours. "I made too many mistakes not listenin' to Y/N when she got her hackles raised. Not doin' that again. Not with all of these lives on the line. We work together or not at all. You do what you do and I do what I do. But we win. Nobody else."


 

The Wolf Pack stood at the edge of the quarry. Shit. That was a lot of zombies. This, without a single doubt in your mind, had been designed to collect walkers. The trucks were placed too strategically and it had Owen written all over it. He would have no doubt shepherded these pus-filled fuckers right into Alexandria if Merle hadn't discovered it. There were three Wolves along the road, not doing much but taking out the stragglers.

While looking through your binoculars, you signal Daryl to take out one of them. The next signal was to Merle, who snuck up behind another and stabbed him in the top of his head. The last signal went to Glenn. He quickly bashed in the man's skull to prevent him from reanimating. Tekah signaled the regroup.

Abraham and Sasha showed up to lend a hand. "We did what you suggested. Rick is asking for Deanna's permission right now, but I don't know why when we're already here," Sasha announced.

"It was a distraction to keep the talkers busy while we deal with the walkers." No one else laughed at your cheesy joke, but Aaron rolled his eyes and that was good enough for you. "Anyway...here's the plan...

We take this slow. Daryl gets into position at the head on his bike and leads the herd. Abraham and Sasha follow close behind. Merle and Glenn set off-"

The truck that had been blocking the walkers in began to teeter. It fell over the edge and everyone launched into action. Aaron stuck by your side. "Sasha! Abraham!"

"Damn straight, we do it live!" Abraham responded. They got into the red car and followed Daryl.

"Merle."

"I got it, girly. Chinaman and I gonna take real good care of these biters!"

Glenn wore his 'oh, no' face that you found adorable. That meant Merle did something that was either brilliant or completely insane while he had been scouting the area the first time. Which....both was an accurate description of the number of explosions that went off after Merle pressed a button in his hand. Dynamite rocked the earth and sent the unfinished plan into overdrive. His manic laughter brought a smile to your face, the Wolves wouldn't know what hit them when Merle Dixon came knocking on their door.

God, you wished Shane could have been here for this. The excitement and adrenaline coursing through your veins was intoxicating. You loaded arrow after arrow, reveling in the feel of battle as it raged around you. Tekah released a howl that the Wolf Pack answered within heartbeats of each other. Aaron stared at you as though you were insane, but he had no idea....

"Get in the truck and start driving."

"W-what?"

"Come on, we need to keep up with the others. Glenn and Merle will be fine. This is what we do. Let's go!"

Aaron climbed into one of the trucks and turned it around to follow the herd. While the truck was in motion, plowing through the walkers, you ran at full speed and jumped on the back. You used the handles on the side of the trailer to pull yourself up onto the roof. In a crouch that would make any superhero cream their tights, you pulled back on your bow string and released with the reflexes of a trained archer. Zombies dropped left and right as more explosions came from the quarry.

Between the roar of the engine and the sound of walkers, you couldn't hear how many times Aaron was calling you a crazy person. It was fine. You were living your best life. The hood came down and you felt the wind against the sweat-dampened skin of your forehead. You taped a flair to the end of one of your arrows and lit it before shooting it into the herd. Glenn set off a few flairs as well, lighting the sky with red.

Then a line of explosions triggered along the intersection, timed to go off in even intervals to keep the walkers from wandering into the woods. Merle Dixon was a genius. And so were you. The part of the plan you didn't get to tell the others was that you had Sophia set up a cache for you along the road. Aaron kept the truck moving while you dropped off the edge and rolled into the herd to fight your way to the tree line. You jumped to the other side in time to just barely avoid the next round of Merle's explosions. The arm of your sleeve caught fire, but you stamped it out with your hand.

The bag was filled with flammable chemicals that you intended to use to take out even more of the walkers. Thinning out the herd was the only option of success with the number of people in this team. Most of the biters would have been taken out by Merle and Glenn's masterful abilities to blow things up. You wanted to set fire to another portion while Abraham, Sasha, and Daryl herded the walkers to the rendezvous area for the grand finale...

A loud horn went off in the distance. Fuck. "Owen..."

 

 

Chapter Text

You sprang to your feet, but before you could get far, a hand came over your mouth. Dropping low, you throw your would-be attacker over your shoulder and press your dagger to his cheek. "Dwight?"

Blond, dirty hair fanned around his head. A smile curled on his lip. "Good to see ya', Y/N. Thought I smelled wet dog."

"That'd be your own breath kicking back into your face," you snorted as you helped him up. The pack needed you to finish this, but you couldn't lead a Savior right to Alexandria. You wouldn't. "What are you doing so far away from Kansas, Dorothy?"

"With the number of explosions goin' off you should have known the Saviors in the area would come lookin'."

"And Negan?" you asked. "Where is he?"

"He's gonna be happy to know you're still alive, Y/N. No matter what everyone else says about him, he still loves you." Dwight pointed to your hand. "But that ring on your finger is gonna get somebody hurt...and you know it."

"It's just something I found on the road."

It was Dwight's turn to snort. "You forget that I know you, the real you. And you ain't the type to have sentimental attachments to things like that. Especially if you're wearin' it durin' a fight." He grabbed your arm and ripped the sleeve of your cloak, looking down at the mark of the Wolf Pack tattooed into your arm. A bitter laugh escaped his mouth as he read the creed. "Some things never change, huh?"

"What do you want, Dwight?"

"I'm gonna take ya' back to him. You might have friends around these parts, but you're still one of us. How many ya' runnin' with now? Might as well tell me, we'll find out sooner or later."

You lunge, shoving him against a tree and knocking that cocky grin off his face. "EVERYTHING you are, I made you! EVERYTHING that the Saviors are, I helped create! It was Negan and I running Sanctuary, not you. So, don't forget your place in all of this, Dwight. I may have been absent for a few years, but if Negan still loves me....then I'm still your queen."

"Think he'll just let all of your people live? He ain't got a shred of mercy left in his body anymore."

"I'm not looking for his mercy, Dwight. I'm looking for his heart. And when I have it, I'm gonna crush it in my hand until I'm free of the control he still has over me. You be sure to tell him that. Ok, pumpkin?" you said sweetly. "You'd be smart to do the same Dwight. He's never gonna let her go. And you should take her and leave before she doesn't want to..."

"No one runs from Negan, Y/N. You know that. Look at where ya' are now...right back where he wants you."

"I'm sorry, but I'm not as weak as the rest of you," you muttered, clenching your fist and throwing a punch that landed at his temple and knocked him unconscious. While he was down, you stabbed him in the leg -careful to avoid the femoral artery, but wanting to slow him down just in case. And then you mucked up the trail so he couldn't tack your movements. Dwight may be untrustworthy, but he wasn't as stupid or cowardly as he let the others believe.

Quickly, you made it back to the road and looked down to see the walkers moving along. The stupid fucking horn kept going off, so you picked up the radio and turned it to the channel used by the Wolf Pack. "Daryl."

"Where the hell ya' been, Y/N?!"

"Calm down, Dreamy Blues. I'm alright," you chuckled. "Listen, I need to take care of that sound or else the walkers are going to start wandering off the path. Merle and Glenn are coming up the road now after clearing what was left in the quarry. I'll have them meet up with the rest of you at the rendezvous location. Take care of this, Daryl, and I'll be back before you can miss me. Love you."

"Y/N, don't you-"

You turned off the radio, not needing it to alert more walkers or anyone else who could be watching. Dwight was the wakeup call you needed. Negan was close. Too close. Merle and Glenn pulled up and you handed them the chemical bag, a few grenades, and the rest of your flairs. "I have to stop that horn or else the walker's will head for Alexandria. Stick to the plan."

Glenn nodded even though he wanted to argue.

"If ya' ain't back behind them walls in three days, we'll be out here huntin' ya' down, girly. Take care," Merle said.

With a quick wave, you were off into the woods without a look back. The sound of the engine moving further and further into the distance was soothing. It was easier to concentrate when you didn't have to look out for anyone but yourself. You pulled your hood up and removed your boots as usual whenever you were traveling alone. The trees were filled with walkers trying to follow the sound of the horn. Most of them were avoidable with how quietly you moved, but one snuck up on you from behind. The ground was wet enough to soak through the fabric of your gear as you used the armored forearms of your suit to guard yourself from bites. However, you forgot about the part on your sleeve Dwight had ripped, narrowly avoiding getting bitten. Swift kick pushed the walker off of you enough to reach your blade and burry it into its skull.

The air in your lungs burned from the exertion of fighting for your life. More walkers surrounded you, too many to fight off effectively, so you climbed up one of the trees and picked them off with your arrows. The small herd was cleared, but you waited in the trees with your eyes closed to listen for movement in the forrest. No humans or zombies seemed to be in the area, so you crawled down and retrieved your arrows, wiping the gunk and goo onto the short grass before returning them to your quiver.

Careful steps took you closer and closer to the sound of the horn.

Sophia~

She was watching as always, waiting for things to go wrong as Y/N said they would. And they did. She watched a man rush toward her mother and slices at Miss Shelly with a blade like Shane's. Sophia pulled the knife from the sheath on her hip and rushed him as he stabbed the lady in the head. The young girl came at him with a fury, trying to protect her mother.

Maggie and a few others come out of Deanna's house to see Wolves scaling the walls. There weren't enough people able to fight, not with Y/N and the others gone. Sophia inhaled a deep breath and released her Wolf call for the first time since leaving the mountain, hopefully the remaining members of the pack would heed her call.

Rick was carried away by some of the bad men, but she couldn't follow them without leaving her mom. Sophia made sure to remember the direction they took him, though. Maybe Carl would go with her to save him when this was over...

Shane~

He didn't recognized that particular call, which meant it was Sophia. The little girl he had given up on back at the farm when she had gone missing. He safely tucked Judith into a ventilated cutout in the floor of his room to keep her safe. Shane grabbed his machete and ran into the streets of Alexandria. Michonne and Carl joined him. The Wolves were infiltrating the community. "Carl! Go grab Sophia. I want you two to go to a safehouse in case Alexandria falls, ok? Stay there until one of us radios in and gives instructions. You two are the future of the Wolf Pack, so I don't need you to be brave, I need you to be smart. Now go!"

Michonne nodded toward him after hugging Carl goodbye. She readied her katana and moved beside him toward the group of Wolves trying to take people hostage. A bomb goes off and kills one of the guards. Shane and Michonne make their way to a cache hidden behind the church. They clip grenades to their belts, sheath throwing knives in the slots along the leg of their pants, and Shane grabs something extra special: a serrated chain.

Once they were equipped with everything they needed, the maps and anything else that could give away the Wolf Pack's secrets were put into the lock box and stashed away in case they were captured. Shane led the assault, stopping only to instruct Beth to find Judith. The poor girl was still broken up by Noah's death, but she listened to his roughly barked command and rushed to protect his daughter.

There was no time for grief or pity.

Prisoners were in chains as a Wolf painted the W on their foreheads. He watched Carol work and was suddenly concerned about her. She was so good at lying and playing innocent, he wasn't sure whose interests she had in mind when she killed. Michonne beheaded four Wolves and Shane took out most of the walkers to cover her. Together, they were able to minimize the damage done to Alexandria, but they were out numbered.

He was hit upside the head, his vision blurred, but he climbed to his feet and wrapped the chain around the Wolf's neck. Shane pulled up until the serrated chain tore the man's head from his body. Blood dripped from his ears, but he limped over to the barricade, ready to take out the last person to scale the wall, but he was stopped by the most beautiful face he ever laid eyes on. Y/N. She was here....or else he was more hurt than he thought.

You~

You steadied Shane on his feet and then pushed past Spenser with an irritated groan. He did nothing but get in the way. Morgan helped you take out the walker and stop the horn from drawing more inside the walls. Owen was going to pay for this and every other dumbass thing he's done. A Wolf approaches Morgan and you leave him to deal with it. The whole monk thing was getting old. Not every life was precious.

When you saw Carol move in for the kill, you rolled your eyes, but did not stop her. She could do whatever she wanted and deal with the consequences. This situation needed to be handled before it drew something much worse than Wolves and walkers. With Dwight in the forest, there could be more Saviors. "Do whatever you need, Carol. But secure the armory."

She gave you a quick nod and did as you asked with Morgan's help.

Where the fuck is Rick?!

You couldn't find him, but you sure as hell found Carl. The kid shot a wolf in the leg. You watch on as the kid ignored the Wolf's teary-eyed pleads for mercy and stabbed him in the side of the head before retreating with Sophia in tow. The smile on your face was genuine, these kids would survive. They didn't need hope when they had fire in their veins.

Aaron shouts your name from somewhere to the right, letting you know that he made it back and that he was working with Rosita to help clear the Wolves out of the houses.

You team up with Shane and Michonne to defeat the Wolves, sending them into a retreat. Just beyond the wall you spot a familiar face. Owen. Good, there'll be fresh trail to follow. You wave to him teasingly, knowing the madness in his twisted little mind wouldn't comprehend the danger he was in. Their stupidity would lead the Wolf Pack right to their base of operations. And death would ride swiftly and claim their lives as fate intended.

Aaron moved through the streets, shocked by the carnage and destruction left behind. He stooped down and lifted the backpack he had lost and you knew...inside were the photographs of Alexandria and everything he used to recruit people to joining the community. Unknowingly, Aaron had led the Wolves right to the haven he fought so hard to protect.

No Rick meant you had to control the situation. "Rosita and Maggie, team up with Michonne and patrol the perimeter...take Spencer with you so he doesn't get in my way. Deanna, gather what's left of the community and make sure people are aware of what happened here tonight and what they need to do to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Shane stood beside you while everyone else obeyed your orders, still traumatized by the attack. "And what about us?"

"Radio the others, let them know the Wolf Pack hunts at sunrise."  

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Wild One,

It has been a long time, dear friend. I know what you want from me, that you want my support when the time comes. If your allies need refuge, they may seek sanctuary with my people...but I cannot do what you expect of me. I wish I was stronger. I wish I could do more than smile and play the role of a leader that you naturally are. Everything I do is to protect those under my care and if my falsities are what keep them safe, then I must carry that burden.

Though I look forward to meeting your new comrades and the woman you call 'Carol', this is not a war the Kingdom can win. Nor is it one we will attempt to fight.

~ King Ezekiel

You crumpled the letter and swallowed it with a bit of water. Fuck. Enemies are popping up more often than allies and you'll need enough people for what's to come. The Wolf Pack was separated into three squads: Carl, Sophia, and Michonne were on a search and rescue mission for Rick. Shane, Merle, and Glenn were in another team, sweeping the areas around Alexandria that the Wolves were known to be active in. You, Daryl, and Tekah were following the trail that was leading away from Alexandria.

Merle came over the walkie. "So, ya' want me to infiltrate a den if we find one?"

"You weren't there for the attack, so they won't know you're one of us unless they see your mark. Change out of your gear and then go in. Shane will be on standby and Glenn will be near the road with a getaway vehicle. Only half of Owen's men walked away from the fight for Alexandria, so you shouldn't have a problem. Good luck."

"You too, girly."

Michonne radioed in next. "We're following Sophia's lead, I'll be off the channel until I know it's safe...."

"We'll be alright. Just come back to the den with Rick alive, ok?"

"Roger that," Carl answered for her sarcastically.

You silenced your radio and walked on the opposite side of the path as Daryl. He had been quiet since returning from his mission to take care of the walker herd. Tekah was several feet ahead of the two of you, tracking the scent from one of the shirts you took from the dead body of one of the Wolves. Not caring about the trail anymore, you crossed over to close the distance between you and the man you love. "What is it?"

"What happened after ya' radio went out, Y/N?" he asked. "And no more lies. Ya' sounded scared. Maybe not to anyone else, but ya' cain't lie ta' me. Not anymore."

"I was caught off guard by one of Negan's men."

Daryl was on you right away, pulling you against his wide chest and looking into your Y/E/C eyes beneath the shade of your hood. "He close?"

"He has men around, but I didn't stick around long enough to really get a straight answer from his guy. Stabbed him and left him behind for the walkers to get. If he survives, he's supposed to tell Negan that I plan to kill him." Your hand came to brush the rough stubble on Daryl's jaw. "I've been reaching out to old contacts just in case. One of them is close to Negan and will inform me if anything big happens."

"And if he gets caught? Your contact, I mean. What then?"

"If you're asking me if he'll betray me if he's caught, he won't."

Daryl snorted and that made you tilt his head to keep his eyes on yours. "What was that for?"

"Ya' never used ta' trust nobody and now we're findin' out ya' got friends and connections all over the place. I cain't help but feel like there's more secrets, ones ya' ain't even trustin' me with...." He tried to pull away, but you wouldn't let him. You pressed a deep, sensual kiss to his lips and held on tight. The insecurity radiating off of him didn't belong there, not anymore. You didn't want Daryl to doubt you.

"My secrets aren't to protect myself anymore, they're to protect the people like Aaron who haven't let me down yet. If our enemies learn what I know, lives will be lost. That's a guarantee."

"Then ya' promise me that when we run into Negan, you ain't gonna do nothin' stupid...alright?"

You nodded your head.

"Nuh uh. I wanna hear ya' say it."

"I promise," you said against his lips as Daryl finally began to kiss you back. "Come on, we've got work to do."

Together, you tracked the prints all the way to a small clearing in the forest that had obviously been used as a camp. Daryl knelt down to search the embers. "Recent. Not even a few hours old. Either they're movin' fast to regroup or they know we're comin' after 'em."

Tekah led you over to a mark carved in the tree. It was the crescent moon of the Wolf Pack, which meant Merle's team must have come across the camp too. But you crouched low, brushing your hand against the ground beneath the foliage and found a footprint. Partially imbedded in the mud was a necklace you recognized. It was the beaded tribal necklace Owen wore to mark himself as the Alpha of his pack. He sickened you. Owen was no leader, he was murderer with a cult following that massacred settlements and mutilated bodies.

Daryl came up beside you and nodded forward. Your eyes squinted slightly as you looked between the trees where he had indicated. There was a hovel nearby. A rickety little shack that was barely standing, but it would be enough cover for them if they wanted to camp for the night. The smell of rain was on the air and dark clouds rolled in, obscuring the beautiful orange of the sky. There would be no stars tonight, but there would be enough darkness to cover your advances.

Tekah hunkered down, his belly almost flat to the ground as he growled. You lowered yourself to his level and signaled for Daryl to ready his crossbow. Movement in the trees. Daryl shuffled quietly to the side and pressed his back to a tree, keeping that shack in his line of sight. Four Wolves could be seen. One squatting beside the door. One hunting nearby for whatever poor little critters he could find. And the other two stood beside the shack with their backs to you, no doubt talking to Owen. Yeah, when they moved you saw a flash of rotting teeth and tangled brown hair.

The one hunting got too close, so Daryl picked him off from a distance. A bolt planted right between his eyes and his body fell to the ground. Wind began to pick up and your hands dug into the soil. You wanted to rush in and feel their blood stray, but you needed to be smart. You needed to get into a position where taking them out wouldn't cause too much unnecessary risk.


Michonne~

She saw the connection growing between Carl and Sophia, wondering if it was anything like what she felt for Rick. He was a strong man, a good man, but he was so angry. Not in the way the Wolf Pack used their traumas to rise above the fight and defeat impossible odds, but his soul was angry. She knew about his wife's infidelity, his best friend almost killing him, learning that Judith wasn't his daughter...Michonne knew Rick Grimes. Sometimes she knew him better than she knew herself.

It felt strange to not be a drifter anymore, to be anchored by Carl and the others. But she still held her secrets close to her heart like the rest of the Wolf Pack. They each gave her advice that would forever define who she was now. Shane once told her that it was important to see beyond what was good and evil, but to recognize necessity and focused on it. Merle taught Michonne that the people with nothing to hide usually don't feel the need to say so, that people will come to a conclusion about you no matter who you are or what you do to prove them wrong. Glenn was who taught her how to be stupid enough to love again after losing her boyfriend and son.

Michonne looked to Carl. He was her best friend and her anchor, the thing that kept her around even after her disagreements with Rick. She didn't want to hope that there was a chance for her and Rick to be together, but....sometimes he showed her a different side to him that no one else got to see. He's with Jessie, she reminded herself. It might not be official, but there was something there. A little bit of flirting that stabbed Michonne in the heart every time she saw them together.

Rick was a warrior and he needed a warrior by his side. Jessie was a civilian, someone who needed protection and would be nothing but a liability to their own survival. He needed someone to keep his head level and his heart open to possibilities. Just enough paranoia and reassurance to have a realistic approach toward building a future at Alexandria. Rick might not know what he wanted yet, but Michonne did. She wanted Rick.

And she found him. Gunshots sprayed from the inside of an RV. Michonne and the children dove for cover. Three bodies lay on the ground. The door to the RV opened and another body fell out, but it wasn't a walker or one of the Wolves...it was Rick. He was breathing heavy, his hand tucked protectively into his side as he limped away. "Dad!" Carl yelled, rushing to help his father. Michonne and Sophia came out with a little more hesitance.

But the smile that came across Rick's face when she met his stare caused her heart to beat painfully in her throat. Out of all of the advice she had gotten from the Wolf Pack, it was Daryl's that came to mind in that moment. "We don't deserve the people who love us. And they don't deserve the pain of what that love will bring."

Michonne smiled weakly. "Came to rescue you."

"That so?" Rick looked around, a grin tugging at the corner of his mouth just like it had the day she found him and Carl after the prison fell. She remembered how it felt to watch them through the window, breaking down in tears when she realized she wasn't alone anymore. Losing them would be the worst thing to ever happen to her. Michonne wanted to walk into Rick's arms, but she didn't. She turned back to where Sophia waited.

"Let's go home."


Daryl~

The rain pelted the top of his head and shoulders as he aimed his crossbow just over Y/N's shoulder. She moved fast as hell and he struggled to keep up until he was able to catch on to her rhythm. Her hand raised out from the shadows and he took a blind shot into the dark, letting her be his eyes. He watched as she dragged a body away before yanking her blade out of its head. A sharp whistle launched Tekah at a man's throat. The wolf clamped down and twisted the Wolf's head at an odd angle. That left two more.

Y/N signaled to him again. He took the shot, but this time he saw his mark. An arch of crimson sprayed against the wall, illuminated by a flickering lantern that dimly lit the interior of the shack. She emerged from the darkness, creeping through the lopsided entrance. The man she called Owen sat patiently waiting in a chair as the last of his men circled her.

Daryl left his position. He didn't care if she got pissed off, he wasn't going to stand there and watch when he could help.

"Damn it," she huffed.

He kept his crossbow leveled on the man with the W carved in his forehead. "Take 'em out together, remember?"

Owen smiled. "He your new pet?"

Daryl smashed the end of his crossbow into the fucker's face. "I'm her Alpha."

He practically felt Y/N stiffen, but he didn't want anyone to think that he couldn't or wouldn't protect her in a fight. Her enemies always expected her to be alone, but maybe that was the problem. Maybe the Wolf Pack needed to take a stand and show the world how badass they really are.

"You noticed that I'm shaking a little?...sweating a little?" Owen asked, grunting as he moved to lift his shirt. It revealed a gash about three inches long. "I saw how settled that place was in the pictures I found. I thought...maybe there'd be something there. Medicine to help this, but that was before your people won. So...I know I'm probably going to die, but if I don't...I'm going to have to kill you Y/N. I'm going to have to kill every person you care about. Every one of them, the children too."

Daryl turned and shot the very last of the Wolves besides Owen himself. "Say one more word and I'll cut ya' fuckin' tongue out."

"Y/N-"

He grabbed his blade and sprang across the short distance of the room, dropping his crossbow and pushing his fingers inside of that nasty mouth. Daryl yanked down on Owen's jaw until he thought the corners of his mouth would slip and then he proceeded to hack away at the wiggling muscle organ and loving every sound Owen made as he choked on his own blood. When the body went limp and the light left his eyes, Daryl twisted the blade and jammed it into the roof of Owen's mouth, straight into the brain.

His breathing was ragged as he turned around. Y/N jumped into his arms, her hands twisting into his hair, pulling him closer. Daryl tasted her sweetness and the earthy flavor of the rain on her lips. He growled, walking her backwards until she hit the wall, then he lifted her. Y/N wrapped her legs around his narrow hips and thrust wildly. Her scent and the warmth of her skin was driving him mad. "I need you..." Daryl whispered as he lifted her shirt to feel the soft skin on her abdomen, streaking it with the blood of her enemy.

Before anything else could happen, static came through his radio. Daryl stepped back and reached for it, handing it to Y/N with a roll of his eyes. She tinkered with the dial until Shane's voice came through the small speaker. "Y/N? Daryl? Anybody?!"

"What's up, Shane?"

"We're back at Alexandria, but...."

Y/N's face paled. "What is it?"

"Deanna. She's dead. One of the Wolves reanimated and attacked her. We think it's the one Carol killed, the one she couldn't find the body of. Either way...it's done. Alexandria is without a leader and..."

"For fuck's sake, Shane! Spit it out!"

"Merle found a note with your name on it. A small cassette tape was attached to it, but when we played it all we heard was a really weird whistle-"

The radio clattered to the floor. Y/N dropped with it and hugged her knees to her chest. Daryl bent down to lift her chin, there was a weird glaze over her eyes. "Look at me, Princess! What is it?"

"Negan. He's coming..."

Chapter Text

The left jab that landed against Dwight's jaw sounded like gunfire ringing through a canyon, or at least that's what the people at Sanctuary thought as they stood by to witness the belittlement of one of the Saviors. No one spoke on his behalf, they were all cowardly observers to the suffering of others, which was why they would be chow for the geeks if Negan hadn't stepped up. He started this small kingdom down south with Y/N and then nurtured it into an empire just like they dreamed. It was the culmination of their combined intelligence and that was terrifying in and of itself.

"Oh...you better be jokin'," he chuckled.

Negan paced around in his leather jacket with Lucile perched on his shoulder. He looked around at the people kneeling around the room and wondered what had possessed his men to think it was acceptable to return without his queen. Sherry and his other wives may as well have been cattle in his eyes, meat ready to be slaughter only to momentarily satisfy his hunger. And they did a piss-poor job even at that. When a man finally got to sample the power of a real woman, a warrior who would fight by his side and build a new world, there was nothing else that could compare.

That was what he had with Y/N...and no matter how much time had gone by or how much Negan tried to deny it, he missed her like hell. And his men saw the difference in him the instant he hobbled out of the bedroom with a knife wound the morning after she left. Negan hadn't been the same since. He still cared very little for life, finding humor in the most disturbing things, but what remained of humanity had died. "Now, you mean to tell me that she was right in front of you...and you let her go?"

Dwight's eyes were trained on the ground. "She stabbed me and knocked me out for the walkers to get me."

Negan threw his head back and laughed. God, that sounded like some shit she would pull. But that didn't mean anything. Even if it had cost Dwight his life, Negan wanted Y/N back. He wanted to taste her Y/S/C flesh and smell the scent of the rain in her Y/H/L, Y/H/C hair as he pinned her down to a mattress until she begged him for mercy. Mercy he would never give and she would love him for it. The running was over apparently and she was finally within reach.

"Not cool...not cool. Was she alone?"

"When I caught her, yeah. But she's runnin' with a new pack. They got tattoos on their arms and gear like I ain't never seen before. It's different...she is different," Dwight muttered only loud enough for Negan to hear.

"Like how?"

"She seems...stable."

He wanted to laugh again, but the honesty in Dwight's eyes stopped him. When even a lying snake like Dwight was telling the truth, that meant something. Someone was trying to fix her, someone who wasn't him. Nothing could mend a broken woman like love and he'd be damned if that love wasn't the one she shared with him. A broken Y/N was better than a Y/N in love with another man. He could handle her the way she always was, but he couldn't stomach the thought of losing her that much.

Negan felt physically ill. "I want you in that mother fuckin' forest every damn day, you got that?"

"Yes, sir."

He turned toward the crowd. "I want every fuckin' Savior out there lookin' for your queen! If you come back without her, you die. If you don't come back at all, you die. There ain't too many goddamn options for you sorry sons of bitches. NOW GO!"

Negan shoved Dwight toward Simon and the others. "Send out everybody in teams, but he goes alone to where he saw her. It'll be easier if he's the one to draw her out. Y/N always had a soft spot for his slimy ass."

Simon and the Saviors obeyed as Negan retreated to his room. He slammed the door shut and used Lucile to smash up the furniture. Negan tossed mirrors to the floor and punched holes in the walls, he threw things out the window, and pulled things out of drawers just to be destructive. NOTHING else mattered without her. Not these so-called precious things from a world that had been on the brink of collapse long before the outbreak. They held no sentimental value for him.

Negan's room was in utter chaos by the time he collapsed to the floor and cradled his bleeding hand against the white cotton of his shirt. Red dots of blood speckled the fabric and he thought it was beautiful. So sharp in contrast, the purity and impurity. It was like the way he loved Y/N. He tainted her with his love, but he was too selfish to let her go. A soft knock interrupted his thoughts. There was only one person with enough balls to disturb his privacy. "What the fuck do you want?"

The door opened and he looked up into the face that was somewhat like hers, but not enough. She was in his care simply because he thought Y/N had died, that he would never get to repair that brokenness inside of her. It was guilt and nothing more. But Y/N was alive and so he would keep her sister protected, something he could use to trap his wild woman. No matter how much she despised humanity and the family she had been cursed into, Y/N loved her sister.

"I-I heard a lot of noise..." said the mousey young woman. She was nothing compared to Y/N. She was weak like a rare vase set upon a shelf with no purpose other than to look pretty. The delicate creature before him would never get her hands bloody, nor would she lay down her life to save another. She sickened him. But his distaste for his future sister-in-law was due to the fact that she, like everyone else in his care, was a witness. She had stood by and watched the destruction of Y/N and did nothing to stop it. In his mind, she was just as guilty as the monsters who stole his beloved's control.

"And?" He really didn't have the patience to hear her bitching and complaining about morals and sincerity and hope and blah blah blah blah. You know? Shit that didn't really matter in the new world. What he cared about were his own rules to keep these sheep alive and that was it. But he didn't care about them as individuals or as a collective. People were resources, his building blocks for the future and that was it.

"Sherry said that you mentioned my sister...i-is she really alive?"

"Y-yes, sh-she i-is," Negan mocked. "Goddamn, if you stutter one more fuckin' time I swear I'll cut out your heart. The hell's got you so scared anyway? You're usually bitchin' my ear off by now."

He watched her struggle to compose herself and it was pathetic. Her voice hiccuped more times than he blinked in a single second as tears began to roll down her blotchy face. She was pretty...if you were into the sort of woman who wanted to knit and make cheesecake more than handle a weapon. "Are you bringing Y/N here?"

"My queen will be by my side. Just hope she gets here before I'm forced to kill your ass out of pure annoyance."

"I'll leave you alone then."

Negan watched her go, scuffing and rolling his eyes in a way that would make Y/N proud. God he missed her sassy ass remarks and snarky personality. She was perfect, simple as that.


 

Roxy closed Negan's door behind her and felt the coy, innocent girl melt away into the cunning woman she was inside. She played them like puppets on a string, allowing them to think that she needed their protection. Hell, she wasn't locked in Sanctuary with them, they were locked in here with her. There was nothing Roxy wouldn't do to protect her sister even if that meant letting people continue to despise her for "not interfering" in her sister's abuse.

They were wrong. She endured much more than they could ever understand, only she had been tossed aside when she grew up too quickly for her family's liking. They liked their prey young and damaged, but Roxy was good at hiding her pain. She hadn't gone through as much pain or suffered as long as her sister, but that didn't mean she didn't have her own demons to battle each time she laid her head down to rest. After the outbreak, she traveled down south with friends, trying to see if the virus was only up north or in the mid-west. But by the time they reached Wyoming, it had spread through most of the world.

She was caught by the Saviors on her way through Virginia, instantly falling into the act of the pampered princess she had been playing since she was fourteen. They would never know just how much she loved Y/N or how much it hurt the day she learned that her little sister had been ruined by the people who once sought to do the same to her.

Roxy wandered back to her room, brushing away the fake tears that made her face feel sticky as they dried. She looked down at the tattoo on her ankle, the one that she had gotten in honor of her sister when she thought she had died. It was the phrase "My Sticky Little Leaf" taken from a quote from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, one that Y/N had always loved and held on to during hard times.

"I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in spring."

The "sticky little leaves" were the small things in life that gave hope to a person who had all but given up on living. What she learned of her sister from Negan and the other Saviors, the quote still very much represented her sister...only now Roxy didn't know what Y/N's sticky little leaves were. There was a time when it was books, animals, wilderness, and music...but her sister was nothing more than a stranger now. And Roxy had very little hope that her sister would forgive her.

Either way, Y/N would forever be her sticky little leaf.

Chapter Text

The sound of Spencer's voice summoned a scowl on your face the instant you returned to Alexandria. Everything was a mess. Rick and Michonne stood off to the side with the rest of the group and for a split second you wanted to avoid them all. Rick seems to understand the look in your eyes that says you don't want to deal with peoples' shit today, so he gestures toward the Wolf Den and meets you there when he was finished taking care of everything. You, Daryl, Tekah, and Rick came through the front door to find Merle patching up a wound on Shane's side in the kitchen.

Glenn leaned against the counter munching on an apple, covered in dirt and blood. Carl and Sophia sat in two of the chairs around the circular table, eating and talking amongst themselves. There was tension in the room as you fed Tekah and took a seat with everyone else. Daryl sat beside you and Rick sat beside Carl. You placed your elbows on the table and covered your face with your hands, sighing deeply. Merle spoke up. "What's goin' on, girly?"

"Saviors."

Most of them looked confused as you expected. It was time they knew. Michonne entered the kitchen and took her seat on the other side of Rick, who unknowingly had moved his arm to close the distance between them in the most innocent but telling way. Shane eyed his longtime friend and smirked at Glenn who caught the movement too.

"The man on the tape is Negan. He and I built a faction called the Saviors in hopes of one day creating an empire where people could find order and purpose in the chaos. Most of what I have come to know and believe, he taught me. But I taught him things too. I taught him things that have made him the most feared and powerful man you will ever meet in your life. We built each other up as we tore open the world and made it our bitch. In less than a month we had an army..."

Rick scuffed. "Why am I not surprised that the most dangerous people are the groups you used to lead?"

You ignored his outburst and continued. "Negan continued to follow our practices after I left, the Saviors are much bigger than they were. I ran into one of his men in the woods and he warned me that things have gotten bad. The red zones on the pack maps are the areas with the most Savior activity. But Negan is everywhere. His followers are loyal and ruthless, they will kill to protect him and Sanctuary. You've never gone up against a force like this, but you will. He's coming. And with Alexandria scrambling around to pick up the pieces, they won't stand a chance if another invasion happens."

Michonne looked around the table and asked the question on everyone's minds, "What do we do?"

"If we take out his men Negan will retaliate in ways you can't imagine. This isn't just another survivor or group of stragglers who tried to make a name for themselves. The only way the people of Alexandria have a chance of surviving is if he never finds them. I've been gathering allies, people who owe me favors...we can spread out and reinforce defenses," you responded. "A month ago I had Aaron send Nyx to HillTop with orders to dig a tunnel system beneath the community in order to have a safe form of passage in case there are refugees or a severe need for an evacuation."

Rick's eyes widened and Daryl nodded his head slowly. Everyone else stayed quiet, listening to what you had to say.

"The police officers at the hospital where we rescued Beth were also contacted, they'll be working on a safe passage through the sewers there too. The Kingdom...doesn't want to be involved, but King Ezekiel said that our allies and our people can seek refuge there if we need it. There are other groups, but we don't have time to hunt them all down right now. That's a last resort in case of a war. Glenn already marked the safest rout through the sewers beneath Alexandria, so we don't have to worry about evacuations anymore. With that being said...Rick, I'm going to need your help."

That got everyone's attention. Never had you asked for anything from Rick other than his trust. 

"What do you need?"

"With their former leader dead, I'm going to need you to be the leader Alexandria deserves. The one that will fight against anyone who tries to take it by force. This is the closest thing you will have to a real home, don't let it fall."

Rick gave you one of his silent looks and you took it for what it was, acceptance. 

"What's the plan, girly?" Merle asked.

"The Wolf Pack does what we do best. We storm the towers, thin out their numbers, and liberate the areas under Negan's rule. He'll be pissed and he'll fight back, but we have to make sure that he stays out of the communities."

Shane smiled a little. "Clean sweep. I like it. One area at a time."

"Aaron, Sophia, and Carl will stay in contact with our allies. Maggie will work on putting Alexandria back together. We're gonna need some help on this, though. So, I'll have Sasha, Rosita, Abraham, and Tara scouting for signs of activity.  Merle, Daryl, Tekah, Rick, Michonne, Glenn, and I will head up to HillTop."

"What's at HillTop?" Carl asked.

"The final member of our pack and more resources."

HillTop was about twenty miles away from Alexandria. It wouldn't take long to get there if the group left in cars, but that would be too risky and draw the attention of the Saviors. "Everyone take the time to clean up, get some rest, eat, and then we'll start in the morning. Once we have everyone we need, we clear the areas under Negan's command."

Rick, along with everyone else, stood to do as you suggested. They all had the option of backing out, disagreeing, or walking away entirely....but they never did. Every time you came up with a plan, they followed now. Maybe Daryl was right. Maybe you had to stop assigning leaders and become one yourself. You couldn't fault Ezekiel for the sort of leader he was to his community, when you didn't even want the responsibility of leading your own pack. Shane stayed behind with you as Daryl went upstairs to shower. "You've got somethin' else goin' on, don't you?"

"Guilty as charged."

"Gonna tell anyone about it or are you gonna wait for some more shit to blow up like you did with this Negan shit?"

You laughed through your nose and shrugged. "We gotta get inside, Shane."

"Inside where?"

"Sanctuary."

"Intel, right? Now I know what you're thinkin', but is Merle gonna be able to keep his shit together to do somethin' this big? He's barely stable as it is and if Negan is as ruthless as you say he is....he might get caught before we get anything valuable out of him. This isn't a Merle sort of job," Shane reasoned.

"You're right. But I wasn't going to send Merle...I was going to send you."

Shane looked down where the map was unfolded on the table, he glanced at the place you marked off as the possible location of Sanctuary. He rubbed his head in a nervous gesture you had come to expect form him. "And?"

"And you can't just walk through the front door, they'd never let that happen. But you're just Negan's type."

"Devastatingly handsome? Smart? Good with my hands? Does Negan like long walks on the beach and watching the sunset?"

You flipped him off.

"What?" he asked humorously. "Didn't think I noticed the way Daryl flinched when you said that name? Daryl wouldn't act like that if there wasn't history between you and Negan that was more than two people building an empire. You loved him, didn't you? He was the one you called out for back at the prison when you were in that coma. Before you and Daryl became a thing."

"Look, enough about that shit. He likes cold, calculated, brutal, and a little bit fucked up in the head -so don't let that ego get the better of you, Casanova. I need you to go to the red area in the city. The Saviors will most likely be running their raids there. If they offer to take you back, don't give in. Fight them."

"So they take me to Negan..."

"Yeah. He'll try to recruit you, especially if he sees your mark. But leave the gear behind. We don't need them making their own version. I'll give you something else to wear if you decide to go. But you don't have to do this..."

Shane looked over at you, holding your gaze for much longer than necessary. "Yeah, I do."

You knew it without him saying anything. Shane needed to get away from you for a while. As much as that frustrated you, it also made sense.

Daryl~

He watched the soap flow down the drain until the water ran clear. Daryl turned the knob and stepped out of the shower, not bothering with towel or clothes as he walked through the hall leaving behind a trail of droplets on the floor. When he pushed open the door to their room, he saw Y/N sitting on the edge of the bed. She must have showered downstairs because her hair was still wet and her skin glistened in the faint light from the small lamp on the nightstand.

"Damn," he breathed before he could stop himself. She turned toward him with a smile and took his breath away. Daryl looked into her Y/E/C eyes and gripped her ass with both hands, lifting her up until she wrapped her sexy legs around his waist. A feral growl rumbled in his chest when he felt the heat of her core against his abs. He licked his lips, tilted his head, and sucked the spot where her pulse beat before sinking his teeth into the flesh.

She bucked against him, rocking her hips and grinding down. Daryl was hard as a rock now as he tossed Y/N down on the mattress and fell over her like a predator. He licked up the column of her neck to nibble on her ear, feeling her thrust against him until he pinned her hips to the bed. Lust flared in her eyes and she brushed the bangs off his forehead to look at him like he was her only reason to live.

Y/N leaned up to bite his lower lip, tugging him down to her level where he devoured her willing mouth. He could taste every one of her moans and drank in her pleasure. His lips brushed their way down her body as she scraped her nails down his chest, causing his hips to rock into her. Daryl shivered as he snatched one of her hands and used it to grasp his cock. She let out a husky little moan that shot right to his groin as she stroked him with talented fingers. His thumb brushed against a perky nipple and her back arched off the bed. Daryl tugged and toyed with the little bud until her thighs flexed around him. "Please..." she moaned and he loved it.

He moved down, licking his way to her navel and biting at the flesh on her hipbones. Her legs parted to make room for his wide shoulders, hands coming up to play with her own breasts. The intensity of his groan sent vibrations dancing across her skin. Her hand moved to cover herself and Daryl nudged it with his nose. He kissed her fingers and the inside of her legs, moving to sucked one of those fingers into his mouth. Y/N moaned loudly. He breathed hot air on her core. Fuck. The scent of her was driving him crazy.

"I'm only gonna tell ya' once to move ya' hand, princess."

She hesitated, but then obeyed him. Daryl placed his thumbs on each side of her succulent lips to spread her open for his eyes. His mouth watered at the sight of a bead of her essence dripping from her creamy center. Daryl swiped his tongue up the length of her slit. He blew on her clit and place a wet, open-mouthed kiss on her pussy that caused her thighs to tremble. His thumbs stroked her folds as he closed his mouth over her clit and sucked. Large hands held her down and her hands moved to hair. She pulled at the long, wet strands and started to grind against his face. "Uhhhh....huh...mmm..."

Daryl flicked his tongue over the sensitive bundle of nerves and ate her up like a starving man. He moved his fingers lower to graze against the fluttering entrance and then pushed a thick digit inside. Y/N's legs opened wider and she rolled her hips in circles. She inhaled a shuddering breath, releasing it in a scream as he caressed her g-spot torturously. "Fuck!"

She tried to scramble away, but Daryl slipped in another finger and eased off her clit. He stroked and rubbed her spasming walls, leaning down to kiss her on the mouth. Y/N moaned at the taste of herself and gripped his back so hard he knew there would be bruises later. She quaked with the intensity of his manipulations until he felt her channel clamp down on his fingers. He reach down with his free hand and nudged her pussy with the drooling tip of his cock, pushing inside as she rode out the tremors of her orgasm. The shock of his penetration pushed her close to the edge again, but he grasped her wrists in both hands to secure them above her head as he sank into the soaking wet depths of her heat.

Y/N pushed against him, welcoming him into the the liquid fire of her femininity until there was nothing left to take. Daryl eased out a bit, teasing her pleasure spot with the blunt head of his member and then snapped his hips to fill her once more. She sank her teeth into the muscle on his shoulder and tried to move away, but she was trapped beneath the weight of his body. For once, it didn't terrify her. He saw no fear in her eyes, he only saw love and want. He began to fuck her harder, feeling her clench and release beautifully.

Daryl fucked her with a ferocity that had her gasping for air as she fucked him back with wild abandon. He bottomed out, pounding into her until the pleasure built to an unbearable height. Y/N jerked one of her hands free and wrapped it around his throat. Daryl's eyes flew open to see the wicked smile on her kiss-swollen lips. The constriction wasn't tight enough to cut off his air or cause him to panic, but it was strong and threatening...something he never knew he needed.

He lost control, shoved in at an angle that sent both of them careening over the edge. Through the shadows that danced behind his eyes, he heard her demanding his release. "Cum, Daryl..." Tight muscles pulsated as his throbbing cock smothered her insides with his cum. The pleasure of his love nearly caused him to pass out, but he rolled over in time to keep from crushing her. Even on their side, he was snuggly embedded in her warmth. She milked him for every drop, placing tender kisses on his chest.

Chapter Text

You rode on the back of Daryl's motorcycle. Michonne, Rick, Merle, Tekah, and Glenn rode in the car behind you. The rumble of the engine and the vibration of the bike was thrilling. Whenever you rode with Daryl it gave you the illusion of being free. Your arms tangled around his waist and you cuddled up into him, resting your head in the center of his back. His messy hair blew in the wind and you pressed a kiss between his shoulder blades.

A signal from you had the car passing by as you and Daryl pulled over to a rundown gas station. They continued on to HillTop. The two of you climbed off of the back of the bike and Daryl gave you a questioning look. "Why we stoppin'?" he grunted.

"He isn't at HillTop right now, he's here."

Daryl looked around and shrugged his shoulders, deciding it was easier not to argue with you. The sound of cicadas singing rang in your ears as you searched for the last member of the pack. You tried not to drool at the sight of Daryl in a sleeveless plaid shirt and his vest. You weren't mad that he rarely wore his gear, especially when he looked that fine in regular clothing.

He smelled like leather and engine grease and that was alright by you. Daryl grabbed a crowbar and walked over to a vending machine of some sort. You helped him try to turn it over, momentarily forgetting about why you were there. If you could find things for the group while on the road, then you wouldn't let that opportunity pass you by.

It was two heavy to flip over. You looked pointedly at the motorcycle and Daryl shook his head. "No. We ain't ruinin' my bike for some damn chips and soda."

"Just to give us some leverage-" Your words were cut off by someone grabbing you from behind. You shove your elbow back and hit your attacker in the ribs before flipping them over and pinning them to vending machine. Instantly you recognized those blue eyes anywhere. The long hair was new, but he still dressed the same if not cleaner. "Wanna try that again, Rovia? Thought I taught you how to sneak up people better than that?"

Daryl~

Are all of her friends men? He thought. Damn this jealousy thing was a real pain in the ass. He felt the urge to lift her hand and wave it around so people could see the ring on her finger. Daryl cleared his throat and the man pulled down the scarf concealing the rest of his face. Of course he was handsome too. Y/N eased off her hold and the man laughed a bit. Daryl wanted to demand answers. He wanted to know why her friends were...

"Gay," the handsome man said, obviously sensing his discomfort. Daryl's face pinched in confusion. Gay? Like Aaron?

Y/N chuckled and he turned to look her in the eye. She winked at him and licked her lips in a way that caused him to groan in the back of his throat at the memory of what they did the night before. "Daryl this is Paul Rovia. He's a friend."

"My friends call me Jesus," the man added, reaching out to shake Daryl's hand. "Not that I have many."

Daryl wiped his palms on his jeans and accepted Jesus's hand. "This him?"

Y/N nodded eagerly. "It is. Rovia and I met on the road when I left Alexandria. We camped out in the woods together, fought together, and kicked ass. He was on his own mission back then, but I always said I would hunt his ass down one of these days. Gave him the directions to HillTop and the rest is history."

Jesus didn't look like he trusted anyone and Daryl thought he didn't look too trustworthy himself. But if Y/N said he was a good guy, then he believed her. Aaron and the others turned out alright, so he would give Jesus a fair shot. If he tried anything, Daryl would have no trouble putting a bolt between his eyes.

Y/N lifted the sleeve of her cloak and showed him the mark of the Wolf Pack. Jesus's eyes widened and he took a step back.

"You did it?"

She nodded once again and Daryl had to bite his tongue to control his anger. Did what? What the hell were they talking about?

"Wanna fill me in, Princess?"

"Easy now, Dreamy Blues. Nothing sinister, I promise," she teased. "He didn't think I would find a real pack. Tekah and I seemed to always get ourselves into the worst trouble. But you already know that..."

Jesus agreed. "Yeah, I never thought I'd see her back here, but I'm glad she is. It's nice to meet you Daryl."

"We'll see."

Both of them snorted, but Jesus didn't take offense. Y/N looked back at the motorcycle and laughed. "We don't have enough room for everyone. Why don't you go ahead to HillTop? Jesus and I will meet you there." She walked toward him and pulled on his bottom lip with her teeth. Daryl gripped her hips as she slid her tongue in his mouth. Her kiss tasted like honey and apple from her breakfast and he was addicted to her sweetness.

"Guys, I don't mean to interrupt, but I'm starting to get a little uncomfortable."

Daryl raised his hand to flip off Jesus and wondered how funny it would be to introduce him to Father Gabriel. He agreed to meet them at HillTop as he climbed onto his bike, but Daryl waited long enough to watch the woman he loves walk into the woods with a man he only met a few seconds ago. It didn't sit right with him, but he had to trust her.

You~

The hood of your cloak fell over your brow. Your mask hung loosely around your neck as you circled the next beast to join the Wolf Pack. He measured your movements with respect, but kept his eyes open to any deceptions you might have.  

"Rule number one: Heed the wolf's cry - if Tekah or any member of the pack signals danger, you either retreat or reinforce.

Rule number two: Embrace the beast - Anger, rage, and violence is your key to survival in this new world. Harness it.

Rule number three: Minimize attachments -it'll be easier to let them go when the time comes.

Rule number four: Innovation before retaliation -that means you process, plan, and execute before going off half-cocked.

Rule number five: Salvage -meaning save what can be saved and that includes people as well as resources.

Rule number six: No place is home -just a temporary base of operations so don't ever get too comfortable."

Paul Rovia stared at you intently. The fact that he remained silent meant he was already more worthy than most of your current pack members had been the day of their initiation. He tracked every flutter of your lashes and was in tuned to every brush of fabric your cloth made. Jesus stepped as silently as you did, mirroring your every move. He had gotten better since the last time you two stood toe to toe.

"We live by a creed -Anger, defiance, and nature, for we are a force to be reckoned with. Forged from black fire, silent and ruthless in our claim. We are the Wolf Pack." You toss your head back and howl up toward the heavens. "Rovia, are you ready to join the Wolf Pack and walk the path of the broken to inflict a new form of wrath upon this earth?"

He jerked his chin slightly. Jesus pulled the hat off of his head and tucked it into the pocket of his long coat. He then tied his hair up. You set aside your bow and quiver, removing your knives and throwing blades as well. Once your boots were kicked off, you were completely disarmed. Jesus smiled at you for split second before he answered your howl.

The two of you dropped into fighting stances and rushed each other. An inhumane roar came from somewhere deep in your soul as you threw punch after punch and Jesus blocked them with his forearms. You dropped low and rammed your knee into the side of his leg to throw him off balance, but he barreled down his weight and knocked you over.

You braced your hands and on the ground, kicked, and flipped back onto your feet. He breathed hard with a smirk curling on his face as you circled him once more. "Learned some new tricks."

"Learn some better ones," you retorted. He was caught off guard when you slid between his legs, wrapped your arms around his neck, and tumbled him to the forrest floor. Jesus struggled in your hold, but you did not let him go. "This all you got, Rovia? You already disappointed everyone you ever loved. Why stop now, huh?"

"Shut up."

Jesus stood, bearing your weight and removed himself from your hold. He spun and kicked you in the chest. When you hit the ground, you rolled to the side and sprang to your feet before crushing your elbow against the side of his head. With your breath coming in rattling gasps and his ears pounding, the two of you struggled for a moment. He teetered on his feet and you nearly threw up a few times. "What's the matter? Got no one to love? Really must have pissed you off to see my ring. You've been falling for men who have nothing to give you but a lousy fuck and a smack on the ass for as long as can remember. What? Thought I forgot all of that?"

He fell silent, looking rather ill as the truth of his past came barreling down on him, but that wasn't what you wanted. Damn he was a fragile soul. Fuck. You needed to push him harder. "No one loves a broken toy, Rovia."

"I'm not broken..." he said, voice breaking on the last word. "None of us are. It's the rest of the world that's broken."

"You're wrong. We're fucked up. We're the used goods, the shit everyone tosses aside when they're finished with us. You're worthless and pathetic-" The blow that landed against your ribcage made you cry out in pain. When he tried to ease off and apologize, you battered his stomach with precise hits that sent him toppling to the ground. All of the noise attracted  a few dozen walkers. Your whistle snaps his attention back to the real world.

You scrambled for your bow, throwing one of your daggers through the air. He caught it with a speed that damn near rivaled your own. The two of you stood back to back and fought until blood soaked your leathers and the pain in your chest felt like someone took a sledgehammer to your sternum. Oozing corpses lay in piles around your bare feet.

"Welcome to the Wolf Pack, Rovia."

"It's about damn time," he huffed. Jesus retrieved your dagger from the skull of one of the walkers, wiped it on his coat, and handed it to you. After redressing and making it out of the woods, you pointed to a structure on a hill surrounded by trucks.

"We're going there before we head to HillTop. Just me and you."

"Why?" Jesus asked. "That's a Savior outlook."

"I have someone on the inside. He has information on where Sanctuary is."

"Y/N....Negan and his men govern over HillTop now."

Shit. You sent Daryl and the others right into the hands of the man who could end everything with the snap of his fingers. Pain and fear gripped your heart and twisted. The weight of the ring on your finger felt much too heavy. If anything happened to Daryl...

Chapter Text

She walked through the cafeteria like a wounded butterfly, avoiding everyone and saying nothing. Every action was measured to maintain her facade. Those who didn't think she was weak thought she was crazy and that was alright by her. As long as only a select few remained quiet about who she really was and what she was doing with Negan. No one would respect him if they knew he kept her around disguised as one of his wives to keep her safe.

Dwight, Sherry, and Dr. Carson were her only allies within the walls. Simon and the others often stared at her with lust and growing frustration, but no one would ever try anything. Negan's wrath would rain down upon them if they tried. There were many things Negan could tolerate, but rape and causing harm to a child were not tolerated under any circumstance. Roxy grabbed her food and walked briskly to her dark little corner on the compound. Most people walked right on by without noticing her.

But Dwight was waiting when she arrived. "I saw her," he said.

"Y/N? Is it true? Is she alive?"

Dwight indicated to the bandage around his thigh and nodded his head. "Damn near killed me. But yeah, she's alright. Hell, she might even seem happy if I didn't know any better. Got herself a new pack."

Those who knew her sister spoke of her as though she was a legend to be feared, but Roxy knew the damaged little girl she was in her heart. She could not associate the stories she heard with the sister she had always known. People were capable of great change, but that sort of abuse stained one's soul and held their mind captive for many many years. And although Roxy herself was able to move on from the hurt she endured, her sister would not be so lucky. "She favors wolves, right?"

"Somethin' like that. But it's more like they favor her. No one can tame Y/N, but anything rabid or wild seem to take a likin' to her. She's somethin' special. You should be proud."

"No amount of pride can conceal the guilt that I feel," Roxy whispered. "Will she ever forgive me?"

Dwight shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe. Maybe not. It's hard to say with her. Y/N don't trust easy and she damn sure can hold a grudge like a honey badger. A lot of the people here respect her more than Negan, but none of them would choose one over the other. Sanctuary and her Saviors want their king and queen together."

A loud racket streamed through the air. Roxy and Dwight peeked around the corner to see where it had come from. Saviors forced a man to his knees. He had a sack over his head and dirty clothing. Negan sauntered out of his office with that twisted grin on his face. "Well, well, well...what do we have here?" Negan ripped the sack off the man's face and Roxy's breath caught.

She had never seen so much defiance and hatred in a man's eyes nor had she seen anyone who looked like they just crawled out of hell. He was not perfect by any means, but he was...breathtakingly handsome. Dirty and bleeding in places that looked quite painful. Clean shaven face and head with the goofiest ears she ever seen. His rugged features made her heart pitter-patter. The deep rumble that came from his chest caused Roxy to smile like a silly little school girl.

"My name is Shane. And if your men don't let me go, they're gonna be in a world of hurt."

Shane was either stupid or completely fearless. No one stood up to Negan or the Saviors. But when Simon forced the man's head down, chaos erupted. Shane, with his arms secured behind his back, came up on his feet and tackled him to the ground. Somehow, he was able to roll away before someone else could grab him. He fought like a wild animal, bashing his head into noses and taking people out by ramming his shoulder into their abdomen. It was beautiful. At one point he even kicked someone's knee backwards.

Roxy flinched sympathetically, but could not tear her eyes away. Soon, more Saviors joined the fight and he was outnumbered. They pinned him facedown in the dirt and Negan chuckled evilly. "Well excuse the shit outta my goddamn french, but that shit does not fly around here. I will SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN. No exceptions."

"Fuck you," Shane grumbled.

Roxy struggled not to smile from ear to ear, but she liked him. She could use someone like him in her plan to escape and find her sister. Dwight caught the look in her eyes and shook his head. He was always cautioning her from taking risks -arguing that it wouldn't be worth the punishment that would come in Negan caught her. But Roxy knew she had to run so that she couldn't be used to trap her sister. Negan didn't have to say his plan out loud or anything, but she knew him better than he thought.

He had one goal in life: to get Y/N back.

Negan turned toward her and Dwight and waved them both over. She followed his orders obediently and hesitantly. A contradiction she knew baffled the others. Roxy stood before the man who made her skin crawl and shivered at the sight of his deceptive smile.

"Why don't you help Shane over to see the doctor? Keep an eye on him for me and let me know what you find out."

Even though she annoyed Negan, he trusted her because he thought she was too weak to betray him. But he was wrong. Roxy helped escort Shane to Dr. Carson's office and waited until they were alone to speak. "We don't have much time. My name is Roxy and I think we can help each other get out of here."

What she had seen on the man's face before melted away and all she saw was cold and calculated. "What makes you think it wasn't my plan to get in here?" he asked roughly. "You wanna betray your leader, that's fine. But I'm here for a reason. Stay out of my way and we won't have a problem. Get in the middle of somethin' and I'll carve the flesh off your bones and use it as hunting bait, got it?"

Roxy took a step back. She had never read anyone so wrongly before. Whoever Shane was...he was someone she could not afford to underestimate. "What faction do you represent?" she questioned.

"I represent the Wolf Pack. We are our own entity and we answer to no one."

"....the Wolf Pack?" Roxy could barely get the words out. He looked down at her with an unreadable expression, but nodded his head. She felt hopeful for the first time since Negan confirmed her sister was alive. "Y/N...do you know that name?"

Recognition flashed in his eyes before he could hide his reaction. She was suddenly pinned to a wall with an angry man's forearm pressed against her throat. "How do you know her?!"

"My real name is (name your sister)," she gasped. "Y/N is my sister."

He released her. "Why Roxy?"

"Why not? The world went to shit and I wanted to leave everything behind."

"Like you left your sister behind?"

And there it was. Roxy could barely believe she heard those words spoken from a stranger. But if she couldn't handle them from Shane, how could she ever handle them from Y/N?


 

Your back was to one of the trucks. Jesus was no more than five feet away from you, making his way toward the back of the building. You crawled beneath the vehicle and cut the break-line. One by one you sabotaged each car and truck the Saviors had at their disposal. Jesus signaled to you his success at picking the lock and you hurried across the short distance to stand beside him.

You reached down to the sheaths at your hips and readied your daggers. Feeling the universe fall into balance as you gripped your weapons. Jesus had a sword strapped to his back, which he retrieved. He elegantly twirled the thin weapon with a flourish that made you roll your eyes. Though he was a very thoughtful person, it was sometimes hard for him to stay serious all the time.

On the count of three, the two of you pushed inside the door. Swiftly and silently, you moved as one through each of the rooms. Jesus decapitated four of the saviors and you stabbed six in the face. Both you and Jesus were covered in blood by the time you reached the second floor. He killed more on the second level. The last of his kills was stuck to the wall with the sword speared into his chest. Jesus fell back to check the outside and the roof while you moved on to the third floor. 

If Rick had led an assault of this scale, he would have went in guns blazing. A man with long, gray hair nearly caught you off guard. He attacked you with a bottle of some sort, but you ducked out of the way and buried your dagger between his ribs and twisted it for good measure. When his body fell to the floor, the last words on his lips were, "My queen."

Saviors came out of the other rooms, firing off automatic rifles and every other gun they could get their hands on. You were forced to retreat behind a door for a second until they had to reload. Then you stormed through the hall with a battle cry ringing through the corridor. Bodies dropped so fast that you forgot to count just how many.

At the end of the hall, Jesus stared at you with genuine concern in his eyes. "Christ, Y/N. I knew you were brutal, but...you slaughtered them. ALL of them. Without remorse or hesitation. These were your people at one point..."

"I know," you responded. "But if their blood on my hands is the price I have to pay to keep the Wolf Pack safe, then that's fine by me. Not all of them are like me. We do what we have to do, but I...do the worst of it so that they don't have to. I will never force you to do anything you are uncomfortable with. You have a choice like everyone else, Rovia."

"My way of life is to find peace..."

"And I won't take that away. I know you're skilled and that you have the ability to be just as cruel as I am, but I wanted you in the pack to be our voice. The face of our cause."

"A representative and a soldier? I think I can handle that." He pointed to the last room neither of you cleaned out yet. "Your contact is in there."

Jesus left you to deal with the rest on your own and said he was heading to HillTop to make sure your people arrived safely. You knocked on the door, waiting for the coward under your employment to open it. The rough beard and sweat-drenched hair made your nose scrunch up in distaste. "Morales, when was the last time you washed your ass?"

"Holy, shit. I didn't think you would actually make it."

"Once I found out you knew Rick Grimes, it was only a matter of time before I cashed in on your debt. Don't forget that I saved your family," you stated. "Where is Sanctuary?"

A blank map of the area was in your outstretched hand. He took it with trembling fingers and circled the place of Negan's base of operations. "Now what?" Morales asked.

You reached inside of the pocket sewn into your cloak and retrieved a folded up bundle of black fabric. It was the flag of the Wolf Pack that you and Carol made. It would fly high and be the symbol of your liberation, a warning to any dictatorship that tried to take peoples' freedom. That included Negan. "When you wake up, you're gonna have to walk back to Sanctuary. None of the cars work until you've got the tools needed to fix the breaks."

"When I wake up?"

You didn't answer. You just handed him the flag and said, "bring this to Negan" and then grabbed the gun out of his hands to shoot him in the shoulder. When Morales went down with a scream, you knelt beside him and pressed your finger into the hole until he blacked out from the pain. There were easier ways to knock someone out, but they weren't as fun.

Chapter Text

Everyone except Daryl and Merle were already behind the gates of HillTop. They waited for you to walk closer. When you were within reaching distance, Daryl pulled you into his arms. He nuzzled the crook of your neck while grumbling about you turning your radio off. You turned to kiss the spot below his ear and he shivered. His wide shoulders were perfect for you to grip like handlebars and go for a ride, but now wasn't the time. Merle started to complain about the 'lovey dovey shit' anyway.

"Jesus here?" you asked.

Daryl nodded and Merle gave you a look.

"What?"

"How come every time you introduce us to somebody new, they're queer?" Merle questioned. "That Aaron guy seems alright, but that Jesus fella creeps me the hell out."

"What? Why?"

"Saw him checkin' me out!"

You damn near fell over you were laughing so hard. "First of all, no using the word queer like it's a bad thing. Second, Jesus is ninja with the heart of an angel. Third, I guarantee he was not checking you out. Hell, he'd check out Daryl before you Merle."

"Not everybody has your tolerance for sex-appeal," Merle griped. You led the Dixon brothers beyond the gate, waving to guards manning their posts. The air smelled fresh and country, just how you liked it. Well, until the scent of bullshit stung your nose so bad your eyes watered. Not literal bullshit, just the kind that came whenever someone mentioned Gregory's name.

It came as a disappointment when Jesus turned you down for leadership of HillTop. Gregory was nothing more than someone warming the seat. Hopefully when Maggie got to HillTop, she'd take up the offer Jesus refused. These peopled, like Alexandria, needed someone who had actually fought a walker before. Gregory was a piss-poor excuse for a man and an ever worse leader.

Rick, Glenn, Michonne, Jesus, and Abraham sat in the foyer. Abraham was supposed to be with Rosita and the others, but he mouthed one word 'Negan' and you understood completely. Damn it. The Saviors were running thick through these parts. If you weren't careful, you might run into Simon or one of the others. 

"We patched Gregory up. He's in pain, but he'll live."

"So, what happens now?" Michonne asked.

"Things like that don't usually happen here, but...ugh....it's settled."

Whatever was settled, you really didn't care. It wasn't your business unless it affected your pack. Rick moved from where he had been leaning against Gregory's desk. "We heard the name Negan. While back Daryl and Abraham were attacked by his men. Where is he?"

"I'm sure Y/N has told you, but Negan is the head of a group of people he calls the Saviors. As soon as the walls were built, the Saviors showed up. They met with Gregory on behalf of their boss and they made a lot of demands...even more threats," Jesus explained, glancing at you for a second. "And he killed one of us. Rory. He was sixteen years old. He beat him to death right in front of us. Said we needed to understand right off the bat."

Now they knew who they were dealing with. While Negan had his morals and his need to keep children safe, there were a few exceptions. There were always exceptions.

"Gregory's not exactly good at confrontation. He's not the leader I would have chosen, but he helped make this place what it is. And the people like him."

"He made the deal," you added. Jesus knew how you felt about Gregory.

"Half of everything. Our supplies, our crops, our livestock...it goes to the Saviors."

Glenn asked, "And what do you get in return?"

"They don't attack this place. They don't kill us."

So, Negan was using a new philosophy than when you had been by his side...interesting. Back when you were co-leader of the Saviors, it was a goal to salvage and open up trade between the communities. Intimidation was still part of the plan, but never was it "give me half your shit or I'll kill you." Negan has strayed far from the original intentions of Sanctuary and the Saviors. He was supposed to rid the world of what humanity had ruined over time, to build a new world with survival in mind.

"Why not just kill them?" Daryl grumbled. Once again, Jesus turned to look at you, knowing only a few hours ago you had slaughtered nine men at the Savior lookout down the road.

"Most of the people here don't even know how to fight. Even if we had ammo."

Rick scuffed. "Well how many people does Negan have?" That question was aimed at you.

"Even before I left there were more than Alexandria and HillTop combined. The Savior I met in the woods said Negan's forces have grown substantially since then."

Jesus confirmed. "We've seen groups as big as twenty."

Daryl was frustrated. He stepped away from the window and approached Jesus. "Now hold up. So, they show up and they kill a kid and ya' give 'em half a' everythang? These dick's just got a good story. Boogie man, he ain't shit."

"Wolf Pack is already clearin' out their numbers," Merle said. "We hit two lookouts on the way here. Not to mention the little stunt you and girly pulled. Ain't that right, Y/N?"

Everyone turned to you and you shrugged. "I told you I had a man on the inside. I couldn't risk anyone tipping him off, so Rovia and I did a little covert mission after his initiation. Didn't think I need permission from Papa Smurf and his little rugrats."

Glenn laughed, but no one else thought it was funny.

You sighed and conceded defeat. "Fine, whatever. But Daryl's wrong and he knows it. No matter what any of you choose to believe, Negan is real and he is hell on legs."

"Either way -if we go gettcha man back, kill Negan, and take out his boys will you hook us up?" Daryl propositioned. "We want food, medicine, and one of them cows."

Not even the sexy, gruff edge of Daryl Dixon's voice could hold off your laughter at that point. Glenn smiled at you from the corner. Abraham looked genuinely concerned that you may have gone insane. Michonne wore her usual 'all work and no play' expression. Rick cocked his head and glared. But it was Merle who joined you. For some reason, Daryl saying "and one of them cows" was just hilarious. Tears fell from your eyes and you and Merle leaned up against each other for support.

Rick chose to ignore you. "Confrontation's never been somethin' we've had trouble with."

His words sobered you up quick. You stepped in front of him and looked him square in the eye. "That arrogance is going to bite you in the ass, Rick. This isn't a matter of confrontation. It's about being smart. What none of you know is that I've got Shane at Sanctuary now. He's infiltrating the Saviors as a backup plan in case this shit blows up."

"What the hell, Y/N?! Ya givin' Shane my job?"

"No, Merle. I still need you to sabotage the Saviors, but I needed Shane on the inside. It's just a precaution. This is Negan, guys. We can't take any chances. We have to stick to our rules and do what's best for the future of our pack and our allies. He will not let the deaths of his men go unanswered. Some of us might not walk away from this fight."

No matter how hard you tried to hide it, you were scared. And the fear they sensed in you made them nervous. The gravity of the situation was now settling in. "I'm not the type to make promises, you know this. Negan...still owns me. And I don't know what to do about that." Daryl crossed over to you as your voice broke. You let him wrap his arms around you as you continued. "He'll try to use everything against me."

He brushed his lips to your neck and lifted your hand. "Look at this ring, Y/N. You might not want to make promises, but I do. Even if it kills me, I'm gonna keep ya' safe. I ain't lettin' ya' go, Princess. No matter what Negan or anybody else does. He don't scare me."

You looked at the ring and it blurred in the tears that filled your eyes. Everyone watched as you broke down. A ragged sob tore from your chest and Daryl held you close. Everything could fall apart. You could revert back to where you were before you met Daryl and Sophia. And that dark place was worse than letting the rage inside you break free. If they thought you were terrifying in battle, they would put you down like a rabid animal if they knew the truth.

"We'll follow you anywhere, girly," Merle uttered.

Glenn agreed. "He's right. None of us would walk away from this. We run together or not at all."

Michonne looked at Rick and then at you. The two of you connected on the fact that there wasn't anything you wouldn't do for the men you loved.

"Then we continue on with the plan. And then we wait for Negan to show his face."

"Can't wait to finally meet the boogie man that's got everybody runnin' around like cray. Then I'm gonna put a bolt between his eyes," Daryl growled, not letting you go. He wiped away your tears and whispered words of love in your ear.

So much has happened that you didn't have the heart to tell him that the emotional outburst wasn't just do to your fear, but because only Maggie, Glenn, Shane, and Michonne knew you were pregnant with Daryl's child. "I love you," you breathed into his shoulder.

Chapter Text

"Christ! Somebody want to tell me why in the flyin' fuck nine of my goddamn outposts have been brutally taken out of commission?!" Negan bellowed from where he stood before the burning hot furnace. "We're the big swingin' dicks of this word. Have been for a long fuckin' time, but it seems people are forgettin' that."

No one spoke or even twitched beneath the spotlight of Negan's anger. A group of Saviors stood behind him while the others knelt to bear witness to his rant. "So now our big swingin' dick is going to swing harder and faster, until we take off like a motherfuckin' helicopter and we blow all these motherfuckers away!"

Shane stood beside Negan, keeping his face expressionless as the man Y/N had loved long ago verbally vomited in a way that was as pitiful as much as it was admirable. He definitely had a way with words. When the leather-wearing, bat-wielding leader of Sanctuary tried to continue his little speech, the doors burst open. A heavyset latino man stumbled through the opening carrying something that was more than familiar to Shane.

He fought back his smile as the man presented the symbol of the Wolf Pack uprising. A black flag bearing the white silhouette of a wolf howling at a crescent moon, beneath the emblem of his people was the phrase 'We Live By A Creed'. When the man stepped closer, Shane was able to recognize him. It was Morales. A man he met years ago a the first camp the survivors of the Atlanta disaster set up at a quarry back when Dale and the others had been alive. Morales and his family had left Rick's group instead of going to the CDC with everyone else. It was good to know he was alive, but Shane held no sympathies for the man.

"What the hell is this?" Negan asked as he unfolded the flag, not looking away from the bullet hole in Morales's shoulder. "Don't tell me the outlook over HillTop got hit too?"

"People wearing masks came in and slaughtered everyone. I was hiding behind a door to so I could bring word when the screaming ended, but I was caught by a stray bullet. They were shouting about some sort of liberation. A woman in a mask left this behind."

Shane didn't know how much of the story was true, but he knew one thing: the Wolf Pack wouldn't shout about a liberation, they'd just beat down your door, carve you up into little pieces, and then whisper it over your grave. Negan finally looked down at the flag in his hand and let an onslaught of foul profanity fall from his mouth. Of course he would recognized the symbol for what it was.

"Saviors! We have a BIG fuckin' problem! First of all, your queen is comin' home!"

Cheers erupted and Negan smiled at his people. When the smile dropped, so did the noise.

"But she is fuckin' pissed. And she's takin' us out one outpost at a time and I can't have that shit." Negan set aside the flag and grabbed one of the Saviors to his left. Shane watched unblinkingly as Negan tossed the man into the fiery inferno that roiled within the furnace. Blood-curdling screams carried on for what felt like an eternity until only the sound of sizzle flesh could be heard.

On the outside, Shane was as cold as the man who had committed the extreme act of violence -something that re-conjured that smile on Negan's face. But inside, he was legitimately shocked to find that everything Y/N had said about Negan was true. Shane looked over at Roxy for a split second after Negan turned away, just enough to see the disgust and fear in her eyes. He didn't know why her discomfort bothered him, he wasn't supposed to care about that shit anymore.

But maybe her being Y/N's sister was what softened him toward her. It had nothing to do with how pretty she was or the fact that, beneath her innocent act as an obedient little mouse, there was a strong woman.

"Every day that goes by and she ain't found, one of you is gonna come out extra crispy!"

When the meeting came to an end and everyone was dismissed, Shane exited the area to go about his mission. He didn't make it far before a skinny man with greasy blonde hair pushed him into a dark room. "Don't fight me," the man drawled.

"Who the fuck are you?!" Shane growled.

The man grabbed his arm and pushed up his sleeve, scuffing when he saw the mark of the Wolf Pack. "Woman's got some balls of steel, I tell ya'. If she wasn't so damn ruthless, I'd think she was stupid."

"You're the Savior she met in the woods. The one who warned her about Negan?"

Greasy-blonde leaned closer to Shane and whispered. "No matter what I do. No matter what I say. No matter what anyone else tells you or you hear for yourself....just remember these words: I'm on her side."

"What the hell does that mean?" Shane asked.

"It means I'm the serpent in the Garden of Eden. My name is Dwight and I'm a friend of Y/N. My loyalty is to her. I'll betray any and everybody to make sure that she's the last one standin'. I owe her more than you or anybody else will ever know," Dwight explained. "So, you remember those words no matter what and I'll do what I can to help you."


You~

The sun was setting and Daryl was working on his motorcycle. You went out to the garage to see him and stood in the doorway to watch him work. It was both terrifying and exciting to know that you were carrying his child. You weren't that far along, not even a month, but it was a beautiful thing. If you told Daryl, he would never let you continue with the liberation in fear that you would get hurt. It wasn't right to keep this from him, but there was too much at risk to get blinded now.

Daryl turned to you, sensing your presence, and gave you a crooked smile that made your heart flutter. He beckoned you forward and you straddled his waist where he laid on his back on the floor. He was covered in engine grease, but so damn sexy to you. Daryl was everything you ever wanted in a man. He was sensitive, but strong. Courageous, but cautious. Loving and protective, but not afraid to argue against you when it mattered. And he felt so good beneath you.

Leaning down, you kiss his lips and elicit a moan from him. Daryl drops the tools in his hand to pull your tank top over your head and mark your body with the grease on his hands. He wrote the word "M I N E" across your chest and the intensity of his gaze made your pussy clench. Daryl rolled you over and pulled down your leathers, but he didn't take them off all the way, he used them to trap your ankles. A large hand came to rest over your heart. "Who does this belong to?"

"You...only you, Daryl."

He moved your hand to where his heart was. "And this? Who does this belong to?"

"Me."

"That's right, Princess." Daryl kissed your collar bone and moved his hand to rest against the warmth of your core. "And here?"

You struggled for a moment to process his words. The sensation of him touching you right where you needed him was making your brain go fuzzy. Daryl bit the flesh beneath your breast just hard enough to get a reaction. "Answer me. Who does this belong to?"

Fisting your fingers in his hair, you tug his head up until it's leveled with yours. "Everything that I am belongs to you, Daryl."

He nodded and kissed your lips, dipping his tongue inside of your mouth to coax your tongue out to play. And it did. Daryl tasted so good that you were drunk from it. The kiss grew feverish. Your nails catch of the fabric of his t-shirt and you rip until it slides off his shoulders. Daryl's hips snap forward and his cloth-covered erection pounds against you. Fingers fumble with his belt and the zipper of his pants until you were finally able to feel him.

The hard cock jerked in your hands and dotted the front of his boxers with precum. You moved down, lower and lower, kissing his abs and hipbones until you licked the head of his manhood. Lips wrapped around the crown and you sucked Daryl's tip so hard he whimpered. His knees framed your face and he shoved down his pants and boxers enough to slide himself past your lips. The salty, musky taste of Daryl and soap made you suck harder. Your cheeks hollowed and you groaned in the back of your throat.

Daryl's hips began to thrust and he placed his hands on the back of your head to protect you from the hard ground. His fingers massaged your scalp gently while he fucked his length into your mouth. The light that filtered in through the small windows at the top of the garage illuminated the muscled pale globes of his ass that flexed with every thrust. Drool spilled down your cheek and more sounds of desperation came from somewhere deep within him.

"Fuck. I need ta' be inside ya'."

He pulled out, squatted between your legs and lifted you up into his lap. His strength sent a little thrill coursing through you and Daryl smacked your ass so loud the sound echoed through the garage. You couldn't hold back your moans as he slid you down his length. The girth of him still stretched you to the limits and the heat of his breath tickled your neck as he whispered, "Perfect."

Once he was fully seated, you began to lift with your thighs and ride him. The drag of his thick cock against the aching muscles of your pussy was enough make you hold your breath. Daryl's hand slid over and the tip of his finger brushed against the puckered flesh of your anus.

You gasped and clung to him. He didn't press against the ring, just teased it in a dark promise that had you bouncing on him like a rodeogirl riding a bull. Daryl pounded up into you so hard you were forced to wrap your legs around his waist. Your shoulders hit the ground. Daryl's other hand moved to your clit. 

He pinch and pulled back on the delicate little hood with an erotic demand on his lips. "Cum for me, Y/N....so damn beautiful like this."

Your eyes watered with the strength of your orgasm. The tension in your internal muscles tightened and then released. The wetness of your love flooded Daryls lap as your pussy began convulsing around him. It dripped down his thighs as he slowed his tempo to slow, deep intrusions. His back bowed and his handsome face pulled into a grimace. You felt the heat of his cum soothe your aching cervix.

His arms buckled and Daryl fell against you. "I missed ya'." 

"I'll never stop needing you, Dreamy Blues."

Chapter Text

Rick~

He sat on the couch next to Michonne while his heart beat angrily against his ribs. From the moment he first set eyes on Michonne, Rick had known that she was special. They hit their rough patches and times when he questioned whether he could trust her, but there had never been a doubt in his mind that he would die for her. Seeing her with Carl and Judith was like watching the family he always wanted for himself. Whether he and Michonne would have had this connection in the old world if things had not ended, Rick didn't know. They had been different people then and now they were...well, they were warriors. Survivors.

It was the most natural thing to tangle her fingers in his and feel the warmth of her palm. Rick swallowed thickly as desire warred with affection. Michonne's breathing changed and he wondered if he had crossed a line. Did she feel the same? The look in her eyes held...so much intensity that he was lost to it. But it was the certainty that he saw in the depths of her brown gaze that made Rick lean over and brush his lips against Michonne's. This was the woman who protected his family. The woman who questioned him and forced him to be a better man. This was the woman who was at his back in a fight before anyone else.....

Rick loved Michonne, whether he realized it yet or not. There was a spark in that first bit of contact that inspired him to deepen the kiss. The feel of her fingers moving to the back of his head gave him the green light. Michonne pulled Rick closer and breathed him in. Rick tasted so much sweetness his head swam from it, but he paused. He looked into the eyes of the beautiful woman in his arms and asked silently for consent. He needed to know if she was on the same level as him, that this was what she wanted.

Michonne had been through so much -as had he- and it was important that they did this as equals. Rick moved his hands to her hips and whispered, "Tell me you want this...there's no goin' back. We won't do this if you don't want to, but I can't hide it anymore." And to his surprise and delight, Michonne smiled and nodded her head. "You're so beautiful, Michonne. You've been drivin' me crazy for a long time." Michonne laughed quietly and it made his heart clench. Rick turned away long enough to remove his gun and set it beside the phone on the coffee table.

There was more confidence when he connected the kiss again. The softness of her plush lips welcomed him home and Rick placed his hand on the nape of her neck to tilt her head to the perfect angle. He crawled over her and pulled her hips into place. Their bodies slotted together and he felt warm, willing woman beneath him. She began to giggle against his lips and he pulled back. "What's so funny?" Rick asked, his words only for her and the shadows in the room.

"We should take this upstairs..."

Rick jumped up with enthusiasm, only to trip over his own boots that laid on the floor. He crashed back onto the couch and michonne pressed one hand over her mouth to smother her laughter and one hand on her chest. Rick would have been embarrassed if the quaking of her shoulders wasn't so endearing. He leaned over and kissed her neck, filing away the fact that Michonne's neck was ticklish for later. In an effort to maintain his masculinity, Rick lifted her off the couch. Michonne was forced to wrap her legs around his waist as he began to carry her toward the stairs.

"Wait, wait!" she protested. Michonne hopped down long enough to run back for the gun and he looked at her with so much love that it stole the air from his lungs. Rick couldn't believe his luck when the fierce katana-wielding warrior jumped into his arms and kissed his lips feverishly. He groaned devoured Michonne's mouth with all the built-up passion he had been feeling for so long. She had soft hips and a plump ass that made his mouth water. Her flat tummy was rippled with muscle and her strong arms held him tight.

The curve of her breasts against his chest as he carried her up the stairs and into the bedroom was enough to make his brain backfire. Michonne squeaked a little when he set her onto the mattress and stepped back to undress. He unbuttoned his shirt and tugged it off his shoulders as she shimmied out of her jeans. As his fingers fumbled with his belt buckle, Rick watched as Michonne revealed an expansion of silky skin on her legs. He could still taste the mint of her toothpaste on his tongue and wanted to dive back in to her kiss and drown in it.

Michonne removed her shirt as he kicked off his jeans. They tumbled back onto the bed and he slid his tongue into her mouth. She moaned and tangled her fingers in his hair, tugging lightly at the strands. Rick kissed his way down her neck and watched her shiver beneath him. Her dreadlocks fanned across the pillows and she licked her luscious licks, eyes watching as Rick removed her bra. He sucked a nipple into his mouth and nibbled on the bud. Her legs squirmed on the bed and she rocked her core against his abs. The scent of her femininity caused his eyes to roll back.

He continued his descent, pulling down the pair of cotton panties that concealed her love from his sight. And she was beautiful. Neatly trimmed curls and succulent pink flesh greeted him. Rick spread Michonne's legs wide and marveled at the contrast of his pale hands against her thigh. It was erotic and beautiful. He craned his neck and swiped his tongue up the length of her folds. She tried to squirm out of his grasp, but he held her down. Michonne's legs trembled as he sucked a hickey into the flesh of her inner thigh. Rick used his fingers to part her petals and gently tickled her clit. The wetness that dripped from her center called to him.

Rick set in like a madman. He slurped, licked, nibbled, and growled. He could not see, hear, feel, or taste anything besides Michonne and if he died that night, he would die a happy man. Rick moved his hands to her ass and gripped, rocking her on his tongue as she shattered. He was rewarded by more of her sweetness and the breathy moans as she pulled his hair to get him to stop his relentless assault against her sensitive pearl. Rick sat up to kneel between her legs.

He stared into Michonne's eyes as he licked his lips and sucked his fingers clean. She reached between their bodies and grasped his erection. Lights danced behind Rick's blue eyes and he bucked his hips. Her smile was illuminated by the pale moonlight that streamed in through the blinds. Michonne looked beautiful in his bed, like she belonged there. Her slender fingers rubbed the crown of his cock between her folds and Rick held his breath. She guided him into body and his eyes nearly bulged out of his head. Michonne bit her lip as she struggled to adjust to his size.

Rick leaned down and framed her face with his hands, tilting her head so she was forced to look at him. "You okay?"

Michonne smiled and nodded her head once again. Her hands moved to Rick's narrow hips and he took it as a sign. Rick began to pulsate his hips slightly, easing himself deeper. The sight of Michonne's eyes flying open alerted Rick that he had stroked that special place inside of her that would drive her wild. He zeroed in on that spot and rolled his hips. Michonne's back arched off the bed and her nails dug into his skin. Rick teased her until neither of them could take it anymore and he bottomed out in one fluid stroke. The affect was instantaneous. Her heat spasmed around his cock as Michonne buried her face in Rick's neck.

Rick licked the tips of his fingers and moved them to her clit, loving the feeling of her clenching and milking him. She sank her teeth into his shoulder to keep quiet as he pounded in and out of her. Rick made love to Michonne in a way he hadn't even known was possible. It was on a soul-deep level that rocked him to his core. Their desperation for one another kicked in like a violent storm. Michonne moved against him and Rick sped up his thrusts.

His orgasm was like a ten car pileup on a busy freeway. The power of it ripped through his spine and forced him to pull out as he grew too sensitive. Michonne whispered into his ear and stroked his back. Lightening seemed to dance at the tips of her fingers and send shocks through his nerve endings.

You~

So....you should really learn to knock. Jesus stood beside you with a bewildered expression as Rick and Michonne jumped out of bed with their guns drawn. You wanted to dance around happily and cheer them on for FINALLY getting past the friend-zone and realize that they are soulmates. Or just mates in general if one were to take the wolf mentality seriously. God it felt good to see them together.

"We should talk," Jesus said and then pushed you out of the room with a goofy smile on your face. The two of you sat on the stairs waiting for Rick and Michonne to get dressed. They came out just in time to be seen by Glenn, Carl, Abraham, and a few others. The embarrassment on their faces was too much to handle, especially when Jesus referred to them as Carl's "parents". Ahh...good times, but there were important things to discuss. Rick, Michonne, Glenn, and Carl followed you and Jesus back to the Wolf Den. The Wolf Pack and Rick gathered at the round table.

Besides Daryl's run-in with Dwight, there had been no contact from your people at Sanctuary. "I'm sending Merle to Negan-"

"Negan is dead," Rick announced. You stared at his skeptically.

"What do you mean he's dead?"

"I killed him on the last outpost we took out."

No. Negan wasn't dead. You'd know. You'd feel it if he was dead. "Negan doesn't go to the outposts. What did he look like?"

Rick began to describe a man who was definitely not Negan. Jesus spoke up. "All of the Saviors will answer with 'I am Negan' if you ask them about their leader or who they are. That wasn't him."

There was disappointment in Rick's eyes, but you didn't have time to dwell on that. "As I was saying. Merle gets inside. Carol ran last night. She left a letter, but I sent Morgan after her. Don't worry, I have plans for Carol. She'll be fine. Who we need to worry about is Maggie. She's sick and I'm worried about the baby..."

Daryl came in last. He was still pissed about Dwight killing Denise and taking his crossbow. You tried to reason with him, but he was like a rabbit animal. Daryl needed his space. "I'll go will Glenn, Rick, and the others to take her to HillTop."

You agreed. "Alright. I'll take the rest of the Wolf Pack on a raid. We'll hit one of the other outposts and make sure everything goes smoothly. There's a lot of cargo on one of the trucks and Alexandria could use the food."


 

Nothing went smoothly. You knelt beside Daryl and the others as Simon rambled on. The Wolf Pack and Rick's group had been captured by a battalion of Saviors. You didn't tell them who you were, it was too dangerous until you knew you could turn the tides. Daryl kept giving you that "don't do anything stupid look" and you promised you wouldn't...but Negan was unpredictable. That meant you had to be just as unpredictable. They kept talking about him but Negan had yet to show up. It was probably just smoke and mirrors, for you knew he rarely left Sanctuary.

"Alright. We got a full boat. Let's meet the man," Simon said. Your cowl was pulled low, but you flicked your gaze toward the RV. Maggie was panting and you fought the urge to help her. Simon knocked on the side of the large vehicle and time seemed to move slower than normal. Aaron turned toward you and you saw the fear in his eyes. These people didn't deserve this.

Jesus, Merle, and Sophia were hidden. Only you saw their movements, but you stayed their attack until the right moment. Shane moved to stand beside Simon. If he was surprised to see you on your knees with the others, he didn't show it. He wore the usual cold-blooded, passive expression. Rick and the others tried not to react to him or give away anything.

Boots stomped down from the RV. "Pissin' our pants yet?"

Chapter Text

"Pissin' our pants yet? Boy, do I have a feelin' we're gettin' close." A phantom light spotlighted Negan as he stood before the group of wandering survivors. This was the group that attacked his Saviors? Besides the few wearing some sort of battle gear, they didn't look like too much of a challenge. But Negan learned long ago not to underestimate others. This group had taken out over a dozen of his outposts and they knew where his queen was.

The leather of his jacket creaked as he stepped closer to the sweat-drenched man with the scruffy beard. "Gonna be pee-pee pants city here real soon," Negan drawled, that charming grin never faltering on his handsome face. "Which one of you pricks is the leader?" One of the saviors pointed to the man right in front of Negan. He sighed and looked down at the pitiful creature on his knees.

"Hi, you're Rick, right? I'm Negan. And I do not appreciate you killin' my men. Also, when I sent my people to kill your people for killin' my people -you killed more of my people. Not cool. Not cool. You have no idea how not cool that shit is, but I think you're gonna be up to speed shortly....yeah." Negan's voice dropped down to a whisper. "You are so gonna regret crossin' me in a few minutes."

That Cheshire Cat smile on his face grew tenfold. "Yes you are. You see Rick, whatever you do...No matter what, you don't mess with the new world order. New world order is this -and it's really very simple. So, even if you're stupid -which you very may well be, you can understand it. You ready? Here it goes, pay attention." Negan turned back toward Rick and pointed Lucile in his face. The beautiful barbed-wire covered bat twinkled in the night. "Give me your shit or I will kill you. Today was career day. We invested a lot so you would know who I am and what I can do. You work for me now. You have shit, you give it to me. That's your job."

Negan paced before the dirt-smeared faces in front of him. "Now, I know that is a mighty big...nasty pill to swallow. But swallow it, you most certainly will. You ruled the roost. You...built something. You thought you were safe. I get it! But the word is out. You...are not safe. Not even close. In fact, you are pegged, more pegged if you don't do what I want. And what I want is half your shit and if that's too much, you can make, find, or steal more. Either way, it'll even out sooner or later."

Rick remained quiet, his mouth moving, but no words coming out. Before Negan was not a strong leader. It was not a man at all, but a boy trying to play a game that would end up getting people killed. There were so many faces here, but one...a masked woman knelt beside a dirty redneck and Negan's heart stopped beating. The speech died on his tongue as he walked over and shoved the hood off of her face. Y/H/C hair and Y/E/C eyes greeted him. He fisted his hands in those strands and tilted her head up.

Negan's fingers pried the mask from her face and he looked at the defiance written on her expression. Every ounce of cold-blooded hatred in his heart bled away and Negan felt tears sting his eyes, but he didn't show. She would have noticed, but no one else. Even after hearing it from Dwight, Negan hadn't believed she was alive. Even after the flags and the symbols burned into his outposts, he hadn't believed it. But seeing her now, with her bottom lip trembling...if there was a God, he made her to be the image of perfection.

He went to haul her to her feet, but all of the people in the black battle gear swarmed. Even the muscle-bound idiot Shane he recruited not too long ago had weapons drawn and pointed right at him. She lifted her hand and held them back. The greasy redneck grumbled in his chest and Negan smirked, shooting the man a little wink that caused his nostrils to flair with fury. Negan tilted his head, seeming unfazed by the sudden danger. Saviors raised their weapons as well.

"This could turn into all out war, but If I'm not mistaken...you are grossly outnumber," he chuckled "Baby Girl, they might call him the leader, but we both know who's been runnin' shit. Did you see how fast these fuckers rushed to help you?! Goddamn, I'm impressed. Got 'em trained up real nice."

The Saviors pushed forward and forced her Wolf Pack back onto their knees. Negan pushed Y/N back down as well. He always liked it when she knelt in front of him, usually under different circumstances, but this would have to do. "I am happier than hell, ladies and gentlefucks. You killed my people, a whole damn lot of them. More than I am comfortable with. And for that -for that you're gonna pay. So now...I'm gonna beat the holy hell outta one of you."

You~

When Negan stopped in front of Maggie, the entire collective of people on their knees stiffened. Glenn vibrated with rage and you knew the beast was close to the surface. But if there was ever a time to stifle the blood-rage, it was now. Negan taunted the group a little more, but he kept stopping in front of Maggie. "Jesus, you look shitty. I should just put you out of your misery right now."

"No!"

You closed your eyes tightly. Knowing Negan hated anyone to interrupt him or to stand in the way of a kill. Glenn was just trying to protect his mate and his unborn child, but Negan didn't know that. Saviors began to beat on Glenn and Maggie yelled for them to stop. Shane gave you a concerned look that said he didn't know how anyone was walking away from this unscathed. Glenn was emotional and on edge. Things were getting messier by the second.

When Negan's speech turned into a game of eenie-meenie-miney-moe, you whistled. The bat came down on Abrahams skull before Merle could trigger the first explosion. You jump to your feet as Negan beats Abraham to death. Chunks of flesh scattered across the pavement and blood sprayed in a crimson arch. Saviors scattered to engage the attack. Jesus rushed through the trees with his sword as Sophia climbed on top of the RV with a rifle and began shooting Negan's men down one by one.

Shane reared back and kicked Simon in the gut to keep him from defending his leader. Only you saw Dwight helping Rick's group to safety even though none of them trusted him. He pushed Carl, Michonne, Glenn, and Sasha into the woods, pretending to chase after them in an attempt to escape. Daryl pulled off his poncho and rushed Negan. You shouted for him to stop, but he didn't listen. He caught Negan in the jaw with a right hook.

Three citizens from Alexandria traveling with Rick to HillTop were gunned down. Blood flowed through the streets and mingled with what remained of Abraham. You tossed your head back and signaled for Tekah. He was on the attack the instant he came upon the scene. Negan and Daryl continued to fight until Sophia was captured and a group of Saviors unloaded a semi-automatic weapon on the crowd. Some were forced to their knees while others ran off into the woods. There were casualties, ones Alexandria would not recover from, but the Wolf Pack was still breathing. And that meant vengeance was on the horizon.

Negan pulled you to your feet by your hair and sneered in your face. "Not cool, Baby Girl. Not cool."

Merle came out with four grenades casually in his hand, threatening to pull the pins if Negan didn't let you go. He did. You fell back to the ground and raised your hand to cover your face. You knew Negan would never abuse you -it was just a knee-jerk reaction. But it was one that caused the ring on your finger to glitter in the headlights. Negan cursed so much and so creatively you would have laughed any other time. But this was no laughing matter.

Negan's love for you ran deep, but it treaded recklessly on a line between love and obsession. When he attempted to reach out to you once more, Daryl went on the attack. Negan was about to bash in his head with Lucile, but you threw your body over Daryl. The leader of the Saviors threw his precious bat to the ground, choosing to discard it rather than use it against you. "Fuckin' fuck, woman! You have any idea how close I came to beatin' your brains in?! I outta tan your fuckin' hyde for that shit! Simon, grab her!"

"I'm pregnant!" you blurted. Hoping your closely held secret would spare the lives of the others. "If you promise that I'll be safe and that you won't kill anyone else tonight...I'll go with you." Your eyes looked over to where Aaron, Jesus, and the rest of your people sat helplessly. Rick looked worse than you had ever seen him. It was worse than when Lori died or when Carl had almost been assaulted.

Rick Grimes was gone. And in his place was a broken man.

"Don't you fuckin' do this, Y/N!" Daryl yelled. Large tears spilled from his eyes. You were breaking your promise to save him and everyone else. It hurt him just as much as it hurt Negan to hear that you were with child. The two men who owned a place in your heart stared at you with such betrayal that it caused you physical pain.

"This...filthy mutt is who took you from me?" Negan asked. "The one who gave you that ring and took away my right to father your children?!...you let him touch you?" The sadness in his voice was too much.

"Let them go, Negan...just let them go."

He nodded, signaling to the Saviors to round up. Sophia was released and she ran into the forest with Tekah on her heels. "Let everybody go except Shane, Y/N, and him," Negan ordered, pointing at Daryl. You wanted to protest, but you knew he was letting you off easy. After all, it was you that led the attacks against his outposts.

Merle pulled the pin on a grenade and casually tossed it through the window of one of the Saviors' vehicles. It exploded. Fire roiled toward the sky, but he barely flinched. "Woohooo! Damn that's pretty. Now, why don't you take me along with ya? I'm real curious about this group of yours."

Negan had no idea just how foolish it had been to take Merle Dixon -the Wolf Pack's Sabotage Specialist- up on his offer. The Dixon Brothers may just look like reckless rednecks to the outside world, but you knew just how dangerous they could be. And the fire in Daryl's eyes when he looked at you was more powerful than the actual flames that still burned beside you.

Everyone else was thrown in the back of a van, but you were put in the RV with Negan. He was surprisingly gentle when he strapped you in and closed the door. The wheels of his mind were turning and you didn't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Negan hopped into the driver seat and set Lucile on the dash. He turned toward you for a moment and you saw the man you once loved. It was not the leader of the Saviors or the monster everyone knew him to be. It was just Negan.

He flipped on the ignition and whispered something over the rumble of the engine. "Let's go home, Baby Girl."

Chapter Text

You~

You felt the RV rattling as it plowed through walkers. Negan sat quietly beside you, only turning to stare for a few seconds before returning his eyes to the road. He cleared his throat and you finally looked over at him. Quiet tears slowly fell from his eyes as drops clung to his eyelashes. In the weeks you had spent by his side, Negan had never once cried. He met your gaze and lifted his jacket high enough to show you the scar that remained after you had stabbed him. "Love is the damnedest thing, ain't it?" he chuckled.

"You don't love me, Negan. I'm just a contradiction that keeps you entertained."

He slammed on the breaks, causing you to lurch forward and nearly bang against the dash. You were grateful that he had strapped you into the seatbelt, otherwise you would have a bruise on your forehead. Negan's shoulders tensed. "If you think I didn't fall in love with you the very second I saw you writhin' like a wild animal, you're wrong." He turned sideways to stare you in the face as he spoke. This...this wasn't good. You didn't want to see his heart in his eyes, you wanted to see the tyrant everyone told you he was.

"Broken toys are always loved most in the beginning," you retorted. Negan slammed his fist on the steering-wheel. You flinched and he clenched his jaw.

"You just don't get it, Baby Girl. I don't even have to know who that greasy redneck is to know that he would lay down his goddamn life for you. And don't you ever think I wouldn't do the same."

"Stop it! Just stop, Negan!" Tears blurred your vision as you fought to contain the emotions inside. But looking at him as he cried beside you was enough to do real damage to your heart. "You don't love me. You can't love me....I fucking hate you!"

He shook his head and reached to touch your arm. And he knew you wouldn't flinch away from him. Not Negan. You would never hurt him like that. He never wanted you to see him as one of your attackers. "You don't hate me! You could never hate me because I love you too mother-fuckin' much to ever let you go. You're my queen."

"But I'm not the only one," you hiccuped. "I would never be the only one, Negan. I'm not enough. I'm not enough for anyone."

Negan unclipped the seatbelt and pulled you into his lap. You wanted to fight him, truly you did. Being in his arms felt just as right as it did wrong. "I'll get rid of them. I promise. Just...just come back to me. Throw that damn ring out the window and I'll let that ugly fuckin' slime-ball go-"

"Daryl! His name is Daryl, you son of a bitch!"

He wrapped his arms around you tighter. "Fine. But I promise I'll get rid of them. All of them. You have my word and you know I'm good for it." Negan sounded desperate. He stuck to you like a burr and buried his face in your neck. The guilt of being in another man's arms felt like a dumbbell in your gut. "I tried to hate you, Y/N. I really fuckin' did, but...I held on. I held on to the man you always wanted me to be and I buried it deep below all of the other bullshit."

"I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you."

"Hush, we got things to talk about." Negan's calloused hands brushed the tears off your face. Out of everyone in the world, he knew how to handle your breakdowns the best. He didn't coddle you. Negan gripped your chin and forced you to maintain eye contact. "Don't you go hidin' from me. You know I don't like that shit."

"I hate you so much....Never should have let you live. Should have killed you when I had the chance. Fuck, Negan!"

"Stop fuckin' sayin' that fuckin' shit!"

"No! Because I hate myself too! Because I know I can never love Daryl completely while I hold on to this fucked up thing that we have!"

That had been the wrong thing to confess. Hurt warred with hope in his beautiful brown gaze. Negan's mouth slowly curled into a dashing smile that still made your heart flutter. "You love me."

"I didn't say that."

"You didn't have to. I saw that little shiver just now, the one that used to drive me crazy. That shiver of awareness that just tickles my balls. But if you don't think that I love you, then why would I drive halfway across this country to find your sister," he breathed.

Negan~

He watched the suspicion and skepticism flash in her expression. Negan rubbed her arms as the smile on his face continued grow. He always loved bringing her presents, but this one takes the cake. "You can either kill her or hear her out. I won't stop you from doin' either. I just want you to have some closure."

"You're lying. She's dead."

"She sure as fuck was alive the last time I saw her," he said. "And she ain't nothin' like you, Baby Girl. Nobody is."

".....what...what is she like?"

"Mousey little thing. Complains all the damn time and talks my fuckin' ear off."

She seemed to be mulling that over. Negan let his hand wander down to her belly and felt a sharp pang in his heart. He loved children. He always dreamed that she would carry his child. Negan never wanted his other wives to get pregnant, for he thought children needed to be born out of love. His wives didn't love him. They used him for protection as much as he used their bodies to slate his hunger. It left everyone involved feeling soulless and empty, but if it kept his men from trying to rape them...well, it had been a sacrifice he had been willing to make.

But now that he held Y/N in his arms again, looking into her eyes as he caressed her....Those women would have to support themselves. He would let them go a million times over if it meant he could have her. Negan loved the smell of her and the warmth of her skin. He wanted to burry himself in her body and die there as a happy man. And when her hand touched his cheek, Negan knew he wouldn't just give up his wives for her. He would give up everything. Sanctuary could burn to the ground if he got to leave and start over with her.

It was blasphemy to think this...but Negan questioned if he loved her more than his beloved Lucile.

"Negan. I love Daryl," she whispered. It hurt to hear his name on her beautiful mouth. Negan remembered kissing those lips in the dark and running his hands over her spine. He bit his lip and groaned. She must have known the direction his thoughts had gone. Y/N shifted in his lap and rolled her eyes when his erection rubbed against her thigh. "Negan. I'd cut your dick off before I betrayed Daryl."

He let her return to her seat. "And what about me? Don't you think you betrayed me?"

"You gave me an out and I took it. If I had known that you still have this control over me...I'm not going to betray Daryl. This ring means something. Our child means something."

"I'll take care of the both of you. You and the baby. I'll love that damn thing like it was my own. If it's part of you, then I want it in my life. Why the fuck do you think I kept your sister alive? Even if you didn't survive, I would have kept her safe because she part of you. When we get back home, I'll even make her beg for your forgiveness. Hell, I'll force her to make up for every birthday of yours she wasn't there or all of the times she looked in the other direction when those fuckin' monsters were hurtin' you."

She shook her head, looking exasperated. "You killed Abraham. He was my friend. You tried to kill my people and....I know everything that you have done. I've burned down your outposts and liberated communities under my own flag to sheer out your control. How long do you think it would have taken me to lead the Saviors in a mutiny against you?"

"And that turns me the fuck on, Baby Girl. I can see that craving for power in your eyes and I'm lovin' it. Can you feel that? Can you feel that fire burnin' between us? Because I sure as hell can," Negan admitted. "We're two forces of nature clashin' head on and there is passion blazin'. What we had ain't never gonna die. Best tell Daryl now before he gets hurt. You might hate my guts, but you sure as fuck ain't over me yet."

His words were confident and so was the look in his eyes, but he felt nagging doubt. As much as he hated to acknowledge it -Negan couldn't deny that Daryl had earned her love and loyalty. If she had been easily tempted by his persuasions, he would have been happy but disappointed. The challenge of getting her heart back would be more intriguing anyway.

Y/N slid back into her seat and buckled up. Negan shifted the RV back into drive and continued toward Sanctuary.

You~

You looked into the mirror beside your window and watched the vans headlines. It was driving you mad that you didn't know what would happen to Daryl, Shane, or Merle. Jesus and the others informed you of the things that happened in the dark at the Sanctuary complex. They said it made the horrors you went through with Terminus look like a vacation. Negan whistled that happy little tune that you often heard in your darkest hours. It was a sound that kept you grounded to the reality he had built for you.

Sadly, that reality now existed in a world where he had bashed in Abraham's brains. "No matter what you may think or choose to believe, I will be the one to kill you, Negan. Arguing won't do me any good because I know I can't convince you of anything. But there is only room for one alpha in my world and it isn't you."

"Daryl isn't a leader, Y/N. He's barely one step above roadkill and I bet his balls smell worse."

You gritted your teeth and squeezed the edge of the seat until your knuckles turned white. People say whatever they wanted about you or do whatever they wanted, but Daryl was off limits. The man you love love was not perfect by any means, but he was a good soul. No one had ever impressed you as much as Daryl. No one had ever cherished you as much.

"Negan...Daryl and I share a connection you would never understand." You lifted your hand so he could see your ring. "I wear this because I want to. Daryl didn't try to fix me or change me in any way, he accepted that I was broken. We're broken together and even if we never heal completely, we'll spend the rest of our days together. As many as that may be. I'm Daryl's girl."

His laughter was loud and obnoxious, mocking as it rang through the tight enclosure. "You think he didn't change you? Open your goddamn eyes, Baby Girl! Every word you just said was smothered in the one thing you actually hate in this fucked up world....Daryl may not have fixed your wounds, but he gave you hope. He softened you and made you one of them....a human."

"Shut up."

"You may act like a wolf and dress like the warrior I used to know, but you're different. Protectin' human settlements and fightin' for vengeance? That don't sound like you at all. Fightin' against me when all I'm doin' is holdin' up the foundation that you and I built together," Negan explained. "So, tell me to shut up and I just might listen, but don't start lyin' to yourself."

"Just take me to Sanctuary and let's get this over with."

Negan chuckled a bit more and smiled in your direction. "Can't wait to show you my new bedroom."

Chapter Text

Sanctuary was everything you and Negan had dreamed. It was a self-sustaining community with gardens, livestock, security, order, responsibility, and even a functioning marketplace. The compound was enormous, at its center was a large building that acted as the main area where people gathered for meals and to hear Negan's announcements. Janitors, gardeners, doctors...it was unbelievable and entirely believable at the same time. If anyone could have pulled it off besides you, it was Negan.

The compound was surrounded by a chain-link fence. Impaled walkers were herded by imprisoned survivors, those who didn't join Negan and his Saviors as contributing members of the community. It was cruel, but even you saw the necessity of it. Negan wears his wolfish grin as he pulls the RV past the gates. Several trucks pull up alongside it and people begin to unload everything from food to furniture. It was a tight system that you had to admire. Negan provided for his people at any cost. He as a leader.

You hopped down from your seat before he could help you and you got the impression that you hurt Negan's feelings. He didn't show it outwardly, but you knew him enough to know that that was the case. You walked beside him into the main building and felt that old power flow through you again. People bowed and took a knee to welcome you home. Negan laughed. The sound was deep and rumbly, vibrating the air between the two of you. Shane approached, but did not kneel. He stood in front of you as your equal and you smiled at him. Negan turned his gaze on Shane and you moved to block him, challenging Negan in front of his people was dangerous, but you wouldn't let him hurt Shane. "That how it's gonna be, Baby Girl?" he drawled.

"That's how it's always been. Shane is Wolf Pack," you explained. On cue, Shane lifted his sleeve and finally revealed the mark on his forearm that signaled his loyalty to you and the others.

"Why the fuck am I not surprised?! He was too damn skilled. Couldn't shake him either. Son of a bitch barely even flinched when I threw someone into the furnace. Seemed like your type of fucked up, should've seen this commin'. Goddamn, I am impressed." Negan shook his head and moved so close to you that all you could smell was the heat and leather. White teeth flashed in the light as he smirked down at you. "How many? How many do you have inside of these walls already, huh?"

"Enough."

Just as that word left your mouth a door opened from across the area. Your heart dropped. Standing beside Dwight was your big sister. You never expected the flood of emotions that came crashing through you. It hurt to see her alive, but it was also a relief. You wanted bury your dagger in her heart, but you wanted to run over and find comfort in her arms. You wanted an apology, but there was nothing she could say to make up for what you went through. You hated her and you loved her. Confusion and anger filled your heart. Negan gripped your arm and turned you away, ignoring the blade Shane now held against his side for touching you.

"Easy," he whispered into your ear. His voice broke through the chaos and you reached for it. "Fight that shit. Don't you dare let it in. Not now, not ever. Cut that shit out, now." The command snapped you out of it. He must have noticed the focus return to your Y/E/C gaze, for Negan pulled you over to face your sister with Shane following close behind.

"Y/N," she cried. You flinched at the sound of your name coming from her mouth. All of the memories of her sneering in disgust when you tried to tell her about the horrors of your childhood. Images flashed of your sister laughing with her friends as you were in the room next door with a monster taking your clothes off.

Negan let go of your arm. "Roxy, why don't you stop all that blubberin' and say what you've been wantin' to say for a while now?"

Roxy? You may not be the most sane individual in Sanctuary, but even you knew that Roxy was not your sister's name. She must have chosen a new one after the world ended and yours began. Negan was right. She was coward. She trembled and cried at the sight of you and it fueled something inside. You swiped the blade from Shane's hand and pressed it to her throat before she could blink.

"I am so sorry!"

Shane reached out and stayed your arm. You looked at him in surprise. "Don't. Not after everything that's happened tonight. Rule number four: Innovation before retaliation -that means you process, plan, and execute before going off half-cocked. Don't lose our ways just because these people want to see a reaction out of you. Wait until you're thinkin' clearly and then talk it out. But not here."

It made sense. Shane's level-headed thinking had kept the pack out of trouble more times than you could count. And you trusted him to see through Negan's influence more than you at the moment. "Where's Daryl?" you asked. Negan sighed and shook his head.

"I'll let you see him after you get settled in." He took your arm once more and led you through a series of hallways and up a few staircases. He then came to a stop outside of a door and pushed it open. The room was nicer than anything you had seen outside of Alexandria. It was clean and well decorated, but it didn't give the illusion that there wasn't an apocalypse just outside. Negan set Lucile down beside the door and removed his leather jacket.

You looked around for ways to sneak out later, but you didn't hide it. Negan knew what you were doing and he didn't try to stop you. It was your nature, simple as that. But he knew you wouldn't try to leave Sanctuary until you understood it completely and until you could get Daryl and the others out as well. Shane, Daryl, and Merle were the Wolf Pack members on the inside, but you had your allies as well. Dwight would have your back if anything went down and so would Doctor Carson.

"Fuck you're beautiful," Negan said suddenly. You turned to see him standing in a white t-shirt near the window. The light played off the flecks of silver in his beard and reflected in the inky-black hair on his head. Gone was the swagger and smiles. Negan stared at you with an intensity you hoped had died the night you stabbed him. It sickened you that even after what he did to Abraham and everyone else, you still couldn't kill him. You talked a good game, but you knew the truth.

After years of being separated, fighting against the odds and making names for yourselves, not much had changed. Staring at him now...you did still love him. He still owned a part of you that no one else would ever touch, but your love for Daryl defied logic. Maybe Negan was right. Maybe Daryl had softened you and changed your way of thinking, but that didn't change the fact that you loved one another and would watch the world burn if it meant just one more day together. "I love Daryl."

"So you keep on sayin'. But do you know what I see when I look at you now? I can barely see that fighter in you. She's still in there, but she's lost. You're more broken now than you ever were and I want you to answer a few questions for me. Can you do that, Baby Girl?"

The softness of his voice as he spoke caused you to nod your head in agreement.

"How many times did you go under while we were together?"

"Never."

"How many times since you left?"

"...a lot...it got harder to come back each time."

Negan stepped away from the window and slowly approached you. He lifted your hands and placed them on his chest. You felt warm and centered, like even if Sanctuary went up in flames you would still be safe. "And what brought you back?" he asked softly.

Breath caught in your throat and forced out a pathetic sob. Tears stung your eyes because you knew the truth. Though your love for Daryl kept you from letting go, it had been Negan and his strength that pulled you out. He was the thing you feared most in this world, but he was your savior. "You..."

Daryl~

"We're on easy street, and it feels so sweet, cos the world is but a treat when you're on easy street..."

The song played constantly. It was loud and cheerful, baring from some unknown source. He couldn't sleep or think, just listen to the song playing on repeat. His body hurt from lack of food and the beatings he sustained. And not once had Y/N come to see him. Not Shane, Merle, or anyone else that called themselves his family. Daryl had been stripped naked and tossed in a dirty cell to rot. It smelled back and he could swear the walls oozed with greasy liquid.

For the first time in....well, he didn't know how much time had passed. All he knew was that the bolts keeping his cell locked began to clank and clunk until the door swung open. Daryl jumped to his feet and saw Dwight holding a plate in his hand. The scarred man handed him a sandwich that made Daryl's stomach clench. He could tell by the smell that it was dog food. Past his shoulder, he saw men dragging an unconscious Merle down the hall. "Tried to get to you. Been tryin' for a week now."

A week? Shit. It was worse than he thought. But if Merle was trying to get to him then maybe the others were trying too. Daryl wanted to believe that Y/N was doing everything she could to get back to him, but he wasn't a fool. He knew Negan had some sort of spell over her. He just wanted to be sure that she had stayed faithful and didn't let another man have what rightfully belonged to Daryl. She was his girl. She wore his ring....and carried his child. Why hadn't she told him?

Daryl scarfed down the dog food sandwich and glared at Dwight. The door closed behind him and once again the room was bathed in darkness. More time passed and finally the record stopped. He was so tired. So hungry and uncomfortable. The physical pain he could handle, but the tole being in that room took on his mentality made Daryl want to bash his head against the wall and end it. But he knew the doctors here would just bring him back and it start all over again.

Quiet. Sweet, sweet quiet caused Daryl to start dozing off. "We're on easy street, and if feels so sweet, cos the world is but a treat when you're on easy street..." But the loud clapping and percussion returned. His eyes flew open, puffy from lack of sleep. He was covered in sweat and dirt. What confused him was that they never interrogated him or tried to recruit him yet. They just wanted him to suffer. And then...they wanted him to work.

Dwight would come retrieve Daryl and put him in a dirty sweat suit and force him to work along the fence. Daryl was broken. Truly and utterly broken, but he refused to cry. He refused to do anything more than keep the walkers at bay and return to his cell. There was no way to escape that he could see. No one whispered. No one spoke about Y/N even though he knew she had once led these people. They wanted him to forget, to think that she didn't exist in his world anymore.

One day, while working the fence, Daryl finally saw Shane. He was in worse condition than Daryl was. Shane was pulled around by a collar by a woman in a black dress that somewhat resembled Y/N. His eyes were swollen shut and lined with bruises. He was feet and chest were bare and he wore nothing but a soiled pair of jeans. Daryl knew how prideful Shane was and knew how humiliating that must be for him, but the woman holding on to the leash wasn't cruel or demanding.

Dwight appeared beside Daryl and said in a hushed voice, "That's Roxy. Shane was caught sneakin' information about you to Y/N and found himself on the wrong side of Negan's anger. Y/N don't know what ya'll are goin' through. He keeps her locked up in the room and in the dark. She ain't gave up on you. She ain't gave up on nobody. Roxy is Y/N's sister. If she can save Shane, maybe she can find a way outta that cell for you too."

Daryl didn't trust Dwight, but he got the feeling that he respected Y/N. Dwight had the same tone when speaking about her that the rest of them did. It was good to hear that she still loved him and that she worried about him. Daryl felt like he could finally take a breathe. He didn't look at Dwight when he asked, "Did he hurt her?"

"Nah, Negan ain't the type. His love for her is the only thing keepin' her alive though. She keeps turnin' him down because of you."

Chapter Text

This morning was different. It wasn't Dwight unlocking the door to bring Daryl his dog-food sandwich, it was Fat Joey. He ate the sandwich obediently, just as he was expected to do, but when the door closed the usual sound of the lock sliding into place never rang through the cell. Daryl cautiously approached the door. He pushed it open and winced as a sliver of light burned his sensitive eyes. He lifted his arm until his vision adjusted and slowly crept through the opening. No one was around to see him sneak through the corridor.

For a moment, Daryl considered trying to find Merle, but he knew the only way to help his brother was to get to Rick and the others. The Wolf Pack needed to know exactly how to fight against Sanctuary. He found a door leading outside and ran along the walls quietly. A line of motorcycles waited and Daryl thought it was all too easy.

It was. A door banged open and Saviors appeared all around him. As a revolver was lifted and leveled at his head, the sound of Negan's whistle -the one Y/N would do in her sleep sometimes- echoed through the area. He was surrounded. Negan smiled and asked the Saviors, "Who are you?"

One by one, they answered "Negan." They rang out like a chorus and it caused Daryl's stomach to twist and churn, for he knew what came next. Negan's smile never faltered. "You see that? I am everywhere. And this was your shot to prove to me that that fundamental factor was sinkin' in and you failed. Which sucks because your life was about to get so much cooler. Am I right?"

"Damn right," Fat Joey replied.

Negan stepped forward and almost smashed Daryl's bare feet with the end of Lucile. He laughed quietly, evilly as he watched Daryl flinch just out of reach. "Now, Dwight gave you some options. I don't think you get it yet, so I'm gonna break it down for you. You have three choices. One: You wind up on a spike and you work for me as a dead man. Two: You get out of your cell and you work for points, but you're gonna wish you were dead. Or Three: You work for me and you get yourself a brand new pair of shoes and you live like a king!"

Daryl didn't want to work for the man who still controlled the woman he loves. He wanted that man dead and with his blood on his hands. But Negan continued. "Choice seems pretty obvious. You should know, there is no door number four. This is it. This is the only way."

The silent tension was only broken by more of Negan's laughter. "Screw it!" The bat came at Daryl's head, but he didn't move away or flinch. He wouldn't give Negan the satisfaction of seeing just how broken he was. "Wow! You don't scare easy. I love that. But Lucile, well it kind of pisses her off. She finds it to be disrespectful. Lucky for you she's not feeling too thirsty today. But I am."

Negan leaned close to Daryl's ear. "So, I'm gonna go get me a drink! And then I'm gonna crawl into my bed and fuck the shit outta my queen. Or...Daryl's Girl as you seem to call her. Only a matter of time before she becomes my wife for real. Once she agrees, she'll be my one and only. I made her a promise and she knows I'm good for it. She knows I'm good for a lot of things."

The meaning of those words were not lost on Daryl. He felt like throwing up, but he didn't. He remained calm. No matter how much control Negan had over her, she would never betray him. Y/N wore his ring and when they got out of here together...they were going to go far away and leave the rest of the world behind. They would finally cut their ties and let everyone clean up their own messes for once. Before he hated hope as much as she did, but now it was the only thing that kept him going.

Negan turned and walked away, resuming that eerie whistle. All of the Saviors jumped into action and beat Daryl until was in a worse condition than Shane.

 


When Daryl wakes up from his fight against Negan's men, Dwight opens the door to hand him another sandwich. He's tired of the games and torture. He tosses the sandwich into Dwight's face and sits back on the floor. He didn't care about pissing them off anymore. Dwight taped a photo to his wall. Daryl rips it down and throws it the ground, but he caught a glimpse of it.

It was a photo of Abraham's dead body. Dwight leaves the room and changes the music as Daryl cries in his cell. He cries and cries, feeling guilty about lashing out at Negan and getting so many people killed. Daryl laid in the dark and let the self-hatred wash over him until he passed out again.

Just like every morning, Dwight woke him up. But this time, he led Daryl out of his cell and down a hallway he had never been through before. He knocked several times on a door and pushed it open. Daryl saw Y/N sleeping peacefully in bed, but noticed rope burns on her wrists from being restrained for long periods of time. He wanted to cry. He wanted to yell and bash his fist into Negan's face. But the man who broke them both sat calmly in his chair.

Negan stood then. "Jesus! You look awful. Don't you worry. We'll have Cason fix you all up. You thirsty? Here." Daryl was handed a glass of water. "Awe, hell. I forgot your mouth is all... puffed up like a baboon's ass. Need a straw? D, get him a straw, what's wrong with you?"

Dwight moved quietly across the floor to obey Negan's orders.

"See that guy? He hustles. I like hustle. But believe it or not, things weren't always cool between us. D here, he worked for points. He and is super hot wife and super hot sister. Well, he says, she needed meds and that is hard to scavenge so it costs more. Sis fell behind on points, so I asked her to marry me. Told her I would take care of her in sickness and in health, blah blah blah because I am a stand-up guy."

Daryl looked toward the bed where Y/N fidgeted. She shivered and he noticed a grey tone to her skin. Even Dwight looked over for a second as Negan told his story. "She tells me she's gonna think about it. Next thing you know, I'm dealin' with an orange situation. Dwighty here, stole all the medication and took off with his super hot wife and my superhot maybe-soon-to-be fiance! So I had to send my guys after him because I can't let something like that stand. There. Are. Rules. Cost me an arm and a leg goin' after him. And you know what? Dwighty boy, he still got away."

There was a distant look in Dwight's eyes now. Daryl sympathized for him on some aspects, but he still found the man pathetic. Negan leaned against Lucile. "But here's the thing. D saw the light. He manned up, he came back, he asked for my forgiveness. I like that. Made me....take notice."

Negan talked just to hear his own voice, but Daryl cut him off. "What'd ya' do to her?" he asked.

He got the feeling he offended Negan not by interrupting, but for insinuating that her condition was any of his doing. "I'm trying to help her. She fights. She tries to escape to come find you, but she needs medicine, Daryl. Food isn't stayin' down for long and I know you understand what that means for the baby."

"Why cain't she eat?" Daryl grumbled.

"We don't know. But we're takin' her down to Carson every day to feed her with tubes. She doesn't like it, but it's keeping her alive. I brought you here not just to recruit you, but to see if you could ease her worries a little." Negan's eyes took on a world of sadness. "I love her with every breath. I'll do anything for her except let her go. You can talk to her, but don't you try anything or else I'll be goin' back on the promise I made to keep you alive."

"That what ya' call leavin' me in a cell to rot? Keepin' me alive?"

"Don't get cute, Daryl. Just help her."

He would have disobeyed any other time, but this was Y/N. She needed him and he needed to know that her and the baby were ok. Daryl walked over to the bed, suddenly self-conscious about the way he looked and smelled. Only she could get him to care about shit like that. He sat down on the edge of the bed and ignored Negan's complaints about having to burn the bedding. Daryl was afraid to touch her, afraid of getting her dirty.

But she opened her beautiful eyes and smiled up at him...it didn't take long for that smile to die, though. Y/N took one look at his appearance and her eyes snapped with fire. Daryl tried to keep her lying down, but she shoved him away. Even in her fragile state, she crackled with intense power. Y/N stood toe to toe with Negan in a way even Daryl did not have the balls to. "You told me he was being taken care of! I knew you were lying!"

"I never lied to you. I told you he was being fed and that he had a place to sleep."

"You know what the fuck I meant when we made that deal! This is why I kept sneaking out, Negan." Y/N looked over her shoulder at Daryl and he saw fresh tears in her eyes. Damn he hated when she cried. "What were they feeding you? Did you get a bed?"

He didn't want her to worry. She was already under too much stress. "I'm alright, just come sit down."

"Dog food," Dwight answered. "Between two pieces of bread."

Daryl didn't know what angle he was playing, but the loud crack of Y/N's palm against Negan's cheek was satisfying. Dwight would most likely pay for stepping out of line, but that only fueled Daryl's satisfaction. She hiccuped and it damn near broke his heard. Daryl tugged on her arm until she climbed back into bed. Her eyes never left Negan and Daryl could tell it broke something in the other man too. Maybe he did love her.

"Sit down, Princess. I've been through worse, you know that. I ain't the sort to break easy," he lied and she knew it. Y/N could see just how broken both of them were. She brushed her hand against the stubble on his jaw and shook her head. Daryl wanted to ease her stress, but he didn't know how. "I need ya' to think about the baby, ok? I need ya' ta' focus on gettin' better or else this will all have been for nothin'."

"Listen to him, Baby Girl. We need you both alive."

She hissed...actually hissed at Negan. But he was right as much as Daryl hated to admit it. He was able to stay until she ate her supper and then fell asleep with his hand in hers. Dwight grabbed his shoulder and pulled him up from the bed and forced him to stand before Negan again. "This," Negan said gesturing around the room. "Well, it can all be yours. All you gotta do is answer one simple question....who are you?"

Silence.

"What the cat got your tongue? Or are you just overwhelmed by the awesomeness of this? I'm gonna ask you one more time." Negan got right in Daryl's face with Lucile in sight. "Who are you?"

"Daryl," he replied with a raspy growl. 

Chapter Text

Shane followed Dwight toward the holding cells. He ignored the twinge in his leg as he limped quietly, a ballcap pulled low on his head. Roxy had given him the keys to the cells. Dwight only helped because Y/N had asked him for a favor. Whatever those two had going was still a mystery, but if it got Daryl out of trouble, then so be it. Merle had successfully weaseled his way into the Savior ranks. No one knew he was Daryl's brother. Shane heard that Merle had something big planned for Negan, but he wouldn't say much on it.

It was never anything good when that crazy redneck had something up his sleeve. Shane ducked into a shadowed corner to wait as several Saviors walked by. Dwight kept walking forward like nothing was going on. Eventually they made it to the cells and unlocked the door. The smell that hit Shane almost made him lose his lunch, but he swallowed that down and picked Daryl up off the floor. He closed his eyes when he noticed the photo of Abraham on the ground. "Com'on, Daryl. Let's get you home."

Even with a busted up leg, Shane didn't let Dwight help carry Daryl. They would be lucky if he trusted anyone after this. Shane hobbled with the extra weight all the way toward the fence where Roxy waited. She doused Daryl in water to wake him up. He fought until he noticed Shane. Daryl liked like he wanted to cry, but he barely held back the tears. "S' alright, Daryl. I got you."

"I'll go put the keys back so no one suspects anything," Roxy offered. She rushed past them and hurried back into the compound. Shane walked past the bikes and Daryl grew confused. He didn't have to ask, Shane knew he was searching for the bike he built from the parts Aaron had given him. The bike was nowhere to be seen and that caused Daryl to glare at Dwight.

They made their way to the fence and Shane propped Daryl up to let Jesus in. He took one look at the two of them and gave a look of sympathy. "What happened to you two?"

"Nothin' I care to repeat," Shane groused. Jesus nodded his head and carried Daryl to the car along with Glenn and Michonne. They looked ready to storm the castle, but Shane stopped them. "There are too many. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of Saviors live behind these walls. Not now."

"Where's Y/N?" Glenn asked. He looked worried until he spotted Dwight. Shane had to use all of his strength to keep Glenn from lunging at the greasy blond. "Let me go. He stood by and watch Abraham get killed!"

"There is more at stake than revenge, Glenn!"

"Like what?!"

"Like Y/N!" Shane whispered angrily. "Like Merle, Daryl's baby, and everyone here under Negan's rule who have no choice! We have to stick to our ways so no one gets killed. Hurting Dwight might feel good in the moment, but Negan will retaliate and hit the communities hard. You know that. Don't make that mistake again."

Glenn cursed and stepped back with his arms raised in surrender. He climbed into the driver seat while Jesus got in the back with Daryl. Michonne tried to help him get out, but it was too late. The alarm blared and Shane grabbed Dwight's gun. He pushed Michonne through the gate before closing it, turned and knocked Dwight unconscious, and open fired on the Saviors that came running toward him. He made it look like a failed escape.

Michonne ran, but looked back at him in a silent promise. But Shane didn't want it. Staying behind may look like a noble sacrifice, but it was a lie. He wasn't leaving without Roxy. She was the only reason he was alive and he couldn't let her get punished for what he did to get Daryl free. A thud against his skull caused Shane's ears to ring violently. He crumpled to the ground and blacked out from the pain.

Roxy~

She paced back and forth between her bed and the window. The alarm blared into the night and Roxy feared the worst. Did Daryl make it out? Was Shane alright? Her nerves threatened to throw her into a panic attack, but the door opened suddenly. Saviors drug Shane's unconscious body into her sleeping quarters and tossed him onto her bed. Negan stood in the doorway with pure hatred in his eyes. "Caught him sneaking out. Keep your little boyfriend on a leash or else he's gonna get real friendly with Lucile, got it?"

Roxy nodded her head vigorously. "I understand."

Negan turned to leave. But before he closed the door, he said, "Oh, Daryl escaped by the way! And if I find out you helped Shane in any way, I'll be tossin' both of you into the fire. Your sister already hates your guts, she'd probably thank me for it."

Roxy flinched when the door slammed. She rushed over to Shane and winced when she touched the back of his head and felt blood cover her fingers. She gathered supplies and sewed up the worst of his injuries, leaving behind white swatches of gauze in her wake. Roxy worked quickly so he didn't get infection and then tucked him into her bed as she had done on numerous occasions.

She had intended to use Shane to her advantage, but somewhere on the road of her treachery, she had started to care for him. Like...care for him a lot. Seeing him hurt made her want to weep. She knew his story, he had told it to her on many occasions, and felt sorry for him. Roxy knew about Lori and how Shane had once loved Y/N. But she wanted to prove to him that she was better. She wanted him to see her as a woman and not a burden he owed a debt.

The way of their Wolf Pack sounded lonely, but she understood that it had kept him alive for so long. Roxy was grateful that her sister had intervened when Shane would have died otherwise. She couldn't imagine her life without him anymore and hoped that what she felt for him was mutual. He did look at her differently than he looked at everyone else. "Shane?" she whispered. He scowled several times, but did not open his eyes.

She needed to keep him awake. Roxy gritted her teeth and slapped him across the face. He jolted up in the bed and cursed out loud. Shane grasped the back of his head and his side as if he didn't know which hurt worse. She thought he would scold her for hitting him, but he surprised her by saying, "Thank you."

"Why didn't you go with them?" Roxy asked.

"I couldn't. There was too much I would be leaving behind here if I did."

"But Merle has a plan. Y/N...she needs to be here so Carson can look after her. What are you leaving behind?" Roxy tried not to bite her lip, but it was a bad habit, one that annoyed Shane because it meant she was nervous. He squinted at her until she stopped.

"I would be leaving you behind. And...for some reason that matters."

 Roxy felt a warm glow spread through her chest. Shane reached out and pulled her hand over so it rested on his cheek. He nuzzled into her palm. Roxy stiffened. The sight of him so vulterable made her ache.

"Shane," she breathed. Throwing caution to the wind, Roxy brushed her thumb along his bottom lip. Shane moaned and sucked her thumb into his mouth. Her breath hitched and he pulled her into his lap.

"Thank you. Thank you for helping Daryl and taking care of me," he said quietly. Roxy tensed. She moved off of his lap and walked away from the bed. "What's the matter?"

"Not like this. Not because of this."

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about you using your body as currency," she remarked. "You slept with Lori because you felt guilty when you thought you left Rick to die. Andrea because she was broken and you thought teaching her how to shoot had gotten Daryl hurt. If my sister would have let you, you would have done the same with her. Sex is your 'thank you' and 'I'm sorry'....but not with me."

He was quiet, looking down at his hands where they plucked at the strands of the blanket, shame tinting his cheeks.

"If you and I sleep together, it'll be because I'm falling in love with you...and you love me back. Not because you feel obligated to."

You~

The anger radiating off of Negan confirmed your suspicions. He threw furniture around and broke one of the windows. You jumped and he scurried to your side, afraid he had scared you.

It was strange -Negan being cautious. You didn't know if it was the baby or the amount of time you spent apart, but he was scared of spooking you. It wasn't like you could run.

Negan removed all of his clothes and climbed into bed. He snuggled into your side and you closed your heart off from him. He needed you...or so he said. But you weren't ready to analyze how you felt about him.

"Darly escaped," he grumbled into your neck.

"I know."

"Did you have anything to do with it? I won't be mad. I promise." Negan ran his hand over the slight curve of your belly. Tears welled again. That was Daryl's privilege.

"Do you think I'd tell you if I did?"

He laughed and kissed your shoulder. "Not in the fuckin' slightest, Baby Girl."

Chapter Text

Negan left after waking up in a bad mood. You waited until the sounds of the Saviors's engines disappeared into the distance before you walked over to the window Negan had broken in his anger. Sophia appeared just as you knew she would. It was easy to forget how big her and Carl were when you still saw them as children. She brought you a pack of letters from your allies and came into the room to eat the food Negan had left for you. It was too dangerous to have Nyx flying to and from Sanctuary, so Sophia had become your little ninja that kept you in contact with the outside world. And now that Daryl was out of harm's way, it was easier to concentrate on what you had to do.

You were surprised to see that Sophia had the mark of the Wolf Pack tattooed on her arm. Glenn must have done it after she completed her training. Sophia was a fully-fledged member of the Wolf Pack now you couldn't be more proud. She had come a long way since when you found her and brought her to your mountain, you both have. "King Ezekiel says that I can join him at the Kingdom, but I moved into the fourth bedroom at the Wolf Den. With Mom gone and Jesus living up at HillTop to make sure the Wolf Pack has a strong presence there, it made sense. But it's so empty now without all of you there."

"We'll be back together soon. There's just a few things I have to take care of here."

"Is it true? Is your sister alive?" Sophia asked. 

"She is. I saw her, but we haven't spoken. I don't think I'll be able to talk to her for a long time. Shane said she isn't who I think she is, but I'm not ready." You sat beside Sophia on the bed and winced when a sharp pain shot through your side. Pregnancy was not fun, much less a pregnancy with complications. "Should I name the baby something crazy and surprised Daryl?"

"He tried to call Judith Little Ass Kicker, I'm not sure much can surprise him. Besides, you already have two children -Nyx and Tekah. How are you gonna top that?"

You didn't know if it was the hormones or just the fucked up situation you were in, but tears came much easier now. "I don't want to have my baby here. I should be with Daryl, out there, but instead I'm trapped behind these walls without much of a choice. Stay and get the care I need or risk my life and my baby's life by leaving."

"Stay. We'll find another way." Sophia removed the dagger you had gifted her a long time ago and handed it to you. "Here, you take it. I'm quiet, so I barely need it. I keep to the treetops where the biters can't get me. You need it more than I do."

She gave you a hug and then scurried onto the roof again like an alley cat. You opened the letters one by one, reading all of them. One was from the police officers you ran into saving Beth. They agreed to help in a fight against Negan and said they're making their way toward Alexandria through the sewer system to help Rick strengthen the community. Maggie was working with Gregory, but you warned her that he was more likely to betray her than to do any good for HillTop. Jesus traveled between the communities and you had faith that Michonne and Carl were keeping Rick's head above water.

You took the vitamins Dwight brought you to help with the pregnancy and then exited the room Negan didn't like you walking around in case you needed help or got dizzy from not eating. You were tired of tubes and doctors, you need air -not that it was fresh by any means with the stench of rotting walkers wafting around. But you took things slow, casually flipping off the people who were angry that you didn't have to work for points. It was the little things in life that gave you pleasure.

Somewhere down the hall, the smell of fish sticks made you want to throw up, but you kept your shit together until the nausea passed. Slippered feet scuffed against the floor, mingling with the sound of Dwight's boots as he walked behind you. You weren't allowed to go anywhere without an escort and that was annoying as fuck. "So, what happened to you after Daryl escaped?"

"Same shit that always happens. I got jumped on by six guys and taught a lesson. At least it wasn't the iron this time."

"Negan suspect you were involved?" you asked quietly.

"Nah, he just thought I didn't fight hard enough to fight off Shane."

"What happened to Shane?"

Dwight's lack of answer was enough to give you pause. He looked around like he was nervous and you backed him against the wall with your blade against the underside of his chin. "What. Happened. To. Shane?"

"He was hurt...bad. But your sister is takin' care of him. Shane will be alright. It's Merle you should be worried about. He ain't doin' too well being locked in his cage like an animal. Talkin' to himself and fighting the guards when they bring him food."

"Take me to him. Now."

You followed Dwight, creeping through the halls, and finally came across the cell they had kept Daryl in. The photograph of Abraham's dead body was still on the floor and you saw red. Negan would answer for that. When you arrived at Merle's cell, the smell was what hit you first. Dwight unlocked the heavy door and then opened it. Merle went on the attack. You whistled sharply and he stayed his hand before he could strike you. "Goddamn, girly. Look at ya'. Almost look worse than me."

That wasn't true. You wanted to cry at the sight of Merle Dixon's swollen, battered face. His jaw was broken and hanging off to one side, causing him to slur his words. He looked like he had been beaten within an inch of his life and you pulled him into a hug, being mindful of his injuries. Blood soaked through the dirty tank top he wore and you saw the word B E A S T carved into the flesh of his leg. It peeked out from beneath the fabric of his boxers. You and Daryl may have been broken, but Merle hadn't gone down just yet.

"Let's get him to the doctor," you said to Dwight. He looked like he wanted to argue, but in truth -Dwight both respected and feared you more than Negan. He took the bulk of Merle's weight and the two of you carried him toward Dr. Carson's office. The kind doctor looked surprised and a little afraid. Taking care of Merle would most definitely put him on Negan's bad side.

"I'll protect you. You know I can."

He finally agreed and began to operate. It was surprisingly sterile and you were thankful for that. There was no telling what kind of infections could be festering in his wounds. Merle's jaw was re-broken and wired shut so it could heal properly. His side was cleaned and stitched closed, the cuts on his face were treated, and a bandage was put over the self-inflicted wound on his leg. You stayed with him through the entire process and didn't move when Negan angrily kicked open the door.

"I knew you had somethin' to do with this shit! You couldn't leave well enough alone, could you? How am I supposed to break him if you're just going to heal him? That's not how this fuckin' process works, Baby Girl."

You stood up, keeping your right hand in Merle's, and backhanded Negan across the face. "If you touch another member of my Wolf Pack, I will gut you in your sleep." Your voice was cold and dripping with venom. "Do what you want to me and anybody else, but if you harm one of my people...you'll wish I killed you the night I left."

Negan didn't laugh as you expected him to. Instead, he walked closer and whispered, "I was wonderin' where your balls went. Talkin' every night to the weepy little cunt Daryl made you into had me missin' the old Y/N. And my dick couldn't be harder right now. Don't worry. That sorry piece of shit don't mean anything to me. I was just usin' him for information, but now that I see how much he means to you, I think I got a bit more than I bargained for out of this little deal."

Dwight shifted uncomfortably and Negan looked at him with disappointment. "I told you to keep her in the room or in the common areas. But you can't listen worth a damn, can you? Not when it comes to her. Don't worry, Sherry and the other ladies are workin' for points now. You can have your wife back, Dwight. If you want her. To be honest, I've been ALL up in that."

You hit Negan again. Not out of jealousy, but because that's what he deserved for what he did to Dwight. Hell, he deserved a fuck ton worse, but you didn't have the strength to fight him yet. Simon came knocking next. He gave you a look that made your skin crawl. You never trusted him. He'd turn on Negan faster than Dwight would and that was saying something.

"Attack on HillTop was successful," he announced. "We got a lot of shit."

Negan left with Simon and Dwight to take a look at the loot. Dr. Carson told you there was nothing you could do for Merle and that it would be best to let him sleep. You nodded and thanked the doctor for helping when he could have turned you away. As you trekked down the hall toward the cafeteria, the sound of an automatic weapon caught your attention. You quickened your pace, wondering why the fear of losing Negan still lingered in your heart. He was evil, he was vile, and merciless, but...had he done anything worse than you?

You remembered every face of those you've killed and you were certain he did too. Negan didn't sleep peacefully through the night like most would expect. He was a haunted man with the weight of the new world on his shoulders at all times. You pushed open the door and saw Carl surrounded by Saviors. The kid held Negan at gunpoint and your heart dropped to your stomach. You saw the mark of the Wolf Pack on him and was proud that Sophia and Carl had stepped up in your absence.

"Damn. You are adorable." Negan grabbed a Savior and used him as a shield as he approached Carl. "Did you take that gun 'cause it looks cool? You totally did, right? Kid, I ain't gonna lie, you scare the shit outta me."

A Savior distracted Carl while Dwight tackled him to the ground, but not before he got a few shots off that dropped bodies. You rushed out into the chaos with a hand over your stomach and the sun burning your eyes a little after being in the dark for so long. "Carl!"

He couldn't hear you over the shouts, but you heard him. "I just needed to see her! I need to know if she's ok! Where have you taken her?!"

Hearing that Carl risked his life to see if you were alive made it easy to shove the Saviors out of the way and stand over him protectively. Negan called for everyone to stand down as he stared at you with so much anger it made you twitch a little. Carl punched Dwight in the face and Dwight leveled the gun on him. You snatched the gun out of Dwight's hand and cleared the chamber, popping out the clip and tossing it to the side. You still fucking hated guns. "Back off! All of you!"

Negan was surprised when the Saviors obeyed your demand without an ounce of hesitation. "Bring the kid inside, I wanna show him somethin' cooler than that gun."

 

Chapter Text

To your surprise, Negan and Carl seemed to become friends...friends that hated and respected one another. You chocked it up to Carl being a badass that impressed the Sanctuary leader and the two of them figuring out that there could be a world where they co-existed without killing one another. Negan didn't take children though, so he hopped in the vehicles with Carl and drove to Alexandria with a bunch of Saviors. You were finally able to eat something and you had a feeling it was because it had no smell or real taste. The food was set on the dresser each morning before you woke up at the butt-crack of dawn.

It was a bit like slop, but it filled you up and soothed the ache in your belly. A knock came on the door and you opened it to see Shane standing there with a tortured expression. He looked like he wanted to cry, yell at you, and hug you all at the same time. What shocked you the most was that the usual desire or love you saw in his eyes was no longer there, but the affection and compassion remained. Shane hugged you so close, your feet came off the floor and he spun you around a little. "Goddamn it's good to see you. Two cycles. Two fuckin' cycles since I last saw you and it's been killing me."

"Missed you too, fuck-face."

He set you down and shoved you a little. Shane walked with you down to check on Merle and you admired Shane's ability to hold back his reaction when he came face to face with what had become of the eldest Dixon Brother. The crazy, off-beat, resourceful, hilarious, fiercely protective member of the Wolf Pack lay helpless in a bed with wires holding his jaw closed. You thought about what would have happened to the two of them if you hadn't stepped in and altered their fates. You thought about how Rick and the others would have probably suffered a lot worse without the Wolf Pack. And you came to the conclusion that it was for the best that you hadn't killed yourself that day on the mountain when Daryl had found you.

When Merle woke up, the three of you wandered up to the roof and sat looking out over Sanctuary. None of you had to say anything. You all respected the hell out of what Negan had built and didn't fault him for most of his decisions, but there were times when lines were crossed that couldn't be forgiven. Dwight and Roxy walked side by side toward the library and you felt Shane's demeanor change completely. "Ah, now I know why you stayed behind when Daryl left," you said.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

Even Merle rolled his eyes despite the amount of swelling that still remained on his face.

You gave Shane the most accusatory look you could muster. "Casanova's not making a move on the damsel in distress? I find that hard to believe. Especially if you're reacting like that. It's the same look Daryl get's when he wants to bash me over the head and drag my body inside a cave. You like her."

"It's complicated."

"You are complicated, she is complicated, but what's between you isn't. It's instinct. The most pure reaction we can have is one that isn't forced. Go for it," you said encouragingly.

"You're not upset?"

"I'm fine, Shane. You deserve a female of your own. Just...be careful."

He knocked into you and you pumped into Merle, who scowled at Shane and flipped him off. Shane put his arm around your shoulders and leaned back against the roof. "You're worried about me, but don't be," he said. "I've got my shit under control. Just make sure you stay strong and don't let Negan tear you down anymore. I'll kill him if he hurts you, Y/N."

Merle grunted in agreement. You turned toward him a little and grabbed his hand. He couldn't talk, but he made sounds and squeezed you whenever he wanted to get a point across. A few years ago, being touched by anyone would have sent you spiraling into darkness. It amazed you at how comfortable it was to lay with them without feeling the usual panic. You missed Daryl and his dreamy blues so much that it physically hurt to be away from him.

"Last time I saw Daryl, he didn't look good. They had beaten him and fed him vile things. Was he alright the night he left?"

Shane shook his head. "No. What I saw...it was barely Daryl. But I don't think Negan had much to do with it. There was some strange fascination he had with Daryl that I can't really understand. I think he was trying to figure out what you seen in him, but that's just my guess. There's no way of actually knowing what Negan has planned."

That was hard to hear. You squeezed Merle's hand and asked. "What happened to Merle?"

Merle began to make sounds of protest, but he didn't let go of your hand. You held it, squeezed it, and let him know that he wasn't alone anymore. You spoke to shane, but your eyes never left Merle's.

"Again, I don't think Negan is fully aware of what his men do in the dark. I didn't hear much of what happened but Dwight told me about a few of the times he tried to get to you or Daryl and the Saviors tied him down and beat him. When that didn't work, Dwight said they tried to break him in other ways to impress Negan. They placed bets on who would get him to submit first and...from what I hear, things didn't go so well. I tried to find him a few times, but every time I got close to the cells, something similar would happen to me."

Merle Dixon seemed grateful that Shane had tried to step in and had risked his life a few times to find him. He used his free hand to swipe the teardrops from your cheeks before they fell any further. Merle gave you a look that said, "I got your back, girlie." You knew just how wicked a group of men could be while trying to break someone. You knew first hand what being at the mercy of monsters was like. These two weren't just your pack-mates, they were your brothers.


A week later, Negan arrived at sunrise. You wore your leathers and a black button down tucked in comfortably. It was Negan's but it was the only thing that covered your baby bump. You donned your cloak and the rest of your gear that still fit and walked into one of the common areas where the bulk of the Sanctuary citizens were kneeling as they stared up at Negan from his perch. He started caterwauling as usual and you ignored him to stand on one of the tables in the center of the room.

"Attention!" you shouted. The group stood up and turned toward you before dropping to their knees again. Negan clenched his jaw and watched from up high. You opened the list Dwight had given you that contained the names of all of the Saviors responsible for Merle's punishment. One by one the names were called and they were commanded to stand up, walk over and face a wall, place their hands behind their heads, and confess to what they had done.

You paced behind them like a wild animal, twirling your daggers in your hand and causing an ominous swishing sound to echo through the cavernous space. They talked about how Merle had been electrocuted, beaten, drown, raped, and hung by his neck until he almost suffocated. You listened to their stories as Negan came to stand beside you. His face was cleanly shaven and he was wearing his usual white t-shirt. Unadulterated fury came off of him in waves.

"Now you know that shit does not fly around here," he stated. "I'm disappointed. Now, your queen is going to kill you. Anyway that she pleases and if you move or try to escape....you'll be shot before you can reach the door. Stand there be killed in the last significant moment of your miserable lives or get gunned down like the cowards that you are."

Not one of the Saviors protested, but you saw the river of urine running down a few of their legs. You stepped up behind the first one and turned him around to face you. Forcing him to his knees, you lowered him to the level he was in life -beneath you- and slowly stabbed the tip of your dagger into his temple. He screamed and his eyes twitched, but he met your stare. His mouth moved, but no sound came out as his body went into shock. Muscle convulsions began to set in and then you buried the blade to the hilt with a twist.

Negan clapped slowly at the show of brutality and pulled the knife from the Savior's head. He handed it back to you with a smile that rivaled a kid in a candy store. You kicked the body with the toe of your boot and watched it fall over. The next one was quicker because he hadn't taken part in the rape. But his death was beautiful nonetheless. You severed his femoral artery while he was still standing and he buckled instantly, bleeding out in seconds.

"Get a little creative with the rest of them."

And you did. You killed the Saviors that hurt Merle in a way that made what Negan did look like a hug and a kiss. There was no mercy, no blown out speeches, just bloodthirsty execution by your hands. When if was over, the bodies were dragged out by the others and you and Negan headed back up to the overlook. You addressed the room again for the final time.

"If any of you harm someone under my immediate protection, you can expect the same result. Rape is punishable by death. I know Negan explained this to you and there are rules regarding this, so you can't be that fucking stupid. But I will be adding my own rules and enforcing a law that is guaranteed to produce the ideal outcome. Any deviations from these laws and you will answer to a selection of Lieutenants appointed by me. Change has come to Sanctuary. You best get used to it."

Negan looked so happy he could dance. Instead, he put his back to the crowd and yelled, "As you were."

They scurried from the room and Negan leaned toward you. "Holy shit. I just about creamed my shorts." He led you through the hallway and pressed you against the wall. Your eyes crackled with fire, but that didn't stop him from sealing his lips over yours. When you lifted your hands to push him away, you were surprised when they gripped him closer. Your brain and your heart screamed for you to shove him, but your body wouldn't listen. Negan moaned into your mouth and you felt his erection against your hip.

His tongue dipped into your mouth and that was when your body came back to reality. You felt disgusted with yourself and the weight of the ring on your finger increased. You kicked him in the knee and forced him to step back. "Knew it was too good to be true."

Your blade came up and you slide the tip across his throat just enough to draw blood. "Unless I verbally consent, keep your hands off of me," you snapped. The blade made it's way down to the zipped of his pants and real fear flickered in the depths of his intoxicating gaze. "Break your own rule and I cut off the pieces you love the most."

 

Chapter Text

"Why did you kill Doctor Carson?!" You roared in Negan's face as he sat behind his desk calmly. He ignored your outburst as usual and you wanted to slap him for it. "He was a good doctor! How am I supposed to take care of the baby without him?!"

"If you calm the fuck down, I'll tell you why," Negan said dryly.

You rolled your eyes and crossed your arms over you chest. "I'm waiting."

"You're also impatient as shit, Baby Girl, but I still love the hell outta you. Doctor Carson was killed because he helped Daryl escape. It'll be alright, though. I brought back a doctor on my last run."

"Who is it?"

Negan couldn't just tell you, of course. He had to show you. You walked with him side by side down the corridor. He knocked on the door with a stupid smile on his face. "Ta da!" Nega said, gesturing to Eugene. For the love of fuck! Negan was an intelligent man, but this was not one of his finer moments.

"Negan, Eugene is not that kind of doctor," you explained. Eugene paled, hoping you wouldn't let him die now that his cover was blown. He was a coward and he made you sick, but he knew how to survive -you had to give him that. Negan looked confused, as if he was running through his mind all of the ways someone could be a doctor without being an actual medical doctor. He burst into laughter a few seconds later and you had to hold him up so he didn't fall to the floor.

"Damn! My bad! You gotta admit that's pretty fuckin' funny, right?! Come on, you can laugh a little bit, darlin'. It ain't gonna kill you."

"No, but I might kill you!" You lunged at Negan and he caught you by the waist, spun you around and pressed you into the wall. His erection brushed your lower back and he bit the nape of your neck. You tried not to react and he knew you were fighting it. Negan stepped back with that same stupid fucking smile.

"Goddamn. You are amazing even with them baby hormones makin' you all crazy. Hell, it even turns me on a little bit."

"Let me know when something doesn't turn you on." You scuff and turn toward the door. Negan is right behind you and he follows you out to the yard. Instead of hiding now, Sophia walked like a badass through the walkers guarding the fence and climbed over. She had her hair braided back and did not hide the scar on her face. You greeted her like you always did and accepted the letters.

Sophia watched Negan intently and he stuck his tongue out at her like a child. Sometimes you wondered if he was Carl's age. Negan walked over to Sophia, intending to bop her on the end of her nose, but Sophia caught his wrist and twisted it. Negan shouted in pain and you gave Sophia wink and said, "Good girl."

"You're lucky I don't hurt kids, you little fucker." Negan didn't find it funny and pushed Sophia away. "Remind me again why I let you do whatever the hell you want?"

"Because you would be bored otherwise."

"Is that why? I thought it was because I love you."

Something about Sophia's anger struck you as odd, though. She stared at Negan like she was out for blood. It wasn't like her to show her emotions. The only thing that got Sophia riled up was Carl. "What did you do to Carl, Negan?" you asked without looking back at him. Sophia walked in stride with you.

"I looked at his eye. Told him to take the patch off, said some shit that was sort of shitty, but I apologized and he accepted. We're best buds now, so you and the kitten with the claws can drop the attitude already." He continued to walk with you and even put his arm around your shoulder while you read the letters. "You wanna know what I told Rick The Prick?" he asked excitedly. When you didn't answer, he took that as a yes. Negan always took silence as an opportunity to talk.

"I made him say thank you for taking half of his shit! Get this! Get this! I leaned in close, right? And I said, "In case you haven't caught on, I just slid my dick down your throat and you thanked me for it" and he said nothing! Just whimpered like a little bitch."

"I'm glad you had a good time on your field trip, Negan," You responded like an absentminded parent listening to their child's story about how their day went. It was a tone your mother had used countless times and it was one you used to let people know you weren't interested in what they had to say. You flipped through a few more letters. Two were from King Ezekiel's man, Jerry, keeping you up to date on Carol. Jerry said he will try to convince the King to join the fight with the other communities. One of the letters was from Maggie. She gave birth and Glenn is going crazy trying to get everything she needs.

"Negan, I need to borrow a truck."

"The hell you do."

"You can come with, but I need to go on a supply run. Maggie had her baby and she doesn't have what she needs. You know where I can get it and I want to come with. Sophia and Merle are coming along as well."

He cursed, pulled you to a stop, and then met your gaze. "You're pregnant and emotional. A run is the last place you need to be going."

"Either you come with or I steal a truck and I don't come back," you countered. "You're choice."

"That ain't much of a choice at all, Baby Girl."

Sophia released her wolf cry and Shane and Merle appeared within seconds. Shane lifted up the sixteen-year-old girl and spun her around like she was one of the best things he had seen in a long time. She smiled, but remained quiet as always. That smile fell when she saw Merle's healing face. The swelling was down and the wires came out the day before, but there were scars around his left eye and on his chin. Sophia, who was still hesitant to touch anyone even after so long, traced the scars with her finger. Tears trickled from beneath her lashes and Merle pulled her in for a big hug.

Negan made a gagging sound and whispered in your ear. "He is one ugly son of a bitch, ain't he? I know you love him like a brother, but that mug isn't even worth a picture on the back of a milk carton."

You could only imagine what Negan had said to Carl after seeing what was beneath his eye patch. God, he could be such a prick. Merle looked at you with an expression that said he didn't like how close Negan was standing to you. He let go of Sophia and stepped between you and Negan. Merle got all up in Negan's face. "I've had worse beatin's from my old man. You ain't shit ta' me. But you touch my brother's girl and I'll take this whole damn place out with the both of us still inside, got that?"

"HOLY SHIT! You've got some balls on you." Negan raised lucile and said, "You seem to have me confused with my men, Merle. They do the beating, I do the killin'. I wouldn't beat you like your old man, I'd bash your brains in like I did to your pal Abraham."

That's it! You grabbed Negan by the front of his jacket and tugged him off to the side. He was big and you weren't strong enough to pull him, so you knew he only moved because he allowed it. "What the fuck did I do wrong now?" he asked.

"Either agree to the run or I take my crew and I leave."

"I agree, but even if I didn't, you would have come back. That ain't me underestimating you. I know you too well for that shit. What I know is, you're plotting my fall and you need to be here to do that. I'll let it happen because I'm interested in how you're going to pull it off and because I love a good show." Negan stared right at Merle and kissed your cheek too fast for you to stop him. "And you still love me. Killing me won't be easy even if you take me down."

"You may not underestimate me, Negan. But you sure as hell overestimate yourself."

His smile only grew as you walked over to the Wolf Pack. You explained that the run was for Maggie and that all of you would be going with Negan on his trip to HillTop. Shane and Merle eyed you skeptically. "You sure you wanna do that, girly?"

"I need to see Daryl. He needs to know that there isn't a doctor at Sanctuary anymore."

"What happened to Carson?" Shane asked.

"Negan killed him. Eugene is here because he pretended to be a doctor. If things go wrong with the baby, there's no one who can help me. Daryl needs to know what's going on. From me."

Everyone cursed under their breath and took a minute to bitch and complain about Negan. But you warned them. Hell, you even held several meetings about what to expect when Negan showed up. Sophia grabbed your hand and everyone walked over to the truck where Negan waited. Dwight came around the corner right on time and dropped a sack at your feet. The Wolf Pack dug through the bag and put on their gear right where everyone could see. It was a statement of power without civility. And you finally felt like yourself.

The gear had to be altered to fit, but Sherry had taken care of that. You didn't like Negan's ex wives, but you didn't hate them either. The existed in the place where people like Andrea had roamed and Father Gabriel. People you didn't trust or particularly tolerate. Negan whistled and opened the passenger side door for you, but Dwight climbed in instead. Negan rolled his eyes and grumbled. "This shit is like a bad sitcom. Merle's the drunk uncle. I'm the asshole neighbor. Dwight is the family dog now that Daryl is gone. Shane is the disobedient son. The teen is....well a teen. and You, darlin', are my pain in my ass wife. ONE BIG HAPPY FUCKIN' FAMILY!"

Everyone groaned. This was going to be a long ride into the city. Negan hopped into the driver side and turned the ignition. He poked at the dials on the radio and the song no one wanted to hear came blaring through the speakers. "We're on easy street, and it feels so sweet, cos the world is but a treat when you're on easy street..."

Dwight cringed. Merle began banging his head against the wall of the truck. Shane clenched his fists over and over. Sophia stared off into space and you reached through the small window between the truck bed and the front seats to smack Negan upside the head. "Don't do that when I'm drivin', woman! Sit your ass down!"

Chapter Text

Shane helped you down from the back of the truck and the Wolf Pack stared out at the city. You didn't know the name and you didn't really care, all that mattered was getting supplies for the Maggie and Glenn's baby. Negan said there were three possible locations where baby supplies could be found. The old mall, the hospital, and the orphanage. He suggested splitting up into groups of two, but the idea was quickly shot down by the Wolf Pack. Negan regretted not bringing along any of the Saviors with him. Dwight wasn't afraid to show Negan that his allegiance was to you now. That fear of Negan had gone away when his wife was no longer in danger of Negan's wrath.

"I'll take the lead-" Before another word could leave your mouth, Negan pushed you in the back of the truck and secured the lock from the outside. You banged on the door and screamed at the top of your lungs. "Negan! Let me out!"

"No can do, Baby Girl. You're pregnant as shit and I ain't gonna watch you or that baby die, so you're stayin' right where you are until I get back."

You could hear the laughter in his smug voice and it made you want to tear his throat out. "I'll bathe in your fucking blood, you prick! Let me out, now!" After muffled voices argued beyond the closed door, everything went silent. To your surprise, no one in the Wolf Pack tried to let you out either. "No fucking way! Shane! Merle! Let me out or so help me-"

"Just...hang tight, girly. I can't believe I'm sayin' this, but Negan's right. We can't have you gettin' hurt. Little brother would kill me if I let somethin' happen to you."

"Merle...please," you begged. You were tired of being locked up while the rest of the world carried on. "I'll be careful."

Next came Shane's voice. "Y/N, I'm sorry."

They were right. You shouldn't endanger your baby, especially when things were already complicated. Giving up, you slid down the wall and sat on the floor of the truck bed. "You're lucky I'm too pregnant to fit through the window between the seats or else I'd already be out there killing all of you."

"Love you too, darlin'. I'll see you soon."

You heard their footsteps retreating and bitched under your breath about being left behind. As much as you loved your baby, you couldn't wait to get out and see some real action. For hours you sat in the back of that truck and your bladder started screaming at you. Looking for a way out, inspiration struck. You moved to door and wiggled your knife along the seam at the bottom. When the blade caught on the lock, you smiled devilishly to yourself and let out an evil witch cackle.

"Suck it, Negan." You probed and prodded at the lock until it shimmied open. The door opened with a swoosh and you were tempted to jump for joy, but didn't want to alert any nearby zombie-bros. It actually brought a smile to your face imagining walkers with man-buns and skater shoes. First things first, you really had to pee.

With nature's call taken care of, you eyed the small building to the left of the road and thought it looked harmless enough to go poking around inside. It was out of pure boredom more than necessity, but if you found some good stuff, then it was a win-win. You tossed a rock through the window and listened for shuffles. With your hand ghosting above your dagger, you eased through a hole in the side of the building. Then you smelled it...soap. Mango and lavender. It wasn't a familiar scent, but it was out of place enough to give you pause. You slowly backed up, not wanting to alert whatever human was squatting in here to your presence.

Too late. A hand closed over your mouth. A clean hand? Weird. "Y/N?" the would-be-attacker asked. You whirled around and came face to face with Aaron of all people. He looked rough...well, as rough as Aaron could get you supposed. He was clean, but the bags beneath his eyes and the stubble on his jaw was enough to make you worry.

"What's wrong?" You became distraught when Aaron began to cry and suddenly you were blubbering like fool. "Who hurt you? Aaron, what's wrong? What happened?" You pulled Aaron as close as you could get him without merging your physical forms into one lump of flesh. Rocking him from side to side, you whispered words of comfort. Someone...whoever did this to him would die. You didn't care how big or how small the situation was, but you would kill them. No one hurt Aaron.

"Eric. H-he's dead," Aaron hiccuped into your shoulder. The world turned to black and white for a moment. To lose such a pure, innocent soul was devastating. Eric had never hurt anyone or done anything wrong in his life.

"Why are you out here?"

"I needed to get away from everything. The Saviors, HillTop, Alexandria...everything. I'm lost...I feel so, so broken." Aaron violently rubbed his eyes off onto his sleeves. "I haven't slept or eaten in days. My body hurts, my soul hurts..."

You knew that sort of depression well. You reached into your pocket and pulled out a protein bar. "Eat it. Now. In front of me." It was good to practice your "mom voice" and right now Aaron needed it. He munched on what you jokingly referred to as astronaut food. "How did it happen?"

"He was with Glenn and a few others on a supply run. They ended up clashing with a group of Saviors. Glenn said Eric agreed to go with them if the others were spared. The Saviors lied and they open fired. Eric was shot, but they got away. The bullet went straight through him and he bled out on the way to HillTop."

"Aaron..."

"He wasn't supposed to die. I'm the reckless one out of us. Eric was supposed to be the one to live." Aaron neatly folded up the protein bar wrapper and tucked it in the pocket of his jeans. Tears still glistened in his eyes, but he was breathing normally once again. "I hate that I wasn't there..."

"Eric didn't die alone. Glenn wouldn't leave him behind."

He pressed his forehead against yours. "I stayed long enough to bury him and then I left. All I could think about was getting away, but I didn't have you there to show me how. Everyone I needed was gone. You were being tortured for all I knew and Eric...I'm glad I found you."

"Technically, I found you with my super cool ninja skills."

Aaron snorted and you were happy to see a smile on his handsome face. "Ninja skills? Is that what you call scurrying through the dark and making enough noise to attract a walker? Remember, only hypocrites throw rocks in abandoned houses."

"You mean, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones?"

You laughed through your nose and Aaron chuckled a little. He gathered his things and waited by the truck with you until Negan and the other's returned. Merle and Dwight carried the bulk of the loot while Negan helped Shane walk. You ran over to them, glaring at Negan and demanding an explanation. "Dumb-fuck here decided he was gonna grab a walker and throw himself out a goddamn two-story window. Landed on some concrete and busted his ass to shit."

"Why would you jump out of a window with a walker?!"

Shane lifted his head and squinted through his headache. "Because it was going after Sophia and her knife was jammed in another biter. Couldn't let it take her out."

Sophia nodded to confirm what happened.

"This is exactly why I should have come with!"

"Why? So you could have done the same?" Shane asked dryly. "Right before I jumped I thought what would Y/N do in this situation? and then I did the dumbest fuckin' thing I could think of. Hence jumping out the window."

"Since when are my ideas dumb?" You asked incredulously.

Negan appeared to be thinking of an answer, so you punched him in the arm and he almost dropped Shane. Everyone hustled to the truck and Aaron stood back with a murderous expression on his face. You were surprised to see it there. "Aaron?"

"His men killed Eric," he said in a cold, detached voice.

Negan, of course, couldn't help but poke the hive. "I'm not sure who Eric is, but he may have had it commin'. Did he fuck anyone's wife or steal any of my shit?"

"Eric was a queer," Merle added helpfully. You wanted to slap both of them until they couldn't taste for weeks.

"Sorry! My bad. Did he fuck anyone's husband or steal any of my shit?"

You didn't stop Aaron from leaping toward Negan, but Dwight did. He didn't do it for Negan's sake, but he did it for Aaron's. He knew what would happen to your friend if he landed the punch intended for the leader of the Saviors. "Let it be, man," you heard Dwight whisper to Aaron. "You'll get your chance, we all will."

For once, you were happy Negan was hard of hearing and preferred the sound of his own voice. Otherwise, Dwight and Aaron would have been beaten to a bloody pulp on the side of the road. Aaron jumped back and looked at you. "I'll go with you to HillTop," he said. You put your arm around him and got into the truck. Everyone settled in and prepared to deliver the baby supplies. Hopefully Daryl would be there and you could see him.

You missed those cerulean storms in the depths of his eyes. With nothing else to do to pass the time, you loudly sang a remixed version of ACDC's Highway To Hell, but the lyrics were chanced to "I'm on the highway to HillTop!" Merle joined in by the second chorus and Dwight even played the air-guitar. All in all, the trip was successful. And the little bit of light that returned to Aaron's gaze was worth every second of your foolish behavior.

 

Chapter Text

Hello, everyone.

I apologize for my recent absence from the series. More will be updated soon, I promise. There is a lot going on in my life right now, but I have not given up on this story. Please look forward to future chapters as we move toward the big battle and some serious romantic angst.

Respectfully,

EmpressInferno

P.S. Thank you for all the love and support.

Chapter Text

HillTop was flourishing...well, as much as a settlement could flourish under the pressure of a dictatorship. You jumped from the back of the truck, ignoring the little twinge of pain in your lower back and the protest in your knees. The first person to greet you was Glenn. He saw you from a distance and came running from the gardens. You couldn't see through the tears that blurred your vision as Glenn put his arms around you. The reunion was quiet and filled with so much love that it nearly brought you to your knees. Negan walked over to the Saviors on the property, leaving you to your tear-soaked reunion.

When Glenn pulled back, Rick was next to grab ahold of you. "Damn it, Y/N. It's good to see you."

"You too, Rick." You sniffled into the collar of his shirt. "I know we piss each other off, but we're family."

"I need you here," he said with a shaky voice. "Ever since that night...I ain't been the same, Y/N. I'm not the Rick I used to be. Michonne...she tries to bring me around, but I need someone who's gonna kick my ass and force me to change."

"Just a little while longer. I've got a plan. You know I always have a plan."

Rick released you with a simple nod and wiped away the dampness in his eyes. Michonne, Carl, and baby Judith greeted you next with warm embraces. Carl even took a moment to give Negan a little wave. Whatever was between the two of them was unique and a little reckless, but if anyone could change Negan...it was children. Negan might not be the best with words, but he could handle children.

Jesus all but tackled you to the ground. He pulled Aaron into the hug and the three of you wept like something had physically broken inside of you. Jesus brushed your tears, Aaron brushed Jesus's, and you brushed Aaron's while making excuses about invisible onions and pregnancy hormones.

"That was by far the queerest fuckin' thing I ever saw," muttered Merle Dixon, but he gave Aaron and Jesus fond pats on the back. Jesus looked at Merle's healing injuries and then walked him to see the doctor. You and Aaron went inside to see Maggie and the others. Maggie was holding the baby as the little thing squirmed around. Her face lit up the moment she saw you. She reached out for your hand and pulled you down to sit beside her.

"Th-thank you," she cried. "Glenn wouldn't be here if the Wolf Pack hadn't stood up against Negan."

"I couldn't stop him from killing Abraham."

"So many of us would have died if it weren't for you. Abraham went out the way he would have wanted: Trash talkin' and takin' a stand. We might not be able to see what's happenin' up there at Sanctuary, but we know things would be a lot worse for us if you weren't with Negan." Maggie handed you the baby just as the front door opened. You looked down at the baby and wondered what yours and Daryl's child will look like.

"What's his name?"

"Hershel Rhee," Maggie stated proudly. You put one arm around her and one around the baby as Glenn came inside. He hesitated by the door, but you had never seen such a big smile on his face.

"I have something to show you when you're done."

After a while you handed the baby back to Maggie and walked with glenn around the back of the house. There was a locked cellar that he led you to. "I can't go in with you, someone has to watch out for Saviors. You'll be alright."

Daryl~

He was tired of being locked up in the dark, but everyone panicked when the Savior truck pulled up beside the others. Daryl hid behind some shelves and squinted his eyes when the light spilled in from the open hatch. His hand moved down to grip the hilt of the blade tucked inside his belt and every muscle in his body tensed in anticipation. The long hair that fell over his forehead was damp with sweat in the muggy cellar and Daryl swallowed thickly.

The soft patter of boots came down the short stairway, but his heart stopped when a familiar figure came into the light. For a moment, Daryl couldn't do anything but sit in the dark with his head pressed against the metal shelf and cry. She must have heard him because within the next heartbeat, Y/N stood right in front of him.

"Daryl," she whispered, pulling him close and tucking her face into his chest. "I missed you so much."

"What you doin' here, Princess?"

"Sophia brought me the letters. Glenn needed things for the baby and I went with on a run hoping I could see you. Fuck, I've missed you Dreamy Blues."

Daryl slid his hands through her Y/H/L, Y/H/C hair and tilted her head to press his lips against hers. He drank in her cries as the pads of his thumbs brushed away her tears. He kissed her hard and filled with as much desperation as he could convey. Just holding her felt like a dream he didn't want to wake up from. This moment was worth all of the torture.

He finally pulled back to suck air into his lungs before stealing another kiss. Y/N groaned and he flicked his tongue into her sweet mouth to feel the vibrations of her moan against his lips. When the kiss broke for the second time, Daryl pressed his forehead to hers and shuddered. "How's the baby?" he asked.

"That's another reason why I came...."

Cold dread twisted in Daryl's gut and he placed his hand over the swell of her belly. "What's wrong?"

"Sanctuary doesn't have a doctor anymore. Dr. Carson is dead because Negan suspected him of helping you escape. There have already been complications, so I wanted you to hear it from me in case something went wrong. If..."

"We ain't losin' the baby," Daryl said against her cheek. "Our child ain't goin' nowhere. We'll make it through this. We just have to be strong. Maybe...maybe you could convince Negan to bring you here for visits? I'll be able to see you and the other Dr. Carson could keep you healthy."

"He knows you're gone, Daryl. Negan will find out that you're either at HillTop or Alexandria. And eventually, that's going to make things worse for everyone. The best thing for us to do is for me to keep him occupied until we have what we need to end this." She looked up at him with pleading eyes, wanting him to be patient, but Daryl was a Dixon and Dixon's only knew how to destroy what good was left in the world.

You~

Daryl stepped away from you with unspoken accusations in his eyes. The sight of them caused a chill to run down your spine. You flinched back and shook your head. How dare you think...then you remembered his dream so long ago. No matter what you had said to sway Daryl, he had kept it in the back of his mind that you would be unfaithful to him. Time after time you turned Negan away because of your love for Daryl. Time after time you protected him any way you could and he...he didn't have the same faith in you. "How dare you?!" you hissed in the darkness of the cellar.

"What do ya' expect me ta' think? How've ya' been occupyin' Negan, Y/N?" He ran his hands over his face in frustration. "The whole time I was in that godforsaken place, I was wonderin' when that slimy bastard was gonna weasel his way back into your good graces. Just surprised ya' held out as long as ya' did..." 

The gnawing depression, hatred, and anxiety you had felt for months swirled around inside of you, amplifying to levels you knew were dangerous for the baby, but were helpless to prevent. "After everything that we have been through together, you can look me in my eyes and ask me something that fucking stupid?" You paced back and forth in front of him, unable to calm down your raging heartbeat. "After you shutting me out and searching for Beth? After you making me feel like an inconvenience? After you gave me this ring?" 

You lifted your hand to show him what was still on your finger. It reflected rainbow fractales in the small space from the sliver of light filtering in through the crack in the shutters. Daryl's shoulders slumped, but he didn't apologize or retract his statement. He simply looked too tired to argue. You shoved his chest and tossed the ring at him. It pinged off his shoulder and bounced across the floor. "This is by far the dumbest thing you could have done. No matter what hold Negan ever held over me, it was never enough to blind me of what really mattered. I love you, Daryl, and only you have the ability to make me feel worthless."

Daryl reached out to grab your arm, but you shrugged off his hold. "Y/N, don't do somethin' ya' might regret...I might not be here if ya' decide to come back."

You rounded the corner and stomped back up the stairs. Gone were the tears and the warmth of the happy reunion. You passed Glenn without a word and he bit back a curse at the sight of your impassive expression. Everyone stared at you in shock as you stormed through HillTop and jumped into the passenger seat of the truck without uttering a single word of goodbye.

Daryl couldn't run after you and that was a relief. Because if you had to look into those gorgeous eyes and see your own pathetic reflection in them, you wouldn't be able to hold back the tears anymore. Negan's brow furrowed with worry as he climbed into the driver seat. Shane, Merle, and Dwight hopped in the back and Tekah came along as well. He poked his head through the window between the seats and licked at your face.

The drive back to Sanctuary was quiet and tense. You quietly pet Tekah as Negan's gaze continued to flicker between the road and your suddenly ringless hand. 

Chapter Text

"What's goin' on, girly?" Merle asked the second everyone stepped out of the truck at Sanctuary. The others moved along as he took you by the arm and pulled you over to a secluded corner. Merle tilted his head curiously and waited patiently for you to open up. It was strange to think of how far the two of you had come since that day in the woods when Merle completed his initiation. You gave him a sad smile, but the sincerity in his voice caused you to break down.

"Daryl accused me of being unfaithful to him," you explained. "I told him that staying at Sanctuary until we had what we needed to attack was the best thing right now. You know as well as I do that none of our allies can take on Sanctuary and win. I thought Daryl knew that too. Rick isn't ready to fight Negan. The Kingdom doesn't want any part of the war that brewing. HillTop is barely holding on with Gregory leading things..."

"And he thought you were fuckin' Negan?"

"Those weren't his exact words, but yeah." You pressed your forehead against the exterior wall of the complex and sighed. Things could not have gone worse with Daryl. "I gave him back the ring. What good is a promise if there's no trust?"

"I hear ya', girly. Damn little brother done fucked up this time. He sure is a Dixon."

You reached into your pocket and handed Merle a slip of paper. "There's a group called the Scavengers not far from Alexandria. Find a woman named Jadis. She's...a little eerie, but I think she might have an interest in all of this if the outcome proves profitable. I think you speak her language, so I'm sending you to make contact."

Merle looked down at scrap of map in his hands. "They garbage people?"

"Something like that." You smiled at Merle and patted his arm. "If you need backup, bring Jesus. But if anything looks out of place or they seem hostile, you get the hell out of there, Merle."

"You worried about this old dog?"

You and Merle hug for a while before you sauntered off to your room. It was empty, thankfully, allowing you to strip down and shower in peace without having to explain to Shane or anyone else just how shitty you were feeling. The unending ache inside wouldn't grant you a moment of serenity even beneath the scolding hot water that cascaded over your body. You tried to find a reason why Daryl would suspect you of sleeping with Negan. You tried to find a reason to justify...anything. But all you could do was count how many times he turned his back on you when it mattered. How many times he shut you out when you two were supposed to love one another. It hurt.

It hurt so much that you barely noticed slipping in the shower and falling unconscious. You woke up some time later. Beams of moonlight spilled into the room through the window and covered you in a pale glow. Negan sat beside you on the bed with his head hung low, worry etched into his handsome features. "That goddamn mutt is gonna be the death of you," he grumbled. "I don't know where he's hidin', but I don't give flyin' fuck anymore."

"I'm sorry."

"What the hell are you apologizing for?" Negan turned to face you entirely and the intensity in his gaze was enough to keep you from crying again. "Finding that dumbass redneck has no appeal to me if you ain't here to watch me fuck with him. I've got more than enough reasons to go after him and make him pay for what he did to you."

"Daryl didn't do anything to me."

"Baby Girl, I know you ain't that stupid. We've discussed this. He's weakened you so much. You're practically back where I first found you and that shit pisses me off. All of the progress we made is gone." Negan leaned back on the pillows and pulled you against his chest. This time, you didn't fight him. All you wanted was to be held because he was right. You and Daryl lost sight of everything but each other for so long that you felt like walking away had been your death.

"I have to think about what's best for me and the baby. Right now, I can't worry about Daryl's insecurities because I have to take care of myself." You were sickened by how much comfort you drew from Negan. The smell of leather, gun smoke, and soap filled your nostrils as the warmth of his body soothed some of your worries. "I love him, Negan."

"If he loved you as much as you love him, he would have risked running after you. No real man would let the woman he loves walk right into the arms of the man he accused her of sleeping with unless he had already given up. Hell, maybe the whole time we tortured him, hoping he would join us and give up what made Rick tick, I was unintentionally chipping away at his trust in you. Somehow I think that might have hurt him worse."

Negan rubbed your tired back up and down, smoothing a hand over your hair every once in a while. His touch was more welcome than it had any right to be. Each passing caress lulled you to sleep as his deep, raspy voice compared loving you to taming a wild animal. That he was enchanted by your elegant strength and lethal beauty, but not dumb enough to think you wouldn't one day bite the hand that fed you. But he said he was willing to wait, willing to risk being bitten if it meant being able to hold you like this just a little more.


Each day you received letters from the Kingdom, Alexandria, HillTop, and the Junk Yard. Eventually you would need to send word to Oceanside and the other groups, but for now you were happy with the way things were going. Word reached you of Daryl resurfacing. Glenn said he refused to talk to anyone in the Wolf Pack, but that he continued to help with liberating the outposts and the nearby settlements. He couldn't have disappointed you more if he wanted.

Dwight came into the room with your breakfast and Tekah fallowed despite Negan's strict rules about "no dogs in the bedroom". Your loyal wolf companion hopped right onto the bed and flopped down to get comfortable. Dwight eyed you suspiciously for a moment and you looked down to make sure you hadn't spilled anything on yourself. It was then that you looked down and saw the puddle of liquid surrounding your feet. Oh no.

Your water had broken, but there was no pain. Dwight walked you down to Negan's office and you self-consciously blushed like a schoolgirl when he noticed the dampness of your nightdress. "HOLY SHIT!" Negan rushed across the room and barked orders to his men. After what felt like hours of waiting, the pain kicked in and it was like nothing you had ever felt before. The bloodchilling scream that erupted from your diaphragm caused Negan's face to pale. "We're getting her to HillTop now!"

Strong hands ushered you toward the RV as Negan whispered comforting words in your ear. You tried to focus on the calm, even tone of his voice, but your vision began to blur. "Negan," you gasped, reaching over to squeeze his hand. "I'm scared."

"You ain't got nothin' to be afraid of, the Big Bad Wolf is right here, darlin'." He sat down on the couch in the back of the RV and pulled you against his chest as Dwight jumped in the driver seat. Shane and Tekah climbed in soon after and you off. The pain didn't come in waves like you expected. It  never seemed to let up even with Negan trying to sooth the worst of it. "Goddamn I hate seein' you like this. Talk to me, Baby Girl. You gotta stay awake. DWIGHT YOU BETTER GET US THE FUCK THERE NOW!!!"

"Do you really think the shouting is helpin' her?!" Shane snapped back. Negan quieted down again and you could tell something was wrong by the look on his face. He kissed your forehead and cheeks like it might be the last time he got to do so. You began to tremble, muscle spasms wracking your body.

The RV came to a stop some time later and Negan hefted you up into his arms and ran. He was careful not to jostle you too much or drop you as he dashed toward Dr. Carson's. The kind man opened his doors right away despite seeing Negan and you were grateful. Noise erupted from HillTop as Tekah howled into the night. The Wolf Pack emerged and Dr. Carson began his procedure. Glenn stared blankly at Negan for several seconds. Rick came to stand near the bed.

Michonne and the others waited outside.

Daryl~

Panic flared in his chest when large hands hauled him out of his cot. He came back to HillTop with Rick and the others the day before to see how the progress with the outposts was coming along. Daryl opened his eyes to see Shane gripping his shirt with a vicious expression on his face. "Get your ass up now, Y/N is in labor."

Daryl moved so fast he didn't even bother to put on his boots before running out of the house. He paid no mind to the Saviors waiting nearby as he ran for Carson's. Daryl Dixon was just a blur in the night, filled with regret, anger, and sadness. He fucked up and that bad karma was coming around fast. When he finally made it to the doctor's Dwight blocked his entry. Daryl had no problem ramming his fist into Dwight's gut and flooring him right away. But what he saw when he walked in was something he would never forget....

Negan held Y/N like a precious treasure with tears in his eyes and his hands tried to rub the tension from her muscles. The man looked about as wrecked as Daryl felt, but those dark eyes snapped with fury when they landed on Daryl. He flinched back momentarily and Rick hurried to remove Daryl from the room. "No, Rick! I don't give a shit if he's in here. I need ta' be there when my baby is born. Don't do this..."

Rick relented and allowed Daryl to move beside Y/N. She didn't squeeze his hand even when he grabbed on to hers and she refused to meet his gaze. His heart hurt like he'd been kicked in the chest by a horse. Daryl did whatever the doctor needed as did everyone else. Jesus, Aaron, Carl, and the others all took turns visiting, but in the end it was Daryl, Rick, and Negan who stayed when Dr. Carson put an end to the visits. Shane was busy guarding the door and sending word to Merle using Nyx.

Each scream, each back-breaking arch off the bed, each time her face grew ashen and the awareness left her Y/E/C eyes, Daryl felt it like a physical blow. Negan glared at Daryl until he finally met the other man's eyes. "If you don't get your head outta your own ass for three seconds and focus on her, I'm gonna shoot you in the fuckin' face right here."

As if Daryl couldn't have felt worse about the situation, Negan knew just where to hit him where it hurt. Dr. Carson began to use the voice he reserved for bad news and a cold chill ran down Daryl's spine. "What is it doc?" he asked.

"There has been...some extreme trauma to her body. Some that are causing her a lot of the pain and we don't have the medicine or the equipment anymore to relieve the spasms in her muscles long enough to deliver the baby. There are no pain relievers that I am comfortable giving her without knowing her medical history."

"What the hell are you sayin'?" Negan barked. "You better do whatever the fuck you can."

Giant tears rolled down Y/N's cheeks and Daryl wanted to do nothing more than to take her pain away.

"My grandfather....broke my pelvis when I was nine," she croaked weakly. "It never healed properly. Some...other things were damaged as well."

"This is years and years of trauma that this labor is conflicting with...I'm sorry but-"

"You have to save the baby..." Y/N demanded. Negan's outburst matched a similar rage Daryl felt within himself. Both men protested until Shane removed them from the room and Aaron and Jesus took their place. Glenn stared at Negan with obvious hatred, but he looked at Daryl with disappointment. Heck, he half expected a lecture from Rick.

"If she dies, you inbred piece of shit...I'll burn this world to the ground." Negan looked off into nothingness as the nerve in his jaw ticked. He must have been in a too big of a rush to get Y/N help to grab his bat and Daryl was happy for that small miracle. In this state, there was no saying what the son of a bitch might do.

The hours went by and suddenly the screaming stopped. When Aaron walked out of the room, he dropped to his knees. Daryl and Negan were struck by the sight of his arms covered in blood.

"No....oh god no....."

Daryl didn't know who cried out first or who fought the hardest to get through those doors, but eventually a hard crack against the back of his skull drowned out all of the noise. Daryl was swept up in blissful quiet as the shadows embraced him. 

Chapter Text

Laughter rang through your head as tiny hands grabbed at the end of your cloak. You opened your eyes, squinting against the brilliant sunlight as your daughter tried to climb up your legs. You knelt down to lift her up and stared into her bright cerulean gaze. She giggled and tangled her hands in your cowl before tossing her head back and howling.

Tekah came running toward you and the happiness in your heart felt out of place. This wasn't right. You didn't deserve to be happy. You didn't deserve this angel in your arms with her dark hair and shining smile. You didn't deserve any of it...this was not your reality. Happiness was never in the cards for you, but dammit...you wanted to be selfish. You wanted the happiness.

A firm hand gripped your arm to turn you around and you saw the matching eyes of your daughter. Daryl leaned down to kiss your forehead and whispered, "Welcome home, Princess. I missed ya'."

Moisture welled in your eyes as you stared at him adoringly....

Pain. White-hot pain lanced through your entire body. Aaron held your shoulders down while Jesus kept your legs from closing on reflex. You couldn't hear anything but the pounding of your own heartbeat in your ears. Tension flared in your neck and jaw from how wide your mouth pulled open to scream. Dr. Carson's face was a blurry apparition in the haze of your agony.

You ran through the vast open field with your darling girl. She danced around with her arms wide and spun in circles to catch the fluttering dandelion fluff. "Mommy! Mommy!" she squealed in delight. You reached for her with a smile so wide it split your face in two, but you could not touch her...you were broken and tainted, unfit to bask in the glow of her love.

"HOLD HER DOWN! If we don't get the baby out soon, we'll lose them both."

Foreign sounds broke through the fog. You panted out horsed gasping breaths, trying to force air into your lungs even when your body protested. Sweat poured down your face and burned your eyes. You just wanted it to stop. All of the pain and the uncertainty...you wanted it to end. "Please," you rasped to no one in particular. Aaron's gaze flickered to yours and he shook his head.

"No. Not after everything we've been through. Not after everything we've started. You're pulling through this." He pushed the hair off of your forehead and whispered, "I'm sorry."

Darkness. Gone was your child and the love of the man you could never live without. Here in the darkest recesses of your mind, there was no room for Daryl and happiness. But deep in these shadows, another creature lingered. Negan. He strutted up to you and lifted you into his arms. Negan held you tight against his chest with your legs wrapped around his waist.

"I fuckin' love the shit outta you, Baby Girl. Don't you give up now."

"I-I can't," you cried. "I'm so scared. I'm lost again, Negan. I don't know what to do."

"Come on home to me, darlin'. You know I'll always take care of you. Sanctuary and the rest of this shit don't mean a goddamn thing if you ain't by my side," he breathed. The calm pulse of his heart kept you from falling over the edge. There were things you did not want to remember. Things that would never allow you to come back.

Daryl~

He opened his eyes and instantly jumped to his feet. Rick and Shane held him against the wall so he couldn't rush into the room. One of these fuckers hit him. Negan was tied up with a blank expression on his face as a strange sound came from Carson's room. "What the hell is he doin'?"

Aaron couldn't speak or move from where he still knelt on the ground. Daryl noticed that the sun began to rise from behind the trees and wondered if Y/N would be able to see it, too. Today was his baby's birthday and Daryl wasn't even able to see it. Jesus came out, his face white as a ghost. "Somebody answer my damn question!" Daryl demanded.

"Carson's doing CPR right now..." Jesus explained softly. He was covered in more blood than Aaron. "He doesn't want anyone to get their hopes up. There hasn't been a pulse for almost two minutes. If he can't restart her heart again..."

"No! Fuck you!" Negan barked. "All of you killed her! You killed the best damn thing in this miserable life!"

Daryl had never seen the man so emotional....Sophia reached up and brushed the tears from his own cheeks. Damn...he hadn't even known he started to cry. Glenn and the others moved to comfort him, but he shrugged off their efforts. Nothing felt right. Nothing seemed real with out Y/N. He wanted to tell her that he was stupid, that he fucked up and that he wanted to be with her again. Daryl loved her so much.

Suddenly, a desperate wail reverberated through the house. Daryl's heart seized at the sound of his baby crying. Carson stepped out of the room with a white bundle of fabric in his arms and handed it to Daryl. "This is your daughter. I...think it would be best for you to name her..."

Daryl barely had any strength in his arms to hold up the precious little gift. He kissed her tiny nose and watched it scrunch up. For so long he never thought he could love something as much as he loved Y/N, but here she was...a miracle. "Where's Y/N?" he heard himself ask. "I wanna see her."

Everyone held their breath, preparing themselves for the bad news.

"She's resting. There was a moment when I didn't think she would come back." Dr. Carson instructed everyone to wash up and get clean before holding the baby. He then allowed people into Y/N room one by one just to soothe the ache in their hearts and know that she was alive. Shane cut Negan loose despite everyone's protests. His only reason for doing so was because it was what Y/N would have wanted.

Negan pushed past everyone and climbed into the bed beside her. Daryl fought back his need to stake his claim, but remembered that he let her go. He had no right to her even though every bone in his body screamed with possessiveness.

You~

Everything in your body ached, but it was nothing compared to what it had been before. There were cords attached to your limbs and a heavy weight against your side. You peeked beneath your lashes at Negan's scruffy face. You didn't know how much time had passed, but you felt like you had slept for years while not having slept at all...if that made any sense. You were exhausted, but not the sort of exhausted that came from physical exertion. No, your soul was tired.

Negan stirred and his eyes opened. His rough palm cupped your cheek and he pressed the sweetest kiss to your temple. Conflicting emotions warred within you, but you didn't deny him the comfort of being near you. His smile was infectious, coaxing one out of you as well. "You died," he said in wonderment. "But you came back. I damn near lost my shit, darlin'."

You snorted and snuggled closer into him, but the door opened. There was a vivid tension now that you were confronted with the sight of Daryl once again. He gingerly walked over to the bed and handed you your daughter. Her little bottom lip poked out in a frown and the happiness that you felt in your dream came rushing through you. She was...perfect.

"Arowyn," you whispered, leaning forward to smell the scent of fresh soap on her skin.

"Should have known ya' would have picked somethin' better than me. Shane and I were tossin' around ideas. I wanted Cutthroat Dixon and he said Beatrice. Neither of us won that fight, but...I like Arowyn." Daryl blushed and looked down at the floor as if his boots were suddenly interesting. His hair was disheveled, but he looked like someone had been taking care of him -probably Rick and the others. Negan looked...well, you had never seen the charismatic leader looking so ruined.

Each time you moved it seemed like he was checking you over for pain. When you grew too quiet, he nuzzled into your neck to feel your pulse. "How long was I...unconscious?"

"Six days," Negan answered.

Your daughter had been alive for six days and you already died once. Changes would have to be made from that day forward. Changes some people might not like, but were for the betterment of all. Dwight and a few Saviors showed up to see the baby, but also make sure that no one tried to harm Negan. Aaron and Jesus stayed by your side when the stress of being around Daryl became too much. It was hard to look at him without feeling pitiful.

"Arowyn Dixon."

"Sounds like a superhero," Aaron pointed out.

"Exactly. My daughter will be the one to lead this new world."