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The Darkest Storm

A Playful Wink

She ran.

She ran as fast as her legs could carry her. She ran through the woods not having a care in the world who or what heard her. All she knew, was that she had to make it, she had to. There was no other option.

With the last few steps to make it out of the dense woods she tripped over a loose root, falling into a bush of thorns and digging her arm in the base of it. The swelling. The pain. The ooze. It was a lot to handle in one day, it was another set back and Darcy was quickly running out of time.

Somewhere in her befuddled mind one thought connects to another and she’s on her feet, not even bothering to inspect the deep cut on her forearm and continued forward.

Panting, Darcy cleared the woods and faced a field, wide, open, peaceful. Far across it was the white farm house the man had told her to go to. There was a Doctor there, a man who could save Carl, a man who could end this horrific nightmare of a day. Hershel, his name was.

Darcy had ran ahead of the three men, knowing she could make it there in time to let the Doctor know they were coming. Hopefully, he would be ready.

With the back of her hand she wiped the dripping sweat from her forehead, breathing heavily and allowing the rush of adrenaline run flow through her veins. Never could she ever get the image of Rick carrying the unmoving body of his son in his arms, blood covering every inch of his shirt and a face that said for the first time, he didn’t know what to do.

Darcy closed her eyes and took another deep breath. She knows she needs to keep moving, but she’s trembling and light-headed now, gasping for air.

Ten seconds. Then move. She tells herself. Darcy takes the time to rest, catch her breath, and doesn’t allow herself to divert her mind to anything or anyone when she does.

The pain in her arm did in no way compete with her determination to reach that farm house. As she counted down to her last few seconds, she was off again, sprinting towards the place of rest and rescue.

Darcy reached the hand-made metal gate and threw it open, not letting it slow her feet down in the slightest. She still held her bow when she jumped up the few white steps, pounding on the door with what little energy she had left. The accident may have been at least five miles away, and as she heard the frantic footsteps approach the screen door, Darcy turned and saw in the far distance the other three desperately trying to catch up with her.
The door opened, and an older man stood tall facing Darcy with an intimidating glance.

“May we help you?” He spoke, and Darcy watched behind him as four other people stood in another room all eyes on her. His voice was calming, soothing, relaxing.

“There was an accident.” She swallowed, still panting. “Your man shot a little boy. They’re heading our way now.”

“Was he bit?” He asked.

Darcy shook her head and let her eyes water as everything caught up to her. “No.” She glanced behind her and she could see their figures clearly now. “Your man said to ask for Hershel. Is that you?”

The man nodded. “I am.”

Her voice cracked. “Please help us.”

“Patricia, I need my full kit.” Hershel began rolling up his long white sleeves. “Maggie, painkillers, coagulates – grab everything. Clean towels, sheets, alcohol. Start setting things up in the downstairs bedroom. What is your name Miss?”

“Darcy!” Rick screamed, starting to fully panic at the sight of his boy in his arms. He reached the stairs, and Hershel and Darcy ran down to meet him so they could help him up and into the room they began to set up.

“Are you Hershel? Please help my boy!” Rick said frantically, placing Carl on the bed while others rushed in around him.

“Pillowcase, quick.” Hershel instructed Rick. “Fold it. Make a pad.”

Rick didn’t move. “Is he alive?”

Darcy looked at Rick and immediately snatched a pillowcase from the bed and proceeded to do as Hershel said.

“Put pressure on the wound.”

“Is he alive?” Rick asked again as he moved over to let Darcy do as he asked. Blood covered her hands as she watched Hershel use his stethoscope and listen for a heartbeat. Carl was pale, and barely breathing.

“I’ve got a heartbeat. It’s faint.”

“I got it, step back.” Patricia asked, looking towards Rick and Darcy. Darcy immediately moved away and put a hand on Rick’s arm. His face was unmoving from his son’s, and was oblivious to the things going on around him.

“Let them handle this. Come on.” She said gently, trying to guide him out of the room.

“Your name?” Hershel asked him.

“Rick. Rick – I’m…I’m Rick.” He stuttered.

“Rick, we’re gonna do everything we can, okay? You need to give us some room.” Hershel spoke with care, but sternness. And when Rick still was unable to tare his eyes away from Carl, Hershel nodded at Darcy and she pulled more forcefully on his arm to get him out of the room.

As they reached the white door frame, Darcy glanced outside of the window next to her, seeing the man Otis struggling with every step he took whilst Shane continued to edge him onward. Rick saw the same thing, and he held out an arm to Darcy telling her he was okay to be by himself and walked out to meet his friend.

Darcy hadn’t moved, she stayed staring out the window when Shane and Otis tried to get some more insight on the situation. Darcy could tell by Otis’ face and expression he was struggling with what he had done, he was sincere, and completely apologetic and was willing to do anything he could to fix it.

Darcy leaned up against the window as she crossed her arms and bit the tip of her thumb when the others walked in to meet them. Her expression matched Shane’s: worry, confusion, frustration. She hadn’t come close to Carl or Lori, but she had with Rick and she respected him and his family because of the decisions and risks he made for the group. Shane didn’t look at her when he passed. He didn’t give her the nod she needed to tell her everything was going to be okay.

She needed him. She needed Daryl. His simple nod was all it ever took for her to calm down. Darcy pictured him standing next to her, trying to be subtle when looking at her every so often to examine her face. He always wanted to be on guard to make sure she was okay in every situation. Daryl always wanted to know what she thought, what she was going to do, how she was going to act.

Darcy could only hope he and the others were safe, because they weren’t having any such luck.

-
Lori faced the way behind her, standing tall and playing with the gun in her holster.

“You still worrying about it?” Andrea asked.

“Yeah, it was a gun shot.” She whispered.

“We all heard it.” Daryl said. They did. They all heard the gut-wrenching sound of just one gun shot fired off back where they came. He knew Darcy and the others went that way, and he grew anxious to get back to the highway and meet up with the others just to make sure she was safe.

All of it made him sick to his stomach really, not just the image of Darcy dead on the forest floor, but the way he felt so enraptured by her that he just couldn’t think of anything else. Daryl tried to ignore it, the way he always wanted to have her in his sights, make sure she was safe, to be the one to protect her. It was comforting to have her in his company, and he couldn’t imagine someone he had grown so close with to suddenly not be there anymore. He had lost too many people already, Daryl wasn’t about to let her go on top of it all.

“Why one? Why just one gunshot?” Lori asked.

Daryl had wondered that himself, but he managed to hide his worry and be the leader as Shane said. “Maybe they took down a walker.”

“Please don’t patronize me. You know Rick wouldn’t risk a gunshot to put down one walker. Nor Shane or Darcy for that matter, you know better. They’d do it quietly.”

“Shouldn’t they have caught up with us by now?” Carl said.

“There’s nothin’ we can do about it anyway.” The realization made him sigh and shuffle his feet to keep his mind off her. “Can’t run around these woods chasin’ echoes.”

“So what do we do?” Lori asked, impatient for Daryl to answer.

“Same as we’ve been. Beat the bush for Sophia, work our way back to the highway.”

-

“You know his blood type?” Hershel asked Rick.

“A-positive. Same-same as mine.”

“That’s fortunate. Don’t wander far I’m gonna need you.” Hershel looked to Otis, who still had his eyes wide and stuttered to find his words.

“I was tracking a buck. Bullet went through it. Went clean through.”

Hershel lifted up the make-shift pad Darcy had made earlier to look at the wound. “The deer slowed the bullet down, which certainly saved his life. But it did not go through clean. It broke up into pieces. If I can get the bullet fragments out…and I’m counting six.”

Otis had made it over to his wife, Patricia. “I never saw him, not until he was on the ground.”

“Lori doesn’t know?” Rick looked to Shane and Darcy, and she rubbed her forehead to hide away the oncoming tears. “My wife doesn’t know.”

“Shane.” Darcy called out in a whisper, making the man turn slightly and follow the nod she gave him into the next room.

“I’ll go get Lori.” Darcy put her hands on her hips.

“Alone? No.” Shane shook his head, “We can’t afford to…” He looked back at the doorway where Carl laid. “It’s too risky.”

Darcy put her hands together and put them up to her mouth. “Listen, knowing Rick he’s going to want to get her himself. Now, you know he needs to stay here and I’m not the type of person to convince him to. Ya’ll are best friends…”

Shane’s eyes grew red and watery, letting some droplets fall from his face. She put a hand on his shoulder. “…Brothers, even. You need to make sure he stays here. Besides, I can find them way quicker than you can and I know my way back.”

Shane put his hands on his hips and tilted his head down as he looked at her. Darcy held his strong gaze, and she knew he knew she was right. Rick would try to get Lori, and he couldn’t risk it if something happened to Carl.

Shane reached in his bag and pulled out Darcy’s pistol and handed it to her. “Be safe.”

“Do you have others out there?” Maggie rounded the corner and faced the two. “Other than Rick’s wife?”

Darcy looked to Shane and back to Maggie. “A few.”

“I’m going with you then. We’ll take a horse, I’ll bring back Lori. You said you knew your way back and that way you can lead the others back here safely. No use gettin’ lost out there.”

“You be safe now.” Shane put a hand on Darcy’s shoulder. “Go get ‘em girl.”

“Alright, let’s go.” Darcy looked to Maggie who lead her out to the stables. They quickly saddled a horse and sprinted off towards the area of the church, knowing running around in the woods blind wasn’t going to help if they didn’t immediately pick up a trail.

It didn’t take long, Darcy pointed with her finger and whistled at Maggie to show her which direction to take the horse. Her eyes followed the line of Darcy’s finger up into the foliage in front of them. At first, Maggie had no idea what she was pointing to, but then, about a 100 yards in front of them, she could make out the vague shape of the others in the dimming light.

The others were crossing the horse’s path further up ahead and a growing sense of relief grew in Darcy’s gut. Among the familiar evening sounds of the woods, Darcy’s ears register a low growl, followed by the instant screams of Andrea falling to the floor and crawling on her back to scramble away from the flesh eating monster pursuing her.

“Go!” Darcy yelled at Maggie, who seemed to have a hard time understanding what exactly was attacking Andrea. She pulled out her bat, kicking her heels into the horse’s sides and took off.

Reaching them in seconds, Maggie swung and struck the walker hard in it’s side, making it topple to the ground beside the others. Maggie continued to run past Andrea before turning around, but Darcy leaped off the back of the horse and turned around to shoot an arrow through its skull to finally end its immortal life.

“Lori? Lori Grimes?” Maggie called down to Andrea.

Darcy ran up to the walker first, quickly pulling her arrow and turning to Lori out of breath and ignoring the others. “Lori!”

“What? What’s going on? Where’s Rick and Carl?” Lori ran up to her.

“Carl’s been shot.” Darcy took hold of her arm and pulled her towards the horse. “This is Maggie, she’s going to take you to him.”

“He’s still alive but you have to come now.” Maggie told her. Lori stood, trying to piece together what the two women suddenly threw her way that made her whole world spin.

“Rick needs you! Just come!” Maggie finally yelled, before hoisting Lori onto the back of the horse.

“Whoa whoa whoa! We don’t know this girl! You can’t get on that horse!” Daryl pointed and yelled.

“Carl’s been shot!” Darcy yelled back. “We don’t have time to sit down and discuss everything over fish and chips, now GO!”

“You remember how to get back?” Maggie asked her.

“I’ll be fine.” Darcy nodded before watching Lori and Maggie set off back towards the farm.

“What the hell happened?” Glenn asked, approaching Darcy and grabbing her arm that was brutally cut up and bruised. Daryl came up from behind Glenn and looked at it as well.

“I fell.” She shrugged it off.

“Is Carl alright?” Andrea asked.

Darcy nodded but sighed heavily, “He’s alive. But he’s not doing so well.”

Carol came up to Darcy and hugged her, “Well, we’re glad you’re safe.”

As Carol hugged Darcy, she looked up at Daryl who’s eyes stared back down at her. He gave her the nod she was looking for all throughout this madness, and she didn’t return it, but blushed a smile instead.

“Let’s head back, get the others.” Daryl said to the group, but his eyes did not move from Darcy’s. “Start a new search for Sophia tomorrow.”

Carol released Darcy and walked away from her as Daryl approached. “Can fix that up at the R.V.” He motioned towards her arm.

“That’s the third time you told me that.”

Daryl smirked and lifted up her arm. “Pricker bush?”

“A nasty one.” Darcy watched as he gently traced every cut with his thumb, careful not to press to hard but just enough to be tender and see what the damage was. He then looked up at her shyly, cupping one side of her face that must have been cut as well, and inspected her jaw with his thumb as well. Darcy could feel the slight trembling in his hands, and a sensation of warmth as he looked over her with care.

Daryl coughed and looked back down at her arm. “’M glad you’re okay.”

Darcy again blushed and looked down as well. “You too.”

“Hey! You two coming?” Glenn yelled back to them, catching them off guard and unaware of anything else going on around them. They immediately backed off and continued to stare at the ground before turning around and walking back next to each other, still blushing along the way.

“No luck finding Sophia?” Darcy said quietly.

Daryl shook his head, “Nah, we’ll look again tomorrow. Head back down the creek the other way.”

Darcy nodded, keeping her gaze on the twigs and leaves around her feet. “Shouldn’t we meet up with the others first?”

Daryl shrugged, kept his voice low and matched her tone. “Don’ know. Maybe. Still gotta keep an eye out.” Daryl looked at her as they walked and readjusted his grip on his crossbow. “Shoulda never split up to begin with.” He scoffed. “More people get lost ‘n hurt.”

“I know.” Darcy said.

“You ‘n me should just look for her. Rick’s occupied with Carl now. Prolly Shane too.” Daryl cleared his throat, shrugging his shoulders.

“And the others?” Darcy looked to him.

“Just be in our way anyways. Cause more trouble. ‘N look what already happened.” Daryl motioned his head where Lori and Maggie galloped away on the horse earlier.

“And I won’t be in your way?” Darcy asked.

Daryl stepped wide over a log. “Way I see it, we got the upper hand, better luck of findin’ her. Know how to track, hunt. ‘S no different.”

“Harder to track something that’s lost.” Darcy mumbled.

“You got that look on your face same as everybody else. What the hell’s wrong with you people? We just started looking.”

“I didn’t say anything about not finding her. Bite my head off why don’t you.” Darcy scoffed. “Being lost out here, there’s a lot more ground to cover then just someone’s back yard.”

“It ain’t the mountains of Tibet. It’s Georgia.” He looked at her. “She could be holed up in a farmhouse somewhere. People get lost and they survive. It happens all the time.”

“She’s young. And it’s not every day someone gets lost and just survives in a world like this now.”

“Hell, I was younger than her and I got lost. Nine days in the woods eatin’ berries. Wipin’ my ass with poison oak.”

“They found you?” Darcy stifled the laugh, only knowing the poison oak would bring up itself later.

“My old man was off on a bender with some waitress. Merle was doin’ another stint in Juvie. Didn’ even know I was gone.” Daryl looked at Darcy. “I made my way back though. Went straight into the kitchen and made myself a sandwich. No worse for wear. Except my ass itched something awful.”

Darcy couldn’t hold in her laughter, she covered her mouth with her hand and looked up at Daryl who was already forcing a smile back at her. “Sorry.” She coughed, but the more she thought about it the harder she began to laugh. Soon, Daryl laughed right along with her and couldn’t help but watch her smile.

“Only difference is, Sophia’s got people looking for her. I call that an advantage.”

“We’ll find her.” Darcy nodded, finally stopping her laughter and looked towards Daryl.

“There’s Dale.” Daryl looked ahead.

“What’s wrong? Where’s Lori?” Dale looked frantically throughout the group. “Carl, Rick, Shane? I heard screams.”

“Carl’s been shot.” Glenn told him, hopping over the road railing.

“Shot? Whaddya mean shot?” Dale asked.

“I don’t know, Dale. I wasn’t there. All I know is this chick rode out of nowhere with Darcy like Zorro on a horse and took Lori.” Glenn answered.

“Darcy’s here. You didn’t go with them?” Dale asked her, then looked to Daryl. “And you let her?”

“Climb down out of my asshole, man. Rick sent her. She knew Lori’s name and Carl’s. Don’t matter anyways – Darcy was with her.”

Darcy rolled her eyes. “Carl is at her house with her father who happens to be a Doctor. It’s a horse not an airplane, can’t fit more than two people on it and you gotta find the farmhouse somehow.”

“And the screams?” Dale asked. “Was that you, Andrea?”

Andrea ignored Dale, walking past him and stomping towards the R.V. as Glenn answered Dale for her. “She got attacked by a walker, it was a pretty close call.”

“Andrea? Are you alright?” Dale asked, only receiving a glare and a slammed door in his face.

“Forget her. She wants to pout, let her. We gotta meet up with the others. Shouldn’t of split up in the first place.” Daryl said, grabbing his bag and throwing Darcy another water bottle before putting his hands on his sides and standing close to her.

“We can’t do that, we can’t just leave.” Carol sputtered out. “What about Sophia?”

“Carol, the group is split. We’re scattered and weak.” Dale said, resting up against the R.V.

“What if she comes back, and we’re not here?” Carl said, looking throughout the group and receiving blank stares. “It could happen.”

“If Sophia found her way back and we were gone, that would be awful.” Andrea said.

Daryl nodded, “Okay. We got to plan for this. I say tomorrow morning is soon enough to pull up stakes. Give us a chance to rig a big sign, leave her some supplies. Me ‘n Darcy will hold here tonight, stay with the R.V.”

Darcy suddenly thought that it was funny that Daryl began to make decisions for her. “No. I have to show those who are meeting up with Rick and the others the way back. Can tell you easy, Daryl, but no one else would know.”

“If the R.V. is staying, I am too.” Dale nodded.

“I’m in.” Andrea held up a hand.

Daryl locked his eyes on Darcy. “It’s not a good idea to split us up again. Look what happened last time.”

“We could just all stay-“ Glenn started.

“No, we have to get T-Dog to the farm. That cut has gone from bad to worse and he has a very serious blood infection. We gotta have Darcy take him to that farm, see if they have any antibiotics, and someone else has to go with her in case something happens. T-Dog will die if he doesn’t get medical attention.”

Darcy rubbed her eyes and sighed heavily as she heard rustling from behind her. She turned, seeing Daryl rifling through his motorcycle’s bag and pulled out a huge plastic bag full of medications.

“Why’d you wait till now to say somethin’? Got my brother’s stash.” Daryl said. “Crystal, X. Don’t need that.” Daryl pulled out a bottle and tossed it to Glenn.

“Got some kick ass painkillers. Oxycycline.” He tossed the bottle again. “Not the generic stuff neither. It’s first class. Merle got the clap on occasion.” Daryl shrugged.

Darcy walked over to Daryl away from the others. “You become more and more attractive every day.” She said sarcastically, referring to Merle having the clap.

Daryl looked at her, “I don’t have it.”

“You sure?” Darcy bit her lip to hold back her laughter.

“Welcome to check if you’d like.” Daryl stepped towards her, pulling his crossbow over his shoulder and standing tall above her. They were close, inches away even, and Darcy held his gaze as she stepped back to walk away.

Walking backwards and sending him a playful wink she answered him.

“Maybe later.”

Notes

;alksjd;flkasjdf;klasjdfa;skdfja; - sorry, I sometimes can picture the way Darcy and Daryl act and it makes me all giddy. HOPE YOU LOOOOVED THIS CHAPTERRR - I know I had fun writing it :) Leave me a little comment will you? Let me know what you're thinking, if you want me to change anything, or what you'd like to see. I'm having a lot of fun reading what you are telling me, good or bad it's awesome to have some feedback. (But obviously the good comments make me happy).

- Jane

Comments

Please update this is such an amazing story and I'm dying to know what happens next!!!

Ash8 Ash8
1/22/19

@LoriG
Part 66 is up ;)

@aphishinthec
Argh you got my hopes up- I saw an update, but it was you replying to my last messaege! Please can you update @bikingthroughflowers ? Thank you!

LoriG LoriG
6/25/18

@LoriG Right?!?! Need to know how she would handle Negan.

I'm also desperate to know how Darcy would fare in the storyline now. Pleeeeeease don't give up on this fic, I'm reading it AGAIN! <3<3<3

aphishinthec aphishinthec
4/6/18

I’d love to know how Darcy would deal with Negan... you need to update surely?! Still love this story, and just read it again!

LoriG LoriG
7/31/17