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The Darkest Storm

Iris's Ablaze

Darcy scouted over the map and traced with both fingers, following the lines of the roads and figuring out how to pinpoint the farmhouse in order to pack up the vehicles and make their way over there.

Daryl leaned over the map as well, holding out one arm and watching her trail through, all the while watching her concentrated facial expressions and how her chestnut hair was blowing in the wind around her face.

“Here,” She pointed, “We just need to back track to this road up here, which should be…” Darcy pointed East. “Back that way. Then it’s a straight shot to the farm.”

“That’s not that bad.” Glenn said, pulling his backpack on and adjusting his ball cap. “You don’t need to come with us Darcy.”

“What do you mean?” She asked.

“I mean, if Daryl wants to do another search for Sophia before meeting up with the others, it’s better to have two trackers than one.” Glenn said, twisting the machete in his hands.

“Are you sure you’ll be okay by yourself?” Darcy looked to Glenn.

Glenn looked behind him at a delusional T-Dog who had himself wrapped in a thick wool blanket and then back to Darcy. “We’ll be fine. I do this kinda stuff all the time by myself.” He nodded. “Stay here and look for Sophia.”

Darcy’s amber eyes glistened in the low setting sun as she nodded, her hair still being tousled about by the wind. “Alright.”

“Stay safe.” Glenn gave a weak smile and turned around, throwing his and T-Dog’s things in Carol’s Cherokee and driving off in the direction Darcy had found easiest to go on the map.

With her hands on her hips and releasing a heavy breath, Darcy raised her eyebrows and turned to Daryl. The sun was just starting to set over the horizon at that moment. “I’ll take first watch with Dale.”

“You sure?” Daryl looked her up and down as she rolled up the map and grabbed her bow lying next to it on the hood of a truck.

Darcy threw her bow and quiver over her shoulder and nodded, “Get some sleep.” Darcy took out her pistol and checked the chamber before setting it back in her holster. “First light we’ll walk the road and look for Sophia before meeting up with the others.”

“Alright.” Daryl shuffled his feet. “Call out if ya need anythin'.”

Darcy nodded at him, and didn’t say anything else as she watched him walk away into the growing darkness that surrounded them. She heard the faint click of the trailer door being shut, and she scanned the area for a good look-out spot since Dale’s was normally with his own R.V.

The door to the trailer suddenly shot open, and Daryl paraded out with a small first aid kit and a long line of what looked like a bed sheet torn for a wrap. He approached Darcy without saying anything and Darcy raised her brow.

“Bored already?”

Daryl smirked and nodded towards her arm. “Wrappin’ that up.” He searched around him and pointed to a pick up truck. “C’mon.”

He walked over to the truck, unlocking the bed and setting it down while putting the cloth in his mouth and nodding his head for her to sit. Darcy hopped herself up, holding out her arm as Dale approached with his rifle.

He furrowed his eyebrows as he scanned the situation, “That’s gonna need to be stitched up.”

Daryl was laying out the cloth next to Darcy on the truck bed as he shuffled his feet, “Got it right here in the kit.”

“You know what? Darcy edged off the truck. “I think I’m okay.”

Daryl kept his eyes on the kit in front of him as he lightly grabbed hold of the edge of her shirt and pulled her back to the truck. He pointed a firm finger back to where she was sitting and Darcy reluctantly sat back down in a sulk as she watched him thread the needle.

“Ready?” Daryl gently took hold of her elbow.

“No. Don’t do it.” Darcy clenched her fist and closed her eyes, which made Daryl grasp her a bit more firmly.

Dale breathed a laugh, “Keep your eyes on me Darcy.”

Darcy slowly opened her eyes as a sharp pain went through her skin, making her jerk her arm and Daryl’s hold got a little tighter.

“Damn you, Dixon.” She breathed.

“Quit bein’ such a pussy.” He mumbled, making Darcy shove him hard in the chest with her other hand. Daryl tried to hide his smirk, but Darcy kept her eyes on him.

Dale spoke up, “Where are you from Darcy?” Darcy raised her brow at him, “Just trying to keep your mind distracted.” He smiled.

She sighed. “Colorado.”

Daryl scoffed, “Figures. Ya damn pasty.”

She glared. “’Maybe later’ just turned into ‘never.’”

Daryl’s blue eyes glanced in to hers as he hesitated for a second, then shrugged. “Whatever.”

“What brought you all the way out here?” Dale blinked a few times in shock.

Darcy lowered her voice. “My uncle.” Darcy winced at the next round of stiches.

Dale nodded at the tone of her voice and moved on. “What’d you do?’

Darcy sighed, remembering her old days. “Nothing special. Just a waitress.”

“Had anyone special in your life?”

Daryl shot his head up and immediately stopped mid-stitch. Darcy tilted her eyes up at him when she spoke silently. “No.”

Dale widened his eyes and smiled, “Ah,” he said, patting Daryl on the shoulder. Daryl shifted away from Dale and narrowed his eyes at the old man, who began to walk away back to his trailer without saying another word.

The small snip of the scissors made Darcy look down at her bruised arm, surprisingly with professional looking stitches down each of the cuts.

“Thanks.” She mumbled.

“’M not done.” He said, “Lift your arm.” Darcy did so obligingly, watching his gentle care as he wrapped the hand-made cloth around her forearm and tie it in a tight knot on top.

“Where’d you learn to do that?” Darcy asked.

Daryl shrugged, putting everything back into the first aid kit. “Go lost for nine days ‘member? Ya pick up a few things.”

“Couldn’t have learned that from just one time.” Darcy laughed slightly, getting up off the truck and stretching out her arm.

He grew quiet, defensive even. “Had plenty of practice.”

“More fun stories of you wiping your ass with poison oak?” Darcy teased him.

“Why don’t you mind your own damn business?” Daryl spat.

Darcy tilted her head and narrowed her eyes, “Jesus, calm down Daryl-“

He waived an arm at her and took a few steps forward, “Don’t tell me to calm down! Don’t need a stupid bitch like you tellin’ me what to do.” Daryl turned back towards the kit. “Just leave me be.”

Darcy shook her head and scoffed, not really understanding why he had grown so caring to so defensive in less than ten seconds. She had struck a nerve, but Darcy had no clue what it was. She hadn’t dropped his blue iris’s that suddenly went ablaze and burned into hers, trying to get a reaction, which is exactly what she was going to give him.

Darcy slowly backed away and raised her hands up in defense, “Fine. Then why don’t you do the same and stay away from me until you’ve learned to grow up.”

Darts were now being shot at the woman’s back as she walked away and slammed the R.V. door shut. Daryl’s temper rose in frustration with himself more than anything. He knew she didn’t mean any harm, but he couldn’t help but grow defensive over such a touchy subject that haunted him to his very core.

He turned, kicking the abandoned pack that someone had left behind before turning around and putting his hands on his hips. The realization of Darcy being angry with him grew quickly, making himself sick and thinking of any possible way to fix it immediately.

As the night grew onward, Daryl decided it was best to leave it be until the next day, after they both had calmed down and tempers were no longer flared. He threw his crossbow over his shoulder before throwing one last look towards the shut trailer, taking his place as watch for the rest of the night and hoping in the morning his girl will be forgiving.

-
“Ready?” Darcy asked Carol as they both waited by the green Honda parked behind Daryl’s bike.

The woman sighed, “I’m scared. What if we don’t find her or she comes back and-“

Darcy gave her a light smile, “She’s a tough little girl, just like her momma. Sophia will be just fine.”

“You’re right.” Carol smiled, opening the door and sitting back in the passenger seat.

Darcy looked around after Carol got in, making sure she had gathered everything that was set separately in a pile for them. She leaned her front against the car and crossed her arms as she rested her head on them. The mornings were slowly becoming more chilly, and Darcy counted her blessings as she wore a black leather jacket that fit her flawlessly, grateful she found clothes that could last her for a long while.

Daryl kept his eyes on her as he also tugged on his old worn leather and jean jacket, propping it up over his shoulders and squinting in the bright sun hoping she would look over to him and give him the nod that said everything was okay between them. Darcy didn’t and wouldn’t look over though, she knew he caught glimpses of her out of the corner of her eye, and she knew he was trying to catch her at some point doing the same to him. She refused to let that happen though, still bitter about the previous night.

“Alright, let’s go!” Dale called out from his R.V. window. Darcy opened the car door and let herself inside, before absentmindedly doing the one thing she was trying not to do all morning. She caught the familiar blue stare.

Darcy took in a deep breath, forcing herself away from his gaze and onto the car keys in the ignition. Twisting them forcefully and hearing the familiar roar of the engine, she also heard the sound of the loud motorcycle in motion as well.

It had only taken ten minutes for them to reach the farm, and as they rounded the fence they saw the few familiar faces that welcomed them into a place that would eventually be their home.

They encircled the front white steps and parked. As they all sauntered out, Darcy taken notice of the few droplets of blood still stained from only yesterday, but looked up into the more than happy eyes of both Rick and Lori.

It was quiet between the group until Dale asked, “How is he?”

“He’ll pull through,” Lori nodded with a smile. “Thanks to Hershel, and-and his people.”

“And Shane.” Rick chipped in. “We’d have lost Carl if not for him.”

“Thank God.” Carol breathed, running up to hug Lori. Dale proceeded to do the same to Rick and Darcy looked over to T-Dog, noticing he was a lot better and she couldn’t help but wrap him into a hug of her own.

“How’d it happen?” Dale asked.

Darcy let go of T-Dog and focused on Rick and Dale again. Behind them, Daryl – who immediately adverted his gaze after seeing her look his way.

“Hunting accident. That’s all-“ Rick shrugged. “Just a stupid accident.”

“We are performing a ceremony for Otis – he had selflessly sacrificed his life in order for Shane to return with the medical supplies needed for Carl’s surgery.” Hershel nodded. “We would love for you all to join us in honoring his life.”

“Of course.” Rick nodded, looking between the group and deciding for them all.

The large group followed the members of the household to a far off location from the farm, encircling a stone grave representing Otis and his sacrifice. Darcy had her hands on her hips, her jacket now resting in the car as it grew to a normal Georgia summer day. Daryl stood across from her, both avoiding each other’s gaze as Hershel said his prayer.

“Blessed be God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to him for the gift of our brother, Otis. For his span of years, for his abundance of character; Otis, who gave his life to save a child’s, now more than ever, our most precious asset. We thank you, God, for the peace he enjoys in your embrace. He died how he lived, in grace.”

Darcy shuffled her feet and let her eyes flicker to Daryl, knowing she couldn’t stay from her close friend for too much longer. She looked up into the eyes of the familiar stare, already looking straight back at her.

“Shane, will you speak for Otis?” Hershel asked.

Shane looked to the ground. “I’m no good at it, sorry.”

The small whimpers of Patricia spoke up, “You were the last one with him. You shared his final moments. Please. I need to hear. I need to know his death had meaning.”

Shane nodded, “Okay. We were about done. Almost out of ammo. We were down to pistols by then. I was limpin’, it was bad. Ankle all swollen up.” Shane stuttered. “We got to save the boy. See, that’s what he said.”

Darcy listened to Shane, his tone, his depth. Her eyes moved to him, narrowing them at the slightest, daring him to say more. It was all on his face: the fear. The fear of knowing what truly happened and the fact it was eating him alive, changing him slowly. Darcy read it like an open book.

“He gave me his backpack. He shoved me ahead.”

Shane grew angry, furrowing his eyebrows and causing his voice to grow deep and raspy. “Run, he said. He said, I’ll take the rear. I’ll cover you.” Shane dropped his head. “And when I looked back…”

Darcy immediately shot her eyes to Daryl, hoping he would pick up on it too. Daryl didn’t nod, but shook his head instead, swaying his weight from one foot to another. He knew.

Shane stepped forward and picked up a rock from the barrel to add it to Otis’s grave. “If not for Otis, I’d have never made it out alive. And that goes for Carl too.” That was it, Darcy thought, Shane was trying to convince himself he had made the right decision. “It was Otis. He saved us both. If any death ever had meaning, it was his.”

-

Darcy threw her bow and quiver over her shoulder as she looked at the map set on the truck’s hood Maggie had found for the small search group. She leaned on her elbows across from Daryl, watching where Rick was pointing to so the search could be properly organized according to what he seemed fit.

“We’ll grid the whole area, start searching in teams.” Rick declared.

“Not you. Not today.” Hershel said. “You gave three units of blood. You wouldn’t be hiking five minutes in this heat before passing out.” He looked to Shane, “And your ankle- push it now, you’ll be laid up a month. No good to anybody.”

“Guess it’s just me.” Daryl said. “I’m gonna head back to the creek, work my way from there.”

Darcy’s amber eyes shined bright even though she narrowed them at the man, wondering why he had left her out of his plans. “Which way?”

He looked at the map, “South, re-track yesterday.”

“Then I’ll take north, scout out the new area.” She traced her fingers along the creek line on the map.

Daryl shook his head, “No. You’re stayin’ put. Just put in those stitches, can’t put force on them or they’ll rip out, have to start all over.”

“Let me see.” Hershel said, untying the knot on her arm and removing the cloth. He sighed, “Unfortunately, he’s right. These are fresh – if you plan on using that bow, they’ll unwind for sure.”

Darcy let out a long breath, glancing at Daryl and giving him a deadly glare. She felt useless, it wasn’t as if she had just given blood or snapped her ankle like Rick and Shane, this was her being clumsy and falling into a damn prickle bush at the wrong moment.

“All right, tomorrow then.” Rick looked between the small group. “We’ll start doing this right.”

“That means we can’t have our people out there with just knives.” Shane piped in. “They need the gun training we’ve been promising them.”

“I’d prefer you not carrying guns on my property.” Hershel said sternly. “We’ve managed so far without turning this into an armed camp.”

“All due respect, you get a crowd of those things wandering in here…” Shane shrugged.

“Look, we’re guests here. This is your property. And we will respect that.” Rick said, firmly laying his pistol on the hood and looking to the others to follow. Shane reluctantly gave up his own gun and Darcy soon followed with Daryl’s eyes on her the whole time.

“First things first: set camp, find Sophia.”

“I hate to be the one to ask, but somebody’s got to. What happens if we find her and she’s bit?” Shane asked. “I think we should all be clear on how we handle that.”

Darcy folded her hands in front of her mouth as Rick answered. “You do what has to be done.”

“And her mother? What do you tell her?” Maggie asked, shocked.

“The truth.” Darcy simply said, turning and walking away towards the house.

“Darcy.” Rick called after her. She turned, frustrated. “I need to talk to you when you get a moment.”

“Sure.” She nodded, proceeding back in her direction towards the farm house. Darcy heard what she expected, fast footsteps from Daryl to meet up with her.

“Ya mad at me.” Daryl said, walking next to her.

Darcy scoffed, “Daryl, you told me to leave you be, yell at me, and then declare me as useless.”

“You ain’t useless, Darcy ya injured.” Daryl caught her shoulder and she stopped to turn towards him, taking a few steps to be even closer to make her point.

“Might as well be, these damn stitches that you just had to do.” Darcy waived her hand at him, “And injured is like when you fall out of a tree or something.”

“I was tryin’ to take care of ya.” Daryl raised his voice.

“Spent three weeks in the damn woods by myself you think I need someone like you to take care of me?” Darcy spat, turning back around and walking towards the house again.

Daryl didn’t go after her that time, “What the hell is that supposed to mean, ‘someone like me’?” He yelled, but she didn’t pay any attention. “Darcy!”

The woman walked on, still furious about the previous night and now even more frustrated that she felt casted aside because of a stupid wound.

“The hell with ya.” Daryl mumbled, grabbing his crossbow and stomping across the yard of the house, ready to spend some time to himself and clear his head after such a messed up couple of days.

“Daryl.” Rick called out from the white steps. “You okay on your own?”

Daryl scoffed, “I’m better on my own. Don’ worry I’ll be back before dark.”

“Hey.” Rick made him stop. “We got a base. We can get this search properly organized now.”

“You got a point or we just chattin’?” Daryl spat, seeing Darcy coming around the other side of the house to meet up with Rick.

“My point is it lets you off the hook.” Rick said. “You don’t owe us anything.”

Daryl glanced at Darcy before turning around, “My other plans fell through.”

Notes

Hey all - just a note, this may seemed a bit rushed cause well, it was. I wanted to get the next part up asap because I've got a ton of work to do in the next two weeks so I might be MIA. Hope that you still enjoy it though, even though it was rushed I put a lot of thought into it. At one point I had an entirely different direction and I just was not happy with it so I wanted to re-write everything to make it better for you all. Please leave me fun things!!!!

- 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