The Darkest Storm
Safe & Sound
It had been two days.
Darcy sat in a sulk in one of the camp’s lawn chairs, picking at one of her arrows and stealing glances over at the small group that huddled around the pale yellow truck, deciding the next action plan to take on their big hunt for the little girl.
It had been announced the previous night to the camp that Daryl had found a small lead in a barn house, a cupboard with a blanket fit for Sophia. It twisted Darcy’s stomach, knowing that he was out on the search by himself even though she knew fully well that he could take care of any danger that came his way. Used to him giving her the nod to go with him on ventures that tied their odd but perfect relationship together was something she had grown accustomed to. That void now created a small hole in her core, wanting to have his company more and more each day.
Andrea had generously (and quite annoyingly) volunteered herself for the search immediately after Darcy was told to sit out. The welcome she received was a thankful one, which made Darcy feel like she was suddenly pushed aside and forgotten, and even more frustrated with the situation that should have died off between her and Daryl by now.
Darcy had grown so disappointed with herself that she had even tried to build up her strength in the such short amount of time, lying in her and Daryl’s tent and pulling her bow string back and forth to see how much exactly her arm could take. Daryl had caught her once at night when he was supposed to be by the fire eating with the rest of the group though, and she still to this moment couldn’t figure out where he hid her bow.
Sauntering inside his tent, he heard the spring of the bow snapping back into place and immediately looked down at a guilty looking Darcy.
“Gonna mess ‘em up.” Daryl muttered, but she ignored him, pulling the bow string back again and looking at her arm, intrigued by how the stitches did in fact stretch.
“Darcy, stop.” Daryl warned, turning around and tossing aside his boots to get ready for bed. The sound of the bow being pulled caught his ears again, making him spin on his heels and reach for the bow himself.
“Hey!” Darcy yelled, rolling over and scrambling away from the man while he crawled on top of her to snatch the bow she held above her head with a wide stretched arm.
Daryl pulled her arm down towards him with one hand and grabbed the bow with the other, making Darcy see how easy it was for him to actually overpower her. As he rolled off the woman to stand up, Darcy tackled Daryl just as he had done to her, all but trying to get her prized possession back.
Darcy straddled Daryl by sitting just on his rib-cage trying to pin him down as she grabbed it, but he flipped her over onto her back so that he was back on top of her again. Darcy stopped struggling at that point, holding her bow across her chest in both hands and her heart racing, staring up at the man who had both hands placed on either side of her face.
Although the burning rage inside of her told her to ignore it, Darcy couldn’t help but think of how much she missed Daryl’s company. They had been avoiding each other for awhile, neither one of them able to suck up their pride and arrogance to fix the situation between them where they had both clearly messed up.
As Darcy stared into the stony blue eyes that held her gaze, her heart leaped to her throat at the sight of him on top of her and ultimately, just trying to take care of her. Daryl moved a slow hand to the middle of the bow between her two hands, lightly grasping the weapon as she released it willingly.
Hesitating for just a few slow moments and breathing somewhat heavily from their little rumble, Daryl argued inside his mind. His eyes could be seen flickering to Darcy’s lips, and his head twitching closer and closer until he stopped, giving his familiar scowl and quickly leaving the tent with Darcy’s bow in hand.
Darcy smirked as she watched the young boy from Hershel’s group, Jimmy, she remembered his name as, approach Rick about joining in the search. Darcy threw one last disgusted look towards Andrea as she gave her two cents about the plan before turning her head against the wind, seeing Hershel off in the distance carrying a wheelbarrow full of his freshly picked garden.
Trying to occupy her mind with something else, Darcy stood up and put the arrow in her quiver that hung loosely over the back of her chair and walked towards the Doctor, leaving the familiar friend behind as she had no use for it anyways. All the while, a pair of blue eyes were glued to her back.
“Morning.” Darcy walked over to the old man, giving him a slight smile and glancing down at the bunch of carrots he carried.
Hershel stopped the wheelbarrow and wiped his hands on a white towel he pulled from his back pockets and returned the unsure smile, “Darcy.” He nodded.
Darcy squinted in the bright sun, “Do you need any help?”
Hershel sighed and put his hands on his hips and looked at the wheelbarrow, knowing full well where she was going with this conversation, “You can take some and give them to Nelly. I would appreciate if you could take her out and brush her, since she has grown fond of you already.”
Darcy gave a big closed-mouth smile, mumbling a thank-you and taking some of the carrots. She hastily walked towards the barn where she had spent most of her two days hiding in, too frustrated and annoyed to do anything else around the others.
Spinning on her heels, Darcy kicked up the strands of hay spread about on the barn floor, seeing a familiar horse head sticking out of one of the stalls. Nelly gave the woman a small whinny, excited for the treat she knew was coming to her.
Darcy smiled, letting herself into the stall and resting her back against the door as the horse walked over to her slightly. Nelly had reached Darcy and bumped her large soft nose against Darcy’s chest, welcoming her and her snacks.
Darcy let her fingers run through the horse’s mane, letting the beast chomp loudly on the carrots Hershel let her sneak inside. Finishing off her last treat, Darcy took the large rope hanging around the horse’s bit and lead her outside the stall, tying her on the small hook right outside.
Darcy heard footsteps growing louder as they made their way towards the barn, and she had assumed it was Hershel coming to give her the brush for Nelly so she didn’t turn around right away. Instead, Darcy stood in the small streams of sunlight shining through the roof of the old wooden barn and let the ends of her hair be lightly tossed by the breeze flowing through.
A loud thump tore her away from petting the horse and Darcy turned around, facing Daryl’s back as he tossed the saddle on the wooden ledge beside her. Darcy didn’t say anything, but hesitantly went back to petting Nelly before Daryl had walked all the way to the other side of the horse to make himself stand across from Darcy, petting the horse while he stole small glances at her.
“Hey.” He said quietly, making her eyes flicker to his as she waited for him to speak. Daryl shuffled on his feet but held her stare, “”M sorry about what happened before.” Daryl’s face no longer held his famous scowl, instead it was soft and sincere.
Darcy let out a relieved sigh, “Me too.”
Daryl nodded at her, and a shy smile was tugging at the edge of his lips as he stared at the woman, missing her being close by all the time. Just like that, the stupid fight was over.
“’M going out again.”
Darcy looked up, “By yourself?”
Daryl nodded, “Came in to borrow a horse.” He scanned Nelly, stepping back and going over to his ready saddle and throwing it on her back. As Daryl strapped it, he stood close to where Darcy was, and she picked at her fingers as she watched his hands at work.
“Be careful.” She said, patting the horse gently.
“Done it before. I’ll be back before dark, jus’ like I told Rick.” Daryl said with a grunt, finally tightening the strap of the saddle to where it needed to be.
“I was talking to the horse.” Darcy said, matter-of-factly.
Daryl breathed a light laugh, looking down at the woman and nodding as he ignored her sarcastic comment. “You’re a piece ‘o work, ya know that?”
Darcy shrugged, crossing her arms with a playful smirk as she leaned up against the barn wall behind her. “Something you can’t handle?” Her voice was soft, alluring.
Daryl looked at her slightly, taking the crossbow off his shoulders and looping it over the horn of the saddle. “I’ll be able to handle you jus’ fine.” He lowered his tone, speaking in his famous husky whisper.
Darcy blushed, smiling and looking at her fingers. “I’ve missed you.” She laughed slightly, before realizing what she had admitted and flustered her words, “I mean – just…having you around…if that makes sense.” She furrowed her eyebrows and squinted her eyes up at the man, seeing what reaction he’d give her.
Daryl advanced towards her and nodded, “Are ya talkin’ to me or the horse?” Darcy blushed more, breathing out a small laugh and avoiding his gaze as she shook her head.
“Hey.” Daryl said quietly, causing Darcy to look up at him. He nodded a few times as his eyes bore into hers, “Missed ya too.”
“Daryl,” A voice called out. The two turned, facing a slightly amused Rick leaning on one leg just inside the barn entrance with a casual hand on his gun. “You all set?”
Daryl took a step back, making him and Darcy realize just how close they were. “In a minute.” He called out.
Rick nodded back, glancing to Darcy before leaving the barn. “You’re in charge of camp?”
Darcy nodded, “Sure.”
“We won’t be gone long.” Rick nodded, turning around and stepping out into the sunlight, “Ready when you are Daryl.”
When the footsteps of their leader faded almost completely away, Darcy sighed and shuffled on her feet as she put her hands on her hips and looked up at Daryl. He, staring back down at her, put on a crooked smile.
“I’ll bring ‘er back safe and sound.” He motioned to the horse.
Darcy scoffed, “I don’t care about the horse, Daryl.” She picked herself up off the wall and walked with her hands in her back pockets and towards the opening of the barn.
Daryl, followed closely behind her, tugged Nelly along as they walked side by side. “Then what do ya care about?”
Darcy stopped and faced Daryl while she shrugged, “The group.” She pointed a firm finger at his chest and poked him slightly, lingering her touch on him. “Bring yourself back safe and sound, Dixon.” She whispered. “Please.”
Daryl lowered his gaze and squinted his eyes at the woman as he nodded slowly, watching her facial expressions go from joking around to completely serious and sincere for him to return safely. At least, that’s what he hoped.
Darcy turned away from the country boy then, walking slowly back to camp with him on her mind, a sickening feeling growing deep inside her gut as she saw the others on the edge of the tree line waiting for the okay to go ahead and get moving.
The horse’s galloping footsteps made Darcy’s heart take a turn, feeling the gush of wind of Daryl on the back of Nelly just past her riding towards the forest and disappearing until she saw him again later on that day. At least, that’s what she hoped.
Yes, yes, this was an extremely short chapter but if I had done it like I originally planned it would be too long and less suspenseful. I think this will be broken up into three parts, and I think that you all will really like what I've got up my sleeve. Plus, everyone is getting a bit anxious for the next part and I didn't want you all to wait too long without anything so this is the best I could do! Hope you like it!
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