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The Darkest Storm

Old Habits Die Hard

Darcy loads each single round into the clip of her gun. She stands in front of the desk alone in the cell, waiting in anticipation for the next move. She hasn’t been able to sleep, and she hasn’t been able to eat after the shocking realization of the identity of the one they call the Governor. As a result, she has unintentionally isolated herself in her cell, preparing her things by cleaning and loading her weapons to the T, and packing everything else up that made it easiest to grab in a hurry.

A shadow moves over the single ray of sunlight that shines through the small holes of the sheet that covers the barred door. She lifts her head up, and sees Daryl leaning with one arm up against the frame.

Darcy blinks at him, and then turns back to her task. “Hey.” Daryl looks over his shoulder and doesn’t respond. He emits a sigh, and it catches Darcy’s attention. She faces him again.

“What’s wrong?” She asks, tilting her head slightly concerned.

He shrugs, “Jus’ wanted to make sure you’re okay.” Out of habit when something is on Daryl’s mind, he takes a quieter, raspy tone. “With Rick ‘n all…and the Governor.”

Darcy shrugs, “About as okay as I can get.”

With a nod, Daryl stands up straight and walks slowly into the cell, letting the comforting feeling ease back into his body. He looks around the room and realizes he hasn’t been in here since their first fight when he came back to the prison. There was a satisfaction for him knowing he was welcome in her presence once again, to talk, to listen, to sit and just be with each other, even after everything. That fades from his mind when he sees her things are packed.

“Goin’ somewhere?” He asks.

“Just need to be ready, is all.” Darcy looks over her shoulder at him. “What is it?” She can sense something else is on his mind.

“Nothin’.”

Darcy scoffs. “You’re lying.”

Daryl looks to the floor and lets his eyes wander. “Somethin’s goin’ down.” He sighs, shifting his weight. He glances up when Darcy turns around, intrigued, but he slowly shakes his head. “Not this time.”

“Why?” She asks, squinting her eyes in bewilderment. Darcy was allowed to know everything – was always in on everything. “Rick doesn’t trust me?”

Darcy’s features suddenly fall in a mixture of distress and consternation. Daryl steps forward, sensing this immediately. “Nah.” He shakes his head. “It’s just better if less people know ‘bout it.”

“This is all a mess.” She leans over with both hands on the desk with her head down. “Shouldn’t have just left that night –“ Darcy rubs her face. “Should’ve killed him. Shot him at least. Left him to die.”

Daryl walks forward and leans up against her and the comfort was unmistakable. Her back is to him and she still is slightly slanted as her body is on her hands but he reaches up with his right hand and gently holds the side of her head, twisting his fingers through her hair tenderly. Daryl then sets his cheek against hers and sighs.

“We’re alrigh’ ya know.” He says. “You ‘n me. Okay?” Darcy’s chest aches and she nods. “Nothin’ else is alright.” His whisper tickles her cheek. “But we are.”

Darcy’s mind whirls. “The Governor –“ She has refused to recognize him as her uncle, “- He did ask for something didn’t he?”

Slowly, Daryl’s lips fold in his mouth and he nods despite Rick’s orders. His head snaps up just then towards the door and he leans back nervously on his right leg. Darcy faces the door and sees Rick himself standing there casually, unaware of what they’d been discussing.

He gives her a nod, which she hesitantly returns. He sighs heavily. “We need to talk.” Rick tells her.

Darcy doesn’t have a chance to respond. Daryl taps her gently on her shoulder saying, “Catch up with ya later.” And disappears around Rick.

When he leaves, it’s silent and ungainly at first as Darcy waits for Rick to speak. Saying things have been tense between the two for the past day would be an understatement. He lifts his head up but doesn’t look at her, like he’s contemplating the words about to come out of his mouth.

“I know you had nothing to do with the Governor.” He says slowly.

“That’s convincing.” Darcy scoffs and turns to her clip, “Saying it like you don’t even believe it.”

“No.” Rick holds out a steady hand, “I know it. And I came here to apologize for even thinking you could’ve done anything.”

Darcy lifts her head up to the ceiling and closes her eyes, “Tell me why.”

Rick shifts on his feet and rolls his neck in the slightest. “Family is family.” He nudges his head towards the floor below, “Look at Daryl and Merle. That kind of – of loyalty to one another.”

“The Governor isn’t my family.” Darcy shakes her head, her heart sinking in realization. “We may be defined by it by our blood, but my family is right here in this prison.” She looks over to Rick. “I would do anything to protect them. That includes you.” She points.

Rick nods his head and takes a quick glance around her cell, “And I know that. Always have.” He shifts his feet again. “I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the feeling of being so deep in a ditch you feel like you need to dig yourself out by lookin’ for someone else to hold the blame...so you yourself don’t have to hold the burden of what’s going on around you.”

Darcy blinks, looking at the last spot Daryl stood before he left, “I do, actually.”

“Then you know how hard it is to come to and admit you were wrong. Ask for forgiveness.” Rick says.

Darcy nods again. “Yes.”

Rick licks his lips and looks at her with a certain stare. “I need to know what’s going to happen.” With those distinct words, the tone of the room has changed.

Darcy looks to the wall. “What did he ask for?”

Hesitant, like he is debating the entire affair himself, he tells her quietly. “Michonne.”

Her eyes shoot to his, but he can’t look at her. “You’re not thinking of giving her to him are you?” The disgust and panic was thick on her tongue.

“I have to keep us safe.” Rick holds up his hand again. “If this gets us a shot at peace – a truce – why shouldn’t I take it?” He snarls. Darcy figures there are others who know and do not approve as well.

Darcy shrugs aggressively. “Because it’s not going to work.”

“What’s going to happen?” Rick changes the subject forcefully.

“What do you think is going to happen!?” Darcy spat, walking over to him. “You think they’re gonna just hold hands and skip off together? He’s going to kill her, probably torture her first for whatever he wants her for, then he’s going to come after us and wipe us all out anyway!”

“No, we do this and we avoid a fight.” Rick points.

“What dream world did you just step into?” Darcy narrows her eyes and quiets her voice. Rick meets her gaze finally.

“He’s lied to you about everything. You said it yourself, Rick. He wants us gone. This doesn’t just end with Michonne.”

Rick looks behind him and out of the windows. “It’s the only way.” He sighs, “We have to try.”

“Who else knows?” She demands.

“Just you, Daryl, Hershel –“ Rick looks down then back up at her with squinted eyes. She knows he’s entirely doubtful about this entire situation, but he’s trying to convince himself it’s going to work. “-Merle.”

“Merle?” She can only imagine the horrors of what would happen once Merle of all people delivered Michonne to the Governor.

“It has to be quiet. He’s…experienced with this kinda stuff.”

“I’m not going to let you do this.” Darcy’s eyes are wide, and her voice sounds as if she’s out of breath. She can’t fathom his decision, or where his head was. He doesn’t say anything, but his face displays the weight of the decision.

“This isn’t like you.” Darcy whispers, taking a cautious step back. “After what she’s done? With Glenn and Maggie? You’re just gonna hand her over?”

“If we give the Governor Michonne, by noon, Woodbury stands down.” Rick closes his eyes forcefully and pinches the bridge of his nose. “I don’t like it, but it’s what needs to be done. I need you to keep this quiet.”

“Are you going to tell the others?” She asks.

“Not until after.” Rick steps forward and stares straight at her amber hues. “You have to understand, to realize what this is for, and let this happen. We have to try.”

Before leaving the cell, Rick waits and silently demands some kind of form of communication that she understands what he’s asking from her. She nods, intending to mask to him that she in fact does. Although, in the aching of her heart beating widely in her chest, she is only focuses on finding a way to stop this from happening.

-

“Hershel?”

Darcy peers around each cell corner quietly, tip-toeing around and looking over her shoulder almost every few seconds, thinking she was being watched with scrutiny and vigilance.

“In here.” The old voice replies.

Darcy reaches the last cell where Judith’s claimed nursery was. She sees Hershel placing the baby into the box padded with soft blankets that suited as the crib for the time being. He looks up at Darcy and notices her angst in her stance, still glancing over her shoulder and looking towards him with worried eyes.

“Is everything alright?” Hershel inquires, moving to lean on the desk in front of the crib.

“You tell me.” She replies. Hershel gives a heavy sigh and hobbles towards the bed before sitting himself down. “Are you with him on this? With Michonne?”

His heavy eyes glanced at her, “No. But it doesn’t matter. I’ve expressed my concerns, voiced my opinions…what Rick is about to do…it seems he has already made up his mind.”

“He thinks this will save us.” Darcy says, furrowing her brows together. Hershel gives a heavy nod. “Do you?”

He looks up at the woman in front of him and sees in her eyes the desperateness for someone else to see it her way; this whole situation was going to destroy them. Regardless of giving Michonne to the Governor worked or not, this was going to destroy them.

“No.”

Darcy lets out a relieved gasp of air and steps forward. “Then we need to stop this.”

Hershel nods again and reaches for his crutches; “I’ll go talk to Rick again.”

“It’s too late.” Darcy takes another step forward and leans down in front of him, “I can’t find Merle, or Michonne. They’re gone. I have to go now before anyone else finds out – because if Rick still decides to go through with this he’ll try and stop me.”

“What are you asking me to do?” Hershel narrows his eyes. He has just become aware that she wears all of her weapons, including Dale’s old rifle. “Let you go by yourself?”

“I have to. Don’t let anyone follow me. I’ll bring them back.” She stands up and turns to leave. Before she reaches the door, she faces him again. “Don’t tell Daryl.”

-

Darcy Shaw leaves the prison and starts on the path to the small town near the meeting place. As she enters the humid evening, the glare from the bright light of the sun and the steel surfaces of the gates start to fade. The backside of the prison, the section where most of the wandering walkers seemed to be blocked off, is where she slips out of the chained fences quietly.

She draws in the scent of overgrown grass from the fields, slowing water from the small streams, and rotten flesh from the walkers still stumbling about blindly throughout the inner gates. As the light begins to fade the further she steps into the woods, the more eerie and twisted the atmosphere feels.

Darcy has her bow in her hands, armed and at the ready. She tiptoes through the trees, leaping subtly over rocks and the scattered limbs that seem to block her path every time she turned. Right now, she is trying to edge her way deep enough into the tree line so that she may not be seen, but not too deep so that she couldn’t see the prison gates. She needs to make her way to the front; the path would be much easier if she does.

The meeting, where Rick was supposed to hand over Michonne, is to be at the same place that previous day where the two leaders sat down for the first time. Most likely, the Governor was going be at the forefront of an army, ready to take out any of the prison group who decided to show. That’s just how he works.

When Darcy reaches the stone road that is just enough out of the prison’s sight, she turns back towards her home standing tall. She sees Rick up in one of the guard towers pacing back and forth, keeping a keen eye on his surroundings. She’s done it; she’s made it out.

Darcy takes off then, running down the path and does not allow herself to stop for even the slightest amount of time; she knows she could already be too late, but she hopes this isn’t the case. She crosses the hill massif north of the prison on foot. It feels like the stone and the sky cares about her making her destination in time; the sun warms her back and the stiff un-cut grass keeps quiet when she wades through it, even in her hurried state. She truly misses the times that everything seemed so much simpler in this world.

Darcy stumbles about a mile down the road upon a beheaded walker who was not yet put to death. She ignores it all but the perfectly smooth laceration made beneath its neck. There was only one weapon capable: Michonne’s katana. The realization sets in. Darcy takes a few straggling breathes in and takes no time to continue her run, knowing that she may not be that far behind.

Another sign farther down the road makes her anxious to move quicker; the scene of splattered, fresh blood on the outside of a motel’s walls, and the very obvious missing car that left a mark similar to a footprint on the dirty pavement.
The wind rushes in her ears and mingles with the sound of her heard and lungs. She stands up from brushing her fingertips along the tire marks and rises in the warm sunlight. She turns, and squints. Michonne is walking along the road.

Darcy works her way into a jog, noticing that Michonne hasn’t noticed her presence yet, and that she was alone.

“Are you alright?” Darcy asks, slightly out of breath.

Michonne stops and wears an unreadable expression. “He let me go.”

“Who? Merle?” Darcy looks back down the road with narrowed eyes. “Just like that?”

She nods, “Said he had something to take care of.”

Darcy nods. Regardless if her and Merle do not get along well, he is still Daryl’s brother. “I’m going after him. Don’t let anybody follow me.”

“Do they know you’re out here?” She calls to Darcy, who stops mid-run. Michonne takes a few slow steps towards her, already knowing the answer. “Does Daryl know?”

“No.” She shakes her head.

“If he sees you…” Michonne’s eyes bore into Darcy’s, wanting her to know the seriousness of her decision. “He’s not letting you walk away this time.”

Darcy nods and swallows hard. “I know.”

-

Rick heads out to the outer foyer. His footsteps are quick, and heavy. He has searched all corners of the prison, and still the ones he is in pursuit of have left no sign for him to know they were still there.

Rick pulls the heavy rusted door that leads outside to the courtyard. He sees Daryl, a friend and companion whom he trusts, and makes his way towards him hurriedly.

He waves his hand when he sees Daryl is about to say something. “It’s off.” Rick turns towards the prison, looking to see if there was anything that would pop in his mind as a place he forgot to look. “We’ll take our chances.”

“I’m not sayin’ it was the wrong call, but this is definitely the right one.” Daryl nods. His face falls when he sees the distraught look on Rick’s face. “W’as wrong?”

“I can’t find Merle or Michonne. They’ve gone.” Rick says. He is hesitant to say anything further. Shifting his weight, he looks to Daryl. “When’s the last time you saw Darcy?”

Daryl takes a step back and drops his crossbow unconsciously to his side. Thinking hard, his eyes contemplate Rick’s question towards the ground. The tone was unmistakable in his voice, she was gone too.

“Not since –“ Daryl shakes his head. “She – you think she went after ‘em?” He steps forward towards Rick in a panic, his breath hitched in his throat.

Rick shakes his head, unsure. “I can’t say for sure. We’ll ask the others –“

Daryl looks towards the door that leads them back to their cellblock. “C’mon.”

When the two re-enter the prison, Daryl is determined to find answers. His eyes are wide with panic, knowing in the core of his heart that Darcy did exactly what he feared she might do.

“Maggie?” Daryl asks. “Ya seen Darc?”

The country girl stands and shakes her head. She sits next to Beth at the cafeteria table. “No, not for awhile. My daddy was talkin’ to her –“

“When?” Rick demands.

“Uh – an hour or so ago? What’s this all about?” Maggie calls out. They have already made their way down the cellblock towards Hershel’s room when she asks.

Here, Hershel sits on his bed, reading the Good Book out loud, yet quietly to himself. He looks up, instantly aware of their presence and the heightened anxiousness and angst of the two.

“What did she come to you for?” Daryl asks, his breath was loud through his nostrils.

Hershel puts down the book, folding the corner of the page as he does. “She asked me not to say anything. Only until you were aware she was gone.”

“Did she go after my brother?” Daryl demands. “Michonne?”

“She managed to slip out the back –“

Daryl turns to Rick, “Merle was in the generator room before he went missin’. We look there first, pick up a trail and head out.”

Rick follows Daryl to the generator room, and just as they knew, they were gone.

“He was in here.” Daryl says, eyes glued to the floor. “Said he was lookin’ for drugs. Said a lot of things, actually.”

Rick moves to the back of the room, near the exit door. “Like what?”

“Said that you were gonna change your mind.” Daryl sees a light, cream-colored bag with a small stain of blood soaked through. He picks it up, “Here we go.”

Scanning the floor, Daryl sighs heavily. “Yeah, he took her here. They mixed it up.”

“Dammit!” Rick yells, rubbing his face.

“Can see Darcy came in awhile after. Must ‘a saw it and went out the back to catch up.”

“I’m going after them.” Rick marches through the corridor leading to the door outside, but Daryl catches him.

Daryl scoffs. “You can’t track for shit.”

“Then the both of us.” Rick turns around.

Daryl shakes his head, “No, just me.” He blocks Rick’s way to the door. “I said I’ll go and I’ll go. Plus they’re gonna come back here ‘n you need to be ready.”

Placing his back on the door to push it open, Daryl disappears with one final look towards his friend, “You’re family, too.”

-

Darcy removes the latch from it’s held position and pushes the door. The hinges creaked as it moved, and finally the door swung open with ease. Before stepping inside, she peers into the dark, dusty room to see if her tracking skills had not chosen to fail her today of all days.

It was the loud, obnoxious music that lead her here more than anything. She catches sight of the car rolling into the middle of the meeting place, surrounded by dozens of walkers and attracting even more. There was no driver though, and Darcy curses to herself as she figured Merle must be on the warpath.

Darcy finds herself crouched outside a smaller shed that was near enough to scan the entire area around her and see the Governor’s men armored up around the corner. She decides she best make the decision to head inside the metal shed in front of her when she hears his men coming closer to her location because of the car.

Darcy quickly jumps inside, and as she turns to shut the door closed, a hand clutches her shoulder and pushes her down to the ground.

“What the hell ‘re ya doin’ here!” Merle hisses.

Darcy pushes his hand off of her. “What am I doing here? What the hell are you doing here?!”

“Givin’ ya’ll a chance if ya would’ve just stayed put!” Merle looks up and over Darcy through the crack of the door, seeing movement too rapid for walkers just outside.

“C’mon!” He whistles, pulling her again towards the opposite windows. When Merle lets go of her shoulder, she stands with her eyes wide and her mouth slightly ajar at the dozens of men with raised weapons at the walkers.

“They were going to kill us anyways, weren’t they? Rick almost walked us into a trap.”

Merle looks to her, then back out the window. “This is all on me, sweetheart. Rick ain’t got nothin’ to do with it. Now I suggest you grab that rifle of yours and pick a window because it’s about to get real ugly.”

-

“Hey!”

Michonne looks up from the beheaded walker they left behind, stabbing it through its brain finally to end its snarls. She sees Daryl running towards her from the direction of the prison.

“Where’s my brother?” His voice is assertive and demanding. He sees the sword in her hands and instantly jumps to conclusions since Merle was gone and she was out of harms way. “You kill ‘im?”

Michonne leans back on her left foot and shakes her head in a manner that is visually annoyed since that question proves he didn’t trust her. “He let me go.”

“Don’t let anyone come after me.” Daryl growls, making his way past her.

“You two are more alike than anyone I’ve ever seen.” Michonne calls out.

Daryl stops, and turns. “What?”

“You and Darcy.” She points and smiles slightly. “She said the same thing when she ran into me.”

“You saw her?” Daryl blinks.

Michonne nods. “Same direction you’re headed. ‘Bout twenty minutes ago.”

Daryl nods and grips his crossbow tight. “Thank you.”

-

“Now, when them walkers get too close ‘n the bullets start flyin’. That’s when we shoot.” Merle loads his sniper, looking to Darcy who has her eye against the scope, unmoving. “Take out as many as we can.”

He positions himself next to her, focused. “My brother know you’re out here?” Darcy adjusts her scope but stays silent.
Merle scoffs and shakes his head, “Shoot. If we get outta here alive he’s gonna have my balls. Here we go.” He straightens his stance and out of habit, Darcy does too.

They watch as each of the Governor’s men advance towards the herd of walkers advancing upon them, arms lunging outward only to be ended by a loud shot in the skull.

“Take the right, sweetheart.” Merle tells her as he aims on the left side of the group. Darcy bites down on her bottom lip in concentration, aiming meticulously as to not waist a bullet and to not shoot off too many that would grab Woodbury’s attention.

It doesn’t take long for them to notice that their men were falling from something other than the walkers. As Darcy reloads and takes her stance again on the right side as Merle told her to, she sees the familiar face of Martinez pointing towards their building.

“They see us.” She says. In an instant, she is being thrown across the room. She looks back at Merle in confusion as he returns his focus towards the window.

“You go on, get out of here.” He tells her.

Darcy is crouched on the ground as she landed, and she shakes her head. “I’m not leaving you behind –“

Merle whirls around. “You go! Now! You ain’t even supposed to be out here! You ain’t gonna die for me!”

Darcy watches as Merle’s chest rises heavily up and down. She hears the frantic footsteps of those outside and she knows they don’t have much time left.

Merle gives her the respected Dixon nod that sunk deep into Darcy’s chest. “You go on, sweetheart. You take care of my baby brother.” He tries to fight the water brimming his eyes. Darcy stands shakily.

“He loves you. Won’t ain’t ever admit it out loud, but he does.” Merle swallows hard. And looks back to the door that is in the midst of being torn open. “Now you go on back to him. Get ready for what’s next.”

Darcy doesn’t have time to say anything else. Just as the door is ripped open, she ducks in a corner hidden by barrels of hay, metal cages, and the shadows of darkness that she never greeted until now.

But it wasn’t the Woodbury army that ripped down the door and snuck inside, it was a lone walker. Darcy shuffles her feet backwards into the corner as far as she could go in panic until she realized she was completely hidden from even its eyes.

“Walker!” She yells, grabbing Merle’s attention just in time for him to turn around and stab it in the skull. But the force knocks them both over and through another set of doors and outside.

Darcy tries to settle her breathing and whips her head slightly back and forth to see any sign of movement. Just then, bone-crunching sounds reach her ears along with the cries of Merle being beaten on the ground outside. Her mind is in a state.

That’s when she hears him scream. So full of anger and hatred it ices her blood. Darcy drops her rifle, forgets where she is or lies ahead for both her and Merle. She sits perfectly still and absolutely helpless as she watches her Uncle tare through the shed doors, throwing Merle on the ground at his mercy.

Darcy clenches her mouth with her trembling hand in horror as he kicks Merle, sending a wave of bone cracking sounds throughout the air. Blow after blow, the Governor leads Merle into a wave of torment and pain. He lifts his bloodied body up, biting Merle’s fingers completely off as he tries to fight back.

Darcy can’t watch. She puts her hands up to her ears and squeezes her eyes shut tight. She shakes throughout her body, desperately wanting Daryl to be there, to hold her and hide with her, to wait it out until they’ve all gone. The worst part of it all was, she could literally do nothing to stop it – there were too many men and her weapons –

Darcy shot her head up behind the Governor where he still has Merle pinned against the wall. Her bow was dropped in the middle of her and Merle’s scurry – and it was just behind the Governor’s foot. All he had to do was turn and he’d see it. He would know she was there.

The sound of Merle coughing makes Darcy forget all of that and flicker her eyes towards him. He barely stands, but his eyes are locked on hers. He gives another nod, knowing he was about to die and there was nothing she could to do save him.

“I ain’t gonna beg.” He snarls. “I ain’t beggin’ you.”

The Governor steps back with blood smeared on his lips and chin, a malicious smile spread across his face. He shakes his head, completely unphased, and pulls the trigger.

Darcy swears she feels her heart beat stop for only a moment. She watches as the light fades from Merle’s eyes as his lifeless body sinks to the floor. The Governor stands over him, wiping his mouth and spitting on his unmoving body. She ignores his heavy footsteps as he walks outside. Her eyes are glued on Merle, and all she can think about is Daryl.
When she believes it is safe for her to come out of her hiding place, Darcy crawls over to Merle with tears streaming down her face and her mouth agape. She cannot let out any cries but instead mere whimpers escape her lungs.

Darcy leans over his body, letting her tears soak through his bloodied shirt. She places her hands over him, wanting to touch him in a comforting way, but she knows it will do no good and she cannot bring her trembling hands down onto his body.

First, pain and complete agony are the first thing she feels. She knows she is going to have to go back to the prison and tell Daryl his brother is dead. Then, H=hatred overwhelms her. There are no words for the state she is in.
Darcy grips the hem of Merle’s shirt in a vain attempt to show her anger and frustration. Her knuckles go white and she can feel the tingling sensation in her fingers that she’s loosing feeling.

But that soon stops.

The force of her hold loosens instantly when the butt-end of a gun hits her head and knocks her unconscious.

-

The twang of Daryl’s crossbow is loud in his quiet surroundings. He walks cautiously, looking every which way for any sign of livable movement in the numerous amounts of somewhat dead bodies that encircle the small buildings of the meeting place.

Looking to his left, he sees the car he tracked awhile back down the road from the motel. As he roams over the bodies, Daryl sees that the numbers are made up of both walkers, and the Governor’s men. It was a blood bath.

Daryl picks up his pace towards another walker, shooting it down and taking out another arrow to reload his bow. But that’s when he saw him. His brother, Merle, gnawing on the remains of one of the men, skin gray as ash.

The walker senses Daryl’s presence, looking up towards him who stands still as stone and licking his lips from the string of intestine that hangs from his mouth. The walker gets up then, stumbling over the body he claimed as his meal and advanced towards his younger brother.

Daryl’s face falls. He takes hesitant steps back, wondering if this in fact was real life or if he was just imagining it. The push he gives the walker confirms it, and Daryl breaks down to cry for his fallen brother.

Daryl knows what has to be done. He falters towards the walker, pulling out his knife and pushing it backwards towards the ground. Daryl stabs it, still sobbing until he does it again, growing angrier at every lunge.

When the body stops moving, Daryl falters back and lets out a cry of desperation and pure sadness. He falls on his back, not wanting to get up in the slightest. The pain is unbearable, but in the back of his mind, he has someone else to look for now. Merle was gone; it was time to move on.

After a few minutes, Daryl closes his eyes and wipes away his tears with the back of his sleeve. He leans on his crossbow for support, getting first to his knees and then his feet, stumbling as he does.

He needs to find Darcy.

Daryl staggers through the mess of blood and guts that cover the grass field. He traces back Merle’s steps, leading him to a shed on the outer most circle of the area. Daryl peers inside, crossbow up and at the ready, but sees no movement.

“Darcy?” He calls out weakly. With no response, Daryl sighs and starts to whimper again. What if she was dead too? He brings up his hand and closes his eyes, rubbing them with his fingers.

When he opens them again, he sees the blood left from Merle’s bullet wound inside the shed. There are more than two sets of footprints, and Daryl leans in closer to take a better look.

She was here, with Merle, in his last moments. Then, someone came in and took her.

And Daryl had a very good idea of who it was.

-

Darcy sits in a chair and wakes with a startling headache, blinking profusely at the blaring light pointed directly at her. She moves her wrists slightly, noticing they were tied securely behind her back. Her head is bent towards the floor, letting her tangled auburn hair dangle around her face. She makes her best attempt to wake herself up, but has trouble gathering her thoughts and remembering exactly where she was.

It’s hard to focus as she tries to take in her surroundings. She finds herself locked and alone in a room of an abandoned warehouse, most likely the lower levels of Woodbury that Rick had explained when they went to retrieve Glenn and Maggie.

She wriggles her wrists and ankles weakly to break free, although she knows it’s no use. Her mind is dizzy and somewhat faint. She lets her head fall again; too feeble to keep it held up.

A hand twists on the doorknob across the room. Darcy doesn’t bother to move or act resilient to this madman’s ways. The door opens, and she hears soft feet walk over to the chair set up opposite of her, a desk between them both. She can hear him wipe away the dust that rest of the table, and the sickening smile that he is undoubtedly wearing to taunt her.

“I haven’t decided what to do with you yet.” He tells her. “Whether to kill you, or just throw you out on the street. You’ll survive. You’ve done it before.”

He leans in, still with the scrutinizing smile spread on his lips. He stares intently, desperately wanting a reaction out of her. He rubs his chin in thought, and gives a cold stare when she doesn’t respond.

“I have an idea, though.” His fingers tap the table in a melodic way. “I’ve been meaning to pay a visit to your friends at the prison today.”

Darcy hears him stand up and walk slowly around her. He talks directly into her ear. “Which of them means the most to you?”

“Rick?” He sits quietly awaiting a response.

“Carl?” In excitement, he builds up the anticipation for his own benefit.

She hears his voice lower to a whisper. “Merle’s brother?”

Darcy’s eyes flicker. He knows.

His voice is caked with amusement, watching her unintentionally tense at the realization that he has her right where he wants her.

His voice is like thick poison. “Daryl? Isn’t it?”

A hand then grips the back of her hair. He wrenches her head up, demanding her to look at him. His voice snarls. Growls emit from the bottom of his throat.

“I’m going to kill them. Every last one. Except for him.” His grip pulls tighter, and Darcy lets out the slightest whimper of pain through gritted teeth. He snickers and shakes his head. “No, no, I’m gonna bring him back here, put him on his knees, and make you watch as he suffers.”

The Governor chuckles and forcefully throws her head forward. He walks back around and head towards the door, satisfied knowing he’s made his way under her skin.

“Now that I think of it I won’t kill you.” He has his hand on the doorknob. “I’ll send you on your way, make you live with the fact that you betrayed your own family for some mutts who never stood a chance in this world – then had to watch them die based on your own careless decisions.”

He is about to open the door before a soft, familiar voice reaches his ears.

“I’m going to kill you.”

Hatred, disgust, and abhorrence are lined thickly on her tongue. It makes him stop and drop his amused smile. He turns back towards her though, having another frightening trick up his sleeve.

“Your old friend Andrea is in the other room.” The grin is back. “She doesn’t have much time left so I’d get your good-bye’s in when you have the chance.”

Notes

Hey everyone - I'm really sorry this took so long, so I decided to make it extra intense and long for you all. I need to let you know that come these next few weeks, updates will be scarce just because well, I'm getting married, and have a shit-load of stuff to do so just be patient! I'm not giving up on this story!

Anyways, can't wait to hear from all you lovely readers. I was really excited to hear your comments about Darcy's Uncle!!

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