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The Darkest Storm

Serenity

Darcy let the comforting hot water flow onto her shoulders as she sighed out a laugh, taking in the serenity of a small aspect of their previous lives. She’d glance at her feet, pale and worn from constantly wearing her old boots, wriggling them in complete bliss. She brought up her fingertips and watched the fast droplets of water bounce off of them and fall onto the glass wall of the shower, wondering when the next time she’d be able to see such a beautiful sight.

She bit her bottom lip, preventing her from screaming out in her excitement. The giddiness inside her was too much for her to handle, even in the midst of finding out what Jenner had told them to be the truth of what was happening. Darcy knew deep inside that knowing the truth was just a phase she and the rest of the group would have to mourn over, before finally setting a firm foot down to try and survive anyway, to try and find answers from other sources if that’s what it took. There was no way in hell she’d give up that easily, and from what she’d seen of the group already, they wouldn’t have it either.

Darcy reached up and untied her loose bun, letting her hair fall to her shoulders and down her bare back, shaking her head back and forth and turning around to let the water splash against her face. The automated soap dispensers next to her didn’t bother her at all, since this was as close as it was going to get to civilization.

A sudden ‘click’ of the bathroom door behind her made her jump. Whipping around and staring at the closed door, she wondered if it was overlooked by being slightly open before. The kind person who did close it however, was still standing on the outside with their back leaning up against it and a whiskey bottle in hand, unbeknownst to Darcy as she simply stared a little while longer before turning back to her relaxing state.

Although she wanted, more than anything, to just stand there in complete euphoria for the rest of her life, Darcy knew she had to catch up with the rest of the group and share the shower like everybody else. More than that, get a restful nights’ sleep.

Darcy slowly stepped out, wrapping a towel around her body and snuggled close to it’s cleanliness. She got dressed in her undergarments, and kept her dirty clothes on the floor for the time being as she walked over to the mirror, anticipating the possible horror that might appear from her reflection.

Darcy breathed quietly as she took a solid hand and swiped a streak through the misty mirror, only to see tired and defeated eyes staring straight back at her. She was happy to see the dirty was finally gone, and her complexion was just as it used to be. Darcy’s face was thinner, as she expected, but it showed her strength and determination even though her hope was slowly diminishing.

She ran her fingers over her exposed collar bones, sighing as she knew there was nothing she could do about how thin she was compared to her old life. Darcy was always a fit girl, and her toned muscles showed that still, but it would only be a matter of time before the stress of this life, as well as not being able to eat would rot that all away.

Darcy took her time preparing herself to finally emerge from the comfort of the bathroom as she fixed her hair and towel dried it, as Jenner told them not to use anything that drew power; meaning no blow-dryer. She also made sure that every speck of dirt was gone, wanting to take full advantage of the amount of soap available to her.

Finally, Darcy walked over with a gloomy expression, knowing the clothes on the floor were the only ones she had. As she got re-dressed in the filthy attire, she made a mental note to try and scavenge anything she could next time the group passed an abandoned house or vehicle. Darcy left her socks and boots off though, and walked over to the sink to at least wash one item of clothing. After all, comfy, clean socks would make any situation better.

Scrubbing the filth out of them, Darcy grabbed her boots and held the socks out at a distance to not get herself wet and quickly walked over to the room she claimed as hers, hanging them over the couch’s arms to dry. Darcy enjoyed being barefoot more than anything.

“Ya need som’ new clothes.” A raspy tired country voice whispered out, making Darcy jump slightly even though she immediately knew who it was.

She glanced over her shoulder to the sulky figure on the edge of one of the side tables, “Didn’t even see you.”

Daryl shrugged and sipped on his whiskey which was almost gone. “Feelin’ any better?” He stood up and walked towards her.

Darcy was finally content with the placement of her socks and turned to face Daryl, who was slightly less than a foot away from her. While he shifted his weight to one foot, she nodded and put her hands on her hips, “I’ll be fine – I mean, we’re all dealing with the same thing.” She shuffled her feet, “Just gotta keep doing what we’re doing until we do find something. You?”

Daryl looked at his feet then back up at her again, “I’m doin’ okay.”

Darcy laughed, “I can tell by that empty bottle.” She pointed.

“It’s not empty.” He smirked.

Darcy didn’t hesitate as she raised an eyebrow and took a small step forward, narrowing the gap between the two further as she reached out and took the bottle from his hands. With one swig, she had downed the rest of the sharp whiskey.

Darcy handed the bottle back to him with a sly look, “Now it is.”

“You sure ya can hold it down?” Daryl asked, his eyes could not tare away from her now wet, pink lips.

“I’ll be just fine.” Darcy nodded with confidence. With every movement, Daryl kept his vision locked on her mouth as she spoke, enjoying the flow of words emitting from it and how alluring she actually was.

Daryl took another step forward, causing Darcy to look straight up at him as he was a decent size taller than she was. The gap was narrowing quickly, and Darcy’s eyes showed amusement as they met his stony blue ones, and Daryl was all but trying to stifle his kid-like grin.

Taking a breath and holding her gaze, Daryl returned the small smirk, reaching a steady hand out and slowly wrapping it around hers that held the empty glass bottle. Daryl let their touch linger for a moment before grasping the neck of the flask and pulling it back from her. The sensation of feeling their warm skin against each other’s made their heart beat loudly in their ears, and their bodies ached towards one another yet no one made a move.

Darcy smiled playfully at Daryl, but was admittedly growing fond of his new friendliness with her. “You can borrow some of my clothes if ya’d like.” He mumbled.

Darcy let her eyes dart to the corner of the room in thought, any clothes would be better to sleep in than the ones she had on now. “Thanks.” She said, nodding her head.

“Be right back.” He said, before turning around and stepping out the door before reappearing immediately with a long-sleeved red plaid shirt for her to wear. Daryl handed it to her awkwardly, slightly hesitant and blushing.

Darcy smiled at him again and took the shirt thankfully. They both stood for a moment as Daryl still stared at her while putting his hands in his pockets. Darcy pursed her lips and looked around the room awkwardly.

“I’m not going to let you watch me change.” She whispered.

Daryl went a little wide-eyed before blushing even more and taking a step back, “Oh, no, I wasn’ gonna I just-“

“Hey you two, it’s getting late – heading to bed soon?” Carol’s soothing voice called out from the doorway, interrupting the stuttering sentences of an uncomfortable and bashful Daryl.

He simply turned his head towards her and gave a quick ‘nod’ while Darcy nodded and smiled at the woman, “In a minute, goodnight Carol.”

When Darcy spoke, Daryl turned back to face her. This gave Carol time to catch Darcy’s eye and give her an all-knowing ‘wink’ at the two of them. Darcy tried to hide her blushing smile by rolling her eyes, and turned to look at the ground as the woman disappeared.

Daryl reached up to the back of his head and scratched his neck, “I guess I’ll see ya tomorrow then.”

Darcy nodded and quietly spoke, “Yeah. And thanks again.” She held up the shirt.

Daryl nodded in a kid-like way, before fiddling with his fingers and walking slowly away from the woman. Before reaching the doorway, he stopped and shuffled on his feet, whispering a raspy ‘good-night’ and giving a smile again in her direction.

As he shut the door, Darcy held the soft fabric in her hands before slipping off her dirty clothes and replacing them with it. The instant scent of what was Daryl Dixon filled her nostrils, giving her an image of a fireplace but still held a hint of cologne, even after all this time.

Darcy’s inner child slightly squealed as she let the long sleeves fall over her fingertips, bringing them up to her nose and taking in his smell. She felt completely at ease and at peace in this moment, realizing she now had a different kind of family to hold on to, that even though Jenner had explained there was nothing left, she would keep fighting to survive and care for this small group.

Darcy caught herself though, knowing full-well that getting in too deep of a relationship or a connection with anyone in the group would be fatal. The ending result would only cause aches and pain one could not nearly describe well enough.

Darcy knew that it was only a matter of time before those she cared about were gone, but she tossed that thought away instantly, focusing on the good: they were safe and sound in an underground facility with food, water, and companionship. How long it would all last was another question – but Darcy wouldn’t let herself fall for this man, nor anyone, so easily. She couldn’t face the destruction of her own heart if they were lost.

Deciding not to worry, the woman climbed into her make-shift bed on the couch as the housing facilities were without power (as Jenner explained to them before), and shut off the florescent light. Wrapping herself in the stale, yet most comfortable sheets and blankets in her life, she smiled to herself inside the redneck’s shirt and quickly dozed off.

-

“Don’t ever ever ever let me drink again.” Darcy heard the all-too familiar groan of her friend Glenn, as she walked through the entrance to the kitchen while scratching her head and giving a slight yawn.

She let out a sincere laugh and the group looked up to welcome her to the table. “Eggs? Made ‘em all nice and good.” T-Dog joked, handing her a plate and slapping a good heaping of the powdered eggs on her plate.

“Thanks.” She smiled, walking over to the counter with the coffee pots and propping herself up, perfectly content with not eating at the table.

“Need these honey?” Lori raised her hand and tossed a bottle of pills over towards her. Darcy caught them effortlessly before reading the bottle. Just a little ibuprofen to help with the hangovers.

She shook her head, “No, but Glenn sure looks like he needs ‘em.” Darcy laughed again and Jacqui rubbed his back while turning around and smiling at her.

“He’s already had his share.” She giggled.

“Hey.” Shane said, walking in the room. Darcy looked up and Shane gave her a slight nod.

“Holy shit.” She whispered as he walked by, noticing the large scratch marks on the side of his neck. No one had heard her, but Shane gave her a knowing-look to keep it that way. “What happened?”

“You feel as bad as I do?” Rick asked him from the table.

Shane looked at Darcy, “Worse.”

T-Dog walked over to set down the skillet of eggs, also noticing Shane’s marks but failed to keep as quiet as Darcy. “The hell happened to you?” He asked. “Your neck?”

Shane sighed, sitting down at the table. “I must’ve done it in my sleep.”

“Never seen you do that before.” Rick said.

“Me either.”

There it was, the quick shot towards Lori with Shane’s eyes over the rim of his Styrofoam cup before looking down at his plate again. Darcy shuffled her eyes back and forth between the two of them so fast it had stopped her chewing on her breakfast.

“Not like me at all.”

“Mornin’.” Daryl mumbled, taking a coffee cup next to her.

She glanced up at him and he read her face. Darcy then diverted her eyes towards Shane and Lori before Daryl nodded, “I know.”

“Does anybody else?” Darcy asked, looking towards Rick.

“Nah, they don’t know about me knowin’ either. Just stumbled on ‘em one day, must’ve forgotten I went for a hunt.”

Darcy dropped her fork. “Gross.”

“It was rough.” He smirked, rubbing his forehead slightly. “Haven’t been drunk in a long time.”

Darcy put her plate down next to her and grabbed the bottle of pills Lori had thrown to her. “Here.” She handed them to Daryl. “There’s eggs and bacon over there.”

He held the bottle in his hands and glanced up at her quickly, giving her a nod in thanks and grabbing a plate to help himself.

“Morning.” Dr. Jenner walked into the room, receiving the groups’ ‘hello’s’.

Dale immediately spoke up after a quick nod from Andrea. “Doctor, I don’t mean to slam you with questions first thing-“

“But you will anyway.” He responded.

“We didn’t come here for the eggs.” Andrea sputtered out, causing everyone to look in her direction with a slight glare.

Jenner nodded and shrugged his shoulders, “I’ll have to show you, but you’ll be disappointed. There’s not much I have.”

Rick spoke up, “We’re just looking for anything.”

“Alright. When you’re finished just follow me back to the big room again.” Jenner nodded.

After breakfast, they all did exactly what they were told. They entered the big room, and waited for answers they knew would be vague, or none at all.

Jenner didn’t hesitate and called out to VI, “Give me playback of TS-19.” As the computerized voice repeated his orders, the large television screen appeared and loaded the data set.

“Few people ever got a chance to see this.” Jenner said. “Very few.”

-

Darcy let out a deep breath and closed her eyes, resting her hands on the top of her head as she took a seat. Daryl had his arms crossed and was pacing back and forth as the rest of the group stared at the screen with disbelief.

“VI power down the main screen and the workstations.” Dr. Jenner called out.

“You have no idea what it is, do you?” Andrea mumbled, wiping the tears from her eyes.

“It could be microbial, viral, parasitic, fungal…”

“Or the wrath of God?” Jacqui answered.

“Then there’s that.” Jenner said sarcastically.

“Somebody must know something. Somebody, somewhere.” Andrea’s tone grew angry and frustrated with the lack of answers she was getting, and who could blame her?

“There are others, right? Other facilities?” Carol asked.

“There may be some. People like me.”

Rick jumped, “You don’t know? How could you not know?”

“Everything went down. Communications, directives – all of it. I’ve been in the dark for almost a month.”

“So it’s not just here. There’s nothing left anywhere? Nothing?” Andrea spoke. “That’s what you’re really saying, right?”

Silence.

“Man I’m ‘ma get shitfaced drunk…again.” Daryl put his hands up to his face before beginning to pace again and bringing himself to rest his arms on the monitor Darcy was sitting at, who was just merely trying to think of where they would go next with their options so far open now.

“Dr. Jenner, I know this has been taxing for you and I hate to ask one more question, but…” Dale walked over to the side of the room and pointed at a red clock. “That clock – it’s counting down. What happens at zero?”

“The basement generators – they run out of fuel.” Jenner answered, walking away as if to say it was no big deal.

“And then?” Rick asked, not receiving an answer. “VI, what happens when the power runs out?”

“When the power runs out, facility-wide decontamination will occur.” The robotic voice answered.

Darcy shot up and headed over to Rick, noticing the Doctor had disappeared for the time being. “We need to get down to the basement and see these generators, maybe there’s some fuel left –“

“He just said there wasn’t.” Andrea said, infuriated and well-past accepting their dire situation.

“I’m sorry, do you have a better idea?” Darcy snapped, narrowing her eyes down at the blonde and getting a scoff in return.

“Do we even know what decontamination means?” Glenn asked.

Shane piped up, “She’s right, let’s get down there and see what exactly it is where dealing with. T-Dog, Glenn, you’re coming with us. The rest of ya’ll just stay put.”

As the four of them ran down to the basement, the rest of the group headed back to their rooms except for Darcy and Daryl, who stayed put in the main room.

Daryl stayed rested his elbows on top of the monitor Darcy previously sat at while she paced back and forth running through the countless possibilities of what ‘decontamination’ meant. She tapped her fingers on the side of her thighs, coming into contact with her pistol occasionally.

“What’re ya thinkin’?” Daryl asked, looking at the girl in deep thought.

Darcy stopped and put her hands on her hips, “This is a disease facility.” She pointed.

Daryl scoffed, “Took ya that long to figure it out?”

“No,” She waved him off with her hand. “There’s only one way that is a certified way of decontaminating a facility or, or one of their experimental rooms.”

Daryl stood up, “What is it?”

A sudden click distracted the two as the lights suddenly went dimmer and the cool steady breeze of the air conditioner stopped. Jenner was now seen completely dressed in his work uniform, and it caught the attention of the rest of the group who suddenly followed after him.

“Why is the air off?” Carol asked. “And the lights in our room?”

“What’s going on? Why’d everythin’ turn off?” Daryl asked.

“Energy use is being prioritized.” Jenner said.

“Air isn’t a priority? And lights?” Dale asked.

“It’s not up to me,” Jenner said, shaking his head and continuing on. “Zone 5 is shutting itself down.”

“Hey! Hey, what the hell does that mean?” Daryl yelled. “Hey, man, I’m talkin’ to you.” The power whirred down further as the group walked with Jenner, who seemed to be completely un-phased by what was going on around him.

Finally, Rick and the rest caught up to the group, “Jenner, what’s happening?” He asked.

“The system is dropping all the nonessential uses of power.” Jenner answered. “It’s designed to keep the computers running to the last possible second. That started as we approached the half-hour mark.”

Jenner finally stopped, and took a swig of whatever was in the glass bottle Darcy just noticed he was carrying. Daryl caught up to him, and snatched it from his hands, demanding answers.

“It was the French. They were the last ones to hold out as far as I know. While our people were bolting out the doors and committing suicide in the hallways, they stayed in the labs till the end. They thought they were close to a solution.”

Darcy’s head was in a whirl, suddenly blocking out everything around her until Rick began to shout. “Grab your stuff, we’re getting out of here now!

An alarm started blaring through the deserted halls. There was only 30 minutes until decontamination.

Notes

This chapter - was a pain in my ass. I'm sorry about the delay - I've got three jobs now and I'm still in school so updates will hopefully be at least once a week. Thanks to those who commented on the last part, they brought a smile to ma face :) Hope, for the most part, this chapter isn't to horrible. Let me know!

- 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