imagine: it is pre-apocalypse, but the world is just as bleak for teenage!Daryl. being his best friend, you support him through his decision to run away from home. based on ‘Runaway’ by Ed Sheeran. (2,012 words)
TW: domestic abuse, physical abuse, alcoholism, homelessness, running away from home. also some v v v light smut
lyrics from the song in bold. i really enjoyed writing pre-apocalypse daryl and i am definitely willing to write more pre-apocalypse twd imagines!! this song always makes me think of daryl’s home life, you should listen to it while reading. i hope you enjoy the imagine and daryl’s mismatching socks! - gabby
I squinted past the bright street light as my fingertips struggled to grab hold of the flaking paintwork of the window ledge I was reaching for. Slotting the toe of my boot into a familiar space in the wall created by a chipped brick, I managed to haul myself upwards and pull myself through the window and inside. I felt adrenaline pump through my veins as I smoothed the creases out of my clothes; I’d been sneaking through that window for years now, but each time felt increasingly thrilling. Turning the light on, I looked around the room; a few new sketches of motorbikes had been taped to the walls and I almost laughed at the lack of artistic skill behind them. Other than that though, the room was still as plain as ever.
My eyes fell upon the sorry sight of my best friend, his knees tucked up to his chest as he sat with his back against the peeling wallpaper of his bedroom wall. He obviously hadn’t heard me sneak in as he unashamedly let out a small sob, his head resting on the arms he’d folded over his trembling knees.
“Daryl?” I whispered cautiously, taking a nervous step towards him. He glanced upwards in a moment of shock, his bloodshot eyes glistening with fresh tears. He rubbed furiously at his eyes and cheeks in an attempt to remove any evidence of a display of emotion, but we both knew it was too late; I had seen too much. “Is it your dad, Daryl?”
A forlorn nod from Daryl was all I needed to confirm my suspicions, but his older brother, who had evidently been listening into our conversation had more to say on the matter.
“Known it for a long time haven’t we, little brother?” Merle’s voice was somewhat mocking as he entered the room, and I itched with annoyance at the way he was making such a serious matter sound like a joke. “Daddy wakes up to a drink at nine.”
Daryl shifted uncomfortably, sitting with his legs crossed and picking at a hole in his sock with the word “Tuesday” printed on it. I’d bought Daryl days-of-the-week socks for Christmas last year as a way of mocking his disorganisation, but the idea had obviously missed the mark as it was definitely a Friday. Usually, I would have laughed at the fact that his other sock read “Sunday”.
“Disappearin’ all night,” Merle went on in that same infuriating voice. “Wanna know where I found him last night, little brother?”
“I don’t wanna know where he’s been lyin’,” Daryl replied through gritted teeth, refusing to pay attention to his brother. Merle simply chuckled before leaving the room, not without slamming the door behind him.
A silence filled the dusty air of Daryl’s room as I sat down next to him, letting him rest his head on my shoulder. I ran my fingers through his hair which seemed less and less blonde by the day, gently massaging his scalp with my nails in a way I knew would calm him down.
“Wanna talk about it?” I asked tentatively, feeling him sigh and sniffle slightly. Of course, being Daryl, he didn’t give me a yes or no answer.
“I know what I’m gonna do,” he remarked, standing up abruptly and opening the closet next to the window I’d just slipped through. “I’m gonna run away with you, Y/N.” He pulled out an old backpack he once used for school from underneath a mountain of clothes in his closet.
“Daryl, what about school, college applications,” I stammered, thrown by the notion. I watched as disappointment flooded Daryl’s face, which was soon replaced by determination. “Why can’t you just speak to your dad first, let him know how you feel?”
“There’s nothin’ to say, ‘cause he knows,” Daryl mumbled, trying to hide his dismay as he grabbed clothes from the pile in his closet, scrunching them up and tossing them into the bag. “I’ll just run away an’ be on my own.”
My heart twinged with despair as I watched Daryl gloomily shove clothes into his backpack, and I felt a responsibility to accompany him. My parents would kill me, I knew that, but I suddenly felt the urge to rush home and pack my own bag.
“I’m gonna pack clothes, and when it’s morning, we’ll go.” I said with a small grin, watching a smile creep onto Daryl’s face. I kissed his soft cheek as I made towards the door, enjoying the blush that coloured his face. As I dangled my legs over the window ledge, I called out to Daryl through the window before I jumped. “By the way, you’re supposed to pack shoes first, dumbass.”
It was six a.m. and I was waiting for Daryl outside his house.
I’d scrawled a note for my parents and left it in the kitchen, explaining why I was gone and that I didn’t think it would be long before I would be back home. I watched as the sky went from a dusky pink to a bright orange, and I took the time to admire and appreciate the beauty of it; part of me wished I woke up this early every morning, but the other part remembered my warm bed and shook off the notion completely. I yawned and checked my watch, which read 6:30 a.m. As he was already thirty minutes late, I decided to peek through the windows of his house to see where he was.
I peered through the window of Daryl’s kitchen and froze as I saw Daryl’s dad leaning against the kitchen counter, swirling a glass of whiskey in his hand. I almost threw up at the thought of drinking this early in the morning; I could barely stomach a bowl of cereal at this time, let alone a spirit drink. I watched tentatively as Daryl entered the kitchen, tugging anxiously on the straps of his backpack. Daryl’s dad looked his son up and down before laughing cruelly, cold as stone in the kitchen light.
“How long you leavin’?” He asked before downing the remains of the drink in his hand. His voice was only just audible through the small opening in the window.
“Well, dad,” Daryl mumbled, his gaze focused on the floor rather than his father. “Jus’ don’t expect me back this evenin’.” I ran back towards the wall in front of Daryl’s house as I he made his way towards the front door. I perched myself nonchalantly on the wall and tied my hair into a loose braid.
“Sorry I’m late,” Daryl said as he approached me. “Was talkin’ to my dad.”
“Oh,” I acted surprised and hoped that I was doing a great job of pretending I hadn’t been earwigging on his conversation. “All okay?”
“As okay as it can be,” he breathed, pulling me up from the wall and onto my feet.
In all honesty, I was bored. I’d assumed that running away would be exhilarating, but in reality we’d just been trekking through the woods for what felt like an age; Daryl wanted to show me where his go-to place when he needed to calm down. For some reason, he’d brought a crossbow with him, a present from Merle from a birthday years ago; I didn’t even know he had it, he said he’d never used it before up until now. I mocked him, claiming that there was no use for it and he might as well sell it and make us some money.
“Shuddup, or I’ll put it to use,” he joked, pointing the weapon at my head and making me squirm. Eventually I convinced him to leave the weapon buried somewhere safe, I was worried that we’d get into more trouble if we were seen carrying a weapon around with us. I promised him we’d go back for it later.
We came to a clearing in the forest with a lake, I was surprised at how quiet and serene it was; I could get used to the absence of people. Daryl removed his boots and his (surprisingly matching) “Wednesday” socks to paddle in the shallow edges of the water. Something came over me, and I longed to add a bit of excitement into our journey, so I quickly stripped down to my underwear and ran frenziedly into the icy water, the cold biting at my skin.
“What the hell, Y/N?!” Daryl exclaimed, a grin washing over his face.
“Come and join me!” I yelled, before dunking my head underneath the water. “It’s pretty warm in here!”
“You’re such a liar,” he replied with a laugh, before beginning to unbutton his shirt. I looked away to make it less uncomfortable for him, and within minutes he was splashing me with water as he ran into the lake.
Once our immaturity had subsided, and we’d calmed down from splashing and spitting water at each other, somehow Daryl’s arms had ended up wrapped around my waist, and his lips were softly kissing my shoulders from behind. Shaky breaths escape from my between chattering teeth and left condensation in the cold air; I could not longer tell whether I was shivering from the cold or from Daryl’s touch as his hands roamed upwards and underneath my bra.
“Daryl,” I turned to face him, ready to lean up to kiss him when my eyes were distracted by a deep cut across his shoulder. Before he could protest, I spun him around and gasped at the sight of his bare back covered in both old and newly formed scars and fresh welts, some of which still coated with dried blood. “Oh my god.”
Daryl pushed me away from him and swam towards the shore of the lake. I watched as he pulled his shirt back over his head, not caring whether it got wet or not. I made my way towards him whilst trying to cover myself up, my moment of confidence dwindling.
“Why didn’t you tell me he hits you?” My voice was high pitched and unsteady.
“I was raised to keep quiet,” was Daryl’s response, and with that he’d dressed himself and set off towards the road again, leaving me shivering in my underwear.
My watch read 01:46 a.m. but the train station clock read 01:49. After changing the time on my watch to match, I looked down at Daryl who was asleep on my lap, or so I thought.
“Why’re you still awake?” I whispered, my voice quietened by the wind rushing through the station and through our hair. I felt him quiver on my lap; our clothes were still damp from a combination of both the lake and the pouring rain we’d walked in.
“Couldn’t sleep,” he replied, sitting up and rubbing at his tired eyes. “Kept dreamin’ that the world was gonna end, and realisin’ I wished that would happen.”
I laughed lightly and leant my head on the shoulder he was offering me. He ran his fingers through my hair in the same fashion I had done to him the night before, and I smiled to myself at his gentle touch.
“If the world ends, maybe your stupid crossbow would become useful.” I joked, and we laughed weakly. Daryl’s expression clouded with embarrassment as I slipped my hand up his back and traced the injuries as lightly as I could.
“It’s never gonna be alright, is it, Y/N?”
“It could take a bit of time to heal this,” I sighed, nuzzling into his shoulder and enjoying the feeling of his fingers tangling in my frizzy hair. “But I’m always gonna be here for you.”
Both my watch and the train station clock read 02:23 by the time we’d snuggled into our sleeping bags and laid to rest on the cold floor of the station underpass. Of course, before that, we had plenty of time to share shy kisses; I fell asleep with a sense of completion as I accepted the fact that my best friend was now something much more.
imagine: out of all the people in Alexandria, you never would have guessed that Daryl Dixon would be the one to help you through an anxiety attack. (1,910 words)
based on this request: Perhaps can I request one with a girl who has extreme anxiety, flinches at loud noises. Stutters. Someone who has obviously had some ‘issues’ like Daryl just more on the emotional front. Perhaps they get really close to Daryl but catch him right after Denise’s death, when he’s been drinking and a bit more volatile. So he sees her actually afraid of him? Maybe they have a bit of a relationship? Fluff?
an: found the gif on google, ask for credit pls!! TW: anxiety the reader’s anxiety isn’t as severe as anon requested and she isn’t scared of daryl in this imagine like they asked for but otherwise i hope i’ve kept to the request well! (i’m really not a fan of this so if it flops i understand) - gabby
I awoke to a thousand worries fluttering in my stomach, prodding at my brain and knocking the air out of my lungs. Every thought I could possibly think was nagging at me, nibbling away at any rationality I had. All I wanted was to nestle underneath my sheets some more and make up for the sleep lost the night before, but I knew very well that I’d only stare at the ceiling for hours.
Anxiety was tough to deal with before the apocalypse, but seemed almost impossible to battle now. I’d been lucky in the fact that, because I was tucked so safely behind the walls of Alexandria, I hadn’t had too many extreme anxious spells. Now however, after the walker invasion, Denise’s death and the ever-growing threat of the Saviors attacking, all I seemed to do was worry.
I reluctantly showered, leaning my head back against the cool tiles as I let the warm water flow over my clammy skin. As I exfoliated, I wished that I could also scrub my mind clean and watch my worries swirl down the plughole along with the suds. After realising I’d spent over thirty minutes vacantly staring at the water cascading from the shower head, I got dressed into my most comfortable clothes and headed downstairs to read a book.
The severe anxiety was sort of triggered by Rick’s annoyance towards me for refusing his request to go on a supply run with Glenn. After Denise’s death I’d been too fearful to leave my house, let alone the walls of the safe zone. So, much to the bearded leader’s regret, I’d declined and retreated back into the safety of my bed. Rick was probably unfazed by it, but my stupid brain convinced me to believe that he hated me and that I was a disappointment to the whole group. I’d avoided them all for three days now, barely opening a window, never mind a door. I had my books and my poetry to protect me, anyway.
“Y/N?” Carol’s voice called from my porch. “Your door’s locked. Could you let me in?”
“Sure, just a second,” I yelled back, quickly scrambling to shove any evidence of my idleness away, folding my abundance of blankets as neatly as possible. Carol was such a domestic goddess, and I became paranoid that she’d think I was a slob which, judging by the state of my house, I kind of was.
“Uh, hey, Carol.” I was breathless as I opened the door and welcomed her inside.
“Cookie?” She asked, generously offering me a tub of baked goods with a broad smile; I couldn’t help but weakly mirror her facial expression.
We sat on the couch and I tried my hardest to ignore the string of ‘what if’s’ corrupting my trail of thoughts; all I could think was “what if she secretly hates you?” “what if she’s here to spy on you and report back to Rick?” and “what if she thinks I’m pathetic?” Of course, I wasn’t going to admit that I was feeling anxious, instead I just emptily nodded at each sentence she uttered. Carol, however, saw through this disguise.
“Y/N, I can tell you’re struggling with something,” she said, even just the mere touch of her hand on my shoulder soothing me. “If you want to talk to anyone about it, I’m here.”
“Th-thanks, Carol,” I stuttered, internally cursing at myself for letting my eyes brim with tears. “I uh, I think I just want to eat cookies and cry right now, though.”
“I’ll leave you in peace, then,” she replied with a small laugh, squeezing my shoulder as she stood up. It wasn’t until then that I realised how tense my muscles were. “Try to get some fresh air today, if you can.”
I nodded unconvincingly and saw her out of the door, before flopping back onto the couch to bore my eyes into the walls, this time with cookies for company.
I surprised myself and took Carol’s advice; once night had fallen I pulled on my boots and finally stepped out of my bubble of protection. The breeze sent a ripple of goosebumps across my skin, and I felt some comfort in admiring the stars watching over me from above. For the first time in a week or so, I could feel the anxiety disintegrating inside me, leaving my body with every breath of fresh air I exhaled. I’d forgotten how much better I felt when paying close attention to my senses. I ran my fingers along the cool steel of the community’s walls, enjoying the metallic noise. The tranquillity was short-lived, though, as I was soon snapped out of my happy daze by a noise that was the opposite of enjoyable: the deep groans of a walker.
It slammed against the wall from the other side with such force that I truly believed it would topple over. Not long ago these walls had fallen and the safe zone was infiltrated with the things; the image of Jessie and her sons being ripped apart flashed before my eyes as I staggered away from the wall. In my frenzied movement I tripped and fell, my back hitting the trunk of a tree and winding me of any oxygen my anxiety hadn’t already rid me of.
Deep breaths seemed impossible; I wheezed and gasped for air as though I’d been underwater for several minutes. My eyes were squeezed shut, hence I was oblivious as to who the voice suddenly booming out through the night belonged to.
“Sasha!” A male voice yelled boisterously; I was too focused on trying to breathe to open my eyes to discover the person stood near to me. I did notice, however, that whoever it was stank of alcohol. “Walker over here, ya wanna take care of it?” A sharp crack of a rifle followed quickly, and the walker’s horrific noises came to a halt.
The only sound audible now were the ugly sobs coming from my throat. I wiped at my teary face with trembling hands and finally let my eyes discover the man who had just taken a few steps closer to me.
“Fuck’s goin’ on?” Daryl asked, blood-shot eyes gazing down at me with a frown. I could hear the alcohol’s influence on his voice.
“Th- the walker,” I managed to choke out; I was convinced I was going to pass out if I didn’t regulate my breathing any time soon.
“You’re still scared of a damn walker?” He scoffed, clumsily pushing his hair away from his face. “Ain’t gonna hurt ya from the other side of that fence.”
Somehow, despite being said from an unsympathetic drunken man I hardly knew, the words were just what I needed to hear. My lungs finally accepted a deep gulp of air and I savoured the oxygen as if it were my last breath, ignoring the strange look Daryl was casting my way.
“Are… uh.. are y’alright?” He asked, tugging on the strap of his crossbow slung over his shoulder and tripping over his own feet slightly.
“I’m f-fine,” I exhaled, running my tongue along the raw skin on the inside of my quivering bottom lip. “I ju-just w-want to go home.”
“You’re supposed to breathe with your stomach, or somethin’,” Daryl slurred. “Like, push it ouuut and iiin.” I smiled genuinely at his amusing impression of the breathing technique as we ambled through Alexandria and towards my house; I was still sweating and shaking uncontrollably, but I felt a small fraction of comfort as Daryl’s arm accidentally brushed against mine.
“You’re right, actually,” I replied, my voice cracking slightly. “How’d you know that?”
“Read it in a stupid fuckin’ book,” he dismissed.
“Didn’t realise you were the type to read books,” I joked, feeling a little calmer now that I was conversing with someone, especially as that someone was stupidly and amusingly drunk.
“Only ones with lil’ pictures,” he smirked, and I actually laughed for the first time in weeks. Sneaking a shy glance his way, I noticed he was grinning back at me.
“Got any drink?” Daryl’s words were sort of blending into one and his eyes were glazed over. I knew he was referring to alcoholic beverages and not the glass of tap water I was currently grabbing for him in the kitchen, but it was pretty obvious that he was already intoxicated enough.
“Whas’ this?” He asked, snatching the glass from me and watching intently as he swirled the liquid around. “Vodka?”
“Uh, yep,” I lied, sitting down on my couch beside him. He was laying with his head on the arm rest, nuzzled into the soft fabric of my favorite blanket and seeming unimpressed as he flicked through a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s work.
“Tastes weird,” Daryl frowned, but he took a swig anyway. After a short silence, both of us asked the other a question in unison. “Why’re ya so anxious?” was his question, and “Why are you so drunk?” was mine.
“You answer first,” I insisted, to which he rolled his eyes.
“Denise is dead, those fuckin’ Saviors are gonna kill us, and I like whiskey,” was his monotonous answer. I recalled seeing Daryl and Denise conversing on numerous occasions, but it never really occurred to me that they were friends. I cast a sympathetic look his way before answering his question.
“Okay, I’m anxious because, like you said Denise is dead, those fucking Saviors are gonna kill us, and your buddy Rick is terrifying,” I admitted, resting my feet on the coffee table.
“Rick? Nah, he ain’t bad.”
“He scares me,” I replied. “He’s pretty much always covered in blood, he kills people without thinking twice and I think I’ve pissed him off. He thinks he’s God. Anyway, it’s my turn to ask you a question.”
“Whatever,” Daryl drawled with a chuckle, propping his feet up on my lap. “He’s a good guy, though.”
“Ummm… why are you here?”
“Jus’ lookin’ out for you,” he murmured and I felt my face flush, this time with timidity rather than stress. “I can go if ya want.”
“No,” I blurted quickly. If my face felt flushed before, it was positively burning now. “I mean, I… I like having company.”
“Guess I’m stayin’, then.” Suddenly the tears I’d been collecting inside for the past few weeks couldn’t be restrained any longer, and I began to sob. I let my head plummet into my hands and my shoulders shook uncontrollably; no one had ever comforted me or understood what I needed quite like Daryl. He was quiet and didn’t have much advice to offer, but just his presence was enough.
“Hey, c’mere,” Daryl whispered, sitting up and pulling me in for a hug. His embrace was stiff and uncomfortable but still thoughtful, and calmed me down.
“Are you usually th-the cuddly type, Daryl? Or is… is it just b-because you’re drunk?” I asked, the sudden outburst encouraging my stutter.
“I dunno,” he said lazily, resuming his relaxed position.
“Guess I’ll h-have to find out an-another t-time.” I tried to sound casual and cool, but ended up sounding like a love-struck 12 year-old who had never spoken to a guy before.
“What?” Daryl asked, flustered by the suggestion in my proposal.
“Did I stutter, Dixon?”
“Uh, yeah you did.”
We laughed until our stomachs hurt, and soon the two of us were essentially hyperventilating. This time, though, it had never felt so good to be deprived of oxygen.
Requested: Nah. This is another story from my old blog that i rewrote to make it better. so i hope you guys like this as much as you loved American Beauty. Also the update day will be friday instead of thursday. -Gabby
Y/n feels like she is invisible to everyone around her. But what happens when she finds out that she isn’t invisible to Luke?