Hope was the only thing you held on to after the world went to shit, and now it was the only thing you held on to after Daryl had told you he doesn’t do feelings. You’d survived this long with walkers every where you turn, so who was to say he wouldn’t change his mind on this trivial matter? Stranger things have happened, right? Wrong. But did it stop you going back again and again? No.
“Ya comin’ over tonight?” He asked as you walked together to put your weapons back in the stores.
“Um, yeah, maybe,” you reply.
“Come on, it’ll be fun,” he persuades.
“Okay, see you later,” you say as you place you gun back and walk out. You knew it was a stupid idea, your feelings had grown so much recently, and you knew they were completely one sided. You’d been reminded of this almost every night you went over to his and he rolled over on to his side after sex, his back the only thing you were allowed to see. Then his mumblings the next morning of ‘I don’t do feelings’ or ‘this ain’t anything’. Every time you told yourself it would be the last time, but was it? Of course not, because that annoying bit of hope made you stupid enough to think that maybe, just maybe, he’d come to his senses and say he loved you too.
That night you went over as planned, your hand shaking as you knocked on the door. As soon as he opened it, he dragged you inside and started ripping your clothes off. This was nothing but physical for him, and this proved it. As you lay on the floor of the living room next to him, his back the only thing you can see, you stares into the flame of the fire. This had to be it, you couldn’t do this anymore. It made you feel horrible in reality, even though the sex was amazing, the moments after were awful. You felt used, but it was your own fault for coming back every time. Instead of staying like you usually do, you gathered your clothes, got dressed and went to yours to pack a bag. Just as the sun started to creep up into the sky, you made your exit with no one knowing. The hilltop seemed your best option right now, so you decided to head there.
“Have you seen (Y/N)?” Daryl asks Michonne as he runs out of his house in the morning.
“Nope, not today Daryl. Everything okay?”
“Yeah, jus’ can’t find her.”
“Is she at her house?”
“I’ll go check.”
He jogs over to your house, opening the door and walking inside. He calls out your name but doesn’t get a reply, so heads upstairs and finds your clothes scattered on your bed, most of them missing.
“Fuck,” he mutters, running downstairs and heading to his garage to get his bike out.
“Have you found her?” Michonne calls out to him.
“She’s gone,” he shouts back.
“I dunno, I’m goin’ out to find her.”
“Want some help?”
“Nah, jus’ stay here incase she comes back.”
Michonne nods as Daryl jumps on his bike and revs it up, going towards the gates. Aaron opens the and Daryl speeds down the road, not having a clue where he was going to look for you, but just getting out there as soon as possible. He scans every field, stops at every house to check it for any sign of you. He spends a couple of hours searching, then decides to move off of the main road and onto the small back roads.
You’d been walking for a few hours now, and hilltop wasn’t far off in the distance. You pick up your pace as you see the gates up on the hill, then you hear the revving of a bike, and hide in the bushes incase it’s one of Negan’s men. You see it’s Daryl, but stay hidden until he’s moved past. You run up to the hilltop and Jesus and Maggie welcome you in.
“What brings you here?” Maggie asks.
“Just needed some space from Alexandria. Is it okay if I stay for a while?” You ask.
“Of course. Take the cabin next to mine, go and get some sleep, it must have been a long journey on foot.”
“Thanks Maggie,” you smile, Jesus walking you to your cabin.
“Guy troubles?” He asks.
“How did yo-“
“Been there myself. Get some sleep,” he says, smiling warmly and squeezing your shoulder before walking away. You shut the door and sigh; at least you had someone who knew your problem. You throw your bag on the chair and lay down on the small makeshift bed and soon fall asleep.
“Let me see her!” Daryl yells as Jesus tries to hold him back.
“She’s sleeping! She walked here from Alexandria, she’s exhausted, leave her be for now,” Jesus says calmly as Daryl starts to back down. Daryl huffs and walks away, leaning on his bike, determined to see you as soon as you wake up. A couple of hours later you start to come round from your sleep, thirsty and a little hungry, so step out of your cabin and straight into Jesus.
“Woah! Sorry, didn’t see you there,” you say, moving back.
“(Y/N), Daryl’s here. I’m assuming he’s the reason for your visit. He’s out by the gate if you want to see him.”
“Ah, right. Thanks for letting me know.”
“Do you want me to come with you?”
“Nah, it’s alright, you’ve done more than enough,” you smile, giving him a hug. You walk past him and towards the front gate, taking your steps slowly. You couldn’t think why he was here for you, all hope had now dissipated, so that didn’t even cross your mind. As you turn a corner, you spot him leaning against his bike, chewing on his thumb like he does when he’s anxious about something. He looks up and sees you, then immediately stands up and strides towards you, closing the distance in seconds.
“Why’d ya leave?” He asks.
“Just wanted a break from Alexandria.”
“In the early hours of the mornin’?”
“Why didn’t ya say anythin’?”
“I don’t need to tell you anything Daryl. It’s not like we’re in a relationship,” you snap.
“Ya coulda still told me though.”
“What was the point? You could easily find someone else to fulfill your needs,” you say, angrier than intended, “you remind me that this doesn’t mean anything enough.”
“But what if it does?” He says, voice raised, almost angry.
“Don’t do this.”
“I didn’t want it to happen this way.”
“Daryl, shut up. Don’t do this to me, please.”
“I’m not doin’ anything. Ya mean the world to me, but I couldn’t let ya in.”
“Just stop,” you whisper, tears starting to form in your eyes.
“No. I gotta say this. When I woke up to you not bein’ there, I hated it. I’ve only been pushin’ ya away ‘cause I never felt like this about someone before.”
You look up to meet his eyes and then he continues talking.
“I’ve fallen for ya, but ya know I’m shit at feelin’s and stuff.”
“Why didn’t you say anything sooner?”
“I tried, but I chickened out.”
“Daryl… I don’t know if I can let myself believe all this after everything. Do you know how shit I felt every time you turned away from after we’d just had sex?”
“I know, ‘cause I felt shit doin’ it. All I wanted to do was hold ya, but I felt like I didn’t deserve it,” he admits, kicking at the ground with his boot, “and I know ya deserved better.”
“Oh Daryl,” you sigh, placing your hand on his cheek gently. He nudges his head into your palm and brings his hand up to place on top of yours. After a short while, he takes your hand away from his cheek, guiding it around to his back where he lets go of it and slides both of his arms around your waist, bringing you into a tight embrace. His head rests on your shoulder, his lips touching the bare skin of your neck, and he places soft kisses on it.
“This is all I’ve wanted to do since I met ya,” he whispers. You close your eyes, burying your face in his chest and gripping onto the fabric of his shirt at the back that little bit tighter as you relish in the feeling of his body holding yours.