“I had a syringe put to my neck by a drug dealer in Dublin when I was about 16. I was buying hash in the wrong part of town — well, the right part of town for what I wanted, I suppose — and I hadn’t got my wits about me that day. I got jumped on, thrown into this f*cking rubbish chute with a big metal door, which immediately closed behind me and left just a crack of light coming through. And then a syringe was pressed to my throat, filled with what could have just been ketchup, but I wasn’t going to ask for the lab results. I’ll never forget that. That was very scary.”
Mrs. Hudson is a fucking beast. As soon as John was like “yeah I guess I’ll help maybe” she was like “oh goodie I’ve got him in my trunk” and then she’s just like “my drug dealer ex-husband didn’t marry no fool” Get reckt.
imagine: before the apocalypse, your boyfriend Daryl fled after hearing the news of your pregnancy. upon arriving at your home, Alexandria, Daryl must prepare for fatherhood. (2,500 words)
based on this request from anonymous: Could you do one where you and Daryl were together and had a kid before the apocalypse. But when everything happens you and Daryl weren’t together so you have been separated ever since the break out happened. But eventually you came across Alexandria with your kid and have been there ever since. Then Rick’s group gets there etc.
an: i know daryl’s too old to have a kid this young but i don’t care bc kids are cuter to write than teenage children!!! - gabby TW: teenage pregnancy
I was a nineteen year old college student who could barely take care of herself, somehow always tangled up in illegal or dangerous situations. Daryl was the twenty year old brother of my drug dealer who, equally, could barely take care of himself. Daryl hung out in the same bars that my friends and I did, and tagged along with Merle to college parties. Usually, I went for the typical college douchebags; the jocks who’d spend more time on the playing field than with me. Hence, it’s safe to say that my relationship with Daryl was unusual, but unlike the few before him he made me feel safe, and we could take care of each other.
I was a strong and self-assured nineteen year old in a stable relationship, but I cried into my pillow like a heartbroken twelve year old. I was a happy, carefree college student with my whole life ahead of me, but I as curled up on the bathroom floor in the foetal position, I dreaded the future.
The dozen or so pregnancy tests lined up along the edge of the bathtub all read ‘positive’, but I’d never felt so negative in my nineteen years of living.
Once the initial shock of realising I had a life growing inside me had resided a little, I decided it was time to turn my life around. After secretively flushing a colourful array of drugs down the toilet, pouring three bottles of vodka down the sink and deleting Merle Dixon’s contact details from my phone, the next step was to let Daryl know that he was going to become a father.
Strolling back into my dorm room after filling my pockets with the pregnancy tests, I tried to act casual.
“What took so long? And why’d you take vodka into the toilet?” Daryl drawled, barely looking up from the motorbike magazine he was reading. I can still remember how relaxed he looked, slumped on my bed, surrounded by pillows. Meanwhile, I was the opposite of relaxed; my nails digging into the palms of my hands, my teeth piercing the inside of my cheek.
Various sentences collected on the tip of my tongue, but my lips may as well have been glued shut. After a few moments of silence, Daryl averted his attention away from the magazine and raised a concerned eyebrow at me. Just as I was about to speak, a couple of the pregnancy tests tumbled from the pockets of my jacket and landed before Daryl. One puzzled glance at the smiley faces on the tests and Daryl had clumsily shoved his magazine into his back pocket and was lacing up his boots.
“Daryl, talk to me,” I’d pleaded. He seemed unable to look at me as he headed towards the door.
“I’ll call ya sometime,” he replied, running a hand through his blonde hair. “I gotta process this.”
Two months and my first ultrasound scan passed and I’d still had no contact from Daryl. Soon, Merle wasn’t the only Dixon whose number I’d deleted from my phone.
My son Nathan and I were evacuated from D.C. when everything started going to shit. I deserted a café I’d put my whole life into running, and my son didn’t even make it to middle school. We left behind a tiny apartment and traded it for a huge house in Alexandria, our new home. After living there for almost two years, the other residents had become the family we never had.
Nathan had been feeling unwell lately, and after complaining of a scratchy throat, headaches and waking up in cold sweats I decided to ask Denise to check him over. Pete Anderson was usually the go-to doctor of Alexandria, but I favoured Denise not only because she was a good friend, but because Pete creeped me out.
Initially I was embarrassed to be knocking at Denise’s door so late at night, but she was incredibly welcoming, immediately sitting Nathan down and checking him over. I couldn’t help but fuss over him because he was all I had left, not just in the apocalyptic world, but before this all happened, too.
“Have you met the group Aaron brought back?” Denise asked, making small talk as she took Nathan’s temperature.
“No, I didn’t even know Aaron was back yet,” I replied, yawning slightly. “How many of them are there?”
“I don’t know exactly, but there are a lot.”
“Can we go meet them, Mom?” Nathan asked, squirming a little as Denise used the stethoscope on his back.
“If you sit still for Denise we can go in the morning,” I promised, returning the grin he shot in my direction, his expression reminding me of his father.
Denise concluded that Nathan just had a common cold, and after apologising profusely for wasting her time, I strolled home with my son’s hand in mine. This was the way it always was, and although many had told me that I needed to find a father figure for Nathan, I liked it this way.
It was almost like Christmas morning when we awoke the next day.
Nathan was always excited by new arrivals, I think he hoped to find some children nearer his age; Ron, Sam, Enid and Mikey were all older and picked on Nathan a little. He scarcely gave me time to dress myself before he was dragging me out of the house.
We ambled past the lake, looking for ducks as we made our way towards the newly occupied house. I let Nathan knock on the door once we arrived. A large, orange haired man with an impressive moustache answered the door, his face serious and a little threatening.
“Hi, I’m Y/N, this is my son Nathan, we just came to introduce ourselves,” I said, embarrassed by how timid I sounded.
“Are there any kids here?” Nathan asked confidently.
“We got a boy a little older than you, and girl a hell of a lot younger than you,” the guy replied, ruffling Nathan’s hair. “I’m Abraham. Come on inside.”
I was surprised to find they’d all slept in one house, and even more bizarrely, all in the same room. Some were still lounging on the couches; I felt a little intrusive to be in their new home so early in the day.
“Hey Rick, don’t you think the little man looks like someone we know?” Glenn asked after we’d introduced ourselves to everyone. Nathan was a way off, reading comics with Carl; he waved shyly when he noticed all eyes were on him. “Guess who I’m thinking of.”
“Oh yeah!” Rick exclaimed, grinning. “He looks like a mini-Daryl.”
Almost immediately upon hearing his name my heart began to race; I could hear my pulse pounding through my head. The sound almost drowned out the laughs of the group.
“Hey, you alright there?” Rick asked, a frown on his scarred face.
“Nathan’s dad was called Daryl,” I replied dryly, swallowing uncomfortably. “Probably a weird coincidence.”
“Well, our Daryl isn’t really the fatherly type,” Michonne said, placing a hand on my shoulder.
“I don’t know, that sounds about right,” I laughed nervously, pinching the bridge of my nose. “Where is he anyway? I’d like to check, I’m a very anxious person.”
The creaking of stairs behind us revealed the person I was hoping I wouldn’t see, answering my question for Michonne. Daryl looked different as he descended the stairs, his hair longer and darker and instead of being a scrawny teenager, he was now toned and muscular. In a moment of panic I grabbed Nathan, murmured goodbye to everyone and raced out of the door, wincing as it slammed behind me. As I piggybacked Nathan home, I wondered if this was how Daryl felt all those years ago, running away confused from something he was afraid of, but wanted so much at the same time.
Nathan’s cold seemed to be getting worse, as during the night he was vomiting and had come down with a fever. Trying to keep an eye on him and get dressed out of my pajamas at the same time was proving to be a struggle; you’d think that after nine years of being a single mother I would have mastered multi-tasking. I was clad in pajama bottoms and a half done up shirt when I heard a knock at the front door.
I told Nathan to stay put in bed, and rushed down the stairs to answer the door, almost slipping down the polished wood in the process. I was already out of breath by the time I’d opened the door, but upon seeing the person stood before me all oxygen was knocked out of my lungs.
“Lemme in, we gotta talk,” Daryl demanded, a pleading look on his face.
“Nathan’s really sick, I’ve gotta get Denise,” I panted. There was no time for chat, regardless of it being the absent father of my child I was talking to. “Can you watch him while I get dressed and go get her?”
“I, uh, I don’ know nothin’ ‘bout babies,” he drawled in the same Southern accent I’d fallen in love with all those years ago.
“He’s nine, Daryl,” I scoffed, beckoning for him to join me in a hurry up the stairs. “Please?”
I could hear Daryl talking to my son, our son, through the thin walls separating the bedroom and the bathroom, where I was rushing to get changed. I couldn’t help but pry on their conversation.
“Nathan’s a cool name,” Daryl had said, a little awkwardly. “D’ya mind if I call you Nate for short?” This caused a small smile to creep onto my lips, but I quickly shook it off. A cute nickname could never make up for his absence in Nathan’s life, and his lack of interest in mine.
I practically sprinted to Denise’s house and explained between breaths that Nathan was displaying symptoms worse than that of a common cold. We made it back to my place in record timing and zoomed upstairs to my bedroom where we found no trace of Nathan, and no trace of Daryl.
“What has he done!?” I whisper-shouted, panic rising in my chest. Denise found a scrap of paper on my bedside table with the words “showing Nathan my bike in Aaron’s garage” scrawled onto it, and soon the panic was replaced with intense anger.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” Nathan repeated for what could well have been the thirtieth time this evening. I’d found him in Aaron’s garage sat on Daryl’s motorbike, wrapped up warm in his dressing gown and slippers. A look of pure joy lit up his face as he grabbed onto the handlebars. Denise had since cleared any worries of influenza and I was tucking him into bed and kissing his forehead as I did every night.
“Goodnight little one,” I whispered, reaching up to switch off the light.
“Is Daryl really my real dad?” His voice was saturated with hope and it made my heart sink with disappointment.
“Yeah, he is.”
“Why have I never seen him before?”
It took a while for me to find an appropriate response. “He wasn’t ready to be a dad just yet.”
“Is he ready now?” I turned away from my son and switched off the light, hoping to mask the single tear that was coursing it’s way down my cheek.
“I don’t know, Nathan,” I said, my voice trembling slightly. “I’ll ask him.”
I experienced déjà vu from almost a decade ago as I shuffled into the sitting room. Daryl lay on my couch, swamped with cushions as he flicked through a book of mine titled “Tips for Single Parents”. He lazily tossed it onto the coffee table and reluctantly pulled himself into a sitting position to accommodate for me on the couch.
“’m sorry,” he murmured. Either he was unusually interested in the ceiling, the walls and the floor or he was determined to avoid my gaze.
“What were you thinking?” I asked calmly, although my tone was bitter. “He’s sick, and you take him out into the cold?”
“He told me he was feelin’ alright,” Daryl shrugged, biting at the loose skin around his nail beds.
“Daryl, he’s a kid with an obsession for motorbikes,” I almost laughed at his foolishness. “Of course he’d tell you that.”
“Oh, yeah, I guess.” A silence fell upon us, and as I stared at the empty, black screen of the television in front of us I recalled a time where a stoned Daryl and I would watch reality TV just to mock it. “Nate’s cool, Y/N, you’ve done a good job.”
“It’s been really hard,” I yawned, stretching out tiredly. “I wouldn’t change a second of it though. You’re right, he is cool.”
“He wanted to drive it around Alexandria,” he smirked. “At least I ain’t that irresponsible.” With a roll of my eyes and a small laugh, I sat forwards and opened one of the drawers in the coffee table, pulling out a photo of Nathan from when he was three years old. He’s sat on a motorbike four times the size of him, yet his smile still manages to be the main focus of the photo.
“See, he’s always liked them,” I laughed, offering Daryl the photo. He seemed tentative as he took it from my grasp, but soon he was beaming as he examined the photograph, gently brushing away any fleck of dust.
“Can I… nah, don’t matter.”
“What is it?” I prodded.
“Can I keep it?” Daryl’s eyes were ever so slightly glassy and I noticed he was chewing the inside of his mouth, a nervous habit we both shared. “Shit, I missed out on so much.”
Somehow, I found myself wrapping an arm Daryl’s shoulder and he was soon enveloped in my embrace, his warm tears seeping through the fabric of my pajama top. It felt strange, yet almost natural to hold him in my arms.
“Did you think about us?” He pulled away and nodded enthusiastically in response, looking humiliated as he wiped at his bloodshot eyes with his wrist.
“’m sorry, this is selfish,” he breathed uneasily, glancing at the photo again. “I ain’t the one who had to bring up a kid by myself.”
“Why’d you never call? Why’d you leave?” I asked, threatening to spill my own tears.
“I didn’t wanna be like my old man, I ain’t lettin’ my kid have a dad like that,” Daryl practically whispered, again avoiding my stare.
“Mom?” A tiny voice called out, and soon Nathan’s voice was replaced with the sound of his feet stomping down the stairs. Daryl rubbed furiously at his eyes and attempted to look collected as Nathan entered the room.
“What is it, sweetie?” I asked, pulling him onto my lap and protectively wrapping my arms around his small body.
“Is Daryl ready to be my dad yet?” he asked innocently, and I watched as a microscopic smile graced Daryl’s lips. I shrugged at Daryl, unable to answer for him.
“I dunno, buddy,” Daryl began, scratching the back of his neck uncomfortably. “But I’m sure as hell ready to try.”