AN: Hello to first time readers of my little (epic) story. I have had a few people get half way through this story and go 'whoa hang on a minute this is not what I was expecting', so let me give you forewarning now. I write this story as if it were to appear on HBO not AMC. So it is very adult and little controversial. It deals with a lot of harsh topics and its is not all rainbows and unicorns. I wanted to show how love can survive in a messed up world when any moment could be your last.

This is dark fic with angst (with some light-hearted stuff to break it up) and plenty of smut and lemons, but also with a storyline. So you can expect to be on a rollercoatser ride of emotions!

If you're looking for a purely sweet, fluffy romance, you've come to the wrong place!

The Walking Deth - Part I

An Unexpected Journey - Chapter I

Burning Wishes

What was a journal for anyway? A place to keep your thoughts, wishes and dreams? The only thoughts I had were of my father's head, half removed from his body by the blade of the Katana, or of Luke's tiny shoe among a puddle of blood and bodily sludge. The only wish that I still had was to stay alive, and the only dreams I had were nightmares. The pages were still crisp and clean, waiting for words that would never be written. So what did it matter if I tore them out and tossed them to the fire?

And what a pitiful fire it was. Fed by twigs and dry leaves and unfulfilled wishes; It provided enough light so we could see our immediate surrounds when the moon slipped behind the clouds, but it did not provide any heat. It was getting cold now as the season changed from fall to winter, and as the night made its way to morning. I didn't have time to pack up a sweater when I left the prison, all I had were the clothes on my back, the bits and pieces in kept in my pockets, and the boots on my feet.

I rubbed along the gooseflesh on my arms trying to press the tiny bumps down, and turned my eyes to Daryl, who was staring into the flames seemingly oblivious to the cold. Daryl didn't feel anything. He didn't feel hunger, or pain, or loss, He just stomped through the woods with a constant dour expression on his face.

His steel blue eyes lifted and glared into mine as I glowered at him.

"I'mma get some rest." He grunted the words through barely moving lips, as he brushed away the leaves and bark, to make himself a dirt bed.

"How can you even sleep? After what we saw today…after what's happened."

"I'm fuckin' tired! Been runnin' 'round all day chasin' after shit yer never gon' find. Tryna catch hope for somethin' that ain't out there… Been tryna protect your dumbass e'ry time you stopped usin' yer damn head and walked straight into a mothafuckin' walkers hands, like you wanna make out with 'im or somethin'."

I scowled at him. It had only been two walkers I had walked into. Only two.

He shifted uncomfortably under my glare.

"Wake me up when the moon's real bright." He pointed to the full moon high above the tree canopy, and then went to his back placing his hands behind his head, and turning his elbows to the night sky.

I should just get up and leave him while he sleeps, let him make out with the walkers…No. That was a terrible thought to have.

I would have liked to get out with Maggie. She would have held me and told me everything was going to be okay. Or Sasha. She would have at least spoken to me in full, intelligible sentences. Even Carl would have made for better company, when he wasn't throwing goofy eyes my way. Rick might have been able to keep me safe. But none of them would have kept me alive as well as Daryl had. He had already proven that twice today…or maybe three times, but who's counting?

I looked over the foul mouthed, asshole of a redneck; unbathed, unshaven, and wrapped in tattered clothing. His face looked peaceful slackened with sleep, and he was kind of cute when he wasn't scowling. His grime and sweat covered biceps, flexed by his ears, glistened in the moonlight. He wasn't friendly, and he wasn't gentle. He was hard, and rough and he was strong, and that was exactly what I needed right now.

"Thank you." I whispered in to the darkness.

"You say somethin'?" He grunted, as he opened his eyes and turned toward me.


By the time the moon was at its brightest; The usually muggy air had become crisp and frozen. I had tried adding bark and dried leaves to the fire, in my attempt to make it bigger but it just seemed to shake and shrivel. Panicking about losing the flame, I started blowing at it frantically and fanning it with my hand.

"Don't you know how to build no fire?" Daryl sat up, groaned and stretched.

I drew my flailing hands back in to my body. "I was just about to wake you."

Daryl poked at the fire with a stick he had collected from his side.

"Shoulda woke me up 'fore you touched it. Nothin' but sparks now."

I pouted into the night feeling more useless than normal.

Daryl's shadowy eyes glanced up at me.

"Come over 'ere." He beckoned to me with a wave of his hand. I got to my knees and crawled over to his side of the fire.

"You got your tinder right? That holds the spark."

He pointed at the leaf and grass covered ground.

"You can use bark, dead grass, dead leaves anything dead…but no walkers…too large." His eyebrows raised and he smirked at me.

He reached across my waist and pulled out the knife I had strapped to my hip.

"If you rub along bark like this." He began running the knife up and down a piece of bark sharply, and a grainy, fibrous powder started tumbling to the earth. He put his forefinger in the powder and rubbed it on his thumb. "You get a powder that makes good tinder. It's what I used on 'ere…before you killed it." He pointed into the dying embers.

"Then you need some kindling." He grabbed a handful of twigs and started arranging them on the red embers of what used to be a fire. "Twigs, bits of wood, cardboard if you have it." He reached over for a piece of dead branch, and a sharp rock that was nearby. "If ya need to break up a chunk of wood, an' you have no knife or tools, you can hold it like this." He put the piece of wood between his boots. "And you hit it hard on top until it starts to spilt." He demonstrated it for me and then tore the branch in two when a crack had formed.

"Then you need your fuel. Bulky pieces of wood, dry grass, dried shit if you can get it and don' mind touchin' it. Good for farmin' good for fire." He tossed some larger pieces of wood onto the fire that was already licking hungrily at the kindling.

"You got that?" He glanced up at me and I nodded in reply.

"If you ain't got no lighter, you can use that trick they show ya on TV, with the glass and the sun. That shit is real they don't make it up. You just gotta focus the light into the tinder." He pointed to his pile of bark powder. "Then you blow on it, just a little, not too much." he reached out and pulled my hand towards his face, he turned my wrist so my palm was upwards and gently blew on to it.

'Like this."

A curious shiver ran up my spine.

"What if there is no sun?" I said as I quickly withdrew my hand and glanced up to the bright full moon.

"You'll have to hand drill it. That's hard as fuck. 'specially if you got soft girl hands. Best hope I'm there to help you out…" He sniggered playfully while showing me the rough callouses in his hands. "Or you best be makin' you're fire 'fore it gets dark."

I nodded again.

"You know how to build a fire pit?"

I stared at him blankly.

"Nah 'course ya don't."

Daryl began scooping his hands into the dirt by his feet until he had made a foot wide circular ditch. He pointed into the ditch.

"You build your fire in there." He moved a foot away from the ditch and started working his hand down in to the ground, scooping out piles of dirt, puffing and panting and flexing his arm, until it was underground and his hand was poking through the original hole he had dug. "This hole 'ere gets the air to your fire. Fire needs air to breathe." He looked up at me and raised his eyebrow to me like I was a simpleton.

"I know that." I really did.

"This larger hole will protect yer fire from the wind." He pointed to his original ditch. "Also makes less smoke and less light. Handy if you're tryna stay hidden or some shit."

I nodded again, wondering who we would have to hide from next.

Daryl dusted of the dirt from his hands and then scooted over to the side revealing the soft patch of dirt that followed the shape of his body.

"You get some shut eye now ya hear?"

Sitting alone in the darkness had been more exhausting than I had thought. My eyes felt heavy and my body felt weak. I probably could sleep if I tried really hard.

I shifted into the groove he had left behind and lay down in it, curling into a ball. The fire was burning stronger now but the air moving through the trees was still cold. I tucked my hands between my thighs trying to keep them warm and then pressed my eyes closed. I knew my trembling body would prevent me from ever getting any sleep and I huffed impatiently.

"What's a matter?" Daryl asked.

"It's darn cold out here." I mumbled though chattering teeth.

"Move closer to the fire then."

I raised my head and looked to my blood encrusted boots that were showered in orange light.

"If I get any closer I'm gonna set myself alight."

Daryl grumbled in agreement.

I twitched with discomfort as I thought about asking him for something that would be awkward for the both of us.

"Do you think you could…maybe…sit closer…to me?"

He sighed heavily and then I heard a shifting of leaves as he moved in closer to me so his hip was pressed against my curled back.

"That okay?"

His hip was warm, but it wasn't doing me much good pressed against such a small part of my back. I rolled over in the ditch and curved myself around his legs.

"This okay?" I asked glancing up at him.

He nodded. "Yeah."

I wrapped an arm around his waist.

"How about this?"

He hesitated for a moment. "Guess so."

I closed my eyes and nuzzled into the leather pressed against his firm, strong back. I squeezed my arm around his lean and tight abdomen. I inhaled his comforting smell of dirt, and sweat and man. The heat from his body radiated through my hands, up my arms and over my shoulders and swirled around in my belly. But the hottest fire pulsated, throbbed and burned between my legs.

I woke to Daryl kicking my boot with the gentleness and affection only Daryl Dixon could show.

"You wanna eat or not." He growled while shoving a portion of charred meat in to my face.

I sat up and reluctantly took it off him and picked at it, while I glared at his stupid, sexy, sullen face.

"You left me to hunt?" I asked.

"Nah, dumb fucker ran straight in front o' me."

I chewed on the dry overcooked squirrel meet, thinking about how lucky I was to be stuck with the hunter of the group.

I had barely finished the last mouthful when he stomped past me and flicked his hand into the air beckoning me to follow.

I pouted at his grumpy disposition and then pulled myself to my feet. I picked out the leaves and twigs that were tangled through my hair, and tossed them towards the extinguished fire, wondering if it would be enough to re-ignite it.

I followed Daryl through the trees stepping over the carcasses of two walkers that were only a few yards away from where I slept.

"Shit. Did you kill them last night?" I asked staring down on them.

"Yep." He replied bluntly.

"Why didn't you wake me?" I asked.

"I took care of it." He snapped. I screwed up my face and flipped the bird at the white wings on the back of his vest. Damn grump he was in the morning.

He stopped in his tracks and turned to me.

"…you looked too peaceful to wake." he added, in a much softer tone. And I felt guilty about the bird.

I followed Daryl through the bushes and trees, moving as he moved, stopping when he stopped and crouching to examine the earth when he did.

"You followin' the tracks of the others?" I asked after about an hour of trudging through the trees.

"Nuh. Our next meal." He said bluntly. "But if you don' keep your darn mouth shut, we won't be havin' anythin'."

I let him walk ahead a few paces and flipped the bird to his back again. He snapped his head around and I stuck my hand behind my back, and looked up to the clouds in the sky innocently.

Whatever Daryl was tracking it lead us towards a creek bed swollen with water that lapped against the sun baking shale rocks.

Daryl went over and started filling up his water bottle and drank from it.

"Aren't you gonna boil that first?" I asked.

"With what Martha Stewart? You hidin' a pot in your panties?" He took another swig of the dirty water.

"If you get dysentery, don't blame me." I sniped as I walked down to the creek to wash my hands and face.

"You die of dehydration, don't blame me." He retorted.

"You are such an ass." I grumbled over my shoulder.

"Yep, but I ain't thirsty."

I screwed up my face as I looked away from him and down to my boots. They were still covered in the blood of the children I had taken care of for months. I slipped them off and began scrubbing them, using my fingers, in the water.

"That's a waste o' time, only gonna get dirty again." Daryl said standing over me and looking at my wet hands rubbing over my boots.

I looked him over. It was obviously his attitude to washing in general. He was always a complete mess. I doubted if he had even showered once when we were back at the prison.

"Not all of us like to wallow in our own fifth." I snapped up at him.

Daryl shrugged and stepped away from me and paced along the bank of the creek, looking at the rocks and creek-weeds that were tossed about by the movement of the water.

I pulled my socks off, and then shimmied my jeans down my hips.

"What the fuck are you doin' now?" Daryl said glaring over his shoulder at me.

"I'm bathing, you should try it some time."

"That fuckin' waters gonna be colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra in January, I can tell you that right now. You'll freeze your own mothafuckin' tits off."

I blushed a little at the mention of my breasts. "I don't care. We've been runnin' for days. I'm covered in sweat and blood, and god knows what else." I collected another pile of leaves from my hair. "A bit of cold water might do us good. Might do us both good."

I slipped my tank off, and tossed it to the dirt at my feet.

Daryl averted his eyes as I stood there in my bra and panties. I didn't even care what he saw. He had already stood mere yards away from me while I went to the bathroom, there was no modesty between us anymore.

I edged my way in to the water biting back my gasps and yelps as Daryl was proven right. I ducked my shoulders down into the water and started rubbing at my body trying to be as quick as possible before my tits did actually freeze off.

Daryl could see how cold I was and he sat down on the flat rocks watching me with a satisfied smirk on his lips.

I flipped the bird in his direction under the water, and then froze still as something long dark and slimy gripped on to my thigh.