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TWD Fic: Keep Moving (Don't Stop To Breathe) - tranquility... best achieved in chaos
TWD Fic: Keep Moving (Don't Stop To Breathe)
(I think I have a brain tumor. Fic just keeps coming out. *helpless* It's for The Walking Dead this time though, so at least I'm not entirely a lost cause?)

Title: Keep Moving (Don’t Stop To Breathe)
Rating: PG-13
Category: Andrea/Daryl Dixon
Spoilers: Season Two, Beside The Dying Fire
Disclaimer: Owned by others.
Author’s Note: For ceruleantides who knows why.


“Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays just long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark
-- Stephen Dunn, ‘Sweetness’


Merle says they’ve all got needs, more so after a crisis when a woman wants to feel a man thrusting inside her, showing her what it’s like to really be alive.

But Merle says the younger one’d be no fun, a pretty but limp doll with her eyes forever wide in shock like she’d been kicked to the edge of hell. Daryl supposes she has what with all them dead walking around, but he laughs just the same. Merle was a son of a bitch, but he’d had half the girls in town shouting his name out from under him by the time he could drive.

The older one though, Merle says she’s feisty, has spirit – a wild doe just looking for a buck.

As it turns out, she’s a bitch with a bite. Daryl avoids Merle for a full day after that goes down, hunts squirrel in the quiet of the woods to wait out Merle’s cussing and fists.

He thinks on it, too. The way she’d spat at Merle - wild and feisty indeed - then jabbed a finger into his chest with a hiss. “I’d sooner fuck your brother and enjoy it than give you a prayer of a chance.”

He thinks on that a lot.


He comes to with a roaring headache and Andrea pressing a cloth firmly to his head, her fingers coated red and sticky from his blood.

“God damn it, woman,” he manages to mutter and pries her hand away so he can feel the hole she’s shot into his head. “At least you ain’t no Annie Oakley.”

She doesn’t say anything, but she’s sitting so close he can’t miss the fierce look on her face. The cloth is all twisted and knotted in her hands, so he pulls it out from her fingers, puts it back against his head ‘cause the last thing he needs is to bleed out all over this frilly white bed.

“The doc comin’ to patch me up?”

Andrea nods then, pushes her hair back from her face and leaves red streaks - bright, strawberry red against her pale skin. She’s a sight - dirty, sweaty, bloody – and he remembers those days in the quarry, all piss and vinegar, alive and fighting even after everything she’d gone through. He remembers what Merle said, too.

He turns away from her, rests on his side. “Don’t you have nothin’ better to do than sit here all useless?”

He doesn’t hear the door latch, but he hears her footsteps all the way down the stairs.


She follows him into the woods - not a shadow, but without waiting for acknowledgment - her movements simple and quiet like she's been practicing. He's not about to slow up for her, but he knows she's not gonna stop whether he wants her there or not, so he keeps going. She'll keep up or fall back, and he doesn't rightly care which.

It's nearly three miles of nothing before he comes across a walker. It's not much of a fight, the walker dragging and pushing what's left of itself along the ground, dead leaves crinkling and crunching underneath.

He aims the crossbow, but Andrea appears silently at his side, her arm rising with his, her hand a warm pressure on his wrist to stop him. The hell if he gets what she's on about now, but she's insistent, tugging gently at the crossbow and looking at him like he's supposed to know whatever fool thing she's thinking.

"I got this," she says, serious and strong - so he lets go, gives it to her, surprises himself.

When she aims his crossbow, it’s all business, sleek and sure, and right on target in under a second flat.

She turns to him with a big smile - one of her rare, real smiles that lights her up and is damn sexy. It catches him by surprise and near enough feels like a sucker punch to the gut the way his breath sorta sticks.

Then the moment breaks and the flood rushes in with a fury. A dozen or so walkers stumble through the trees, another few behind them, and there's suddenly fear, sick and coiled in his stomach.

He grabs his knife as Andrea drops the crossbow, her eyes wide as she reaches for the gun tucked at her back. From there it's just survival, his adrenaline pumping as he goes for kills, loses time and meaning, the repeated crack of the gun loud and reassuring to his right.

It's minutes, longer maybe, when the dead again lie still and silence finally rings in his ears. He spins around, and Andrea is slumped against a tree, blood splattered and breathing fast, hand white-knuckled around the gun. Her expression is fixed between shock and fear, but she meets his eyes.

"You alright?" His heart is still jack-rabbiting in his chest, his nerves twitchy and on edge.

She nods, her yes coming out shaky, but she picks up the crossbow at her feet.

He expects she'll hand it back to him, but she stops at his side - so close he can make out individual drops of blood in the sprays across her skin, mixing in the strands of her hair - and reaches for an arrow from the ones strapped to his back.

"I'm out of bullets," she says defensively as if waiting for an argument.


Dale dies and he doesn’t do a thing to pull her away from the body, lets Rick handle that while he swallows hard and loosens his grip on his gun. Andrea’s hands are fisted in the blood soaked shirt, her eyes watery and red, and he hates the feeling in his chest that tightens as he listens to her crying – all broken and lost.

He’s almost too chicken shit to look up at her as she passes by with Rick, but can’t help himself, glances at her and meets her eyes.

“Thank you,” she says in a cracked voice like soft static on a dying radio, her hand brushing his arm.

It’s not what he expects at all.


Not even an hour into his sunrise watch and he hears her coming before he sees her round the corner of the RV, her tread familiar.

She joins him in leaning against the side of the RV with a quiet exhale. Her eyes are still sort of puffy from crying, but he knows she’s gone through too much now to let Dale’s death eat at her feelings all night. She keeps looking sideways at him like she expects him to talk.

“What?” he finally asks.

“It was a courageous thing you did for Dale today.” There’s something in the way she’s still looking at him that sets his heart racing faster like he’s not sure if he wants to walk off or do something real stupid like kiss her. He looks away.

“No more than we had to,” he mutters.

She pushes her shoulder gently into his. “You know nobody else would have done that.”

“Yeah,” he says gruffly. “I’m a hero.”

Her lips press together in a tight line, her gaze on the far field where the sun will come up.

He might have pissed her off with whatever it is she wanted him to say or not say – hell, he has no idea what she wants most of the time - but when he thinks about moving, about doing another check around the perimeter, he can’t. The length of her arm is snug up against his, and he feels the slow rise and fall of her breath.

“He kept me alive,” she says. There’s a faint smile on her face, and he gets the sense she’s just thinking her thoughts out loud. But the word reminds him of Merle again, that day at the quarry - what women want in times like these, her arm all pressure and heat on his.

“Alive for now,” he points out, pushes off the RV and walks away.


He swings his bike around to her side of the truck as she tosses him a gun.

“An extra clip,” she says and passes that to him too. Her hand catches his, squeezes briefly and he thinks it means good luck or be careful or some emotional woman thing he’s not likely to figure out.

“Just aim away from friendlies now, you hear?” He points to the side of his head as a reminder.

He can tell it catches her by surprise ‘cause she laughs, gives him that smile again - that real one she hardly ever shares - and then T-Dog hits the gas and they’re gone.


The first night drags on endlessly, cold and quiet and long, and he spends most of it at the edge of the woods, waiting.

He’s not hopeful she’s still breathing out there, but aside from Rick, there isn’t another person left in the group that he’d believe could just maybe do the impossible and survive alone in a world of walkers. The thought bugs him, gets under his skin and keeps him awake. He can’t even tell if it’s ‘cause he’s thinking she’s dead, or that somehow she might still be alive.

His body is tense, chest knotted as he tries to sleep, waits up for her anyway.

The woods beyond him are silent.


Tags: ,

4 whispers :: tell me a secret
ceruleantides From: ceruleantides Date: August 15th, 2012 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
He thinks on that a lot.

One of the MANY lines I love.

How you've managed to delve into the head of my favorite redneck is beyond me. His nuances, his feelings..

The hell if he gets what she's on about now, but she's insistent, tugging gently at the crossbow and looking at him like he's supposed to know whatever fool thing she's thinking.

I still just can' get over how much I adore this line. It's so.. Daryl.

I love, love, love it.

Even the angst, because nothing is safe in their reality.. It's fitting. ♥
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 17th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks hon! And thanks for letting me be occupied with writing Suits fic until I was able to figure this one out. ;)

All for youuuuu. <3
ceruleantides From: ceruleantides Date: August 15th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, I'm absolutely stealing that icon.

havers has SO MANY good ones..
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 17th, 2012 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I NEED MOAR. I only have the Norman one and the Rick/Andrea (*wooks*) one. Must find some good Daryl/Andrea too.

4 whispers :: tell me a secret