Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners
Fandoms: The Walking Dead
Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia
Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, vampire AU
Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes
For all the short time Paul had been acquainted with Rick Grimes, he had never heard the tough police officer’s voice break like when he informed Paul, “Daryl was shot.”
Alternate universe. Established relationship.
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do
The morning earlier…
Paul could hear footsteps even before they descended the stairs. A small smile crept to his full lips as he tried not to get overexcited and to focus his attention to the task at hands. Without his intention, the little organ inside his left chest was syncing with the soft thudding sounds of bare feet on light wood – apparently someone wasn’t too keen on gray squirrel slippers. It amazed Paul each time how effortlessly his own body fell in tune with another despite all their fundamental differences, both physical and biological.
The footsteps halted midway down the stairs and there was silence enveloping the space of their small kitchen. It wasn’t suffocating, the silence, nor was it tense; rather, it felt warm and cozy to the point Paul was somewhat lightheaded. If he was in a cheesy mood, he’d say the light in the kitchen was rose-tinted by the tiny bubbles of affection floating in the air. Well, not out loud at least. Daryl was never fond of cheesiness, if the snorts and huffs every time Paul tried something that could be defined ‘cheesy’ in his dictionary were any indications.
“I know I’m pretty as a little pea but if you keep staring like that, I’ll blush,” Paul said, whipping his head around and grinning at the topless man on the stairs. Paul’s eyes unabashedly drank in the tantalizing sight of broad chest and relaxed muscles of his biceps on blatant display. The tattoos seemed to glisten on tanned skin.
“And I thought ya were incapable of embarrassment,” Daryl snorted, hands on his hips, where the sweatpants hung low, showcasing his hipbone, “especially after what we did las’ night.”
Paul’s lips formed a pout. “Aw, let the old man have some dignity, will you? Anyway, up so soon? I was planning a breakfast in bed…” he practically purred the last few words. “… and maybe something else.”
Daryl ran a hand through his perpetual bedhead with a halfhearted intention to make it less, but actually more, of a mess, all just to hide the crimson burning the tips of his ears. Paul found this habit of his lover absolutely endearing; as a matter of fact, he launched at every chance he got to make Daryl blush, which then would be vehemently denied by Daryl. Daryl Dixon didn’t ‘fucking ever blush’ (his words); it was just the sudden spike in temperature causing his ears to redden. Right. Paul laughed at him nonetheless.
At the moment Paul wasn’t laughing. Out of 365 days there is one where you have no right to make fun of the man and that is his birthday.
Daryl crossed the short distance and stood next to Paul. His calloused fingers from years of handling a gun and occasionally crossbow combed the sun-kissed dark honey strands of his – boyfriend, lover, significant other – titles didn’t matter as long as he was crystal-clear about his feelings for the other man. The silky smoothness and warmth from his fingertips ignited tiny sparks in his stomach. Like a languid big cat he rested his chin on the shorter man’s shoulder and wrapped his arms around Paul’s lithe form in a loose embrace. There was so much strength in this small frame, which Daryl was fortunate to know. Paul smelled like sandalwood and clean laundry basked in sunshine when Daryl nuzzled his nose at Paul’s neck. The perpetual upward curve at Paul’s lips was a sign that he wasn’t the least displeased at being bothered while he had some eggs and rashers of bacon to keep from turning into charcoal.
“I woke up an’ the bed was empty so I figured ya could be downstairs. Didn’t know ya were cookin’ breakfast.” He paused, then added, voice close to a whisper, “S’cold when ya left.”
“Right, right, sorry about that,” Paul said, nodding. “Now please move so I can set the table.”
Paul felt his reluctance to get off and couldn’t help a chuckle. Daryl grabbed two plates and silverware from the cupboard and placed them on the table, then sat down himself.
Paul scraped the eggs and bacon from the frying pan and laid them on the plates, together with slices of toast. He grabbed the coffee pot and poured them each a steaming mug.
Daryl studied his breakfast for a good thirty seconds and then glanced at Paul’s. Sporting a comical look, he asked, “Ya sure ya didn’t capture aliens and put ‘em on our plates?”
Paul’s left eyebrow arched a little as he sipped his coffee. “I feel entirely justified to blame the eggs. The shells didn’t break properly.”
“Nothing breaks properly in yer hand.”
Paul’s benign smile turned wicked. “I beg to differ,” he said, low and sultry. However, Daryl didn’t take the bait and kept a straight face.
“Happy 44th birthday, Mr. Dixon,” Paul said, raising his mug.
Daryl also lifted his own mug. “Yeah, to all the gray hair ‘m havin’ and goin’ to have.”
Sadness flashed Paul’s countenance but didn’t stay. “You know you could stop it right now if you want.”
“I like bein’ human, Paul,” Daryl replied. “Agin’ is annoyin’ as shit when ya think about it, what with the gray hair and achin’ joints, but it’s part of it, of bein’ human, which I intend to be as long as humanly can. S’just when ya reach a certain age, ya can’t help whinin’ like a damned brat sometimes.”
Paul chuckled but unlike before, it couldn’t ward off the melancholy already settled in the depth of his blue orbs. “Guess I never know since I won’t ever reach ‘that age’.”
Something akin to guilt crept into Daryl’s face. He forked a piece of egg, chewed a few times then swallowed. “Thanks fer makin’ me breakfast. Alien guy here tastes much better than he looks.”
Paul appreciated his attempt to shift the subject. “Aliens don’t taste strange to you?” he asked, smiling a little brighter and more genuine. “You’re weird. And you’re welcome.”
They spent the rest of their breakfast in comfortable silence, only broken once or twice by a spontaneous tease coming from Paul. At the end of the meal, Paul cleared away the dirty dishes and took out a carton of grape juice from the fridge. “A dose of vitamins for your long, hard day, Detective Dixon,” he said, pouring a glass and holding it out for Daryl.
Much to his surprise, Daryl didn’t take it as usual, staring at it instead.
“What’s the matter?”
“Can I not take it?”
A small crease made it to between Paul’s fine eyebrows. “You always have a glass every morning,” he said.
“S’just…” there was a note of hesitation in his voice. “I’d like to not have to drink blood on my birthday.”
Paul’s eyes were widened and his mouth slightly agape. Then realization sank in, weighed down his tone as he stated matter-of-factly, “You knew that I slipped my blood in all along.”
“The color of grape juice may hide the color but the taste can’t,” replied Daryl. “Ya do know yer vampire blood has a weird, unmistakable taste, don’t ya?”
Paul heaved a sigh. “No… It’s been a while since I actually tasted my own blood. I’m sorry. I really am. I just—”
“Don’t be. I know ya care fer me, I really do. I appreciate it. But all these risks are part of my job of bein’ a cop. Part of my life as a human.”
“I can’t lose you,” Paul rasped, feeling something hot swelling in his ribcages. It made his perfect vision blurred. “I won’t lose you. As you may already know, we vampires are emotionally fragile creatures. I’ve already lost once and it sucked so hard it took decades to recover. I almost thought I would never be able to.”
“I know,” Daryl reassured him, kissing the top of Paul’s head, taking advantage in their height difference, “I know. Just one day, alrigh’?”
“I see,” Paul resigned. It was no use pushing Daryl on this matter once Daryl’s mind was made, and he never wanted to push his lover. His hands went to the back of Daryl’s head, pulling him down for an encounter between lips. They kept it deep but remotely chaste, as both telepathically felt chasteness best suited this situation.
Somehow Daryl thought he tasted the tanginess of blood from the tip of Paul’s tongue as it shyly licked the seams of his lips. But then he wasn’t sure so he kept it to himself.
There’s a high chance that it might not have been enough.
There was only one thought that had been circulating around Paul’s head for hours and that was it. In a cruel twist of fate that the one day Daryl had refused to take his daily dose of Paul’s blood was also the day he had been fatally shot. Yet Paul, being the overly cautious old bat his friends Maggie and Tara often jested, had manipulated Daryl into taking his blood without his knowledge. A few viscous drops from his fangs nicking his tongue and lips might just be his last thread to life that Daryl had against the tight clutch of death. Nonetheless, they might not be enough. Although Paul had heard plenty stories about turning a human with only a couple drops of blood, he had never tried it himself. One would assume he must have had abundant experience in creating fledglings having walked the earth this long but the truth was he had only ever turned one man, who had already perished under the unforgiving sun a century past. Daryl would be his second, provided his blood helped him survive this ordeal.
Their shared bedroom was in complete silence. The air was stiff, the lights were out, and the once cozy bedroom usually doused in the heady scent of passion now resembled a tomb. Daryl’s body was lying immobile on the bed, covered only by the duvet. Paul was sitting on a chair by the bed, his hands unconsciously clasped in a silent prayer. He wished he could pray but the rational part of him decided against it, being fully aware that no deity of any religion would listen to a bloodsucker’s plea. It was very quiet but he couldn’t hear his own heartbeat. Maybe he was having none, his heart going still since it wasn’t syncing with a living being’s. A myriad of scenarios paraded in his mind, none of them positive. If Daryl were to never wake, he doubted if he had the will to go on alone.
Paul pressed the button of his iPhone. The screen flared and a 7:30 glared back at his strained eyes. It had been five hours since Daryl was shot and three and a half hours since Paul sat in this position, still as a statue. He felt weary not because he was physically exhausted as most humans did; hours of waiting had worn him out mentally. His mind was dangling on a taut string, made heavy by the anxiety that it could break the next moment. The screen turned off and the room was pitch black again.
Paul laced his fingers with Daryl’s as if it could actually keep him from death. The turning could take hours and to him, all hopes were not yet lost, not when Daryl’s skin didn’t feel rigid like a man who had been dead for hours would.
A hundred years could go and still Paul wouldn’t have forgotten that moment. Daryl’s forefinger twitched slightly. A millisecond later, Paul’s heart leapt out of his ribcages as Daryl’s body sprung forward.
To be continued
As stated in the first chapter, the vampire mythology used in this fic is one borrowed from CW’s The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Vampire blood lasts for 24 hours in a human body and during that time, if a human dies, he or she will come back to life.