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.
I never dreamed that I’d love somebody like you
Daryl closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. The quintessential scent of blood was flooding his nostrils, making his head swim and his heartbeats quicken. It had been relatively calm, his heart, almost dormant in a sense as the paralysis had spread to his entire torso. But soon as Paul had come back – left for about five seconds – with a blood bag, it started thumping against his ribcage like an impatient fist knocking relentlessly on the door. It may be just his imagination but the numbness seemed to recede, if only a little, and he felt a prickling sensation along his spine as well as the tips of his fingers and toes. He started to grasp how essential blood was to a vampire, which he was about to become. The thought twisted a knot in his stomach, from anxiety or anticipation he couldn’t tell.
“I jus’ rip the bag an’ drink?”
“I brought a straw in case you need,” Paul replied, tone coated with light teasing. He sat down beside Daryl and resumed their earlier position.
“Nah.” A beat, and then Daryl asked, “Is that how ya often drink it, with a straw?”
During their time living together, not once had Daryl seen Paul drink. He always took his ‘daily supplements’ – his own words, to make it less awkward for the both of them – when Daryl was not home, taking extra care in clearing away the empty bag as well as the metallic taste in his mouth. Truth be told, Daryl thought he probably wouldn’t be too bothered if Paul was less meticulous in covering up his vampiric traits – surely he wouldn’t pass out if he happened to come across a used blood bag on the kitchen counter – but Paul, being Paul, was adamant. Daryl suspected this was a result of a past incident but he wasn’t one to pry into private affairs unless there was a valid reason. Now that Paul just mentioned a straw, Daryl wondered if that was how he usually did it: slurping the bag’s content like he drank a slurpee.
Paul rounded his eyes comically and then snorted. “No, drinking blood from a blood bag is weird enough, no need to make it weirder, right?”
“Weird as compared to chompin’ a random guy’s neck? Thought vampires prefer that.”
“I’d not like to upset my dentist, thank you,” he said. “But yeah, most prefer the veins to a blood bag. Hot meals beat frozen meals any day. Not to mention there’s the urge inherent to us, our natural inclination to violence. Some are just better at suppressing it than others.”
Daryl looked into Paul’s eyes, illuminated by the dying rays of sunset, and felt fear surging in his heart. “What if I belong to the ‘others’?” He didn’t realized he had sucked in a breath. “What if I start killin’?”
Paul’s gaze was the softest Daryl had seen as it was fixed on him like he was the only thing in the whole world worth seeing. He was transfixed by the subtle yet constant glide along the color spectrum Paul’s irises did. It was a mesmerizing challenge trying to figure out the true color of his eyes, one Daryl enjoyed but would never tell.
“I know it’s hard,” Paul began, “especially for newcomers. When I turned, it was like hell to me. New, perplexing, exhilarating hell. But I was fortunately to not go through it alone and you won’t have to either, I promise…” He took Daryl’s hand in his, giving it a squeeze. “I will be with you for as long as you want to have this old bat by your side… Even when you don’t want me anymore, you know how clingy I am.”
The playful smirk on Paul’s lips after he deliberately stressed the word had the tips of Daryl’s ears aflame with embarrassment. The pressure of Paul’s powerful thighs clamping either side of his waist in a few times they did it on the kitchen counter was too fresh on his mind for him to not react even though he was technically paralyzed from the neck down. Dam Paul and his knacks for innuendo.
“Ya sure ya ain’t proposin’ because that sounds hella like a proposal,” Daryl said, trying to gain some purchase for his embarrassment.
The playful smirk vanished entirely, replaced by a serious expression. The change had Daryl shoot him a quizzical look.
“Yes, Mr. Dixon,” he said, holding his gaze, “this is me proposing to you. Will you do me the honor of becoming my partner for life, or un-life, to be more precise?”
Daryl just stared at him, all the air knocked out of his lungs. It was as if his brain had been short-circuited, and in this moment, he entirely forgot his need to breath. The spontaneity and casual manner in which the proposal came would have led him to doubt whether Paul was merely making a joke but for the way he articulated each word. Paul might be a world-class joker but when he spoke like this, slow and clear, he meant every word coming out of his mouth, even if they were the most absurd of absurdity. The raw earnest blazing in his eyes set Daryl on fire.
This was just like when Paul said the three simple words and changed his life forever for good.
“Daryl?” A fearful note in his key. “Are you alright? Am I too sudden?”
Daryl sucked in a long breath, finally remembering that he needed to breathe. The heat on his face was almost unbearable and he doubted the color would be pretty – he knew he colored easily. Another proof that Paul was dead-serious was that he hadn’t jumped at the opportunity to tease him like he normally would.
“Might as well get on one knee,” Daryl muttered, and didn’t mean a word. He only needed to say something to distract himself from the maelstrom of emotions.
Yet Paul, having super hearing, didn’t miss a syllable. He gently let Daryl lean on the tree and immediately knelt before him.
That was not the end of Daryl’s surprise though, for Paul reached into his pocket and procured a small, velvet box. Daryl’s heart was one step from leaping out of his chest.
Like a scene from a romantic movie, Paul carefully opened the box to reveal a ring with a simple, almost plain design whose main highlight was a round stone. Dyed in the color of the clear night sky, it made a stark contrast to the silver of the ring. Daryl recognized what it was at once.
“A daylight ring?”
“Yes,” Paul confirmed. “Had my witch buddy Tara made them for a while now, you know, just in case.”
Paul beamed, wriggling his hand. On his ring finger was an identical, if slightly smaller, ring. “A pair. Figure it’s time I got a new daylight ring. Would love to have you put it on my finger but you know, the sun. Later, maybe?”
Daryl couldn’t help a smile as he shook his head. It wasn’t that Daryl daydreamed about Paul proposing to him every frigging day but he did entertain the thought once in a while. And when he did, his vision certainly looked nothing like this, with himself propped against the tree and Paul on one knee, a daylight ring in his hand. He imagined it to be normal and casual, the two of them sitting in their frequented bar, two shots of whiskey in front of them and some trashy music blaring at top volume above their head, and somehow the words just rolled off their tongues – did not matter who said them. Nonetheless, when you were in a relationship with an ancient vampire, ‘normal’ was rather off-limits.
“Tell me ya ain’t the first vampire to propose with a daylight ring an’ a blood bag ‘cuz it’s real romantic.”
“I’d love to claim it as my original idea,” Paul laughed, “but no, it was Maggie’s. She and Glenn have been happily married for seven years. Unlike how some movies tend to portray, vampire relationships can be healthy.”
He took Daryl’s hand and pressed it to his cheek, his beard tickling the skin of Daryl’s palm. “That’s what I hope for our future, also what’s been on my mind since I realized I had fallen harder than a teenager for the hottest cop in town. So what do you say, Mr. Dixon?”
Daryl wished he could move, even just his hand, so that he could physically expressed his affection, which was overflowing his heart at the moment. Unlike Paul, who was always able to eloquently put his thoughts into carefully crafted words, verbal expressions were never his strong front; he could never find the right words – and the courage to say them for that matter – at the right moment, right now for example. At the start of their relationship, he had been very certain that his tight-lipped tendency would bore the man as it had done his few previous partners, and eventually Paul would leave him for good. Contrary to his belief, Paul hadn’t once voiced his displeasure with Daryl’s stunted verbal capacity, nor had he left him, and this was the one time when Detective Dixon was actually glad that he had been proven wrong.
“A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will suffice, you know,” Paul urged. “I’m still kneeling here.” He lowered his voice to whisper. “Please, please say ‘yes’.”
“Jus’ wonderin’ if ya got the right size ‘s all. Should be awkward as shit if it didn’t fit.”
Paul’s eyes lit up like the first creak of the sun after hour-long rain. “Only one way to find out, right?”
And with that he slipped the ring smoothly on Daryl’s finger. The lapis lazuli stone twinkled. He wondered what question Rick and Carol would pulverize him with once they saw the ring, knowing Daryl Dixon was never a man of accessory.
Paul cupped Daryl’s face and kissed him, slow and long. No tongues, just lips touching lips in the chastest manner possible without losing the intimacy.
“Next is to consummate our engagement,” Paul spoke against his lips.
He had braced himself against the taste of blood.
Even though the undead side of him had desperately craved for it, the human side, or what was left of it, was appalled by the thought that soon he would have blood in his mouth, down his throat. Human blood, which had been drawn from the veins of living human beings. It could be the young man he had passed on the street, the freckled cashier at the supermarket where he brought his groceries, or the young blond waitress (Beth?) at Carol’s diner who always served him with a smile. Knowing that the blood had been donated to the blood bank and no killing had been involved didn’t provide much help in easing his nausea. Daryl swallowed dryly a few times, trying to quench it but still feel it clawing at the inside of his throat.
“It’s gonna be OK, I promise,” Paul assured him, probably sensing his tension. He tore open the bag and carefully lifted it to Daryl’s lips. Daryl squeezed his eyes shut…
… and immediately fluttered them open when the blood filled his mouth. His earlier doubts vanished at once, his nauseous feeling washed away like footprints by the waves and the only thing that mattered on his mind was the taste on his tongue. Blood tasted like blood, metallic and thick, whether it was in a plastic bag or oozing from a nick on his finger; his peculiar undead biology didn’t give it a different flavor. He had thought he’d be repulsed by it but he wasn’t; rather, he was experiencing a sensation not unlike arousal, only it had absolutely nothing to do with sex. Shutting his eyes, he swallowed and swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing frantically. He vaguely heard Paul saying something but was unable to catch his words; the rushing of blood in his ears was thundering, drowning every other sound. There was fireworks exploding behind his eyelids and electricity sizzling beneath his skin, rapidly charging him, altering him, making him feel more alive than he ever had. Goosebumps raised on his arms, and his hairs stood on ends. Fueled with the virulent energy from the blood, his dead limbs came alive and before Daryl was aware, his arms had stretched out and wrapped around the only body available around here. The thundering of blood in his ears faded into two types of heartbeats: one erratic and arrhythmic, the other steady and calm. He focused on the calm one, trying to will his frantic heart to sync with it. Success came easier than he thought.
When the last drop blood had been infused with his system, Daryl snapped his eyes open. He was pretty sure the scenery hadn’t changed in a few minutes; rather, the one who had undergone a thorough transformation was him, for now he was seeing with the eyes of newborn baby who saw the world for the first time and was completely enthralled by the sheer beauty of every simple thing he had sorely missed before this moment. And Paul, when his eyes found him, was beautiful beyond any vocabulary he could racked his muddled brain for description, perfection etched in the curve of his plush lips, the small dip of his nose bridge, the ever-shifting blue of his eyes. How such an exquisite creature had fallen in love with him despite all his grievous flaws was an enigma Daryl could never understand. A single tear rolled his cheek, mingled with the blood on the corner of his lips.
“Daryl… Are you alright?” Paul’s voice was laced with genuine concern for the pained expression on Daryl’s face.
That was the last straw; the dam holding off Daryl’s emotions broke. He cupped Paul’s face and wasted no millisecond in pulling the man into a kiss. It was more of a crushing of lips than an actual kiss, all bare instincts and force and no techniques. He devoured Paul’s lips like his life depended on it, like this was the last time he was allowed to love Paul the way he desired before being flung into a barren, loveless land where he was all alone for eternity. His hands hiked up Paul’s damp shirt and roamed over the smooth, cool skin of his back, which was quickly covered in goosebumps. Paul’s hands blindly tangled in Daryl’s dark hair, scratching his scalp with his filed nails while he tried competitively to match Daryl’s burning passion with his own.
Despite the rawness, the blood, the messiness, it was perfect.
Neither knew how much time had passed when they pulled apart at last. The whites in Paul’s eyes had turned solid red, contrasting with his blazing blue irises in an alluringly freakish wonder. Dark veins surfaced around his eyes, slithering beneath his skin like having a life of their own. From his parted lips, his fangs gleamed. Daryl’s heart skipped a beat in consternation. This was the vampire Paul, the side well-hidden under layers and layers of carefree attitude, sweet words and bright smiles, the side which he had had no intention to let Daryl see lest it frightened and disgusted him. Until today. Without any warning, he laid bare the proof of his inhumanity to his lover. Daryl wouldn’t lie and say he was unaffected but his apprehension was transient as a heartbeat. In the mirrors that were Paul’s eyes he saw himself – same blood-red eyes, dark veins and fangs – and understood. Showing Daryl his bestial features was meant to be construed as neither intimidation nor menace; rather, its meaning was perspicuous in the gentleness of his eyes despite his look: an acknowledgment of their similar nature, that from now on they were equals sharing not only the same roof but also the same essence in their veins.
“How do you feel?” Paul asked once his face had returned to normal.
A multitude of words raced through his mind and he only caught one. “Thrilled,” he replied tersely.
“Thrilled?” Paul echoed.
Daryl looked into Paul’s eyes and nodded.
Thrilled at the privilege of being given the chance to witness how the flux of time was and would be constantly and eternally shaping what human called the reality. The endless possibilities. Thrilled at knowing the best part of it was that he wouldn’t have to go through time alone. They would have each other for as long as possible or as they could tolerate. Daryl was not such a wide-eyed romanticist that he would naively believe in an everlasting love, yet he was not too cynical to think that their relationship would reach a definite end too soon. Planning ahead of the future wasn’t his specialty because Daryl Dixon was a man of present. For now he would cherish having these brilliant eyes looking at him, and him alone, with all the affection their owner’s big heart could muster.
He said none of those but had a feeling Paul understood, having trained himself to be fluent in Daryl’s language of silence.
Paul’s lips were red and smeared with blood from their kiss. It was a temptation Daryl found himself unable to resist and so he gave in, titling his head and cleaning the blood with a swipe of his tongue.
It was sweet. Not honey-sweet but blood-sweet. That meant he was starting to get the hang of it.
Taken by surprise, Paul let out a soft gasp. After that he sought to meet Daryl’s with his own tongue but the detective was quicker by a millisecond.
“I’m hungry,” Daryl said as if it was the most usual thing in the world. He wasn’t hungry for food and he had a feeling Paul got it.
“Sorry, that was the only blood bag I brought.”
“Guess I can bear it till we get home.”
His first challenge as a bloodsucker, right. He wished he could spot the squirrel from earlier.
He was about to stand up – his legs felt solid again, strong even – when Paul reached out and pulled his wrist, telling him without word to not leave this spot yet. His eyebrows arched slightly in question.
Paul’s smile was leaning towards the mischievous side. He tilted his head, undid a few top buttons of his shirt and bared his neck. The last sun rays fell onto his pale skin, adding a golden glow to it.
Daryl didn’t miss the implication in this act. “Ya sure? ‘cuz I’m not sure I can control myself.”
He knew he couldn’t. Earlier, he had only stopped drinking simply because he had drained the bag.
“Absolutely,” Paul replied, his smile widening. “Vampire trivia number one: A vampire cannot drain another vampire to death. Worst case scenario is you have to carry my immobile ass back home. Vampire trivia number two: Blood sharing between vampires is very… intimate.”
“Erm… like naked spooning.”
Daryl felt a tinge of jealousy. Fully aware that it was unreasonable to be jealous of Paul’s past so he tried to keep it from his tone. He wasn’t sure if he succeeded.
“Ya done it before?”
“Last time was roughly three hundred and sixty years ago,” Paul said defensively – he must have sensed something from his lover. “Hadn’t wanted to share my blood with anyone until you. Come on, I insist.”
Daryl stared at the blue vein barely visible under Paul’s pale, thin skin and gulped. He could hear the blood inside and it was practically beckoning him in a language that his new fangs were fluent. As he ran his tongue along his teeth, he found the pointy ends ready to pierce the delectable skin and sink into the veins. With one quick glance at Paul’s face, searching for any tiny signs of disapproval and finding none, he lowered his head.
Daryl inhaled deeply, allowing his mind to swim in Paul’s natural scent of sandalwood mixed with rains. He surprised the older vampire with a long, deliberate drag of his tongue along silky skin. He grazed the tender flesh just below his ear – not quite biting yet – and began to suck with the least amount of pressure. This was one of Paul’s erogenous zones, which he had committed to mind.
It appeared he had struck the right nerve because his enhanced hearing was soon filled with Paul’s audible moans. A mix of pride and affection was swelling fast in his heart. God, he loved this man so much there was no turning back now.
“Tease,” Paul breathed.
Daryl couldn’t help a smug grin before biting down for real this time.
Paul was right.
This was euphoric and intimate and the only thing that stopped them from trying outdoor sex was Daryl’s own stubborn conservativeness.
That and the guilt of draining Paul to the point of paralysis.
Despite his state, Paul teased and laughed at him all the way home while Daryl stoically endured.
He did retaliate, however, when Paul was full with blood and naked and shamelessly stretched out on their bed like a satiated cat.
And much later, he got to slip the daylight ring onto Paul’s finger.
That’s the end; hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much for all your kudos and comments and patience; they gave me the courage to finish it.
That’s the end; hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much for all your kudos and comments and patience; they gave me the courage to finish it.
I did say in one of my comments that I imagined Paul, as well as Maggie and his little circle of friends, to be a friendly neighborhood vampire – the kind of vampires that don’t hunt and kill, drink mostly from blood bags and try to fit in with humans – and I kept it in mind as I was writing. Daryl didn’t want to become a vampire but he didn’t abhor the idea either mainly because he hadn’t met any other vampires and thus hadn’t witnessed any atrocities that may be committed by ‘normal’ vampires.