[Desus] Finders, Keepers (3) [END]

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: M

Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia

Genre: fanfiction

Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes, Carol Peletier, Michonne

Warnings: Probably crack, Smut with plot

Summary: Jesus came to Alexandria to do trade and to see a certain grumpy hunter. However, he didn’t see said hunter; instead, just outside the walls of Alexandria he found a black cat – wait, was that really a cat?!


Chapter 1     Chapter 2

 


 

“What’s wrong? Is the food not to your liking?”

Paul asked with concern when he saw Daryl push away the bowl, barely touching its content. They were having pasta with tomato sauce tonight because Paul had received a fresh, juicy batch of tomatoes from Alan the gardener. Pasta was his best shot and he had hoped to impress Daryl. Though there were neither candles nor violin, having dinner together could be considered a date, right? Their first date. Paul had kept himself amused with his little fantasy as he boiled and strained the pasta while keeping an eye on the pot of simmering sauce. To see Daryl wasn’t enjoying the food in the least brought forth a profound disappointment.

His fingers twiddling, Daryl hung his head low and avoided eye contact with Paul as he spoke, “Food’s fine, very delicious. ‘s just I don’t have an appetite right now. Sorry.”

Although he was awkwardly trying to hide his face, Paul with his keen eyes could clearly see the odd blushes on his cheeks. The glaring light bulb above their head helped, too. Strange. The night wasn’t hot, quite the opposite actually, it was rather chilly, being autumnal and all. Despite that, there were beads of sweat rolling down his neck and blotching his shirt’s collar. Concern growing in his stomach, Paul watched Daryl shuffle back to their temporary-shared bed. There was an unsteady sway in his gait and a light tremble in his limbs. His pert ears had flopped and his tail trailed limply on the floor.

Paul pushed the chair back and crossed a few feet to the bed. “You don’t look fine to me,” said Paul with stern voice. Without asking for Daryl’s permission, he swept Daryl’s bang back and pressed his palm to the hunter’s forehead. God, he felt like freshly baked bread. As expected, there were sweats sticking to his palm.

“High temperature, excessive perspiration…” Paul muttered, “You’re having a fever?”

Daryl weakly swatted Paul’s hand away. “ ‘m not. ‘s jus’ too hot in here. Need to get out for some fresh air’s all.”

Daryl briskly stood up but his wrist was caught in Paul’s firm hand. He tried to shake it off but despite his lean form, the scout’s strength was no joke. His grip wouldn’t slacken even a little bit. “Nonsense,” he scowled. “The night is getting cold and yet you’re feeling hot, meaning there’s something wrong.”

“There’s nothin’ wrong with me.”

“Well, that doesn’t look like ‘nothing wrong’ to me. We should go to Dr. Carson and have him check you up.”

Daryl’s tone was dry. “Lookin’ like this?”

Paul bit the inside of his cheeks. He almost forgot Daryl wasn’t very keen on revealing his secret to more people than already had. Moreover, Dr. Carson was adept in treating humans; he doubted the good doctor had any experience in dealing with cat people.

Yes, cat people. Since “mangorath” was too cumbersome Paul had opted for “cat”. Mangoraths were a type of cats too, weren’t they?

“At least tell me what’s wrong so I can help.”

“ ‘s not somethin’ ya can help.”

Paul scoffed, feeling offended even though there was no ground reason for him to. Daryl’s problem might just be well out of his scope. Still, he disliked being dismissed like this without learning what was wrong first and in what way he might be able to offer his aid. It hinted at the hunter’s distrust of him, which twisted and twisted in the pit of his stomach until it became a heavy knot he couldn’t untie on his own. And there he thought they had gone passed that phrase. Paul crossed his arms in front of his chest, lifting his chin. “Oh, I believe I’m more capable than you give me credit for, Dixon.”

“Sure ya do, Mr. Know-All,” Daryl snorted.

That one liner was the last straw.

“I’m just trying to show that I care, OK,” Paul snapped, his voice louder than he would normally like, close to a shout. “Look what I’ve got: a hostile attitude like I’m being a nuisance.”

“Who asks ya to care anyway?” Daryl retorted, voice equally loud.

The seams of Paul’s lips curved into a smirk. “No one really,” he said, “but you’re a valuable ally of Hilltop and a dear friend of Maggie—”

“What great sense of responsibility ya’ve.”

Paul continued, unfazed by Daryl’s cutting him off, “and because I regard you as a friend who I can trust my back to in battles. If I didn’t trust you, I’d have kicked you out of the trailer the moment I saw you turn back.”

He locked gaze with Daryl, huge blue eyes glinting with muted challenge. Challenge Daryl to use his abrasive demeanor to defy that, to deny the bond that had been formed and reinforced between them over their time of acquaintance, whatever it was. Stubbornly Daryl glared at him with slit eyes, refusing to back down from challenge. His flopped ears had perked up, and his tail raised and wagged. Dogs wagged their tail when they were happy but cats did when they got angry – a tidbit of knowledge about animals Paul had gathered from books. The scout imagined Daryl wanted to bare his fangs and hiss – like the few furious cats he had seen – but had to restrain himself from displaying more animalistic behaviors than he already had. The blushes on his cheeks darkened, by anger or whatever was riding his nerves. Sparks flew in the dense air between them, the tension rising, simmering, bubbling, condensed; the tiny trailer became one huge balloon with too much hot air, waiting to burst.

Paul was about to open his mouth and burst the balloon – damn it, he was so not enthusiastic in a staring contest – when his vision experienced a horizontal shift. He should thank God there was a mattress beneath him when Daryl pounced on him in one swift movement; otherwise he would have had hit his head on something and gotten a concussion. It was safe to say Paul hadn’t expected this turn of event at all; a punch to his jaw, yes, he had anticipated it and even envisioned how he would dodge or counter, but this, not at all. He gasped in genuine shock, temporarily unable to comprehend the situation and commence proper reaction when Daryl climbed on top of him, straddling him. His thighs squeezing either side of Paul’s waist, Daryl bent down until their foreheads were inches from touching. Paul’s eyes opened so wide it hurt, enraptured by the blazing blue irises and slit pupils up close. Later he would claim that they possessed hypnotizing attributes.

“Ya wanna know what’s wrong?” Daryl roared – he fucking did, like a lion or tiger. “ ‘m fuckin’ in heat an’ yer scent’s drivin’ me insane. Bein’ in a tight space with ya drives me insane. I want to fuck ya senseless and that’s what wrong!”

Paul’s brain was racing to compute the meaning of Daryl’s words – he’d heard them perfectly fine alright but he was completely stunt by how raw and blunt they were as they had come out of the normally reserved hunter. His jaw slackened but no sounds were made. He lay very still, his need to breath temporarily forgotten as astonishment filled him. Out of sudden the sound of fabric ripping tore at his eardrums, snapping him out of his trance. What the—? He glanced down just in time to see a button flying into the air and his chest revealed to the hungry eyes of the cat man. R. I. P his favorite shirt, he moaned internally.

Paul couldn’t believe this was happening. To be pinned down to a surface (the mattress was a welcome luxury) by a weight on top of him and have his shirt ripped in the ravenous desire to get him naked was the wildest of his wild fantasies, reserved for the spectacularly lonely and horny nights, emphasis on the latter. However, his fantasies had involved a faceless man since he had had no particular object of infatuation – hadn’t had anyone for a long while. Until recently. The faceless man had gradually taken features: matted dark hair, narrow blue eyes, a beauty spot above his upper lip. Sometimes his fantasies had been so intense it caused Paul to subconsciously avert his eyes from the Alexandrian hunter the following day; he’d rather die than have Daryl know that he was harboring such impure thoughts about him. Nonetheless, this wasn’t a wild fantasy; this was very real and happening. Paul couldn’t decide if this was a most awesome stroke of luck or a foreshadowing of his impending doom as whoever up above had decided to allow him a wild ride before he officially kicked the bucket the very next morning.

Positive thinking, Paul Rovia, he reminded himself.

All of his jumbled thoughts were cut short by a sharp wedge of pleasure when a tongue licked a lengthy stride from the dip between his clavicles to his naval. Being caught entirely off-guard, Paul exhaled a sharp breath and then bit his tongue as the prickling sensation of stubbles on his areolar shot to his brain. Lips closed around his nipple like a hungry pup latching on its mother’s teat and tongue, the same tongue that had raised goosebumps on his skin, lavished the hardening nub. Gosh, his tongue! He had learned from a discovery show that the texture of a feline’s tongue was very different from a human’s and had had a cat licked his hand a few times before but never once had he imagined how it would feel on one of his erroneous zones! He was sure he’d remember it till the day he died.

So… Daryl had cat ears, eyes, tail and tongue. Paul wondered, with intrigued apprehension, what else on Daryl’s anatomy resembled that of a feline’s. He considered himself explorative but he couldn’t be sure he could handle it. And yes, he had enough brain cells left to figure where all of this was heading. It was very unlikely someone ripped your shirt in half and proceeded to lick your nipple and just wanted to cuddle innocently on the bed like five-year-olds. Plus, Daryl had said (more like yelled) that he was “in heat” and as far as he was concerned, that had only one meaning.

Never had Paul imagined their first time, if there was ever a first time, would be a mating. While he didn’t know how he should feel about it, he was sure he was very excited by the prospect. That his jeans had been reduced by one size at certain area was evidence.

Daryl spread his fingers across the firm plane of Paul’s abdomen while his mouth began to give the other nipple the same attention its twin had. Paul squirmed beneath him, trying to gain some friction through layers of clothing. It simply wasn’t enough. “Ouch,” he cried, feeling a sharp sting below his ribs. His cry seemed to wake Daryl from his lust-haze, for the cat man lifted his torso and stared at Paul with wide eyes, filled with something like horror. Instantly alarmed by his bewildering behavior, Paul sat up a little, looked down his body and sighed in understanding. There were three pink diagonal slashes from his ribs to his navel. Cats loved to scratch, whether they were angered or excited, and well, Daryl was a cat person with cat-like features. This shouldn’t be surprising at all.

“ ‘m sorry…” Daryl mumbled, voice shaking and brittle.

“It’s alright,” Paul assured him, fingering the marks. “Just some scratches. I’ve had worse.” He wasn’t lying; the marks stung but not enough to cause pain; they were mild annoyance at best.

“ ‘m sorry,” Daryl repeated, more desperately this time. “ ‘m really sorry.” His taut shoulders were shaking.

Then he clambered off Paul and appeared to be ready to bolt out of the trailer.

It took about three seconds for Paul to realize Daryl wasn’t just sorry about scratching him. He grunted in frustration and before Daryl had the chance to deal with the situation in his distinctively Dixonian way – meaning running away and possibly never showing his face to the Hilltop scout ever again, Paul got enough time to grab him by his tail.

Not his most elegant move but it worked. Daryl stood as still as a statue. His ears flattened on the sides of his head, black fur blending with dark hair.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Paul scowled.

A multitude of questions paraded through stormy blue eyes, so blindingly fast he couldn’t catch any of it. Paul almost felt pity for the man. Daryl’s jaw moved as if he wanted to open his mouth and say something, but then nothing came out. Paul could practically hear the gears inside his head grinding together to come up with something. He waited, his grip on Daryl’s tail not loosening, but even he could feel his patience was wearing as thin as a paper; it was difficult to remain patient when you were having a raging hard-on, but Paul tried, forced himself to because if he didn’t, he would lose the man for good.

“Outside,” he spoke at last. “I’ll sleep outside.”

Paul’s eyes were huge like goose eggs. “Looking like this?” he echoed Daryl’s earlier words, gesturing to the tail in his hand. His rhetorical question implied a fact Daryl had already learned during his time here: there were always a couple Hilltopers working late-night shifts who would pass Paul’s trailer on their way home and there was high chance they might spot a man with feline features. Just imagine the chaos.

Daryl was muted.

“Leaving me like this?” Paul went on.

Daryl’s eyes wandered down Paul’s torso to the visible bulge in his crotch and immediately averted his eyes. Paul licked his lower lip, feeling weirdly satisfied to see the cat man’s face reddened like the pasta they’d had.

“Ya’ll regret it,” he mumbled, just barely enough for Paul to hear.

“Oh, don’t say what I will and won’t, Dixon. You’re not me.”

“Feels like ‘m forcin’ ya into this, or worse, rap—”

“Don’t say that word,” Paul cut him sharply. “You really think you can force me into something I don’t want?” He laughed wryly. “That wounds me, really, that you think so little of me, that I’m incapable of at least defending myself. You and Rick don’t call me a ninja hippie for nothing.”

Paul’s hand let go of his tail to land on his chest. He flattened his palm against Daryl’s heart, feeling its frantic beats beneath the thin cotton fabric. Well, at least his heart was more honest than himself. Going on tiptoe, he captured Daryl’s lips in a chaste kiss. This would either make it or break it so Paul was extremely carefully. He kept it chaste so as not to shock Daryl but firm to convey to the man how determined he was in this matter. Assurance was what this man with a painfully low self-esteem desperately needed; he needed not only to know but also to feel that it was okay, that he wasn’t forcing or hurting anyone, that he was accepted. Paul’s heart ached for him as he kissed him.

Taken by surprise, Daryl stood absolutely motionless.

“Is this enough consent for you?” asked Paul once they parted.

A guttural snarl was his reply, and then Paul was sprawled on his back again, with a familiar weight on top of him. Guess that was a yes, he mused, before any musing thoughts were washed away by a tongue lapping at his skin. The same tongue with the bizarre and stimulating texture. This time it wasn’t his nipple but the scratches below his ribs. It stung a little but mostly it just tickled him. His skin there was notoriously ticklish and he really couldn’t help the giggles that rang in the quiet confined space. Sometimes he giggled like a little girl, he was aware. Daryl, however, was unaffected by Paul’s reactions, absorbed in his diligent task of ‘treating’ the injuries inflicted by himself. Another cat-like behavior which Paul really couldn’t complain. Tiny sparks were ignited inside him, quickly feeding to the center heat between his thighs. His jeans were very much in the way and he yearned to get rid of them.

Perhaps Paul’s desire was telepathically transmitted to Daryl because his hand stalked to the waistband of his pants and he started undoing the buttons and zipper with all the deftness and grace of a feline without disrupting his current task on Paul’s stomach. Cats, big and small, were smart creatures and Paul imagined this task would be easy as cake for them if they were to have hands and fingers instead of paws and claws. Well, this was a cat with hands in place of paws. Still, that was as far as grace went because soon as the button came undone and the zipper down, Daryl hooked his fingers on both Paul’s pants and underwear and just yanked them past his knees, effectively rendering the Hilltop scout from remotely appropriate to decidedly indecent in one go. Not that Paul minded though; rather, he encouraged Daryl’s act by lifting his long, slender legs and kicking the garments out to land haphazardly somewhere beside the bed.

Daryl hovered above his exposed member, proudly in full mast, and looked at Paul as if asking for some sort of permission to proceed. The Hilltoper gave him a tender smile marred by just the slightest hint of smug and buckled his hips; he wanted Daryl to see, or rather, feel the effect of what he had inflicted upon him. And perhaps that should be enough incentive for Daryl’s next move. Delightful anxiety rose in Paul’s stomach. Daryl was truly unpredictable and although he had lead Paul from one surprise to the next, Paul had an inkling he hadn’t reached his quota yet. The night was still young, and Paul had time to spare.

Paul gasped audibly when he felt the peculiar texture of Daryl’s cat tongue on him, this time not on his nipple or his stomach skin but directly on his pulsing member. It wasn’t a surprise he had anticipated but that didn’t mean it was any less welcoming. Daryl started at the root, a few swift strokes at first to test the waters, and then moved in smooth glides along the length to the tip. His tongue swirled around the head, lapping the sensitive skin there and eliciting a couple of ragged breaths from Paul, before flicking at the slit as if carefully tasting the early dews swelling from which. Paul’s fingers threaded into Daryl’s shaggy hair, finding the ears and scratching them with his blunt nails while Daryl worked on him. If Paul still had any intellectual capacity left, he’d describe Daryl’s technique, or lack-thereof, as very similar to a cat savoring its favorite treat; still, all of his focus now was on processing the toe-curling sensation from between his legs and how skilled Daryl was in giving head. Yet, there might be a chance the man might not be experienced in this expertise at all – he was just guided by his instincts and who would disagree that cats had excellent instincts? Certainly not Paul.

Finally Daryl had played enough, intentionally or not, and took Paul into his mouth. All thoughts seemed to fade for a moment as Paul squeezed his eyes shut and lost himself in the warm and wet cavern of his mouth.

In that moment, he wouldn’t have any regret if tomorrow was his doom.

“Mind your fangs, please,” Paul breathed upon feeling a grazing of sharp teeth along his shaft. Daryl’s hummed softly, contrite or defiance unsure, but he was more careful with his sharper-than-average teeth, which Paul was grateful for. He wasn’t a fan of pleasure mingled with pain after all.

Daryl didn’t finish what he’d started and let go off Paul with an obscene ‘pop’. Paul might have verbally complained if he were naive enough to not know Daryl’s intention. He wanted penetrative intercourse, and that was fine by Paul as long as they worked out their position. Since Daryl was quite literally a predator, Paul assumed he was a top – seemed natural that way. So was Paul, in most encounters, but being quite versatile in the matter of passion, he didn’t mind switching, especially when his partner was Daryl. He had immensely enjoyed the few times he had bottomed for his other partners; as a matter of fact, each time had left him wondering why he didn’t bottom more often.

“Let me help you,” Paul offered, his hands eagerly undoing the button of Daryl’s pants while the man fumbled with the buttons of his shirt. He retained enough self-control to not ruin the shirt like he had done Paul’s unfortunate one since it was borrowed. Their hands moved almost in tandem and by the time the shirt had joined the small heap of clothes on the floor, Daryl could shimmy out of his pants and boxers. Then there was no barrier to obstruct Paul’s appreciation of him. Like his fantasies, Daryl was well-built, just the right balance of hard, toned muscles and soft flesh promising gentleness to the touch. So Paul touched him, running his palm along Daryl’s body like Daryl had done to him, and halted as he reached the heat between the man’s legs, thankfully very human. Paul let out a mental sigh of relief and began to gauge Daryl’s size using both his eyes and hand. To accommodate this size, he would need some preparation. He only hoped the lube he kept in his drawer hadn’t expired yet. And the condoms too, while he was at it.

Twisting his torso, he reached for the small nigh table lodged between the bed and the wall but Daryl stopped him by pinning his hips to the bed with his large hands. Well, Paul could fight, yet he didn’t, puzzled by Daryl’s intention. It would be much easier if Daryl would just talk, but the cat man appeared to deem any sounds coming out of his lips other than words sufficient for communication. He gave Paul’s length a few quick strokes before situating himself above the scout.

Uh oh. Paul knew what Daryl intended to do. “No,” he protested, his voice edged with haste, “let me prep you first or else you’ll be hurt.”

Daryl didn’t reply. A stoic expression masking his face, he gingerly sunk down Paul’s shaft. Soon as his tip went past Daryl’s entrance, blissfully not as tight as he’d imagined and surprisingly slick – as though he had found the time to prepare himself, Paul choked on the words he was about to say. Literally choked on them. Another huge surprise he didn’t see coming. His mental capabilities were reduced to just be able to feel the warm and wet tightness clenching around his length inch by delicious, torturous inch. Tenacious as always, Daryl made no attempt to stop until he was fully sheathed and settled on Paul’s thighs. Both froze, prioritizing the fundamental need to find their breaths first.

“You’re alright?” asked Paul, brushing back Daryl’s long, damp fringes. “Did I hurt you?”

Letting a whiny breath, Daryl nodded and then shook his head as if he couldn’t decide which should be the answer. He bent down, munching on Paul’s lips while his lower half was motionless for several seconds. Paul happily obliged him even though the pleasure spiking up his spine was one step from driving him crazy. He suckled Daryl’s lower lip, tugging the fleshy part between his teeth, all of the previous chasteness gone. His tongue entered Daryl’s mouth, found Daryl’s own and coerced it into a sensuous tango. It was both the same and different to feel the texture of Daryl’s tongue with his own rather than his skin. He thought he tasted himself faintly in Daryl’s mouth. Saliva dribbled down the sides of their mouths but both were too far gone to care.

It seemed an eternity when their mouths parted, connected only by a slim silvery string. Daryl placed both hands on Paul’s hips and began moving, erratically and slowly to test his adjustment. Paul threw his head back, inhaling deeply. It didn’t take long until the hunter found and established a rhythm and pace that matched his burning need, which, of course, suited Paul’s as well. And then, there was nothing stopping him from chasing the pleasure to his heart’s desire.

Things were a tad hazy afterward, and Paul didn’t recall much detail besides ragged breaths, loud moans and maddening pleasure coursing through his entire body, head to toe. Paul’s rickety bed groaned with their combined weight and movements and in hindsight, Paul was thankful he lived in a trailer and thus having no neighbors; otherwise they would clearly hear his debauchery. It wasn’t that he was ashamed or anything; he just didn’t fancy gossips in a tight-knit community such as Hilltop. The two of them reached their peaks almost simultaneously, a rather impressive feat for their first time as far as Paul was concerned. While Paul coated Daryl’s inside with his seeds, Daryl spilled his on their stomachs and the sheets underneath them, and marked Paul with an impressive love bite on his collarbone that would take days to fade. Not that Paul minded getting a quaint souvenir to remember their heated ride; if someone inquired he’d just blame the cat – nothing sort of truth. The hunter’s face as he orgasmed was the most vivid memory in Paul’s mind because of its sheer beauty and perfection. Paul thought he had fallen in love. Scratch it. He was already head over heels in love with Daryl Dixon and this was the very first time he had felt so strongly and intensely with a man that his previous relationships seemed ephemeral and insignificant. It was as though he had never known love until he knew Daryl. He sincerely hoped this was not a one-time thing and that it would blossom into something meaningful and lasting.

The sheets were sticky with sweats and come and permitted a funny smell. Paul used his torn shirt to wipe the come off his and Daryl’s bodies. Doing the laundry should be on top of his agenda tomorrow but right now, all he yearned for was snuggling with Daryl and drifting off into a blissful sleep. The former was already fulfilled as the cat man’s arm was draping across his chest and his naked limbs were tangled with Paul’s underneath the sheet. His head was tugging beneath Paul’s chin while his tail moved lazily and disorientedly, tickling Paul’s calf. Paul stroked the roots of his flopped ears, earning low satisfied purrs from the hunter. Paul was certain he’d miss both the ears and the purrs once Daryl turned back into full human.

“You OK? Any sores?”

He recalled the haste penetration with no prep and heaved a sign. “Next time let me prep you first, OK? Don’t want you to feel any pain.”

Wait, had he already planned a next time while the outcome of this time was still pretty much uncertain.

“ ‘s fine,” Daryl replied, voice tired and sleepy. “My body has its own way of preparation, consider that a perk. Only minor sores. Though I may be walkin’ funny tomorrow.”

Sex appeared to make Daryl more loquacious, Paul noted. “Good thing you don’t have to leave this trailer until all of these are gone.”

“Sorry.”

Paul’s chest felt tight due to Daryl’s apologetic tone. “If you’re apologizing for tearing my shirt then apology accepted,” Paul said. “I’m well compensated anyway.”

“ ‘s not jus’ the shirt an’ ya know that.”

“I already told you that this thing between us was totally consensual. For the last time you didn’t force yourself on me.”

“I pushed ya down an’ tore yer shirt forcefully.”

“And I could have kicked you in the nuts and thrown you out,” Paul blurted out, without thinking. “Do you… do you metaphorically self-flagellate every time this happens?”

Paul felt Daryl tense against his body. Shit. Damn his stupid mouth. He could tell he’d poked a sensitive spot. No one liked being reminded that they periodically turned into animal, went in heat and fucked the nearest creature with legs.

Apparently Daryl hadn’t run out his surprise quota of the day (or month) because after a quiet moment, he mumbled, “With ya was my first time.”

“What? You mean you haven’t… Don’t tell me it’s the first time you turn into a cat!”

“Mangorath.”

“Mangorath, right. What’s with that name anyway? It sounds like ‘mango’ and ‘wrath’. An angry fruit?!”

“Carol came up with it, dunno what she had in mind,” replied Daryl. “Anyway, ‘s not my first time turnin’. Been turnin’ since I was a teenager. Has somethin’ to do with puberty I guess.”

“But you said this was your first time?” Paul sounded incredulous.

“Before I ran into the woods and stayed there alone until the heat died. ‘s not so bad as when there’s a potential mate ‘round.”

His voice died at the last words and red crept up his bare shoulder. Affection swelled in Paul’s heart, threatening to burst his ribcage. “It appears I fit the bill of your potential mate. You don’t mind if I claim the position? Less hassle the next time you turn.”

“Don’t wanna force ya…”

“I happily, willingly volunteer myself,” Paul teased. “Besides, I happen to like you a lot, Daryl Dixon, so, no forcing at all.”

His teeth playfully gnawed the tips of Daryl’s ears, eliciting an embarrassed grunt from the hunter. “Ya kinda said it already… that ya liked me…”

Paul choked on his laughter, biting his tongue. “When? I don’t recall ever telling you about my feelings,” he yelped, “or anyone, for that matter, not even Maggie or Tara.”

Daryl snorted, pleased with himself for causing Paul a minor freak-out. It was simply unfair and annoying that the Hilltop scout always appeared calm and composed in whatever shit situation he found himself in. Daryl had made it his personal mission to make Paul lose his cool for once. “Ya told ‘Daryl’,” he deadpanned.

As realization dawned on him, Paul’s face darkened. “You… you furry little liar!” he stuttered, face flushed and heated.

“What did I lie to ya?”

“You said you didn’t remember—”

“Everythin’. This is among the bits an’ bobs I did.”

“Clever,” Paul scoffed, defeated. He didn’t know the Alexandrian possessed a devious witty streak in his stoic, solemn skeleton. There were a lot about Daryl he hadn’t known and he was terribly thrilled by the aspect of learning them day by day. Covering his face with his hand, Paul laughed, “Since the cat’s out of the bag, pun intended, I figure I can be perfectly frank about it and ask you whether the feelings are mutual.”

Daryl was so quiet that Paul began to think he might push too hard at the boundaries. From the first day he’d met him, he could tell the man had built wall after wall around him. To get past those walls required much time, and it simple couldn’t be done after one good sex, despite how satisfyingly mind-blowing it was. Before the scout officially freaked out and opted to take back his words, Daryl spoke, small-voiced, “At least I know who I should run to next time I turn.”

Paul breathed a lengthy sigh of relief. He hugged with all the strength of his body, trying to convey his overwhelming affection to the older man. “I’ll make sure to give you plenty of belly rubs and the best cream I could find.”

Daryl’s tail whipped Paul’s thigh, eliciting an undignified yelp. Despite the growl at the back of his throat, he was having a wide, toothy grin.

End

That is the end, hope you all enjoy it.

[Desus] Finders, Keepers (2)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: M

Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia

Genre: fanfiction

Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes, Carol Peletier, Michonne

Warnings: Probably crack, Smut with plot

Summary: Jesus came to Alexandria to do trade and to see a certain grumpy hunter. However, he didn’t see said hunter; instead, just outside the walls of Alexandria he found a black cat – wait, was that really a cat?!


Chapter 1

 


 

Paul retired to bed that night like every other night, with a bigger-than-normal cat occupying the remaining space of his single bed. He believed he should wake up in the morning like every other morning, with or without that said cat – sometimes ‘Daryl’ slept in, sometimes he didn’t. Certainly he didn’t expect to open his eyes to the sight of an arm draping across his chest, not in the loving ‘hold me, touch me’ way but in the unsexy and discomforting way. He blinked, stared at the arm for a few seconds, then blinked again, and again, and again. Still, the arm remained his reality, not his imagination. The weight felt very real though, making breathing a slightly more difficult task. He tried to rake his sleep-fogged brain for any indication that he had taken someone to his bed last night, and after a long while rummaging through the clutter of his memories, he came to a sad, disappointing conclusion that he hadn’t done that in years. His only bed companion was a four-legged animal that should be taking the space next to him. Alert coursing through him like electric current, Paul whipped his head to the side and saw a sleeping face.

It took all his restraint not to scream because said sleeping face belonged to the one and only Daryl Dixon. The human, grumpy one. As he dared to scan down Daryl’s form, the skin of his face was cooked by the heat of horror and arousal. His heartbeat went from 75 to 150 in a quarter of a minute, nearly giving him a heart attack. On his bed Daryl was curling in a fetal position, his shoulders bare, his arms bare, his entire body bare to Paul’s scrutiny.

Paul pinched his side hard, he just had to, and was barely able to muffle his yelp into the pillow. He needed to ensure this wasn’t a dream because it looked very much like a dream, a wet dream actually, one that left him panting and aching and needy in the middle of the night whether he was in his own tiny trailer or the room Rick had provided him in Alexandria, conveniently just a few strides from the dweller of the unsuspecting culprit of his predicament.

That Daryl was lying naked on his bed was not a dream but the reality, he told himself, feeling the soft warmth of his breath ghosting against his face since they were so close, noses almost touching. He took several quick breaths, trying to calm his overexcited heart. Daryl’s sleeping face helped a great deal too. In his slumber, the man looked breathtakingly peaceful, his perpetual scowl gone, his lines smoothed out and his sharp, slanted eyes hidden behind closed eyelids. His eyelashes weren’t particularly long but their length and curves put the finishing touch to the picture of Daryl’s visage. Paul subconsciously held his breath as he swallowed.

Something black on top of Daryl’s head twitched, catching Paul’s attention. Curious, Paul extended his head to shyly touch it. Silky fur and a familiar softness graced the tips of his fingers. Paul gasped in silence. Was it… an ear? Moreover, not a human ear but a cat ear!

Emboldened by his shock, Paul gave the ear a light tug to test whether it was an ornament (though chance that Daryl would wear any ornaments on his head, let alone cat ears, was a mighty zero) and would come off. It didn’t. Moreover it felt firmly attached to his skull as if a part of him. A part of him! Something in Paul’s brain clicked and thoughts started whirring in his head. Daryl was lying on his bed. The mangorath, which should be in his place, was nowhere in sight (except that Daryl might have crushed him with his weight but it was too absurd Paul didn’t even want to consider it). Daryl had cat ears on his head. Pointy and warm and soft to the touch. Like a certain mangorath’s. Daryl had mangorath ears. Daryl was part mangorath. Daryl was the mangorath!

Paul grimaced as a headache started pounding in his skull. How his brain had come up with such a conclusion and actually convinced him that it made some sense was beyond his comprehension. Morning drowsiness caused funny thoughts. He needed an aspirin or an explanation. Maybe both. Definitely both.

Daryl’s ear twitched again and Paul couldn’t help touching it again, relishing the sensation transmitted from the tips of his fingers to his brain. As he did, he began to think he might have developed cat-ear fetish and it mortified him tremendously; it wasn’t right to think that way about his ally, his friend, especially someone as stoic as Daryl Dixon. But if he didn’t tell, no-one, certainly not Daryl, would know, right? He just had to keep his less proper thoughts to himself and behave normally around the hunter, didn’t he?

Paul’s heart almost stopped when Daryl’s eyes suddenly opened, glacially blue with black slit pupils like a cat’s. During their time of acquaintance, he had observed and learned many things about the hunter, both in his features and manners, but he never knew that Daryl possessed cat eyes and eyes were the very first thing he took notice about Daryl, or any individual he met. The hunter’s eyes were narrow, blue and magnetically drew Paul in every time they locked gaze and most importantly, they were unmistakably human. Now those eyes had changed and they were staring at him unblinkingly. The mangorath often stared at him in the same way, with the same eyes, once again confirming Paul’s crazy theory that Daryl and the feline were one and the same.

Daryl let out a small whimpering sound that was more cat than human.

Paul sat upright as though being electrocuted and rushed to his drawer. He searched frantically for a shirt and a pair of pants that were Daryl’s size. Not once had he looked behind his back to see that Daryl had also sat up, stretched his muscles and was watching Paul piling up a small hill of clothes on the floor with his curious cat eyes.

“What yer doin’?”

“Finding some clothes for you,” Paul replied without thinking. Tch. Wasn’t that obvious? Then, amidst the hassle and embarrassment his brain actually stopped for a moment to think and realization sank in like a boulder. “What?! You can talk?!”

“‘Cuz I can talk,” Daryl retorted, his voice taking a higher pitch than usual. It sounded odd,… younger. “When couldn’t I?”

“I thought… Never mind.”

Coming back to his bed, Paul handed him a navy-blue shirt, a pair of dark jeans and a pair of black boxers. He looked anywhere but Daryl’s toned chest, uncovered and presented to his sight like a tantalizing treat. Daryl eyed the articles with suspicion.

“These haven’t been worn yet,” Paul felt the need to assure him. “A size too big for me.”

With that, he left the clothes on the bed and strode out of the door, giving Daryl his privacy. He closed the door behind his back.

The sky was still a peach-lavender hue. Paul leaned against the side of the trailer in only his cotton white shirt and sweatpants, taking quick, shallow breaths to calm his racing heart and clear his head. He supposed he ought to be thinking because this was the kind of situation that required thinking but he just couldn’t. Occupying his mind was the image of Daryl sporting a pair of cat ears and it kind of effectively blocked all other thoughts. He honestly had no idea what he should say to the Alexandrian hunter when he went back inside the trailer. Ask why he had transformed into an animal? Why he had turned back into human, sans the ears and eyes? What, too straightforward? Should he beat around the bush then?

The door to his trailer creaked open and Paul took that at his cue to come inside. His eyes swept over Daryl, who was sitting with his back against the wall, his knees hunched up to his chest, and he found relief in the sight of the hunter fully clothed. Less distracting if they wanted, actually needed, to have a serious talk about what was going on here. He looked somewhat bashful. Paul’s eyebrows hitched up to see a long, black… tail relaxing on the mattress. There was a pair of scissors on the multi-purpose table by the bed.

Daryl followed his gaze and lowered his head to hide the blush blossoming on his cheeks. “Sorry, can’t keep that in my pants. Cumbersome.”

Paul sat down on the edge of the bed, shaking his head. “It’s OK. You can keep the clothes. They don’t fit me anyway.” He made a vague gesture to the tail, Daryl’s tail. “I think I deserve some sort of explanation here.”

“Figured ya’d figured out on yer own already.”

“No I didn’t. All things seem to point out to me that you are my – what, mangorath pet, which ranks top in my list of most absurd things of this year, and that is something because we’re living in the world where the dead don’t stay dead. How is that even possible, beats me.”

“Not yer pet,” Daryl bleated.

“Well your family kinda sold you to me as such. Sorry I took their offer.”

Daryl made a low growl in his throat. He was displeased, Paul could tell. Clearly that hadn’t been his idea.

“ ‘m a shapeshifter,” said Daryl after a stretched moment. “Means I can change into an animal and back.”

Oh. That was the straightforward answer Paul had wanted but not expected to get from the tight-lipped hunter. Again, from the time he’d gotten acquainted with him, Paul knew Daryl to be the type not to beat around the bush. If he could use five words to express something, he certainly wouldn’t use six. And the explanation he gave made absolutely no sense and perfect sense at the same time. A shapeshifter in a world where the dead moved around? Not too far-fetched at all.

“I understand what a shapeshifter means but not how you can do that and why you haven’t changed back until now.”

“Dunno how,” Daryl replied, shrugging. “Was born that way I guess. ‘s in the blood. Comes at certain times o’ the year. Can’t control it, can’t do nothin’ ‘bout it.”

Paul nodded sympathetically. “Involuntary shapeshifter, I see. It must be real inconvenient.”

“Ya bet,” Daryl snorted.

Paul recalled the time when they had run away from the Sanctuary together. If Daryl could change his form freely, he would have escaped by himself long before Paul jumped off the truck’s roof and landed in Negan’s territory. Paul wondered what good it was being a shapeshifter who was unable to shapeshift at will. So far he only saw drawbacks. But of course he wouldn’t say it aloud in front of Daryl’s face; the man didn’t need someone to tell him it sucked being the way he was.

A bit lost in his musing, Paul let his hand inch closer and closer towards Daryl’s tail, driven by a subconscious desire to stroke it – a habit he had sort of formed during the last week. However, Daryl was one step quicker: his tail curled and retreated behind his back in a flash.

“Sorry,” Paul mumbled, face flushed. “Just a habit is all. Were you aware of everything when you were in that form? Do you remember anything?”

“I remember bits and bobs but not everythin’. Somethin’ the matter?”

A sense of relief and deflation filled Paul up at the same time.

“You don’t remember some of your behaviors… like demanding belly rubs, chasing the squirrels, stealing meat from the kitchen, et cetera?”

A hint of red spread upward Daryl’s neck. He shook his head. “While ‘m in that form, sometimes the animal instincts take over. Nothin’ too embarrassin’?”

“No, never mind,” Paul said, scratching his head. “How long before your… your eyes and ears turn back to normal?”

“Takes some time before ‘m fully human, two days normally, three at most.”

“Your family, do they know about your… special condition?”

“Cut yer euphemism,” Daryl grunted. “Ain’t necessary. Rick an’ Carol found out, then Rick told Michonne.”

Somehow Paul could picture the three of them throwing back their heads and laughing like a scene in George of the Jungle, pulling a prank on their brother like that. His family loved him to bits, there was no doubt, but they also had a really twisted sense of humor.

“Well, in the meantime, you can stay here until you change back,” Paul offered. “I don’t mind having a roomie.”

Daryl’s cat eyes peaked through his long bangs, his eyes perked as of showing Paul had gotten his full attention. “Ya sure ya don’t mind?”

“It’s not like you haven’t stayed here before. Besides, I can’t shoo you out of my trailer looking like this, can I?” Paul laughed in an attempt to mask nervousness spiking in his stomach all of sudden. Get a hold of yourself, Rovia. It was just two or three days; surely you can handle being in such close proximity with him without making a fool out of yourself and trampling your established friendship. Right?

“Thanks.”

“It’s nothing, really,” Paul said, waving his hand. “Now, what do you fancy for breakfast? I sincerely hope it’s not squirrels because I can’t find any this early in the morning.”

“Yer ridiculous,” Daryl grunted, but couldn’t keep a tiny smile from the corner of his lips.

To be continued

I had a mighty need to write cat!Daryl.

 

[Desus] Finders, Keepers (1)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: M

Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia

Genre: fanfiction

Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes, Carol Peletier, Michonne

Warnings: Probably crack, Smut with plot

Summary: Jesus came to Alexandria to do trade and to see a certain grumpy hunter. However, he didn’t see said hunter; instead, just outside the walls of Alexandria he found a black cat – wait, was that really a cat?!


 

Paul didn’t miss the unified weird expression Rick, Michonne and Carol were giving him when they came to the gate to greet the Hilltop scout. If he had to put it into words, he’d say it was a crossbreed between surprise and… amusement. Now that puzzled him. Was he humoring them in some way he was unaware? He did a super-quick check in the rearview mirror and found nothing funny in his attire or his face. In fact, he looked extra-fine today: hair combed, beard trimmed, new beanie, boots and trench coat dusted off; he always took care to look neat whenever he went to Alexandria to do trade, almost as if to impress a certain someone here. He looked down his arms again, suddenly recalling the weight in them. Right. The only thing out of the ordinary was the coal-back lump with its long furry tail winding around his arm.

“What?” Paul asked, seeing Michonne leaning towards Rick and whispering into his ears. Rick’s face contorted in an epically failed attempt to contain his laughter and maintain a straight face at the same time.

“Nothing.” It was Rick who answered.

Like hell it’s nothing, Paul thought. But he kept it to himself, waiting for Rick, or Michonne or Carol, to add anything. He was a patient man after all – a much needed virtue for someone who was nicknamed Jesus.

“Where did you find… that?” asked Rick, making vague gestures at the black lump in Paul’s arms.

As though understanding human words, said black lump perked up its pointy ears and then lifted its head, narrow blue eyes zeroing into Rick. The tail that had wrapped around Paul’s forearm unwinded and raised to form a big question mark. When Paul looked down, he was both surprised and intrigued by how expressive the creature was.

“This…” he began, “… well, I spotted it not too far outside the wall and brought it back on a whim. Didn’t know what had gotten into me. Anyone has any idea what sort of animal this is?”

When he first saw this black creature prowling in the bush, Paul was thoroughly dumbfounded because of all his thirty years of living, he had never seen anything like this. Generally it looked like a cat with its round head, triangular ears and lean, graceful limbs. The way it moved resembled a feline too, quickly and soundlessly – padded paws, he guessed. Its size was the odd thing though: bigger than an ordinary cat but smaller than a Labrador. Imagine a cat trying to evolve into a young black panther but failing and you’ll get the picture. Won over by his surging curiosity, Paul slowly approached the creature against his better judgment to just leave it alone. Perhaps it was because he had always had a soft spot for strays that he couldn’t help it when seeing one even though this was technically a wild animal, not a domestic one. It utterly baffled him how this wild cat-thing was so docile – even friendly in a weird sort of way: it didn’t scratch or bite his outstretched hand and it allowed him to tickle under its chin, purring softly as he did. He almost believed it must have been someone’s exotic pet before shit had hit the fan. And its eyes! When he looked into its blue eyes, oddly human for an animal despite the slit pupils, a sense of familiarity washed over him that he couldn’t quite understand. That was what sealed the deal and the next thing he knew, Paul had the creature clasped to his passenger seat by the seatbelt, its tail winding around his forearm, on his way to Alexandria. The animal had a penchant for it, it seemed, and Paul, being the pet lover, didn’t mind it one bit.

“It’s a mangorath,” said Rick.

“I’m sorry a-what?”

“A man-go-rath,” Carol enunciated.

The mangorath, according to Carol, scratched its claws at Paul’s leather sleeves soon as the last syllable left her lips. Sharp, just like a cat’s. Fearing that his favorite trench coat might get a tear, he shushed the creature, earning a complaint from it in the form of a soft growl. With his gloved hand Paul stroked behind its ears in a placating manner. It purred, clearly enjoying the treatment, which encouraged Paul to continue. Although separated by a thick layer of leather, he could tell how soft its ears were. Too absorbed in his indulgence that he didn’t notice the funny look Rick, Michonne and Carol were throwing his way.

“It’s a type of rare half-wild, half-domestic feline,” Carol continued.

“Half-wild, half-domestic?” Paul echoed.

“Means he can live in the wild but he can make for a good pet as well. Ah, that’s a he, by the way.”

It struck him as odd that Carol knew so much about this mangorath creature. Did she use to have one or had she been a zoologist before all this shit?

“How can you tell?”

Carol just shrugged as a means of saying she knew stuff that he didn’t know and he just had to take her words for it, which he did because Paul’s knowledge of this rare species was a big fat zero. In fact, he’d never heard of it until today.

To be fair, his knowledge of the animal world wasn’t extensive either.

“Won’t your arms get tired holding him like that?” Michonne asked.

“Oh no,” Paul replied, “he’s actually a lot lighter than he looks. You wanna try?”

That wasn’t the real reason though. Truth was, he held the mangorath because he was afraid that if he let him down, the feline would run off at once, to wherever he had come from. And Paul, being selfish and hyper-aware of it, did not want that. It wasn’t every day that he happened to come across a rare animal which didn’t try to bite his hand off when he tried to pet it.

The female samurai shook her head. “I’ll pass. Allergic to furs.”

“Right. Anyone in Alexandria interested in keeping a pet?”

Paul’s thought was directed to the Grimes household, specifically to the adolescent Carl Grimes, who was carrying lots of emotional baggage. The troubled youth had been through a lot and perhaps keeping a pet would do him some good.

“Why don’t you keep him? He seems awfully agreeable with you. May even like you.”

For some reason only they knew, Michonne sniggered at her boyfriend’s suggestion. Carol brought a hand to her mouth, obviously trying to cover a grin. OK, this was seriously bugging Paul. There had to be something here that he didn’t know and they had no intention to tell him either, preferring to keep it for themselves. Some private Alexandrian joke?

The mangorath stirred and scratched his arm.

“Oh no,” Paul said, shaking his head ruefully, “I don’t think I can keep a pet. As you know, I live in a tiny trailer, which I’m absent from most of the day.”

It wasn’t the first time Paul had run into a stray on his supply run. His first instinct had always been keeping them, feeding them, giving them a shelter from the sun and the rain and the horde of flesh-gnawing monsters. Yet when he thought about his living condition and routine, about how little time he had for himself, the best he could do was heave a sign and find a household who was interested in, and more importantly, capable of caring for an extra member in their family. And that was what he was trying to do here, in Alexandria, finding a home for this strange creature which he had grown oddly increasingly fond of.

“He’s mostly self-sufficient,” Carol quickly assured. “You don’t even have to feed him or wash him. He doesn’t like washing anyway. He’ll keep the rodents off your trailer…”

“And probably brings you some for dinner,” Michonne added, chuckling. “If you don’t mind dining on squirrels, that is.”

Paul heard the mangorath let out a throaty growl and couldn’t tell whether he agreed or disagreed with the badass samurai. On the other hand, he felt indistinctly like a wavering customer being pressured to purchase a pet he was unsure if he should have by three cunning shop owners. Alone, each was fearsome in their way. Together, they were a force to be reckoned with. He felt himself losing already.

“Finders, keepers,” said the Alexandrian leader. And just like that, the argument ended: the responsibility to care for the mangorath fell into the Hilltop scout’s laps.

After all the unloading and uploading of goods was done, which was in the late afternoon, Paul set to return to Hilltop, finding no reason to dally as a certain hunter had left Alexandria and wasn’t likely to come home for days. Feeling a stone sink in his guts, Paul placed the mangorath in the passenger’s seat, clasped the seatbelt around his body just so the feline wouldn’t jump around in the truck and got them both killed in an accident before settling into the driver’s seat.

Watching the truck leaving the gate with her arms crossing on her chest, Carol turned to Rick. “You sure it’s a good idea because I’m sure I’m not ready to deal with Daryl’s tantrum once he gets back.”

Rick merely shrugged. “You saw it yourself. I’m sure he’ll thank us when he’s back.”

“After he throws a tantrum,” Michonne deadpanned.

“After he throws a tantrum,” Rick echoed, grinning.

“So… How about… Wolverine?”

Water splashing right into his face was what Paul got as a reply from the ill-mannered mangorath.

“Bad cat! Very bad cat!” Paul chided, wiping his face with the back of his sudsed hand. The soap that accidentally got into his nose made him sneeze loudly.

Sitting in a basin in Paul’s tiny bathroom, said bad cat was wagging his long, soaked tail in a lazy manner, no sign of contrite visible on his sharp feline features.

Soon as they arrived at Hilltop, Paul had immediately thought of giving his brand-new animal companion a thorough wash because hell, he was not going to have fleas in his bed. Unfortunately for him, the mangorath was a keen animal with a fierce dislike for washing – as Carol had kindly informed him – and before Paul extended his grip on him, the cat had sprung to his paws and dashed out of the truck. Hence a tag, you’re it game between Jesus and the satanic black cat commenced, bringing laughter and mirthful tears to many a Hilltoper, including Maggie and Enid. In fact, Maggie had laughed so hard that Dr. Carson had to remind her to restrain herself a little so as not to cause any unpleasant effect on her recovery process. By the time he had had his hand on the cuff of the mangorath’s neck (much help from a couple of children), he was bathed in sticky sweats and very much in need of a wash himself.

After he finished washing the stubborn feline first.

This chasing game had Paul become all reminiscent of his first meeting with a certain grumpy hunter. Not the best impression but undoubtedly memorable. Now he could fully sympathize with Daryl’s desire to give him a punch in the face after the scout had pretty much saved his ass from a walker’s bite. Not that he would punch the cat though; Paul was many things but never an abuser.

“But you need a name, right,” Paul tried to reason with his four-legged new buddy. “I can’t just call you ‘mangorath’ all day. How about ‘Magneto’?”

A mighty wave of the black tail once again had Paul wipe his face with his sleeve.

“Right, no comic superheroes then. How about The Lord of the Ring? Legolas maybe?”

Splash.

“Thranduil?”

Splash.

“Harry Potter? Severus Snape? Voldemort?!”

Splash. Splash. SPLASH.

At this point, Paul had come to an understanding that this was the mangorath’s response to his questions. Sweeping his wet hair back crudely, he said, “OK, I got your point. No fictional characters. How about Michael Jackson?”

Splash.

“Right… Norman Reedus?”

There was no water attack but the mangorath had also turned his head away, finding the pastel wall of the bathroom more interesting than his human’s visage. If it wasn’t an “I don’t care” than Paul didn’t know what it was.

“Come on,” Paul pled, rubbing the soft sponge along his spine, “one last try, OK. After that I’ll just call you ‘Mango’ for short.”

The cat turned his head back, looking at Paul with his impossibly blue, round eyes. Good. He seemed to catch his attention.

“How about…” A moment of hesitation. “… Daryl?”

Paul anticipated another strike, but it didn’t come. The mangorath lowered his head and rested it on the edge of the basin’s edge. He purred.

Feeling triumphant, Paul grinned widely. “Daryl it is.”

Living with the mangorath turned out to be simpler than Paul had thought. True to Carol’s words – he had to thank her the next time they met, the feline was mostly self-sufficient and actually required little care. When Paul was on his supply run or scouting mission, ‘Daryl’ went with him, trailing behind him like a faithful shadow if he was on foot or sitting quietly with the seat belt tight around his body if Paul took the truck. While Paul was at Hilltop helping around, ‘Daryl’ explored on his own. The first time he had done it, Paul had nearly freaked out, thinking his animal companion had deserted him and gone off to be a walker’s dinner, but before Paul had officially lost it, he showed up at the trailer’s door, a freshly dead squirrel in his jaw. From then on, whenever ‘Daryl’ disappeared for a few hours, Paul expected to find some dead games presented on the floor of his trailer like some sort of proud trophy.

Not that Paul was going to skin and eat those poor creatures though. He was mostly shit at skinning, as Daryl – the human one, of course – had not-so-kindly pointed out during a night they had had to camp outside Alexandria. So he was content to let his feline buddy savor his catches and cleared the remains – not that there were many – afterwards. On the days that ‘Daryl’ didn’t feel like hunting or was just plain unlucky, Paul shared his portion of food with him, and was fascinatingly surprised to see the predator stoically chow down pasta and salads. Definitely omnivorous, he thought. Another interesting point to note.

Two weeks had passed since he took the mangorath to Hilltop, during which he had done trade with Alexandria thrice. To his utter disappointment, not once had he been able to see the grumpy hunter, who had been “away for hunting” – Rick’s words. Bad timing, perhaps?

“I do miss him you know,” Paul said while drawing little circles behind the cat’s ear. He was sitting on his worn couch in his trailer, enjoy a humid, quiet evening. “The other ‘Daryl’. Maybe we weren’t meant to be and that’s how fate’s telling me. Hah, not that we have much of a chance anyway. The guy’s probably straight. I mean, he fits the type, right?”

Curling on Paul’s laps, ‘Daryl’ purred, his long tail winding around Paul’s forearm as he looked his human in the eyes.

“Sappy, I know.” said Paul, shaking his head ruefully.

To be continued

 

[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (6)

IMG_4056

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: K+

Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, vampire AU

Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes

Summary:

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.


Chapter 1     Chapter 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4     Chapter 5


 

I never dreamed that I’d love somebody like you

Wicked Game

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.”

“Them?”

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.”

“Intimate how?”

“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.

End

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.

 

[Desus] Gossip

Part III of When There Were Me & You

*Roommate AU: Detective Daryl & art student Paul

*Sequel to MOTORCYCLE

“So, tell me again,” Tara drawled, putting the cap on her marker once she had finished the Pride flag on her best friend’s cast, “how in the world did our little ninja fall off the stairs and break his leg?”

Paul let out a groan, rubbing a hand over his face. Tara seemed to take immense pleasure in making him recite the reason he had had his leg broken; he was one hundred percent certain by tomorrow all of his class and probably half the campus would have known of his embarrassing accident. Talk about the power of gossip. He wouldn’t live it down for months to come.

“It was bad luck, Tara, sheer bad luck,” Paul bleated. “Remember when we went to a Tarot parlor and the–”

“Tarot reader.”

“Tarot reader warned me of an imminent accident?”

“Yeah, you kind of laughed about it ‘cuz you didn’t believe it. You only came because I dragged you with me and you were pretty tipsy.”

“Guess I’m a believer now,” Paul said, clapping his hands in a mock prayer. “I got up late and was rushing down the stairs when I stepped on something I’d left there and forgotten to clean up – and tripped. Next thing I knew, my leg pained so much that I couldn’t move an inch. From what I’d gained from the first-aid sessions, I figured I might have broken my leg.”

“You were binge-watching that zombie show the night before, weren’t you? What’s so good about that series that everyone’s crazy about it anyway?”

“It’s good and I’ve tried to engage you in watching it with me a few times. Besides, I put half the blame on my alarm clock. Damned thing was broken and didn’t go off.”

Tara reached for the apple and the knife on the table and began peeling its skin with deftness. She got rid of the seeds and quartered the apple before handling Paul a piece, which he took with a “thanks”.

“I’m still pissed off, y’know,” Tara said with a mouthful of apple, making funny crunchy noises, “that you didn’t phone your best friend first when you got the accident. I’d have rushed to your apartment.”

“Sorry, Tara, I was in panic. I was really lucky I got my phone in my pocket and didn’t crush it when I fell. I dialed the top number of my emergency list and–”

“Your roommate called the ambulance and raced home,” Tara finished for him. “I’m shocked you put your roommate’s number first in your list and not mine.”

“He insisted. Said roommates should look out for each other.”

Tara raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow. “Wow! My ex roomie couldn’t have cared less if I’d died and started decomposing in my room so long as I didn’t get in her way.”

Paul wrinkled his nose. “Good thing you moved out.”

“Yeah,” Tara agreed. “Did the doctor say when you will be released?”

“He said I could go home now that I was checked and no other injuries were found. As a matter of fact my roommate is checking me out as we speak.”

“Can’t say I’m not jealous that you have such a nice roommate. Any indication on his sexuality?”

Tara finished the question with a wink.

“Well…” Paul hesitated, lowering his head to hide a hint of a smile threatening to spread across his lips. “Probably not straight, from what I’ve gathered.”

A sudden clap on his shoulder would have made him jump if his leg wasn’t broken already. Tara sounded as though she had just come across an epic epiphany. “I say you go for this heaven-sent dude. Your ‘hot cop’ is definitely hot but last time you said he was straight as a flagpole. Believe me, my friend, pursuing a straight person only ensues heartbreak. Been there, done that.”

Paul was just about to open his mouth when Tara continued, “Tell me, what does he look like? I know looks ain’t important in a relationship but it’s a plus if he happens to be hot right?”

“About that–”

Paul was cut short by the door to his room being opened. Daryl stepped in, pushing a wheelchair in front of him. His black leather jacket slung over his shoulder, he was only wearing his navy blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up his elbows.

“Yer good to go,” he informed, moving toward Paul’s bed. His narrow eyes landed on Tara. “Sorry, ya must be…”

“This is my best friend, Tara Chambler. Tara, this is Daryl Dixon, my roommate…”

He deliberately stressed “roommate” as a reminder. “He’s a detective.”

Tara stared at the cop with rounded eyes for several seconds as shocking realization began to dawn on her. Daryl looked a little confused under her direct stare. “Oh right,” she spoke at last, sounding timid by her rather rude behavior, “Nice to meet you, Detective Dixon.”

She held out her right hand.

“Just Daryl’s fine,” replied Daryl, shaking her hand. “Nice to meet ya.” He turned to Paul and started gathering a few things in the cabinet by his roommate’s bed, which weren’t many, and put them into a small satchel. “Ready to go?”

“Yeah. Can’t wait to get out of the hospital.”

Daryl nodded in silence. Once again Tara watched in awe as he bent down and scooped Paul in his arms as if the young man was a little boy. His muscles flexed under the dark fabric of his shirt and darn, Tara had to admit, she was being momentarily straight.

Carefully, he put Paul on the wheelchair and wheeled him out of the door. Tara followed the two of them to the parking lot.

Once Daryl was done settling Paul on the passenger’s seat, Tara turned to Daryl and said, “Well, I guess I must go now. Thank you so much for taking care of my best friend, Daryl. It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

“It’s no problem,” Daryl said, a bit awkward. Tara took that he was the strong, silent type who could be occasionally socially inept. She also knew that her best friend was a sucker for this type.

Suppressing a chuckle, she gave Paul a meaningful look as she waved her hand. “Get better soon, Jesus. Our class surely misses your ninja tricks.”

Not five minutes after they left the hospital in Daryl’s car, Paul’s phone buzzed. He giggled, knowing without glancing at the screen that it could only be Tara.

“THE HELL JESUS? U NEVER TOLD ME UR HOT COP N UR ROOMIE WERE ONE N THE SAME?” Her text, written all in capitals, read.

“Pretty sure ‘hell’ and ‘Jesus’ shouldnt be in the same sentence,” Paul texted back. His giggles got Daryl’s attention, who gave him a questioning look. “Just Tara’s text,” Paul explained.

He got Tara’s reply five seconds later.

“IM RECONSIDERING OUR FRIENDSHIP”

“Dont be. Never said they werent one person either. Wanna give u a surprise”

“U BETTER EXPLAIN NEXT TIME WE MEET!!!”

“Rite rite. But until then plz tell none of our friends”

“FINE”

“Thk u. luv u”

He put a smiley emoticon at the end of the text before sending. Then he put his phone in his pocket.

“Yer friend Tara seemed surprised to see me,” said Daryl once he saw Paul putting away his phone.

“Because you’re hot?”

“Didn’t look like that.”

Paul chuckled. “She just texted me. She didn’t know my crush and my roommate were the same person.”

“Ya didn’t tell her?”

The question came out more like a statement.

Paul shook his head, smiling. “I love Tara, she’s my BFF but she’s tightly weaved into the gossip web at our college. Guess that’s part of being in the department of journalism.”

“Ya don’t want yer friends to know about… us?”

His voice lowered at the last word. Knowing his boyfriend, Paul immediately picked up the sign. “No, it’s not that I’m embarrassed or anything,” he assured. “Quite the opposite actually.” He didn’t realized his own voice went lower as well. “It just… I want to be certain this… thing between us is real, you know, before I tell my friends.”

Daryl frowned. “It’s real.”

Then Paul’s hand was gently squeezed by a larger, callous hand. Daryl’s sharp eyes spoke of earnest when they were fixed on his face. Paul’s chest swelled with emotions and he would definitely kiss him senseless if Daryl wasn’t driving right now. He longed for the moment they got back to their shared apartment just so that he could be affirmed that this thing between them was very much real and happening.

Looking down at his cast, Paul groaned internally. His leg would get in the way and they would have to find a way to get around it.

“What will we have for dinner?” asked Paul, changing the subject.

“We can get pizzas an’ drinks at Glenn’s an’ we can eat while watching that zombie show yer so crazy about in the evening.”

Paul’s eyes lit up at his words like the sky in the fourth of July. He beamed brightly at Daryl, who responded with a tiny smile.

“I can ask for nothing more.”

End

 

[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (5)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: K+

Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, vampire AU

Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes

Summary:

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.


Chapter 1     Chapter 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4


 

… And No One Could Save Me But You

Wicked Game

The rain had toned down to a drizzle.

Daryl had cut down his speed to no longer be at break-neck level, just barely within the speed limit. The impulse to indulge in reckless speed had died with the rain and now it was merely a scratch at his guts.

Something on the side caught his sight, and the brain part that was responsible for his curiosity deemed it worth a stop for closer inspection. He supposed he wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere and could spare a minute or two.

It was the decomposing carcass of some pretty large animal, probably a buck, that he saw in the grass. Daryl got off his motorcycle and squatted in front of it. It was easy to tell the creature been dead for some time by the bones with brown chunks of flesh clinging to them. The eyeballs were gone, leaving vacant sockets from which streams of red ants poured out. It was a disturbing sight from which most humans should avert their eyes as they hurried past and yet somehow Daryl had been inexplicably drawn in. A part of him, a feeble, normal and human part, was weirded out and wanted to just get on his bike and ride away while another, stronger, more pressing part had his eyes fixed on the gouged out sockets as if there was an enigmatic pull from within the twin voids. His hand was halfway reaching out when he had to stop himself from actually touching it.

It was death, Daryl rationalized, which had prompted this bizarre fixation. Death was the one thing that he and this creature had in common. All living things had to die – that he had learned from a young age with his dearly departed mom, and the scene his eyes so drank in was the inevitable end of every human. It was his mom’s end when Daryl was but a snotty five-year-old and twenty-two years later, his old man’s. It was Merle’s end eight years ago and it would soon be his. Except it could not be his. While the concept of immortality was unnatural according to nature, it was also ironically nature that had permitted its occurrence. Paul had expired his lifespan for a couple centuries and his could be not be a unique existence – many times Daryl had pondered about all the vampires out there, cloaking themselves under civilian guise and blending in amongst their designated preys. Now the same existence was offered to Daryl. Had he ever thought about it or wanted it during the late nights he went to bed and woke up in the morning with a vampire snuggling to his side? Would he want it now that it was his only option to continue that mundane domestic routine, one that he would give the world for? Daryl couldn’t answer it, not yet. But he was beginning to consider it, whether he truly desired immortality. Weird as it may sound, the mortal fear of death inflicted upon him by studying this macabre scene did spark a light in his fog-shrouded mind. The light grew in intensity until it pierced through the confusion and uncertainty plaguing him since his body sprang from the bed. A final, concrete decision wasn’t within his grasp yet but he had seen a vague outline of it. Although there was a haunting dreadfulness in the notion of walking the earth till the end of time, he couldn’t deny a forbidden sense of thrill lacing with it.

When the rain had stopped he couldn’t tell, lost in his own mental world. Daryl stood up and made to his motorcycle. Not too keen on wearing a stuffy helmet with his dripping hair, he decided to forgo it.

The scenery was laminated in gold and silver when Daryl entered the woods – gold from the radiant sunlight after a heavy rain and silver from the myriad droplets of water clinging to the tree branches and leaves. He had switched off the engine and was walking his motorcycle so as not to wreck the perfect serenity of nature and scare off the little creatures making this place home. He took a moment to close his eyes, take a deep breath to enjoy the clear, cool air spiced with the soothing scent of damp wood before parking his vehicle a few feet from a particular tree. Under its canopy he spotted a figure that couldn’t be more familiar to him. He was leaning casually against the trunk, his hair wet and crudely swept back. His thin white shirt appeared transparent and sticking to his skin. In his hands was a small brown squirrel which his fingers were petting now and then. Signing softly, Daryl thought he should be surprised to find Paul here but in fact, he wasn’t in the least. Being a sneaky prick was one of Paul’s less endearing vice Daryl had learned to tolerate.

“Ain’t ya gonna eat it? Why bother playin’ with yer food?”

Paul’s huge eyes left the critter and traveled to Daryl, and the detective could feel his gaze lingering on the strands of dark hair cupping the sides of his face. Huffing, Paul laid the squirrel on the ground. It immediately ran off and disappeared in a blink.

“Detective Dixon,” said Paul, “please don’t jump right to the conclusion that I bore any ill will toward that poor animal when you’re having no evidence.”

“First time I met ya, ya were chompin’ a squirrel,” Daryl snorted, “an’ havin’ a couple more layin’ dead at yer feet.”

“Good Lord, you caught me at a bad time once and I’m never going to live it down. Firstly, that wasn’t our first meeting. We first met when I moved into the derelict house opposite from yours.”

“A brief glance–”

“But still counts. Secondly, I hadn’t made my contact with the local blood bank yet and was on the brink of starvation. You don’t like me when I’m starving.”

“I thought ya a weirdo. Turns out it ain’t too far from the truth.”

“So I’ve been told,” Paul replied with a small smile. He crossed the distance and stood close to Daryl. “You didn’t break up with me because of my quirks, crazy as they are.”

“I’ve met worse,” Daryl said, his hand itching to tug a loose strands of hair behind Paul’s ears. So he did, earning a wider smile from the shorter man. “Ya followed me here, didn’t ya?”

To his surprise, Paul declined, “No, believe me I did want to, but I didn’t. I just didn’t feel like showing up at my class so I called in sick. Having plenty of sick leave can come in handy. I thought a lot, you know, about us, about our life together all these years, about our future, if we have one. And I had a feeling that you would come here, seeing how this place has claimed a special spot in your heart. Now here we are. Must be destiny.”

Paul punctuated his speech with a nervous chuckle.

“I thought a lot too, ‘bout–”

Out of sudden, Daryl felt as if his legs had vaporized right under him. He would collapse face first into the thick carpet of decayed leaves on the ground if Paul weren’t extra-quick to catch him. His ample strength made up for his smaller stature and he supported Daryl’s most of weight with ease. Gently and slowly, he helped Daryl sit down under the tree. All the carefreeness had drained from his handsome countenance; now he was wearing the same pained expression Daryl had seen earlier in the morning. It caused an ache in Daryl’s side and erased his concern about his own condition, even just temporarily.

“What’s happenin’ to me? Why can’t I feel my legs?”

“It’s beginning,” Paul explained. “The paralysis that signals your time is running out and continues until you’re…”

“I’m dyin’, got it. Shoulda known I’m runnin’ on borrowed time. First it’s my leg, then my arms an’ torso and finally my head, righ’. Fuckin’ sadistic, I’d say.”

“Yeah, I suppose,” Paul replied. “Have heard about it but never been through it myself, though.”

“How long did it take ya to make yer decision?”

Since they were sitting shoulder to shoulder, with Daryl leaning against Paul’s chest, he felt a puff of air on his cheek from Paul’s laughter. It wasn’t the full, hearty laughter Daryl had gotten used to hear; it was soft and deprived most of humor. “I practically leapt at the chance to be turned, so you can guess it took me no time at all. I was a vampire before I had even registered the weight of my own death.” Taking a short pause, he continued, “I had been severely sick for a while and my family ended up taking me to the House of Death, where they expected me to spend the rest of my remaining days. Fewer mouths to feed. Looking back, I couldn’t blame them; I expected to die there as well. Then my sire came to me with an offer in exchange for my indentured service. I guess I just didn’t want to die.”

His voice quieted at the last sentence, and there was a slight tremble in it.

“Ya never said anythin’ about this until t’day.”

“It’s no rainbows and unicorns so I’d rather not tell it at a drinking party.”

“Ya ever regretted it? Becomin’ a vampire.”

Paul brushed his dampened fringe out of Daryl’s forehead. “It’s had its ups and downs and there were some dark periods when all I wanted was to lie desiccated in the coffin like a dead man that I was. But, to be honest, I’ve never regretted. It’s a wonder beyond measure to see the world change little by little until it’s no longer the one you were born in, and to see yourself change with it in order to adapt. Given the chance a second time and I would have made the same choice again.”

Silence stretched between them after Paul finished. Daryl seemed to be in contemplation of what he’d said so Paul didn’t feel the urge to break the silence. Instead, he laced his fingers with his lover’s.

Daryl’s fingers only twitched but gave no otherwise response. Paul’s heart sank like a stone thrown into a cold, bottomless lake.

“Take my left hand,” Daryl said. “Ain’t numb as shit yet.”

Paul took his hand, the one that could feel, and brought it to his lips. He kissed every knuckle, mumbling, “I’m sorry.”

“Because you compelled Rick to forget what he saw?”

“Yes, Rick, the doctor, the nurses. I’m sorry I broke my vow.”

Daryl felt Paul’s hand gently squeezing his.

“On the way here, I thought a lot, ‘bout many things,” he said, picking up from earlier. “I thought ‘bout whether ya’d undo Rick’s compulsion, how he, Carol an’ a handful of people I know would react.”

“The compulsion would instantly wear off with a vampire’s end,” Paul said. Although his tone was light and maintaining its casualness that was very Paul-like, Daryl’s lungs felt chilled as he took in a cold breath.

“But ya won’t…”

“Nothing lasts forever, Daryl, even vampires. Sometimes the end comes sooner than we expect.”

“Where would vampires go?”

“Frankly I don’t know. No one has ever told me and I don’t know who to ask. Well, certainly not my late sire, God bless his soul, if he had one. Where do you think humans would go? I know you aren’t the most religious man I’ve met but ever given it a thought?”

Daryl shook his head. Paul shifted to give him a little more comfort even though Daryl’s torso was heavy like lead and just as numb. It took no Einstein to figure at this rate, he’d soon be completely paralyzed.

“I spotted some carcass on the road. Probably a buck an’ dead for some time. I was magnetized to it – death attracts death, I guess. As I looked, I remembered my mom an’ Merle, even the sick bastard I called my dad, how they all looked like this beneath the earth, an’ how I’d look like that too. I thought ‘Well, death sucks’.”

Daryl had always a man of few words and more actions; this was by far his longest speech. Thus Paul patiently waited for him to perhaps regain his breath and gather his thoughts.

“I ain’t hopin’ we’d be united in some sunlit heaven or shit. Ain’t no teenager. Maybe I’d end up in that dark limbo again, all by myself, an’ that’s fuckin’ scary. But what’s even scarier is that I know I won’t never see ya again, won’t never wake up to yer shit-eatin’ grin again, won’t never feel yer touch or yer warmth again. That hurts so much, ya know.”

“I know,” Paul whispered, his breath fanning Daryl’s cheek. “I know.”

“I don’t wanna die. There’s a chance I’ll regret it one day but right now I don’t wanna die an’ leave ya.”

A drop of water fell onto the skin below Daryl’s eyes, too hot to be the rainwater dangling on the leaves.

“So you’ve decided…” Paul croaked.

“Ya don’t mind haulin’ my immobile ass back to the house, right, ‘cuz I don’t suppose ya brought a blood bag along.”

When Daryl craned his neck and looked up, he saw Paul frantically wiping his eyes. A smile had formed on his lips, wide enough to show his white teeth. This was the first true smile Daryl had gotten from him today, same as the one which had caused his heart to skip a beat when he stared a little too long at the ponytailed young man carrying his stuff into the derelict house across from his. While his torso was still numb, the heaviness on his chest had been lifted.

“On the contrary, I always come prepared” was Paul’s reply.

To be continued

Finished it for a while but I was busy writing another Desus fic so I delayed editing and posting it. Immense apologies to you who have been waiting for an update. Next chapter is the last.

[Desus] Immortal

Part II of When There Were Me & You

*Crossover with The Physician / Der Medicus (2013)

IMG_4013
Photos not mine, but the edit is
He was, to put it simple, an immortal man.

He was immortal not in the sense of going on for century after century without going old and dying – that was vampirism, and a vampire was the last thing he would use to draw an analogy. As a matter of fact, he similar to a mortal man in that he was born, he grew up and grew old, wrinkled and ailed, until he ultimately died. And then, the cycle repeated: his undying soul regained a newborn flesh and began anew. No matter how many lifetimes he’d gone through, his appearance, as well as his core personality, remained unchanging, and he was in full awareness of his past lives. That was what drew a clear distinction between his immortality and reincarnation, a notion proposed by many religions and faiths. He didn’t commit himself to any religions though – it was difficult to be preached and convinced about the greatness of the Almighty, about Heaven and Hell, about sins and the Judgment when an existence as abnormal as his was permitted. Still, godless as he was, and would remain to be, he believed in the omnipotent, all-knowing yet unseen force that governed everything – from the smallest grain of sand in the dessert to the constellations in the black velvet sky. He believed it had created what he was, and lodged him into this life for a reason as unfathomable as its being, but there was a reason alright, there had to be. Nothing happened without a reason and believing so had kept his sanity intact and kept him going. He refused to think that his existence was meant solely to exemplify a natural loophole.

He had gone through many lifetimes under many names, so many that he could never remember them all.

Some were more memorable than others.

In that life time he was christened Rob Cole and given an uncanny gift to ‘see’ death approaching a person. But he hadn’t realized he possessed such talent until he witnessed his mother succumb to the side sickness while being utterly helpless to do the smallest thing to help her. In hindsight, it was the exact moment that had outlined his destiny as Rob Cole – to become the one to try and hinder the cold, clammy hand of death brushing over a person’s eyes. But of course, he hadn’t had a slightest idea this lifetime’s purpose either until well later in his life; back then he was but a nine-year-old brat who had just lost his entire family in one day – his mum gone and his younger siblings taken away – and was desperately trying to find a new one in the vagabond barber.

It took the barber’s going blind for Rob Cole to see being a barber was simply never good enough to help the people in need of treatment; had it been, he wouldn’t have witnessed a plethora of deaths on his way across the country, and just about as many lives handicapped.

From the Jews he heard about Ibn Sina, the greatest healer the world had ever seen and his palaces residing amongst the ocean of golden sand, where he healed as well as passing the sacred art of healing onto his students. That was where he would go, Rob decided on the spot, with an unwavering resolution that surprised even himself, much less his aging barber. There was no way he could explain it to the old man, same as he couldn’t give a plausible explanation for his gift to see death approaching; he just knew it was embossed in his fate as Robert Cole and he had to fulfill it.

So, to the east he went. He landed on foreign land and was greeted with both hostility and hospitality. He arrived at Isfahan with nothing but the tattered and besmirched clothes on his sunburnt back and pleas ready on his chapped, cracked lips. He met the great Ibn Sina and got admitted to his madrassa in a favorable twist of fate. There he learned, he loved, and he lost. Tears were shed and wiped, heart broken and mended, wounds opened and sewn, and years later, he found his way home, to England.

His wise teacher, the great Ibn Sina, had once said that he was to live a long life so that he could save as many people as possible. Long did he live and many a life had he saved, but also as many he had failed. Death saddened him a great deal when it took someone from him – his next-door neighbor, his trusted friend, even his beautiful, devoted wife – but it no longer devastated him; Hakim Robert Cole had come to make peace with death and consider it an old friend.

There was one death that stayed with him till his own. There was a war going on, and his hospital, situated somewhere on the border, was filled with casualties. He did not discriminate between ally and foe and treated every man brought in with equal dedication. Some he had succeeded in snatching from Death’s hand whilst some he had not. The blank space behind his hospital quickly became a makeshift graveyard where unmarked graves kept sprouting up like mushrooms after a rain.

He couldn’t tell at first if the man that had just been carried in was an ally or enemy – his outfit was covered in blood, both his own and not. The only thing he was able to tell was the man was probably an archer, judging by how his hand was tightly clutching his bow even when it was already broken. Rob examined the man and as he did, a grim sense washed over him. With the excessive amount of blood he had lost and the fatal wound that ran from his left shoulder to his chest, almost splitting him in half, one should wonder how he was even breathing. Time stood completely still for a second, and the veil of reality dispersed so that Rob could glimpse into the truth of existence. It was his gift, no longer seen as a curse, telling him that death was near. He heaved a sign and took the dying man’s hand in his, trying to offer him as much comfort as he could.

When he looked into the man’s eyes, he felt a spark that shot through his entire body, making him shudder, his hairs standing on end. Centuries later he would have described it as a jolt of high-voltage electricity. It was brief but it was shocking, and he had never felt something like this before, not in this lifetime or previous others. His eyes were fixed on the dying man’s face, which, although distorted in agony, gave off a sense of peace. He felt the blood-slicked fingers weakly squeezing back. No words were exchanged as Rob held his gaze, staying absolutely still until the archer’s last breath died out.

Another unmarked mound in the graveyard. Rob buried his bow with him and visited him every day for the rest of his life.

He hadn’t known the archer’s name.

He had lived long enough to know a spark like that didn’t come once in a while; in fact it was so rare that one needed to go through several lifetimes before it happened. Therefore he decided to keep this little, precious trinket in his consciousness, where he had constructed as a chamber to store the experiences he wanted to take to his next life. For an immortal man, his mind capacity was not indefinite, and there was a limit to what his chamber could hold before it burst, blowing his mind to smithereens. There was no telling what would become of him if that happened, and he dreaded imagining the possibilities. Thus he had to choose carefully, and laid the rest of his memories down the dark, boundless basement beneath. And this spark, as well as the brief memory of the archer, definitely deserved a spot.

In this life he was named Paul Rovia, but all who knew him called him ‘Jesus’. He found that quite an irony because he was pretty sure he had met the real Savior in one of his lifetimes. Couldn’t remember the details though; two millennia was a long time. He had even lost count of his lifetimes.

This could be his last, he mused absent-mindedly on a slow, lazy and rare afternoon he had claimed for himself, because one day you woke up from your sweet dream and the apocalypse had stomped your doors.

The dead walked the earth like the living, hunting them, devouring them, adding them to the ever-growing army of dead. He had witnessed myriads of bizarrities over the centuries but never something like this. The people whom he had known, who had addressed him by the Jesus moniker, fell one by one before his eyes, rose and had to be put down by the edge of his knives. In this life, death was not an old friend but a constant threat, a scythe dangling above their heads, eager to strike.

This could be the end of the world, as well as the end of him. He was strangely peaceful about that; if this fallen-apart world was the one to greet him the next time he opened his newborn eyes, then he’d rather not be born at all.

Sometimes he entertained the thought about how it would be if he had Rob Cole’s medical skills integrated into this lifetime. Outdated by roughly a thousand years but still be useful due to the shortage of doctors. Nevertheless, even without the skills he could have had, he was still a valuable asset to the new community he had short of settled in. Short of because despite how much he tried, he didn’t feel belonged here. Not sure if he would ever. It was ironic to think about since Rob Cole, in spite of his stark differences in religion and practices, had fitted in with Jewish lifestyle during his years at Isfahan in a way Paul Rovia couldn’t with his community of similar beliefs – always feeing like an outsider hovering at the periphery. Still he managed his task well, venturing outside the gate, sometimes for days, endangering himself to scavenge for whatever supplies his people needed. He went on his own, partly because running without having to look after anyone was faster and partly because he saw himself as expendable. If he were lost out there, while his community would be one scout short, no-one would bear the baggage of grief.

At least he hoped so. Grief could be a crippling hindrance to survival, which should be anyone’s number-one priority in this crapsack world.

Whenever he thought about his inability to form a connection to anyone, he was reminded of the spark he had felt a millennium ago, happened only once. It had warmed his heart in those lonely nights where the ailing campfire had failed. It always astounded him how something that had lasted for only a briefest moment could withstand the mercilessness of time and still felt so fresh, so new, like a thousand years was only a couple of hours ago. Sometimes he thought he could feel the texture of the archer’s skin, callous and slicked with blood. It was a shame he had never gotten to know his name.

“… This is Daryl Dixon.”

He had already turned on his heels but when he heard that name, some mysterious force had him whip his body around to do a double take. Curious perhaps? His gaze landed on the quieter man of the pair, the one who was standing nearer to him with a gun trained at his face.

For the first time in a thousand years he had felt the spark again, running along his spine like electric current. He shivered despite his thick trench coat, gloves and boots.

Daryl Dixon was a perfect stranger to Paul Rovia, a man Paul had met only today. Yet he had seen this face on a man centuries ago, in an English hospital situated on the border. He had buried that same man under an unmarked grave that only he could discern from numerous others as he paid it a visit every day till the last day of his life.

What was originally a spark had become wildfire. It was consuming him and he had not felt so alive for so long.

Nothing happened without a reason, he believed.

Daryl Dixon. In this life his name was Daryl Dixon. He made sure to remember that name.

He spread his arms, flashing the pair – but mostly Daryl – his smile.

“Paul Rovia, but my friends used to call me Jesus. Your pick.”

End

Inspired to write this after watching The Physician, a movie starring Tom Payne as Rob Cole, a Christian young man who crosses the ocean and faces numerous adversities in order to study the art of healing. It’s an inspiring movie which I’d recommend to anyone. Plus, Tom is extremely adorable as Rob Cole.

[Desus] Motorcycle

Part I of When There Were Me & You

*Roommate AU: Detective Daryl & art student Paul

IMG_3974
Photos not mine, but the edit is

“Hop on,” Daryl instructed, lightly patting the passenger seat of his motorcycle.

Paul eyed the sleek majestic structure of steel with both awe and wariness. This beast had been the object of his silent admiration since the moment he first saw his roommate, clad in black leather and donning a pair of shades, riding it into the garage; but he had never actually touched it – that it was Daryl’s ‘lover’ was nothing sort of truth. Still, that hadn’t stopped him from fantasizing about sitting his ass on the passenger seat and wrapping his arms tightly around the rider’s firm middle as they raced along the endless highway into the blazing sunset. Okay, the sunset bit was a little cheesy, even for him. God knew how many times Paul Rovia had woken from a dream like that to the sad, disappointing reality that he had been harboring a heavy crush on his older roommate, Detective Daryl Dixon, since he moved in two months ago, and his feelings were probably unreciprocated because Daryl was likely as straight as a flagpole.

He had to be, right? One look at the guy and you can practically sense his machismo seeping out of his pores.

Growing impatient with Paul’s standing rooted in his spot while a dumbfounded look was painted on his face, Daryl patted the seat again, louder this time, to shake the art student out of whatever reverie he was having. “C’mon, we don’t have a whole day.”

“Err… Thank you, but I can take the bus,” Paul replied, internally groaning. While every cell in him was yelling ‘yes’, his rational mind was firmly stating ‘no’ and sadly, it was the one to have the final say about what could leave his mouth and could not. Don’t give yourself false hope, Rovia. You will only have many sleepless nights ahead.

“Bus stop’s ten-minute walk,” Daryl said, “five if yer runnin’. And ya were already half an hour late.”

Indeed today Paul had woken up half an hour later than usual – damned his late-night marathon of The Walking Dead and his broken alarm. He wished his hair was long enough to hide the flushed tips of his ears. Been thinking about growing it out for a while.

But wait, Daryl noticed!

A helmet was thrown at Paul and he deftly caught it.

“Unless ya wanna be late. Get on.”

Daryl put on his own helmet. Truth was Paul didn’t want to show up late at his favorite professor’s class and he could really, really use a ride. Especially when the rider happened to be Daryl.

Muttering a “thank you”, Paul put on the helmet, which was a little big for him but he would definitely not complain.

The seat, on the contrary, was a little small so he had no choice but to sit very close to Daryl, like body-touching close, which he would definitely not complain either.

The engine roared and in an almost careless move, Daryl stepped on the accelerator. The sudden movement had Paul let out an undignified yelp. Out of pure reflex, his arms wrapped around the detective’s torso, and he was holding onto Daryl so tightly it must be a bit uncomfortable. But Paul had spared it no thought; he was too busy being afraid that the next bump might send him flying to the side of the road.

Daryl was riding along the highway so naturally, he wasn’t going slow. Paul dared keep his hold on Daryl, emboldened by the fact that the cop hadn’t complained about having Paul’s chest pressing against his back. A giddy smile spread across his face. Maybe, just maybe, this is not false hope at all.

Little did he know, Daryl couldn’t contain a little smile either. Sure, he’d rather stuff his head in the sink than admitting the reason for his out-of-character move earlier was to have a certain roommate cling onto him for dear life.

End

 

[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (4)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: K+

Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, vampire AU

Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes

Summary:

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.


Chapter 1     Chapter 2     Chapter 3


The World Was on Fire…

Wicked Game

As Daryl was riding down the route the rain showed no sign of stopping anytime soon and the incessant noise on his helmet became more maddening, as if it was possible. He had traveled in worse weather, so this had never been a huge issue to him. Yet back then he hadn’t had supernaturally enhanced senses, which translated into overactive reception of each and every stimulus, however small and would be easily brushed aside were he normal.

Normal. Daryl received a mental kick at that word. Thinking of himself as formerly normal brought forth an implication that Paul was different, strange, abnormal, all of which accompanied by negative connotations according to Daryl’s conservative and biased upbringing that he had fought to leave behind in the dust. Daryl had not once thought Paul was the ‘other’ despite having learned the seemingly younger man was anything but an ordinary thirty-something. Heck, for Daryl’s limited knowledge of vampires, Paul defied lots of stereotypical traits of a vampire as portrayed in pop culture. He didn’t look pale, for one. While his skin tone was decidedly fairer than Daryl, who preferred spending his time in the sun than in an office, he was nowhere near chalky. He wasn’t brooding nor would he sit for hours wallowing in his existential crisis and guilt while having his victim’s blood on his chin and their lifeless body by his legs. At least Daryl had never seen him in such state during their two years of living under the same roof. He opted to live in a modest two-story house and drive an economic car and wasn’t filthy rich. He taught teenagers self-defense martial arts at the local center Monday to Thursday, volunteered on Friday, loved tending to his little garden of flowers and herbs and sometimes had friends – a majority of which being humans – over on Friday night to trash the living room and get wasted. He went to see the latest movies, often dragging Daryl with him if the cop wasn’t working overtime, teared up at particularly emotional scenes and ranted about it later on his wall; his Facebook account had quite a number of followers. All in all, Paul posed extremely well as a human, aside from a couple quirks like his personal blood stash (supplied by the local blood bank) in his fridge or his inability to have hickeys, but hey, many humans possessed more peculiar quirks. Daryl would say he blended in with humans even better than the homicidal detective himself did in some of his more trying days.

This line of thought was going nowhere so with a soft grunt, Daryl abandoned it for another. Ironically enough, to not think was entirely the point of racing his motorcycle along this straightforward route leading into the woods. To feel the wind, the sun or the rain on his skin allowed him a temporary getaway from his jumbled thoughts while the woods with all its wild animals provided him with solace, just like it had given him shelter from his old man’s temper and leather belt. A couple hours later, he rode back the track feeling lighter, better and ready to deal with whatever shit coming his way given his line of profession.

Nevertheless, it was impossible to sweep all his thoughts under the rug and not think of anything for a while no matter how much Daryl wanted to; heck, even if he was hypothetically able to shut them all up, he knew he wouldn’t gain a fragment of peace for his mind. Literally going through death and being pulled back to life was no shit joke and anyone with a mind couldn’t spare it no thought at all. As a matter of fact, there were so many thoughts bustling about inside Daryl’s head that he had no idea which to focus on. It was similar to working on a case where there were so many clues, many suspects and many motives, all lurking behind a thick veil that Daryl had to lift so as to see for himself which was relevant and which was red herrings. Right now his helmet was the veil. Rivulet after rivulet of water blurred his visor and distorted his view. With his left hand he undid the clasp around his chin and took off his helmet.

Drops of rain felt like nails being hammered on Daryl’s face. Soon his hair was soaked, strands of his long bang clinging to his forehead and temples. He brushed them back with a sweep of his hand, recalling how Paul loved to do this when Daryl was fresh out of shower so that he could plant a kiss on Daryl’s forehead, on the lines that had formed there. His eyes saw the road better without his visor as his mind was clearer without the torturous noise and a prominent thought emerged from numerous others. Like a man lost at sea spotting a lighthouse, he swam toward it. Going back to be human was impossible, so he had but one option to go forward from there and make the decision: to die today as a human or to live forever as another sort of existence. Other questions all paled in front of this crucial one, to which he had promised Paul an answer before the sun went down the sky.

Daryl was not surprised to find out Paul hadn’t slept a wink that night. He himself had had only brief patches of sleep interlacing with extended moments of lying with his eyes shut but his mind open, conscious and drifting between the dark limbo realm and the real world. And when he had indeed slept, his dreams were fragments of his dying instant rewinded over and over. He had thought not of his own death but of his untimely parting with Paul, and regret penetrated deeper than the iron in his chest.

Daryl opened his eyes to the sight of Paul propped up by his side, his hand caressing Daryl’s cheek gentle and cool as a ghost’s touch. His eyes were sunken, and the usual light in them dimmed. His lips were set in a straight line. Daryl hated that he saw every sign of exhaustion etched on Paul’s handsome countenance with such clarity.

Dawn had already broken, the sun was up and their bedroom was enveloped in a glowing silken veil.

“Morning,” said Paul, softly. There was a hint of hoarseness in his voice Daryl only scarcely heard. “Did you sleep well?”

“Did ya?”

“No,” Paul admitted. “I closed my eyes and tried to find sleep but to no avail. Technically I don’t really need sleep to function so I figured I could afford a sleepless night. And you?”

“I got some sleep an’ a couple of dreams.”

“Bad dreams?”

“Past dreams. Didn’t matter no more.”

The answer he gave didn’t soothe the worry in Paul’s eyes but he didn’t push Daryl for more detail. He pecked Daryl on the lips before sliding out of the duvet and sitting at the edge. “What do you fancy for breakfast? Bacon and sunny-side eggs? Cereal? Or pancakes and maple syrup?”

Before Paul finished listing the choices, Daryl too had slid out from under the duvet. The air instantly raised goosebumps on his bare skin as he padded to their wardrobe.

“Daryl?”

“I… I need some time,” said Daryl, picking a simple button-down navy blue shirt and a pair of washed blue jeans from the clothes rack. “To process it, to think abou’ it. On my own. I hope ya understand.” He threw his black leather jacket over the shirt and put on his leather fingerless gloves.

Paul’s gaze dropped to the dip in the mattress where they had laid. “Of course,” he replied softly, head nodding.

He looked as though he was enduring a silent pain that Daryl couldn’t help but crossing the room and pulling him into his embrace. He felt Paul’s breath ghosting on the skin of his forearm and shivered. It still mesmerized him how a vampire’s breath could be this warm.

“Give yourself as much time to think as you’d like,” Paul murmured against his skin, “but please come to me before sundown.” He sniffed. “No matter what your decision is, I need to know… and I will respect it.”

The last words seemed real struggle for him.

Daryl kissed the top of his head. “I will.”

And then he let go, feeling Paul’s eyes on him even when he was descending the stairs.

The first thing Daryl did once he was standing on the threshold of the door was stretch his arm out to the early morning sun. He had half expected the heat and his skin being set aflame despite Paul’s previous explanation that he wasn’t yet a vampire. Instead he only felt a light warmth, and his skin remained perfectly normal, no blistering, no bursting into flame. Stupid. Daryl chastised himself before stepping out to his motorcycle. He put on his helmet and ignited the engine.

Daryl hadn’t had a definite destination in mind but before he was able to come up with something, his body had autopiloted and taken him down the path he traveled every morning to work. On that path there was a diner where he often had a decent breakfast of eggs and bacon and a hefty dose of caffeine to brace himself against another crazy day at the office. Sometimes Rick joined him, sometimes he ate alone, savoring the comfortable silence in his usual booth by the window and away from the rest of the patrons.

Daryl felt a familiar tug once he was close enough to the diner and could see it. Since he had nowhere else he wanted to go first, he decided he could stop by, ordered his usual food and figured out what to do with his last day as human. His heart was weighed down a little with the word ‘last’; after today, there would either be a vampire or a cadaver buried six feet under.

That remained to be seen.

His footsteps halted just before his hand pushed the glass door open. What if Rick was also here? After all, this diner was a part of his best friend’s morning routine as much as it was his, although recently both of them had not frequented it as much as they used to, favoring homemade meals instead.

The last thing Daryl wanted right now was to run into his best friend, who had witnessed his death and was likely to flood him with questions should he see him walking around all fine and alive, so he turned on his heels. Just when he was about to stride back to his bike, the door opened.

“Daryl!” called a voice. “Been a while since you came here. Come in, come in.”

For a second, all the blood in Daryl’s veins seemed to stop flowing and he stood frozen in his spot. That was unmistakably Carol’s voice. Carol was good friend to Rick and Daryl and the reason why they had become regulars here was because Carol owned and ran this little cozy diner.

“Yeah…” Daryl managed a hoarse respond. “Been a while.”

“I almost thought I’d lost my two loyal customers. But what can I say? Nothing beats homemade food made by gorgeous partners.”

Carol winked playfully at him and Daryl forced a small smile despite the uneasiness twisting his guts. From her tone and demeanor, it appeared she might not have heard about his incident. Something didn’t click right. Had Rick not told her anything?

“You’re looking a little pale. Is everything alright?”

“Nah. Just been lackin’ some sleep’s all. Work’s been hectic.”

Carol held his hand gently, jerking her head toward the door. “Come on in. I’ll have them prepare your usual.”

A refusal was formed in the back of his throat but never found its way out of his mouth, so he allowed her to lead him inside. The air was stiff since there weren’t a lot of customers yet, and Daryl was surprised to be able to sense it so acutely, almost as if he could ‘read’ the currents. His preferred booth was fortunately unoccupied. After telling her employees to prepare his order, she lingered by his table to catch up with his life since the last time they had had a chat. He tried his best to carry the conversation as casually as he normally did, but he knew for sure he must have slipped a note of reluctance in his tone or his body language, which Carol was likely to pick up on, keen woman that she was. Still, if she noticed something off about her friend, she didn’t point it out at once or even gave away her suspicion with a frown and for which he was grateful. Carol was sharp but she also respected privacy – she wouldn’t prod the subject unless her friends decided to tell her, eventually. This was one of the many reasons they had been close friends for years.

Nevertheless, Daryl was mentally relieved when the young waitress brought out his order and a rush of customers came through the door and Carol had no choice but to leave him. Sitting by himself, Daryl stared at the food laid out before him for several seconds as though hypnotized by the tendrils of steam rising from the sizzling eggs and the coffee. The smell was the same as he remembered, and so did the taste when he slowly chewed a mouthful of egg. The only difference was his sore absence of appetite. His empty stomach was still grumbling at the sight of food, but when he actually swallowed it down he felt… unfulfilled, like having swallowed nothing. He put down his forks and reached for the coffee mug. Again, same warm smell, same bitter-sweet taste, just the lack of savory on his side. He guessed he shouldn’t be surprised. After all he was dead, and whereas his senses were overloaded with sensations, they were at the same time desensitized to the normal delights of a human. Food did not arouse his appetite, unlike blood, whose sight and scent had caused his throat to constrict and his mouth to parch.

The noises and chatters that were typical to this place had become too much for him to bear. Not wanting to upset Carol by leaving food on the plate, Daryl finished the meal with haste and made to the door, giving a quick goodbye to his friend on the way out.

The fresh air somewhat soothed his nerves. Inside his pocket, his phone buzzed and Daryl pulled it out, half-expecting it was Paul sending him a text. Instead it was Rick, asking Daryl to take a day off to recover from his… flu and not to worry about the case because he had it covered. Daryl peered at his screen, trying to register what was going on. Rick had been at the scene and there was no way he would have confused a fatal shot with the common flu, unless Paul had altered his memory – one of the vampire tricks Paul had up his sleeves. Daryl had always thought compulsion, or the tempering with the human mind and free will, to be absolutely repulsive and Paul had sworn to never use it on Daryl or his friends. Perhaps this was the first and only time Daryl actually didn’t feel a spark of anger and betrayal when finding out that Paul had broken his vow.

Daryl typed a short reply to Rick. As he hit the button ‘send’, a question raised in his head of how his friends, Rick and Carol, and everyone he knew would react if he were to die today. He wondered if Paul would undo his compulsion and give them the truth or he would make up something else, something that was less sudden and more expected like a terminal disease. That wasn’t the real reason for the sudden chill creeping up his spine though; he shuddered at what he would do if he was the one to possess compulsion. He’d rather no one remember him than anyone be grief-stricken by his death. Especially Paul, with his heightened emotions that always made things take a turn for the worse.

That thought refused to be shaken off his mind long after Daryl revved up the engine and rode off.

To be continued

Sorry about the slow update. Here’s a little confession: this was supposed to be the last chapter but as I wrote, the number of words kept increasing to the point I decided that I should split it up into more chapters. If nothing changes, there’s two chapters left.

Carol wasn’t in my original idea at all.

 

[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (3)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: K+

Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, vampire AU

Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes

Summary:

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.


Chapter 1     Chapter 2


The World Was on Fire…

Wicked Game

The morning after…

The rain battering his helmet had never felt so maddening as Daryl was riding his trusted old friend at break-neck speed. This was beaten track for him, one he had raced down countless times before, many of which during a downpour just like this. Odd torrential rains had never much bothered him; as a matter of fact, he rather enjoyed a cool down after a series of sweltering days. The smell of the first drops of rain splattering on the burned asphalt road was unpleasant to some but not Daryl, quite the opposite actually, and the heavier the shower hitting his body became, the better his mood improved. The sound of water violently beating down on plastic was not infuriating in the least; rather, it had a calming effect on his mind. Daryl supposed this was subconsciously tied to his less-than-peaceful childhood, of which he had spent the better part hiding from his father and his dear old leather belt, taking shelter somewhere in the woods whenever the old man was ‘under the weather’, hoping the heavy rain and rolls of thunder would mask the deafening beats of his scared heart.

The old man had been gone for years, and the sight of a worn leather belt no longer made him on edge, but remnants of the past were still residing deep within his psyche, at times manifesting into sporadic bouts of anxiety and depression, of which the rain proved to be an effective, albeit temporary, therapy. It gave him a sense of security to race down the empty lane on a rainy day.

But this time it wasn’t the same, and Daryl doubted things would be the same after yesterday’s afternoon.

Before Daryl was aware that he had been shot, there had already been a bullet bursting out of his back. As he fell down to the tile floor, all he saw was a huge shapeless bright red blotch on the wall behind. The blotch swelled until it occupied all his vision and he went blind. He heard Rick’s panicked shouts somewhere across the room but he couldn’t picture his best friend’s face. Daryl knew he was done for and the only thing on his mind was the mute sadness overflowing from Paul’s ocean-blue eyes.

And then there was darkness. It sounded like some cliché shit but that was exactly what it was for Daryl. Nothing but undiluted darkness that caused him to doubt whether he had lost his sight. In fact, all five of his senses were rendered completely useless: no light to see, no sound to hear, no scent to smell in the air – provided there was air after all, no flavor to taste – even the tang of blood in his mouth had gone – and nothing to feel. He found out soon enough that he couldn’t move his fingers, his limbs, his head, his whole body. Total paralysis was a terror Daryl had never experienced before, which made his father’s inebriated rage and merciless leather belt a child’s play in comparison. Nothing beat being entirely alone in the dark where you were unable to move an inch. Despair in its most appalling form. He wanted to scream, to hear his voice. He did, and discovered grimly that he had none. A burning need to cry was hurting his head but he didn’t, doubting if he had tears. He thought of Paul, of his blue eyes, twinkling with mischief, and his kind smile in that morning. Regret cut through Daryl like a hot knife through butter at how he hadn’t a chance to say goodbye to Paul, and at how Paul would feel upon receiving his body. At how Paul would grieve over his corpse, his tears filling the hole dug out by an ill- but actually well-aimed iron. Vampires were emotionally fragile creatures – the words were reverberating in Daryl’s mind – and dangerously so. Over his course of six centuries, Paul had only lost once, and once was enough to scar him for life. Daryl had never thought it would be this soon when he made Paul relive that cycle of agony and century-long recovery process. His regret already transformed into guilt.

And guilt seemed to be a way to pass the time in this limbo state because at some indefinite point of time, Daryl’s guilt receded into the dark at a slight tug at his fingers. All of sudden he could feel now. His overwhelming relief was short-lived however, since the tug hastily became a violent pull. It hurt, really. By instinct Daryl rattled his sleep-addled limbs and tried to fight the pull. His struggle was only promised more pain and an inevitable defeat as he was dragged forward into an invisible gaping hole…

… whose other side was a tight, lung-crushing embrace, which only loosened at his gasp. He didn’t gasp due to the crude embrace – frankly it was nothing compared to the pull – but rather by the earth-whooping swift from dead to alive. Daryl’s ears were ringing with his name being repeated over and over but he couldn’t respond just yet. His head was spinning so he was reluctant to open his eyes. Still he recognized the voice and that, coupled with a warm, living presence washed away the horror of the limbo. He found his quivering lips mumble a name and though it came out softer than a whisper against snow, he knew it would be heard. For why else there was a hand gently messaging his nape and a pair of full lips lightly pressing on the sweaty tip of his ear?

“I thought I’d lost you…” Paul rasped. Then he immediately captured Daryl’s lips. It was very passive, the kiss, and like none of the passionate make out sessions they’d had before; no gliding, no sucking and certainly no tongue, and yet in it passiveness it profoundly conveyed his hopeless attempt to reach inward to Daryl’s soul and touch it just so he knew his lover was not lost to the Ripper’s clutch. There was salt on Paul’s lips from his unrestrained tears.

When they finally pulled apart and Daryl opened his eyes, he was greeted with the sight of a tear-stained face. Paul’s eyes appeared huge not only because they were wide-open but also due to the twin hollows under his lower lashes. Grief affected the inhuman as much as they did human, Daryl noticed with a twitch of pain in his chest. His thumbs caressed the skin below Paul’s eyes as if this mere simple gesture could rub away the impact of his death on the vampire.

“When we kissed this morning, you…”

Paul exhaled. “Yes,” he admitted, “I made you take my blood with neither your consent nor your knowledge. I can bear you getting mad at me, lashing out at me, never speaking to me or looking at me again; it’d give me hell but I can live with it. But I can’t bear the thought that something terrible might happen to you out there, an armed robber, a drunken driver, an accident, and you’d be taken away from me. So I’m glad I did it, I really am. Easily the wisest thing this old bat has done for centuries.”

Daryl waited patiently for him to finish. Then, to Paul’s utter surprise, he said two words:

“Thank you.”

Daryl didn’t know what he thanked Paul for. Saving his life? Not quite. Their relationship had gone past that point of saying those words because if the situation had been reversed, Daryl knew he would have done exactly the same. That was the reason why he had not found it in his heart to immediately confront Paul upon first discovering his sneaky act even though Daryl Dixon liked it the least when people did something behind his back. But it seemed to be the words that needed to be said at this moment despite their artificial meaning, even more so since he didn’t know what else to say. He wasn’t mad at Paul, no; why should he be? He was just exhausted, body and soul.

“Thank you,” Paul whispered against his temple, “for forgiving me.”

In an attempt to change the subject, Daryl did a quick scan of his surroundings, feeling strangely relieved that this was their bedroom rather than a hospital room or worse, the morgue.

“I was in the dark,” said Daryl. “Pitch black. No light, no sound, nothin’.”

“I know,” Paul replied, nodding. “I was there. All vampires were. We dub it the ‘threshold of death’.”

“I thought about ya, about how abrupt things were, how we didn’t get to say goodbye at least.”

“We don’t have to say goodbye,” Paul hushed, pressing his palm to Daryl’s cheek. Daryl’s stubbles tickled his soft, thin skin. “Not yet. Hopefully never.”

“Am I like you now?”

Outside the open window the crescent moon was high in the starless sky. Were it daylight, Daryl would be stretching out his arm to test if the sun should make his skin sizzle like rashers of bacon in hot oil. In order to provide evidence to his confession, Paul had taken his daylight ring – his sole protection from the sun – off his right ring finger and exposed his hand to sunlight. Daryl remembered having to use the fire distinguisher before his boyfriend became a living torch.

Paul shook his head. “Not yet,” he said. “Just a moment.”

He flashed out of the room a blurred of colors using his preternatural speed. It still struck Daryl as both awed and unsettling even though he had witnessed Paul’s abilities countless times before; he guess it was a grim reminder of Paul’s inhuman nature despite his very human appearance – too human that Daryl subconsciously chose to forget their fundamental difference. But this time, alongside awe and unsettlement, there was a rising curiosity. Daryl wondered how it felt to move at a speed the human eyes couldn’t follow, and whether Paul had trained himself to get adjusted to it or it had naturally become a part of him amongst other vampiric attributes.

Paul returned with a blood bag in his hand, retrieved from his personal stash. Daryl’s throat and mouth suddenly felt very parched while his stomach churned with the sight of crimson. In spite of the sealed plastic container, the sanguineous scent hung thickly in the air.

It appeared the blood flipped a switch inside Daryl. His senses became much too keen – his eyes being able to make out the creases in the curtains and his ears picking up the distant roars of vehicles even though their home resided in a quieter suburban residence – and he was overwhelmed. To say it was uncomfortable was an understatement. The pricking underneath his skin did nothing to help but aggravate his condition.

“It must feel terrible,” Paul said, sitting down on the edge of their bed and reaching out to Daryl with his empty hand. “The enhanced senses and the sudden acute awareness of your surroundings.”

“Ya went through the same things?”

Soon as the question left his lips, Daryl realized it was stupid and redundant.

Paul nodded. “You’re in transition,” he explained. “Neither human nor vampire. Neither dead nor alive. My sire told me that it’s because you’re trapped between two worlds: one foot is in the living world while the other stays in limbo until your decision.”

“My decision?” Daryl echoed.

“To take the final step and become a vampire or…” his throat clogged and the struggle to finish the sentence was evident in his creased eyebrows and his mouth agape. “… to die. This time for real.”

“The final step bein’ this?”

As if handling a fragile and sacred object, Paul handed the blood bag to Daryl with both hands.

Daryl looked down on the tempting object in his hand, thinking about how its content was practically singing to him. Just one gulp and this current discomfort would be gone. And so would the man named Daryl Dixon. He locked eyes with Paul. Although the vampire was sitting as quiet as a statue, his whole body was radiating a silent plea. His straight, stiff back. His fingers curling into fists on his laps. The tight press of his lips. The blue of his eyes shifted ever slightly when the feeble moonlight hit them as if there was a miniature ocean in each. The oceans were shadowed with an imminent storm.

Daryl’s left chest where the bullet had hit ached. Without looking, he fingered the wound, finding it bloodless, mended and whole. He bit the inside of his cheeks until he tasted copper.

His heart throbbed as Daryl gingerly set the blood bag on the nightstand. “How much time do I have before I kick the bucket for real?” he asked.

Paul’s voice was uneven. “Twenty-four hours, the exact same amount of time as the vampire blood stays in your system. Starting when you wake up from your limbo.”

“Tomorrow evenin’ then?”

Paul nodded.

Something about his downcast eyes told Daryl that Paul had already known what he was to say next. The vampire had always had good intuition.

“Tomorrow evenin’ then.”

To be continued

Sorry about another cliffhanger.

So if a person dies with vampire blood in their system, they stays dead for some time (I made up the limbo stuff in this fic) and wakes up neither human nor vampire. Then they have 24 hours to decide if they want to live as a vampire or die a human. If they want to become a vampire, all they need to do is consume human blood.