Safe Haven in the Chaos

BY : IdrilsSecret
Category: S through Z > The Walking Dead
Dragon prints: 3800
Disclaimer: I do not own the walking dead or any of the characters. No money is being made from the writing of these stories

Chapter 11 He Who Plays With Fire


Daryl must have been more tired than he thought. He woke up and the sun was already shining, although it was a pale light. Sunrise wasn’t fully here yet. He stretched and turned to face Aaron, but that side of the bed was empty and cold. He was instantly on his feet, scrambling for the pants he had on yesterday. Panic made his stomach clench and his heart go to his throat. Where the hell was Aaron?

He left his bedroom and entered the living room. It was empty. Then he went to the spare rooms. The beds were still made. The kitchen was empty too. “Aaron!” he called, but there was no answer. Daryl glanced to the front door, which was locked up tight. Aaron couldn’t have left that way.

“The back,” Daryl said to himself and ran to the back door. He ran out onto the deck and searched the area. There was Aaron, on the dock that jetted out onto the lake. He was stepping out of a pair of pajama bottoms, naked as the day he was born, stretching his arms and legs. “What the hell?” Daryl wondered, and he watched as Aaron dived into the still lake. He disappeared beneath the water, and came up a few yards away. Daryl wasn’t keen on the idea of Aaron being outside alone. Even though it felt very safe here, one could never be too careful. He grabbed his knife and went out to the dock.

He stood at the edge and watched the ghostly figure slice through the water, noticing that Aaron was a good swimmer. Daryl was a good swimmer too. He’d spent many summers down at the river swimming, tubing, noodling catfish. God, he missed those days. Those had been good times, few and rare.

Aaron popped up for air, back turned to the dock. Daryl cocked his head to the side. “Nice morning for a swim,” he said.

Aaron spun around, shocked to find he wasn’t alone. “Shit, you scared me. I thought you were still asleep.”

“Just woke up.” He glanced down at Aaron’s pajama pants, and then back to Aaron, one brow raised seductively. “I was watching you. You’re a good swimmer … know all the strokes and stuff.”

“Yeah, I was on the swim team in high school. Don’t get to practice much anymore, so when I see an opportunity, I take it.” Aaron swam out away from the dock a little further, treading the water as he stared at Daryl. “You should come in. Water’s a little chilly at first, but you get used to it.”

Daryl unzipped his pants and worked them down. Aaron kept his eyes trained on him, as Daryl dove into the water, coming up a few feet away. He shook his wet hair, strands flying, spraying water on Aaron, who squinted and turned his head. Daryl slicked his hair back with his hand and watched to see what Aaron would do next. Aaron sunk underwater and circled around him, coming up behind his back.

“Looks like the water isn’t too cold after all,” he said in an enticing voice.

Daryl turned to face him. Aaron’s eyes were dark with desire. It was a very sexy look for him. They closed the distance between them and kissed, slowly, passionately, while treading water. One would start to slip beneath the surface and then the other. The sultry moment turned to laughter as they realized it was much harder to keep their heads above water than they thought.

“I used to could tread water all day,” Aaron said between laughing breaths.

“Guess we’re not as young as we think we are anymore,” Daryl said. “Come this way.”

They swam towards the shore until they could feel the bottom beneath their toes. It was muddy and soft, littered with small rocks. Daryl could feel small fish swimming around his ankles, darting in and out of the murk disturbed by their feet. Aaron came up behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist. He rested his chin on Daryl’s shoulder. “This is much better,” he whispered as his hand took up Daryl’s half hardened cock. Daryl closed his eyes and enjoyed the ministrations. Aaron’s free hand squeezed his ass, traveling ever closer to the place he feared would stir up bad memories. Daryl was very sensitive about it and his body tensed.

“Will you let me try something?” Aaron said in his ear.

“I … I don’t know,” Daryl said hesitantly.

“I promise not to hurt you, and if you get too uncomfortable, just tell me and I’ll stop immediately.” As Aaron spoke, his hand slipped easily along Daryl’s length beneath the water.

It was difficult to resist, and Daryl really did want to know what Aaron could do to him. “Alright,” he said.

Aaron’s other hand traveled along his hip, over his ass, down to his inner thigh, and up again. He was getting close to a very personal place. The hand spread him, fingers searching and finding what they desired. The feeling sent a warning signal through Daryl’s body. He tensed and pushed away from Aaron. “Don’t,” he said quietly, though unconvincingly.

“I’ll stop if you really want me to,” Aaron told him as his teeth sunk into Daryl’s shoulder.

“It’s just … I-I don’t know if I can,” Daryl confessed nervously.

“Do you trust me, Daryl?” Aaron asked in a calm seductive voice.

“You know I do,” Daryl answered, but his body said otherwise. He was still keeping his distance.

“Then let me show you that this can be a pleasurable experience.”

Daryl was still hesitant. “I’m afraid to … feel things … things that haunt me,” he said honestly.

“I’m not him, and what I want to do is not the same thing he did to you. I would never force you, but I can show you pleasure if only you’re willing.”

This was just the situation Daryl had trouble with, letting someone else control him, control his body and its reaction. But he knew if he wanted to move forward with Aaron, he’d have to give in sooner or later. He knew Aaron wanted badly to pleasure him the way Daryl had satisfied him last night. “Alright,” he finally agreed, and he felt Aaron smile against his neck.

Aaron spread him, caressed him, moving slowly until he found Daryl’s entrance. Daryl’s body stiffened with resistance. “Relax,” Aaron soothed. “It will feel better if you’re a little more limber. Just a touch.” Aaron’s finger circled the entrance, dipping in only slightly. He did this a few times until Daryl seemed accepting of his touch. Then he pushed in and a little bit more.

“It … feels good,” Daryl moaned, as both of Aaron’s hands were busy bringing his body to life, one on his ass and one on his cock.

“I knew it would,” Aaron whispered. His tongue ran along the back of Daryl’s ear, sucking the lobe in between his teeth and biting softly. While Daryl’s attention was focused on that, Aaron slipped in a second finger. Daryl gasped, and Aaron slowed down a bit. “Is this alright?” he asked to make sure.

“Y-yeah,” Daryl stammered.

“Just a little more,” Aaron warned, pushing his fingers in further. Daryl gasped again, but it was a pleasurable intake of air so Aaron continued massaging and circling. He whispered into Daryl’s ear, warm breath sending goosebumps along the man’s arms. “There’s a place where, once I touch you there, it will give you such an orgasm that you’ll want me to do this every time.”

Daryl couldn’t help but notice how well Aaron knew the male body. He knew just where to touch, and how far to go to make Daryl harden and pulse. His fingers were working some kind of magic, stimulating somewhere that Daryl hadn’t known existed.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?” Aaron whispered once more, and Daryl nodded. “And I haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.”

“What are you waiting for?” Daryl challenged. Aaron was right. Whatever had happened in the past, it felt nothing like this. He felt himself losing control. His breathing became erratic. His cocked was stiff and aching for release, balls tightening as Aaron stroked him. Then, Aaron’s fingers went deeper, massaging him in just the right place that made his whole body shiver with delight. Aaron went there again and again, his fingers arousing him until he couldn’t hold back. He threw his head back on Aaron’s shoulder and cried out with pleasure as his orgasm exploded, seeing stars bounce off the water around him. Aaron slowed and eventually stopped his movements, slid out, and brought his arms around Daryl’s middle. They stayed that way as Daryl recovered and regained his bearings. For a moment, Daryl didn’t know where he was. He was everywhere and he was nowhere. He wasn’t a part of the world anymore, as though he floated out of his body. But as he came to his senses, he felt Aaron holding him firmly, and never felt so safe.

“That … that was–” Daryl stuttered, unable to find the right word to describe the glorious moment.

“That’s how it’s supposed to be. That’s how it will be every time, as long as you’re with me,” Aaron promised. He loosened his grip as Daryl turned to face him. “I don’t want to leave this place. Why can’t we stay here, just you and me?”

“Well, for one, my friends will come looking for us, and Rick will have your balls in a vice if we don’t get back in time,” Daryl reminded him jovially. Daryl looked up at the sky, judging the time by the position of the sun. “We still got a little time before we have to leave, and get back to town by afternoon.”

Aaron smiled fiendishly. “What are you suggesting we do to kill a couple hours?”

“That we go back inside, and you let me–”

Daryl stopped talking and the hairs rose on the back of his neck as he heard the all too familiar sound. They both looked across the lake, and saw three walkers trailing along the distant shore. “Shit,” Daryl said with extreme disappointment.

They hadn’t been spotted, not from this distance, and they were still in the water. Aaron narrowed his eyes and watched. “The lake is long. There’s no way across for miles on either side.”

“They don’t see us either. Still, just knowing their out there . . .”

“They’re always out there,” Aaron said discouragingly.

“Guess we better get going then. We don’t want to give them a reason to try and find their way across the lake.”

They snuck out of the water, grabbed their clothes from the dock, and went back into the house. Silently, they gathered their things and prepared to head back to Alexandria. As they left the cabin, Daryl looked back with longing to stay. “Time to go back to reality.”

“So, does this mean you’ll be tracking with me again? The job’s still available,” Aaron smiled.

“Yeah, I never much cared for guard duty anyways. Not enough action.” Daryl started to walk away, but he stopped and turned to Aaron again. “You know we have to keep things quiet about us, right?”

“I assumed that, yeah,” Aaron said. “I don’t want to, but I understand. I just hope that eventually we won’t have to. You will talk to your friends, won’t you?”

Daryl never considered telling anyone about his relationship. He’d spent so many years in denial that it had become a way of life for him. Aaron looked hopeful, though, and he didn’t want to disappoint him. So he nodded in answer. “Yeah, eventually, in my own time.” But deep down he thought he’d never get to that point. Eric, of course knew, and now Carol knew. That was two too many people. “One step at a time,” he told Aaron, kissing him once more before they went off to find their vehicles and go back to town.

* * * * *

It was late in the day when they finally arrived in Alexandria. Daryl was actually surprised to see members of his group waiting around the gate. Rick was there, and so was Carol, Michonne and Glenn. The extraction team, Daryl thought to himself. They looked like they were ready to go out searching for him. Aaron wasn’t kidding when he said Rick gave him until this afternoon to bring Daryl back.

They pulled in past the gate, Daryl on his bike and Aaron in the car. Daryl parked his bike to the side and got off. He lifted his arms out to his side and shrugged as he approached his people. “What? A guy can’t go out for a joyride without everyone getting their panties in a twist?”

Carol was first to go to him, and she hugged him. Daryl was his usual aloof self, hesitating before he brought his hand up to half hug her back. She released him and punched him in the arm. “Where the hell did you go? You had us all worried.”

“Yeah, about that … sorry,” he said in a monotone voice. He was wearing a pair of sunglasses he found in the cabin, so dark no one could see his eyes.

“Well, you look like shit,” Rick said coming up to them, but he wore a smile despite his insult.

“I missed you too, Hoss,” he joked. Daryl guessed he did look pretty rugged. He hadn’t shaved. His clothes were dirty. His hair was a mess from riding on his bike. He hadn’t had a proper shower in a couple days, unless you counted swimming in the lake that morning. And he was scratched and bruised from his mindless stent of zombie hunting.

“What happened to you? Why’d you take off like that?” Rick asked, being the cop again.

“You know how it is. Sometimes this place is too confining,” Daryl answered.

“And you couldn’t wait a while, at least until you could get your weapons?” Rick interrogated.

Michonne stepped forward, giving him the eye. “Deanna isn’t very happy with you at the moment. The only thing saving you is the fact that you only took your own weapons. You’ll have to deal with her.”

“I will, but tomorrow. I’m in no mood to talk to the teacher today,” he said arrogantly. Daryl knew he wasn’t in too much trouble, otherwise, Deanna would have been there at the gate to scold him.

“If it will help any, I’ll speak with Deanna,” Aaron said, coming forward after hanging back while Daryl met with his group. He smiled, looking innocent and geeky, but Daryl knew the truth. Aaron was a tough son of a bitch when he needed to be. Perhaps Daryl wasn’t the only one with a split identity.

Rick approached Aaron. Daryl kept an eye on them, just in case Rick tried to give him shit. It looked like he might, but at the last moment, Rick extended his hand. Aaron gave a genuine smile, and accepted the gesture of peace by giving a firm shake.

“Thank you, Aaron,” Rick said. “You did just what you said you’d do. I appreciate that.”

Aaron played up the shyness routine, and Daryl tried not to laugh as he imagined him saying, ‘Golly gee, Mr. Grimes. I was just doing like you asked.’ He didn’t of course.

“I said I’d find him and I did. I’m a man of my word, Rick. I always have been,” Aaron told him.

Rick nodded with approval as Daryl came up next to him. He looked out into the distance, eyes hidden by his shades, and made sure not to look at Aaron as he spoke. “You can trust Aaron. He’s good people. He wouldn’t steer us wrong.”

Just then, Aaron spoke up to make an announcement. “I’d like to invite you all, and the rest of you who aren’t here at the moment, to come to my house tonight. No big deal, just some beer and conversation. I know I’m a little late with the welcome wagon, but I’d like to get to know you all better. I think we got off to kind of a rocky start.”

“I think we can do that,” Carol smiled, answering for the rest of her people. “Rick, what do you think?”

“Yeah, I think we can,” he answered with his usual amount of defiance. Rick was definitely the most difficult one of them to win over.

“Great,” Aaron said excitedly. “So about eight or so? You know where I live. And if you don’t Daryl does … I mean … because he used to live with me … well, me and Eric … when Eric was still with me … and … ok, so I’ll see you all then,” he rambled nervously.

Carol patted him on the back. “We’ll see you in a few.” She leaned towards him and said quietly, “It’s ok. We don’t bite … usually.”

Later that evening, most of Rick’s people came to Aaron’s house. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, and they all seemed to have a good time. They were opening up to Aaron, accepting him into their tight net group. Everyone had a different story to share, and Aaron learned a lot about them. Daryl watched the night progress, but mainly he watched Aaron from behind his long hair. The guy could be a real social butterfly when he wanted to. He’d bounce from this one to that one, laugh at their stories, or be amazed by some harrowing event they endured. Daryl was catching on to what he was doing, pairing people up and getting them to have conversations between each other. He would group some of them, and then throw a starter question out. When everyone was engaged in discussion, and the attention wasn’t on him, Aaron would find Daryl in the room, his eyes immediately scanning from head to toe in a way that warmed Daryl quite enticingly. He was doing it on purpose, Daryl thought, and let himself get sucked into the daring game of catch me if you can.

Conversations, storytelling, laughter, it wasn’t long before Aaron had everyone enjoying each other’s company. Then, his sultry stare would fall on Daryl, seducing him from across the room. He was very good at being discrete, and he was careful that no one saw him flirting, but when he had Daryl’s attention, he didn’t hesitate to give him some kind of sign. The one that drove Daryl mad the most was when Aaron would bit his lower lip while scanning Daryl’s body with his amatory gaze. It was getting more and more difficult to ignore Aaron’s coquettish behavior, as though he was challenging Daryl not to react in some way.

At one point, Aaron approached him, a sly smile on his face. “Are we having fun yet?”

“You’re playing with fire, you know that,” Daryl said in return, his voice low and seductive.

“Is that what this is? I thought it was getting kind of hot in here.”

“Oh, you haven’t even begun to feel the heat yet.”

“I like the sound of that,” Aaron answered before running off to be a good host for a little while longer.

Aaron gave Daryl a few more beguiling looks where his eyes ravished him from the other side of the room. He got the last of the guests distracted with conversation, bowing out when no one was paying attention. He caught Daryl watching him and smiled. Aaron’s eyes deliberately turned upwards with suggestion to the second floor, and then he disappeared down the hall that led to the stairs at the front of the house.  Daryl then made his way in the same direction, stopping along the way to say a word or two to the guests in their little groups. He bounced from one to the other until he was at the hall entrance, gave the room a quick glance, and when he was sure no one was paying attention, he disappeared to follow Aaron upstairs. No one was the wiser, and they wouldn’t miss either of them for a few minutes, just long enough for a private moment alone together.

Daryl reached the top of the stairs, and noticed the door to Aaron’s room cracked open in invitation. He looked back down the stairs, and when he was sure no one was following, he went to the door and slipped inside. The bedroom door closed quietly behind him, and he turned to find Aaron leaning against it.

Daryl did a quick scan of the room. He’d never been in here, even though he lived here for a while. Daryl had stayed in a spare room downstairs to give Aaron and Eric as much privacy as was possible. The room was decorated very masculine in style, with deep burgundy and rich browns. There was no woman’s touch anywhere. Whoever owned this house at one time was probably a bachelor. He might have used his motorcycle to obtain his women, brought them here to spend the night, and used his expensive taste to impress them. What was it about women drawn to men who owned bikes? He started to wonder if that’s what drew Aaron to him in the first place, but his thoughts abandoned him when his attention came back to Aaron.

Aaron’s eyes were wide and his lips parted. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to for Daryl to know what he wanted. He threw himself upon Aaron, pinning him to the door, and captured his mouth roughly. Their bodies pressed against each other, writhing with pleasure. Aaron’s hands took up fistfuls of Daryl’s hair, as Daryl ground his hips against Aaron. Daryl pulled away and searched the other’s face, finding him caught in a spell of desire.

“I told you, you were playing with fire,” Daryl growled seductively.

“Yeah, well, maybe I like the heat,” Aaron replied, and then he pulled Daryl down to his mouth again. They kissed a little slower, but not without any less rapture. When they finally gained some control, Aaron spoke. “God, I thought I could contain myself with you around, but just the sight of you is intoxicating.”

“It doesn’t help to have you undressing me with your eyes every time I look over at you. You get me all worked up when there’s nothing I can do about it,” Daryl said.

“Why do you think I brought you up here?” Aaron said. “It hasn’t been but a few hours, and already I miss being alone with you.” He kissed him tenderly and pulled away. “How are we going to do this, Daryl?”

“We’ll find the time to be alone, but not right now, with a house full of my friends downstairs, who are probably starting to wonder where their host has gotten off to.” Daryl started to back away, but at the last second, he was upon Aaron again, rubbing their bodies together. “But I’ll tell you one thing. When I get you alone, I’m gonna take my time and slowly torture you the way you’ve been doing me all night.”

“Promise?” Aaron asked wantonly, and Daryl exhaled a feral growl, kissed him hard one more time, fixed his shirt and vest, and left the room with Aaron still inside.

He went to the stairs, finding it clear of anyone nosing around. He descended quickly, but came slowly around the corner where everyone was gathered in the living room. Everyone seemed busy talking and enjoying themselves, but Carol had her eye on him, and he felt like a kid caught stealing from the cookie jar. She cocked her head to the side, gesturing for him to come by her. Daryl looked around, hoping someone else might want his attention. No one did, and when Carol crossed her arms and glared, he knew there was no hope of rescue, and he went to her. Maggie was the only one who stopped him, but it was only to welcome him back. “Glad everything’s alright,” she said with a smile. “You feeling ok?”

“Yeah,” he answered.

“Good,” she nodded, giving him no reason to stay and engage in further conversation. Time to face mother hen.

Daryl went to Carol, stood next to her and faced the crowd, not wanting to make eye contact with her. He had a feeling she could read everything about him if she looked into his eyes.

“So, you planning on staying for a while?” she smirked.

“I never planned on leaving permanently,” he answered, body tense and chewing on his bottom lip.

“You know you screwed things up for us when you broke into the weapons room,” she said.

“What do you mean?”

“Rick and I were trying to find a way to get in there without anyone knowing. Now there will be extra security on the place.”

“So what is this? You gonna steal all the weapons and take over Alexandria?” he wondered.

“No, but we want more control than we currently have. Listen, things have been kind of tense around here. Not everyone agrees with the job Deanna’s been doing. Those same people don’t like the fact that our people have been allowed in, or that some of us have been given important leadership roles. I’ve been asking questions and talking to some of the other women in town, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Deanna is trustworthy, and that she’s done the best she can do, but unless we’ve got her back, she’s going to eventually be overruled.”

“Then why don’t we just go to her and tell her this?” Daryl asked.

“Because the same people that want her out of power are the same ones whispering in her ear, telling her not to trust us.”

Daryl turned to her with a questioning look. “So by stealing weapons, how is that going to gain her trust?”

“We don’t want to steal the weapons. We just want to make sure we have easy access to them if we should need them. It’s very complicated at this point. Basically, we all need to keep our noses clean, do the jobs we’ve been given, and not get in trouble. We can’t give her ammunition to use against us when we finally try to convince her we are her best option for survival and keeping this place walker proof.”

“Yeah, alright, I get it. I’ll talk to her tomorrow, give her some story as to why I did what I did. I’ll try to patch things up. It won’t help make the weapons room any easier to access.”

Carol sighed. “No, but we’ll figure something out.”

They stood side by side for a while, watching everyone else in the room. It was good to see so many smiling faces. It was nice of Aaron to invite them all. Daryl was sure this would help them trust him more. Aaron wanted to be accepted by Daryl’s people. He’d seen that from the first time they all met. Aaron knew that this group was the right group to associate with.

Aaron came out from around the corner with an armful of beer bottles, handing them to anyone that wanted one. His eyes swept across the room, saw Daryl, froze on him a moment, and then continued on around the area. Carol leaned towards Daryl, keeping her eye on the crowd. “I like him,” she said happily.

“Yep,” he said tersely.

“You like him too, I gather,” she egged him on.

“Uh-huh,” he mumbled.

“Daryl, I … I know. Aaron … told me,” she confessed.

“I know,” he answered.

“Oh,” she said surprised. “Well, were you going to tell me? You did promise … you know … glass slipper and all that.” She nudged him with her elbow.

“Not exactly the kind of thing you blurt out to everyone, at least not for me.”

“Well, I’m not everyone. And besides, you think any of us would think any less of you for knowing?”

Daryl shook his head. “It’s more complicated than that, and this is not the place to discuss it.”

Carol huffed with aggravation. “Alright, fine, but you owe me a talk. You’re my best friend. I trust you over everyone, and I hope you trust me too. In your own time, when you’re ready, I’m here for you, and I’d really like to know.” She was very sincere, and she made Daryl feel guilty for not talking to her, but now wasn’t the time. When they had a moment alone, he would. She bumped him with her shoulder playfully. “If it means anything, I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks,” he murmured.

“A little disappointed that you’re off the market,” she continued in a teasing way. “And I mean really ‘off-the-market’, but I’m glad you found someone.”

Daryl nodded, and he felt bad for shutting her out right now, but he couldn’t talk about it with so many people around. She was right, they were very close and they trusted each other tremendously. He didn’t have to tell her all his secrets, but he would share this new news with her. Other than Carol and Aaron, he had no one to talk to. “Tomorrow,” he said quietly from the side of his mouth.

“Tomorrow?” she asked, and then she realized what he was talking about. “Oh, tomorrow. Sure, yeah, that’s good.”

“Come to my place.”

“Ok, I’ll bake you a pie, how about that?”

Daryl looked at her out of the corner of his eye. “You’re taking this ‘Suzie homemaker’ thing a bit far, don’t you think?”

“I’ve got nothing else to do around here, so do you want a friggin’ pie or not?”

Daryl smiled. “There she is. There’s the Carol I know. Tell you what. You bring the pie, I’ll have some hooch.”

“Now we’re talking.” She pat his shoulder and humbled a moment. “I’m glad you’re home, Daryl, and yes, this is home, despite what you want to believe. We’re going to make this place work. We have to.”

“I see that now. It will take some work, but it is a good place.” And it was a good place, but not because of its high walls or its efficient self-sustaining abilities. It was good because Aaron was here, and it was because of him that Daryl finally felt like he was home.

The party came to a close, and the guests were getting ready to leave. Aaron made a good impression, and a new trust connected him to the group. Rick welcomed him personally, and Aaron said he’d help the group in any way he could.

“Good,” Rick concurred. “I’d like to talk to you about a few things that I’m not sure you’re aware of. It’s about Deanna and her leadership role.”

“And the fact that she may be threatened? Yes, I’ve already got an idea of what’s been going on. I know a few of the participants who side with the opposition,” Aaron informed him, and Rick’s brows raised with surprise, impressed with Aaron’s advanced knowledge of the situation. Aaron smiled audaciously. “I know, I’m the quirky gay guy, so how could I possibly know things? When the mouth is closed, the eyes and ears open.”

Rick dared to let the corner of his mouth turn up as he observed Aaron. “Alright, so how do you feel about being our eyes and ears?”

“I’m in,” Aaron accepted without hesitation.

“Good,” Rick started to turn away, but he stopped. “One more thing. You and Daryl patch up your differences?”

Daryl heard the question and tensed. What did he mean by that? He watched Aaron’s reaction, but he looked unfazed. “We worked it out.” He glanced at Daryl. “The recruiting job is still open, if you’ll accept the position again,” he said, keeping it very professional.

Daryl didn’t want to come off as too anxious. He glared at Aaron a moment, making it look like he was considering the offer. Rick went to him and whispered. “I need you out there. I need you and Aaron to be the first ones that any new people meet from town. From now on, new residents are going to be persuaded to join a side, and I’d rather have them on our side.”

Daryl didn’t like the idea of a war already brewing within the town, but it seemed inevitable. “Maybe we shouldn’t recruit any new townspeople until we know what’s going on with the current ones,” Daryl suggested.

“No, you have to do your job or it will look suspicious. Just be very choosy with who you bring back. You know what we look for. Ask them the questions,” Rick told him.

Daryl stepped aside and approached Aaron. Aaron took a stance, pointing his chin in the air pugnaciously. Daryl watched him with narrowed eyes beneath long hair. “I accept,” he said.

It felt like the whole room breathed a sigh of relief, but at the same time, Daryl and Aaron were secretly enjoying their little show. They followed each other’s lead without missing a beat. With everyone satisfied with the outcome, the guests began filing out the front door. Carol was on her way out and stopped. She smiled at Aaron and thanked him for a nice evening. Then she hugged Daryl and whispered in his ear. “Nice touch.”

Daryl gave her a slight smile and made his way to the door. He thought they’d leave together, make it look less conspicuous, but Aaron took hold of his arm, stopping him. “Where do you think you’re going,” he said.

“I’m going home, where else?” Daryl returned.

“You’re not going anywhere,” Aaron replied. Daryl thought he might die as Maggie and Glenn overheard the exchange. Aaron justified his reasoning. “You want back on the team? We’ve got work to do. Vacation time’s over. I’ve got maps of the area. We can go over them.”

Maggie laughed quietly. “Better watch out, Aaron. Daryl doesn’t take orders easily.”

“Don’t I know it,” he answered.

Everyone was gone, and Aaron started to walk back into the living room. “Well, that went well,” he said. “I don’t think anyone thought–” Aaron found himself being shoved chest first against the wall, cheek pressed into the drywall.

Daryl brought himself close, and whispered behind Aaron’s ear. “That was a risky move.” His voice was dark and dangerous. “These people know I don’t like to be ordered around. You better think twice before you do that again.”

“Whoa whoa, hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to play a part. I know you don’t want anyone becoming suspicious of us, so I thought that if I–”

Suddenly, Aaron was whipped around, back to the wall, cutting off his apology. Daryl had him by the wrists, and lifted them above his head. His body pressed against Aaron’s, flattening him against the wall. Daryl was very obviously endowed with excitement, and Aaron felt himself growing too. Daryl’s dark eyes boar into Aaron’s, hips gyrating, grinding himself against Aaron.

“Damn, you make me want you,” Daryl said, and he kissed Aaron, who didn’t hesitate to return the affection. “I’ve been wanting to do this all night.”

“That was kind of the idea,” Aaron confessed, “to get you all worked up.”

“Yeah, well, it worked.” Daryl released Aaron’s wrists, but he still held him against the wall. Aaron’s hands went to Daryl’s waist, grasping at his shirt, and pulling him closer.

Their kisses were demanding, each man battling for control of the other. Aaron finally won, and turned them around so that Daryl’s back was against the wall, though Daryl didn’t put up much of a struggle. Aaron abandoned Daryl’s mouth, focusing his attention on the neck as his fingers fumbled with the buttons of the man’s shirt. Once they were unfastened, he pushed the material to the sides, looked down and admired the toned body before him. Aaron’s hands roamed over the smooth flesh, traveling lower until they came to Daryl’s belt. Making light work of it, he unbuckled it easily, pushed the button through the loop of the pants, and at a torturously slow pace, pulled the zipper down. His hands slipped inside the waistband and pushed them half way down Daryl’s hips. Aaron leaned back slightly to admire the trail of dark hair that ran from the bellybutton down, leading to the object of his attention. He looked back at Daryl, searching for permission to continue. Aaron knew he had to move slowly with Daryl. There were still things that could trigger him if taken by surprise. Daryl’s lips were parted and hungry, eyes dark with desire. He gave a single nod, and resigned to let Aaron take the lead. Aaron then focused all his attention on the man before him, the one who put all his trust in him.

Aaron fell to his knees, released Daryl from the confines of his pants, licked his lips and looked up at his charge once more. Daryl’s fingers slid through Aaron’s short brown hair, his hand cupping the back of Aaron’s head, and drew him forward. Aaron took the hardened cock in his mouth and began a slow manipulation. Daryl’s head fell back against the wall, and he let out a soft moan as Aaron’s mouth assaulted him most salaciously. Aaron took most of Daryl’s cock in his mouth, and he was doing the most amazing thing with his tongue. Daryl was having trouble containing himself. It wouldn’t be long before he lost control. He already relinquished control of his gyrating hips, as they forced Aaron to take more of him into the others mouth. Daryl’s hand held Aaron’s head in place as Aaron’s lips surrounded him, sucked him, tongue caressing and circling, teasing along the tip, then flattening and sliding along the underside of his dick. Daryl felt it build, that incredible wave of gloriousness. He stilled and let Aaron finish him off. The last thing Daryl did was to look down and watch his cock disappear into Aaron’s mouth. To watch him made it even more sensual. Daryl’s body thrust forward and stilled. He threw his head back, eyes closed, mouth agape. “Oh Aaron,” he cried out, releasing all the air from his lungs. He came in Aaron’s accepting mouth, tongue milking every last drop. Aaron moaned, and the vibrations helped extend the life of Daryl’s orgasm. Aaron released him slowly, and Daryl watched. He pulled him up from the floor, his arms surrounding Aaron’s neck, and kissed him, tasting himself on Aaron’s tongue. It was the most erotic thing to ever happen to him. Aaron was a great lover. How could Daryl be so lucky?

They rested their foreheads against each other. Aaron smiled while Daryl attempted to catch his breath. “That was … fucking incredible,” Daryl said.

“Glad you think so,” Aaron smiled.

“But you’re making me feel guilty.”

“Why?” Aaron wondered.

“You keep doing these things to me, and … and I want to return the pleasure.”

Aaron’s hand slipped through Daryl’s hair, and he looked him in his blue eyes. “I get my pleasure watching you. Besides, there’s plenty of–”

“No,” Daryl interrupted. “I mean, I want you to … take me … you know … have me … in that way.”

“Daryl, I don’t have to do that to find pleasure. There are other ways.”

“I know, but … I … I want to. I really think I’m ready for this,” Daryl confessed. It was a huge step, but it was the last piece of the puzzle. If he could endure having sex that way, then he would know he was finally free of his past. But it was more than that. Daryl wanted him and Aaron to be equal in everything, and that included sex. “I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t think I could go through with it.”

“Alright,” Aaron answered. He smiled as he thought of the prospect. “Let’s go upstairs … if you want to.”

“Yeah, I do,” Daryl answered, kissing him again.

* * * * *

The sun was coming up, but there was an eerie glow cutting through the curtains. Red sky in the morning, Daryl thought to himself. “It’s gonna rain today,” he said when Aaron stretched as he woke up.

“We could use the rain, especially my garden. It’s been unseasonably dry lately.” Aaron rolled onto his side. He reached out and felt the light hair on Daryl’s chest. “How do you feel this morning?”

“A little sore, but in a good way.”

“Well, I thought you were incredible.”

“Yeah?” the corner of Daryl’s mouth quirked up.

“Oh yeah, most definitely,” Aaron encouraged.

They laid silently side by side, basking in the joy of waking up next to each other. They knew it couldn’t be this way all the time, so they would relish these times.

“What is this, Daryl?” Aaron asked after a while.

“What’s what?” Daryl responded, unsure of the question.

“What’s this? Us? I’ve never felt this way before. I mean, I’ve had relationships in the past where I thought for sure I had … this … but those don’t even come close,” Aaron admitted.

“I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I know when something seems … real. I think that’s just it. We’re real with each other, nothing to hide, complete trust and respect. We just get each other, that’s all.”

“I guess that’s enough, right?”

“Yeah, that’s what matters.”

Aaron leaned in and kissed Daryl slowly and passionately. Daryl’s hand came up and cupped the back of Aaron’s head, drawing him in closer. He could feel himself begin to swell, his need becoming apparent to Aaron too. Aaron ended the kiss, though reluctantly, as he slid out of Daryl’s grasp. “I could stay in bed with you all day, but we’ve got stuff to do this morning, and you need to go home and change. Everyone will know you’re wearing the same thing you had on last night at the party.”

“Hell, I’ve been known to wear the same outfit for days at a time, and ain’t nobody complained.”

Aaron cocked a brow questioningly. “And you’re proud of this fact?”

“I’m not exactly Mr. GQ, you know what I mean?” Daryl jested. “What do we have to do anyways?”

“For one, you need to speak with Deanna, clear the air with her. And for another, I’ve got a few things I need to do today.”

“Like what?” Daryl asked, trying to stall for time.

“Well, I’ve been gone for a few days, and I need to check in with some of my people, see if there are any requests for supplies or special needs. Glenn is getting ready to head out on another run.”

“You have to do that right now?” Daryl said seductively.

“You drive a hard bargain, but duty calls, and I gotta get in the shower.”

Daryl fell back onto the bed, hands behind his head and a wicked smile adorning his face. “Alright, have it your way. Don’t say I never tried.”

Aaron couldn’t help himself. Daryl was laying there, looking sexy as hell, half aroused, almost begging. Aaron ducked under the cover, but peeked out before he completely disappeared. “Maybe just a few more minutes.” He pulled the cover over his head, and made his way lower. Suddenly, Daryl found himself engulfed with warmth, and Aaron’s tongue caressing his cock.

Daryl smiled to himself before he forgot space and time. He learned something about Aaron today. He was easily convinced when it came to sex. “Oh … fuck yeah.”

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