Safe Haven in the Chaos

BY : IdrilsSecret
Category: S through Z > The Walking Dead
Dragon prints: 3804
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 32 Little Pink Cookies for You and Me



Daryl and Aaron parked their car and grabbed their bags. They stood at the gate, waiting for Sasha to open it. Aaron looked at Daryl and smiled. “Home sweet home.”


Daryl looked back at the road they came up. “It’s good to get away,” he said, and turned to look forward through the gate. “But it’s always nice to get back.”


“So … we’re good?” Aaron asked, watching Daryl for a response before they went any further.


“We’re better than good,” Daryl said with a faint smile.


Sasha watched them walk through. “Hello boys. Welcome home.” She gave them an impish grin.


“Hey Sasha,” Aaron smiled, a blush tinging his cheeks.


“Anything new?” Daryl asked, ignoring her silly gesture.


“Nope. All’s well here. Been pretty damn quiet lately.” She almost sounded disappointed.


“That’s how it should be,” Aaron said as he and Daryl started to walk back to their house.


“Oh, but there’s one thing,” Sasha said, and the men stopped and turned towards here. She looked at Daryl. “Rick said to come see him.”


“What about?” Daryl wondered.


Sasha shrugged her shoulders. “Didn’t say. Just told me to give you the message when you got back.”


“Alright,” Daryl said, as him and Aaron made their way towards their house.


It was a bright sunny day, not too hot, a decent breeze blowing down the streets of Alexandria. It was the kind of day where everyone could stop and take a relaxing breath. Could this be it? Daryl wondered as he walked next to Aaron. Was this where they were supposed to end up? Since the beginning, he’d been running with the group, always trying to find that one special place where they could all settle down and try to make a normal life for themselves again. It sure felt like they had reached their goal, but Daryl wasn’t one to settle. He’d never known what that was like, even before the apocalypse. He had run from his father, from his brother, from life in general and from who he was. Then everything fell apart and he was running from the dead or the corrupt. But now . . . Was this it or was there more to come?


“Hey, you ok?” Aaron asked.


Daryl came out of his thoughts. “Yeah, just thinking.”


“About what?” Aaron coaxed him to keep going.


“How do you feel about things?”


“Things?” Aaron wasn’t following his questioning.


“Yeah, life, Alexandria, threats, peace … you know, things.”


“Well,” Aaron started, thinking about his answer. “Life is good … now,” he smiled at Daryl. “Alexandria seems … fortified, but I’ll feel better once Tobin and his crew finish the new watch tower. I think for this moment we have peace, but I still wonder about those people you came across out there. You said they were scared, as though they were running away from someone.”


“Could have been those pricks I blew up in the road. If that’s it, that guy ain’t got nothing to be scared of anymore … except me … if I ever see him again. Son of a bitch still has my shit,” Daryl mumbled.


“We can build another bike,” Aaron said to lighten the mood. “We’ve got all those spare parts in the garage, and I know where we can find a frame. I saw an old bike near some broke down shack not far from here. Maybe tomorrow, we take the car and go see if it’s salvageable. If it is, we can bring it back. I’ll help you build it, or at least, you can show me how. I always wanted to learn.”


“Sounds like a plan,” Daryl answered. Actually, it made him happy to have something like that to look forward to. Daryl had always liked building things, especially bikes or cars, anything mechanical. He was good at it, always had been.


They were close to their house when Daryl stopped. “Hey, can you take my stuff?”


“Sure,” Aaron said. “But where are you going?”


“I’m gonna meet up with Rick, save some time by going now.”


“Alright,” Aaron agreed, reaching to take Daryl’s pack and gun. “You coming back to the house afterwards?”


Daryl stood close to Aaron, and watched him through his narrowed eyes. “Why? You want to get me alone and take advantage of me?” Daryl jested seductively.


“I figure we got some time to make up for,” Aaron smiled, one eye squinted against the bright rays of the sun. “And you owe me a backrub, remember.”


“You already wanting to collect on that, huh?”


Aaron gave a devious gaze. “Or I could let you off easy if you kiss me right here, right now … tongue too.” He knew Daryl didn’t like to show affection in public.


Daryl seemed to be considering it, but he shook his head and turned it to the side. “Stop,” he said as he took a step back. “I’ll rub your back, but I can’t promise I’ll stop there.”


“I don’t expect you to.” Aaron watched Daryl walk away towards Rick’s house and sighed deep. Everything felt right for once, and he should have been happy with that, but he couldn’t help feeling like there was something or some situation lurking right around the corner. No one was ever in a good way for long now days. Best to just enjoy it while it was here, he thought to himself, and let his mind conjure up what activities the night would bring.




Aaron was walking along, lost in lustful thought, and didn’t see Carol at first. Then he heard her and looked over to the house on his right. It was Tobin’s home. Carol was on his porch talking to him and . . .

Could it be? Was she … smiling? She was and Tobin was smiling back. Carol held a container out for him, and he took a cookie from it. He took a bite and chewed slowly, nodding as he did. Carol backed up a step, nervously shuffling back and forth from one foot to the other. But what caught Aaron’s attention was the look on Tobin’s face. His eyes were focused on her, seeing only Carol as she stood before him. And his smile was genuine too.


“Well, there’s more where that came from,” Carol said as she started to turn back towards the street.


Aaron realized he had been standing there watching them, and he started to walk again so Carol wouldn’t become suspicious.


“I’m counting on it,” Tobin said in reply, his smile growing wider now that Carol wasn’t looking at him.


She hadn’t seen Aaron yet, but he saw her, and the smile she wore showed more than the pleasantries that had been exchanged. Carol’s eyes lifted and she saw Aaron, but he pretended not to notice.


“Hey, Aaron. You’re back,” she said cheerily.


“Oh, hi Carol. Didn’t see you there,” he lied convincingly. “What are you up to?”


“I’ve been trying different ways to pass the time, and I came up with a new recipe for cookies. We’re running low on the basic necessities. Cookies are the least on people’s minds, but I thought it would cheer everyone up,” she said. It sounded like she was trying to convince herself of this. She reached into the bag on her shoulder, pulled out a square plastic container, and handed it to Aaron.


Aaron opened it and sniffed. “Smells delicious. What kind are they?” He noticed that they were pink.


“Ground acorns and beets,” she answered, seeming quite pleased with herself.


Aaron furrowed his brows unintentionally and Carol noticed his skepticism. They started walking again as she spoke. “Ed, my late husband, would give me cash to buy groceries. Sometimes there was hardly enough. I think he was afraid I’d run away if he gave me too much money. So I learned to make things stretch, or substitute certain ingredients.”


“Sounds like that talent has come in handy,” Aaron commented.


“Try one and tell me what you think,” she said.


Aaron lifted a cookie to his mouth and took a bite. It was a little dry, but . . . “Not bad.” He started to hand the container back but she stopped him.


“Those are for you and Daryl,” Carol smiled. “Where is he anyway?”


“Rick wanted to see him. We just got back. Haven’t even been home yet. Want to come over?”


“Yeah, sure,” she answered and they went on to Aaron and Daryl’s house.


Aaron deposited his and Daryl’s bags by the front door and went to the kitchen. “I’ve got just enough tea left for the two of us,” he offered.


“Oh, I don’t want to impose,” she replied.


“It’s ok. Daryl won’t drink it. And it will go good with the cookies.” Aaron grabbed the tea kettle and filled it at the sink.


“They’re kind of dry,” Carol said with disappointment. “Still in the experimental stage.” She tapped her fingers against the granite countertop. “So, how was your trip?”


“It was … long overdue,” Aaron said. “I think we’re good now.”


“That’s what I like to hear.”


Aaron turned on the stove and sat on a barstool across from Carol to wait for the water to heat. “What about you?”


“What do you mean?”


“You know. You … Tobin … Cookies,” Aaron smiled impishly.


Carol rolled her eyes. “I’ve been handing them out to everyone. He was one of my stops,” she said innocently.


“He seemed a bit elated over cookies,” Aaron teased.


Carol looked annoyed. “I’m a good cook,” she said in a demanding tone. “What are you getting at?”


Aaron threw his hands up in surrender. “I’m just saying.”


Carol glared at him a moment before she turned away to face the living room. Suddenly, she didn’t seem so joyous about the Tobin situation. Aaron was afraid he overstepped his bounds. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot.”


Carol shook her head and glanced over her shoulder at Aaron, giving him a half smile. “You didn’t. It’s just … I … I don’t know. Things aren’t always what they seem.”


Aaron understood what she meant. He and Daryl had been putting on a front when others were around. Meanwhile, at home they argued over their difference in opinions. Hopefully, that was over now. They had come to an understanding after talking things through. “If it’s any consolation, Tobin is a great guy. I’ve known him since I came to Alexandria. He’s a real gentleman.”


“Yeah, I know,” she said just above a whisper. “He deserves someone … who will be there for him, and treat him the way he treats others.”


“That could very easily be you,” Aaron said with compassion. “If you’re interested in him.” He waited to see what she would say, but she didn’t comment. She only hung her head and looked at her folded hands in her lap. “So … Are you? … Interested?”


Slowly she started to nod and Aaron put his hand on her arm. “So what’s stopping you?”


Her expression softened a little, as she tried to explain her situation. “When I came to Alexandria, I had to disguise myself. I became little Suzie Homemaker so that I could fit in with the other women. I found myself living the same kind of life I had before the outbreak, minus the bruises and broken bones.” She looked down and away. “Ed used to beat me sometimes. I always had a story. I guess people thought I was a real klutz.” Now she looked at Aaron with such sadness in her eyes. “After Ed died … and Sophia, I changed. I became the person I always wished I could be in order to get away from my abusive life. I embraced the new me, let it mature and shape me into a survivor. But then I couldn’t stop and I’ve had to do things that most people couldn’t. I’ve lied. I’ve killed. I’ve done whatever I needed to do to stay alive. It’s a part of me now. When I turned back into that pitiful excuse for a woman after coming to Alexandria, I hated it, and I realized that I hated a part of myself in the process. It didn’t really matter to me at the time. I was doing what I needed to do to fit in again. It was working. I was accepted. And that’s the person that Tobin has come to have feelings for.”


“I don’t think that’s the case,” Aaron said. “Tobin’s seen you fight. We all have. After the tower fell, you and Rick, and all the others, we saw you put yourself out there and risk everything. We watched you and we made the choice to join you. You showed Alexandria what we had to do to survive, and if anything, we are all thankful for that.”


“We were killing walkers. That’s different.” Carol turned away from Aaron, not wanting him to see her face. “You don’t know, Aaron. You don’t know the things I’ve done,” she said, shaking her head slowly back and forth.


“I could say the same about me. Everyone has had to do things they didn’t want to do. It’s why we’re still here. I think Tobin would understand if you didn’t expose every incident that–”


“Does Daryl know everything about you?” she asked, turning the tables on him.


“Well … yeah, but–”


“So if I pursued something with Tobin, he would want to know about me, and if he ever found out about some of the wretched things I’ve done, he’d never want anything to do with me. So why even start it?” she justified to herself.


“Because you deserve to be happy too.” The kettle began to whistle, and Aaron rose from his stool to pull it off the burner and prepare their tea. He already had the cups out and the tea ready. He turned back to the counter and poured the steaming water into each one. “Everyone has secrets they don’t want others to know about. I’m sure Tobin does too. That doesn’t need to be part of the conversation. I’m not saying you have to think about anything committed with him. Just give Tobin a chance. Get to know him a little, the basics. Go at your own pace. He is a really sweet man.” He pushed a cup towards Carol and smiled. “Enough about that. Enjoy the last of the tea. It may be a while before we can do this again.”


Carol accepted the cup and forced a smile through her concerned expression. “Thank you, Aaron. I’ll try.”




After Carol left, Aaron went out to the front porch and made himself comfortable in one of the outdoor wicker chairs. He pulled the ottoman over and put his feet up. On the matching table between the chairs, he placed two cold beers, and waited for Daryl to come home. It wasn’t long after that Aaron saw him walking down the street. Aaron put on a pair of sunglasses so he could gawk without being obvious.


Daryl really was a very handsome man. He was rugged and muscular, tall and mysterious. If you didn’t know him well, you couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Aaron thought Daryl would have been a good professional poker player. He was good at hiding his thoughts and emotions. That wasn’t the case with Aaron. He knew Daryl better than anyone, knew him intimately, and saw a side of him that no one else saw. He thought himself very fortunate to be entrusted with that kind of closeness. Of course, it went further than that. They loved each other, connected on so many levels. Daryl was the best thing that ever happened to Aaron.


There he was, coming down the street, exuding confidence with every stride. Just the site of Daryl made Aaron’s heartbeat accelerate. He wore his usual pants and boots with the laces tied partway up his legs. His knife hung from his belt, and in place of his bow, which was stolen, he had a rifle slung over his back. Daryl had on that shirt with the sleeves that had been torn away, which displayed his muscular arms quite handsomely. And of course, his winged vest finished off the look. Watching Daryl walk home was making Aaron’s body pulse with little electric shocks. He was struck with a vision of striping Daryl of that shirt and vest, and decided that was one daydream he’d make come true.


Daryl ascended the porch steps and gave a quick nod. “Sup,” he greeted.


“Hey,” Aaron replied, trying to sound casual and cool.


Daryl stood before him and cocked his head to the side. “Why you wearing those?” he asked, referring to the sunglasses.


“It’s bright out,” Aaron said, a half smile on his lips.


Daryl looked at him with suspicion, shrugged and took a seat. “Ok. Whatever.”


Aaron picked up the beer and handed it to Daryl. “Thought you’d be thirsty.”


“Thanks,” Daryl answered and reached for the beer, but Aaron pulled it away. He handed it to Daryl again, but as Daryl tried to take it, Aaron yanked it back a second time. Daryl huffed. “What’s gotten into you?”


“Nothing,” Aaron said, and handed the beer back one more time. Daryl reached for it, and this time Aaron didn’t pull it away, but he didn’t release it right away either. “Nothing yet,” he said, finishing his answer, sliding the sunglasses down on the bridge of his nose. His hand released the bottle and slid over Daryl’s hand in a suggestive manner.


Daryl’s eyes narrowed and bore down on Aaron. “Well ain’t you the little charmer.” After a long moment caught in each other’s gaze, Daryl brought the bottle to his lips. He drank deep, keeping his sight on Aaron the whole time. When he was done drinking, he pulled the bottle away slowly and licked his bottom lip. Aaron’s own lips parted as he watched Daryl. He could feel his breath quicken. “Thanks for the beer,” Daryl told him. He held the bottle up and observed the label. “Mmph,” he grunted.


“What?” Aaron wondered. Maybe it didn’t taste good. There was no telling how old it was, but he thought it tasted alright.


“I was looking to see what was in this stuff,” Daryl said. He took another swig and pointed the open end at Aaron. “Because whatever it is, I like the affect it has on you.”


“I can assure you, it’s not the beer,” Aaron said, his voice low and gravelly.


Daryl paused midway between lifting the bottle to his lips and taking another swig. “Damn,” he whispered, and he lowered the bottle.


Aaron noticed the change in him and furrowed his brow. “What is it?”


“Don’t get me wrong. I like coming home and finding you like this, but you’re making it difficult for me to tell you–”


“Tell me what?” Aaron asked with seriousness as he set his beer down and took his glasses off.


Daryl’s eyes darted to Aaron and away, and he was chewing his bottom lip, all signs that he had something important to say. “I have to leave.”


“Leave? Where?”


“Rick wants me to go on a supply run with him,” Daryl admitted. “Just me and him … like old times.”


“What? No. But you can’t. We just got home. And besides, I didn’t think you wanted us going out there right now or have you forgotten. You damn near forbade me. So why is it alright for you to go?” Aaron said accusingly.


“Woah, slow down. We came to an agreement or have you forgotten. I told you I wouldn’t mind if you went on a run with Heath and Tara,” Daryl justified.


“Yeah, but I’m not going right now. Daryl, we just got back. I thought we were going to spend some quality time together, pick up where we left off at the cabin,” Aaron said disappointedly.


“I told Rick I didn’t want to go right now, but he’s got this trip set in his mind. You know how it is with him. It’s difficult to say no.”


“Well, yeah, but it should be more difficult to say no to your boyfriend, not your best friend.” As soon as Aaron said it, he felt like a dick. “I’m sorry,” he apologized right away.


Daryl got up from his chair and straddled the ottoman, making Aaron remove his feet. Then Daryl sat down so he was right in front of Aaron. “It’s only for a day, two at the most. I promise. He only wants to go because he knows medical supplies are running low since Denise fixed up Carl’s eye. I think Rick’s feeling a little guilty over that.”


Aaron looked down at his lap and sighed heavily. “I suppose there’s nothing I could do to make you change your mind.”


“Probably not, but it would be a hell of a good time to have you try.” That grabbed Aaron’s attention, and Daryl winked at him. “Besides, you’ll get payback when you go on a run with Heath and Tara, and leave me behind.” Daryl’s hand went to Aaron’s knee. “All alone.” His hand traveled slowly up the inside of Aaron’s thigh. “And wishing I had you next to me in bed.” He palmed Aaron, giving a light squeeze until a quiet moan escaped his lips.


“If you tell me you’re leaving right now, I will never forgive you for getting me worked up,” Aaron said. His eyes were closed as he enjoyed Daryl’s ministrations.


“We’re not leaving until the morning.” Daryl released Aaron and stood. He held his hand out and Aaron took it. Daryl helped pull him up from the wicker chair. “Now, get in the house. I’m not done with you.”


Aaron was about to reply when someone called out from the sidewalk. “Hey Daryl. Mind if I take a moment of your time?”


The men turned to see Denise standing in front of their house. “What’s up?” Daryl called back to her.


When he turned, she saw Aaron. “Oh. Sorry. I didn’t meant to barge in on you two. Hey Aaron. I didn’t see you there.”


“Hi Denise. You want to come in?” Aaron offered with a kind smile.


“Oh. No. That’s alright. It can wait. I just wanted to talk to Daryl before he left,” she said nervously.


“So talk,” Daryl said in his intimidating way. He was good at making people uncomfortable.


“Ok, but … uh … it’s kind of private. You know what, I’ll wait,” she stammered.


Aaron elbowed Daryl and whispered. “Go talk to her. Sounds important.”


“I’ve got better things to see to,” Daryl complained, as he eyes scanned Aaron’s body.


“I’m not going anywhere. Go on. And be nice,” Aaron warned. He looked past Daryl and smiled. “I’ll see you later, Denise.”


“Alright. Thanks,” she called back.


Daryl watched Aaron a moment, not wanting to talk to Denise. Aaron mouthed the demand ‘go’ and gave him a push. Daryl rolled his eyes before he turned around to face Denise. Then he went down the porch steps to join her on the sidewalk. Aaron heard her start to mention a favor she was asking of him before he went inside. He hoped Daryl would be nice to her. Denice was sweet, and sometimes she had a hard time coming out of her shell, but since she took over Pete’s job as town doctor, she seemed more outgoing.


Once inside, Aaron took a seat on the couch and picked up the book he had been reading earlier. He had already read it twice, and it wasn’t much better the third time around. They needed some new reading material in Alexandria, and he thought that maybe he’d ask Daryl to keep an eye out for books while he was out on his run.


After a little while, he heard Daryl come inside and walk into the living room. “What did Denise want?” Aaron asked.


“She asked me to pick something up for her, if I come across it while I’m out there,” Daryl said.


“Some kind of medicine?” Aaron wondered, nose still buried in his book.


“Pop,” Daryl answered.




“That’s what I said. What the hell is pop? Apparently that’s what they call soda where she’s from.”


Aaron laughed when he remembered a similar conversation with her some time ago. “It’s funny how certain things are referred to differently depending on what part of the country you’re from. What did you call it down there in Georgia?”


Daryl thought about it for a moment. “Coke, I guess. Actually, Jack and Coke was more popular,” he laughed. He stood in front of Aaron and looked at the cover of the book he was reading. “Is that interesting?”


Aaron turned the book over and looked at the cover. “It’s a murder mystery. The first time I read it, I figured out who the killer was about half way through. So, no, it’s not very interesting, especially reading it a third time. I keep hoping the murderer will be someone different.” He raised the book back up and continued to read.


“Then why do you keep reading it?”


Aaron sighed. “Because I’ve read every book in this place, and there’s nothing new.”


Daryl looked around the room and into the office, which was just off the living room. There were shelves almost as tall as the ceiling on one wall, mostly full of books. “That’s a lot of reading.”


“Yeah,” Aaron agreed. “I read most of them when I first settled down in Alexandria. I guess I had a lot of time on my hands.”


Daryl knelt down on the floor in front of Aaron. “Well, if you have time to read now, then I’m not doing my job.” He took the book from Aaron’s hands and laid it on the end table. His eyes smoldered deep blue as he watched Aaron with desire.


“I-I wouldn’t e-exactly say you’ve b-been slacking,” Aaron stammered, as he watched Daryl’s hands travel up his thighs. His fingers fumbled at the buckle on Aaron’s belt until it was undone, and he pulled it through the loops. “W-what are you d-doing?”


Daryl smiled fiendishly. “Picking up where we left off at the cabin. That is what you want, isn’t it?” As he spoke, he unbuttoned Aaron’s pants and slid the zipper down slowly.


Aaron watched Daryl’s strong hands undress him. “Yeah,” he answered in a breathy whisper.


“Then lay back, relax, and let me take you.”


“Don’t I get that back rub first?” Aaron jested as he laid down on the couch.


“I’ll be rubbing something, but not your back. Now quit your jabbering.” Daryl pushed at the waistband of Aaron’s pants, making him lift his hips so Daryl could complete his intention. Aaron was already hard, exciting Daryl even more than he already was. He didn’t waste any more time and got started.


Aaron watched as Daryl’s lips slid along his hard length. Daryl took him in all at once, and the feel of being swallowed almost made Aaron come undone right then. “Oh yeah,” Aaron moaned when Daryl’s tongue caressed him. Then came the pressure and the squeeze of Daryl’s mouth while completely engulfed by warmth. The pressure eased and Daryl began sliding him in and out, tongue teasing the tip or running along the rim. Aaron’s hips gyrated involuntarily with every stroke. Daryl took his time and increased his rhythm in small increments. He wanted Aaron to last as long as he could, drive him crazy with need, and when he couldn’t take it anymore Daryl would finish him.


Aaron’s fingers entwined in Daryl’s long dark hair. It felt silky in his hands when he held Daryl’s head in place. It took everything Aaron had not to push his head down and force his cock deep. Daryl was doing a good job as it was, but Aaron wanted to lose control. It felt so unbelievably euphoric, the way Daryl was caressing his full length. Every inch was being stroked, licked or sucked. He could feel it building, the need for release. Daryl knew his body better than anyone ever had, knew his triggers, and he was working on one place in particular at the moment. He felt his balls tighten, his cock pulsating, and he was ready. Daryl knew this too, and he took Aaron’s cock all the way, holding him there, sucking him, and using his tongue to coax him on. Then Daryl moaned, and the vibration traveled through Aaron like a live wire sparking each nerve to life. Aaron’s back came off the couch, arching as his hips pushed into Daryl’s face. Finally, stars burst behind his closed eyes as he came hard. He felt Daryl’s mouth close completely around him and suck him as Daryl swallowed.


“Oh Daryl!” Aaron called out. “Fuck, that’s good!”


Slowly, Daryl slipped Aaron’s cock from his mouth, his tongue flicking along the way. Aaron’s body convulsed with pleasure as the vestiges of his orgasm sparked across his sensitive skin. Then Aaron collapsed into the cushions. Daryl laid his head on Aaron’s stomach and listened to his rapid breath.


“Oh my God. I-I can’t move my legs. Th-they’re shaking and I can’t stop,” Aaron said with a smile.


“You don’t need to move. Just lay there and recover,” Daryl told him.


Aaron shook his head. “I want you to feel what I just felt. It’s your turn now.” Aaron kicked his pants off the rest of the way, and rolled onto his stomach. “I want you inside me, Daryl.”


Daryl looked at the perfect ass being offered to him. It was true that he wanted to ride Aaron hard and quick. Making Aaron come, listening to his wanton cries of pleasure had made Daryl very hard. He hadn’t planned on taking his own joy. This was all for Aaron, but … damn, the man was fine, and Daryl never felt closer to heaven than when he was buried inside Aaron. So, he relieved himself of his clothes and laid down with Aaron, who had turned on his side facing the back of the couch. Daryl contoured his body to Aaron’s body after preparing them both, and slid inside.


“Yeah, Aaron,” Daryl whispered in a long release of breath. One arm was draped over Aaron’s side, and he anchored himself for the best position. Aaron helped by pushing his backside into Daryl. A rhythm was set, and they moved like one entity, moaning and breathing rapidly. Daryl pumped his hips and reached deep inside Aaron’s body. He moved faster and harder, feeling himself ready, building with each gyration. And then he hit his climax, and buried his cock as deep as he could, making Aaron cry out with pleasure. Daryl held himself there, pumping with quick, short, deep bursts as he spilled. He felt Aaron’s body go rigid. Damn, he’d made Aaron come a second time. How in fuck’s name had he managed that?


“Don’t move,” Aaron begged, his voice strained. “Let’s stay like this.”


“I’m not going anywhere. It feels too good,” Daryl whispered in his ear. He kissed the back of Aaron’s neck. “I wish I could stay inside you forever. The world just disappears when we’re like this.”


“It does, doesn’t it,” Aaron said with a smile. “When we make love, nothing else exists except the two of us.”


Daryl pulled Aaron into his chest. “Sometimes you’re all I live for. You’re the only thing that really matters.”


“I feel the same way, and that’s why I get so damn nervous when you leave without me,” Aaron admitted. He was quiet for a moment, and then he continued. “Do you ever think about what would happen if I suddenly wasn’t there anymore?”


“I don’t think about that, though I’ll admit, I was terrified when I got to Alexandria and the wall was down, and walkers were everywhere. I’ll tell ya … I was never so scared in all my life. I didn’t know where you were or if you were alright. But I found you, and you were alive.” Daryl hadn’t talked about that night aloud before. Neither man had ever discussed it.


“But what would you have done if I wasn’t ok?” Aaron dared to ask.


“That didn’t happen, so I don’t think about it,” Daryl said defiantly.


“It could have happened. You could have found me dead, chopped up by Wolves or half eaten or even undead.”


“Why do have to ask such morbid questions?” Daryl said. “I told you, I don’t want to think about that.” He’d laid with Aaron long enough, and decided it was time to get up. He picked his pants up and dressed.


Aaron did the same, and kept inquiring as they stood in the living room and dressed. “I’m not trying to be morbid. It’s something we’ve never discussed before, and after the break-in and the wave of walkers … and Eric . . .” He paused before he went on, zipped up his fly and buckled his belt. “Well, every now and then the thought creeps in, and I think we need to talk about it.”


Daryl sat back onto the couch and began putting his boots on. “I’ve got an idea. Neither one of us dies. Problem solved.”


“That’s not rational and you know it.”


“Jesus, Aaron, why do have to talk about this right now?” Daryl said angrily. They’d just spent the better part of an hour making incredible love and losing themselves to passion. The last thing Daryl wanted to discuss was either one of them dying.


“I want to talk about it because you’re leaving tomorrow, and anything could happen to you out there. It’s just you and Rick. You know the smaller your numbers the more vulnerable you are.”


“We’re looking for medicine and fucking pop … soda … whatever the hell you want to call it. Nothing’s going to happen,” Daryl argued. “Do you know how many times Rick and I made supply runs when we were in that prison? Nothing ever happened to us. We know what the fuck we’re doing.”


“What if this is the time you don’t come back?” Aaron asked quietly.


Daryl tried to avoid the conversation, but he could see that Aaron wasn’t going to give up. Better to comfort him than to argue. He put his hands on Aaron’s waist and looked him in the eyes. “I have to come back. I’m not ready to leave this world yet because I know you’re in it. And I–” He paused and kissed Aaron softly. “I love you.”


“I love you too, which is why I worry,” Aaron smiled.


“Now you see why I didn’t want you going out there either.” Daryl looked down, his long dark hair hiding his face as he spoke. “It, uh … it terrifies me to think you might not come back. I don’t know how I’d handle that. We’re taking a risk here, you and I, coming together, committing ourselves to one another. A lot of people don’t find what we have, not because they can’t, but because they don’t want to. They don’t want to suffer from loss again. Me? I’ve suffered loss, but I’ve never loved them the way I love you. And that’s why I’ll always do everything within my power to survive. I can only imagine how much pain I’d be in if you weren’t with me anymore. I never want you to know that kind of loss either.”


Aaron leaned forward and lifted Daryl’s chin until their eyes locked. He kissed Daryl long and slow, savoring every moment of their lips sliding together. Then Aaron released him and leaned back. “That’s what I wanted to know. That’s why I asked earlier. I mean, I think I knew how you felt, but … I don’t know … I guess I just needed to hear it. I feel just the same. If you … died … I-I would only be able to go on because I knew you’d want me to. Otherwise … Jesus, Daryl, I love you through to my soul, and without you there would be a void in my very being.”


“Then we make a pact,” Daryl told him. “And swear that whenever one of us is out there without the other, we will do everything humanly possible … and beyond … to make sure we come home. You know I’d fight until my last breath for you. So, if something ever happens to me, you’ll know it wasn’t because I gave up. I’ll never give up. That’s the best promise I can make you, Aaron.”


“That’s the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me,” Aaron replied. “And I totally agree with the pact. I would do anything … absolutely anything to make sure we have another day in each other’s lives.”


Daryl gave Aaron one of his tight-lipped smiles. “So, we’re good?” he asked, just as Aaron had asked earlier that day.


Aaron laughed. “We’re better than good.”


They settled on the couch again, and just talked. It was finally feeling normal again for both men. After everything that happened, and having to adjust, after their arguments over their differences, they had learned that nothing mattered more than being together. They wouldn’t always see eye to eye, and that was alright.


“Hey, I told Rick I’d get the car ready with supplies, and I still need to do that,” Daryl said after a while.


“I thought you were only going for the day,” Aaron replied.


“That’s the plan, but you know how it is. The main thing is extra gas and weapons. You want to come along?” Daryl asked.


“Sure,” Aaron smiled as they stood from the couch. He went to the kitchen to see if they had any kind of food in the house that Daryl could take with him. That’s when he saw Carol’s cookies on the counter. “Oh,” he called out to Daryl, who was in the office. “I forgot something.”


“Yeah? What’s that?” Daryl answered. He was looking for extra ammo for his gun. Aaron usually kept it in the desk drawer. When he turned around, Aaron was standing in the doorway holding up a pink cookie.


“I saw Carol today. She baked these for us. Well, she baked them for everyone. I ran into her earlier today.”


Daryl looked at the cookie with skepticism. “Why’s it pink?”


“Beets,” Aaron told him, and he shrugged his shoulders. He held to cookie out to Daryl.


“Naw, that’s ok. I’ve never been much of a baked goods kind of guy. I prefer my meat and potatoes.”


Aaron went to Daryl, slinked his arm around to his backside and squeezed. “Yes, you certainly do,” Aaron said seductively. His eyes wandered down the length of Daryl’s body and back up.


“Stop,” Daryl said unconvincingly.


Aaron took a step back. “You should at least take a bite. She’s going to ask me what you thought, and I don’t want to have to lie.”


Daryl pinched off a small piece and ate it. “Not bad, but . . .” He made a sour face.


Aaron nodded. “Yeah, I know. I tried one earlier. Guess I’ll have to lie after all.” He closed the container and took it back to the kitchen. Daryl found what he was looking for and met Aaron at the front door. They left and while they were walking down the street, Aaron spoke again. “Have you seen Carol?”


“Not since before we went up to the cabin. Why?” Daryl inquired.


“I don’t know. She seemed a little different, distracted maybe. She’s trying really hard, at least it seems that way. Still, I’m a bit worried about her.”


“Yeah,” Daryl mumbled. “She’s been through a lot, probably more than she leads on. I know Carol, though. She’s tough. She has to be.”


“Maybe when you get back you should speak with her. I feel as though she really needs someone to talk to, and you two are close.”


Daryl nodded. “Sure, I’ll do that.”


A smile escaped Aaron’s lips. “On a lighter note, I think there’s something brewing between her and Tobin.”


Daryl turned his head to the side to look at Aaron, surprised by this information. “How do you know?”


“I was passing by Tobin’s house, saw Carol and him talking … smiling at each other too,” Aaron said.


“That don’t mean nothing,” Daryl commented.


“And then I called her out on it, and I think she likes him too, but she’s … scared, I guess.”


“As far as I know, she hasn’t been with anyone since her husband, and that was a pretty shitty situation.”


“Well,” Aaron suggested. “Maybe when you talk to her, you can bring up the Tobin situation and–”


“Ah hell no,” Daryl interrupted, shaking his head. “I draw the line at relationship advice. She’s gonna have to figure that one out on her own.”


Aaron threw his hands up in defeat. “Alright, alright. I guess that’s asking too much. But I wish you really would talk to her about whatever’s bothering her. Something is keeping her from allowing the world in. She’s very closed off. Kind of reminds me of you when we first met, so you know what she’s going through. And don’t forget that she was there for us during those … difficult days.”


Daryl knew what Aaron was talking about. It was back when Aaron lost his memory and he didn’t remember being Daryl’s lover. Eric had complicated things too, and had Aaron believing they were still a couple. Carol was always around to talk to and get advice from. So was Denise, Daryl thought, and then he remembered her request to bring back a soda, not for herself, but for Tara. Perhaps Daryl helped, but in his own way. He was uncomfortable talking to other people about relationships, and preferred not to touch the subject. He had a difficult enough time sorting out his own relationship with Aaron, coming to terms with his feelings and whatnot. But he could take requests, find things to help someone fulfill a wish that will make another happy. He wondered if there was something he could bring Carol that would cheer her up. If there was, she’d never mentioned it, and he couldn’t think of anything. He knew Carol though. Just being there for her, an ear to bend or a shoulder to weep on was enough. She really didn’t talk to anyone else but Daryl, and she wasn’t telling him everything either. “I’ll talk to her,” Daryl finally said.


“Good,” Aaron smiled. “And don’t forget to compliment her cookies,” he jested.


Daryl just rolled his eyes and kept walking.

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