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 50 Cabin Sweet Cabin



Daryl and Aaron traveled along the roads, always keeping an eye out for any threats, dead or alive. It was quite a ways to the cabin, but it wouldn’t take as long as they first thought thanks to Carol. She’d given them the car Ezekiel parked behind her house, as well as two backpacks full of food and water. They were set, at least for a little while. Daryl was glad to be away from everyone and everywhere. His biggest fear was having the Saviors find him, and bring war down onto whatever place it was he was hiding. Going with Aaron to the cabin was a smart move, as far as he was concerned. Not only was it far from anywhere the Saviors had been seen, but he wasn’t endangering any lives, except his own and Aaron’s. They could take care of themselves, and if they had to move fast it would be easier with just the two of them.


Aaron figured they would reach the cabin late in the day, as long as the car didn’t break down or run out of gas. With only half a tank, it was questionable whether they’d make it all the way or not. They would definitely be running on fumes before they made their destination. Daryl knew this too, and suggested that they try to find some gas along the way.


As it turned out, they came upon a scene, a moment frozen in time. It looked like about four or five cars had been in an accident. The luggage strapped to the roof of one of the cars told a familiar story, people fleeing from their homes right after things turned bad. In a moment of confusion, for whatever reason, they probably lost control of their car. That led to the accident, the mini pile-up. The cars were pretty well wrecked, so anyone coming upon this scene could see for themselves that the cars wouldn’t be able to run.


Daryl kept his fingers and toes crossed as he and Aaron approached the sight. They pulled their car to the side and got out.


“No telling what happened here, but it was definitely an accident,” Daryl said as he went to the wreckage.


“That’s a good thing. Means we might find gas in their tanks,” Aaron mentioned as he opened the back door of their car. He leaned in and came out with a small red gas can, and some hose. Apparently, whoever stashed the car at Carol’s house had considered everything.


Daryl took the can and hose and tried the first car. Nothing. Aaron kept watch while Daryl checked the others. He hit payday on the last car and filled the small gas can by siphoning it. Aaron watched Daryl suck on the hose and spit out the gas that came up. He couldn’t help laugh.


“What,” Daryl said defensively.


“Never known you to spit before,” Aaron said sheepishly. Then he put his hands up in surrender. “Sorry, couldn’t help myself.” It earned him a slight curl of the lips from Daryl, and the ice was broken.


“Is that so?” Daryl started to say, but both men switched to defense mode when they heard rustling in the nearby bushes.


They listened intently, but didn’t hear the usual growl and hiss that the walkers made. Whoever or whatever was there was alive.


“Maybe it’s an animal,” Aaron said.


“Maybe not,” Daryl warned. “Let’s get out of here.”


They hurried and jumped back in their car, shoving the filled gas can in the trunk. Daryl stomped on the pedal and they were gone.


After a while, when they felt like they weren’t being followed, Daryl stopped and emptied the gas into the car’s tank. When he was done, he came back to the car, leaning in through the passenger window. “How far do you think we are from any of our communities?”


Aaron had a map, which was in one of the backpacks that Carol gave them. He looked it over carefully and traced his finger over it. “Alexandria is closest to our current position.”


Daryl worried that they might have come across some of the Saviors. They knew where Alexandria was, and they might be patrolling around the area looking for him. He’d been checking the rearview mirror constantly, but even on the long straight stretch of road they were on, there was no trace of movement behind them.


“What are you thinking?” Aaron asked with concern.


“We ditch the car long before we get to the cabin and walk the rest of the way. I don’t think they’re following us, but they might have seen us and the car.”


“Good idea. Looks like we’ll be there in an hour or so. Should be able to make it by foot before sundown,” Aaron responded while looking at the map. He wasn’t sure of the exact location of the cabin, but he knew where the lake was and that was close enough.




They went as far as they felt comfortable and pulled the car off the side of the road. Daryl jumped out and examined the surrounding area. The land sloped down and ended at a ravine. “We gotta destroy the car. Don’t want anyone using it.”


“Gotcha,” Aaron agreed. He retrieved their bags. Then he helped Daryl push the car into the woods. It rolled away from them, moving faster and faster until it disappeared over the edge. They could hear metal crunching and trees cracking. If anyone came along, they would see the path the car took. They would find it at the bottom of the drop off too, but they wouldn’t know which direction Daryl and Aaron went. Hopefully they would think Daryl was trying to make it to Alexandria. He knew Negan’s men would check there, if they hadn’t already. As long as they didn’t find Daryl within the walls, he was sure they would be safe. Negan wouldn’t kill people without a reason. He needed them to work for him. He might tightened the ropes around everyone’s necks, but at least they’d be alive.


They walked along cautiously, keeping their eyes peeled in every direction. It was quiet, no walkers, no Saviors, at least they hoped not. The terrain started looking familiar. They were close. A little further along and they saw the cabin through the trees.


“Well, it’s still here,” Aaron said, excited to finally have a place to relax.


Daryl looked around them, and finding it quiet and undisturbed, he felt better about approaching. “Still looks the same.”


“Last time we were here, someone broke in and stole the boat. Remember?” Aaron reminded him.


“I doubt he’s been back. Let’s just hope no one else has stopped by.” Daryl made his way to the front with Aaron. The door was shut. Nothing looked out of place on the outside. He jimmied the lock and opened the door.


“Smells a little musty,” Aaron said.


“Might be a leak in the roof somewhere.” Daryl kept his sight on the inside of the house. It was quiet and still. He was sure it was empty, but you could never be too careful.


A sweep of the entire cabin proved him to be right. No one had been here since the last time Daryl and Aaron stayed. There were a few more cobwebs, a thicker layer of dust on everything, and it smelled like the inside of a damp hamper. It was a shame that this place was already deteriorating. It was a gorgeous home, expensive at one time, but now it was only a place to hunker down for a night or two. That’s all Daryl and Aaron needed anyway.


“I found the leak,” Aaron called out. He came from the master bedroom where he and Daryl had spent a few luxurious nights together learning about each other.


“Shit, not my room,” Daryl complained.


Aaron laughed, remembering Daryl claiming the room for himself when they first found the place, before they became a couple. “Afraid so,” Aaron said. “Water stains on the ceiling right above your side of the bed too. The mattress is ruined. Part of the plaster has fallen away and soiled the sheets. Looks like we won’t be sleeping in there anymore.”


“I bet a branch from one of the trees broke off and damaged the roof,” Daryl said.


“We’ll just have to stay in the guest room. The bed is still comfortable, though not as nice at the other one,” Aaron pointed out.


“The fact that we have a bed is a luxury.” Daryl remembered Aaron telling him about the Saviors taking all the mattresses from the houses in Alexandria, and then burning them.


“Ain’t that the truth,” Aaron huffed. “Well, let’s see what all we have here.” He took their bags into the kitchen to sort through the stuff Carol gave them. Daryl followed and watched him unpack the backpacks.


There was a lot of fruit, some cured meats and sausage, vegetables, bottles of water, canned goods, and a small loaf of bread. Then there was a plastic container with something in it. Aaron opened it and the smell of fresh peach cobbler wafted up past his nose. He closed his eyes and breathed deep.


“Mm, smell that. My favorite,” Aaron sang.


“Yeah, Carol told me that they make just about anything into a cobbler at the Kingdom. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, it doesn’t matter.”


As Daryl spoke, Aaron pulled open a drawer and retrieved two forks, handing one to Daryl. “This won’t last long. Better eat it first.” He put his fork in and scooped out a big bite, stuffing it into his mouth.  He moaned as he relished the flavor. “Oh God, this is so good. Try some,” he encouraged.


Daryl was hungry too, but he was enjoying watching Aaron’s reaction. With his head thrown back and neck exposed, Daryl’s mind wandered to other things, memories of glorious nights spent with his lover. That had been before his capture though. He wasn’t sure he would ever be able to recreate any of those moments.


“Go on. There’s plenty here,” Aaron said again. He watched Daryl scoop some out of the container and lift the fork to his lips. As Daryl chewed, he closed his eyes in pure bliss.


“Damn, you ain’t kiddin’. This is really good.” Daryl opened his eyes to find Aaron watching him, a slight burning for him tinging the corners of Aaron’s eyes. That look made Daryl’s heart speed up a little. Aaron was very handsome and always was, but it had been a while since Daryl really looked at him. He realized that he wanted him, wanted to get back to the way things used to be. But every time he felt it, a wall of warning shot up, blocking him from the thing he wanted most. He had to at least try to push past this. So he poked his fork into the scrumptious dessert and offered to feed it to Aaron. Aaron accepted it, and Daryl watched his mouth as it opened and then closed around the fork. He moaned and it sent little electric charges running along Daryl’s spine. Once Aaron swallowed, Daryl leaned toward him and gently touched their lips. They kissed, lips on sticky lips, and it made Aaron giggle.


“You taste like peaches,” Aaron said, breaking the silence.


“Do I? Well, come get you some more,” Daryl said. He let Aaron move toward him, and this time their tongues touched. It felt really good to kiss Aaron again. Here at this place, they had always been able to be themselves, and this time was no different. Still, Daryl felt that same niggling in the back of his mind, the one that said they couldn’t move forward until the truth came out. He was going to have to tell Aaron what happened to him before they could go much further.


Aaron felt Daryl tense as they kissed, and he was careful not to get to excited. He couldn’t tell where any of this was moving. Daryl had new demons to deal with, one’s that hadn’t manifested themselves to the open world yet. It was for this reason that Aaron pulled away first. He didn’t want to chase Daryl away so soon during their reunion. “Hey, why don’t I open up a jar of soup? I found some in one of the bags,” he said to change the subject.


“Yeah. Okay,” Daryl returned, sounding slightly disappointed.


They ate well, and when they had their fill, Aaron and Daryl moved to the living room and sat on the couch. Daryl put his feet up on the coffee table, and Aaron snuggled into his side. They decided not to start a fire in the fireplace, afraid it might be too noticeable if someone was in the area. Instead, they lit some candles left from their last visit and kept the curtains and blinds tightly closed.


“So what’s our next move?” Aaron asked to start a conversation.


“I don’t know. I haven’t given it much thought. What do you think?” Daryl wondered about Aaron opinion.


“I think we should reconnect with Rick somehow, but that would mean going to Alexandria.”


Daryl shook his head. “That’s the first place Negan will look, and the most obvious place they think I’ll go to. I don’t know.”


“We could give it a couple days and go back to the Kingdom,” Aaron said. “The Saviors don’t know about us and them yet. And Carol’s there … and Morgan.”


“Maybe,” Daryl answered. “I’m kind of worried about her. That guy, Richard, I thought he was cool, but I was wrong about him.”


“Why? What did he do?” Aaron asked. If anyone made threats against Carol, he would do what needed to be done to protect her.


“Nothing … yet. I don’t think he’ll try anything. I threatened his life ten times over if anything happened to her. It’s not that he’s a bad guy. He’s just trying to do what’s best for his community, but using people as bait isn’t smart.” Daryl wrapped his arm tighter around Aaron, pulling him in closer to his side. “He wanted to set her up, make it look like she attacked the Saviors, incite a war by using her death to get Ezekiel to move his ass off his throne. Now that he knows how important Carol is to me, he won’t do it. He’s smart. He knows better than to start trouble with our group. He needs us.”


“You said ‘us’. Does this mean you’re not going to run away?” Aaron asked, raising his head to look up into Daryl’s face.


“I’m not running anymore,” Daryl admitted.


“Good, because I’m ready to fight, and I want to fight at your side. Living in fear … that’s not living. I want our lives back. I want to wake up every morning by your side and know that we’re safe, and that we don’t have to constantly be looking over our shoulders. Negan, the Saviors, that kind of threat needs to stop. They can live their own lives in their own community, whatever they want, but they can’t feed off of the rest of us anymore.”


“I want them all dead,” Daryl groaned, and there was something dark and sinister in his tone.


Aaron sat up and watched Daryl’s darkened eyes as they saw something that no one else could see. “They hurt you. They tried to break you. I can tell. They tried to get you to submit, but you fought. You always do.”


But Daryl didn’t fight the one time when it mattered most. “I’m not the same man you think I am,” he said.


“You went through a terrible experience. You’re entitled to–”


“You don’t understand,” Daryl said with anger. “I’m a changed man. Hell, I’m not even a man. I’m a coward. I should have fought harder, but I … I let it get to me. I … I did the one thing I said I’d never do. I gave up and gave in.”


“If that were true, I don’t think you’d be sitting here right now.”


“I got lucky because someone helped me. I didn’t do it on my own.” Daryl found the courage to look Aaron in the eyes. “I lost the fight and the will. I was done. I was broken. I … I am broken. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why you’re still here.” His eyes misted over as he spoke. Daryl was so close to disclosing the truth. Part of him wanted it out, but a larger part feared what would happen once he confessed.


“Let me help you, Daryl. Tell me what happened. Let me carry some of the weight on my shoulders for a while. I want to do that for you. I will always do that for you if you’d just let me,” Aaron encouraged.


Daryl couldn’t, not now. He kept imagining what would happen once Aaron knew about the rape, and of how he didn’t … couldn’t stop it. Surely, Aaron would lose respect for him. No one wanted a coward. But if he couldn’t tell him, maybe he could start healing by not resisting his need any longer. It was clear that Aaron wanted him, and he wanted Aaron too. At least in that way they could revisit the way it used to be. So, instead of answering Aaron, he leaned into him and took up his mouth with his own. Daryl kissed him hard and wantonly. Aaron responded by pushing his tongue past Daryl’s lips. Their breaths hastened, warm air rushing over each other’s skin. Daryl moved them so that he was now laying on top of Aaron, who was stretched out on his back on the couch. He could feel Aaron through his pants, hard and ready. His own cock was taking longer to come around, but when Aaron nipped at his neck and sucked his earlobe between his teeth, Daryl started responding. All this pent up desire made his cock ache as it filled and hardened.


“Are you sure about this?” Aaron asked, but he was panting as though it didn’t matter if he was ready or not. This was happening.


“Yeah,” Daryl said tersely. He sat back on his knees so that Aaron could move.


Aaron undid his pants and pushed them down far enough to release his straining cock. The hungry look in Daryl’s eyes told him this was going to be fast and hard. It had been too long since the last time they were intimate. This time would be for release.


“Whatever you want to do, I’m yours,” Aaron whispered.


Daryl crawled on top of Aaron and kissed him. His hand reached down and took Aaron’s solid form in his hand. It was as familiar as his own, the heaviness, solid yet silky. Aaron’s hips bucked as he pushed himself into Daryl’s hand. His own cock strained against the inside of his pants, making it very uncomfortable. He wished to be free of his confines, but he would be committing to the moment, and he still had hard doubts. What was happening felt good, felt right, but not far from his current thoughts were memories ready to spark and dominate.


Aaron pulled away from Daryl’s demanding kisses to catch his breath and beg for relief. “I want you now. I need you inside me. Please.”


Daryl wanted that too. He reached for his belt, sliding it off, and unbuttoned his pants, but just when he thought all was well, the sound of the metal belt buckle hitting the floor set off those horrid memories. Suddenly, he heard Brady’s voice.


“Say his name. Call out to him like you do when he fucks you. I want to hear you say his name.”


Daryl closed his eyes and tried to fight off the sound of the man’s voice in his head, but it was no use. He was already here. The thought of his time in the cell made him go limp. At the same time, Aaron reached down to help Daryl out of his pants. The feel of a man’s hand pulling at his waistband had triggered him, and all he could think about was being raped by Brady. In a moment of confusion, Daryl grabbed Aaron’s wrist harder than he should have, and made him wince and cry out in pain. Daryl was between worlds, and he hadn’t realized how rough he was. All he knew was that he needed it to stop. “No! No more! Don’t fucking touch me!” he cried.


“I’m not,” Aaron said. “Daryl, stop. You’re hurting me. Please, let go.”


The sound of Aaron voice brought Daryl around. He looked down and saw the anguish on Aaron’s face, saw his own hand wrapped around Aaron’s wrist, and felt himself squeezing too hard. Immediately, he released Aaron, and looked down. Aaron’s pants were slid down, exposing his cock. Daryl’s pants were undone. He saw an image flash before his eyes, a memory of Brady in a similar position as he undressed him with rough hands and clutching fingers. Old wounds began to ache.


“Oh God,” Daryl said, repeating several times. “I … I can’t. I can’t do this. I’m sorry. I … I shouldn’t have … I hurt you. Oh God, I swore I’d never, but … I’m so sorry,” he whimpered as he got up from the couch and paced across the room.


Aaron jumped up and situated himself. He went to Daryl and tried to wrap his arms around him. “No, it’s all right. I’m not hurt.”


Daryl shrugged from his touch. “No. Don’t. Don’t touch me. Don’t come near me. Stay away.”


Aaron couldn’t help himself. All he wanted was to comfort Daryl, and the only way he knew how was to try and take him in his arms. “Daryl, it’s me. It’s Aaron. You’re at the cabin, just the two of us. Let me help you.”


“I said stay away!” Daryl shouted, and he shoved Aaron hard enough to push him to the floor. “It’s all ruined. I’m ruined. You don’t want me. I’ll just mess everything up. I’m no good for you anymore.”


“Don’t say that,” Aaron said as he got his bearings and stood from the floor. “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”


“Not now. Not ever again. Why do you still want me after all the shit I’ve put you through? I’m damaged. I have been from the beginning, and now, after what happened, I … I don’t think I can come back from that.”


“After what? Talk to me,” Aaron demanded. “You have to tell me what happened if you want me to help you.”


“Is that all I am to you? Just some charity case?” Daryl accused. “Does it make you feel better when you try to fix me? Maybe you’re the problem.” He was talking nonsense, but it was all he could do to get Aaron to leave him alone, and stop trying to make him confess.


Aaron was done with this. Daryl was fighting his own war, and he wasn’t going to let Aaron in. Anger got the better of him. The pain in his wrist and in his tailbone sparked him to make a daring move. He charged Daryl and shoved him backwards until they both fell to the floor. Aaron landed on top of him, and pinned his wrists to the floor above his head. Daryl struggled, kicking and flailing to get free, but Aaron’s adrenaline overpowered his partner. “You’re going to tell me what happened. I’m tired of being in the dark trying to figure you out. Tell me what they did to you at the Sanctuary.”


Daryl’s vision faded in and out between Aaron and Brady. Being held down was sending his mind back to the cell. His side started to hurt again, where Brady had stabbed him. His stomach clenched as he felt bile churn and threaten to rise to his throat. He could smell the stench of the cell, a combination of his own waste and Brady’s sweat. “Don’t do this,” Daryl begged, his strength fading as it had been in his prison. “Please, don’t make me say it. Don’t make me think of him.”


“Who?” Aaron asked, not letting up on his grip. “Who hurt you?”


“He made me say your name, made me think of you, of us. And then he … he . . .” Tears stained Daryl’s cheeks as he remembered.


Aaron softened his voice as he spoke. “Who is he? What did he do to you?”


After a few whimpering breaths, Daryl said his name. “Brady.” The name tasted like poison on his tongue.


“Did he hurt you? Was he the one who tortured you?”


Daryl nodded. “He was one of them. He … he was the one who … he … Please don’t make me say it. You’ll hate me.”


“Oh God, Daryl, I could never hate you. I love you. I love you so much it hurts, and right how I’m in agony seeing your mind tortured like this. But you have to tell me so I can understand and help you,” Aaron said with compassion.


Daryl stopped struggling and went limp. All the life went out of him. He hit bottom … again. “After Negan challenged me, after his men beat me almost to death, I woke up in my cell. I wasn’t alone. There was a man … someone I had a confrontation with before. Brady … he was one of Negan’s men. He came to me to take out his revenge. I … I had no strength to fight him off. His hands … I felt them pull my pants down. Felt his knee in my back, pushing me face down into the concrete floor. I heard him unzip his pants, heard his belt clang to the floor, felt his knees against the inside of my thighs as he spread me. He stabbed me when I tried to resist. And then … he … he raped me. He fucked me, ripped me apart, told me what a piece of shit I was. He wanted to get inside my head. He knew your name, made me call out to you as he plowed me into the floor. And I said it. I thought of you, thought of how I’d let you down again. I knew I’d never be the same, knew we’d never be the same. That’s what he wanted. It wasn’t just rape. Brady wanted to make it so I would never forget, and he used my precious memories of you to do it.”


The room was silent except for their rapid breathing. Aaron didn’t know what to say, didn’t know what to do. Realizing he had pinned Daryl in a similar position to his nightmare, he stood from the floor and away from Daryl. He looked down at the man he loved and imagined another man having his way. Confusion set in along with fear and anger. Daryl’s stubbornness and strength was something Aaron never questioned, but now he found himself wavering. Why didn’t he fight? Why didn’t he push back and stop the attack?


“Don’t look at me that way,” Daryl said.


Aaron knew it was wrong to think these things. He turned his eyes from Daryl. “I’m sorry. It’s just–”


“Yeah, I get it,” Daryl said with venom tinging his words.


This was wrong. Aaron shouldn’t doubt him. He was raped, forced to do something he would never willingly do. Aaron turned back to Daryl, this time seeing the pain in his eyes. The man was hurting, and he’d finally opened up to Aaron, only to see him react by pushing away. “God, I … I don’t know what to say … or do … or–”


“Nothin’. You don’t have to do nothin’,” Daryl groaned as he stood and dusted himself off. “I tried to keep my distance from you. I was going to leave, go off by myself. You’d eventually move on and be better off without me in your life, but you insisted like you always do. And now, here we are. The truth is out. You know my story, and you look at me as though I’m riddled with the plague. I knew it would be like this.”


“No,” Aaron insisted, shaking his head. “It’s not like that at all.”


“Really? Because what I see in your eyes is what I ask myself every day,” Daryl said. He looked back at the couch, and then to his belt on the floor. “I try to get close to you, but every time I do, I’m reminded of–”


Aaron wouldn’t hear this anymore. He charged Daryl and took him up in his arms, forcing the man to let him hold him. Daryl struggled, but not hard enough. Aaron knew that what Daryl just said wasn’t true. He might have tried to push Aaron away, but that’s not what he really wanted, not deep down in his heart.


“Let go of me,” Daryl said unconvincingly.


“Never,” Aaron whispered with compassion. “Not until my heart stops beating and I take my last breath. But even then, I’ll love you and long for you from beyond, and wait with eagerness for the day we meet again. You’re a part of me, Daryl. There is no one in this entire universe who could ever take your place. I will always love you.”


“You’re a fool,” Daryl berated him. He lifted his eyes to meet Aaron’s. There was no resisting anymore. Aaron wasn’t going to abandon him, and in return, Daryl wouldn’t leave either. There was something so pure … so honest in those beautiful blue eyes. Daryl couldn’t look away. Aaron’s heart and soul was calling out to him. “We’re in this for good then?”


Aaron managed a smile. “Until death do us part.”


“Let’s hope that’s not anytime soon,” Daryl added.


Eventually, they made their way to the guest room and laid down in the bed. At first, they laid side by side, both men facing the ceiling. But then, Daryl snaked his hand toward Aaron until their fingers connected. Aaron was reminded of the first time they slept in the same bed together. It was right in this very place too. Aaron turned onto his side, facing away from Daryl, and moved backward until they were contoured against one another.


“Is this okay?” Aaron asked.


“Better than okay,” Daryl whispered in his ear. He draped his arm over Aaron’s hip, and let the warmth of his lover’s body blanket him. He had undying trust for this man, this very compassionate, beautiful man who only ever wanted to make Daryl happy. Well … he was … for the moment.




When Aaron woke up, he had no idea what time it was, whether it was morning or night. The curtains in the bedroom were pulled tight so no light could spill in. He wondered why he woke up, and then realized he was alone in the bed. Panic immediately set in. Where was Daryl?


He sat up and flung his legs over the edge. He was still dressed but for his socks. Aaron and Daryl slept in their clothes last night, just holding each other through the dark hours, nothing more. Daryl wasn’t ready for anything more yet. Perhaps he second guessed himself and decided to leave. After all that they’d said to each other, maybe it wasn’t enough. He knew Daryl’s guilt was eating away at him, driving him insane. No matter what Aaron said, how he said it or how many times he reassured the man, Daryl was still skittish as a rabbit.


Wasting no time, Aaron got up out of bed and went to the living room. He could just make out a shape on the couch. When he got closer, he saw that it was Daryl. Aaron gave a sigh, part relief and part disappointment. “At least he tried,” Aaron said to himself. He grabbed a blanket from the nearby chair and covered Daryl, hoping he wouldn’t wake up yet.


Aaron went to the kitchen and opened their bags. There was a ripe juicy red apple he’d been eyeing since yesterday. He bit into it and closed his eyes. The Kingdom had a lot of good fruits and vegetables, stuff he’d missed for a while now. Alexandria was just starting their crops. It was still in its young growing stage, and it would take a while before they had results like the Kingdom. They also had a lot of food Alexandria didn’t have. Aaron hoped that one day they could obtain some seeds from their crops and extend Alexandria’s variety. Thoughts of the future gave him a small spark of hope, but first, there was this whole mess with Negan and the Saviors to contend with. What could any of them really do? Right now, they were stuck having to answer to a madman and his followers.


Followers, Aaron thought. Someone like Negan would only attract other psychopaths like himself. They were criminals, thugs who took advantage of the new disorder and turned it into their own utopia. And it was one of those lowlife bastards that attacked Daryl. The anger in Aaron’s chest pained him. He wanted nothing more than to hunt down the shit that did this, hack off his dick and shove it down the man’s throat. Daryl had been through so much in his life. He didn’t deserve this.


It seemed that it was still dark outside, though Aaron was sure the sun would rise soon. He wasn’t sure what the day would hold for them, so he decided to go ahead and jump in the shower. The water wouldn’t be superheated, but it should still be fairly warm. They had discovered solar panels on the roof that heated the water by day. Unfortunately, without electricity, the water heater didn’t work to keep the water warm at night. Still, it would keep it warm enough. He would make it quick so there would be warm water left for Daryl when he woke up. Aaron finished up his apple and went to take his shower.


Just as he thought, the water was warm. He hurried to undress and stepped inside through the glass doors. It felt good to have water raining down upon him. It had been a while since he had a real shower. He’d been cleaning up with water basins, using a wet cloth to wipe away the dirt and grime. There was a bar of soap, though it was cracked from not being used for such a long time. Soap didn’t go bad, thank goodness. He used his hands to lather himself up and scrub soap in his hair, all the while paying attention to how much time he was using. As he rubbed his hands over his body, he noticed for the first time how his stomach caved in slightly. He could feel the bottom edge of his ribs. Food had been scarce in Alexandria, and since leaving, he hadn’t eaten right, skipping meals here and there. Luckily, Carol packed plenty of protein type goodies. He’d need his strength if war came down upon them, and that seemed inevitable.




Daryl woke up, finding a blanket covering him. “Shit,” he groaned. Aaron got up before him and found him sleeping on the couch. He didn’t plan on sleeping there all night, only for an hour or so until his nightmare passed. He had the same dream, trapped on a dirty mattress, pinned down by a man whose face faded from one person to another, Brady and Jay. The only thing that never changed was the smile, that sickening toothy grin. He wondered if it was like that with all rapist.


He gave the previous night a thought. He’d failed again to take Aaron into his arms and rekindle what they had almost lost. They were close, so close, but Daryl was triggered by a sound, and suddenly he was back in that awful cell with his attacker. He thought it wouldn’t have been such a difficult thing to get past if Brady hadn’t brought Aaron into the picture. He used Daryl’s memories of Aaron against him, and now, whenever he tried to get intimate, those same terrible visions clouded his mind. The words, spoken by Brady, sounded as though he was right in the room speaking. Daryl stared up at the dark ceiling and sighed, wondering if things would ever get right again.


In the silence, he heard water running, and knew Aaron was in the shower. He felt guilty for the way he’d treated his lover, and not just for tonight. It all started before they knew Negan existed, when he came home and Aaron wasn’t there. He’d gone to Hilltop to see it for himself. Jesus led him there, and Daryl had always been extremely jealous of the man. It was such a childish thing to accuse Aaron of sleeping with another man. He knew Aaron would never do such a thing. And even after everything that happened, Aaron was still here, still trying. He always tried, never gave up hope. That’s just how he was. That’s what Daryl always wished for himself.


“I gotta stop wallowing in this misery,” Daryl told himself. He sat up, anchoring his feet to the ground, and looked toward the bathroom. He allowed his mind to envision it, Aaron, naked in the shower, wet, soapy. He felt a twitch beneath the blanket and didn’t resist. Again he thought of Aaron, hands sliding over chest, stomach and thighs. Daryl was coming to life with every glorious vision. He imagined Aaron turning to face the water, rinsing soap from his face and neck, giving Daryl an unobstructed view of a perfectly taut ass. Daryl was almost completely hard, confined by his clothes making it very uncomfortable.


“You can do this,” he encouraged himself in the dark. “You have to do this if you want to get past everything and move on.” He stood from the couch and unbuttoned his shirt as he slowly made his way toward the bathroom. The shirt fell from his shoulders, floating to the floor like a bird shedding his feathers. Daryl stopped and unzipped his pants, his cock finding immediate relief from the pressure of being confined within. He pushed his pants and underwear down, and stepped out of them, leaving them where they fell. He hesitated when his mind tried to conjure up the recent past, but he pushed it all away. He stood before the closed bathroom door, and laid a hand on the knob. It turned and he pushed the door open slowly. It wasn’t as hot and steamy as their bathroom in Alexandria. The glass door to the shower wasn’t misted over. He could see Aaron standing in the water, eyes closed, head tilted back as he rinsed soap from his short brown hair. Daryl caught him just in time, before he was finished. He stood and watched for a moment, waiting to see what Aaron’s reaction would be. Aaron finished rinsing his hair and opened his eyes. They went directly to Daryl. Shock and surprise only lasted a slight moment before turning to awareness. Aaron’s full pouty lips parted as he eyes scanned Daryl’s naked form. Daryl was still weighing his options to stay where he was, move forward or leave the room as though he’d made a mistake. Then Aaron reached for the shower door and opened it. He watched Daryl, but when his invitation wasn’t answered, Aaron turned back to the water to finish up.


“The water’s only warm, not hot,” Aaron called over his shoulder. “It might not last much longer.”


Daryl had to will himself to step forward and enter the shower. It made it a little easier that Aaron wasn’t making a big deal out of it.


Aaron paused before he spoke again. “I was trying to hurry so I didn’t use it all up.”


“Good thing I came along then,” Daryl said from just outside the shower door.


Aaron glanced over his shoulder. “I’ll be out in a second.”


Daryl swallowed his fear and stepped inside. “That’s alright. You don’t have to leave on my account.”


Aaron moved to the side to make room for Daryl, handing him the bar of soap. “Here. I’m done with it.”


“Thanks,” Daryl responded. He started lathering up his arms and chest, but this wasn’t the only reason he braved the shower. “Can … can you do my back?” he asked, offering the soap to Aaron.


“Sure,” Aaron smiled. He waited for Daryl to turn around and started soaping his back.


Aaron’s hands were gentle and deliberate. He made small circles over his shoulder blades and traced a line down his back, stopping at his waist. Aaron was very careful not to hurt any of his wounds, especially where he’d been stabbed in the side. Daryl could feel Aaron’s hands hesitate in certain places. Most of his bruises were almost gone, but some of the worst ones were still visible, faded to tan instead of black and blue like before. Aaron’s strokes with the soap slowed as he observed him.


“They really did a number on you, didn’t they?”


“Ain’t nothin’ I’m not used to. My old man did worse sometimes,” Daryl replied trying to make light of it. He could feel Aaron’s strokes slowing and knew he was wanting more than to wash Daryl, but he wouldn’t make a move before Daryl did. Aaron had always been that way with him, at least when matters were sensitive.


Daryl made his decision to move forward and turned to face Aaron, but couldn’t look him in the eyes. “I … uh … I’m sorry about last night, you know, finding me on the couch.”


“Oh … huh … yeah, it’s … it’s fine,” Aaron stammered nervously.


“You thought I was gone, didn’t you?” Daryl could tell by his tone.


“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind, but you’re here.”


“I tried to stay, but … I … I don’t know,” Daryl said, running out of excuses.


“I completely understand,” Aaron soothed. “You need to take your time. I get it. I’m not upset.”


If the conversation kept going this way, Daryl was going to back out of the shower. That’s not why he was here. He was here because he wanted to prove to himself that he wasn’t ruined. “Do you … uh … you want me to . . .” Daryl took the soap from Aaron and gestured to his back.


“Sure … okay.” Aaron turned around, offering his back to Daryl to wash.


Daryl copied the movements Aaron used on him, making slow circles over his back. He looked down and watched the bubbles fall, contouring along Aaron’s backside and down his legs. He swallowed hard and let his hands move in the same direction. They traveled to Aaron’s hips, slipping down the outside of his thighs, and came up to cup Aaron’s ass. He kneaded his backside and looked up to see Aaron’s reaction. Aaron must have felt his eyes on him because he answered.


“That feels nice,” Aaron complimented.


“Feels nice to me too,” Daryl returned. “Familiar.”


Since Daryl made the offer, Aaron answered by pushing back against Daryl to let him know he was accepting his touch. They fit so perfectly together. How could he ever not want this? His hands traveled around Aaron’s hips, splayed across his stomach. The head of Aaron’s cock touched the back of his hand, and Daryl knew Aaron was more than ready for this, but was Daryl? He told himself this was something he had to do in order to push past his fears and nightmares, and took Aaron into his hand making slow long strokes. It was always nice in the shower. The water made their bodies slippery and easier to manipulate. Aaron didn’t need much convincing, but Daryl . . .


He released Aaron and grasped his hips, twisting him to make him turn around. Aaron replied by doing exactly that. Instantly, their eyes locked on each other. “God, you’re … you’re beautiful,” Daryl complimented. “Sometimes I wonder what you see in me.”


Aaron knitted his brows and gazed at him with wonder. “I see a kind and loving soul, someone who does what’s right, what’s fair, who’s brave enough to take the hits so that others don’t have to. I see the man that I’ve always dreamed of falling in love with, even since I was just a boy. I see the man that I will love forever.”


“Come here,” Daryl told him, and Aaron leaned against him. Then Daryl cupped his hand behind Aaron’s head and pulled him in for a kiss. It was slow and delicate, but soon became more demanding. Aaron’s tongue pushed past Daryl’s lips, tasting, caressing. Their cocks fell in line, side by side, and Daryl reached down, taking them both in one hand. He stroked them. It felt good. It felt right. So far the demons were keeping their distance. He’d been through this before, but the wounds were distant memories. He only hoped he could push on. Right now it was working.


Daryl’s hands went to Aaron’s shoulders, and he pushed in a downward motion gesturing to what he wanted next. Aaron looked at him questioningly. “Are you sure?”


“Yeah,” Daryl said breathlessly, and he watched Aaron get onto his knees. At this point, Daryl’s back rested against the tiled wall for support. He looked down, gazing at the top of Aaron’s curly head. His fingers slid into the wet curls as he watched Aaron lick him. His cock reacted as it usually did, pulsing and jumping with anticipation. And then he was swallowed in heat. Aaron’s tongue performed its magic, his teeth lightly grazing the sensitive skin as he slid along inside Aaron’s mouth. Daryl watched as he completely disappeared, and Aaron’s lips tightened around him, suctioning only his painfully hard cock. He anchored himself to the wall for support, leaning his head back so that his body was fully stretched out. The water pelted his chest, running down his body, keeping him slicked for Aaron’s manipulating mouth. He was so close, but he knew what would make him go insane. No, he thought. He couldn’t do that yet, not where his body had been assaulted. This would have to be enough.


Aaron’s hands grasped Daryl’s ass, fingers digging into the taut flesh. Daryl tensed at first, but Aaron didn’t go any further than that. It was fine. It actually felt good. It helped Daryl move closer to completion. Aaron was sliding him in and out of his mouth, moving faster as he judged Daryl’s body and how close he was. Daryl was very close, and he let him know by grasping his curly head to steady him. He felt his balls draw up as he hips pushed forward. Aaron took him deep in his mouth and sucked hard. His tongue caressed the underside of his cock, manipulating him, edging him closer and closer until . . .


Daryl cried out his pleasure as his body went rigid and he spilled into Aaron’s mouth. He could feel him swallowing, extending his orgasm. Aaron continued to milk him for everything he had up to the point that his body was becoming intensely sensitive. Aaron’s timing was perfect, and he let Daryl go just before it became uncomfortable. Water pelted against his pulsing cock. It felt cold compared to the heat he just abandoned. Aaron stood and Daryl took him in his arms. He felt his lover begin to shiver, and realized that the water had run cold. Daryl forced himself to move from the wall, even though his body resisted. His legs were wobbly, but he managed to pull them both from the shower. He reached for a towel hanging on the nearby rack and wrapped it around Aaron. They kissed again, holding each other close.


Daryl whispered in Aaron’s ear. “Thank you.”


“For what?” Aaron asked.


“For being patient, for not giving up on me … for being you.” Daryl buried his face in Aaron’s shoulder. They stayed that way for a few moments of peaceful quiet until Daryl pulled Aaron along, directing him to the bedroom. It was still dark outside. There was no reason to start the day just yet. They slid beneath the covers and curled into each other to warm up. This was good, Daryl thought. This was how he would heal, and it was all because of Aaron.

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