The next morning came with a startle for both of them. The sound of the bedroom door jiggling woke Daryl up and in his groggy state he hadn't realized how hard he shook Daisy to wake her. She rolled out of the bed with a thump and a curse before shooting up into a sitting position, realizing that one of the men we're behind the door.
'Get under!' Daryl mouthed as he too cursed and opened the bedroom door.
Daisy barely had enough time to get her feet under the bed when she felt the mattress sink under the weight of someone sitting.
"What the hell man?! I was sleeping!" Daryl grunted.
Who ever the man was, he spoke in a low voice, "I thought I heard a commotion in here, boy. What were you doing?"
Daisy placed her hand over her mouth to quiet her breathing and she heard Daryl reply, "Jus' sleepin' I thought you was a walker, forgot where I was…" He mumbled a lie.
There was a pause and the mattress lifted up again, indicating that the man had stood. Daisy heard a clap and a boisterous laugh, "Well come on then Daryl, we gotta get those walker jitters out of you."
Daisy rolled her eyes, Daryl attentiveness to the walkers was far from something that she'd call jitters. However, once she heard the door shut and Daryl breathe a sigh of relief she scooted herself out.
"I felt like my dad was about to catch me with a boy," She whispered with a nervous laugh.
Daryl's eyes narrowed at her, "It's way more serious than that, girl."
"Daisy," she corrected him but he ignored.
"I told you, you need to get out of here. It's not safe."
"Daryl where am I supposed to go?" She stood and pulled on her boots, "I'm not leaving you, and I'm not leaving Beth. We're gonna find her, we're gonna save her."
Daryl sighed again but this time in aggravation, "You need to stay away for the day, come back when the sun sets."
Daisy's mouth twitched into a small smile, "I can come back?" She asked as she followed Daryl to the window he had opened for her.
But Daryl didn't answer her he just helped her reach the tree and said, "Just don't get bit."
Daisy descent to the ground didn't take much stealth apparently the crowd of men who kidnapped Daryl were late risers. So she breathed a sigh of relief that she didn't have to dodge any of them on her way out.
The problem now was figuring out what to do with the day until she waited for the sun to set. The best thing she could so with her time would be to scavenge any areas near by. Daisy wondered the area around the small town for hours until she began to notice the sun setting. She was able to find a backpack to fill with a few canned foods and pasta boxes scattered on the flood of an old grocery store.
She turned down the street of where Daryl and the men were staying but to her dismay there were no lights inside the house. No glow of candles and the front door was left completely open. Taking a steady breath in she reached down simultaneously and pulled the machete that Daryl gifted her from her dark brown boot. The house was quiet, no shuffling, no moaning, but no talking either. Checking each room thoroughly she finally sighed in relief after she cleared the bottom floor. She then checked all the bedrooms until she finally reached the room Daryl had been staying in. All of his things were gone and Daisy felt panic began to set in.
He left her, alone. She started to pace the room trying to think of what her next move could be when the corner of a piece of paper sticking out from underneath the pillow. She climbed onto the bed and threw the pillow aside, examining the paper. Something was scribbled messily on the back of an envelope.
They're on the move. I don't know when you'll be back. I'll leave a trail… If not I WILL FIND YOU. Don't do anything stupid. Stay alive.
The corners of the brunette girl's mouth turned up into a big smile. Relieved that Daryl didn't leave her in the dust She flew down the stairs and out into the front yard looking for any sign of her companion.
Nothing seemed to stand out to her and Daisy began to feel frustrated. She turned her head left and right repeatedly before cursing. 'Think Daisy! Think! ...He wouldn't be obvious with the clues.' Daisy thought to herself. She turned around and faced the house noting that the front door was left wide open. They must have left through the front door she then looked at the street one more time. The streets trashcans and recycling bins were out in the street. That's when it struck her, every recycling bin was knocked over on the right side of the street, yellow trashcans littered the street but on the left side most of them remained upright. Daisy smiled, 'Daryl you clever, reckless bastard.' She thought wryly. She pictured the gruff man in her mind following the men and just tipping over the trashcans as if it were some sort of vandalism, like he was some kind of bad boy. She followed and soon enough she was lead into the woods. This was going to be much harder for her, she looked around and was pleasantly surprised to notice obvious gashes left on trees with a knife.
'Daryl, you're the best,' She thought as she followed his breadcrumbs into the woods with a flashlight lighting her path. It was about three hours before she rounded on the sound of a group of men.
"Joe I swear there're fresh tracks leading down this way towards the train tracks," A man said.
Daisy recognized the voice that answered to be the man that entered the room in the morning. "We'll follow 'em. Something tells me that we're closing in on those devils that killed Mark."
"Daryl!" He shouted, Daisy peaked through the trees trying to get a good look.
"Yeah," She heard him grunt.
"Lets put you to the test. A good hunter can track," The man named Joe propositioned.
Daisy could see Daryl nod, " I can track."
Joe clapped his hands, "Then it's settled, I need you to lead us to the people who made these tracks."
Daisy watched as Daryl knelt down and examined the ground. Her world ground to a halt when she heard rustling and branched crack behind her.
"Well, well, well…look what we 'ave here!" A man exclaimed. Daisy turned slowly knowing she was busted, the man staring back at her with a hungry grin disgusted her. With his half balding head and scraggly beard, his teeth were yellow and in a disarray. She pivoted and tried to run but he snatched wildly at her hair and pulled forcefully bringing her to the ground with a small scream. The commotion successfully gained the attention of the other men but her assailant twisted her arms behind her back and brought her into the light. Automatically their eyes met perfectly mirroring the other feelings, wide and fearful.
"Look at the pretty little thing I just found for us guys!" The man sneered next to her ear. Time slowed down for Daisy terrified of what was going to happened to her next, she could she Daryl swallow nervously.
His Adam's apple dipped and then rose before he narrowed his eyes and spoke, "Claimed."
All eyes turned to him, "Sorry, what?" the older gray haired man named Joe asked.
"You heard me, I claim her." Daryl said walking up to Daisy and snatching her arm, pulling her away from the nasty man.
"Daryl, son, that's not exactly how the claimed thing works," Joe explained as they noticed the angry looks shooting Daryl's way, "Calm down boys, this is the first time Daryl's even laid claims on anything." He paused and walked up to them, Joe lifted a lock of Daisy's hair and twirled it in his finger, "Hi there beautiful." He greeted.
"Now Daryl, we usually share the women we find. Gotta let all the boys have fun, you know." Joe explained Daisy looked back and forth between the two men, neither looking like they were going to back down. She had no idea why Daryl would "claim" her or why claiming her would even work.
Daryl's grip tightened on Daisy's arm ever so slightly, "I thought a claim's a claim. I like her, I want her."
Joe laughed, "He's a determined one isn't he." He addressed the group of men who encircled them, "Alright fine, I'll give it to you this time. I should have explained better." The men all burst into outrage, "BUT—" Joe continued, "If you don't make her yours by then end of tomorrow night, she's ours."
Daryl's eyes narrowed, when he spoke his voice was unwavering and confident but Daisy could feel him shaking, "She's mine." And with that he steered them away from the group while they all began arguing with Joe over his decision.
One Daryl and Daisy were out of earshot he let go of her arm and practically jumped in her face, "What the hell was that?" He hissed.
"I'm sorry I didn't think anyone would be that far out," She explained.
"You've got to be stupid, do you even know what I'm gonna have to do to you if we don't get away?!" He snapped.
Daisy looked away, "I have an idea, lets run now."
Daryl shook his head, "There's no way we'll out run them just yet. We need a plan, don't let them know that you know me. Put up a fight."
"Hit me." Daisy said turning to face Daryl completely.
Daryl coughed, "What?" and raised an eyebrow, "Are you nuts? I ain't gonna hit ya."
"Do it, tell them I tried to run. Tell them I wasn't giving you what you wanted. They'll believe it," Daisy explained, when Daryl didn't make a move she added, "Do it or I'll do it myself."
Daryl sighed and pulled back his fist and just as he was about to make contact with Daisy's face he opened his hand and slapped her. "I can't punch you!"
Daisy growled in aggravation, "Come one Daryl, you have to do it. You're saving my life."
Daryl looked at his feet, "I can't…I ain't like that."
"I'm not saying you are. I need you to do this for me."
He pulled his fist back one more time but before he even came close to her face a voice shouted out to them, "Come on you two love birds, we gotta get a move on."
The sun had completely set and the night was dark, Daisy assumed that they were following the tracks that she heard Joe and Daryl talking about earlier. Her hands with duct taped together behind her back and Daryl was forcefully shoving her forward every few feet. She could feel the eyes of them men practically staring through her clothes making her skin crawl. They were getting closer and closer to the origin of the tracks when suddenly Daryl gasped. Up ahead Daisy recognized the man that Joe had his knife to. It was Rick from the prison and his son.
And from that second things went from zero to sixty in two seconds. Daryl ran forward trying to pry the man who caught Daisy off of Carl only to be stopped by two men who beat him down.
Daisy couldn't stop the shrill scream of terror as she watched Daryl get beat down by the two men who were also joined by a third, " Daryl!" She shouted gaining the attention of another man.
"So he did know you, you stupid bitch. Come here you're mind first!" Daisy locked eyes with another woman whose sword was discarded next to her.
Daryl didn't give up, bloody and weak he flung himself at the men throwing his fists violently. That's when Rick stood and in one quick and calculated motion he bit through Joe's neck. Everything stood still, the struggling stopped and everyone watched and Joe recoiled in pain, blood spurting out uncontrollably. Rick reached into Joe's belt and pulled out his knife stabbing him through and through his chest.
That was their moment, Daisy decided, she flung her head back connecting harshly with the man holding her she turned around and threw her whole weight into the man knocking him to ground. Before she could react the cool silver steal of the sword she saw early sliced the man's head clean off. Daisy gasped for air as she looked up to see the other woman sword in her hand. Apparently having beheaded her captor as well.
Daryl on the other hand fought off the three men he was dealing with, knocking them unconscious. And the man who was hurting Carl was laying in a bloody heap next to Rick's feet. The terror was all too real for the five of them as they looked at each other, shaking from head to toe with adrenaline and covered in blood. None as much as Rick who seemed to be in shock, he sunk to his feet next to a broken down car. The woman took Carl into the car after saying a few words to Daryl and hugging him. Daryl rounded the car and kneeled down to hand Rick a rag to wipe his face.
"You can't see yourself right now, but trust me…clean up." He said before he stood and walked over to Daisy.
"Are you al—" Before he could finish his question Daisy threw her arms around his neck. "What was that for?" Daryl asked hands by his side not sure how to react. Things were spinning for everyone.
"I don't know, I just…" Daisy's whisper so close to his ears made his hair stand on end. "I needed to feel grounded." Daryl considered her words for a second before he wrapped his arms around her small waist.
"Are you alright?" He asked again.
Daisy laughed and pulled back from the hug slightly to look at him. Blood dripping from his face, eye swollen, lip busted, "Are you alright?"
Daryl chewed his lip, "I don't think so…"
Daisy rested her head on his shoulder, "Me neither…"
"We'll be okay though…" Daryl added.
"I don't…know, Daryl…." She replied muffled into his shoulder.
"We will, I promise." He whispered to her, his mouth touching her ear, head resting slightly on hers. This embrace was different from the any other he had shared with a girl. It was just a hug, he was satisfied feeling her warm body against his, feeling her breathe. Daryl liked being able to feel her being alive, when they came so close to dying only a few minutes prior.
"We're going to head to terminus, we're going to be okay..." Daryl mumbled.